Winning TV SPEC Screenplay – BETTER CALL SAUL, by Jimmy Prosser

Genre: Crime, Drama

Suspended lawyer Jimmy McGill endures community service at a high school where he meets an accused teen, while Mike searches for the distributor of Cheese, a popular new drug.

Narrator: Val Cole
Jimmy: Noah Casey
Mike: David Schaap
Bobby/Nacho: Gabriel Darku
Talbot/Hector: Neil Bennett
Secretary: Clare Blackwood
Kim: Lauren Toffan

Get to know the writer:

What is your TV Spec screenplay about?

The logline is “Suspended lawyer Jimmy McGill endures community service at a high school where he meets an accused teen, while Mike searches for the distributor of Cheese, a popular new drug.” Going deeper, this episode provides viewers a better understanding of why Jimmy McGill cares about his clients, and particularly those over their head and in situations they did not anticipate. In a flashback, we see teen Jimmy (along with young buddy Marco) devising a clever money making scam but abandoned by older brother Chuck once caught. In present day, Jimmy identifies too closely with an accused teen as he struggles to find a way to defend him. We also learn more about the Hector/Gus rivalry as they make moves to expand from meth to a new heroin derivative that became very hot in this time frame.

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

“QUESO” would be Episode 26 ½ (during Season 3 between episodes 6/7) and opens on Jimmy’s first attempt to satisfy his community service requirements following his suspension by the New Mexico Bar Association.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Achilles heal

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

The show I’ve watched repeatedly over the years is “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Each of the characters are perfectly drawn and I admire the writers’ willingness to really push boundaries. However, the show that I currently admire most is “Black Mirror.” I have been focusing on one-hour drama and, as I work on my own pilot and series bible, the tone and structure of “Black Mirror” is what keeps coming to mind. If I could write for one show, it’s “Black Mirror.”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I will be graduating in a few months from New York University’s (NYU), Tisch School of the Arts, where I study Dramatic Writing and Producing in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. I’ve written plays, screenplays and sitcoms, but this script, QUESO, is my first one hour drama spec, which I wrote over 12 weeks this past summer.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve always liked to tell stories – but mostly orally to my family and friends. About 4 years ago, I began dramatic writing in earnest so over that time I must have written 20-30 short stories, plays, screenplays, sitcoms and now television drama scripts.

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

Being a kid growing up in San Diego during the 2000s, I have to say “I Miss You” by Blink-182.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I believe I’ve been able to capture the characters/dialogue and tone of “Better Call Saul” pretty well so the toughest part for me is to formulate the proper four act structure in a way that really communicates the right arc for the A, B and C stories.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Music, definitely. My favorite escapes are listening to music alone or grabbing instruments to play with my buddies as loudly as we can. When I write, a soundtrack always is in my head.

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

As I mentioned before, I’ve written a lot but this is my first drama spec so I was anxious to hear objective feedback. Some of the feedback I received was right on; some I think missed aspects of the script, especially when it comes to Jimmy’s motivation to help Bobby.

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

FilmFreeway has been great. My first experience with it was submitting a short screenplay, “NOTEWORTHY,” which won several festivals and is going to be shot in January. We hope to submit that completed short film to several of the best festivals next year via FilmFreeway because it is very easy to use.

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

As painful as it is, I feel that you must create a full beat sheet before trying to write the script! Once that solid outline is in place, the writing comes much easier. It is tempting to write a fun standalone scene as soon as you think of it, but if you don’t have your structure in place you may find yourself spending too much time trying to wedge that scene into the overall story. 

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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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September 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 4 TV Screenplay Winners for September 2017:

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay – QUANTICO Show
September 2017 Reading
by Leslie Lyshkob

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay – BOJACK HORSEMAN show
September 2017 Reading
by Cameron Chapman

ACTORTV 1st Scene Screenplay – KODAK MOMENT
September 2017 Reading
by John Cruz Alarid

ACTORTV 1st Scene Screenplay – CELTIC BLOOD
September 2017 Reading
by Richard William Masterson

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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

2017 – Best of DRAMA TV Show Pitches and Loglines

Browse the best of DRAMA Television show loglines and story pitches from around the world. 

LOOSE THREADS, by Celeste Martinez

MY NON LOSING SEASON, by Ian Hughes

THE ARISTOCRATIC ENSLAVER, by O.C. Wells

THE CRUCIFIX, by Rhys Comerford

DUAL RELATIONSHIPS PROPOSAL, by John Serafinko

CASTLE ROCK, by Crystal Melville

BABYLON, by Mariah Robinson

JUST A FEW, by Ford Jones

LASSITER, by Walker Gavin

TOWN OF SECRETS, by Ernest Connell

RUMBLING BLUE THUNDER, by Paul Grubb

COMMUNITY SERVICE: MINNEAPOLIS, by Anica Moore

ORACLES, by JD Epstein

RENTAL, by Adam Beal

MIAMI NIGHTS, by Kevin Goodson

THE GOLDEN AGE, by Jon Davis

GOD SPEED, by Mary Seroczynski

BENJAMIN HALL, by Denise Wax

THE AMERICAN ROYALTY, by Delio Oliveira

THE MISADVENTURES OF ANGEL, by Raven Yhelka

PRICE, by E.E.

FROM HELL AND BACK, by Brandon Cline

BECOMING MORTAL, by MK McFaddden

VERSES AND RHYMES, by Nicky Osivwemu

ZERO TOLERANCE, by Marcela Tingle

ACEWATER, by Christian Chedrawi

MISSION OF A DREAM, by GR Writer

PUT IT WRITE, by Yael Maurer

AMERICAN INN, by Stefano Labbia Manfredi

REBEL DOVE, by Linda Daly

 

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