2nd Annual Diversity Springboard Screenwriting Contest

Contest Info

In our ongoing mission to democratize the entertainment industry for all creatives around the world, Stage 32 is thrilled to announce our 2nd Annual Diversity Springboard Screenwriting Contest!

 

This year's winner will be personally mentored by: 

Adjoa Andoh, who plays "Lady Danbury" in the critically acclaimed series "BRIDGERTON"!

"From the moment we first saw Andoh strutting across the screen as the regal and forthright Lady Danbury in the Bridgerton premiere, it became abundantly clear that hers is a scene-stealing turn worth watching." - TVLine

 

NAACP Image Award-Winner Doug Atchison,

the filmmaker behind critically acclaimed films including AKEELAH AND THE BEE and BRIAN BANKS! 

"I cannot find the words to express my joy and elation over this movie and my love for it. As ironic as that is, I'm speechless with happiness." - Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel, 3BlackChicksReview

 

Our Grand Prize Winner will be flown to Hollywood to meet with some of the most connected and successful executives in the business from companies including Warner Bros. TV, ViacomCBS, Circle of Confusion, Stutton St. Productions, Entertainment One, The Kaplan Stahler Agency, Gidden Media and more! 

ALL Finalists will not only receive exposure to our incredible panel of judges, and will also have their titles and loglines featured in the Stage 32's industry Look Book which will be sent to over 500 executives and professionals who work directly with Stage 32. If an executive requests your script or a meeting with you, we will facilitate!

 

Now more than ever, the entertainment industry is making strides to ensure that voices from all backgrounds and points of view are heard and represented. Stage 32 has been at the forefront of democratizing the industry for 10 years and our commitment to ensuring new voices in both features and television are given a platform to create is stronger than ever.

We are excited to be a part of a change in the industry that sees more stories featuring diverse characters, from creators who are of diverse backgrounds themselves.

Since its inception in 2011 when we launched with our "One Love" initiative, Stage 32 has been committed to providing opportunities and a platform for unrepresented and underrepresented creatives from all backgrounds, including people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and those who are passionate about storytelling no matter the background. (Check out our ONE LOVE initiative here)

Stage 32 continues its worldwide search for the best screenplays and teleplays from writers of diverse backgrounds or writers with diverse and unique stories.

If you have a diverse and unique story that needs to be told, or if you come from an underrepresented background, now is the time to bring it and show us what you've got, because our goal is to amplify your voice, give you the access Stage 32 is known for, and springboard your writing career to the next level!

 

The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to LA and meet with your Judge and Mentor Board:

  • NAACP Image Award-winning Filmmaker, Doug Atchison (AKEELAH AND THE BEE, BRIAN BANKS)
  • Jonathan Harris, Vice President, Drama Development, Warner Bros. Television ("LOVECRAFT COUNTRY", "QUEEN SUGAR", "ALL AMERICAN")
  • Janean Jeffries, ViacomCBS ("SCHITT’S CREEK")
  • Becca Longrenn, Circle of Confusion (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON)
  • Tara Joshi, Sutton St. Productions ("JANE THE VIRGIN", "GILMORE GIRLS")
  • Jalessa Jones, Entertainment One ("CRUEL SUMMER")
  • AE Jones, The Kaplan Stahler Agency (Client credits include "DEAR WHITE PEOPLE", "FRESH OFF THE BOAT")
  • Rachel Paulson, Actress-Director (GAY VS. STRAIGHT B*TCHES)
  • Chris Ceccotti, Gidden Media (BRIAN BANKS)

Every industry professional on the mentor board who is judging the contest comes from a diverse background or has worked on diverse stories. Each judge is looking to provide opportunity for writers who have traditionally not had a voice in the industry. No matter if your script is a feature or a television pilot, no matter the budget, no matter the genre, our judges simply want to find and amplify the most talented writers from diverse backgrounds and the most interesting projects from passionate storytellers.

 

 

If you make the top 10, you still get massive exposure to decision makers!

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, Art/Work and many, many more.

 

Stage 32 Gets Results!

