Most Popular Questions

  • Since I shouldn’t include my personal information in the body of my script or on the title page, how do I remove or clear the title page?

    To clear the title page:

    1. Go to Document > Title Page
    2. Select all the text with Apple (Command) + A on Mac and Control + A on Windows
    3. Press the Delete key to clear the page
    4. Go to File > Close to return to your script

    After the script is saved, when it’s next opened in Final Draft, Document > Title Page will be blank. Don’t worry, the entry system captures your title and provides it to the reader.

    To remove the title page from the PDF export:

    Final Draft 11 / 10 / 9: Click here

    For information on how to create the title page, click here.

  • What is the Diversity category? Is it for scripts about Diversity issues?

    This category is specifically for underrepresented writers and voices. The story itself does not have to be about inclusion or issues of equality. When submitting, you can select the Diversity category and the actual genre of your script.

  • Who can submit in the Diversity Feature Film and Television categories?

    Underrepresented writers, including but not limited to:

    • American Indian
    • Asian/Pacific Islander
    • Black
    • LatinX
    • Middle Eastern
    • Women
    • Non-Binary
    • Differently-abled
  • How can I be sure my script will not be plagiarized?

    We recommend that you register your script with the WGA and/or the U.S. Copyright Office. We do not require such registration for entry. We are aware that we instruct you not to include a cover page (so that readers cannot see your name) and that copyright or registration information would normally be on that page. We simply recommend that you take at least one of those steps to protect your intellectual property.

    Whether you do or not take those steps, your script will still be read. At no point in the entry process do we check for registration or copyright. Our contest has been running 20 years and we are very careful with our entrants’ scripts. However, those easy steps will help ensure that your work is protected.

  • How long should my screenplay be?

    Suggested length for screenplays is approximately 80 to 120 pages and for teleplays it is approximately 25 to 70 pages. Entries over 150 pages WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

    Submissions less than 20 pages or that are clearly not a screenplay (short stories, comic books, etc.) will also be disqualified.


  • What are the criteria for judging, and which genres are accepted?

    The eight main feature genres for entries are:

    • Action/Adventure – Films with strong action scenes, exotic locales, stories of adventure.
    • Comedy/Rom-Com – Romantic comedies, straight, dark and raunchy comedy, satires, etc.
    • Diversity – Open to writers from diverse backgrounds. Who can enter?Underrepresented writers, including but not limited to:
      • American Indian
      • Asian/Pacific Islander
      • Black
      • LatinX
      • LGBTQIA
      • Middle Eastern
      • Women
      • Non-Binary
      • Differently-abled
    • Drama – More serious, realistic scripts exploring dramatic stories with deep themes.
    • Family/Animated – Scripts directed to the children/family market, movies that can be enjoyed by the whole family, animated features.
    • Period/Historical/War – Biopics, scripts based largely in the past, war epics, and scripts featuring historical characters.
    • Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Space travel, disaster and post-apocalyptic stories, scripts set in alternate worlds and universes, stories with magical elements.
    • Thriller/Horror – Scripts that use suspense, fear and/or tension as main story elements, spy and crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, ghost, zombie and monster stories.

    For TV scripts, we accept entries in:

    • Half-Hour Original Pilot – 30 minute original television scripts, typically comedy but not always.
    • Hour-Long Original Pilot – 60 minute original television scripts, typically dramas but not always.
    • Diversity Original Pilot – Open to writers from diverse backgrounds. Who can enter?Underrepresented writers, including but not limited to:
      • American Indian
      • Asian/Pacific Islander
      • Black
      • LatinX
      • LGBTQIA
      • Middle Eastern
      • Women
      • Non-Binary
      • Differently-abled

    Pick the genre that best fits your script. You can also enter the same script in a different genre for additional consideration, but you will need to submit another complete entry for that script. The readers and judges look for qualities such as craft and execution, originality, dialogue,
    and structure.

  • Is coverage provided?

    The Big Break is a rewards-based contest and offers cash, prizes and Hollywood meetings for the winner — no feedback or coverage.

  • Who will be reading and judging my screenplay?

    Our readers are professional script analysts who carefully evaluate each entry and sign confidentiality agreements to ensure that your work is protected. After screenplays are narrowed to finalists, a panel of notable industry professionals conducts the final judging to determine the winners. These jury members represent award-winning writers, producers, and A-list development executives. A current list of our judges can be found here: https://www.finaldraft.com/big-break-screenwriting-contest/judges/

Entering Your Script

  • Who can enter?

    Any rule-abiding writer 18  and older whose screenplay or teleplay is not currently optioned.

  • What is the deadline to enter the 2020 Big Break Contest?

    Deadines and the associated entry fees:

    $45.00 – Early Bird Deadline – April 30, 2020
    $55.00 – Regular Deadline – June 25, 2020
    $65.00 – Extended Deadline – July 9, 2020
    $75.00 – Last Chance Deadline – July 30, 2020

    Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by their respective deadlines.

  • Is there an entry fee?

    Yes, the Big Break Contest does charge an entry fee to cover the costs of administration and reader fees.

    Entry fees:

    $45.00 – Early Bird Deadline – April 30, 2020
    $55.00 – Regular Deadline – June 25, 2020
    $65.00 – Extended Deadline – July 9, 2020
    $75.00 – Last Chance Deadline – July 30, 2020

    Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by their respective deadlines.

  • Can I enter the same script in more than one year of the Big Break Contest?

    Yes, many entrants revise their scripts several times and re-enter. Some have gone on to become finalists after doing so. Only category winners and grand prize winners may not re-enter their winning scripts.

  • Can I submit multiple screenplays and/or teleplays during one contest year?

    Yes, you may enter as many different scripts as you wish. Each script must be submitted as a separate entry.

  • Can I enter the same revised script more than once in the same contest year?

    Yes, but the revised script will be counted as a new entry and must be submitted separately.

  • Do you prefer digital or printed scripts?

    We’re environmentally conscious and only accept digital scripts. We accept Final Draft (FDX) or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files.

  • Do you accept teleplays or stageplays?

    We accept hour-long and half-hour original television scripts in addition to feature screenplays. We do not have a category for stage plays.

  • Do I need to be a Final Draft user to enter the Big Break Contest?

    No, you do not have to use any Final Draft products to enter the Big Break Contest. Complete information on eligibility can be found in the Big Break rules on the Big Break product page.

    In fact, many scripts are submitted in PDF format. The judges have no idea which software generated the script.

  • Can I submit a screenplay with a writing partner?

    Yes, you and up to three other writing partners will be credited as winners and will divide the prizes amongst yourselves with the exception of travel for the grand-prize feature and grand prize TV winners. Travel and hotel for up to two writers in those categories will be provided. It is the responsibility of the winners to decide who will travel and attend the meetings and how the cash and prizes will be distributed.

  • Can I send my script in a language other than English?

    You may enter the contest, but the script must be written in English so that our readers can read it. If a script has other languages in it as part of the plot, simply denote that the line will be spoken in another language using a parenthetical, e.g. (Speaking in Spanish).

  • Can I submit images, audio, or accompanying documents along with my screenplay or teleplay?

    Scripts in the industry are judged on the merit of the story and the writing skills. Because our judging emulates the industry evaluation process, we cannot accept any supplemental materials along with your script.

    The exceptions are:  1. Original hour-long and half-hour TV entries, which may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes, as part of the screenplay. 2. Images within the script (maximum file size is 20mb).

  • What do I do if I’m having problems submitting?

    Our team is happy to assist you with your entry. Please note the error message you have received (screenshots are preferred) and contact us here. Below are examples of the error messages you may

    • Unable to upload script (please make sure your file is 1mb or less)
    • Rejection from processor
    • Credit card decline
    • Credit card decline due to address
    • Other


  • I don’t live in the United States. Can I still enter?

    Yes, we accept entries from most nations and territories in the world. We’ve received submissions from Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and China, to name a few. And if you’re one of the grand prize winners, we’ll fly you from wherever you live to Los Angeles for the contest awards event.

Notifications and Verification

  • When are the semifinalists, finalists and winners announced?

    The quarter-finalists will be announced in late September via a Final Draft email blast and listing on the Big Break website. The semifinalists will be announced in October, the top-10 finalists in features and television in early November, the top-5 in mid-November, and the winners in both feature and TV in early December. Category Finalists and Grand Prize winners will be notified by the contest director via phone or email. The Grand Prize winners in features and TV will be revealed at annual awards show (January-February).

  • How can I verify that my submission is in order and has been received?

    You will be notified by email immediately after submitting your script that your entry has been received. If you have received a confirmation email, your script is in our system and no further action is necessary. If you have not received a confirmation email, please check your junk mailbox or junk filter. If the confirmation is not in either place, email us here for a copy of your confirmation. We will contact you if there is any technical issue with the file you submitted.

Rights, Options, and Adaptations

  • Do I retain the rights to my screenplays after submitting to the Big Break Contest, whether or not I win?

    Yes, you retain all rights until you choose to sell or option your screenplay and/or teleplay.

  • I’ve written a screenplay based on a true story. May I use real people’s names in my Big Break submission?

    We do accept adaptations of true stories, however, you must be sure that the people represented in the script have given you permission to use their names and stories unless those stories are in the public domain and the rights are available. In order to enter, you must be able to grant the rights to the story you wrote to a producer, should they want to option the script. Securing the rights to the source material is the responsibility of the screenwriter. If you feel that the rights are available, you may certainly enter. Regrettably, we cannot offer any advice on whether or not the rights are available. We recommend that you consult an attorney if you plan to pursue the project, as the question regarding rights – even life rights – would eventually come up and need to be addressed prior to anyone’s optioning or buying the script.

  • Is it possible to submit an adaptation of a novel that no longer has copyright (author deceased over 100 years ago)?

    We do not accept any adaptations, only original material.

  • Would you accept a screenplay that is an adaptation of a published book, where the writer has contractually optioned the movie rights to the book?

    No, the source material for an adaptation must be written by the screenwriter entering the contest.

  • Can I submit a screenplay or teleplay that was previously under contract but the contract has elapsed?

    Any script that is CURRENTLY NOT under option (or contract) is eligible to enter the contest. If a pre-existing option has expired, you are able to enter.

  • What happens if I have an opportunity to sell or option my screenplay or teleplay after entering the contest, but before the contest is over? Will I still be able to sell or option it?

    Yes, you would simply have to inform us that the script was optioned or sold and we would remove it from the judging. We highly encourage all writers to hold off on withdrawing their submission until any option deal is indeed fully executed.

Dear Screenwriters: Supporting you is our top priority, but due to the effects of COVID-19 response times are running considerably longer. Please be patient, stay well, and keep writing!