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Success Stories

How 64 Emerging Screenwriters Signed with Hollywood Managers This Year

By | Success Stories

Nearly all Hollywood screenwriters rely on a literary manager, lawyer and/or agent to help them navigate complex deal-making, set up meetings and shepherd their writing into actual careers. Signing with a great manager is perhaps the most important first step in a new writer’s career. 

“How do I get a manager?”

This is one of the most common questions that writers ask us. There are many ways to sign with a literary manager, and one of the most proven and efficient ways is to gain industry interest and exposure by placing as a finalist or winner in a major industry-recognized screenwriting competition. Coverfly has dozens of the industry’s top screenwriting competitions, carefully curated and all in once place. As a service to writers, Coverfly carefully considers a screenwriting competition’s merits before allowing a competition to be listed on Coverfly. A screenplay contest, fellowship, lab or writing program on Coverfly must adhere to all of these criteria.

We’re thrilled to celebrate these 64 writers who found their managers through Coverfly-qualifying screenwriting competitions and talent-discovery programs within the past several months. We’re honored to have such effective screenwriting competitions on our platform:

Coverfly
Pipeline Media Group
PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
HollyShorts Film Festival
Shore Scripts
ScreenCraft
WeScreenplay
Filmmatic
The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition
Launch Pad Competitions by The Tracking Board
Scriptapalooza

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Coverfly

Lele Park signed with literary manager Eric Borja of EMB after pitching to him during Coverfly Pitch Week!

“Before Pitch Week, I was in a stagnant spot and needed direction. I was seeking guidance and really was on the cusp of what seemed to be a turning point. I felt the usual roller coaster, accepting creative life is feast or famine. And it still is that way, but being matched with Eric Borja was eyeopening. Participating in Coverfly’s Pitch week really was the much-needed fill-up! Thanks to Coverfly’s reputation as a legitimized presence in the screenwriting landscape, being selected and engaged in their Pitch Week brought momentum. I had in-depth conversations with Eric and learned a lot about how he evaluates talent. If you’re on the fence about Pitch Week I suggest you just do it. I genuinely feel grateful. They take the navigational process that screenwriters go through seriously, by vetting the competitions, festivals, and the connections they bring. It all lends itself to build a germane space, that has hard-earned credibility.” – Lele Park

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Nicole Jones signed with a literary manager after her screenplay Shrimp topped The Red List and was discovered via Coverfly.

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Vanessa Carmichael signed with management after submitting her script through Coverfly.

“For me, Coverfly has proven to be more than a script submission service – it’s a vital resource. I submitted my script for a contest and requested coverage. Within a matter of weeks, I had not only incredible notes, I had a Coverfly Writers Advocate who accomplished in a matter of months what I had not been able to do in years—secure representation. Today, I have capable and responsive literary management all because I chose to submit my script on Coverfly.” — Vanessa Carmichael, screenwriter

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Jennifer Cooney signed with Kevin at The|Machine after submitting her script through Coverfly.

“What Coverfly is doing is a much-needed service and is an absolute gift to writers. I can’t thank Coverfly enough. Working with the reps at Coverfly has been a dream. And I absolutely love how it came together, leading me to the wonderful pairing with Kevin at The|Machine, whom I’ve found to be the perfect fit as my literary manager. I’m speaking for myself, and I know many writers share my story; not being able to just pick up my life and move across the country can feel daunting, especially when all you hear is that you have to live in Los Angeles to make it in the film industry. And in this age of technology where we can FaceTime and Skype and be in touch instantaneously, ‘having to live’ anywhere seems archaic. So in this way and many others, I feel that what Coverfly is doing with this advocacy program is visionary and paving the road for the future of our storytellers. Brava. Coverfly will always be ‘how I got my foot in the door,’ and I would be delighted to be a mouthpiece for the benefits of this program. Thank you Coverfly” – Jennifer Cooney, screenwriter

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Crystal Ro signed with literary manager David Baggelaar at Good Fear after he discovered her via Coverfly.

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Colin Dalvit and Andrew Lahmann signed with management after Coverfly introduced them to their manager.

“Coverfly gave our screenplay valuable exposure to industry management. After years of hard work, it was through Coverfly that we were introduced to our manager. Not only was the Coverfly staff amazingly proactive, they were communicative every step of the way, which is a blessing for emerging screenwriters.” – Colin Dalvit & Andrew Lahmann, screenwriters

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Patrick Byrne signed with a manager after an introduction from Coverfly.

“After Coverfly put me in contact with a producer, I was fortunate enough to get signed this week! I’m now working with a literary manager whom I trust to guide me and my screenwriting career. Thank you Coverfly for working so hard and so passionately on behalf of screenwriters… and most of all for believing in our stories.” – Patrick Byrne, screenwriter

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Bandar Albuliwi signed with manager Randy Kiyan at Luber Roklin Entertainment.

“After years of sifting through countless screenwriting competitions, I am now able to simply search through an easy-to-read list on Coverfly and submit my projects all in one place. Never before did I know that the Nashville Film Festival had a screenwriting competition until I was introduced to it through Coverfly. I submitted my project and subsequently ended up winning the top screenwriting honor for my TV Pilot, Radicalized. Subsequently, I signed with manager Randy Kiyan at Luber Roklin Entertainment and I’m now in pre-production on my feature film, A Brotherhood, with David Moscow attached to produce.” – Bandar Albuliwi, screenwriter

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And here are some success stories from our partners that we are honored to work with:

Pipeline Media Group

Established in 1999, PMG filters over 20,000 scripts, books, plays, and short films annually, supplying its comprehensive network of executives with countless clients and projects. Their overall mission is to advance the careers of original artists, support diversity and socially conscious storytelling, encourage new generations of creatives, and foster a much-needed outlet for those with limited access to the entertainment industry.

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Jess McKillop signed with Grandview after Script Pipeline industry circulation and introduction. She was a runner up in the 2019 Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition.

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Peter Malone Elliott signed with manager Zach Book. He is the winner of the 2018 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest. Peter’s biopic on Frank Sinatra Jr. was hailed as one of the best true story screenplays Script Pipeline ever reviewed. Elliott wrapped production on his first feature, Wired Shut, in 2019 and has multiple other film and TV scripts in development.

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Joshua Johnson and Jamie Napoli signed with Octagon EntertainmentScript Pipeline execs introduced Octagon manager Jeff Diamond to the writing team, who have another feature in development.

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PAGE International Screenwriting Awards

The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards has a long track record of helping to match talented new writers with top-notch representatives. Each year, dozens of PAGE Award winners and finalists are contacted by agents and managers who read their scripts during the judging process, and anywhere from 20-30 writers end up signing with those reps as a result. PAGE just announced their 2019 winners on October 15, and thus far the PAGE judges have approached 36 of this year’s winners and finalists with interest and offers. In conjunction with their promotional partners, PAGE does a huge post-announcement promotional push for their winning writers, and, as needed, the staff will make individual introductions and offer specific recommendations and advice.

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Clifford Yost signed with literary manager John Ferraro at Valleywood Entertainment.

A year later, Cliff shares this update with the PAGE team: “Just wanted to thank you for leading me to John Ferraro. You were spot on when you said that John is selective and that his aesthetics would likely match my own. He really understands my stories. He gives honest, kind, and meaningful notes. He doesn’t fill me with hype or false promise. Rather, he helps me see my profession as one of relationships, patience, and collaboration. He was/is the right choice for me, my style of writing, my aspirations as a storyteller. While I don’t want to share specifics just yet, John is responsible for several projects being close to a reality.” 

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Mike Kujak signed with PAGE Judge John Zaozirny at Bellevue Productions.

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Elizabeth Werner signed with PAGE Judge John Ferraro at Valleywood Entertainment.

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Amanda Prentiss signed with PAGE Judge Lee Stobby at Lee Stobby Entertainment.

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Michael Moskowitz signed with PAGE Judge Derrick Eppich at Empirical Evidence and by UTA. 

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Miley Tunnecliffe and Jerome Velinsky both signed with Fictional Entity. 

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Ryan Lee signed with Good Fear.

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Lucy Luna signed with 831 Entertainment. 

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Michelle Davidson and Jeffrey Field signed with Writ Large and the Hudson Agency. 

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Oskar Nordmark signed with Epidemic Pictures.

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Glenise Mullins signed with Management 360.

“I signed with Management 360, and found representation at Paradigm Talent Agency. And then, incredibly, was staffed on the new Lord Of The Rings TV show on Amazon. You guys were a great jump start to my career and I greatly appreciate it,” says Mullins.

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Brady Nelson signed with PAGE Judge Tony Zequeira at Super Vision.

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Stuti Malhotra signed with PAGE Judge John Zaozirny at Bellevue and Zac Simmons at Paradigm. 

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HollyShorts Film Festival

HollyShorts Film Festival is devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. Categories include Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, Youth Film and Digital Microbudget. 

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Tricia Lee signed with Jon Levin at Fourward.

