was successfully added to your cart.
All Posts By

Script Pipeline

Gravity – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots


Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is a big movie–breathtaking in its scope and impressive in its vision. Most of the praise Gravity received upon its release focused on its visual effects and cinematography. (All of which undeniably deserved. . . the amount of work put into bringing Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón’s script to life is a feat unto itself.) The technical complexity overshadowed the screenplay, which is much simpler in comparison, but nevertheless an excellent example of suspenseful, cinematic writing.

The Cuaróns’ story is stripped down to its essential elements: three named characters, not too many more speaking roles, a 70-page script turned into a 90-minute movie. Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock at her best), an astronaut who gets stranded in space after the Explorer shuttle is unintentionally destroyed, just wants to survive and make it back to Earth alive. The narrative is broken up into smaller goals: get to a nearby space station, reestablish communication with Earth, and make it to the International Space Station, to name a few. Like most survival narratives, it’s easy to root for a Dr. Stone and hope she makes it to safety, and even without the visuals, the script works remarkably well–in fact, the words by themselves almost help the story feel even more claustrophobic.

At the very least, Gravity is one of the greatest visual spectacles ever made. But along the way, Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón created a decidedly human story with an unassuming but nevertheless impressive narrative.

Read the Gravity Script

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Screenplay

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots


One of the highest paid screenwriters of all time, Shane Black burst onto the scene in 1987 with the quintessential buddy cop movie Lethal Weapon and went on to write The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3, and the underrated Last Action Hero. However, his greatest success thus far is his directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (although based on its trailers, spiritual sequel The Nice Guys could certainly usurp that position).

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a self-aware satire of noir and crime movies, and it’s easy to understand how Black grew to justify his paycheck. The script is filled with witty, fast-paced dialogue, a fourth wall–shattering narrator, and entertaining action sequences and suspense, and it somehow maintains and ratchets the suspense and tension while remaining hilarious throughout. The script itself is an entertaining read that embraces all of Black’s narrative quirks. Take, for example, the bottom of page 54:

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Excerpt

In another script, that could prove distracting, but it fits perfectly with the world and tone Black has established.

The story, partially based on Brett Halliday’s novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them, follows Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.), a petty thief who stumbles into a movie audition to escape police and finds himself as a potential lead in a Hollywood film. The producers hire private detective Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) to give him real-life experience for the role, and the pair quickly finds themselves investigating a series of seemingly disparate criminal plots that, as the hardboiled detective genre mandates, are related in a complex manner. It’s a script that relies on coincidence, but the script’s many twists and turns help elevate it above its pulp novel influences. Ultimately, Black’s voice and a trio of spot-on performances from Downey, Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan as Harry’s love interest make Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a wildly entertaining ride and required viewing.

Read the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Script

April 2016 Script Sales

By | Script Sales


Twentieth Century Fox picked up Stuber, a comedy spec from Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest Winner Tripper Clancy for mid-six figures. Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Horrible Bosses, Spider-Man: Homecoming) will produce. Two biopic specs are moving forward: Cliff Hollingsworth’s Done It All, based on the life of Merle Haggard, at GMH Productions, and Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi’s Exposure, centering on Rosalind Franklin whose contributions to the discovery of DNA went uncredited before her death, at Entertainment One Films International. Lionsgate acquired Joshua Friedlander’s dramedy spec Couple Up, which centers on an unhappily married couple who see what life would be like if they had never met. Finally, Benderspink and Fox will produce Joe Greenberg’s elevated sci-fi spec Man Alive.

Other script sales include:

– Ben Jacoby to write The First Omen, prequel to The Omen, for Fox. David Goyer to produce.

– Sam Esmail’s 2008 Blacklist script Sequels, Remakes and Adaptations has found a home at STX Entertainment and Anonymous Content.

– Stacey Menear to write the Dennis the Menace adaptation for Warner Bros.

– Darren Lemke to write the sequel to 2015’s Goosebumps for Sony.

– Sean Anders and John Morris to write the sequel to the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy’s Home. Anders to also direct.

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. Simpson in all likelihood murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. And he got away with it.

So how exactly can someone respectfully tell this story without sensationalizing it, especially when everybody already knows how it ends?

Producer Ryan Murphy conceived of the show as a companion series to his American Horror Story, with Crime Story following a different true-crime story each season. For its freshman year, he took a backseat on the writing and enlisted Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, writers of other excellent biopics including Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Man on the Moon. Instead of just wringing entertainment from the soapier aspects, Alexander and Karaszewski focused on theme and chose to set the stage with a different, but nonetheless impactful, moment in L.A. history: the Rodney King riots. The archive footage reminds the viewer of the systematic racism undeniably displayed by the LAPD and L.A. justice system just years before these murders took place, and the riots cast a shadow over the entire miniseries, all the way through the verdict and its aftermath.

The pilot introduces many of the trial’s principle players, particularly Marcia Clark, Robert Kardashian, Christopher Darden, Johnny Cochran, Mark Fuhrman, and, of course, O.J. himself, and Alexander and Karaszewski start slowly building the themes the show will inspect, including race and racism, fame and celebrity, the ethics of media coverage, double standards in media coverage, justice, and sexism and misogyny. In particular, Sarah Paulson’s sympathetic portrayal of Marcia Clark is a standout and, along with David Schwimmer’s Robert Kardashian, becomes the show’s moral center—she’s a single mother going through a divorce while experiencing undue, unfair, and unrelenting media attention (ranging from jokes about her hair to a National Enquirer article that represents the nadir of tabloid “journalism”). The show as a whole succeeds in respectfully bringing the events to life and serves as a timely commentary on many issues that are sadly still relevant today, and that along with the focus on the behind-the-scenes lives of these now famous and/or infamous individuals breathes life into the series. But even with the exceptional social commentary, Alexander, Karaszewski, and Murphy (who also directs four episodes) still remember who this story is really about: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, who became secondary players in their own murder trial.

Read the American Crime Story Pilot