2020 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition

Closed for entries.

View Past Winners

Competition Dates













Announcement Dates

Top 100

MAY 7, 2020

Top 75

MAY 21, 2020

Top 50

JUNE 4, 2020

Top 25

JUNE 18, 2020

Top 10

JUNE 30, 2020

Winners Announced

JULY 16, 2020

Competition Add Ons

Feedback Notes

Learn More
    Get the inside scoop. Feedback Notes give you the chance to know what our professional readers thought about your project. This is an invaluable service that will help you better understand our readers’ perspectives on your story, characters, marketability, and ideas of where the story could go.



    Learn More
      Enter for a chance to land one of our 3 exclusive Mentorships for the 2020 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. Learn the ins and outs of both the publishing world, as well as the world of film and television, from established veterans at the top of their game.


      Guaranteed Signing

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        Our guaranteed signing partner Energy Entertainment will sign at least one author to represent from those who select this add-on.


        Guaranteed Option

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          Our guaranteed option partner Romark Entertainment will option at least one project from this year’s competition of those who select this add-on.



          Welcome to the 2020 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition! The competition that has led to more signings, success stories and careers than any other is proud to announce the return of our manuscript competition for a third year of searching for the most impressive, cinematic and captivating prose from emerging writers.

          The Launch Pad Competitions have led to more than 450 signings, 164 projects set up, 68 writers staffed, 7 bidding wars, and 156 appearances on annual best of lists such as the Black List, Blood List, Hit List, and the Young & Hungry List. Over the past seven years, we’ve watched our Launch Pad writers go on to work on blockbuster franchises and Emmy-winning series, craft New York Times Bestsellers, and set up dozens of projects well beyond their original Launch Pad entries. Now, we’re ready to steer the next great wave of success stories and help you launch your career!

          HOW IT WORKS

          So, what do you need to enter? Well for starters, you don’t need to have a 500-page manuscript ready to go. In fact, you don’t need to have ever written a book before. With the entertainment and publishing worlds more aggressively moving to acquire book partials over the past years, we’re instead inviting you to submit up to 50 pages of your best prose (including a minimum one-page synopsis). Show us your best work, hook us with your best cliffhanger, and give us an idea of where your story will go following those opening pages. You can, of course, submit 50 pages of a book you’ve already completed, but there is no requirement to have a completed book to enter. So, if you simply have an idea, have always wanted to write a book, or simply need a deadline to get your work done by, give us a shot, and see what we can do for you.


          We are thrilled to announce the return of Inkshares as our exclusive publishing partner for the 2020 Manuscript Competition. Inkshares is committing to publish at least one, and up to three, books from this year’s competition.

          The more than 40 projects set up and 12 books published from our first two manuscript competitions include multiple collaborations with Inkshares, such as: 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.


          For most competitions on the market today, whether win or lose, the finish line usually comes with a brief blog post announcing winners on the competition site, immediately followed by a new competition turning on. For us, that is not even close to enough. Our focus has always been on discovery and elevation. We go to great lengths to ensure those who make any finalist rounds with us are given attention far beyond a blog post. We not only advocate for all of our finalists, and work closely with them to fine tune their project, presentation, and additional works, but we also feature all of our finalists in our highly regarded Launch Pad Alum Booklets, our industry released announcements, and our annual Spec Book, Hit List and Young & Hungry Lists.

          Additionally, we work with every finalist to prepare you for what comes next -crafting your additional works and navigating the series of meetings that inevitably follow, whether representation meetings, pitch meetings or generals. We track every read received through the competition, and we share all of this info with you, working to be sure you put your best foot forward every step of the way.


          As always, our judging panel features 25 heavyweights from across the industry, featuring representatives, producers and executives with experience in features, television and for our manuscript competition, publishing. With judges from companies such as Anonymous Content, CAA, UTA, Chernin Entertainment, Good Fear, Paradigm, Verve and more, we are proud to present an elite jury representing the power players of Hollywood and beyond.


          This year’s Guaranteed Option partner is Romark Entertainment, who have set up multiple Launch Pad scripts around town, including MARIAN at Sony and Pascal Pictures and MATRIARCH at Paramount. From our past Manuscript competitions, Romark is attached to KILL CREEK, set up at Showtime with Scott Derrickson attached and MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE, which is set up with Laura Dern and Platform One.

          As in previous competitions, our guaranteed option partner will select a minimum of 1 project from this year’s competition to option. To be eligible for the guaranteed option prize, all entrants MUST select the “Guaranteed Option” add-on at time of sign up.


          Continuing the Launch Pad’s long tradition of helping writers to gain representation, with more than 450 signings to date, we are thrilled to announce this year’s Guaranteed Signing Partner as Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment.

          A close friend of the Launch Pad Competitions since the beginning, Brooklyn has been a judge for every competition to date and Energy Entertainment has signed more than two dozen Launch Pad writers over the years. 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). We could not be more excited for this partnership!

          As in previous competitions, our guaranteed signing partner(s) will select a minimum of 1 writer from this year’s competition to represent. To be eligible for the guaranteed signing prize, all entrants MUST select the “Guaranteed Signing” add-on at time of sign up.


          As a part of our mission to help writers get their start in the industry, the Launch Pad is proud to offer exclusive mentorship opportunities for writers to learn from those who have been there before and have insight on the process of breaking in. For our manuscript competition in particular, navigating the worlds of publishing and film rights make this sort of guidance even more essential. That is why we are thrilled to have three former Launch Pad Manuscript writers on board to serve as mentors for this year’s competition, to share their experience and insight on the process.

          Our first mentor this year is Chase Pletts, whose Launch Pad manuscript THE LOVING WRATH OF ELDON QUINT is set to be published by Inkshares in January 2020. As a screenwriter, his projects have been featured on both the Hit List and Black List, and he was the 2017 Cinestory TV Fellow.

          Also on board as a mentor this year is Juliet McDaniel, whose first novel MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE was the Top Comedy in the 2016 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. The book is currently in development as a TV series with Platform One Media and Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures. She also wrote the script for the indie rom-com QWERTY, and has worked extensively as a script reader and story editor.

          Our final mentor is Scott Thomas. He is the Stoker-nominated author of KILL CREEK, which reached the Top 10 of the 2016 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition and was selected by the American Library Association’s reader committee as the top horror book of 2017. His second novel, VIOLET, was named by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2019. He is the creator/executive producer of Disney Channel’s RANDY CUNNINGHAM: 9TH GRADE NINJA, BEST FRIENDS WHENEVER and RAVEN’S HOME. Scott was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work on R.L. STEIN’S THE HAUNTING HOUR and a BAFTA for MALIBU RESCUE.

          As in previous competitions, each of our mentors or mentor teams will select a minimum of 1 writer each from this year’s competition to mentor. To be eligible for the Launch Pad Mentorship Program, all entrants MUST select the “Mentorship” add-on at time of entry.


          Continuing with our commitment to giving writers as many ways as possible to get a leg up, we’re thrilled to announce the return of our Feedback Notes Program. Rather than receiving a few vague disconnected sentences or paragraphs from other coverage services or competitions out there, we’ve struck a deal with our professional readers (reading for places such as Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Sony, Paramount, Universal, Anonymous Content, Circle of Confusion, CAA, UTA, Paradigm, Skydance and more) to provide 1-2 pages of in-depth notes on your competition entry. With an emphasis on initial thoughts, opinions and analysis, get an inside look at what is usually a behind-the-curtain process, and get our readers’ perspectives on the story, characters, marketability, and ideas for where the story could go. Was it a page-turner? Did we want to see more of a character? Was the dialogue believable? Get the actionable notes and insight you deserve.

          Launch Pad Manuscript Competition Prize Levels

          The Launch Pad Competition is focused on identifying, discovering and helping launch the careers of our writers. Whether you make the quarter-finalists or win it all in any of our competitions, we work with you to help polish your work, prepare for meetings, craft you pitch, identify your follow up projects, and prepare yourself for anything that comes your way on the journey to becoming a professional writer.

          (As a reminder, if you select any add-ons at time of entry, regardless of where you place in the competition, you will still be in the running for those add-on features.)

          Addison Mehr

          Hyde Park Entertainment

          Adrian Garcia

          Recon Literary

          Alex Wake

          MM Productions

          Brooklyn Weaver

          Energy Entertainment

          Chris Coggins

          Heroes and Villains Entertainment

          Dani Segelbaum

          New Leaf Literary

          Dash Aiken

          Romark Entertainment

          David Baggelaar

          Good Fear Content

          David Boxerbaum


          Halee Bernard

          Anonymous Content

          Hannah Ozer

          Kaplan Perrone Entertainment

          Jasmine Johnson

          Crypt TV

          Jerome Hill

          Chernin Entertainment

          Jorge Garcia Castro

          Altered LA

          Josh Dove

          Stride Management

          Katelyn Dougherty

          Paradigm Talent Agency

          Katrina Escudero


          Kendrick Tan

          Lit Entertainment

          Lacy Boughn

          Escape Artists

          Liz Parker


          Matthew Koss

          Zero Gravity Management

          Melissa Graf


          Mollie Glick


          Peter Jarvis

          Kaplan Stahler Agency

          Tom Carter

          Artillery Creative Collective

          General Rules

          • All manuscript submissions must be submitted with a cover page containing ONLY the project title, without any of the writer(s) names or discernible marks, including but not limited to identifiable registration numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, or other.
          • All entries MUST BE submitted in English as a single PDF document with standard margin sizing.
          • Submissions must not exceed 50 pages even if your manuscript is already a completed work, and MUST include at least a 1-page synopsis outlining the entirety of your story within the single PDF document.
          • Submissions must be the sole property of the writer(s), and must be your own original work, story and characters. Any submissions of existing literary figures and or stories not in the public domain, as well as any shows or films that the writer does not own will be disqualified.
          • All entries will be read blind, with no discernible marks shared with readers. We choose this option so that each entry is judged by the work, and the words alone.
          • Submissions previously optioned are allowed, but at the time of submission and for the duration of the contest, must remain the writer’s property.
          • The only manuscripts not allowed to be entered are those which have already sold, have previously earned our “TB Recommends” honors, or received a top 25 placement in a previous Launch Pad competition.
          • Launch Pad and all judges, mentors, partners and readers will utilize whatever criteria they deem appropriate in deciding a winner.
          • All manuscripts will remain the property of the writer(s) throughout the contest (at no point will anyone from the judge’s panel, or Launch Pad ever attach themselves to your work without your consent).
          • Entrants may be contacted as a result of the contest by Launch Pad, the judging panel or other industry professionals in regards to representation, production, sale and/or option of the entered work.
          • Entrants are under no obligation to sell their work or otherwise attach themselves to representation in any form.
          • General manuscript entries will not receive feedback, however, you can opt to upgrade and receive feedback on your manuscript submission.
          • By entering this competition, you agree to receive periodic emails from The Tracking Board and The Launch Pad. You may unsubscribe to these at any time.
          • During the Finalist rounds of the competitions, material will be shared exclusively with Launch Pad Partners and Judges.
          • All entrants understand and agree to allow Launch Pad to post details on their manuscript (title, writers name, logline, genre, and competition details) as well as regarding the writer (biography, picture) to their site, or sister sites to help promote the entrants work.
          • The Launch Pad reserves the right, at our sole discretion, to change or modify these terms at any time without notice.
          • The contest is open to entrants 18 or older. It is an international contest and open to entrants worldwide.
          • All purchases and submissions are final. No refunds will be issued.

          Feedback Notes

          • Feedback notes, if purchased, will be returned to writers following the announcement of the Top 10 Finalists.

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