Winning TV Screenplays for March 2018

Watch readings of the winning screenplays performed by professional actors:

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay of the show TRANSPARENT
March 2018 Reading
by Marisaa Lessman
ACTORTV 1st Scene Screenplay – JAKOB’S COVE
March 2018 Reading
by Travis Darkow
ACTORTV 1st Scene Screenplay – TOUCH
March 2018 Reading
by Robert Cox
ACTORTV Best Scene Screenplay – WHAT THE HELL
March 2018 Reading
by Melissa Willis

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

Director: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: Kimberly Villarruel
Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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TV Spec of TRANSPARENT “The Board Shorts”, by Marissa Lessman

 

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Maura is haunted by her old life as Josh and Ali set up a garage sale while Sarah and Shelley try to throw the perfect Purim party resulting in an unexpected outcome.

CAST LIST:

Gary:  Allan Cooke
Ali: Rachel Rain Packota
Josh: Geoff Mays
Narrator: Olivia Jon
Maura: Shawn Devlin
Shelley: Lesley Ballantyne
Sarah: Jennifer Vallance

Get to know the writer:

 1. What is your TV SPEC screenplay about?

*This is an episode of the most beloved Transparent. The episode centers around Sarah and Len having people over for Purim while Ally, Josh and Maura attempt to have a garage sale to sell Maura’s old possessions.

2. How does this episode fit into the context of the rest of the series?

*I foresaw this episode being at the beginning of Season 3, as Sarah is fighting to get involved in the Temple.

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

Dysfunctional and Endearing.

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

Several. Transparent, FRIENDS, New Girl, GIRLS and Top Chef: Just Desserts.

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

I had worked on it for 9 months from conception until the draft I sent in for consideration.

6. How many stories have you written?

I have written over 30 screenplays, many more plays, and I make up stories in head about every 3 seconds.

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

Tough one. I think “Learn to Fly” by The Foo Fighters is the song I ALWAYS come back to.

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

I am absolutely terrible with spelling and grammar. Terrible. So I always find polishing a script difficult without the outside eye of my production partner and my editor.

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

Helping others, laughing, eating, and my little dog.

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

I have been trying to continue to get my work to any and all audience, and a live reading seemed like a great way to do so. I have enjoyed working with wild sound and I think the feedback I received was apt and helpful.

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

As a wonderful teacher of mine said ,” heart over big jokes,” Meaning, if every word you write is coming from the heart of the character, it WILL work. If the joke is not, it just becomes too hard.

AND DONT EVER GIVE UP. IT WILL BREAK BEFORE YOU DO.

 

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

Director: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: Kimberly Villarruel

Camera Op: Mary Cox

TV PILOT 1st Scene Script – JAKOB’S COVE, by Travis Darkow

 

Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense

A crazy mash up of The X-Files and Supernatural, but with more violence, old school noir detective movies like The Maltese Falcon, and the soundtrack style of Stranger Things or It Follows, 80’s synthesizer and all.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Peter Nelson
Det. Jameson: Neil Bennett

Get to know the writer: 

 1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

A seasoned detective is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate an increasing number of disappearances. As he digs into the town and the locals, he soon discovers that the reasons for these disappearances begin to point to the paranormal, and the seemingly quiet Jakob’s Cove is a mere facade for a much darker reality that brews within the town. Detective Jameson doesn’t learn it in the pilot, but the audience sees that Scarlett has some sort of “abilities” and turns out soon thereafter to be a witch. Scarlett along with two other witches, and a cloaked group of mysterious figures from the community known in secret as The Order of the Blood Raven control some sort of inter-dimensional rift that is a gateway to tangent realms where thought-to-be mythical creatures and monsters exist. The witches, in a pact with a family of vampires, are the ones taking the missing people, and sacrificing them to an overlord of these realms in exchange for power. The pilot sets up the horror/supernatural aspect, as well as introducing the main characters, all while leaving enough mystery as to what’s to come, that I think is really exciting.

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

I truly believe this world I’ve begun to create would make a wonderfully strange canvas on which to paint a compelling horror/supernatural mystery tale. I have spent so many hundreds of hours working on developing Jakob’s Cove, not just as a script, but as a “real” place. Mainly for my own sake, I have worked out and outlined potentially where the entire show could go as a series, and I have found myself in some very interesting places creatively in doing so. I have outlined multiple seasons to see what types of obstacles our ragtag group of protagonists could face. Each season would present a new creature or two (werewolves, extraterrestrials etc.) that have been summoned through the space-time rift that lies in the crypts beneath the cemetery, that is controlled by the group of witches. I visualized Jakob’s Cove as a series that starts off strange and doesn’t let up. I imagine each episode as no nonsense, fast paced horror, mystery and suspense, always leaving the viewer craving the next episode, as Jameson transforms from stern detective to monster hunting badass who has to expel these beasts back into the void. I think this blend of supernatural horror, mystery, and everyday people becoming the heroes over this dark little town would be an intense, strange and satisfying watch for audiences to keep coming back to, as the possibilities of what could happen and where it could go are potentially limitless.

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

Cosmic and Frenetic

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

I am currently watching Sons of Anarchy for the third time now, I can’t get enough of Kurt Sutter’s writing and character development. I’ve seen Breaking Bad in it’s entirety three times so far, and Firefly I’ve seen probably five or six times now.

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

I originally outlined the overall idea for Jakob’s Cove 4 years ago, back then it was only going to be a short story, until I saw the potential for expanding this world. I wrote the first draft about 7 or 8 months ago, then sat on it for a while as I continued with the handful of other projects I’m working on. I wrote the 2nd draft maybe 4 months ago, and the 3rd and most current draft the very next day after receiving my feedback from you guys.

6. How many stories have you written?

I am constantly writing stories and outlining ideas for future projects. Currently I have 4 other screenplays I’m developing that range from a heist film, to a zombie-western, a horror-comedy and another horror movie. I have written and shot around 10 or so no budget short films since high school, and recently finished the script for another short film that I plan to shoot this summer. I have written 9 children’s books so far, and have another handful that I’m currently rotating between working on as well as trying to get them published. I also have a large collection of poetry I write, and about 5 other short stories I’m also working on.

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

It’s too hard to choose, so I would just have to say currently that it’s probably Misery by Creeper.

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

The biggest obstacle I think was that initially I started to visualize Jakob’s Cove as a short story, so when my wife threw out the idea of turning it into a television pilot I thought it was perfect, I just had to rework it a lot and expand a massive amount. From there I outlined where the entire series could potentially go as well as each season, and the story arcs of each character to better understand the world itself before tackling the pilot.

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

I am very passionate about my wife Kelsey and our dog Jax. I love more than anything to spend time with them. Aside from that I love video games, as well as writing and creating music

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

I have always been passionate about writing from a very young age. After so many years of only getting to write in my spare time between working a job I have close to zero passion for, I put one thought into my head and made myself a promise. That promise was that I am not going to rest until my writing is how I support my family. I thought that the feedback I received was very insightful and I appreciated it greatly. It showed that my script was actually read and thought about, and it was definitely useful in how I approached the 3rd draft of my script.

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

I love FilmFreeway, I think it’s an extremely helpful tool for writers of any experience level. It’s very easy to search festivals that are specifically catered to what you’re looking for, and I love having all my screenwriting submissions available in one spot, it makes them much easier to manage.

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

Any advice I would give to other writers would be to never ever give up, no matter how hard it seems to get your work seen, or how unrewarding it feels at times. If you were meant to write then you will find a way to just do it. Also, connecting with people and networking is crucial I believe. Get your work out there, keep writing, and never let anyone or anything deter you from what you love to do.

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Camera Op: Mary Cox

TV COMEDY BEST SCENE Reading of Crude Investigations, by Chris Roberts

Genre: Comedy

Logline: In this mockumentary, a frustrated and guilt-ridden ghost hunter and his comically inept squad of investigators have one night to find evidence of the afterlife to save their cable TV show.

CAST LIST:
Narrator: Val Cole
Harv: Peter-Mark Raphael
Chris: Scott McCulloch
Sohrab: Gabriel Darku

Get to know the writer:

 
1. What is your screenplay about?
After his sponsor gives him an ultimatum, a guilt-ridden ghost hunter and his comically inept and dysfunctional squad of investigators have one night to find evidence of the afterlife to save their cable TV show.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
Tough question. I would put it in the comedy/paranormal/mockumentary genre.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It shouldn’t be. It’s a TV pilot.

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

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

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
It’s been a 6 year labour of love.

7. How many stories have you written?
Two.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Life got in the way, had to put the script away for almost 2 years before dusting it off and finishing it. By far my biggest obstacle was (and still is) trying to pairing down the script from 90 odd pages to 60.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Aside from my family, hockey, coaching and healthy living.
 

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

Director: Kierston Drier

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Camera Op: Mary Cox

November 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

 

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay of BETTER CALL SAUL
November 2017 Reading
by Jimmy Prosser
ACTORFANTASY TV PILOT Screenplay – EIRE’S SONG
November 2017 Reading
by Kristen Nedopak

 

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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

Winning TV PILOT Reading of MINNIE NOIR, by Katie Grotzinger

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Becky Shrimpton
Minnie: Kate Varadi
Nick: Scott Beaudin
Dash: Merlin Simard
Ms. Kirkpatrick: Mahtab Sabet
Connor: Allan Brunet
Lincoln: Anthony Tran

Get to know the writer: 

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Minnie Hughes is a hardboiled noir detective that also just so happens to also be the shortest girl in the fourth grade. When a candidate for class president’s show and tell South African ostrich egg goes missing, Minnie jumps on the case. Meanwhile, she also deals with her best friend Lincoln Park feeling under appreciated after she calls him her secretary and struggles with asking her crush, Vijay Sampat, a kind of male femme fatale, to be her dance partner for gym class.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

There are so many wonderful cartoons right now inspired by Japanese anime. They take joy in taking the viewer to strange lands and entertaining them with awesome action sequences. I think that’s great, but I also think there’s much to be mined from American genres like noir. Additionally, I think there’s room for quieter shows that embrace more what it’s like to be a kid. I think Hey Arnold and Recess both did that beautifully and I’d like to write something like that for kids growing up.

Most of all, Minnie is for every weirdo kid that finds solace into escaping into another world for one reason or another. For Minnie, it’s noir and her love of mystery comes from the fact that she never got to know her parents, so they’re the biggest mystery of all. If this show could make some kid feel less alone, that would the greatest honor.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Kid Noir

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

South Park!

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Good question! This was actually my thesis project for my Screenwriting MFA at DePaul University in Chicago. I worked on this for a few semesters and now continue to tinker with it off and on.

How many stories have you written?

Quite a few! I try to write every day and have accumulated hundreds of false starts over the years. I have a handful of scripts I’m truly proud of.

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

I’d say right now it’s “Something Beautiful” by Pansy Division.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I had a clear idea of the A story in mind from the get go, but my MFA thesis professor and classmates really challenged me to flesh out the B and C stories and I think the pilot is much stronger for it.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m a total true crime geek. I regularly follow two true crime podcasts – The Last Podcast on the Left and My Favorite Murder. Both are absolutely fantastic. If I can’t think of anything to watch, I’ll turn on a cheesy serial killer documentary. Also, my favorite true crime book right now is The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing by Dan Morse.

Believe or not, my fascination with The Zodiac Killer actually made its way into an episode of Minnie Noir I’ve been writing – the Christmas special to boot! Nothing violent though, of course. Minnie just struggles to crack a mysterious, intensely complicated code from letters she’s received. (The code, naturally, is composed from stickers.)

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

Despite working and reworking on this pilot as much as I have, I still recognize that it could always be better. I have a big place in my heart for this story and I want to do anything I can to make it the best it can be, so feedback is a must.

And it’s funny! See, originally, I had two characters named Connor. This was for a couple of reasons. For one, when I was growing up, there was a year where we had three Connors to one class, all spelled the same way, only to be identified by the first initial of their last name. I also have a common name and there’s usually another Katie, so I empathized. It seems like such a staple of childhood. It was also a shoutout to shows I loved growing up like Ed, Edd n’ Eddy and the Ashleys from Recess where the same names are part of the camaraderie and comedy.

But I had gotten the note before that having two Connors was confusing. I finally made the change when I got the note from you guys! Thank you for finally getting me to change it.

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

It’s been stellar! I’ve submitted a bunch of stuff through FilmFreeway and appreciate how easy it is to find specific contests for certain projects.

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

I have difficulty finishing scripts unless I have someone to bounce ideas off of. Having a community of writers, or even just one friend, to get feedback from makes scripts come together so much easier and better than they would be in just the isolated writer bubble we all sometimes fall into. Also, watch episodes or read scripts similar to what you’re going for. It’s not only fun, but it’ll give you some inspiration.

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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

February 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for February 2017:

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay – ECHOES OF BONNIEVILLE
February 2017 Reading
Written by Simon Schneider

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay – THE FLASH TV series
February 2017 Reading
Written by Nader Hobballah

ACTORFAN FICTION Screenplay – POPEYE “SPINACH RUN”
February 2017 Reading
Written by Neil Chase

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne