It’s finally here!

The official announcement of The Scriptshadow 250 Screenwriting Contest!

When I decided to put a contest together, I knew I wanted it to focus on one thing – getting the winner into the industry. Cash is great. A big flashy write-up on the site is great. But ultimately what matters most is that the writer begin their career as a professional screenwriter.

That’s why I brought in producer Lawrence Grey at Grey Matter. You may be familiar with Lawrence. He’s the only producer over the last couple of years to shepherd two 7 figure spec sales (Section 6 – about the origin of MI-6, and Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology St. Nick tale). First prize in the Scriptshadow 250 is that Grey Matter will option your script for 1 year at $5000, work with you on it (if it needs work), go to the studios and try to sell it, and, if everything works out, do everything in their power to turn it into a movie.

In addition to that first prize, we’re also looking for a handful of writers to join the Grey Matter writers group (which I’ll be involved in as well). We want to build a collective of writers who we can mentor, but who can also help mentor each other as they move up and into the industry. This contest isn’t just about anointing a winner and moving on. We want to build a career-long connection with these writers, and this writing group is the ideal way to do so.

Why does this contest trump every other contest out there? Because IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE. You don’t have to save up a penny for it. The only payment you’ll need is the quality of your screenplay.

That’s because unlike other contests, I’ll only be accepting 250 scripts. I’m doing this because I didn’t want a bunch of mystery readers reading your screenplays. I want to be THE ONLY PERSON READING SUBMISSIONS. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that I have to limit the number of scripts I read – and 250 is that limit.

That means that instead of a simple submission, your e-mails will also be your pitch to me. You’ll send me the title, the genre, and the logline of your script, and then in up to 300 words, tell me why you believe your script should be accepted into one of the coveted 250 slots. There are no rules here. You can talk about whatever you’d like. But the competition will be fierce, so be persuasive.

Once I read all the scripts, I will submit the top 25 to Lawrence Grey, and Grey Matter COO, Ben Everard, and together we will decide the winner as well as the four runners-up (those who make it into the writers group). We really want to turn this into something bigger than your garden-variety screenwriting contest. We want to help you sell the script, we want to get the movie made, and we want to find great writers who are ready to take that next step.

The wonderful thing about this contest is that it starts this very SECOND. You can start submitting now. Below are the rules. If you have any questions, add them in the comments, and I’ll update the FAQ at the bottom of the post if need be.





1) Submissions begin right now (February 20th).

2) The deadline is 11:59 pm Pacific Time, August 1st, 2015. (NOTE: EXTENDED TO AUGUST 15TH!)

3) Send all submissions to

4) Your submission should include:

a. The title of your script.
b. The genre of your script.
c. The logline of your script.
d. A pitch of why your script should be selected for the contest – up to 300 words.
e. A PDF attachment of your screenplay.

5) The winner (and runners-up) will be announced on December 1st.


1) Every writer may submit up to two screenplays. Please submit each screenplay in a separate e-mail.

2) You will receive confirmation if you’ve made it into the contest (top 250) by August 30th at the latest.

3) Eligibility Rule #1: Represented writers (writers who have a manager or agent) are eligible.

4) Eligibility Rule #2: You are not eligible if you have made more than $10,000 as a screenwriter. This does not apply to contest winners. You may still submit if you’ve won $10,000 or more in screenwriting contests.

5) Eligibility Rule #3: The script cannot have been submitted to a studio or have been under option by any person or entity (producer, production company, etc).

6) While we’re mainly looking for original properties, you may submit any adaptation of material as long as you have the rights.

LET’S FIND A GREAT SCRIPT AND SOME GREAT SCREENWRITERS. For a head start, check out yesterday’s post on how to win the contest!


1) Is the contest free?  Yes.

2) Can we submit scripts that we’ve submitted to other contests?  Ideally, we’re looking for a new script, something that hasn’t been passed around the contest circuit. With that said, we want your best material, so submit whatever screenplay you’re most proud of.

3) Are Amateur Friday scripts or scripts we’ve sent to you for consultations eligible?  All scripts submitted to Amateur Friday or for a Scriptshadow consultation WILL be eligible. Anything that’s made it to an Amateur Friday review has a better-than-average chance of making it into the top 250. However, if you received a “wasn’t for me” in your review, consider a big rewrite or submitting another script.

4) Can we send in our loglines then send the script later on?  No.  You must send a PDF of your script ALONG WITH YOUR SUBMISSION. You can’t test out a query, see if I bite, and then go write the script if I say you’re in. Your script MUST BE SENT along with your query.

5) I have a TV pilot. Can I submit that?  This is a FEATURES ONLY competition. TV pilots are not eligible, though we’re thinking of adding pilots next year.

6) I live in another country. Can I submit a script? You can submit no matter where you live, unless you live in North Korea.  Oh, what the hell, you can submit if you live in North Korea also.

7) Couldn’t you have bumped the option up to $10,000?  Blame this on me.  Grey Matter put up 5k, and I was going to charge a fee in order to raise the second 5k.  But in the end, I wanted this contest to be free.  So instead of charging an entry fee to solidify a 10k prize, I kept it free for 5k.  It’s still a sweet deal, considering most places these days expect you to give them the option for free.

8) So the winner gets a 1 year option for $5000.  What does that mean? This means that Grey Matter will pay you 5 thousand dollars to have the option to set up  your movie for a year.  If nothing comes of the option after a year (a studio does not buy the script), the rights to the script will revert back to you.

9) Wait, so do I get paid for the sale even though Grey Matter has the option on the script? Yes, if the script sells during the option, you will receive the money from the sale.

10) When do I agree to this 1 year option?  The second I send my submission in?  No.  You are not agreeing to any option when you send in your initial submission.  Once the official 250 entrants are chosen, each will be asked to sign an agreement stating that if they are the winning script, they will agree to the option.

11) Is it a good idea for me to give the rights to my script to Grey Matter for a year?  If you’re an established writer who options material regularly, you may not need this contest.  If you’re on the outside looking in with little-to-no contacts, being optioned by a legitimate production company is a huge deal that will  benefit you in ways beyond the option itself.  You’ll very likely end up with representation.  Your representation will then send you on a series of general meetings that introduce you to the industry.  In short, you’ll have a lot more opportunities as a writer.  All on top of a great producer doing everything in his power to get your script sold and turned into a film.

  • Buddy

    This is great, thank you so much !
    I have 2 more questions however :
    – Is the competition open to non-americans citizens and/or living outside the USA?
    – If so, is that the Eligibility Rule # 3 still applies if the script was optionned by an european production company?

    • carsonreeves1

      Competition is open to non-Americans.

      As for the option from a European company… not sure about that. E-mail me with the details of: how much the option was for and if the company was a large company with credits or a smaller company.

      • klmn

        Terry Rossio has written that in effect, options never expire: that Hollywood producers won’t touch something that has been optioned before. You might want to check with your partner on this point.

        • Buddy

          not always true : after finishing 1st on the black list, “the imitation game” was optionned by a studio (universal or sony, can’t remember) during a year. after that, the writer got his rights back and sold the script to a smaller company

  • Citizen M

    Looks like a great contest.

    Will there be any feedback to those who submitted scripts, both the 250 finalists and those who didn’t make the cut?

  • andyjaxfl

    Carson, just to clarify — can we submit scripts based on books that are in the Public Domain? Technically I don’t own the rights (but technically I do?)…

    • carsonreeves1

      Yes, if it’s in public domain, that’s fine.

  • ripleyy

    Good luck to everyone! I’m really excited to see how this pans out.

  • Levres de Sang

    “Why does this contest trump every other contest out there? Because IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE.”

    This is really appreciated, Carson. In fact, everything about SS250 feels genuinely exciting… Good luck to everyone who submits!

    • carsonreeves1

      Thanks and good luck. :)

    • Matthew Garry

      Hi Levres,

      it’s likely I’m stating the very obvious here, but right at the start of the “Willow Groves” review, Carson wrote: ‘I really wanted to review “Let Us Touch The Sun”’

      Now would be a good opportunty to make use of that curiosity by submitting.

      Seeing how you’ve already finished it, I wouldn’t dally and get it in there before Carson figures out what he actually committed to (“What the *hell* was I thinking!? Reading 250 scripts? By myself? No more In-n-Out after midnight for me, ever!”)

      Best of luck!

      • Levres de Sang

        Thanks Matthew! This seems like pretty great advice. I’d remembered that comment from Carson, but was so busy thinking about another idea that I had overlooked the obvious. I will take your advice! And thank you again for thinking of my script.

        Of course, Carson may also later wish that he hadn’t let people enter TWO scripts! ;)

        • Linkthis83

          Maybe you should change the title:

          Let Us Touch The Carsun — okay, well, maybe not THAT title.

          • Levres de Sang

            Ah yes, just the small matter of writing that second one! :/

          • walker

            The sequel: Our Hands are Horribly Burned

          • Levres de Sang


          • Levres de Sang

            Oh crikey, think I may have ALSO “flagged” your comment while trying to undo the other one! Really sorry, but I’m scrolling on my phone. I still don’t even know what it means. Excitement must have got to me. Will be more careful. :/

          • Levres de Sang

            Think I may have accidentally “flagged” your comment while enthusiastically scrolling… Sorry, but I don’t even know what this means!? Somehow it sounds bad. Will undo if at all possible. :/

  • carsonreeves1

    No feedback, unfortunately. I’ll be too busy reading scripts. :)

  • LostAndConfused

    No submissions from North Korea? Prepare for your information to be released to the entire SS community ;)

    • carsonreeves1

      Yeah, that’s why I changed my mind at the last second. I’m actually really curious what a screenplay from a North Korean would read like.

      • Eric

        (영화 등의) 각본

        • Linkthis83

          That logline needs work.

          • Eric

            That’s the title. It’s called Wind Dance: The Depressing Magician’s Footbag

        • Andrew Parker

          Leaked storyboard:

        • Citizen M


  • LostAndConfused

    Also: Can the screenplay be based off of an existing property we don’t own the rights to, like a book?

  • Patrick Sawyer

    Hollywood here I come! Said no one ever.

    That’s a great first prize.

  • Hopeful

    Damn, I was all excited.

    Carson would you please reconsider the rule of $10000. Over 20 yrs ago i was paid $13000. from a now dead production co for some work. In the last few yrs I’ve been trying to get back in the game. It is just as hard, i have no agent, no manager, no friends in high places, those credits mean nothing to anyone, but right now, today, they are wounding my chances to have something good happen through your gift.

    i can understand if I just earned that money, had an agent, etc, etc,, but that’s not the case. And i’ll bet ya it’s not the case for a lot of older writers out there. Just cause we sold something way back when does not mean shit to anyone today. We’re still in the same stinkin’ boat as everyone else, only thing we don’t have are 20 year old bodies that people want to %^&*$#.

