In recent years, over 50 Big Break semi-finalists, finalists, and winners have been signed to professional representation. Many have had scripts optioned, sold, and produced. Others have found full-time work in television. Read about their successes below!
2016 Grand Prize Feature winner Alexis Perkins signed with Stagecoach Entertainment
2016 Family Category winner Matt Kazenberger signed with Entertainment Lab
2016 Hour Pilot winner Julia Cooperman has been staffed on TV series Colony
2016 Top-5 finalist Paul Jarnagin signed with Universal Writers Management
2015 Feature Film Grand Prize winners G.W. Freund & Daniel Bonjour signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
2015 TV Grand Prize winner Eric Buchman signed with Mitch Solomon at Magnet Management and now works as a staff writer on NBC's Blindspot.
2015 Finalists, Paula Sabbaga signed with Brian Spink of REALM.
2014 Science Fiction Category winner Joseph Greenberg sold his contest spec script Man Alive to 20th Century Fox for Noah Hawley of Fargo to direct. Man Alive also made the 2016 Black List! Click here to read his full story.
2013 Half-Hour TV Pilot winner Nicholas Anthony is now working in the writers room of CBS' The Inspectors.
2014 Top-5 finalist James Barclay signed with Magnet Management.
2014 One-Hour TV Pilot winner Derek Asaff signed with Matt Shictman and Peter McHugh of The Gotham Group.
2014 Final Draft Big Break Contest winner in the Drama category Peter Wulff has signed with Big Break judge Jeff Portnoy of Heretic Literary for management.
2013 Big Break Action/Adventure winner Mike Scannell sells spec Scarecrow to Screen Gems. Click here to read the complete article.
Jacob Stark and Benjy Kaplan, 2013 TV Half–Hour Spec winners, have signed with CAA for representation.
TV Grand-Prize winner Kenny Kyle signed with Madhouse and CAA and will join the writers room of
2013 Comedy/RomCom top-3 finalist Stacy Jo Coffey's entry Adult Publishing For Teenaged Girls was optioned by Unstoppable Entertainment.
Nicholas Horwood, 2013 Feature Grand Prize winner, signed with Magnet Management after meeting Mitch Solomon at the Big Break judges’ lunch.
2010 third-place winner Larry Brenner's script Bethlehem sold to Universal — Click here to read the complete article. Big Break judge Mitch Solomon of Magnet Management has also helped Larry secure writing work for hire in both television and features.
2012 Big Break first place winner Craig Houchin signed with agent Joel Millner of Larchmont Literary, and is working with Katonah Pictures producer Chris Salvaterra to package the film of his
winning screenplay, Ludlow.
Since winning the 2011 Big Break, Adam Perlman and Graham Sack have signed with The Gersh Agency for film and television and are developing a film project with Global Produce. Additionally, Adam is a writer for the HBO original television series The Newsroom.
Walt Disney Pictures acquired Labyrinth, a pitch by 2010 third-place Big Break winner Larry Brenner.
2012 Big Break Contest Finalists Marco van Belle & Kat Wood sign with Zero Gravity Management — Click here to read the complete interview.
Big Break Contest Finalists Marco van Belle & Kat Wood sign with Zero Gravity Management
A pair of finalists scored representation out of the Big Break Contest when they signed with manager Jeff Belkin of Zero Gravity Management. Marco van Belle and Kat Wood made the finals with their new script, The Burning Room. They gave us more information about their experiences and their hopes for the future.
Final Draft: What attracted you to the Big Break?
Marco and Kat: The Big Break track record of getting exposure for writers. Of course we didn't know how far we'd progress, so to make the final 35 and get representation with Zero Gravity was unexpected and just fantastic.
FD: Have you tried other contests? Or entering other scripts? Have you had any success elsewhere in the screenwriting world?
M&K: We've entered scripts into competitions before and we've always found the feedback from them encouraging. Our last two features made it through the early rounds of some other big-name competitions, but Big Break this year has been our stand-out success story.
FD: How did the two of you start writing together?
M&K: Marco is also a director, and he first worked with Kat when he directed and produced a script she'd written. The resulting film — Mr. Bojagi — was a big success. It screened at festivals all over the world (including Austin) and was picked up for distribution by Shorts International. They really clicked creatively, so they decided to start writing together and haven't looked back.
FD: What is The Burning Room about?
M&K: It's a horror film about a woman whose life is left in tatters after her husband is brutally murdered and her little boy taken. She's obsessed with finding her son, so when a shadowy group of vigilantes offer to bring her face to face with the man who took him she can't resist. But it's a horror, so of course it turns out that there's a lot more to the kidnapper than she thinks! He's a very, very nasty piece of work.
FD: Writers usually have a lot of stories in their heads. What made you choose to write this story?
M&K: We just wanted to write something that was really true to the genres and films we love watching ourselves. This script has echoes of John Carpenter's version of The Thing and Alien/Aliens, so we had great fun playing with the tone and feel of these films while also stamping our own mark on a great genre.
FD: Now that you're signed with a rep, what are your next steps? Both with the script and with your careers?
M&K: Signing with Jeff has been a huge step in our careers — but it is just one of many steps and we've got many others ahead of us. So the hard work really starts now. But the fact that we're now operating at a far more serious, professional level than we were before entering Big Break is really exciting. It's making us want to work harder than ever.
Jeff Belkin was kind enough to share some of his insights from his perspective of this new relationship.
FD: This is not the first time you've signed a Big Break Finalist. Was there something that Marco van Belle & Kat Wood had in common with Christopher DeBiasse who you signed last year?
Jeff Belkin: The genres, concepts and styles of these writers could not be more different. Except to say that both reads engaged me, entertained me, were professionally composed, and gave me the confidence to get involved in their careers.
FD: Is there a certain "something" you were looking for as far as a brand, style, or a type of writer?
JB: None what-so-ever. "I'll know it when I see it" is generally my motto. Ideally, I'm angling toward more commercial studio projects. But I never say never to most things. I've got indies, bio-pics and tentpole stuff. Low-budget horror is not something I'm actively looking for whatsoever -- but I just really loved this and the voice. Alien is one of my favorite films (as it is of Marco) and there's a lot elements of that movie in The Burning Room.
FD: What do you plan to do next with not only the script, but also with your new clients?
JB: We already have producers interested in making this as a low-budget film (hopefully a theatrical release) -- and are just waiting to see if the financing can be raised. Otherwise, I have another party waiting in the wings. As for their next project, I want to see Marco and Kat put their great characters, dialogue, action et al. into something higher concept and bigger.
FD: While obviously you loved The Burning Room, it didn't make the top-ten in Big Break. Is this script better than its finish might imply? What do you think kept it from getting farther in the contest?
JB: Clearly, everything in this industry is subjective and I have no idea what or if the readers/judges were looking for specifically. While I didn't read all 35 finalists, I did read a good number of them and -- with great respect to the winners and top-ten -- I do believe this script was worthy of placing higher and/or winning.
2009 top-20 semi-finalist Gia Milani's script All the Wrong Reasons was funded and shot in 2012. It stars Cory Monteith from Glee, Karine Vanasse from Pan Am and Kevin Zegers from TransAmerica and The Mortal Instruments. Milani directed the feature.
2011 Big Break 4th-Place Winner Signed by Silent R Management and CAA. — Click here to read the complete interview.
Q&A: Manager Jewerl Ross and Creative Artists Agency Sign Big Break 4th-Place Winner
Manager Jewerl Ross of Silent R Management and CAA sign fourth-place winner of the 2011 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest, Sasha Isaac-Young, for her script The Prettiest Girl. Ross gives us the details about this exciting story of success for the new screenwriter.
Big Break: How did you discover Sasha's script?
Jewerl Ross: As one of the judges of the Final Draft Big Break contest, I am sent the top-five scripts that the readers determine to be the best. This script was one of the five. I first had my assistant read them and give me his thoughts on which were the best. He and I have very similar tastes, and he couldn't stop talking about this script. I read it in short order and flipped for it. For me, it was hands down the best script I had read in six months.
Big Break: What is The Prettiest Girl about?
Jewerl Ross: The teaser I just typed for it says, "The Prettiest Girl explores the themes and complexity of The Talented Mr. Ripley, but disguises it with the perceived innocence of a world dominated by teen girls. When three teenage girls enter the woods and one does not return, our young protagonist Madeline is left to uncover the dark mysteries of her small town as we discover what may be hidden in her heart."
Big Break: What was it about the writing that made you realize you had to sign Sasha?
Jewerl Ross: Intelligence. This script has so much to say and it says it with subtlety and brilliance. It is not like anything I've read. I first read the script on a Saturday at 4:00 p.m. When I finished at 5:30, I walked to my coffee maker, poured myself another cup, walked back to the couch and immediately read it again, cover to cover. I haven't read a script twice in one sitting in 10 years. I knew right away I was in the hands of a real writer. In the weeks following that first read, there have been times that I have been so excited about the script that it has literally kept me awake at night. This script has the quality of any new script I take on: I know that I will be able to send it to 200 people and many of them will be dazzled by it. I have only made one submission so far and that was to CAA. They signed her immediately and have assembled a whole team around her.
Big Break: What was it like to tell Sasha the news? How did she react?
Jewerl Ross: Our first meeting was a two-and-a-half hour love fest. She responded to how I see her movie and my plans for it and her career. I responded to her great ideas, to her wholeness of character, and to her quirky way of seeing the world.
Big Break: What is it like being a judge for Big Break?
Jewerl Ross: This one script has made any involvement I have had with Final Draft worth my time. I know brilliance is so, so very hard to find. When you find it, you are blessed and lucky. The fact that Big Break has turned me on to this new voice, someone who I can imagine representing for the next 20 years, is amazing. I represent only 20 clients and to sign a new one is rare. Many of my current success stories have been with clients that I have represented for over eight years. As a result, it is not a volume game for me. It's about making good choices, long-lasting choices. This is one.
Big Break: How does Big Break stand out among the others?
Jewerl Ross: I don't know. I only judge for this contest. I have read the winners of the most prestigious contests. Occasionally, I have seen great talent in those contests, too. However, I have never have a found brilliance on this level from a contest.
Big Break: What's next for Sasha and her script?
Jewerl Ross: CAA and I are pursuing a three-pronged strategy. We will go out with it as a spec in 2012. We will send it to big-time directors. We will also try to put it together in the independent space.
Rob Frisbee, 2007 Big Break winner, is now making news in the trades with his third writing assignment in the last year and a half. He is represented by Brian Spink at Realm.
— Click here to read the complete article.
2011 Big Break Top-40 Finalist Christopher DeBaisse scores representation – read more
2011 Big Break Top-40 Finalist Christopher DeBaisse scores representation
Screenwriter Christopher DeBaisse, who penned the script We Need Some Space and placed as a top-40 finalist in the Final Draft 2011 Big Break competition, was signed by producer and manager Jeff Belkin of Foremost Films this week. DeBaisse's script is a comedy "about a guy who -- after getting dumped by his girlfriend -- goes on a bender and ends up sleeping through an alien invasion. When he wakes up, he is so single-minded about winning his girlfriend back, that he befriends aliens to find her," says Belkin, who discovered DeBaisse through the Big Break Contest. "Christopher is a great writer. You see his talent immediately on the page. And, perhaps even more impressively, his scripts made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. That's not easy to do and happens rarely," Belkin adds. Big Break is an important contest for Hollywood, he confirms. "For scribes of any level, contests like Big Break prove to be a vital and necessary tool for exposure." DeBaisee, a Los Angeles-based story analyst for Universal Studios, is happy to have that exposure as well as official representation.
2007 Big Break second-place winner Nick Horwood has his script produced – read more
2007 Big Break second-place winner Nick Horwood has his script produced
In 2007, Nick Horwood placed second in the Final Draft Big Break Contest with his medieval buddy-comedy Knight Knight. As part of the contest prize he was flown to L.A., where along with meeting Oliver Stone and several of the contests’ distinguished judges, Horwood also met previous Big Break finalist Brendan Foley. Early in 2011, Foley invited Horwood to attend a workshop for writers and producers in Denmark with him, comedy writer and actress Shelley Goldstein, producer Lars Herman, and Hollywood veteran producer Ned Dowd. Among the 28 European writers and producers was filmmaker Christina Bucher, who persuaded Horwood to let her direct Knight Knight and to co-produce the film with her. Less than two months later, shooting was completed on the low-budget medieval epic, shot entirely on location in a genuine medieval castle. Nick Horwood said, "Big Break was the first contest I entered and it’s fitting that Knight Knight is the first feature film I have seen go from script to screen … earning me a writer, producer and actor credit along the way!"
(Photo credit: Hermit Film Productions)
For more information: http://www.facebook.com/Knightknightthemovie
2010 Big Break Winner Tejal Desai gains management and an option for his script before he left L.A. – read more
2010 Big Break Winner Tejal Desai gains management and an option for his script before he left L.A.
2010 Big Break winner Tejal Desai had a manager and an option for his script Cowboys and Hindus before his three-day trip to Los Angeles was over. Big Break judge Jewerl Ross of Silent R Management immediately responded to the script and snapped up Tejal as a client shortly after they first met in person. Synthetic Pictures has also inked a deal for Tejal to write and direct his script. Tejal says: "[What] a memorable experience at Final Draft in Los Angeles! The hotel, the meetings, the limo ride, red carpet, awards dinner, and the party, it was all amazing and truly unforgettable. What a great night!! [Big Break is] definitely one of the premier writing contests and I will recommend it to everyone I know." Mr. Ross had this to say about Tejal's screenplay Cowboys and Hindus, "This script epitomizes superior storytelling: characters whose humor and tragedy tug at the heart, and whose fears, desires and deepest emotions become your own, making it not an exercise in entertainment, but a complete validation of the power of great art. I'm excited to get to work for him." For more information about Jewerl Ross, please go visit http://www.silentrlit.com.
2010 Big Break second-place winner Mick Connolly gains a manager and an agent – read more
2010 Big Break second-place winner Mick Connolly gains a manager and an agent
2010 Big Break second-place winner Mick Connolly of Melbourne, Australia took home honors for his clever, fast-paced heist comedy Crims. On returning home, he was contacted by Endeavor co-founder turned manager/producer David Greenblatt (the upcoming Battle Los Angeles). Connolly and his two fellow Big Break winners met and pitched to Greenblatt as part of their prize and Greenblatt loved the script. Greenblatt is now repping Connolly. Just days later, William Morris Endeavor Agent Danny Greenberg signed Connolly as well, and the team is busy introducing Crims to the industry. Connolly says: "The Big Break Contest lived up to its name for me. I secured a great manager within a week, met with executives and agents, and now have a number of producers asking to read my script. Final Draft opens doors!"
2009 Big Break winner Wyatt Wakeman signed by Big Break judge Brian Spink of Realm Literary
– read more
2009 Big Break winner Wyatt Wakeman signed by Big Break judge Brian Spink of Realm Literary
2009 Big Break winner Wyatt Wakeman was the first entrant to make the semi-finals with two different scripts. Judge Brian Spink recognized his talent quickly and signed Wyatt for representation shortly after his win with Borderland was announced. Wyatt says: "It's easy to forget that there are people out there who try and honestly support the writer, who get genuinely excited for him, and who want to see him succeed. Final Draft has given me back my faith in the process. You know those few elusive, mythical steps that exist between being a struggling writer and having representation that believes in you, with the moxy to make things happen? Enter and win the Final Draft Big Break Contest and those moments happen right before your eyes."
2006 Big Break winner Robert Frisbee gains management from Benderspink – read more
2006 Big Break winner Robert Frisbee gains management from Benderspink
2007 Big Break winner Robert Frisbee’s Cityfall made quite an impression on industry judges as well as industry execs who wanted to meet with Rob. Rob says, "A writer anywhere in the world can submit his or her script and know that it will be seen by people will not only read it, but who care greatly about cultivating undiscovered talent. In the weeks since winning the contest, doors are indeed opening."
Rob was snapped up by Benderspink management and several agents are interested in signing him.
