Genre: Procedural
Premise: One of the top lawyers in the country is also a professor who recruits her law students to help her win cases.
About: The new show coming this fall from TV mogul Shonda Rhimes. After going to film school, Rhimes was able to put together a short film in 1998 that starred Jada Pinkett-Smith. She would later sell a spec to New Line, write the Britney Spears film, Crossroads, write the sequel to The Princess Diaries, then a year later, change her life with Grey’s Anatomy. Rhimes is teaming up with longtime collaborator Pete Nowalk, who’s worked with her on Grey’s and Scandal. He wrote the pilot and created the show.
Writer: Pete Nowalk
Details: 63 pages – 12/3/13

how-to-get-away

When you want to write a hip new unorthodox show about cancer or the apocalypse, go to HBO or AMC. When you want to write a show that everybody in America watches, you go to Shonda Rhimes. This girl has the pulse of America on her fingertips. Whatever the magic TV touch is, she’s got it. And her latest, How to Get Away With Murder, is the most buzzed about network show coming this year.

To be honest, I have no interest in network shows. There’s a reason they’ve been shut out of the Emmys. While everyone else is taking chances, they’re playing it as safe as the medium will allow it. Ongoing storylines are sacrificed in favor of a simplistic procedural style that allows easy entry to latecomers. This results in a nice quick fix after a long day of work, but few rewards for longtime viewers, the ones who keep the show on the map.

But I’ll tell you this. These shows pay their writers well. And since not everyone can spearhead the next Breaking Bad, you writers looking to make a career at this shouldn’t mark these network shows off your list. Especially if you get a shot at working with one of the best network prime-timers in the business, Shonda Rhimes.

How To Get Away With Murder starts the way you’d hope a show with that title would start. Preppy Michaela, sexy Patrick, Boyish Wes, and bookish Laurel, all grad students at Middleton University, each have blood on their hands. No, LITERALLY. They actually have blood on their hands. The four have just murdered someone. But the snippets of dialogue they exchange aren’t telling us the whole story. All we can see is that they’re scared and they don’t agree on what to do next.

Flashback to 4 months ago, when the four enter one of the most prestigious legal classes in the country, Criminal 101, or how their sociopath but highly successful law professor, Annalise DeWitt puts it: “How to Get Away With Murder.”

Annalise, like a lot of Rhimes’s characters, has many dimensions. She’s strong. She’s smart. She’s demanding. She’s calm. She’s cunning. She’s evil. And she has secrets. Oh, does she have secrets. Annalise tells the class that they’re going to be helping her in her latest case, where a woman, Gina, is accused of trying to murder her boss by exchanging his medication with one she knew he was allergic to.

Annalise makes a little game of it. Whoever does the most to help win the case gets her coveted “immunity idol trophy,” (which, of course, later becomes the murder weapon for our students). The trophy allows you to get out of exams and assignments. And it’s implied that whoever gets it first will be the one Annalise mentors this semester.

Each student has their own ideas on how to defend Gina, but Wes is the one we center on most. Wes catches Annalise in bed with someone, gasp, other than her husband, so she places him on Team Annalise to… what? Keep him quiet? Or because he’s actually good? As is usually the case with Annalise, we don’t know.

Over the course of the trial, Wes will learn that Annalise refuses to lose. It doesn’t matter if she has to take down the people she’s closest to. She will ruin lives and threaten others. All in the name of being the best lawyer in the country. The question is, does Wes want to be a part of that, a team that sacrifices their morals to be the best. Or does he want to live that quiet easy legal life without any headaches, the exact life Annalise despises so much? We’ll have to watch to find out.

20140715hoowen0716mag

Man, let me say this. This Nowalk guy knows how to freaking pack a story. There was a TON of stuff going on in How to Get Away With Murder. But not in that bad clumsy way you see in so many amateur scripts. Every piece of information is cleverly set up to be paid off later. Oh, that man Wes accidentally caught Annalise banging? That wasn’t just for shock value. That comes back in the trial.

That’s the thing with “Murder.” Everything is a setup. Which means almost every scene in the second half has a payoff. I really don’t know where to start here because there’s so much good. I mean yeah, it’s cheesy entertainment. There’s nothing that heavy here. Even death is protected by that ABC “everything’s going to be okay” sheen. But it’s all so damn entertaining.

