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2017 TV Writing Contest Results

By | TV Writing Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner

Default by Hannah Dillon

Hannah began screenwriting while studying Dramatic Literature at NYU and interning for documentary film production companies in New York City (4th Row Films, The Documentary Group). Her favorite writing teacher told her, “Read the screenplays for the movies you’ve seen a thousand times, and see what you discover.” She immediately read the scripts for Goodfellas, When Harry Met Sally, and Shawshank Redemption, and discovered that compelling screenwriting is the most awesome thing, ever. When Hannah isn’t creating her own material, she’s siphoning great literature, film, TV, and comedy into her soul like her life depends on it (it does).

Hannah has a passion for thrillers and dark comedies. In fact, comedy is her other love, second only to writing, and the two often fuel each other. She has studied Improv and Sketch Writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, under Mark Rennie, Rachael Mason, Eric Scott, Julie Brister, Alex Berg, and Brett Christensen.

“Modern Love,” a sci-fi comedy short screenplay by Hannah, was performed at Liveread/LA in September 2016, was a finalist for Best Unproduced Screenplay at Grove Film Festival 2016, won for Best Short Screenplay at New York Film and TV Festival 2016, and was officially selected by Hollyshorts Film Festival 2017.

Default, a pilot inspired by the main characters of “Modern Love,” was a Finalist in The Tracking Board’s 2017 Launch Pad Pilots Competition, and was, as is already evident by this bio, the Grand Prize Winner of Script Pipeline’s 2017 TV Writing Competition. It felt weird to leave that out.

Every year on her birthday, Hannah is named “Best Screenwriter If You Have Even Half a Brain” by her own mother. Other entrants need not apply.

In her spare time, Hannah draws cartoons, which can be found on Instagram @hannahraecartoons.

 

Runner Up

Future Me And Me by Corey Taft

Corey was born in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up near the Elkhorn River. After high school he moved to California and lived with his aunt and uncle while he studied Communications and competed for the speech and debate team at Palomar College. He transferred to Cal State LA where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Scriptwriting and continued to compete in collegiate speech and debate.

Corey has studied Sketch Writing with IO West, UCB, and the Pack Theatre. He was a Finalist for the NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Competition and the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge.

In addition to screenwriting, Corey writes, recites, and publishes spoken word poetry. You can often find him performing around Southern California in places like the Da’ Poetry Lounge in Hollywood or the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.

When he is not orchestrating words together he works several independent jobs like driving for rideshare and delivery companies, substitute teaching, conducting poetry workshops, and working at the Yourself Art Gallery in DTLA.

Finalists

Aeternum by Heidi Nyburg
Big Boy by Burke Scurfield & Adam Lederer
Default by Hannah Dillon
Fucking Robots by Emily McGregor & Samuel Weller
Future Me And Me by Corey Taft
Lunar by Cord McConnell
SOS by Sara Monge
South of the 10 by Davina Willett
Thrust by Jill Hoppe
Yonge Street Strip by Lisa Gold

Semifinalists

Aeternum by Heidi Nyburg
At Death’s Door by Matt Catanzano
Big Boy by Burke Scurfield & Adam Lederer
BoJack Horseman “Go Forth Wall” by Cameron Chapman
Caliber by Heather Upton
Cul-De-Sac by Shannon Latimer
Default by Hannah Dillon
Echo Falls by Shelley Acosta Smith
Fucking Robots by Emily McGregor
Fun Center by Sarah Soderquist & Anna Menta
Future Me And Me by Corey Taft
Good Girls Don’t by Bryn Woznicki & Adam Wayne
Hank and Martha in the Basement by Katherine Langsdorf
Lunar by Cord McConnell
Make Erica Great Again by Aaron Karo
Monogamish by Adrienne Dawes
Mr. Abdul Goes to Washington by Skander Halim & Gina Ippolito
Rachel Sisco’s Week That Was by Sheila Jenca
Sag Harbor by Demetra Kareman
Saint Ciara’s School for Girls by Sylvia Batey Alcala
Silicon Curve by Heidi Nyburg
SOS by Sara Monge
South of the 10 by Davina Willett
The Great House by Camille Campbell
Thrust by Jill Hoppe
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “Kimmy Learns to Catfish!” by Sarah Cassell
Un-Mothered by Pamela Rooney Barnes
Yonge Street Strip by Lisa Gold

Quarterfinalists

Aeternum by Heidi Nyburg
Apple by Anna Lisa McClelland
Archangel-4S by Lance Wayne
At Death’s Door by Matt Catanzano
Avalon by Randall Knox
Awkwardly Apocalyptic by Sarah Hopkins
Behind the Red Curtain by Shani Moore Weatherby
Big Boy by Burke Scurfield & Adam Lederer
Billy Fez by Michi Broman
Bloodlands by Joseph Balczo
BoJack Horseman – “Go Forth Wall” by Cameron Chapman
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Sidetracked” by Michael Conti
Buried Bodies by Iris Shim
Caliber by Heather Upton
Cul-De-Sac by Shannon Latimer
Damsel by Bianca Ursillo
Default by Hannah Dillon
Division One by Brooke Buffington
Dragon State by Laura Whang
Echo Falls by Shelley Acosta Smith
Everhart by Kaitlyn Wayman-Dodd
Faire Tymes by Sharon Massey
Fucking Robots by Emily McGregor
Fun Center by Sarah Soderquist & Anna Menta
Future Me And Me by Corey Taft
Good Girls Don’t by Bryn Woznicki & Adam Wayne
Gourmet Spot by Shirley Yip
Grit by MW Wilson
Hank and Martha in the Basement by Katherine Langsdorf
Hollywoodland by Amanda Prentiss
Hot Flash! by Terri Viani
Juvey by Erica Clethern
Land of Enchantment by Caroline Hayes
Liminal by Megan Meadows
Lunar by Cord McConnell
Magnificent Max by Avram Dodson
Majestic by Kevin Ennis
Make Erica Great Again by Aaron Karo
Millennial Rules by Heidi Putallaz
Monogamish by Adrienne Dawes
Mr. Abdul Goes to Washington by Skander Halim & Gina Ippolito
New City News by Alex Forstenhausler & 
Eric Lee
Northern Gothic by W Spencer Janes
Open Space by Andy Healy
Peace Out by Lana Casperson
Punch Card Girls by Emily Aspland
Pyramid by Edward Klau
Rachel Sisco’s Week That Was by Sheila Jenca
Red Ring by Morris Long & Jake Bottiglieri
Rembrandt by Jason Kubik
Sag Harbor by Demetra Kareman
Saint Ciara’s School for Girls by Sylvia Batey Alcala
Side Effects May Include by Asmara Bhattacharya
Silicon Curve by Heidi Nyburg
Slavery By Another Name by Jeanne Bowerman & Douglas A. Blackmon
Small Town by Lachlan Marks & Ella Roby
SOS by Sara Monge
South of the 10 by Davina Willett
Southern Gothic by Jared Ronin
Texican Springtime by Pamela Rooney Barnes
The Barrier by Amanda Glassman
The Boo Crew by Paul Goetz
The Coop by Katie Goldston
The Golden Cage by Oskar Nordmark
The Great House by Camille Campbell
The Home by Alexander Raiman
The Hourglass Project by Lori Stansal-Collins
Thrust by Jill Hoppe
Un-Mothered by Pamela Rooney Barnes
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – “Kimmy Learns to Catfish!” by Sarah Cassell
Valley Wood by Kevin Dembinsky & Jay Manheimer
Yonge Street Strip by Lisa Gold

The Handmaid’s Tale – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

World building is an essential element to any pilot. Some shows require more than others (e.g., shows with deeper mythologies like The X-Files or Fringe demand more groundwork in the pilot than a typical sitcom would), but at minimum, the audience needs to have some sense of the show’s setting before they can truly connect to the pilot’s story and agree to spend twenty or more hours with the series.

“Offred,” the pilot episode of The Handmaid’s Tale (written by Bruce Miller and Ilene Chaiken and based on Margaret Atwood’s novel), eschews many of the finer details of how this dystopian, authoritarian state of Gilead, a near-future version of New England, came about. We do get some hints—there was an infertility epidemic and many characters speak of the radiated outlands—but instead of overwhelming us with specifics, the pilot opts to paint a compelling picture of life inside this world, particularly from the perspective of the women. In short, most women have little freedom. Unless your husband is among the elites, you are expected to perform a specific function in life. The Marthas are the housekeepers, the aunts are older women in charge of the handmaids and are tasked with reeducating them, and the handmaids themselves are concubines for the elite men whose wives are infertile. Each woman’s role is highlighted by her attire: Marthas wear light blue, aunts wear tan, and handmaids wear red.

The show is seen through the eyes of Offred (Elizabeth Moss), a handmaid. We are introduced to her as she, her husband, and their daughter attempt to flee from the nascent Gilead to Canada, but in the process, her husband is shot and she is captured. Years later, she serves as a handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford, and her new name Offred cements her role in society—she is no longer an individual, just “of Fred,” one of his belongings. Offred has been separated from her daughter, and she believes that her husband is dead.

Much of the episode plays almost like a horror movie, with religious fundamentalism run amok. Much of Gilead’s practices are grounded in warped interpretations of Bible verses, and dissenters such as Catholic priests, doctors, and homosexuals are hung, their bodies placed on display in public. The handmaids are forced to chide a rape survivor with chants that it was “her fault” and that God let it happen to “teach her a lesson.” In another scene, the handmaids are forced to beat a criminal to death. However, these scenes aren’t haunting or terrifying because of their content. Instead, the pilot achieves that through the characters’ reactions, or rather lack or reactions. They’re forced to go through these scenes almost matter-of-factly. This is life now.

By the end of the episode, we see a framework form for the show moving forward. Offred allies with a fellow handmaid (Alexis Bledel’s Ofglen), and we learn her real name: June. But plot aside, the real draws for the show are the acting (which is universally excellent) and the themes at the heart of the story: identity, feminism, misogyny, authoritarianism, fascism, fundamentalism, to name a few. Needless to say, there’s much to unpack within the series. The show itself (as well as the book it’s based on) is well-crafted and, at times, disturbing. To put it simply, this is prestige television worth watching.

Read The Handmaid’s Tale Pilot

Santino Fontana, Dania Ramirez Star in Script Pipeline Finalist Romcom – 2017

By | Slider, Success Stories

Off the Menu, 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.

Off the Menu came about 100% due to Script Pipeline,” Goldson said. “I was a finalist in the 2015 Screenplay Competition and attended their writer/industry event. There were a lot of producers there, but I remember [Script Pipeline Director of Development] Matt Misetich steering me toward Jay Silverman and Bethany Cerrona, saying they would appreciate my work–and they did! We soon had a meeting where I pitched the script, and boom: Jay offered to option the script right then and there, promising to make it. A year later, Jay, my director, was very true to his word, and we wrapped what I hope is a warm and funny film.”

Starring Santino Fontana (Frozen, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Entourage, Devious Maids), the film centers on the heir to a Mexican fast-food franchise who goes “cuisine” hunting for the next culinary big thing, soon finding himself in a small New Mexican town where foodies come from all over to salivate over the treats of a local, authentic, and feisty female chef.

“I was inspired to tell the story of two very unlikely people whose appetite for each other is ignited by a quirky town, its eccentric residents, and a very special chilé pepper,” Silverman said.

Goldson has other features currently in various stages of development, including her competition finalist screenplay, Egbok.

From Misetich: “When we read Egbok during contest judging, it was clear that Jen had such a strong grasp on the complexities of creating grounded, relatable characters. It’s difficult (at best) to write a unique drama or romantic comedy, but her voice really shines through–and for that reason alone, I think she’ll have a bright career ahead of her. Always exciting to discover a screenplay and eventually see the film produced.”

Jen joins a host of other Script Pipeline contest finalists and winners whose scripts are getting produced in 2016 and 2017, some of which have taken years to come to fruition.

“Pretty rare for Hollywood that in just one year, a script went from option to completion,” Jen added. “Had a great time working with the Silverman team!”

The film was released in 2018 and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Submit to the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition

Submit for notes and potential industry exposure

Enlightened – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Enlightened is the best TV show ever made. Is that hyperbole? Maybe. At the very least, it’s probably the best TV show you haven’t watched. Created by stars Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Inland Empire) and Mike White (School of Rock, Orange County) and written entirely by White (literally…he wrote every episode), the series follows Dern’s Amy Jellicoe, a self-destructive executive who has a very public breakdown in the pilot’s opening minutes and is subsequently fired. From there, she goes to a treatment center in Hawaii to get a new outlook on life and treat her depression/bipolar disorder, becomes a low-level data cruncher at Abaddon, the same corporation she was fired from, and eventually becomes a whistleblower to all the sins her company has committed.

As a protagonist, Amy can be a tad frustrating at times, but as a viewer, you can’t help but root for her. The pilot’s first shot does a ton to earn her sympathy.  As she sits alone in a bathroom stall and sobs, two co-workers enter and discuss office gossip about her. There’s no question that this is her lowest point.  It also helps that this is a bluntly hilarious scene. Throughout the series, Amy has noble intentions, but the means through which she achieves them are less so. She does morally questionable things. She can be self-centered and often puts her own wants above anyone else’s.  She is the definition of a flawed character. But nevertheless, she is fascinating to watch. Even if you don’t agree with what she does, you empathize with her, and you want her to succeed, and you want her to stay better. It’s a delicate balancing act that Laura Dern’s performance and Mike White’s writing nail completely.

A show centered on Amy coping with and treating her mental illness while trying to help the world could be a great show, but what elevates Enlightened to that next level is its supporting cast.  Like Amy, the entire cast is filled with people who are broken in some way. Amy’s ex-husband Levi Callow (Luke Wilson) is a drug addict in varying states of recovery throughout the series; her coworker Tyler (Mike White) can best be described as shy, sad, and lonely; and her mother Helen (played by Dern’s real life mom Diane Ladd) seems icy and distant at first but has her own ghosts from the past, the greatest of which is that she blames herself for her husband’s death. White’s scripts treat these characters in revolutionary ways, and he often takes episode-long breaks from the series’ (and Amy’s) main storyline to delve deeper into the supporting casts’ inner lives, the best being season one’s “Consider Helen,” which is one of the finest half-hours of any series and which, in a just world, would have won every award there is.

Although few people watched the show (its viewership hovered around 200,000 for the majority of its run), Enlightened is the definition of prestige TV.  It’s meditative and often depressing but at the same time can be deeply human and hilarious. Simply put, few shows even come near it in terms of character development and theme, and if you’re a fan of television or quality writing in general and haven’t seen Enlightened, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Read the Enlightened Pilot

March 2017 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

 

It was a strong month for spec scripts. Things kicked off with Bluegrass Pictures and DreamWorks Studios picking up Bad Cop, Bad Cop, an action buddy comedy written by Fortune Feimster, Brian Jarvis, and Jim Freeman. Feimster is also attached to star. Sony is moving forward with Marian. The action/drama spec follows Maid Marian donning Robin Hood’s mantle after his death, and the film is set to star Margot Robbie. Cristal Pictures and The Donners’ Company will produce Ingrid Eskeland-Adetuyi’s action/comedy spec Twin Blades, which centers on a tech entrepreneur relocated to China and her local female bodyguard. Finally, Ian Shorr’s sci-fi spec Infinite, which follows a schizophrenic who discovers that his hallucinations are memories of his past lives, has found a home with Di Bonaventura Pictures and Paramount.

Other script sales:

– 20th Century Fox has picked up Drew Goddard’s (The Martian) thriller Bad Times at the El Royale. Everything about it has been kept under wraps, but Goddard is also set to produce and direct.

– Joe Eszterhas of Showgirls and Basic Instinct infamy has sold Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious spec based on the legend, to LightWorkers Media.

– Will Beall (Gangster Squad) has signed on to write Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon remake.

– Joss Whedon to write and direct Warner Bros. and DC’s Batgirl movie.

– Lionsgate picked up Gregory Widen’s (Highlander) script Black Samurai, based on the true story.

“The Living Wake”, Produced by Script Pipeline, Stars Jesse Eisenberg – Now on Amazon

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 NetworkBatman 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.”

Submit to a Script Pipeline competition

Submit for notes and potential industry exposure

Three Contest Finalist Scripts Optioned by Bohemia Group Originals

By | Success Stories

In February and March 2017, Bohemia Group Originals optioned three Script Pipeline Screenwriting and TV Writing Competition finalist scripts: Bradley Stryker’s action/thriller The Dragon Run, Diana Wright’s comedy pilot Franchise, and Nadeemi Siddiqui’s romcom Slut. All three placed in the 2016 competitions.

“We are thrilled to be working with the whole team at Script Pipeline,” said Bohemia CEO Susan Ferris. “They have quickly proven to be an extremely valuable resource for solid material and incredible writers. While these two projects could not be more different from one another, they meet the standard of quality, entertainment value, and unique voice that we at BGO are looking for.”

The option agreements come on the heels of Script Pipeline hiring Creative Executive Jeff McCrann in November 2016. Bohemia was one of several new contacts made, as McCrann and Senior Executive Matt Joseph Misetich ramped up industry network expansion.

“After speaking with Bohemia, we felt their gameplan toward production matched up very well to the type of scripts we champion–a strong focus on storytelling, fresh concepts, and diverse voices,” Misetich said. “The fact these writers have been so great to work with over the last several months should be an encouraging sign moving forward.”

Submit to a Script Pipeline competition

Submit for notes and potential industry exposure

5th Annual 2016 First Look Project Results

By | First Look Project Winners

SCREENWRITING

Action/Adventure

Sweep by Matthew Barr – Winner

Matthew was born and raised far away from Hollywood. He grew up reading sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books, and watching each and every movie he could get his hands on. An early love for art and storytelling shaped Matthew’s drive and ambitions for the rest of his life. Majoring in Illustration at Rochester Institute Of Technology, with a minor in Creative Writing, Matthew was convinced that he wanted to create comic books for a living.

Soon after acquiring his art teaching certification, however, his love of visual storytelling began to crystallize into its purest form: movies. Matthew embarked on the perilous screenwriting journey and never looked back, incorporating all of his past experiences and skills into his writing.

After writing countless pages, placing in numerous contests, undertaking the FAST Screenplay program, and now winning the First Look Project for Action/Adventure, he’s just getting started. Above all else, though, Matthew is incredibly accomplished at writing about himself in the third person.

Ripple by Heather Faris – Finalist

Comedy

Baked by Diana Wright – Winner

Diana Wright is a comedy writer and director based in her hometown of Los Angeles, CA. Growing up with an astrophysicist dad and a mom who makes weapons for the Defense Department, Diana used comedy as a way to connect with her serious (and seriously left-brain) family.

While studying at Vassar, she interned at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and fell in love with television and the intensely smart and passionate people who create it.

Diana currently writes for The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Best Fiends Forever mobile games. Her new web series #Hashtaggingwhich she wrote, directed, and produced, was an Official Selection at the 2016 New York Television Festival. Her pilot Franchise was a finalist in the Script Pipeline 2016 TV Writing Competition. And her animated pilot Magic Monkey Billionaire was one of the first four pilots placed on the Amazon Studios development slate. At the beginning of 2014, Diana was one of two people asked to join the first Nickelodeon’s Writers Room Experience in conjunction with the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship (where she was a Finalist in 2012).  Donnie Brock PI in Knock Knock, Who’s Dead?, a film noir spoof she co-wrote and is slated to direct, was named a Finalist in the LA Comedy Festival, a Semi-Finalist in the LA Comedy Shorts Festival, and a Finalist in the JuntoBox Incubator Program.

