1st Annual Romantic Comedy Screenwriting Contest

Contest Info

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Love is in the air! Stage 32 is thrilled to announce our 1st Annual Romantic Comedy Screenwriting Contest!

 

QUARTERFINALIST ANNOUNCEMENT - MARCH 18TH

 

SEMIFINALIST ANNOUNCEMENT - APRIL 1ST

 

FINALIST ANNOUCEMENT - APRIL 15TH

 

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT - APRIL 29TH

 

This year’s Grand Prize Winner will be flown to Hollywood to meet one-on-one with our judging and mentoring panel whose credits include the smash Romantic Comedy hits MAMMA MIA 2, MAN UP with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Lake Bell, WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS with Zac Efron, I GIVE IT A YEAR with Anna Ferris and Rose Byrne, and more!

ALL Finalists will receive exposure to our incredible panel of judges and have their titles and loglines featured in the Stage 32's Industry LookBook, which is sent to over 500 executives and professionals who work directly with Stage 32! Previous Stage 32 contest finalists have had their projects optioned and been signed for representation as a result of our industry lookbooks!

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with some love and laughter? We’re looking for Romantic Comedies like recent hits TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, CRAZY RICH ASIANS, or THE BIG SICK to spread the joy this year. With 90’s nostalgia spreading through all of pop culture, it’s the perfect time for the next big rom-com! Our judges can’t wait to fall in love with your script. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your work read!

Nowhere else do you find top judges and mentors like you do on Stage 32. The Grand Prize Winner will meet with an incredible panel of judges from companies that have produced some of the great Romantic Comedies in recent memory including MAMMA MIA 2, FRIENDS WITH KIDS, MAN UP, and other hits like Netflix’s Dark Rom Com smash “YOU”, I GIVE IT A YEAR, DUMPLIN’ and more!

 

Judges' Credits & Company Credits Include:

If you write Romantic Comedy, this contest could launch your career! Streaming services love rom-coms, and are always looking for new material - your time to strike is now. Whether your characters are quirky and cute, or sarcastic and snarky, our judges want to see how they end up together! Bring a fresh twist on the class meetcute and take it from there!

Now - exclusively through Stage 32 - you have the opportunity to meet industry professionals from these prolific companies who will have read your script!

 

The Grand Prize winner will be flown to Hollywood to meet:

 

Julia Verdin, Producer & Manager (THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS)

Holly Hubsher, Creative Executive (MAMMA MIA 2, DUMPLIN’)

Liska Ostojic, Development Executive (TEST PATTERN)

Tessa Shaffer, Literary Manager (FOREVER MY GIRL)

 

Watching a Rom-Com is like drinking a mug of hot cocoa - soothing and sweet. If you’ve been working on a romantic comedy script, it’d be our treat to read it. Give us the pleasure of reading your work, and we’ll make sure others get it too!

 

ALL FINALISTS will be in a Stage 32 Look Book which includes their script title, logline & bio mailed to over 500 industry executives including, managers, agents, producers, development executives, and financiers! Stage 32 Look Books are respected throughout the industry and have helped secure dozens meetings and which have led to writer success with companies like Verve, Good Fear, 3 Arts, APA, Echo Lake, Amazon, UTA, CAA, WME, First Friday, Pathfinder, The Cartel, Black Bear Pictures, Lit Entertainment and many, many more.

 

Over the last 8 years, Stage 32’s screenwriting contests have gained a reputation as one of the “most worthwhile screenwriting contests to change your career.” No other contest provides their winners and finalists with the same level of direct access to industry leading professionals who can take your career to the next level! Over the last 8 years, Stage 32 has become an incubator for finding talent and material across the globe.

 

 

Jenny Rauch - Stage 32 Contest Winner 

 

 

 

Recent success stories to come out of Stage 32 include:

  • Gwenn Joyaux won the grand prize in the 5th Annual Stage 32 Short Film Contest for her film Tomorrow Island and was signed by Le'Ander Nicholson from Believeland Management.
  • Ghana born, Montreal-based filmmaker Will Niava was one of the 5th Annual Stage 32 Short Film Contest winners for his film Zoo. Producer Jason Resnick (Serenity, After, Destination Wedding) saw Will's film in the Stage 32 Short Film program and hired Will to work on co-directing a feature film.
  • Billion Dollar Production Company Mandalay Pictures optioned the script 99 Dreams Neon by Donnie Hobbie after Donnie connected with Creative Executive Will Raynor through Stage 32.
  • Writer Robert Levering's feature script, Discredited Citizen is now in development with John Goldwyn Productions ("Dexter", "Dopesick") after connecting through consultation at Stage 32.
  • Search for New Blood Winner Grand Prize Winner - Christina Pamies - was signed by Jake Wagner off of her winning script, A Good Deed! She was hired to write the Horror Thriller BAGHEAD for StudioCanal!
  • The Eye of Owou, written by Martin Reese, received a $5,000 option and with a consideration for $100,000 in production financing!
  • Eric Jeske - was signed by literary managers Krista Sipp and Devon Byers of First Friday Entertainment after winning the 5th Annual Feature Writing Contest and taking meetings set by Stage 32!
  • 10-31, a horror film that will be produced by renowned director Eli Roth, Roger Birnbaum and Orion Pictures,written by Stage 32 member Laurie Ashbourne is greenlit and starts shooting later this year.
  • Chick Fight starring Malin Ackerman, Alec Baldwin and Bella Thorne written by Stage 32 member Joe Downey is in post-production and awaiting release!
  • What Lies Ahead, written by Stage 32 member William Viglione, directed by Stage 32 member Rob Gardner, and packaged by Stage 32 script services executive Tiffany Boyle of Ramo Law was released in theaters in 2019.
  • Vagic, a romantic comedy written by Stage 32 member Julie Ann Cross, received a $7,500 option and is being produced by legendary producer Amy Baer of Gidden Media Group.
  • My Clone’s an A-Hole, a comedy written by Julie Ann Wight was offered a $5,000 option by National Lampoon.
  • I'm Not Jack, a script written by Stage 32 member Jack Cusick, received a $7,500 option and is being developed by legendary producer Amy Baer of Gidden Media Group.
  • Stage 32 member Diana Wright signed with The Cartel after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Stage 32 member Jonathan Jordan signed with Verve Talent and Literary Agency after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Stage 32 member Aaron Benjamin signed with Housefire Management.
  • Stage 32 member Aaron Bierman signed with Verve Talent and Literary Agency after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Stage 32 member Chris Torres signed with manager Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Stage 32 member Greg Mania was signed by manager Laina Cohn of Cohn/Torgan Management after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!

This contest has produced some of the most sought after material from our finalists and winners. Requests for our finalists scripts have increased year over year and our winners have met face to face with a who’s who of working industry executives and gatekeepers!

 

Unprecedented access. Greater opportunities.

Better exposure. More reads.

Real success!

 

Congratulations to our Winners!

NAME TITLE
CALLIE NGUYEN ZELINKER & RICHARD ZELINKER FOLLOWING BRENDAN

 

Congratulations to our Finalists!

NAME TITLE
CHRISTOPHER ISENEGGER CIGARETTE EMOJIS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE
ANDY MAYCOCK THE BEST MAN'S PRIVILEGE
CALLIE NGUYEN ZELINKER & RICHARD ZELINKER FOLLOWING BRENDAN
JENNA MACARI & LOGAN RUSSELL CATCH AND RELEASE
MIKE BENCIVENGA HAUNTED HEART
TJ BERRY THE LAST GOOD SORAYA
BEN MANSBRIDGE THE BRIDAL PARTY
JERUVIA J JUST FRIENDS
BARBARA WADKINS CHARLIE'S GOLD
PETER ANDREWS POWER COUPLE

 

Congratulations to our Semifinalists!

NAME TITLE
BARBARA WADKINS CHARLIE'S GOLD
MARTA REEDER MISS EDUCATED
BREMER DAVIS OUTGROSSED
ANTHONY DEFAY MEADOWBROOK
AARON BAUMANN CREAM CITY KIDS
DEMIAN CUTHBERTSON GALLOWS HUMOR
TOM ADAMS THE CASSEROLE KING
BEN MANSBRIDGE THE BRIDAL PARTY
JENNA MACARI CATCH AND RELEASE
TJ BERRY THE LAST GOOD SORAYA
BRAD CATHERMAN I LOVE YOU MOSTEST
MIKE BENCIVENGA HAUNTED HEART
CHRISTOPHER ISENEGGER CIGARETTE EMOJIS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE
MARY JANE LOWE FOR THE LOVE OF LEO
STEWART FERGUS ROAD TO MACHU PICCHU
LINDSAY STIDHAM LIKE A HURRICANE
CALLIE NGUYEN ZELNIKER & RICHARD ZELINKER FOLLOWING BRENDAN
MARK GALLINI THE GRAY LIST
ANDY MAYCOCK THE BEST MAN'S PRIVILEGE
MICHAEL MAITLAND THURSDAYS WITH EARL
AARON SUTCH BODY CAST
JERUVIA J JUST FRIENDS
PETER ANDREWS POWER COUPLE
JOE WIELOSINKI

IN THE MEANTIME

ROB SHAPIRO

JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE

 

Congratulations to our Quarterfinalists!

NAME TITLE
LAWRENCE FELIX & AMY WOLF RIGHTSIZED
BARBARA WADKINS CHARLIE'S GOLD
MARTA REEDER MISS EDUCATED
MARIANNE GILLES LIFE SURPRISES
BREMER DAVIS OUTGROSSED
MONICA F MYERS SAVING CHARLES DICKENS
TED ELRICK ONE GOOD WEEK
ANTHONY DEFAY MEADOWBROOK
MATTHEW PAPADOPOULOS THE REAL THING
JACK AVENUE BACK ON THE MARKET
AARON BAUMANN CREAM CITY KIDS
DEMIAN CUTHBERTSON GALLOWS HUMOR
TOM ADAMS THE CASSEROLE KING
BARRETT DONNER ZOMBIE OF HONOR
BUDI HARYANTO & DAMION DAMASKE  CRAZY FOR CROC
BEN MANSBRIDGE THE BRIDAL PARTY
PENNER DANG VAMPIRES OF THE NORTH END
JENNA MACARI CATCH AND RELEASE
DAVID EARLE POSTNUPTIALS
TJ BERRY THE LAST GOOD SORAYA
GEORGE GRAHAM MARSH ISLAND MEMORIES
FRANK MENDICINO A BOXED LIFE
PAMELA RYCKMAN DATING DICK (FEATURE)
JEFF EIRICH OLD FRIENDS
GREGORY BREHM ETHAN AND AMINA GET MARRIED?
LARISA VÖDISCH-NIKITINA ANYBODY BUT A MILLIONAIRE!
BRAD CATHERMAN I LOVE YOU MOSTEST
OREN SHAFIR LOVE ME OR LEAVE HER
MIKE BENCIVENGA HAUNTED HEART
CHRISTOPHER ISENEGGER CIGARETTE EMOJIS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE
MISTY MCAFEE HEELS OVER HEAD
ALESSANDRA ALMA ANA WRITES A SEX SCENE
MARY JANE LOWE FOR THE LOVE OF LEO
PAUL SCHOWALTER PLAY BALL!
ELISHA BARNES FAN SITE
ALYS MURRAY STUDY DATE
DAVID GRAY VIVALDI'S REVENGE
GUY KEVIN MANSFIELD ODD MAN OUT
KARL MATHER JEFF'S JUNK
PAUL ANDERSEN SUCKED IN
STEWART FERGUS ROAD TO MACHU PICCHU
STANLEY RAY SPOILERS AHEAD
JOE DYTON MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL
DAVID ANTHONY ONCE BEFORE I KNEW YOU
ELIOT APPLESTEIN PAINTING WITH DOG
DENNIS LYNN CHICK FLICK
RICK MAJZUN AND THEN THERE WEREN'T TWO
CHRISTIE ALLEN & PATTY CAREY UNBREAK MY HEART
LINDSAY STIDHAM LIKE A HURRICANE
ROGER STIGLIANO ANGEL WINGS
CALLIE NGUYEN ZELNIKER & RICHARD ZELINKER  FOLLOWING BRENDAN
BRYAN KELSEY A CHRISTMAS DISASTER
LAWRENCE WATFORD MEG LOVES THE CON
GINA MARIE AMANDA AND STEVEN'S 20 YEAR REUNION
ALEJANDRO LEOPARDI TOXIC
MIKE BENCIVENGA HAUNTED HEART
ROBBIE ROBERTSON ONE NIGHT STAN
NANCY DE LOS SANTOS THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYER
LYDIA FIORE LOVE BIG
BECKY FINK STUCK ON CHRISTMAS
DAVID CLARKE LAMBERTSON BAGGAGE
JAMES RUSSELL HIGH MANDRAKE AND MONA LISA
MARK GALLINI THE GRAY LIST
RYAN UNDERWOOD BEFORE SHE CHEATS
EMILY DUKE FRIENDS AND LOVERS
LYNN NANNA THE ARTFUL DODGER
ANDY MAYCOCK THE BEST MAN'S PRIVILEGE
AVIVA PELTIN STAMPED
MORGAN PEPPER THE NAKED MAN LIST
ALLISON JOHNSON I WON'T DANCE
AVIVA PELTIN HOME FOR HANUKKAH
MICHAEL MAITLAND THURSDAYS WITH EARL
MIKE MEIER THE LOVE HEX OR NICEST FLINGS IN MEXICO
REBECCA GLAZER GREENE LEFT IN PIECES
KIERAN ANGELINI SPEAK ENGLISH
MICHAEL DUGAN SHOULDA SWIPED LEFT
AARON SUTCH BODY CAST
JERUVIA J JUST FRIENDS
CAROLINE FRITZ SECRETARY'S DAY
ERIN ELIZABETH KEEFER HOW TO BE DYSFUNCTIONAL AFTER DIVORCE
ERIN ELIZABETH KEEFER TESSTOSTERONE
PETER ANDREWS POWER COUPLE
ROB SHAPIRO JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE
CHAD WELLINGER BAD ROMANCE

 

Contest Prizes

The Grand Prize winner will be flown to Hollywood to meet with:

 

Julia Verdin, Producer & Manager, Rough Diamond Productions & Management (THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS)

Holly Hubsher, Creative Executive, Anton (MAMMA MIA 2, DUMPLIN’)

Liska Ostojic, Head of Development, 120E Films (TEST PATTERN)

Tessa Shaffer, Literary Manager, Corvisiero Literary Agency (FOREVER MY GIRL)

 

If you reach the Finals, you still get massive exposure to decision makers!

ALL FINALISTS will receive a FREE MONTH OF THE MEMBER'S ONLY STAGE 32 WRITERS' ROOM and will be in a Stage 32 Look Book which includes their script title, logline & bio mailed to over 500 industry executives including, managers, agents, producers, development executives, and financiers! Stage 32 Look Books are some of the most sought after talent resources for the industry and have helped secure meetings with places like Verve, Good Fear, 3 Arts, APA, Echo Lake, Amazon, UTA, CAA, WME, First Friday, Pathfinder, The Cartel, Art/Work and many, many more.

 

Our Track Record

Stage 32’s contests have gained a reputation as one of the “most worthwhile contests to change your career.” No other contest provides their winners and finalists with the same level of direct access to industry leading professionals who can take your career to the next level! Stage 32 has become an incubator for finding talent and material across the globe.

  • Samantha Clay - signed with Zero Gravity Management!
  • Eric Jeske - signed with Krista Sipp & Devon Byers from First Friday Entertainment and is currently in the middle of negotiating an option for his winning project with a major international producer!
  • Christina Pamies - signed with Jake Wagner of Alibi Entertainment. Hired for writing assignment by StudioCanal.
  • Christine Torres - signed with manager and producer Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment.
  • Greg Mania - signed with manager Laina Cohn of Cohn/Torgan Management.
  • Jonathan Jordan - signed with Verve Talent & Literary Agency and manager Byron Austen Ashley.
  • Duane Piedmont - signed with Kaplan-Stahler Agency and Heroes And Villains Entertainment.
  • Brittni Brown and Jenna Palermo - signed with Infinity Management International.
  • Benji Smith - signed with Meridian Artists.
  • Trish MacEnulty - attached producer Gavin Dorman to her script.
  • Scott Waldvogel and Matt DeMartini - signed with Gotham Group and APA.
  • Frank Ponce - signed with 3 Arts Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment.
  • Glenn Forbes - signed with Infinity Management International and optioned by Glider Films.
  • Richard Hobley - signed with Paradigm and Goldcrest Films International.
  • 10-31, a horror film that will be produced by renowned director Eli Roth, Roger Birnbaum and Orion Pictures,written by Stage 32 member Laurie Ashbourne is greenlit and starts shooting later this year.
  • Chick Fight starring Malin Ackerman, Alec Baldwin and Bella Thorne written by Stage 32 member Joe Downey is in post-production and awaiting release!
  • What Lies Ahead, written by Stage 32 member William Viglione, directed by Stage 32 member Rob Gardner, and packaged by Stage 32 script services executive Tiffany Boyle of Ramo Law was released in theaters in 2019.
  • Vagic, a romantic comedy written by Stage 32 member Julie Ann Cross, received a $7,500 option and is being produced by legendary producer Amy Baer of Gidden Media Group.
  • My Clone’s an A-Hole, a comedy written by Julie Ann Wight was offered a $5,000 option by National Lampoon.
  • I'm Not Jack, a script written by Stage 32 member Jack Cusick, received a $7,500 option and is being developed by legendary producer Amy Baer of Gidden Media Group.
  • Eric Jeske - signed with Krista Sipp & Devon Byers from First Friday Entertainment and is currently in the middle of negotiating an option for his winning project with a major international producer!
  • Scott Waldvogel and Matt DeMartini - signed with Gotham Group and APA.
  • Frank Ponce - signed with 3 Arts Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment.
  • Glenn Forbes - signed with Infinity Management International and optioned by Glider Films.
  • Richard Hobley - signed with Paradigm and Goldcrest Films International.
  • Diana Wright signed with The Cartel after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Aaron Benjamin signed with Housefire Management.
  • Aaron Bierman signed with Verve Talent and Literary Agency after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!