Every character here is memorable. And that doesn’t mean they’re all complex. But Nowalk is really good at setting up who the characters are. He does this cleverly right away actually, by placing Patrick, Michaela, Wes, and Laurel in a messy situation.

If you’ve read Scriptshadow, you know this is one of the best ways to show the reader who your characters are. Put them all in a bad situation, then watch how they react. Patrick is freaking out, Wes is calm, Micaheala can’t make a decision, Laurel is defiant. As with any bad situation, each character will react differently. And it’s that difference that allows us to see who they are.

From there, Nowalk creates a ton of mystery boxes so that we’ve got multiple things to wonder about. It’s like hedging your bets as a writer. If they don’t like this mystery box, they’ll like that one. If not that one, we’ll create another. There are four main ones – who the hell did these students murder and why? There’s a missing girl in the flashback storyline (which I didn’t even have time to get to). We have the case itself (Did Gina do it?). And we have a mysterious girl who lives across from Wes who gets into arguments every night with the former boyfriend of the girl who’s missing.

Then you have Annalise herself. What a great character. Rhimes and Nowalk are really good at this stuff. Annalise is so complex. She gets mad when you think she should be calm (after you just did well in class), or calm when you think she should be mad (after Wes catches her having sex with another man).

But the best part about this character is that Nowalk and Rhimes aren’t taking the easy way out with her. They’re making her just as bad as she is good. In fact, I’d argue that they haven’t shown us any good yet. She’s cheating on her husband. She (spoiler) throws a friend under the bus to save her client, even though she knows her client is guilty. And she’ll break down on a dime to get you to side with her, only to coldly go back to neutral the second you turn away, showing us it was all an act.

I think the thing that most impressed me though was a scene in the middle of the script. It’s a scene that very easily could’ve been spat onto the page, but Nowalk CRAFTS the scene, turns it into something much better than it could’ve been.

It’s a scene where Annalise tells the class that tomorrow, they’ll each have one minute to pitch their angle on how they’d defend Gina. The handful of students who come up with the best defense strategy, she’ll take to court. I want you to think about how you would write this scene. Stop right now and imagine it in your head.

Here’s how the scene was written. First, Nowalk did something smart. The best scenes are usually set up in some way. So we go back a few scenes to set this scene up. Wes had screwed up in class on the first day. Because of this, Annalise told Wes that he’d be pitching last, after all 80 students. And he wouldn’t be allowed to repeat any of the previous suggestions.

This way, when the scene begins, it has form. Why? Because we know Wes is pitching last. This creates both SUSPENSE and TENSION. Suspense because we’re eagerly anticipating Wes’s turn and what he’s going to say. And tension because as each person pitches, Wes has to cross one more idea off his list. At the very end, someone takes his final idea. And Wes has to come up with something on the fly.

I’ve seen the amateur version of this scene before. Bad writers want to shoot straight to the fun stuff, the jump-cutting between each student as they give their defense ideas. The scene has no form because it doesn’t have anything anchoring it (like Wes).  Dare I say that it’s predisposed.

How to Get Away With Murder is harmless entertainment. But it’s as good as you’re going to find harmless entertainment. I’ll be trying to get away with murder this September. You should too.

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

What I learned: Going back sometimes allows you to go forward.  If you’re struggling to write a scene, see if you can go back a scene or two and SET SOMETHING UP which will allow you to write the scene.  That’s what Nowalk did here.  By going back and setting up that Wes screwed up, it allowed him to create this class scene where Wes is told he’s going last and can’t repeat anyone, which made the scene way more exciting than had it been written straight-up.

What I learned 2: Create dual-jobs for your hero to discover untapped concepts.  One thing I realized here is that typically on television shows, a lawyer is a lawyer.  That’s all they do.  Ditto almost any job.  A cop is a cop.  A doctor is a doctor.  But we live in a world where lots of people have two or more jobs.  Under this setup, your characters will have multiple skills and lives.  These skills can be combined in unique ways to create untapped show ideas.  That’s what happened here.  Annalise is a professor and a lawyer.  That’s what allowed them to come with this unique premise.  Had the writers been thinking too linearly, the way everyone thinks, they would never have stumbled across this unique premise.

 

  • kevin thomas

    Sounds like a strong study piece, at the very least…

    If anyone has a copy please be so kind to email – kevthomz@gmail.com

    Thanks.

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!!!

    • charliesb

      Me too. Please.

      birdieey at gmail dot com

      • Scott Crawford

        Sent!!!!

        • charliesb

          You’re a gentlemen and a scholar.

          Thx!

  • kent

    I would love a copy of this if anyone has it. Thanks! KentLmurray at comcast dot net

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!

  • Somersby

    Add me to the list as well… Thx.
    anvil [at] total [dot] net

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent.

      • Somersby

        Thank you.

  • Magga

    I had to chuckle here, as my first thought for the pitching scene was exactly like Carson predicted. Sounds like a good way to go with Wes going last, unless he is the one with the right answer, in which case it’s a failure of imagination. Let me find out!
    velkjent@hotmail.com

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!!!!!

      • Magga

        thanks

      • Logic Ninja

        Add me to the list, if you could! Jaybird1092 at yahoo.com
        Thanks!!

        • Scott Crawford

          Sent!!!!!!

      • Sebastian Cornet

        Hey, Scott, I like it when you write “sent!” so could you do me a solid and send a link to falvaroth@hotmail.com?

        • Scott Crawford

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

          • G.S.

            Scott!!! gsphifer (at) hotmail (dot) com please.

          • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

    So, you DON’T want the script?

  • IgorWasTaken

    Based on your review, Carson, lots of this show reminds me of “House”.

    • Scott Crawford

      It looks from the pictures like it has some of that vibe, with THAT leather jacket and the glowering and everything. But the lead character’s voice is different, a little less sarcastic. Or is it sardonic?

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!

    • jw

      I’ll partake in such tantalizing entertainment! Thanks in advance, Scott.

      • jw

        jwright226 @ hotmail

        • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!

    • Altius

      Scott, would you mind sending also to parkerjamisonfilm at gmail.com? Thanks!

      • Scott Crawford

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

        • OddScience

          Hey Scott, I know you’re probably getting tired of writing Sent, but you got the energy for one more?

          dogbarks@ live.com

          Please and Thank You.

          • Scott Crawford

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

            No problem; TV specs aren’t really my thing, but it looks like a lot of people want to read this one.

          • OddScience

            Thank you, sir. I appreciate you taking the time.

            An Impressive from Carson? That’s like a Unicorn sighting, worth taking a look.

          • Scott Crawford

            Established that the only other TV spec to get “Impressive” was Hell On Wheels.

          • Casper Chris

            Negative.

            Just last month we had this one:
            http://scriptshadow.net/tv-pilot-tuesday-hand-of-god/

          • Scott Crawford

            Yeah, it didn’t show up on the list on the sidebar. Guess I’m gonna have to trawl through EVERY review now…

            Just kidding. I remember that Hand of God but forgot it was an impressive.

          • Randy Williams

            I don’t want the script, but while you’re in the sending mood, could you send me some scones and strawberry jam from London?

          • Scott Crawford

            Sure. Cream goes ON TOP of the jam.

          • Randy Williams

            I assume that’s “clotted” or we’re in for a big mess.

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Strybos

    If it is revealed that the classmates aren’t actually at the murder scene but “recreating” it in their heads, immersing themselves in the details so deeply it is like they are there… I will be very disappointed.

    • Magga

      Worst example I’ve seen of this is in The Matrix, when the Oracle tells Neo that he has to choose between his own life and that of Morpheus, before being told “the Oracle told you what you needed to hear to do what you did” or some such rubbish. Always put a dent in an otherwise good movie

    • Randy Williams

      I’ve seen lots of movies where a teacher seduces or sets up a student to kill a spouse, for instance. That’s not such a bold choice. How about the students are pulling the strings, luring someone who seems to have all the answers into following a logical conclusion?

      • Scott Strybos

        True, a teacher setting up students to kill someone is not a bold choice; it has been done before.

        I just want the students to have murdered someone, like the scene suggests or promises (or at least that’s what the scene seems to suggest, I haven’t read it myself).

        • Randy Williams

          Okay, got ya.

        • S_P_1

          Going by Carson’s review I’m not sure of what’s going on.

          Is this an actual court case and Viola Davis is enlisting the help of her students to help solve the case?

          Is this a mock trial enlisting students to help solve the case?

          Is this a legal scenario in which given the evidence students are deducing who amongst themselves could be the killer.

          A student who spies on their professor and finds out they’re having an affair, what does that exactly have to do with the trial? I’m just thinking of the real world ramifications of that scenario taking place. I literally foresee the student being permanently expelled and the professor losing tenure and a possible review before the BAR.

          • Scott Crawford

            Do you want the script?

          • S_P_1

            Thanks.

            s_price_1 at hotmail.com

          • Scott Crawford

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

  • dawriter67

    Me please. Gjdevlin at gmail

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!!!!!!!!!!

      • Midnight Luck

        have another extra copy hanging around you could send? Please

        m[at]blackluck{dot}com

        and thanks

        • Scott Crawford

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

          • Midnight Luck

            Thanks a bunch.

  • bluedenham

    Scott, a copy pretty please? smythdenham@hotmail.com

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!!!!!!!!!

  • Logic Ninja

    Out of curiosity–anybody know how many TV pilots have scored an Impressive or better in the history of SS?

    • Scott Crawford

      Just checking: Hell On Wheels got an impressive. Pilar talks to one of the writer/producers of that show on her podcast this week:
      https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/on-the-page-screenwriting/id262077408?mt=2

      • Logic Ninja

        I need to give that a look! Thanks!

      • crazedwritr

        thanks for the notice. will check it out. love this show

    • Scott Crawford

      It’s interesting looking through the list of impressive scripts, even I’ve visited this site for years, forgot which script got what. SOME of those scripts (about half-a-dozen I think) became… less-than-impressive movies? No libel against Carson, I think he was probably right; those were great screenplays, but things can go so wrong when they becomed movies.

      • Logic Ninja

        Yeah, nothing against Carson–it’s incredibly hard to guess from the script how well a movie will do. Directors are human; they want creative input. Which means they’re gonna change something about the script. If the script sucks, changes won’t hurt it. If a script is good, changes might skewer it. So really, there might be some kind of action/reaction type thing going on.

        • Magga

          Trust me, they can keep every damn word of a great script and still turn out rubbish. I got a pilot made for a 5-minute weekly webseries two years ago and you could tell the minute the director started talking to us that he just didn’t get what we were going for. The amount of people who liked the script and hated the pilot was large, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what they had done, from the colors to the casting to the pacing to the tone. I’m applying for funds to turn the first two episodes into a short right now, and there’s no way I’m not going to direct it AND bring along my favorite cinematographer and editor.

          • Scott Crawford

            Agreed. People like to think that the makers of a bad movie rewrote the script.

            On editing: check out the original edit of Star Wars, dodgy landspeeder front projection and all. Wonder if Disney will ever release that as a special edition? (I know they won’t, I’m just kidding. You have to see “Empire of Dreams” documentary to see what it might have looked like).

          • S_P_1

            I’m dealing with a similar situation concerning miscasting. In order to see your script as you envision it, you also have to direct your own script. Interpreting script material is often grossly abused.

  • Rachel Woolley

    This sounds like it has a Damages vibe to me. I hope it’s as good at the twists and turns as that show was.

  • Linkthis83

    Based on all this, I’d watch the first episode. Sounds fun and intriguing.

    Good on Scott Crawford for being so generous with the script.

    OT: So I watched the movie TRIANGLE last night and was impressed by it. If I had been reading the script, I would’ve bailed about 20 pages in. I didn’t feel there was enough to have me invested up to that point, but because it’s a movie, it’s easy to just keep hanging on to see what’s what.

    I’m glad I did. Overall, I didn’t love the film/story, but I was impressed in what it tried to pull off, and I feel it accomplished that. It started making my head hurt trying to think of writing it and being accountable for the threads.

