Genre: TV Pilot – Thriller
Premise: When a naked woman shows up in the middle of Times Square covered head-to-toe in tattoos, a special FBI unit realizes that the tattoos are some kind of treasure hunt… but for what?
About: Let’s be honest. Nobody’s really pining for the next NBC show. The Peacock’s been trying to play cards at the cool kids table for a couple decades now and failing miserably. I’ve seen mom jeans with more swag. But I think they’re finally realizing that if they don’t change, their feathers will wither and die. The Big 3 networks are being squeezed out slowly enough that they don’t quite realize it, and it’s the young guys with no power inside these companies who are screaming: ACT NOW! A cool show at least gives you some leverage, and Blindside is a show they’re putting a lot of hope into. Not only did it snag THE hottest actor that EVERY network in town wanted for their show in Sullivan Stapleton, but it had the coolest poster title page I’ve seen in a year reading scripts. Blindspot is a JJ Abrams 7 course mystery box feast. And that is both its biggest strength, and most crippling weakness. Creator Martin Gero has written for the HBO show, Bored to Death, as well as for BOTH Stargate shows.
Writer: Martin Gero
Details: 4th draft (Jan 18, 2015) – 61 pages

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 9.51.30 PM

Pilots are funny. You have to give us something so captivating that we’ll want to come back for episode 2. But you don’t want to give us something so big that there’s no way episode 2 (and 3, and 4) can match it. Who wants to go Coney Island after you’ve been to Disney World? After reading Blindspot, I’m wondering how it’s going to make every ride Magic Mountain.

I mean, we have a scene where a subway train must race to avoid an underground tsunami. And we also have a man who’s trying to blow up the Statue of Liberty. What’s episode 2 going to be about? Preventing the space station from falling out of orbit? Episode 3? Going back in time to kill Hitler?

Blindspot is a ride and a half. But something tells me it’s unleashing a hurricane so strong, it has no choice but to run out of steam by the time it hits land. It’s the kind of experiment that’s worth taking though in this ultra-competitive market. If you’re going to set the bar, you might as well set it high.

Blindspot starts out with an immediately arresting image. A naked woman emerges from a bag in the middle of Times Square covered in tattoos with no memory of who she is. One of those tattoos reads simply: “Kurt Weller – FBI.”

Cut to Kurt Weller, a member of FBI’s CIRG unit (Critical Incident Response Group). No idea how this group’s different from every other FBI unit, but that’s not important when you see Weller being a BADASS and taking down an Ariel Castro type before he can kill the four women he’s been holding hostage in his house for a decade.

Weller’s notified afterwards of our mysterious Jane Doe and her artistic rendering of his name on her back. They do some tests on the poor girl but she can’t remember a thing. It’s Weller who realizes that her tattoos are some kind of treasure map. He keys in on one that leads them to an address where a Chinese man lives.

It’s here where Jane first learns she speaks Chinese, and, oh yeah, CAN F*&%ING TAKE PEOPLE DOWN WITH THE FORCE OF RHONDA ROUSEY. Clearly, Jane’s had training. But from who? From where?

A clue at the house leads them to Cho who they quickly learn is on the run. A video he’s left on his laptop indicates that he’s going to destroy the Statue of Liberty. Weller and Jane rush to stop him and as they get closer, it’s less clear who’s conducting the train. Is it Weller? Or is it Jane?

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say they prevent Lady Liberty from being destroyed, but it’s afterwards when the real fireworks fly. Maybe, just maybe, Mysterious Jane is Weller’s long-lost sister. And maybe, just maybe, she was a co-conspirator in this little amnesia party. But why? What is it, exactly, that Jane plans to do once she regains her memory?

Sullivan_Stapleton_PhotoSullivan Stapleton

Somewhere, between approving a digital X-Wing shot and adding a deeper Chewbacca roar, JJ Abrams is smiling. If there’s a pilot that celebrates Abrams’ mystery box method more than Blindspot, I haven’t read it. Jane Doe is a mystery. Jane Doe’s tattoos set up a mystery. Weller’s sister disappearing when he was young is a mystery. Our Chinese man on the run is a mystery.

But as a wise writer once told me. “Yeah sure, you can mystery box your script to death. But at a certain point, if that’s all there is, people will get bored.” Indeed, I think Blindspot falls a little too much in love with its own mysteries, and ignores some of that emotion you need in order to connect with the audience. Which is what we were just talking about yesterday with Furious 7.

It’s funny because a couple of weeks ago I reviewed AMC’s “Badlands,” and complained how although it set up a lot of intriguing relationships, it lacked the multiple mystery boxes required to pique our curiosity for future episodes. Blindspot does the opposite. It gives us all the mystery boxes we could ask for, but doesn’t do anything on the relationship front.

If you’re forced to choose between these two, I’d much rather you focus too heavily on relationships than mystery boxes. That’s because TV, more so than film, is CHARACTER DRIVEN. We have to see a future with the characters, since we plan on being with them for years. Mystery boxes are a lot like heroin. Their emergence gives us this big initial high, but that high dies out quickly. And then what do we have left? Character exporation, whether it be between characters or within the characters, reaches the audience on a much deeper (and more lasting) level.

That’s why I loved Lost so much. Sure that show was Mystery Box Theater, but you can’t deny how intensely it explored its characters. It devoted half of every episode to flashbacks specifically so we could explore the characters. That may be the biggest lesson here. If you can write a pilot that pulls off the mystery boxes AND character exploration, you’ve probably got yourself a winner.

I’m torn on what to rate Blindside. Despite its shortcomings, it moves breathtakingly fast. I may not know these characters as well as I wanted to after the read, but how many 60 page scripts can be read in 30 minutes? And not just because the writing is sparse – but because the plot is so well-paced.

And it’s FUN! We can’t dismiss the fun-factor after seeing the way Furious 7 dominated the weekend. The average person isn’t like you and me, nitpicking every little issue in a story. They’re people who like to unwind and watch something entertaining. Blindspot is definitely that. So for that reason alone, you should probably check it out.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: If a script is very strong in one area, chances are it’s weak in another. Identify that weak spot and address it. Blindspot’s strength is that it moves exceptionally fast. It’s an extremely well-paced script. But a big reason for that is that there’s no character exploration. The script’s fast cause it doesn’t have any of those slower scenes that explore character conflicts or character problems. You need those in a script (especially a TV script).

  • Frankie Hollywood

    I just finished Blindspot a few hours ago. I’m on the other side of Carson’s fence. “The average person isn’t like you and me, nitpicking every little issue in a story. They’re people who like to unwind and watch something entertaining. Exactly.

    First and foremost, I think your pilot needs to hook the audience with Action, Intrigue and Mystery Boxes (obviously given that’s its Genre). Then you’ve got 10-22 episodes to explore the characters. If the audience isn’t captivated by the premise, will “characters talking/exploring their lives” make up for that? Maybe. But if you can hook them first, I think you’ve got a much better chance.

    I really liked Blindspot — though I wasn’t a fan of Martin’s actual writing style…and I thought a bit too much of it was kinda cliche. But the Story and Mystery Boxes were definitely the biggest pluses.

    • Poe_Serling

      Perhaps Carson will have a moment today to chime in regarding your post
      from AOW:

      “That Blind Spot poster title page is pretty badass.

      Do you think someone trying to break in could get away with adding something
      like that (I have a couple spare posters lying around I made for my TV pilot, Nightmare)?

      What would you think if you saw something like that from an amateur? Or should it be left to the pros?”

      • Frankie Hollywood

        Yep, I’d LOVE to know the answer to that Mystery Box.

        Even if Carson doesn’t respond, will people actually get upset if I add one? I would think more people would like vs dislike.

        It’s just one page, what’s the big deal…right?

      • Frankie Hollywood

        ***Slender Man. Yeah, that asshole’s been in the news the last few weeks: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/slender-man-stabbing

      • SandbaggerOne

        I work dev at a studio, and pretty much all of the official TV submissions we get come with a pitch package as well as the script. The pitch packages are usually 2-8 pages and include stuff like art, a series overview, character descriptions, and future episodes ideas. All designed to get the studio interested in the project before reading the pilot.

        I assume 95% of these pitch packages are written & designed in-house by professional designers at the agencies and prod companies and not by the writers themselves (or the writers are working with people at the agency, prod office).

        A good pitch package can do wonders for getting people interested in the script, but the flip side of that is that a bad pitch package can make us lose all interest and desire to read the pilot and color the perception of the reader before they even get to page one.

        So, while in my opinion, sending along a pitch package with your pilot script would be totally fine, and pretty standard for television projects, I would recommend making sure it is a really good, professional looking, pitch package, otherwise you might be shooting yourself in the foot because you risk turning the reader off before they even crack open you script.

    • Paul Clarke

      Yes, like THE BLACKLIST

      But with the tattoo clues from PRISON BREAK.

      And the missing sister from X-FILES.

      The kick-ass amnesiac from BOURNE IDENTITY

      Throw in a few action scenes, and it’s basically an mix of things we’ve seen before. In which case I would think a really stand out character or character relationship would be vital to elevate it over those that came before (and all the copies since). Where’s the irony in either of those characters?

