Resources
We’re celebrating true stories, biographies, and adaptations of stories & characters in the public domain. We welcome Doug Miro (creator of NARCOS) as our Grand Juror who will meet virtually in a private session with our finalists. We’re also excited to include a new entry type and prize category this year focused on discovering the next globally recognized true crime story in partnership with Buffalo 8 (Exec Prod. THE JEFFREY DAHMER TAPES) and BondIt Media Capital.

Early Deadline in 3 hours

Deadlines

Jan 31

Early

Feb 28

Regular

Mar 31

Final

Announcements

Apr 26

Quarterfinalist

May 24

Semifinalist

Jun 21

Finalist

Jul 19

Winner

This unique ScreenCraft competition focuses on true stories, biographies and works in the public domain (published before 1927). Plus, we're excited to present two new offerings this year designed to deliver career boosting opportunities!

We welcome writer, producer, and creator of the hit Netflix series NARCOS, and NARCOS: MEXICO, Doug Miro as a Grand Juror. Doug will also host a special private session for all of this year's finalists.

In partnership with Buffalo 8 and BondIt Media Capital (Executive Producer behind Netflix global hit THE JEFFREY DAHMER TAPES) we've added a new prize category and entry type focused on discovering the next great true crime project. 

There are two ways to be considered for this opportunity:

1. Writers who submit a script to this year's competition will automatically be considered.
2. Alternatively, if you have a true crime book, article, podcast, or even unique footage, information, access, or recordings, you can submit using the new Treatment entry type. You'll submit a 1-2 page cover letter that describes your project and expresses your vision for it. One winner will be selected by Buffalo 8 and BondIt Media Capital to receive an exclusive development opportunity with shopping to streamer, studio, and network buyers!

GRAND JUROR

As part of this year's competition, writer and Producer Doug Miro will host a special virtual meeting for our competition Finalists! This will be an invaluable opportunity to gain insight and learn from a television creator who has also written studio tentpoles.

Doug Miro is a celebrated film & television writer best known for his work as the creator and executive producer of the popular Netflix series Narcos and Narcos: Mexico. His previous credits also include The Great Wall starring Matt Damon, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jury

KYLE CASTELLANET

Director of Development, Echo Lake Entertainment
After receiving his BFA in Film Production from Chapman University, Kyle started his career at Paradigm Talent Agency. Kyle joined Echo Lake in 2016 and has worked in both the talent and production departments. As the Director of Development and Production, Kyle manages the company's development and production efforts in both film and television. He also works directly with clients including Forbes Magazine and Spycraft Entertainment to help develop and produce projects.

SAM BROMELL

Screenwriter & Co-Producer ELVIS and THE GET DOWN
Sam Bromell is a writer, producer, and longtime collaborator of Baz Luhrmann, whose creative experience spans film, television, musicals, biopics, fashion shorts, art exhibits, literary adaptations and historical dramas. He was a Co-Producer on the Netflix series THE GET DOWN, and wrote the screenplay for Luhrmann’s most recent feature film, ELVIS, starring Tom Hanks and Austin Butler. Currently, Sam’s developing a spy series with Ethan Hawke for Showtime. He is also developing a pilot, AGENTS OF HONESTY, with Barry Levinson attached to produce and direct.

MATTHEW HELDERMAN

CEO & Co-founder
BondIt Media Capital is a world renowned film, television and media financier founded in 2013. Based in Santa Monica, BondIt has completed over 400+ film and television financing transactions resulting in $210M+ of invested capital, resulting in over $1B+ of aggregate production spending, and generating $500M+ of global box office revenues. Credits include the Oscar nominated LOVING VINCENT, the Netflix docuseries THE JEFFREY DAHMER TAPES, the Netflix original film RODNEY KING directed by Spike Lee, true crime narrative film BANDIT starring Mel Gibson which opened #1 globally on digital release, the Roland Emmerich directed and Bondit co-financed true story epic MIDWAY and countless others.

CHRIS BELLANT

Literary Manager & Producer, Waldorf Entertainment
Chris Bellant is a Literary Manager and Producer who, after years of developing film, TV, theater, commercials and digital content, recently launched Waldorf Entertainment.

CHRISTIAN TAYLOR

Principal and CEO, Taylor Lane Productions
Christian Taylor is an independent producer and founder of Taylor Lane Productions. Christian has spent over a decade in the entertainment industry, working in talent and literary management at Industry Entertainment and Lighthouse Entertainment and in development at Imagine Entertainment. Recent credits include the Lionsgate supernatural thriller DREAMKATCHER (2020), MEASURE OF A MAN (2018), and HICK (2012) starring Chloe Moretz, Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne, Blake Lively, and Juliette Lewis.

MJ GROGAN

Director of Development, ACE Content
MJ is the Director of Development at Ace Content. ACE Content develops and produces premium original content for studios, distributors, media networks and brands including feature film, episodic television, such as THE WAY I SEE IT.

Prizes

Grand Prize

The overall grand prize winner in either feature or TV category will be welcomed to the ScreenCraft Writer Development Program and receive personal introductions and phone calls with one or more top Hollywood literary manager(s) who are looking for talented emerging Film & TV screenwriters.

The top 3 winners’ project info and log lines will be circulated and recommended to our network of over 150 Hollywood managers, agents, producers and development executives.

ScreenCraft has a proven track record for getting writers signed with managers, agents, and staffed in writing rooms.
Personal Introduction to industry professionals
Accepted into the ScreenCraft Writer Development Program
$1,000 Cash
An exclusive invitation to a Finalist only workshop to position yourself and your writing to the industry
Participate in an exclusive Finalist session with writer and producer Doug Miro.

Runner-Up Prizes

Feature Winner

$500 cash award

Accepted into ScreenCraft Development Program

Participate in an exclusive Finalist session with writer and producer Doug Miro.

An exclusive invitation to a Finalist only workshop to position yourself and your writing to the industry

FINALISTS

Participate in an exclusive Finalist session with writer and producer Doug Miro.

An exclusive invitation to a Finalist only workshop to position yourself and your writing to the industry

TV PILOT WINNER

$500 cash award

Accepted into ScreenCraft Development Program

Participate in an exclusive Finalist session with writer and producer Doug Miro.

An exclusive invitation to a Finalist only workshop to position yourself and your writing to the industry

Early Deadline in 3 hours

Previous Success Stories

See More Successes

Filup Molina

Signed with manager at Bellevue

"Television and Film are, of course, my true dreams, and so certainly my goal is to bring my complex Latin characters to those mediums. Though, when I say complex so many times, I feel like it may lose its potency. I want the entire world to meet and fall in love with hispanic characters who are brilliant. And dummies. Billionaires. Or homeless. Sexy. Dumpy. Incredibly religious. 100% atheists. All of it."

Rob Alicea, Scarlett Camargo, and Broderick Haygood

Signed a shopping agreement for their script TIS OF THEE with Creator Media after meeting the producer through the ScreenCraft True Story & Public Domain Competition.

"ROB: If your desire is to make screenwriting your full-time career, then you have to do whatever it takes to get your scripts out there - finding the right representation, networking, and, yes, entering into the right screenwriting competition, which can support and help get your story out there. Because of our 2021 Screencraft win, our script TIS OF THEE was optioned by Kyle Benn of Creator Media (The Hunger Games, John Wick and SAW Franchises, among many others). He has been incredible as a mentor, and, along with the team at Screencraft, continues to champion our work.  BRODRICK: It was the managers, agents, and producers who were judging these contests for us. We won the true story public domain competition and got our project optioned with a former Lionsgate Studio Executive. That totally transformed my career and put me and my team on the map. SCARLETT: Winning Screencraft's True Story & Public Domain Competition for our project, Tis of Thee, presented us with the wonderful opportunity to connect with a like-minded producer who has provided invaluable insight and support. Further, the Screencraft team is truly invested in our continued success."

Zara Meerza

Signed with manager and staffed on HBO series

"I was lucky enough to have Zara Meerza referred to me by the ScreenCraft team. When reading an emerging writer, I never know what to expect, but when I read YELLOW I was immediately impressed by both the scope of her writing and the beautiful manner in which she writes. My recommendation to emerging writers is to write what you are passionate about, do not second guess what you think the market wants. Great writing will be recognized by competitions and industry readers because the more time you spend perfecting your craft and your script, the work will ultimately shine through. - Lucy Stutz, Zara’s manager at Rain Management"

As Featured In

TRUE CRIME PRIZE

THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.
Any writer who submits a script to this year's competition will automatically be considered. Alternatively, if you have a true crime book, article, podcast, or even unique footage or recordings, you can submit using the new Treatment entry type.

You'll submit a 1-2 page cover letter that describes your project and expresses your vision for it. One winner will be selected by Bondit to receive an exclusive development opportunity.

BONDIT MEDIA CAPITAL
BondIt Media Capital is a world renowned film, television and media financier founded in 2013. Based in Santa Monica, BondIt has completed over 400+ film and television financing transactions resulting in $210M+ of invested capital, resulting in over $1B+ of aggregate production spending, and generating $500M+ of global box office revenues. Credits include the Oscar nominated LOVING VINCENT, the Netflix docuseries THE JEFFREY DAHMER TAPES, the Netflix original film RODNEY KING directed by Spike Lee, true crime narrative film BANDIT starring Mel Gibson which opened #1 globally on digital release, the Roland Emmerich directed and Bondit co-financed true story epic MIDWAY and countless others.

True Story Articles

Read More Articles
How to Master Creative Liberties in True Story Screenplays

How to Master Creative Liberties in True Story Screenplays

April 6 | by Ken Miyamoto

How can screenwriters find the right balance of truth and creative liberties when writing screenplays that are either based on or inspired by true stories?...

Character-First Story Structure

Character-First Story Structure

July 17 | by Ross Hartmann

The Hero's Journey gives us a solid story structure template. It tells us where our characters should go and who they should meet along the...

A Million Screenplay Ideas from the Public Domain

A Million Screenplay Ideas from the Public Domain

May 7 | by Andrew Schwartz

January 1st, 2019 – a day dubbed “Public Domain Day” by originators Wallace McLean, a public domain activist, and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig –...

