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!

FILM

AMASAI AND THE MEANING OF EVIL

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

AustinJCurreri@gmail.com

AMERICA UNARMED

Shawn Madeiros

Drama

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”.

shawn.madeirosbiz@outlook.com

ANN & DALE GET MARRIED

P.J. Marino

Comedy

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.

pjmarino@pjmarino.com

BEAUTIFUL LIE or THE UGLY TRUTH

Antonio Shorter

Drama

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.

antonioshorter21@gmail.com

BORDERLAND

Ken Henderson

Horror

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

Screamfest Horror Film Festival – Finalist

kenhenderson@gmail.com

BRAINS

Paul Zeidman

Horror/Comedy

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.

paul.zeidman@gmail.com

BUFORD’S ALL NIGHT ZOMBIE DINER

Gregory Blair

Comedy-Horror

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

GBMaximumZ@2writers.com

DEVIL I KNOW

Michael McCormick

Horror

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.

mccmichael333@gmail.com

DIAMONDS

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

andrews845@verizon.net

DO NOT DIVIDE THE DEAD

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

concepcionjonathan3@gmail.com

DREAM NO MORE

Ery De Jong

Horror/Science-Fiction

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

erydejong@gmail.com

EDEN’S PARADISE

J.E. Swainston

Science-Fiction/Action

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.

janetswainston@gmail.com

EDISON’S GHOSTBOX

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

flannelmann@yahoo.com

ENEMY

Clint Williams

Western

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.

clintwilliams3@gmail.com

ESET

Dina Mousa

Fantasy-Adventure

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.

dinamamousa@gmail.com

EVIL MOM

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)

dr.ms@earthlink.net

GOOD SAINT BINKY

Tom Batha

Dramedy

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

Lato1@comcast.net

GRAD NIGHT

John Henderson

Horror

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.

johnmichaelhenderson@gmail.com

INITIATE GOD MODE

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? 

ashwilleby@gmail.com

LOCAL HIRE

Cindi Woods

Comedy

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.

cindiwoods@gmail.com

MABON

Simon Doyle

Horror/Thriller

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.

simon.doyle@doctors.org.uk

MARIDIA

John G. McGillivray

Science-Fiction/Horror

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.

john.mcgillivray@gmail.com

MECHCRAFT

Brian Fitzpatrick

Science-Fiction

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

brianfitzauthor@gmail.com

MIA’S ACCIDENTALS

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

deangelis.gina.m@gmail.com

MOSLEY MANSION

Stephen Tronicek

Horror

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

stephen.tronicek@gmail.com

NANA AND JAKE

Ross Allaire

Family/Science-Fiction

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

rossallaire@gmail.com

OUTSOURCED

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

ajferrendelli@gmail.com

OUT THE WINDOW

Lynn Matheson

Drama

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.

matheson.lynn@gmail.com

PATRIOT-1

Kevin Powers

Action

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

kevinpowers70@gmail.com

PHOENIX

Chaise Gerber

Drama

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

chaisesgerber@gmail.com

PICK UP SIDNEY

Natalie Higdon

Comedy

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

natalie.higdon@gmail.com

PING

Ryan J. Murphy

Horror

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

ryanjmurphy107@gmail.com

PLAYTHINGS

Brendon Udy

Horror/Thriller

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.

brendon.u@gmail.com

QUICKLY QUIETLY

Jeff Haber

Action/Thriller

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

j.r.haber@att.net

REFLECTION OF VENUS

Rebecca M. Gintz & Sarah K. Croshaw

Horror

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

joshrebeccagintz@yahoo.com

ROOMS OF EXPERIENCE

Steffany Sommers

Drama

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

steffanysommers@yahoo.com

SELDON SEEN

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

PRFProductions@gmail.com

SEVEN FOR AN AUGUST NIGHT

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.

nicolasedelbach@hotmail.com

SHADOW MEN

Kent Hill & Sean Francis Ellis

Action/Science-Fiction/Thriller

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.

deathstalker2rules@gmail.com

SILENT MOMENTS

Wesley Chambers

Drama

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

wesleypchambers@gmail.com

SOUL PASSAGE

Patrick Mediate and Kristin Ilagan

Adventure/Thriller/Horror

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.

patrick.mediate@gmail.com

SPACEMUTT: THE MOVIE

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

techrat@live.com

STAKES FOR SUCCESS

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.

dgray8228@gmail.com

SURVIVAL AS A GHOSTWRITER

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

diversefilms79@gmail.com

THE AXIS NOXIOUS

Jay Han-San

Drama-Fantasy-Mystery

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.

jayhanbooks@gmail.com

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

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.

rjandersonusmc@gmail.com

THE FAMILY JEWELS

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

izzi.ditty@gmail.com

THE GRADUAL DETERIORATION OF WALTER TWIG

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)

lsgarvey@hotmail.com

THE INTRUDER

Robert Rhyne

Horror

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 Horror.com 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.

randprhyne@aol.com

THE KEEPER

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

kevinnelsonwriter@gmail.com

THE LACKEYS

Johnny Dinh

Horror/Thriller

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

johnny_n_dinh@yahoo.com

THE LEGEND OF YAKATUTCH

Sean Francis Ellis

Horror/Science-Fiction/Adventure

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

seanfrancisellis@gmail.com

THE MAN WITH A GLOVE

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

suzannebl@mail.pf

THE NETHER GLOOM

Amir Olin

Horror/Mystery/Supernatural

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.

amirolin@yahoo.com

THE RED ARROW

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

info@thewritescript.com

THE ROAD KINGS

Jerron Spencer

Horror/Comedy

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.

jerronspencer@gmail.com

THEO JESSUP, TEEN “GENE”-IUS

Isaac D. Lucas

Action/Thriller

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

kiwee@y7mail.com

THROWBACK

Rachel Woolley

Horror/Comedy

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

RachelWooley@outlook.com

VERMIN

Pat Semler

Horror

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.

patriciasemler@gmail.com

WHEN IN ROME

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

propwriter1@gmail.com

TELEVISION

AIDA

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.

niyakapreehonson@gmail.com

AWAKENING

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.

zaelyna@gmail.com

BUBBY

Cari Haim

Comedy

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?

cariteacher@hotmail.com

DEBT

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)

chris@obryant.ws

DOG MEN

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.

andrew.orillion@gmail.com

EPHEMERAL

Justin Olson

Science-Fiction/Drama

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

nojustlions@gmail.com

FABRICATIONS

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

james.l.tichenor@gmail.com

FLAGRANT

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.

taylor.isaiahr@gmail.com

GARYTOWN

Seth Nelson

Comedy

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.

snelson1076@me.com

GROUNDLING

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.

david.priest12345@gmail.com

HADES

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

michaelboaks@hotmail.com

HIRE POWER

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.

ndburrows@hotmail.com 

I’M FINE

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.

twarner@alumni.flagler.edu

MANTIS

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

janese16@gmail.com

MOODY & THE GHOST

Kim Hornsby

Dramedy/Suspense/Romance

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

kimhornsby@yahoo.com

OCCUPIED INTELLIGENCE

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)

collin.lieberg@gmail.com

PEREGRINE

Joan Albright

Science-Fiction/Action/Drama

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.

joanalbrightwrites@gmail.com

PLAINSVILLE

S.E. McKendrick

Science-Fiction – pilot

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

scripts2020@mail.com

SHELTERED

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.

laylacummins@hotmail.co.uk

SLIM CHANCE

Erick Buckley

Fantasy

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.

erickbuckley@gmail.com

SOUTHERN FRIED

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 thethingforawd.com.

guyc2_2000@yahoo.com

TEACH

Michael Hager

Comedy

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.

michaelhag@gmail.com

THE DOLL HOUSE

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.

mslizjoplin@gmail.com

THE HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN

Alison C. Wroblewski

Drama/Period/Crime

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

alisoncrews@mac.com

THE KINGS OF SUBURBIA

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.

justindcleroux@gmail.com

THE PATSY

Irene Platt

Crime – pilot

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

legalsurfer95@gmail.com

YUAN YUAN AND THE HOLLOW MONSTER

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

yuananim@gmail.com

WEBSERIES

ALL SAINTS

Aray Brown

Drama/Thriller

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.

brown.aray@gmail.com

Q & A with Michael Jamin

Michael Jamin has been a television writer/showrunner for the past 25 years. His many credits include King of the Hill, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Beavis & Butthead, and Tacoma FD. He’s currently working on a collection of personal essays to be published in 2021. Some of them can be read on michaeljamin.com

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

I thought the show Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge was a masterpiece. She wrote one soliloquy towards the end of the series that made me want to stand up and applaud.

I’ve also been re-reading David Sedaris’ works. To me, his writing is like watching a magic trick. When you finally arrive at the end of one of his pieces, you ask yourself, “How did he get me here?” It’s just so lovely. When people read a good book, they often say, “I couldn’t put it down.” But I put his books down all the time. I’ll read a particularly poignant passage, or beautifully craft line, and stop reading for a few moments just to admire it.

Were you always a writer, or was it something you eventually discovered you had a knack for?

In high school and college, I very much enjoyed writing, but I wasn’t a good writer. I was funny, but I didn’t yet understand story structure so my writing lacked cohesion and purpose. Even though I studied under some very talented authors, I don’t think they knew how to convey this. They just wrote from the gut, and because their talent level was so high, their writing was very engaging. It wasn’t until I got work as a staff writer in television that I really started started to learn about structure, and that can applied to so many different mediums.

How’d you get your start in the industry?

A year or so after moving to Hollywood to follow my dream of being a sitcom writer, I met a guy who would eventually become my writing partner.  For a couple of years, we worked every night and weekend to assemble a good collection of spec scripts. Probably close to a dozen. Eventually we landed on the writing staff of Just Shoot Me and we’ve worked steadily ever since.

What do you consider the components of a good script?

Even in comedy, it’s not about the jokes or funny situations. It’s all about story and how engaging you can make it. Until the audience can identify the three main components of every story, the writer is just wasting their time… daring them to find something better to do.

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

Most new writers don’t really understand what makes a story. They think they understand, but if you ask them to define what a story is in one clear sentence, they’re at a loss. It’s a difficult question!  But if you can’t define it accurately, you’re never going to be able write one on a consistent basis.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

It’s not so much tropes that bother me as it is tired old cliches. In comedy rooms, we call them clams. They’re jokes that have been floating around the zeitgeist and you’ve heard a million times. “Asking for a friend.” “Said no one ever.”  Those are clams. You see them on dopey friends Facebook posts. That’s fine for them, because they’re not writers. But if you want to be a writer, then your job is to create new things to say, not transcribe old ones.

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

Start the story sooner.

Raise the stakes.

What’s the story really about?

Does the idea have enough weight to be a story?

Do your act breaks pop?

What are your thoughts about writing a spec script for an already-existing show as opposed to a totally new and original pilot?

When I’m staffing for a show, I much prefer reading scripts for existing shows. Writing an original pilot is very hard, and it requires a completely different skill set from writing a spec for an existing show and it’s a skill set that I’m not really looking for. I don’t care if you can create an entire world. I want to know if you can write a compelling script for characters who already exist.

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

Most spec scripts from new writers are mediocre. And these are writers who are good enough to land representation. But there’s no demand in Hollywood for mediocre writers. If the story doesn’t start quickly enough, or that first act break doesn’t pop, I’ll put down the script and pick up another one. That may seem unfair, but viewers are no different. If they’re not engaged by the story, they’ll click the remote and find a story that does engage them. I’ve got a huge pile of scripts to read and one of them will be great. I decided to hire one new writer without even finishing the script. I could tell he knew what he was doing.

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

I’ve been a sitcom writer and showrunner for 25 years. A friend of mine who is an aspiring writer had been begging me to create an online course, but I just didn’t have the time. When the pandemic hit, that excuse went out the window. So I spent a few months creating an online screenwriting course. This is everything I wish I had when I was trying to break in. If anyone is interested, the first 3 lessons are free.

You can also follow me on social media:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MichaelJaminWriter/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaeljaminwriter
Twitter:    @MJaminWriter

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

Speaking of tropes, there’s nothing more familiar than the standard apple. But it works, so why are we trying to improve on it?

Q & A with Barb Doyon of Extreme Screenwriting

BarbDoyon

Barb Doyon is the owner/founder of Extreme Screenwriting, a Los Angeles-based screenplay and TV pilot coverage service. She is well known among Hollywood producers as a skilled ghostwriter who is also a produced screenwriter, producer and award-winning documentary writer.

She’s a yearly keynote speaker at the Script-to-Screen Summit and has authored books on screenwriting including, Extreme Screenwriting: Screenplay Writing SimplifiedExtreme Screenwriting: Television Writing SimplifiedTurn Your Idea into a Hit Reality-TV Show, 10 Ways to Get a Hollywood Agent to Call You! and Magnetic Screenplay Marketing. Before opening Extreme Screenwriting, she worked at Walt Disney Studios writing press releases for the studio and Disney Sports.

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

Extreme Screenwriting’s client Larry Postel’s upcoming Netflix movie The Main Event was a solid, inspirational read. Larry captured the Follow Your Dreams theme and wove it into a compelling conflict that incited a hero to break through his flaws and become a champion. It’s the story of a little boy who takes on WWE Superstars and I love how the trailer states the theme.

How’d you get your start in the industry?

I worked at Walt Disney Studios in the press room where I wrote daily press releases for then-CEO Michael Eisner and the studio’s production companies. One day a producer asked if I had time to do coverages and he showed me how to spot the diamonds among the coal heap. This eventually branched into my company Extreme Screenwriting.

What do you consider the components of a good script?

Whether they realize it or not, audiences want to viscerally live through a hero and experience the types of change they can’t, won’t, or are too afraid to implement in their own lives. Regardless of genre, the writer should make sure that the external and internal conflicts are interlocked, resulting in an external conflict that forces change in a hero. Most writers are excellent at coming up with unique concepts, but fall short when it comes to the hero’s flaw and arc. A good script combines external and internal conflicts to solidify a hero’s arc.

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

-Interlock internal and external conflicts, as noted above.

-A producer should be able to remove all dialogue from a screenplay and still know what the movie is about. It’s called a ‘motion picture’ for a reason.

-Don’t take format for granted. Learn how to use it to create pacing, emotion and to help guarantee fewer scenes are rewritten or deleted during the development phase.

-Stop asking gurus to explain subtext and start listening. Learn to hear subtext in everyday dialogue. This is fastest, easiest way to learn how to write it and how to become a pro at lingo.

-Don’t toss in something because you think it’s interesting. If Mona’s red skirt doesn’t mean something to the story as a whole, then leave it out.

-Learn the genre rules! Producers buy screenplays based on genre.

-Start thinking of description as action and create moving picture. Don’t tell us the room’s filthy. Show John walk in, toss cigarettes into an overflowing ashtray and kick his feet up on a pile of yellow newspapers.

-Be able to state the screenplay’s theme in one line. Producers ask, ‘What is the theme?’ to weed out amateurs from pros. Amateurs can’t answer this question.

-Your hero should get the best lines, the last line, the big scene moments, a grand entrance, and the worst-case scenario should happen to them and they alone should resolve the main, external conflict.

What was the inspiration/motivation for your book Magnetic Screenplay Marketing?

It’s heartbreaking to see extraordinarily talented, aspiring screenwriters struggle for years to get a producer to read their material. Extreme Screenwriting does help writers promote their material in our monthly newsletter, but writers need to spend as much time marketing as they do writing. Most do not! Instead, they send out a few queries here and there, maybe attend a pitch festival every couple of years and that’s it.

The market is rapidly changing, and if aspiring screenwriters don’t change with it, they’ll be left behind with little hope of getting their material into the right hands. The change in the industry requires a new way of thinking and it does have a learning curve, so that’s why I decided to make a book detailing how to get ahead of the curve and beat the competition with this a marketing strategy.

This book is very different from other screenwriting books in that it focuses more on what a writer can do AFTER they’ve gained some experience and have market-ready scripts. Is what you describe a newer development for screenwriters, and what results have you seen from it?

The marketing technique I outlined in the book, related to getting a producer to call you, isn’t new to the industry. It’s been around for a long time, but until recently, this strategy hasn’t applied to screenwriters. However, there’s been a shift in the industry. Like any other product (yes, a screenplay is a product), the buyer (producer) wants social proof of its viability and is even hiring staff to find material with this ‘proof’ attached.

The Magnetic Screenplay Marketing book teaches the writer how to develop this marketing strategy and put it to use. Prior to publishing the book, I worked with 13 writers to beta test the strategy resulting in agent representation, three options, a television pilot deal and 362 combined read requests, averaging 27 per beta tester. A few did fail at the process, but they didn’t complete the steps, skipped steps, or simply quit before even giving it a try. Therefore, results will vary, but the bottom line is the fact that the industry is changing. I highly recommend aspiring writers get aboard this fast-moving train before they’re left behind.

One portion of the book is about writers obtaining “bread and butter assignments”. What does that mean, and why are they a potential avenue for writers?

This pertains to one of the strategies outlined in a section of the book on how to get an agent to call you. The first agent 99% of writers sign with will be from a boutique agency. These are the smaller agencies in town and while they do make sales, most of their commissions are generated from writing assignments, rewrites, and ghostwriting. It’s so prevalent that it’s literally become their ‘bread and butter’, in other words it’s the main moneymaker.

However, a lot of writers refuse to do this type of work. They’d rather wait around to sell their own screenplays. This sounds reasonable, but if it’s been a year (or 2) and a writer’s work hasn’t sold and the writer won’t do this lucrative work, they become dead weight for the agent. This creates an ‘opening’ for the aspiring writer who notes in queries that they’re open to all kinds of writing assignments! During the beta test, one of our writers gained representation using this strategy. A writer who isn’t open to doing assignments is leaving a lot of cash on the table and missing out on a golden opportunity to gain representation.

You mention sending in writing samples (when and only when requested). One of the options you suggest is to send the last 10 pages of a script. Why the last 10 as opposed to the first 10, and what results have you (or other writers who’ve done this) seen from this?

This is a strategy I decided to add to the book after several years of hearing of its success. Most agents, producers and story analysts agree that most writers know how to nail Act I, but then the material starts to fall apart. The result is an accumulation of story points that miss the mark.

Therefore, if a writer can still intrigue them with a strong ending that reveals voice, theme, solidifies a plot, and nails down pacing while intriguing them to want to know more, then the screenplay’s worth reading. This isn’t the preference for all agents and producers, but even those who start off requesting the entire screenplay often flip to the end first.

You also have a section of the book regarding writers creating teaser trailers for their scripts. What’s a teaser trailer for a script, and what’s the advantage in doing it?

This is part of the new marketing strategy that involves creating an audience for a screenplay via social media, primarily YouTube. This doesn’t involve a Hollywood-style trailer, but rather a simple teaser video that can literally be done for $0 cost (the book shows how) and all the writer has to do is write a 1-page script.

Think about it. For years, producers have purchased books and reality-TV concepts that got their start on social media, based solely on the fact they came with a built-in audience. When a writer sits down to pitch a script, I guarantee the producer is wondering if the story can draw an audience, but imagine the potential for a sale if the writer walks in the door with an audience already attached to the screenplay. It’s a huge advantage and can make the project a hot commodity!

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

Extreme Screenwriting invites writers to visit us at www.ExtremeScreenwriting.com. We offer coverage, a free monthly newsletter, and see the Bookshelf tab for the Magnetic Screenplay Marketing book (available for instant eBook download).

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

Homemade blueberry.

blueberry pie

I tried. I really did.

bulldog flop

To say the past few weeks have been interesting is putting it mildly. Like pretty much everybody else on the planet, many parts of my life are a lot different now. Adjustments are being made. I sincerely hope you’re doing everything you can to stay safe and healthy.

One of my constants during this time has been to write. Unfortunately, with everything going on, I haven’t been able to be as productive as I’d hoped.

Remember way back to around the beginning of this month when I said I was going to really push myself to have a completed new draft of the horror-comedy by the end of the month?

Side note – that was just a few weeks ago. Feels MUCH longer than that. Oy.

Full disclosure: ain’t gonna happen. Not even close.

A LOT of time was spent revising the outline. Copious amounts of cutting, editing, and idea-developing took place. Since a big part of this was to reduce the potential budget to make it more financially appealing to anybody interested in actually producing it, large swaths of scenes and sequences were ceremoniously shown the door.

The number of characters and locations were drastically reduced to as few as the story would allow. Emphasis on drastically.

Keep in mind that all of this was going on as the tendrils of COVID-19 continued to spread across the globe at a rapid pace. My sweetie’s office shut down until further notice. Ms. V’s school closed, first for two weeks, then another two. (Fortunately, all of her classes are continuing online.)

I’d even been sent home from work for a non-corona condition, and was then told to stay home for the next week and a half. I was back in the office this week, but management opted to keep everybody safe and set us all up to work from home. You’d think this would be a golden opportunity to see some major productivity, writing-wise.

Wrong again.

Still had to work the day job, but just from home. The rest of the day involved dealing with a lot of the everyday routine, albeit very, very modified. Writing time had become very limited, sometimes practically non-existent.

But I did what I could. Even just writing a little is better than not writing at all.

As the days went on, my output had seen a significant decrease. I had to face the sad truth: this script was not going to be ready when I hoped it would.

Disappointing, but you gotta admit we’re all operating under some totally new circumstances. I don’t think anybody had “productivity down due to self-isolating during a global pandemic” on their list.

Even with a few minor details in the outline still in need of figuring out, I wanted to feel like I was moving things forward.

So I started on pages, knowing I’d be going back and rewriting them anyway – which has already happened with some minor edits and tweaks within the first 10.

I admit I would have absolutely loved to announce on March 31st that I had a completed draft, but that won’t be happening. Instead, I’ll say there’s no need to rush and that this thing will be done when it’s done.

In the coming weeks, as I settle into my new routine, I’ll do what I can to ramp up my output. This thing WILL get written.

It’ll just take a little longer than I’d hoped. Normally I’d say “last day of April”, but it’s probably better to not stress myself out over the idea of NOT hitting another deadline.

Before I forget – an added bonus of all this – once again reveling in the sheer joy of writing something new.

Well, almost new. But you get the point.

Can’t stress this enough. Stay safe and healthy, chums.

Now go wash your hands.

Q & A with Lisa Gomez

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Lisa Gomez is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, aspiring screenwriter, novelist and professional story analyst. She writes screenplays, songs and novels with her twin sister. Together they are writing a Barry spec, a 30-minute dark comedy, a period drama pilot, and a feature based on their father’s life as an immigrant and his pursuit of the American Dream. She is currently obsessed with Disneyland, matcha, the tv show Barry and reading as many books as she possibly can. You can visit her script consulting website at geminiscriptconsulting.com.

What was the last thing you read/watched you considered to be extremely well-written (any medium)?

The pilot of Barry. It has everything that makes a story compelling and unique. Professional screenwriters have always given aspiring screenwriters these three bits of advice when setting up a character and a world: 1) Start the story with your main character doing something interesting.  2) Show the main character’s day to day, show the audience what a typical day in the life of this main character looks like. 3) Show the audience the main character’s problem. Well, in a whopping 30 minutes, this show delivers all of this and sets up the promise for more.

[Spoilers for the pilot of Barry ahead]. The very first moment of the show shows Barry walk into a hotel room, holding a gun while the camera mostly focuses on the dead body that’s lying on a bed with a bullet through his head. Immediately, this sets up the main character doing something interesting… okay, so, he’s a killer. Possibly a hitman. Whoa, that’s interesting. Then, it shows Barry’s day-to-day. We see him fly home on an airplane, get annoyed at a fellow passenger that opens a window to let the light in (a subtle but effective metaphor), then he plays video games, alone, and takes a shower, alone. Immediately, we get it. This is one lonely and depressed dude that gets no fulfillment from killing.

So, within the first five minutes (and theoretically the first five pages of a screenplay), Barry sets up the main character doing something interesting (killing someone), shows the main character’s typical day to day (he flies home after a hit, he’s alone, bored and does nothing substantial besides killing) and sets up what his problem is (that he’s depressed and gets no fulfillment from his job). It’s a pitch-perfect setup to a show. One could argue that the set-up is traditional and therefore cliché. But because this is a unique character and the premise is so bizarre, Bill Hader and Alec Berg made this setup interesting and makes the audience clamoring for more. And this is all just the first five minutes… if you haven’t seen this show, please do. It’s a masterclass in writing.

One of your job titles is story analyst. What does that job entail, and what are your responsibilities?

A story analyst is essentially someone who gives script coverage for studios, production companies and agencies. In other words, someone who receives a script and has to write notes on that script, on what’s working and what’s not working with the script, if I would pass, consider or recommend the script for the agency/studio/company. I have to read the script in its entirety, write a synopsis of the script, write a logline, describe the main characters and then write comments on why I would pass or recommend the script. Occasionally, in my notes, I offer solutions to story problems.

How’d you get your start doing that?

This is a fun story. My sister actually found an internship listing for a script coverage reader for a literary agency on entertainmentcareers.net. I applied and got the job. I did that for about a year. Then, as luck would have it, a Nicholl fellow walked into my retail job and I recognized him because he spoke at one of the classes that I took at UCLA Extension. We got to talking and he said he could refer me to a low-paying but highly regarded script coverage job. I applied, had to do test notes on a script and then got that job.

Once I started getting more and more experience, I had screenwriting friends I’d met in various networking events in LA refer me to different script coverage jobs. Every friend I met through networking was an aspiring screenwriter that eventually got a job in the entertainment industry and either reached out to me about the script coverage job or I would ask if they knew about any script coverage jobs. This is truthfully the first time I finally understood the importance of networking in this city.

When you’re reading a script, what about it indicates to you that “this writer really gets it (or doesn’t get it)”?

First and foremost, the grammar. I know, that seems like such an obvious answer but it’s true. You would not believe how many scripts I read that have beyond atrocious spelling and grammar. Sometimes the ends of sentences don’t have periods. I wish I was joking.

Secondly, clarity. What do I mean by that? Clarity is probably the easiest and the hardest aspect of writing a great screenplay. Easy because once you put on the page exactly what you want the reader to know, you’re done. Hard because putting exactly what you mean on the page is very very difficult. This is why script coverage or having someone read your script is helpful. It can point out the areas that the writer thinks makes sense but in reality, it doesn’t and it only makes sense to the writer.

Clarity, for me, means a few things. One, that the writing makes sense. For example, if you’re writing an action scene, please write description that is easy to follow and easy to read. The worst thing you can do for a script reader is make them read lines of description a few times in order to understand what’s going on. We get bored and frustrated.

Secondly, that the character’s arcs, story and plot is clear. It sounds simple, but again, most scripts don’t have this. I think it’s because the writer knows the story so well that the writer forgets to put in important and obvious things. For example, I was doing coverage on this script where the main character was queer. It was a very interesting main character, but I didn’t understand why this character’s queerness affected their journey because every character that interacted with this character loved and relished their identity. The writer then told me “Oh, because this story takes place in 2010.” BAM! I now understand the context of the story. But that date was nowhere in the script. It could be little details like that that can make a script clear or unclear.

What do you consider the components of a good script?

Clarity/conciseness. No one wants to read a script that doesn’t make sense, or rambles on too long. Make it sweet and to the point. And make it fun and interesting to read.

An interesting main character that has an interesting and relatable problem. So many scripts I read don’t have this in its entirety. Especially the relatable part. The main character might have an interesting problem, but it’s something that literally no one on this earth can relate to.

When the main character has a goal that’s actually attainable, but also difficult. This is something I don’t see all the time. What’s really important is that your main character has the skills to defeat their problem/the antagonist but it’s still difficult. A great example of this not happening is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Sure, you know that Rey is strong, but you don’t know specifically how Rey will be able to defeat Palpatine. This makes the story boring because the audience can’t participate in her journey in how she can do that. She just defeats Palpatine. It’s not set up how she can. It just happens. This is story suicide.

The script is great if it has something to say. What is your theme? What is your unique point of view on the world? Not only that, but what is your unique point of view on a specific theme? For example, everyone writes about redemption, but what are you trying to specifically say about redemption? Are you saying it’s not possible (Barry), that it is possible, but a very hard road (Bojack Horseman), or are you saying that it is possible (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)?

Interesting situations/scenes. If you have a scene where two people argue, that can be boring. If you have a scene with two people arguing in the middle of a mall, that instantly makes it more interesting.

Great dialogue. If you have dialogue I’ve heard before, that makes me cringe. If you have dialogue specific to the character and only that character can say it, it makes me happy.

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

The way screenwriters describe women as beautiful, sexy, or simply defined by their looks. It’s disgusting, objectifying and just plain terrible. It’s 2020. Women have always been complex. It’s time to write us as such.

Too much description. Description writing is very hard, but please don’t have paragraphs and paragraphs of description. Try to write what only needs to be in the script but as simply and concisely as possible.

Cliché dialogue. A lot of the scripts I read have the following lines: “It’s too late!” “You really don’t get it, do you?” “Hi, my name is [blank].” “So, are you new around here?” It’s exhausting. We get it. You’ve seen a lot of movies. Please prove it by not giving us these lines that we’ve all heard a million times. Sometimes it’s inevitable. You have to. But please try to the least you possibly can.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

One-dimensional women. I promise you, women are human beings that have ambitions and feelings that don’t revolve around men.

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

Write from the heart.

Write with something to say.

Get your first draft out as quickly as possible.

Even if you don’t like outlining, do it.

Read screenplays. They’ll help you write screenplays.

Live life.

Enjoy the process of writing.

Show your writing to people who will give you honest feedback.

Have a clear structure in your story.

Pitch your show/movie idea to your friends. If they don’t like it, either fix what’s wrong with the premise or think of another idea.

Screenwriting contests. Worth it or not?

Yes. Contests are great for deadlines and keeping yourself accountable. Because, if you’re paying that submission fee, you want to submit the best work that you have. However, don’t make your entire screenwriting identity about contests. I did and that got me nowhere. Use them for deadlines and don’t think about them after you submit. Just write the next script.

Follow-up: You’ve placed in the top 50 of the Nicholl. What was the script about, and what happened for you and/or the script as a result?

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting are amazing. I’ve had friends become Nicholl Fellows and I’ve had friends in the top 50. We all have similar experiences.

That script was co-written with my writing partner, my twin sister. It’s a biopic about the nine weeks that Vincent van Gogh spent with fellow artist and rival Paul Gauguin. What started off as a friendly rivalry between them ended with Vincent cutting his ear off. It was my sister’s and I’s first screenplay… and it was the first draft. When we were announced in the top 50, we got about a dozen e-mails from huge agencies… I’m talking, CAA, WME, Anonymous Content, you name it… we sent them our script and then… crickets. I believe this script wasn’t ready and I also don’t think we sent them out to the agents and managers that would respond to our type of script anyway.

Here’s my biggest piece of advice if you place highly in a reputable script contest: contact the managers and agents you want to or agents that represent writers that write similar scripts to you. If my sister and I did that, I think we would have been represented by now.

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

I recently began my own script coverage service. If you would like quality script coverage with an affordable price, please visit my website at geminiscriptconsulting.com.

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

Aye, there’s the rub. Unfortunately, I have a gluten and lactose intolerance, so I can’t have pie unless it’s gluten-free and dairy-free. I know, it’s a sad existence. However, if I could have any pie, I personally love apple pie. Maybe because when my stomach could handle those pesky ingredients, I would always love getting apple pies from McDonald’s during my youth and that taste just brings back good, happy childhood memories.

apple pie