    There is one particular scene that made me so happy I kept watching. It was just uber fantastic in my opinion and I’m betting it was the scene that made people want to turn this script into a film. I’m not going to give it away, but for those who know, it’s when Jess is trailing Sally and Sally runs into a dead end = what a great fucking reveal!! Very effing cool.

    If anybody has this script, and would be willing to send it my way, I’d appreciate it:

    TRIANGLE by Christopher Smith

    linkthis83 at yahoo dot com

    • JakeMLB

      Love Triangle! Very underrated and somewhat unknown. Melissa George is great in it. I’m fairly certain the script isn’t on the interwebs though. Your best bet would be to contact Smith directly.

      • Linkthis83

        I forgot to give Melissa George a shout out as well for her portrayal of Jess.

        My pursuit of the script via sites and forums yielded no results.

        I think as time passes, I’m going to realize that I indeed love TRIANGLE as well. I still can’t get over that awesome scene with Sally. So great.

        • JakeMLB

          Yeah I remember hunting for the script a while back and finding nothing. Try contacting Smith or his representation if you really want it, you might get lucky!

    • Magga

      Checked the trailer out because of your comment, and it started with this line: “You know what I do when I have a bad dream? i close my eyes and think of something nice”. WTF?

      • Linkthis83

        Hahaha. Oh wow, you’re right. If I had watched the trailer first, I probably would’ve never watched this.

        If you put that opening line in context, it’s not as cheesy – she’s holding her upset son when she says that. I think the trailer didn’t do this film any favors.

    • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

      I’ve watched TRIANGLE nine times and I’m still piecing together that puzzle.
      That film tricks you right in plain sight! Mirror, mirror on the wall…

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Electric-

        Yeah, Triangle is one trippy flick for sure. I also had to go back a couple of times to rewatch a scene or two.

        By chance, have you seen the film Retroactive? I just watched it recently and I thought it was a wild B-move ride – loaded with a truckload of twists and turns.

        The filmmakers threw everything into that plot – isolated desert locations, a stranded motorist, secret labs, time travel, stolen computer chips, a Sharon Stone wannabe, and even Jim Belushi as a redneck killer.

        • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

          Did you catch the trick when Melissa George stares into the mirror?

          Jim Belushi with mutton chops for the WIN!
          My favorite Louis Murneau flick by far. Very fun popcorn.
          The only chance that poor guy got to direct a killer DTV title.

          • Poe_Serling

            “Did you catch the trick when Melissa George stares into the mirror?”

            I don’t recall that scene… guess it’s back to the Aeolus one more time for me. ;-)

          • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

            Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see exactly what I mean…

            http://horrorfilms101.blogspot.com/2012/08/mini-reviews-eclipse-hands-of-orlac.html

            Once you under where the camera goes, you must rethink it all. ;-)
            And then wait for the camera to find another mirror…and another….

          • Linkthis83

            Oh shit. I didn’t even notice that. Now I want to watch it again. No wonder you’ve seen it 9 times.

        • JakeMLB

          Retroactive is on my watch list as is Black Death. Think I’ll give them a watch tonight! Thanks for the suggestions.

          • Poe_Serling

            Both of the films fall squarely in the B-movie realm. Personally, I
            think —

            Retroactive gets a boost from its somewhat inventive script, fast action, and over-the-top performances.

            Black Death scores points for its grim storyline, unsettling atmosphere, and uncompromising ending.

    • Poe_Serling

      Christopher Smith’s follow-up flim Black Death is also worth checking out if you get the opportunity.

      “Europe has fallen under the shadow of the Black Death… There are rumors of a village, hidden in marshland that the plague cannot reach. There is even talk of a necromancer who leads the village and is able to bring the dead back. A knight is charged by the church to investigate these rumors.”

      It’s sort of a medieval take on “The Wicker Man.”

      As always, Sean Bean gives a solid performance as the knight.

      • Linkthis83

        I will give it a watch. TRIANGLE reminded me a lot of a movie I had watched recently called TIMECRIMES which was good as well.

        • NajlaAnn

          Ditto on TIMECRIMES.

        • Poe_Serling

          Timecrimes is definitely a thumbs up in my book too.

          If you haven’t seen it already, I also recommend Session 9. It’s a master class in creating an ominous mood/atmosphere for your script/film.