 

Meet Jeffrey Thompson the Winner of the 1st Annual Diversity Springboard Screenwriting Contest!

 

Stage 32 screenwriting and television writing competitions have springboarded over TWO DOZEN screenwriting careers! All of these writers have either been signed, optioned, or are now working screenwriters in the industry.

Some highlights from Stage 32 contest winners and finalists in the last 12 months alone include:

  • 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 being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Greg Mania - was signed by Laina Cohn and Jon Taub of Cohn/Torgan Management after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • Christina Pamies - was signed by prolific spec script selling manager Jake Wagner of Alibi Entertainment after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32! She was hired to write the horror Thriller BAGHEAD for StudioCanal (see the announcement on Deadline here)!
  • Christine Torres - signed with prolific manager and producer Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment after being set up on a meeting by Stage 32!
  • See dozens of success stories below under "Our Track Record"

 

Unprecedented access. Greater opportunities.

Better exposure. More reads.

Real success!

 

What Types Of Scripts Can I Enter?

We’re looking for any and all original screenplays and teleplays.

Feature Length Screenplays:

All genres of feature film screenplays are welcome.

Teleplays:

All genres of 30 or 60 minute Original Pilots. Please no spec scripts based on existing shows.

Resubmission Option

Do you think you will want to send an updated draft later in the competition? For an additional fee of only $39 you will be able to resubmit one (1) revised draft up to 24-hours after the Final Deadline of the Contest. This option is good for a one-time use and is non-refundable/non-transferable if you do not enter an updated draft. See full terms in the Rules Section.

Feedback Option

For an additional fee of only $49 you can receive full coverage from our industry readers on your screenplay or teleplay. Just check "coverage" upon checkout. Coverage will be sent out after the winners are announced.

"I found Stage 32’s contest coverage far better than some other services I have used in the past, where I felt almost assaulted. Please thank him or her for a well-done job. It was my first try with Stage 32 but it will not be my last." - Bob C.

"Stage 32 contest coverage is even better than some of the industry coverage I received. Thank you for these invaluable notes!" - E. Robinson

"The insight from my coverage from the Stage 32 contest helped me improve my script's dimension exponentially. I had looked at the script so much that I can't believe I missed a major plot point. Thank you!!" - S. Persons

Contest Prizes

The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to LA and meet with your Judge and Mentor Board:

  • NAACP Award-winning Filmmaker, Doug Atchison (AKEELAH AND THE BEE, BRIAN BANKS)
  • Janean Jeffries, ViacomCBS ("SCHITT’S CREEK")
  • Jonathan Harris, Vice President, Drama Development, Warner Bros. Television ("LOVECRAFT COUNTRY", "QUEEN SUGAR", "ALL AMERICAN")
  • Becca Longrenn, Circle of Confusion (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON)
  • Tara Joshi, Sutton St. Productions ("JANE THE VIRGIN"
  • Jalessa Jones, Entertainment One ("CRUEL SUMMER")
  • AE Jones, The Kaplan Stahler Agency
  • Rachel Paulson, Actress-Director (GAY VS. STRAIGHT B*TCHES)
  • Chris Ceccotti, Gidden Media (BRIAN BANKS)

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, 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

Doug Atchison (Mentor)

Doug Atchison (Mentor) - NAACP Image Award-Winning Filmmaker,

Doug Atchison wrote and directed the award-winning feature film, AKEELAH AND THE BEE, released by Lionsgate and starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, and Keke Palmer. AKEELAH was a commercial and critical success for which Doug was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Best Screenplay. His script for AKEELAH won a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Doug wrote the screenplay for BRIAN BANKS, a feature film produced by Amy Baer, released in 2019 by Bleecker Street and ShiVans Pictures, and for which Doug won the Humanitas Prize and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Best Screenplay. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac and stars Greg Kinnear, Aldis Hodge, and Morgan Freeman.