      • Logline_Villain

        Indeed. Paul. Those very same comparisons ran through my head when reading: I was disappointed most that Jane was Bourne-Again – with the fighting skills of an MMA champ and the foreign language expertise of a PhD in Ancient Chinese.

        Also, re: Jane, I thought the final reveal which Carson mentions – that she was complicit in this undertaking – is a double-edged sword: It works as a huge twist, yet it simultaneously kills the sympathy factor for the one character we could feel for – perhaps this is one mystery box where the reveal comes too soon.

        Carson’s review is spot-on: Solid action; thin characters; and ultimate question of how far this premise can be stretched.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        Good call. All those ran through my head too — especially BOURNE. That one might’ve even been a copy/paste ;)

    • kent

      Hey Dude, I’d love to read it. Do you have a copy of the script to spare? Thanks! Kent L Murray at comcast.net.

      • Mike.H

        Me too, Thanks! MAY1MSG at GMAIL DOT COM.

        • S.C.

          Sent?

      • S.C.

        Sent!

        • Liam

          Any chance you have a copy of the script Spectral which is compared to Blackhawk Down with Ghosts or shadow runner. Mcfwilliam@hotmail.com. I’d love to take a look at either one. Thanks.

          • S.C.

            Sent Spectral, nix on Shadow Runner, I’m afraid. I was talking with Bacon about it the other day; I think that project died a fairly quick death, maybe after first draft, and everyone’s moved on.

          • kenglo

            SC or Frankie or kent – any chance you could shoot it over to glover_13000 AT YAHOO ?? Appreciate it…..!!

          • S.C.

            Not sure which one you wanted so I sent you both!

        • I WRITE FILMS

          Can you send me a copy I_write_films at aol.com

          • S.C.

            Sent!!!!

        • Geir Kristiansen

          Can you send me a copy? faustians@gmail.com

    • charliesb

      I don’t think you have 10-22 to develop characters. You’ve got maybe 2 or three. Your pilot is going to be expensive and have a ton of action and bells and whistles but the next few episodes are going to be a lot more cost effective and are going to need engaging characters to keep you tuned in. If you haven’t shown a reason to really “root for” your main character(s) by the third episode, you’re probably going to start to lose people by that 4th or 5th episode.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        Yeah, you’re right. I originally wrote “explore your characters” then I noticed I used “explore” again a couple lines later so I switched it to “develop your characters.” I should get a penalty for illegal substitution.

        I was thinking of Walter White and the long haul. How he went from Milquetoast Chemistry Teacher > Badass Drug Kingpin > Shell of a Man.

        But you’re absolutely right. After the Wham-Bam of the pilot you better hook them with your characters in the next 2-3 episodes.

        • LV426

          I’m really a big fan of the miniseries approach to kicking off a television show.

          One of my favorites, BSG back in late 2003 did this excellently. There is no way they could have crammed all that story into a single hour length pilot episode. Or maybe they could, but it would have been rushed and might not have caught on.

          Just looking at the opening scene and how it not only draws us in with mystique. Considering all the other stuff they had to deal with in this show’s debut, I doubt an opener would be able to play out with that much tension in a 45-60 minute pilot episode.

          A miniseries can also be sold as a big TV event. So maybe that should be considered more often going forward? I mean considered by the studio execs and producers, as I know people like us writers don’t dictate how TV works.

  • klmn

    After yesterday’s starter girl and now this, I’m thinking it must be ass week.

    • S.C.

      Tomorrow’s script is a Will Smith project.

      • klmn

        Perfect.

    • Citizen M

      Ass week? About time!

  • klmn

    For some reason, this review reminds me of this classic:

  • Buddy

    OT : where is the idea of SS contributors writing some 10 SCREENWRITING TIPS ?
    Could be cool to have this again once per week. I really miss this topic. Am I the only one here ?

    • S.C.

      I’ve done one above for BEVERLY HILLS COP II, something I’ve been thinking about doing. Bit rushed, but it didn’t turn out too bad. Hopefully people won’t be too harsh and will follow up with their own takes on movies they like.

  • ripleyy

    I’m intrigued at just how far pilots and television series’ have to go nowadays to secure that all-important “best show” spot. It seems to be spiraling out of control but somehow I really like that. A decade ago, TV was like visiting your grandmothers house and sitting in that stuffy living room drinking stale coffee out of worn china cups.

