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News and Updates: November


Santino Fontana, Dania Ramirez Star in Script Pipeline Finalist Romcom

Galileo, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist Jen Goldson, wrapped production in October 2016 and is set for a 2017 release. Industry partner Jay Silverman (Girl on the Edge), who directed the romcom, picked up the project in 2015. Silverman and producer Bethany Cerrona met Goldson at the annual Script Pipeline writer/industry event in Los Angeles.

"I was a finalist in the Script Pipeline Screenplay Competition and attended their writer/industry event," Goldson said. "[Director of Development] Matt Misetich steered me toward Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona, saying they would appreciate my work (Galileo)--and they did! A year later, Jay, my director, wrapped a warm and funny film, and it came about 100% due to Script Pipeline."

Aaron Paul, Olga Kurylenko On-Board Script Pipeline Fellowship Writer’s Sci-fi Feature

Android, written by Script Pipeline Fellowship selection Matt O’Reilly, attached Aaron Paul (Breaking BadThe Pathin October 2016. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) set to co-star in the sci-fi/thriller and had been attached since 2015. Niall Johnson (White Noise) directing, with Infinite Studios and Picture Films producing. 

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LATE DEADLINE: November 22nd - Screenplays, Pilots, and Short Films

Searching for the best genre screenplays, original pilots, and short films.

The 5th Annual First Look Project competition fulfills the requests of major studios, Hollywood production and management companies, and leading agencies by finding fresh, high-concept material across three main categories:

Screenplay – four genre divisions
Teleplay – original pilots, any genre
Media – produced short films and reels

Supported by Good Fear Film + Management, Energy Entertainment, Darko Entertainment, Lakeshore Entertainment, and other Script Pipeline partners, the competition presents the best scripts and filmmakers to major companies. One winner in each category receives personal development assistance from Script Pipeline’s executive team. We will also select up to 5 finalists for each division.

The contest is open to writers and filmmakers of all backgrounds--no limit on those who have sold, produced, or optioned material in the past.

Enter the First Look Project

Interview: Penelope Chai and Matteo Bernardini

Winners of the 2016 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition with Cinderella Must Die

Regardless of the fact 2016 turned out to be our best year for screenwriting, with so many fantastic finalist screenplays, Cinderella Must Die was a unanimous pick for the grand prize. Personally, when I read during the quarterfinalist round, 30 pages in I stopped immediately to text Chad (Script Pipeline’s Executive Director) and our development assistant to tell them they have to read this immediately. Part of this was due to the unique spin on the fairy tale, but mostly because of your writing style.

Is style and crafting a unique voice—which is something we constantly emphasize for emerging writers—an area you feel can be refined through “deliberate practice,” meaning an element you can specifically work on, or is it something that simply comes from years of experience? What has helped each of you the most when it comes to basic writing ability?

Matteo: My first job in the industry in Italy was as a reader for a production company. And almost nothing can prepare you for how bad Italian amateur screenwriting can be (it’s a country in its infancy, craft-wise). And almost at the same time, I started reading masters–scripts by Goldman, Coppola, Gilroy. . . . I think what helped was studying the classics, to learn how high this art can fly, and (almost as important) reading a ton of garbage scripts to learn what not to do.

Penelope: I started out writing short stories and found that to be a good way to experiment with voice. There’s a flow to prose writing that helps me ‘drop’ into a character or story. Sometimes I still revert to prose to help me untangle a specific idea or character in a script. I agree with Matteo (and many other writers) that reading screenplays helps identify and develop voice, particularly scripts that are well known for being vibrant and distinctive, like Lethal Weapon. I’ve also started listening to the Blacklist Ear Movies podcast. It’s really great, and a good way to combine script ‘reading’ with grocery shopping or exercising!

Cinderella Must Die contains some universal underlying themes that helps elevate the screenplay beyond the typical adventure/fantasy. What was it about the source material that compelled you to develop the script . . .?

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October 2016 Script Sales

October had a strong showing for spec material. Connor Martin's road comedy Federal Offense has found a home at Boundless Pictures. The spec pits three best friends and a foul-mouthed grandfather against a drug kingpin, gangsters, bounty hunters, and the law. Chevy Chase to star. LD Entertainment is moving forward with Ben Bolea's buddy comedy spec The Miserable Adventures of Burt Squire about a family man in a midlife crisis and an unhinged sea captain who end up shipwrecked in the Atlantic Ocean. Participant Media and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions will produce The Price of Liberty, Michael Russell Gunn's spec thriller about a diplomat trying to prevent potential terrorist attack after the fall of the Soviet Union. Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller will produce Alex R. Johnson's drama/thriller spec Northeast Kingdom for Paramount and Bay's company, Platinum Dunes. The plot follows a young woman who enlists the help of a female assassin to seek revenge against those responsible for her father's murder. Johnson will also direct. MGM has acquired Fairy Godmother, a comedy/fantasy spec written by Chiara Atik. The script is described as a revisionist take on the classic Fairy Godmother tale. Finally, Fundamental Films and Broken Road Productions are teaming for John McClain's action/drama spec Hummingbird, which follows a black-ops assassin who questions the truth of her identity.

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Bad Moms – Screenplay

The Bad ______ genre has endured remarkably well. Bad Santa kicked off the trend in 2003, and many similarly titled movies have followed suit, most recently Bad Moms.

This comedy subgenre is tough to get just right: At a certain point, if the main character has done too many "bad" things or begins their arc from too "bad" a place, the audience might have difficulty connecting with the characters. But a corollary to that: If the character is funny enough, the audience could easily be along for the ride.

In Bad Moms, writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore split the difference with the script's main character, Amy (Mia Kunis). She's an overworked mother who's been stretched too thin and whose husband not only skirts the parenting duties off to her but is also having an affair. As a result, Amy becomes an instantly relatable and sympathetic character, and when she finally snaps and decides to become a "bad" mom (although the word "lazy" might be more appropriate here), it feels like a moment of catharsis. Lucas and Moore give the other characters funny dialogue and strong character arcs, but Amy is the film's anchor.

Read the Bad Moms Script