TV Pilot Sitcom Reading – REC’D by Chris Courtney Martin

Watch the March 2016 TV Festival Winner



NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
RYAN – Rob Notman
LEYA/PETEY – Alicia Payne
LINDA – Val Cole
DAMIAN – Kari-Michael Helava
GUY – Ucal Shillingford

Get to know writer Chris Courtney Martin:

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

In the pilot, we meet our hero Petey and her friends. Petey has to deal with training this guy who broke her heart. Her best friend, Leya, has to prepare an assignment while on her shift. We get sucked into this bizarre Twilight Zone that is work-study. It’s like a half-step between being a kid and an adult because you’re balancing school and work. When you’re a kid, school is always supposed to come first. When you’re an adult, other than your family, work is top priority. The pilot introduces us to that world. We also get to see Petey make an adult decision in how she handles Ryan, this guy she slept with last year. She can be petty or she can be professional, that’s where this decision-making comes into play again.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

I think it’s important to show black girls getting to be silly and have fun. Just about all the media surrounding black women is very serious and intense. It feels like we’re expected to grow up faster than everyone else. There really is no Broad City or Two Broke Girls for us. Why can’t we have crazy shenanigans and learn from our stupid mistakes? I feel like it would be refreshing and maybe a little therapeutic for us to get a show where we’re just living life and no one is getting murdered or having extramarital affairs and all that other heavy stuff.

3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this script in two words?

Millennial shenanigans.

4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

There are very few shows I can watch over and over but Bob’s Burgers is so fun that I can just chill out and watch it while I’m having a meal, even if I’ve seen the episode before. I can’t even do that with some of my other favorite shows because I usually can’t stand seeing re-runs.

5. This is a very tight, emotionally engaging and fun screenplay. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Conceptually? Since my first year of college, which started in 2010. This is semi-autobiographical and some of the characters really aren’t too far off base from the people who inspired them. My Freshman year roommate and I both worked at the Rec Center and there were so many unique personalities we loved to lampoon that we were like, “This could be a show!” The first time I put anything down on the page was last year.

6. How many stories have you written?

So many. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. As far screenplays that I consider ready-to-sell, I have one pilot, two features and a short. But I’ve got countless other things in various stages of completion.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

This was actually meant to be my entry for the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship last year, but the submissions capped before I could send it in.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time. Before I decided to move to California to pursue screenwriting full-time, I was emotionally sapped from my day job. Finding the energy to get something on the page was the hardest part.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I care a lot about activism, social justice. I really enjoy any opportunity to mentor and teach people, especially when it comes to screenwriting.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I actually did the First Scene festival not too long and my scene got picked. I loved the festival’s style of feedback, and the entry fees are very reasonable. I figured I’d try my luck again.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I like to say, “Write a script you could marry.” That’s how I answered this question when Loveless was picked, but I realized that was extremely vague. What I meant was, find a story that means so much to you that you have to tell it no matter what. No matter how many re-writes, no matter how long you’ve had writer’s block. Write a story that you’ll be willing to work on as long as it takes.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Submit your TV Pilot to the Festival Today:

By tvfestival

Monthly Festival showcasing new TV Pilots and TV Spec Screenplays. All submissions receive full feedback. Winners get their script performed by professional actors and shown online.

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