The path through is around here somewhere

The actual writing-of-pages for the current project may be underway, but wow did it take several attempts to get there.

A lot of it involved figuring out how to best set up the world in which the story takes place. I’d considered starting it one way, then thought “how about if…?”, which resulted in another way, naturally followed by “then again, I could try…”

At the time, I’d settled on the one I thought worked best. Feeling confident about the state of the outline, I started on pages.

Progress was slow, but steady. After a couple of days, I was already up to page 20.

Which of course was MUCH MORE than it should have been.

Not that I strictly adhere to the “THIS happens on Page ____”, but there was just too much going on, which was slowing things down a lot more than I’d intended.

What to do, what to do?

One option was to keep pushing forward and then go back and edit like crazy, but at the rate I was going, I’d end up with a script approximately 150 pages in length. Not an option.

Or I could go back to an earlier version of the outline that only includes part of what’s already there.

Yet another option was to go all the way back to how I initially envisioned the whole thing starting.

Quick side note – you know how they say the first page really sets the tone for the rest of the story? This is a guideline I’ve always tried to work with, especially in this case.

The first pass didn’t cut it, nor did the second one. Something needed to be done.

So I went through my extensive notes, hoping to find a solution.

And I found it. And it was the original idea. It had exactly what I needed, and I’ve seen variations of it in other scripts and films, so there was no reason I couldn’t make it work for my story.

I got to work reorganizing it and streamlining it to help things move along faster. This including having to jettison a majority of material I was very sorry to see go, but it was necessary. No reason some of those details couldn’t be implemented later on.

Oh, and another small detail I forgot to mention – my computer’s OS updated, which my screenwriting software hasn’t been adjusted for yet, so working with that became quite a pain. Luckily, some recent contest success resulted in me receiving another screenwriting program. After a quick installation and a few “how to” videos about using it, I was on my way yet again.

All of one page so far. But I like it better than the previous versions, and it’s significantly better than having no pages at all.

Let the pushing forward commence.

Q & A with Michael Lipoma

Michael Lipoma is a WGA writer and a producer whose scripts have placed in the semifinals or higher in every major screenwriting competition, including winning Best Feature and Grand Prize at SLAMDANCE last year. With experience writing on assignment for features and television since 2010, Michael enjoys backing his characters into corners, forcing them to fight their way out or die trying.

He has developed multiple producers’ original ideas into commercially viable screenplays and pilots. He is co-creator and co-writer of a new television series currently in development in New Zealand. He is the lead producer on a feature film project currently in partnership with an A-List actor’s production company. Before writing and producing full time, Michael was Vice President of a $150M company. He also finds writing in the third person a little weird.

What’s the last thing you read or watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?

I have been binge watching The West Wing, and am dazzled by the dialogue–but it’s more than that. Sorkin doesn’t just write great dialogue–it’s the situations he places the characters in that give great dialogue even greater depth. And the dialogue wouldn’t be as meaningful if he hadn’t made these characters people we care about.

How’d you get your start in the industry?

I wrote spec scripts. Bad ones. Then I went to school and learned the craft. Then I just kept writing. While working on a script with a partner, we met a producer at AFM, and within 24 hours, we had a handshake deal to write a feature based on her original idea. That script was The Fall, and last October, it won Slamdance Grand Prize and Best Feature. But that makes it sound too easy. That journey started seven years ago. We attached another producer, have been through more page-one rewrites I can imagine, and have gotten–and incorporated–notes from many, many people.

Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?

I believe recognizing good writing can be taught and learned–and you don’t need a teacher. The way to recognize good writing is to read ALL writing. I’ve learned more from giving really deep notes to scripts that were in terrible shape, than reading great scripts. Read every script you can, and when you read something good, you’ll feel it. It’ll sing to you from the center of your chest. But read all of it. After a while, you’ll internalize what’s good and what to stay away from. You’ll feel when a story turn is necessary. And you’ll realize that when watching a movie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit pause on a movie, checked the timer, and said, “Yep. That’s midpoint.”

What do you consider the components of a good script?

The obvious, of course: structure, dialogue, making every syllable mean something. A story that turns, and delivers on the promise the writer made in the premise or opening. Also, a great opening. A killer first page. I’ve been working as a producer for the past five years, and I know within a page whether the script I’m reading has a chance at getting me interested. I do read all the way through, but I’ve always been able to tell within a page or two how it’s going to go. Haven’t been wrong about that yet.

There’s one more component, and it’s just as important to me as any of the other factors that make a good script, and that’s what people are calling today, “voice.” I read a lot of scripts, and many deliver what a script should deliver: Compelling characters, solid structure, serviceable dialogue. All good stuff. But when I read a script with an original voice, that delights me, and makes me want more, more, more!

I’ve also found that writers with a unique voice are fun people to hang with. And when you option a script, you’re going to be hanging with the writer for a few years, and hopefully you’ll end up friends for life. Also, I recognize I’ve strayed a bit from the original question about components of a good script. I do that. I stray.

What are some of the most common screenwriting mistakes you see?

Big blocks of action with no white space. My job as a producer is to read a script all the way through–but when I see solid pages of text, I take a breath, because I know it’s going to be a slog to get through. That’s not to say the script might not be great, but if I can offer advice to writers, make hitting the return key one of your best friends. Your reader will love it.

Another mistake is having dialogue move the story forward. In these cases characters usually tell each other what’s happening or how they’re feeling. That means everything’s on the surface.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

Movies starting at funerals–ugh. Seen it too many times. Watching a big, surprising reversal or twist and discovering it was a dream (that happens more in TV, but still). Also, movie shorthand: a woman throwing up = she’s pregnant. You see a woman SPRINT to the bathroom and barf. Next scene: she’s pregnant.

Another trope that’s actually harmful in my view is when you see scars on someone that indicates they’ve been “cutting” (non-suicidal self-injury), and it’s just “movie shorthand” for a “troubled” teen, or a violent character about to shoot up a crowd. That easy-way-out character development is not only lazy, it stigmatizes people with mental health issues. It needs to stop.

What are some key rules/guidelines every writer should know?

1. If you want to write what speaks to your heart, you should absolutely do so. You get to write whatever you want. But…if you want to sell, or make writing your career, you should understand what the marketplace wants. And I’m not talking about chasing trends. I’m talking about a script with a recognizable structure (I believe humans are hard-wired to respond to structure), a story that makes us want to know what happens next, and a satisfying ending. Oh, crap. I strayed again.

2. Spend as much time on your concept as you possibly can before putting a single word to the script. You’re going to spend the next few months writing this script–make sure the concept is firing on all cylinders before you commit to it. If you do this, you will discover a lovely surprise: people will probably love your script.

3. Sort of a continuation of 2: before I dig into a new spec script (whether TV or feature), I test the concept. I tell it to people and watch them react. Then, I refine it. What’s nice is at this stage, I’m not invested in any great scenes–it’s just a few sentences, so nothing’s precious. Once I get a concept, and I’m satisfied it’s working and marketable, I write the pitch. Straight from concept to pitch–before writing one word of the script. This does a couple things: it helps me discover cool, hooky moments (that only seem to show up when I’m writing a pitch) and it helps me know where I’m going when I start outlining. I think this solves the problem I faced for so many years: writing loglines and pitches after the script is written.

4. This may not work for everybody, but most successful writers I know do this: outline. Outline, outline, outline! You can start at the end, middle, or wherever, but do yourself the favor of writing a solid outline for your script. This is one of the most freeing things a screenwriter can do. It also keeps you from getting blocked or stuck because you always know where you’re going. My analogy for outlining is this: it’s like an actor getting off-book with their dialogue. Once they’ve memorized the dialogue, and it flows through them, only then can they bring the real bits of themselves to their performance. Same with outlining. Once you do the hard story work and get that outline done, your story is there, and it’s working–then, you put in all the cool stuff that delights readers.

5. Make me want to care about your characters. Many scripts I read from emerging writers use their characters as tools to move their story along. People go to the movies and watch TV and immediately try to relate to the character on the screen. There’s a moment when people ask themselves (sometimes unconsciously–but they feel it) “Would I ever do that?” or “Oh, no, what would I do if that happened to me?” The writer needs to make their characters human, relatable, and empathetic. Not necessarily likeable, but relatable. It’s a thing of beauty when an antagonist makes a reader/viewer see a dark side of themselves reflected in the antagonist. So do the character work up front, know who they are and how they’d respond in any situation.

There’s an exercise I’ve asked people to do: take a line of dialogue, and rewrite it as if the character were at gunpoint. Now rewrite it if they were trying to seduce someone. Now try it if they’re terrified. Exact same meaning, but different situations. This exercise can seem absurd, but if you lean into it, it’s actually a lot of fun, and it will reinforce the need to really understand how your character would react in any situation. Once you really understand this about your characters, the audience will respond to them, readers will lean forward when reading them.

6. Make sure your lead is the most interesting.

This has happened to me. My supporting character was way more interesting than my lead. It took a bit of rewriting and really killing some darlings, but once I did that, my lead really sparked off the page. No actor is going to attach themselves to a project if the supporting character has a better part.

Have you ever read a spec script that you immediately thought “this writer gets it?” If so, what were the reasons why?

Absolutely. And I’ve only read two that did that. It started with character. These characters were not only real and full of life, their dialogue was crisp, clear, and every character had a unique voice. Most of the actual meaning was delivered through subtext–and that’s not just for dialogue, it was for the action too. Characters took action that delivered on who they are, or what they needed, or what their wound was that’s been holding them back. Also: there was a lot of white space on the page, which made it a fast read, and allowed me to forget I was reading a screenplay.

How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

I know there’s a lot of debate about this right now. For me: they’re worth it–but you have to realize the goal, and I think there are two: 1) you want feedback, and 2) you want wins/credibility. For feedback: You’re sending your material out to sets of eyes who have no stake in your success. If you can afford it, get the notes/coverage, too. Look, we all have people who love us, read our stuff, and tell us it’s great. And that feels wonderful, but not really helpful if your goal is to improve your writing and yourself as a writer. There’s nothing more sobering than not placing in a contest, and looking at the 375 names who did, and think: “Damn, every one of those scripts is better than mine–what do I need to change in my script or my writing to get me in that group next time.”

If you can afford the coverage, it’s great to see what a neutral set of eyes thinks about your material. And sure, sometimes the notes are spotty, but there’s ALWAYS something in there that can help if you’re open to it. And being in lots of contests can help you open up to that. For credibility, contest placements/wins in the major competitions can truly open doors. All of that said, be wary. There are some contests that just feel like money mills. Do a little research, and maybe don’t submit to “Jimmy Joe’s Upstairs Screenwriting Bonanza.” Look into competitions. Who are the sponsors, how many years have they been running, what kind of press do they get?

How can people find out more about you and the services you provide?

The best way to learn more about what I do is to contact me directly through my gmail account and not through the production company email or website because those get filtered before I see them. Email:

Right now, I write on assignment for television and features, and provide TV and feature script development, consultation, and rewrite services for projects that have been optioned or have a significant element attached. Since I’m a WGA writer, any writing I do must be with a signatory, but for non-signatories I can provide script consultation and development services, and work with the writer and producer to help the production reach its goals. I tailor my services based on the needs of the project: from a dialogue punch-up to extensive restructuring and rewriting. One of my recent efforts was a page-one rewrite of an action script. 

Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

You and I are kindred spirits! Pie is one of my favorite things on the planet! Picking one is kinda like deciding which of my kids I love most, but if forced, I’d have to say cherry. Or a really deep apple. Or pumpkin. Ok, sorry…


There. I said it.

Presenting: Your Scripts! (vol 2)

Since we’re all part of one big writing community, I wanted to do my part to help support my fellow creatives and offer everybody the opportunity to show off one of their scripts.

A very hearty thanks to all the writers who sent in. A grand total of 88 scripts for film and television, along with a new category loaded with potential – webseries.

Genres of all types are represented here, so there really is something for everybody. If any of the scripts below catch your eye or sound intriguing, please don’t hesitate to contact the writer. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to send it your way.

Happy reading!



Austin Curreri

Animated Action-Adventure

After a near-death brawl, a street-punk turned monk Amasai fuses with the Angel of Justice, embarking on a journey into the Pit to beat up fallen angels, sinners, and Sin himself to end evil.

Screencraft 2019 Fellowship – semifinalist

Screencraft 2019 Animation – quarterfinalist


Shawn Madeiros


U.S. President plots a dictatorship using his secret covert force to create chaos so Americans vote to give up their 2nd Amendment rights. The American Gun Club uses its network of U.S. militias in hopes of saving the “Land of the Free”.


P.J. Marino


During the quarantine, two nerdy teenagers meet at a skate park, fall in love, and hatch a risky plan to leave their depressing town behind.


Antonio Shorter


A male and a female live a happy life together as they dreamed of but jealousy is a common trait that people have and it can lead to consequences that no one wants to go through.


Ken Henderson


A young farmer struggles to survive a horrific dust storm and the hellish creatures hidden within it.

Screamfest Horror Film Festival – Finalist


Paul Zeidman


Stranded in the rural backcountry, eight high school overachievers find themselves in the middle of an outbreak of an intelligence-destroying virus that turns its victims into mindless savages.


Gregory Blair


The graveyard shift at a lone diner becomes the hilarious, raucous battleground for some disco-dancing, man-eating zombies and a handful of young, hick hash-slingers.

Script World Screenplay Competition – Winner


Michael McCormick


Cedar Hills in Boston, the only cemetery in the world with a trolley running through the middle, disturbing the peace of the dead, creating lost souls.


Peter Andrews

Comedy – short

Buying jewelry for his girlfriend becomes a hero’s quest when they visit the shop of a family friend.

Austin Film Festival – second rounder


Jonathan Concepcion

Period Drama

After the Second World War, the USSR censored all information on the Jewish Holocaust. When her last surviving relative – her half-brother, a Photojournalist – goes missing, a self-hating Soviet Jewish survivor goes on a journey to find him, and confronts the identity she left behind.

2018-2019 UK FIlm Festival – Top 50 feature scripts


Ery De Jong


After a meteor impact, a lesbian couple and their daughter move onto a sailboat to escape civilization’s end, only to realize that an alien force is hunting them through their nightmares.

LGBT Los Angeles Film Festival – Winner – Best Feature Screenplay


J.E. Swainston


In a dystopian future, a young woman leads a small group of survivors, fleeing the dangers of the big city to find sanctuary and build a new home;  better to serve in heaven, than reign in hell.


Travis Seppala

Biopic with Horror elements

When Thomas Edison creates a machine to communicate with the dead, it pits him against the most notorious skeptic of the day – Harry Houdini. [based on actual events]

2019 WRAC List – featured

2020 Shoot Your Sizzle – Top 100

2020 Screencraft True Story – quarterfinalist

2020 Table Read My Screenplay – top 100

2020 PAGE International – semifinalist


Clint Williams


After one of their own murders a Comanche boy, a small group of Spanish cavalrymen find themselves stranded without horses deep in hostile territory, facing the dangers posed by vengeful warriors, nature and each other.


Dina Mousa


In the world of trickery and betrayal of ancient Egypt, an arrogant goddess-queen is forced into a life of hiding and later leads a battle of the gods to save the world from eternal darkness.


Michael Raphael Salomon

Folk Horror

A young psychopath’s penchant for darkness comes full circle after hallucinogens, a pagan ritual in the forest and a series of unexplained deaths lead to the unearthing of his family’s hidden past—murder, insanity, incest and human sacrifice.

Austin Film Festival – Second Round

Tracking Board Launchpad – Second Round (still in contention)


Tom Batha


When a grief-stricken widower decides on suicide he must first travel cross-country to deliver his playful 110 pound Rottweiler to its new home.

Stage 32 Feature Screenwriting Contest – winner


John Henderson


A high school senior races to stop a killer who strikes each year on graduation night before she and her friends become the next dead students walking.


Ash Willeby

Family Action

On one of the worst days of her life, a blacklisted video game developer gets imbued with her in-game-character’s powers; can she use them to get her life back on track?


Cindi Woods


A struggling actress who can’t afford to work local hire hits on a sketchy plan to use a nursing home for free lodging but runs into bigger trouble when the plight of her elderly roommate threatens to derail her Hollywood dream.


Simon Doyle


An elderly woman worries that her frail husband is turning into a different person after leaving hospital, a condition which may be related to the appearance of a mysterious occult group in the area. The Shining meets The Wicker Man.


John G. McGillivray


After an alien virus wipes out most of humanity’s presence among the stars, a young actor and her sole companion, a talking synthetic eagle, search space for survivors and hope.


Brian Fitzpatrick


A teen singularity is hunted by relentless enemies for his shape-shifting nanotech ability. It’s The Matrix meets Harry Potter.

The Script Lab Screenwriting Contest – quarterfinalist

Screencraft Sci-Fi/Fantasy – quarterfinalist

Final Draft Big Break – quarterfinalist

PAGE International – quarterfinalist


G. DeAngelis

Family-friendly Comedy

An awkward girl determined to lead an elite fife-and-drum corps is thwarted by its powerful director, so she forms her own corps of misfits, and rights an old wrong, when she leads them to a public showdown.

PAGE International – finalist

Humanitas Comedy Fellowship – finalist


Stephen Tronicek


A dangerously obsessive horror fan is invited to her favorite director’s mansion, and must learn to let him go.


Ross Allaire


A retired first-grade teacher and her orphaned grandson must outwit an obsessed small-town sheriff in order to save who they think are refugee aliens on a doomed planet.

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, 2020 – Semi-finalist


Tony Ferrendelli

Supernatural Comedy

After a man accidentally sells his girlfriend’s soul to Satan, he must go to Hell to retrieve it.

PAGE International – quarterfinalist

Houston Comedy Film Festival – nominee – Best Feature Screenplay

San Angelo Revolution Film Festival – nominee – Best Feature Screenplay

ISA Fast Track IX Fellowship – top 50 writers

Table Read My Screenplay (Park City) – semifinalist


Lynn Matheson


A middle-aged woman’s cancer diagnosis becomes her coming of age story when she finally finds her voice and chooses how to live her life.


Kevin Powers


Disillusioned Delta Force Operator Ken Baker rediscovers the ideal that he fights for after finding himself embroiled in a conspiracy involving a dangerous new faction in Afghanistan, an energy corporation and a traitorous team member.

Recommended by Indie Film Hustle (coverage)

Recommended by WeScreenplay (coverage)

2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards Spring – semifinalist


Chaise Gerber


One night long ago reshaped Maya’s life and forever changed the future of her and her family, and if she’s ever going to move on she must face her scars of the past and rise above.

2020 Screencraft Drama – semifinalist


Natalie Higdon


After her life falls apart, a struggling actress goes on a haphazard journey with her estranged half-brother in order to pick up her late stepfather’s inheritance, forcing her to come to terms with the family she left behind.

2020 Nicholl Fellowship – quarterfinalist

LiveRead/LA – official selection

2020 Screencraft Fellowship – semifinalist


Ryan J. Murphy


A journalism student stumbles upon a mystery involving a deadly spirit who is murdering rideshare drivers. Think The Ring without a videotape.


Brendon Udy


A woman flees her abusive partner, only to find herself captive in a strange Victorian home. Now tormented by the larger-than-life homeowner, the woman must make a daring escape before her bones are ground to make bread.


Jeff Haber


A federal undercover agent pursues a bomb suspect through a luxury hotel, but must do so in silence.


Rebecca M. Gintz & Sarah K. Croshaw


A young computer programmer’s life is in jeopardy after she purchases an antique that an evil entity is attached to. Being agnostic, she struggles to accept the paranormal activity in her home and seeks psychiatric help.

2020 Script Summit – Winner – Horror Feature

2020 Script Summit – Winner – Golden Age


Steffany Sommers


An up-and-coming district attorney is compelled to confront her own painful past when she prosecutes an elderly woman who took the life of her severely disabled adult son.

Script Summit – Debra Landwehr Engle Fellowship – winner

Diverse Voices Screenwriting Competition – semifinalist


Peter R. Feuchtwanger

Romantic Dramedy

After starting at a new high school, a charmingly quirky teen with a delusional disorder, or “daydreaming on steroids,” falls quickly for another new student but, after finding that she has bipolar disorder, the two lovebirds struggle to find order in their disorders.

Screencraft Comedy – finalist

The Script Lab Free Screenplay Contest – finalist

Filmmatic Comedy Awards – semifinalist

Big Apple Film Festival – semifinalist


Nicolas Edelbach

True Crime – Drama/Black Comedy

The night after Sharon Tate and four others were murdered, Charles Manson, along with six family members, spends the night driving around Los Angeles county seeking two more homes to continue their kill spree; but not everyone in the car is on board with the plan.


Kent Hill & Sean Francis Ellis


When his friend disappears in a secluded mountain town, a former Special Forces Soldier discovers the townspeople are being subjected to mind control experiments by a secret organisation.


Wesley Chambers


While mourning her sister’s suicide, a recently discharged soldier seeks to ruin the life of the therapist she blames for the death.


Patrick Mediate and Kristin Ilagan


A clever ex-NYPD cop turned small town detective on the verge of retirement is forced to take on one last case when his teenage daughter is abducted. His investigation leads him from Suburbia to the underground world of Haitian voodooism where he finds out that the kidnappers’ intentions are darker and more sinister than he could have ever imagined. In a race against time, he must suspend his conventional beliefs and accept the world of the supernatural in order to save her from a fate worse than death.

Winner – New Orleans Horror Film Festival

Winner – Mile High Horror Film Festival

Winner – The Magic of Horror

Winner – The Los Angeles Film Awards

Second Rounder – The Austin Film Festival

Quarterfinalist – Screencraft Horror

…and over 15 additional Official Selections, Award nominations or wins.


Anthony Moore

Animated Science-Fiction

The self-proclaimed greatest hero of all space and time is supposed to rescue a Prince from an enemy planet before his upcoming coronation, there’s only one problem, the kid doesn’t want to go.

Future Film Writers – 5-Page Read – winner

Flixze Film Festival – finalist

Las Vegas International Film and Screenwriting Festival – in consideration


Darcie Gray

Romantic Comedy

A woman strives for the dream career in male dominated 1980s NYC, but love could jeopardize everything in this high stakes world of blinding lights, fabulous fashion and electro beats.


Ericka S. Gomez

Comedy – short film

A lyrical genius decides his key to acceptance is through the Hip-Hop battles at his new high school until a popular senior threatens to ruin his life by forcing him to ghostwrite his lyrics.

Columbus Black International Film Festival – Winner – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Houston Comedy Film Festival – Winner-Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Script Summit Film Festival – 3rd Place – Best Michigan Short Screenplay

Portland Film Festival – finalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Summer In The South Film Festival – finalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Filmatic Short Screenplay Awards – semifinalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay


Jay Han-San


The perfect world of an angel of death turns upside down when he falls in love with an angel of life putting him on a path of self-discovery.


R.J. Anderson

Christmas Comedy-Drama

When a Christmas Spirit transfers into a young boy, two families struggle to return it before Christmas is forgotten.


Elizabeth Ditty

Romantic Dramedy

In the days before their mother’s funeral, a newly-jilted former trust fund kid leaves her siblings in the lurch when she embarks on an emergency road trip to discover the truth about her parents’ marriage, her mother’s massive jewelry collection, and herself.

Screencraft Comedy – quarterfinalist

Screencraft Drama – quarterfinalist

Austin Film Festival – second rounder


L.S. Garvey

Science-Fiction/Fantasy Romance

When his mirror image goes rogue and steals his girlfriend, a mentally ill cello prodigy struggles to control his reflection in order to save his girlfriend before he loses her to the other side of the mirror forever.

Austin Film Festival – semifinalist (top 2%) – advanced in comedy, sci-fi, horror, and Enderby (can be made for under $10M)


Robert Rhyne


After moving into an isolated farm with a strange history of suicides, a newly-single mother discovers a ghostly intruder living there, and must protect her troubled teenage son from becoming his next victim.

Stage 32 Search for New Blood – first place

Horror Hotel Screenplay Contest – finalist

Shriekfest – finalist

After placing highly in the 13 screenplay contest, “The Intruder” was published by the contest sponsor as a paperback and kindle e-book, now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart’s platforms.


Kevin Nelson

Historical Drama

The incredible true story of Ida Lewis, a lighthouse keeper who saved dozens of lives while facing the struggles of a woman thriving during the Reconstruction Era. 

2019 ScreenCraft Public Domain & True Story – finalist

2020 Nicholl Fellowship – top 20%

2020 Launch Pad Feature Competition (Pending) – quarterfinalist

2018 Austin Film Festival – second rounder

2020 Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting Competition – quarterfinalist


Johnny Dinh


A group of ex-henchmen find themselves abducted by their old boss, and now must escape his lethal torture rooms.


Sean Francis Ellis


A snowboarding champion must embrace his First Nations heritage to save his girlfriend from a legendary beast, which needs her DNA to restore its humanity.

2016 Toronto Horror Film & Screenplay Festival – finalist

2017 Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenplay Competition – official selection

2017 Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship – quarterfinalist


Suzanne Lutas

Supernatural Thriller

When a claustrophobic art intern is held captive, she must restore a mysterious painting which has more inside than just paint.

2018 Screencraft Horror – quarterfinalist

2020 The Script Lab Free Screenplay – quarterfinalist

2019 Pitch Now Screenwriting Competition – finalist – Thriller/Horror

2020 Miami Screenplay Contest – semifinalist

2020 Wiki Screenplay Contest – semifinalist


Amir Olin


A priest breaks the seal of confession over a series of child murders and reveals it in a court. The murderer is sent to prison, where he gets killed by co-prisoners. Soon, something evil settles in the priest’s house.


Mark Rodney, Ronald Wenick, and Anat Golan

Biopic Drama

A famous Grammy-nominated jazz musician by day and con-artist by night must sacrifice himself to save his son in 60’s  Vegas, after the two get in way over their heads with schemes involving the US Army, Howard Hughes, Sonny Liston, Sheriff Ralph Lamb, and the mob.

Sundance – finalist (special mention for finishing in top 4%)

StoryPros – finalist

Scriptapalooza – semifinalist


Jerron Spencer


Resurrected as avatars of Heaven, Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison fight evil– and their own sinful natures– as they battle to save a small town from the wrath of a vengeful demon queen seeking to create hell on earth.


Isaac D. Lucas


A savvy teen is forced to flee when a greedy scientist hunts him down to harvest his advanced DNA as a cancer cure.


Rachel Woolley


Adult girlfriends struggling to reconnect at an old-school slumber party must fight for their lives when the “dream dudes” from their dating board game manifest in the flesh…and turn out to be total nightmares.

Women In Horror Fest – Winner, Best Feature

Screencraft Horror – finalist


Pat Semler


A world-weary oil wildcatter and a strident biology student must work together when a fracking drill site she’s documenting is overrun with radioactive carnivorous moles.


Jeff Naparstek

Romantic Comedy

Embark on this zany romp through ancient Rome as a struggling farmer vies for the hand of the emperor’s daughter. Cat and mouse games abound in this wacky tale of love and sport. Buckle up for a fun ride!

2019 Houston Comedy Film Festival – winner

2019 Portland [Oregon] Comedy Film Festival – winner

2020 Austin Revolution Film Festival – semifinalist

2020 Indie Gathering Film Festival – 3rd Place – Rom-Com Category

2020 Page International Screenwriting Awards – semifinalist

2020 Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices – semifinalist – 2020

2020 Red Flight Pictures Screenplay Awards – semifinalist



Niya Kapree Johnson

Historical Horror

In 1720, Aida, a young enslaved African woman takes part in a ritual gone wrong, resulting in the creation of the first of her kind, werewolves. Fighting those who wish to oppress them is just the beginning of Aida’s problems when Captain Billy, a mysterious supernatural being, blows into town looking to cause trouble for Aida and her pack.


Zaelyna Beck

Drama/Supernatural – pilot

After getting fired from a temp agency, a chronic insomniac takes up meditation therapy, where she befriends a comatose girl and awakens a supernatural gift within her that could forge a new career.


Cari Haim


Bubby, a recently widowed Jewish grandmother, moves into her daughter’s happy family home. Will their conflicts about religion, raising kids, and family traditions bring them closer together, or create a permanent rift?


Christopher J. O’Bryant

Crime Drama

Debt collection is a multi-billion dollar industry. Career collector, JOSH, life falls apart after he repossesses the wrong car and winds up confronted by dangerous men who will kill to keep their secrets.

2020 Page International – finalist (top 10 best drama pilot scripts)


Andrew Orillion

Fantasy Police Procedural

After being thrown out of his guild in the Medieval fantasy port metropolis of Dog’s Head, a former apprentice wizard finds a new lease on life when he joins the local police force known as the Dog Men.


Justin Olson


A guilt-ridden physicist resurrects the hometown he destroyed decades ago inside a massive Time Sphere, giving himself just 27 hours to save his wife and son from nuclear catastrophe.

Write LA – finalist


James Tichenor

Science-Fiction – pilot

A recovered addict hitching rides to track down her abducted six-year-old son joins forces with a mistrustful independent trucker to combat the first wave of an alien invasion hidden in his sealed cargo.

2020 TSL Free Script contest – semifinalist

2020 Screencraft Sci-Fi – quarterfinalist


Isaiah Taylor

Half-hour Dramedy

A Black student-athlete from the West coast gets a culture-shock after receiving a basketball scholarship from a Midwest university. Now he must overcome racial prejudices to find his place and leave a lasting impact on the basketball team.


Seth Nelson


An irresponsible deadhead taxidermist continues the prank of a lifetime, until a nosy talk-singing podcaster uncovers his true identity, sending his life into a depressive downward spiral of despair.


David Priest

Supernatural Crime Thriller

In a small Arkansas town plagued by mysterious disappearances, a doubting monk in search of cosmic meaning uncovers a secret tradition of his order that might save the townspeople, at grave risk to his own soul.


Michael Boaks

Medical/Crime Drama

An ER doctor struck off. A crime boss diagnosed with cancer. Gangland tensions rising. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship…

2020 Austin Film Festival – second round

2020 LA International Screenplay Awards – finalist


Nick Burrows

Comedy/Drama pilot

A trainee recruiter quickly learns about the dark side of the industry when he pursues his future father-in-law as a client. As his personal and professional lives collide his future at the firm is thrown into doubt by a contentious merger with their biggest rivals. 


Teresa Warner

One-hour Dramedy

After her father commits suicide, Katie, must learns to navigate her grief and this new part of adulthood with the help of a suicide loss support group. Maybe with their help she can figure out if her father is actually haunting or she’s going crazy.


Janese Taylor

Action/Thriller limited series

After freeing a group of teenagers from a sex-trafficking ring, a Black female vigilante’s own personal plans go awry when a Russian syndicate puts a price on her head.

San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition – semifinalist

Austin Film Festival – 2nd rounder

Coverfly Red List – #4 for Action Television in October 2020


Kim Hornsby


After a horrific car accident that takes her sight and robs her of telepathy, a kickass ghost hunter with a popular YouTube show finds both senses restored in the presence of a sea captain ghost from 1850 who strikes a deal to enable her if she’ll help him pass on.

Austin Film Festival – 2nd rounder

Imaginarium Screenplay Contest – finalist

Table Read My Screenplay – top 100


Collin Lieberg

Historical Drama pilot

Based on a true story. Two women risk their lives to rescue downed soldiers and translate Nazi intelligence as part of a civilian spy ring, only to face betrayal and capture.

Page Turner GENRE – quarterfinalist

Screencraft TV Pilot – quarterfinalist (still in contention)


Joan Albright


Trapped in the demilitarized zone between warring American states, a disavowed soldier must keep her half-brother alive while evading the gangs which feud over the Zone’s meager resources.


S.E. McKendrick

Science-Fiction – pilot

Welcome to Plainsville, the town on the edge of the final frontier.


Layla Cummins

Supernatural Crime Drama

A homeless mother witnesses the strange murder of a political activist on the streets of Bristol and becomes the new target of a killer-for-hire summoned by society’s wealthy elite.


Erick Buckley


Chance Blood, a luckless, middle-aged Dad stumbling through a mess of a life, haplessly becomes the avatar of Eris, Goddess of Creative Chaos and must cope with Gods and Goddesses, Monsters and Demons, his kids and ex-wife, and his new place in this ever stranger Universe.


Guy Crawford

½ hour comedy-dramedy

A prodigal daughter and her surprise fiance return to her small southern hometown to take over the family diner, setting up a collision of worlds and values that leaves everyone trying to figure out how to coexist  in the new normal.

You can take a peek at selected scenes of this LBGTQ-diverse cast script being performed on the Southern Fried episode at


Michael Hager


Two teachers grapple virtually with difficult parents, manipulative administrators, and absurd colleagues, all while maintaining a shred of a romantic relationship in the time of COVID.


Elisabeth Joplin

Drama – pilot

After walking away from a long term relationship, a young woman gets a job as a sex worker where the lines on morality begin to blur.


Alison C. Wroblewski


When the Hollywood Canteen opens to fanfare in 1942, a secretary, soldier, and star decide if they still want “in” while a murderer lurks in the shadows.

WeScreenplay TV Pilot – quarterfinalist


Justin & Chris Cleroux

Crime Drama

A debt-ridden doormat of a suburban dad starts to seize opportunity after a chance encounter with two familiar, unexpected robbers.


Irene Platt

Crime – pilot

A senator’s wife is tortured through a cochlear implant she doesn’t know she has…


Catherine Chen

Family Animation

Eight-year-old Jackie is determined to protect her newest pet, a tiny turtle named Lucy, at all costs. Even if it means chasing down a massive hurricane called the Hollow Monster.

Student Academy Awards – semifinalist (short film)

Animation Block Party – Best Animation for Kids



Aray Brown


When a brainwashed girl must kill her uncle and sacrifice his blood to a cult God, she joins forces with an unconventional cop to save her soul.

Networking: a DIY project

For the past few years, I’ve organized a networking event for Bay Area and northern California screenwriters and those in fields connected to screenwriting, always in a charming deli a stone’s throw from the Pacific.

I got to meet a lot of great people, and stay in contact with many of them to this day.

Normally, I’d be in the early planning stages to do it again in early December, but the current world situation has made that pretty much impossible. Even more tragically, the deli had lost so much business over the past few months, they had to shut down for good.

So no networking event for the foreseeable future.

But that doesn’t mean writers can’t still connect with other writers. All it takes is a little organization, strategy, patience, and manners. Actually, it takes a lot of all of those.

Luckily for you, I’ve written about this sort of thing before – several times, in fact – so here are some informative networking-related posts from the archives.


Getting to know you

Try the direct approach

Lattes, lunches & kindred spirits

Hey! Long time no (preferred form of communication)

Opportunity’s knockin’ once again. You ready?

A few months ago, I presented an extensive list of film & TV scripts as part of an effort to help each of those writers spread the word about their work.

It offered up an amazing assortment of scripts, and some of the writers asked if there were any plans to do it again. Which brings us to today.

A post just like the last one is in the works, and slated to go up on Oct 30. If you missed out last time, or have a new script you’d like to submit, this is your chance to be included.

Here’s how it works.

Email the following info about your script here with the subject line “Maximum Z Script Showcase”:

Film or TV





Awards (if applicable)

Your email (in case somebody would like to contact you about reading your script)

Two very important details to keep in mind:

ONE SCRIPT PER PERSON. Sorry. No exceptions.



Submissions will be accepted until Thursday, Oct 29.

So don’t delay, send it today! Or at least reasonably soon.