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Script Pipeline

The Ring – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Because of Halloween, October is the unofficial horror movie month (though, really, it’s our opinion that you can—and should—enjoy them all year round). Released in 2002, The Ring kicked off the early-aughts trend of PG-13 adaptations of Asian horror movies, and it remains one of the scariest movies of this century. Directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Ehren Kruger (with revisions by Scott Frank), The Ring is an Americanized remake of Hideo Nakata’s Ringu. The story follows Rachel Keller (an always amazing Naomi Watts), a reporter who investigates the origins of a cursed video tape after her (and, later, her son) watch it and receive the creepiest phone call of all time: A raspy voice whispering, “Seven days.” What follows are a series of well-executed set pieces that rely more generating dread than surprising its audience with empty jump scares. As a screenplay, The Ring is perhaps the best…

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September 2019 Script Sales

By Script Sales

A few interesting specs found their way to production companies last month. Todd Komarnicki’s action/thriller spec Savior found a home with Oakhurst Entertainment, Lightbridge Entertainment, and Guy Walks Into a Bar, Inc. The story follows a group of mercenaries who plan to set off World War III through a series of seemingly unrelated terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Paul Feig’s Feigco and Universal Pictures have picked up Meredith Dawson’s romantic comedy spec When Michael Met Carrie… and Other People. Dawson is set to direct as well. New Line Cinema (along with Farah Films & Management, Vertigo Entertainment, and Cinestate) scooped up Shut In in an auction. Written by Melanie Toast, the thriller spec follows a single mother who must protect her children and herself after her violent ex takes her captive. Finally, AGC Studios picked up Jay Martel’s fantasy/dramedy spec The Present, which is about a young boy who finds himself in…

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August 2019 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Legendary Pictures and Jon Shestack Productions picked up The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, a spec written by John Raffo and based on the novel by A. Lee Martinez. The story follows Constance Verity, the chosen one who has battled supernatural forces her entire life and now just wants to settle down with a boyfriend, a normal job, and best friends. Awkwafina will star. Chester Tam’s untitled romantic comedy spec found a home with Screen Gems and Underground Films. The story follows a Black woman and an Asian-American man who start a relationship, surprising family and friends since neither is typically the other’s type. Gabrielle Union is attached to produce and star. Tango Entertainment and Eat the Cat scooped up Joshua Giuliano’s horror/thriller script River about three siblings stalked by a masked killer after being stranded in a boat on a country river. Giuliano will also direct. Leon Chills’ action-drama…

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On Becoming a God in Central Florida – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

To be completely reductive, every story is about desire. A character wants something so much that they will do whatever it takes to achieve it, and the alternative is inconceivable to them. When writing dark comedy, things become more difficult: The main character’s goals tend to be less than noble, but the audience still needs to care about their journey. If the audience doesn’t empathize or sympathize with the characters, then what’s the point of watching? Set in the early 1990s, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, created by Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky, walks that fine line. Krystal Stubbs wants stability. She grew up poor, and now that she and her husband have infant daughter, she wants to make sure there’s food on the table and a roof over their heads. As she tells her husband, “I won’t be poor again.” About her husband: Travis wants more. He…

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Fleabag – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Character, character, character. At its heart, every story is about character. Characters who have wants and needs and flaws. Fleabag has wants. They mostly revolve around sex. Fleabag has needs. Love, specifically. And Fleabag has flaws. Oh my, does she have flaws. Fleabag, created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the title character, is an equally hilarious and tragic character study of a single, perpetually horny British woman. She doesn’t get a name in the show, but she’s known to the audience as Fleabag. In the pilot, she describes herself as “a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist,” and although she’s being overly critical, she’s not far off. Despite all this, Fleabag comes across as charming, in no small part because of Waller-Bridge’s perfect performance. She’s one of the few actresses who can tell you exactly what they’re thinking with…

