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Script Pipeline

7th Great TV Show Idea Contest Finalists

By | Great TV Show Idea Contest Finalists

Bryce-McLellan-headshot-16Grand 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.

Runners-Up

Dark Districts by David Burton
The Bitches of Salem by David Falcone

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

banner-me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-film

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 Earl instead wants to manipulate its characters. Greg is “terminally awkward” with “a face like a groundhog” and as selfish as any other teen. In fact, it takes him until the end of the film to realize it’s Rachel’s story, not his.

It helps that Greg is a funny character with a very distinct voice. Some of the lesser screenwriting gurus have been on a vendetta against voice-over for a while now, but like any other stylistic device, good voice-over is still good. It doesn’t just explain what we’re seeing—the movie would work fine without it. What makes Greg’s narration stand out is it extends from his personality and is unique to his quirky, funny, awkward voice.

But beneath all the quirk and clever witticisms, Me and Earl is still a smart script. Nearly every joke in it works, so when it shifts gears to drama, the emotions hit like a ton of bricks. That isn’t an original tool, but it is tried and true: Preceding a dramatic moment with comedy helps that moment really land. Add in Gomez-Rejon’s smart directorial flourishes (developed on American Horror Story and his directorial debut, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) and Korean cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung’s (Oldboy) beautiful images, and you’ve got a beautiful film with an excellent story.

Read the Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Script

Fargo – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

1.-Fargo-Banner

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 the Coens’ Fargo feels less like a source material and more like another chapter in (as Hawley calls it) The History of True Crime in the Midwest. Add in a few remixed elements from other Coen classics including No Country for Old Men and The Man Who Wasn’t There, and that’s the show.

Like the movie, the characters are the real draw. In the pilot script, Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard, season one’s criminal newbie, is described as “the kind of guy who apologizes when you step on his foot.” Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo has a mystery to him, yet he’s still a well-defined, Loki-esque figure: Malvo gets a real kick out of manipulating people for his own twisted enjoyment. And Allison Tolman’s Molly Solverson is about as great a substitute for Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson as you could get.

But if the characters weren’t enough, Hawley hooks the viewers by the time the pilot’s climax rolls around. He imbues the final stretch with so much tension (highlights include a heat-of-the-moment murder, a law enforcement officer showing up at the wrong place, wrong time, and Malvo simply being Malvo) that it’s impossible not to become giddy with expectation. Shows rarely fire on all cylinders this early on—and season two improves on every level—so at the very least, sit back and watch in awe of perhaps the best entry in the Anthology Series Resurgence of the 2010s. And if you find any of its “true story” a little too hard to believe, just think of it as a Drunk History segment with a higher production value.

Read the Fargo Pilot

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UTA and Madhouse Rep 2015 Script Pipeline Contest Winner

By | Success Stories

Madhouse-Logo

A few weeks after Script Pipeline sent the 2015 finalist/winner loglines industry-wide, Screenwriting Competition winner Henry Dunham was picked up by Madhouse Entertainment (Prisoners).

Agency powerhouse UTA followed soon after.

“While I’m a little surprised he found representation so quick, I’m not at all surprised it happened,” said Script Pipeline Senior Executive Matt Misetich. “It was inevitable. And it goes beyond writing ability–he’s one of the most grounded, humble writers I’ve met all year. That attitude will take him far in what will of course be a continual process of collaboration. For two tremendous companies like Madhouse and UTA to jump on board is extraordinary. No doubt this will be the first step in a long writing career.”

Read Henry’s Script Pipeline interview.

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The Lego Movie – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

lego-movie

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, Exhibit B), did not survive into the final draft. That’s not to say the earlier draft is bad, but somewhere along the rewriting process, Lord and Miller found a better way to express the themes they wished to convey.

The twist at the end of the movie works in this earlier draft, but it doesn’t resonate as strongly thematically (or narratively) as the one that was filmed, even if it has tons of fun, funny, inventive moments. As such, the decision to make the movie’s President Business (who isn’t in this draft) a direct representation of The Man Upstairs works much better, and the slight changes to Emmet’s character bring the movie more of a childlike wonder. Unfortunately, that meant many characters who read very funny on the page (including Emmet’s Mom, President Iamnotarobot, Larry the Barista, and Indiana Jones) were left on the cutting room floor. On a larger scale, the addition of President Business meant the antagonist and the antagonist’s goals (as well as the majority of the plot) had to change. Fortunately, Lord and Miller were more than up to the task, and they reworked what would have been an entertaining animated movie into a comedic masterpiece.

The title page says, “Based on the Awesome Toys by The LEGO Corporation,” which a cynic might label shameless brown-nosing, but after reading the script and watching the movie, it’s hard to doubt that Lord and Miller earnestly believe that. Everything about this movie really is awesome.

Read The Lego Movie Script

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2015 TV Writing Contest Results

By | TV Writing Contest Finalists


– Grand Prize Winner –

Beechwood by Gregory Martin & Eric Beu

Eric BeuGreg 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 2011Greg Martin with a degree in English and French. After spending four years studying literary translation and writing short fiction, the desire to try something new (and to escape another sunless Seattle winter) sent him to Los Angeles, where his longtime friend Greg Martin worked as a composer.

Their collaboration on, of all things, a comedy about a sexually frustrated praying mantis sparked an abiding obsession with the process and craft of screenwriting. Since then, they’ve focused more on projects that weave the immersive lyricism of the literature he studied with the dark comedy and propulsive pace of the films they’ve both always loved. Having grown up on three continents, Eric has an international worldview colored by exposure to many unique cultures, societies, and exotic animals that tried to kill him.

– Runner-Up –

Family Be Like by Howard Jordan Jr.

Howard JordanHoward Jordan, Jr. is an award winning advertising copywriter and creative director. He’s spent the last 15 years creating famous work for some of the most iconic brands in the world.

Most recently, his work for Beats By Dr. Dre — The Pills won the Gold Lion for Integrated Media Campaign at the 2014 Cannes Advertising Festival. Additionally, his fall 2014 campaign “For the Love of TV” for Hulu has been recognized with LA Addy and Promax BDA awards. In 2010, he contributed to the original State Farm “magic jingle” campaign, which became a marketing and viral phenomenon.

Howard is also the author of the award winning pop culture book 101 Reasons to Leave New York. Prior to relocating from Brooklyn to Hollywood, in 2013, he blogged pop culture, comedy and New York City for the Huffington Post.

Along with devoting every waking moment to establishing himself as a sitcom writer, Howard is a former D1 basketball player, pop culture encyclopedia, and man of the people.

Finalists (10)

Archer – “Temple Raiders Crusade” by Benjamin Deeb & Graham Towers
Beechwood by Gregory Martin & Eric Beu
Better by Brett Shurman and Josh Cootner
Blowback by David Case
Chasing Chanel by Abigail Cannon & Hanna Stiens
Family Be Like by Howard Jordan Jr.
Join Us by Lee Matthew Goldberg
My Fist, Your Face by Greta Harrison & Matthew C. Vaughan
Paradise, Texas by Bree Barton
The Merc by Evelyn Yves

Semifinalists (30)

Affliction by Bill Balas
Archer – Spec by Benjamin Deeb & Graham Towers
Arrow – Spec by Terence Erickson
Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Woollett
Beechwood by Gregory Martin & Eric Beu
Better by Brett Shurman
Blowback by David Case
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Spec by Michael Conti
Center Court by Valen Hernandez
Chasing Chanel by Abigail Cannon & Hanna Stiens
C.U.P.I.D. by Christie LeBlanc
Cupid’s Arrow by Daniel Lawlor
Delivered by Scott Reynolds
Devils by Samuel Lukas
Escape/Artist by Alan R. Baxter
Family Be Like by Howard Jordan Jr.
Gilt by Lisa Kors
Insatiable by Brandon DeRoos
John Clayton by Connor Callaghan
Join Us by Lee Matthew Goldberg
Kinderhook by Patch Darragh & Adrian Rieder
My Fist, Your Face by Greta Harrison & Matthew Vaughn
Out of the Blue by Bernard Urban
Paradise, Texas by Bree Barton
Savage by Stephanie Bousley
Tancho Hardman by Raj Balu
The B-Side by Noah Pohl
The Goldbergs – Spec by Jerell Rosales
The Merc by Evelyn Yves
Wrecking Balls by Olivia Briggs

Quarterfinalists (52)

110% by Paul Read
Affliction by Bill Balas
Archer – Spec by Benjamin Deeb & Graham Towers
Arrow – Spec by Terence Erickson
Bad Priest by Geno Scala
Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Woollett
Beechwood by Gregory Martin & Eric Beu
Better by Brett Shurman
Blaze of Khaki by Brian Soika
Blowback by Alan Kritzer
Blowback by David Case
Boston by Kadyn Michaels
Blackrush by Brent Beath
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Spec by Michael Conti
Center Court by Valen Hernandez
Chasing Chanel by Abigail Cannon & Hanna Stiens
C.U.P.I.D. by Christie LeBlanc
Cupid’s Arrow by Daniel Lawlor
Delivered by Scott Reynolds
Devils by Samuel Lukas
Devil’s Heaven by Haji Outlaw
Divine St. by Nick Richey
Escape/Artist by Alan R. Baxter
Family Be Like by Howard Jordan Jr.
Frontier 11 by Harris Kauffman
Gilt by Lisa Kors
Hatchetmen by Kevin Lau
Hood by Devin Conroy
Insatiable by Brandon DeRoos
John Clayton by Connor Callaghan
Join Us by Lee Matthew Goldberg
Kinderhook by Patch Darragh & Adrian Rieder
Lacuna by Alex Koch
Mirror World by Helen Leigh
My Fist, Your Face by Greta Harrison & Matthew Vaughn
Occupation by Scott Robert Waldvogel
Offspring by Melanie Schiele
Out of the Blue by Bernard Urban
Paradise, Texas by Bree Barton
R.S.V.P. by Monica Bugajski & Diana Gettinger
Savage by Stephanie Bousley
Tancho Hardman by Raj Balu
Tellura by Jennifer Muro
The B-Side by Noah Pohl
The Chain by Teresa Huang
The Cure by Andrew Wallace Chamings & Jennifer Dizio
The Goldbergs – Spec by Jerell Rosales
The Kindred by Lisa Garvey
The Line by Alexander Raiman
The Merc by Evelyn Yves
The Fifteenth Office by Nile Cappello
Wrecking Balls by Olivia Briggs


2015 Screenwriting Contest Results

By | Screenwriting Contest Finalists

– Grand Prize Winner –Henry Dunham

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 screenplay Militia is in production as of 2017, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) with Henry tabbed to direct.

– Runner-Up –

The Coyote by Nir Paniry

NirNir Paniry is an award-winning filmmaker who began his career in entertainment as a storyboard artist and animator. Since then, Nir has worked on a number of productions, both animated and live-action, while producing his own shorts and writing specs on the side.

His drama script, Kamikaze Dolls, won Best Rising Star at the prestigious IFP awards in New York. In 2012, he premiered his first feature film, Extracted, a low-fi sci-fi micro-budget film he wrote and directed, at SXSW.

Finalists (20)

Anomie by Robert Burdsall
Babygirl by Robert Garrett
Chiriaco Summit by Ryan Vaughn
Hitch Slapped (a.k.a. Deerly Beloved) by Colin Costello
Dust to Dust by Cate Honzl
egbok by Jennifer Goldson
Felicity Falling by Sean Coons & BTS Agnomen
Girl Pretending to Read Rilke by Laramie Riddle Dennis
Gusher Logan by Morris Long
Heartbreaker by Andrew Martin Robinson
Herland by Derek J. Pastuszek
Holly & Tyler by Aaron Moss
Maze by Katherine Waskul
Militia by Henry Dunham
Oil and Water by Alfred Thomas Catalfo & Morgan Webster Dudley
The Couple by Micah Cohen
The Coyote by Nir Paniry
The Grey Wolf by Michelle Daniel
The Remakes by Amy-Claire Scott
The Third Bomb by Phillip Parker

Semifinalists (55)

Al Hirt, Champion of the World by Mike Evans
Anomie by Robert Burdsall
Babygirl by Robert Garrett
Benjamin the Great by Scott Ruane
Brights by Edward Klau
Brimstone by Ariel Ehrlich
Chiriaco Summit by Ryan Vaughn
Damsel by Jessica Paine
Debbie the Viking by Graham Parke
Hitch Slapped (a.k.a. Deerly Beloved) by Colin Costello
Double Eagle by Tom Radovich
Dust to Dust by Cate Honzl
egbok by Jennifer Goldson
Eight Eight Zero Two by Andrew Byrne
Erotic Romance by Rachel Kempf
Farewell Tour by Clementine Bastow
Felicity Falling by Sean Coons & BTS Agnomen
Galapagos by Lukas Hassel
Gauntlet by Nate Ruegger
Girl Pretending to Read Rilke by Laramie Riddle Dennis
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Grimm Reapers by Michael E. Berg
Gusher Logan by Morris Long
Heartbreaker by Andrew Martin Robinson
Hell N’ High Water by Zack Harding
Herland by Derek J. Pastuszek
Holly & Tyler by Aaron Moss
Honey Trapper by Aaron Bergman Jackson
Interrogatory by Pedro Baron
Kidnap That Fool by Lloyd Elliott
Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes) by Camille Stochitch
Let’s Kill DB Cooper by Mark Price
Losing Touch by Mark J. Stasenko Jr.
Man or Bork by Marjory Kaptanoglu
Maze by Katherine Waskul
Militia by Henry Dunham
Oil and Water by Alfred Thomas Catalfo & Morgan Webster Dudley
Play Dirty by Jeff York
Prey No More by Lee Matthew Goldberg
Silent Hero by Bradley Stryker
Surge by James Watts
Tagged by Colin Costello
The Couple by Micah Cohen
The Coyote by Nir Paniry
The Devil’s Tattoo by Mitchell Boyce
The Dust by Amanda Brennan
The Echo by Mark J. Stasenko Jr.
The Grey Wolf by Michelle Daniel
The Last Babinski by Andrew Siara
The Memory Palace by Justine Gunn
The Memory War by Adam Pachter
The Remakes by Amy-Claire Scott
The Third Bomb by Phillip Parker
Zoey Ramone by Steven Boltz
Zorro Ascension by Alex Pickering & Matthew Breault

Quarterfinalists

29 by Elliot Glass
A Long Hot Winter by Daniel Brothers
A Night Among the Dead by Eugenia Hannon
Abraham and Ginger by Tejal Desai
Accomplice by Christopher T. Phillips
Acts of God by W. Reed Moran
Al Hirt, Champion of the World by Mike Evans
Anomie by Robert Burdsall
Babygirl by Robert Garrett
Benjamin the Great by Scott Ruane
Big Gun Man by Garrett F. Baker
Black Eagle by Douglas Wolfe
Blood Pawn by Anthony Moore & Matt Getty
Bridesmen by David M. Booher
Brights by Edward Klau
Brimstone by Ariel Ehrlich
Burn After Dating (B.A.D.) by Ana Lazarezic & Yasemin Tekiner
Chennai 2070 by Vishnu Sasisekaran
Chiriaco Summit by Ryan Vaughn
Clean Break by Matthew Zoni
Comic Book Kings by Amanda Keener
Crashers by Scott Cunningham
Damsel by Jessica Paine
Darling by Alyssa B. Beatty
Debbie the Viking by Graham Parke
 Hitch Slapped (a.k.a. Deerly Beloved) by Colin Costello
Disorderly Conduct by Arlena G. Byrd
Double Eagle by Tom Radovich
Dust to Dust by Cate Honzl
Eden by Jessica Chou
egbok by Jennifer Goldson
Eggs by Averie Storck
Eight Eight Zero Two by Andrew Byrne
Emerge by Anneli Gelbard & Igor Zor
Erotic Romance by Rachel Kempf
Farewell Tour by Clementine Bastow
Fashionably Late by Jeffrey Radlauer
Fatherland by WH Clark
Felicity Falling by Sean Coons & BTS Agnomen
Fireflies by Amanda Keener
Float Test by Jules Brudek
Flyover State by Sarah Tither-Kaplan
Fool’s Gold by Johnny Cho
Galapagos by Lukas Hassel
Gauntlet by Nate Ruegger
Ghosts of Dickens by Matthew Bishop
Girl Pretending to Read Rilke by Laramie Riddle Dennis
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Grimm Reapers by Michael E. Berg
Gusher Logan by Morris Long
Heartbreaker by Andrew Martin Robinson
Hell N’ High Water by Zack Harding
Herland by Derek J. Pastuszek
Holly & Tyler by Aaron Moss
Honey Trapper by Aaron Bergman Jackson
How to Catch a Time Traveler by Graham Parke
Interrogatory by Pedro Baron
Invisible Scars by Edward Klau
Jack Hammer by Nick Scown
Jacksonville by Jeffrey R. Field
Kidnap That Fool by Lloyd Elliott
Lady 5 by AJ Brooks
Lands End by Jesse Cobb
Las Ventas by Alexander Vargas
Last Mile by Sylvia Batey Alcala
Last Refuge by Donald Grail
Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes) by Camille Stochitch
Let’s Kill DB Cooper by Mark Price
Leverage by Alexei Mizin & Ryan van Dijk
Lifeline by Dylan Brann
Lightning Bug by Emil Fendler
Losing Touch by Mark J. Stasenko Jr.
Macau Twilight by Tony Shyu
Man or Bork by Marjory Kaptanoglu
Maze by Katherine Waskul
Mean Curves by Anthony Detisch
Militia by Henry Dunham
Misery Loves by Noah Martin
Mock Draft by Heidi J. Nyburg
No Man’s Land by Jeffrey Field & Michelle Davidson
Oil and Water by Alfred Thomas Catalfo & Morgan Webster Dudley
Paso del Norte by Alberto Rey
Play Dirty by Jeff York
Prey No More by Lee Matthew Goldberg
Reckless Hearts by Corey Bodoh-Creed
See You Soon, Reverend Moon by Gena Oppenheim
Seven Days in Rose Town by David Hudacek
Silent Hero by Bradley Stryker
Sovereign Citizen by Craig Peters
Spooked by Scott Ruane
Surge by James Watts
Synergizers by Craig Cambria
Tagged by Colin Costello
The Couple by Micah Cohen
The Coyote by Nir Paniry
The Demon of Hope Street by Craig Peters
The Devil’s Tattoo by Mitchell Boyce
The Dust by Amanda Brennan
The Echo by Mark J. Stasenko Jr.
The Epidemic by Tom Anstead
The Green Seed Conspiracy by Philip Benz
The Greenhouse by Nile Cappello
The Grey Wolf by Michelle Daniel
The Last Babinski by Andrew Siara
The Last Job on Earth by Austin Hice
The Lazarus by Ryan Lipscomb
The Memory Palace by Justine Gunn
The Memory War by Adam Pachter
The Pinkerton by Michael Boland
The Remakes by Amy-Claire Scott
The Third Bomb by Phillip Parker
The Tour by Brian Thomas Wilson
This Old Man by Nicholas Oktaras
Three of Swords by Matias Caruso
Transmigration by Aaron Yanes
Twains, Trains, and Riverboats by Kevin Cleary & Patti Vasquez
Uncanny Valley by Anthony Moore & Matt Getty
Undetected by Scott Ludden
Untapped by Chloe Hung
Yours Truly by Daniel Sanchez
Zoey Ramone by Steven Boltz
Zorro Ascension by Alex Pickering & Matthew Breault


True Detective – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

true-detective-750x400

Anthology television has seen a resurgence recently, with such series as American Horror StoryFargo, 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 series of occult murders, and in it, creator Nic Pizzolatto pulled from nihilistic philosophy and Lovecraftian horror to differentiate his show from others in the genre. There simply isn’t anything like it on television, and as a result, audiences have praised the show’s meditative themes about masculinity, nihilism, and religion. True Detective‘s fragmented timeline also helped intrigue viewers. One timeline followed the initial investigation while the other, 10 years later, featured an inquest into what went wrong and why the murders are happening again. However, achronological stories are difficult to pull off, especially when we know one of the stories ended with the detectives catching the wrong guy, so Pizzolatto hooked the audience in the pilot with two central mysteries: who is the murderer (in the present and past timeline), and what led to Cohle and Hart’s falling out (in the past)? Featuring career-defining performances from Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and Michelle Monaghan, and flawless directing from Cary Joji Fukunaga (the long-take scene is legendary. . . .), True Detective is a must-watch for any aspiring TV writer.

Read the True Detective Pilot

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July 2015 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Rear WindowJurassic WorldPrince Charming

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 is (actually) producing an emoji movie, based on a pitch from Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis.

– Brian Cogman to write the Sword in the Stone adaptation for Disney.

– District 9‘s Terri Tatchell to adapt the novel Apocalypse Now Now.