Rules
Eligibility
Selection Criteria
Additional Legal
  1. Submissions are accepted via electronic submission only.
  2. Entry fees are as listed on the site and checkout form. No coupon or discount is applicable on a previous entry.
  3. Optional feedback from a professional reader may be requested at the time of entry. Requests for feedback can be done through Coverfly.
  4. Entries may be any length -- the standard 1/2 hour is between 20 - 40 pages, and the standard hour long is between 40 - 70 pages, and the standard feature is between 85 - 120 pages. Any script submission longer than 120 pages will incur a $.50 per page overage fee for each page over 120 if it does not include feedback and $1 per page if the entry does include feedback. True Crime Treatment entries must include a 1-2 cover letter.
  5. There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
  6. 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.
  7. All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material will be allowed for a limited time with a $6 reentry fee through Coverfly. Please proofread your script carefully before submitting.
  11. It is recommended that original material be registered with the WGA or The Library of Congress before submitting to any competition, however we do not require registration.
  12. Contact info may be included on the cover page of the screenplay, however it is not required.
  13. ScreenCraft claims no ownership nor option on your work. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders.
  14. The decision of the judges will be final and cannot be contested in any manner. There is no score on a scorecard that guarantees advancement to the next level as advancement will be based on all scores in the competition.
  15. In the event a juror, partner organization, mentor, or prize partner is no longer able to serve in their specified capacity, ScreenCraft will make its best effort to secure a replacement.
  16. ScreenCraft reserves the right to change deadline and announcement dates at any time.
  17. ScreenCraft reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.
  1. All writers at least 18 years of age are eligible. However, a writer who has earned more than $50,000 (or equivalent currency) from professional writing services for film or TV in the preceding 12 months or $500,000 (or equivalent currency) from professional film or TV in the proceeding 10 years is not eligible. (Contest winnings not included.)
  2. 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).
  3. All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible for this contest.
  4. There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
  5. Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.
  6. We have no preferences regarding title page content. Title and name of writer would suffice.
  7. All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF. Broken files or non-PDF files may be accepted, but if the file cannot be read ScreenCraft will not judge the submission.
  8. Prize winners may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility and proper tax documentation before prizes are released.
  9. By entering the competition, user acknowledges their eligibility for the competition. ScreenCraft will verify all eligibility requirements at the finalist stage of the competition and before distributing any prizes.
  10. Scripts or projects based on underlying material not owned by the writer are accepted as samples, so long as the script itself is indisputably written by the writer and that the script does not contain any plagiarism.
  11. ScreenCraft reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.

The winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: 

  • Voice
  • Concept
  • Story
  • Structure
  • Characters
  • Dialogues
  • Genre Conventions

In addition to the scoring criteria for the script, ScreenCraft may conduct interviews and send questionnaires to learn more about the entrant, their voice, perspective, and goals to help identify the winning projects. Top scripts are ready by the industry jury who votes for their favorite scripts at their sole discretion.

True Crime Prize:

  1. Only writers who submit to the competition and identify during the checkout process that their script is a true crime story and writers who submit the True Crime Treatment entry type are eligible to be considered for this prize opportunity.
  2. The winner of this prize will be selected solely by the specified industry partner.
  3. Being selected as the winner of this prize does not constitute or guarantee representation by the industry partner or the company they work for.
  4. The approach and manner in which the industry parter and winner interact is at their discretion. ScreenCraft will have no involvement in the process beyond facilitating an introduction.

Criteria for Winners and Finalists:

  1. The winners and top finalists may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. 
  2. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. 
  3. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible as a Finalist or Winner at the sole discretion of ScreenCraft. 
  4. All recognition, placements, and winners are chosen at the sole discretion of ScreenCraft.
  5. 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. 
  6. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.
  1. COPYRIGHT AND OWNERSHIP: 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.
  2. PUBLICITY: 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.
  3. REFUND POLICY: All entries are non-refundable.
  4. SITE TERMS OF SERVICE. By entering this competition, the user agrees to all ScreenCraft Terms of Service in addition to these rules and eligibility criteria.
  5. DATA MANAGEMENT AND PRIVACY. Entries for this competition are managed on the submission platform Coverfly, and ScreenCraft (a d/b/a of Red Ampersand, Inc) uses other data management tools, including but not limited to, Google Services and Amazon Web Services, to securely manage your data. ScreenCraft is not accountable for any data hacks (internal or external) or user errors that may release scripts or writer data unintentionally.
  6. ENTRY CONDITIONS AND RELEASE: BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE CONDITIONS. You agree to release and hold harmless ScreenCraft, ScreenCraft.org, 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 ScreenCraft.org 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. By entering the contest, you authorize us to use any trusted third-party online and cloud-based services and databases for hosting, managing and/or transmitting your submission file(s).
  7. ScreenCraft reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.

INSPIRATIONAL SCRIPTS

TITANIC
BEING THE RICARDOS
HIDDEN FIGURES
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
JANE EYRE

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