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About

Through annual competitions, Script Pipeline discovers and develops writers of all levels for film and television, connecting them to producers, agents, and managers. Since 1999, several produced films and over $6 million in screenplay and TV pilot spec sales are credited to Script Pipeline’s unique, intensive process of long-term writer-to-industry facilitation. Contest finalists work with Script Pipeline’s executives year-round, getting broader exposure for their work in addition to continuous, one-on-one development assistance.

Recent success stories include Screenwriting Competition winner Evan Daugherty selling Snow White and the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million and later taking the lead on studio films DivergentNinja Turtles, and the upcoming Rose Red from Disney. Evan was previously attached to write the limited series Esmeralda for ABC Studios, GI Joe 3 for Paramount, an adaptation of Myst for Hulu, and the Tomb Raider reboot. His contest-winning script Killing Season (formerly Shrapnel) was produced and starred Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro and John Travolta.

Tripper Clancy, the 2010 Screenwriting Contest winner, sold the road comedy The Ambassadors to 20th Century Fox and the pitch Winter Break, and was previously on board the comedy Stranded for Sony. Tripper is currently writing Hacker Camp for Hasbro and an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Art of Fielding. His action-comedy Stuber sold to Fox for the mid-six figures. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) attached to star.

Micah Barnett, whose work was developed through Script Pipeline’s Workshop, sold The Rabbit to Warner Bros. for six-figures and a TV pilot, Ricochet, to NBC. Screenwriter Brian Watanabe had his Script Pipeline “Recommend” action-comedy Rogue’s Gallery (later titled Operation: Endgame), also initially developed by Script Pipeline, produced by Script Pipeline’s Chad Clough and Sean McKittrick (Get Out). The film starred Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Adam Scott (Parks and Rec), Maggie Q, Ellen Barkin, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and an ensemble cast.

In 2018, production wrapped on the Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber (formerly Militia) written by Henry Dunham. Henry will make his directorial debut with the crime-thriller that stars James Badge Dale (Iron ManRubicon). Madhouse Entertainment signed Henry a few weeks after he was announced as the winner of the competition, with UTA following suit.

Screenwriting Contest finalist Jen Goldson saw her romantic comedy Off the Menu produced and released in 2018, starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids). Jen was introduced to director Jay Silverman at a Script Pipeline event—the screenplay went into production in less than a year. She has two other features in production, including her contest-placing dramedy Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Andy Tennant (Hitch) set to direct.

The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the  First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Pictures in September 2017. Script Pipeline set up the co-writers, Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to industry. Also in 2017: Howard Jordan Jr., runner-up in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition with the comedy Family Be Like, was staffed on the CBS series Superior Donuts. His first episode aired in January 2018.

Outside of its own writer successes, The Living Wake, Script Pipeline’s first produced film starring Academy Award-nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and comedian Mike O’Connell (Dr. Ken), received high praise when it made its festival debut in 2010. In conjunction with the newly launched Film Pipeline, Script Pipeline plans on producing more work in the future, both short-form content and feature films.

A number of original feature and TV projects are in various stages of development, and over 100 writers have signed with representation or had their scripts optioned as a result of facilitation. With execs actively expanding the Script Pipeline industry network on a weekly basis, Script Pipeline is continuously on the hunt for quality material. In 2017, 13,000 screenplays, pilots, and original pitches were submitted, making Script Pipeline the leading review outlet for writers worldwide.

*Industry requests to review material from Script Pipeline writers can be made here.

Recent Success StoriesOpen Competitions

Upcoming Contest Deadline

June 22nd, 2018 Movie Idea Contest

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Testimonials

“In the few days after the competition announcement, we had a slew of terrific meetings. . . . Script Pipeline allowed us, two unknowns from Australia, to come to LA, meet people in the industry, and begin relationships.”

Penelope Chai and Matteo BernardiniScreenwriting Contest Winner

“I cannot overstate the impact that Script Pipeline has had on my writing career. Winning the contest directly led to new representation, which in turn led to working with studios like 20th Century Fox.”

Tripper Clancy (Stuber)Screenwriting Contest Winner

“Script Pipeline was actually something a friend (who's very high up in the industry) introduced me to, and having her recommend it speaks volumes about how highly regarded a contest it is, even within the upper echelon.”

Henry Dunham (The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber)Screenwriting Contest Winner

“Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager and helped launch my professional career as a writer.”

Evan Daugherty (Snow White & the Huntsman, Divergent, Rose Red)Screenwriting Contest Winner

“Script Pipeline’s First Look Project was an awesome experience. From our first phone call, they became our personal champions and proceeded to surprise us again and again with the extent of their support. Thanks to them, we are now developing our pilot with Mandalay Entertainment. Entering this contest moved our careers forward in an unprecedented way and was the smartest thing we did all year!”

Ben and Tyler SoperFirst Look Project Winners (The Devil in Evelyn)

“The dedicated Script Pipeline staff root for you and your writing career every step of the way. They champion your work and sing its praises to exciting industry contacts. I've never been so honored to win a contest and will carry this achievement to push me through those tougher days of writing.”

Kay TuxfordTV Writing Contest Winner (Queen of Thieves)

“When I relocated from NYC to LA to pursue sitcom writing, everyone I met in the industry said it wasn’t about entering competitions, it was about entering the right competition. Script Pipeline was a turning point.”

Howard Jordan Jr. (Superior Donuts)TV Writing Contest Runner-up

“No one has done more for our screenplay and our writing career than Script Pipeline. They've worked tirelessly in connecting us to industry professionals over the course of six years, ultimately resulting in our script getting optioned.”

Debbie Chesebro & Tyson FitzGeraldScreenwriting Contest Winners (Prom Queen)

“I can't thank Script Pipeline enough for all the hard work put into this competition and the followups. I only have a manager right now because of the work that they do.”

Tyler TheofilosScreenwriting Contest Finalist

“With their rapidly expanding network of industry connections, Script Pipeline has continued to champion my script long after the competition, giving me invaluable access to industry circulation and promoting my career in ways that would otherwise be out of my reach.”

Ashley LocherScreenwriting Contest Runner-up

“Script Pipeline helped me develop my pilot, found me representation, and played a key role in getting a very ambitious TV project to some of the top producers, showrunners, and even networks. Their continual support and guidance has been invaluable--they are second to none.”

Kevin JonesTV Show Idea Contest Winner / 2-Time Script Pipeline Screenwriting Finalist

“Script Pipeline has been a trusted and valuable resource for screenwriters seeking in-roads to the industry. Their staff is dedicated to finding talented writers and building careers.”

Shelly MellottFinal Draft

“There is no better place for writers than with Script Pipeline. Their attention and assistance on helping me guide my career is invaluable.”

Nir Paniry (Princesses)Screenwriting Contest Runner-up

“Couldn’t have signed with Mosaic without Script Pipeline. . . . Thanks for your help!”

Burke Scurfield & Adam LedererTV Writing Contest Finalists

“I've been amazed at the quality and depth of the development my idea has received since winning the Great TV Idea Contest. I know my concept in a richer, deeper way than I did before thanks to Script Pipeline.”

Bryce McLellanGreat TV Show Idea Winner (Verge)

“Script Pipeline's care and attention for their finalists is unparalleled. Their network is vast and their reputation stellar. Thanks to Script Pipeline, less than two weeks after the end of the contest, I signed with a manager. I couldn't be more grateful for all they've done to advance my writing career.”

Andrew Martin RobinsonScreenwriting Contest Finalist

“The constructive feedback I received allowed me to take my screenplay to another level--the film won over 22 awards worldwide. I would highly recommend Script Pipeline.”

Mark Mahon, Writer/Director (Strength and Honour)Script Pipeline "Recommend"

“The best part of being a contest finalist is what happens after--getting read by industry members I couldn't access on my own, feedback on future projects, and a priceless ongoing guidance.”

Romi MoondiScreenwriting Contest Finalist and "Recommend"

“Script Pipeline gives the best notes. Whenever I'm struggling with a project, their staff never fails to provide feedback that elevates the story. They take their commitment to "Recommended" writers, contest winners, and finalists incredibly seriously, and do an amazing job of getting those scripts out into the world.”

Greg WayneContest Winner and "Recommend" Writer

“Less than a week after the competition was over, I scored a meeting with a manager for my finalist script. We hit it off right away, and I am now signed with a smart and talented rep who takes this industry and my writing seriously. For someone like me from a no-name town, who doesn't have any contacts, this is a huge opportunity. I can't thank Script Pipeline enough for their dedication and the exposure they are able to provide for writers.”

Charles StulckScreenwriting Contest Finalist

“My idea led to a messy first draft with loads of promise. But now, by way of a systematic scene-by-scene approach, Script Pipeline is helping me tweak that draft toward its fullest potential.”

Jason VaughnGreat Movie Idea Winner (Interlopers)

“Winning Script Pipeline's First Look Project and being a finalist in their TV writing competition has been a huge boost to my career. The Script Pipeline staff goes the extra mile promoting and championing their winners' work and have gotten me opportunities I would never have been able to get on my own. It's wonderful being a part of the Script Pipeline family, and I am proud to be counted as one of their winners.”

Diana WrightFirst Look Project Winner

“I can't say enough good things about Script Pipeline. It's a contest that truly cares about the writer. When you're a winner or finalist, you really feel like you joined a special tribe or family. They are supportive and very meticulous about the scripts they select. If you only can enter a few contests, make Script Pipeline one of them.”

Colin CostelloScreenwriting Contest Finalist and "Recommend"

“My advice to aspiring writers is to keep getting (and incorporating) Script Pipeline Development Notes on the same script until it earns a Recommend. Why? Because there are certain techniques that won’t make sense until your writing skills and the script itself reach a certain level. I did this with 2011 Script Pipeline finalist screenplay Diamond Payback, and it was the best screenwriting “course” I ever took.”

Craig Weeden (Painkiller Jane)Screenwriting Contest Finalist

“I can’t speak highly enough about the Script Pipeline team. The support they provided throughout the evolution of my latest action/comedy screenplay was invaluable. Script Pipeline truly cares about my success, not only promoting my work at every opportunity but also challenging me to push the limits of my skills. Thanks to their efforts, I am now working with a great manager and have an exciting new project on the horizon.”

Kristi HallFirst Look Project Winner

“One of the finest contests around. . . a showcase for original, dynamic screenplays.”

Haji OutlawScreenwriting Contest Runner-Up

“It's a competition that not only promotes creativity, but offers unparalleled support in development.”

Kurt ConetyGreat Movie Idea Contest Winner

“In a vast sea of screenwriting competitions, Script Pipeline goes above and beyond. They don't view you as just another entrant, but a real person trying to get their voice heard in the industry.”

Melanie Schiele, Writer/Director (Butterfly Children)Screenwriting Contest Finalist

“Every time Script Pipeline announces contest winners and finalists, I put those scripts at the top of my reading list. It's one of the most well-respected contests around--the entire team does such an impressive job.”

Andrew KerseyManager

“Script Pipeline took a chance on an idiosyncratic script, and it quickly became apparent they had given my work thoughtful consideration. I'm honored to be associated with them.”

Morgan von Ancken Screenwriting Contest Winner

“Script Pipeline was integral in taking our screenplay to the next level through the Workshop. Their feedback and constructive insights were invaluable, and the exposure we had to industry after we placed in the finals of the Screenwriting Contest was unrivaled.”

Jen Badasci & Christopher PoeScreenwriting Contest Finalist

“The team at Script Pipeline has been and continues to be immensely supportive of my writing career, and has genuinely made me feel like I’m part of a writing community committed to helping everyone get one step closer to living their dreams.”

Josh CheslerScreenwriting Contest Finalist

Script Sales

May 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Tom O’Connor’s Cold War spy spec Ironbark has found a home with FilmNation Entertainment. The true story follows Greville Wynne, a British businessman, as he helps the CIA end the Cuban Missile Crisis and avert disaster. Benedict Cumberbatch is set to executive produce and star. Another historical spec landed at Gran Via Productions. This one: Alex Cramer’s Rawhide Down. The screenplay follows the immediate aftermath of John Hinkley’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in real time. Paramount Pictures picked up Cory Goodman’s horror spec The Oberline Incident. The plot is being kept under wraps, but it’s been described as high-concept with a female lead. Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures has picked up Crawl, written by Alexandre Aja, Shawn Rasmussen, and Michael Rasmussen. The story follows a young woman trapped in a flooding house with fierce predators during a Category 5 hurricane. Aja will also direct.

