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Script Pipeline

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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2018 TV Writing Contest Results

By TV Writing Contest Finalists

Winner Powerhouse by Justin Daries James Born and raised in central Florida, Justin spent his childhood running around barefoot with a video camera glued to his hand. With a lifelong dream of following in Steven Spielberg’s footsteps, Justin set out for the west coast at nineteen, where he spent the first few months bouncing between PA gigs and living out of his car.  Eventually, he worked his way up the production ladder, while squeezing in late night writing sessions in pursuit of his ultimate dream. In 2014, a family health crisis sent him and his high school sweetheart back to the east coast, where they were forced to put their careers on pause. What was meant to be a two-month hiatus turned into a three year ‘all is lost’ detour ripped straight from the pages of Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat.” Despite the growing financial and geographical hurdle, Justin continued…

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2018 Screenwriting Contest Results

By Screenwriting Contest Finalists

Winner Junior by Peter Malone Elliot Peter Malone Elliott is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright hailing from the great state of Virginia. Growing up in a house with a New York Times best-selling author, Peter always knew he wanted to write. Inspired by Scorsese’s The Departed, he firmly decided on writing for film, television, and theatre, realizing that visual storytelling, and the unique exploration of character that it allows, was something that excited him to no end. After graduating magna cum laude from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Screenwriting and a minor in History, Peter focused his writing pursuits on crafting period dramas and character-driven crime drama/thrillers. In addition to winning the 2018 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition, Peter has, among others, been a semifinalist in the ScreenCraft Pilot Launch Contest, and a Quarterfinalist in the Nicholl Fellowship. In 2018, his proof-of-concept short film, Ziggy’s Will (which he wrote, starred in, and…

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May 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Tom O’Connor’s Cold War spy spec Ironbark has found a home with FilmNation Entertainment. The true story follows Greville Wynne, a British businessman, as he helps the CIA end the Cuban Missile Crisis and avert disaster. Benedict Cumberbatch is set to executive produce and star. Another historical spec landed at Gran Via Productions. This one: Alex Cramer’s Rawhide Down. The screenplay follows the immediate aftermath of John Hinkley’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in real time. Paramount Pictures picked up Cory Goodman’s horror spec The Oberline Incident. The plot is being kept under wraps, but it’s been described as high-concept with a female lead. Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures has picked up Crawl, written by Alexandre Aja, Shawn Rasmussen, and Michael Rasmussen. The story follows a young woman trapped in a flooding house with fierce predators during a Category 5 hurricane. Aja will also direct. Other script sales: – Dueling…

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Pride – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

We’re deep in June, which is officially Pride Month, so why not catch up on a recent LGBT flick that may have flown under your radar? Pride, written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus, didn’t receive much attention here in the States despite receiving almost universally positive reviews, and that’s a shame because this movie has it all—comedy, romance, drama, tragedy, and even history. Yes, Pride is based on a true story, a seemingly unlikely one at that. Set in the early ‘80s, the film follows gay activists from London as they raise awareness for striking coal miners in South Wales. The group (the aptly named Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) reasoned that, since both the miners and the LGBT community faced oppression from the British government and police forces, they could form an alliance of sorts. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so to…

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April 2018 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Bo Burnham’s spec script Gay Kid and Fat Chick is moving forward at Paramount Players with director Amy York Rubin at the helm. The dramedy script placed on the 2013 Black List and has been in development ever since. Tooley Productions picked up Tony Gayton’s crime-drama spec Thug. The story follows an aging ex-boxer and enforcer for a San Pedro gangster as he tries to fix his past mistakes and reconnect with his estranged children. Tucker Tooley will produce, and Christian Gudegast (London Has Fallen) will direct. New Line Cinema is moving forward with The Long Walk, adapted by James Vanderbilt from the novel by Stephen King (written under his pseudonym Richard Bachman). Vanderbilt had written the script on spec before New Line picked it up. Peter Dinklage to produce, perhaps star in O’Lucky Day for Legendary Pictures. The script, written by Andrew Dodge, follows a con man who poses…

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

In preparation for the television upfronts, Fox axed a huge percentage of its lineup last week, but the cancellation heard ’round the world was critical darling Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The fans’ reaction was immediate, and people such as Guillermo del Toro, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and seemingly half of Twitter took to the internet to voice their disappointment, ultimately leading to NBC’s decision to pick up the show the very next day. (Cue a well-deserved Jake Peralta “Noice.”) As a result, the fans literally saved the Nine-Nine, NBC got back a series they let slip to another network (despite airing on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was produced by NBC/Universal), and everybody lived happily ever after. The backlash Fox received from cancelling Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a testament to its quality. Joke by joke, it’s one of the funniest shows (if not the funniest) currently airing on television. For some shows, you’ll hear people…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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13th Great Movie Idea Contest Results

By Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner Mommy Is Missing by Matt MacDonald Born with a fiery passion for storytelling and high-SPF sunblock, writer/director Matt MacDonald grew up in the sweltering desert heat of Phoenix, Arizona. Scourged by the sun’s villainous UV rays, Matt opted at an early age to embrace air conditioning — devouring books, video games, and large quantities of sugared cereal. An accomplished voice-over actor and nationally published author, Matt received his MFA in Film & Television Production from the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts. His work has screened at more than 40 film festivals worldwide (including the Palm Springs International ShortFest and San Diego Comic-Con), been highlighted multiple times as a Vimeo Staff Pick, and featured by the likes of Mashable, Kotaku, io9, Bloody Disgusting, Rolling Stone, and HBO’s Project Greenlight. Matt’s dad frequently tells him to “keep up the good work.” As a writer, director, and editor, Matt has…

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