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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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Script Sales

January 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

      

January kicked off 2018 with a slow start. Mental Pictures has picked up Joseph and John Magary’s Charlotte XVI, a romantic drama that follows the love lives of a 16-year-old girl and her mother. Myna Joseph will direct, and Maya Hawke will star. Derek Kolstad’s action/thriller script Nobody found a home at STX Entertainment. Bob Odenkirk is set to star and produce. Amazon picked up Task Force Two, an action pitch from Jennifer Yee McDevitt. The story will follow an elite search-and-rescue team in California. Genesius Pictures has entered pre-production with Mrs Lowery and Son, written by and based on the play by Martyn Hesford. Adrian Noble will direct. Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave will star. Universal picked up My Own Worst Enemy, an action/comedy script by Chad St. John. Kevin Hart to star/produce.

Other script sales:

– Jon Felson has been tapped to adapt environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill’s memoir The Legacy of Luna for Gulfstream Pictures.

– Jac Schaeffer is set to script the Black Widow movie for Marvel.

– Stephen Daldry to direct Jack Thorne’s untitled script about Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, who qualified for the 2016 Olympics under the first Team Refugee. The film has been set up at Working Title Films.

– Peter Chiarelli to write a script based a treatment from Jessica Chastain and Kelly Carmichael for Universal. The untitled comedy follows two women battling the elements as they try to get home for the holidays. Chastain and Octavia Spencer to star.

– Disney has tapped Stephany Folsom to write Toy Story 4.

– Emily V. Gordon will adapt Cynthia D’Apri’s The Nest for Amazon.

Interviews

Jen Goldson

By | Exclusive Interviews

Writer Jen Goldson placed as a finalist in the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition with her screenplay Everything’s Going to be Okay. At the Script Pipeline writer/industry event in Los Angeles that summer, she was introduced to producers Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona of Silverman Productions. Her pitch to them for another script, a romantic comedy, stuck. It was optioned right away and produced a little over a year later. Off the Menu was released on February 6th, 2018, starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Frozen) and Dania Ramirez (Once Upon a Time, Devious Maids). Jen continues to write for both film and TV, with several projects in development.

Your screenplay Everything’s Going to be Okay (aka egbok) was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. At our industry event that year, you met Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona. A couple years later: your first produced film. And a charming one at that. Fill us in on that journey, from initial interest to production.

First of all, thank you for calling Off The Menu “charming”—my first review!

I should add that I met three pivotal contacts at Pipeline’s event: Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona plus Jeff Faehnle at Nasser Entertainment. Both of these companies optioned a script of mine with the clear understanding that they were greenlit to go into production. And it happened! Jay directed Off The Menu and Nasser Entertainment produced a thriller I co-wrote with my husband, Robert Foulkes, called Snatched (starring Dina Meyer and Corin Nemec). So I can’t say enough how Pipeline rejuvenated my writing career and am extremely appreciative.

So to answer your question, for Off The Menu, I worked closely with Jay and his team, and did about three or four drafts. The last draft was a pretty solid one and got the stars attached—and then things with the script were further condensed for budget. I felt good that the script drew the caliber of stars such as Santino Fontana, who was just coming off the first season of the fantastic Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and Dania Ramirez, who was great in Devious Maids and now in Once Upon A Time. And not to mention, Maria Conchita Alonso (if you haven’t seen Vampire’s Kiss, it’s a classic), and rising young star Makenzie Moss (who played little Lisa in Steve Jobs).

Writers often wonder what their role is once the final version of the script is locked in, and it typically varies depending on the film. What was the extent of your involvement during the shoot? Were you on location? Were there on-the-spot script edits to make?

Yeah, every movie is different, and on this one, I did a set visit and everyone was really lovely. They even had my name on a director’s chair, they were very sweet and thoughtful. And they also invited me for the music composing session which was really an education for me—they had a live orchestra for the score, and the film’s composer, Dave Holden, is such a talented guy. But for most of production, I really wasn’t that involved. Perhaps things will change as more feature writers come in with a TV background (where writers are often required to be on set). I do find that in the long-run, if the writer is available and willing, it would behoove production to have him/her on set. But hey, I’m hardly impartial.

I always think it has to be such a surreal experience to finally see what you wrote on-screen with real people. . . . At the premiere of the film, what was on your mind? When did it all start to feel “real” to you?

Santino and his lovely wife, Jessica Heshberg (who’s a talented Broadway singer and actress, and also appears in Menu), wrote and performed this really fun, Doris Day type of opening number for Menu and that’s when it became really real. I kept on playing it over and over again. It’s really perfect.

Tell us about the other films you have in development, including your contest-winning script Everything’s Going to be Okay.

So Everything’s Going to Be Okay is currently set up at EMA (Envision Media Arts) with Andy Tennant set to direct. The producers are hopeful that it will go this year! So that’s been a real rewarding outcome on that front. And then I have this LA-based indie film called Rent Control that Theresa Bennet is attached to direct. That script is a personal favorite of mine. My manager, Sukee Chew, has been instrumental in packaging and pushing these projects forward. She was always my first choice to work with and is amazing. And then I’m almost done with a biopic about a famous painting that’s set in Swinging London—that script is killing me. For research materials, I’ve been working with 40 plus books, 200 articles, documentaries, youtube clips. . . I am so sick of these people! (just kidding).

You’ve written a mix of genres, including a TV pilot. Do you think the range is important? Has it made you more “marketable,” in a sense?

Pretty much from the beginning of my writing career I was labeled as a “character comedy writer.” And you know what: I pretty much stayed true to this. Everything I write has some form of humor, even the biopic I’ve been working on, though it’s a drama, I have three witty characters. I will say, as you mentioned, I have that one sci-fi pilot, but even that has humor. My least favorite writers are the earnest ones. I think it just reads false. But as for “range,” I think what’s most important is knowing who you are as a writer. A writer who thinks they can write every genre is not going to perfect any one genre. So know who you are—and that takes time to figure out.

As far as the feature market in general, what are the types of stories you feel are lacking, or do you wish we had more of? Both on an indie and studio level? What themes do you usually gravitate toward?

I wish we’d get away from “female driven” as a genre when women are 50.8% of the U.S. population (yes, I just Googled it). So I’ve recently started calling Dunkirk “male driven” [laughs]. I’m hopeful about the representation of interesting female characters, with recent films such as The Florida Project, Mudbound, Lady Bird, and last year’s The Edge of Seventeen, American Honey and White Girl (and heck, let me throw in the wonderful HBO series Insecure and Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

I’m more attracted to interesting and flawed characters than themes. I don’t write to themes as I find it too limiting, and it feels like a book report.

Getting a spec produced is still, relatively speaking, a rarity. Beyond the typical advice writers hear all the time—write something low-budget, write something broad that appeals to a large market, and so forth—what else can someone do to increase their odds? We know in your case the introduction to a producer helped, but is it all about the script? Are there intangibles writers should keep in mind?

If you want to be a feature writer, the climb will likely be a long one—and may take you about 5-8 scripts to really master feature writing and land you representation (which is more difficult these days). The nice thing about television is there is a ladder of progression. You can start off as a writer’s assistant (if you can get that position, most writer’s assistants have agents—I know!) and then you can go on to staff writer/story editor and so forth. You don’t have any of that in feature films. BUT, and there’s a big but in this, it is very difficult for television writers to creatively make the leap to feature films because they tend to write episodically which you don’t want to do in feature films. So, if your heart is in features, they’re still getting made and go for it!

As for “intangibles,” a producer or director will think a writer is completely green if they get defensive about notes. My best advice for any emerging writer is to work in development and see first hand what producers or film/TV execs go through. You will have a better appreciation for the craft and will have more confidence as a writer.

*Just wanted to thank Script Pipeline again for their support and advocacy with getting two scripts of mine off the ground and actually produced! I think they’re the best in town, and in this day and age, when it’s harder to land representation, screenwriting contests like this are more vital than ever. Go Pipeline!


Jen Goldson

As of 2018, Jennifer has two films produced: the romantic-comedy Off The Menu starring Santino Fontana and Dania Ramirez, directed and produced by Jay Silverman (available on VOD and all other platforms), and the thriller Snatched starring Dina Meyer, Jen Lilley and Corin Nemec (to be released). Another project, Rent Control, is currently being packaged with Theresa Bennett set to direct and Sukee Chew producing. Her feature screenplay Everything’s Going to be Okay was a Script Pipeline Finalist in 2015 and has since been optioned by Envision Media Arts (EMA). Andy Tennant is attached to direct, with Sukee Chew also producing.

She works as a development consultant for MOST Resources, and has also worked at NBCU, in business affairs, and in feature film development at various production companies and studios.

Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Mudbound – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams from Hillary Jordan’s novel, Mudbound tracks the relationships between the white McAllan family, who recently bought a farm in Mississippi, and the Jackson family, who live and work on the land, before and after World War II. Although some of the elements may feel familiar—racism in the pre-Civil Rights-era South is well-trodden territory in both literature and film—Mudbound mixes race relations with PTSD, alcoholism, abject poverty, the horrors of war, masculinity, depression, and a Southern Gothic style, giving the film an epic feel that explores the full breadth of human emotion. As much as it is a movie about bigotry and discrimination, it’s also a film about the universality of pain, depression, and suffering—and how that pain can trickle down and turn back into bigotry and discrimination. Even though the majority of the characters face poverty, the script makes it clear that a racial hierarchy pervaded 1940’s rural Mississippi, both through subtle moments like Henry McAllan’s treatment of his land’s tenants to the explicit epithets Henry’s father frequently spouts, and this hierarchy simmers throughout the film until it finally boils over in a climax brutal and distressing in its realism.

Rees and Williams’ Academy Award–nominated script turns frequently to voice over, allowing the audience to get inside the heads of each of the six main characters. Though voice over often becomes a liability in lesser hands, the narration (coupled with Rees’ cerebral direction and cinematographer Rachel Morrison’s Oscar-nominated cinematography) gives the film a poetic feel in which the characters’ shared experiences and diverging perspectives fold on each other to paint a complex, unflinching, and epic portrait of the era, recalling older human dramas like John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley and The Grapes of Wrath. “Show, don’t tell” is an enduring saying that will likely never go away, but the elegiac elegance of Mudbound’s voice over justifies itself, college writing course axioms be damned.

Although the screenplay, the direction, and the visuals provide an excellent draw, the actors give the story pathos, and Jason Mitchell and Garrett Hedlund do their best to carry it as two veterans who befriend each other, but Mary J. Blige steals the show. Blige gives a standout performance that’s both emotive and understated—and she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role. (She also scored a Best Song nom for the closing credits song.)

Mudbound is a rarity in modern film—an epic character study about racism that not only does justice to each of its characters but also looks to the past to tell a story relevant to our present. For that alone, it’s necessary viewing—and it’s on Netflix, so if you’re a subscriber, you’ve got no excuse.

Read the Mudbound Screenplay