This contest has produced some of the most sought after material from our finalists and winners. Requests for our finalists scripts have increased year over year and our winners have met face to face with a who’s who of working industry executives and gatekeepers!

Contest Judges

Julia Verdin (Judge)

Julia Verdin (Judge) - Producer & Manager, Rough Diamond Productions & Management

Julia Verdin is the Founder and President of Rough Diamond Productions & Management and is one of the leading independent producers and managers in the industry.

As a producer, Rough Diamond has packaged, produced and obtained financing for over 30 critically-acclaimed projects $10M and under such as THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, STANDER, THE UNWILLING, THE LEAST AMONG YOU, TEMPTATION and 2 JACKS.

As a manager, Rough Diamond represents clients on critically acclaimed projects such as Netflix's Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Narcos, Emmy and Golden Globe winning The Americans, Emmy nominated Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Teen Choice Award winning Pretty Little Liars. They enjoy discovering US, European and Canadian writers for International Co-productions.

Julia's award-winning social awareness short film LOST GIRLS, which she wrote, produced and directed has recently been turned into a feature film, LOST GIRLS: ANGIE'S STORY, which is in post production.

Rough Diamond is especially interested projects with interesting back drops and well-developed lead characters. Thriller, family, rom-com, action and psychological horror features are a plus, as well as social impact projects.

 

Holly Hubsher (Judge)

Holly Hubsher (Judge) - Creative Executive, Anton

Holly Hubsher is the Director of Development & Production at the film/TV financier Anton. She helped oversee the PVOD hit GREENLAND, the Sundance darling THE NIGHT HOUSE and the recent Netflix acquisition CURS>R

Anton has financed Family-friendly features including the PADDINGTON Franchise and DUMPLIN' for Netflix

Before Anton, Holly was at Universal Pictures where she was heavily involved with development on projects like DEAR EVAN HANSEN and WICKED and involved with production and post-production for MAMMA MIA 2 and NIGHT SCHOOL. Holly started her career at WME in the Motion Picture Literary department after graduating from USC.

Liska Ostojic (Judge)

Liska Ostojic (Judge) - Head of Development, 120E Films

Liska Ostojic is the Head of Development for 120E Films, a company run by filmmaker Pin-Chun Liu. The company's second feature, TEST PATTERN (read about it in Variety), was released February 2021.
 
Focusing on stories of diverse and underrepresented voices for an international market, 120E Films is interested in short-form and feature-length content that is timely and impactful.
 
Previously Liska has worked at Dreamworks Animation. After graduating with an MFA from the American Film Institute Conservatory, Liska co-wrote the award-winning shorts CONTRAPELO and WAY IN RYE, as well as numerous commissioned features.
 
Her passion remains collaborating with and mentoring writers, discovering wonderful stories that deserve to be told, and championing ones that will make a difference in the world.
Tessa Shaffer (Judge)

Tessa Shaffer (Judge) - Literary Manager, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Tessa Shaffer is a Literary Manager with Corvisiero Literary Agency, a boutique agency in NYC that represents both authors and screenwriters. The clients of CLA include many New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon #1 Bestselling Authors.
 
Tessa just signed a writer after connecting through a Stage 32 pitch session! She says, "Thank you for adding such a valuable connection for writers and execs."

Corvisiero Literary Agency has a growing relationship with networks and producers and has successfully negotiated book-to-film deals, most recently FOREVER MY GIRL to Roadside Attractions and Disney International with LD Entertainment producing.
 
CLA is currently looking for made-for-TV movies that would be a good fit for Hallmark or Lifetime as well as high concept, YA, and drama content for streamers.

Winner Announcements

* Announcement dates subject to change.
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