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Script Pipeline

March 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

        

Last month in spec sales, David Koepp sold his feature supernatural thriller You Should Have Left to Blumhouse Productions. The script, which Koepp will also direct, follows a screenwriter and his family for a week in a house they’ve rented, but mysterious things happen as he tries to finish the script for a horror movie sequel. The H Collective and Busted Shark Productions have teamed to produce Aaron W. Sala’s horror script The Beast. After a woman is stranded alone on an island, she has to face her worst fears. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. picked up Madison Turner’s untitled WWII spec about the 761st Regiment, an all black regiment that paved the way for military desegregation. Michael B. Jordan will produce. Millennium Films and Electric Pictures have picked up Adam Alleca’s Michael Zero, a sci-fi action that follows a man who has to hunt down his own clones, who were created to be soldiers but have decided to go after the corporate state that made them instead. Tim Blake Nelson is set to direct. Finally, Platinum Dunes and Skydance Productions picked up Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese’s action spec 6 Underground. Michael Bay to produce/direct.

Other script sales:

– After tumbling out of bed, stumbling to the kitchen, and pouring themselves cups of ambition, Rashida Jones and Pat Resnick signed on to script the 9 to 5 remake. Resnick also wrote the original film.

– Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers is making it to the big screen, with James Wan and Roy Lee producing.

– Ashleigh Powell has been tapped to adapt Melissa Albert’s YA novel The Hazel Wood for Sony and Columbia.

– Paramount picked up James V. Simpson’s sci-fi script Intruders about a family defending themselves from alien home invaders.

– Tracy Letts to adapt A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. Scott Rudin will produce, Joe Wright will direct.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Perhaps the most difficult part of creating a hit show is not only finding a unique story that could sustain (hopefully) multiple seasons of television but also anchoring the series on a protagonist audiences will continue watching. The best television shows (and oftentimes the most successful ones) strike a balance between those two criteria.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel hits both on the head. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girls fame, the series follows a Jewish housewife, the eponymous Miriam Maisel (or Midge as everyone calls her), as her life falls apart and she begins a career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1950s. The pilot opens on her wedding as she gives her own toast. Midge effortlessly brings down the room as she recounts how she met her husband—and also offends half the mostly-Jewish attendees when she reveals the eggrolls contain shellfish. Three years later, Midge supports her husband Joel, a wannabe comedian who can get laughs only when he steals Bob Newhart’s routine, and helps him with his act from the sidelines, keeping track of which jokes get the most laughs in the most Type-A way possible. However, their marital bliss quickly evaporates when Joel reveals that he’s sleeping with his secretary. From there, Midge has a bit too much to drink, wanders onto the stand-up stage, and absolutely nails it.

Right away, the show earns points for originality. Although the show is ostensibly about the very real stand-up scene of the late 50s (Lenny Bruce is a frequent character), Midge is a fictional character, and that allows Sherman-Palladino more opportunities to explore the sexism of the era, among other things. Midge’s point-of-view is one we rarely see on television, especially in this setting. As strong as the writing is, perhaps the show’s greatest asset is Mrs. Maisel herself, Rachel Brosnahan. Brosnahan oozes charisma and sells each of Midge’s jokes. This is one of the rare depictions of stand-up where the stand-up is actually, you know, funny.

The show has already won awards for its first season (most notably the Golden Globes for best comedy series and comedy actress) and deserves all the praise it gets. As a comedy series and a character study, you couldn’t do better.

Read The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Pilot

Filming in 2018: Script Pipeline Contest Winner “Incident”

By | Slider, Success Stories

Henry Dunham’s The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber wrapped production in April 2018 with an ensemble cast featuring James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk producing. Dunham is making his feature directorial debut.

The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Henry was connected with representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with Pipeline industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.

“Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything.”
– Henry Dunham (writer/director, Militia)

The script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors. Both CEO Chad Clough and Senior Executive Matt Joseph Misetich pegged the screenplay as a fresh, relevant spin on the genre, and an “unquestionably strong calling card” for the up-and-coming Dunham.

“Couldn’t be happier for Henry,” said Misetich. “One of the most astute young writers I’ve met. He has such an incredible head start now. . . . Looking forward to seeing his career evolve in the years to come.”

