TV SCI-FI BEST SCENE Reading of MORPH, by Christine Davis

Genre: Sci-Fi, Crime

Logline: “Morph” is a Sci-Fi story in which Jack Oberman is a Los Angeles homicide detective who gets captured by the killers he pursues, mad scientists who alter his DNA and turn him into a monster.

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Morty: Allan Michael Brunet
Jack: Nick Baillie

Get to know the writer:

 1. What is your screenplay about?

Morph is about a slightly bromantic pairing of two cops, one of whom is a former accountant from the East Coast. As LA homicide detectives, their first case brings them up against a mad scientist who captures Detective Jack Oberman and alters his DNA so he turns into a strange nonhuman but still vaguely recognizable creature. Reminiscent of the fun of Season 1’s Hawaii Five-O pairing of Steve and Danny, fused with the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferigno The Incredible Hulk TV show from the 1970s, Morph brings procedural cop television into the sci-fi/creature genre, creating opportunities for individual episode arcs and one single overarching goal for the protagonist: finding a cure that’ll keep him from turning into the monster he becomes, even as he has to keep his day job of being a cop, solving mysteries and saving lives. All with his somewhat annoying partner – the only other person who knows his secret (or so he thinks) – along for the ride.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Broadly, it’s Science Fiction. It could also be called Superhero Fiction because technically the creature Jack morphs into acts much like the Hulk, and is therefore an unwilling superhero. It’s a Crime Drama with a focus on being a Detective Story and could fit into any number of Fantasy sub-genres. In other words, this TV show has the potential to draw in a lot of viewers from a lot of different genres!

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

Broad appeal. Superheroes are all the rage these days, you need only check out the numbers from Marvel and DC Comics offerings at the box office. In addition, procedurals such as the aforementioned Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, Criminal Minds and the multiple Law & Order and CSI spinoffs have proven that fans continue to have a huge appetite for episodic catch-the-bad-guy shows. There will also always be a large fan base for Creature Features. A lot of the Hammer Horror movies still have a rabid cult following, and bringing the heart into those in the way that Bixby’s David Banner/Hulk transformation did brings in a side to the audience you may not get if you go straight horror or hard-boiled detective. What I used to call “the CBS side of things.” 

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Fresh, fun

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Setting aside Disney movies (it doesn’t count if you see a move nonstop because of your child viewing it repeatedly!), probably Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or White Christmas. It’s really a toss-up because if I get obsessed with something I will watch it repeatedly for a period of time and then suddenly I’ll be over it and move on to the next thing!

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I worked on it for approximately six months, including heavy revisions after some feedback I received via a different screenplay competition.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written hundreds of fan fiction stories, five completed screenplays and two original novel series. Never mind the ones I’ve written that haven’t yet seen the light of day. So a lot!

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Instrumental: A River Runs Through It by Yiruma; Vocal (general): The Sound of Silence by Disturbed; Vocal (romantic): Per Te by Josh Groban and Bound by Christina Aguilera; Pop: Thunder by Imagine Dragons

Sorry. I listen to a LOT of music and MANY different genres!

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

Morphing (ha-ha) what began as a work of fan fiction into a screenplay and a novel series. It’s not easy to go from a world your reader already knows to creating one out of whole cloth. I also had to weigh my own vision against some feedback that tried to veer it away from the slightly campy/comic book feel I purposely gave it. It’s not always easy to take a stance and stick to it because it’s what feels right versus what’s popular.

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

My home, Oahu, Hawaii…specifically the Ko’olau Range and historic and ancient Hawaiian sites. Homeless pets and homeless people. Helping people learn how to help themselves and tackle their Overwhelm. My ImpCat, Ramses, who’s an insane feline.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I think it’s fantastic. Had no troubles whatsoever. It’s nice having so much in one place like that.

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

I’ve entered before with other screenplays, but I don’t think I’d ever entered a logline competition. I wanted to give it a try because I thought I had a really good logline for this TV pilot! In spite of that self-assuredness, I actually am thrilled and quite surprised that I made the top twenty! Thank you!


Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Camera Op: Mary Cox

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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