6th Annual Comedy Writing Contest

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Wednesday, Jan 20TH 11:59PST Regular Deadine
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Anthony and I have done well in several screenwriting contests, but Stage 32 was the first to set us up with actual production companies and managers. That can’t be overstated.
Keith Strausbaugh Keith Strausbaugh

Contest Info

We think the world could use a good laugh right now. And we’re not alone! Streamers, Studios, Producers, and Literary Managers have been clamouring for more Comedy features and television series. Some of the most popular films of 2020 - including the zany Romantic Comedy THE WRONG MISSY, the underdog Comedy EUROVISION, while instant holiday classics like THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES and HOLIDATE - prove that Comedy is experiencing a resurgence around the world. 

In fact, the Action-Comedy CHICK FIGHT was a just released in theaters and VOD with Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, and Bella Thorne. That script was found through Stage 32!

Now we’re back to answer the call for exciting new comedy! Which is why Stage 32 is excited to announce our 6th Annual Comedy Writing Contest!

 

The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to Hollywood (travel permitting) to meet one-on-one with our incredible panel of judges whose credits and company credits include NIGHT SCHOOL, "BLACK-ISH", DEADPOOL 2, LATE NIGHT, "THE MIDDLE", "DAVE", "THE DAILY SHOW", "CONAN", and representing writers & producers whose credits include "CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND", "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", "SMILF", VACATION FRIENDS for Hulu, and more!

 

Additionally, the Grand Prize Winner will receive one-on-one mentoring from Emmy-nominated Comedy writer Vijal Patel, who has written for "BLACK-ISH", "THE MIDDLE", and "SCHOOLED" for ABC, as well as features for DreamWorks.

 

ALL Finalists will have exposure to these judges, & both their titles & loglines will be featured in our Industry LookBook (sent to over 500 executives & professionals who work directly with Stage 32)! Previous Stage 32 finalists have had their projects optioned &/or been signed because of their inclusion in our LookBooks!

 

Stage 32 is your key to exclusive access & unprecedented opportunity.

 


 

“I signed with Cohn/Torgan Management out in LA which was a direct result of the dozen or so meetings that Stage 32 set up for me...Stage 32 is obviously very important to me now and going forward..." Greg Mania, Winner, Stage 32 4th Annual Comedy Writing Contest

 

"After winning the Comedy Contest, the thought of becoming a working comedy writer went from being a daydream to an actual, attainable goal. I met with all the judges who each had great advice, I’ve made some amazing connections and found champions for my writing, and the team at Stage 32 has gone above and beyond to help guide me and turn my dreams into a reality." - Jenny Rauch, Winner, Stage 32 5th Annual Comedy Writing Contest

 


 

The great Mel Brooks says “Life literally abounds in Comedy if you just look around you.” What an enormously important idea to bear in mind after a year like this!

Comedy is a deceptively nuanced genre. It dares you to take a look at both your grimmest realities and your most outlandish dreams, and to laugh in spite of them both. 

As it is Stage 32's ongoing mission to find the best, unrepresented talent around the globe, our 6th Annual Comedy Writing Contest is a worldwide search for the best screenplays that keep us laughing. And we’re bringing in some of the biggest names in Comedy including the creative minds behind Kevin Hart’s NIGHT SCHOOL, DEADPOOL 2, LATE NIGHT, “THE DAILY SHOW”, “DAVE” and “CONAN” as well as managers who represent writers and producers on "CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND", "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", and "SMILF".

 

The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to LA (travel permitting) and meet with judges and mentors including:

 

Vijal Patel (Emmy-nominated writer, "BLACK-ISH", "THE MIDDLE", "SCHOOLED")

Casey Minella - Literary Manager, Circle of Confusion (Client credits include "CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND", "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", and "SMILF")

Katie Abbott - Literary Manager, Circle of Confusion (Client credits include "CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND", "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", and "SMILF")

Michael Shanker - Creative Executive, 87North Productions (Credits include DEADPOOL 2, LATE NIGHT)

Carli Haney - Producer, MONOPOLY with Kevin Hart

Andrew Kersey - Literary Manager, Kersey Management (Client credits include VACATION FRIENDS)

Rob Kutner - Writer, “CONAN”, “THE DAILY SHOW”

Jonathan Kesselman - Writer/Director, THE HEBREW HAMMER

 

If you place in our Top 10, you will still get amazing exposure to our exclusive panel of 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.

 

Who are the Judges?

Every industry professional on our panel is an unabashed champion for comedic storytelling, and they’ve got the resume to prove it. Incidentally, they’re all on the hunt for the newest and boldest and funniest voices that they can find. 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 with the most unique voices, and the most laugh-out-loud stories imaginable.

This year we are welcoming another all-star panel of judges from leading companies specializing in Comedy, including Circle of Confusion, 87North Productions, Kersey Management, “CONAN”, Kevin Hart's Hartbeat Productions, and more!

 

Stage 32 Gets Results!

Stage 32 screenwriting and television writing competitions have springboarded over TWENTY 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:

  • 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"

 

What Types Of Scripts Can I Enter?

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

Feature Length Screenplays:

All feature film Comedy and sub-genres of Comedy screenplays are welcome.

Teleplays:

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

 

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

 

Unprecedented access. Greater opportunities. Better exposure. More reads.

Real success!

Contest Prizes

The Grand Prize Winner

The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to Hollywood and sent on private one-on-one meetings with the panel of industry mentors including:

  • Circle of Confusion (Client credits include "CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND", "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", and "SMILF") 
  • Kersey Management (Client credits include VACATION FRIENDS for Broken Road & Hulu)
  • Carli Haney, Kevin Hart's producing partner (MONOPOLY, "DAVE", ALL FANCY
  • Rob Kutner (Writer, "CONAN", "THE DAILY SHOW")
  • Vijal Patel ("BLACK-ISH", "THE MIDDLE")
  • Jonathan Kesselman (Award-Winning Filmmaker, THE HEBREW HAMMER)
  • 87North Productions (DEADPOOL 2)

In addition, Stage 32's executive team will send your screenplay title, logline, writer bio & script synopsis to over 500 development executives, producers, managers & agents who work with Stage 32. If an executive requests the script or a meeting, we will facilitate the delivery.

 

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 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.

  • 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

Katie Abbott (Judge and Mentor)

Katie Abbott (Judge and Mentor) - Literary Manager, Circle of Confusion

Katie Abbott is a Literary Manager Circle of Confusion. Katie started at Circle of Confusion in 2015. Starting at Circle as receptionist, Katie was quickly promoted to TV Lit Coordinator, as well as to the desk of a Partner, Brad Mendelsohn.

While working with Brad for established clients such as Doug Jung, Rebecca Sonnenshine, and on hot up-and-coming projects like DAISY JONES AND THE SIX, Katie began carving out her own niche as a Literary Manager, and building up her client list.

Circle of Confusion is a premiere management and production destination for exceptional actors, writers, directors, content creators, publishers and journalists. Circle is active in creating a broad spectrum of television series and feature films, and specializes in the discovery of original, unique and compelling voices. They proudly support diverse artists from all backgrounds and actively encourage creative freedom. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, Circle of Confusion serves clients and productions throughout the world.

 

Casey Minella (Judge and Mentor)

Casey Minella (Judge and Mentor) - Literary Manager, Circle of Confusion

Casey Minella is a Literary Manager at Circle of Confusion. Her clients include Jon Spaihts (DUNE, DOCTOR STRANGE), Gary Whitta (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE, BOOK OF ELI), Tony Jaswinski (THE SHALLOWS), writer/directors Jeff Barnaby (BLOOD QUANTUM), Olly Blackburn (SANDITON, THE WIDOW, KRISTY) and has worked on meaningful projects like Showtime’s WORK IN PROGRESS.

Circle of Confusion is a premiere management and production destination for exceptional actors, writers, directors, content creators, publishers and journalists. Circle is active in creating a broad spectrum of television series and feature films, and specializes in the discovery of original, unique and compelling voices. They proudly support diverse artists from all backgrounds and actively encourage creative freedom. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, Circle of Confusion serves clients and productions throughout the world.

Vijal Patel (Judge and Mentor)

Vijal Patel (Judge and Mentor) - Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-Winning Writer, BLACK-ISH

Vijal Patel is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning writer and executive producer who has written for many award-winning comedy series including ABC’s BLACK-ISH and THE MIDDLE.

Vijal currently serves as writer and co-executive producer of the ABC comedy series SCHOOLED, starring Tim Meadows and AJ Michalka. He also writes and develops feature film projects for the powerhouse studio DreamWorks. Vijal has built his career on writing comedy and using it to explore race, family, religion, politics, and class struggle.

Andrew Kersey (Judge and Mentor)

Andrew Kersey (Judge and Mentor) - Manager, Kersey Management

Andrew Kersey is a Literary Manager and the head of Kersey Management.  Andrew just sold his client's Sci-Fi spec script to Universal with Mike De Luca, the Oscar-nominated producer behind THE SOCIAL NETWORK and the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY movies! You can read more here

Currently, his client’s comedy VACATION FRIENDS is in production at Broken  Road for Hulu starring John Cena and Lil Rel.

Kersey's incredibly talented clients are working on projects at all the major studios and streaming outlets including Netflix and Amazon, and the networks and cable channels ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon

worked his way up through the industry, starting as a production company intern before he working for the management and production powerhouse 3Arts Entertainment. He left 3Arts to get experience in development at a Universal production company, before starting his own management company, Kersey Management, in 2004.

 

Carli Haney (Judge and Mentor)

Carli Haney (Judge and Mentor) - Producer (for Kevin Hart), Producer

Carli Haney is a producer who has worked in Film and TV development for the last eight years as a Creative Executive and Director of Development. Most recently, Carli ran feature and television development for Kevin Hart at Hartbeat Productions. There, she worked to develop feature projects including NIGHT SCHOOL with Kevin Hart, WHAT NOW?, and LET ME EXPLAIN, as well as the television comedy "DAVE" with Dave Burd.
 
She is currently producing MONOPOLY starring Kevin Hart, which was just announced, as well as the TV-movie, "ALL FANCY" for NBC.
 
In addition Carli has worked with A-list companies and industry-leading talent including Jennifer Lopez at Jennifer Lopez Enterprises and an A-list production and finance company with a deal at Warner Bros. She got her start in the industry at Tea Time Films.
 
Michael Shanker (Judge and Mentor)

Michael Shanker (Judge and Mentor) - Creative Executive, 87North

Michael is a Creative Executive at 87North Productions, the production company helmed by DEADPOOL 2 and HOBBS & SHAW director, David Leitch. The company is currently in production on Sony's BULLET TRAIN, starring Brad Pitt.

Previously, in his position as an Executive at 30WEST, Michael worked on films such as LATE NIGHT starring Mindy Kaling and DESTROYER starring Nicole Kidman.

Prior to that, Michael was at Sight Unseen Pictures, where he worked on Reinaldo Marcus Green's directorial debut MONSTERS AND MEN with John David Washington, BAD EDUCATION starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, and BAD HAIR for Hulu.

Rob Kutner (Judge and Mentor)

Rob Kutner (Judge and Mentor) - Writer/Producer, "CONAN", "THE DAILY SHOW"

Rob Kutner is an Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy Award-winning late night television writer who has worked on shows like CONAN and THE DAILY SHOW. Starting out as a writers’ assistant on DENNIS MILLER LIVE, Rob is also the author of the satirical end-of-times bestseller Apocalypse How: Turn the End Times into the Best of Times! and has written material for the Oscars, Emmys, Writers’ Guild Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Guys’ Choice Awards, and two White House Correspondents’ Dinners. Rob has spent the majority of his storied career operating and thriving in the world of late night television.

Jonathan Kesselman (Judge and Mentor)

Jonathan Kesselman (Judge and Mentor) - Award-Winning Filmmaker,

Jonathan Kesselman is a filmmaker who launched his career writing and directing THE HEBREW HAMMER in 2003 to international acclaim with its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It later played a number of international festivals before being picked up for theatrical distribution by Strand Releasing in conjunction with Comedy Central and Paramount Home Video. Voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine.

Jonathan’s second feature film JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO starring Maz Jobrani and John Heard, had its world premiere at the 2014 Austin Film Festival, where it won the Comedy Vanguard award as well as the Audience Award. Jimmy was released theatrically in 2016, followed by a release on Showtime and Netflix.
 
Jonathan has written for Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, and WWE (yes, it’s fake).

Contest Rules

ENTRANT TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Void where prohibited by law.

This Stage 32 Contest is an international contest. Must be 18 years or older to submit.

Entrant agrees to Stage32.com terms and conditions.

This Stage 32 Contest is not a game of chance. All material is read and reviewed by industry professionals.

All quarterfinalists, semi-finalists, finalists and winners are subjectively determined by our judges.

There is no limit to the number of screenplays an Entrant can enter. The same screenplay cannot be submitted multiple times under different names. If so, you will be disqualified.

Entrant must not be an immediate family member or friend of any of the judges or their respective companies.

Entrants must submit screenplays and payment online.

Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.

No waivers are available for this contest.


SCREENPLAY TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Screenplays should be written in English and in standard industry format.

The rights to the Entrant’s screenplay should not have been previously optioned or sold.

The Entrant retains the rights to his or her screenplay at all times.

Entrant’s screenplay must not have been produced.

The screenplay can be submitted with or without a title page and/or contact information.

After a screenplay is entered, no new drafts or corrected pages can be made by the Entrant. No exceptions.

Screenplay must be submitted as a PDF document.

Screenplay must be the original work of the Entrant and may not be based whole or in part on any fictional or non-fictional material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced for which the Entrant does not have rights. Neither Stage 32 nor its judges investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you are acknowledging that you have secured all necessary rights.

Winner Announcements

Apr 09
Quarter-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Apr 23
Semi-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
May 07
Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
May 21
Contest Winners Announced
on Stage 32
* Announcement dates subject to change.

Contest Deadlines

Super Early Bird Deadline

Friday, Dec 4 - 11:59 PM PST

Submission fee: $49.50

Super Early Bird Deadline

Early Bird Deadline

Wednesday, Dec 30 - 11:59 PM PST

Submission fee: $59.50

Early Bird Deadline

Regular Deadine

Wednesday, Jan 20 - 11:59 PM PST

Submission fee: $69.50

Regular Deadline

Final Deadline

Wednesday, Feb 10 - 11:59 PM PST

Submission fee: $79.50

Final Deadline

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