January was a slower month for script sales. Elston Films optioned Justin Kremer's 2013 Black List spec Bury the Lead. Independent Pictures is moving forward with Delia Ephron's The Book. Meg Ryan will direct. Skydance Productions and Mockingbird Pictures will co-produce Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese's Life, in which astronauts discover traces of life on Mars that may be more intelligent than they expected. Jared and Jarusha Hess to write NickToons for Nickelodeon. The movie will be based on various Nickelodeon cartoon characters, and Jared Hess will also direct.
Other script sales include:
– Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn is teaming with Spectre writers Neil Purvis and Robert Wade for an as-of-now untitled action/thriller with an Asian setting.
– Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow are reteeming for an untitled film set during the 1967 Detroit riot.
– Fox 2000 has picked up Melisa Wallack's pitch for The Fixer, which is based on the life of Denise White, a former Miss USA contestant who represents high-profile sports stars. Jennifer Aniston to produce and star.
– Nicole Perlman has signed on to the Labyrith remake/reboot. Lisa Henson and The Jim Henson Company will produce.
– Netflix picked up a few thrillers, including Tony Elliot's Arq and Alistair Legrand and Luke Harvis's Clinical. Both will be distributed on their site.
– Twentieth Century Fox purchased the horror/comedy Dead Mall, based on a pitch by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Faxon and Rash will also direct.
The Library – Produced Scripts
The downside to this Golden Age of TV is that almost every television channel, streaming service, and website that has even a tangential connection to the film industry produces original, scripted content, and the majority of those series are quite good. In fact, the vast quantity of quality shows has caused the more cynical, DVR-half-empty viewers to dub this "Peak TV," as if the television market is a bubble on the verge of bursting. But if Casual, which just completed its freshman season, is a omen of television to come, the Golden Age still has many years left of quality programming to come.
Casual, created by Zander Lehmann and produced by Jason Reitman, centers on newly-divorced Valerie, her brother, and her sixteen-year-old daughter, all living in the same house and all pursuing "casual" relationships. Each character has their own (plural) issues, and each is played to perfection by an amazing cast. Michaela Watkins (Enlightened, They Came Together) as Valerie is great as usual, and relative newcomers Tommy Dewey (as brother Alex) and Tara Lynne Barr (as daughter Laura) equally impress. But the standout talent is creator Zander Lehmann, which is especially notable since Casual is his first produced writing credit. As Reitman put it, "We were just looking for a voice. And that’s what kind of jumped off the page more than anything. When you read a pilot … you’re just getting a taste, so you need to know that his voice is going to translate over the course of years."
(Please don't continue reading until you copy, paste, write down, print out that quote. Or as our Director of Development Matt Misetich succinctly said, "Writers: this.")
What helps Lehmann's voice standout is that each line is packed with subtext. Subtext is when a character says one thing but hints at numerous other emotions left unsaid. It's what your high school literature teacher was getting at when she said, "Unpack Lady Macbeth's line in Act V, Scene 1." Take this scene from Casual as an example. Lehmann and Dewey crammed in more subtext (resentment, regret, irritation, self-loathing, and many other emotions) into one simple "Oh" than most other shows are able to in an entire half-hour. (The subtext being, "Oh my god, we just sat down, this date is already going terribly, and I hate her.") That goes for most of Alex's dialogue: Many lines hint at his depression but barely reveal all the information, particularly his buried emotions. It also helps that the characters, despite being so well-defined, are all broken. Lehmann hardly gets into all their issues in the pilot but leaves enough clues in the dialogue to give each line depth.
To put it simply: If you aren't watching Casual, you're missing out on one of the best-written character-driven shows out there today.
Script Pipeline develops writers for film and television, connecting them with top producers, agents, and managers. This process has thus far resulted in over $5 million in writer spec sales and several produced films, including Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman and The Living Wake, starring Academy Award Nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network).
For over 15 years, the company has bridged the gap between up-and-coming writers and influential executives. Through services, research tools, and annual writing and idea contests, Script Pipeline continues to offer writers worldwide unprecedented access to the industry. View recent success stories and notable alumni.
Upcoming Contest Deadlines:
–Results Announced March 15th –
2015 First Look Project
Script Pipeline Services: