DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA FOR A CLIMATE-RELATED TV SHOW OR FILM?
All hands on deck! If you’re a screenwriter who's concerned about the climate crisis, we want to hear your climate story pitches for TV and film. 24 winners will pitch – one on one – to Hollywood executives at the 2023 Hollywood Climate Summit.
WHAT IS THE CLIMATE PITCHFEST?
Many Hollywood projects are tackling climate change and the multitude of ways it affects life on earth, but we still need more voices that envision new possibilities for the world and create lasting cultural impact. Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film celebrates the best unproduced climate-themed scripts in film and television by connecting the writers of those scripts to Hollywood executives, producers, agents, and/or managers through curated one-on-one meetings.
Because we are committed to increasing access and opportunity for global climate storytellers, we’ve expanded to include 24 Finalists this year. 16 spots are allocated for screenwriters who will attend the event in person in Los Angeles. 8 spots are for screenwriters who will attend virtually. There is no difference in the application or review process, but writers will be required to select “in-person” or “virtual” at the time that they apply. (Note: We cannot accommodate requests to change preference from in-person to virtual, or vice versa, once the application window closes.)
In-person Finalists will pitch on June 22, 2023 at 7pm PT on the NBCUniversal Lot in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Virtual Finalists will have online pitch meetings between June 18-21, depending on time zone.
We are grateful to NBCUniversal, our returning sponsor, for their support and their commitment to climate-conscious initiatives, including the recently announced GreenerLight Sustainability Program. This year’s Pitchfest will also be sponsored and supported by The Redford Center.
WHAT IS A CLIMATE STORY?
Put simply, a climate story humanizes climate change. We want stories that take a climate issue and convey it in an entertaining, thought-provoking way. Writers may explore climate through theme, character, plot points, or world building. While we encourage writers to explore new or lesser known genres (such as cli-fi, "solarpunk," and various Futurisms), we also want writers to take traditional genres (like rom-coms, teen dramas, thrillers, heists, action-adventures, etc.) and integrate climate themes, issues, and/or solutions into them. While a climate issue does not have to be the central focus, it should have a continuous and ongoing presence throughout your series.
To help you brainstorm and craft your climate story pitch we highly recommend you read Climate Story Prompts & Pitfalls before applying: bit.ly/PFstorytips (Do not add www. to the link.)
WHO IS THE CONTEST OPEN TO?
The contest is open to TV and film writers around the world. We consider a writer to be anyone with a finished pilot or feature script, regardless of whether you’ve earned money for your writing, have staffed on a series, produced one of your own projects, or have representation.
ARE THERE ANY FEES?
The first 25 applications will have their fee waived with code: Pitchfest2023 (case sensitive). After that, there is an application fee of $15.00. We are committed to removing barriers to access, so if you are not one of the first 25 applicants and are experiencing financial hardship, please use this form to immediately receive a fee waiver code, no questions asked: bit.ly/PFwaiver
WHAT IS THE JUDGING CRITERIA?
The review committee will consider a number of criteria for your project, including: quality of the script, how well your idea integrates climate into the story, how engaging the introduction video is, and the potential social impact of the story you’re pitching.
WHAT ARE THE SUBMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS?
Writers may submit up to 2 projects. In order to be eligible, all applicants must submit ALL of the following elements:
- Completed Script (See specific guidelines below.)
- Written Pitch (See specific guidelines below.)
- Statement of Intent (See specific guidelines below.)
- Introduction Video (See specific guidelines below.)
- Participant Survey (Required for eligibility but has no bearing on judging.)
REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR SCRIPT:
· Must be for the project being pitched.
· Must be for a feature film or TV series project.
· Must be either a) a wholly original work, or b) adapted from a work that is either in the public domain or one you fully own the rights to.
REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR WRITTEN PITCH:
· Must be 2,000 characters or less, including spaces. Please do not include any links.
· For a TV pitch include summary of pilot and where it goes in series.
· For a film pitch include summary of the plot, where it starts and where it ends.
· All pitches must include primary character descriptions and themes (which may also be
referenced in your Statement of Intent).
REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR STATEMENT OF INTENT:
· Must be 2,000 characters or less, including spaces. Please do not include any links.
· Describe how your project is a climate story, whether through character, theme, plot, obstacles, or world. Please read Climate Prompts & Pitfalls for guidance at: bit.ly/PFstorytips (Do not add www. to the link address.)
REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR INTRODUCTION VIDEO:
· Must be 90 seconds or less.
· Briefly introduce yourself with your name and location.
. State the logline of your film or TV idea.
. Include a "fun fact" or biographical tidbit that shows us your personality.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Please read this step-by-step guide on how to apply by copying and pasting this link to another tab: bit.ly/PF-checklist Review the information closely as applications that are incomplete or don’t adhere to the guidelines will be disqualified.
ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD CLIMATE SUMMIT:
The Hollywood Climate Summit is an annual gathering of the entertainment community to address the climate crisis. Produced by the social impact agency YEA! Impact, the programming was developed in collaboration with the agency’s fiscally sponsored coalition, Young Entertainment Activists, and its Founding Board, which consists of a network of young Hollywood leaders and changemakers. The summit takes place over the course of four action-oriented days packed with digital, interactive programming, and one-on-one networking, both in person and online.
ABOUT YEA! IMPACT:
We are a social impact agency rooted in the power of grassroots community-organizing and storytelling. Our top issue areas include environmental justice, intergenerational action and intersectional storytelling. A percentage of all of our accounts goes toward our sister nonprofit, Young Entertainment Activists.
WHAT ARE THE CONTEST PRIZES?
The 24 Pitchfest winners will receive:
· 4 Individually-Curated One-On-One Pitch Meetings with Execs and/or Reps
· Facilitated Pitch Practice Sessions with an Industry Mentor
· Access to Climate Storytelling Educational Materials
· Free tickets to Hollywood Climate Summit in-person and digital events
RULES (Please scroll down for FAQ section)
1) The contest is open to entrants who will be 18 or older at the time of applying.
2) Submissions are accepted via electronic submission on the FilmFreeway website only.
3) Pitches must be for feature films and episodic series only. Please do not pitch a short film.
4) Your introduction can be hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or any public-access video hosting platform. There is no judging criteria based on video quality other than the clear ability to see/hear the writer(s). Self-filmed pitches via your smartphone are fine. No additional props, guests, or support materials may be in the video, only the writer(s).
5) Finalists who have selected the in-person track must be available to attend Pitchfest in person in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 22, 2023. Finalists who have selected the virtual track must be available for meetings via Zoom the week of June 18.
6) Submissions must be received on or before the deadline date by 11:59pm Pacific Time, and submission fee payment must be made in full at time of the submission. All entry fees are non-refundable.
7) All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s). By entering Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film you represent that your entry is your original work, and does not infringe on the copyright or other rights of other people or legal entities. Entrant indemnifies YEA! Young Entertainment Activists and its employees and subsidiaries and holds them harmless from any claims regarding infringement or dissemination of materials.
8) Material must be submitted by the writer or the writer’s agent or manager. Material written by writing teams must be submitted by one of the writers, with consent of the other(s).
9) If a writing team is chosen as a winner, both members of the writing team must be available to live-pitch at the Finals event.
10) It is recommended (but not required) that original material be registered with the WGA or The Library of Congress US Copyright Office before submitting to any competition.
11) Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film and YEA! Young Entertainment Activists claim no ownership nor option on your work. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remain with the original rights holder(s).
FAQ’S: ABOUT THE APPLICATION & SUBMISSIONS PROCESS
I applied last year. Can I re-submit?
Yes, you are welcome to re-apply. Finalists from last year's event are only eligible if they are submitting a project different from the one(s) they pitched at last year's event.
Can I apply with the same project as last year?
If you were not selected as a finalist, you are permitted to apply with the same concept as last year, but please note that we are now requiring a completed script for the project you are pitching as part of the application. We also encourage you to consider opportunities to revisit the idea to give it its best shot of making it further in the competition this year. Finalists from last year's event may not submit the same project(s) they pitched at last year's event.
What are the deadlines?
Applications open on March 23, 2023. Applications are due by 11:59pm Pacific Time on April 27, 2023. Finalists will be announced in early June, and mentorship sessions will take place prior to Pitchfest. Virtual meetings for digital participants will take place between June 18-21 depending on time zone, and in-person meetings at the Pitchfest will take place on June 22.