Doug has written screenplays and TV projects for most major studios and production companies including Dreamworks, Lionsgate, ABC, Disney, HBO, Miramax, Overbrook, Blumhouse, Relativity, Dimension, 2929 Entertainment, Walden Media, and Kamala Films. Previously, Doug co-wrote the screen adaptation of Rebecca Gilman’s play SPINNING INTO BUTTER, starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Doug is currently adapting the novel Crescendo into a feature film for Streamline Global. He is also set to direct his original screenplay, OUT SPOKEN, a love story set in the world of basketball and spoken word poetry, for producers Laura Rister and Lou Pitt.

Doug has been making movies since the age of 14 and graduated from the USC School of Cinema-Television. He serves on the Inclusion and Equity Group for the Writers Guild of America. He has also taught screenwriting at the university level.

 

Janean Jeffries (Judge)

Janean Jeffries (Judge) - Senior Coordinator, ViacomCBS

Janean Jeffries is the Senior Coordinator at ViacomCBS working directly with the Executive Vice President Head of Production for MTV, VH1, CMT, Paramount TV, Logo, Smithsonian Channel, MTV Studios, TVLand, Pluto TV, Comedy Central, and Pop which produced and distributed the hit series "SCHITT'S CREEK."

Paramount TV released THIS IS PERSONAL which took an insider look at the struggle for intersectional activism among the Women's March leadership. While Logo released "RUPAUL's DRAG RACE", "CHASING BEAUTY, and "HUNGRY". 

Janean has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, giving her a broad knowledge of what executives want and need on their screens. Previously, Janean worked for Love Life Entertainment & CBS Films.

Jonathan Harris (Judge)

Jonathan Harris (Judge) - Development Executive, Warner Bros. Television

Jonathan Harris is Vice President of Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television. 

Previously, Jonathan was the Development Executive at Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions. He sits at the frontline of all incoming projects and development, and assists in shaping and managing projects as they move into the production pipeline. Previously, he worked in the TV department at CAA and in development for Kenya Barris's production company.

Founded by Jordan Peele, Monkeypaw Productions cultivates artistic, thought-provoking projects across film, television and digital platforms. The company is committed to groundbreaking storytelling, visionary world-building and the unpacking of contemporary social issues.

Monkeypaw Productions champions highly specific perspectives and artistic collaborations with unique and traditionally underrepresented voices. The work challenges the conventional architecture of genre storytelling from horror to science fiction to social satire, while balancing avant garde visual language with undeniably contagious fun.

Becca Lonngren (Judge)

Becca Lonngren (Judge) - Film Coordinator, Cirlce of Confusion

Becca Lonngren is the Film Coordinator at Circle of Confusion, whose clients include prolific feature and television writers and directors who have been featured at Sundance and the Cannes Film Festival.

Circle of Confusion is a feature film and television production and management company whose credits and client credits include "THE WALKING DEAD", KRAMPUS, X-MEN; FIRST CLASS, "12 MONKEYS."

Originally founded in 1990 as a boutique literary management company, it expanded into television and feature production in 2002. In July 2012, it again broadened its scope to include talent management, cementing its reputation as a premiere destination for exceptional writers, directors, actors, content creators, publishers, and journalists.

Tara Joshi (Judge)

Tara Joshi (Judge) - Development Executive, Sutton St. Productions

Tara Joshi is a Development Executive at Sutton St. Productions, Jennie Snyder Urman's production company with development deal at CBSTV Studios. Jennie Snyder Urman's previous credits include "JANE THE VIRGIN", "CHARMED", "GILMORE GIRLS", "90210", and the feature film SOMETHING BORROWED with John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin for Warner Bros.

Sutton St. focuses on female-driven content with an eye towards unique worlds and character-driven comedies and dramas. They are tonally agnostic but tend to respond to wish-fulfilling stories, stories with heart and steer clear of anything overly dark or bleak. They are developing television series and TV movies.

Prior to working at Sutton St., Tara did stints at Universal Television and Lifetime Scripted Series.

