First Scene Reading of TV SPEC: RICK and MORTY TV Show, by Daniel Richardson

Watch the August 2017 TV SPEC Screenplay Winner.

Genre: Comedy, Animation

After shooting Summer and Morty with a ray that forces them to spout their inner monologues, Rick takes Beth out on a space adventure for her birthday.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Rick: Scott McCulloch
Morty: Brogan Caulfield
Beth: Julie Sheppard
Summer: Sandra Krstin
Jerry: Peter-Mark Raphael

 Get to know the writer:

What is your TV Pilot screenplay based on RICK AND MORTY about?

My speculative script for Rick and Morty is about developing a tangible relationship between Rick and Beth. The sub-plot focuses on gender roles and how people perceive them. I thought it was really fun to explore reactions to people speaking their mind as well as gender stereotypes through Morty and Summer’s schooling.

How does the episode fit into the context of the television show?

In the context of the show, this episode would fit somewhere in season 2. I wrote the screenplay whilst waiting for season 3 and it felt like a natural continuation of what preceded it. With the release of season 3 and the character changes that have already occurred, I’d now definitely place my screenplay as a season 2 episode.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Heaven Burning.

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

Bob’s Burgers is my favourite show to binge-watch. It reminds me of the wholesome, family oriented, comedy that was so successful in early episodes of The Simpsons (another show I have watched over and over again).

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The original draft was written in around a month, when I wasn’t too busy with work. The re-drafts and edits took about two months because of a busy schedule. During that time, I’d spend a lot of time jotting down fresh thoughts for the show and tinkering with ideas.

How many stories have you written?

I have written around 9 television specs and pilots, some of which will never see the light of day (for good reason). In terms of stories, I have a lot of notes outlining beats in old notepads. I think it is always good to have a bunch of ideas to draw off, even if you leave parts of the story behind. The only problem is sifting through the bad ideas.

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

My favourite song, by some margin, is Millencolin – ‘No Cigar’. It’s a great punk-rock song and was one of the first tracks that introduced me to the genre. I think the message of the song is fantastic and its support of diversity has made it a track that has grown in significance, for me personally, as the years have passed.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I found two big obstacles in writing this screenplay and they were time management and re-reading. Time management is pretty self explanatory, I wanted to give more time to the script than I had. The issue of re-reading your own work is that it’s quite an insular process and so I find myself growing tired of my own writing and questioning my jokes. During this time, it was really helpful to get friends to read the script and tell me what they liked/ disliked.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m a big fan of music, particularly punk and metal. I feel these genres offer interesting ideological perspectives and also my joy of music introduced me to working with radio which was really gratifying. I also love soccer (or football as we call it here in the UK). Between football, music and writing I play video-games when I’m tired of being passionate for the day.

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

The main thing that influenced me to enter WILDsound’s festival was the fact that they gave feedback. So many competitions demand a large amount of money for feedback or give non at all, as someone who considers himself to be a developing writer, these kinds of competitions didn’t offer as much room for me to grow.

I always think feedback is incredibly useful, but it puts you on an emotional rollercoaster. Scripts take so long to put together, that you become reluctant to see its flaws. With that said, the feedback I received was very helpful. On my first effort, the script relied on meta humor rather than real motivation for the continuation of the story. I think this is a problem that the writers of Rick and Morty have now found in season 3.

Episodes like ‘Rickmancing the Stone’ and ‘Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender’ both have moments where they outline the call to action or turn to the camera and skip to later in the story. These moments are too knowing and disrupt the story for a small comedic payoff. I like to think the final version of my screenplay avoided this disorientating style of humor and that’s thanks to the feedback I received.

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

Buy a notepad, pester any literate friends you have to read your work and plan your stories thoroughly before you write. Also, collaborations can be really helpful for developing your skills and getting out of an insular writing space!

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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

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Best Scene Reading – TV Pilot “My Life with Stella” by Linda Morganstein

I was thrilled with the possibility of hearing my script read by professional actors. The initial feedback from WILDsound helped me to make my scenes tighter, shorter and more visual. I also turned my actress (Stella) into a point of view character, which she was not in the novel.

Watch the Best Scene Reading from February 2016.

“My Life with Stella”  by Linda Morganstein

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Elizabeth Rose Morriss
STELLA – Amanda Pereira
MURRAY – Mark Sparks
KUBICEK – Gabriel Darku

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Get to know writer Linda Morganstein:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Linda Morganstein: “My Life with Stella Kane” is the story of a lesbian actress in forties and fifties Hollywood, her sham marriage to a gay male star, and her secret love relationship with the female publicist who arranged the marriage. An ensemble of characters, including the actress’s deaf sister and a black-balled iconic actress, struggle with the repressive times.

Matthew: Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Linda: Like “Mad Men,” “My Life with Stella Kane” portrays a fascinating segment of the recent past and its cultural influence on us, as well as provoking questions about our current attitudes, especially about diversity in the entertainment industry.

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

Linda: Bewitching. Sexy.

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

Linda: “The Good Wife,” for its strong female characters and its willingness to explore the not always so pleasant complexities of human nature. And its humor, which is essential for me.

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

Linda: Approximately a year and a number of drafts.

Matthew: How many stories have you written?

Linda: I have five published novels, numerous published poems and short stories, and a number of produced medical video scripts.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Linda: I wanted to adapt my novel, “My Life with Stella Kane.” My original motivation for the novel was wondering what it would be like for a trio of gay characters to “beat the Hollywood system” from within and what sacrifices they’d need to make.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Linda: The struggle to adapt a novel–especially my own–to the visual medium of film.

Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Linda: My family and friends, gardening, sourdough bread baking and golf.

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

Linda: I was thrilled with the possibility of hearing my script read by professional actors. The initial feedback from WILDsound helped me to make my scenes tighter, shorter and more visual. I also turned my actress (Stella) into a point of view character, which she was not in the novel.

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

Linda: All writers develop their scripts in different ways, but in the end, really know your characters and their story. I have many characters from my projects that I think of as real people.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson