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Script Pipeline

American Crime Story – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Pretty much everyone knows the O.J. Simpson story, and even those who don’t probably have an opinion. As one character says later in the series, “You couldn’t get away with this plot twist in an airport paperback,” and that line serves as a perfect encapsulation of the spectacle as a whole. From the Bronco chase to the fame-hungry witnesses, a racist LAPD officer, and Johnny Cochran’s infamous “if it doesn’t fit” line, the O.J. Simpson case had so many twists and turns that it might as well have been a soap opera. And for most, it was. The media coverage of the trial was unprecedented, with the Bronco chase and the verdict receiving huge television ratings (at least 95 million people watched each), and the trial all but created reality shows. But in the frenzy surrounding the case, people forgot why there was a case in the first place: O.J….

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March 2016 Script Sales

By Script Sales

                     Many high-profile projects were acquired in March. Dan Harmon will produce Isaac Adamson’s Black List script Bubbles, a Michael Jackson biopic told from the point-of-view of his chimp Bubbles. It will be a stop-motion animation film. A pair of specs from Max Landis (Chronicle) were picked up in March: Deeper, a mystery/thriller about a disgraced astronaut, by Phantom Four Films and Addictive Pictures, and Bright, a fantasy centering on orcs, fairies, and police officers, by Netflix. The latter sold for $3 million. Paramount is moving forward with BenDavid Grabinski’s Bravado, about a former soldier who takes a job as a police officer. Anonymous Content picked up the drama spec Letters From Rosemary, written by Nick Yarborough and based on Rosemary Kennedy and the lobotomy that left her permanently incapacitated. Emma Stone set to star. Other script sales include: – Disney gave Script Pipeline…

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Inside Out – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Pixar is synonymous with imagination and ingenuity. Each of their (so far) 16 feature films and numerous shorts depict wildly inventive worlds with well-defined, lived-in characters that rival most live-action characters. It’s easy to imagine a blander version of Inside Out, one in which Riley’s emotions simply provide a running commentary on the her interactions. However, that’s not how Pixar operates, and the creative team (which includes Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley) has included many elements that writers everywhere which they had thought of first. Inside Riley’s head, we see a literal Train of Conscience, a building of Abstract Thought, and the prison-like Subconscious, among other clever flourishes. However, the world would be nothing without the characters. In the world of Inside Out, five emotions (Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness) control everything creature on Earth, from humans down to cats and dogs. The movie focuses…

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February 2016 Script Sales

By Script Sales

Treehouse Pictures acquired Katie Silberman’s romantic comedy spec Set It Up about two assistants who try to get their nasty bosses out of their hair. Emilia Clarke attached to star. Bold Films is moving forward with the superhero drama spec Samaritan written by Bragi Schut. The film centers around a young boy and a mysterious old man twenty years after a superhero defeats a supervillain and has gone missing. Tyler Marceca’s thriller specs Burnt Offering and Malpractice have found homes at Armory Films and Endurance Media, respectively. Burnt Offering is described as being Prisoners meets Silence of the Lambs while Malpractice centers around a disgraced surgeon who becomes involved in a terrorism plot. Finally, FilmNation Entertainment has acquired Oliver Kramer’s legal thriller spec Leverage, a murder mystery centered on Wall Street. Other script sales include: – Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio to write It’s a Small World for Disney, to be…

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January 2016 Script Sales

By Script Sales

January was a slower month for script sales. Elston Films optioned Justin Kremer’s 2013 Black List spec Bury the Lead. Independent Pictures is moving forward with Delia Ephron’s The Book. Meg Ryan will direct. Skydance Productions and Mockingbird Pictures will co-produce Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese’s Life, in which astronauts discover traces of life on Mars that may be more intelligent than they expected. Jared and Jarusha Hess to write NickToons for Nickelodeon. The movie will be based on various Nickelodeon cartoon characters, and Jared Hess will also direct. Other script sales include: – Drive‘s Nicolas Winding Refn is teaming with Spectre writers Neil Purvis and Robert Wade for an as-of-now untitled action/thriller with an Asian setting. – Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow are reteeming for an untitled film set during the 1967 Detroit riot. – Fox 2000 has picked up Melisa Wallack’s pitch for The Fixer, which is based on the life…

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Casual – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

The downside to this Golden Age of TV is that almost every television channel, streaming service, and website that has even a tangential connection to the film industry produces original, scripted content, and the majority of those series are quite good. In fact, the vast quantity of quality shows has caused the more cynical, DVR-half-empty viewers to dub this “Peak TV,” as if the television market is a bubble on the verge of bursting. But if Casual, which just completed its freshman season, is a omen of television to come, the Golden Age still has many years left of quality programming to come. Casual, created by Zander Lehmann and produced by Jason Reitman, centers on newly-divorced Valerie, her brother, and her sixteen-year-old daughter, all living in the same house and all pursuing “casual” relationships. Each character has their own (plural) issues, and each is played to perfection by an amazing cast. Michaela Watkins (Enlightened, They Came Together) as Valerie is great as…

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7th Great TV Show Idea Contest Finalists

By Great TV Show Idea Contest Finalists

Grand Prize Winner Jack Curious by Bryce McLellan Bryce McLellan is a writer/director all the way from the Land Down Under. While he hasn’t wrestled a croc and never rode a kangaroo to school, he is keen on calling everyone “mate”. After graduating with a film major from Macquarie University, Sydney in 2011, he worked as an editor on a number of network TV shows for MTV and ABC. Always looking for his next personal project, a chance to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 birthed Jesus in Congo, a documentary he filmed, wrote and directed. It was nominated for best documentary at the 2015 Pan Pacific Film Festival. Bryce is also an accomplished animator and concept artist who lists driving a red Mustang from LA to Miami as one of his proudest achievements. Bryce writes in any spare moment he has. Jack Curious is his first TV writing project….

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

One of the best dramas last year was also one of the funniest comedies. However, the emotional aspects only worked because the movie is so funny. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, adapted by Jesse Andrews from his own book and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last year, but the film came and went unnoticed when it was released. And it’s not hard to see why: It’s got all the quirk of Little Miss Sunshine, but one of its principle characters is a 17-year-old girl dying of leukemia, Rachel. On top of that, the main character Greg (he’s the “me” in the title) only hangs out with her because his mom’s making him. So yeah. In a way, you could describe Me and Earl as the anti–Fault in Our Stars. While the latter exists for the sole purpose of manipulating its audience into crying (and, for the most part, works), Me and…

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Fargo – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Fargo the movie is a classic. The Coen brothers’ crime/comedy captivated critics and audiences alike with a tale of pettiness, greed, kidnapping, murder, a woodchipper, and Minnesotan accents. Any attempt to bring the film to television would have giant shoes to fill, so it’s no surprise that 18 years passed before Fargo the series premiered on FX. (*A pilot was filmed in 1997 with Kathy Bates directing and Edie Falco starring, but the show never made it to series and, unlike Fargo-FX, had no involvement from the Coens.) Noah Hawley, the show’s creator and showrunner, abandons the Coens’ characters and plot but has nonetheless crafted a series that’s unmistakably Fargo. The setting, the humor, the boldfaced based-on-a-true-story lie, and, of course, the glorious accents all remain intact, and each of the (so far) two seasons focuses on borderline-incompetent criminal newbies getting mixed up with career criminals and resilient, small-town law enforcement. Just like the film. In fact, Hawley so perfectly captures the spirit of the original movie that…

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The Lego Movie – Screenplay

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Usually, we post final drafts of scripts to give writers good examples of what to do, but that’s ignoring the most necessary, and oftentimes grueling, process: rewriting. Rewriting isn’t an exact science, if by science you mean banging your head against the keyboard and furiously hitting backspace. It’s also incredibly difficult. In most first drafts, writers are still finding the characters and themes, and by the end of it, the plot they initially envisioned may no longer support the themes or characters they ended up falling in love with. Changing one element in Act One is like pulling a thread from a sweater: you never know how long the thread’s gonna be, and there’s no way of knowing until you’re done pulling. But everyone has to rewrite. Even the professionals. The vast majority of this Lego Movie script, written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who currently have two of the best track records in Hollywood (Exhibit A,…

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2015 TV Writing Contest Results

By TV Writing Contest Finalists

– Grand Prize Winner – Beechwood by Gregory Martin & Eric Beu Greg Martin graduated from Berklee College of Music in the summer of 2010, then promptly threw his clothes, instruments, and film scoring degree in a car and drove to Los Angeles. There, he was able to ingratiate himself with the community and start working as a composer for film, TV, and ads. Greg’s music has been heard on FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC Family, TBS, and many more. Eventually, Greg’s passion for film scoring started to reveal a much deeper passion for storytelling, and with his writing partner Eric, they began the process of teaching themselves the art of screenwriting. A process that — hundreds of pages later — appears to have no end in sight. Eric Beu studied at the Université Paris Diderot and the University of Washington, from which he graduated in 2011 with a degree in…

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2015 Screenwriting Contest Results

By Screenwriting Contest Finalists

– Grand Prize Winner – Militia by Henry Dunham Detroit native Henry Dunham is a Los Angeles-based writer/director. After attending Michigan State University as an English major, he moved to Los Angeles to intern at various production companies including Mandeville, Mosaic, Atlas Entertainment, and directly under producers Charles Roven and Andy Horwitz. Parlaying his natural ability for storytelling into working as a script reader, then consulting on numerous projects, he began writing his own original material, then wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Awareness. Once accepted to shortoftheweek.com, it became one of the highest rated sci-fi short films on the site and was featured on over 20 filmmaking blogs, including Vimeo ‘staff pick’, io9.com, Aintitcool.com, and Geek tyrant. The short later premiered on opening night of the Brussels International Film Festival Leuven. After winning the 2015 competition, Henry signed with industry partner Madhouse Entertainment, later getting picked up by UTA. His winning…

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True Detective – Pilot

By Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Anthology television has seen a resurgence recently, with such series as American Horror Story, Fargo, and American Crime leading the way, but no series has made as much of a cultural and critical impact as True Detective. Although season two has not been as well-received (the consensus at Script Pipeline is it’s still very good, but needlessly complex), the first season deserves all the praise critics and audiences heaped upon it. Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle popularized the detective genre with C. Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes, respectively, and Agatha Christie perfected it with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. In the decades since, thousands of writers have contributed to the constantly growing genre (in every medium imaginable—TV, film, graphic novels, even podcasts), making it harder and harder for authors to standout. But True Detective succeeded where others failed due to its uniqueness. The show’s first season follows Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart as they investigate a…

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July 2015 Script Sales

By Script Sales

It was a slower month for script sales. Disney acquired Prince Charming, a fantasy/comedy spec by Matthew Fogel about Prince Charming’s brother who has never lived up to his family name. MGM has purchased the spec script Bed Rest written by Lori Evans Taylor, a Hitchcockian thriller about an expectant mother confined to bed rest. Fubar Films optioned Bill Kennedy’s Blacklist script The Fixer, a gritty mob drama set in Los Angeles. Paramount and Red Hour films moving forward with Red Shirts, a college football comedy pitch from Veep‘s Timothy Simons and Matt Walsh. Ben Stiller to produce. Other script sales: – Paul Thomas Anderson to write Pinocchio for Warner Bros. and Robert Downey Jr.’s Team Downey. RDJ attached to star. – Hero Films and Fable House will co-produce Manhattan Love Story, a multiracial romance written by Andy Tennant, Rick Parks, and Adrien Brody. Brody to star, Tennant to direct. – Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow will go back to Jurassic World for the next film in the franchise. – Sony…

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