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Script Pipeline

Us – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

We were huge fans of writer-director Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we also loved his recent follow-up, Us. Unlike Get Out, which was equal parts horror movie and caustic social satire, Us’s script focuses primarily on genre thrills. That’s not to say that the film is devoid of commentary, mind you. It’s just that the themes and metaphors are less transparent. While Get Out took its influences from The Stepford Wives and its message was a condemnation of a very specific type of racism, Us has more in common with horror classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Night of the Living Dead: The social commentary exists, but it’s obliquely referenced and open to interpretation (though we definitely have our theories). But the primary driving force instead comes from character, plot, and the typical set pieces inherent in the…

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Search Party – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

So many elements go into a screenplay that it’s difficult to say which one is the most important (though that hasn’t stopped us in the past). Different genres require different things to succeed, but for a screenwriter just starting out, perhaps the definitive make-it-or-break-it element is voice. “Voice” is that vague amalgam of dialogue (how the characters speak), description (how the screenwriter describes the character’s actions), and theme (what the screenwriter has to say about the world at large) that makes the screenplay feel unique. It’s something that writers develop after putting in tons of time and effort, but it’s the thing that elevates a good or decent script to the next level. It’s how writers get repped, get staffed, and get hired. One of the best recent shows with a strong, unique voice is Search Party. Created by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter, the show is perhaps…

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October 2019 Script Sales

By Script Sales

October was a lighter month for spec sales. New Line Cinema and A-Major Media picked up Elliott San’s untitled spec last month. Although details are being kept under wraps, it’s described as a mind-bending genre tale that centers on an Asian-American lead. Meanwhile, TriStar Pictures, Unique Features, and Arlook Group are moving forward with Cooper McMains’ spec The Tip. The thriller follows a waitress who finds herself in a dangerous situation after receiving a $10,000 tip. John Strickland will direct. Robert Zappia’s 2018 Blood List script The Devil’s Light found a home with Lionsgate and Gold Circle Films. The supernatural thriller follows a nun who performs exorcisms while combating a sexist church that believes only priests should be allowed to perform exorcisms. Other script sales: – Bret McKenzie has been tapped to write the script and music for the Jim Henson Company’s adaptation of Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. – Evan…

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Los Angeles Times Interviews Script Pipeline

By Press, Slider

In the January 19th, 2018 edition of the LA Times, Chad Clough, Script Pipeline Executive and CEO of Pipeline Media Group, was quoted on the state of the spec market: “Right now, the industry wants original voices. . . . There’s still a need for an excellent script.” Writer Chris Erskine, gleaning interviews from Clough, screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (Reversal of Fortune), and producer Elizabeth Cantillon, commented on the decline of the spec script and how a resurgence may be forthcoming: “Clough, of Script Pipeline, says the spec market could be—like old vinyl or vintage guitars—a thing of the past and the future. He cites an increasing voracious marketplace, as evidenced by Netflix’s pledge to produce 80 new original movies in 2018. So could the corpse soon rise from the dead, for a surprise Hollywood ending, even a fresh life?” Read the full LA Times article

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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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Script Pipeline’s First Feature Stars Jesse Eisenberg

By Slider

Now available on Amazon Prime and Netflix (previously available on Hulu and other streaming networks). The uniquely iconic dramedy stars Academy Award-Nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Batman vs. Superman), Mike O’Connell, comedian Jim Gaffigan, Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), and an ensemble cast. Script Pipeline Executive Director Chad Clough produced and raised financing for the indie. From Variety: “Pic defies all categorization. . . . Playing opposite the monumental O’Connell would seem to be an impossible assignment, but Eisenberg is note-perfect as his steady servant and go-to guy. Supporting ensemble couldn’t be more colorful.”

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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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Feature Film “Between,” Developed by Script Pipeline, Premieres at Sundance

By Slider

Writer Rob Nelms was hired to pen the script Between after introductions to director David Ocanas by Script Pipeline CEO Chad Clough. In March 2004, the film was greenlit for production and principal photography started in late May in Tijuana, Mexico. The lower-budget feature starred Poppy Montgomery (Unforgettable, Without a Trace), Danny Pino, and Jose Yenque (Traffic). It made its Sundance premiere in 2004 and later aired exclusively on Lifetime. According to David Ocanas, “After struggling for months trying to find the right writer for a film project I wished to produce and direct, one call to Chad Clough of Script Pipeline made all the difference. Script Pipeline brought us a writer who has given our story new and exciting elements, and thereby giving us a greater opportunity in making a successful film.” From the LA Times: “San Francisco-based writer Rob Nelms is another lucky one. His psychological thriller Between made its debut at Sundance this year. ‘I sent a comedy…

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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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