2020 Adaptation Contest
August 15th, 2020
$10,000 | film/TV industry circulation | project development
The Book Pipeline: Adaptation competition seeks published books, graphic novels, short stories, and plays for film and television adaptation. There are no genre restrictions, and judging criteria is weighed evenly between concept originality, marketability in the current landscape, and overall writing talent.
Since 2014, Book Pipeline has reviewed new properties to connect with producers for development at all levels--from big-budget studio films and series, to smaller indies.
Every entrant receives general feedback on their submission, specifically on its adaptation potential. Comments are emailed after final judging is completed.
Winner and finalists receive one-on-one assistance from Book Pipeline execs prior to industry exposure, in addition to the following:
- $10,000 to winner, $2,000 to 2 runners-up ($1,000 each)
- Long-term circulation and promotion to producers and other execs
- Project development with Book Pipeline to prepare a film or TV series pitch
- Consideration of other material and circulation of other stories to industry
- Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group
"Everything about my experience with Book Pipeline so far has been wonderful. It means a great deal to have them out there advocating, stomping the earth for my work. I believe in passion, and respond to it, and the Pipeline team has been showing me loud and clear their passion for The Last to See Me."
- M Dressler, Grand Prize Winner (The Last to See Me)
Grand Prize Winner (1) - November 1st, 2020
Runners-up (2) - November 1st, 2020
- $2,000 ($1,000 to each runner-up)
Finalists (up to 10 selections) - October 15th, 2020
The Grand Prize Winner, Runners-up, and Finalists receive the following:
- Long-term circulation to producers and other execs
- Project development with Book Pipeline to prepare a film or TV series pitch
- Additional material review and circulation consideration of other stories, published or unpublished
- Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group
Criteria & Guidelines
Submitted books, graphic novels, and short stories must already be published in some form (traditional publishing or self-publishing). Stage plays must have been published and/or produced. Unpublished material can be submitted to Book Pipeline: Unpublished.
Entries are judged on the basis of concept originality, writing ability, and the property’s viability as a scripted film or television series. Judging is done internally by Pipeline Development Executives.
*ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST INCLUDE A SYNOPSIS
For books: submit approximately the first 5,000 words only + full story synopsis (1-3 pages)
For graphic novels: submit either the complete graphic novel or selected pages + full story synopsis
For short stories: submit the complete short story + brief overview or synopsis
For plays: submit the complete play or selected pages + full story synopsis
- Book Pipeline does not take a percentage of any future option or sale of your work, and all rights remain with the author, regardless of their final placement in the competition.
- PDF or Word doc preferred. If your work has been published and it's easier to send a hardcopy, that's completely fine. Just email us after registering to request mailing address.
- No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
- Supplemental documents (illustrations, additional information or media, etc.) are entirely optional and may be emailed separately after registering.
- Simultaneous submissions are allowed (i.e., you can submit the material elsewhere while in competition).
- Entries must already be published and/or produced.
- The film AND television rights must be available at the time of entry. If the material is acquired by a production company or other entity after the time of entry, we'll withdraw from competition.
- Co-written works are acceptable. Only one writer needs to register.
- Will accept entries submitted by a publisher so long as the author's consent is given.
- Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.
Pipeline Media Group has cultivated relationships with production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, and other executives over the past 20 years, leading to several success stories annually.
Book Pipeline individually coordinates with the selected writers on circulation, depending on the genre and type of story selected. Production companies include:
- Zero Gravity Management - Ozark, The Accountant
- Lit Entertainment Group - Prisoners
- Anonymous Content - The Revenant, Spotlight
- QC Entertainment - Us, Get Out, BlacKkKlansman
- Silent R Management (reps Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins)
- Good Fear Film + Management - Mulan, Under the Silver Lake
- 21 Laps - Arrival, The Spectacular Now, Stranger Things
- Liz Destro (producer) - The Butler, Lizzie
- Fuqua Films - The Magnificent Seven, Southpaw
- LBI Entertainment - We Bought a Zoo
- Lakeshore Entertainment - Million Dollar Baby, Age of Adaline
In addition to over 100 other managers, producers, independent directors, and agencies.
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?
Regular: August 15th, 2020 - $60
Late: August 31st, 2020 - $70
WHAT IF MY BOOK IS UNPUBLISHED?
Writers with unpublished material may submit through our other division, Book Pipeline: Unpublished.
IF MY BOOK IS ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED, IS IT ELIGIBLE?
Yes. If your book is getting released later in the year, you can register and submit at any time.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
Fill out the required fields on the left-hand column of this page, continue to the next page, indicate your payment details, and click "submit." File/s may be sent by email or uploaded during this registration process. You'll receive a confirmation email with further info after registering.
We'll also accept a check or money order, but please email to request details, as almost all of our entries are made online.
