Many of you feel rejected and enraged about not getting your pilots reviewed this week.  If I told you how many e-mails I’ve received that started with, “Why are you reviewing all these shitty pilots instead of mine,” you’d think I was the victim of some mass practical joke.  Ahhh, but here’s your opportunity!  If you had a pilot that wasn’t picked, go ahead and pitch it in the comments below, as well as provide a script link.  Get people to read and comment on it and anything that gets a big favorable response, I’ll review on the site.  It’s time to prove you have the goods!

  • Crazdwrtr

    It’s nice of you to give folks another chance. One thing I didnt understand about this contest was if you read everything that was submitted, why didnt you pick all Worth the Reads to review on the site? Were there not at least 5 out of several hundred submissions that worth reading?

    • Andrew Orillion

      This didn’t make any sense to me either. I appreciate him evaluating the pilots and being honest about their deficiencies, but I thought the purpose to highlight the good ones.

      I’ve been a fan of Carson for years, I have his book and have defended him to more than one of my screenwriting friends. I think he has tremendous insight when it comes to judging features.

      That said, I think he should stick to features. Features and pilots are two very different things and I don’t Carson is experienced enough to judge pilots yet.

      • carsonreeves1

        I’m not there yet but I’m getting better. :)

      • Brainiac138

        I think he should move more and more in the pilot territory as TV is where the industry really is directing most young writers toward now and moving them away from features.

        The reviews will only get better as Carson gets more familiar with the craft and medium.

        • Crazedwriter

          I wasn’t trying to say the reviews were bad. I was just expressing surprise at the quality of what was picked.

      • Film_Shark

        TV writing is important and I’m glad Carson tackles this 800 pound gorilla. To be honest, a skilled writer has a better chance to make a living as a TV writer than a feature film screenwriter. A lot of screenwriters (e.g. Joss Whedon, Sidney Lumet) come from television too.

        • cjob3

          For an unsigned amateur, however, I would say it’s easier to ‘break in’ with a great screenplay than a great TV pilot. At least that’s what I hear

  • Poe_Serling

    Is it me, or is it suddenly getting a bit crowded here at the SS marketplace? Sara Lazarus TV pilot, Post Your TV Pilot… and just right around the corner – Amateur Offerings Weekend.

    • Trek

      Oh, come now; this is awesome! So many scripts… yet, so little time… :)

    • Midnight Luck

      and don’t forget, now we have Scene Week to start work on as well…..

      • Poe_Serling

        lol. And don’t forget Carson’s Star Wars spec contest for the holidays. :-)

        • Trek

          Indeed. However, I missed the submission details on the contest before I was a newsletter subscriber. Do you happen to know when the deadline is? Thanks! :)

          • Poe_Serling

            Hey Trek-

            I’m not sure of the exact week of the contest or the deadline to enter… sorry.

            Perhaps Carson or some kind soul with that info will chime in.

          • Trek

            Gotcha! Many thanks!

          • carsonreeves1

            Yup, Star Wars Week is still on. Get those Star Wars scripts into shape!

          • Midnight Luck

            December 1st, though he says he will be reviewing some of them in November, so…. not sure how that works. I guess if you get them in early, he reads it, you have a chance of being reviewed early? or something.

        • Midnight Luck

          I think Carson is secretly trying to sabotage us. Distracting us with all the bright shiny things on SS, keeping the number of Amateur Specs sent to Production Companies down. Keep us busy…..Making it easier for him to swoop in and sell his latest spec: Star Wars 7 – Eternal Love for the Abrams, and the Destiny of a Small Blue Planet.

        • MaliboJackk

          I’m not going to start that script until two weeks before the deadline.

          • Poe_Serling

            Haha. I see the method in your madness… you’re using the ol’ William Goldman scriptwriting technique:

            Research the project for eight years… then write it in two weeks.

  • Bobby Rick

    Hey guys,

    Along with the pdf file of the pilot, I actually filmed the TV series myself. I have a 30 second promo link and links to full episodes as well. I know how precious everyone’s time is but I’m sure you can spare 30 seconds. If you don’t at least chuckle one time during the 30 second promo, then I completely failed. Enjoy, and good luck to all. I look forward to reading your pilots. Here’s the logline along with the links below.

    Logline: Max James, a self-righteous rich boy and student at a prestigious university, thrusts himself into the realm of student politics. Along with Max are his quirky (paid) staff members who spend most of their time keeping the reckless Max on course.

    PDF Pilot:

    30 sec Promo:

    Full Episode:

    • MrTibbsLive

      Good Job. I watched the promo and I did chuckle 3x.

      • Bobby Rick

        HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!

    • Jonathan Soens

      I like the idea.

      Not long ago, I was telling somebody how I keep hearing good things about “Veep” and “House of Cards,” but that I haven’t brought myself to dipping my toe into the water and giving them a chance yet. The political climate in real-life is so ugly now, I just have a hard time diving into those waters to watch a TV shows or movies set in the political landscape.

      But then I watched “Election” again, the movie about the high school teacher who hates one of his students and tries to de-rail her ascension in life by not letting her become the president of the student government.

      It reminded me how much more palatable political material can be when you delve into the world of students trying/learning to be politicians.

      • fragglewriter

        • fragglewriter

          I apologize that I replied to you and not the writer.

    • Ken Kerns

      I just finished writing a series of short stories with a vaguely similar premise (college politics), so I am probably too biased to review this fairly. But I will just say this – you may want to work on how that teaser reads. I nearly groaned by the two pages of dense paragraphs of description, only to be followed by lengthy monologues. But as I said, I’m probably biased so I won’t intrude any more here.

      • Ken Kerns

        Actually I take that back – I watched the 30 second ad. It gave off a Veep meets Slapstick Comedy vibe, which could totally work given the subject matter.

        • Bobby Rick

          Wow, thanks man. You did a 180 on that. It’s very slapstick. If you could get pass the teaser, then hopefully it should be smooth sailing from there. I’ll rewrite it soon. By the way, I would love to read what you wrote.

          • Ken Kerns

            Thanks for the offer – the stories have a much more subdued tone to them than yours looks like. But when I said “finished” I should have said “wrote a first draft”. I have plenty of my own notes to sift through before asking for anyone’s help.

            I will try to give your script a fair hearing. I went to college where the politics in the student government is conducted very seriously, so I do know a thing or two about self-righteous wanna-be politicians.

      • Ken Kerns

        Ok, I won’t do the live-blog thing I did the other day, but here are my notes:

        1) In the way you formatted the script, 40-ish pages is either on the very, very long side of a single-camera sitcom (as indicated by your 2-act structure) or on the very short side of an hour-long drama. If you are going to keep close to this page, you may want to look at creating a third act
        2) Which reminds me, the act breaks need to be a a fair bit stronger, and preferably be plot-driven to make us stick around through the commercials..
        3) I felt very lost during Act 1 as to what was happening or what the plot was. But I guess that is part of the point, because you were able to effectively convey the chaos of a student campaign with humor. But all the flashbacks and cut-tos and camera work was hard to follow on paper, whereas I imagine a Modern Family or The Office style mockumentary is what you’re going for, in which case it probably translates better visually.

        Overall, I think it was a good attempt at a subject matter that is very hard to credibly convey as either comedic (because politics – especially insufferable trust fund brats – usually aren’t funny or interesting) or dramatic (because no one takes college or SG seriously).

        Last point: I think your script would be best served trying to cut the page length, which should help to firm up the plot. Once you’ve got that down, you’ve got an interesting cast of characters to deal with.

    • Crazedwritr

      “I’m a squirter!” This made me laugh a lot. I watched promo and full episode. Loved the office set at college vibe. My only criticism is you have to remember every episode needs a through line. Each episode needs to be about something. For this full episode I wanted to know how the endorsement meeting played out. I know he didn’t get it, but I wanted to see how terribly he botched things. Also, I hope the whole show isn’t just about his staff reacting to, but others will get thorough story lines. Great job and kudos to you for shooting your own stuff!

      • Crazedwriter

        I found a longer episode on YouTube and it was great. This is really funny. Reminds me of 30 Rock and The Office. Its like Luz and Michael in college. Good luck with it.

      • Crazedwriter

        I discovered there was a part two to the episode you posted. So forget my comment about the endorsements. That story line was handled great. Loved the end payoff!

        • Bobby Rick

          Thanks man. I really appreciate it. I’ve re-edited my post and attached two other links to the other episodes; so as to avoid any other confusion. I’ll eventually put up more episodes. Thanks for the support!

    • fragglewriter

      I watched the 30-second promo and I laughed. I will watch the first full episode later.

      I do have a question, even though it might be answered in the first episode, for the main protagonist, will the series end after he graduates or does it follow the protagonist until he makes into it office?

      • Bobby Rick

        Thanks for taking the time to watch it. I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I worked really hard on it. I have in my mind that the series will end when he graduates, but that every semester is a season long.

    • JWF

      Watched the episode – so funny! Well done, mate.

      • Bobby Rick

        Sorry for the late response, but thank you for the praise. It was a real intense project that was carried out in 3 months.

  • crazedwrtr

    I’m interested in knowing this too!

  • J. Lawrence Head

    Ive put PDFs on my wordpress site and been able to see it’s download stats

  • Ben Bailey

    Yeah, I know this is cheap, since mine actually was reviewed, but I have another one I might as well put up. Not expecting a review of course, as it would be unfair even if you were willing, but in case anyone is interested in what I would have pitched solo instead of the one I collaborated on with Nate, here it is:

    TITLE: Huntsmen, by Ben Bailey

    LOGLINE: In a medieval fantasy world with a history forged by the darkest interpretations of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, two brothers from different worlds become part of an ancient order of monster hunters protecting civilization from the ever encroaching supernatural evil of the Wilderness. (Game of Thrones meets Once Upon A Time meets Supernatural).

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ: It’s got fairy impalement, kung fu fighting frogmen, and creepy living dolls, among other assorted silliness.



  • Jonathan Soens

    TITLE: Small, Small World

    GENRE: Sci-Fi

    LOGLINE: A time machine is hidden in the bowels of Disney World. When a young Disney employee unearths evidence that Walt Disney was a time-traveler, it reignites the same struggle Walt Disney fought 50 years earlier to keep the technology in responsible hands.

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: I just dig the idea, and I think others might too. Not a lot airs on ABC anymore that gets me interested, but I’d give a look-see if they aired a show along these lines. More importantly, I could also see it working as a real series. It could dabble in some bigger-picture serialized mythology (like a “Lost” or “X-Files”) when it wants to, but it could also remain accessible by functioning mostly as a procedural where most episodes would be built around a contained case-of-the-week that is solved in a single episode using the time machine.


    • Trek

      This sounds awesome! I’ll definitely be reading the script.

      It’s actually a premise that’s reminiscent of the old rumor that Disney was cryogenically preserved in an area beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, only it’s a whole lot better, because time travel will always be more awesome than cryogenics.

      • klmn

        Go watch Woody Allen’s Sleeper. Better than any time travel film I ever saw.

    • charliesb

      I just read this. And I’m completely confused. But I think maybe that’s a good thing. :) I definitely need to read it again, because I’m not really sure where we ended up or what Ms. Lovington and Turner were trying to do/prevent? The recruit also threw me for a loop. Definitely needs a second read.

      But I did want to point out two things. 1. Your opening teaser is really really good. It pulled me in immediately, it felt cinematic and the “Andy’s coming” line was a nice touch.

      2. Your dialogue! Pat yourself on the back. You have an excellent grasp of how people speak to each other. The conversations between Turner and Lovington were really well done. They felt natural and real, like these people actually existed and interacted outside of the scenes I was reading. Well done!

      I’ll read it again sometime this weekend and report back.

      Good luck!

      • Jonathan Soens

        Thanks for reading and for saying some awfully nice things about my script.

        As I see it, here’s where we ended up:

        – After presumably operating under the radar for a long time, they now realize somebody knows about the time machine.

        – Turner’s friend gets scolded/warned after he got Turner in to see the President. So, while that meeting with POTUS went well, we’re to understand there are other rogue elements in the government who want the time machine for themselves. And Turner might find it harder to get access to important people in the future.

        – The implication is that Disney, back in the ’50s and ’60s endured a similar struggle to keep the machine in the right hands. The implication is that Disney intended for the machine to be used the way Turner used it for the kid who had a medical crisis in the park — that it’s only safe if you don’t travel back too far and don’t try to do anything too big, so it’s basically only safe to use for smaller acts of kindness.

        – Turner has been reluctant to bring in anyone new. Miss Lovington is now forcing the issue, making Turner take on The Recruit.

        This is basically where I wanted to leave things after I set the table with the pilot.

        From here, the show can move forward with procedural episodes built around using the time machine to solve weekly problems. It can also move forward with episodes that explore the history of the machine, what Walt Disney did with the machine when he was still alive, and what the mysterious gov’t types want with the machine.

    • Julien Deladriere

      I just finished reading this and, like @charliesb:disqus, think the gripping opening and the dialogue are indeed two strong points of this script. The banter between Turner and Lovington in particular really helped sell their relationship and make me care for them.

      The Recruit is less well-defined at this point but I suppose this is intentional and his role would be fleshed out in following episodes. Out of curiosity, did you at any stage during the development of the script consider telling the story from his point of view? Reading his scenes with his roommate Worthy, I felt maybe they originated in an earlier draft where he, and not Turner, was the protagonist – is there something to it or am I completely off base?

      I found the concept interesting and the pilot made me want to know more about Disney’s past, the time travel technology’s origins, etc. I’d really be interested in further installments exploring the show’s mythology; I’m less sure about contained case-of-the-week episodes – but that’s probably just a question of personal taste (I’m not a big fan of procedurals).

      All in all I had a good time and I feel like I could read another episode right now – probably a sign that you did something right with this pilot. :-)

      • Jonathan Soens

        Well, I thought I replied to this (with a rather long post), but now it’s gone. So I hope this doesn’t wind up being a double-post if the other reply magically appears. Anyway…

        I thank you for reading and for offering feedback. It’s very appreciated.

        On the topic of The Recruit, I have to admit I got a little cute with him. It was quite intentional.

        We all know it’s a common trick in pilots to introduce a character who is the “new guy” at the office/hospital/precinct/whatever. This way the writers can have other characters stop the show every now and then to explain things to the new guy (for the benefit of the audience, who also needs things explained).

        I was trying to subvert that idea by introducing a new guy who, in fact, is never given any information at all in the whole pilot. I thought it would amp up the audience’s confusion, in a good way. (NOTE: I didn’t know Carson would read these suckers blindly without even reading the logline first. Perhaps I overplayed my hand by intentionally making it too confusing?)

        Now, I agree The Recruit isn’t very well-defined, but it was intentional. I wanted the audience to feel like they didn’t know him. Wanted them to be distrusting of him (as Turner is). I even refused to give him a name, because I thought on some level it would add to the discomfort with his character. I wanted the audience wondering if he’s up to no good or if he’s even who he says he is. Maybe even wondering if he wouldn’t survive the pilot.

        So, no, I never had a draft where he was the main character. I always planned on using him to increase the suspense/conflict by being this unknown guy who was kinda being forced on Turner. If the audience related to him at all, I only wanted them to relate to him in the sense of saying: “Hey, I’m with you kid. I don’t think I know what’s going on here either. This is confusing and weird, and nobody’s telling me anything that makes it make any more sense.”

        I envision The Recruit quickly acquiring an actual name early in the 2nd episode as he sort of graduates to being a co-lead and officially joins Turner and Miss Lovington in that department of theirs.

    • TruckDweller

      Read your teaser. I’m definitely intrigued! I’m curious why you would invest so much time in a script that depends so heavily on gaining rights from the notoriously difficult Mousefather. Is your intent for this to be a sample that gets you read?

      Anyway, diving back in!

      • Jonathan Soens

        I figured it’d be good as far as getting me read. But it wasn’t just a calculated idea designed to tempt people into reading my writing. I had the idea and I liked the idea, and I felt I could really make it work. I also became convinced it could work as a TV series, so I wasn’t just cynically writing a script that I didn’t believe in.

        I’ve seen scripts generate buzz and sometimes actually get sold despite having similar complications with intellectual property. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that Disney bought “Saving Mr. Banks,” a screenplay dealing with Walt Disney’s efforts to make a Mary Poppins film. That writer had an idea, liked the idea, and they wrote it and landed it on the Black List presumably without knowing Disney would actually buy the thing and make the movie.

        I liked the idea enough to write it. I hoped I wrote it well enough to gain some attention and catch somebody’s eye in the industry. The fact that Carson read it but didn’t pick it tells me I’m just not good enough yet. But that’s okay. Now hopefully I’ll learn some things from the feedback I do get. If I ever make it as a writer, you can bet I’ll someday dust off this old idea I had and pitch it to somebody at Disney/ABC.

        • TruckDweller

          First off, i really enjoy the premise. My issue is more a feasibility one than conceptual. At first I was worried because the idea required you to have permission from ABC/Disney, but now that I’ve read and enjoyed it, my worry is the difficulty in actually making the piece. So much actually takes place at the park with working rides or monorails… That’s a huge expense to fake and not realistic to think you might actually be able to film there. But let me jump back a second.

          First off, great job. I’m interested family early on. Confused yet intrigued. And there’s a love of Disney World that really shines through which is nice to see. One thing you might think about is giving us more of a hint early on about who Turner is as a person. He’s pretty stonefaced, which I know is purposeful but when you’re writing something with so many scratch your head moments, it’s important to ground your reader in something and to me, your grounding mechanism is Turner. Unfortunately, we don’t get much development or hints into who he is until later in the script.

          The other thing you might consider is taking us out of the present day park more. A period Disney World or an outside the park experience would do a couple important things – differentiate the past further and make some of the park scenes more practical for filming. The recruit might even be from an earlier time period, no reason you have to stick to the present…

          One last thing – give your reoccurring characters names.

          Ultimately, I enjoyed your script and concept immensely. There’s some really tight writing in there and I could feel your excitement. But it felt like the same work wasn’t put into your characters. If you nail the characters, this is definitely the kind of piece that could get you attention from the right people. So let us get close to Turner before you take us on wild rides after the teaser. Who he is is more than someone that cleans up the park’s problems.

          • Jonathan Soens

            Thank you so much for the helpful suggestions and criticisms.

            Regarding some of your points….

            – I agree there are massive feasibility concerns. I mean, I assume there’s a reason it’s so rare that Disney shoots anything in their parks. My only recollection of seeing anything shot there were some episodes of ABC TV shows in the ’90s (“Roseanne” or the TGIF shows) when they’d do a “stunt” week here or there where the shows would have an episode where the family took a vacation to Disney World. I’m guessing it’s a problem for them to shoot things there because they have to shut down rides or rope off sections of the park.

            – I actually tried to put on my “producer” cap and figure out how to make shooting at the parks as feasible as possible. What I came up with was: I made sure the action didn’t really spill over onto the actual rides and attractions (not counting the monorail, if you call that a ride), so you wouldn’t have to shut things down in order to film most of it. Most of the scenes in the parks are just characters walking/running around, or having discussions near the entrance gates or near a bench or near a bathroom. Those things could be shot while the park remains open and, for the most part, engages in business as usual. If I ever wanted a scene set on a ride/attraction, I figure I’d try to make it an indoors one so it could be shot at night when the park is closed. Once you build a set for the “behind the scenes” areas (Lovington’s office, the room with the machine, the locker room, the utility corridors, etc), you could get away with not filming in the actual parks all that much. Not to mention, there’s no rule that the time machine has to be used only for incidents in the parks. Things could happen at hotels or shopping centers or residential areas or schools, so entire episodes can go by without ever having to shoot in the actual park. I made sure to feature plenty of shots/scenes of the park in daytime hours in the pilot, though, because I didn’t want anyone complaining I didn’t sufficiently mine my premise in the first episode.

            – I agree with your point about not being limited to present-day. However, I felt I’d keep the pilot (confusing as it was) as simple as possible by mostly sticking to the present-day. By including those quick flashback scenes showing Walt Disney in 1960, I was kind of reserving the right for the show, in the future, to dabble in flashbacks or stories set in the past. But it felt like too much to cram that into the pilot. (And the original draft started out with more of a 50-50 split between present-day and the past, so I toyed with the idea but ultimately scrapped it other than the brief scenes with Walt Disney on the night of the Kennedy/Nixon debate.)

            – I agree with your point about giving important characters names. As I explained to someone else, I probably got a little too cute with The Recruit. Would’ve been easier to just give the kid a name. Believe me, I hit a point in the script where I realized I had typed “The Recruit” way too many times, and was wondering if I was making a mistake that would make it obvious how much of a rookie I am.

            – It’s also a good point about needing to flesh out the characters more. I wrote versions where I did more work with the characters, but I wound up making some hard cuts in order to keep as much of the action/intrigue as possible. I did what I could to try to make the action tell things about the characters, but I agree the characters need more meat. I definitely didn’t strike the perfect balance between story and character.

          • TruckDweller

            Let me just add, I encourage people to read this. It’s a truly original concept and a unique twist on something we’ve seen before (time travel) in a way that makes it both exciting and potentially heartfelt. When Johnathan perfects this, it will definitely merit some highend attention.

            Great work.

  • Ben Bailey

    I second the many thanks for the Pilot Week, and for my own suggestion, I’d say that instead of just doing a week, why not just open up regular amateur submissions to include pilots as well as screenplays?

    • Ken Kerns

      I also liked the suggestion elsewhere of organizing any further Pilot Weeks by format, since you can learn a lot by reading 5 multi-camera sitcom scripts in a row.

  • Trek

    Boy is this going to be interesting!

    It’s not my script, but I must, hands down, cast my vote for “God Dammit.” That’s one gnarly script that is begging to be reviewed.

    • Jonathan Soens

      I liked that script as well. Nothing against the script that replaced it in the Pilot Week lineup, but I was looking forward to reading everyone’s thoughts on “God Damnit!” too.

  • Jonathan Soens

    I really dig this idea. It’s got supernatural, sci-fi stuff. It’s got action.

    I also, for whatever reason, love seeing big American cities used as a backdrop for warfare. It’s just so much more interesting to me, visually, than watching wars set in jungles or deserts. It’s kind of what makes the zombie genre appealing, I think — that idea of our ordinary everyday backdrop being turned into this setting for danger.

    Just downloaded it, and am about to load it onto my e-reader.

  • Chris Mulligan

    Something wonky in that pilot logline. …after the woman’s mysterious brain tumor, which causes the woman to believe she’s already dead, turns out to be the result of cancer.

    I’d switch brain tumor to condition. — mysterious condition — turns out to be cancer.

  • cjob3

    I was gonna submit this when the first announcement was made but it was being looked at by an interested party. Still is, technically. But oh, what the heck.

    “BEYOND HELP with Handy Andy”

    A documentary-style sitcom send-up of expert-based reality “makeover” shows such as Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, Extreme Home Makeovers, Super Nanny, Hoarders, Catfish and more, “Beyond Help” follows well-meaning but misguided ‘Handy’ Andy Cornwall as he travels the country, bringing his special brand of “help” to various people in need.

    Inspired by the reality renovation shows he loves, Andy Cornwall, in the throes of a mid-life crisis, decides to lend his expertise in “helping” to desperate people on the verge of ruin. Problem is; Andy’s no expert. A self-proclaimed “Jack of all trades, and master of fun,” Andy hires a day-labor cameraman to follow him around and capture a few “success stories” so he can shop his own reality show, “Beyond Help with Handy Andy,” to the networks.

    Look out, America. He’s helping!

    • TruckDweller

      I’m going to check this one out. I used to work on sets for “The Shield”. We always wanted to get on the show “Trading Spaces” and redo someone’s house while they were gone as a crack house or a murder scene… I may have shared too much.

      • cjob3

        Nice. That’s a great idea.

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        I’d definitely watch that. The problem is that the house owner will immediately know that it’s a prank, so you’d have to pick owners who’ve been gone for a lot of time from their residences.

        Or, you can find owners who can pretend. What all reality shows do.

    • cjob3

      BTW, WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I posted an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia spec here about 2 years ago, “The Gang Catches Predators” and everyone seemed to really like it. It went on to place in the Quarterfinals of this years’ Scriptapalooza. So I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice.

    • Kristi

      I am not a huge fan of comedies… but heck, was this hilarious! I don’t know, I guess you found my weak spot.. or maybe I found Andy so funny that everything he said made me chuckle/laugh.
      It was really well written and executed, very much visual (as if really existed! Good!), VERY funny. Extremely effective dialogue. I can easily see it on MTV!!

      p.s. Love Miguel/Manuel, LOL
      p.p.s. I’ve also posted a pilot here… I’d love to hear what you think of it ;)

      • cjob3

        Awesome, Kristi, thanks! I’m so glad you liked it. MTV would be great, I’ve got some funny ideas for a Handy Andy/”Catfish” episode. Thanks for the feedback. That’s great to hear.

        Unfortunately I wont be able to do any reading until my new laptop cord arrives in a couple days but I’ll definitely have a look.

        Don’t know if you’d like it but I have another pilot up called “Not Safe for Work” about two guys who inherit a strip club.

    • Citizen M

      I thought this was a fantastic concept. I’m a fan of Kitchen Nightmares and I watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition occasionally.

      I’d give this an “Almost but not quite” rating. It’s got the stuff we look for, like blindfolding the family then revealing the changes (or not), screwing things up (by putting the doorknob on) then healing relationships (by finding the baseball), and talking to the camera. The monosyllabic Miguel and escalating screw-ups and having to be rescued by brother-in-law were good touches, and I admit to chuckling occasionally.

      But Andy was a bit too much of a selfish dick for me. He was basically freeloading in the guise of making a program. I thought we’d get someone with the same frenetic and enthusiastic personality as a Gordon Ramsay or Ty Pennington, but a complete klutz with inadequate resources, and see his struggles to fix things he can’t fix and obtain supplies etc he can’t afford as everything turns out more or less right in the end. He needs to be more of a well-intentioned idiot and less calculating, IMO.

      He had to have some money for the couch, paying Miguel etc. Maybe we need a bit of background on finances and budgeting, and some backstory on why he’s doing this.

      • cjob3

        I was about to recommend the second episode, “Super Nanny Andy,” people seem to prefer it to this, but he’s MUCH more of a selfish dick in that one. I appreciate your thoughts though. I just got notes from a manager saying he wanted more backstory on why Andy is doing this – so – valid point there. Thanks for the read!

        I’m working on a Kitchen Nightmares one now. He’s got the family blindfolded after Andy’s design team “worked throughout the night.” But Andy goes in and discovers “It turns out my design team was a gang of thieves who stole everything down to the copper wiring.” Their restaurant is an empty shell. Andy has no idea what to do here. Since the family is still blindfolded he walks them to the other end of the strip mall, into a different restaurant, and reveals that instead. The family is blown away. ‘Oh my god! I don’t even recognize it!” “I love the colors!” HOSTESS: Oh. Glad you like it. How many? ANDY (Quietly) No, we’re okay. We’re just browsing. He quickly escapes.

        • Citizen M

          So he screws up and hightails it out of town? I’ve known people like that.

          • cjob3

            Hey -any chance I could get you to look at NOT SAFE FOR WORK? It’s up on the first page. Look like it just needs another vote to put it over the top.

  • Ken Kerns

    Thanks Carson!

    Oooh, do I do my single-camera sitcom (even though that’s not my strength), or do I go for the 1-hour drama (even though a longer script means more room for error)? Decisions…

    Well, since it’s been the labor of love, I’ll offer up the drama script as the sacrifice, because I think I’d just get destroyed over the sitcom’s relative lack of jokes

    TITLE: Connections

    FORMAT: Hour-long drama

    GENRE: Police procedural / Political thriller

    LOGLINE: A freelance detective investigates the murder of an old friend and realizes more of her college classmates, now lobbyists and politicians, may have been involved.

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: With the rise of the Tea Party and revelations about abuses to our online privacy, I just like the idea that some opponents will resort to violence to uncover each other’s secrets, just to gain an advantage over things like Supreme Court vacancies.

    BONUS REASON TO READ IT: I know it means little to official Hollywood, but I’ve gotten at least as far as Quarterfinalist in the 2013 PAGE Awards contest with this script (we’ll see in a few weeks if I go further), so I’d love to get some crowd feedback to go along with it.


  • charliesb

    So I got up to the end of Act 1.

    You’ve definitely got some skill as a writer, but so far this pilot is not connecting with me. The big difference between film and television is character interaction. When watching a movie on the big screen we get excited by beautiful imagery, sweeping scores and one liners. In fact people get so excited by it that they completely ignore poorly written dialogue. e.g. Man of Steel (You don’t necessarily have poorly written dialogue – BTW)

    Television fans are a completely different sort. They soak up every on screen second of character interaction and dialogue; define what they believe to be canon, choose sides, write blogs, create tumblers etc all based on the way your main character told another character that “he/she loved/hated him/her”.

    What does this have to do with your pilot? Where are my hero’s? You’ve dropped in a bunch of characters in about 15 mins. I didn’t connect with any of them and I don’t know what your show is about. And I don’t mean I don’t know what happening, I mean I don’t know what kind of story you are trying to tell me.

    I think the fact that you’ve compared your pilot to a bunch of movies is very telling. Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers were both done by Spielberg, but have very different feels.

    My suggestion (and of course so far I’ve only read the first act) is to forget the flash back. Bring that stuff in in the second episode. Keep the action on what is happening now. Define this world and your characters in it, and then go back and show me all the “before’s”. Think about how effective the reveal of Locke’s handicap was after we had already decided what kind of person he was based on the first couple of episodes of LOST.

    I will go back and finish your pilot sometime this weekend, because I love scifi, and I do think you’ve got some talent. Congrats on getting it finished.

    Good luck!

    • Julien Deladriere

      You’re not the first to tell me you have a hard time connecting with the characters in Act 1. I think some of the later scenes may help with that (and I’d love to hear back from you should you finish reading the script) but this leads me to think it’s the first point I should tackle in any future rewrite.

      Funny you should bring up LOST since I attempted here to emulate the same kind of intertwined present time/flashback structure. When you finish the script, I’d be curious to know if your advice to lose the flashback in Act 1 still stands or not. The feedback I got until now is mixed in that respect, with some readers thinking it elevates the script above a giant videogame-inspired action scene, and others urging me to lose the flashbacks entirely. Would love to have your opinion on this!

      Thanks for your thoughts! :-)

  • TruckDweller

    Okay, for the record, I didn’t hassle you Carson! That said, I can definitely sympathize with those that did.

    I sent in two. Anyone is welcome to read them and comment – my email will be on the front page. Or, with your support, consider me for an amateur Friday. I could really use some kickass notes on the first.

    “Jabberjaw” – An hour-long based on the life of 20 something mess of a human, Gary Dent, who somehow stumbled his way into owning the most popular and dangerous club in the early nineties, Jabberjaw. The Los Angeles based club is best known for its close relationship with Nirvana, Elliott Smith and mega producer Rick Rubin.

    “Scourge” – The story of rebellion against King George III from the perspective of the pirates that hate his ever-living guts. This tale of vengeance is a new look at the Revolutionary War.

    Note: Scourge is dead in the water as just after writing no less than three pirate shows were picked up for various networks. If you have a connection to any of these shows, I implore you to read this and let me know what you think.

    Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read either one. Any and all comments are appreciated!

    • Midnight Luck

      is Jabberjaw based on a real story / character / happening? or is it a fictional based on real things like Nirvana and an LA club scene? I see it was a real place, but that poses even more of the same questions for me.

      Love the title and ideas. Either way, am interested.

      • TruckDweller

        It’s based on the life of a close friend of mine who lived every bit of what easily has a five season arc. His club was actually named “Jabberjaw” and was once a post-punk Los Angeles institution. He has more stories than one show can recount but many of them are difficult for him to tell. A surprising amount of research and fact checking went into the pilot and the show bible I created for it. This thing is legit. Took years to convince him to share the rights to his story.

        • Midnight Luck

          Sounds Awesome. I would check out a show like that.

          I will definitely check out your script.

          • TruckDweller

            Thanks! I’d love to hear your thoughts, whatever they may be. And feel free to toss me some of your work if you’d like some feedback. Email’s on the front page.

    • MWire

      Read the first 10 of your pirate story. Great action writing. Good beginning for a long running series.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Okay, I couldn’t make it through “Scourge.” Not because it was badly written; I just have a hard time reading about pirates. It’s fascinating subject matter, and I happily watch pirates on TV or in movies, but it feels like a chore to read because I know so little. I wind up stopping every other minute to look up some term or some factoid, and I lose all momentum every time I do that.

      But I loved “Jabberjaw.” I ate that up a knife and fork. Here were my thoughts on that…

      – I was a fan of Weird Al’s parody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” before I was even a fan of Nirvana, so you know I was too young of a kid to have appreciated it while it was happening. But I eventually discovered all the stuff from that era, so I love the choice of a TV show set in that time and place in history.

      – I had a kind of pit in my stomach with the teaser showing Cobain’s backyard and the siren-lights (and a body or mannequin silhouetted). I was like, “Oh boy, we’re not doing what I think we’re doing here, are we?” But when I re-read it, I thought it must not be Kurt’s death because you said there was snow and he died in spring. Either way, pretty bold choice to plop the audience down in Cobain’s yard, bathed in siren-lights. I am curious if the audience was necessarily meant to recognize it as Kurt’s place, though. While I–and other big fans–would immediately recognize the image of the greenhouse there, I dunno how that moment would play for more casual observers.

      – It felt like a bit of a whirlwind having so many characters introduced early on who had names. Not much you could do about that, since you can’t establish a place that serves as a lot of people’s hang-out or job without also introducing the people who hang out or work there.

      – I’m not sure how to put this. But I felt like my reading was slowed by the fact that I kept having to re-read things. You kept throwing things at me that I didn’t expect or didn’t understand at first. There was a lot of me stopping and going, “Wait, what? Let me re-read this last bit, because I must’ve missed something.” As an example, it happened 3 times in the span of only 2 pages at the beginning with the introduction of Cobain’s backyard, then the pills in the vomit, and then again with the bolt cutters. It was like: “Wait, what? We’re in Kurt Cobain’s yard? Hold on. He’s reaching into his vomit? Wait, what? Bolt cutters? What the–?” Now, that might’ve sounded like a complaint, but it wasn’t. It’s very refreshing to be only a few pages in and to already feel like the writing is utilizing fresh choices and visuals. It’s confidence-inspiring.

      – Late in the script, I had a confusing thought: “This is good writing. And, as something of a music geek, I’m digging the material in the same way that I often dig music scripts. But there’s something that feels off, feels different.” What I realized is that we’re so used to scripts that glamorize and glorify the music, and this felt grittier somehow. It’s like, in a movie like “Hi Fidelity” or a script like “Urinal Vinyl,” the music scene has a kind of gloss over it, keeping it shiny and idealized. Lots of scripts about music tend to be cutesy and whimsical and wide-eyed, with this sense that everybody holds this special place in their heart for the music because the music is the soundtrack to their lives. This felt less glossy and more real. Given the subject matter, I didn’t expect it to feel as fresh as it did. You did a very good job.

      – Not to nit-pick, but I’m not sure about the Nirvana song choice at the end. I don’t have all the facts at my fingertips, but that one just feels to me like a song that was recorded after they were big enough that they no longer needed to be handing out demo’s (like, recorded in the ’90s, not the ’80s). So it felt like a strange choice, is all. But maybe I’m wrong and it was one of their older songs.

      – I’d definitely be tuning in for the next episode after this pilot. This felt like one of those shows where, as soon as the first episode ends, I immediately go tinker with my DVR settings to bump this show towards the top of the priority list so I don’t miss any new episodes if it ever conflicts with of the shows my fiancee sets the DVR to record.

      • TruckDweller

        Thanks so much for your generous and thorough analysis. I wonder how any folks bail on Scourge because of the pirate vocabulary. I put so much time into the research of that script, it would be a shame to pull it away. I suppose it doesn’t matter much as the script can only be a sample thanks to Black Sails and Crossbones.

        As for my choice of Nirvana songs, I am compressing time a bit. It was older than most know, though.

        Anyway, I can’t take too much credit for the unique takes in Jabberjaw. The pills in the vomit? Real. The disappearance of Kurt before his suicide? Kurt Loder actually reported about it from outside of Gary’s house. The bolt cutters? He still has them. I’ve used them. If the show ever got picked up, there’s a whole episode worth to explain why he had them and why his pad locks always ended up gummed into uselessness.

        Anyway, thanks for reading and for detailing your thoughts so thoroughly. I’ll take a look at parsing out the introductions. Maybe the band can be in their trailer or grabbing a Tommy Burger.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Gave “Jabberjaw” some more thought, and realized I might have a tiny bit of a problem with Gary being in too good of a place.

      I recently re-watched “Breaking Bad” to get ready for the new season, and the pilot in that show was a master-class in starting the protagonist at a sad, low place. His career is a failure compared to his Nobel Prize potential. His students disrespect him, he has a humiliating 2nd job. Even the bright spots, like the tradition of spelling out his age in bacon on his birthday or having sex with his wife, get ruined (she uses fake bacon, and their “sex” is just a sad handjob where she’s paying more attention to her computer).

      Now, I’m not saying your protagonist starts the series at a high point in his life or anything like that, but I realized that you might want to think about how professionally satisfying his situation should start out. I mean, he’s got Rick Rubin seemingly impressed with him, and he’s got a young Kurt Cobain trying to work up the nerve to hop on his stage, and he’s got Elliott Smith playing there. (For a minute, I thought he had Shannon Hoon in there, too, but I guess it’s just another musician named Shannon.) It’s all kind of amazing, this place he’s at in his life, whether he recognizes it yet or not.

      The artists seem to respect him and the kids line up outside that club because they love it so much. So I wondered if there’s almost too many things going his way at the beginning of this series? I don’t know what the answer is, just suggesting it’s something you might take a look at.

      Is it possible to dampen some of the amazing-ness without losing the really cool moments? Is it possible to cast some doubt over whether the artists really dig his club or whether they’re just trying to finagle stage time? I dunno.

      Just felt like it would be worth exploring to see if you can make his situation just a little bit less satisfying there at the club. Just a suggestion.

      • TruckDweller

        Definitely worth thinking about! I do have to sort of balance the facts with the narrative but there were plenty of daily issues – the strongest being their inability to keep their profits as opposed to snort them. But that comes a bit later. I could set the pilot a little further back before they started getting their usual audience but then I would have to fudge Cobain’s part even further. I suppose reality should bend to the better story. I’ll mull this over.

        It’s definitely a good suggestion. Maybe I’ll study that “Breaking Bad” pilot. I always love an excuse to go back to that show.

        • Citizen M

          Just finished Jabberjaw. It’s an impressive piece of writing. If I have any criticisms, it is the lack of a crazy/goofy/humorous character. They all seemed rather serious, but people laugh a lot in that age group.

          Also, I was wondering what was in the next episodes. To me, this felt like the first half of a biopic rather than the setup for an extended story.

          • TruckDweller

            Add more humor. That I can do.

            The intention of this piece was to function similarly to Boardwalk Empire. We’ll see Gary’s rise as his club begins to get attention and he begins to run errands for Rick Rubin. Of course, not all attention is positive and the law begins to crack down on his club along with the local territorial gangs. It becomes harder and harder for Gary to focus on music as money flows in but flows out even faster. Pair with this Gary’s growing friendship with Kurt Cobain. It’s fun – Gary’s rise coincides with the rise of grunge but as the five season greater arc will show, like grunge, all things end in time.

            Season two will focus on the growing disparity between the rich white kids braving South L.A. to see their bands and the gang life that surrounds Jabberjaw. Though the kids are spending good money on drugs, racial clashes are only growing, especially as the police presence grows. This culminates in the LA race riots – Jabberjaw was right in the path of the rioting and looting and the story of how it made it through untouched is amazing. If I can’t float Jabberjaw as a series, there’s a definite movie about this night.

      • Breaking Bad Enthusiast

        The hand job never made it into the pilot. It was in the pilot script but not in the actual show.

        • Jonathan Soens

          As I understand it, it aired the first time they ran the pilot. The pilot was probably slightly longer than a typical episode. (Lots of shows, especially cable shows, will air a show with less commercial interruption when the show first debuts, because they don’t want commercials taking the audience out of the story or giving them a chance to leave this show they haven’t yet connected to.) The handjob was probably one of the easier cuts to trim the longer version back down to a shorter runtime so it could run with a normal commercial schedule later on.

          And, from what I’ve heard, it’s been put back in on the DVD version of the episode.

          I read a TV critic recently (Alan Sepinwall, I think) talking about this issue with the handjob scene. He was wondering if a lot of fans have a harsher view of the wife’s character depending on whether they had to sit through watching her give that pathetic handjob, while she was paying attention to an eBay auction and nagging him about painting the baby’s room. It’s an interesting question. If you caught the handjob cut the first time you watched the show, that shaped how you felt about the wife from the very beginning. If you caught the edited version, you might have felt like the wife played no part (or less of a part) in Walt’s emasculation.

  • Matty

    Thanks for the opportunity, Carson! Here’s my pilot and pitch:

    TITLE: Rockwell High

    GENRE: Half-hour high school comedy

    LOGLINE: At Rockwell High, the school season has just started. Seniors are beginning their final year of high school and teachers are doing what they do every year. One of these students is Carl, an ultra-conservative, socially awkward teen who is constantly getting into trouble. One of the teachers is Mr. Wright, an alcoholic, older version of Carl. In the Pilot, Carl is trying to get himself suspended, and Mr. Wright is just trying to get through the day.

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This has received extremely positive feedback from pretty much everyone who’s read it (including one contributor to the SS site weeks ago). It’s a quick read, with characters and situations that I think everyone can relate to (everyone who’s been to high school anyway, which I assume is most people here). If you enjoy half-hour comedies in the vein of The Office (this has a faux-documentary, talking head style), I think you’ll like this. While Carl and Mr. Wright are the main characters, this is much more of an ensemble. And unlike many high school shows, this focuses equally on both teachers and students, which I think gives it a more refreshing perspective. They say write what you know, and I know high school. Much of this is based on personal experiences of mine, or inspired by people I actually knew in school. Give it a read, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

    • Matty

      I should note that’s the Pilot Logline, not the Series Logline…

    • jaehkim

      I am one of those who read rockwell high and gave a positive feedback. it’s a mocumentary which may be losing its flavor of late, but I thought this one done very well and was pretty funny.

      it’s a very short and breezy read, and at the very least it’s well.

  • JW

    Yo C, as a member of the tribe who felt left out because, for whatever reason, my email won’t work with your newsletter (still doesn’t by the way)… THX!

    TITLE: TSA (Transportation Security Assholes)



    PAGES: 35

    PILOT LOGLINE: Two ragtag groups of TSA officers who can’t stand each other battle it out to win what has now been switched from EMPLOYEE of the month to EMPLOYEES of the month. Shenanigans, hijinks and Anderson Cooper ensue…


    • Alexander Berman

      Like the level of offense disclaimer. Will take a look!

  • charliesb

    Both your loglines are killing me. I feel like i need to be an analytical neuropsychiatrist just to decipher them.

    Tighten and simplify please.

  • Andrew Orillion

    Some of these pilots sound pretty good. I’ll see if I can read a few.

    Here is the one I submitted.

    Back Travelers: Set in the year 2197, “Back Travelers” is an hour-long sci-fi action/comedy series about a group of adventurers from the future (and two women from the present) who make a living in the highly-lucrative, but highly-illegal trade in historical artifacts stolen via time travel.

    Everything from the pen used to sign the Declaration of Independence to a Super Beta Max machine is up for grabs in this sci-fi action/comedy that’s equal parts “Indiana Jones”, “Firefly” and “Quantum Leap”.

    Why You Should Read It: Most of my work has been in TV comedy, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this off-the-wall idea. It’s been well received by the various writers groups I’ve been in and I did a rewrite before submitting it to Carson.

    You can find the latest draft at my Website.

    • TruckDweller

      I’ll try to take a look this weekend but in the mean time, have you seen Terry Gilliam’s opus, Time Bandits?

      • Andrew Orillion

        You’re not the first person to reference “Time Bandits” in relation to this pilot. It happened so often that a finally broke down and watched the movie a few months ago. Now, I like Terry Gilliam, he’s made two of my favorite movies, “Twelve Monkeys” and “The Fisher King”. But, even for a Terry Gilliam film “Time Bandits” is a plotless, jumbled mess. What was he trying to do with this movie? What was it all about? It’s kind of like a Monty Python movie, but aimed at a more kid friendly audience. I just didn’t get.

        Let me know what you think of Back Travelers.

    • Kristi

      I read it! I’m going to write here the notes I took while reading it. Keep in mind that I only want to help you make it better, not to take you down in any way.

      – I liked the teaser! Left me curious and wanting to read the whole thing.

      – I like Sam! She has a strong personality. I mean… she stands out, she feels real! Not that the others were flat, only that she’s the one I’d remember most if you’d ask me to talk aboout your pilot in a few weeks.

      – I must say, I think you haven’t revised it enough. Found many spelling mistakes… like on p.29 “You’re friend”, “I’m not a really captain”. Be careful with those, everyone knows you only do them out of oversight, but people will start to spot them instead of enjoying the story. Less mistakes you make the more readers will respect you, and that leads to them trusting you, having expectations.

      – Really good story choice not to reveal who Terrel is and how the heck he can do what he does. Makes me very curious! Must always put some sort of mystery in our pilots…

      – I can visualize many more episodes and that’s a a very strong point! I can see them going mission after mission, visiting various places and times, living many adventures, bonding, arguing… Love that!

      – The Universe of Back Travellers is very well built and unique… makes you believe in it. It doesn’t feel, well, surreal! Lol, it is actually surreal, but it’s a good thing I’m not being skeptical all the time. I am thrilled instead to know more details, to see more futuristic locations

      – I like Judah! And I think his name suits him, lol

      – Very nice, potential relationships established. I can see many twists coming, well done!

      – I loved the brief scene in the bathroom at Von Braun Train Station, with the poor Bathroom Bob. I lol’d at that ;)

      – Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind. What about production costs? I am no-one to talk, since my own pilot is set in a medieval-style fantasy world, but it still is an issue. When Sam was talking about where they could have gone, pyramids, dinosaurs, Ancient Rome.. I felt ecstatic! But I worried about the costs. Anyway, I LOVE the concept.

      – p.50 SAM: “This is from Moose”. Don’t you mean Terrel? I thought Moose was hiding in some maintenance tunnel?

      – I loved the part where Moose was running out of energy. I found myself worried for him! Which means I cared for him :) Anyway, urgency! Really well done

      – What’s the exclamation Moose uses on page 56? “Schisa”? Don’t you mean Scheisse/Scheiße? Or is that form used in some parts of Germany? Or is that a completely different word and I’m making a fool out of myself?

      – Liked the steamer trunks idea! And clever way of introducing it, before..

      – Liked the fake names as well! I thought they were just joking back in 2013, lol. But allow me one doubt.. is it really possible that in 100/200 years nobody will know who Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker were? They’ve been an important part of cinema history after all.. just wondering.

      – LOVED the ending! Just one thing.. Weren’t there on the space ship portraits of the four of them together? So how come Cheryl has that sort of reaction? I mean.. she’d been in the same team of history thiefs. I get it, she calls Terrel that because SHE knows his past.. but they’ve been teammates after all. She looks too surprised to see him alive… hmm I’m confused lol

      ALL IN ALL: I liked it! I’d definitely check episode 2 ;) Good luck with it!

      • Andrew Orillion

        I’m glad you enjoyed the pilot.

        I feel really bad about the typos. It’s not laziness or oversight, I’m dyslexic. Not severely, I wasn’t diagnosed till college, but enough to where proofreading my own work is all but impossible. There are times when it really bites me in the ass. Cheryl is a perfect example. I didn’t mean for that to be the same name, but no matter how many times I reread the script I didn’t catch it. I’m pretty sure my dyslexia has cost me a few writing jobs. I actually have to get my mother to proofread my stuff, but clearly that’s not working either.

        I’d use Carson’s service but there’s no way i can afford that.

        • Kristi

          I’m sorry about that, I didn’t know! ;( It’s a pity because basically it was the only issue I had with the script, lol.. You should have it read by a few people, I guess. Maybe something your mother hasn’t noticed, someone else will spot. Who knows. It will be better than before anyway, and it will let your script shine! :)

        • Kristi

          Oh, and if you have some free time, would you mind giving mine a read? I’d really appreciate your opinion… even a general one! ;)

          • Andrew Orillion

            Be happy to. Post a link.

          • Kristi

            It’s already posted as a comment (well, actually two comments….. it was a mistake, tried to delete one but it didn’t work…) :)

          • Andrew Orillion

            The Horizon Review

            First, let’s start with the positives.

            – I like the idea. I wrote a similar pilot a few years ago that took place in the aftermath of an apocalypse where the world was
            overrun by fantasy creatures. I’ve read some other pilots with similar hooks so you’re not alone.

            – I like that you have female soldiers. It adds a nice touch and gives the cast some variety.

            – I like the two leads, Josh and Colin. They have a nice brotherly relationship going. That’s some that is definitely worth exploring.

            Here’s what needs improving.

            – First and foremost, the length and structure are
            off. TV does not follow the minute-per-page rule. Although an hour-long drama is only about 44 minutes screen time, the page length is between 50 to 60 pages. The exception is if you’re writing for premium cable where there are no commercials. In this case, you want to aim for 45 to 55. Right now, you’re about 10 pages short, but don’t despair those extra pages can help you expand
            your characters.

            As for the structure, you are off by one act. Most modern TV drama is either six acts or a teaser and five acts.

            – Character names are an issue. Clara and Colin are too similar and you should change one of their names. As a general rule of
            thumb, you want to avoid characters whose names start with the same letter or sound too similar, i.e. Mindy and Cindy. Also, unless you’re doing it as a joke, don’t name characters Hansel and Gretel. It’s just silly and I was instantly taken out of the world you created.

            – Set up the fantasy element at the end of the first act, not the beginning of the second act. You want to create some
            suspense and give the viewer a reason to stay tuned. A troll smashing through a wall is a great cliff hanger, don’t waste it.

            On that same note, don’t wait until page 17 to give the reader the hook of your script, in journalistic terms this is called burying the lead. I get that you’re trying to build suspense with the sniper and everything, but you can still do this even if you reveal the nature
            of the conflict.

            – I like the ending, but you might want to come up with a reason that they have to stay in Manhattan over night. Maybe they’re cutoff, maybe they are part of the first wave and have to hold this territory. Give the viewer and the reader a reason to come back for episode two.

          • Kristi

            Hey Andrew!
            I think you got it wrong. The Horizon is not my work.. my pilot is A Tale from Saaven… ;)

          • Andrew Orillion

            Well, that was embarrassing. The Horizon was a different script I read for this site.

            I’ll get to yours tonight.

          • Julien Deladriere

            Yeah, it was mine. :-) Sorry, it’s only now I see your comment, thanks a lot for taking the time to read it and for your suggestions! I’ll make sure to read Back Travelers shortly.

          • Andrew Orillion

            Thanks for being patient with this. The fact that you have
            the dedication to be able to finish a full TV pilot says a lot about your drive. I’ve met more writers than I care to remember who have never even gotten this far. So, in some ways, you are already ahead of the game. That said, A Tale of Saaven needs a lot of work if you’re going to use this as a sample or as starting point for a series.

            On the positive side, you have some nice character work.
            Kester and Ilior work well together as do Giora and Toura.

            Here’s what needs improving.

            – This is not a hard and fast rule of screenwriting, but you should avoid the passive voice, “The girl is playing with a wooden toy.” Use the active voice, “The girl plays with a wooden toy.” It’s more direct, reads easier and most importantly, saves on the word count.

            – Your writing style is a bit too thick for screenwriting. It’s nice, but it could stand to be leaner and more direct. At times it’s a bit confusing, too. For example, on page 3 :

            “He spots Ilior and walks to him. We notice a delicate-patterned envelope in his hand.”

            Whose hand are you referring to, Ilior or Kester? It’s not clear. Until Kester spoke, I thought Ilior was holding the letter.

            – Along the same lines, you’re doing way too much telling and not enough showing.

            He stares at her and we get the feeling he likes her.

            Don’t just tell the reader he likes her, have him show it in some way. A gesture, the way sits, the way he talks.

            – “Holy cow” is a very modern expression. It seems really out of place. As is Toura’s use of the word “cool”.

            – Act Outs should not happen in the middle of a page. Act Outs in TV are your commercial breaks and create their own page
            breaks. Screenwriting programs like Final Draft or Movie Magic will do this automatically. Also, you’re Act Outs need to be really dramatic. Knocking on a door and entering a castle is not very dramatic. You want to end on something that is going to keep the audience glued to their seat and switching channels to see what else is on.

            Also, TV shows do not have epilogues. Just make this Act 5

            – You have way, way, way, way, way too many characters. I stopped counting after I hit 20. Now, I know it is typical for
            epic fantasy to have a million characters and Game of Thrones has a huge ensemble. But, Game of Thrones has the advantage of being an already established work. You should strongly consider trimming your cast to a more manageable size, at least for the pilot.

            The main thing you can do to improve Tale of Saaven is to focus it. You may be trying tackle too big a project. Keep at it. If you ever do a rewrite, I’d be interested in reading it, you can find me at

          • Kristi

            Andrew, thanks for your valuable notes, they were all reasonable points and I’ll make sure to follow all of your advices. Thank you so much for explaining the active voice issue and the act breaks, I’ll make sure to keep these things in mind when re-writing, I’m sure it will help my script read faster and look more professional :)
            I have actually put SO MUCH work into the characters, and maybe let’s why sometimes I put too many details… but I’ll reduce them. I’ll reduce them A LOT, lol.
            But, most of all, thank you for encouraging me. It means a lot. I’ll definitely send you the rewrite!! ;)

  • K__David

    Looking forward to any feedback. Thanks!

    Title: Marble Falls

    Genre: Mystery/Thriller

    Logline: In 1951 a sinister entity manipulates two young boys, one through fear and the other through deceit, to do his evil biddings upon the small Texas town of Marble Falls.

    Why you should read: Fans of Stephen King might enjoy this one. I’m definitely heavily influenced by that amazing writing.


    • Jonathan Soens

      As a Stephen King fan, this premise reminds me of his “Needful Things” novel, except on a smaller, more personal scale, manipulating a couple of people instead of being the puppet master pulling the whole town’s strings.

      Just downloaded it, and I put it on the pile of pilots I’m going to read tonight once my fiancee goes to bed. (I can’t concentrate on reading when she’s watching these old “Dateline” shows with that creepy Keith Morrison host who seems to be getting a kick out of the murders he’s describing/narrating.)

      • K__David

        Thanks Jon. Just downloaded Small, Small World and will be reading tomorrow. Looking forward to reading it!

    • TruckDweller

      Sounds like a good premise to me and I’m not watching “Under The Dome.” I’ll try to get to this sometime this weekend but more likely in the coming week.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Okay, my very first note was about to be a complaint about the opening. I mean, you go through a quick run-down of a number of locations in the town, as if you said: “Okay, I’m just going to bite the bullet and do a big exposition-dump on page one to get it all out of the way.” In a way, I could agree with that. I was about to say you reached just a bit too far and cost yourself by not sucking me into the story because you burned most of the 1st page on those descriptions… but then at the bottom of the first page, you introduce a search party. That’s a great hook to open a story, jumping right in to find a search party calling out someone’s name. That sucked me in.

      As for the rest of the script, I have to say it was an odd experience for me. I usually can’t read scripts with very much of a “youth” presence, because I often find it impossible to enjoy dialogue coming out of child characters who were written by adults. When I got a feel for the kid-heavy load in this, I kept expecting myself to stop reading.

      But a funny thing happened: I found myself a little bored with the scenes featuring adults. Now, “bored” might be a harsh word. I just felt antsy and anxious to get back to the kid characters. Maybe it’s the Stephen King influence, but I kept having this feeling that I wanted to go back to the kids and see what the kids know or what the kids think is going on in this town.

      In that sense, I have to admit, it felt a lot like reading the early portion of a Stephen King novel, where something dark is descending on a town or on a group of friends, and often you want to hear from the kids because the kids are often more sensitive to–and open-minded about–whatever’s bubbling under the surface.

      If this were a pilot, I’d definitely stick around for the 2nd episode. Assuming the casting for the kids was done well, I think I’d be pretty into this as the beginning of a TV series.

  • klmn

    I didn’t participate in the contest and I wasn’t going to upload anything here, but since Carson started this page I might as well. This is the Pilot episode for an exercise from a few years ago. The name of the series was to be JIMBO’S JAM IT INN.

    I also wrote a 2’nd episode, a continuation titled THE TRIAL.

    There are two more continuing episodes, but I didn’t write them and so won’t post them. However anyone wishing to read them can email me and I’ll send them.

    These are written in what Scriptware calls TV2 format. (I believe this is the Everybody Loves Raymond format).

    I also have the first four episodes compiled into screenplay format if anyone is interested.

    kenklmn AT yahoo dotcom

    • klmn

      The compilation version written in Screenplay format is better. It was written four years later – just before we abandoned the project, and reflects the additional work. Email me if you want to read it.

    • klmn

      LOGLINE: It’s a low class version of CHEERS.

      Why you should read it: You’ll get some laughs, and you get to tell me what’s wrong with it, you smug bastard.

  • cjob3

    This is my latest pilot. Originally imagined as a web series – it’s a raunchy R-rated ‘strip-com’ called “NOT SAFE FOR WORK.”

    Ben and Ollie think they’ve hit the jackpot when they inherit a strip-club, but they soon discover it just might be the worst place on Earth.

    • Panos Tsapanidis

      I like it. If you put stakes in the logline it would be much better. i.e. does it matter if they keep the strip club afloat or they can just sell it?

      • cjob3

        The one guy does wanna just sell it while they other guy wants to try to ‘turn things around.’ You’re right though, maybe I should explain. There is a reason they can’t sell but it’s not very sexy.

        • Panos Tsapanidis

          Hi cjob3,

          I read you script up until the first scene of the 2nd act. That scene made me check out.

          The reason? Because I cannot believe the fact that a stripper would ever call security on a CUSTOMER just because he’s not getting wood while he’s getting a rub from her. It’s implausible and it made me believe that you haven’t researched the world of strippers very much.

          Some other suggestions that sprang to mind:

          a) The opening scene is the funeral of an owner of a lot of strip clubs, and who gets up to give a speech? A biker. A BIKER!! Why not a stripper? Why not fill the church with strippers and seedy nocturnal characters that came to pay respect to their boss/friend/enemy etc. That scene creates way more conflict and it connects the theme of the movie with the opening scene. Imagine how the priest would react to a church full of strippers!

          b) The reason why Dodd won’t sell the club? My thought? In the opening scene we see Dodd opening a pile of unpaid bills. He’s in a tough spot, but in that pile of bills…hello! An invitation to his estranged uncle’s funeral.

          c) When his uncle appears in the video/will, have the girl he has sex with dressed in a sexy Angel costume. ;)

          d) The stripper that is too sincere is way too cartoonish. You just can’t believe that this character exists. Maybe in the 90’s you could get away with this kind of character.

          e) Keyword: AWKWARDNESS. The protagonist should react like a fish out of water when he’s in the strip club. That’s where you milk your funny scenes out of.

          f) Stick to one way of writing the age of characters. There isn’t one way that is right, but it’s right to use only one way of doing it throughout the script.

