October 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 4 TV Screenplay Winners for October 2016:

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: WILLOWWOOD
October 2016 Reading
Written by Christopher Locke

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: EMMETT IN PEOPLELAND
October 2016 Reading
Written by Larry Hankin

ACTORTV PILOT Screenplay: THE VISA
October 2016 Reading
Written by Conrad Haynes

ACTORTV SPEC Screenplay: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT Kimmy is a VIP
October 2016 Reading
Written by Mike Miller

 

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

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TV SPEC Screenplay – RICK & MORTY “The Rickgotiator” by David Cryan

Watch the August 2016 Winning TV PILOT screenplay.

RICK & MORTY “The Rickgotiator” by David Cryan

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Animation

When Morty accidentally gets his family kidnapped while trying to stop an alien war, he and Rick must execute an elaborate plan to rescue their family and trick the aliens into calling a truce.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
RICK – Stephen Flett
MORTY – Adam McNamara
BETH – Laura Darby
JERRY – David Straus
BLECKAR – Lorne Hiro
GARY – Rais Muoi
SUMMER – Victoria Urquhart

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your Rick & Morty TV SPEC screenplay about?

My Spec is about Rick learning where he can get some Chromosome Infinity, an elusive and rare substance he’s been after for a while. Rick finds out that it is located in the neutral zone, and if he tries to get it, it could spark an alien war, but he’s selfish. Meanwhile, Jerry tries to get a job and deals with his overall lack of confidence.

How does this screenplay fit into the context of the TV show?

It fits well into the context of the show because it has the big high concept sci-fi A story and a low key down to earth B story that collide at the halfway point.

How would you describe this script in two words?

I wouldn’t.

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

Oh boy, one? I have an obnoxiously long list including: The Simpsons, Arrested Development, The Larry Sanders Show, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep, Futurama, The Critic, Frasier, Community, The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and of course Rick and Morty. That’s me cutting my list short. Like I said it’s obnoxiously long.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I spent roughly two weeks on the outline, another two weeks on a first draft, and then did periodic rewrites over the course of a couple months.

How many stories have you written?

I have written lots of sketches. Two pilots, one of which goes in drawer marked as a learning experience and is to never see the light of day. As well as three specs of existing shows, including Veep, Rick and Morty and an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt which I just finished a first draft of and am beginning to rewrite.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Fear of failure.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Also fear of failure.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Personal privacy.

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

I’m at a point where I have enough writing samples that I’m happy with. So I’ve begun actively trying to get my stuff read, be that by submitting to agencies or entering contests. As far as the feedback, some of it I agreed with some of it I didn’t, but it definitely helped make my next draft stronger.

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

No.

 

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

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

TV SPEC Reading: THE MINDY PROJECT “Culture Club” by Katie Bero

Public displays of praise and adulation. But mostly because I’m a big fan of feedback. It’s tough to look at something you’ve spent hours and hours writing and re-writing with a fresh eye. It’s so helpful to get an outside perspective and I got a great one from Wildsound.

May 2016 TV Spec Screenplay Winner. 

THE MINDY PROJECT “Culture Club” by Katie Bero

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
MINDY – Kayla Lakhani
DANNY – Paul Falkowski
MORGAN – Abraham Asto
TAMRA – Aisha Evelyna
JEREMY/RISHI – Benjamin Harris
BEVERLY – Meggie McKinnon

Genre: Comedy/Sitcom

Synopsis:

Mindy and Danny clash over how culturally aware to raise their child. Meanwhile Morgan tries to help Jeremy avoid deportation.

Get to know writer Katie Bero: 

1. What is your TV screenplay on the show “The Mindy Project” about?

Mindy and Danny clash when Mindy refuses to indulge in his new obsession with Indian culture. Meanwhile, Jeremy’s visa expires and Morgan is on a mission to help him avoid deportation. As you can see from this explanation, it’s a real barrel of laughs.

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

It takes place at the very beginning of Season 4. It starts to introduce Danny and Mindy to both the logical and illogical insecurities that await them as new parents.

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

Baby Bjork.

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

Broad City. There are so many visual jokes you pick up the second time around. Also I’m convinced if I watch it enough Abbi and Ilana will crawl out of the TV and eat Tostitos and cheese dip with me. I said that like we’re on a first name basis, but just to be clear, we are not.

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

It took me about a month to write from outline to billionth draft.

6. How many stories have you written?

Does my diary count? I’ve also written two original pilots. One on my own and one with a writing partner. Hi, Charlotte! Ok

that’s enough about her, this is about me.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I’ve always loved how strong, but distinct the character voices are on The Mindy Project. As a writer it gives you an arsenal of things to play with beyond just the main characters. Beverly’s one-liners. Tamra’s oddly insightful commentary. Also, Morgan is my spirit animal. I can really relate to wanting to live in an apartment with 40 dogs, but we’ll get into that later.

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

None. Just kidding. Honestly the toughest obstacle is everyday life. I have a really demanding job as a writer in advertising so I had to force myself not to make excuses and make time instead. Like, by not doing aforementioned real job. I’m kidding, it was mostly a lot of late nights and early mornings. That also happens to be when I do my best writing. If my boss is reading this, please know I’m always fully engaged and dedicated to my job. If a showrunner is reading this, please hire me. Mostly because I probably just got fired.

