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All Posts By

Michael Owens

The Other Two – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Perhaps the most important element for every television show is concept. Unlike movies, television shows need to convince audiences not only to watch the pilot but also to watch two or three or more seasons. This means combining a high-concept premise with compelling characters. Breaking Bad had that “wow” factor, as did stuff as diverse as Weeds, The Wire, and Killing Eve. But perhaps my favorite recent example is The Other Two. Here’s the premise in a nutshell: Imagine a teenager who becomes famous overnight after his Youtube music video goes viral (not unlike Justin Bieber). The show isn’t about him; it’s about his two older siblings, who are well into their late twenties and are not even remotely successful. It’s about them—the “other two.” Written by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, the pilot’s teaser does an excellent job depicting that disparity. The show opens with 13-year-old sensation Chase Dubek…

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February 2019 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Spenser Cohen’s spec Distant found a home with Amblin Partners, Automatik Entertainment, and Six Foot Turkey Productions. The sci-fi/romance follows a miner who has crash-landed on a hostile alien planet and must rescue the only other survivor, a woman trapped in an escape pod, as they run out of oxygen. We’re sure the movie will leave us breathless. Universal Pictures picked up Chris Borrelli’s action/thriller spec, which will be directed by Simon Crane. Although details are being kept under wraps, this marks Crane’s directorial debut after an impressive career as a stunt coordinator (credits include Salt, World War Z, and Edge of Tomorrow). Finally, Paramount Pictures and LuckyChap Entertainment are moving forward with Big Gay Jamboree, written by Jonathan Parks-Ramage and Maria Mindelle. The musical follows a raunchy woman who finds herself stuck in a 1940’s musical, sort of like Isn’t It Romantic? meets Judy Garland. Margot Robbie is set…

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January 2019 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

January was unfortunately a lighter month for script sales (you can blame holiday recovery and Sundance for that), so here’s a list of the most notable stories: – Unburdened Entertainment and SB Projects have tapped Alyssa Hill to adapt Elaine Brown’s memoir A Taste of Power. The story follows Brown’s time as the first and only female leader of the Black Panthers from 1974–77. – Lisa Joy (Westworld) is set to direct Reminiscence from her 2013 Black List screenplay. Her Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan is set to produce. – Universal Pictures optioned Kim Liggett’s novel The Grace Year, set to be published this fall. Elizabeth Banks is set to direct. – Pete Davidson, Judd Apatow, and Dave Sirus’s untitled comedy script has been picked up by Universal and Apatow Productions. Based on Davidson’s own life, the film is set to star Davidson and will be directed by Apatow. – Amblin…

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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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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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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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