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The challenge

SAVE THE CAT! SCREENPLAY CHALLENGE

2024

All Writers Receive 50 Points of Analysis At NO ADDITIONAL COST.
All Entries Receive a Full Read by Save the Cat! Master Cat Readers.
Feedback Is Grounded in Story Structure — Not Subjective Opinion.

ABOUT

Our approach is simple: a screenplay competition that provides actionable feedback grounded in the Save the Cat! Methodologythe same method used by working writers, readers, and decision makers.

Our focus is on the beats of your story with an aim to help tighten the spine of your screenplay. You make the character, dialogue, and subject matter fly and we’ll serve as your co-pilot guiding your story’s structure through compelling character transformation from the Opening Image to the Final Image.

You have challenged yourself to start, finish, and enter a screenplay competitionlet us deliver the Save the Cat! 50 Points of Analysis to help you achieve your story’s potential.

OUR LATEST TESTIMONIALS

“I cannot tell you how much this analysis means to me. You made my day! I’ve never received such concise analysis from any of the dozens of coverages I’ve received. You nailed the weak points, but you emphasized the strong points in a precise and generous manner that propels me enthusiastically into a rewrite. Your coverage is intelligent, and your suggestions are expressed in an understandable and executable way. I’m honored that you took the time to understand what I’m reaching for and gave me the tools to deepen and focus the script. Thank you from my heart. Onward with the rewrite!” – LPA

“I am adding to the outstanding testimonials to say that I cannot overstate the extensive and in-depth treatment of our script by Save the Cat 50 Points of Analysis review. I have submitted to numerous other festivals and have received some written feedback, but this was extraordinary. The comments of the reader (addressing the screenplay in sections) were clear, thoughtfully well taken and showed that it was carefully read. They went on for several pages. It all helped, and so I was able to tweak the writing and resubmit with a better draft, one that I can use going forward. Bravissimo!” – CF

The Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge is now accepting screenplays for Feature Films and
60-minute and 30-minute TV Pilots.

PRICES & DEADLINES

Earlybird
Nov 26, 2023
Regular
Feb 4, 2024
Late
Mar 3, 2024
Extended
Apr 14, 2024
TV$89.00$99.00$109.00$119.00
Feature$99.00$109.00$119.00$129.00

BENEFITS

All entrants to receive:

  • 50 points of analysis report adapted from the Save the Cat! Greenlight Checklist (Save the Cat! Strikes Back — pages 104-108)
  • A review by readers and judges trained in the Save the Cat! Methodology
  • Feedback grounded in structure and marketability and consistently applied to all screenplays

Feature and TV script winners will be awarded the following:

Grand Prize Winner(s)

  • Flight to LA ($600)
  • 3-night hotel stay ($1200)
  • Live table read to bring your work to life
  • Meetings with judges
  • Producer Badge to 2024 Austin Film Festival ($750 value – travel and lodging not included)
  • Save the Cat! Software – 12 Month Subscription

Top 5 Finalists

  • Meetings with judges
  • Save the Cat! Software – 12 Month Subscription

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jun 16th Top 25
Jul 12th Top 5
Aug 23rd Grand Prize Winners

JUDGES

Sheila_TaylorvanillaSHEILA HANAHAN TAYLOR
Sheila Hanahan Taylor founded Practical Pictures in 2004 with Craig Perry. Past projects include Universal’s American Pie franchise, New Line Cinema’s Final Destination franchise, Warner Bros’ Cats & Dogs franchise, Universal’s Breaking In, Village Roadshow’s Oddball, Sony Pictures’ Little Black Book and The Big Hit, and Helkon Media’s RepliKate. Worldwide, they have grossed over $2 billion. Upcoming projects include a sixth installment in the Final Destination franchise, vampire thriller Nightfall, and the high-tech thriller Entry Level.

Matt AllenMATT R. ALLEN
Matt R. Allen is an accomplished screenwriter, producer, and emerging prompt engineer. For over two decades Matt has earned widespread recognition for co-writing such hit films as Four Christmases and Soul Surfer. He penned Mighty Oak (2019) and co-produced and co-wrote Block Party (2022) with writing partner Krista Suh. He also produced 2021’s Run & Gun. Diving into the future of storytelling, Matt is pioneering as a prompt engineer, where he utilizes artificial intelligence to elevate the creative writing process.

Michael OlmoMICHAEL OLMO
Michael Olmo is a working writer specializing in children’s content. Michael’s experience includes working as a staff writer for the popular children’s show Cocomelon, and developing projects for Disney Jr., Marvel, Netflix, WGBH KIDS and PBS KIDS. Michael believes that If you have something meaningful to say, people will listen—making him uniquely qualified to provide meaningful guidance for breaking into the industry.

berman photovanillaJULIET BERMAN
Juliet Berman is a film and television producer with experience working in both the independent and studio/streamer space. Since forming Spiral Stairs Entertainment in 2023, she has produced a remake of the 1991 cult classic Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and independent comedy Griffin in Summer starring Melanie Lynskey, Owen Teague, and Kathryn Newton. Prior to Spiral Stairs, Juliet was the Head of Production at Treehouse Pictures where she shepherded such films as Sand Castle and Set It Up.
Zachary LevineZACHARY LEVINE
Zachary Levine is a Creative Executive at Gilbert Films, a Los Angeles-based production and finance company known for La La Land, The Kids Are All Right, and Garden State. He oversees the development slate, tracks and ideates projects for financing and development, and scouts talent.
Jamie NashJAMIE NASH
Jamie Nash is the author of Save the Cat! Writes For TV and the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet Workbook. Jamie is a working screenwriter who has written and sold almost every type of story under the sun, including horror films like ExistsV/H/S/2The Night WatchmenAltered, and Lovely Molly, and family films like Santa Hunters and Tiny Christmas. He teaches screenwriting at MICA and Johns Hopkins and co-hosts the podcast Writers/Blockbusters.
Bobby HoppeyBOBBY HOPPEY
Bobby Hoppey is VP (Production and Development) at Complementary Colors, where he works alongside founder Jonah Disend. A seasoned story analyst, Bobby was a founding member and ran development for Valparaiso Pictures, where his projects included Straight Up and Pig. Prior to Valparaiso, Bobby spent 5 years at Echo Lake Entertainment, managing projects across the film and television divisions. Griffin in Summer, Bobby’s latest film (produced via his Coveside Films shingle), is expected to be released in 2024.
Chris BythewoodCHRIS BYTHEWOOD
Chris Bythewood, a film and television writer based in LA, worked as an executive at Fox Network Group and co-created the Fox Writers Initiative (FWI). He also ran TV development at Confluential Films, where he developed with the team the HBO documentary 40 Years a Prisoner, and was in the writer’s room for The Chicago Code and Shots Fired series.
Will PhelpsWILL PHELPS
As head of production for American High—a studio with recent releases including Big Time Adolescence, The Binge, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise, and Plan B—Will Phelps oversees all development, packaging, and production.
Marc ManusMARC MANUS
Over the last 15 years, Marc Manus has held positions at various management companies including, more recently, Zero Gravity (Netflix’s Ozark). Now, as a partner at World Builder Entertainment, Marc continues to guide a select roster of creators from around the globe who have film and television projects at the major networks, streamers, and studios. His credits as a producer include Josie and the forthcoming Don’t Move, alongside Sam Raimi and Hammerstone Studios.

TESTIMONIALS

EMAILS FROM WRITERS

“Oh my! I’ve entered other contests and paid for coverage before but I have never received anything close to this analysis! I would wonder if they’d even read the script! But with this analysis, I felt heard and that the reader understood the script on its terms, and gave advice on how to make it better at what it is — not rewrite it as something else. Thank you so much.” – M.R.P.

“The Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge was so rewarding and extremely helpful for evolving my screenplay. I submitted twice and the feedback was invaluable. I can’t speak highly enough of this screenplay challenge and all the Save the Cat! products. Very happy I submitted. Thank you to everyone from the Save the Cat! team.” – L.W.

“Thank you! I have already begun incorporating this phenomenal feedback. I found it to be wonderfully clear, actionable, insightful, and deeply attentive to my material. I really can’t thank Save the Cat! enough.” – M.R.

“The notes were great and will be tremendously helpful as I write revisions and future scripts. Very constructive and incisive analysis. I’ve been a Save the Cat! fan for many years and this script is definitely the closest I’ve adhered to STC principles (and not coincidentally, the best, the most fun and the easiest to write. STC cuts so much fat off scripts and saves so much time, and these notes show me my next step is just getting better at some of the beats I’m not as strong on (e.g. Debate).”  – P.J.

“Thank you for this analysis. It’s given me enough to chew on without feeling like I made a mess of my first ever screenplay. I will revisit the draft and see how I can hone it. Thank you and your team once again for giving their time and thought to help me structure and write better.” – A.M.

“Thank you so much for this. I’ve had a few critiques on this screenplay now, and this was by far the most interesting, precise, and helpful.” – D.T.

“I would like to thank you for your in-depth analysis of my script. The comments received will be indeed very useful for me to continue improving my story telling.” – M.R.

“I understand that I did not advance to the next level. I do want to say that the 50 point analysis was incredibly helpful. It was worth entering the Screenplay Challenge just for those comments alone. Hopefully, I will have a better script for next year.” – J.K.

“This is very helpful feedback. Thank you for all you and your organization does to support and encourage indie filmmakers. These types of notes will certainly point us in the right direction to deepening out the script and strengthening the focus and the theme. “ – H.R.

“Out of 14, this is the best feedback to date. All the notes provide a clear path to improve the script.” – H.S.

“A big thanks to you and your team for the thorough read. I’ve always been much more confident with my dialogue-writing and world-building abilities than with my attention to structure, so I really appreciate that this competition is out there.” – S.M.

Trying now to rewrite and submit again as a second version. Your notes really helped me.– J.P.

We received the analysis, and very much appreciated the thoroughness. We are rewriting to reflect it.– J.K.

Excellent form of feedback, nicely presented. M.G.

Very helpful feedback. Thank you very much! X.T.

A huge THANK YOU to your team for taking their time to read and critique our script!!!– T.B.

Have already been implementing the feedback and the great notes.– A.G.

It’s by far some of the best and most useful feedback I’ve ever received. This will definitely be a normal stop for future scripts!– A.N.

Very thankful for this strong and helpful analysis.– B.K.

“Thank you so much for this feedback, and for the previous one too. Both of them gave me a lot, including the self confidence to rewrite.” – J.P.

“Thank you for taking the time to review my screenplay. Writing as you well know is difficult in terms of plot, structure, and dialogue. Therefore, to receive such a comprehensive and kind analysis has made my day” – D.P.

RULES

All writers from all countries are welcome to submit; however, all screenplays must be submitted in English, and application fees must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Writers under the age of 18 years old must have parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate.

Script must be the original work of the submitting writer and may not be encumbered by any third party.

Screenplays adapted from the submitting writer’s own self-published books, plays, or other source materials are eligible if the writer retains all rights to the work.

Scripts that have been sold, produced for a profit, or are currently under option are not eligible.

Prior contest-winning scripts from other contests are acceptable.

Only original full-length feature screenplays and original TV pilots are accepted. Anything else, including but not limited to short scripts, novels, short stories, stage plays, musicals, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, documentaries, and/or spec scripts for existing TV series are not eligible.

Length requirements for full-length features: 70-130 pages. No exceptions.

Length requirements for TV pilots: 20-70 pages. No exceptions.

Script must be in industry standard format. Formatting is taken into consideration in judging.

Standard title pages should be included: listing the script title, name of author(s), telephone number, and email address. Applicants will not be disqualified if these elements are not included.

Under no circumstances should the writer include name or contact information within the body of the script.

Adaptations from other works are permissible provided the writer has written permission by the owner to adapt the material.

Adaptations of works in the public domain are permissible.

Multiple authorship is acceptable.

If the screenplay wins an award, that award will be divided among the writers, by the writers.

Multiple submissions by one writer are accepted; however, if one or more screenplays by the same writer tie, only one screenplay (the decided “best”) will be selected to determine the winner.

The writer understands that script feedback can take up to 90-days turn-around time and may not be received before the end of the final application deadline.

Applicants must submit materials and payment online only.

Once a script has been submitted, substitutions of new drafts or corrections may only be accepted within 24 hours of the original application.

A revised draft of a script may be accepted after 24 hours if it is entered as a new application with the appropriate fee.

Promotional discounts or waivers offered may only be utilized at the time of submission. Promotional discounts or waivers offered may not apply on all submission platforms (i.e., FilmFreeway).

Applicants must accept without reservation the decisions rendered by the judges.

The writer understands that it is his/her sole responsibility to register material to be submitted with the U.S. Copyright Office and/or with the Writer’s Guild of America or the appropriate agency in his/her country.

Applicants awarded the Grand Prize Winner understand and accept that SAVE THE CAT! will be free to use his/her name and likeness for advertising or promotional purposes without additional consideration.

Writers retain the rights to their screenplay.

Applicants are non-exclusive and may submit their screenplay to any other person, competition, producer, agent, publisher, and/or organization.

No transfer, substitution, or cash equivalent for prizes is allowed. SAVE THE CAT! is not responsible for any applicant errors or omissions on any submitted application materials.

Synopses, casting suggestions, letters, resumes and photos will not be considered.

Applicant accepts without reservation that the submitted screenplay will be reviewed by SAVE THE CAT! staff and/or panel of Industry Judges for evaluation and that any one of these employees or judges may have been or may be exploring ideas similar to the submitted material, and the applicant hereby waives any claim that the staff or judges may have misappropriated any ideas or portions of the submission, logline or screenplay.

There are no refunds for any reason after 24 hours from submission.

You should retain master copies of the submitted material.

Any material we receive cannot and will not be returned under any circumstances.

To submit your materials and be considered, you must agree to these Rules and Terms.

3 WAYS TO SUBMIT

Submit on FilmFreeway

Submit on this website

Submit on Coverfly

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Submit on our website

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Submit on FilmFreeway

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