We are seeking suspenseful drama, horror, thriller, mystery, and crime narratives.
Which is scarier, the unknown horror of the titular creature in ALIEN or the appearance of a “regular” person in HALLOWEEN? Is the tragedy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD amplified by its beats of disarming humor? And is the WITCH a supernatural horror story or a drama showcasing a young woman’s journey of empowerment?
Fear is a complex emotion. Stories that utilize it come in many forms. Suspenseful narratives that grip a reader by raising the tension are prized within the industry.
Does your script leave the audience on the edge of their seats?
The Emerging Screenwriting team welcomes all interpretations of the Suspense genre. Submit your horror, thriller, mystery or crime stories that instill a sense of fear from the start and never let up, to genre-bending drama entries that leave readers laughing, terrified and/or shaking. We are eager to read your material and share with our list of mentors, partners or industry connections (see below list) for option or production consideration. Plus, the Top 10 will be considered for the ISA Development Slate.
Accepting Features and Pilots
Grand Prize Winner
A Career Consultation with the ISA Development Team
Consideration for the ISA Development Slate
An ISA Pitch Practice Session
6 Month ISAConnect Membership
Development Evaluation on a Different Script ($199 Value)
Two Classes from The Writer’s Store
3 Month ISAConnect Membership
Consideration for Grand Prize
Early: March 22 – $29
Regular: April 26 – $39
Final: May 25 – $59
Until further notice, meetings or consults will be virtual.
All writers from all countries are welcome to submit; however, all scripts must be submitted in English, and application fees must be paid in U.S. dollars.
Script must be the original work of the submitting writer and may not be encumbered by any third party.
Scripts that have been sold, produced for a profit, or are currently under option are not eligible.
Original full-length feature screenplays and TV Pilots only are accepted. Anything else, including but not limited to short scripts or web series, novels, short stories, stage plays, musicals, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, documentaries, and/or spec scripts for existing TV series are not eligible. Script submissions must be an original screenplay or teleplay.
Screenplays adapted from the submitting writer’s own self-published books, plays, or other source materials are eligible if the writer retains all rights to the work.
Adaptations from other works are permissible provided the writer has written permission by the owner to adapt the material.
Adaptations of works in the public domain are permissible.
Co-written material will be accepted. However, any and all prizes issued will be based on a single applicant.
Multiple submissions are accepted by one writer, however if one or more screenplays of the same writer tie, only one screenplay (the decided “best”) will be selected to determine the chosen winner.
The writer understands that script feedback can take up to 90-days turn-around time and may not be received before the end of the final application deadline.
Emerging Screenwriters cannot guarantee feedback for your script will be received within enough time to resubmit during the same season.
Applicants must submit materials and payment online only.
Once a script has been submitted, substitutions of new drafts or corrections may only be accepted within 24 hours of the original application. A revised draft of a script may be accepted after 24 hours if it is entered as a new application with the appropriate fee.
Promotional discounts or waivers offered may only be utilized at the time of submission.
Promotional discounts or waivers offered may not apply on all submission platforms (i.e. Film Freeway)
Writers under the age of 18 years old must have parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate.
Decisions of the Judges are final and may not be disputed. The Judges will adhere to our competition guidelines; however, the competition and its administrators may not be held responsible for any errors or omissions on the part of the Judges.
The writer understands that it is his/her sole responsibility to register material to be submitted with the U.S. Copyright Office and/or with the Writer’s Guild of America or the appropriate agency in his/her country.
Applicants awarded a placement understand and accept that the ISA will be free to use his/her name and likeness for advertising or promotional purposes without additional consideration.
Writers retain the rights to their screenplay.
Applicants are non-exclusive to this competition and may submit their screenplay to any other person, competition, producer, agent, publisher, and/or organization.
No transfer, substitution or cash equivalent for prizes is allowed.
The ISAConnect Membership prize may only be used within 90 days and may not be combined with any current free membership.
Length requirements are as follows: 1). Full-Length Features: 70-120 pages. 2). TV Pilots: Up to 70 pages.
If applicant orders feedback a $1 per page fee may be charged separately over 120 pages, not including the Title Page, or the reader may only read the first 120 pages.
Standard title pages should be included: listing the script title, name of author(s), telephone number, and email address. Applicants will not be disqualified if it is not included.
Under no circumstances should the writer include name or contact information within the body of the script.
Emerging Screenwriters is not responsible for any applicant errors or omissions on any submitted application materials.
Synopses, casting suggestions, letters, resumes and photos will not be considered. TV Pilot submissions may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes.
The writer accepts without reservation that the submitted logline and screenplay will be reviewed by Emerging Screenwriters staff and/or panel of Industry Judges for evaluation and that any one of these employees, or judges may have been or may be exploring ideas similar to the submitted material, and the applicant hereby waives any claim that the Emerging Screenwriters Suspense Screenplay Competition, its staff or judges may have misappropriated any ideas or portions of the submission, logline or screenplay.
There are no refunds for any reason after 24 hours from submission.
The writer understands and accepts without reservation that he/she is an independent contractor and that Emerging Screenwriters Administrators are not responsible for withholding any taxes or payments to any government agency, at any level, be it state, local or federal.
By submitting to this competition, your email address will be added to the contest database as well as the International Screenwriters’ Association newsletter for weekly updates, contest promotions and other notifications. You may unsubscribe at any time.
It is our full intention to fulfill all prizes as posted. However, due to an unlikely event, act of God or other, we reserve the right to update or edit prizes.
BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE RULES.