Pitch Sale: “Warren Lich”

April 7th, 2012 by

From It’s On The Grid:

Square One Entertainment bought WARREN LICH, a pitch based on a spec trailer/rip-o-matic by director Shaun Rana, to be written by Francisco Lorite. Lorite is repped by Robert Lazar at ICM and Brooklyn Weaver at Energy Entertainment.

Here’s the “spec trailer/rip-o-matic”:

We’ve seen more and more of this — spec pitch teasers / trailers — over the last 2-3 years. I’ve posted several of them before. Will pull something together to aggregate them. Would be interesting to compare and contrast.

Pitch Sale: “Untitled Geoff LaTulippe Project”

February 7th, 2012 by

From Deadline:

Writer Geoff LaTulippe just closed his first directing job at Paramount. LaTulippe, who scripted Going the Distance and Breathers, will write and direct an untitled comedy ensemble based on his pitch at Paramount. What makes this particularly interesting for Deadline is that his studio shot came about after Par Film Group president Adam Goodman saw on Deadline a short that LaTulippe’s made for WME’s all-company retreat in which Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s J.B. Smoove took over the agency on Yom Kippur. That got the aspiring director a meeting, where the studio bought his pitch and set him to direct. Dawn Olmstead and Marti Noxon are producing the project. LaTulippe is WME-repped.

Here is the video:

Congratulations, Geoff!

You can follow him on Twitter: @GeoffLaTulippe.

Pitch Sale: “Untitled Alien Invasion Project” [F. Scott Frazier]

January 12th, 2012 by

I normally only note pitch sales on the @ScreenwritingMC Twitter feed, but this one is special. Per TheWrap:

F. Scott Frazier has moved from selling spec scripts to selling pitches: Universal has purchased the young writer’s pitch for an alien invasion movie for a mid-six figure price.

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Frazier’s work is hot. He sold his first spec, “The Numbers Station,” in 2010. John Cusack and Malin Akerman star in that movie, which completed filming last month. Content Film is distributing.

Warner Bros. bought his spec “Line of Sight” last spring. Joel Silver is set to produce that movie, which Ben Affleck will direct and star in.

Scott is not only a super talented writer, he’s also one of the good guys, and part of a fascinating group of young, dynamic Hollywood scribes who are helping to fuel the current spec script and acquisition market [much more on this in the next few weeks].

You can read a three-part interview I did with Scott:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @screenwritten.

Congratulations, Scott, on your continued success!

You want high concept?

November 13th, 2011 by

This is high concept:

Russell Brand is attached to star in and produce The President Stole My Girlfriend, a comedy project Warner Bros. has just picked up from writer Matt Portenoy.

Producing with Brand is his Branded Films partner Nik Linnen, with the company’s Beau Bauman exec producing. Girlfriend originated inside the company and marks the first project set up by Brand and his recently-formed Warners-based banner.

“In this movie, the president steals the girlfriend of a sexy hippie—me, obviously,” Brand tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was inspired by the night I naively invited [Warners president] Jeff Robinov for dinner.”

Hard to get a cleaner high concept than that. It’s Russell Brand versus the President over the affections of a woman. You have a romantic triangle. The underdog dynamic. FOOW (Fish-Out-Of-Water) as Brand [presumably] attempts to circumnavigate Washington political circles. Defying authority. And I’m guessing some destruction of property.

Oh, and a title that totally sells the story concept.

Classic example of ‘what if’ thinking: What if the President of the United States stole my girlfriend?

Reactions?

For more of the Hollywood Reporter article, go here.

You do NOT need to live in L.A. to succed as a screenwriter!

October 14th, 2011 by

On the heels of Mike Le’s story in the previous post, how about this per Variety:

Warner Bros. has preemptively purchased the high-concept pitch “Rome, Sweet Rome” from first-time scribe James Erwin, an author and two-time “Jeopardy!” champion from Des Moines, Iowa.

Erwin’s pitch sale came about as a result of several postings on the website Reddit.com, an online community and social news aggregator where users vote to determine which posts land on the site’s home page.

Erwin set out to answer the question: “What if a unit of current U.S. Marines are suddenly transported back to ancient Rome and forced to do battle with the Roman legions?” Pic will follow the Marines as they’re flung into the past where they encounter one of the world’s most legendary villains and disrupt history. To return home, they have to set history back on the track they altered.

Madhouse Entertainment’s Adam Kolbrenner spotted Erwin’s “Rome, Sweet Rome” posts once they reached the top of Reddit and moved quickly to contact the writer and begin working with him to develop the concept. When it came time to find a home for the project, Kolbrenner brought it to WB’s Chris Gary, a young exec who encouraged the studio move aggressively to acquire it.

You can move to L.A., work at a Blockbuster and become Owen Wilson’s assistant. Or you can live in Des Moines, post an original idea on Reddit where it’s discovered by a Hollywood manager, then sold as a pitch to a major movie studio.

As the saying goes, “All roads lead to… uh, ‘Rome, Sweet Rome.’”

Seriously move to L.A., don’t move to L.A., that is not necessarily what dictates your success as a screenwriter. As always it is the ideas you come up with and how well you translate them into stories.

As a wise old fart once wrote, “If you write a great script, Hollywood will find you.”

UPDATE: How about an interview with “Rome, Sweet Rome” author James Erwin, described as a “technical writer, reference author and two-time Jeopardy champion.”

It’s tough to work on a project that’s as hush-hush and high-stakes as this one, but it’s also very exciting. There’s a lot of collaboration and brainstorming, which is definitely different from encyclopedia writing, but it’s a style of work I’m used to through my time with Fortune 500 clients and companies. We’re still building a map for the plot and the characters, so there’s a lot of work left. Everyone I’m working with is very smart, very excited, and very committed. It’s really humbling.

This from the Screen Rant article sums up Erwin’s story succinctly: “Altogether, it took a month and a half for Erwin to go from being an unrepresented screenwriter to selling a major action project to one of the biggest studios in Hollywood.”

Final note: The manager who discovered Erwin is Adam Kolbrenner at Madhouse Entertainment. Tom Benedek interviewed Adam in a Screenwriting Master Class course called Network Hollywood. Here are excerpts from that class including Adam:

Tom is leading another session of that class featuring interviews with 6 more industry insiders. One great feature of the course is participants get to do a live-chat with each of the Hollywood players. Talk about access! For more information, go here.

Pitch Sale: "It Takes A Village"

July 21st, 2010 by

CBS Films and Sony Pictures drop six figures on Keenen Ivory Wayans for his comedy pitch “It Takes A Village”:

The family theme makes the film a departure for Wayans. From his raucous sketch show creation In Living Color to his subsequent feature comedies, family-friendly meant lining the cast with his siblings. Here, Wayans sparked to an idea by [producer Todd] Garner (The Zookeeper), who recently became a father and was struck by the litany of mandatory child-rearing accessories–from car seats to baby-wipe-warmers–and fantasized about a stripped-down version of parenting. That led to what Wayans saw as a timely pitch, given the proliferation of single women who’ve recently adopted babies from third-world countries.

“A woman who works for a company that mines natural resources like diamonds and copper heads to a South Pacific island to meet with the tribe in control and when she gets there, she comes across a child with no parents, who won’t leave her side,” Wayans told me. “When she asks who will be the baby’s mother, she’s told the village will take care of the baby until it chooses one. When the baby climbs into her lap and puts its head on her chest, she has an epiphany moment and decides she wants to be its mother.”

Adoption requires the blessing of the chief who, with seven elders, takes up residence in the woman’s snooty gated community — where they become most popular guests among their insular neighbors. Wayans said the concept caught him at the right time, and not just because the project he planned to make — White Chicks 2 — fell apart at Columbia.

As they say on Law & Order, “Ripped from the headlines.”

There it was, folks. A great comedy concept staring at us right in the face (i.e., Madonna, Angelina Jolie). Don’t worry. I’m collecting stories from the news for next year’s version of “Story Idea Each Day for a Week”.

Pitch Sale: "Untitled Ryan Murphy Rom-Com"

July 14th, 2010 by

Per Deadline:

Their first picture together, Eat Pray Love, based on the Elizabeth Gilbert bestseller, isn’t in theaters this summer until August 13th so Sony Pictures doesn’t know how it will fare yet. Nevertheless, the studio just made one of the year’s biggest pitch deals, paying Glee co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy $2.5 million to write an untitled star vehicle for Julia Roberts, and another $2.5 million to direct it. CAA made Murphy’s $5M deal.

In the romantic comedy, Julia will play a working woman married to a stay-at-home husband. She loses her job, their roles are reversed, and she has to adjust to motherhood. