ScreenCraft Public Domain and True Story Screenplay Contest
2019 season now closed


We’re celebrating fresh twists on iconic public domain material and true stories.

Jury includes executives, managers, producers and filmmakers behind such beloved films and TV shows as The Post, Roma, Green Book, On The Basis of Sex, American Sniper, Marco Polo, United 93 and The Crown!

Writing a film or TV script based on a character or story in the public domain?
One of the best ways to get your screenplay noticed by Hollywood! While it’s no secret that Hollywood loves remakes, sequels and spinoffs, it’s perhaps lesser known that Hollywood loves movies based on free intellectual property in the public domain, such as folk tales, fairy tales, mythology and books and plays published before 1923. For example, folk tales, mythology, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, famous historical figures – and the list goes on.

It’s no wonder that Walt Disney Studios has produced over 50 films based on stories in the public domain, including Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, The Jungle Book and many more.

Many recent film and TV re-interpretations of public domain stories include: Titanic, Sherlock Holmes, The Crown, The Borgias, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Troy, The Crown, and many more.

What about film or TV based on a True Story?
Hollywood and audiences love true stories. Everything from WWII movies like Dunkirk to modern history TV shows like in Looming Tower or even more comedic takes on stories like Catch Me If You Can can capture audiences hearts. As the saying goes, "Truth is Stranger than Fiction".

While not every true story is in the public domain, public figures can have their stories told and public events can be retold with new characters. If you have a feature or TV script based on a true story or character, we'd love to consider.


ScreenCraft has a history of helping writers get signed by reps, option their projects, and even see their work produced. Part of that is our support for the winners and part happens organically because of the incredible industry juries for every contest.

This year's jury is incredible and will be reading the top scripts. Check them out:

David Fliegel, MAD CHANCE

Director of Development for Mad Chance, Andrew Lazar’s company with such credits and projects as American Sniper, I Love You Phillip Morris Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Mad Chance has a first look production deal with Warner Bros.=


Creative Executive at Participant Media, the production company behind award winning films like Roma, The Post, On the Basis of Sex, and 2018 Academy Award Best Picture winner, Green Book.

Audrey Knox, THE CARTEL

Manager at Cartel, a production and management company whose clients have contributed to such films as Romeo & Juliet, The Simone Biles Story, Lucifer, Marco Polo, 11/22/63, and United 93.

Nawfal Faizullah, LEFT BANK PICTURES

Develop Executive at Left Bank Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, behind such projects as Netflix’s The Crown.

In addition to being read by the jury, the winners will receive:

Grand Prize Winner:

  • A cash prize of $1,000
  • Introduction to producers, managers and agents who are specifically interested in original screenplays based on works in the public domain
  • Circulation and personal recommendation of our top winners screenplays to our network of producers and studio development executives at Hollywood companies
  • One-year license to Final Draft 11 professional screenwriting software

Second Place Winner:

  • Cash prize of $500
  • Circulation and personal recommendation  to ScreenCraft’s extensive network of producers and studio development executives at top Hollywood companies

Top Ten Writers Will Receive:

  • The top 10 finalists will receive a 1-month free trial of The Script Lab’s TSL 360 screenwriting and entertainment industry education service, featuring masterclasses, interviews and keynotes from Academy Award-winning screenwriters, studio executives, managers, agents and producers. Learn from the best with TSL 360 membership!


For full rules, terms, and conditions, please visit --


  • Optional feedback from a professional reader may be requested at the time of entry. Requests for feedback after an entry is submitted will not be accepted.
  • Any screenplays over 120 pages will be charged and extra $1 per page. We recommend feature screenplays be a minimum of 75 pages and a maximum of 150 pages and we recommend TV scripts be a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 75.
  • There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
  • Entries must be received on or before the deadline dates by 11:59PM Pacific Time, and submission fee payment must be made in full at time of the submission. All entry fees are non-refundable.
  • All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).
  • Material must be submitted by the writer. Material written by writing teams must be submitted by one of the writers, with consent of the other(s). All writers must be credited on title page.
  • If a writing team is chosen as a winner, prizes will be given to the person who submits the project. Each team is responsible for dividing or sharing the prize money.
  • Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material will be allowed for a limited time with a $5 reentry fee through Coverfly. Please proofread your script carefully before submitting.
  • It is recommended that original material be registered with the WGA or The Library of Congress before submitting to any competition, however we do not require registration.
  • Contact info may be included on the cover page of the screenplay, however it is not required.
  • All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders.
  • All writers at least 18 years of age are eligible. However, a writer who has earned more than $50,000 (or equivalent currency) from professional writing services for film or TV in the preceding year is not. (Contest winnings not included.)
  • All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible; however the material submitted must be in English (occasional dialogue in other languages is acceptable, if subtitle translation is provided).
  • All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible for this contest.
  • There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
  • Screenplay and intellectual property must be wholly owned and submitted by the writer(s).
  • Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.
  • We have no preferences regarding title page content. Title and name of writer would suffice.
  • Entries for this competition are managed on the submission platform Coverfly.
  • Adaptations are ineligible unless the underlying rights are owned by the writer or the work is in the public domain.
  • All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.

The judging panel, selected by ScreenCraft or its representatives in its sole discretion, will include one screenplay development professional from each of these studios and production companies listed on this year’s jury, however these studios and companies are in no way official sponsors or endorsers of this contest. The top finalists will be chosen based on the following criteria: (i) originality; (ii) story; (iii) characterization; (iv) visual inventiveness; and (v) overall impression. The top finalists will be notified by email and may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of ScreenCraft. Quarter-finalist, semifinalist, and winner announcements will begin approximately 6 weeks after the final deadline. Finalists may be required to sign and return within seven (7) business days of receipt a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility and a Release and Indemnification and any other documents that ScreenCraft or any other partner may require before receiving prize payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within ten (10) days or return of notification will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.


ScreenCraft or any other partner, employee or agent associated with this contest claims no ownership nor first right of option to any original screenplay submitted to this contest. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to ScreenCraft and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration. All uses of a entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.


All entries are non-refundable.


BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE CONDITIONS. You agree to release and hold harmless ScreenCraft LLC,, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, Prize contributors, judges, screenplay readers, Sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Contest and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize. Employees of ScreenCraft and their immediate families are ineligible to participate in this contest. Any such submission will be immediately disqualified. ENTRY TO THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED or restricted by any Federal, State or Local law. Voided entries will be refunded. Recipients’ eligibility will be verified before the grant is awarded and the winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility. By entering the contest, you authorize us to use any trusted third-party online and cloud-based services and databases for hosting, managing and/or transmitting your submission file(s).