She’s also made over 60 sketches, shorts, and web series that have been featured on Comedy Central, Funny or Die, Channel 101, Cracked, Dorkly, Fark, Atom, and DipDive, among others.

She is currently seeking representation, but trying not to seem too desperate about it.

One Day Notice by Matthew Kic & Mike Sorce – Finalist

Slammin’ by Brandon Martin – Finalist

Horror/Thriller

Capture by David Scullion – Winner

David Scullion is a British-born screenwriter living in “sunny” London.

Developing a passion for the arts at a young age, his journey to screenwriting took him through a Theater Studies degree into stage acting, horror novel writing, postal working, and retail management, and finally moved into account management in Film & Television, where he’s been dwelling for almost a decade. He is currently a Technical Operations Coordinator at Lionsgate UK.

Primarily a feature writer, David Scullion is also a short filmmaker, actor, and occasional zombie. He wrote the award-winning horror short Don’t Move and gained a placement on the 4screenwriting TV course in 2013 with his horror-comedy feature Dearly Beheaded.

He has a number of features currently out for finance/directors in both the US and UK (all within the horror/thriller space).

A passion for comedy and horror, his favorite films are The Thing and An American Werewolf in London. Although he does really like The Lion King. . . .

Fire Will Roar by Andreas Rønning – Finalist

Boy Killers by Tannaz Hazemi – Finalist

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

What the Fox Said by James Stewart – Winner

James Stewart is a writer, director and founder of digital and animation studio Geneva Film Co. in Toronto, Canada.  James’ work is notably in live action, VFX, stop-motion and CG animation on platforms ranging from mobile to giant screen including gesture control, projection mapping, and VR. What The Fox Said is his first screenplay.

James’ award-winning work as a commercial director includes global brands such as Toyota, Lexus, Samsung and Sprint. In 2012, he produced the world’s first gesture-controlled 3D cinema game for Samsung Galaxy. His stop-motion 3D film Foxed! has won 8 awards, screened at over 100 film festivals and opened at #1 on iTunes. Foxed! is currently in development as an animated feature film and VR experience.

See the Foxed! short here

James’ 3D work on Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams was awarded the Lumière Award for Best 3D Documentary and was called “the reinvention of the cinema medium” by The Guardian. He is the co-author of Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief: Advertising’s Next Generation launched at SXSW2015. James was recently featured on the cover of PLAYBACK Magazine, the Directors issue of SHOOT magazine, and the Innovation issue of SHOTS, and he is a six-time speaker at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. At TED2011, he presented the TEDtalk Storytelling in the Next Dimension.

Mr. Moon by Michael Langer – Finalist

TELEPLAY

The Devil in Evelyn by Ben Soper & Tyler Soper – Winner

Ben and Tyler Soper are identical twins who grew up in Northern California, constantly being confused for each other and hating it. Determined to become as different as humanly possible they both grew sideburns, moved to LA to attend film school (UCLA & USC), and tried really hard to care about the sports rivalry.

Eventually, Ben married a dude, Tyler grew a beard, and people started thinking maybe they were just cousins or something. Cousins who COULD READ EACH OTHER’S MINDS–just kidding. That never happened.

Ben and Tyler pay the bills as editors in the high art of reality TV and celebrity gossip news. Every day after they realize what they’ve done and stop crying, they write scripts and sometimes drink.

They write sci-fi and horror for film and TV and have been finalists at Slamdance, Screamfest, and the Table Read My Screenplay contest. Despite their best efforts, they still occasionally show up wearing the same thing.

Epic Failures by Chelsea Davison – Finalist

Princes’ Hospital by Lisa Kors – Finalist

MEDIA

Nathan Loves Ricky Martin by Llewellyn Michael Bates, Bryan Chau, & Steven Arriagada – Winner

The Diverse Films team is a Melbourne-based production company; they are AACTA/AFI nominated for their short film “Nathan Loves Ricky Martin,” which has gone on to win multiple awards in both Australian and international festivals and was recently announced the winner of the prestigious 2016 Script Pipeline First Look Project.

Steven Arriagada, Llewellyn Michael Bates and Bryan Chau are currently developing a feature based on the characters of “Nathan Loves Ricky Martin” as well as an action adventure novel titled Red Armour set in ancient China.

City Bus by Lauren Hoekstra – Finalist

Foxed by James Stewart – Finalist

Moonlight – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

It’s arguable what the most important element of a movie is. The plot hooks the audience, the directing keeps the audience entertained, and the theme gives the audience something to think about once the credits start rolling. However, at the center of each of these elements are the characters. Movies that lack strong characters will often feel hollow—a movie can have the largest, most exciting set pieces, but without strong characters, the audience won’t have anything to truly connect with.

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins and written by Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (based on McCraney’s unpublished play), is perhaps the purest example of a character study. The film is divided into three chapters, and each centers on Chiron, a young black man from a rough neighborhood coming to terms with his sexuality, at different stages his life (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood). In lesser hands, this structure could feel jagged and lack cohesion, but Jenkins and McCraney connect the stories through the film’s themes (which include masculinity and sexuality) and through Chiron’s relationships.

The first chapter (“Little,” Chiron’s nickname as a twelve-year-old) sets the stage for the rest of the movie: Little befriends a local drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali in an Oscar-winning role), who becomes a surrogate father of sorts. He’s the first person to accept Little for who he is, sexuality and all, and his absence is felt throughout the rest of the movie (a testament to the strength of Ali’s acting and Jenkins and McCraney’s screenplay). In the second chapter (“Chiron”), Chiron navigates life without his father figure’s influence, and the final chapter (“Black”) shows him emulating Juan in both aesthetics and career. The other relationships are also great (his drug-addicted mother, his first teenage romance, and Juan’s supportive girlfriend each help shape Chiron and the film), but Chiron and Juan’s relationship serves as the backbone. Without it, there would be no story.

This was a personal script (both Jenkins and McCraney based the characters off real people and the story off their own experiences), and the passion they have for the story and the characters shows. That’s the reason why Moonlight won Best Picture—it’s personal, moving film that tells a universal message. For writers, this is simply a film worth aspiring to.

Read the Moonlight Screenplay

 

February 2017 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

STX Entertainment has optioned The New Neighbors, a spec written by Leslie Headland and David Schickler. The psychological drama follows a couple who move into an affluent area and uncover dirty secrets within. Headland is also attached to direct. Amblin acquired John Swetnam’s action/thriller spec Ruthless in an auction. The script follows a retired assassin who sets out on one final job after she’s diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Brad Peyton to direct. Black Bear Pictures acquired The Impossible War, a drama spec written by Robert Specland, based on the true story of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin’s search for the polio cure. Sony picked up Teddy Tenenbaum and Minsun Park’s supernatural thriller spec /Reddoor, which follows a journalist as he reviews a new app game that kills its players. Finally, Amazon Studios and RatPac Entertainment are teaming for Melissa London Hilfers’s script Unfit, based on Adam Cohen’s nonfiction book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. Dakota Johnson is attached to star.

Other script sales include:

– J.P. Delaney to adapt his upcoming novel The Perfect Wife for Imagine Entertainment.

– Daniel Pearle to adapt his play A Kid Like Jake for That’s Wonderful Productions and Double Nickel Entertainment. Silas Howard to direct, Jim Parsons and Claire Danes to star.

– Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen to produce and star in Dan Sterling’s Black List script Flarsky.

– Joe Carnahan to write the X-Men spinoff X-Force, based on the Marvel comic book series created by Rob Liefeld.

– Universal Pictures has tapped Dan Mazeau to write their Van Helsing reboot.

– Hossein Amini to adapt Stephen Walker’s nonfiction book Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima for Universal and Working Title. Cary Fukunaga to possibly direct.