The Cold Cut: Writer Submission Info

WELCOME TO THE COLD CUT!

The Cold Cut is Hollywood’s first-ever showcase competition of Cold Open scenes from original comedy pilot scripts. It is co-sponsored by the NUEA West and The Black List, the premiere script hosting and feedback site. The event will take place June 3rd in Hollywood.

Format:

Up to eight (8) original half-hour comedy pilots will be selected, and NU directors and actors will stage live performances of each script’s Cold Open scene. Then, Battle of the Bands-style, the audience will vote on their favorite scene. After intermission, the winning Cold Open that has made “the cut” will have its entire script read on stage.

Writer Requirements:

  • Be a current NUEA member. To join or renew today, visit this link.
  • Submit the following between March 23 and April 5:
    • A completed application form. (Click here to complete the application form.)
    • PDF of one completed, original half-hour comedy pilot script. Script length should be no longer than 35 pages if single-spaced single-cam format or 50 pages if double-spaced multi-cam format). The title page should include only the script name. Any scripts with the author’s name or other identifying info will be returned.
    • A character breakdown for casting. Download our casting breakdown guide here.
    • Script and breakdown to be e-mailed to coldcut@nueawest.org with “Writer Submission” in the subject line
  • Writers will be required to attend the pre-event Table Read on Monday, April 27, which will include a self-marketing workshop. Writers will be encouraged to attend pre-event rehearsals and the June 3 performance, but attendance is not required.
  • Writers can also revise their scripts based on feedback notes from the event producers and their assigned industry mentor (writers, showrunners, agents, etc.), but revisions are not mandatory.
  • Writers will be encouraged to market themselves and the event to their industry contacts.

Selection Criteria:

All submitted scripts will be graded “blind” by the Reading Committee with no knowledge of the name of the writer. Scripts will be analyzed and scored in the areas of character, story, jokes, overall quality, and Cold Open. Scripts can be any genre of half-hour comedy: single-cam, multi-cam, network broadcast, cable, premium online.

Prizes:

All selected writers will receive:

  • Two free months of posting on The Blacklist and one free Blacklist script analysis (value $100)
  • Script notes from their designated industry mentor
  • Notes from the Reading Committee
  • Logline and script publicized by NUEA West
  • Free marketing workshop
  • Free staging of their Cold Open

The Cold Cut winner will receive:

  • All above prizes
  • A live reading of the entire script
  • One full year of script hosting on The Blacklist and one free Blacklist script analysis (value $350)

What is a Cold Open?

The Cold Open – also known at the “teaser scene” – is the first scene of a TV comedy script. It usually appears before the opening credit and does not require any extra audience information to be enjoyed. Sometimes the Cold Open is a complete stand-alone scene. Other times it helps launch the episode’s main story arc. In pilot scripts, Cold Opens always feature at least one main character, but seldom the entire cast.

Who will direct and perform my Cold Open?

The Cold Cuts producers will select NU alumni to serve as the directors and actors of each Cold Open. Directors will be assigned scripts by the producers. Writers can work with their assigned directors on casting, but the director and show producers will have final say on all casting decisions.

Any NU alumni wishing to be considered as a Cold Cut director or an actor can send their resume and actor reels to coldcut@nueawest.org.

Can I direct my own piece?

Writers can request to direct their own scenes, and The Reading Committee will review the writer’s directing credentials. All directors must commit to attending the pre-event Table Read of the scripts, casting discussions, attending two all-cast rehearsals, and scheduling additional separate rehearsals for their scene(s).

Can I cast my Cold Open using only actors I know?

NUEA West will be selecting a core ensemble of 10-12 actors, from which all roles in the selected Cold Opens will be cast. All actors will be NU alumni. Writer input into the casting process will encouraged and considered, but the directors and producers will have final say on all casting decisions.

If a writer has specific NU alumni actors in mind, the writer should encourage those actors to submit an online acting reel to coldcut@nueawest.org.

Can I act in my own scene if I am an actor/writer?

Yes, but only if you audition for and get accepted into the larger actor ensemble. This will also require accepting any additional roles assigned to you. A writer will not be permitted to perform in only his/her Cold Open scene.

How do I protect my work?

It is a good practice for writers to independently protect their work by registering their submitting scripts with the WGA and/or the U.S. Copyright Office. However registering or copyrighting your material is not a requirement to submit a script.

Any other questions? E-mail us at coldcut@nueawest.org!