    But now? TV is the coolest place around. And that’s exciting. Even if “Blindspot” fails, it’s the experience that counts. Honestly, as weird as it sounds, I would rather have 100 pilots that are just as insane as Blindspot because it’s the thrill of the ride that excites me and if it fails? If it’s flawed? Then I’ll more likely remember it for trying.

    I think pilots is the place to be. It’s where a writer can really express themselves. If your idea is zany and out-of-control, then a teleplay seems to be the best way to express that AS LONG AS the characters matter. Yes, mystery boxes are great, but too much mystery and we simply get bored. We like foreplay, but eventually we just want to get stuck into the real thing.

    So there is a real balance you have to somehow figure out. I say, go crazy before the TV implosion happens sooner than later. I think pilots should be celebrated more in a Blacklist-style contest.

    OT: LOOKING FOR SCRIPTS:

    Maniac by Alexandre Aja
    Bioshock by John Logan

    If you have these, send to ellisrhsunday(at)gmail(dot)com

    • filmklassik

      Long Form offers different satisfactions than Compressed Narrative (i.e., two hour movies), but I’m not sure those satisfactions are any better or worse. Actually, I take that back. The pleasures derived from the most skillfully wrought MOVIES will always eclipse the best long-form storytelling — at least for me.

      CHINATOWN trumps TRUE DETECTIVE in my book. Every damn time.

      • brenkilco

        Long form is always more about the ride than the destination. Unless it’s an adaptation of a Russian novel no dramatic story needs to be ten hours long. If you want to make sure you get somewhere a movie is still a better bet.

        • filmklassik

          Most importantly: The best moments from the best movies tend to resonate more, and embed themselves longer in one’s memory, than the best moments from even the finest long-form TV dramas.

          Judge for yourself. See how a key line or exchange summons immediate, vivid images of SPECIFIC MOMENTS from the greatest films. Chances are you’ll remember — with vivid clarity — exactly what happens immediately AFTER these iconic lines are heard:

          “Michael, why are the curtains open…?”

          “Evelyn, put that gun down! Let the police handle this!” “He owns the police!”

          “I’ll jump first…” “No!” “Okay, you jump first…” “No I said!” “What’s the matter with you?” “I CAN’T SWIM!!”

          “That plane’s dustin’ crops where there ain’t no crops…”

          “Hooper steers the boat, Chief.” “Full ahead… I can do full ahead , let him come down here and shovel some of this crap!”

          Q.E.D.

          And of course, there are hundreds more such examples.

          I defy anyone to do that with THE SOPRANOS, or DEADWOOD, or THE WIRE.

          The best movies resonate more. I don’t know why, but they do.

  • brenkilco

    I have just recently begun, via Netflix, to get into these glum, existential, British mystery shows that have been all the rage for a few years now: Happy Valley, The Fall, Broadchurch etc. And I no longer have any patience for open ended shows that promise the satisfactions of closed shows. The Brit shows may go on for 8, 10 or 12 episodes. But the story finishes. And it’s clear the writers knew from the beginning how it was going to end. These mystery box series generally suffer from what I call Twin Peaks Syndrome, because I never watched Lost. You keep tossing in clues, unexplained events, character secrets week after week, anything to tantalize and mystify the audience. But the day of reckoning always arrives. The day when all must be revealed. And generally these explanations turn out to be shit. Because even shows with reasonably complete bibles have been tossing in random stuff for the sake of short term interest. They can’t tie it together because it doesn’t fit together.

    • S.C.

      Don’t want to be a sourpuss, but BROADCHURCH series 2 didn’t go down so well – too many storylines (I gave up after watching three episodes live).

      An excellent British series was WOLF HALL which only covers a few years in the lives of its famous characters (Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn) but manages to hold the attention for ten episodes.

      (On thing about British TV – I’m British as people might know – is that most of the episodes tend to be written by one person or one writing team, hence the limited number of episodes. Doctor Who is an exception, with each episode being a standalone supervised by the showrunner.).

      • Doug

        The problem with Broadchurch is that most of those subplots were just padding. The whole show could have (and should have) been done in three episodes. And the ending was lame.

    • charliesb

      Happy Valley was soooo good. Heartbreaking but amazing. Didn’t feel the same about Broadchurch, whose ending I felt came out of left field instead of feeling like a satisfying climax to the buildup they created.

    • filmklassik

      Yeah, they’re basically narrative Ponzi schemes, and if that metaphor applies (and it does) is JJ Abrams the Bernie Madoff of long-form storytelling?

      • brenkilco

        He’s better than Madoff. Bernie couldn’t go back now and convince the people he bilked to trust him again, or hypnotize them into believing they actually got their money’s worth.

        • filmklassik

          Exactly. A Madoff victim KNOWS he’s been ripped off, but most of Abrams’ victims do not.

          Which I suppose means… they weren’t. It’s like that great Joseph Heller line, “What’s the difference between thinking you’re in love, and being in love?” Is there one? Opinions vary.

          But personally? I call Ponzi.

  • Eric

    One potential pitfall I’m seeing is that having a male/female lead usually comes with an opportunity to play off the sexual tension, but if Jane’s possibly a terrorist/his sister I don’t see how they’re going to do that until those mystery boxes are resolved.

    Also the girl in the poster is very attractive, but full body makeup is a pain to apply. If I remember Prison Break correctly, we should expect most her screentime to be spent wearing improbable turtlenecks.

  • S.C.

    OT: At the request of Buddy:

    Ten Things You Can Learn From Beverly Hills Cop II (the worst best movie – or the best worst movie – ever made):

    1. Have a great opening.

    2. Give the audiences what they want (in this case, more of the same).

    3. A strong, beautiful female lead character does not have to be a love interest.

    In fact, Axel Foley has no love interest in this, or the previous film. He does in the third, unsuccessful film.

    4. Simple plot.

    Boiled down, villain Dent robs places – including one of his one, for the insurance – uses the money to buy guns. Simple.

    What were you expecting from the sequel to Beverly Hills Cop? The Maltese Falcon?

    5. Build a story around setpieces (jewelry story robbery, nightclub shootout, garbage truck chase, etc.).

    6. If you’re writing comedy, mine every scene for comedy (even if it’s not 100% essential to the plot).

    7. Not all funny comedy is sophisticated and witty.

    8. When in doubt, end it all with lots of explosions.

    9. Final confrontation (and demise) of the villain is very important in action movies.

    Director Tony Scott was particularly proud of being able to surprise the audience with Dent’s reappearence.

    10. Do whatever it takes to get the job done.

    Screenwriter Larry Ferguson dictated the final rewrite to a stenographer while naked, with a loaded revolver in one hand, swigging from a bottle of Wild Turkey in his other hand (I don’t have a clip of this).

    When asked about it, Ferguson said you have to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

    That’s my take. Now it’s your turn. Top 10 things you can learn from…

    • Random Logline Generator

      I liked #8: When in doubt, end it all with lots of explosions.

    • LV426

      TOP ELEVEN THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM “DEMOLITION MAN” (which is certainly the best movie ever!!!)

      1. Hollywood loves to see itself on the silver screen. Even if it’s a dump in the future and the icon Hollywood sign is falling apart or going up in flames.

      http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–6RBjHu5S–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17wv6m1yw6slbjpg.jpg

      2. A fish out of water is always a great way to create conflict, humor, as well as an excuse for exposition. John Spartan is a man out of place, out of time. He is a bit lost in the future megacity of San Angeles.

      “All I want is a burger and a beer if you got one.”

      3. Don’t forget to let the villain have some fun and be a smarty pants.

      “What seems to be your boggle?”

      4. The police are often morons in the movies, just so that the hero is needed. An exception to this rule would be something like “HEAT” which is grounded in realism and centered on a detective who loves asses.

      “Maniac is imminent. Request advice.”

      5. Don’t forget to leave room for clever product placement.

      “Welcome to Taco Bell.”

      6. These days, family friendly entertainment is more appropriate, so cut out that nasty foul language. It isn’t the Nineties anymore.

      7. A romance subplot is always needed for epic blockbuster cinema.

      “I was wondering if you would like to have sex?”

      8. The first and second confrontations between the hero and villain need to be more intimate than the later ones, which often end up as set-pieces or big huge explosion filled climaxes. Note: some films such as “THE MATRIX” successfully break this rule, while others such as “TERMINATOR 2″ stick to it. Here bigger isn’t better, but instead a man to man showdown works and is a lot of fun.

      “Where are all the phaser guns?”

      9. The hero doesn’t always need to be a noob or a YA chosen one. John Spartan is the guy with all the experience while Lenina Huxley (Bullock) is more of the young gun out for adventure. It’s a flip on the usual formula. See: “STAR WARS”, “AVATAR”, “THE MATRIX” for examples of the usual way in which a young buck goes out and finds action and adventure. The downside is that the old warrior type is not as popular with the teens and kiddies these days. So feel free to poke fun at the chiseled old timer in-between his or her action antics.

      The Three Seashells

      10. Don’t forget to show an opposing viewpoint that highlights the negative aspects of your shiny movie future milieu.

      “I wanna run down the street naked with green jelly smeared all over my body.”

      11. “Oops, wrong number.”

      • S.C.

        As a guest I can’t upvote, but…. brilliant!

        #4 Is a really good point; you want the hero(es) to face the villains (prefferably) without having an army to back them up. Making them incompetent (easily wiped out) or arrogant (they don’t believe the hero so don’t follow him).

        Please… more stuff like this!

  • Nicholas J

    Wait, is this going to be a prime time show? How is NBC going to squeeze it in between their current 4 hour blocks of The Voice that air every night? I suppose they could always air it during The Voice‘s offseason, which I believe lasts for three days sometime in July. Although the danger there is that people might forget about The Voice that week if they air something else. But I suppose they can just advertise The Voice every commercial break (so about every 5 minutes) and that will keep it in people’s minds. Or maybe they could just rebrand NBC and start calling it The Voice TV. While we’re at it, they could probably just stop airing crap like the news, or at least replace the only respectable person on their network, Brian Williams (already half way there), with judges from The Voice. They could air only the most mediocre, bland, watered down news stories and give every single one a standing ovation. Then let the audience vote on which news story is best through Twitter (obviously with a voting limit of 5,000 votes per account) and after all the votes are tallied, just say fuck it and let the news story win that will make NBC The Voice TV the most money.

    What was the question again?

    • Random Logline Generator

      I wasn’t initially going to post this since it really wasn’t OT, but this might be the best spot. VF article about the NBC news division and the corporate merger with Comcast. Might explain some of the goings-on over in the entertainment division. Long read, but quite interesting.

      http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/nbc-news-brian-williams-scandal-comcast

    • Frankie Hollywood

      NBC? Surprised they didn’t call it: Chicago Blindspot

  • Story Holes

    This is not about setting the bar high but more to do with the (TV) law of diminishing returns. Talk about desperate and totally uninteresting. They should just release a video game. No interest whatsoever in this childish rubbish. Some of us viewers are adults, some of us have never played a video game in our life: where’s our story? DUH!!! Wake up writers!

    • S.C.

      I have sleep apnea. Please don’t tell me to “wake up”.

  • LV426

    Incorporated sounds a lot like Paycheck meets Cypher to me. I’d definitely be up for watching a sci-fi show like that.

  • Poe_Serling

    OT: Just out at the store and I saw that Russell Madness just hit the Redbox.

    Russell Madness – A big-hearted terrier named Russell gets taken in by a family with a pro wrestling arena. That’s when they discover their new pet has incredible wrestling skills. With help from a monkey friend, Russell rockets to the top of the sports world and discovers
    that the strongest tag team is family.

    Remember it’s the film co-written by Aaron Brooks – writer of the AOW script Rose.

    Although Aaron said he didn’t get much compensation for working on the script, it still has to be kind of cool/fun to see your project circulating among the masses – even if it’s via the Redbox route.

    • S.C.

      Aaron came across as a really nice guy; I hope he continues to visit Scriptshadow, maybe even do an interview with Carson.

      Being a professional actor with a produced credit does give him some advantage when it comes to “putting his foot in the door”, or however you want to put it, but I’m sure he’s just like most us, looking for notes to improve his writing.

      Best of luck to him, and I love Crystal the Monkey!

      http://images.nymag.com/news/features/crystal120924_1_560.jpg

      • klmn

        “Best of luck to him, and I love Crystal the Monkey!”

        Get a room, you two!

        • S.C.
          • klmn

            I was talking about Crystal.

          • Brooks

            To be fair Crystal does have a winning smile and A TON more connections than I, so…

            Would love to be interviewed by Carson. Some day. I don’t think I have earned that honour as of yet.

            I visit SS everyday, even if I’m not commenting I’m always reading. Like I said, it’s been a second film school for me. A FS that didn’t put me 30 large in the hole! Thank you Carson.

          • kenglo

            Wow….that’s just AWESOME! Congrats and well wishes for the future!

  • carsonreeves1

    I think this kind of thing happens all the time. So much more money is to be had by getting certain credits that writers will always fight to the bitter end to get them. Why the trades are deciding to comment on this particular dispute, I don’t know. But they’re making it sound like Trevorrow’s people are responsible for the leak, which makes Trevorrow look bad. You’re already the director. Give a little back.

    • S.C.

      I think arbitration is common enough that Trevorrow and his partner feel it’s worth trying, and that if they lose, they won’t bitch about it. You can’t let these things go, if you feel the script is yours (and the only way it could go to arbitration is if you say you want SOLE screenplay credit, even though they’re only likely to get shared credit).

      These things matter, more to screenwriters than directors. As Josh Friedman said, getting a credit on WAR OF THE WORLDS puts his kids through college.

    • Poe_Serling

      Breaking News…

      “After a trying WGA arbitration process, the credit scroll on Jurassic World will read: Screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly; Story by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver; Based on characters created by Michael Crichton.”

      More details here:

      http://deadline.com/2015/04/jurassic-world-script-credits-resolved-colin-trevorrow-speaks-on-arbitration-process-1201406086/

  • charliesb

    OFF TOPIC:

    But if anyone has the script for CUT BANK, could they please send it to me?

    birdieey at g mail dot com

    thx!

    • S.C.

      Sent!!

      • charliesb

        Thx so much!

  • romer6

    Wow. Damn it… I am writing a pilot about a despicable young man who wakes up with his body covered in tattoos. He has no memory of how he got the tattoos or how the previous night ended (actually, he had been missing for two days but didn´t know that). But my concept was more scifi oriented as the tattoo is made from nanoink, some kind of sentient technology that has several purposes. So the man aquires incredible abilities while being chased by secret corporations, the government and a badass woman who claims that those tattoos belong to her. Is it too similar to this in anyway or do you guys think I should keep going?

    • S.C.

      I’ve wasted too many years rejecting ideas because they’re too close to some script that’s just been sold or movie that’s just come out.

      Bollocks.

      Just go for it!

      It really doesn’t matter. Do you know how many King Arthur scripts there are “out there” at the moment? No, neither do I. A ton, I reckon – I’ve got about half-a-dozen. I think the world can handle two tattoo scripts, especially if one is a completely different genre.

      The only reason to give up on a project is if it’s not working. I know I’m not the best person to give out this advice, being a terrible quitter, but I’m sure others will agree with me.

      Go for it! And best of luck!

    • LV426

      I actually think your premise sounds cooler. Granted, this is just going off a logline/summary of Blind Spot and reading a short description of your premise. Obviously there is a lot more to a screenplay in the end.

      As someone who has either sat on cool ideas for too long or stopped in the middle of writing something after hearing that a slightly similar concept sold, I say you should stick it out and go with it. Maybe see if you can get your hands on a PDF of Blind Spot so you can see what you might want to tweak with your script. As long as the general plot and characters aren’t too similar and you say, amp up the action and spectacle instead of going for a mystery-box overload. I’m guessing yours falls into a sci-fi/action-thriller paradigm. Are you aiming for a spec feature script? A spec TV pilot? A TV miniseries?

      I like the tattoo nanoink bit. That seems fun and can provide some cool visuals. What about changing the protagonist from a guy who disappears for a couple days to someone who is a tattoo fanatic? This nanoink would then be something that spills on him, or he’s kidnapped by some sinister organization and injected with the experimental nano concoction. What about the mysterious woman injecting it into him, to keep it out of the hands of the bad guys? She does it as a last ditch effort whole on the run to keep it away from the villain, but then just as the protag is discovering these awesome new special abilities, she shows up pissed and wants this nano-stuff back.

      I think taking out the “mysterious disappearance” and “amnesia” elements will help set you apart more. That way you don’t have tattoos AND the amnesia mystery-box.

      • romer6

        Wow, thanks for the heads up! I really appreciate it. Actually the main character is a smart guy but a real asshole who hates tattoos, he is too concerned with his appearance, and he works in a place where personal appearance is everything so the tattoos put everything at risk, his whole way of life. He loses his job, his girlfriend, his confortable life and has to go on the run. Except no one likes him, he has no friends and no one to trust. I thought that way I would amp the stakes and create many opportunities for conflict. I haven´t finished the pilot yet, but after watching “The 100″ I´ve changed several things, that show is a serious lesson as how to create tension. I´ll keep working on it, the worse that can happen it that it will add up to my resumée. Thanks, everyone, for the support!

        PS: Yep, you got it right, the symbiotic relantionship is present and as the main character will find out eventually, getting hid of the tattoos will be far more complicated than he could possibly imagine. There is a “Darkness” (Comics) vibe to it, I think it adds a nice twist to the whole thing…

        • LV426

          Cool.

          Sounds like my kind of movie.

    • S_P_1

      I was also toying with an similar idea as well. Except my sci-fi tattoos would be based on bodily phrenology and Chakra meditation. I have the visuals in mind versus an actual plot and characters. Also my background scenery would be more grounded. Basically the future 50 years from now with advanced tech devices as everyday appliances.