Other script sales:

– Dueling Leonard Bernstein projects are a go. First up is Michael Mitnick’s adaption of Leonard Bernstein’s biography written by Humphrey Burton. Cary Fukunaga to direct, Jake Gyllenhaal to star. Next up is Josh Singer’s script Bernstein. Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will produce, Cooper will direct and star. Life rights were acquired for this one.

– Bill and Ted are finally getting a sequel. Excellent! Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon are back to write, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are back to star, and Dean Parisot is set to direct. Party on, dudes.

– J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot picked up Daniel Casey’s subversive superhero script The Heavy. Julius Avery will direct.

– Guy Ritchie to direct Toff Guys from a script he co-wrote with Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson. The story follows an English drug lord as he tries to sell his business to Oklahoman billionaires.

– Gabriel Sherman is writing a Trump movie for Gidden Media. It’ll be called The Apprentice.

– Nicol Paone’s Friendsgiving has not only found a home at Red Hour Films but has also found an amazing cast: Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Jane Seymour, Aisha Tyler, Deon Cole, Ryan Hansen, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho are set to star. Ben Stiller and Akerman will produce, Paone will also direct.

Interviews

Tripper Clancy (Part 2)

By | Exclusive Interviews

Tripper won the 2009 Screenwriting Competition with his comedy Henry the Second. Soon after, he signed with manager Jake Wagner, leading to several studios projects sold and writing assignments with major companies. His action-comedy Stuber stars Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, and Iko Uwais. As his career continues to burn a path through Hollywood, he’s juggling multiple projects in both film and TV.

It’s been almost 10 years (…I know—that went fast) since you won the 2009 Screenwriting Competition with what was, and still is, one of the best grounded comedies we’ve read in Henry the Second. A lot has happened over that span, but everything seemed to get rolling when you signed with manager Jake Wagner. What was it that clicked? What do writers, of all levels, need to keep in mind when considering representation? 

The goal with representation—and this applies to a manager or an agent—is finding someone who actually wants to represent you as a writer and not just one piece of material you’ve written that might have a chance of selling. Unfortunately, when you’re starting out in the industry, you don’t have much choice in who reps you. You take anyone you can get, and oftentimes that person doesn’t share your vision for what your career path should look like.

I’ve enjoyed working with Jake because we have a very candid relationship, so even when I disagree with his opinion, we can have a healthy debate about it. The cold truth about representation is that when you book projects and generate income, your reps work harder for you. So the trick is finding reps that will work their ass off for you even if you’re in a slump because they know you can write your way out of it.

After winning the contest, you took part in the Fox writing program. The Ambassadors and Winter Break followed. Both were picked up. How did the program help push you forward, both in your development as a writer and your knowledge of the industry?

The Fox Writers Studio was an unbelievable experience, and I’m still friends with (and even working with) several people from that program. I’d say the most educational part of that job was working directly with studio execs at Fox, pitching them feature ideas, developing the script with them, getting their insights on a weekly basis. . . . When you’re writing a spec, you’re alone on an island, and you have no idea what producers or studio execs will think of your work. So at Fox, getting a constant window into their thought process was invaluable and definitely changed the way I think about movie concepts from a macro level.

Regardless of the fact you’re able to make a living off of writing, there’s surely a bit of frustration when a project is sold but goes unproduced, even if that’s a reality every writer recognizes. Is it easy to brush it off and move on?

No. It’s never easy to brush off a project that dies on the vine. You spent an extraordinary amount of time writing and rewriting it. A lot of times it can be really heartbreaking because there are a million ways for a feature project to fail and it’s almost never for the reason you might think. The only thing I can do is remind myself how fortunate I am to get to do this for a living, so if/when a project gets a green light, I can consider it a huge bonus. I also find it helpful not to dwell on projects after you hit send on the email and turn it into the studio. At that point, it’s out of your hands and up to the movie gods, so all you can do is move on and focus on the next thing.

Henry the Second has had some veterans (Shawn Levy and 21 Laps) shepherding it for years. What have been the diversions in getting it made?

21 Laps is still on board. It’s been a long, strange trip and I’m still hopeful that it’ll get made one day. I can’t tell you exactly why it hasn’t been made yet. We’ve come very close several times, but I think it has a lot to do with the tetris game of finding the right piece of talent for the right price who’s available at the right time and that has the right potential upside for the marketplace. Any original project that’s not based on IP has a tough road ahead, so the obstacles we’ve faced on Henry are not that uncommon. Some pretty amazing films took forever to get made, so who knows?

You sold the feature action-comedy Stuber to Fox, starring Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, and Iko Uwais. What was the process like from idea, to finished script, to getting such stellar talent attached?

Around December of 2015 my manager, Jake, sent me an email with a title (Stuber) and all he knew was maybe there was a comedy version of Collateral about an Uber driver named Stu. I have a deep love of 80s action comedies, and the characters, storyline and structure hit me immediately.

The next morning, I put together a three-page treatment and then a month or so later I had a draft of the script. It took a minute to find the right producers, and then in April of 2016, the script went out to every buyer in town, which led to Fox buying the script. After that, I did a couple of passes for the studio, and then our director, Michael Dowse, came on board, had some more notes, and then it was a matter of finding the right cast for it, which is its own rollercoaster.

I give all the credit to Dowse, the producers, and our exec at Fox for believing in the project and helping Kumail, Dave, and the rest of the cast see how much fun this movie could be. Most things in development at studios will never make it into production, which really makes you beyond grateful when it actually comes together.

Adapting a book to a screenplay with The Art of Fielding: is it a different beast, or not necessarily? How closely do you work with the author of the material, if at all?

Adapting a book is a slightly different process than working on an original idea. For starters, you have to determine how much the producers/studio execs love the material. Sometimes a place might own the rights to a book, but they’ll tell the writer: “All we really like is the basic concept, so feel free to use creative license for the rest.” The Art of Fielding is one of my favorite books of all time—I read it several years before it even became a potential job—so the producers and director and I all agreed that we’d try to stay as true to the novel as possible.

Novels don’t always have a traditional three-act structure, which is more common in features, so the first major decision is figuring out how to structure it as a movie. I spoke with the author a few times during the outline phase, which was super helpful, but then with each draft, I found myself needing to distance myself from the source material. At some point you have to ask yourself: “Am I writing the best adaptation or the best movie?” And that might mean cutting things you adore from the book or creating an extra scene here or there to bridge a storyline.

With a novel like The Art of Fielding, the characters are so rich and so layered that the most challenging obstacle for me was figuring out how to keep the thing under 125 pages.

There have been a number of other scripts—Hacker Camp with Hasbro, Stranded for Sony—all features. All comedies or a variation thereof. Is TV on the horizon? Directing?

I think every screenwriter hopes to direct one day. I will likely cross that bridge down the line, but director jobs don’t grow on trees, so I will have to wait for the right opportunity. I actually feel like producing is a kind of a parallel skillset to screenwriting, since you’re almost always wearing a producer hat, asking yourself if a particular assignment is a good fit for you, or if a spec idea has a strong enough concept to find a studio home, having to interface with studio execs, managing expectations, etc.

TV is definitely something I’d like to get into and I have one project now that’s in its early stages, but just like features, it’s not easy to get a project off the ground, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Dream project to write. . . .

I love writing comedies, but I always find myself gravitating toward more serious subject matter. I’m currently writing a spec that’s pretty much a dream project. It’s based on a true story and it’s not remotely funny. Will it be any good? I’d like to hope so, but who the hell knows? It’s pushing me out of my comfort zone, which is something all writers should try from time to time. Be willing to suck every once in a while!

I guess for me a “dream project” is defined as anything that I’d be pumped to see on screen, so it’s a bit of a moving target as my tastes change.

Million dollar question—and we probably know the answer. There’s no real secret to all this, right? Part timing, part skill, part luck? Should be noted, too, that you’ve always been the most gracious and modest writer we’ve come across, and that truly goes a long way in maintaining and growing a flawless reputation in Hollywood.

However, beyond the intangibles, how does a writer get noticed and stay noticed? Meaning, we always hear about the ways writers can break in, whether it’s through a discovery platform like Script Pipeline or by catching the attention of someone in an influential position, but how do you keep the fire going once you have that spark?

No simple answer here. Work ethic is a huge part of it. There’s that famous quote: “I hate writing, but I love having written.” I’ve seen that with a lot of aspiring screenwriters. They fall in love with the romantic notion of being a screenwriter more than actually being a screenwriter. It’s a job. It’s a grind. And if you aren’t willing to generate new ideas and write new pages, you’re susceptible to having a short career.

Another part of the equation that helps is if you can avoid being an asshole. I know that sounds obvious, but the notes process on a script can be daunting and exhausting, and you’ll feel like people are trying to tear down all the great work you’ve done, but you have to keep your composure and keep the debate constructive. Remind yourself that everyone involved wants the best version of this script, so if there’s a disagreement, find a polite way to get to the heart of it without making enemies and burning bridges.

Lastly, I’d say you have to find a way to put yourself in a mental state where you’re willing to absorb the ups and the downs of the job. Don’t celebrate too hard on the highs, and don’t get too depressed with the lows. Be humble and recognize that anyone who’s willing to cut you a check is helping you extend this absurd fantasy of being a screenwriter.


Tripper Clancy

After working in the Fox Writers Studio in 2011, Tripper has gone on to write comedies and dramas of all shapes and sizes for Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Fox Animation, Paramount Animation, Hasbro, Amazon, and studios abroad. His original spec script, Stuber, sold to Fox in April of 2016 and stars Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista. He is also adapting the New York Times’ bestselling novel, The Art of Fielding, for producer Mike Tollin and Mandalay Sports Media, with Craig Johnson directing. Tripper has written two foreign language films, including Wolfgang Petersen’s German bank heist comedy, Four Against the Bank, which released in 2016.

Tripper lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Maggie, and their daughters, Olive and Ruby.

Follow Tripper: Twitter

Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Pride – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

We’re deep in June, which is officially Pride Month, so why not catch up on a recent LGBT flick that may have flown under your radar?

Pride, written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus, didn’t receive much attention here in the States despite receiving almost universally positive reviews, and that’s a shame because this movie has it all—comedy, romance, drama, tragedy, and even history. Yes, Pride is based on a true story, a seemingly unlikely one at that. Set in the early ‘80s, the film follows gay activists from London as they raise awareness for striking coal miners in South Wales. The group (the aptly named Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) reasoned that, since both the miners and the LGBT community faced oppression from the British government and police forces, they could form an alliance of sorts. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so to speak. However odd the pairing may sound, what resulted was a strong friendship between two communities linked by similar experiences of marginalization.

Like the creative team behind Hidden Figures, Beresford found a compelling real-life event that few had heard of, one that seemed almost too unusual or anachronistic to be true, making it the perfect story for a film adaptation. Working-class coal miners and gay rights activists aren’t exactly the most natural of allies, and that serves as an amazing source of tension. Since the mineworkers’ union is initially reluctant to accept the LGSM’s support, the LGSM limits their activism to one small town desperate for help. The men of the village aren’t the most welcoming (the women and children are more inviting), and some are outright homophobic. With the men on strike, the women are supporting their families, and having gays help as well was yet another source of emasculation. At first. Charity and kindness in times of crisis go a long way.

The screenplay juggles a large ensemble, effortlessly blending historical figures with characters who feel just as real. Some notable real-life characters include Mark Ashton, gay rights activist and founder of LGSM who ultimately died from AIDS shortly after the events of this movie; Jonathan Blake, one of the first men in London diagnosed with HIV and who is still alive; and Hefina Headon and Siân James, members of the Women’s Support Group for the striking miners (the latter of whom eventually became a Member of Parliament, the first female MP to serve her constituency). And although the characters deal with the bleak realities of the time and their circumstances—homophobia, HIV/AIDS, poverty, police harassment—the screenplay and the movie never lose their sense of humor. Both are hilarious throughout.

“Crowd-pleasing” gets tossed around a lot, almost to the point that it’s an empty advertising buzzword, but that descriptor certainly applies here. The movie works towards those “crowd-pleasing” moments and earns each of them, with the final scene feeling legitimately triumphant. Not to give too much away (though, I mean, this is based on a true story—the rules against spoilers in movies shouldn’t apply to history, but whatever), the National Union of Mineworkers ends up unequivocally supporting gay rights in the United Kingdom, thanks in no small part to the work of LGSM. It’s a story of two disparate communities coming together to forge an alliance and fight for their rights. A story that’s still relevant today.

(And if for some reason none of that sold you, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy are in it. Everyone loves them, right?)

Read the Pride Screenplay