HOW SHOULD I SEND MY SUBMISSION?
Electronic submissions preferred. Selected chapters and synopsis can be uploaded during registration.
If a hardcopy must be sent, select the "email" option and contact our coordinator after registering.
CAN I REGISTER NOW AND SEND THE ENTRY IN LATER?
Yes, writers may register at any time and send their material later at no extra fee. All entries must be received by the late and final deadline: August 31st, 2020.
IF I'M SUBMITTING A BOOK AND IT SPILLS OVER THE 5,000 WORD COUNT LIMIT, IS THAT OKAY?
That's completely fine. If you want to send in selected text--say, the first two chapters--and a natural break occurs around 6,000 words, that's acceptable.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY SYNOPSIS?
The synopsis should be a general summary of the story, hitting on the major plot points, beginning to end. While we will accept a more detailed outline (5+ pages), it isn't necessary, though this of course depends on the type of material you're submitting (example: if you have part one of a broader series, you could send a full summary of the entire series).
Essentially, for judging, we need to get a sense of the complete project's conceptual and narrative scope. This, combined with the writing sample, full or partial, will help us make a determination on the adaptation potential.
CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?
Yes, applicants outside the US are welcome to enter ANY Book Pipeline contest.
DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY? DOES IT COST EXTRA?
All contest entrants will receive brief, general feedback (approx. a short paragraph) explaining why we felt their entry may or may not work as a film or TV series. There is no additional fee for our internal notes. Feedback is sent by November 2020, after final judging wraps.
WILL YOU ACCEPT PITCHES ONLY?
No. All submitted works must have been already published and/or produced in their entirety.
Contact our coordinator with any other questions.
– PIPELINE SUCCESS STORIES –
Tripper Clancy Sells Multiple Specs to Studios, Joins Netflix Series
Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2009 before selling several specs.
A few months after the screenwriting competition ended, 20th Century Fox selected Tripper for their feature comedy writing team to help develop new material. Later, he was hired to write the animated feature Shedd for Paramount, Stranded for Sony, the Amazon film High Five, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro, and an adaptation of The Art of Fielding for Mandalay / IMG. He sold two specs in that span: The Ambassadors and Winter Break.
"The impact Script Pipeline had on my writing career is extraordinary. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox and Paramount."
- Tripper Clancy (Stuber)
Tripper's first produced studio feature, Stuber (2019) sold in the mid-six figures. The action-comedy stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Mira Sorvino, and Betty Gilpin (Glow). Following the release of Stuber, he was brought on to write the Varsity Blues reboot and the Kevin Hart series Die Hart, both for Quibi, and joined the staff of the Netflix series I am Not Okay With This, starring Sophia Lillis (It).
Fox Buys Show from Script Pipeline Contest Runner-up
Runner-up in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition, Laura Bensick sold her show Everyday Insanity to Fox. Ken Olin (This is Us) and Sterling K. Brown producing. The drama series addresses mental illness within three different families who come together to form one supportive group.
Laura placed with the hourlong drama The Mother in the 2016 Script Pipeline season, besting over 2,500 other pilots. In 2019, Bensick’s autobiographical play Life in Paradox, premiered in Los Angeles.
Everyday Insanity is Laura’s first TV show sale.
One of the Biggest Spec Sales in History from Script Pipeline Winner
After introductions by Script Pipeline to management, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3.25 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales of all-time and subsequently turned Evan into one of the most in-demand writers in Hollywood. The film has grossed $450 million worldwide.
"Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my screenwriting career."
- Evan Daugherty (Divergent)
Shortly following the contest win, Evan landed an assignment with Warner Bros. to rewrite the adaptation of He-Man, which led to the sale of Snow White.
Amongst selling a pilot pitch, as well as writing and producing roles with NBC's Midnight, Mass. and the series Five Ghosts, Evan wrote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, produced by Michael Bay. Other studio projects: the adaptation of YA novel Divergent for Summit Entertainment, starring Shailene Woodley and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet, the Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander, and Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan, which is in development with Vinson Films and Disney.
In 2020, he began development with Sony on a reimagining of the cult hit Anaconda.
Script Pipeline Winner becomes Acclaimed Indie Hit
Henry Dunham's The Standoff at Sparrow Creek was produced with an ensemble cast featuring James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk served as producers.
The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It was released in January 2019.
The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition before being picked up by Cinestate. Writer Henry Dunham was connected with representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with Pipeline industry partner Lit Entertainment and UTA.
"Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything."
- Henry Dunham (writer/director, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek)
Top critics praised Henry's directorial debut:
"Shows pulpy promise and is a step ahead of its genre peers." - The Hollywood Reporter
"A pitch perfect example of low-budget craft." - Birth. Movies. Death.
