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Pilot Competitions

Each June the SeriesFest community of emerging talent, established artists, and industry professionals gather to celebrate the innovative work of independent content creators. Pilot Competitions are curated programs designed to highlight cutting-edge episodic content that is independently written, produced, and directed. Official selections of the Pilot Competitions will be showcased at SeriesFest: Season 7 (June 24 – July 11, 2021), which will operate in a “hybrid” festival format, a combination of physical and virtual screenings, panels, professional development workshops and socially-distanced in person events.

From June 24 - June 30, physical, socially-distanced screenings will take place over six days in Denver, CO. Season 7 official selections in the Independent Pilots, Digital Short Series, Pitch-A-Thon!, Collegiate Creator Spotlight, and Late Night competitions. These competition selections will then screen virtually from June 28 - July 12 to compete for the illustrious National Audience Award.

Exclusive virtual content competitions including the Next In Queue: A Spotlight on Podcasts, Pilots in Progress, Smartphone Series and Short Film Competition selections will be available on SeriesFest’s virtual platform the entire 18 days.

Check out our scriptwriting competitions, professional development programs and student education initiatives for additional opportunities to cultivate your episodic storytelling craft.

Independent Pilot

Running Time Options: 18-60 mins

SeriesFest’s Independent Pilot Competition provides a platform for the most innovative drama, comedy, unscripted and animated pilots out there ranging from 18 to 60 minutes. Independent Pilots are in competition for jury and audience awards.

Digital Short Series

Running Time Options: 15 mins or less

Some of the most innovative storytelling now resides in the digital space. SeriesFest is looking to find and honor exciting new digital series with episodes under 15 minutes. Digital Short Series are in competition for jury and audience awards

Late Night

Running Time Options: 30 mins or less

SeriesFest's Late Night Competition is defined as live action or animated programs with a total run time of 4-15 minutes featuring the strange, absurd, comedic, sketch, or “what the hell?” that can run as a mini series or extended seasons.


Running Time Options:

Independent content creators will have the opportunity to participate in an exclusive live pitch session with top television, new media and digital execs in hopes of moving their projects - and careers - forward. Projects are strictly in script phase (unproduced). 

In the weeks leading up to SeriesFest, creators selected for the Pitch-A-Thon, will participate in a two part workshop to hone their pitch skills. Creators will be paired with an industry mentor as well as participate in an exclusive workshop led by, Working Artists Group.

Collegiate Creators Spotlight

Running Time Options: 18-60 mins

SeriesFest is excited to endorse the next generation of creators! We are searching for produced pilots from collegiate and university students nationwide. We will be showcasing 18-60 minute drama, comedy, unscripted and animated pilots at SeriesFest: Season 7.

Next in Queue: A Spotlight on Podcasts

Running Time Options: 60 mins or less

Podcasts and storytelling go hand-in-hand, and SeriesFest is excited to find the next great podcast! We are looking for original serialized audio stories that highlight the bold and innovative voices of the booming industry of Podcasts. Creators are encouraged to submit up to 60 minutes of their podcast and a series format deck. 5-8 podcasts will be selected for an opportunity to be featured on the SeriesFest: Season 7 virtual platform.

Pilots in Progress

Running Time Options: 10-60 mins

One of the struggles faced by creators during COVID-19 is the feeling of isolation and disconnect from their collaborators and creative community. SeriesFest aims to change that with Pilots in Progress - a new initiative where creators can virtually and securely screen a rough cut of their pilot for constructive feedback from fellow creators and industry to help fine tune and finalize their project. Creators will receive notes on everything from story structure to character development and anything else that may seem unclear to a test audience.

Viewers will complete an audience questionnaire for the creator to review and, at their discretion, incorporate into a final edit. Additionally, official selections for Pilots in Progress will also have the opportunity to be featured on a curated page on Seed&Spark designed to support and promote crowdfunding goals associated with the completion of the project.

Smartphone Series and Short Film

Running Time Options: 5 mins or less

Through quickly growing smartphone technology, our devices are now one of the greatest tools for low-to-no budget storytelling. SeriesFest is looking for creators who are using their smartphones to tell innovative episodic and short form series no longer than 5 minutes. All entries in this category MUST BE shot entirely on a mobile device or tablet.

Level Forward Impact Award

SeriesFest is excited to partner with Level Forward to present a brand new opportunity for creators applying to the Independent Pilot, Digital Short, and Late Night competitions!

Creators will have the opportunity to opt-in to be considered for the Level Forward Impact Award, which will be given to the episodic pilot and team who demonstrate, on top of their commitment to creative excellence, a thoughtful, thorough and deliberate approach to using storytelling as a means of leveling the playing field for underrepresented people including women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and alternatively abled voices. In keeping with Level Forward’s mission to advance the access, opportunity, and influence of storytelling, we are looking for compelling and entertaining pilots that have incorporated this ethos into the fabric of their process and project.

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