          Those are just MY suggestions.

          I wish you the best with this idea.

          • cjob3

            No, of course a stripper would never have a guy thrown out for not producing an erection. That was kinda the joke. It’s a horrible strip club. She’s an obnoxious stripper. But to be fair, it’s that deadpan ‘uncomfortable’ kind of humor that’s easy to miss on the page, I guess. Believe me, I “researched” strip clubs.

          • Panos Tsapanidis

            Okay, i just told you how I felt. You are the one making the final decisions. Keep writing!

    • cjob3

      WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: You shouldn’t read it. It’s terribly offensive.

    • JakeMLB

      Hey cjob3,

      Great stuff. I remember reading your It’s Always Sunny Spec and this further cements your talents for comedy. Loved the premise and you nailed the execution. Every opportunity to land a joke was taken and they were mostly successful on the page which in a comedy spec is pretty damn impressive.

      As far as comments:

      – There were a few spots where the dialogue dragged a little longer than necessary — at the end in the limo for example — but overall it was tight and punchy.

      – I think you need to flesh out Dodd’s arch a little bit more. What are his flaws? What’s his life like outside of the strip club? You did a great job of whisking us into the premise but you may have missed some opportunity to build Dodd’s character. If you haven’t already, check out the British comedy HOW NOT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. It has a very similar premise and it’s bloody brilliant as the Brits would say.

      – Disregard the comment about the stripper calling security… that was one of your best sequences…

      – I like pepper’s suggestions for the mother. I think you could do more with her setup though. I know she calls Dodd early and there’s some dialogue about her but for some reason that didn’t “land” with me so when she appeared it took me some backreading to remember her introduction. Maybe just physically showing her (doing something bizarre) through the use of an INTERCUT will better cement her place with the reader.

      Other than that, great stuff man! Look forward to it and feel free to email me a future draft. Would love to read it.

      • cjob3

        Awesome, Jake! Thanks so much for read and the up-vote.

        I’ll check out that Brit-com. I actually based these two on Mark and Jez from “Peep Show.” (Particularly Mark saying “Yes, I suppose I am ‘the man’ a bit now that you mention it.”)

        One reviewer told me to ‘Set the mother up in the beginning, because she comes out of left field at the end.” I’m thinking… I did, didn’t I? You’ve made me see the problem. It’s not enough. She’s not having an impact. Her being at the funeral might be the way to go. Or even showing up at his job- which might kill two birds for me. Problem is, I’m not sure what kinda company would have a “strong moral philosophy.” I basically pictured him working at JLB Credit. Which is the downfall of picturing characters from other shows.

        Yeah, I’m not wild about having the mother in the series. That was never the plan, just seemed like a funny way to end it. I’ll have to get rid of her somehow… just as Dodd and Ollie want. Though I do want the next ep to contain the line “Ma, you’re embarrassing me in front of the biker gang!!”

        Again, can’t thank you enough for reading it. And I remember you trashed my screenplay, Unlikable (and you were right to do it!) so saying you like this carries a lot more weight.

        • JakeMLB

          Yeah you set her up but I think the problem is simply that it doesn’t land because at the time we’re still getting comfortable with your lead characters so it comes off as witty banter and thus there’s no lasting impression made on the reader (IMHO). Simply showing her face could be enough to cement her in our memory but I think you could do more with her character.

          Hmmm, I wondered if Mother was going to be a recurring character or not. When you named her character “DODD’S MOM” (you might consider naming her “MOTHER” in the script) it made me think she wouldn’t be a main character but then at the end she says she’s gonna help Dodd run the club which cements her as a full-time character. So if you’re not crazy about her being full-time then you might have to remove her/rewrite her character/etc. Don’t keep her just for a good punchline in the next episode if she doesn’t feel right (although if you’re thinking about producing this on your own as a webseries then you probably need to be thinking about the future). Either way I’m sure you’ll figure something out!

          And shit, I hope I didn’t trash UNLIKEABLE too harshly without at least giving some feedback! I can rant sometimes…

          • cjob3

            I don’t know. Maybe I’ll jettison the whole mother angle. I gotta cut something. It’s at least 5 pages too long. Maybe the biker tag. I liked that his mother gave Dodd an arch (standing up to her) and gave him some contrast to the sleazy world he’s in. Plus, it adds to his issues with women. Though I do tend to hold on to some jokes too tightly.

            And hey- you were honest about Unlikeable – I’ll never fault someone for that. It’s exactly what I needed. Thanks again!

          • JakeMLB

            I’m not too familiar with TV but don’t go too crazy with the arch thing. Most 30-minute sitcoms don’t have much of a character arc in a single episode, typically that’s the kind of thing that develops over seasons and even then, in some sitcoms it’s not necessary. It would just help to have some idea of Dodd’s life outside of the strip club — in feature parlance that would be setting the “ordinary world”. Even a show like Workaholics starts with the guys at their home to set the stage of who these characters are and what to expect. We just don’t get a sense of who Dodd and Ollie are as characters first before they inherit the club. But maybe others aren’t giving you those same notes so wade through all the feedback and do what feels right.

      • cjob3

        Hey, Jake! Don’t know if you saw but NSFW is in the running for Amateur Friday review. Check it out if you have a chance! Thanks!

        PS I took your advice and lost the mother character- totally different 3rd act now.

    • nath7

      This was one of the best comedies I’ve read in a long time. Some of the jokes didn’t always land but the majority did. Once I pictured Ollie and Dodd as similar to the guys in Peep Show I was really into it. Good back and forth banter with a mix of physical comedy with the woman of Skanks. Usually pilots rely heavily on one or the other, but this balanced the two well.
      Although some may not be a fan of it, please don’t lose the Biker bit in the opening. Maybe you could find a way to make Biker a side character in future episodes. good stuff!

      • cjob3

        Wow, thanks Nath, I really appreciate that.

        One reviewer – who was really positive overall- told me he almost stopped reading on page one because he was so turned off by the Biker’s eulogy. But I like it. It sets the tone early. Credit where it’s due, it’s based on a TRUE story that happened to Sal Governale on the Howard Stern show. Isn’t that disturbing? Of course, it didn’t blossom into friendship in that instance.

      • cjob3

        Hey Nath, if you’re still around – NSFW is in the running for an Amateur Friday review. Voting is going on now!

  • Alexander Berman

    TITLE: App

    GENRE: Sci-Fi Comedy

    LOGLINE: In a non-descript building in West Hollywood, an office of twentysomething drop-outs, foreigners, and space cadets mint $70,000 a day. They don’t deal drugs or traffic in Eastern European prostitutes, but their product is addictive. They make the mobile games you love to play. And one kid, Paul, has made an App that loves you back. With an office full of heartsick beta-testers, Paul gets to work on his talking and bumbling matchmaking app. Love is in the air…and in your pocket.

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This pilot is based on the American Film Institute thesis short I wrote and directed that won the $25,000 Sloan Foundation Production Grant. You can see the 30 second trailer to the film here: which will give you a great sense of how this “app” works. Imagine if “The Machine” in PERSON OF INTEREST was more interested in sex than death. A quick read (39 pages) workplace comedy.



    • Panos Tsapanidis

      Alexander, I think your logline is way too long to be a logline. I don’t think we care if the building is non-descript and it’s in West Hollywood.

  • Jonathan Soens

    I’m going out on a limb and guessing this is the pilot the newsletter (from July 25th, I think it was) was referring to when it mentioned something that didn’t get chosen because, despite being well-written, it seemed too expensive to ever get produced. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a lot of the visuals in this script, but I don’t know what kind of budget it would take to depict Manhattan in ruins. I’d love to see somebody who is looking to make a splash throw some real money at a series like this, because it would be a sight to see.

    A couple of notes:

    – I don’t mean this as an insult, but this was a difficult script to read with some of the action. It wasn’t badly written. In fact, it was pleasantly terse and clipped for the most part, so it mostly went by as efficiently as it possibly could. It just felt like I was laboring at times to read half a page of action that, when I thought about it, I realized it was going to fly by in the blink of an eye in about 6 seconds of actual air time. Now, this made it a little frustrating to read, but that’s only because I pictured the action happening so fast, that I felt like I was missing out by reading it instead of being able to enjoy watching it. Kind of like if somebody wrote a text description of the chaotic action in a first-person-shooter videogame (or any action-packed game) — reading it wouldn’t be nearly as fun as playing it. Hopefully others agree with me that it was easy to picture the action being fast and chaotic and intense.

    – I’m curious if you considered hammering even more on the stark contrast between the kids pre-war and during the war, or if that’s something you envision as more of a long-term theme of the series as opposed to something you want to exhaust right away. I suspect that’s something you’re very interested in exploring, especially given the powerful line on the very first page describing “Children going to war.” I think I like where you’re going with this. I’d like even more of that, but I guess you can’t blow your whole wad in the very first episode.

    • Julien Deladriere

      Thanks for your thoughts Jonathan. :-)

      Indeed, I remember reading the ‘not picked because too expensive’ bit in the newsletter and wondering if Carson was talking about this script… To be honest I started this pilot a pure exercise with no budget consideration – an aspect I’m more careful to take into account from the get-go in my current projects.

      Fast, chaotic, intense: that’s exactly what I was aiming for, so thanks!

      As for the contrast between the kids pre- and during the war, that’s indeed a theme I’d explore long-term (and that seems to crop up more or less in everything I write).

      Thanks again. :-)

      • Jonathan Soens

        Yeah, I was gonna say… I understand the advice some have about losing the flashbacks in a pilot. I mean, it’s good to keep a pilot marching forward with intensity instead of stopping to watch a flashback, just to keep the audience on the hook.

        But… what I love so much about this idea is that there’s something really interesting at play with the idea of children going to war. A show has to be about something, and that’s a pretty fascinating thing to be about. Flashbacks are necessary for viewing the contrast, I think.

  • carsonreeves1

    well said. :)

  • Occasional Guest

    Can someone please tell me what “scene week” is?

    • Citizen M

      Sign up for Carson’s newsletter (see “contact” on menu bar) and you will read:

      I’ve decided to do SCENE WEEK. You see, this is what I realized. If someone can construct a really awesome scene, they can usually write a really good screenplay. And what I mean by “awesome” scene is a scene that contains dramatic irony or suspense or great dialogue or conflict or drama or consistent laughs or any combination of the above. By “awesome” I do not mean a car chase through 2072 New York. I want to see people tell a story in their scene, with objectives and obstacles and multiple characters wanting things. I want to read scenes that blow me away.

      The five best scenes, then, will have their entire scripts (from which the scenes were taken) reviewed on Scriptshadow. The deadline is October 1st. And because scenes often need some explaining, I’m going to give you a 300 word paragraph to set up your scene (who the characters are, what may have happened before this). And then the scene itself can be as long as you want it to be. I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m going to find some really good scripts this way.

      Oh, but don’t think you’re going to fool me with the old “see if he likes the scene then write the rest of the script if he does” trick. I’ve been burned by that too many times before. In addition to sending your scene, you must send THE ENTIRE SCRIPT. So here’s everything you need to enter.

      1) E-mail to with subject line: SCENE WEEK
      2) In e-mail body, the 300 word paragraph setting up your scene.
      3) A PDF attachment of just the scene.
      4) A PDF attachment of the entire script.
      5) Deadline is October 1st. Start sending in entries now if you’re ready. It’s FREE.

      • MaliboJackk

        The problem I see is this —
        Many screenplays are made up of short scenes which
        when grouped together form a drama — set up, action, post mortem.
        Or they might shift to another room or outside.
        Seems to me short sequences would work better..

        You might end up with — Dinner With Andre.

        • ripleyy

          If you thought Short Week was hard, this is going to be Even Shorter Week.

          • Spitgag

            This seems like a cool idea but having to include a 200 world paragraph to “get” the scene doesn’t sound awesome. And without that, seems like we’re looking at mechanics and dialog only.

            This’ll be interesting.

          • ripleyy

            Context is going to be difficult. While the idea is fun, I do think a lot of people are going to be overlooked because their scene has to reflect their script, and no matter how great that scene is, the context is going to bring it down.

          • Spitgag

            Or…how can you like a scene once you know the story sucks ass?

          • ripleyy

            True. The scene may be great but that doesn’t mean the overall story isn’t. I know a lot of people are going to be cheated out of an opportunity.

  • MaliboJackk

    how you came up with your name.

  • ripleyy

    This script is one of those hidden gems that’s going to go unnoticed which frustrates me. Well-written, fun and has a cool Serenity-vibe (something that gets you +3 points!), I could see this being a pretty great show.

    The characters are great as well and you manage to balance the tone well (it’s for pre-teens, but something adults could enjoy as well). Dialogue is really good too.

    –12: “Elnore sees this”. Should that be Jonah? Maybe just restructure the sentence.

    –13: “He eyes widen”. His eyes widen. Unless he widens like a balloon. POP!

    –15: You have a talent (at least to me) with dialogue. It pops off the page. Plus, the world you’ve created here is rich and detailed.

    –16/17: Poor Jonah. Will he or will he not get Trixie?

    –22: “Trixie pulls Colin close to him” Don’t you mean her? Wait, could we have our first transgender character? I’m kidding.

    –26: “Hey, I think I’ve been inside this Phoomar before. There’s my old harpoon gun” I laughed.


    Really fun and very well developed. We have Jonah’s flaw, which he has to overcome and the script is full of set-ups and pay-offs which is good.

    You’ve got a promising series here. Keep at it!

  • MaliboJackk

    (Full Disclosure: Haven’t read the script. So please ignore everything I say.)

    Could not help but think of Scooby Doo which has the ability to investigate anything in order to keep the show interesting. Or maybe The Jetsons where they can deal with all sorts of family problems. But this concept sounds more like a movie to me. (See disclaimer above.)

  • ximan

    I could easily spot your talent on page 1. I would, however, change the title of the script. Alien Hunters or Xeno Catchers would at least roll off the tongue a little better. Good luck either way.

  • Awescillot

    Feels more like a logline competition below. Implying I wouldn’t even read most of them because the logline already felt like a exhausting read, badly written and all.

  • Julien Deladriere

    I read this until the end of Act 2.

    My main advice would be to cut, cut, cut. It seems to me there’s a lot of unnecessary description, of walking along corridors, getting in and out of elevators, etc. that slows the read without adding anything. I think your story would shine more if you could find of way to remove that excess fat and get more quickly to the meat of the scenes. Same for your logline, by the way: I’m no expert, but 7 lines is probably a bit much.

    I would also advise you to amp up the conflict: there’s a long conversation in Act 2 where the protagonist is very passive, very compliant… With his wife missing, I would expect him to be a bit more confrontational than that! As a result, in its current incarnation that scene feels way too long.

    Some formatting choices felt a little odd to me, mainly the absence of page breaks between acts and the grouping of the teaser and act one.

    Careful about introducing a character as a YOUNG DOCTOR then referring to him as DR. SINGH, or another one as MYSTERIOUS COMPANY MAN aka FRANK MILANO aka MARCUS (!) : I would simply pick a name and stick to it.

    I hope I don’t come across as too negative, as I think all these things can be very easily improved – and I’m probably as guilty of them in my own writing without seeing it :-).

    Best of luck! I’ll come back and give you my thoughts later this weekend if I finish the script.

    • BrettG

      Great notes! Thanks so much for giving it a read. Yep… lots to improve here. I think I’m most concerned about that conversation/exposition in Act2. That needs to be pumped up. And things need to move faster in this pilot, as you say. I’ll give some thoughts on how to push from one scene to the next and keep things moving in the next draft. Thanks again.

  • Joe Marino

    Could have potential. Nice to see a really clear, concise logline.

    • Rzwan Cabani

      That sounds sick Joe- that is a twist I never thought of and would be incredible. I thought about setting it in The Iceman’s mayhem years of the late 70’s and 80’s, but thought I’d settle on a more contemporary feel. But that change is one rewrite away ;) I appreciate it Joe-

      • Joe Marino

        No worries. Wish you the best of luck! Just remember – contemporary serial killer stories have been done quite a bit. Location/time period is the best way to separate yourself from everyone else. Rooting for you!

      • Jonathan Soens

        I second that suggestion about not setting it in present-day.

        For one thing, you want to do something to give your story a different flavor than all the contemporary serial killer stories.

        For another thing, present-day people are much more aware of serial killers and psychopathy. There’s something that feels more dangerous about turning loose your serial killer character in a population that doesn’t already watch 4 TV shows a week about criminal profiles and behavior analysis units and all that mess.

        Not to mention, the further back you go, the more liberties you’re able to take, because you don’t have to constantly justify how the guy always gets away with everything in a day and age of DNA and modern forensics. You don’t have to justify how it’s never raised any red flags when your killer has a computer search history that coincides with murder victims (wouldn’t somebody in Dexter’s position with the police get caught using their work computer to run lab-work or searches on people who are going to go missing when he kills them?).

        When you watch an older movie or TV show with a brutal killing scene, there’s something freeing about not having to think about all the DNA evidence left behind, all the ways that person would get caught in reality.

        • Rzwan Cabani

          I absolutely agree Jonathan- my instincts wanted to differentiate my show with that of the real life Ice Man, but it does make you think about him evading the police. And how long he can sustain it. I want there to be a constant threat of him getting caught, and I will put him in those positions early and consistently through out the seasons. I’m going to strongly consider changing the setting, it does liberate the narrative. Hope you take a read and would love any other suggestions/notes you might have. I appreciate it man.

      • Joe Marino

        LOVE “The Iceman”! Regardless of what setting, rooting for ya, man!

  • Julien Deladriere

    Read it, liked it.

    Tight writing, nice characters, strong concept with a built-in story engine and dozens of potential episodes. Perfect fit between tone and intended audience. Works both as setup for a series and as a self-contained episode.

    I’d be curious to know how many scripts you wrote before this one, as this feels quite accomplished. I usually like my sci-fi a little darker but I had a good time reading this, and I’m sure others will, too.

    Congrats and best of luck!

    PS: If you have the time, I would love to hear your thoughts about my own pilot. :-)

  • Spitgag

    this guy’s funny.

  • Poe_Serling

    Hey Kristi-

    It looks like you got stuck in what we call Carson’s Moderation Hell. ;-) Personally, I used to get stuck there all the time when I posted on SS using Firefox for some reason. My solution? I switched over to Goggle for my SS fix and haven’t had a problem with moderation since that time.

  • cjob3

    Thanks a lot – glad you enjoyed it. You have some great ideas there. I wanted to shade in Dodd having an uptight job to set up plots down the road- like having to hide owning a strip club from his prudish company. Then maybe have his boss stroll into the club one day- that kinda thing. But yeah, having him get fired would give the pilot a nice finality. I love your take on the Mom. Good call. May I ask- are you female? Your pic certainly appears female but I’ve been fooled before.I’m just trying to get an idea how misogynistic this thing is. I notice like 70% of the comedy gatekeepers are women.

  • MARK 11

    Don’t see how anyone can get enraged at you. Neither you or anyone in HWD owes any of us anything. If folks here can’t get used to criticism or waiting their turn or better yet…do their own work, on their own time with their own coins (small amount, but at least its my own) without even going CROWDFUNDING, and without running to you every other moment, begging for your approval? How the hell are they ever going to handle execs, agents, producers let alone — auds rejections?

    • Joe Marino

      100% agreed. You can tell a whole lot about someone’s staying power in Hollywood based on their actions/personality on here. Getting bitchy because you can’t get your work read? Not a trait that Hollywood will take kindly to.

  • nath7

    A big thank you to Carson for the opportunity!
    Title: Crime Scene Reenactments
    Genre: Comedy (15 minute, live-action Adult Swim/Web series type show)
    Logline: The only TV show that lets real crime victims reenact the worst moments of their lives for your viewing pleasure.
    Hey everybody. I’d love any and all feedback, good and bad. Plus it’s only 13 pages!


  • Jake

    TITLE: Off Brand
    GENRE: Comedy
    LOGLINE: The world’s greatest terrible film director sets out to create his “masterpiece,” but every force in the film-making tries to stop him.

    There’s a very short series synopsis on the first page for more detail of what you’re getting into.


    Hope you enjoy.

    • Joe Marino

      Dig the logline. Had a similar idea for a feature. Not sure if it has the staying power for a TV show, though. Plus, bear in mind that (aside from the rare “Entourage”-type exception) that we don’t see too many Hollywood-based TV shows.

      • Jake

        I think it does have the staying power, but you’re definitely right about the difficulty in getting it made. Plus, the main character is German. No easy sell. But I’m not attempting to pitch it, I wrote it for fun and will keep in the back pocket in case I ever have success in features.

        The ultimate execution of this idea would be that the TV series leads into a movie… which IS THE MOVIE the character produced in the TV series (after maybe 3 seasons). So a low budget, intentionally-terrible film that you’ve already seen the “making of” on TV.

  • Crazedwriter

    You might want to know what ur talking about before you comment. He stated himself that he and his assistant read EVERY submission. And I wasn’t rejected because I never submitted a tv script. Maybe you should relax. The crux of my point was I thought pilot week was supposed to be the best of the best, and as a result I was expecting all worth the reads.

    • Freddy Jisp

      If your characters had as much conflict in them as your comment then perhaps you’d have a decent pilot and perhaps CR might have reviewed it, etc. However, if you think CR read ALL of these scripts… well, you need to study the business my naive friend. And I suggest too that (if you are to call yourself a ‘writer’); you please learn how to use grammar (it’s YOU’RE not ur – this is not a text.) And I’m perfectly relaxed (comes with wisdom); I put my rage on the page: character and story.

      By the way: This took me a long time to understand: ‘…as a result I was expecting all worth the reads…’

      My god man…

      • Crazedwriter

        Omg, ur the one that started with the attitude and conflict in ur comment. I’d put my writing up against urs any day. If I choose to be lax in comments I’m typing on a cell that is my choice. I will remember on Monday to call the major prodo company and network considering my features to not consider them because you said I can’t write. Grow up!

      • Ben Bailey

        Wow, that’s needlessly confrontational. And I imagine Carson at the very least reads more scripts than you read comments, considering how you referenced a pilot Crazedwriter just said he never wrote (and you criticized the quality of said non-existent pilot sight obviously unseen to boot). But then, I guess that just comes with the kind of wisdom it takes to dickishly correct other people’s grammar and syntax on a freaking comment thread.

  • cjob3

    Hm. What’s La La Land?

  • Jonathan Soens

    Okay, this was a pretty fun read. Never read a porn-themed script before. It was strange to read action descriptions like: “Artistic shots of Nevada and Scott having sex.”

    Assuming there are quality actors who would be down for a TV series about porn (and all that that entails, nudity-wise), this is a show I could see working on HBO or Showtime.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the seriousness of the script. I kind of expected it to take the safe route by turning everything into comedic absurdity instead of approaching things seriously. For the most part, the writing took things seriously.

    A couple of notes:

    – I loved the stuff with the needle, how its use was threatened in the opening and then paid off at the end when they had to actually use it. I’m assuming this needle thing is something that actually happens in the industry, which you learned about during your research. I wanted more of this kind of stuff. One of the huge bonuses of covering a field/profession that hasn’t been done to death in movies and TV, I would think, would be a treasure trove of fascinating little tidbits about how the business works on a practical level. I want more of those kind of tidbits.

    – This is just a personal preference, and maybe it’s just me who feels this way, but I’d dial back some of the philosophizing about the porn industry. While it makes sense that porn people would talk about the porn world quite a bit, I felt like there was too much talking about it, too much of people giving different sides of the argument in terms of the philosophies of porn or the merits of porn. As I recall, I believe the pilot episode of “Breaking Bad” didn’t really waste much time debating the merits and perils of drug culture; it trusted the audience a little bit more than that. Now, we can understand a mom not wanting her kid to know she works in porn without peppering the script with a lot of discussion that seems to be hammering home the reasons somebody might not want their involvement in porn to be public knowledge. If it were me, I might look for a single subplot where you can explore the idea of people being proud versus being embarrassed of the business (such as the girl who doesn’t want to give out her real name), and try to use just that strand of the story to subtly weigh the pro’s and cons of porn infamy. That would free up more of the script to deal with other things. That’s just my two cents, anyway.

  • cjob3

    some manager just gave me that stat the other day, but it confirmed something I’ve noticed. A comedy writer friend of mine put me in touch with his agent and manager at Gersh- both women. The head of original comedy development at Amazon – female. …Okay, I guess that’s all the proof I have. Like I said, someone else gave me that statistic. But he seemed to know what he was talking about. Anyway, I’m probably just hypersensitive to it because I’m trying to sell women on a show about a strip club. Seemed like a funny idea at the time but I now see maybe I’m alienating half the population.

    But good! Thank you for your feminine insight!

  • MaliboJackk

    Welcome back Bodhicat.
    We wondered what had happened to you.

  • Spitgag

    “Cuttthroats” is a much higher level script than the rest IMO and by a wide margin – from dialog to structure. It’s a grad school Felicity as written by a Soorkin disciple and I think it’ll sell. It’a great but has some issues IMO. Might be a good one to talk about here.

    My big Q is there a big enough hook to sustain multiple seasons?

    Ep1 is poor, smart girl struggles to fit into a high-pressure Biz School. Leaving aside the believability of a Biz School with a class of only 15 kids (seems modeled on Harvard but that’s too small) and the somewhat stock but well-written VO device (ok), where’s the real conflict generator in this show? Schoolwork? No. Character romances? Yes. Is that enough? It might have been in the 90s but not now.

    If there’s a bigger story here – I suspect there must be bc this writer’s too good – it should be in the first ep. If not, it’s got a larger hurdle.

    Congrats to the writer.

    Show bible?

    Seasons mapped?

    What you got?

    • mcruz3

      Wow, appreciate the compliments! I’ve worked hard on this pilot and it’s validating to hear some good feedback — but it’s always valuable to hear critiques as well.

      Schoolwork will actually form a lot of the conflict in Cutthroats — as business schools are more often using “Business Game” simulations that took too much space to fit into the pilot (and there are several models/games). They will be dramatized and structured to compliment and explore the relationships between the students as well — rivalries, friendships, betrayals, cheating, and some allegories that are reflective of the current economic state of the country. Those stories in conjunction with personal relationships (not just romance, but that will be in play as well) and challenges — some from within the program, some from without that come back to haunt certain characters — will make up most of the episodic content.

      There’s a larger season arc for each season (I have three mapped out) and each covers a semester at York. Possible arcs include the Business Game National Tournament, merging of business schools with their rivals, scandals with the GMAT and scores that came out of York that include investigation of the main characters, competitive internships at investment banks/financial firms, and personal struggles with substance abuse, predatory lending practices, and business ethics.

      Thanks for the questions and for taking the time to read and comment!

      • Spitgag

        For what it’s worth, the rivalries, betrayals, personal chllenges sound good but baked in. The Business Game Natl tourney less so to me as the stakes have to ben high. Without the criminal defendant or victim that law firm shows have, it will be tougher I would think.

        I like the internships with the substance abuse, predatory lending practices, and business ethics. Yes, yes and yes.

        My only other note for you is someone should have at least on fully formed relationship in the pilot and preferably with some sex (no I don’t mean show it). I only say this bc I think it might help make it feel slightly less high schooly. Good luck. Strong pilot.

      • Citizen M

        I’ve actually been to business school, fortunately a nicer one than York, so I read this with some interest.

        I’m impressed. When I finished the script I felt I’d been in a different word for a while, and I don’t often get that from scripts. This is weighty enough for a drama, but has nice touches of character-based comedy.

        A lot has happened and we’re still only on Day One, so there’s plenty of scope for future episodes. The rivalries and battle lines have been drawn and I’d like to know how things pan out for the various characters. I think this script has a lot of potential.

        [xx] worth the read.

  • angrygizmo

    TITLE: Plague

    GENRE: Sci-Fi/Drama

    LOGLINE: When plague deciamates 99.9% of the world’s population, three estranged siblings are the key to finding a cure, but at what cost?

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: It’s a fun, fast read that won’t leave you scrambling to remember obscure characters or tempt you to skip over several pages to get to the action.

    It has a similar tone to the Walking Dead, but with the transition from normal world to nightmare explored in much greater detail.

  • cjob3

    thanks, man! That’s high praise.

  • cjob3

    Sounds interesting. But just a heads-up, there’s a popular show in England about college students called “Fresh Meat.” It’s by the same guys who created my all-time favorite sitcom “Peep Show.”

    • K.Nicole Williams

      Thanks I didn’t know about the show in England. If it gets picked up I’d gladly change the name. It’s currently in the Urbanworld Film Fest Teleplay Competition (sponsored by HBO & BET).

  • MaliboJackk

    Big fan of your John Wayne Gacy script (the short).
    Have you had any success with it?

    Will read this one when I get a chance.

    • Ellen Starkweather

      Thanks. The main thing to come out of “J-W-G” was a surprising number of email requests to read a feature-length script of mine.

      I’ve been busy working on different projects (this pilot included), but now am giving serious consideration to retooling the Gacy/Bundy short into a feature.

      • Ellin Banks

        Excuse me, but is there anyplace where I can read your short?

      • MaliboJackk

        Curious to know if you had posted the “J-W-G” elsewhere on the web
        before posting it during shorts week. And if you got good inquiries from those sites as well.

        Did you choose the name “Starkweather”?
        … Or marry into the Charlie Starkweather clan?

        • Ellen Starkweather

          No, I wrote it specifically for the shorts week. Carson works!

          Believe it or not, there’s actually quite a lot of Starkweathers here in the Twin Cities area.

  • Kristi

    I mistakenly posted this as a guest, lol! I’m the author – Kristi

  • Ellen Starkweather

    I will, thank you. I can already imagine Emperor Palpatine appearing as a hologram to announce the Galaxy that “Greedo was me 35 years ago”/”if I had a son, he’d have looked like Greedo.”

  • Ellin Banks

    Loved it. It’s “Firefly” meets “Damages.” (You should prob’ly put this in the logline!)

    • Ellen Starkweather

      Well, “Damages” is about the only legal show that anyone who has actually set foot in a courtroom can watch without snickering, so I’ll take it.
      Dunno about that other series. It’s more “Damages” meets “Deadwood”.

  • gg

    Hey, scriptshadow nation –
    Throwing my pilot into the ring. I’d encourage you to “check it out” but I’ll spare you all my bad puns :) I appreciate any and all comments.

    TITLE: Czech Crossing

    GENRE: One-Hour Drama

    LOGLINE: Young expats from the West carve out new lives during those first heady years after the fall of communism as Prague evolves from a bohemian playground into a lawless frontier town. Tales of the City just landed in Deadwood.

    CONCEPT: No place better epitomized the romantic sheen of democracy’s promise than Czechoslovakia, which became the Czech Republic after a dissident poet led a bloodless “Velvet Revolution” that lasted four days. Between 1990 – 1994, tens of thousands young people from the UK, US, Canada, and Australia flocked to its capital Prague as illegal immigrants—Anglitskis. So raw, so innocent, and so insanely cheap—Prague became an irresistible beacon for pioneers, dreamers, and grifters.

    Heeding the age-old call to ‘Go West’, our ensemble of pioneers, dreamers, and grifters projected a utopian hologram onto what living in this new country would do for them and who it would allow them to become. Czech Crossing is the story of what happened to them instead.

    • Citizen M

      In about 1970 Vladia and Nadia, a young couple fleeing communist Czechoslovakia, boarded with my aunt for two years. They stayed in South Africa until they qualified for American papers. He was an engineer. A nice guy who spoke reasonable English. She was an attractive blonde who spoke hardly any English. She was also the only desirable woman I knew who didn’t shave her legs. It’s given me a bit of a hair fetish ever since.

      So I was interested to read this script. Never been to the Czech Republic. Nearest was Germany and Austria pre-Berlin Wall coming down. But it’s held a fascination for me.

      My first impressions are, there’s a heck of a lot to absorb in one hour. I made notes of who’s who, and ended up with half a page of names and a spider web of lines linking those who belong together. This is not going to be a series for the casual viewer who’s looking for an hour’s entertainment. This is for the dedicated watcher who is prepared to follow many characters and multiple story lines.

      Russian scientists, slutty backpackers, passport thieves, business and professional people, the faithful and the cuckolds, the locals and the tourists, the cops and the crooks, there’s something for everyone.

      Perhaps too much. I wasn’t sure who we were supposed to be rooting for. Everyone seemed to have an angle or a little bit of shady business going on. Also, I wasn’t sure what the theme was. The blurb talks about Westerners finding out what living in this new country would do for them and who it would allow them to become, but so far I haven’t detected any aspirational goals any of the characters might be striving for.

      That’s not really a criticism. More of a commentary. This script is what it is. A large cast deftly handled. Most of the time I could follow the story lines, and it will be easier to do so on screen with visual cues.

      There are so many separate story lines I have almost no idea where we are going from here. Would I tune in for the next episode? Yes I would.

  • Kristi

    Whoa, where do I start? I LOVED IT!!! This was really one AMAZING pilot! Your logline already caught my attention… but the teaser? It was awesome! I knew I’d never check out after that. And the writing was VERY good, too. You are very talented, congrats.

    Deep, complex characters, well-established relationships, great potential! Fantastic plot. Oh, and the dialogues? THE DIALOGUES! I’d say they’re perfect. And every scene is so intense, so dramatic!

    I loved the tone… a mixture of drama, creepiness, professionalism. Everything felt so real and yet so transcendent, exploring the ever-lasting question “Is there anything after death?” in a unique way.

    Just one thing that got me a little uncertain. As I read, I kept imagining it as a feature. I couldn’t quite figure out how you’d fill an entire season with this, let alone more than one. Like, every episode a new patient and more and more proofs that Erik’s ghost exists? Mind me, if that’s it I’d definitely watch EVERY episode. But maybe that’s influenced by my interest in psychology, people’s minds and the occult; and this series seems to include them all so…
    BUT potential longevity is one of the points that sells a series. Don’t know, I feel it has more chance to be produced as a feature, and I really believe it’d sell. I’m sure NO ACTOR would ever turn away from a role such as Elisa, or Michelle, or ERIK! It’d a low-budget AWESOME movie!

    Either way, I’m in. I actually want to know how it goes on. I’d DEFINITELY watch it! And I definitely want to read a review of Channeling Erik on ScriptShadow :)

  • Ant

    Everything’s an episode of Family Guy. This one’s better because it actually makes sense. Check it out!

  • Kirkusm

    My pilot is called THE CANNIBALS
    NEXT DOOR. It’s a dark genre about a family of cannibals on the run from
    the law. I’ve managed to get it to some big places (like the guys who
    do Walking Dead) and they said, “Great writing but too dark for TV.”

    What do you think? I built a website you can find here… it has some mini teasers, the bible, as well as the intro to the pilot.

    • Crazdwritr

      Great job kirkusm! I went to your website and the way you presented your material was awesome. Carson, in addition to concept art, maybe you should consider offering a service for concept websites/blogs.

      • Kirkusm

        Thank you Crazwritr! I really appreciate the kind words :) I’m knocking on wood Carson checks it out. I have the teaser for the pilot up there if you get a chance to check it out let me know what you think.

        • Crazedwriter

          I saw the character videos, but didn’t see teaser. Will check again. Can’t believe the walking dead folks found this too gory. Seems like this would be perfect for people tied to dexter, game of thrones or American horror story. Not that they’d be easy to get to.

      • Spitgag

        The white text and the blacked out words on your site make it a little hard to read. I DO appreciate all the work that went into it and it’s clear you have created a full world. Cool

        Pilotwise, why not make the entire script available?

        It’s kind of annoying.

        Good luck. Too dark? Nah.

    • Scott Carter

      I sat down to read the PDF pilot I downloaded from the link you provided, and it only has the first five pages. Is there more to read, or is it just the first five pages? Are other people reporting the same problem viewing the script, or is it user-error (me)?

  • Jonathan Soens

    If the new “Avengers” TV show (spun off from the recent Marvel movies) works out well enough that it becomes a formula people are anxious to duplicate, I want Disney to come to you and turn this idea into an actual spin-off of their Star Wars property.

    Because I want that episode where Han Solo needs a lawyer.

    I’d also like to see what kind of personal injury or class-action lawsuits resulted from all that Death Star business.

    • Ellen Starkweather

      A self-obsessed human smuggler kills an honest working alien bounty hunter in a human-dominated Galaxy and claims self-defense… Rodians gonna riot!

  • Julien Deladriere

    julien.deladriere at

  • denisniel

    Alright, I know I’m late to this, but guess I going to take the opportunity and try and share my pilot here as well, for WHOEVER MIGHT BE INTERESTED…

    The name of this show is ROADIES

    the genre of this show is COMEDY (Half hour Sitcom; the cable type, with no act breaks, due to the nature of the show)

    The logline for the show is:
    A group of Roadies for a struggling band, ranging from inexperienced musician wannabes to a self-proclaimed seasoned 50 year-old and an aging groupie, have to fight against the clock – and the light technicians – to put on a different show every night, while battling no payment, no respect and unsettling demands. This is a thankless life on the road. Pain and no gain.

    And the reason why anyone should read it is…
    (let me think…)
    I think this type of show has a lot of potential. This is Party Down meets Extras; a day in the life type of show, with standalone episodes but with overall seasonal arcs, focused on the shenanigans of the world in which it’s set, but also centered in two tortuous building love stories. And it features real music business celebrities playing themselves as assholes! So, someone please, PLEASE GET THIS TO DAVE GROHL’S HANDS… PLEASE!!!

    And here’s the link for any possible download:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  • Alexander_B

    Well, this was great! Some of the best writing I’ve encountered on ScriptShadow.

    I’m curious as to why Carson ignored this one — I mean, talk about your originality, imagination, conflict, complex characters…

    One thing I can think about is that this pilot is too damn depressing. But I guess them’s the breaks of writing a realistic legal show — nobody is ever unjustly accused, and every trial ends in tears.

    • carsonreeves1

      The world was a little hard to grasp for me. There was a lot of “world-building” and it was hard to keep up. Well-written and I like her as a writer. I’d probably just like the more reserved version of this. :)

      • Ellen Starkweather

        Thanks! I’ve tried to cut down on some of the details in the posted draft. :)

      • Ellen Starkweather

        Now this is getting ridiculous. :)

        But thanks. It’s actually based on the first ever criminal defense case I worked on.

        Edit: sorry, this one was for Thomas.

        • Thomas China

          And the lead lawyer lady is a kind of character you’d expect to last 7-8 seasons with the right actress.

          She’s tough, wistful, good, evil, professional, untoward, cruel and funny all at the same time!

          • Ellen Starkweather

            Thanks. The thing about Harper, she would’ve made a perfect attorney-at-law, if not for her humanity.

          • Thomas China

            I was just watching the season finale of The Killing and thinking… Mireille Enos for Harper?

    • Ellen Starkweather

      In all fairness, this is a different draft.

  • cjob3

    Very well written and I love the idea of alien/dog-catchers. Along those lines what about something like “Galaxy Control!” or something. Like Pest control.

  • Jonathan Soens

    This was a nice read. It’s meant for people younger than me, of course, so there were things about it that didn’t do anything for me, but I could see how they’d work well for the targeted audience.

    I don’t have too much to say beyond a lot of the compliments you’ve already gotten, but I do have some thoughts.

    I appreciated the tight writing. That can be especially hard to do in a futuristic sci-fi piece, because there’s always this temptation to go on sprawling tangents explaining things. I thought it was very disciplined writing as you kept the train on the tracks without allowing yourself to get derailed with explaining things. I also thought it was respectful writing, if that makes sense, because a lot of the time I could tell you made decisions that showed you were trusting the audience to understand things (or to eventually catch up, if you momentarily threw something out there that might leave the audience at a loss).

    I would point out one thing: as an example, on page 2, there’s a line of dialogue where someone says, “I’ve got a lock on the grizzle.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with a line like this, but I think you’re missing opportunities with lines like this. With a script that’s so heavy on futuristic jargon and terms, my advice would be to look for every possible opportunity where you can avoid using those terms and jargon in dialogue. If this was a van of dog-catchers tracking down a loose rottweiler, a person might say, “I’ve got a lock on the rottweiler.” But just as likely, they’d probably just say, “I’ve got a lock on him.” Don’t forget, the terms and jargon are going to accumulate throughout the script. Don’t forget the visuals will be doing a lot of heavy lifting in selling this world you’ve created. It’s okay to just say “him” instead of specifying the breed. I think it’s smart to keep things as grounded as possible by not using futuristic terms and jargon wherever you don’t have to use those things. Just something to think about.

  • Kristi

    I just finished reading your script. Everything I’ll say is to help you, please don’t take it personally :)

    I agree with both Jonathan and charliesb… I also had difficulty reading some scenes, but I couldn’t figure out why, since they were actually well written and very visual. And I also couldn’t really connect with it.

    Now I imagine myself watching this, an already produced and aired TV pilot: I’d doubt its ability to keep me interested in several episodes, let alone a few seasons. Why? I am not 100% sure, for as I said it’s well written and it has suspence and mystery (you don’t clearly understand what/who the heck has been the cause of all this until later on), and all of these points are good, but I think my biggest issue was kind of this:

    There are three main characters. They’re interesting and have potential. Perfect. And we begin with a quite large group of young people going on a mission, on a ruined Manhattan, cool flashbacks, potential relationships. Half the group is soon killed. That’s fine, it marks the urgency, the danger, it’s good. But then many others die…. and die, and die. Until who’s left? Just the main characters? I’m sure you have many great twists to show later in the episodes, but don’t hold back in the pilot or I (the audience) won’t tune in for ep2. I mean, leave someone alive, or get him kidnapped or I don’t know! Give a few more interesting characters that can hold on many episodes, this is a TV series, not a feature! I need bonds, struggles, reunions… EVERY series has those, no matter how action-filled. I want my emotions to be all over the place. I’m not saying in the pilot, of course, since I don’t care much for anyone yet. But I want to see that potential! I want to think: “Alright. If they DARE to kill one of these guys I’ll stops watching it”, but you know that’s not true and you’ll keep going because you want the others to survive, you want that guy to get the girl, you want to see if they find that dude alive or if he’s lost forever, and you’ll be shocked whenever someone dies, no matter how much you’ll be expecting it.

    But now I only feel like they could die at the opening of next episode and some new characters will come up… Again, the urgency and danger are a MUST in this, but at the end of the pilot, nothing had changed in me. It was as if I hadn’t just read of a lot of guys dying in a gruesome way. (And I’m not a block of ice, I often cry during these scenes.) I need to fancy a bunch of people at the end ep1! Even the baddies… just give me a group of steady characters. You can then kill them one after the other if you really want, but do it when I’ll be in the position to get very upset for their death!

    Right! A thought I had… this would be a cool feature film. As a series? I’m not saying it’s impossible, I like the concept and the way you move the past and the present in a parallel way, it explain things without having people actually stop in the middle of a battle and rant on philosophical, deep thoughts. Just give it more bond/character-potential..

    p.s. If you have some time and wish to, could you read my pilot? Even a general opinion would be great (like IT REALLY SUCKS) ;)

    • Julien Deladriere

      Thanks for your notes, Kristi. I totally understand what you say about having a hard time connecting; indeed I probably focused too much on the concept and the mystery at the characters’ expense while writing this. Of course I know where they’re going, but if their potential is not clear on the page from the get-go, it’s definitely something that needs fixing.

      I’ll read your pilot in the next few days and come back to give you my thoughts. Thanks again!

  • Citizen M

    You certainly paint on a big canvas — the whole universe. This reminded me in tone of the classic epics like Ben Hur with its tales of slavery, treachery, and combat.

    The main character is intriguing. A hard-bitten female lawyer who will stop at nothing to win but has family issues, her coming-of-age son, and her Ninja girl lover. Not to mention the AI defrocked Judge Bean and the doughty combat spaceship.

    I can foresee all sorts of wonderful adventures. I also foresee huge expense if we have new worlds each episode. Star Trek managed to limit the need for fresh sets by having a lot of the action on board the Enterprise. Maybe we’ll get more friction between the principals as things progress.

    This might work better as a graphic novel series. If you could build up a fan base, the chance of selling it as a series would improve.

    But it’s a solid piece of work. Good luck with it.

    • Ellen Starkweather


      I’m still snickering at the “Ninja girl” comment. :)

    • Ellen Starkweather

      About the budget thing… I’ve been watching a lot of Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows lately, and it seems to me that the best of them grab hold of their audiences with an awesome, action-packed pilot and then sort of string the viewers along with a promise of someday returning to action on such grand scale.

      “Game of Thrones,” “Firefly,” “Babylon 5,” “Star Trek: TNG” and several of “Stargate” series all have really expensive and expansive pilots (I think “Babylon 5″‘s is actually a TV movie) when compared to the subdued and relatively low-key tone of most of their episodes. So “Bruinswerk” eps could be made “12 Angry Men in Space” cheap — after all, all we need is a courtroom and a client… but this PROMISE of grandiose action and giant epic world around us should be there — even if it’s a one-time deal.

  • Ellen Starkweather

    Thanks… I think.

  • Scott Carter

    So I’m taking Carson up on his kind offer.

    Title: Trips

    Format/Genre: Half
    Hour Sci-Fi

    Logline: A lab
    technician is kidnapped by a man claiming to be a time traveler trying to prepare for an upcoming chemical war.

    Why You Should Read It:
    As a married man with a three year-old, my free time is finite. My
    wife and I actually choose not to watch some new shows, because “we just can’t
    take on another hour show.” Then I noticed that half-hour shows are pretty much all comedies, and I thought that’s a bit limiting. And I miss Lost. And, oddly, I’ve always wondered what the first Terminator would have been like as a love triangle, and without robots. So this is my attempt at creating a TV show that’s half an hour, but yet, not a comedy and somewhat intriguing. All comments and criticisms are welcome. Thanks to Carson for the opportunity.


  • Val Bass

    TITLE: Crux County

    GENRE- 1/2 -1 Hour Dramatic Comedy

    LOGLINE: Crux County is a character driven dramatic comedy that evolves within two neighboring towns in North Carolina on extreme opposite ends of the social and economic ladder. Comedy ensues as the towns are forced into coexistence following the aftermath of a string of natural disasters.

    WHY READ IT: One town made up of the affluent “one-percent” while the other town is filled with the working class poor. What happens when mother nature forces the two towns to coexist? What could have easily been a heavy drama is turned on its head with the characters who find laughter in the face of absurdity. Crux County blends the absurdity of Raising Hope with the dramatic undertones of Desperate Housewives.

    LINK (To view and/or download):

  • John Buchanan

    I’m a huge fan of Colin O’Brien. His TV pilot spec script “Not Safe for Work” is very original and funny. I have been watching his work for about a year now and I believe he will soon break into Hollywood in a major way. I think a little push from SS would help, now that Carson is the Godfather…

  • Scott Carter

    I applaud you for aiming high. I really do.
    However, this feels like a movie or a book. It feels bigger than TV. Maybe I write that just because of the action
    scenes. (FYI—Please consider all my
    comments knowing that I have not seen a single ep of Game of Thrones.) There are so many details/backstories of
    characters/physical descriptions. (It’s
    your strong penchant for backstories riddled with details that makes me think
    novelist.) I feel like I’m reading
    something for school instead of entertainment, because the beginning is all
    over the place. I’m not even sure you
    need the first Ogre attack. (Couldn’t
    the first Ogre attack be with Giora?) It’s
    hard to keep track of the characters, who’s who. Ultimately, I just don’t know who to care
    about, who to invest my emotions in. I
    don’t start to feel anything until page 7, with Giora. Random notes — The usage of modern words
    (like SHIT) seems out of place for dialogue.
    I feel like all of the male characters have scars. Great chilling moment (reveal) with them looking
    up and seeing Ogre looking at them.
    Invisible barrier sounds cool, but man, that’s hard to picture. The way I read it, it almost sounds comical,
    that Ogres are waiving axes in the air.
    Can someone say something in dialogue about invisible barrier earlier? Good that it keeps out powerless beings. Nice touch.
    Nymph and nymph hunters. Sounds
    very promising, but it took a lot of debating at council to get there, and I
    feel like you don’t do enough with that in pilot. Sentences like “They fight with their swords
    for a while” threw me out of the script.
    I do love the story though. It
    just needs a first ep focus. Your logline
    is amazing.

    • Kristi

      Hello Scott, first of all thank you SO MUCH for your notes, they’re extremely helpful!
      – I know what you mean about the details, but since this is an entirely made-up world, I felt I had to write something more than “in a field among the woods, this thing happens to this guy”… that could be anyone we know on anywhere on earth.
      – And I do describe both physical traits and personality for many characters, but since they’re going to appear often in future episodes, a mere “hair and eyes” description doens’t feel enough… Anyway, I’ll try to trim it down, they feel indeed a little heavy.
      – Regarding backstories. What do you mean? I don’t think I’ve written about someone’s backstory…
      – I’ll think about cutting the teaser. But was it that confusing? Or is it just that you don’t meet the protagonist (well, one of the four protagonists) until the teaser is over? My reason for writing it: I thought it would help the readers know just how dangerous and heartless ogres are BEFORE having them attack Giora and the community. To raise the suspence. But I’ll cut it, if it feels that wrong..
      – The characters are indeed a lot. And trust me, I’ve already cut off many of them in earlier drafts… it’s just that it’s such a big of a project, with its own mythology, that it’s impossible to cut any further!
      – I’ll keep an eye on more “modern” words, thanks for pointing that out! Other than that, how were the dialogues?
      – You mean physical scars? Because Giora’s friend has a little one on his chin, and then there’s the nymph hunter who has a huge scar all over his arm, but that’s it… Do you mean later, when Giora’s friend and Ilior are bandaged? I think it would feel weird for them not to be, since they’ve been wounded.
      – Thanks for letting me know about the barrier. In the previous draft, there was a scene where the protectors actually created it. I actually cut it because it felt a bit unnecessary. But now that you’re saying it feels a bit funny, maybe I should put it back…
      – About the nymphs, it is just such a difficult decision for them to make (nymphs had caused the biggest war their world had ever seen), that they debate it for a while, but I cut it in two halves, putting an action scene in the middle. That way, I hoped to take some of its heaviness away.
      – Yeah, I can see why that sentence feels wrong, lol. I’ll try to spot them and fix them. Were there many ugly phrases? Please, tell me if you remember some of them. This is absolutely NOT an excuse, but I have two mother tongues, and neither of them is English.. sometimes I might write something that feels write to me and utterly wrong to others! ;(

      • Scott Carter

        I think that’s why I was thinking novelist, because you want to write a lot about each character instead of summing them up in just three to seven words. You want to express all of the mythology, which seems ideal for a prose writer. Maybe it would be good to see how other TV pilot scripts did for shows with multiple characters (Sopranos, Lost, Game of Thrones, West Wing, Scandal). It’s a tough situation you’re in, needing to set the groundwork for the characters, but in the end, it’s all about the episode in front of us. Also, keep in mind, at least for me, the more information you throw at me, the less likely I am to remember any of it, because it’s going to all blur together.

        Backstories might have been the wrong word, but to give you an idea of what I was talking about — “REBIK is a baker, just like his father, his grandfather, probably all of his ancestors and that’s the way he wants thing to go down in his family. Unfortunately for him, not a single grandchild wants to be a baker.”

        I see your point about the teaser, and it’s a good point, but if none of our protags are part of it, it almost seems like wasted space…..Also, I think an eight foot Ogre will always be dangerous.

        My notes were stream of consciousness as I was reading (much like my reply is now). My scar comment was really to draw attention to the fact that scars are used to describe people on page 6 and 7. Maybe that’s too close, too back to back, and as a result, seems repetitive. Also, I feel like “gentle” was used one too many times in describing people.

        Ah, the eternal struggle of a writer — what to include and what not to include, how to describe people as succinctly as possible.

  • Julien Deladriere

    Apologies for being so late. Here’s what I thought of it:

    I liked the setting: you seem very invested in your world, there are some original touches (a war with nymphs that killed millions? Color me intrigued) and you seem equally interested in writing about high lords and common people.

    That said, to be honest, I think this still needs work:

    First, there’s way too much description for my taste. My advice would be to cut the many details that are not absolutely critical to the story (such as the color of one of the horses’ hair on p.33) and that make this a difficult read. I would also write more in fragments and less in complete subject/verb/object sentences.

    Second, I thought some word choices and turns of phrases were a bit odd, and right from the first page I was thinking “maybe this is an ESL writer” – which you confirmed in a previous comment. Now being an ESL writer myself, I know how hard and frustrating this can be, as we don’t have the benefit of a built-in, instinctive grasp of the language that so many native speakers take for granted. But there’s no way around it: we have to improve our English to the point where our readers won’t even know we’re not natives. I firmly believe this can be achieved, and my only advice to you would be to read a lot (not only scripts but also fiction, articles, etc.) and to immerse yourself as much as possible in the language – it takes time but it can be done.

    On a related note, some expressions (‘no way’, ‘you were really cool’) sound too modern coming from medieval characters.

    Many scenes felt way too long for lack of conflict. Case in point: the scene starting on p.33, which is essentially three pages of characters asking for directions. Unless I missed something, this doesn’t seem to be that important to the story to justify so many pages! Overall I think there’s a lot of action and dialogue that could be cut. Far from damaging your story, it would only make it stand out.

    There were many, many characters, and it was a bit difficult (ok, really difficult) to keep track of them. I count thirteen (!) speaking characters in the Council scene alone (p.9)!

    Regarding the formatting: I would lose all the ‘(continued)’ and put a page break at the end of every act. And since we’re talking about act breaks, I would also try to end more of them on a tense, suspenseful situation (as you did at the end of act one).

    Finally I spotted a few typos:
    p.20 “to wonder about our lands”: wander?
    p.30 “doens’t”
    p.34 “than sorry boy”: then?
    p.36: “trasparent”
    p.39: “KUST”: a former name of Kester?
    p.49: “do you any witch”: know?
    p.51: “A CILD”: child?

    I hope this doesn’t come across as too harsh… I believe all this can be easily fixed, and you seem to have enough passion for your story to do the necessary work. Best of luck!

    • Kristi

      Thank you for your honest and detailed notes.
      I will cut down more descriptions and details… but the characters are a big issue. For example, the High Assembly. Should I just cut out its members because they’re too many? It’s not easy to delete characters at this point, because I’ve already left only the necessary ones… Well, I’ll think of something. And about the (continued), I didn’t use them before, but in a screenwriting course they told me to. Should I never use them?
      I’ll be frank as well, and tell you I’m quite disappointed in myself. My story really deserved to be acknowledged, but I ruined its chance.
      About the language… I feel deeply ashamed of this and I apologize. I was finishing the second episode, but I guess I’ll stop writing for a while and resume reading. Moreover, I revised it many times and I still couldn’t spot those obvious typos (-.-). Lame.
      Thank you again Julien, I hope I can fix everything and make it a smooth read someday (I guess very far away….), since I strongly believe in my story and I know it has the potential to become a big success. It only needs, uhm, SOME adjustments…

      • Julien Deladriere

        Don’t be disappointed! You already did the most difficult part by thinking up the story and putting it to paper, and you certainly didn’t ruin anything! Realizing you have written too much and going back to cut a few parts, combine characters, etc. is a perfectly normal part of the process.

  • Ellen Starkweather

    You’re welcome.

    A former girlfriend of mine used to own a Gacy watercolor (not a clown). She had issues.

  • Andrew Orillion

    I read this one and liked it. However, I had two issues.

    1) The Leviathan thing seemed to an inconsistent size. You described at as big a skyscraper but somehow it still fits into a space ship and can be captured with a net.

    2) Who exactly is the audience? Is it meant for younger viewers or the Futurama crowd? I couldn’t get a really good read.

    Other than that, nice work.

  • Scott Carter

    OK. I just read the notes. Sorry I try not to read the notes until after I’ve read the script. I don’t want to have any preconceived notions. So it seems you’re just sharing the first fives pages and not the whole script. The first five pages were good.

  • Scott Carter

    I read Cutthroats. Really good writing overall. Really good. Didn’t want to stop
    reading really good.

    Not perfect. The details we can’t see (”This is the first. And it should be noted that these DEANS are seeing thousands of applicants a week. They are always jaded and never impressed.”) Why wait to tell us the WOMAN’s name is Mrs. Berg? Also, maybe because of the waiting, I got momentarily lost, thinking ROSE was a woman and Berg was a man. I don’t think thepayoff’s big enough to hold back on revealing Rose, I mean, Berg is a woman. Bells ring in college? Lucinda’s dance after meeting Brick? Drawing attention to quips? Music cues?

    I had mixed feelings about the ending. The ending’s flashback scene is good, maybeeven great, but is it right? Should we see a super confident Lucinda at the end of the first ep? I know it’s a flashback, but it’s the last thing we’re taking with us when we leave the first ep. I personally like a character to root for. Here, I can’t even trick myself into believe she’s not going to succeed.

    Overall though, this is a well-written, extraordinarily likable script, very close to great writing with characters to root for and to hate and to follow every week. XX Worth the Read. A RECOMMENT pilot.

  • cjob3

    Interesting. Thanks, Bob! Kevin and I do have the New Jersey connection. And I’d be lying if I said Clerks wasn’t a revolutionary film to me at the time.

  • cjob3

    Sluts in space. I love it. I really dig Ellen’s premise too. Looking forward to reading it.

    Any idea when Carson closes this contest? I thought it would have been yesterday.

  • cjob3

    Part of my rationale with Dodd’s job was to set up situations down the line where Dodd is juggling his double life. Trying to hide the strip club life from his prudish company. Like his co-workers notice he comes in reeking of perfume and speckled with glitter. I had a scene in an early draft that explained Dodd’s mom got him the job and later we see his office, where Dodd didn’t show up at his promotion part. But I do see you and Peppers’ point.

    As far as Chester (SPOILERS I guess) I did toy with the idea he faked his death to avoid the IRS or something.

    Thanks for all your support, jjdupree.

    • jjdupree

      Ok. Double life thing…I think you could get some mileage out of that. Then maybe the whole time (at the club) he has to get back to work for something (birthday party for the boss? maybe it’s his job to get the cake?) and at the end he manages to at the last minute. Maybe he works for a company that does church fundraisers? The good part about the idea is you’ve got a lot of chances to go different directions and still extract a lot of humor out of it. Good luck man.

  • Jeremy Herbert

    I can feel you there. Nothing against those shows, but they can get staler than year old pretzels. That’s why I wanted to turn that subgenre on its head.

  • cjob3

    Hey man! If you’re still around – NSFW is in the running for an Amateur Friday review. Voting is going on now! It’s gonna be a squeaker I think!