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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 will begin on the Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Militia, written by Henry Dunham. Henry will make his directorial debut with the crime-thriller. As of January 2018, the film is set to star Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead), Ralph Ineson (The Witch), 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.

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.

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March 1st, 2018 Screenwriting Contest

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Script Sales

December 2017 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Closing out 2017, Hollywood slowed down in December on account of the holiday season. Warner Bros. and Safehouse Pictures picked up Leo Sardarian’s sci-fi/action spec The Expansion Project. The script follows a rookie female marine who ends up stranded on a planet. San Andreas‘s Brad Peyton is attached to direct. Guillermo del Toro’s Del Toro Productions is teaming with Fox Searchlight and Phantom Four Films to produce the supernatural horror/thriller Antlers. Written by Nick Antosca and Henry Chaisson, the spec follows a young teacher who discovers a deadly supernatural secret connected to the father of one of her students. Hostiles director Scott Cooper is currently in talks. Rickey Castleberry and Zimran Jacob’s college comedy Swag has found a home with Estevan/Sheen Productions. Kevin Pollack to direct.

Other script sales:

– Rashida Jones to adapt the graphic novel Goldie Vance for Twentieth Century Fox. Jones will also direct.

– Mairghread Scott to write the animated feature Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors for Marvel Entertainment.

– Guillermo del Toro will write and direct an adaptation of the noir thriller Nightmare Alley for Fox Searchlight.

– Greg Pierce to adapt Hannah Kent’s novel Burial Rights. Jennifer Lawrence is attached to produce/star, and Call Me By Your Name‘s Luca Guadagnino will direct.

– Joel David Moore to write/direct an adaption of Huh Jung’s Hide and Seek for CJ Entertainment.

– Mark L. Smith has been tapped to script a new Star Trek movie, based on an idea from Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino will possibly direct.

Interviews

Howard Jordan Jr. (Part 2)

By | Exclusive Interviews

It’s been two short years, and you went from runner-up in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition to staff writer on a CBS comedy. What pieces had to fall into place to get there? What was the process like? 

I’m not sure if this is a good thing, along the lines of hopeful or inspirational, or a sad thing, a little more disappointing to hear. But all the clichés are true. Keep writing. Keep networking. Keep improving.

There is no singular route to a room, or a sell. What continues to prove effective for me is making time to write and being receptive to notes. If you do that, you’ll get better. If you get better, your odds of taking a leap forward will also.

Certainly, participating in the 2016-2017 CBS Writers Diversity Program was a critical piece in your career puzzle. How much did it change your perceptions and knowledge of the industry? 

It was everything.

When I moved to LA in the summer of 2013, I knew I wanted to transition from my career in advertising as a creative director. But I didn’t know how. Worse than that, I didn’t know anyone. Oh, and did I mention, I also didn’t have any material, yet?

Through family connections and friends of friends, I began to meet working television writers at various levels. The one suggestion that continued to pop up; “Apply to the diversity programs.” But that is rarified air. Eight spots per program and applicant fields ranging between 1,300 to 2,500.

That pursuit is where my education really began. So, I have to mention it. It’s not as simple as 1-2-3. I used a further-developed version of the script named runner-up at Script Pipeline with a brand new Brooklyn Nine-Nine spec to get into the CBS program.

The program reinforced things I already knew from a long career as a creative professional. But the true discovery came in the importance of telling personal stories in conversation and on the page that only you can tell. It educated us about what the industry is looking for, what is expected of a staff writer, and it made it clear that “I can do this.”

The experience on Superior Donuts: what has met your expectations, and what hasn’t? We’re sure there was some degree of hesitation early on, but did you get comfortable with this new environment right away, or did it take some easing into? What’s been the biggest hurdle? 

My expectations were surpassed the moment I got the opportunity to step inside the room. The best thing about being a staff writer is that the success of the show has almost nothing to do with you. You are there to learn and contribute to the direction of the showrunner. It’s that simple.

As far as comfort, you have to feel out the room. In sports terms, play your position. I’m still finding my footing after 30 weeks. It takes time. But I happen to be in a very welcoming, encouraging space with seasoned, proven pros. The only hurdle is learning to be on for 10 hours a day with the same people at the same table, for 9 ½ straight months. I wasn’t ready for such a never-ending dinner party.

No secret that writers are flocking to TV. We started reviewing TV material in 2008, and it’s incredible to see the number of pilots now compared to then. What are key points a writer should keep in mind when developing an original pilot? Do they really have as much creative flexibility as they think they have, or should they take a more rigid approach to what types of concepts they pursue?

I’m no development expert just yet. But I’d suggest making damn sure you love the premise and the characters, write it with purpose, and be ready to write it as many times as it takes to get it just right. Then, take notes and rewrite it. Then, scrap it and start over again, if needed.

I do believe the field is wide open. Write what you love. There are so many outlets looking for content. If you write something that can sell, someone will buy it. Or at least I hope that’s the case. I’m kind of depending on it.

In 2015, we asked where you saw yourself in 10 years—you said having three sitcoms on-air simultaneously. Has that changed? Have you been able to balance writing your own scripts with the demands of writing for the show? 

It hasn’t changed one bit. That’s still my end game. Why not.

The commitment to the room comes first. It’s hard to do, for sure. It takes time management and a very patient spouse. But if you want it, there’s always time to push something forward or explore something new. You make it. You find it.

Keep writing. Keep networking.

Superior Donuts airs on CBS Mondays at 9pm.

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Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

SMILF – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

For the better part of a decade, the half-hour dramedy has been a staple of premium cable. Led by shows like Sex and the City and Weeds, many of these series combine biting humor, sympathetic yet edgy female leads, and serious themes. Often, this combination can be a delicate balancing act, and even the best dramedies can occasionally fall too far on the comedy–drama continuum and cause tonal whiplash. It takes truly talented writers, directors, and actors to keep this balance intact.

That’s part of the reason why SMILF is so impressive. Created by and starring Frankie Shaw (who also directed the pilot), SMILF follows Shaw’s Bridgett Bird, a 20-something single mother in Boston. The title stands for “Single Mother I’d Like to…” (you can probably complete the rest), but don’t let that stop you—the title betrays what is ultimately a realistic portrayal of single motherhood with a tone that, although comedic, feels true to life. Throughout the series, Bridgette tries to navigate life as she balances work and her audition schedule, attempts to have a normal sex life, worries that her sex life will never be normal again, struggles to pay the bills, and acts like she’s fine with her ex and his new girlfriend all while raising a toddler mostly as a single mother. Bridgette is an easy character to sympathize with, and every plot point is in service of her wants and herself as a person.

Although much changed between Shaw’s original draft and the final product, the framework for the series can be clearly seen in the script, and if anything, the changes helped refine Bridgette, her goals, and her relationships with those around her. Each of the series’ actors brings it—Shaw fully and perfectly embodies Bridgette, and the supporting cast (which includes Miguel Gomez, Samara Weaving, Rosie O’Donnell, and Connie Britton) also deliver.

Ultimately, SMILF is an exquisitely funny show that doubles as an honest, unapologetic look at a character we hardly see.

Read the SMILF Pilot