Watch TV Spec Table Reading of VEEP

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

TV SPEC: VEEP “Town Hall”
by Emily Cirillo

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

TV SPEC: VEEP “Town Hall”
by Emily Cirillo

SYNOPSIS:

The episode, titled “Town Hall”, is about Selina trying to connect with millennial voters after disparaging poll numbers are released. Dan and Amy, fighting for the Campaign Manager position, have different ideas on how to win them over. And Jonah makes things more difficult for Selina and the staff after he accidentally opens a virus that crashes their office server. The episode culminates at a Town Hall event Selina attends at a local university, where she realizes winning the youth vote is easier said than done.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Frances Townend
Selina – Jacqueline Brown
Amy – Julia Vally
Sue – Alicia Payne
Mike – Charles Gordon
Ben – Neil Kulin
Adam – Kaleb Alexander
Dan – Rob Salerno
Jonah – Sean Ballantyne

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

TV PILOT Table Reading – MINDWALKER by Thorsten Loos

Andrew Kinderman, a loner and scifi geek without any friends, witnesses the murder of his neurobiology professor and is shot by the killers as well. His mind is catapulted out of his now comatose body and is ‘anchored’ to the only person he really cares about: The actress of his favourite mystery TV show, Australian beauty Anna Chastings. She is terrified when Andrew’s spirit manifests in her villa and thinks he’s a hallucination caused by too much work, but soon realizes this guy is really in trouble. When he accidentially overhears her boyfriend who is cheating on her, he manages to convince her that he is real by telling her about it. She starts to feel sympathy for him and agrees to fly back to New York to help Andrew return back to his body. As soon as they start to call hospitals in order to find Andrew’s body, they catch the attention of the FBI which is investigating the case and Anna ends up as a major suspect. Meanwhile, we learn Andrew’s professor had been working on some kind of mind control / precognition technology. A mysterious organization has stolen his research and is trying it on test persons. Part of the conspiracy is senior FBI agent William Curtis who doesn’t like the extra attention caused by a celebrity involved in the case he is trying to cover up.

MINDWALKER is the winning TV Pilot screenplay from February 2016.

MINDWALKER by Thorsten Loos

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
ANNA – Allison Kampf
ANDREW – Sean Kaufmann
SAMANTHA – Kelci Stephenson
WILLIAM – Sasha Rajamani
LEROY – Chris Reid-Geisler
ETHAN/THOMAS – Jarrid Terrell

Get to know writer Thorsten Loos:

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Andrew Kinderman, a loner and scifi geek without any friends, witnesses the murder of his neurobiology professor and is shot by the killers as well. His mind is catapulted out of his now comatose body and is ‘anchored’ to the only person he really cares about: The actress of his favourite mystery TV show, Australian beauty Anna Chastings. She is terrified when Andrew’s spirit manifests in her villa and thinks he’s a hallucination caused by too much work, but soon realizes this guy is really in trouble. When he accidentially overhears her boyfriend who is cheating on her, he manages to convince her that he is real by telling her about it. She starts to feel sympathy for him and agrees to fly back to New York to help Andrew return back to his body. As soon as they start to call hospitals in order to find Andrew’s body, they catch the attention of the FBI which is investigating the case and Anna ends up as a major suspect. Meanwhile, we learn Andrew’s professor had been working on some kind of mind control / precognition technology. A mysterious organization has stolen his research and is trying it on test persons. Part of the conspiracy is senior FBI agent William Curtis who doesn’t like the extra attention caused by a celebrity involved in the case he is trying to cover up.

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

Because I’d love to watch it! Seriously, I think my screenplay provides a lot of opportunities for a long running TV show. Andrew’s character development from a zero to a hero, the development of his relationship with Anna which should be both funny – given their entirely different backgrounds, as well as conflict-driven as Anna is a celebrity with a lot of liabilities which stand in conflict to Andrew’s need of her help. There is the mystery part of the story, circling around that mysterious organization which is doing all kinds of borderline-tech experiments to people which will make a good bunch of investigation cases for Anna, Andrew and their FBI allies and the more they progress towards the root of the evil, the stakes are constantly rising as they slowly begin to realize the extent of the conspiracy behind all that.

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

unlikely allies

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

There are quite a few, I love rewatching old 80ies / 90ies scifi series like for example (list is not intended to be exhaustive):
Quantum Leap, Star Trek – TNG, The X-Files, Earth2, Sliders, Seven Days, Farscape, Earth Final Conflict, Roswell, Stargate SG-1.

Most recent shows I loved and watched every episode at least once were Fringe and Haven.

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

I got the first draft down in about four weeks and kept rewriting, submitting, taking feedback and rewriting again for at least about a year.

6. How many stories have you written?

Three of my own, original TV show pilots, a good bunch of shorts and a sci-fi / horror feature. Besides that I’m currently writing parts of episodes for an independent TV show project.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I guess the initial motivation / kick-off idea was to have a team of protagonists with completely contrary characters and backgrounds. Combine that with a scifi-plot, a lurking conspiracy and a bag full of ideas for supernatural / paranormal phenomena-like cases Mulder and Scully would have loved to investigate, and at the end of the day, I had Mindwalker in my hands.

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

As I’m a non-native english speaker (and writer), language details, nuances in the usage of the language, are always an obstacle I have to overcome. Hopefully you come to the conclusion I finally made it with this draft. Another obstacle and big part of the work is research. For example: You think you can just write a hospital scene with a realistic dialogue between an emergency doc and the clinic staff without researching? Good luck.

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

Unlikely for a German, I’m a big fan of the Major League Baseball. Maybe it’s the prejudice about Germans which says they love statistics which sticks here, I don’t know. Besides that, I’ve been studying computer science in my earlier life, so I’m a natural tech geek and still do some coding here and there.

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

I don’t really remember how I ended up on the Wildsound page, but once I’ve been there, I watched some of the table reads and thought about how cool it would be to see my own scripts performed by those actors. My feelings about the initial feedback I received were devastating – I had just completed the early 5th or 6th draft of Mindwalker and was really happy with it, and then these people tell me it wasn’t ready yet.

Thankfully, the feedback included loads of helpful notes, and when I read through them I wondered how I could have missed these flaws in the first place. Numerous drafts later, I decided to resubmit the script and Wildsound accepted it. That was a great feeling, similar to placing in a contest. It’s a very rewarding feeling to get positive feedback and the acknowledgement.

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

The best advice I can give is to never take any feedback personal, be honest to yourself, read as many scripts as possible and most important: Always keep writing.

 

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

 

TWO EMPERORS, Best Scene TV PILOT Reading by Paul Gross

The six-part miniseries traces the parallel lives of Beethoven and Napoleon, their formative years, their loves, their interrelationships via music and their passages to their final years.

Watch the Best Scene Reading of TWO EMPERORS:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Amaka Umeh
LUDWIG – Isaac Alfie
NEEFE – Julian Ford

Get to know the writer Paul Gross:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Paul: The six-part miniseries traces the parallel lives of Beethoven and Napoleon, their formative years, their loves, their interrelationships via music and their passages to their final years. 

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

Paul: The two lives have been the subject of many feature films and TV productions. This is the first six-part series that attempts to link their lives in a dramatic fashion. It is also the first to show the genius of the two men, their flaws and their attempts to deal with love and adversity.

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

Paul: Scrutinising greatness.

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

Paul: House of Cards

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

Paul: Two years

Matthew:  How many stories have you written?

Paul: Four books, one feature screenplay, one TV miniseries, one thriller.

Matthew:  What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

Paul: The music of a flawed genius, the flaws of a powerful ruler and the possibility that they might have met and liked one another fleetingly.

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

Paul: Converting  dry accounts of two histories into a drama that reveals motivations, passions and tragedies.

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

Paul: Classical music

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

Paul: I like competition and I am very happy with all feedback, particularly negatives that I can turn into a better script.

The feedback in this festival was valid and had the desired impact as the revised script is now short-listed in four festivals or competitions

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

Paul: Scriptwriting is hard, even when you love it.

Stepping back from many beloved drafts and ditching them is the price of acceptance by those who read them.

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

 

 

 

January 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for January 2016:

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

Watch the 3 TV Screenplay Winners for January 2016:

TV PILOT – LACIE BIDWELL
Written by Jameel Khan

SYNOPSIS:

LACIE BIDWELL is about a girl who’s father created a zombie virus that killed thousands. It’s twelve years later and she’s in college and still has to deal with being the daughter of one of the most hated men in the world.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
LACIE – Elizabeth Owens Skidmore
CHALMERS – Nick Baillie
HOPE – Maya Woloszyn
JEFF/BEN – Jovan Kocic
DAVID/OMAR – Christopher Huron
SAITO – Mandy May Cheetham

TV PILOT – LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
Written by Debi Calabro

SYNOPSIS:

Life in the Fast Lane is about three very different families and how their involvement in the sport of horse racing brings them together.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JESSIE – Maya Woloszyn
SAL – Christopher Huron
MARIA/SONIA – Mandy May Cheetham
JAMES/RYAN – Nick Baillie
SCARECROW/MICHAEL – Kaleb Alexander
YOUNG SAL – Jovan Kocic

TV SPEC – UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Written by Jen Turriff

SYNOPSIS:

In this spec of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ Kimmy quickly becomes addicted to an iPad game. As she discovers she unknowingly made in-app purchases, she has to find a creative way to pay her debts. Meanwhile, Titus battles his own obsession and Jacqueline struggles with her need to be accepted by Xan.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Christopher Huron
KIMMY – Mandy May Cheetham
TITUS – Kaleb Alexander
JACQUELINE – Elizabeth Owens Skidmore
BUCKLEY – Jovan Kocic
SALES WOMAN – Maya Woloszyn

____

Director/Producer – Matthew Toffolo

Editor – John Johnson

Casting Director – Sean Ballantyne

 

 

 

TV SPEC Reading UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT by Jen Turriff

I think I found that the key to writing for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is finding that balance between Kimmy as a naive, sort of unaware of how the world works, and Kimmy as the brave, independent woman that would take on a city like New York. There are two sides to her, I think you have to kind of balance the story in the same way. I like to think that I did that with the surface story of Kimmy becoming addicted to an iPad app and racking up a big bill of those in-app purchases, but beyond that, if you look a little deeper, there’s a bigger story about addiction and how easy it is for someone to fall into a bad habit. Again, there’s that balance.

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is the January 2016 winning TV Spec. Watch the table reading performed by professional actors.

TV SPEC: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
by Jen Turriff

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Christopher Huron
KIMMY – Mandy May Cheetham
TITUS – Kaleb Alexander
JACQUELINE – Elizabeth Owens Skidmore
BUCKLEY – Jovan Kocic
SALES WOMAN – Maya Woloszyn

 

Get to know writer Jen Turriff:

1. What is your screenplay on the Netflix show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” about?

Believe it or not, the idea of the spec of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” that I wrote, came from my experience with addiction to Peanut Butter M&Ms. It was a brief, but intense time in my life that caused me much anguish and inevitable weight gain. I always like to write from real life, after all, it’s what I know. So that’s why I chose to write about that particular experience; it was an innocent enough premise on the surface for Kimmy, with the ability to go much deeper.

The next step was figuring out how to translate my story into Kimmy’s. It took awhile, but I eventually found a way to make it work for a 30-something with the mindset of a preteen. In “Kimmy Gets Addicted!” Buckley shows Kimmy a gaming app on his iPad and she quickly becomes addicted. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize she’s spending loads of money on in-app purchases – worse, it’s linked to Jacqueline’s account. Kimmy has to figure out a way to make the money and pay her back. That’s where Titus comes in, who is in the meantime on a quest to purchase the fur coat of his dreams at a consignment shop. The duo have to work together to achieve their goals.

2. Why does this screenplay fit into the context of the show?

I think I found that the key to writing for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is finding that balance between Kimmy as a naive, sort of unaware of how the world works, and Kimmy as the brave, independent woman that would take on a city like New York. There are two sides to her, I think you have to kind of balance the story in the same way. I like to think that I did that with the surface story of Kimmy becoming addicted to an iPad app and racking up a big bill of those in-app purchases, but beyond that, if you look a little deeper, there’s a bigger story about addiction and how easy it is for someone to fall into a bad habit. Again, there’s that balance.

Also, I wrote it to fit into the first half of the first season sort of generically. It’s sort of got an ambiguous timeline, and at the same time uses all of the main characters in the show at that time.

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

(TWO WORDS? That’s impossible! It’s not going to be good…)

Kimmy’s addiction?

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

Seinfeld; never gets old.

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

This particular script took about two months to plan, write, rewrite, etc. It’s been a few months since I’ve “finished” it (i.e. the version you’re seeing read aloud), and I’m looking forward to feedback.

6. How many stories have you written?
Initially when I started writing comedy, I only wanted to be a late night show writer. I’ve written countless late night packets. It wasn’t until a fairly recent (within the year) chat with a manager in LA, that spurred me to try a spec script. That’s when this “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” came along. Since then I’ve also written a pilot.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It was definitely a discussion I had with a manager in LA. I had initially just wanted to write for late night, but she encouraged me to try writing a spec, and then a pilot, to sort of round out my writing portfolio. I’m really glad she did. I enjoyed the spec script process so much.

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

I actually pitched this idea first, then withdrew it, pitched two others, and chose one of those. I pursued that one for a good couple of weeks and just really… struggled. I think when you’re struggling you have to ask yourself if it’s because you’re not inspired by the story. I knew wholeheartedly that it was the first pitch that I really wanted to do, so I went back. It took me a few steps backwards in the process, but I caught up. It was worth it, obviously. It was way more personal, it clearly resonated with others, and it fit within the scope of the show well. Sometimes you have to go with your initial instinct.

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

Lots of things! Family – my brother and future sister-in-law just asked me to officiate their wedding; I’m now ordained. You can call me Reverend. I have a tiny dog who’s almost eight-years-old. He’s like my son. He can also be a little jerk. Speaking of animals, fun fact: I live in an artists’ community and paint pet portraits as a side business.

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

I was looking for a festival or competition that accepted spec scripts and this is one of the few that does. My feedback was great. It was specific and totally understandable. I actually used to write feedback for a company called Bluecat Screenplay Competition. Very similar.

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

I would only suggest that if you’re having trouble starting or aren’t sure how to go about writing a spec script or a pilot, what’s always ALWAYS helped me is making two outlines. First, a page-by-page outline. Just start with page one, #1, and write just one sentence describing what happens. Next #2, one sentence description, etc. It’s kinda tough to limit it to just one sentence, but try to keep it simple. Second, a classic outline. This is more descriptive. You can add in your scene headings, then a paragraph describing what takes place.

Hopefully that makes sense! Seriously from there it’s SO easy to write, write, write!

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Submit your TV Pilot to the Festival Today: https://tvfestival.org/