The CineStory Foundation believes in helping writers find their voice. We’re entering a world in which the ways to tell stories are limitless. Those stories always begin with a blank page. Our goal with the Television Retreat is to educate writers about the unique world of TV storytelling, from the collaborative nature of writing for networks or streaming channels to the independent realm of creating and shooting series for the web.

Structured like the CineStory Feature Retreat, the CineStory TV Retreat will take place over three days in the beautiful mountains of Idyllwild, California. Attendees will receive three one-on-one, one and a half hour sessions with CineStory mentors. During these sessions, mentors will give attendees feedback on improving the craft of the script(s) they submitted in advance and will also discuss with writers various aspects of the business of TV writing to help the writer better understand TV writers’ various roles in the entertainment industry.

TV Writers also will experience what it’s like to sit in a professional writers rooms run by an experienced mentor. In addition, mentors and writers will gather for meals, drinks and other special events.

There are three different TV entry categories:


· The pilot episode of your original one hour drama series (45 – 65 pages, excluding cover page)


· The pilot episode of your original single-camera comedy or multi-camera sitcom (single camera pilots, 22 – 45 pages, excluding cover page; multi-camera pilots, 52 – 58 pages, excluding cover page, with dialogue double spaced throughout)


· The pilot episode of your original series that falls into the Science Fiction or Fantasy genre (below) (45 – 65 pages, excluding cover page)

· Science Fiction – Stories about time travel, space travel, advanced technology, extraterrestrials, post-apocalyptic and alien worlds; examples include “Star Trek,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “The 100,” “Sense8,” “The Walking Dead”

· Fantasy – Stories featuring elements of the fantastic, often including magic, supernatural forces, or exotic fantasy worlds; examples include “Game Of Thrones,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Supernatural,” “The Magicians,” “American Gods”


To earn the opportunity to attend the TV Retreat, writers must submit a TV script to the TV Retreat & Fellowship Competition. The division winners, finalist and semifinalists will receive invites to attend the retreat. Any additional spots will be offered to quarterfinalists.

The Grand Prize for the competition is the CineStory TV Fellowship, a 12-month mentorship program, during which the TV Fellow works with 2 Hollywood professionals hand-picked to continue to educate the Fellow about the craft and business of TV writing so the Fellow better understands the various roles TV writers play in the entertainment industry

. The TV Fellow also receives $1000 as well as free tuition and housing for the retreat.

An integral part of the Grand Prize TV Fellowship is becoming part of the extended CineStory community. Consequently, the winner of the TV Fellowship must attend the TV retreat in order to receive the cash award and to benefit from all other aspects of the Fellowship.

1 Writer will named the CineStory 2024 TV Fellow. The winner of the fellowship will receive the following prizes.

- Free tuition to the TV retreat with accommodations provided. (please note that the fellow must provide there own transportation to the retreat.)
- A year long educational mentorship with two entertainment industry professionals.
- $1000 cash prize
- An assortment of gift cards
Division Winners
- A discount on retreat tuition
- An assortment of gift cards
Every Writer who attends the retreat will receive three 1-on-1 professional feedback sessions


Formatting Guidelines

--Teleplays must be PDFs and must be pilot episodes.

--Teleplays are judged anonymously; therefore, they must have CLEAN COVER PAGES (i.e., title only on the cover, no author’s name/contact information) and no identifying information anywhere in the body text or in the PDF file name.

--Teleplays must be (a) 45 - 65 pages (excluding cover page) for 1 hour divisions; (b) 22 - 45 pages (excluding cover page) for 30 minute Original Comedy division single camera pilots; or (c) 52 - 58 pages (excluding cover page), with dialogue double spaced throughout, for 30 minute Original Comedy division multi-camera pilots.

--Body pages must be numbered.

--No additional materials, artwork, illustrations etc. should be attached to the script.

--Teleplays must be in English.

--No substituted pages or other revisions will be accepted once you have submitted your teleplay.

--Entries that do not meet all Rules & Guidelines will be automatically disqualified and the submission fee WILL NOT be refunded.

Representations & Warranties

--As author(s) of the submitted material, my/our submission attests to the following:

--All information I/we have entered herein is accurate.

--I/we are 18 or older.

--The submitted material is my/our original work, with all rights to said work held by me/us.

--I/we will indemnify CineStory, hold it harmless and defend it against all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any stories submitted for the CineStory Television Retreat or on any material developed out of such stories.

--I/we understand that CineStory judges, directors, officers, employees or agents may be exposed to or may develop materials and ideas that may be similar to those of the submitted material. I/we understand and acknowledge that I/we will not be entitled to any compensation from such similar material that is independently conceived and created.

--I/we agree that I/we will never assert against CineStory (or any of its judges, directors, officers, employees or agents) any claim based on an assertion of plagiarism, idea theft, confidential or fiduciary relationship or any other theory relating to the submitted material.

--I/we understand that individual feedback is not provided and that CineStory notifies winners only.

--I/we have read, understood and complied with all guidelines and rules herein, and failure to do so may result in disqualification.

Additional Rules & Guidelines

--Entrants must be 18 or older.

--The Grand Prize Television Fellowship winner MUST ATTEND the Television Retreat in order to receive the cash award and other prizes. If a Fellowship winner cannot attend the Retreat, the person will be disqualified and a new winner will be determined.

--Any teleplay from any genre will be considered. NO FEATURE SCREENPLAYS WILL BE CONSIDERED. Any feature screenplays submitted will be disqualified without refund of the submission fee.

--In the 5 years prior to the applicable contest’s final deadline, an entrant must not have earned more than $25,000 total for motion picture and television writing services as well as for the sale of (or sale of an option on) screenplays, teleplays, treatments, books, stories, premises, stage places, or other source material. Excluded from this total earnings are any earnings from fellowships or contests unless the fellowship or contest terms and conditions include a “first look” clause, an option, work-for-hire terms, or any other terms that result in monetary payment in exchange for the entrant’s written work or writing services.

--No substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages for entries will be accepted under any circumstances. However, you may submit a new draft as a separate submission accompanied by a separate submission fee and any other required information.

--CineStory notifies winners only. Entrants are advised to check CineStory's website and e-newsletter for judging announcements.

--Entered teleplays may not be optioned, sold or produced at the time of entry.

--Multiple entries are accepted, provided a signed entry form and appropriate entry fee is attached to each submission.

--Multiple authorship is acceptable. However, if the teleplay wins an award, only one award will be given and it will be divided equally among the writers.

--Teleplays must be the original work of the author. If based on another person's life story, a statement attesting to the rights obtained must be attached.

--No adaptations of other written work will be accepted unless the writer owns the rights to the original material. PLEASE NOTE: Any adaption of other written work that is in the Public Domain is eligible for submission.

--There must be no dispute about the ownership of submitted teleplays or the writer's right to submit a teleplay.

--CineStory recommends registering your screenplays with the WGA or the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

--Judges' decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into. Sorry, we cannot provide individual feedback from the judges.

--Entrants acknowledge that CineStory, its judges, mentors and officers may be exposed to or may develop materials and ideas that may be similar to those of the submitted material. Entrants acknowledge they will not be entitled to any compensation because from such similar material which is independently conceived and created.

--Entrants agree to never assert against CineStory (or any of its judges, directors, officers, employees or agents) any claim based on an assertion of plagiarism, idea theft, confidential or fiduciary relationship or any other theory relating to the submitted material.

--Winners will be responsible for their own U.S. income tax withholding.

--Entering the contest constitutes permission to use the winners' names and likenesses for publicity and promotions with no additional compensation.

--Retreat fees are determined per individual retreat based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to then-current vendor estimates, valuations of mentor sessions determined by then-current entertainment industry standards (e.g., mentor sessions as of 2020 valued at $500), and then-current valuations of comparable retreats.  

--CineStory does not issue refunds of submission fees and/or retreat fees that have become nonrefundable under the terms of retreat invitations. Any and all such payments made to CineStory are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, withdrawal or disqualification of a teleplay for any reason, withdrawal from or failure to attend a retreat due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, and/or loss of employment.

--All entries must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.

--CineStory reserves the right to extend the final deadline; however, an extended deadline is not guaranteed. CineStory will not accept revisions of previously submitted screenplays if it chooses to extend the deadline unless the screenplay is accompanied by an additional submission fee as stated in these Rules & Guidelines.

--CineStory is not responsible for entries lost, stolen or damaged in transit.

--Finalists are required to submit a letter and video as part of the finals judging process.

--Entries that do not meet all Rules & Guidelines will be automatically disqualified and the submission fee WILL NOT be refunded.

**Rules & Guidelines are subject to change without notice.**

Overall Rating
  • Diana Cherkas

    The retreat is an awesome experience. You are given time to so in depth with the industry mentors in one-on-one sessions, the group and panel sessions are informative and inspiring, and everything in between just invites connection with your fellow writers. Also, it was as fun as it was professionally rewarding!

    March 2019
  • Lukas Hassel

    Can't recommend this retreat highly enough. Incredibly insightful and helpful info on how the TV writing industry works, as well as top notch mentors assigned to your work. Submit here!!

    March 2019
  • Christian Lybrook

    An amazing four days in the mountains of California. Really great experience. Met lots of great writers and connected with many cool industry people. The three one-on-one sessions with mentors was by far the most valuable thing. All had read the material and their feedback was thoughtful and helped me look at the work from a different angle. Well worth it.

    March 2019