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

Production. I love being on set and watching the words you put on paper come to life. I’m also very passionate about golden retrievers. I wish this were a joke, but those who know me know that this is a very serious obsession.

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

Public displays of praise and adulation. But mostly because I’m a big fan of feedback. It’s tough to look at something you’ve spent hours and hours writing and re-writing with a fresh eye. It’s so helpful to get an outside perspective and I got a great one from Wildsound.

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

Stay true to your voice. Or stay true to the hit show The Voice and only rely on the feedback of Adam, Blake and Gwen / Christina. Whatever works for you. It’s all subjective, but at the end of the day if you don’t love your script then what’s the point? Write what you love and love what you write. How many of you want to punch me for saying that? Great, me too.

Also, please adopt a golden retriever and send me photos. That’s not really advice so much as a desperate plea.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

TV Sitcom Pilot Reading – MAILROOMIES by Jacques Edeline

Watch the April 2016 TV PILOT Screenplay Winner.

MAILROOMIES by Jacques Edeline

Genre: Comedy

Synopsis: Pilot about a young man (Charlie) who starts at the bottom of the food chain in the Hollywood industry.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
CHARLIE – Dennis Barham
PAT – Noah Casey
ZOE – Sandra Krstin
MEG/TIA – Kiran Friesen
WILL – Michael Lake

Get to know writer Jacques Edeline (with Producers Dhia Rabiai, Dan Pastewka):

1. What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Hollywood dreamers attempt to grind their way into “the Industry,” starting in the mailroom at a notorious talent agency, and experiencing the real and the unreal of Los Angeles along the way.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

The show explores the dynamic, cutthroat jockeying for advancement, recognition and status that the entertainment industry so naturally encourages, and forces our heroes to question their values, goals and relationships in the pursuit of “success.” We believe these themes are universal and relatable to audiences from all different walks of life. You don’t need to understand the intricacies of entertainment to appreciate the struggle and moral dilemmas that the characters must go through on their journeys towards perceived success.

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

Fantasy vs. Reality.

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

We are big Entourage fans and re-watch the show regularly. Every episode gives the audience a taste of how the 1% live and the characters are just fun to watch. With that being said, we recognize that for the vast majority of the people living in Hollywood, that world is a fantasy. So, we decided to flip that idea around and create a show about the 99% instead. Our characters get glimpses of the good life, but they are ultimately still struggling and fighting to make a name for themselves and get recognized. The world is an intricate depiction of a much larger common experience.

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

The idea has been in the works for awhile, but it took about six months to really conceptualize the world, create the characters, and bring in a writer who we thought could execute our vision.

How many stories have you written?

Our writer has written numerous screenplays. He’s smart, efficient, and really really good.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

We wanted to bring this idea to life because of our own personal experiences. I think we intuitively understood that Los Angeles and entertainment is really a larger than life representation of a wider struggle that many millennials are going through in many different fields. We have met a lot of people who are in this city hoping to “make it big,” but the question remains, are they willing to put in the work? Are they willing to make sacrifices to see their dreams become a reality? We come from the school of thought that hard work creates a certain amount of luck breaks, and that’s really what this show is about.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The biggest obstacle has been convincing people that this isn’t just another story about Hollywood. We are fully aware that many other shows take place in this city and that entertainment is generally a really “tough sell.” At the end of the day though, we can only create a world that we honestly and authentically understand. We, the producers, are both from different countries. We bring a fresh perspective to this story and see Los Angeles differently than perhaps others do. We have a dream and wholeheartedly believe in the idea. And isn’t that what this city is all about?

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

We read a ton, as well as watch a lot of TV and films. We are both very entrepreneurial, so we enjoy brainstorming ideas and problem solving. Also, one of us digs the sport of badminton and hiking…so there’s that.

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

We did a quick Google search and found this festival pretty quickly. The feedback we received was comprehensive and very informative. We appreciate it.

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

Whether you’re a writer, director, producer, the best advice we can give is to keep at it. It takes awhile to become really good at something, and storytelling is no different. Put in the time, have fun, and you’ll have a much better shot of getting your work out there. It sounds cliche, but it’s persistence.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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

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

February 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for February 2016:

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for February 2016:

TV PILOT Screenplay – MINDWALKER
February 2016 Reading
Written by Thorsten Loos

SYNOPSIS:

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.

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

TV SPEC Screenplay – THE BIG BANG THEORY
February 2016 Reading
Written by David Minaskanian

SYNOPSIS:

Sheldon’s mom visits for his birthday and accidentally reveals that his grandmother Meemaw passed away. Needless to say, Sheldon does not take it well.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
PENNY – Kelci Stephenson
SHELDON – Jarrid Terrell
LEONARD – Chris Reid-Geisler
WOLOWITZ – Sean Kaufmann
KOOTHRAPPALI – Sasha Rajamani
MARY COOPER/AMY – Allison Kampf

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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/