Her short film Still Me was a semifinalist at the 2019 HollyShorts Film Festival. She recently signed with manager Jon Levin at Fourward after attending the Athena Screenwriting Lab. “They introduced Jon Levin,” says Lee, “as the person who found the script On The Basis Of Sex off The Athena List and helped turn it into a movie. I didn’t meet him at that event, but wrote him an email the next day. He read my script because it was in the lab, and loved it.” 

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Shore Scripts 

Shore Scripts is made up of a small number of filmmakers working in the US and UK film industry. Along with our Oscar, Cannes, Emmy, Golden Globe & BAFTA winning judges, we have strong industry connections. Over 100 production companies, agents & managers are all onboard to read each year’s best scripts. They also recently set up a director’s roster, creating another avenue for writers to have their work considered.

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Beth Curry signed with Elevate Entertainment.

After meeting a number of literary managers through Shore Scripts, Curry signed with Elevate Entertainment. Her winning feature, Moonflower, has been picked up by Oscar-nominated producer, Todd Black. “Shore Scripts is in a category all of its own,” says Curry. “After I won, they sent out my script to industry professionals that I would’ve never had access to. They have incredible industry connections, but more importantly, they have industry respect. They even did a follow-up mailing, reaching out to more industry folks. They helped me get amazing representation. Now, I feel like I’m finally on the road to being a working writer.”

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ScreenCraft

ScreenCraft’s mission is to foster the careers of emerging writers and filmmakers by providing inspiration and insight into the craft of screenwriting and the business of Hollywood, and by connecting emerging talent with working industry professionals. Every year dozens of talented writers find Hollywood career momentum via ScreenCraft’s educational programs, writing competitions, fellowships and events.

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Lucy Luna signed with manager Kailey Marsh of Brillstein Entertainment Partners via an introduction by the ScreenCraft team.

“Before entering the ScreenCraft Fellowship, I was trying to figure out how to navigate the industry, my needs and wants as a writer, and what next step would be the best or smartest thing I could do for my career. Before ScreenCraft I was listening to so many opinions, and I realized I had no real specific direction because all the advice was great but were so different, and were not tailor-made for me. After winning, everything changed. Everything became clear. I knew what I wanted and needed and knew what next steps to take. There are so many contests out there and it can get scary. I get it: I’m afraid to go back and see how much money I spent on competitions that were not worth it. ScreenCraft isn’t one of them. ScreenCraft cares. They are proactive, supportive, and are willing to push hard for you. They have the connections and the passion. They listen. They immediately understood where I wanted to go, and what I needed and they worked with me as if my dream was theirs. They are my guardian angels!” – Lucy Luna

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Caroline Franklin signed with literary manager Dash Aiken of Romark Entertainment.

Caroline worked closely with the ScreenCraft team who introduced her to the Romark team. – “I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the support I got from the ScreenCraft team. After my plays were named Finalists, the ScreenCraft team contacted me and has provided on-going advice, mentorship, and support ever since. They have worked for months sending out my material and discussing who may be right for representation. This industry can feel incredibly elusive and cold, especially for playwrights trying to break-in but Tom and the ScreenCraft team changed that. I can’t believe they invested so much time and energy into promoting my writing. Getting a foot in the door felt impossible for so long, but today, I am thrilled to have found my first rep. ScreenCraft is the real deal; you won’t find anyone more passionate or committed to helping emerging writers. If you are wading through the sea of screenwriting contests wondering which ones are worth it, there is no one I’d recommend more than ScreenCraft. I’ll never be able to say thank you enough!” – Caroline Franklin

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Nabil Chowdhary signed with manager Bash Naran at Writ Large less than one month after winning the grand prize in the ScreenCraft Sci-fi & Fantasy Screenplay Competition for his project Pod.

“Within hours, I was in touch with Bash at Writ Large. Three weeks later, we are officially working together. I was in constant communication with the ScreenCraft team, seeking advice and looking for guidance on how to navigate this very new situation for me and the couldn’t have been more helpful.” – Nabil Chowdhary

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Ivan Tsang signed with Jermaine Johnson at 3 Arts Entertainment.

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Michael Mirabella signed with manager & producer Scott Carr when he read Michael’s winning script Paper Thieves.

