Menu button
Official Rules

Contact Us

Your Story.
Your Passion.
Your Chance.

Gemstone Studios and Sony Pictures Television have selected the top four finalists in our search for the next great Rising Storyteller. Find out who made the list on our Finalists page.

Presented By

Scroll below to learn more!


The Gemstone Studios Rising Storytellers Search, a collaborative project by Gemstone Studios, Sony Pictures Television and Ideas United—along with some incredible brand partners, including Celtx, Josefinas and Sony Alpha—worked to champion emerging voices and female-led narratives. The program focused on elevating diverse and underrepresented creators with authentic, bold, and undeniable stories to tell.

Gemstone Studios accepted concepts across all scripted, premium, and episodic television genres (drama, comedy, adult animated, docuseries etc.).

The program sought to uplift underrepresented creative communities for the chance to pitch original content to Studio executives and the opportunity to win a development deal.

  • Hundreds of participants submitted their original stories and ideas.
  • In October, the top four candidates will create a sizzle reel to pitch to Gemstone Studios.
  • Gemstone Studios will select one proposal and its creator will have a chance to sign a development deal worth $30,000.

We received more than 1,750 video submissions and we loved reviewing every single idea and story. It really is a testament to the power of female-led narratives.

We truly appreciate all of the entries and the time you invested creating and sharing those with us. We have selected our top four finalists:

  • Priscilla Davies, “Home Sweet Home”
  • Vivian Kerr, “Five Points”
  • Krystina Christiansen, “Houston 12”
  • Jen Schuster, “Dirty Thirties”

Each of our finalists will receive prizes from our great brand sponsors, including:

All-in-one scriptwriting and pre-production system with state-of-the-art tools for real-time collaboration.

The Portuguese shoe brand, will be providing hand-made items.

Will be providing photography equipment.

Brand Partners

Thanks to our brand partners, Gemstone Studios is able to gift Rising Storytellers Search finalists some incredible prizing experiences.

Celtx is the all-in-one scriptwriting and pre-production system for video and game professionals. With state-of-the-art tools for real-time collaboration, Celtx's web-based studios help teams make great content. With their accessible tools and resources, Celtx has led the way in democratizing the creative process for all storytellers and underrepresented voices.

Josefinas footwear collections are designed to empower the modern woman and honor self-expression while also taking inspiration from influential women in history who have paved the way. Their Suffragette shoe was created as an homage to the suffragists and serves as a reminder that we must continue the fight for women’s rights. Josefinas hopes to inspire the paths of many other women and encourage them to follow their own dreams.

Sony Electronics, a global leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, launched the Sony Alpha Female program in 2018 to focus on advancing the representation of diverse voices in the imaging and film industries, and supporting the growth of visual creators everywhere. The initiative supports the growth of underrepresented voices through a grant program and strategic partnerships.

  • Find out if you’re a top four finalist by October 20, 2020
  • Top Four finalists will develop their idea with Gemstone Studios and iU and create a professional sizzle reel
  • Top Four finalists will also receive prizing from our brand sponsors, Celtx, Josefinas and Sony Alpha
  • Finalists will pitch their concept and reel to Gemstone Studios’ executives
  • One storyteller will have the opportunity to ink a development deal with Gemstone Studios worth $30,000!

* Finalists will be notified by email provided in the original application

Aug 12, 2020
Bentonville Film Festival Panel Announcement
Aug 12, 2020
Submissions Open
Sept 21, 2020
Submission Deadline
Sept 21–Oct 2, 2020
Judging and Consideration: Round 1
Oct 8, 2020
Top 20 Announced (Semi-Finalists)**
Oct 8–Oct 16, 2020
Judging and Consideration: Round 2
Oct 20, 2020
Top 4 Announced (Finalists)**
Oct 20–Nov 6, 2020
Finalists Create Final Pitch Promo Videos
Nov 11, 2020
Virtual Pitch Event with Studio Executives
Nov 12–Nov 13, 2020
Judging: Round 3
Nov 16, 2020
Winner Announced

* Please note all dates are subject to change

** Top 20 and Top 4 entries notified by email provided in the original application.

What do I need to submit?
You'll need to submit a single self-taped video (6 minutes max). The video should include a brief bio/personal statement (approx 1 minute) and a description of your original series idea ( ~5 minutes). You cannot submit any written material in regards to your concept. You may upload your website, reel, resumes, etc. as supplementary material.
Why do I need to be a member of Ideas United (iU)’s network?
Ideas United is Gemstone Studio’s creative partner and we are using the submission and management platform for all submissions. By submitting an entry into the Rising Storytellers Search program you will also be agreeing to join the iU Network; no additional information is required.
Who is allowed to enter?
All submissions must be created by a solo creator (i.e., no team entries). The Promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, age 18 or older at time of entry.
Can I submit multiple ideas?
We are looking for your best and most original idea. However, the maximum number of separate submissions is three (3) per applicant.
Do entrants retain sole ownership of their story idea?
Yes, the story idea within your video submission is your own and entering into the contest does not require you to give up any rights of ownership to that idea. However, there are multiple steps to the competition, including review of semi-finalists’ pitches by Gemstone executives. Under policies that are common in the entertainment business, if your idea is chosen as a Semi-Finalist, you will be asked to sign a Sony Pictures Submission Release, if you want to continue in the competition and have your concept considered by Gemstone. Then, if you are chosen as the Grand Prize winner, you will be offered a development deal for your story idea - and at that point the Grand Prize winner would sign an agreement to, among other things, transfer ownership of the idea to Gemstone Studios, for potential production as a Gemstone television project. Please see the Official Rules for more details about the Grand Prize.
When is my submission due?
All submissions need to be fully submitted by 8:59pmp PT (11:59pm ET) on September 21, 2020.
How do I know that you received my submission?
You will receive a confirmation email upon successful completion of your entry at the and clicking SUBMIT.
What happens after the four Finalists are chosen?
The Top 4 Finalists will be invited to pitch their idea to Gemstone Studios’ executives and industry professionals. One winner will be selected and will work directly with Gemstone Studios to finalize the development deal.
What happens if I am offered to be a Semi-Finalist?
If your entry is chosen as a potential top 20 entry, Ideas United will contact you and provide you with a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA), a Submission Release agreement and also an Affidavit and Release form. If an entrant does not sign and return these documents in a timely basis, the entry will be disqualified.
When is the pitch experience?
The pitch event with Gemstone Studios’ executives will occur on or about November 11, 2020. Due to concerns with COVID-19, all pitches will be virtual.
What might I win?
The top 4 finalists will be provided prizes with a combined approximate retail value over $23,000. In addition, each will be invited to submit a final entry in the format of a “sizzle reel video” at a virtual “pitch event” to be held on or about November 11, 2020, and each will receive the opportunity to work with studio executives at Sony Pictures Television and Ideas United to develop their final entry. The winning submission will be given an opportunity to have their idea further developed and potentially produced with Gemstone Studios, worth approximately $30,000.
Who votes? Panel/judges?
A panel comprised of Gemstone Studios executives and industry professionals will review and judge the Top 4 ideas during the pitch event and determine the winning idea.
How may my personal information be used by Ideas United and Gemstone Studios?
By entering this competition, you authorize and allow iU and Gemstone (and their agents and representatives) to store, share, use and disclose the information you submit, for the purpose of administering competition, under Gemstone and Sony Pictures’ privacy policy. In addition, you will become a member of IU’s network, and as such your info may be used as provided for in iU’s privacy policy.
What if my question isn’t answered here?
You can reach out to us at with any questions.
How might COVID-19 affect submissions and/or judging of my idea?
COVID-19 has forced the pitch event process for the Top 4 finalists to become a virtual pitch directly with Gemstone Studios executives (via Zoom or similar video conference). COVID-19 has also forced the interactions with Sony, Gemstone Studios and iU mentors to be virtual-only consultations.

Additional or unanswered questions?

We’ve tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. For anything that isn’t answered, please email us at

Official Rules

Contact Us