Welcome to the competition that has led to twelve published books and projects set up with Showtime, Laura Dern, Ridley Scott and more.
RAISED BY WOLVES | THE MARTIAN | GLADIATOR
“Writers are an integral part of my team and without them I would not be able to do my job, so to be able to work with Launch Pad and provide a new and innovative way for them to get their work out in the world is truly exciting.”
Agent, Verve Talent Agency
“Launch Pad is the only competition out there that not only knows exactly how to discover new talent, but knows how to launch real writing careers.”
Manager & Producer, Energy Entertainment
“The numbers speak for themselves. Beyond the massive amount of writers who have landed reps from Launch Pad, no other has led to more sales and bidding wars in existence. And beyond that, the success isn’t just here, but these scripts have landed on every major end of year list. This place starts careers!”
With nearly a decade of experience in promoting up-and-coming writers and quality work, Launch Pad has firmly established itself as the premier hub for Hollywood to discover fresh voices, new ideas, and talented writers. We advocate for all of our Top 100 finalists, working with each of them to develop compelling bios and loglines, and sharing their work with the targeted industry professionals. Advance your writing career and enter your project for us to consider today!
Whether you have a ten page short story or a 1,000 page fantasy epic, we want to read it. For short stories, our judges will consider works of up to 20,000 words. For books, there’s no need to have a completed manuscript. As long as you have 50 pages of sample prose accompanied by a thorough synopsis, you are welcome to enter to be considered. Our readers and judges will start by reviewing the first 50 pages of any submission, expanding the scope of reads as rounds continue on.
Our prestigious industry juries include managers, agents, producers and executives across top companies in film, television and publishing. We also secure exclusive partnerships with management and production companies, as well as mentorship opportunities to offer guaranteed advancement for winning writers who are ready to make that leap from aspiring to working writer. No competition will do more to help all of their finalists take the next steps in their careers, and no competition has had as much success in helping writers break into the industry as Launch Pad. Our track record speaks for itself.
Enter now to join this tradition of Launch Pad success.
Brian J. Goldberg
WPA | Literary Agent and Partner
Brian J. Goldberg began his career in 2007 as a member of Paradigm Talent Agency’s Business Affairs Department. While at Paradigm, his passion for below-the-line talent became evident, leading Brian to represent television and film’s top editors, cinematographers, line producers, costume designers, and production designers. Brian is an active member of the Television Academy.
New Leaf Literary & Media | Literary Assistant
Dani Segelbaum began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed non-fiction titles. New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. is a full service management and representation firm. New Leaf has had over thirty-seven books hit the New York Times bestseller list and eight films produced, including THE DUFF, the DIVERGENT series, AMERICAN HONEY and LOVE, SIMON.
Verve | Agent and Partner
A partner at Verve, David has signed more than a dozen Launch Pad writers and has represented 4 of the 7 bidding wars for Launch Pad projects, including the 2018 Launch Pad feature script JUST. ONE. KISS. which sold to Netflix. He has signed and set up more Launch Pad projects than any other agent, and has served as a guaranteed signing partner in the past.
First Friday Entertainment | Literary Manager and Producer
Devon Byers is currently a Literary Manager/Producer with First Friday Entertainment, a company he co-founded in recognition of the importance of fresh and unique voices that should be pushed to diversify the entertainment landscape. He was formerly a Creative Executive at production company Ideate Media (DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY), and before that, an award-winning freelance producer working in short form, music videos, commercials, and features.
42 Management and Productions | Agent
Emily MacDonald joined the Books department of 42 Management and Productions in 2019, working with Eugenie Furniss across her clients. She is also building her own list, looking to spotlight regional voices both at home in the UK and internationally. Before joining the publishing industry, she spent 7 years working at Markham, Froggatt & Irwin in the talent department.
Bad Idea Films | Co-Founder and CEO
Jason Tamasco is the co-founder and CEO of Bad Idea. Notable projects in his portfolio include the 2015 official Sundance Film Selection, BOUND TO VENGEANCE (IFC), 2016’s OPENING NIGHT (Netflix) starring Topher Grace, Anne Heche, and Taye Diggs, and 34 episodes of 2017’s EL CHAPO (Netflix & Univision Networks). Most recently he Produced the 2019 cult horror-comedy DEADTECTIVES for AMC’s Shudder.
kt literary | Agent and Founder
Kate Testerman formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Stephanie Perkins, Amy Spalding, Trish Doller, Diana Peterfreund, Emily Ecton and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.
Donald Maass Literary Agency | Agent
Kiana Nguyen joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016, where she assisted several agents, and is now building her own client list. She is seeking YA fiction across genres, particularly those with POC and queer voices. She is also interested in Adult romance, women’s fiction, and domestic suspense thrillers.
First Friday Entertainment | Literary Manager and Co-Founder
Krista Sipp and her partner, Devon Byers, founded management and production company First Friday Entertainment in 2017. Krista started her career at Circle of Confusion in 2008 and went on to hold positions at studios and production companies across the industry. Currently, Krista is focused on developing clients with fresh voices and diverse points of view. Her clients have worked on projects such as KATY KEENE, A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW, SAINTS & SINNERS, and the upcoming feature TUNNELS.
CAA | Book Agent
Mollie Glick worked in the editorial department at the Crown imprint of Random House, before becoming an agent in 2003. Glick joined CAA in 2016, following eight years at Foundry Literary + Media. Glick represents many top authors and thought leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden; Senator Kamala Harris; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller; National Book Award-nominee Ali Benjamin; NYT bestselling authors Mark Manson, Carol Rifka Brunt, Jonathan Evison, Sarah McCoy and Nic Stone.
Grandview | Junior Manager
Natalie Burkardt is a member of the Literary department at Management and Production company Grandview. Grandview/Automatik is a full-service entertainment management company that represents actors, writers, and filmmakers in addition to developing and producing projects across all mediums.
Paradigm | Agent
Phoebe Schmidt works in the Media Rights and Intellectual Property department at Paradigm Talent Agency in Los Angeles, where she represents artists across a wide array of mediums including literature, illustration, journalism, and podcasting. Paradigm’s prominent literary clients include James Ivory (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY), Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS), and Stephen King.
The Lotts Agency | Agent
Sam Morgan is a literary agent with the Lotts Agency. Originally from North Carolina, he now resides in Brooklyn. He currently primarily represents adult fantasy and science fiction but is expanding into thrillers, young adult fantasy, and up-market commercial fiction. He is proud to represent Jenn Lyons, Jay Posey, Megan E. O’Keefe, Daniel Polansky, Alexander C. Kane, G.S. Denning, Claire McKenna, Robert Brockway, and many more.
(Best Book & Best Short Story)
Juliet McDaniel’s first novel MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE was the Top Comedy in the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. The book is currently in development as a TV series with Platform One Media and Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures.
Scott Thomas’s Launch Pad Manuscript Top 10 novel KILL CREEK was selected by the American Library Association’s reader committee as the top horror book of 2017 and was set up as series at Showtime with Scott Derrickson attached.
Gannon Kenney’s manuscript THE MAGUS WORLD was named the Overall Winner of the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition, and was set up with Michael De Luca productions.
Our readers will consider the first 50 pages of your prose submission, regardless of the total length. If you have a completed manuscript or story that exceeds 50 pages, please submit the entire project, but if you only have the first few chapters, you’re welcome to submit only those pages.
One grand prize will be awarded each to a book and short story submission, but prior to the winners announcement, books and short stories will be considered in the same pool for advancement.
So what do you need to submit?
Requires Add On in Checkout
We are thrilled to announce the return of Inkshares as our exclusive publishing partner for the 2021 Prose Competition. Inkshares is committing to publish at least one book submission from this year’s competition. This add-on is ONLY AVAILABLE FOR BOOK SUBMISSIONS.
Past Launch Pad collaborations with Inkshares include the Bram Stoker Award nominated KILL CREEK, set up with Showtime, Scott Derrickson and Misha Green, MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE which sold to Platform One with Laura Dern attached, THE MAGUS WORLD set up with Michael De Luca, HUMAN, ANEW with Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox, and THIS RED FIRE with Stampede Ventures, Greg Silverman and Freddie Skov.
With dozens of titles in bookstores since their launch just a few years ago, Inkshares is a powerful force in the publishing world and has become a major hub for Hollywood to discover new talent as well. Past successes include the sale of Tal M. Klein’s THE PUNCH ESCROW to Lionsgate and J.F. Dubeau’s A GOD IN THE SHED, which is being developed for television with Skydance and Akiva Goldsman.
Requires Add On in Checkout
This year’s Guaranteed Signing Partner is Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment. One of the most prolific spec-selling manager/producers in Hollywood, he has been a part of many Launch Pad script sales and his clients frequently feature on major year-end lists such as the Black List, Hit List and Young & Hungry List. His clients include feature writers such as Rob Liefeld (DEADPOOL), Brad Ingelsby (RUN ALL NIGHT, OUT OF THE FURNACE) and Mark Mallouk (BLACK MASS), as well as TV creators such as Mickey Fisher (REVERIE and EXTANT) and Anthony Cipriano (BATES MOTEL).
Requires Add On in Checkout
The best way to learn is by working with experienced writers who have already navigated that path to success. That is exactly what the Launch Pad exclusive mentorship opportunity is set up to do.
Born and raised in Miami, FL. Latinx and non-binary writer/director Henry Alberto is a Sundance Episodic Lab fellow, recipient of a Skowhegan Artist Residency, a Yaddo fellowship, a Latino Screenwriting Project fellowship and an alumnus of the Outfest Screenwriting Lab. Recently, Henry was included the Black List’s inaugural Latinx List, as well as the Tracking Board’s 2019 Hit List and Young & Hungry List, and NALIP’s list of “Latinx Directors You Should Know”. They most recently adapted the novels ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE and GRACEFULLY GRAYSON. They also served as a writer on AppleTV’s critically acclaimed LITTLE AMERICA from Alan Yang, Kumail Nanjiani, and Emily V. Gordon.
Prior to her work as a writer, Nicolina Torres was a manager for Barnes & Noble for 15 years and represented B&N on Channel 2’s Living Dayton Show for two years. She has worked with the National Association of Attorneys with Disabilities (NAAD) on mentorship projects and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Nikki’s mystery novel, THIS RED FIRE was a 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition Top 10 pick. Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures optioned the book for a film franchise and the screenplay has been written by Freddie Skov (Madhouse Entertainment). Nikki’s YA novel, YOUNG NATION, received an honorable mention in the same contest and the pilot she wrote based on the book is under development at UTA as a television series. Her collection of short horror stories (UNDER THE BED, THERE IS A HIDDEN DOOR) is also being developed as a series.
Ben Blacker is best known as the creator, with his writing partner Ben Acker, of the Thrilling Adventure Hour. With Acker, Blacker has sold pilots to USA, Fox, Nickelodeon, Spike, and other networks. He’s written on the shows Supernatural, Puss in Boots, and more. Acker & Blacker are the authors of the Star Wars: Join the Resistance series, canonical young adult novels set in the Star Wars universe. On his own, Blacker is the writer and creator of the DC/Vertigo comic HEX WIVES, which is Bewitched plus The Stepford Wives, available as a trade paperback. Blacker is also the creator and host of The Writers Panel, a podcast in which he talks with writers about the business and process of writing television. He’s the co-producer of Dead Pilots Society and RetroSpecs, live shows and podcasts in which unproduced pilots and classic spec scripts, respectively, are performed live.
The winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: (i) The originality and commerciality of the premise; (ii) The skill and artistry of the writing in serving that premise and crafting an engaging piece of work; (iii) The effectiveness of the plot and structure in the first fifty pages in serving that premise and engaging the reader; (iv) In the case of a longer submission, the ability of the provided synopsis to articulate a compelling and sustainable path forward for the story; (v) The originality, believability and emotional investment in the characters and their impact on the overarching story and themes; (vi) Where, applicable, the use of dialogue to advance the character, story and entertainment value of the project.
Initial reads will be completed by professional industry readers, assessing the first fifty pages of each submission. After this point, our internal team of readers will read all promising submissions to allow for extensive internal discussions over the relative merits and weaknesses of each project. Through internal conferences, we narrow down a list of 100 finalists. At this point, writers may be asked to submit supplemental information (a brief bio, a more thorough synopsis of their work) to assist in the decision making process.
Further rounds of internal reading and discussion, as well as consultations with our signing and option partners, narrow the finalists down to 10, at which point our panel of industry judges read each project and provide feedback which determines our winners.
Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of Launch Pad. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.