MINDWALKER is the winning TV Pilot screenplay from February 2016.
MINDWALKER by Thorsten Loos
Get to know writer Thorsten Loos:
1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?
Andrew Kinderman, a loner and scifi geek without any friends, witnesses the murder of his neurobiology professor and is shot by the killers as well. His mind is catapulted out of his now comatose body and is ‘anchored’ to the only person he really cares about: The actress of his favourite mystery TV show, Australian beauty Anna Chastings. She is terrified when Andrew’s spirit manifests in her villa and thinks he’s a hallucination caused by too much work, but soon realizes this guy is really in trouble. When he accidentially overhears her boyfriend who is cheating on her, he manages to convince her that he is real by telling her about it. She starts to feel sympathy for him and agrees to fly back to New York to help Andrew return back to his body. As soon as they start to call hospitals in order to find Andrew’s body, they catch the attention of the FBI which is investigating the case and Anna ends up as a major suspect. Meanwhile, we learn Andrew’s professor had been working on some kind of mind control / precognition technology. A mysterious organization has stolen his research and is trying it on test persons. Part of the conspiracy is senior FBI agent William Curtis who doesn’t like the extra attention caused by a celebrity involved in the case he is trying to cover up.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?
Because I’d love to watch it! Seriously, I think my screenplay provides a lot of opportunities for a long running TV show. Andrew’s character development from a zero to a hero, the development of his relationship with Anna which should be both funny – given their entirely different backgrounds, as well as conflict-driven as Anna is a celebrity with a lot of liabilities which stand in conflict to Andrew’s need of her help. There is the mystery part of the story, circling around that mysterious organization which is doing all kinds of borderline-tech experiments to people which will make a good bunch of investigation cases for Anna, Andrew and their FBI allies and the more they progress towards the root of the evil, the stakes are constantly rising as they slowly begin to realize the extent of the conspiracy behind all that.
3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?
4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
There are quite a few, I love rewatching old 80ies / 90ies scifi series like for example (list is not intended to be exhaustive):
Quantum Leap, Star Trek – TNG, The X-Files, Earth2, Sliders, Seven Days, Farscape, Earth Final Conflict, Roswell, Stargate SG-1.
Most recent shows I loved and watched every episode at least once were Fringe and Haven.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I got the first draft down in about four weeks and kept rewriting, submitting, taking feedback and rewriting again for at least about a year.
6. How many stories have you written?
Three of my own, original TV show pilots, a good bunch of shorts and a sci-fi / horror feature. Besides that I’m currently writing parts of episodes for an independent TV show project.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I guess the initial motivation / kick-off idea was to have a team of protagonists with completely contrary characters and backgrounds. Combine that with a scifi-plot, a lurking conspiracy and a bag full of ideas for supernatural / paranormal phenomena-like cases Mulder and Scully would have loved to investigate, and at the end of the day, I had Mindwalker in my hands.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
As I’m a non-native english speaker (and writer), language details, nuances in the usage of the language, are always an obstacle I have to overcome. Hopefully you come to the conclusion I finally made it with this draft. Another obstacle and big part of the work is research. For example: You think you can just write a hospital scene with a realistic dialogue between an emergency doc and the clinic staff without researching? Good luck.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Unlikely for a German, I’m a big fan of the Major League Baseball. Maybe it’s the prejudice about Germans which says they love statistics which sticks here, I don’t know. Besides that, I’ve been studying computer science in my earlier life, so I’m a natural tech geek and still do some coding here and there.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I don’t really remember how I ended up on the Wildsound page, but once I’ve been there, I watched some of the table reads and thought about how cool it would be to see my own scripts performed by those actors. My feelings about the initial feedback I received were devastating – I had just completed the early 5th or 6th draft of Mindwalker and was really happy with it, and then these people tell me it wasn’t ready yet.
Thankfully, the feedback included loads of helpful notes, and when I read through them I wondered how I could have missed these flaws in the first place. Numerous drafts later, I decided to resubmit the script and Wildsound accepted it. That was a great feeling, similar to placing in a contest. It’s a very rewarding feeling to get positive feedback and the acknowledgement.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
The best advice I can give is to never take any feedback personal, be honest to yourself, read as many scripts as possible and most important: Always keep writing.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson