Ernest Hemingway famously said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.”
Elmore Leonard said, “If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.”
And, most succinctly, William Faulkner said, “Kill Your Darlings.”
It’s a fact that rewriting your screenplay or television pilot is an absolutely essential part of the successful process of perfecting story, character, structure, tone and theme. It’s from that reality that The Finish Line Script Competition was created.
The Finish Line redefines the screenwriting competition, embracing the rewrite as an essential component in any successful screenplay, and incentivizing every entrant to dig deeper, find their best draft, and win. With the guidance of a seasoned script consultant, you can work on your rewrites AFTER submitting your script to the competition and then, after reviewing their notes, RESUBMIT your script to us, having improved your draft and thus bettering your chances to WIN!
Our screenplay consultants will provide comprehensive development notes (5-6 pages) on your screenplay or pilot, for as many drafts as you choose, focusing on the fact that the STORY and WRITER are KING. Just as with development execs at studios, production companies or networks, we will go through draft after draft with you to get your script into TIPTOP shape. With the Finish Line, winning is always within reach, perhaps only a draft away.
Following our process, everyone who enters The Finish Line Script Competition comes out a winner. One writer will win our amazing Grand Prize, while two others will receive First and Second Runners Up prizes. Everyone else who takes advantage of our consulting services will leave the competition with the insight to get them to the real victory—the consideration of managers, agents, producers and studio or network execs.
If your script is already in perfect shape, great! Submit it as is. We are looking for the best writer in the bunch. Enter the Finish Line Script Competition and come out a winner!
“Writers seem to forget that people in the industry are desperate for good material.It’s a world that’s so desperate for good writers. So, if you can build it, they’ll be there.If you write something great, it’ll get read and if it’s really good, it’ll start your career."
-Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “27 Dresses”)
Please check out our website www.finishlinescriptcomp.com to see the list of mentors our winners will be read by and meet.
The Grand Prize
The Grand Prize winner will receive $1500 as a cash prize.
The Grand Prize winner will receive up to $500 towards airfare to Los Angeles to meet with our mentors.
The Grand Prize winner will either meet in person, Skype or speak via phone with our industry professionals ranging from literary managers, agents, development execs and producers.
The Grand Prize winner will receive free consultation from our script consultants for a year.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive a copy of the brand new Final Draft. www.finaldraft.com
The Grand Prize winner will have free and complete access to our knowledge, advice, support and help as they get their script out into the maze that is the entertainment industry.
And…..as a cherry on top, as we’re all living in a world that needs as much love as possible, 5% of the earnings from the competition will be donated to the winner’s favorite charity.
The First Runner Up
The First Runner Up will receive $500 as a cash prize.
The First Runner Up can send their script to two of the industry pros on the list.
The First Runner Up will receive $150 to use towards education or pitches at www.stage32.com.
The First Runner Up will receive free consultation from our script consultants for a year.
The First Runner Up will have free and complete access to our knowledge, advice, support and help as they get their script out into the maze that is the entertainment industry.
The Second Runner Up
The Second Runner Up will receive $250 as a cash prize.
The Second Runner Up can send their script to one of the industry pros on our list.
The First Runner Up will receive $75 to use towards education or pitches at www.stage32.com.
The Second Runner Up will receive free consultation from our script consultants for a year.
The Second Runner Up will have free and complete access to our knowledge, advice, support and help as they get their script out into the maze that is the entertainment industry.
What is special about the Finish Line Script Competition?
The most special aspect of this competition is that the writer can re-enter their script after having completed any number of rewrites. They can receive comprehensive (6+) page notes provided by a top-notch, experienced script consultant.. We have set up the competition to follow the development process where a script is submitted, receives extensive story notes, is then rewritten and resubmitted until it is in it’s best form.
We want the writer to have the best script possible by the time the winner is chosen. We want to HELP you win this competition and entrants can work closely with a script consultant to get them through to the finish line!
Can you explain the consultation and re-submission process more clearly?
Yes! Firstly, this process is the main reason we created this competition. We want you to have the chance to use our script consultants expert feedback to help you rework your script and resubmit it so it has the best chance possible to win The Finish Line Script Competition.
You can get a comprehensive set of consultation notes (from the same script consultant throughout the process, just as though you were getting notes from a producer) as many times as you like until the submission period ends. Every time you acquire new notes it will take your script consultant up to one week to deliver them to you.
After quarter-finalists are announced, those still in the competition can continue to acquire consultations as many times as they like. The same is true after the semi-finalists are announced.. After this, the final scripts are chosen to go on to the judges to determine the Grand Prize Winner, First Runner Up and Second Runner Up.
Do I have a better chance of winning if I work with one of your script consultants?
The best chance of winning is by submitting the best script possible. There is no guarantee that a winner will be chosen from those who use our script consultant’s but we believe their experience can only help improve your script and your chances to win should you take advantage of their expertise. Ultimately, the writing is up to you but we will help you get your script ready to be shown to managers, agents, producers and executives. Your script will leave this competition in better shape than when it came in.
Do I have to use your script consultants to enter the competition?
No. You can enter by paying the basic entry fee, which doesn’t include consultation or re-submission. However we do offer special rates for script consulting services and re-submission so it may be worth your while to see if we can help you! However, no notes or re-submission are required, just available, and you can choose to take advantage of this service at any time you wish.
Readers, Judges and Judging Criteria
What genres will you accept?
We accept ALL genres except erotica. We are looking for the best writer out there with the best written script.
What happens to the entries? How does the competition unfold?
If you enter the competition without choosing script consultation, notes and re-submission, your script will be read by our top readers when it is received and will then be given a score based on overall story/character/writing factors. Three readers will read each script and the average of the scores will be logged into our database.
If you have purchased consultation notes, those notes will be written within a week of your submission and sent back to you. You can then resubmit your new draft as soon as its ready and then either receive more notes or make that re-submission your final entry. You may use your script consultant for notes, new drafts and re-submissions as many times as you like before the deadline.
After the quarter-finalists are announced, they may receive script consultation notes until they must enter their final script submission. The same occurs with the semi-finalists.
Can I receive a discount if I use my script consultant more than once?
Yes. If you purchase more than one script consultation (i.e. you work on more than one draft with us) you will be charged a flat rate of $100.00 for each set of notes.
Who reads my script if I make it into the final round?
Three industry judges will break down the final three scripts to find the Finish Line Screenplay Competition Grand Prize Winner. This choice is made without input from anyone who is involved in the administration or the earlier reading of the script. The final judges are producers, writers, agents and managers whose job it is to know good writing and we trust they will find the best of the bunch! In addition to the Grand Prize Winner, the judges will also choose the First and Second Runners Up.
What do I need to do to enter the competition?
You need to submit an original feature film screenplay or television pilot in PDF format, a completed online application form and an entry fee (amount varies depending on when you enter and what services you choose, see prices on our pricing page).
How do I enter the competition?
By visiting the website www.finishlinescriptcomp.com you can access the application materials online. Once you establish an account, you can complete an application form, pay the entry fee and upload your script in pdf format.
Can I enter more than one script into the Finish Line Script Competition?
Yes. You can enter as many screenplays or pilots as you wish. Each entry requires a separate online application form and entry fee.
Note: If you write as a team, only one application is needed, listing the two of you as writers of the script.
Where does the entry fee money go?
The entry fees go towards reading costs, administration costs and a portion of one of the prizes, a charitable donation that is made up of a percentage of money made through submissions.
How do I know my script has been received?
You will receive an email receipt of confirmation once your script and application have been submitted and paid for. This is a guarantee that your script has been received.
Do you have any tips regarding the online process?
Read the rules before filling out the form. Please don’t misspell anything that prevents us from getting in touch with you. Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your e-mail address book.
How large a PDF can I send?
The PDF file can be no larger than 1.0 MB.
Eligibility, Adaptations and Collaborations
Who can enter the competition?
Anyone writing in English can enter this competition. You can come from any country in the world, as long as you can submit your material in English as written by yourself. You can come from Tibet or Tennessee; we want to see your writing!
Are adaptations eligible for entry?
Adaptations are not eligible unless you are adapting your own book or play to screenplay or pilot form. We are interested in who YOU are as a writer, YOUR ideas and characters and we want to help you find YOUR voice, not someone else’s. Historical screenplays or pilots are eligible.
Can a member of the Writers Guild of America enter a script into the Finish Line Script Competition?
Yes, if the WGA member has not presently sold this material they are free to enter. All writers can enter so long as they have not earned more than $50,000 in the year prior as a working writer.
Format and Presentation
What is the script format standard to the United States motion picture industry?
While there is no precise format common to all screenplays written by professional screenwriters there are certainly general standards.
If you follow the format described in any number of screenwriting or television writing guides and textbooks, you should be in good shape.
Should I include my name or any other information on the script?
No. Please submit your script with only the title on the front page. Please do not include names, representatives, addresses or emails/phone numbers. If you want to include your WGA registration number, that is fine. We will have your information when you submit your entry but we keep the names anonymous from the readers, script consultants and judges.
Readers and Script Consultants
All our readers and script consultants have years of experience working with screenplays and television pilots at studios, networks, production companies and agencies. Here are some actual quotes about our script consultants from writers they have provided script feedback for.
-"Thank you so much for the notes. These are the best ones I've received for this script. You have really helped me uncover the problems with the script."
-"After reading the review of my script I wanted to respond. I know you probably can't reveal who did the evaluation, but maybe you can pass this along to him/her. This is probably the most encouraging coverage I've ever had on one of my screenplays."
-"Just a quick note to say how grateful I am for these very smart notes. Funnily enough, I have been working on the exact problems specified by your reader and am amazed by the synchronicity of these comments. Other contest feedback has not been as astute. Kudos to my reviewer."
-"It's clearly not a perfect script, but I appreciate that there is a nice balance of what's good about it and what isn't so good and needs work. I've been through a pretty discouraging "dark phase" with my writing for awhile, but this reviewers encouraging words really rocked me out of it!"
-"Thank you for your detailed, no bullshit, feedback. I appreciate that it is no B/S, and not an ego stroke. While I received great critical feedback from my professor in both Scriptwriting, and Script Adaptation, yours has added another significant dimension"
-"This is truly helpful feedback. My cheeks are sore, because I smiled all while I read the comments. I would love to meet this reader one day. S/He is brilliant!"
-"Your notes were the best I have received from any contest (truly) and they felt really in tune with what I was doing."
-"Your input on notes for our script was fantastic. When the draft is ready we'd love to pick your brain concerning any thoughts or advice or insight you have in the process of maximizing exposure and ultimately getting it sold. You've been a great help!"
-“Many thanks indeed for your kind (and sound!) notes, which I really appreciate!”