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Script Pipeline

March 2016 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

MJ and Bubbles          Snow_White_1937_poster          2BE8AB3500000578-0-image-m-23_1441209370803

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 winner Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the HuntsmanDivergent) the go-ahead on developing Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan.

– David Wain to direct a star-studded cast in A Futile and Stupid Gesture, based on the early history of National Lampoon and written by Michael Colton and John Aboud.

– A24 and Scott Rudin Productions have acquired Jonah Hill’s coming-of-age spec Mid ’90s. Hill to also direct.

– Delia Ephron to adapt her novel Siracusa for Working Title Films. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon to direct.

– Sofia Coppola to write/direct a remake of The Beguiled for American Zoetrope. Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst to star.

– EFO Films and Film 44 are teaming to produce Taylor Kitsch’s drama/thriller script Pieces. Kitsch to also direct.

– Fox Searchlight to produce writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s untitled Cold War romance/drama. Octavia Spencer to potentially star.

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 on the emotions inside Riley’s head, but specifically Joy and Sadness, portrayed by Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith, respectively, in two of 2015’s best performances of any genre, live-action or animated. Other writers could have easily distilled each of the emotions to the simplest of traits, making each one-dimensional characters with nothing to offer besides the emotion they’re named after. But in Inside Out, even the emotions have emotions, and each has a rich inner life. And thematically, Inside Out is Pixar’s richest film yet–maybe their best ever. Without giving too much away, Sadness originally irritates Joy, but Joy learns that sometimes it’s good to be sad, a message we’re pretty sure no other children’s movie has included to date.

If nothing else, Inside Out continues Pixar’s legacy of creating films that children and adults can enjoy and love equally.

Read the Inside Out Script


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 based on the ride.

– Disney has also tapped Sebastian Gutierrez to write 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo, to be based on Jules Verne’s novel and James Mangold to direct.

– Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman to adapt Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark for CBS Films.

– H2O Motion Pictures has acquired the comedy Stiff, written by Dan Mazer and directed/produced by Michael Dowse.

– Universal Pictures won out in a bidding war for Gillian Flynn’s short story “The Grownup,” a supernatural thriller to be adapted by Natalie Krinsky.

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 of Denise White, a former Miss USA contestant who represents high-profile sports stars. Jennifer Aniston to produce and star.

– Nicole Perlman has signed on to the Labyrith remake/reboot. Lisa Henson and The Jim Henson Company will produce.

– Netflix picked up a few thrillers, including Tony Elliot’s Arq and Alistair Legrand and Luke Harvis’s Clinical. Both will be distributed on their site.

– Twentieth Century Fox purchased the horror/comedy Dead Mall, based on a pitch by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Faxon and Rash will also direct.

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 (EnlightenedThey Came Together) as Valerie is great as usual, and relative newcomers Tommy Dewey (as brother Alex) and Tara Lynne Barr (as daughter Laura) equally impress. But the standout talent is creator Zander Lehmann, which is especially notable since Casual is his first produced writing credit. As Reitman put it, “We were just looking for a voice. And that’s what kind of jumped off the page more than anything. When you read a pilot … you’re just getting a taste, so you need to know that his voice is going to translate over the course of years.”

(Please don’t continue reading until you copy, paste, write down, print out that quote. Or as our Director of Development Matt Misetich succinctly said, “Writers: this.”)

What helps Lehmann’s voice standout is that each line is packed with subtext. Subtext is when a character says one thing but hints at numerous other emotions left unsaid. It’s what your high school literature teacher was getting at when she said, “Unpack Lady Macbeth’s line in Act V, Scene 1.” Take this scene from Casual as an example. Lehmann and Dewey crammed in more subtext (resentment, regret, irritation, self-loathing, and many other emotions) into one simple “Oh” than most other shows are able to in an entire half-hour. (The subtext being, “Oh my god, we just sat down, this date is already going terribly, and I hate her.”) That goes for most of Alex’s dialogue: Many lines hint at his depression but barely reveal all the information, particularly his buried emotions. It also helps that the characters, despite being so well-defined, are all broken. Lehmann hardly gets into all their issues in the pilot but leaves enough clues in the dialogue to give each line depth.

To put it simply: If you aren’t watching Casual, you’re missing out on one of the best-written character-driven shows out there today.

Read the Casual Pilot