The Big Break Screenwriting Contest offers film and TV writers in 11 genres the chance to win up to $100,000 in cash and prizes. Grand prize winners also get flown to Los Angeles to meet with managers, producers and executives.
Awards and Prizes:
11 Winners Share Up To $100,000 in cash and prizes
2 Grand Prize Winners Are Flown to Los Angeles
Winners Are Introduced To Producers and Executives
Grand Prize Winners receive NYFA Fellowship
Over 50 past winners have sold scripts, received representation, or gone on to professional writing careers
The Final Draft / New York Film Academy Fellowship In Writing For Film & Television
Co-sponsored by The New York Film Academy, the fellowship begins with a 12-week master class—one for film writers and one for television writers—held on the Burbank campus of the New York Film Academy and taught by top New York Film Academy instructors.
Writers will receive individualized instruction and mentoring in their chosen medium, and visiting industry VIPs will provide first-hand, practical insights into the entertainment industry (Out of town winners will be able to participate via virtual classroom).
Once the workshop has been completed, each fellow will be given a New York Film Academy Mentor to meet with once a month for the remainder of the calendar year for further guidance in script and career development.
The Final Draft Awards Ceremony
Winners are invited to the Paramount Studios lot to celebrate great writing and be recognized for their incredible scripts. The industry event includes a red carpet, some of the biggest writers in town, and a great place to network and celebrate screenwriters!
Big Break Success Stories
In recent years, over 50 Big Break semi-finalists, finalists, and winners have been signed to professional representation. Many have had scripts optioned, sold, and produced. Others have found full-time work in television. Read about just a few of those successes below!
2018 Television Grand Prize Winner Myles Reid has signed with Jewerl Ross of Silent R Management and has been staffed as the Showrunner's Assistant on 'The Lost Boys' pilot for The CW
2018 Quarter-Finalist Natasha Bonanno has optioned her script 'The Undertakers Children' to Chayah Masters/Rumination Road, with Alex Gayner set to direct
2018 Quarter-Finalist Jonathan Barger has optioned his script 'Station Zero' to Zorg Studios, with Erwan Marinopoulos set to direct
2017 Feature Grand Prize Winner Greta Heinemann has signed with Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Productions, who is shopping her script 'Anatomy of a Breakdown' alongside UTA
2017 Half-Hour Pilot category winner Greg Wayne has signed with Brian Spink of REALM, and has Director Scott Speer set to helm his script 'S21', with Catapult and Needle's Eye producing
2017 Feature Drama category winner Julia Mogerman has signed with Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Productions
2017 Feature Diversity category winner Nicolas Pinzn has signed with Markus Goerg of Heroes and Villains
2017 Hour-Long TV Pilot category winner JJ Bailey has signed with Markus Goerg of Heroes and Villains
2017 Top-3 Finalist Nancy Duff has signed with Jennifer Au of Untitled
2016 Television Grand Prize Winner Rowan Wheeler has signed with UTA
2016 Feature Grand Prize Winner Alexis Perkins has signed with Stagecoach Entertainment and agent David Rubin at Gersh
2016 Family category winner Matt Katzenberger has signed with Entertainment Lab
2016 Hour-Long TV Pilot winner Julia Cooperman has been staffed on USA Network's TV series 'Colony'
2016 Top-5 Finalist Paul Jarnagin has signed with Universal Writers Management
2015 Television Grand Prize Winner Eric Buchman has signed with Mitch Solomon at Magnet Management and continues to write for NBC's 'Blindspot' and has been promoted to co-producer
2015 Feature Grand Prize Winners G.W. Freund & Daniel Bonjour have signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners
2015 Half-Hour TV Pilot Quarter-Finalist Nick Watson has signed with Abrams Artists Agency and is now a full-time staff writer on the animated sitcom 'Final Space' for TBS
2015 Hour-Long TV Pilot Finalist Paula Sabbaga has signed with Brian Spink of REALM
2014 Hour-Long TV Pilot Winner Derek Asaff signed with Derrick Eppich of Lee Stobby Entertainment
2014 Sci-Fi/Fantasy category winner Joseph Greenberg sold his script 'Man Alive' to 20th Century Fox for Noah Hawley of 'Fargo' to direct
2014 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Finalist James Barclay has signed with Magnet Management
2014 Drama category winner Peter Wulff has signed with Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Productions
2013 Half-Hour Pilot Winner Nicholas Anthony was hired as a writer for CBS‘ 'The Inspectors'
Fees and Deadlines
$45.00 – Early Bird Deadline March 13, 2019
$55.00 – Regular Deadline June 18, 2019
$65.00 – Extended Deadline July 9, 2019
$75.00 – Last Chance Deadline July 23, 2019
Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on their respective deadlines.
The Big Break Screenwriting Contest only accepts online entry of feature film and television screenplays (original pilot scripts only – miniseries cannot be accepted).
No printed scripts will be accepted.
To enter your script electronically, you must submit your screenplay in Final Draft (FDX) or PDF format.
You are not required to use Final Draft in order to enter the Contest.
All submissions should consist of full-length screenplays (approximately 80 to 120 pages) or teleplays (hour-long approximately 40 to 70 pages, half-hour approximately 20 to 35, half-hour multi-camera with double-spaced dialogue approximately 50 to 60) in standard industry format for motion picture screenplays and teleplays, written in English. Streaming/commercial-free format (e.g. no act breaks) is also eligible for television hour-long and half-hour entries. If you are using a word processing program that automatically formats screenplays, such as Final Draft, select the Screenplay or Teleplay format template.
Entries over 150 pages WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Entries less than 20 pages that are clearly not a screenplay (short stories, comic books, etc.) will also be disqualified.
All necessary information is captured upon entry of digital submissions, so title pages should be removed or contact information must be deleted from the title page. The title of the script will be provided to the reader as part of the file name and in the judging form.
Do NOT include personally identifying information (name, etc.) on ANY page of your script.
Entry should consist of a screenplay or teleplay only. Do not include resumes, pitches, synopses, casting suggestions, letters, or other supporting documentation with your submission. Judges will not receive these materials.
The exception is original hour-long and half-hour TV entries, which may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes, as part of the screenplay. This information would need to be included within the same file, at the end of the script.
Entrants may submit multiple entries. Each submission must include its own entry and must include a separate file and separate entry fee. Entries will be considered for the genre prize in each category and for the grand prize in either feature film or television.
The Big Break Contest is open to any individual who is 18 years of age or older at the date of entry and has access to the Internet.
Employees, officers, directors, contractors and agents (and their immediate families and household members regardless of where they live, or members of the same households (whether related or not) of Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft and its respective divisions, affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, Big Break Contest sponsors, and advertising agencies (collectively, the “contest providers”), are not eligible to participate in the contest or to win any prize.
Screenplays under option at time of submission are not eligible.
Adaptations are not eligible unless the source material was written by the screenwriter of the entry in question. Scripts are not eligible if the source material has been sold, produced, or is currently under option to any third party.
Grand Prize winners in Features and TV and category finalists are not eligible to re-enter their winning scripts in future Big Break Contests. They are, however, eligible to enter different scripts for consideration. Grand Prize Feature and TV winners as well as category finalists receive a free entry in the 2020 Big Break Contest as part of their 2019 prize package.
Co-Writers and Prize Division
Screenplays written by up to four people may be entered in the contest. Only one entry fee is required for such entries. All writers’ names should be listed on the online entry. List the writer who will be the primary contact first, and include the address, telephone, and email for that person only. All writers must authorize submission of the entry. By clicking Submit, all writers authorize the submission.
If a screenplay written by multiple writers is one of either of the Grand Prize winners, Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft will pay airfare and hotel for up to two writers, and two writers will have the option to attend meetings with studio executives and agents. All cash awards will be split equally between all writers. If a screenplay written by multiple writers is any of the category finalists or Grand Prize winners, prizes will be divided at writers’ discretion but only one of each prize will be distributed.
Revisions, Refunds, and Resubmissions
In order to run a fair contest for all entrants, revisions or missing pages will not be accepted under any circumstances once an entry has been received.
Once an entry has been submitted and payment has been processed no refunds will be issued.
If the script is rewritten during the entry submission period, the writer(s) may resubmit a script as a new entry for consideration in the contest. A resubmitted script is treated as a new entry and requires an entry fee.
Ownership and Industry Release
Big Break Contest entrants retain all rights to their screenplays.
By entering the Big Break Contest, you represent and affirm that your entry is an original creative work, and does not infringe, misappropriate or violate the copyright, trademark or other intellectual rights of any third party.
By entering the Big Break Contest, you acknowledge and agree that contest Judges receive numerous submissions of ideas, stories and scripts, and that your entry, and the ideas and stories embodied in it, may be similar or identical to other material already received and/or developed by one or more of the Judges. You also agree that you are not entitled to any compensation or credit for use by contest Judges of any such other material.
By agreeing to these Rules and Conditions you agree that you have read the rules of the contest and that you have the authorization to submit this screenplay to the Big Break Contest. You further agree that your screenplay is owned by you (and co-author(s)).
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
The entrant shall indemnify and hold harmless Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft its employees, contractors, agents and Big Break Judges from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, and/or publicity to the Screenplay entered.
(If you are a writer and want to be considered for the TOP 25, you must be an ISAConnect Member)