    • Fish Tank Festival

      I feel your pain and with that I say never quit on the idea unless it’s not working. I have not one but THREE examples:

      Back before the whole “chick-action” explosion — with the exception of ALIENS and TERMINATOR 2, I had written multiple scripts with the strong kick ass female leads like never seen before. Now these character types are a dime a dozen and over-Hollywoodized.

      Cry me a river. Okay, so then before the whole fairytale boom, I had written something based off one of my faves and nothing like you’d seen beofre. And what do you know… now there’s even a god damn Rapunzel action script in the vein of SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN.

      And finally, no bs, wrote a sci-fi/action script where zero gravity is prominent in two major (action) set pieces. And lo and behold, here comes INCEPTION. But that’s not even the problem, I read/read about something like three specs featuring antigravity or zero gravity.

      All that to say, keep chugging. I’m finishing up my next draft of said script and refuse to let the universe keep stealing my ideas.

      • romer6

        Yeah, Fish Tank, this only comes to show that we must write, write, write. That is the only thing we, writers, can do. Throw our ideas, our inspirations to the wind and hope that they can help us sail. The more we write, the better our chances.

        • Fish Tank Festival

          Ok trip out on this! Just started reading FEAR THE WALKING DEAD pilot and one of the main characters has the EXACT effing name as a character in my fairytale script. I had to double check… no effing way but it’s true!

      • LV426

        “I had written multiple scripts with strong kick ass female leads like never seen before. Now these character types are a dime a dozen and over-Hollywoodized.”

        Well, there’s still hope I’d say.

        I’m also tired of the unstoppable wire fu gun kata bad ass female action heroine who flips around like a crack smokin’ cat with ADD. I think that going away from the Milla Jovovich or “Lucy” style action heroine and back to the Sarah Connor types is interesting, and totally legit these days.

        Milla’s next action role seems to be more grounded.

        At least that’s the impression I’m getting from the trailer. I could be wrong.

        • Fish Tank Festival

          Alas there might still be hope, my friend.

        • filmklassik

          “I’m also tired of the unstoppable wire fu gun kata bad ass female action heroine who flips around like a crack smokin’ cat with ADD.”

          Agree. That cliche went from novel, to overdone, to insufferable in the span of 20 years. And it drives me crazy.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Go for it! I like your concept better than this one and from personal experience (and this happens to all writers, trust me), a similar concept does not at all mean that the execution will be the same. Now, this may just be me but I tend to lose interest when hearing about a similar story and it gets even worse if I read a script or watch a movie, so I put my story aside for a little while. When I approach it again, I’ll usually have several new ideas to take the story in a different direction, making it even more different from the pre-existing ones. Anyway, don’t scrap yor idea – from the comments here, others obviously like it as well. Good luck :)

  • august4

    Pilot ACTS: Yay or Nay?

    I came on here too late last week, but I wanted opinions from other writers… It seems the pros are all over the place on this….

    Do you recommend adding ACT slug lines for a pilot or not?

    The Walking Dead had none, Breaking Bad had them, etc….

    Thanks!

    • Gregory Mandarano

      This has been the subject of some debate, and even I was torn on the matter. However, as I finished my most recent tv pilot, and am working on a second, I’ve come to the conclusion that teaser and act breaks are important. Oftentimes people in the industry will skip to the ends and beginnings of acts to see if you can handle act breaks. Good act breaks will only serve to improve a script – otherwise you’re banking only on the quality of the first few pages to capture a reader’s attention.

    • S.C.

      Just looked at latest scripts for AMC pilots; all but I think one or two have act breaks. Most have teasers too.

  • klmn

    I wonder if the tattoos will be used like in The Illustrated Man, where the tattoos were a device to introduce a bunch of unconnected stories?

    That brings up the question of whether the pilot will show all the tattoos, or just the one that introduces that story? Or will they be making up new tattoos as the series goes on?

    • klmn

      And of course, there’s this.

  • S.C.

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • bex01

      Any chance I could get a copy of the script too?

      babelfish79 at gmail dot com

      Thank youuuuu!

  • S.C.

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • S.C.

    Truth is I think the story was by Spielberg, at least the inspiration for it. Still, like Hitchcock, Spielberg doesn’t ask for story credit.

  • Frankie Hollywood

    Not sure I see a problem with the poster ;)

  • AmericanSamurai

    I am curious to read BLINDSPOT… anyone with a copy willing to share? Please send to: battenkillstudios@yahoo.com. Thanks in advance.

  • fragglewriter

    As always, great with the tip. After reading this article and Septillion to One, I realize that I need to show a softer side to my protagonist that has an arch. She doesn’t have any kids, but has a soft of sweet spot for her niece.