Note: No review today.
For those playing catch-up, Twit-Pitch was a contest I held where anyone could pitch me their screenplay as long as it was contained within a single tweet. These are the Top 100 from a list that included nearly1000. These 100 will send me the first ten pages of their scripts, from which I’ll pick 20-25 full scripts to read. To read a discussion of the loglines and contest, head over to the 1300-comment post that occurred afterwards. You should also follow me on Twitter for updates, as I’ll occasionally be tweeting my responses to pages.
There’s been a lot of discussion about what I picked and what I didn’t pick and I wanted to give you guys some insight into why I chose what I chose. I’ve run a few logline contests now and I’ve learned a few things in the process. The first is, wacky comedies tend to be the worst written scripts I read. The more broad something is, the less the writer seems to care about character and story (instead focusing solely on the jokes). And as you know from reading the site, character and story are the most important things to me. So that might explain why I didn’t pick that many comedies despite the fact that there were some pretty funny ideas out there. I was tired of getting burned.
The other thing I learned is that loglines that end with a vague mystery usually result in vague unsatisfying screenplays. So if you wrote something like, “A man discovers a secret room in his house that leads to a horror that he could’ve never imagined.” There’s just not enough information there. If I’m going to take two hours to read a script, I want to know what the script is about. So many of these loglines didn’t get chosen.
Now let me get into why I chose some of the ideas I did. You’ll notice that a lot of the ideas I picked contained irony. A writer who understands the value of irony in storytelling is usually ahead of the writer who doesn’t. In other words, if I was to come across this logline…
A lawyer wakes up on the day of his biggest trial only to learn that he cannot tell a lie.
I’d pick it over this one…
A lawyer wakes up on the day of his biggest trial only to learn that he can hear people’s thoughts.
Both of those ideas are high concept but the second one doesn’t contain any irony. The lawyer can really be anybody. So it’s not nearly as exciting of an idea.
Also, since everything that happened with The Disciple Program, I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of producers in the industry. And the thing I continue to hear is, “Bring me a movie I can sell.” Not “Bring me a movie that can win a BAFTA.” Not “Bring me a movie that will fill me with emotion.” But, “bring me a movie I can sell.” That’s not to say that emotion and character development and plotting aren’t important. You guys know now how much I value all of these things. But if those things aren’t inside a package a producer can put on a poster, or sell to the next guy above him, then they’re not interested. Remember, Good Will Hunting sold as a thriller. It wouldn’t have sold as a character piece.
So when I looked through these loglines, there was that little voice in the back of my head reminding me: Is this something you can give Producer A or Producer B and they’ll be interested? The only real producer in town who can get significant character development movies made without having to jump through a million hoops is Scott Rudin. And it’s hard to get to that guy.
Finally, my taste factored into this. You guys all know that I like time travel stuff. I’m also a bit of a sci-fi geek. So you saw a lot of those ideas here. I’m not really into witches and covenants, so loglines like those were at a disadvantage. And you know, sometimes I just took chances. I know the loglines weren’t traditionally ‘sound,’ but something said to me, “This sounds like a unique writer.” The Detroit salt mines one. It felt different. The dwarf opening a pizza shop. It felt different. The dead whale one. It felt different. And those were simply chosen on gut. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can predict when you’re constructing your idea. You never know which gut is going to be looking at your logline.
Now, on to the Twit-Pitch 100. The first 76 were my original picks, and the last 24 were new picks. I chose these by going back through the comments section in the massive Twit-Pitch post and seeing what people liked. I also browsed back through the pitches myself and added a few that didn’t hit me the first time.
I decided to bypass the direct-messaging I promised earlier because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to direct tweet on Twitter for some reason. Therefore, anybody who was favorited and anybody who shows up in the 23 alternates here, you have until Sunday midnight (pacific time) to send me your first 10 pages (to email@example.com with subject line: TWIT-PITCH). I’ll let you know next week what the due date is for the entire script, which will be roughly 2 months. Enjoy the pitches!
