EXCLUSIVE: After Scott Free and Ridley Scott turned Andy Weir’s novel The Martian into a blockbuster Oscar contending picture last year, Scott has opened himself up to the chance to find new novel voices for picture projects. So he’s joined forces with the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition, which has broadened beyond screenwriters to include the prospect of authors with strong cinematic voices. Scott Free has committed to option at least one winning project in the competition. In addition, Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment has committed to sign a minimum of one writer from the c0mpetition to its roster, and will endeavor to set up their winning project. “Writers are an integral part of my team and without them I would not be able to do my job,” Scott said. “So to be able to provide a new and innovative way for them to get their work out in the world is truly exciting.” The third new component in the competition is Inkshares, the indie publisher which has pledged to publish at least three manuscript winners.

The competition, which allows writers to submit up to 50 pages, costs around 50 bucks to enter, and the entries are judged by established Hollywood producers. The competition boasts it has led to getting 115 writers lined up with reps over three years, with 50 projects getting set up and 15 writers landing staff jobs on TV shows. With the emergence of Scott Free committing to an option deal and Energy promising representation, it sounds like a way to cut through the red tape that new talent encounters in getting their work considered.