    Please reconsider the older writers, who because they have been alive longer may have gotten lucky once or twice, but never again and just might have one hell of a good story up their sleeve.

    Thank you

    • carsonreeves1

      I know it’s hard for all but the top writers, which is why I opened this up to repped writers, since I know a lot of them out there haven’t made a dime. This is a tough call though. Thoughts from the commenters?

      • Zadora

        IMHO, 20 years ago doesn’t count today. Give him/her a chance. :)

        • Jeaux

          I agree with Zadora. Consider it a sort of Statute of Limitations for Screenwriters.

          • Buddy


      • walker

        Yeah maybe you could make it 10k in the last 10 years, which would allow this guy and others in a similar position to enter your contest. It seems fair as you would presumably accept an entry from a recent Nicholl winner who got 35k and is still getting meetings and attention off that success.

      • Andrew Parker

        20 years ago you could get a $13K option for drawing a stick figure pointing a gun at another stick figure on a napkin. (just kidding, sort of…)

        I think it’s fine for Hopeful to enter.

      • Adam W. Parker

        Let him fight! :-)

      • hickeyyy

        I’m agreeing with everyone else’s thoughts. There should be a time limit in regards to how recent the movie was.

      • klmn

        Will this be a WGA compliant option? You say you want to get the winner into the industry.

      • writerjoel

        I’m in the same boat: I’ve made enough money in animation writing (non-WGA) to disqualify me. Can I suggest copying the cut-off for the Nichol Fellowship, which is $25,000? Then I get to play in your awesome new sandbox, too.

        • writerjoel

          Also, I should add, many competitions have no cut-off–Austin, for example. Just something to think about. I’m hella-excited for this competition, regardless. And good luck to everyone!

        • Jeaux

          Hey joel what animation scripts have you written?

          • writerjoel

            I wrote five episodes of Ninjago, season 3.

            my favorite, “Double Trouble” (also available on Netflix!):

            In animation, there’s no rules for residuals, so I get nothing for syndication or toy rights or anything. If they ever make my characters, “Brad Tudabone” and “Gene Yuss” into lego toys, I don’t even get free copies. A great experience writing for Lego, but it’s not lucrative.

          • wlubake

            So you are responsible for my 5 year old spinning in circles and breaking everything in our house!

          • writerjoel

            Well, I didn’t invent the show, but got to play in its sandbox for a season. Sounds like someone needs a semester at the darkly school for bad boys (boy or girl?).

      • Magga

        I write, direct and edit commercials. These are 30-60 seconds long, and I wouldn’t consider it screenwriting in the sense we’re talking about here. Also, the fee is for the entire production, without a specified amount for the script. Outside of that I haven’t made 10 000 on writing unless the Norwegian currency keeps dropping as oil prices plummet. Qualified? This would be an amazing opportunity for someone with no clear path to getting things in the hands of U.S. readers

  • romer6

    Oh, my God, I´m in North Korea! I´m in!

    (No, I´m not. In North Korea. But I´m in for sure.)

  • Zadora

    What a great idea! Good luck to all who enter. I don’t envy Carson having to read 250 scripts though. What a chore! Curious if he’ll read the first 10 pages and decides if he should continue or not based on that.

    • leitskev

      My idea of purgatory is this: son, you have to read 250 scripts by Aug 1 or you’re going to the fiery abyss! My hat is off to script readers, I don’t know how they do it!

  • Shane Anderson

    So excited! This looks like so much fun!
    And open to outside US is awesome, the chance for someone from woop woop Australia to have a chance!… damn I need to finish this rewrite ASAP!

  • Somersby

    Nice to see the excitement this in generating. It’s good for the SS community and, I trust, it will be good for Carson. Well done, C.

  • 3waystopsign

    Sounds like a fantastic contest Carson. It’s great to have someone like you who champions the amateur screenwriter!

  • Eddie Panta

    QUESTION: Will the winning script/s be posted here online?

    Will the 5 scripts get a full review?

    • Pooh Bear

      Why that would just be silly, posting an unproduced script online for all to see.


      How 2012 of you.

      • Eddie Panta

        Half the site is dedicated to reviewing unproduced scripts.

        • Pooh Bear

          Hmm, I see the dilemma. But if I were producing an optioned script, I wouldn’t want an under developed draft posted on the internet with a review.

          Sorry I’m being a little sarcastic here. These are low blows. I think the site has adapted well and I mean everything in jest.

          • Eddie Panta

            Ha. No offense taken.
            But the questions wasn’t answered so no one should assume either way.

      • kenglo


  • carsonreeves1

    Sure. :)

    • drifting in space

      Can I slip you a $50 via paypal? To “grease the wheel,” so to speak. It’s your money I don’t care what you grease with it, though.

      • IgorWasTaken

        $50…? Shirley you jest.

        • hickeyyy

          He is jesting, and don’t call him Shirley.

          • IgorWasTaken

            I knew he was jesting. I was jesting about offering a mere $50.

  • martin_basrawy

    In order to win (or I guess, claim) the prize of being in the grey matter writers group, would the winner have to move to California?

    • martin_basrawy

      follow up questions:
      1) Is being in the writers group a paid position?
      2) Can you not put of amateur scripts this weekend? That way this can be the top post for the next couple days and people won’t have moved onto the next shiny thing (until Monday anyway).


        correction: can you not put UP amateur scripts this weekend?

        • drifting in space

          FYI, you can edit posts rather than post a bunch of fixes.

          • martin_basrawy

            is that only if you’re a registered member? I’m posting as a guest.

          • drifting in space

            Oh, maybe. I don’t think I’ve ever posted as a guest here.

            Take your coat off, stay a while!

          • klmn

            If you tell him to take his pants off, I’m leaving.

          • hickeyyy

            If you tell him to take his pants off, I’m staying.

          • andyjaxfl

            Yes, you can only edit if you are registered.

    • martin_basrawy

      another question:
      Is the WYSR being 300 words a hand rule? Obviously if it’s 310 words you probably won’t disqualify the script, but if it’s like 400 words then it’s out?


        correction: a HARD rule
        damn.. typing too fast today.. just excited I guess. This sounds like a great contest and I’m gonna bust ass to finish two scripts and enter.

  • charliesb

    I’m almost more excited about the writers group than I am about the main prize. Great contest Carson.

    Good luck everyone!

  • ThomasBrownen

    Thanks Carson!! This looks like a cool opportunity, and it’s hard to beat a price of FREE! And even if a writer doesn’t get first place, the writing groups sounds like another great opportunity.

  • scriptfeels

    It begins!!!

  • Adam W. Parker

    Will you accept scripts geared toward animation?

    • martin_basrawy

      great question. I’m curious as well.

    • klmn

      I hope not. Only a few companies can do high quality animation.

  • kenglo

    This is great for everyone! Good luck to all!!

    Carson, are you going to run this like “Go Into The Story” wherein, every week you hit a topic (say Thursday) on concept, loglines, theme, structure, genre and stuff like that? I know some of us know everything (LOL – riiight!) already, but for those who are absolutely new, who want to write their first script ever and want to be in the competition, it could be useful.

    Yes, yes, sounds like a newbie request, but I think there are those that write very well, some who cannot, and then there are those that can provide insight and help for others. This is, after all, a great learning site…. I mean, you’re still going to have things going on the next few months, and I don’t think the community will ALL go into their basements and disappear for a few months! Just thinking out loud.

    This will be FUN!

    • klmn

      You might want to read Carson’s previous articles. He’s written a lot on those subjects.

      • kenglo

        Yeah, I know, but as we write, it would be good to have articles reminding us of certain things we may forget…..

  • Lucid Walk

    Has anyone ever written an adaptation? I’d like to know your personal experience as to how you acquired the property rights

    • Will_Alexander

      First, I contacted the author. He put me in touch with his film agents. Many phone calls later, I got the agents on the phone. They wanted to read a sample script of mine before we went any further. When they read that, they told me to go ahead and write the adaptation. When they read the adaptation, they signed me and set the script up with a producer. I think this outcome is exceedingly rare, though.

      But I think the first step is always contacting the author, publisher, or author’s agent.

  • Poe_Serling

    Exciting times ahead for the SS community.

    Perhaps during the selection process and to keep things interesting… Carson will do a Nicholl Fellowship and dole out some cryptic hints on which projects have secured a spot in the Top 250.

  • GoIrish

    A free contest…I don’t understand????

  • Casper Chris

    Good luck everyone. Looking forward to follow this one from the sideline.

  • Maggie Clancy

    Thanks Carson! I have a writers group I meet with every week and I just pitched this to them as a deadline. Get ready for us.

  • Cuesta

    Non-american here looking forward to participate.
    Good luck everyone.

  • BigDeskPictures

    This is great, Carson. Thank you!

  • ScriptChick

    “Every writer may submit up to two screenplays” — what if you’ve written scripts with a writing partner but also have individual scripts you’d like to submit? Regardless, such a great opportunity, Carson!

    • klmn

      The way I read that is “every writer may submit up to two screenplays.” So you could submit up to two and your partner can submit up to two.

  • drifting in space

    Why is my comment pending!?? It’s a legit question!

  • Poe_Serling

    Even More Shades of Grey…

    In addition to the projects Section 6 and Winter’s Knight, Lawrence Grey is producing Peekers at Lionsgate.

    “A terrified man walks into a police station to report that the residents on his entire street are missing, insisting the victims were done in by eerie, grinning doppelgängers. When the man disappears from the locked interrogation room, the young female police officer who took
    his statement must venture out into the rapidly vanishing community to find her son and get him to safety as the community is infested by these deadly grinning idiots.”

    A few more details here:

  • carsonreeves1

    Every single submission will be read before the 250 are chosen. You’re not in danger of missing out on a spot if you submit later in the process.

    • fragglewriter

      That’s good to here because I had doubts.

      For the writers group, do you have to live in LA?

    • drifting in space

      Baller status.

    • Crazedwriter

      I’m confused. You’re reading more than 250 scripts? If you get 2000 scripts you will read them all before selecting the top 250. OMG are you superhuman, man?

    • susanrichards

      So, I have a question. What if I send a script to you for your professional review and notes. Is that script eligible?

  • brenkilco

    I think this is a great thing and hats off to Carson for the dedication it’s going to take. But let’s do a little math here. I don’t see how the selection process can start until all the submission are in. And let’s assume the other judges, who must have lives, are given a minimum thirty days to read the top 25 and debate themselves to a winner. That give Carson roughly 90 days to read 250 scripts and whatever additional time it takes him to write up capsule ratings for future reference. Allowing him weekends off, days when the column takes precedence and an occasional personal day and you start coming close to four scripts a day every work day from the dog days of summer through Halloween. Have to believe with all the good intentions in the world he’s not going to read em all cover to cover. If he starts selecting and reading scripts piecemeal as they arrive he buys himself more time but somehow this doesn’t seem quite fair. And human nature being what it is, I’m thinking that any script that gets plowed through after the leaves start to fall is going to need to be seamless combo of Jaws and The Godfather to make it to the finals. Which brings me to my new script about a tuna fishing patriarch and his three sons who swear vengeance when pop gets chomped by………..

    • klmn

      He hasn’t committed to reading every word of every screenplay. My guess is most scripts will fall apart pretty early in the process.

      • drifting in space

        Yeah. I find it hard to believe he will get 250 WORTH THE ENTIRE READ screenplays if we can barely get 1 per week on amateur Friday.

  • RyanKirkpatrick

    I don’t chime in too often but as a fella currently fortunate enough to be working with Grey Matter (thanks to this site and Carson, actually) on a project, I can assure you — You guys/gals who win are in for a great experience. Good luck to everyone and may you all write something damn memorable.

    • Andrew Parker

      Congratulations. Glad to see my favorite AOW was rewarded with positive recognition.

      • RyanKirkpatrick

        Appreciate it! Though I actually got the initial meeting courtesy of OH NEVER, SPECTRE LEAF, not that rascally OTIS KRINGLE. Being said, I’d like to use this as an example of you never know when something you’ve written or the contacts you’ve made will be cool enough to do you a solid. Might be tomorrow, might be five years from now — so no matter what you write or who you meet, give it your absolute all and be your absolute best. Also, I stole all that from a fortune cookie.

        • Andrew Parker

          Wow… just noticed OH NEVER was reviewed five years ago!

          What the hell have I been doing with my life?! (I stole that from my parents, who ask me it every time I talk to them on the phone)

          • Midnight Luck

            I say that to my kid also. I mean come on she’s six already, “what the f@$#& have you been doing with your life? And don’t give me that crap about only being six. I’m not running a Hotel here you need to get with the program. You think I pay for your Private Preschool just so you can fart around, you need focus and discipline. And What is that stuck up your nose? ”

            (Of course, for obvious reasons, I don’t have kids. it was recommended early on in life that I have pets, not people. Some people enjoy arguing with five year olds, then there’s the rest of us. Maybe if they could discuss the punk movement as opposed to what pee tastes like)

        • drifting in space

          Damn, got an impressive. That’s quite… well, duh.

          I’d love to take a look if you wouldn’t mind.

          • RyanKirkpatrick

            Sure, what’s your email?

          • drifting in space

            driftinginscripts at gmail dot com

            Thank you, kindly.

          • Crazedwritr

            I would love a copy too. Moviegurl dot com. Thanks and congrats!

          • Crazedwriter

            Sorry it’s moviegurl at me dot com

        • Breezy

          Good for you.
          That Kringle script was the chronic though.

        • kenglo

          Oh wow – but dude! I LOVED OTIS KRINGLE!!! Hey good luck with everything you are doing, you’re a great new voice that I’m looking forward to hearing from!

          • RyanKirkpatrick

            Thank you, Ken — Much appreciated!

  • Acarl

    Great job, Carson! This could REALLY open doors for someone. F all of the haters(you know they’re lurking)

  • ElectricDreamer

    I have to hand it to you, Carson…
    This is the level of commitment it takes to REVOLUTIONIZE screenplay contests!

    The contest sounds absolutely great, really looking forward to the results.
    I’m sure it will keep your dedicated readers writing all summer long!

  • walker

    Good luck to everyone who decides to participate, and a different kind of good luck to Carson. I never really thought about it before, but it occurs to me that there are easily 25-50 SS regulars whose scripts might be worth the read, based on their personas and commentary.

  • Andrew Parker


    *RIP Harris Wittels

  • IgorWasTaken

    While someone else broached this earlier (to little avail) – seriously…

    Will the scripts submitted be posted here (or elsewhere)?

    Scripts of the 1+4 winners? The rest? If not the scripts, then the loglines?

    Or (at least in this way) is this contest following the usual contest format of only posting the names and script-titles of the winners?

  • Breezy


    I’m not even eligible [repping team tv pilot] and IM excited about this.
    Hope writers don’t rush their scripts. Make it hard to pick a winner (for all the right reasons).
    And during this competition season, writers please

  • grendl

    What does that even mean?

    I have nothing to add to the conversation for a change means I usually do have something to add.

    Your insults don’t make any sense.

    Try harder, troll.

  • Sam M.

    I will not submit until it says it in the rules that I am not giving up any rights to my script by submitting. What if by August I decide to do something else with my script? Or maybe when I meet this producer, I think he’s not right for the project and I’d like to forgo the very modest $5K.

    • carsonreeves1

      Hey Sam,

      You will not have to decide on giving up the rights to your script unless you make the top 250. Once that happens, you will sign an agreement that if your script wins, you will agree to the option.

      The reason Lawrence signed on is because he wants to find a great script, help the writer sell it, and try to make a movie out of it. If the writer decides after winning that he’d rather go somewhere else, I will have thrown away hundreds of hours of work.

      Of course, we think Lawrence and his track record bring great value to the writer. But if you feel that you may get better offers or opportunities during this same time span, then this contest probably isn’t right for you. And that’s okay. Each writer’s path is different and I wish you luck no matter which path you choose.

      • klmn

        That brings up the point I made in a previous post – will it be a WGA compliant option?

      • klmn

        “…The reason Lawrence signed on is because he wants to find a great script, help the writer sell it…”

        So Lawrence is not the ultimate buyer? For an option to be valid, it has to state the purchase price. Is Lawrence functioning as a manager or a reseller?

        • Fish Tank Festival

          Valid point and questions!

        • mulesandmud

          Neither. He’s a producer, and once he controls the script (temporarily, via the option), he’ll become part of the project package, which he will then try to sell to a studio, with himself attached as producer.

          Likewise, he may try to attach an actor or director to the package before selling, which might drive up the sale price, or improve the script’s chances of actually getting made.

          The specific terms are unclear, but since $5K is a low number and no one knows what the script will sell for (Grey will hope to drive up the price as high as possible), the option would likely be more of a basic shopping agreement, with only general terms in place, the rest to be negotiated in good faith at time of sale.

          That sale would most definitely be WGA compliant.

          • klmn

            Thanks for posting that, but I’d still like to hear more from Carson and/or Mr. Grey.

          • Fish Tank Festival

            I too appreciate the clarification. Been out of the game for a minute now

          • Jarman Alexander

            I don’t know if this is my lack of knowledge or just my skeptical nature, but why would Grey try to drive the price of the script up as high as possible?

            He already has the rights to sell the script, purchased for 5k. Isn’t his main goal to produce the movie with his production company so that he can get paid for his investment in this script?

            If that is his goal, it seems he would try to sell the script for very cheap, since his company doesn’t benefit from the script sale, but from producing the movie.

            Driving the price up on the script would only hinder the sale and production of the movie. From an objective point of view, Grey should offer the script up for little to nothing, keeping costs low to facilitate his opportunity to produce the movie.

            Does anyone have some knowledge on this they could share?

          • mulesandmud

            Fair question. Some answers:

            Selling a script cheap doesn’t improve its chances of being produced. Quite the opposite – a big sale incentivizes studios to make good on their investment, which a smaller purchase is easier to write off.

            Bear in mind, this is not an indy-style company trying to scrape cash together to make the movie on their own terms. This is the studio game, and there are longstanding rules. If more than one studio gets interested, the price goes up, sometimes way up.

            Historically, Grey has used this kind of bidding war model to sell scripts before, so there’s a precedent, both for the industry in general and for him specifically.

            Also, Grey is will get a producer’s fee for the sale. This might be a set number, or it could be a percentage of the sale price, in which case a big number means more money for him.

            I think you’re right that Grey would rather have a cheap sale than no sale at all, but then again, so would you.

          • Jarman Alexander

            Okay, that makes sense if he’s collecting a fee for selling the script too. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what that option contract has in it exactly to get all the answers. Thanks for the help!

  • klmn

    I see no requirement for a synopsis.

  • GoIrish

    OT: I glanced at the review for Oh Never, Spectre Leaf. Of the 124 comments, I only recognized one name (Citizen M) as a regular poster today (apologies if I missed someone). Did 123 dreams die in 5 years and 9 days?

    • Malibo Jackk

      There’s a high mortality rate among screenwriters..

      • Midnight Luck

        “Screenwriters surpass Doctors and Dentists as highest on the suicide list”:

        1a. Screenwriters*
        Odds: 1.99

        1b. Other Writers*
        Odds: 1.989

        1c. Medical Doctors
        Odds: 1.87

        2. Dentists
        Odds: 1.67

        3. Police Officers
        Odds: 1.54

        4. Veterinarians
        Odds: 1.54

        5. Financial Services
        Odds: 1.51

        6. Real Estate Agents
        Odds: 1.38

        7. Electricians
        Odds: 1.36

        8. Lawyers
        Odds: 1.33

        9. Farmers
        Odds: 1.32

        10. Pharmacists
        Odds: 1.29

        11. Chemists
        Odds: 1.28

        (*O.K., Not technically true. Don’t fear. Though writers are probably the highest percentage of Alcoholics)

        • BoSoxBoy

          the list omitted U.S. Spies Who Get Caught in Russia

          • Midnight Luck

            And significant others caught in foursomes with people from work, when they are supposed to be in couples therapy.

    • klmn

      I just glanced through it and you’re right, but there was a hilarious post from someone using the name dougstanhope. Was that grendl?

      • GoIrish

        Per disqus, that was his first (of two total) posts. Guess he wanted to go out on a high note.

    • Midnight Luck

      where did you find this? I see the review, but there are Zero comments on it.

    • Midnight Luck

      never mind, I found it on the old Blogspot post.

      • GoIrish

        sorry – you’re quicker than I am.

        • Midnight Luck

          no problem.
          maybe I just suffer from more OCD. or ADD. or ADHD.

    • Midnight Luck

      I remember EtoilleBrilliant. And Cshel. And CitizenM.

      I have been on here since the very beginning, or about a month after it started. I know so many people come and go, but wow, I don’t remember anybody from those 124 comments, well, except for CitizenM, Etoille, Cshel, and some guy named CarsonReeves1 (whoever that is). He’s still here consistently, what a trooper!

    • Fish Tank Festival

      Or re-invented themselves… like I did.

      • Midnight Luck

        wait. are you the Leezard?

        • Fish Tank Festival

          Hell no! Hated that fool with all those garbage Jar Jar Binks-esque posts. But from my understanding, this site lost quite a few followers and credibility for various reasons, including CR’s tastes/bad predictions/releasing and dissing scripts/article on him “Producing”, etc. People talk but I’ll just leave it at that, because we’re supposed to be discussing scripts and films.

          • Midnight Luck

            I know, meeza Maka jokeeez. He I nozin understandeeeez .

            Everyone loved the lizard, I wasn’t a fan, nor could I understand what was supposed to be so funny. The posts were just rambling nonsense.

  • carsonreeves1

    Totally understandable. I wish you luck, my friend. :)

  • carsonreeves1

    Animation is a very hard sell, although if it’s an amazing script, that trumps everything.

  • klmn

    Kinda strange someone flagged that comment, since the movie based on Kyle’s life was the subject of a recent SS review.

    • Levres de Sang

      Definitely NOT me this time as I was asleep 7 hours ago! Seriously, I wish Disqus would ditch this function as they’re all too easy to accidentally hit while scrolling quickly on a phone.

      • davejc

        What is flagged? is it the same as down voting? How do you find out if you’ve been flagged?

        • IgorWasTaken

          I think he meant it went into “Moderation” – which means it must be approved my the Mod before it appears.

        • Levres de Sang

          I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to Disqus and have no idea what it is, but I was worried yesterday that I had accidentally “flagged” a couple of comments (the second while trying to undo the first!) Makes scrolling on a phone somewhat stressful… :/

          • davejc

            Not to worry. i flagged your post and a message window appeared asking me if I was sure. if you didn’t click yes then you didn’t flag anybody by accident. :)

            Also no flag appeared, so i don’t know what the point is.

          • walker

            Don’t worry, as an American I am used to being false-flagged.

        • klmn

          Run your cursor over a comment. A tiny flag will appear over the right corner of the comment. If you run your cursor over the flag, the words “flag as inappropriate” will appear.

          Then if someone clicks the flag, it goes into moderation. (I suppose, I’ve never flagged anyone).

          The flag is tiny, even on a computer screen. If someone is using a smaller device, I can see how someone could flag a comment by accident.

          • davejc

            wow. i see it now. I didn’t know about that.

            Levres, I just flagged your post to try it out :)

          • Levres de Sang

            I won’t hold it against you, Dave! ;)

          • davejc

            Now I will click on that heart and see what that’s all about :D

  • JakeBarnes12

    Can you enter the competition if you’ve made a total of 33¢ through your screenwriting? (Dollar option from producer divided between myself and two co-writers).

    I’m worried, but then again, the 33¢ was ten years ago.

    I might have tax receipts if that’s helpful.

    • klmn

      Do the math, is $.33 greater than $5,000?

      • JakeBarnes12

        You’re right. I should consult an entertainment attorney.

        • Guest

          You should consult your A-list industry contacts.

          You do still know them, don’t you?? You haven’t been kicked to the curb I mean lost touch with them have you??

          You’re a joke, dude. All that knowledge, all that intellect, all those industry contacts, yet nothing to show for it. Most posters here have proof of their efforts, but not you. You’re above it. Still posting on a blog for amateurs though.

          You’re nobody.

          Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ll get something out of it before your time is up.

          • JakeBarnes12

            Nothing to show for it?

            Did you miss the bit about the 33¢?

          • Guest (Got me gud)

            L O L

            Good one.

  • Fish Tank Festival

    Interesting and valid points, Sam. I overlooked the “fine print.”

  • Fish Tank Festival

    For the same reason(s) as Sam M.?

    • Cuesta

      Grendl, can you develop your point, please?

      • grendl


  • ASAbrams

    I like the spirit of this. (Am I cynical in thinking that finding 250 good scripts will be ridiculously difficult?) I’m gonna have do some hard thinking because I wouldn’t want this opportunity to slip by without giving this some consideration.

    I assume that the submitted scripts must be in English–or maybe not…but
    A few questions:

    -Will those who make it to the top 250 have an opportunity to see the specific terms of the option before they have to agree to take it if they win?

    -Can the script submitted be a collaboration with others? How many others?
    -If the participants can have a writing partner, what happens if their script is a runner-up? If the script has two writers and that script is chosen as a runner-up, does that mean that two slots of the writer’s group will be taken?

  • drifting in space

    I am loving how amateur writers from this site are suddenly too good for $5000 and a chance at a career.

    It is a F R E E contest. A chance to get paid and have someone help develop your script into something they can sell?

    [x] what the hell did I just read?

    • deanb

      $5000? That’s insulting! Ted Danson makes $800,000 an episode.

      • klmn

        What has he ever written?

      • Eddie Panta

        Kubrick Mash-Up

    • ChadStuart

      $5000 is $5000 more than I’ve ever been paid for writing, so I’m in. Now the quesiton is which two to enter…

      • Matthew Garry

        My vote, from the four I’ve read of you, would be “Goodnight Nobody” and “New Coke.”

        If you are considering different ones, and you’d like a second opinion on them, feel free to let me know at matt at courier12 dot org

        • ChadStuart

          Wow! Thanks for the thoughts (and remembering those amongst the cacophony of scripts each week). I think “New Coke” is not ready for primetime. It got some pretty stong, negative reactions – along with a lot of great notes on issues that need addressing. I still have a lot of thinking to do on it before I map out the changes I need to make. Also, that always felt like a traditional contest script, and Carson is looking for a “movie”.

          With that in mind, I’m leaning towards “Multiverse” and one that hasn’t shown up here, “Blades”.

          Of, there’s a throwback buddy-action movie, “Tampa Bay” I’m considering, or possibly a sci-fi drama that straddles between contest-y and “movie”.

          Which is not to say that “Goodnight Nobody” isn’t in the back of my mind, along with a triller “Broken”, which is the script that landed me my last manager and actually was worked over by several producers. And I’ve still got a soft spot for an action movie, “Family Business”, but Carson didn’t choose that for AOW back in December, so that might not be a good choice.

          Like I said, it’s a hard choice. I’m still weighing all those options (and maybe one or two I might have done by the deadline).

  • klmn

    No, the winner will be the person whose script best suits Carson and Lawrence Grey.

  • Kirk Diggler

    What happens if I enter this contest and sign the agreement and then my script gets representation and an offer is made in excess of 2 million dollars? Because it could happen.

    • klmn

      What usually happens if you sign a legally binding contract and then try to weasel out of it?

      • Craig Mack

        You claim that the legalese was too complicated for a laymen’s mind and that your signature is void and invalid… (unless it’s notarized).

      • Kirk Diggler

        You could ask every landlord I’ve ever had. If they were alive.

      • BoSoxBoy

        You pay alimony.

      • guest

        most contests let you back out if you get an offer

  • davejc

  • Nathan

    Free entry was a great move. But with these competitions I always wonder: If you have a script that you think has a chance in these competitions why don’t you just query managers directly? There’s plenty out there that will take unsolicited material. And if you’re already doing this and getting knocked back then what makes you think you will make it through this competition?
    The writer’s group prize sounds like it has legs though..
    And not to be a complete downer, but does anybody have the numbers on how many competition winning scripts have ever been made?
    And why am I being such a dick about it?

    • andyjaxfl

      Not many, and Arlington Road is the only one that comes to mind without doing any research. I believe that script won Nichols in 1996.

      • klmn

        Max Adams’s script EXCESS BAGGAGE won either Austin or Nichol and was produced. Can’t remember which contest – she won both contests that year with two different scripts.

    • ChadStuart

      Akeelah and the Bee
      Finding Forrester
      Season of the Witch
      Arlington Road
      Closet Land
      Short Term 12

      Are a few off the top of my head. The thing is that the all are Nicholl winners. it was the best success rate of turning winners into working writers.

      Trick is, winning isn’t enough. If you win, Hollywood still isn’t going to beat your door down. You sill have to hustle to get your work in front of an audience. Winning a contest gives you a boost, but ultimately you have to sell yourself.

      • crazedwriter

        Snow White and the Huntsman

  • charliesb
  • Kirk Diggler

    We can have Bill O’Reilly investigate.

  • cjob3

    I’m binge watching Netflix’s new Richie Rich show because I apparently FUCKIN HATE MYSELF.

  • kenglo

    Zero Gravity ALWAYS requests scripts. I think you are overthinking the process. ANY win is a win… option goes into effect IF you win, not if you make the top 250. They have to protect themselves too right?

  • Malibo Jackk

    “The person who searches for success will never find it, the person who
    searches for perfection eventually stumbles upon success”
    — Juan José Campanella (Director of The Secret in their Eyes).

  • Eric

    I’m of the understanding that, for the writer, the option begins once they make the 250; ie if you receive an email saying you made the 250 you’ll also be shown the option contract and have the right to sign it or withdraw your entry. Carson and Grey of course aren’t obligated until they chose a winner. This effectively results in a free THREE month option of the 250 scripts.

    I don’t mind suffering a three month hold. Most of my questions revolve around the intended purchase price (or any metric for obtaining one), but they’re of a curious nature rather than a critical one.

  • LV426

    I live in North Korea. I’m going to write a sequel to “The Interview”.

    “I-2: Interview 2: The Glorious Leader Hacks Back”

    It’ll be like “Hackers” meets “SW: The Empire Strikes Back” but with lots of military parades and crazy hairdos, minus Angelina Jolie.

    Looks like it’s time to go from Pyongtown to Tinseltown.

  • Casper Chris

    Carson on Birdman:

    “Does any of this script make sense? Or more importantly, has nobody told Inarritu that his script isn’t any good? I think there needs to be a system in place where production companies and studios send their scripts out to a neutral party – someone who has zero skin in the game. Because a lot of money is about to be spent. Don’t you want someone telling you if your script is terrible? Don’t you want that chance to avoid a colossal mistake?”

    4 oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay

  • carsonreeves1

    Hmmm, e-mail me.

    • kidbaron

      What was the outcome? I’m the same situation as alphabest.

  • dawriter67

    Is Gray Matter open to submissions? My script Alien Diaries would not be eligible for the competition because of a previous option.

    Logline: A book collector stumbles across a series of diaries chronicling an alien visitation in the 18th century, leading him down a potentially dangerous path and forcing him to uncover the mystery of what really happened.

    Email me at gjdevlin(AT)