Do you accept international entries?
I’m a working screenwriter, can I still enter?
Do my materials have to be in English?
Application materials must be in English. Finished scripts may be bilingual or multilingual as long as they provide English subtitles.
Can I pitch a short film or documentary?
No. Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film is for longer form narrative works only.
How do I record my application video?
Record with your phone or computer and upload to YouTube or Vimeo. If you opt to password protect, please include the password with your application materials. For best lighting, make sure you are facing the light source. For best sound, record in a quiet space.
Can writing partners apply separately?
Writing partners who have each separately written a climate-related project are welcome to apply individually, but writing teams cannot submit the same project multiple times. If applying on behalf of your writing partner/team, you must have their consent to submit.
Will there be guidance on how to pitch prior to actually having the opportunity to pitch?
Yes, there will be an online practice pitch session in June prior to the event.
Can I pitch with an adaptation?
Yes, if the adaptation is of a work in the public domain or if you possess all rights to the material.
Can I submit a pitch based on my previously optioned script?
Yes, if the previous option has fully and legally expired and there are no current production companies attached.
Do I have to be 18 years of age or older to participate?
Yes. You must be 18 by the time you apply.
Who is evaluating our submissions?
Applications will be reviewed by a panel of qualified judges with expertise in both climate issues and storytelling for film and TV. Last year our judges included professional writers and scientists, as well as representatives from Netflix, Sony, NRDC, Doc Society, The Center for Cultural Power, Good Energy, and Culture House.
I've never written a screenplay. Can I still apply?
You need a completed TV pilot or Feature script to apply, but you don’t need any previous writing experience to be considered.
Who owns the right to my work after I submit?
Writers retain all rights to their work.
What if I have a disability and need accommodations?
We are more than happy to work with you for any accommodations you may need to be successful during Pitchfest. You will have the opportunity to ask for specific accommodations on the required survey form that is part of the application, and you are always welcome to email us at email@example.com should you have any questions or concerns.
FAQ: ABOUT THE EVENT
What companies will be at the event?
We are delighted that NBCUniversal is returning as a sponsor for this year’s event, and we are pleased to be welcoming The Redford Center as a sponsor as well. While the specifics of who Finalists will be meeting with won’t be released before the day of the Pitchfest, last year we welcomed executives and representatives from companies including NBC, Paramount, Searchlight TV, Miramax, Imagine, CAA, Gotham Group, and Higher Ground.
Do I have to be there in person?
No, you are welcome to apply for a virtual pitch slot.
Where will the in-person event be held this year?
Finalists on the in-person pitch track will receive details regarding the specific event location at NBC Universal in Los Angeles prior to the event.
Do writers get to choose who they want to pitch to?
No. Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film will match writers and executives based on specific criteria to create the best connections possible with the highest likelihood of further development.
Can writing partners pitch separately?
No. Writing teams must pitch together for all meetings.
What materials should I bring to an event like this?
You don’t need to bring anything. You may choose to have copies of your written pitch, treatment, and/or completed scripts in case an executive asks for them. We recommend these materials are registered with the WGA before the event.
When and how do I sign up for my meetings?
You will receive a schedule of your meetings as they are confirmed (for virtual participants), or upon arrival at the venue (for in-person participants).
Can I follow up with representatives after the Pitchfest?
We recommend you follow up with any rep who provides you with their contact information during your pitch session. All representatives (including the ones you didn’t pitch to) will receive a booklet with finalists’ headshots, loglines, and contact information. That enables them to reach out to you should they wish to follow up.
How will the event consider Covid-19 mandates?
Writing Climate: Pitchfest for Film and TV event will adhere to current best practices and Covid-19 safety mandates in place at the time of the event.
FAQ: ABOUT THE PITCH
Can I pitch more than one project to an exec?
We recommend pitching only one project per meeting. However, it’s always good to have a back-up pitch should the industry rep ask what else you have available. Please try to stick with climate specific pitches for the event.
Is it okay if my TV series deals with climate in just one episode?
No. While a climate issue does not have to be the central focus, it should have a continuous and ongoing presence throughout your series.
