This contest is now closed for entries.  

Winner announcement here.

We are celebrating new visions and timely re-interpretations of iconic characters and stories.


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Are you tired of mainstream Hollywood's interpretations of iconic characters?

Do you have a fresh take on your favorite story or character?

Adi Shankar's Bootleg Universe has teamed up with ScreenCraft Media and Buffalo 8 Productions to produce the winning story or short screenplay as a short film, to be distributed to millions of fans worldwide on Adi Shankar's Bootleg Universe YouTube channel with over 30 million views to date. Adi's credits include THE GREY starring Liam Neeson, KILLING THEM SOFTLY starring Brad Pitt, DREDD starring Karl Urban, LONE SURVIVOR starring Mark Wahlberg, POWER/RANGERS UNAUTHORIZED and DIRTY LAUNDRY (PUNISHER BOOTLEG).

Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe

What's your favorite character or story, and how will you re-imagine it?

All stories welcome!

From Voltron to Barbie, you’re invited to use any character, plot or universe as a sandbox to imagine your own story.

Re-imagine any universe

Have you ever wanted to re-imagine or re-interpret your favorite character or universe but felt handcuffed by the vapid consumerist ideals of four quadrant filmmaking politics?  We’re searching for an imaginative, satirical, re-interpretation of an existing character or story.

What We Are Looking For:

  • Should be economical to produce and not rely too much on special effects to convey the story.
  • Should have a core understanding of the mechanics of the Universe’s sandbox they are playing in.
  • Should be about something and say something!  The mainstream media seems fascinated by “established brand names” over real substantial issues.  This is your chance to reverse engineer a social message into an "established brand name."

1st PlaceGrand Prize

$ 100,000*

Estimated Production Budget
  • Winning story or script will be produced and distributed by film producer Adi Shankar as a short film and released for free online for millions of fans to enjoy and share.
  • Winning writer will receive personal introductions to top producers, managers, agents and studio executives.

2nd Place

$ 1,000

Cash Prize
  • Circulation and personal recommendation of our top 2 winners screenplays to our network of over 60 Hollywood managers, agents, producers and development executives.
  • Lifetime license to Writerduet Pro Screencraft Edition ($189 value)

All 50 Semi-finalists

% 50

  • A 50% discount for WriterDuet Pro Screencraft Edition the most advanced screenwriting software with real-time collaboration and automatic revision-tracking, compatible with Celtx, Final Draft and PDF formats ($45+ value).
  • WriterDuet has been rigorously developed by software developer Guy Goldstein with passionate grassroots support from the Reddit screenwriting community. Try the free version today!

Official Sponsor

The most powerful professional screenwriting software: WriterDuet Pro

*Short film production budget for the winning short screenplay or story will be between $20,000 and $100,000 depending on scope and needs of the project as determined by ScreenCraft and Adi Shankar.


Hollywood's first Bootleg Universe script contest jury includes:

Adi Shankar

Film TV Director, Creator & Producer (credits include: THE GREY starring Liam Neeson, KILLING THEM SOFTLY starring Brad Pitt, DREDD starring Karl Urban, LONE SURVIVOR starringMark Wahlberg, POWER/RANGERS UNAUTHORIZED BOOTLEG and DIRTY LAUNDRY/THE PUNISHER BOOTLEG).

Matthew Helderman

CEO of Buffalo 8 Productions and BondIt, film producer (31 directed by Rob Zombie, KING COBRA starring James Franco, THE BRITS ARE COMING starring Uma Thurman, and the critically acclaimed Sundance film LITTLE MEN)

Cameron Cubbison

Co-founder of ScreenCraft, professional development executive and script reader for Sundance Institute, Paradigm, Lionsgate, Open Road Films.


  • Submissions are accepted via electronic submission only, between August 1, 2016 and October 1st 2016.
  • Entry fee for each short story and short film screenplay is $29 until the early deadline on September 5, 2016, then $39 until the final deadline on October 1, 2016.
  • Screenplays and short stories must be a minimum of 3 pages and a maximum of 30 pages.
  • There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
  • Entries must be received on or before the deadline dates 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.
  • All submitted material must be written by the writer submitting the project, however not all rights to characters and stories need be owned by the writer as the winning script or story will not be exploited commercially for profit.
  • Material must be submitted by the writer. Material written by writing teams must be submitted by one of the writers, with consent of the other(s). All writers must be credited on title page.
  • If a writing team is chosen as a winner, prizes will be given to the person who submits the project. Each team is responsible for dividing or sharing the prize money.
  • Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material are not allowed. Please proofread your script very carefully before submitting.
  • Contact info may be included on the cover page of the screenplay, however it is not required.
  • All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders.


  • All writers at least 18 years of age are eligible.
  • All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible; however the material submitted must be in English (occasional dialogue in other languages is acceptable, if subtitle translation is provided).
  • All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible for this contest.
  • There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
  • Underlying characters and other intellectual property need not be wholly owned by the writer, as this is not a contest for wholly original stories.
  • Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin, or in a standard short story prose format.
  • We have no preferences regarding title page content. Title and name of writer would be suffice.
  • Stories and screenplays longer than 30 pages will not be eligible.
  • All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.

The winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: (i) originality of vision and voice; (ii) plot/story structure; (iii) characterization; (iv) visual inventiveness; and (v) overall impression. The winners and top finalists may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of ScreenCraft. The selected winner(s) will be notified by e-mail on or about November 15, 2016. Finalists may be required to sign and return within seven (7) business days of receipt a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility and a Release and Indemnification and proof of valid passport and any other documents that ScreenCraft or any other partner may require before receiving prize payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within ten (10) days or return of notification will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.


ScreenCraft or any other partner, employee or agent associated with this contest claims no ownership nor first right of option to any original screenplay submitted to this contest. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to ScreenCraft and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration. All uses of a entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.


All entries are non-refundable.


BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE CONDITIONS. You agree to release and hold harmless ScreenCraft LLC,, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, Prize contributors, judges, screenplay readers, Sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Contest and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize. Employees of ScreenCraft and their immediate families are ineligible to participate in this contest. Any such submission will be immediately disqualified. ENTRY TO THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED or restricted by any Federal, State or Local law. Voided entries will be refunded. Recipients’ eligibility will be verified before the grant is awarded and the winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility.