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Announcements

Semi Finalists & Top 10

Feb 15, 2018

American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest

CONTEST DESCRIPTION

The contest's aim is to seek out and encourage compelling film narratives, and to introduce the next generation of great screenwriters to today's leading production companies and agencies. The winner and ten finalists will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor, CAA, The Gersh Agency, Exile Entertainment, ICM, Oasis Media, UTA, The Radmin Company, Prolific Entertainment, Energy Entertainment, and Dontanville/Frattaroli. American Zoetrope is Francis Ford Coppola's company.

PRIZES

The winner and nine runners-up will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor, CAA, The Gersh Agency, Exile Entertainment, ICM, Oasis Media, UTA, The Radmin Company, Prolific Entertainment, Energy Entertainment, and Dontanville/Frattaroli.

 

Their scripts will be considered for film option and development by leading production companies, including: American Zoetrope, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Entertainment, Paramount Classics, Lionsgate, Icon Pictures, Lleju Productions and Films, Second and 10th, Working Title, Dimension Films, Frelaine, Michael London Productions, Hope for Film, Kulture Machine, Number 9 Films, Folo Films, Next Films, Pretty Pictures, Roserock Films, Benderspink, Astrakan Films, Industry Entertainment, Category 5 Entertainment, Nine Yards Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Jim Wedaa Productions, Robert Evans Company, Fortis Films, Jean Doumanian Productions, Agape Media International, FX, and Ziskin Productions.

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Rules

  • Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter the contest. Misrepresentation of age, upon discovery by American Zoetrope, will disqualify the applicable entrant.
  • Employees of American Zoetrope and its affiliated companies and their immediate families are not eligible.
  • No entrant may have earned more than $5,000 as a screenwriter for theatrical films or television, or for the sale of, or sale of an option to, any original story, treatment, screenplay, or teleplay. Prizes, fellowships, awards, and other contest winnings are not considered earnings and are excluded from this rule.
  • Screenplay and television pilot submissions must be the original work of the applicant. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which the applicant does not own rights, this must be noted on the entry form and on the script.
  • The rights to the submitted screenplay/teleplay should not have been previously optioned or sold.
  • Submissions should be in the U.S. Motion Picture industry standard screenplay format and must be written in the English language. Film scripts should be between 70 and 130 pages long; one-hour television pilot scripts should be between 45 and 65 pages long; half-hour television scripts should be between 22 and 34 pages long.
  • Under no circumstances will substitutions of corrected pages or new drafts of scripts be accepted.
  • Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.
  • Collaborative work is accepted. One of the writing partners should be selected as the primary contact. Writing partners selected as winners will divide the award equally.
  • Entrants must submit scripts and payment online.
  • An entry fee of US$35 (for early deadline) or US$50 (for final deadline) must be paid online by credit card at the time of script submission.
  • The winner will receive $5,000. The winner and nine honorable mentions will have their scripts sent by Zoetrope to select agencies and production companies.
  • One winning script and nine honorable mentions will be announced on or by February 15, 2017.
  • Submissions for the EARLY DEADLINE should be submitted online no later than August 15, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. Submissions for the FINAL DEADLINE should be submitted online no later than September 15, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. PLEASE NOTE: our deadline has been EXTENDED until September 19, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. There will be no further extensions, and entries will only be accepted up until the extended deadline. 

 

FAQs

ABOUT THE CONTEST

What is the purpose of the contest?
The contest's aim is to seek out and encourage compelling new narratives for the screen, and to introduce the next generation of great screenwriters to today's leading production companies and agencies.


What are the prizes?