1) A pill-pushing psychiatrist must connect with his patients when a dissatisfied customer curses him with all of their disorders.
2) Early 1980s New Jersey: a 12-year-old decides to profile the local mob boss for his seventh grade English project.
3) North Atlantic, 1825. A whaling Captain and his mutinous crew are trapped on the body of a dead whale and must fight for survival.
4) A “This American Life” type documentary covering a monster attack on NYC, using found footage, like the 1st anniversary of 9/11
5) Werewolves on The Moon: It’s always a full moon on the moon.
6) After winning a nationwide lottery a man must decide what to do with his prize, fifteen minutes of advice to give to his younger self
7) Genesis Y2K: A Christian broadcasting network hires two failed filmmakers to create a TV series of the Bible before the apocalypse
8) After being framed for his father’s murder, an ex-Army medic goes on the run and uncovers a vast secret buried in Detroit’s salt mines
9) West Side story but hip-hop. Rival barber shops: Hella Cutty vs. Get Faded. Step it up 3 meets Leprechaun in the hood
10) On a dare, a young woman shaves her head… only to discover a pirate’s treasure map tattooed onto her scalp
11) When his fiancee gets promoted, a man must plan their wedding on his own. But he risks losing his bride when he becomes a groomzilla.
12) A troubled teen suspects his father may be trying to kill him for a life insurance payout when he’s involved in several “accidents”
13) A man trying to solve the mystery of his con artist grandfather must overcome his own beliefs and the resistance of his broken family.
14) An uptight half-white half-Latin man confronts his repressed heritage when he’s mistaken for a druglord while on business in Guatemala
15) An orphan grows up in a projection booth. He must use all he learned from movies to survive outdoors or lose his true love
16) A group of friends returns from a time-travel fieldtrip to find a nerdy student has altered his past turning him into a living legend.
17) A hoarder finds the girl of his dreams only to lose her in his apartment.
18) A TV executive is held hostage by the characters from a show he recently cancelled, who demand they be put back on the air.
19) An astrophysicist Jesuit priest suffers a crisis of faith triggered by the discovery of a destroyed civilization lightyears from home.
20) One man unaffected by a world inexplicably frozen in time, seeks a way to end the stasis, and finds to his peril that he’s not alone.
21) Firstclass: Mailmen vs. meter maids, battle in the secret civil servant war for control of the streets while trying to get disability.
22) A down on his luck Ice Cream Man agrees to transport stolen stem cells to Mexico only to find these cells are not from this planet.
23) A team of animals organize to fight the omnipotent Taxidermist after he inflicts their community with a deadly parasite
24) A 30 year old woman who dated twins in college believes that one of them was “The One”, if only she could remember which.
25) Two guys have one weekend to battle for the coveted ‘Godfather’ title to their best friend’s new daughter.
26) A terrorist with a $10 mill bounty, a callous soldier of fortune and a mysterious man with no name walk into a bar in Afghanistan
27) Secrets revealed, lives evaluated and relationships SLAUGHTERED after a small town reality cast deals with the murder of their lead.
28) A paranormal debunker is unknowingly invited to investigate a home by a ghost who is terrified by another evil entity lurking upstairs
29) Ex-CIA assassin unionizes an eclectic group of freelance hitmen to “negotiate” with their mob employers. Norma Rae meets RED
30) When the world’s biggest superhero agreed to grant a dying boy’s last wish, he didn’t count on the boy wishing for all his powers
31) When a suicide cult oddly resurrects in a small town, an ex-cop must uncover the truth, and find his own dead son has also risen
32) 9 strangers wake in a deserted Mexican town besieged by killing machines: they must discover why they’ve been brought there to survive
33) In 1903 North Carolina, the Wright bros attempt the first flight, but shenanigans arise when they fall in love with the same woman
34) The ghost of a legendary star gets tangled up in his own biopic when he needs the help of the heartthrob cast as him
35) Small town funeral home begrudgingly inherited is failing so the owner starts killing for business. Soon, his model goes national.
36) Can it get any worse than living next door to a serial killer? It can if you live on CRIMSON ROAD… the whole street is full of them.
37) Driven into exile by a goblin invasion, a mythological dwarf struggles to adapt to life as a pizzeria owner in upstate New York
38) When a lonely masochistic chubby chaser is abducted by two fat lesbian serial killers, it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
39) Determined to find a date for his high school reunion, a loser hires a lifecoach who turns out to be his old school bully
40) An imprisoned Japanese-American doctor and a Caucasian nurse fall in love amid mounting tension inside a WWII internment camp
41) ORBIT – A team of astronauts orbiting the Earth find they may be the world’s only hope during a devastating alien attack.
42) When a billionaire sociopath is sent to death row, he offers $100 million cash to anyone that can successfully break him out
43) SPECIMEN – An amnesiac surgeon who wakes up chained to a steel slab must uncover why doctors are performing grisly operations on him.
44) While investigating a popular student’s unexplained disappearance, a high school psychologist realizes her stepson is a prime suspect.
45) After a series of murders, three survivors must help police piece together the previous night’s events. Rashomon meets Reunion
46) RE-ENACTMENT: A civil war expert and his son must fight to survive a reenactment organized by a dangerous southern cult
47) Douche Patrol: Two partners in the newly created Douche Patrol try to expose a plot to douchify the masses through a reality TV show
48) An ex-cop awakes in an alternative reality where normal people are locked up in mental institutions and society is runned by lunatics
49) After checking into a hotel to escape her abusive husband, a woman realizes guests in the next room are holding a young girl hostage.
50) 3 days after his wife and child die, a man discovers he can travel into the past, one day at a time, as long as he never falls asleep.
51) ActingCoach:a hi-school drama teacher becomes coach of the varsity basketball team, forcing his theater philosophies on the jocks
52) With his favorite fast-food sandwich facing its final week before it’s phased out forever, an obsessed man leads a protest to save it.
53) 3 men kill a friend for suspiciously losing their winning lotto ticket, only to later discover the missing ticket was in fact a loser
54) Head of time travel program learns world’ll be destroyed in 25 years and must stop the terrorist responsible: his 25-year-older self.
55) Desperate to divorce but cash-strapped, ornery newlyweds must put their feuding aside to sell their house, much less agree on a price.
56) AIRBORNE An outbreak of a lethal, unknown virus threatens the passengers and crew of a commercial airliner, forcing it to stay aloft
57) Futuristic re-imagining of SLEEPING BEAUTY. A young woman, cryogenically frozen for 100 years, is discovered in deep space.
58) A warrior sets out to track and kill the last giant – a lonely, anguished creature… and last link to an ancient, beautiful world.
59) The little known true story of how Matisse & Picasso went from being fierce rivals to BFFs.
60) To save his Mom’s home, an obnoxious 40 year old is given one chance: enter the teen TV quiz he had a meltdown on 25 years ago.
61) A group of last-minute shoppers trapped in a mall on Christmas Eve are stalked by a demon-possessed Santa. Horror/Comedy
62) A lowly museum curator races to find Pandora’s box before the resurrected Greek gods destroy the modern world.
63) A famous chef has a nervous breakdown and recovers while working at McDonald’s, where he rediscovers his love for food.
64) RomCom-Man loves woman whose dreams predict future, but future she sees isn’t with him. Can he convince her to choose love over fate?
65) A car thief finds a drug mule tied up in the trunk of his latest grab, then finds himself in the sights of the man who wants her back
66) Emilie can control time at will. When she’s hired to change a key event in a mathematical genius’s life, time begins to collapse
67) A lifelong bachelor accidentally proposes to his clingy girlfriend then tries to trick her into dumping him, but the tables soon turn
68) After forced to choose between her two children during a fire, Sarah fears she is now being haunted by the dead son she left behind.
69) A divorced dad adopts a puppy to fix his family but troubles arise when his ex’s new boyfriend joins his Puppy Kindergarten class
70) DEVIL’S DUE: A cave rescue team fights to escape a collapsing abandoned mine stalked by inhuman ghouls who can mimic victims.
71) After running away from home, an eight foot tall teenager stumbles upon a retirement town for sideshow performers.
72) When a U-Boat vanishes in the 1940s, it leads a team of American GIs to a terrifying secret trapped beneath the ice of Antarctica
73) A dwarf on the run from the mob impersonates the 7-year-old host of an irreverent children’s TV show.
74) After thwarting a terrorist hijacking, passengers debate what to do with the surviving bomber, who’s still set on finishing the job
75) ‘The Tradition’ 1867 After losing her father, a woman unwittingly takes a job as a maid at a countryhouse of aristocratic cannibals
76) After perfecting the ability to send data backwards in time, a brilliant quantum physicist must avert his future murder.
AND NOW – FOR THE ALTERNATES (YOUR PICKS!)
77) The Lipschitz Affair: When an art heist interrupts a wedding at the Guggenheim, everyone’s a suspect — even the bride and groom
78) The Shit List: With the help of his best friend, an underachiever seeks revenge on the people he blames for ruining his life #tp12
79) When a solar storm strands a lonesome geologist in the Canadian wild, she must journey through the dark to survive. “Borealis”
80) When fired by God, a hardworking guy decides to change path and ends up appointed CEO of Hell (, Inc).
81) A bridge appears over the Miss. river. A city official forms a blockade, but news that it travels you back in time starts a hysteria.
82) A chicken farmer watches in horror as his simple life is manipulated by a documentary filmmaker into a feature film.
83) Documentarian interviews Environmentalist Leader only to discover he’s a pawn of the Mob, disposing of bodies in newly created parks.
84) 22yrs old and tired of the pain and suffering of being a real boy,Pinocchio embarks on a journey to get turned back into a puppet.
85) A team of scientists lands on Mars to begin the terraformation process, but Mars fights back in RED MENACE.
86) A mundane father returns to his childhood imaginary world, only to find it has been corrupted by his life as an adult.
87) After a chance encounter, a young couple reunites a few months later only to find their love threatened by a dark secret.
88) It’s 1901. Terrorists have just taken over the White House. And only Theodore Roosevelt can stop them.
89) A high school senior discovers there is a conspiracy to stop him from having sex before graduation.
90) 3 girls spend their last summer before high school rebuilding a old fort and their crumbling friendship.
91) A bounty hunter has 30 days to catch his nemesis before the last spaceship departs, leaving him stranded and alone on a dying earth.
92) BLACKHATS: A hacker for hire finds himself in a deadly web of corporate espionage after being hired to steal the 1st sentient A.I.
93) Haunted by his daughter’s death, a reclusive CIA interrogator saves a suspect he’s ordered to torture; a young girl of alien origin.
94) Ecotourists stranded in a radioactive ghost town at Chernobyl face the threat of wolves, disfigured locals & their own social meltdown
95) 1022 BC. Family corruption and fierce enemy tribes plague the young warrior David as he plots his own rise and ascension to Israel’s throne.
96) Chris Kartje @chriskartje
When, on Xmas Eve, Santa lands on a frat house & eats all the pot cookies, itʼs up to the last sober Jew to be his designated driver.
97) A failed Elvis impersonator travels back in time to steal the life & career of the real Elvis.
98) New York 2029. The whole city is a walled in maximum security town for the wealthy. The world most dangerous criminal just dropped in.
99) Trapped in an increasingly nightmarish limbo, a dead boxer keeps returning to the ring, desperate for the win that’ll change his fate.
100) A rising young actress struggles to keep her sexuality a secret while falling for her female castmate & trying to succeed in Hollywood