December 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

 

ACTORPSI-COM 5 TV PILOT
December 2017 Reading
by
ACTORMINNIE NOIR TV PILOT
December 2017 Reading
by Katie Grotzinger

 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Original Script Reading of BOJACK HORSEMAN TV Show, by Cameron Chapman

Set at the end of Season Three, BoJack takes his new philosophy of isolation literally when he’s accidentally kidnapped by a health and wellness cult.

Genre: Comedy, Animation

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Laura Kyswaty
BoJack: Rob Notman
Kevin Spacey: James Boutcher
Buzz: Luke Robinson
Ethan: Brandon Knox
Olivia: Lindsay Rolland Mills
Sabrina: Premika Leo
Lizzie: Julie McCarthy

 Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay based on the TV show about?

This BoJack Horseman Spec Script picks up right at the end of Season Three when BoJack is accidentally kidnapped by a health and wellness cult and their charismatic leader, Kevin Spacey. While unknowingly trapped in their desert compound he explores his newfound philosophy of isolation while deep-diving into an old episode of his former sitcom “Horsin’ Around”.

I tried to connect BoJack closer with his character from “Horsin’ Around” through the idea that they both manage to surround themselves with a supporting cast, mainly, to not allow themselves to be truly alone. When he flees to the desert at the end of the third season I think there’s this notion that BoJack needs to work on breaking down all the emotional barriers he’s built up over the years but I liked the idea that, in true BoJack self destructive style, he decides what he needs is the opposite. That he needs the isolation and maybe in his own BoJack way, he’s not wrong?

How does this screenplay fit into the context of the TV series?

When I wrote this I envisioned it as essentially Episode 13 of Season 3 of the series, picking up right where we left off, BoJack in the desert, alone, watching the herd of wild horses running off in the distance. Of course since then Season 4 has been released so I would have assumed it’s context within the full arc of the series would be obliterated, however with a couple tiny tweaks I can still see it slipping in quite nicely between the first and second episodes of Season 4 which starts off with BoJack still AWOL.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Alone together, (question mark)…

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

Obviously BoJack Horseman, I usually crush it in a hurry the day it’s released but they created such a rich, fast paced show and it’s wall to wall jokes so it’s always worth going back over again and again to pick up more details. I also love Man Seeking Woman, Rick & Morty and Silicon Valley. This past year Search Party, Fleabag and Catastrophe were especially great. There’s so much great TV on right now in all genres, on so many platforms, I’m just devouring it all!

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote this in 14 days, start to finish. Hahaha! I received an email about applying to a writing program at an animation studio and part of the application process was to write a Spec Script off their list of approved shows. I saw BoJack on there and thought, yup, this is happening! Unfortunately the deadline to apply was in 14 days but somehow I finished and submitted in time. It was the first Spec I’ve ever written but it all came together fairly quickly.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written several short and full length screenplays and am currently about six episodes into a Series that, I suppose, would fall into the 1 hour drama category. I work full time in the Film Industry mainly as a Production Coordinator so I try to write as much as I can. Of course, anyone familiar with the hours we work in film might question my sanity but this is why we do it. Right?! We’re here to tell stories no matter how self destructive, Hahaha!

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

I’ve always said that “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog is my favourite song of all time. There’s a beautiful cover by Willie Nelson too.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Well as I said above, I was working full time, 12-14 hour days on a Series for SyFy called Wynonna Earp when I wrote this and I remember being on the ice at hockey one night thinking, “Oh what if this happened in BoJack or what if that happened” or whatever. Hahaha! I also have an amazing Wife and two incredible Children so I would say the hardest part was not sleeping for two weeks.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m Canadian so naturally I’m a huge Hockey fan but I love Baseball, Music and Film, anything Star Wars… I love Comedy and Animation. My Family is the most important thing in the world to me so every chance I get to share one of my passions, including my writing, with them is very special.

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

I had entered this same Spec Script into a different contest and it luckily performed quite well, making it to the semi-finals. There was only one other Spec in that group of scripts and I noticed it was one that had previously won this Festival. When I saw that the reward for winning was a live reading I couldn’t not enter it. The value as a writer of hearing your script read aloud in the hands of professional actors is too immense and can’t be overstated. It was a no brainer. Plus I was really looking forward to seeing who got cast as a man with the head of a horse.

The feedback was unexpectedly thoughtful. I was bracing to get raked a bit for writing such a BoJack-centric BoJack episode which I assume is not the best way to tackle a Spec Script but I feel like the feedback I received understood most of the themes and what I was going for. That was a pleasant surprise which really helped me to push forward on some other projects I’m working on and to trust myself going forward.

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

Share! Don’t be overprotective of your ideas or your writing. You’re not alone in the universe, you’re not the only one scratching out crappy dialogue at 3:00am on a Sunday. Find like minded people either in your hometown or online and share, work together, go away and write, come back together and give feedback. Talk about it, work it, be open, make it better.

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Original Script Reading of QUANTICO TV Show, by Leslie Lyshkov

Watch the September 2017 Winning Screenplay:

In the present day, both Alex and Ryan are assigned to the American Southwest. Alex to offer security to a fringe gubernatorial candidate. Booth to infiltrate a dangerous alt-right militia. In the flashback, Owen’s CIA trainees are assigned to launder money out of foreign country back to the United States.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Laura Kyswaty
Alex Parrish: Premika Leo
Ryan: James Boutcher
Harry/Putin: Rob Notman
Eddie: Brandon Knox
Popeye: Luke Robinson
Abigail Torres: Julie McCarthy
Shelby: Lindsay Rolland Mills

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay based on the TV show about?

Because my teleplay uses the flashback/flash-forward format of season one and two Quantico, my A-story and B-story occupy separate time lines. The flashback B-story is a “typical” episode at The Farm where Owen Hall tasks the CIA trainees to complete a training mission within a single episode. The A-story conforms to the series multi-episodic format for the flash-forward sequence. In this case, a new setup for a new flash-forward sequence. I saw no other way to write a Quantico spec within the second season format.

How does this screenplay fit into the context of the TV series?

Quantico’s format and principal cast are expected to change for Season 3. However this spec remains a continuation of Season 2. Because no Season 3 episodes have aired yet, I have no idea how this spec will fit within the series after (S3:E1) airs.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Documentary-Fiction. Fictional setups written months earlier are being caught up by current events. The WILDsound Festival can attested to this. This teleplay was submitted in May and Charlottesville occurred the month AFTER the teleplay was selected by WILDsound.

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

I like the original UK version of Life on Mars for its over-the-top characters. At present, I am binge-watching The Wire in preparation of tackling my first pilot teleplay.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Six months total. I began to binge-watch Quantico a year-ago because it seemed a good prospect for a spec teleplay. I spent two months outlining a story, three months writing the teleplay’s first draft, and one month rewriting and polishing its second draft. All writing was done in spare time. The script reflects somewhat under 200 actual hours labor. It could’ve been finished in four weeks if it had been a full-time project.

How many stories have you written?

Not enough. My portfolio consists of two feature length screenplays, an under-feature length 60-some page thriller, and this spec episodic. My goal for 2018 is to write a pair of 1-hour television pilots.

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

George Gershwin’s Summertime. It’s not my all time favorite song but I do like it a lot and I’ve heard so many cover versions by so many artists that there couldn’t be a song I’ve heard more often. For anybody unfamiliar with jazz, the rock band Sublime’s Doin’ Time is a cover of Gershwin’s Summertime.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

This was easy. Character and tone are the toughest things for me to write. In this episodic spec, rather than create characters and create a tone, I mimicked Quantico’s characters and its tone. Regrettably, my talent for mimicry clearly exceeds that for creativity.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Bicycling and swimming. I am not particularly passionate about what a writer should be passionate about such as: reading, film, or television. My favorite part of writing is typing THE END at the very bottom of the last page.

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

I figure that a spec teleplay exists only to get exposure and that WILDsound’s table reading is that kind of exposure.

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

Withoutabox is the easiest-to-navigate submission platform for the technically challenged, such as myself.

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

I’m convinced that, for the vast majority of us, writing a feature script is an exercise in futility. Although I don’t share the same pessimism toward television writing at this moment, I have no idea how ‘ll feel about it a year from now.
Don’t be in too big a hurry and wait until you have a polished draft before submitting to a writing competition. The worst thing that can happen with a script is to have a rough-draft make the finals or place third when a polished draft might have actually won.

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

August 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for August 2017:

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay – RICK & MORTY
August 2017 Reading
by Daniel Richardson
 

ACTORSTUDENT TV PILOT Screenplay – EVERHART
August 2017 Reading
by K. Wayman Dodd
 

ACTORLGBT TV PILOT Screenplay – THE DISAPPEARANCE
August 2017 Reading
by Jess Harris Distefano
 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

July 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for July 2017:

ACTORFAN FICTION TV PILOT Screenplay – D FOR DEXTER
July 2017 Reading
by Jessi Thind

ACTORWESTERN TV PILOT Screenplay – SIRINGO
July 2017 Reading
by Nathan Ward

ACTORANIMATION TV PILOT Screenplay – CHICKEN COP
July 2017 Reading
by Bryan Cahill

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

October 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the 4 TV Screenplay Winners for October 2016:

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: WILLOWWOOD
October 2016 Reading
Written by Christopher Locke

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: EMMETT IN PEOPLELAND
October 2016 Reading
Written by Larry Hankin

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: THE VISA
October 2016 Reading
Written by Conrad Haynes

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT Kimmy is a VIP
October 2016 Reading
Written by Mike Miller

 

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

August 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for August 2016:

RICK & MORTY “The Cokeroach” TV SPEC
Written by David Cryan
Read 10 Questions with the writer

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
RICK – Stephen Flett
MORTY – Adam McNamara
BETH – Laura Darby
JERRY – David Straus
BLECKAR – Lorne Hiro
GARY – Rais Muoi
SUMMER – Victoria Urquhart

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Animation

When Morty accidentally gets his family kidnapped while trying to stop an alien war, he and Rick must execute an elaborate plan to rescue their family and trick the aliens into calling a truce.

*****

DIGITAL NATIVES TV Pilot
Written by Adam Preston
Read 10 Questions with the writer

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
PHIL – Lorne Hiro
ALICE – Susan Wilson
SAM – Rais Muoi
QUILLON – David Straus
GEORGE – Stephen Flett
JOHN – Adam McNamara
VERA – Laura Darby

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Sitcom

When it all goes wrong for Phil Burrows he moves to London’s trendy Shoreditch district to reinvent himself as an on-the-pulse hipster in the place where it’s all happening. Not so hip or on-the-pulse is the fact that this involves moving in with his gran, Alice, who has lived there since year dot. To his horror Phil finds that a strange, vain, deluded twentysomething vlogger has wormed his way into her affections and now occupies the spare room. But horror turns to hope – could the technologically savvy Sam Fazackalee hold the secrets to his success?

*****

SURVEILLANCE TV Pilot
Written by Chris Gebhardt & Jenn Russi
Read 10 Questions with the writer

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Julian Ford
SARAH – Kayla Lakhani
JEFF – Jonathan Shaboo
ALEX – Alicia Payne
MITCHELL – Mark Sparks
DEV – Sean Kauffman
DREW – Shelly Antony

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller

When a young woman uncovers an illegal government surveillance program that uses ordinary citizens private lives against them, she finds herself caught between her patriotic roots and the grim reality of government service. Living with Bipolar I disorder, she must find a way to protect her own secrets and determine where she stands in the coming War on Truth.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

TV PILOT Screenplay – Digital Natives by Adam Preston

Watch the August 2016 Winning TV PILOT screenplay.

Digital Natives  by Adam Preston

Genre: Comedy, Sitcom

When it all goes wrong for Phil Burrows he moves to London’s trendy Shoreditch district to reinvent himself as an on-the-pulse hipster in the place where it’s all happening. Not so hip or on-the-pulse is the fact that this involves moving in with his gran, Alice, who has lived there since year dot. To his horror Phil finds that a strange, vain, deluded twentysomething vlogger has wormed his way into her affections and now occupies the spare room. But horror turns to hope – could the technologically savvy Sam Fazackalee hold the secrets to his success?

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
PHIL – Lorne Hiro
ALICE – Susan Wilson
SAM – Rais Muoi
QUILLON – David Straus
GEORGE – Stephen Flett
JOHN – Adam McNamara
VERA – Laura Darby

Get to know the winning writer Adam Preston:

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Three characters from three different generations are shacked up in a house in Shoreditch, East London, the UK’s hotbed of innovation and new-tech. There they try to pursue their various dreams by doing what everyone is doing around them – using technology and the internet – but for them it never quite works out…

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

There’s this assumption that everyone is comfortable with the rapid rate of technological development – but we’re human beings not robots and a lot of innovation leaves people feeling anxious or baffled. Digital Natives will be a release valve for all this pent up anxiety – meanwhile the age of robotics is only just getting started…

How would you describe this script in two words?

New-tech farce

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

Seinfeld

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About a year. I made a short in 2015 called The Last Post – you can watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/WjYFg1biT8Q This pilot expands on those themes

How many stories have you written?

Too many to count but I am very proud of a screenplay called The Second Coming which now has an Oscar nominated director attached.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

There’s this huge gulf between my parents generation with their total bafflement with new technology and people in their 20’s who don’t even think of themselves as living in an age of technological development – for them it is just life. Then stuck in the middle is the generation (now in their 30s) who saw all this stuff come in. They have one foot in and one foot out of it. These disparities struck me as offering that essential ‘comic gap’ where world views collide to create laughs. I wanted to write a comedy that enabled me to have fun with that disparity of experience and understanding.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

It’s hard to justify spending time writing stuff on spec but I felt very inspired and just made the time.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m fiercely passionate about directing too.

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

The same organization selected my screenplay Misprints for a reading and the intelligent feedback I got from that was very valuable. Whatever you are writing you need feedback but with comedy it is absolutely essential. The LA TV Festival feedback on Digital Natives was right on the money – offering some great ideas and a wonderful boost of encouragement. The draft I did following the feedback was a substantial improvement.

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

I’m reluctant to give advice at this stage of my career but one thing I can say for sure is that it helps to network and develop good contacts in the indust

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

July 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for July 2016:

The Spectral City by Arthur Vincie

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, War, Supernatural

Three refugees, thrown together by chance, flee a modern-day civil war set in an unspecified country. Evading the army, rebels, bandits, gods, and demons, they head to the one place no one dares go to the Haunted City at the heart of the country. There they seek out the White Witch, who rules the City and who’s either their ticket out or their worst nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
JULIET – Courtney Keir
ISHMAEL – Brandon Knox
THEO/MATTHEW – Julian Ford
STEVEN/ADJAI – Sean Ballantyne
JIM – David Guthrie
NURIYAH – Meghan Allen

*****

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Power Loss by Jennifer Renner

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy

Synopsis: Episode 32.5 of the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The station welcomes visitors from a planet in the Gamma Quadrant that allows only women to hold positions of authority.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Brandon Knox
BENNI – Susan Wilson
SORYA/KIRA – Meghan Allen
DAX/LELA – Courtney Keir
ODO – Julian Ford
BASHIR/QUARK – David Guthrie
SISKO/RISHTA – Sean Ballantyne

TV PILOT Winning Reading – The Spectral City by Arthur Vincie

Deadline for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival: https://tvfestival.org/

Watch the TV Pilot Screenplay Winner for July 2016:

The Spectral City by Arthur Vincie

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, War, Supernatural

Three refugees, thrown together by chance, flee a modern-day civil war set in an unspecified country. Evading the army, rebels, bandits, gods, and demons, they head to the one place no one dares go to the Haunted City at the heart of the country. There they seek out the White Witch, who rules the City and who’s either their ticket out or their worst nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
JULIET – Courtney Keir
ISHMAEL – Brandon Knox
THEO/MATTHEW – Julian Ford
STEVEN/ADJAI – Sean Ballantyne
JIM – David Guthrie
NURIYAH – Meghan Allen

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

“The Spectral City” is a war/supernatural story, about six refugees trying to flee a modern-day civil war. Thrown together by chance, and pursued by the army, rebels, bandits, monsters, and gods, they head for the one place no one dares go – the Haunted City in the heart of the country. Will it be the key to their salvation, or the beginning of an even worse fate?

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

“The Spectral City” is about the people who are usually left out of war stories – the civilians. By focusing on their struggles for survival, redemption, and healing, we can avoid the usual war story cliches. It’s about ordinary people finding extraordinary grit in the face of adversity. By combining the war and supernatural/horror genres, the story brings out the inner as well as outer conflicts of the characters. This keeps the scale human-sized while also delivering an epic tale. The story aims to humanize refugees and those who are caught in the gears of war.

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

Surviving warfare

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

“Firefly” for its imaginative use of dialog, its balance of humor, and its blending of genres.

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

Two years.

6. How many stories have you written?

In addition to “Spectral City,” I’ve written several spec scripts, and wrote and directed two features, “Caleb’s Door” and “Found In Time.” I’m currently writing and directing a webseries, “Three Trembling Cities.”

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I was interested in exploring the stories of people who’ve been caught up in civil wars. I was “inspired” by the stories of the child soldiers who were conscripted into both sides of the Sierra Leone civil war. Later I read up on the civilians who fled or who are currently fleeing the wars in Mali, Sudan, Libya, Georgia, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Syria, the border wars in Assam (India), and other recent (and in some cases ongoing) conflicts.

I also wanted to write something a little more grounded in “reality” (my last project was a sci-fi film, “Found In Time.”)

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

Finding the right balance between natural and supernatural elements. The supernatural part of the story reflects how people fall back into superstition when confronted with extreme chaos (soldiers are extremely superstitious). I also wanted the country depicted in the story to be a “blend” of real-world places and cultures, so that it felt alive and complex; but I didn’t want the reader to pin the country to a specific location.

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

Directing, still photography, reading. I’m a science and history nerd. I’m a closet drummer.

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

I thought the festival was a good fit for the material, and I was excited at the prospect of having the project read aloud. I thought the initial feedback was terrific and it helped me quite a bit.

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

Your first script (and maybe the one after that) is probably going to suck, but that’s okay – you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. It’s all about practice, and developing a discipline of some kind, so that you’re always writing, rewriting, researching, or recharging (so you can write again).

Don’t get too bogged down in details that you can work out later. Don’t get obsessed with perfection. Those are great ways to keep from ever finishing a draft.

It’s good to get a basic grasp of screenplay formatting and structure, and outlining is helpful, but memorable characters make or break the script. Don’t be afraid of not knowing where a scene is going – sometimes the best stuff comes up when you’re in a corner and you don’t know what you’re supposed to write next.

Jealousy, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and outrage can be your best friends as long as they don’t cripple you. Those “negative” emotions can keep you at the keyboard typing away or rewriting.

Find creative partnerships (with actors, producers, directors, other writers) – it’s too hard to go it alone in this field. These folks can give you honest feedback, help you get things off the ground, support you when you’re down. And you’ll do the same for them.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson