Contests: Screenplays 2023


Entrants must be 18 years or older. Misrepresentation of age, upon discovery by American Zoetrope, will disqualify the entrant.

Employees of American Zoetrope and its affiliated companies and their immediate families are not eligible.

Entrants, including the winner and finalists, retain all rights.

The rights to the submitted script should not have been previously optioned or sold.

No entrant may have earned more than $50,000 as a screenwriter for theatrical films or television/streaming services in the prior calendar year, or for the sale of, or sale of an option to, any original story, treatment, or script during that time. Prizes, fellowships, awards, and other contest winnings are not considered earnings and are excluded from this rule.

Entries should include a title page. Entrants should NOT include their names or contact information on the title page; our judging process is blind.

Feature film and television/streaming pilot scripts must be the original work of the entrant. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which the entrant does not own rights, this should be noted on the title page.

If the script is a television/streaming pilot, the word "pilot" should be included on the title page. No separate application or other designation is necessary.

Submissions should be in the US Motion Picture industry standard screenplay format and must be written in the English language.

Page count requirements are as follows:

Feature-length film scripts must not exceed 140 pages.

One-hour television/streaming pilot scripts must not exceed 70 pages.

Half-hour television/streaming pilot scripts must not exceed 40 pages.

Under no circumstances will substitutions of corrected pages or updated drafts be accepted after submission. However, an updated draft may be submitted as a new entry.

Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.

Collaborative work is accepted. One of the writing partners should be identified as the primary contact. Writing partners selected as winners will divide the prize money equally.

Entrants must submit scripts and payment through the Zoetrope competition website.

An entry fee of US$40 (prior to the early-bird deadline) or US$50 (between the early-bird and final deadlines) must be paid online by credit card or PayPal at the time of script submission.

The winner will receive $5,000. The winner plus nine finalists will have their scripts sent by American Zoetrope to select talent agencies and production companies for consideration.

One winning script and nine finalists will be announced on February 12, 2024. Semi- and quarterfinalists will be announced at the same time.


The EARLY-BIRD DEADLINE is July 17, 2023, at 11:59:59 p.m. PST. The FINAL DEADLINE is September 12, 2023, at 11:59:59 PST.