The winner will receive $5000. The winner and nine honorable-mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor, CAA, The Gersh Agency, Exile Entertainment, ICM, Oasis Media, UTA, The Radmin Company, Prolific Entertainment, Energy Entertainment, and Dontanville/Frattaroli. Their scripts will be considered for film option and development by leading production companies, including: American Zoetrope, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Entertainment, Paramount Classics, Verisimilitude, Lionsgate, Icon Pictures, Lleju Productions and Films, Second and 10th, Working Title, Dimension Films, Frelaine, Michael London Productions, Hope for Film, Kulture Machine, Number 9 Films, Folo Films, Pretty Pictures, Roserock Films, Benderspink, Astrakan Films, Industry Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Jim Wedaa Productions, Robert Evans Company, Fortis Films, Jean Doumanian Productions, Agape Media International, FX, and Ziskin Productions.

 

When is the deadline to submit scripts?

Submissions for the EARLY DEADLINE should be submitted online no later than August 15, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PDT.

Submissions for the FINAL DEADLINE should be submitted online no later than September 15, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PDT.

EXTENDED DEADLINE -- submission may continue to be submitted online up until September 19, 2016, at 11:59:59 p.m. PDT.

 

When will the winner and finalists be announced?

The top ten finalists, consisting of one winner plus nine honorable mentions, will be announced February 15, 2017, on the website. The semi-finalists will be announced at the same time.

 

How do I submit a script to the contest?

Through ISA's online submission system. We do not accept hard-copy or paper entries. We do not make exceptions to this policy.

 

How will I learn whether I'm the winner or a finalist?

The winner and nine honorable mentions will be contacted directly by American Zoetrope on February 15, 2017. We'll also send a list of winners and finalists to all those who included an active e-mail address with their submission. We do not send announcements by postal mail or notify contestants individually, so please check the website. 

 

Who's reading the screenplays?

A handful of American Zoetrope staff and paid professional readers, who are bound by confidentiality agreements, read the scripts. Judge Francis Coppola will select the winner from ten finalists.

 

What are these readers looking for in a screenplay?
The readers are looking for a screenplay with the best story and execution-regardless of genre or budget requirements. We seek original voices whose work will contribute to the quality, diversity, and longevity of contemporary cinema.

 

Do you provide notes, coverage, or feedback to screenwriters?

No, we do not. We are sorry, but we are a tiny staff and just don't have the capacity. The contest's purpose is to introduce new writers to industry professionals and thereby help launch film careers.

 

How do I update my contact information if my e-mail, mailing address, or phone number changes?

Any entrant may send a request to update contact information to contests@zoetrope.com.

 

SUBMISSIONS AND FORMATTING

How can I confirm that my entry was received?
You will receive a confirmation email after completing the registration process. Additionally, if you are a member of zoetrope.com you will see your entry listed on your member homepage. To create a free membership account, visit zoetrope.com.

 

What happens if there's a problem with my electronic file?

If there is a problem with your file, we will contact you, via e-mail, and allow you to send a replacement file.

 

May I enter more than one screenplay to the contest?

Yes, but please note that each screenplay submission requires a separate entry form and a separate entry fee.

 

May I enter the same script from a previous year's contest?

You may, but we discourage writers from re-entering a script unless it has fundamentally changed since the previous entry. It's unlikely that, without substantive changes, a script would place differently from one year to the next.

 

If I revise my script after submitting it to the 2016 contest, may I submit the new version?

No; we do not swap in revisions or updated files, as noted in the Official Rules.

 

FORMATTING

What is the page count requirement?

Film scripts should be between 70 and 130 pages. One-hour television pilot scripts should be between 45 and 65 pages. Half-hour television pilot scripts should be between 22 and 34 pages.

 

What if it's a few pages longer?

We won't disqualify your entry if you go a few pages over or under, as long as it's within reason. However, we STRONGLY encourage you to stick to the page counts, as these lengths are the standard for unsolicited scripts in the industry. (A good rule of thumb for estimating the length of your script is that one page of a script equals one minute of screen time.)

 

What is the U.S. Motion Picture industry standard screenplay format?

To learn more about correct screenplay formatting, you may consult any number of screenwriting books or screenwriting software. There are numerous resources on the internet for learning about standard film and television script formatting. You may also refer to our guide to standard screenplay format, which is in the Screenplay section of the member area of zoetrope.com. Please do your best to ensure that your screenplay is formatted correctly and is free of typos and spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. Please make certain that your script's pages are properly numbered.

 

Will you disqualify my script if it isn't formatted correctly?

We'll consider scripts in which the formatting is fundamentally similar to standard screenplay format. We certainly understand that formatting may sometimes be lost or changed in electronic transfer; entrants will not be penalized. To ensure your formatting is maintained, please submit a PDF file.

 

What file types do you accept for online submissions?
We find PDF files to be the most reliable and easiest to work with, but we also accept Microsoft Word and Rich Text Format files. Please do not upload scripts in other formats. (To Final Draft and Screenwriter users: Both programs allow easy conversion to PDF and RTF files; please check the Help sections of those programs for instructions.) We do not accept hard-copy submissions; we cannot make exceptions.

 

What do I do if my screenplay is in Final Draft or Screenwriter format?

Both software programs allow users to convert scripts easily to PDF and RTF documents. Please check the Help function of the program for instruction.

 

Should I include a title page and, if so, what should be on it?
It is not mandatory to include a title page, as submissions are read blindly and identified only by assigned tracking numbers. However, if your script is adapted from or based on any source material, you must make note of that fact at the beginning of your script or on a title page.

 

Should I include a logline or synopsis?
You will not be penalized for including a logline, but we do not read loglines or synopses. We prefer that each script speak for itself.

 

ELIGIBILITY AND GUIDELINES

Are citizens of countries other than the United States eligible?
Yes. However, screenplay submissions must be in the English language.

 

Can I submit a screenplay adapted from another work? Yes, an entry may be based on another work or on a true story. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which you do not own rights, you must note this in the entry form and on the script somewhere.

 

Can I submit a television pilot script?
Yes, we accept scripts for both one-hour and half-hour original television pilots. We do not accept spec scripts for television shows already in production or for previously produced shows. We recognize that today many of the most compelling cinematic narratives today are being produced for television or streaming. Our purpose is to introduce the next generation of great storytellers to producers and agencies, whether their stories are intended for the big screen or the small screen.

 

What happens if, after entering the contest, my script is sold or optioned, or I earn more than $5,000 as a screenwriter?
We require only that a writer and his/her script be eligible at the time of entry.

 

RIGHTS AND COPYRIGHT

If I enter the contest, particularly if I'm the winner or a top-ten finalist, do I automatically give up rights to my script?

All entrants-including the winner and finalists-retain complete and exclusive rights to their work. Should a participating agency or production company (including American Zoetrope) wish to buy or option your script, represent you, or hire you for other work, you will be contacted directly.

 

Must I register copyright of my screenplay before entering?

No, we do not require that the copyright of a script be registered (whether with the Library of Congress, the WGA, or another agency) before the script is entered into the contest.

 

Should I choose to do so, how do I copyright my work?
As noted in the Official Rules, you are responsible for ensuring copyright of your work. For answers to all U.S. copyright questions (e.g., about procedures, fees, etc.), consult the Library of Congress's copyright website at www.loc.gov/copyright.

 

ABOUT US

What is American Zoetrope?

American Zoetrope is Francis Ford Coppola's motion picture production company. In our first thirty years, we have produced some of the most important films in American cinema, which have gone on to receive sixteen Academy Awards and seventy-two Academy Award nominations. Four Zoetrope-produced films are included in the American Film Institute's top one hundred American films.

 

American Zoetrope has constantly embraced the creative possibilities of technology, and is known for orchestrating alternative approaches to filmmaking and challenging Hollywood standards. American Zoetrope is headquartered in the historic Sentinel Building in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.

 

What is a zoetrope?

Zoetrope [fr. Gk. zoe, life + tropos, turning, changing]: an optical toy that converts a series of pictures of successive attitudes into the semblance of continuous motion: wheel of life: life revolution.

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