      • andyjaxfl

        Poe, I’m with you on Black Death. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Between Black Death, Centurion, and Ironclad, they’ve been making some pretty good “clanking swords” movies across the pond of late (and all budgeted under $20 million)…

        • Poe_Serling

          You could even throw in The Eagle (2011) for fun … co-produced by the British prod. company Film 4.

          • andyjaxfl

            I like that one too. I love the dynamic between Billy Elliott and Channing Tatum.

          • Poe_Serling

            Oh right, I forgot that Jamie Bell was the sidekick in that film.

    • pmlove

      Triangle was great – and I think I saw it long enough ago that I can’t remember why, which means I get to watch it over again.

    • Logline_Villain

      Thanks link – now that you sold me on watching Triangle, and I didn’t want to wait until Netflix mailed it – I was surprised to see it’s on Youtube (in 7 parts, of course)…

      • Linkthis83

        Have you watched it yet? I’m curious to hear what you thought about it as a whole, but more interested in what you thought of that particular scene I highlighted.

    • NajlaAnn

      I loved TRIANGLE. It’s very cleverly crafted with an excellent performance by Melissa George.

  • OddScience

    You know this has to be a great script if Carson overcame a FOURTEEN line opening block of text. That “should’ve” been broken up 4-5X.

  • Randy Williams

    Whatever you do, don’t google the show’s title. Could come back to haunt you if someone goes missing in your household.

    Great review!

    • Scott Crawford

      True! Police can be quite dumb like that (so can some criminals, to be fair).

  • JakeMLB

    This was a great review Carson. Probably one of your best! Another testament to how good material can get people excited.

  • jw

    What I find interesting about JUST the first page of this script is the fact that it breaks what many refer to as “cardinal rules” for screenwriting — giant opening block of description, followed by 7 lines of dialogue, followed by another giant block of description, followed by 6 lines of dialogue… ahahahah (love it)! A larger question I guess would be, if an amateur did this, would they be scolded?

    • klmn

      Probably. If the rest of the script follows the rules, maybe not.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      TV scripts seem to have larger blocks of description. Especially penned by the older school TV writers.

    • Bifferspice

      white space is the second rule. it goes “1. be entertaining. 2. if you can’t be entertaining, be brief.”

  • Andrew Parker

    Excellent point about the dual job. We’ll see that next year in the William Monahan scripted remake of “The Gambler”. Allows you to thematically cover a lot of ground.

    • klmn

      I should get back to work on my script, The Nunja. Nun by day, ninja by night.

      • Poe_Serling

        Rare footage of them caught in daylight:

        • klmn

          Look at the elevation that nun has. I thought only Sally Field got that high.

      • Somersby

        Gold, Jerry! Gold!!

      • charliesb

        I would watch the hell out of that!

  • Randy Williams

    Aaron Spelling produced one of my favorite shows, “7th Heaven”. Hope he made it there for that very reason.

  • LV426

    “Annalise is a professor and a lawyer. That’s what allowed them to come with this unique premise. Had the writers been thinking too linearly, the way everyone thinks, they would never have stumbled across this unique premise.”

    Kind of sounds like “The Paper Chase” with a dose of murder. I’m burned out on lawyer shows, but this does sound kind of interesting. Viola Davis in the lead is a plus.

    ——————–

    Off Topic:

    The feature film star to TV exodus continues. Keanu Reeves will star in a new thriller series titled “Rain” which is based on a series of novels by Barry Eisler. The John Rain books focus on a half-American, half-Japanese assassin who specializes in hits that look like they were accidental deaths.

    http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/keanu-reeves-rain-tv-series-slingshot-1201285377/

    Just thought it would be interesting to everyone here. It seems more and more big name actors and stars are making their way to television. I wonder how much longer until we see someone like Tom Cruise in a TV series. Perhaps in a few more years the feature world will be mainly for the comic book stuff and young adult oriented things starring actors such as Jennifer Lawrence leading the pack?

    • Scott Crawford

      Might be wrong, but I think since Reeves such a fortune on the Matrix sequels he only does the movies (or TV shows) he really wants to now. Saw a bit of his documentary Side by Side – need to see the rest some time, it was good.

  • Scott Crawford

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

    • Diali

      Can i have a copy please
      email : fsaadane(at)gmail.com
      Thanks

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

    Leave an e-mail address.

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • IgorWasTaken

    BTW, there is a real-life analog to this premise –

    “Innocence Projects” at various law schools. Defense attorney/professors get lots of help from law students to help get people out of jail, often off death row, by proving they were wrongly convicted.

    The difference with this show is they’re doing the law-student-scrum before trial, rather than after conviction.

    But my hunch is, if this show gets numbers and stays on for a while, they will be doing innocence-project stories, too.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Sounds cool.
    Anyone got an extra copy?

    malibujackk at gmail dot com

    • Scott Crawford

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

      • Malibo Jackk

        Cool.
        Thanks.

  • http://scriptshadow.net Andre M. Williams

    techneonz@juno.com Can I have the script as well.

    • Scott Crawford

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

  • garrett_h

    I read this one a while back and thought it was solid. My vote would be Worth The Read.

    The problem I had with it was implausibility. I mean these snot-nosed college kids were leading the pack uncovering evidence on one of the most high-profile cases in the country? The means in which they got their information was unbelievable. But I guess that’s more of a personal taste thing. I’m sure it’ll play well with middle-America.

    As for the characters, Carson is right. They’re all well-drawn. There are some good set-ups and pay-offs. Overall a very tightly written script. And I can’t wait to see what Viola Davis does with the character.

    I’m a big fan of Scandal. It’s my guilty pleasure. I don’t quite see this becoming the next Scandal, which a lot of people are hoping it to be. The character relationships just aren’t there yet. But I think it’s an interesting twist on the Legal Procedural, a genre that’s looooong been overdue for an update.

    FYI, re: Legal Procedurals, check out The Good Wife if you haven’t already. I started Season 1 this summer and I’ve been hooked ever since. And I hate Legal Procedurals.

  • fragglewriter

    I watched the trailer a few weeks ago, and was surprised that this was a show. It looks like a flashy soap opera.

    I would like to read the script so that I can give a better assessment. Send it my way at fragglewriter at yahoo dot com.

    Thanks

    • Scott Crawford

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

      • fragglewriter

        Thank you :-)

  • http://scriptshadow.net Andre M. Williams

    Can someone send me the script that may have it. techneonz@juno.com

    • Scott Crawford

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

      • LuckyDuck

        Hi Scott,

        Would love to read the script too. LuckyDuckinLA at gmail dot com Thank you!

        • Scott Crawford

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

  • http://scriptshadow.net Andre M. Williams

    Thank you Scott C

  • pmlove

    Old Topic: Slowly plodding my way through The Disappointments Room – there seems more than a little inspiration from the novel The Yellow Wallpaper. Interesting to see if that’s just a half way thing or continues throughout.

    Haven’t finished yet so no spoilers.

    Also, good work Scott C on doing the heavy lifting passing the script around – if someone could send on I’d be appreciative. lovepeterm gmail etc

  • Logline_Villain

    Reading the first part of this pilot – I’m reminded of the True Detective pilot – and I’m led to conclude that ONE reason why pilots are turning more heads than spec screenplays these days boils down to: DISREGARD FOR WHITE SPACE***

    ***WHEN IT COMES TO CHARACTER

    In the screenwriter’s quest to create plenty of white space on the page – to make his/her script the absolute quickest possible read – it can be argued that said goal is not necessarily conducive to CREATING THE MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTERS.

    Looking at these pilots – there’s often little regard for the edict that action paragraphs should ideally be 1 or 2 lines; and never beyond 4 lines. And the ample action lines in said pilots (particularly True Detective – you can find it on scridx.com) are largely devoted to imbuing their characters with emotional depth.

    The pendulum has swung so far to the side of brevity in screenwriting – maybe it’s time to reexamine the tenet that LESS IS ALWAYS BEST.

    Both film and TV are (hopefully) aiming for the same thing: great characters… so what’s more important: WHITE SPACE or GREAT CHARACTERS? I’m not suggesting that a screenplay should ever read like a book, but if you’re employing extra words in your script that truly go to the heart of character – as opposed to, say, describing the scenery in
    infinite detail – maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all, even if the “white space” police aren’t too pleased…

    • IgorWasTaken

      I just now looked at the True Detective pilot script, and except for the opening pages, its “white space” looks like a normal script.

      Also, keep a couple of things in mind about a pilot script. One, it’s setting up characters for a lot more than 2 hours of screen time. Two, beyond telling the story of this episode, a pilot needs to suggest where the story and especially the characters will be going.

      Apart from that, I certainly wish the “white space” concern didn’t exist.

      • Logline_Villain

        Agreed as to the differences you noted between pilots and features re: overall character trajectories; and do believe that screenplays tend to suffer – especially in terms of character – when white space becomes an overriding concern…

    • JakeMLB

      I don’t think it’s as simple as white space. In TV you have the opportunity to explore your character over many episodes and series. You’re also not constrained by having to tell a complete story within a single episode which most importantly means there is no character arc. That’s right: you can keep stacking flaws, conflict and other complexities onto your character without having to “solve” them by the episode’s conclusion. Instead, you can explore the arc of a character over an entire season or over multiple seasons.

      Film on the other hand is somewhat limited by the SINGLE FLAW aspect of the protagonist and it suffers because of it. People, like good characters, are complex by nature so whittling characters down to a single flaw is a bit simplistic. Good films manage to include complex characters but given the limited page count it’s far more challenging. There’s also pressure to be more cinematic in film which requires more set pieces or other sequences that don’t necessarily make for good character exposition.

    • Andrew Parker

      Virtually all network TV shows are sold as pitches, not as spec pilots. So how much white space they have is irrelevant… what matters most is who you are able to cast and can you make compelling characters that people will follow for 22 weeks a year.

  • crazedwritr

    could I get as well — moviegurl at me dot com

    • Scott Crawford

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

      • bex01

        Hey Scott, would you (or anyone else) mind sending it once more?
        babelfish79@gmail.com
        Thank you very muchly!

        • bex01

          Thank you to Link! Received

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent…. by someone else!!!!

            Just kidding; this is to help me keep track of who has and hasn’t got it.

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • crazedwritr

    word on the street was Shonda was redoing Murder She Wrote — but there was a lot of negative backlash. Is this what she came up with instead?

    • Scott Crawford

      Interesting point – that MSW remake got savaged by DAME Angela Lansbury.

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • jw

    Based on the first 10 of this script, I’d watch the pilot episode. What’s so great about this script is how it takes what everyone talks about as “rules” and absolutely SHATTERS them on their head. Giant description blocks? Check. Giant dialogue blocks? Check. Unfilmables up the ass? Check. Impressive script? Absolutely. Just goes to show you, Goldman knew what he was talking about. One thing that will be interesting to me is the difference between this script and the final edit. I don’t see audiences staying around for giant monologues, especially when you have situations like Homeland where in the first 7 pages we not only meet our character base, but have the crux of the show moving forward — is he or isn’t he turned? Of course, the way they get around that here is to intro on the murder and then go back. Effectively, we enter at our inciting incident.

  • Poe_Serling

    OT: Just saw that this spec script hit the market. It’s being pushed by Benderspink.

    The Muskateer And The Prince Of Thieves by Nicholas Saraceno

    “With France and England at war, Robin Hood finds himself at odds with the legendary D’Artagnon and the Three Musketeers as they both try to seek an end to the conflict.”

    >>I’m pretty sure the above writer is the same guy that wrote “Star Wars Ep.7: Children of the Jedi” – one of the featured scripts during Carson’s Star Wars Week!

    • Scott Crawford

      Interesting to hear he’s a Scriptshadower and I’d love to read the script eventually.

      But is this an earlier version of the Musketeers, or a descendant of Robin Hood? Because they weren’t around at the same time!

      Still, good mash-up of IP!

      • Poe_Serling

        Perhaps Carson will review it in the near future… and you’re right – it does sound like a good mash-up!

      • filmklassik

        My thoughts exactly. A mythological British outlaw from the 13th Century teams up with a fictional French foursome from the 17th. Say whaaaaatt???

  • Scott Crawford

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

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    Sent!

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    Sent