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Script Pipeline

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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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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The Sinner – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Within the first 15 minutes of The Sinner, you know who the killer is. There’s no doubt about it—you see it happen, and dozens of witnesses see it too. Although a mystery, The Sinner isn’t as interested in the whodunnit, but the whydunnit. And centering the series on that aspect helps make The Sinner a taut, suspenseful, unpredictable thriller. Written and developed by Derek R. Simonds and based on the novel by Petra Hammesfahr, the story opens with Cora (a spellbinding Jessica Biel in a powerhouse performance that’s currently up for an Emmy) going through a typical day. We get a subtle sense that she’s unhappy, troubled in some way, and our suspicions are confirmed almost immediately when she stabs a stranger on a crowded beach in broad daylight. From there, the question becomes why she did it, and detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is the man pursuing it. Flashbacks…

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July 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

July was a slower month for script sales. David M. Crabtree’s script Plane has found a home at Mandalay Pictures. The thriller follows a traveling salesman who is trapped alone in a small airborne plane after the pilot dies. John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, A Good Day to Die Hard) is set to direct. Twentieth Century Fox is moving forward with the comedy Stoned Alone, an adult version of Home Alone that follows a stoner who misses his flight and must deal with thieves inside his home. Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider are on the script, based off an idea from Fox’s Matt Reilly. Ryan Reynolds will produce, and Augustine Frizzell will direct. Screen Gems and Brownstone Productions have picked up Savion Einstein’s comedy Superfecundation, which is a rare situation that occurs when twins have two different fathers. Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman will produce. Makeready, Hillman Grad Productions, and De La Revolución Films will produce Lena Waithe’s crime…

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A Quiet Place – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

There’s no way around it: To make an effective horror or thriller movie, you need tension. Lots of it. (You also need characters the audience will care about, but that should be a given for any screenplay.) One of the classic horror set pieces is the killer stalking a potential victim, who then hides in the closet or in the bathroom or under the bed and struggles not to make a single sound. Dozens of movies probably just popped into your mind with that brief description. But what if that classic horror moment became the premise of an entire feature? A Quiet Place, written by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski and directed by Krasinski, makes that premise a reality. In the near future, Earth has been attacked by extraterrestrials and most of the world’s population has been wiped out. The catch? These aliens have ultra-sensitive hearing, so…

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Santino Fontana, Dania Ramirez Star in Script Pipeline Finalist Romcom

By | Slider, Success Stories

Off the Menu, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist Jen Goldson, was released in early 2018. Industry partner Jay Silverman (Girl on the Edge), who directed the romcom, picked up the project in 2015. Silverman and producer Bethany Cerrona were introduced to Goldson by Script Pipeline execs. “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…

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June 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Amblin Partners and Neal Street Productions have picked up Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ spec 1917. Mendes will direct the WWI drama and co-produce with Pippa Harris. Platinum Dunes and Tyler Perry Studios are bringing Ryan Belenzon and Jeffrey Gelber’s spec I Am Yours to Paramount. The project is described as thriller in the vein of Fatal Attraction. Writer Emilia Serrano had two of her comedy specs optioned: The Throwdown and an untitled quinceañera project. The Throwdown follows two Latina American cousins as they fight over a family restaurant they inherited and found a home with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. Meanwhile, her quinceañera project follows a 30-year-old woman who brings her family on a work trip disguised as a “double quinceañera” because she missed her first and found a home with 26 Keys Productions and Pascal Pictures. Noah Hawley and Amy Pascal will produce. J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot preemptively picked…

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Lady Dynamite – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

One of the downsides to this era of peak TV is that there are now seemingly more shows than people to watch them, but the biggest upside to this is that companies are more likely to take on riskier, more niche shows. And as a result, we sometimes receive shows that are just absolute joys, like Lady Dynamite. Created by Pam Brady (South Park, the underrated Hamlet 2) and Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development), the show is a semi-biographical look at comedian Maria Bamford’s life. Notably, the series tackles her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and the challenges she’s experienced because of it. In other hands, this show could be oppressively bleak, but Brady, Hurwitz, and Bamford use that as a starting point to explore mental health through comedy. Given the pedigree of those involved in the show, it should come as no surprise that the show is hilarious; however, the comedy…

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Heidi Nyburg

By | Exclusive Interviews

Heidi Nyburg followed up her top 10 finalist placing in Script Pipeline’s TV Writing Competition with a win in the 2017 Script Pipeline First Look Project for her pilot Silicon Curve. The series is loosely based on the story of her mother working in the male-dominated 1970s Silicon Valley. Soon after her win, the pilot garnered attention from producers and managers. She writes both features and TV material. You’ve worked in entertainment for a while, but what made you jump into screenwriting?  If by “for a while” you mean directed a few shorts and produced a feature in college, then yes, I am clearly an industry veteran. The truth is I started late, I did things backward, got the job first, then went to college. I have always loved writing, and while working as an analyst at Netflix, I took a weekend TV writing class at a community college in Cupertino. I…

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