This year, script sales slowed down in the month of October. Misher Films picked up Craig Luck and Ivor Powell’s sci-fi spec Bios. Set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, the film will follow a robot tasked with protecting his creator’s dog. Currently, Tom Hanks is attached to star, and Miguel Sapochnik is attached to direct. Meanwhile, Stay Gold Features and Rosa Entertainment have teamed for Heart of the Beast. The drama/thriller spec, written by Cameron Alexander, follows a former Navy SEAL and his combat dog as they try to survive after an accident in the Alaskan wilderness. Moving away from stories about dogs, QC Entertainment and Good Universe have picked up Max Landis’s horror script Decon about a young medical prodigy who is pushed to their breaking point over the course of one night after joining a team that treats the most dangerous and gruesome diseases.
Other script sales:
- Bob’s Burgers is getting a movie! Creator Loren Bouchard is set to write.
- Universal is moving forward with The Paper Bag Princess. Based on Robert Munsch’s children's book, the movie will be directed by Elizabeth Banks and will star Margot Robbie.
- Phillip Noyce is set to produce/direct a pair of war features: Rats of Tobruk, written by Michael Petroni, which will follow Australian soldiers during the Siege of Tobruk in WW2, and Alive Day, written by Kathleen McLaughlin and adapted from an autobiography of an ex-US special ops soldier.
- Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera are set to write 48 Meters Down, the sequel to their 2017 movie 47 Meters Down. Roberts will also direct.
- Good Universe and Burr! Productions have acquired the rights to Susan Fowler’s upcoming book about her experiences at Uber. Allison Schroeder will to adapt.
- Paramount is moving forward with their live-action Dora the Explorer movie. Nicholas Stoller is set to write; Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller will produce.
Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots
Now that we’re nearing the end of 2017, studios have begun releasing scripts for potential Oscar contenders, and one film that received early and near-universal praise upon its release was The Big Sick. After watching the film, it’s easy to see its appeal. Directed by Michael Showalter and written by real-life couple Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (based on the true story of how they met), The Big Sick effortlessly balances comedy and drama without doing a disservice to either and touches on compelling themes along the way.
Set in Chicago, the film follows Kumail (played by Nanjiani himself), an aspiring stand-up comedian and current Uber driver, and Emily (played by Zoe Kazan), a grad student studying psychology, as their relationship starts. However, after five months, Emily breaks up with Kumail after she learns he still hasn’t told his traditional Pakistani family that he is dating a white woman. (One subplot features Kumail’s mother’s attempts to set him up in an arranged marriage, or as they call it in Pakistan, “marriage,” to paraphrase one of Kumail’s jokes.) But soon after, Emily falls ill, and Kumail’s the only person able to come to the hospital... which means he has the honor of calling her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano doing career-best work) after she’s placed in a medically induced coma. The film then follows Kumail as he attempts to befriend the parents, who already hate his guts since Emily told them everything.
Where The Big Sick succeeds the most is with the characters and their relationships. The banter between Kumail and Emily early on in the movie, and the excellent way Nanjiani and Kazan play off each other, makes them a couple hard to route against. The relationships—specifically the ones between Kumail and Emily, Kumail and his parents, Kumail and her parents, and Emily’s parents—help generate most of the film’s conflict. Throughout, characters don’t live up to others’ expectations, whether they be the choices they make, the lies they tell (or, conversely, the truths they speak), or how they plan to live their futures.
All in all, if you haven’t seen it yet, The Big Sick is well worth a watch: it’s a (somewhat) serious rom-com that finds humor in a tragic situation.
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 from alumni are credited to Script Pipeline’s unique, intensive process of long-term writer-to-industry facilitation. Contest finalists and winners work with Script Pipeline’s senior executives year-around, getting broader exposure for their work in addition to continuous, one-on-one development assistance.
Recent success stories include competition alum Evan Daugherty selling Snow White and the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million and later taking the lead on studio projects Divergent, Ninja Turtles, and the upcoming Rose Red from Disney and Earthseed from Paramount. 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, another former Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner, sold the road comedy The Ambassadors to 20th Century Fox and the pitch Winter Break to QED International, and was previously attached to write the comedy Stranded for Sony. Tripper is currently writing the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount, in addition to Hacker Camp for Hasbro. In April 2016, he sold the spec Stuber to Fox for the mid-six figures, and in May 2017 was brought on board for an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Art of Fielding.
Micah Barnett, whose work was developed through Script Pipeline coverage services, 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. 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 2017, production began on the 2015 Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Militia, written by Henry Dunham. Henry will make his directorial debut with the crime/thriller. The film is set to star Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire). Madhouse Entertainment signed Henry a few weeks after he was announced as the winner of the competition, with UTA following suit.
Jen Goldson, another 2015 contest selection, saw her romantic comedy Off the Menu produced in 2016, starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids). Jen was introduced to director Jay Silverman at a Script Pipeline event, and the screenplay went into production in less than a year. The film will be released in 2018.
A number of original feature and TV projects are in various stages of development, and well over 100 writers have signed with representation or had their work optioned as a result of facilitation. With Script Pipeline execs actively expanding their industry network on a daily basis, the company is continuously on the hunt for quality material to co-produce or help put into production.
By the end of 2017, it’s estimated that 15,000 screenplays, pilots, and original pitches will have been reviewed through the competitions, making Script Pipeline the leading review outlet for writers worldwide.
*Industry requests to review material from Script Pipeline writers can be made here.