SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest

Dates | Prizes | Rules+Eligibility | FAQ | Judges | Estimate Budget | Enter Now!

Welcome

Welcome to SYS's Fifth Annual Six-Figure Screenplay Contest.

As the contest has matured and found some success, we're eager to continue to build on our momentum and find more homes for quality, low budget screenplays. We're happy to announce that this year we will be running a full fledged, in-person film festival running concurrently with the contest. So if you know of any great low budget films, please send them our way.

Many of last year's screenplays have found interest from producers and we're hoping to have some exciting announcements in the coming year. Click here to see last year's top screenplays.

Our inaugural contest winning screenplay, Killer Profile, written by Richard Pierce, was found through the contest by one of our industry judges, Ted Campbell, who took the project to MarVista Entertainment where it was purchased and shot and is currently airing worldwide. Richard and Ted were both gracious enough to come on the SYS Podcast to talk about the experience and how it all came together. Click here to listen to Richard Pierce's episode and click here to listen to Ted Campbell's episode.

We'll be continuing to accept short films this year as well. Many producers are looking for quality short film scripts, so we're excited to try and find a home for them as well.

What's this contest all about?

Do you have the next great low budget screenplay? SYS is trying to find great screenplays in any genre that could be produced for less than $1,000,000USD (one million). In other words, scripts that could be produced on six-figures or less.

Our goal with this contest is simple: find the best low budget screenplays on the planet and present them to the industry, which will hopefully lead to options, sales, and productions.

We've assembled a great group of seasoned writers, directors, and producers (see list below) to help judge the entries, as well as a great group of readers to handle the first round of reads.

How's it going to work?

Each script submitted will be read by a minimum of two professional readers in the first round. The scripts that stand out in the first round will move into the second round (roughly 20% of all screenplays entered). The second round screenplays will be vetted further with more assessments from the SYS readers. The top scripts from the second round will be selected and moved into the quarter finals, where we will pitch those screenplays to the industry judges. Finally, after all the scripts have been graded by the judges, we will choose a winner and make the announcement.

How will scripts be graded?

Each professional reader will fill out an SYS Script Assessment form for each screenplay that they read. The SYS script assessment is a quick way for the reader to grade the screenplay. Each screenplay will be graded based on seven key criteria: Ability to be produced for less than $1M, Concept, Characters, Structure, Marketability, Tone, and Craft. For a small additional charge ($10) you can receive the two assessments from the first round readers (and possibly a 3rd assessment from a second round reader). Click here to see an example of the script assessment form that gets filled out by the readers.

Dates

  • February 29th preliminary deadline - Features: $45 | Shorts: $35
  • March 31st early bird deadline - Features: $50 | Shorts: $40
  • May 31st regular deadline - Features: $55 | Shorts: $45
  • June 30th late deadline - Features: $60 | Shorts: $50
  • July 31st final deadline - Features: $65 | Shorts: $55
  • Tuesday, September 11th - 2nd round screenplays announced
  • Tuesday, September 18th - Quarter-finalist announced
  • Tuesday, September 25th - Semi-finalists announced
  • Tuesday, October 16th - Winner and runner-up announced.

Prizes (Features)

For this contest shorts are screenplays that are less than 30 pages, while features are screenplays that are longer than 75 pages.

Winner:

  • $1,000 cash
  • 1 SYS Email/Fax Blast to our list of agents, managers, and producers
  • 1 SYS 3-pack screenplay analysis
  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Runner up:

  • 1 SYS Email/Fax Blast to our list of agents, managers, and producers
  • 1 SYS 3-pack screenplay analysis
  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Semi-finalists:

  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Quarter-finalists:

  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Prizes (Shorts)

Short film scripts (less than 30 pages) will be judged using the same method and criteria as features. We're looking for low budget short scripts. Our readers will grade the scripts in the first round and then the highest rated scripts will be passed along to our industry judges in the later rounds.

Winner:

  • $100 cash
  • 1 SYS Email/Fax Blast to our list of agents, managers, and producers
  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Runner up:

  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Semi-finalists:

  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Payment Options:


*Preliminary deadline ends February 29th.
**You will receive the 2 assessments from our first round readers.
Note: Upload link will be emailed to you once payment has been made.
Shorts vs Features: For this contest shorts are screenplays that are less than 30 pages, while features are screenplays that are longer than 65 pages.

How do you know if your screenplay could be produced for less than $1M?

This short video should help you estimate the budget of your film.

Rules+Eligibility

Writer(s)
  • This contest is void where prohibited.
  • All writers must be at least 18 years old to be eligible.
  • Writer(s) must wholly own the screenplay and intellectual property that they submit.
  • Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in verifying eligibility.
  • All submissions must be made by the writer or co-writer of the screenplay being submitted.
  • Submissions written by more than one person must be submitted with the consent of all other writers. And all writers should be credited on the title page.
  • If a writing team's screenplay is picked as a winner, prizes will be given to the one writer who made the submission. The submitting writer is responsible for dividing or sharing the prize money with his or her writing partners.
Material
  • All material must be submitted in industry standard screenplay format.
  • The title page should contain the title of the screenplay and names of all writers. It's okay but not mandatory if it also contains the writer's contact information.
  • All screenplays must be written in English, however anyone from anywhere may enter the contest if they meet all the other eligibility requirements.
  • Only screenplays that are 120 pages or less are eligible.
  • All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF.
  • Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material will NOT be allowed. Please proofread your material and make sure you are submitting the correct draft at the time of submission.
Submitting
  • The script assessments from the two professional first round readers may be purchased for a small additional fee, but it must be purchased at the time of entry. No other feedback will be provided.
  • All submissions must be received on or before the deadline dates by Midnight PST.
  • The submission fee payment must be made in full at the time of submission.
  • Entry fees are NOT refundable for any reason.
  • Any submission may be deemed ineligible for any reason at the sole discretion of SYS.
  • Quarter-Finalists may be required to sign and return within ten (10) business days of receipt a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility and a Release and Indemnification and proof of valid passport and any other documents that SYS or any other partner may require before receiving prize payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within fifteen (15) business days will result in disqualification.
  • We reserve the right to amend any part of these rules at any time. So please check back often.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I submit the same screenplay I submitted last year?
A: Yes. You can submit a previously submitted screenplay. However, it's NOT recommended that you do. Unless it's been substantially re-written, the chances are it won't fare any better this year than last.

Q: Can I submit my screenplay to other competitions while SYS is reviewing my screenplay?
A: Yes. You can submit your screenplay to other competitions as well as producers, agents, and managers. And you can submit your screenplay to SYS if you've entered it in other contests, too.

Q: Does it matter when my screenplay was written?
A: No. Any screenplay, no matter when it was written, is eligible.

Q: Can I submit an adaptation of a book or comic or based on some other intellectual property?
A: You can only submit screenplays if you own all the IP that goes along with it.

Q: Can I submit more than one screenplay?
A: Yes, you can submit as many screenplays as you'd like.

Q: Should I register or copyright my screenplay before entering this contest?
A: Yes. It is recommended that you register your screenplay with the WGA and/or submit it to the Library of Congress for a copyright before submitting it to us or anyone else.

Some of our distinguished judges include:

Tony Bill
Producer / Barnstorm Films
Ted Campbell
Producer / Less is More Productions
Ryan Westheimer
Producer / CS West Productions
Kent Moran
Producer / Wishing Well Pictures
James Engle
Producer / Echo Lake Entertainment
Jerry Koedding
Producer / Wave Films
Jesse Scolaro
Producer / The 7th Floor
Greg Lyon
Producer / Half Moon Films
Daniel Wilson
Producer / Bartoli Film
John Cross
Producer / John Cross Productions
Param Gill
Producer / FlickBag
Udana Fonseka
Producer / Grindout Productions
Sean Tracey
Director / Producer / Sean Tracey Associates
Eric Colley
Actor / Director / Producer / Fireshoe Productions
Bharathi Mehra
Actress
James Byndon
Producer / Jabb Productions
Macee Binns
Actor - Producer
Caryn McCann
Producer
Kathy Stanley
Producer / Cobblestone Bridge Entertainment Group
Robert Stock
Producer / Stock's Eye Productions
Christopher Lang
Director / Producer / Pooka Films
Victor Ginzburg
Director / Producer / Writer

Payment Options:


*Preliminary deadline ends February 29th.
**You will receive the 2 assessments from our first round readers.
Note: Upload link will be emailed to you once payment has been made.
Shorts vs Features: For this contest shorts are screenplays that are less than 30 pages, while features are screenplays that are longer than 65 pages.

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