Read Henry’s Script Pipeline interview

Submit to a Script Pipeline competition

Submit for notes and potential industry exposure

Get Out and Call Me by Your Name – Screenplays

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

  

The Oscars took place over this past weekend, and Get Out and Call Me by Your Name walked away with the screenwriting prizes, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay respectively. Although the scripts couldn’t be more different—the first, a horror movie with a deeply disturbing commentary on racism in America, and the second, a heartfelt tale of first love and first heartbreak—both provide valuable lessons for any writer.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out follows a young black man on a weekend trip to meet his girlfriend’s parents. Although the script begins as a humorous satire in the vein of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, things quickly escalate, and the parents’ true motives are slowly revealed in a plot reminiscent of The Stepford Wives. Peele expertly blends horror and social commentary—it’s a movie with something to say, and the message makes the horror more horrifying and vice versa. Grounding the story is main character Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya in an Oscar-nominated performance), who is an empathetic center to the story. The success of a horror movie hinges on whether the audience cares about the characters, and the awkwardness of the comedic early scenes help create an endearing protagonist (shortly after Chris meets the parents, Peele wrings a lot of laughs from awkward lines like “I would’ve voted for Obama a third term if I could’ve”). Once the insidiousness lurking underneath the parents’ smiles is revealed, the audience legitimately fears for Chris and his life, which is a hard feat in the horror genre, especially for a first-time director.

As great a horror script as Get Out, Call Me by Your Name is an equally great romantic drama, though the scripts couldn’t be more different. Adapted by James Ivory (director of such classics as A Room with a View, Howard’s End, and Remains of the Day) from André Aciman’s novel and directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name follows the 17-year-old Elio who falls for his father’s older male research assistant in Italy in the 1980s. Like Get Out, this story is firmly grounded in character, and the chemistry between the leads (played by Armie Hammer and Oscar-nominated Timothée Chalemet) leaps off the page—and the screen. Although the stakes aren’t as high, the scenes of flirtation and seduction build with the characters’ emotions always at the forefront. It’s a bittersweet story of first love, and the story’s larger moments, particularly a third-act monologue from Elio’s father (a brilliant Michael Stuhlbarg), feel earned because of the care Ivory, Aciman, and Guadagnino put into these characters.

So if there’s one takeaway from these two very different stories, it’s character. Strong characters and strong relationships give audiences something to connect with and help make narratives compelling, whether the story is a bittersweet love story set in the 80’s or a disturbing racial horror movie with tinges of science-fiction.

Read the Get Out Screenplay

Read the Call Me by Your Name Screenplay

February 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Michael De Luca Productions picked up two sci-fi specs this month: Infinitum by Marc Guggenheim, which is described as a sci-fi love story similar to Memento, and Varietal by Adam Bloom, which is a psychological sci-fi thriller centered on a married couple. Infinitum landed at Sony while Varietal went to Universal. Legendary Pictures has teamed with LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment for Taylor Materne’s sports drama spec Hustle. The story follows a basketball scout who travels to China and brings back a Chinese streetball phenomenon. Annapurna Pictures and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gloria Sanchez Productions have picked up Booksmart, a teen comedy written by Katie Silberman. Booksmart follows two friends on the eve of graduation who set out on a night of fun after realizing they spent their entire high school years focused on their educations. Olivia Wilde is set to direct. Finally, Studio 8 and Scoop Productions picked up Naked Is The Best Disguise, a sci-fi spec written by Graham Moore (Oscar-winning writer of The Imitation Game). Moore is set to direct as well.

Other script sales:

– John Logan to adapt Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci biography for Paramount and Appian Way. Leonardo DiCaprio to produce, possibly star.

– Simon Farnaby will write the Action Man adaptation for Paramount Players and Hasbro Studios.

Game of Thrones show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new trilogy of Star Wars films for Disney and Lucasfilm.

– Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner have been tapped to script the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which they also cowrote.

Atlanta writers Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori are set to write the House Party remake for New Line Cinema.

– Stephen Chbosky to direct Dr. Seuss, a biopic written by Jonathon E. Stewart and Eyal Podell.

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