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Where to Submit Your Screenplay: 50+ Options to Get Your Script Seen (2024 Guide)

Dreaming of selling your screenplay to a major studio and seeing your story come to life on the big screen? As a screenwriter, getting your script read by the right people is the biggest hurdle on the path to success. But thankfully, there are many options for aspiring screenwriters to submit their work and get it in front of industry insiders.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various opportunities you have for submitting your latest screenplay, query letter, or movie concept. We’ll look at contests and competitions, production companies, screenplay agents, online platforms, film schools, and more. With persistence and savvy submissions, you can gain visibility and put yourself on the map.

Screenwriting Contests and Competitions

One of the best ways to get exposure as an unproduced screenwriter is to enter reputable screenwriting contests and competitions. Here are some of the major ones to consider:

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships

The most prestigious screenwriting competition. Each year, the Academy (of Oscars fame) reviews over 7,000 scripts and awards up to five $35,000 fellowships. Winners gain meetings with production companies and agents. Competition is fierce given the vast number of entries and prestige associated with the Academy.

Tips for Entering: Submit early and carefully check eligibility. Format 100% correctly. Strong writing and compelling stories are key. Avoid overused tropes.

Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition

One of the top contests with cash prizes up to $15,000 across genres. Around 6,500 scripts entered. Good reputation for circulation of winning scripts.

Tips for Entering: Judges favor strong, clear storytelling. Develop memorable characters. Check requirements for formatting.

ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship

Up to 5 genre winners get an all-expenses paid trip to LA for meetings with studios and companies. Good for genre scripts like action, sci-fi, and horror. Free entry reviews are also offered.

Tips for Entering: Lean into your genre hard. Have a dynamic hook and high-concept stories. Use vivid imagery.

Sundance Screenwriters Lab

Prestigious lab workshop for indie screenwriters. Winners work with mentors during a 5-day retreat at Sundance Resort in Utah. Apps open in May.

Tips for Applying: Submit a strong script, personal narrative, resume, etc. Original voices and character-driven stories tend to do well.

Tracking Board Launch Pad Competition

Top finishers get meetings with reps and production companies. Category winners get guaranteed reads. Draws over 5,000 entries.

Tips for Entering: Character-driven stories backed by visual writing tend to place well. Avoid passive voice and keep action paragraphs tight.

The key benefit of contests, beyond cash prizes for winners, is the exposure it brings to your work. Success in reputable competitions lends credibility and can get you reads from agents, managers, and prodcos. Do ample research to find ones that align with your genre and budget. And don’t get discouraged – keep writing and submitting your best work!

Submitting Directly to Production Companies and Studios

Beyond contests, you can directly submit your scripts to production companies and major studios in the hopes of getting your work made. Here are tips for this strategy:

  • Research companies accepting submissions – Lists like The Black List’s email blast service, Stage 32 studio list, etc provide updated info on who accepts scripts. Target prodcos making films similar to your work.
  • Follow submission guidelines – Each studio and prodco has specific requirements. Some want just a query letter rather than the full script. Adhere to directions.
  • Submit to indie producers first – Smaller indie companies are more likely to take open submissions versus major studios. Get credits under your belt before approaching the big players.
  • Leverage personal connections – Having a contact at a company who can referral your script gives it a major boost. But only if it’s ready!
  • Manage expectations – The odds of a direct submission leading to a sale are very low. So don’t bank on it, but treat it as added visibility.
  • Research execs and producers – Target your query letters for specific people at companies who may resonate with your script’s genre/style.

Overall, direct submissions to Hollywood studios are a long shot. But they make sense as part of a broader strategy to get your script on radars. Keep building your portfolio and aim to get reps to help submit your work at the highest levels.

Getting a Screenplay Agent to Represent You

Having a reputable screenplay agent submit your scripts on your behalf can greatly improve the odds of securing reads and getting your screenplay sold. But how do you get literary representation? Here are some tips:

  1. Enter reputable contests – Success in well-known competitions is a great way to catch agents’ eyes and score meetings.
  2. Network at industry events – Attend film festivals, conferences, seminars, etc. Look for opportunities to organically meet reps.
  3. Referrals from produced writers – If you know a repped, working screenwriter they can advocate to their agent on your behalf.
  4. Query target agents directly – Find agents accepting queries. Follow guidelines and pitch your script’s concept.
  5. Build an online presence – Blogging, social media activity, etc related to screenwriting gives agents a sense of your voice.
  6. Be patient and persistent – It often takes years of writing, queries, networking to secure elite representation. Don’t give up.

The key is recognizing that agents have limited bandwidth. You want them to read your query knowing you have a strong portfolio of scripts versus just one sample. Contests, networking, and referrals help with this. Once signed, a reputable screenplay agent will get your scripts to the top of the reading pile – which is invaluable.

Online Screenplay Submission Platforms

In recent years, online platforms designed specifically for script submissions have become popular. Here are some top options:

The Black List

  • Industry professionals rate and host your screenplay in an online database accessed by production companies.
  • Costs range from free hosting to $75 for standard evaluation.
  • Writers can also pay for their script to be featured in email blasts.


  • Database of scripts that companies can search based on genres, ratings, etc.
  • Screenwriting contests also hosted on the platform.
  • Free to host a script. Paid services like Pitch Week provide additional exposure.

Stage 32

  • Large online community for creatives with industry access opportunities.
  • Script hosting and screening services available.
  • Also provides online screenwriting classes and workshops.

The Script Lab

  • Provides feedback on scripts through professional script coverage services.
  • Annual screenwriting competition and fellowship opportunities.
  • Also offers online screenwriting classes and workshops.

The major benefit of these online platforms, compared to blind submissions, is that your script can be viewed by many companies at once. It also provides more data like ratings and downloads to gauge industry interest. This allows you to get your script in front of the right people at the right time. Just research the specific submission options for each platform.

Submit to Film Schools and Programs

If you’re a student or aspiring screenwriter just starting out, consider submitting your script to academic screenwriting programs and film schools. Here are some options:

  • University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – Top film school in LA accepts scripts for evaluation via submissions to their Professional Program in Screenwriting.
  • American Film Institute (AFI) – Prestigious conservatory program accepts applications each winter. Submit scripts and creative materials.
  • Chapman University – Located in Orange, CA. Strong faculty and alumni network. Scripts evaluated for merit scholarships.
  • Loyola Marymount University – Undergrad and graduate screenwriting programs located in LA.

The access to faculty, mentors, and industry professionals provided by academic screenwriting programs is invaluable experience and networking. The alumni networks also give you built-in connections to reps and companies.

If accepted to a program, you’ll likely need to complete your script as your thesis film project. The exposure from student productions and festivals helps propel many writers into the industry after graduation.

Keys to Successful Screenplay Submissions

To recap, here are some overarching best practices when submitting your screenplays through any avenue:

  • Thoroughly research guidelines – Follow directions! Send exactly what is requested.
  • Write compelling loglines and pitches – Whether a query letter or contest entry, you need a strong hook.
  • Format perfectly – Any deviance from accepted screenplay format will get your script an automatic pass.
  • Be patient and persistent – Most scripts don’t sell on the first submission. Adapt and keep improving.
  • Adapt the script – Tweak elements like format, length, genre based on specific opportunities.
  • Start local – Consider submitting early scripts to local productions, indie filmmakers, festivals etc. to build real credits.
  • Promote your success – Leverage any wins like competition placements to maximize visibility. Social media can help.
  • Keep writing – Success comes from having an excellent portfolio of scripts versus just one sample. Keep honing your craft.

With patience, savvy submissions, and a killer logline, you can get your best screenplay into the right hands. Don’t get discouraged by passes or form rejections – it’s all part of the process. The important thing is to keep writing, networking, and never stop striving to take your craft to the next level. Stay persistent and keep your fingers crossed for that magical day when someone with the power to produce emails you: “LOVED your script. Let’s talk!”

In Conclusion

Selling a screenplay is a thrilling dream for every aspiring writer. But it doesn’t happen overnight. By regularly submitting your best work to reputable contests, companies, and programs, you vastly improve your odds of getting that big break one day.

Do your research, follow guidelines, and keep writing! With a polished script and savvy submission strategy, you can get your screenplay seen by the right people and inch closer to your Hollywood dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you submit a screenplay idea?

To submit an idea rather than a full script, send a query letter pitching the concept to production companies, producers, or managers open to queries. Include a strong logline, genre, comparative titles, and your writing credentials.

How do I send a script to Netflix?

Netflix does not accept unsolicited submissions. You need a reputable lit agent or entertainment attorney to submit a script to them. Build your portfolio and try getting reads at smaller production companies first.

How do I submit a screenplay to an agent?

Research agents accepting queries. Follow their listed guidelines and submit a query email pitching your script with a logline, genre, and your writing credits. Be persistent and follow-up if interested.

What studios accept unsolicited scripts?

Few major studios accept unsolicited scripts, but smaller indie production companies are more likely to. Research companies that produce work similar to your script and check listings like The Black List for options.

How do I get my screenplay noticed?

Enter reputable screenwriting contests, get peer reviews on sites like The Black List, network at industry events, build an online presence, partner with up-and-coming directors to produce shorts or indie films.

How much does Netflix pay for movie ideas?

There is no set pay. For produced films, compensation depends on many factors like the size/reputation of the writer, whether a spec script was optioned, the film’s budget, etc. Fees are usually negotiated by agents.

How much do screenwriters make?

It varies greatly. Newer screenwriters may get $10-30k for selling a spec script or assignment work. Established writers make $100k or more for studio assignments and backend compensation. The most successful make over $1 million.

Do you need an agent to submit a screenplay?

You don’t need an agent, but they make it much easier to get major studios to read/buy a script. You can submit directly to smaller indies without an agent to start. Contests and networking help secure elite representation.

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