Can I pitch a script based on an existing franchise or my climate related spec of an already created TV show?
Can I pitch a project with characters that are based on real people?
Yes, as long as there is plausible deniability of whom you’re basing it on, or you own the life rights to that person.
Can I pitch a reality TV show or game show?
WHAT IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?
If your question still isn’t answered after you’ve thoroughly read through the above, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
You agree the following Additional Terms and Conditions apply in addition to the foregoing: This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. It is void and you may not participate where this contest is prohibited. The sponsor of Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film (hereinafter “Pitchfest”) is YEA! Young Entertainment Activists (hereinafter "YEA"), Los Angeles, CA. YEA’s employees, officers, and directors are not eligible to enter or win. YEA reserves the right to permit or not your eligibility to participate in Pitchfest and, at any time until the winners are announced by the Judging Panel, may disqualify you from entering or participating in Pitchfest for any reason or no reason at all, without liability. All decisions made by YEA or the Judging Panel are final and binding and you agree to abide with all such decisions. Entries that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, incompletely received, mutilated, or illegible, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser or network failure, malfunction, congestion or incompatibility at YEA's website or elsewhere, will not be eligible. YEA is not responsible for any technical problems related to online entries. Proof of sending will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by YEA. YEA reserves the right to modify, suspend or terminate Pitchfest for any causes beyond YEA's control including, without limitation, internet or service outages. In the event of termination of Pitchfest before conclusion of all pitches or should the need arise to reschedule or delay Pitchfest for any reason, YEA will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify all entrants and presenters and no Prizes will be awarded. YEA may substitute any Prize for another prize of greater or equal value. Prizes are not transferable. Prizes must be claimed and used no later than 1 year or the Prize will lapse and no longer be available to the winner. You acknowledge and agree that, by participating in Pitchfest, you do so at your own expense and risk without any promises, representations or warranties of any type, express or implied, except as expressly stated in the Pitchfest Official Rules, including, without limitation, that your submission will be considered, you will be asked to participate as a presenter at Pitchfest, you will be chosen as a winner or awarded a Prize or the results of any and all campaigns you may run relating to Pitchfest or otherwise. You, irrevocably and in perpetuity: (a), authorize, permit and license YEA (its affiliates and designees) to Use any photo(s), video(s), written statement(s), and all other forms of media (collectively, “Media”) that includes your likeness in any and all of its publications, ads, and Web sites, in any form or media, including social media sites such as, but not limited to, Facebook and Twitter, without payment or any other consideration and waive the right to inspect or approve the finished product, including written or electronic copy, wherein your likeness appears. “Use” includes, without limitation, the right to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, distribute or otherwise use in any form or medium any Media for any lawful purpose. All Media is YEA's property; and, (b) waive, release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless YEA, its officers, directors, employees, contractors and agents, from any and all claims, causes of action, liabilities and damages relating to or resulting from my participation in Pitchfest or Use of the Media including without limitation, defamation, detrimental reliance, invasion of privacy or violation of any privacy right. For your waiver to be effective, you agree to provision of Section 1542 of the Civil Code of the State of California do not apply to any claim or cause of action arising or resulting from Pitchfest: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his settlement with the debtor.” Following Pitchfest, if you do not opt-out by providing written notification to YEA, YEA may contact you using your email or other information provided to YEA in your submission with other sales, marketing and promotional materials and communications. You may also be contacted by YEA at any time using the contact information you supply to YEA for purposes related to Pitchfest. Upon request, a list of names of all winners, prizes and winning pitches will be provided along with the actual number of presenters and these Official Rules. YEA will keep detailed records of Pitchfest for at least two years after all the Prizes are awarded. This promotion is governed by the laws of the state of California and the United States, as applicable. Venue lies in Los Angeles County, California. If any provision of these Official Rules or Additional Terms and Conditions is found to be invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, such provision shall be severed from the remainder of the Official Rules or Terms and Conditions and all others will otherwise remain in full force and effect. Any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering Pitchfest but, in no event, attorneys’ fees. You hereby waive all rights to claim punitive, incidental, and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. Some jurisdictions do not allow the limitations or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above may not apply to you.