Winning TV PILOT Reading of DOWN WITH THE BUREAUCRACY by Dimitry Pompée

Watch the January 2017 Winning TV PILOT Screenplay.

Best Scene from the screenplay DOWN WITH THE BUREAUCRACY Screenplay
Written by Dimitry Pompee

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
NATHAN – Gabriel Darku
KAREN/PAULA – Val Cole
LUKE – Nick Wicht
MYLES – Charles Gordon
ALLIE/NORA – Shannon McNally
QUINN – Catherine D’Angelo
BARLOWE – David Straus

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Political

After being framed for treason and losing his job at a prestigious DC lobbying firm, an arrogant grad student finds himself forced to take an entry-level position at the second-worst federal agency in America.

 Get to know the writer:

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

My pilot, Down With The Bureaucracy, is about an arrogant graduate student named Nathan who is forced to take an entry-level position at the second-worst federal agency in America in order to keep his academic scholarship. While Nathan is hostile to all of his coworkers at first, he finds he must convince them to help him save his job when his spiteful manager tries to fire him on the first day.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Aside from the fact that I think it would be a pretty funny show, I think there’s a huge audience for a sitcom about how ridiculous it can be working at the lower rungs of the federal government. We certainly have some amazing shows like Veep that mock the people in the corridors of power, but there are plenty of people in the lesser-known agencies who could use the same treatment.

At the same time, I also want to create a show that demonstrates the good that the federal workforce can do. Not only could this show derive material from the incompetence of the federal bureaucracy, it can show that there are plenty of talented and dedicated federal employees who are keeping this country afloat. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to endear people to their government than through a show about a group of bumbling coworkers who occasionally manage to do a decent job. Well, aside from a civics class.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Utterly rewarding.

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

It’s only rounding out its second season, but I think I’ve watched every episode of NBC’s Superstore about seventeen times each. It’s an excellent example of how to use an ensemble cast full of absurd characters to create a compelling and hilarious sitcom. The same can be said of The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Community, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and all the other shows I find myself watching again and again.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I’ve been working on this one for about two years and a half now. I recently compared the first draft from May 2014 with this current draft, and while many of the core pieces remain intact, it is radically different than it used to be. Hopefully, it’s better too!

How many stories have you written?

This is a difficult question to answer, because I have several scripts in various stages of “completion.” I would say that I have four scripts in what you might call late-stage drafts, and many others that are in earlier stages of editing, drafting, outlining, or nascent, amorphous chaos.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

When I was in grad school, I was also working full-time and I was very unhappy with my employment situation. I was bored and frustrated, and all of my job applications were met with silence, so I felt like I was stuck. I can’t even remember what the situation was, but one day, some nonsense happened at work and I said something to the effect of, “That is so stupid, it could be in a sitcom.” I started writing that very night. And I did end up leaving that job for something much better soon after, but not before taking extensive notes about working there that I’ve used in my pilot.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I don’t believe it’s done yet, but there have been some obstacles in getting it to this point. The most vexing obstacle for me was and remains developing a consistent writing habit, then sticking to it. I try do some writing during lunch at work, and then after coming home and foraging through the fridge for a somewhat healthy dinner, I write some more. Some days are better than others, but I figure as long as I can get SOMETHING down every day, I can count it as a success.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Video games, a free and open internet, and naps. Pretty much anything I can do on my couch.

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

I entered the festival precisely because of the reputation of the feedback. It can be challenging to find sources for insightful feedback when you’re outside of an academic or professional setting, especially if you’re just starting out and you have no connections. Several friends of mine who had previously entered the festival told me that the feedback they received was incredibly helpful, and I absolutely agree. After digesting and utilizing the notes I received, I can say with utmost certainty that my script is leagues ahead of where it was before the festival.

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

Many people have said this in much more insightful ways, but I’d advise other writers to always be open to receiving constructive feedback, and to seek it out specifically. It’s not easy hearing something you’ve been working on for a long time isn’t as good as you think it is, but receiving that type of criticism is essential to developing your skills as a writer. Don’t take it personally, don’t ignore it, and use it to improve your work.

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


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TV SPEC Reading – BROOKLYN NINE NINE by Linsen Oyosa

I was searching for festivals to which I could present my work. I had no idea that my script would even be good enough. I just wanted to hear some feedback. When I got the feedback, I was extremely happy because it was very detailed and helped me improve my work and of course, I was accepted into the festival.

Watch the June 2016 Winning TV Spec Screenplay. 

BROOKLYN NINE NINE  by Linsen Oyosa

Genre: Sitcom, Comedy, Crime

Synopsis: Jake and Charles try to take down a drug dealer. Meanwhile, Terry deals with inter-precinct theft and Holt helps Rosa deal with her recent politeness.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
JAKE – Christopher Huron
ROSA – Tracey Beltrano
CHARLES – Jeff Sinasic
TERRY – Deney Forrest
HOLT – John Lester Phillips
GINA – Laura Darby
AMY – Hannah Brenen

Get to know the winning writer: 

1. What is your screenplay based on the TV show “Brooklyn 99” about?

Jake and Charles try to take down a drug dealer. Meanwhile, in the precinct, Terry must find out who stole his yogurt and Holt helps Rosa deal with her recent politeness.

2. How does this episode fit into the context of the television show?

This episode fits into the context of the show because it stays true to the tone and nature of the show. It also shows these characters dealing with situations that would make the most of their personalities.

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

Funny, witty

4. What TV show do you watch over and over again?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, Parks and Recreation and Family Guy.

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

I worked on this screenplay for about two months, taking minor breaks during that period.

6. How many stories have you written?

I have written two stories including this one. The other is a feature screenplay. I am currently working on a second feature screenplay.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I love comedy as a genre for TV more than any other and I love this show in particular. I had been studying screenwriting for awhile and wanted to test my skills. Since this was a show I loved and watched religiously, I decided to start by writing a spec for it. I also felt that I understood the characters more than I did for any other show. This helped a lot.

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

Coming up with the different storylines was a bit of an obstacle at first. Making sure the character voices were accurate was another obstacle.

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

Apart from writing, I am passionate about Mathematics. Maybe one day I’ll create a show about Maths.

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

I was searching for festivals to which I could present my work. I had no idea that my script would even be good enough. I just wanted to hear some feedback. When I got the feedback, I was extremely happy because it was very detailed and helped me improve my work and of course, I was accepted into the festival.

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

If you are just beginning to write, I would suggest you find a genre you are truly passionate about. Study the shows or movies that you love in that genre. Focus on the types of characters within that universe and how you can use them to help create your own. Don’t give up. It’s a long journey but it’s certainly one worth taking.

****

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

 

TV PILOT Reading: WILD MAGIC by Julie Nichols

Watch the June 2016 Winning TV PILOT.

WILD MAGIC  by Julie Nichols

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Family, Fantasy, Drama, Comedy

A female teenager enters a typical High School and is immediately challenged by bully. Unbeknown to her she has the ability to do magic. It’s Buffy meets ABC Family.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
BRITTANY – Laura Darby
JILLIAN/LULU – Tracey Beltrano
ROSSALYN – Hannah Brenen
MARIO – Christopher Huron
SHANE – Deney Forrest
FERGUS – Jeff Sinasic
DOMINICK – John Lester Phillips

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your TV PILOT about?

Wild Magic is a comedy-drama about a half-elf, half-human, 16-year old princess from an enchanted island off the coast of Scotland. Now on the run from a demon hoard seeking to destroy her, Rossalyn hides out with her family and best friend, the impish fairy Luella, in the sunny Mecca of beach bunnies and surfer dudes: Orange County, California.

It’s kind of Outlander meets The O.C.

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

This show is funny. I think that’s what makes it different from a lot of other contemporary teen fantasies which are predominantly dramas and thrillers. The target audience (12 – 26 year olds) has an unquenchable appetite for comedy, most of it found on YouTube. The characters in Rossalyn are really colorful and fun, especially Rossalyn’s punk fairy sidekick. And the market is really strong. Science fiction and fantasy TV shows just seems to be getting more and more popular.

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

Fresh magic

4. What TV show do you watch over and over again?

I’ve watched a lot of the Outlander episodes over and over again. I’m a fan of the books and love what Ron Moore has done with the story for the series. Flipping channels, old Star Trek TNG episodes tend to make me put down the remote. My last accidental binge watch was Arrow–one episode turned into seven before I surfaced. My latest find is the BBC show Poldark which stars Aidan Turner from The Hobbit films. Riveting.

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

I’m a fast writer. I wrote the first draft in about a week, then threw it in a drawer for a bit. When I took it out, I tore it up pretty ruthlessly and put back together again.

6. How many stories have you written?

Countless–from newspaper articles to screenplays. I have another finished pilot that’s very different, a procedural called Southern Comfort Zone that’s set in the Low Country of South Carolina. I’m finishing up a couple of full length screenplays now—a thriller and screwball comedy. And I’m working on a short play, too.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I love fish-out-of-water-stories and slamming opposites together. As I was hiking on the Isle of Arran off the coast of Scotland one summer, I came across a little place called Fairy Dell which started me thinking about magic and fairies in the world today. Then, when I was driving in Orange County one afternoon, a perfectly-tanned blond passed me in a convertible, bubble gum pink jeep. Her license plate holder read, “Now all I need is Ken.” Bam. Scottish magic meets Barbie.

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

Originally, Rossalyn was an American teen who finds herself in Scotland. When I flipped it around so that she’s a Scottish teen living in America, everything changed. I threw out so much stuff that I loved, but it’s a better story this way.

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

Travel and cycling. Creativity and innovation. Global warming and the environment. And I’m a sucker for a great love story.

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

There’s no better way to know if your material works than hearing it read aloud by professional actors. I truly appreciate the feedback and will incorporate it into my next rewrite!

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

The biggest mistake I see writers make is working endlessly on one pet project to the exclusion of all else. You learn so much from building a body of work. You have to keep flexing your creative muscles by writing new stories. Not everything you write will win a contest or find a buyer, but you’ll learn so much just from working on and finishing each new story. So just keep writing!

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

 

 

TV PILOT Reading – CIVILIAN by Gina Scanlon

Watch the June 2016 Winning TV PILOT.

CIVILIAN by Gina Scanlon

Watch the June 2016 Winning TV PILOT.

CIVILIAN  by Gina Scanlon

Genre: Drama, Crime

Synopsis: A young marine returns to her small Texas town after a recent tour in the South Sudan to complete police academy.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
BRANDI – Laura Darby
AMOS/STOKER – Christopher Huron
DR. BURNS – Tracey Beltrano
SHANE – Deney Forrest
MARCUS – Jeff Sinasic
MARCEL – John Lester Phillips

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your TV PILOT about?

A young marine returns home to Texas after a traumatizing tour to reclaim her life as a rookie cop. Unfortunately more than a few unwelcome complications await her.

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

Female assault in the military, the challenges of combating PTSD, and the way these two issues trickle down and weave into American society I feel warrants more attention, and are topics I believe people are interested in. Plus, TV could use a few more badass, imperfect female protagonists!

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

questionable redemption

4. What TV show do you watch over and over again?

I can’t get enough of The Twilight Zone! I’ve also re-watched the first season of Jessica Jones a couple times.

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

For a couple of years now. I went through a near Page 1 rewrite about a year ago. I knew I loved the main character and topic, but needed to tackle it from a different angle and make it more exciting.

6. How many stories have you written?

Tons! I started writing fiction when I was in middle school, and plays towards the end of high school and never stopped. But as all writers know, most of them don’t stand out as very good.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

A documentary called “The Invisible War,” which is about how so many people (women in particular) have suffered sexual assault and find no justice in the US military made me so angry, I started writing this script. Though the pilot of “Civilian” doesn’t tackle that specific issue, its main character goes through similar turmoils and challenges, and that theme would continue to resonate throughout the series, should it ever get to that point!

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

I originally saw it as a feature, so I had to restructure it. I added characters and storylines in order to give it more of a setup for a potential series, and to give it more longevity in general. I definitely had people I trust read drafts along the way, which helped in turning it into a believable pilot format.

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

Kurt Vonnegut and his weird ideas. I’m obsessed with history, particularly the War of the Roses and both American and French Revolutions. International, and national women’s rights are up there, and so is supporting the preservation of journalism. I find it scary that the majority of people get their news from Twitter, celebrities, or websites like Buzzzfeed these days, and meanwhile reputable news sources are going bankrupt. On a lighter note, I’m also really into stand-up comedy and air hockey. haha

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

I wanted to start receiving professional feedback on the script, and heard positive things about the festival. The initial feedback was extremely helpful in improving my next draft, and brought to light certain things I hadn’t even thought could effect the salability of the script.

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

Trust your instincts, and never write something for superficial reasons (the current market trends, etc.). Do it because you really care about what you’re writing about, and I believe people will gravitate towards that authenticity.

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

March 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for 2016:

 

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for  2016:

TV PILOT: REC’D
by Chris Courtney Martin

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Romance, Drama

n the pilot, we meet our hero Petey and her friends. Petey has to deal with training this guy who broke her heart. Her best friend, Leya, has to prepare an assignment while on her shift. We get sucked into this bizarre Twilight Zone that is work-study. It’s like a half-step between being a kid and an adult because you’re balancing school and work. When you’re a kid, school is always supposed to come first. When you’re an adult, other than your family, work is top priority. The pilot introduces us to that world.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
RYAN – Rob Notman
LEYA/PETEY – Alicia Payne
LINDA – Val Cole
DAMIAN – Kari-Michael Helava
GUY – Ucal Shillingford

—-

TV SPEC: MAGNUM P.I.
by Lew Ritter

SYNOPSIS:

Script Titled: Chrysanthemum. In the 80’s a computer whiz and former army buddy of Magnum’s, fakes his own death to stop the theft of a then state of he art super computer. .

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
MAGNUM – Rob Notman
ALLISON – Alicia Payne
T.C./SIMONSEN – Ucal Shillingford
HIGGINS/RICK – Kari-Michael Helava

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

TV Pilot Sitcom Reading – REC’D by Chris Courtney Martin

In the pilot, we meet our hero Petey and her friends. Petey has to deal with training this guy who broke her heart. Her best friend, Leya, has to prepare an assignment while on her shift. We get sucked into this bizarre Twilight Zone that is work-study. It’s like a half-step between being a kid and an adult because you’re balancing school and work. When you’re a kid, school is always supposed to come first. When you’re an adult, other than your family, work is top priority. The pilot introduces us to that world. We also get to see Petey make an adult decision in how she handles Ryan, this guy she slept with last year. She can be petty or she can be professional, that’s where this decision-making comes into play again.

Watch the March 2016 TV Festival Winner

Watch REC’D TV PILOT:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
RYAN – Rob Notman
LEYA/PETEY – Alicia Payne
LINDA – Val Cole
DAMIAN – Kari-Michael Helava
GUY – Ucal Shillingford

Get to know writer Chris Courtney Martin:

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

In the pilot, we meet our hero Petey and her friends. Petey has to deal with training this guy who broke her heart. Her best friend, Leya, has to prepare an assignment while on her shift. We get sucked into this bizarre Twilight Zone that is work-study. It’s like a half-step between being a kid and an adult because you’re balancing school and work. When you’re a kid, school is always supposed to come first. When you’re an adult, other than your family, work is top priority. The pilot introduces us to that world. We also get to see Petey make an adult decision in how she handles Ryan, this guy she slept with last year. She can be petty or she can be professional, that’s where this decision-making comes into play again.

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

I think it’s important to show black girls getting to be silly and have fun. Just about all the media surrounding black women is very serious and intense. It feels like we’re expected to grow up faster than everyone else. There really is no Broad City or Two Broke Girls for us. Why can’t we have crazy shenanigans and learn from our stupid mistakes? I feel like it would be refreshing and maybe a little therapeutic for us to get a show where we’re just living life and no one is getting murdered or having extramarital affairs and all that other heavy stuff.

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

Millennial shenanigans.

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

There are very few shows I can watch over and over but Bob’s Burgers is so fun that I can just chill out and watch it while I’m having a meal, even if I’ve seen the episode before. I can’t even do that with some of my other favorite shows because I usually can’t stand seeing re-runs.

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

Conceptually? Since my first year of college, which started in 2010. This is semi-autobiographical and some of the characters really aren’t too far off base from the people who inspired them. My Freshman year roommate and I both worked at the Rec Center and there were so many unique personalities we loved to lampoon that we were like, “This could be a show!” The first time I put anything down on the page was last year.

6. How many stories have you written?

So many. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. As far screenplays that I consider ready-to-sell, I have one pilot, two features and a short. But I’ve got countless other things in various stages of completion.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

This was actually meant to be my entry for the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship last year, but the submissions capped before I could send it in.

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

Time. Before I decided to move to California to pursue screenwriting full-time, I was emotionally sapped from my day job. Finding the energy to get something on the page was the hardest part.

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

I care a lot about activism, social justice. I really enjoy any opportunity to mentor and teach people, especially when it comes to screenwriting.

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

I actually did the First Scene festival not too long and my scene got picked. I loved the festival’s style of feedback, and the entry fees are very reasonable. I figured I’d try my luck again.

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

I like to say, “Write a script you could marry.” That’s how I answered this question when Loveless was picked, but I realized that was extremely vague. What I meant was, find a story that means so much to you that you have to tell it no matter what. No matter how many re-writes, no matter how long you’ve had writer’s block. Write a story that you’ll be willing to work on as long as it takes.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

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

Watch ARCHER TV Show Spec Screenplay Reading from Festival

Deadline September 30th for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival
https://tvfestival.org/

Deadline September 30th for Television Pilot/Spec Screenplay Festival
https://tvfestival.org/

Watch ARCHER TV Show Reading “My Name is Archer Lev”:

Written by Jay Mahoffer
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/jay_mahoffer.html

SYNOPSIS:

Archer witnesses (what he thinks is) Krieger’s murder at the hands of vigilantes, and decides he needs to do something to preserve what he considers to be an important legacy. While he and Lana stalk Krieger’s “murderers” through the streets of Jerusalem, he nags the piss out of her in an effort to get her to let him serve as her unborn child’s father figure.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Val Cole
ARCHER – Robert Notman
LANA – Alissa DeGrazia
KRIEGER – Barry Minshull
GUY – Scott Gerard
RAY/BARRY – Gregory Outram Kuzma
CYRIL – Andrew Ahmed
MALLORY – Susan Q. Wilson
KATYA – Stacey Watson