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July 2019 Script Sales

By Script Sales

The horror and thriller genres had a good month. Sony Entertainment and Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures picked up Gavin Heffernan’s untitled supernatural thriller spec. Details about its plot are being kept under wraps, but Escape Room’s Adam Robitel is attached to direct. Another untitled supernatural thriller spec landed with Paramount Pictures and The Picture Co., this one written by Jacob Chase. The plot follows a man with a classified line of work who takes his family on a perilous trip while protecting them from the horror he has in tow. Chase is also set to direct. Finally, Michael and Shaun Rasmussen’s horror spec The Unheard found a home at Burn Later Productions. No details about plot, but Chris von Hoffmann is set to direct. Other script sales: – Taika Waititi is returning to write and direct Thor: Love and Thunder for Disney/Marvel. Natalie Portman will also return to the…

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The Martian – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Story is conflict. It should seem obvious, but in order to have a compelling story, the characters need to face conflict and overcome obstacles with stakes high enough that the audience roots for the characters to succeed. The Martian takes these basic fundamentals and ratchets everything up to an 11. Based on the novel by Andy Weir and adapted by Drew Goddard, The Martian follows astronaut and botanist Mark Watney’s fight for survival after he is accidentally stranded on Mars. The premise is simple (and high-concept!) enough—it’s Castaway on a distant planet. From there, everything that can go wrong does. He’s running out of food and has to find a way to grow potatoes on Mars, he has to fix pretty much every piece of equipment including the base he’s living in, he has to find a way to contact Earth with outdated and outmoded technology… it’s the ultimate fight for survival. Weir…

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June 2019 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Lionsgate, Point Grey Pictures, and 3Pas Studios have picked up Jeff Bushell’s comedy/fantasy spec Bad Dog. The story follows Satan’s favorite dog after he is mistakenly booted from Hell and adopted by an unsuspecting family. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are set to produce. Jill Soloway will write and direct the Red Sonja movie for Millennium Films. Their film will be based on the character created by Robert E. Howard and comic writer Roy Thomas. Over at Screen Gems, Bert V. Royal is set to write and direct a spinoff for Easy A. Royal wrote the original screenplay. Finally, Quentin Tarantino and Jerrod Carmichael are teaming up to write the sequel/crossover Django/Zorro. The movie will be based on the comic book by Quentin Tarantino, Matt Wagner and Esteve Polls. Other script sales include: – Zack Andrews and Bobby Roe have been tapped to rewrite Dan Kay’s A Wicked Tale for…

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2019 TV Writing Contest Results

By TV Writing Contest Finalists

Winner Redflags by Nathan Patton Nathan Patton didn’t grow up in a rural Arkansas town, population 85 — he grew up on the outskirts of that town. That seclusion led to a lot of time spent inside his imagination, writing and drawing his own comic books, or acting out unmade Indiana Jones sequels in the woods and creeks behind his house. While he’s still inexperienced at adulting, but he did eventually get a job, doing some work in the comics field, and working as a freelance journalist and political cartoonist before eventually deciding to get his MFA in Writing. He’s a former Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where he still lives with his wife, son, and dog — all of whom are way cooler than him (for one thing, they never talk about themselves in the third person). His feature script, Waitress #2, won the 2018…

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2019 Screenwriting Contest Results

By Screenwriting Contest Finalists

Winner Visitation by Helen Gaughran Helen Gaughran grew up in Dalkey, Co. Dublin, Ireland–the tiny hometown of James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw (who have also enjoyed modest writing success). There, she attended a castle-convent where she was taught Latin, discipline and a love of literature by nuns who could easily have played Bridge professionally. She graduated from an Irish university you’ve never heard of and moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a waitress until she won a green card in the lottery. (God bless America!) She proceeded to squander her good fortune by working in a raft of ad agencies, where she picked up a One Show pencil and a Clio (along with the urge to write something more personal and meaningful). Helen has written three other feature screenplays: Pop Psychology, The Patriot Test and The Domina Effect. She also won an all-Ireland medal for math at…

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