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SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay Contest

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

Welcome

Welcome to SYS’s Second Annual Six-Figure Screenplay Contest.

Last year’s inaugural contest was a big success. The winning screenplay, Friend Request 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 in post-production. You can listen to Richard talk about the experience on SYS Podcast 378. Click here to see last year’s top screenplays.

In addition, a number of producers I’ve talked with are looking for quality short film scripts, so we’ve added a short film category to this year’s contest. So I know there’s interest from producers in the space, it’s just a matter of matching them with the right screenplays. Hopefully we can continue to do that again this year.

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.

My 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 in November 2021.

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

  • July 31st final deadline – Features: $65 | Shorts: $55
  • September 27th – 2nd round screenplays announced
  • October 11th – Quarter-finalist announced
  • October 25th – Semi-finalists announced
  • November 8th – 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: ($1,700 worth of prizes)

  • $1,000 cash
  • 1 year subscription to SYS Select
  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • 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: ($750 worth of prizes)

  • 1 year subscription to SYS Select
  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • 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: ($300 worth of prizes)

  • 1 year subscription to SYS Select
  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • 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:

  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • 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: ($650 worth of prizes)

  • $100 cash
  • 1 year subscription to SYS Select
  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • 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: ($300 worth of prizes)

  • 1 year subscription to SYS Select
  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • 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:

  • Entry into SYS’s Screenplay Database for 1 year
  • Highlighted in a special newsletter that goes to hundreds of working producers
  • Featured in The Budget List at the end of the year

Payment Options:


*Final contest deadline ends July 31st.
**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 75 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:

Daniel Zirilli
Director/Producer
Pop Art Film Factory
Richard Finney
Producer
Finney / Vitale Films
Ryan Westheimer
Producer
CS West Productions
Mark Stolaroff
Producer
Antic Pictures
Chuck Konzelman
Writer / Producer
Believe Entertainment
Steve Longi
Producer – Longitude Entertainment
Jeffrey Giles
Producer
Automatic Entertainment
Greg Lyon
Producer – Half Moon Films
Eric Myers
Screenwriter
James Engle
Producer
Echo Lake Entertainment
Sean Tracey
Director / Producer
Sean Tracey Associates
Jeremy Settles
Producer – Got Films
Kent Moran
Producer
Wishing Well Pictures
Bharathi Mehra
Actress
Tony Greenberg
Producer
Paula Landry
Producer – IdeaBlizzard Productions
Ted Campbell
Writer/Director
Less is More Productions
John Hipwell
Producer
Hipwell International Production Services
Shervin Youssefian
Director / Producer
Spot On Media
Chris D. Nebe
Producer
Monarex Hollywood Corporation
John Biemeret
Producer – Actor
SNAFU Entertainment
Todd Grodnick
Producer – Merrill Entertainment
Jorge Ballesteros
Producer
Alex Bright
Producer
Ty Pursley
Producer – Jackfruit Studios
Harrison Engle
Producer – Signal Hill Entertainment
Chris Lang
Writer/Director – Pooka Films
Jeff Bassetti
Producer – Omega Tots
Tom Spriggs
Producer – Coronel Group
Chris Gooch
Actor / Producer
Kevan Peterson
Producer – Fromage Pictures
Peter Maez
Producer – Kamma Pictures
Bruce Frigeri
Producer – Lifesize Entertainment
Michael D. Bryant
Producer
Jon Michael Kondrath
Producer – ReKon Productions
Jon Blue
Director of Development – ReKon Productions
Noel Vega
Producer – A.M.G. Films
Mark Ruppert
Producer
Allen Morris
Producer – Belay Media LLC
Adam Pray
Producer – Rucksack Productions
John V. Soto
Writer/Director/Producer – Filmscope Entertainment
Heather Hale
Producer – Heather Hale Productions
João Costa Menezes
Producer – Menezes Entertainment
Remo Camerota
Producer – Whitewall Studios
Lewis Gould
Producer – Rebel With A Cause Films
Jesse Scolaro
Producer – The 7th Floor
Miska Kajanus
Actor/Producer
Daniel Wilson
Producer – Bartoli Film
Shari Hamrick
Producer – Alianza Films International
Raza Mallal
Producer – Talkinglens Productions
Dustin Alexander III
Producer
Charles Kassatly
Producer – Equipoise Pictures
Caryn McCann
Producer
Michael Kehoe
Producer – AdventureScope Entertainment
Carmine Cervi
Producer – BulletProof Film
Sam Bader
Producer – Bader Bros. Pictures
Brian Etting
Producer – Garlin Pictures
Emory Jason Hofferman
Actor / Executive Producer

Payment Options:


*Final contest deadline ends July 31st.
**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 75 pages.

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