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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May 2017 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for May 2017:

 

ACTORLGBT TV PILOT – FAUK MY LIFE
May 2017 Reading
by Stephanie Neroes

ACTORTV SPEC of SUPERNATURAL
May 2017 Reading
by Bonnie Bonaduce

 

ACTORTV BEST Scene – INFINITY’S EDGE
May 2017 Reading
by Anthony M. Dionisio

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

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

Winning TV PILOT Screenplay – WILLOWWOOD by Christopher Locke

Watch the October 2016 Winning TV PILOT Screenplay.

WILLOWWOOD TV Pilot
Written by Christopher Locke

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Drama

When two aimless slackers discover their entire reality is a TV show and they are merely background characters in a mediocre family sitcom, they attempt to inject some much needed conflict into the lives of the family in order to save the show (and their reality) from cancellation.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JASMINE – Michelle Alexander
SHELDON – Brogan Caulfield
RUSS – Martin Huss
BARBARA – Viktoria Napoleonova
DERRICK – Michael Lake
WOMAN – Erynn Brook

Get to know the winning writer: 

What is your TV series about?

Former best friends, Jasmine and Sheldon, discover their entire reality is a TV show and that they are actually background characters in a family sitcom entitled Willowwood. Upon learning that the show is on the verge of being cancelled, they take it upon themselves to inject come conflict into the lives of the sitcom family, in order to boost the ratings to prevent the show (and their reality) from being cancelled.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Because it is something that I have yet to see. While many television shows today could be described as “meta”, none are to the extent that this show has the potential to be. Toying with TV tropes, sitcom clichés and even employing both single camera and multi-camera formats, this show has the potential to be something that no one has ever seen before.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Meta Insanity.

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

Spongebob Squarepants. What else?

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The idea has been floating around my head for the last two years, but only recently have I felt that I was able to fully develop the idea into a script.

How many stories have you written?

Somewhere between 10-15. Most are film treatments or ideas, while I have 3 or 4 other scripts either completed or in development

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

About a year and a half ago, I suffered from a condition called de-personalization. It is a symptom of anxiety that makes you feel as if your world isn’t real or you have no control over your actions or decisions. It is not dangerous, but very disturbing and can lead to more serious mental issues. That experience helped me develop the story in that, like the characters, I felt as if I had no control over my life and everything around me wasn’t real. Jasmine, even before learning her reality was a TV show, was worried that she had no control over where her life was going. Writing Jasmine and her ability to take control of her situation and her life was very therapeutic for me.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Constant writer’s block. I usually have the ideas in my head all day every day, but the writing occurs in 20-page writing sessions once every couple of months.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’ve played guitar for 12 years now. Performing as well as music in general.

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

Particularly the reading portion. Before, most of my writing existed in my head or in the heads of others. It is a completely different experience to have it read out loud, especially from a dialogue perspective.

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

You know that crazy idea in your head that you know everyone else will think is stupid or has no marketability whatsoever?
Write it. Don’t settle for safe.

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

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

July 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 2 TV Screenplay Winners for July 2016:

The Spectral City by Arthur Vincie

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, War, Supernatural

Three refugees, thrown together by chance, flee a modern-day civil war set in an unspecified country. Evading the army, rebels, bandits, gods, and demons, they head to the one place no one dares go to the Haunted City at the heart of the country. There they seek out the White Witch, who rules the City and who’s either their ticket out or their worst nightmare.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Susan Wilson
JULIET – Courtney Keir
ISHMAEL – Brandon Knox
THEO/MATTHEW – Julian Ford
STEVEN/ADJAI – Sean Ballantyne
JIM – David Guthrie
NURIYAH – Meghan Allen

*****

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Power Loss by Jennifer Renner

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy

Synopsis: Episode 32.5 of the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The station welcomes visitors from a planet in the Gamma Quadrant that allows only women to hold positions of authority.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Brandon Knox
BENNI – Susan Wilson
SORYA/KIRA – Meghan Allen
DAX/LELA – Courtney Keir
ODO – Julian Ford
BASHIR/QUARK – David Guthrie
SISKO/RISHTA – Sean Ballantyne

May 2016 TV Pilot/Spec Screenplay Winners

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

Watch the 4 TV Screenplay Winners for May 2016:

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

Watch the 4 TV Screenplay Winners for May 2016:

THE REAPER: REBELLION “AFTERLIFE” TV Pilot
Written by Mark S. MacDonald and Darsey Meredith
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Eva, who may or may not be Eve from the Book of Genesis, inadvertently creates Death in the world by inciting her siblings and lover to eat the Divine Apple from the Tree of Life. It’s an interesting spin on the immortal story about how the humans lost paradise and incurred the wrath of God.
CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
RHODA/DEATH – Meggie McKinnon
LAILAH – Aisha Evelyna
MAALIK – Sean Ballantyne
AZRAEL – Benjamin Harris
GOD/DRAVEN – Paul Falkowski
HANNAH – Kayla Lakhani

**
THE MINDY PROJECT “Culture Club” TV SPEC
Written by Katie Bero
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Sitcom

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

CAST LIST:

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

**

SMITHEREENS TV Pilot
Written by Hershel D. Rephun
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Drama

The story of a man, in pieces: This one-hour episodic dramedy series chronicles the journey of a man fished out of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. He remembers only his first name (Harry) and his mother tongue (Cockney). Flashbacks paint a complicated picture of a man battling alcoholism and engaged in some dark pursuits.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
HARRY – Abraham Asto
NAN – Aisha Evelyna
REG – Benjamin Harris
REB JOEY – Paul Falkowski
CARMEN/SARAH – Meggie McKinnon

**

POWER TV Pilot
Written by Hisonni Johnson
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comic book, Drama, Sci Fi, Action, Superhero

Synopsis: A tragic turns of events leaves one of the world’s greatest heroes injured, without his powers and public enemy number one.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JOHN – Mark Sparks
SANDRA – Lavinia Latham
SHIERA – Isabella Bontorin
DENNIS – Neil Kulin
LAWTON – Dan Cristofori

**

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

 

TV Sitcom Pilot Screenplay Reading – MARRIAGE EQUALITY by Jamie Pierce

Watch the April 2016 TV PILOT Screenplay Winner.

TV Sitcom Pilot – MARRIAGE EQUALITY by Jamie Pierce

Watch the April 2016 TV PILOT Screenplay Winner.

TV Sitcom Pilot – MARRIAGE EQUALITY by Jamie Pierce

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Synopsis: A gay couple deals with two life-changing events on Mother’s Day.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Kaufmann
ANDREW – Michael Lake
ANTHONY – Noah Casey
STACY/ANDREW – Sandra Krstin
JUDY – Kiran Friesen
DAD – Dennis Barham

Interview with Jamie Pierce:

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

“Marriage Equality” centers on Anthony and Andrew, a bookend-pair of husbands, as they attempt to navigate the chaos that is their unpredictable family. In the pilot, it’s Mother’s Day and as the husbands dutifully make the rounds visiting the various mothers in their life, they are met by a series of unexpected familial revelations.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

To offer a comparison, in many ways the premise is similar to the relationship created by the TV sitcom characters of Frasier and Lilith (and then later Niles) in that we have two people who are more or less carbon copies of one another, which creates its own unique comic situation. Add to that the wildly different and varying personalities that surrounds them. This creates two unique dynamics that can be explored both individually and as a whole.

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

Funny jokes.

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

My favorite sitcom has always been Night Court. I’ve seen every episode multiples times and can recite many of them from memory. Great writing and a great premise that keeps things fresh. That show never gets old.

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

The pilot is based on my act as a stand-up comic. So in that sense, I’ve been developing this material for over a decade. Fashioning it into a teleplay was a slightly swifter process.

How many stories have you written?

This is my first for the screen. Previously, I’ve written novels, essays and stage plays.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

In the classic tradition of stand-up comedy becoming situation comedy, I wanted to see how my particular act and brand would translate to that medium.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I kept questioning the ending I wanted to create a situation that would allow for trying to create a situation while also avoiding tropes.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for over 10 years and I really enjoy that. It’s creatively fulfilling as not only a writer but also performer, director and producer.

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

I really welcomed the feedback and found all of it very insightful and constructive. That’s not always the case with feedback from festival submissions!

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

Specificity is good in comedy. Offering something distinctive also helps to avoid the risk of coming across as derivative. In other words, different is good!

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson