Stage 32 + Gidden Media Romantic Comedy Incubator Program

Contest Info

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

VAGIC, written by Julie Cross

 

SPECIAL DISTINCTION FOR EMERGING VOICE

DIRTY WORDS, written by Rachel Kempf

 

SEE ALL THE FINALISTS BELOW

 

"We are excited to announce that VAGIC by Julie Cross is the WINNER of the Gidden Media/Stage 32 Romantic Comedy Contest! Julie has written an R-rated, laugh-out-loud, feminist romantic comedy in which the heroine learns to "own" her power - romantically, professionally... and sexually! It's a very surprising premise and a fresh, modern spin on the romcom genre. Stage 32's very own Amanda Toney and Nick Assunto did an incredible job setting up the contest, along with an intricate system of dedicated readers. Also, shout out to Rachel Kempf for her script DIRTY WORDS, which we have awarded 'Special Distinction for Emerging Voice.' It's a unique and entertaining script that has a dry, incisive tone and an edgy wit. Congrats Julie & Rachel, and thank you to everyone who participated." - Amy Baer, President of Gidden Media

 

Another unique and exclusive Stage 32 opportunity - This time for Rom-Com Screenwriters!

  • Up to 3 winners will receive $7,500 upfront and be put into an incubator/mentoring program with the opportunity to receive $300,000 in bonuses if the screenplay gets produced (and certain conditions are met). Full details are in the terms & conditions. 
  • Work directly with Gidden Media and producer Amy Baer.

With the tremendous box office success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, BOOK CLUB and THE BIG SICK and the streaming successes of SET IT UP, SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER, and TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE, romantic comedies are making a huge comeback for all types of audiences.  Variety called Rom-Com's the "Hottest genre" for 2018 and beyond. If you have been sitting on a Rom-Com script or been thinking about writing one, now's the time to get it exposure and we have the perfect opportunity for you!

Stage 32 is honored to announce that we have partnered with Amy Baer's Gidden Media to find original, modern romantic comedy feature scripts in our first Romantic Comedy Screenwriting Contest partnership! 

Amy Baer is the founder of Gidden Media. As a studio executive and producer, Ms. Baer has a particular interest in romantic comedy, and the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box officeGidden Media has recently developed and produced MARY SHELLEY with Elle Fanning, which was distributed by IFC in 2018 and BRIAN BANKS, which just won the Audience Award at the 2018 LA Film Festival, directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Aldis Hodge and Oscar-nominated Greg Kinnear. Ms. Baer has worked on some of the most successful Rom-Coms in history, including MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING and SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE. Prior to founding Gidden Media, Ms. Baer was formerly the President & CEO of CBS Films, the Vice President of Production at Tri-Star Pictures, the Executive Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures.

Up to 3 winners will receive $7,500 upfront and be put into an incubator/mentoring program with payments escalating up to $300,000 if the screenplay gets produced (and certain conditions are met). Full details are in the terms & conditions. Writers will be entered into Gidden Media's development incubator/mentorship program working directly with founder Amy Baer and Head of Development Chris Ceccotti.

 

Simply put, if you have a Rom-Com feature, we want to see it!

 

***Check out our FREE webinar with Amy and our CEO, Rich "RB" Botto where they will talk about the industry and specifically what's happening in the Rom-Com market. Click here!***

 

Feedback Option

For an additional fee of only $49 (50% savings!) you can receive full coverage from our industry readers on your screenplay. Just check "coverage" upon checkout. Coverage will be returned after the winners are announced.

Grand Prize:

TITLEWRITER
VAGIC JULIE ANN CROSS

Finalists

TITLEWRITER
BATTLE OF THE EXES MATTHEW HOCH
BORDERING ON LOVE BRIAN JETT
DEATH GETS A LIFE ROBERT TREMBLAY
DIRTY WORDS RACHEL KEMPF
LOVE IN BITS AND PIECES THUY HUGENS
METROPOLITAN GIRL MARYROSE WOOD
QC BEAR KOSIK
THE FATHER OF MY CHILD ERIN CRAMER
THE OTHER SIDE OF ANDIE GINA KELLY
VAGIC JULIE ANN CROSS

Semi Finalists

TITLEWRITER
ART OF SHAVING IVO RAZA
BATTLE OF THE EXES MATTHEW HOCH
BORDERING ON LOVE BRIAN JETT
DEAD IN BED GIGI ARNOLD
DEATH GETS A LIFE ROBERT TREMBLAY
DIRTY WORDS RACHEL KEMPF
FINAL FIXER UPPER HEATHER ESTAY
FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE RONALD LAWSON ECKER
HEY WALRUS! CURTIS WEBSTER
I.D. NOELLE MESSIER
IN CASE I HAVE TO KILL YOU SHEILA D. BOYD
JACK AND THE BOX STORE HEIDI FITZGERALD
LOVE IN BITS AND PIECES THUY HUGENS
LOVE YOU TOO REBECCA MUNLEY
METROPOLITAN GIRL MARYROSE WOOD
MICHAEL WANTS TO MARRY JEN BIESER
MY LIFE IS OVER ROBERT HANDY
OUR BETTER SELVES LAUREN DEVORA
QC BEAR KOSIK
STRAYS RANDY R. LABARGE
SWEET DREAMS JAY CIPRIANI
THE FATHER OF MY CHILD ERIN CRAMER
THE GREEN CUBICLES OF IRELAND CHERYL LAUGHLIN
THE OTHER SIDE OF ANDIE GINA KELLY
THE RULES JENNIFER BLANCHARD
THE WORST HOLIDAY MIKE COCHNAR
TO TRAVEL KATHARINE ELLEN MCPHEE
VAGIC JULIE ANN CROSS
WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU DAVID KEITH MILLER
YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE PERFECT AMBER BROWN

Quarter Finalists

TITLEWRITER
#FLASHEDFICTION CAROL SABIK-JAFFE
19 NIGHTINGALE LANE BOB CANNING
ART OF SHAVING IVO RAZA
BAD ROMANCE CHAD WELLINGER
BATTLE OF THE EXES MATTHEW HOCH
BERKELEY'S BED & BREAKFAST JEANNIE LLOYD GINTHER
BEWITCHING LEONARDO CHAD WELLINGER
BORDERING ON LOVE BRIAN JETT
BRIDESMEN KEVIN REVIE
CHASING EXES JENNY RAUCH
CHEMICAL ATTRACTION HOLLY MARIA HUDSON
DAY ONE JULIE MANRIQUEZ
DEAD IN BED GIGI ARNOLD
DEATH GETS A LIFE ROBERT TREMBLAY
DEJA VOODOO KATHALEEN M. BREWER
DIRTY WORDS RACHEL KEMPF
DOWN AT CACTUS LANES PATRICIA SANTOS MARCANTONIO
DUFFY GIRL SHARON POWERS
FAIR PLAY PATRICK CONNELLY
FINAL FIXER UPPER HEATHER ESTAY
FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE RONALD LAWSON ECKER
FUR THE LOVE OF IT AMANDA KEENER
HER GHOST LOVER BOB CANNING
HEY WALRUS! CURTIS WEBSTER
HOW WE MET BARBARA THOMAS
HUSBAND WITH BENEFITS WENDY KITTS
I.D. NOELLE MESSIER
IN CASE I HAVE TO KILL YOU SHEILA D. BOYD
INCOGNITO NATALIE EKBERG
JACK AND THE BOX STORE HEIDI FITZGERALD
JUICE MAN SUSAN B. CHICK
JUST (GAY) MARRIED MARC BREINDEL
LATE BLOOMERS TERENCE GABRIEL
LET'S BE HAPPY TIM BENNETT-HUXTABLE
LOVE FIXED JERROLD GUADAGNI
LOVE IN BITS AND PIECES THUY HUGENS
LOVE YOU TOO REBECCA MUNLEY
MAP OF YOUR LIFE JORDAN GALLAND
METROPOLITAN GIRL MARYROSE WOOD
MICHAEL WANTS TO MARRY JEN BIESER
MORE THAN WORDS NATALIE NICOLE GILBERT
MY BOYFRIEND THE APP KEVIN BACHAR
MY LIFE IS OVER ROBERT HANDY
NEW DELI JEFFREY PAUL MCMAHON
NOBODY CARES ABOUT CLARA KIM PAIGE BLOOMFIELD
OUR BETTER SELVES LAUREN DEVORA
PAPERBACK WRITER JANICE GARDEN MACDONALD
PICTURE THIS LAURA BUCKLES, DONNA BUCKLES
PIZZA SLUT SARAH ELISABETH BROWN
PROJECT P.A.R.I.S. DENNIS DOUDA
QC BEAR KOSIK
RENEWING VOWS HOLLY LANCASTER
RICH GIRL BAD BOY DIANA AMSTERDAM
SECOND CHANCES GREG REMPEL
SHELF LIFE ANDREA KAIL
SINGLE-MOM-A-PHOBIA JENNIFER BARROW
SNAP HAPPY FIONA HUNNISETT
SOMEBODY TO LOVE JAY CIPRIANI
STRAYS RANDY R. LABARGE
SWEET DREAMS JAY CIPRIANI
THE 70 YEAR ITCH ANDY WASIF
THE BABYMAKER ALICE CHARLES
THE DEVIL'S DUE CAROL SABIK-JAFFE
THE EMOTI-CON NATHAN CHITAYAT
THE FATHER OF MY CHILD ERIN CRAMER
THE GREEN CUBICLES OF IRELAND CHERYL LAUGHLIN
THE GYST CHERYL LAUGHLIN
THE JACK-O-LANTERNS DAN GOFORTH
THE OTHER SIDE OF ANDIE GINA KELLY
THE RULES JENNIFER BLANCHARD
THE WORST HOLIDAY MIKE COCHNAR
THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME LOREE GOLD
TICK MEREDITH POST
TO TRAVEL KATHARINE ELLEN MCPHEE
TOO BIG MEANS WATER DON SANTIAGO
TOXIC DEVIN OVERMAN
VAGIC JULIE ANN CROSS
WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU DAVID KEITH MILLER
WHITE LIES IN CHINATOWN HELMUT METZGER
WORTH WAITING FOR ELLEN WINBURN
YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE PERFECT AMBER BROWN

Contest Prizes

Grand Prize Winners (Up to 3)

Up to 3 writers will be chosen to develop their screenplay with Gidden Media and receive $7,500 upfront with the potential for up to $300k in bonuses if the screenplay gets produced (and certain conditions are met). Full details are in the terms and conditions. 

Our Track Record

Here's why Stage 32 has become known as the leaders in launching careers - our contests winners & finalists find massive success!

  • Feature contest winner Jonathan Jordan signed with Verve Talent & Literary Agency and beat out 2 Nicholl finalists to pen a WGA script for 2 international producers, plus is going in for a 2nd pitch at a major studio.
  • Comedy contest winner Diana Wright signed with manager Audrey Knox at The Cartel.
  • TV contest winner Hedid Nyburg signed with manager Sonia Gambaro from Polinate Entertainment. 
  • Short film contest finalist Steve Desmond sold his spec Harry's All Night Burgers to Warner Bros. and just got hired with his writing partner by FilmNation to adapt The Cabin at The End of the World
  • Search for New Blood contest winner Kevin Bachar's script Blood Relative, has attached director John Poloquin and received an option for financing from a major financing company. They are currently casting. 
  • Search for New Blood contest winners Griffin & Alyssa Devine were signed by HG5 Entertainment and just released their film Recovery in 2018. 

Contest Judges

Amy Baer

Amy Baer - President, Gidden Media

Amy Baer's experience in the entertainment Industry uniquely spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Her first film as a producer was the 2013 hit LAST VEGAS (starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) which grossed $136MM worldwide.

In 2012, Baer raised a 7 figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film, the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED) and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour (WADJDA), had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. It was released by IFC in May 2018.

GM’s next film, the inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS, had its World Premiere at the LA FILM FESTIVAL on September 22nd, 2018, and won the LAFF Audience Award. Starring Aldis Hodge (UNDERGROUND), Oscar-nominee Greg Kinnear (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) and directed by Tom Shadyac (BRUCE ALMIGHTY),) the film tells the story of Brian Banks, an all-American high-school football player committed to USC by his junior year, whose life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks got his conviction overturned his name cleared in 2012 after a decade of wrongful imprisonment and parole. BRIAN BANKS is eyeing an early 2019 release.

Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011), launching the division for CBS Corp. Baer spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as 1997’s MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION (2001), S.W.A.T. (2002), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), and the 2006 holiday hit THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney.

Baer became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood, as the entertainment industry faces a broad reckoning over gender disparities and sexual harassment. Founded in 1973, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture.

Baer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1988 with a B.A. in English literature. She is married to producer Matt Baer (UNBROKEN), and has two sons. In addition to Women in FIlm, she also serves on the board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA.

 

Chris Ceccotti

Chris Ceccotti - Head of Development, Gidden Media

Chris Ceccotti is currently the Head of Development and Content Strategy at Gidden Media. 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 upcoming 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.

Chris lives in West Adams with his wife and dog. They spend their free time attending eclectic concerts around town and serving on the Leadership Council of A Place Called Home, a safe haven for underserved youth in South Central LA.

Winner Announcements

Feb 14
Quarter-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Feb 21
Semi-Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Mar 08
Finalists Announced
on Stage 32
Mar 15
Contest Winners Announced
on Stage 32
* Announcement dates subject to change.
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