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Russian Doll – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

When it was released in 1993, Groundhog Day became a critical and commercial success, but its real legacy is its narrative. In the years since, countless movies and TV shows have played with the temporal loop structure Groundhog Day helped establish, in such diverse works as Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day, Run, Lola, Run and at least one episode of nearly every sci-fi show the last two decades. The second most-recent example (barely beat out by Happy Death Day 2U—now in theaters!) is also the one that best exploits the premise from a thematic and philosophical perspective. Created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, Russian Doll takes the basic Groundhog Day premise and exploits it for all the existential dread it can muster. Although ostensibly a comedy (there are plenty of laughs to be had at the expense of NYC hipsters and with the dark comedy death…

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Script Pipeline Co-Produced Short Wins Best Screenplay in 2018 Brooklyn Film Festival

By Slider

Biophilia, co-produced by Script Pipeline, won the Best Screenplay award at the 2018 Brooklyn Film Festival. Written and directed by Marina Michelson, the short is “inspired by the effects of the 2008 recession” and serves as a commentary, in part, on self-reliance and our intimate connections to nature. The story: “Rachel, a former Brooklynite, has persuaded her boyfriend to take a stab at farming on his family’s abandoned sheep ranch. But the dream of self-reliance reveals itself to be a harsher reality and strains their relationship. When a sheep dies under their watch, Rachel becomes determined to deal with the remains and in doing so, prove her worth.” Biophilia was also accepted to three other festivals in North America. View the trailer. Read Marina’s interview with Women & Film and Film Pipeline. Follow: Facebook | Instagram

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15th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Winner Modelville by Emily Fairweather Emily Fairweather is an actress and screenwriter from the North East of England. She graduated from Northumbria University with a BA Hons degree in Media Production and went on to complete her classical acting training at Drama Studio London. Emily has acted for both stage and screen, including guest roles in BBC’s ‘Doctor’s’ and has made semi-regular appearances in ITV’s ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Coronation Street’, as well as roles in a number of short films and theatre productions in both the North East and in London. She has been writing for TV and Film for almost three years and her first short film ‘108 Hours Missing’ was screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, as part of their Short Film Corner. She currently has a 6 x 60 TV Comedy Drama, ‘Serial Kleaners’ and a short film ‘Nan’, in development for 2019. She enjoys creating funny and flawed female characters, dark comedies and stories with a fantasy or hyper-realistic twist to…

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December 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Hollywood typically slows down for the holidays in December, and 2018 was no exception. To start things off: Ivan Reitman’s The Montecito Company and Tristar Pictures picked up the spec comedy The Best Friends. Chad Kultgen and Amy Rhodes’ script is described as a high-concept, meta romantic comedy. Lionsgate, The Picture Co., and Khalabo Ink Society are teaming up for Anthony Jaswinski’s horror spec The French Quarter Will Not Be Spared, which sets a vampire story during Hurricane Katrina. Endeavor Content snagged Peter Begler’s spec Wolf Country. The story follows a female cop as she tracks down a convicted fugitive, a former lawman who happens to be her father. Finally, Khalabo Ink Society and Twentieth Century Fox acquired Danny Segal and Isaac Schamis’ comedy The Guysmaids. Other script sales: – David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage are set to adapt Michael Ausiello’s book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies for Focus…

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Crazy Rich Asians – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Romantic comedy can be one of the most difficult genres to write. Sure, the ubiquity of mediocre romcoms might imply otherwise, but truly great movies in the genre are rather rare. For a good romantic comedy, the audience needs to not only care about the characters but also care about the stakes and believe that those stakes have real weight and real consequences. Over the summer, Crazy Rich Asians burst into theaters and became an immediate sensation—in equal parts because it provided much-needed representation of a group Hollywood often underrepresented and because it’s a damn good story. Directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim from Kevin Kwan’s novel, Crazy Rich Asians, the story follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) who travels to her boyfriend Nick Young’s (Henry Golding) hometown in Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding and meet his family, who are crazy-rich and…

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November 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Let’s start things off with a slew of projects picked up by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot: an untitled time travel story written by Ben Shiffrin; The Steps, Blair Butler’s twist on the possession genre; an untitled female-driven horror allegory by An Emmy for Megan’s Megan Amram; Courtney Hoffman’s The Seven Sisters of Scott County, which is about moonshining; a sci-fi romance Only the Lonely written by Dylan Meyer and Peter Glanz; and the “Clerks for a new generation” Everything Must Go, written by Lisa McQuillan and Logic, who is also set to star. (Whew!) Other, non–J.J. Abrams script sales include: – Legendary Pictures and The Gotham Group picked up Juel Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier’s near-future ByAll, which follows the aftermath of a post-LAPD Los Angeles. – BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, Rideback, and New Line Cinemas are teaming up for the supernatural horror Dear David. Written by Mike Van Waes, the movie…

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Sorry to Bother You – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

It’s difficult to summarize Sorry to Bother You. Written and directed by rapper Boots Riley (his debut film as both writer and director), the film is easily the most original of 2018, and it’s got things to say. The story follows Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), who really needs a job. The only place that’s hiring (and will also hire anyone) is a local telemarketing firm. At first, everyone Cash calls almost immediately hangs up on him, which is not so great since Cash works on commission. Eventually, he takes the advice of his coworker Langston (Danny Glover) and begins to use a “white voice,” which sounds exactly like David Cross. (Cross’s voice was dubbed over to hilarious results.) Soon, he becomes the firm’s number one telemarketer, and his life begins improving. That is, until the fratty CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) takes an interest in Cash. From there, things quickly…

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7th Annual 2018 First Look Project Results

By First Look Project Winners

SCREENPLAY Action/Adventure Waitress #2 by Nathan Patton – Winner 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 behind his house. He’s still waiting to grow up, but he did eventually get a job, doing some work in the comics field, and working as a freelance journalist and weekly political cartoonist before eventually deciding to get his MFA in Writing. He’s a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where he lives with his wife (who loves him) and dog (who tolerates him). His feature script, Greenwood, came in fifth place in the 2018 LAUNCH Million Dollar Screenplay contest and was a semifinalist in the 2018 Austin Film Festival….

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Director Attached to Contest Winner’s Screenplay “S21”

By Featured Success Stories

Director Scott Speer (Midnight Sun) is set to helm Script Pipeline finalist and Recommend writer Greg Wayne’s dark romcom S21. Catapult and Needle’s Eye producing. Speer has also directed I Still See You and Step Up Revolution. This will be Greg’s first produced feature film. He previously won the Script Pipeline First Look Project with his comedy pilot Ad Game and has placed as a finalist and received a Recommend on numerous other screenplays and pilots, working closely with Script Pipeline development execs. From Greg: “Script Pipeline gives the best notes. Whenever I’m struggling with a project, their staff never fails to provide feedback that elevates the story. They take their commitment to Recommended writers, contest winners, and finalists incredibly seriously, and do an amazing job of getting those scripts out into the world.”

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October 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Universal Pictures, along with Michael De Luca Productions, Immersive Pictures, and Crazyrose, has optioned Anthony McCarten’s untitled spec based on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s relationship. Ono is set to produce, and Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Big Little Lies) will produce and direct. Warner Bros., Safehouse Pictures, and LBD Productions have picked up Brad Desch’s rom-com spec Wink. Inspired by producer Tory Tunnell’s own experiences, the story is a Cyrano de Bergerac–like tale of what happens when someone takes over their mother’s social media profiles. Jared Cowie’s spec You Are Leaving The American Sector has found a home with Parallel Films. The Cold War spy thriller follows a young CIA officer in West Berlin who uncovers a plot that could send the world into nuclear war. Finally, Voltage Pictures has acquired Tenfold by Allan Ungar. The action spec follows a man who avenges his estranged, soon-to-be-wed daughter’s death. Ungar will also…

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Annihilation – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

There’s always that one movie you meant to watch in theaters but just never got around to seeing. I knew I had to see Annihilation after watching the trailer, with its beautiful visuals, unique synthesized score, and amazing cast. But for whatever reason, I didn’t make it in time, and honestly, missing it was a huge mistake. Written and directed by Alex Garland (whom we’ve talked about previously) and based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, the movie starts with a simple premise: There’s a mysterious and expanding sci-fi anomaly called The Shimmer in the southern United States, and every team the government has sent in has disappeared, except for one man, who mysteriously shows up a year after his trip inside. His wife Lena (Natalie Portman), a cellular biologist and military veteran, volunteers to go into The Shimmer with a team led by psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh). From…

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September 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

September was a lighter month for script sales, but here’s a bunch of notables: – Halle Berry will direct and star in Bruised, written by Michelle Rosenfarb, about a disgraced female MMA fighter. Thunder Road Pictures and Entertainment 360 are producing. – Playing House stars/creators Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham sold an untitled comedy pitch to Universal. Gina Rdoriguez is attached to star. That’s all we know about it, but St. Clair and Parham are amazing so of course we had to mention it. – Sony picked up Simon Rich’s (Man Seeking Woman) Sell Out. The story, based on Rich’s New Yorker novella, is a a Rip van Winkle-style comedy in which immigrant falls in a vat of pickles in 1918 and is perfectly preserved in the brine for a hundred years. Seth Rogen is set to produce and star. – Blackmaled Productions has picked up Real Talk, written…

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American Vandal – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

American Vandal has no right being as good as it is. Created and written by Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault, the show ostensibly parodies true crime shows (most predominantly fellow Netflix series Making a Murderer), but like any good comedy, it aims to satirize contemporary life. For the first season, the show’s central mystery revolves around an act of graffiti in which a student draws phallic imagery on every faculty car at their high school, and it seeks to answer, to quote the show’s constant refrain, “Who drew the d*cks?” Is it crude? Most definitely. But despite how crude American Vandal is (and it is—even more so its second season), the show somehow transcends its sophomoric humor and becomes one of the most compelling mysteries on television. The pilot mostly presents the characters and the list of potential suspects and establishes the tone. Like Making a Murderer, the show’s “documentarians”…

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August 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Hollywood is starting to feel the affects of Crazy Rich Asians’ amazing box-office performance, and several projects with Asian-American or Polynesian leads were picked up in the second half of August. (It’s long overdue, but hey, we’ll take it.) Seven Bucks Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, ImageMovers are teaming to produce The King, with New Line Cinema distributing. Written by Randall Wallace, the spec is a biopic of King Kamehameha, who was the first to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Dwayne Johnson is set to star, Robert Zemeckis to direct, and both will produce. New Line also picked up Singles Day, a romantic comedy spec written by Lillian Yu. The plot is mostly under wraps, but it’s based on a Chinese holiday described as the anti–Valentine’s Day in which singles celebrate being unattached. And finally, Elyse Hollander’s untitled music spec found a home at Fox 2000. The story follows an Asian American…

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