"Deafens through sensationalized silence. . . . You’re not supposed to feel safe or comfortable, precisely as Henry Dunham plans." - Slash Film
And Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in January 2019.
Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Screenplay
The Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Shrapnel by Evan Daugherty was turned into the film Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Corsan and Millennium Films helmed the action/thriller and rehashed the original plot during development.
It was the first Script Pipeline competition winner to get produced.
– Other Notable PMG Success Stories –
- Book Pipeline winner I Am Raymond Washington was optioned by production company Zero Gravity. The biography, written by former police officer Zach Fortier, details the life of Ray Washington, the true founder of the Crips.
- TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) sold her show Everyday Insanity to Fox in 2019. Sterling K. Brown and Ken Olin (This is Us) producing. Laura signed with UTA shortly after placing in the 2016 Script Pipeline season.
- Screenwriting winner Peter Malone Elliott (Junior) signed with manager Zach Book. Peter's biopic on Frank Sinatra Jr. was hailed as one of the best true story screenplays Script Pipeline ever reviewed. He wrapped production on his first feature, Wired Shut, in 2019 and has multiple other film and TV scripts in development.
- Searching, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty (Screenwriting Competition finalists and winners of the First Look Project), premiered at Sundance and was quickly picked up by Sony for $5 million. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut. Their next feature, Run, produced by Lionsgate, premieres in 2020.
- Chrissy Metz (This is Us) to star in Will O Wisp, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist Evan Cooper. Evan previously placed in the competition with the thriller Ballerina Girl. He’s repped by manager Kailey Marsh and UTA.
- Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) is set to direct the Script Pipeline finalist screenplay Everything's Gonna Be Okay, written by Jen Goldson. It will be Jen's third produced film after meeting execs at the Script Pipeline writer/industry event, joining the romcom Off the Menu, directed by Jay Silverman and starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids), and the thriller Snatched, produced by Nasser Entertainment.
- Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Madhouse Entertainment and Paradigm. He wrote for the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts until 2018, moving on afterward in 2019 to Netflix's Family Reunion and CBS' The Unicorn.
- Screenwriting Contest finalist Max Martini directed his feature Will Gardner starring Martini in the lead role alongside an all-star cast including Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County), and Gary Sinise (CSI: NY).
- Kevin Jones, winner of the Great TV Show Idea Competition and a three-time Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist, signed with management after extensive development with Script Pipeline's senior execs, who helped turn his contest-winning pitch into a pilot script. The project was shopped to major networks, which secured numerous meetings for Kevin.
- Director Scott Speer (Midnight Sun) is set to helm Script Pipeline finalist and "Recommend" writer Greg Wayne's dark romcom S21. Catapult and Needle's Eye producing.
- The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Entertainment. Script Pipeline set up the writers, brothers Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to Pipeline's industry network.
- Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) wrote the reboot for Child's Play released in 2019 and has multiple film and TV projects in development.
- Dragon Run, written by Bradley Stryker, was optioned by Pop Art Film Factory and producer Daniel Zirilli. The script placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition.
- Craig Weeden and veteran comic writer/inker Jimmy Palmiotti (Ultimate Spider-man, Jonah Hex) optioned an adaptation of Painkiller Jane to Solipsist Films (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For). Craig placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition and is a Script Pipeline "Recommend" on other features.
- Android, written by Script Pipeline "Recommend" Matt O’Reilly, attached Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Path). Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) also set to co-star in the sci-fi/thriller. Niall Johnson (White Noise) directing, with Infinite Studios and Picture Films producing.
- Precious Cargo, a finalist in the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, was produced. The film stars Bruce Willis, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Claire Forlani.
- Script Pipeline "Recommend" Micah Barnett sold Ricochet, a one-hour drama, to NBC a few years after finding management with a Script Pipeline industry contact.
- The Living Wake, Script Pipeline's first produced film, starring Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and comedian Mike O'Connell, was released theatrically in 2010, eliciting from Variety: "A stunning feature debut. . . . Eisenberg is note-perfect. Supporting ensemble couldn’t be more colorful."
- Brian Watanabe's "Recommend" script Operation Endgame was produced with Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Adam Scott, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and an ensemble cast. Script Pipeline CEO and producer Chad Clough brought the screenplay to Sean McKittrick (Get out, Us) at Darko Entertainment.
- Screenwriter Rob Nelms was hired to pen the script Between after introductions to a director by Pipeline's Chad Clough. The film premiered at Sundance and later aired on Lifetime.
- The first major success for Script Pipeline: Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' by Aaron Metchik and Joseph Garner sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003. They were the first Script Pipeline writers to sell a spec for over six-figures.
Over the course of 20 years, many other writers have optioned their work, found paid writing jobs, produced their films, and garnered management or agency representation through Pipeline Media Group's exhaustive process of industry facilitation.
2020 Adaptation Contest
August 15th, 2020 - Deadline