Jalessa Jones (Judge)

Jalessa Jones (Judge) - Development Executive, Entertainment One (eOne)

Jalessa Jones is a Television Development Executive supporting the EVP of scripted television at Entertainment One (eOne), an international studio which produces and distributes premium television content across genres, platforms and territories. eOne projects have been recognized by the Oscars, BAFTA, Canadian Screen Awards and the Critics Choice Awards.

eOne just had an amazing audience response to their series "CRUEL SUMMER", the best performing mulit-platform premiere ever. They are currently staffing Season 2.

Jalessa is also currently working on Showtime's "YELLOWJACKETS", which is currently in production and is set to premiere this November among other really exciting projects.

eOne has produced or distributed series including "DEPUTY" for the Walt Disney Company, "INSIDE THE CROWN", "FAMILY LAW", "DESIGNATED SURVIVOR", "FEAR THE WALKING DEAD", among many others.

Previously, Jalessa was the Development Executive at MetaMorphic Entertainment to Producer and Manager Adesuwa McCalla. MetaMorphic Entertainment, has recently signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios.

Prior to MetaMorphic, Jalessa worked in the literary department at the leading management company, Circle of Confusion. She also worked for the VP of Production at Columbia Pictures, and for the President and CEO of Media Res Studio, an independent studio that focuses on prestige, character-driven projects.

Jalessa has been involved in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry, including on the buying and selling side of the business. Jalessa attended Columbia College Chicago's esteemed Television school, where her academic focus revolved around the development, writing, producing, and directing of television shows and aspires to head a studio one day.

AE Jones (Judge)

AE Jones (Judge) - TV-Lit Coordinator, The Kaplan Stahler Agency

AE Jones is the TV-Lit Coordinator at the Kaplan Stahler Agency, where they oversee all tracking of development and staffing opportunities for television writers across broadcast, cable, and streaming markets.

Jones’ experience stems from a wide array of experience across representation, business and creative development, and production, and has held roles at companies such as Red Bull Media House, Paradigm, NBCUniversal, and Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips, LLC.

In addition to their instrumental work keeping the shifting market of television in constant perspective for KSA clients, Jones recently began expanding their role. They are developing a network of writers, artists, and executives, all dedicated to the same thing: discovering and producing radically authentic, honest, joyous and empowering content for young tweens and teens.

AE is the associate producer of Enough Room, a short social impact comedy that tackles the issues of passive racism and societal expectations, while inviting an authentic connection in the face of adversity-- all on a first date!

Chris Ceccotti (Judge)

Chris Ceccotti (Judge) - Head of Development, Gidden Media

Chris Ceccotti is currently the Head of Development and Content Strategy at Gidden Media - the production company run by Billion-dollar executive-turned-proucer Amy Baer. Chris built and oversees a diverse slate of development properties for Gidden, shepherding forward film, TV and digital projects, and pursuing growth partnerships for the company. He developed and manages an incubator program for emerging writers.

Most recently, Chris was a co-producer on Gidden’s inspirational social justice drama BRIAN BANKS starring Aldis Hodge and Greg Kinnear, which won the Audience Award at the 2018 LA Film Festival. 

Chris brought his entrepreneurial spirit to Los Angeles from James Madison University where he founded two businesses before graduating with honors. He began his career in special event production for award campaigns, shows and premieres before moving to Creative Artists Agency motion pictures literary department.

Rachel Paulson (Judge)

Rachel Paulson (Judge) - Producer, Writer and Actress,

Rachel Paulson is a Producer, Writer and Actress who is the younger sister of Sarah Paulson of “AMERICAN HORROR STORY” and Liz Paulson, the SVP of casting at Fox.

Rachel is the star of the series "DATING ZOE", the host of the video series Drink Responsibly with Rachel Paulson, and the co-host of the podcast Gay vs. Straight Bitches with One Tree Hill alum, Lindsey McKeon. She also stars as the lead "Kate" in the upcoming LGBTQ drama film GOOD KISSER by Tello Pictures which premiered at Clexacon 2019. P

Rachel currently has a YA television series in development based on a true story, with Sarah Paulson attached to produce.

Winner Announcements

Nov 26
Quarter-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Dec 10
Semi-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Dec 23
Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Jan 07
Contest Winners Announced
on Stage 32
* Announcement dates subject to change.
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