Now titled Joppatowne, Michael and Scott are developing the project together. – “The effort the ScreenCraft team has put forth in developing my relationships within the industry and carving a path for my career as a writer cannot be understated. The team fostered my script and showed genuine interest in my success– pairing me with manager, Scott Carr, who took interest in my talent and ethic. The ScreenCraft team continues to work closely with me even after all they’ve done to help thus far. If you have a screenplay you feel has a chance at success within the industry, then the ScreenCraft competitions and programs are a great way to test your script and possibly jumpstart your career.” – Michael Mirabella

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Molly Miller signed with managers Rachel Miller and Jesse Harra of Haven Entertainment after placing as a top 3 finalist in the 2018 ScreenCraft Comedy Competition with her feature spec, Eat Dead Bird.

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Rich Van Tine signed with literary manager, Jon Hersh of Housefire Management after placing as a Top 5 Finalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Action/Thriller Competition with his contained, terrifyingly real thriller, Stuck.

Rich was also previously a 2017 ScreenCraft Fellowship Semifinalist with his twin detective thriller, Until the Candle Burns Out. – “I can’t thank ScreenCraft enough for championing me as a writer. I worked closely with the ScreenCraft team to get Stuck out there for agents and managers to see. They kept pushing the script forward and were super involved in the entire process. It was a great experience and I highly recommend any and all ScreenCraft competitions. Thank you to the whole ScreenCraft team.” – Rich Van Tine

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Gabriel Cruz signed with Scott Carr of Scott Carr Management after winning the half-hour category of the 2018 ScreenCraft Pilot Launch TV Script Contest with his script The King is Dead

“Winning the ScreenCraft Pilot Launch Competition really jumpstarted my journey. Almost like the flip of a switch, I went from total outsider to multiple managers requesting meetings with me, which was critical for someone with minimal to no connections like myself. Thanks to ScreenCraft, I never felt like I was navigating this new world on my own; I always felt like I had someone in my corner. I still feel that way. Burning for a chance to get my writing out there, I feel tremendous gratitude for ScreenCraft’s dedication.” – Gabe Cruz

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Kaycee Hughes signed with Abrams Artists Agency after winning the 2018 ScreenCraft Pilot Launch TV Script Competition, and through an introduction by the ScreenCraft team!

“Winning ScreenCraft’s Pilot Launch Competition cracked open the floodgates, and within weeks, I had multiple meetings lined up not only with some incredible literary managers and agents but with networks eager to chat about my winning pilot as well. Ultimately, this led to me landing representation with a top-notch agent, a hurdle I had expected to spend years trying to overcome. I am so grateful for their hard work and motivation, and for joyfully championing up-and-coming writers with all the passion and determination of people who truly understand just how vital writers are to this industry. Thank you, ScreenCraft. You have done me an incredible service and kindness.” – KL Hughes

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Shiwani Srivastava signed with literary manager Nicholas Bogner of Affirmative Entertainment. ScreenCraft recommended Shiwani’s project Wedding Season and introduced her to Nicholas Bogner.

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Brock Newell signed with a manager through Coverfly‘s Rep Week program after winning the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship.

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Ian Southwood signed with literary manager Adrian Garcia during Coverfly‘s Rep Week after winning the 2018 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Competition.

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Tate Hanyok signed with manager Kendrick Tan and Carrie Isgett at Lit Entertainment Group, formerly Madhouse Entertainment after placing as a finalist in the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship and a semifinalist in other ScreenCraft competitions.

“As a character actor I was used to adapting to various tones and worlds, so when it came to writing I truly didn’t know what kind of writer I was. I hadn’t found “my voice,” and so many types of stories interested me as a writer. So I started using ScreenCraft as my own personal development program by utilizing each contest as a self-imposed deadline to explore writing in different genres and formats, simply as a learning experience. I was submitting early drafts to the contests for the feedback, and to get a gage of how far I had to go. It’s easy to work in a bubble, but the subjective opinions of the readers became a fantastic tool. Watching my scores increase with each submission was a great source of encouragement, and motivation! Eventually I wrote a script that was reflective of what I now consider to be “my voice.” It spoke to Tom in particular, and he contacted me to say that ScreenCraft would like to help connect me with a manager. I was floored. I hadn’t won a contest but I had consistently been submitting a growing body of work. Soon we were sitting down and brainstorming who to put on the wish list for representation! Tom was so incredibly knowledgeable, a talented filmmaker himself, who was acting like my guidance counselor helping me apply to and choose the right college. This was such an exciting time and he was so incredibly attentive. I kept thinking, “how lucky am I!?” Here I was just do’n my thing, in my bubble, and this fellow artist I have so much respect for, is helping ME get to this very important step that can be so hard to access on your own. Sometimes it does take a village. I’m so very grateful that ScreenCraft has been an essential part of mine.” – Tate Hanyok

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Erica Tachoir signed with a literary manager at MXN Entertainment through an introduction by ScreenCraft. Erica’s screenplay Scattering Jake placed as a semifinalist in three ScreenCraft competitions, including the 2017 ScreenCraft Screenwriters Residency Program, the 2017 ScreenCraft Drama Screenplay Competition, and the 2018 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship.

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Peyton McDavitt signed with manager Sydney Blanke at Fourth Wall Management an entertainment management company that represents actors, writers, directors, and filmmakers across all media.

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Rhonda Baraka signed with her manager at Heroes and Villains after meeting her manager at the 2018 ScreenCraft Writers Summit in Atlanta. The ScreenCraft Writers Summit brings together emerging writers and industry professionals so that relationships like this can be made.

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WeScreenplay

WeScreenplay is Hollywood’s #1 script coverage service. Best of all, your coverage is delivered within 72 hours. All WeScreenplay readers have at least one year of relevant industry experience – this means they’ve worked in a reading capacity for an agency, studio, management company, or production company. Nearly all of our readers are still working these jobs and read additional scripts on nights and weekends. When you get your coverage back, you’ll receive a brief bio about your specific reader.

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Faisal Azam and Erica Velis signed with Zero Gravity Management, after winning the 2018 WeScreenplay TV Pilot Competition with their riveting script H8.

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Eric Glover signed with his manager at Zero Gravity Management. He is both a Diverse Voices Finalist and WeScreenplay TV Pilot Winner.

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Filmmatic

Filmmatic is an online-magazine and industry-networking site, created by entertainment professionals, for entertainment professionals and is a great source for entertainment news and movie reviews.

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Joe Leone signed with Zero Gravity Management for his feature-length political thriller True Destiny after winning the Filmmatic Screenplay Awards.

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The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition

The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition is a first of its kind competition co-founded by Zachary Green, Jason Shuman and philanthropists Chuck and Marni Bond, to find the next generation of great collegiate screenwriters from around the world. The Top eight winners will split $100,000 in education grants and other prizes, with the top three gaining representation at APA and Valor Entertainment. The grand prize-winning screenplay gets produced by Zachary Green and Jason Shuman as a feature film, with a budget of approximately $1 million.

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Stanley Kalu and Jacob Stock signed with agency APA and management company at Valor Entertainment.

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Brittney Worthington signed with TCA Management after The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition in 2018.

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Abdullah Alhendyani, Lee Whitten and Brady Morell all signed with APA and Valor Entertainment after The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition in 2019.

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Launch Pad Competitions by The Tracking Board

Launch Pad has helped hundreds of emerging screenwriters connect with the entertainment industry and launch professional screenwriting careers. Since its start in 2009, Launch Pad’s parent organization, The Tracking Board, quickly became Hollywood’s premier source for insider news, spec screenplay sales, exclusives, film rights, development tracking, reviews, analysis and more.

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Dennis Curlett signed with a manager at Romark Entertainment, an agent at Verve, and landed a deal at Netflix, with his Launch Pad-winning script Just. One. Kiss. The movie is about a woman who can see her future with any man after one kiss.

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Paul Chang signed with Romark Entertainment after his screenplay, Please Let Everything Be All Right, not only won the Launch Pad screenwriting competition, not to mention a writing staff position on the new Disney Channel show The Curse of Molly McGee.

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Alexander Vargas signed with a manager at Recon Entertainment.

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Bradley Starr signed with Romark Entertainment after his script Point Nemo earned a top finalist spot in the Launch Pad feature competition. The script follows a shipwrecked man who thinks he’s been rescued when a mysterious woman comes to his aid.

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Alan Baxter signed with Abrams Artists Agency and Recon Literary after his pilot, Lost Eden Canyon, made it to the Top 50 in the 2018 Launch Pad Pilots Competition. His show is about a man who resorts to robbing luxury yachts to pay for a surgery his daughter desperately needs.

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John Wikstrom signed with an agent at Verve and a manager at Romark Entertainment and Good Fear + Management.

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Brian T. Arnold signed with management company Romark Entertainment and Verve Agency.

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Scriptapalooza

Founded in 1998 the Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition has become one of few most relevant screenwriting competitions in the industry. Over the last two decades, the company has developed several departments to nurture talent and create career opportunities.

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Jonathan Clancy signed with Abrams Artists NY.

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Coverfly Matches Emerging Screenwriter with First OWA

By | Interview, Success Stories

We’re excited to get the opportunity to interview Jennifer Cooney – an incredibly talented writer who is making big waves in the industry. Her script Winter Jasmine rose near the top of The Red List and was noticed by a Coverfly Writer Advocate. Since then, she has signed with top management and was hired for an Open Writing Assignment!

Jennifer heads her own production company, HalfJack Generations, has one film in post-production (Rain Beau’s End), one in the process of being optioned (Winter Jasmine), and several projects in various stages of development. She is currently repped by The|Machine in Los Angeles and intends to produce and direct her own scripts while living blissfully with her wife and their two dogs, Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart.

Coverfly: So, what was the process of finding a manager like?

Jennifer Cooney: It wasn’t your “typical” process. Thanks to Coverfly and their Writer Advocate program, I was paired with a Writer Advocate (Kyle) who really loved and believed in my work. Kyle not only matched me to a wonderful manager and got me two stellar writing gigs (one I passed on), but he will soon be signed on as a Producer for my spec script, Winter Jasmine. I really owe the propulsion of my career largely to Coverfly and their matchmaking. Kyle and I are destined to make movie magic together.

CF: How has working with a manager changed the way you write or approach the industry? Anything you wish you would’ve known?

JC: My manager, Kevin at The|Machine, understands who I am insomuch as he supports my unwavering commitment to following my heart. He knows that I have stories I want to tell and that I’m going to tell them authentically. He knows that I am not going to alter my creations without a heart-driven reason. This is why I signed with him. He supports my growth and my expansion as a writer, not ballooning trends. So, to answer the question, working with my manager has given me a level up with my confidence, knowing he believes in my vision and my authentic brand of characters and stories. 

What do I wish I would have known? That screenwriting doesn’t have to be hard. That it should be fun. That there are a ton of “pros” out there telling writers how to write and where to put what and on which page. I don’t regret the path I took to get where I am, but I can say with confidence that storytelling is highly intuitive, so anything that demands exact elements on exact pages is using fear to sell how-to books. Tune into your highest creative self and learn to listen to your inner nudges. The stories are all in the ether, you just need to learn to align with them so you can receive them. Make friends with your muses. 

CF: Congrats on landing your first OWA! What does landing an OWA job look like?

JC: My Coverfly Writer Advocate paired me up with a Producer I really clicked with. He read my spec script as a sample of my writing and loved it. We worked together a bit on a concept he was molding. I gave him notes and we further solidified our compatibility as creatives. A few months later he had a one-sheet for a feature he wants to produce and direct and I really loved the idea. I pitched him on what I’d do with the story and the characters and he loved my take. I told him to marinate for a week and make sure I was the writer for him. A week later we were working together. I’m very fortunate in that he was willing to mold our contract based on my method of story and character development and with my organic production of drafts. I’m in the middle of development now and can’t wait to see this thing onscreen.

CF: What is the OWA experience like so far?

JC: It’s amazing because I’m working with a Producer that I immediately clicked with. The first conversation we had, I knew in my gut that we’d be working together. We not only complement each other creatively, but we also respect one another beyond our creative commitments. Having worked with producers in the past that were neither of these things, I know creative and personal respect between writer and producer are of paramount importance to me. There’s some advice to new writers: When it feels upstream, drop the oars. Your boat will turn around and you’ll flow right towards your best case scenario (and away from what’s not serving your highest good). Have faith in the Universe taking care of you and it always will.

CF: How did you get started in screenwriting and what got you interested in the first place?

JC: Five years ago, I was working a full-time desk job and living for the weekends when I would inevitably sleep late and dread the impending Mondays. It became abundantly clear to me that I was living an inauthentic life, creatively speaking, and was extremely unfulfilled with the “fruits” of my time on earth. I had pressed my then girlfriend, now wife, to paint full time and to only do pieces that were original… no more for-hire commissions, two years prior. One night she looked at me. We were on the couch after dinner. I could barely hold up my towering glass of wine due to both physical and spiritual exhaustion. And she said, “What do you think about?” She explained that she was always thinking about paintings and colors and drawings—creations—and wondered what I thought about. My answer startled me. “Nothing, I guess.” She couldn’t fathom my answer. And as a creative spirit, or rather so I fancied myself, that answer turned my stomach. She pressed on, asking what I wanted to do. Growing up being groomed to take over a successful family business, I hadn’t thought of doing much else since graduating college. But I humored her and let the answer come to me. “I’ve always wanted to write a movie.” Five years and countless hours of study, practice, and self-discovery later, I have one feature film in post-production (Rain Beau’s End), one in the process of being optioned (Winter Jasmine), and have been hired to write another. And I’ve also adapted a stage play to a short script, which I’ll be directing later this year. Life is good.

CF: What kinds of stories or characters do you like to write?

JC: Literally all kinds. I will never be constricted to a particular genre. With one caveat, I really love writing lesbian characters and storylines. Lesbians always make their way into my stories. When I was in college, I owned every lesbian feature film ever made on DVD… and they barely took up a foot of space on my shelf. I know now that the craving of seeing oneself represented onscreen goes much deeper than meets the eye. It’s about experiencing a greater scope of life through a perspective similar to your own via characters you can identify with. And that craving truly fueled and still fuels my creative vision. I’m thrilled to see lesbian characters popping up everywhere and being played by big-name talent. I’m excited to have my stories and characters amongst them one day soon.

CF: What’s one screenplay that every screenwriter should read and why?

JC: When you’re trying to accomplish something on the page, whether it be an action or a sequencing description, find a movie that’s done it or something similar and consult the script. Then you can see how to convey it on paper. As far as necessary reading, I’ve read scripts of films I admired like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Arrival, and enjoyed them. Just follow your bliss. If that doesn’t lead you to read any scripts, who cares?

CF: What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you were starting out?

JC: In no particular order of importance or continuity: You can be, do, or have anything you want. Life is supposed to be easy. Nothing you truly want is upstream. Follow your bliss. You are ever that which you are aware of being. If you haven’t let go of the need for the outcome, you can’t get there from there. Be easy about it all. Be gentle with yourself. The intellect is meant to serve the intuition. You deserve it all. Dream huge. And when people tell you why “life is hard,” send them love, and know that your beliefs determine your reality… their beliefs don’t have to unless you let them. And always, always believe in yourself. You are magic.


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Discovered by Coverfly: Interview with Ellen Winburn

By | Interview, Success Stories

Ellen Winburn recently signed her first shopping agreement with HG5 Entertainment for her feature The Least of These through an introduction made by Coverfly. Scripts like The Least of These are hosted for free on Coverfly and not only live there for the duration of the contest in which they are entered, but as long as writers choose to make their projects public, industry professionals can discover them.

When searching for a script that met what HG5 Entertainment was looking for, the Coverfly team came across The Least of These, which had placed as a semifinalist in the 2017 ScreenCraft Family Screenplay Contest. Inspired by the true experiences of her son, The Least of These follows a teenager with cerebral palsy who dreams of having a girlfriend and forms an unlikely friendship with a troubled girl with a difficult home life.

To learn more about Ellen and see what other projects she has available, visit her Coverfly writer profile here.

1. Where are you from and how did you get into writing? 

I was born in the Nascar capital of Darlington SC and grew up listening to the races from my backyard. There were no children my age near me, so I entertained myself with stories. Once I realized I could write those stories down and that others liked them, I was hooked. I’ve performed on stage and directed. But real life and the birth of a special needs child meant all of that went on a back burner. Still, I entertained my son and husband with stories all the time. Then one day my husband gave me scriptwriting software and said: “I don’t want to hear it, I want to read it.”  

2. How did your personal experiences shape the story of The Least of Us These?

My son, Duncan, is very bright but his physical disability has kept him at a place where he sees the world, but doesn’t get to interact with it very often. This created such a unique perspective that I knew I wanted to write something that would capture his personality. I watched him learn about human trafficking, the abuses of children in foster care, suicide, and his hurt after he tried to befriend a girl who was experiencing challenges and her rejection of him. Very quickly, he went from shy and timid to stepping up and leading missions and speaking out in public venues. My reactions were typical, his were not. He saw hope and could not understand why someone wasn’t doing something about all these things. I explained that many people are trying to help and his answer:  then why isn’t it fixed yet? In the midst of all of this, The Least of These was born.  

3. What inspired you to start submitting to screenwriting contests?

My family and friends were tired of me asking them to read my stuff.  Of course, in those early stages, the writing wasn’t very good. Prior to screenwriting, I had written stories and plays, but the screen is totally different. My husband found a screenwriting contest online and paid for me to submit and get feedback.  It was not good, not at all, but I was having too much fun to stop. No more friend abuse!

4. How have you found screenwriting contests to be beneficial to you?

I like to write, and I want someone to read my work. Contests allow that. ALL feedback is useful, and I consider every change very carefully and use if it makes sense. Hearing someone else’s perspective, even if I don’t agree, helps make the story stronger. Of course, getting a good score on Coverfly and getting some little trophies under the title is just so cool.

5. How did you come across Coverfly and how has it helped you?

Actually, I was submitting The Least of These to the 2017 ScreenCraft Family Screenplay Contest and at that point, the website asked me if I wanted to join Coverfly. I’ve registered with a couple of others, and nothing came of it. But Coverfly seemed so straightforward, clear, uncluttered, I decided to do it. Coverfly quickly became my go-to first website because it is so easy and fast to use. And I must not be alone since a producer was able to find my script!

6. What is the next step for your project and your career as a writer? What are you looking forward to the most?

While I’m thrilled such a personal story of mine is now in a shopping agreement, that process can take a really long time. There are so many other stories to tell! I have a monthly budget for script submissions (must feed my family first!) and I use every penny. We’ve also adopted a boy who has a very vivid imagination and he is helping me with an urban fantasy – a genre I’ve always wanted to play in! I’m also looking for filmmakers that like doing their own thing, that have an idea for a film, but haven’t written it. My best stories are the ones that were inspired by others. I’d like to help that filmmaker bring their idea to life.  

7. Any words of wisdom or inspiration for other aspiring writers, particularly those outside of Southern California?

There was a time when the people making the movies were in Southern California, so it made sense to write there. Now some of the best film and TV is coming from other places, like Atlanta and Charlotte. Our world is becoming more global daily, and I don’t see being on the other coast as a roadblock.  

And listen, if you want to take screenwriting classes, take them.  If you want to read, watch films, do it.  All of those things are great. But the number one most important thing you must do if you want to be a better writer is WRITE. Pay attention to the world around you then sit your butt down and write. Many things can help you get better, but fingers flying over a keyboard as your mind creates a world and you make new best friends there cannot be replaced. When time is limited, and it always is, choose to write.


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Screenwriter Patrick Byrne Signs with Literary Manager via Coverfly

By | Announcements, Success Stories

We’ve got another writer to congratulate: Patrick Byrne was discovered by literary manager Gavin Dorman via Coverfly! In the past couple years Patrick has received accolades from PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, WeScreenplay, ScreenCraft and the Nashville Film Festival.

Two of Patrick’s screenplays have been featured recently as top projects on The Red List – most notably, his feature screenplay The 405.

Patrick Byrne was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the last ten years he worked in TV and film (LOST as a production assistant for four seasons, and on the movies BATTLESHIP and INCURSION). He is a screenwriter and teacher. He currently lives in Japan with his wife and son.

Gavin Dorman signed Patrick after discovering him via Coverfly. Gavin is an independent producer/manager based in Los Angeles, CA. Previously, he worked for several years as a development executive at Vertigo Entertainment, where he helped craft a multitude of film projects, including: The Lego Movie (the 2014 blockbuster based on the toy line), Poltergeist (a remake of the horror classic), Run All Night (the Liam Neeson mob-thriller), The Stand (based on Stephen King’s esteemed novel), Deus Ex (based on the popular video game franchise).

This good news is on the heels of another recent Coverfly success story just a few weeks ago: Colin Dalvit & Andrew Lahmann Sign with Manager Josh Dove at IPG via Coverfly

 

ScreenCraft Winners Colin Dalvit & Andrew Lahmann Sign with Manager Josh Dove at IPG

By | Announcements, Success Stories

Congratulations to screenwriting duo Colin Dalvit & Andrew Lahmann who won the ScreenCraft Action & Thriller Screenplay Contest in 2016. Just last week, they were discovered via Coverfly and signed by literary manager Josh Dove at Intellectual Property Group who discovered and read their script The Timbermen.

Intellectual Property Group is the literary management company behind such clients as Oscar-winner Paul Haggis (Crash and Million Dollar Baby) and Dennis Lehane (writer of cinematically adapted novels including Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone).

Colin and Andrew are writers, directors, and producers from Washington state, and together they founded film production company P-51 Pictures. The company’s first major film project was the award-winning feature documentary Out of Nothing, produced along with actor Ryan Stiles. The film is about a ragtag team of motorcycle builders determined to crush land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The film played in film festivals around the world and was picked up for distribution by ESPN and Studio Canal.


Read Spotlight on: Action & Thriller Contest Winners Colin Dalvit & Andrew Lahmann.


Actor/comedian Ryan Stiles and Producer Andrew Lahmann consult on one of P-51 Pictures’ community projects to help students in Toledo, WA.


Congratulations to Colin and Andrew! Coverfly is proud to be part of your journey.

Find out more about their projects at P-51 Pictures.


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