2005 Big Break winner Julia Van Develder's The Escape Artist optioned by U.K. production company – read more
2005 Big Break winner Julia Van Develder's The Escape Artist optioned by U.K. production company
2005 Big Break winner Julia Van Develder’s The Escape Artist is in pre-production. The Escape Artist was optioned by a U.K. production company for award-winning director/writer/producer Helen Grace to direct. Julia says, "There's just no way to overstate how much easier Final Draft makes the writing process. 'Just add words' is so apt. And the contest? I call Liz Alani (the contest director) my fairy godmother. Thank you, Final Draft!"
2004 Big Break winner Rylend Grant signed by CAA – read more
2004 Big Break winner Rylend Grant signed by CAA
2004 Big Break winner, Rylend Grant, quickly signed with CAA. Rylend says, "They've created quite a fan base for me. We have a lot of people, mostly directors, flirting with my winning screenplay DRIVE right now, and I'm meeting with a slew of major production companies. than anything though, DRIVE has become a calling card. It's created other opportunities. The Big Break Contest gave me a seal of approval, a big shiny medal hanging off of that calling card and because of that I just signed a six-figure deal to write for an A-list actress and an Oscar®-winning director. I am now writing a remake of a Chabrol film called L'ENFER for Luc Besson and Penelope Cruz. I'm having the time of my life. It's hard to believe I'm getting paid to do this." We are thrilled for Rylend!
2002 Big Break winner Shawn Corridan signed by MBST Management, winning script 8 Track picked up by Fox 2000 – read more
2002 Big Break winner Shawn Corridan signed by MBST Management, winning script 8 Track picked up by Fox 2000
2002 Big Break winner Shawn Corridan says, "Final Draft software and Big Break Screenwriting Contest opened doors that countless query letters, screenwriting how-to books, and a thousand thankless hours of writing could not. As a result of using Final Draft software and ultimately winning the contest, I was offered, literally overnight, representation by numerous agents and entertainment managers and was taking meetings with directors and TV and film producers." Shawn quickly signed with MBST Management. As seen October 2003 in The Hollywood Reporter, Fox 2000 has picked up Shawn Corridan's winning screenplay "8 Track" with directing team the Malloy brothers onboard to helm and Gil Netter to produce. The project is being envisioned as a gritty coming-of-age surf story, which draws on Corridan's life and surfing experiences. "8 Track" represents Shawn's first feature sale.
2001 Big Break Finalist Brendan Foley has first feature film produced – read more
2001 Big Break Finalist Brendan Foley has first feature film produced
Brendan Foley premiered THE RIDDLE, his produced 2001 Big Break finalist script, at the Austin Film Festival in October 2007. THE RIDDLE is a $5 million indie and was Brendan’s first feature as a director. It stars Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand), Derek Jacobi (Gladiator), Vanessa Redgrave, and Julie Cox. In September 2007 it made headlines in the trades by becoming the first film ever to premiere in conjunction with a national newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, the UK's top selling Sunday paper. The paper bought UK DVD rights and distributed 2.6 million copies, making the film one of the most-watched indie launches of all time.
2001 Big Break Finalist TJ Lynch's film A Plumm Summer produced, starring Henry Winkler, William Baldwin, and Peter Scolari. – read more
2001 Big Break Finalist TJ Lynch's film A Plumm Summer produced, starring Henry Winkler, William Baldwin, and Peter Scolari
2001 Big Break Finalist TJ Lynch recently wrapped production on his Big Break top-10 screenplay. Retitled A Plumm Summer, the film’s cast includes Henry Winkler, William Baldwin, and Peter Scolari. TJ says, "I'm a big believer in screenwriting contests. For the unknown writer, winning or placing in the major competitions such as the Final Draft Big Break Contest is the fastest way to put oneself on the map. Perhaps even more importantly, they are an efficient and impartial gauge with which to measure one's own writing with one's peers. Placing 7th out of 2,600+ entries gave me the booster shot of confidence I needed. Now that the script has been shot and is in the can, I'm on top of the world!"
2000 Big Break winner Ken Hastings' "Dawg" now known as Bad Boy has been produced and shot by
Gold Circle Films.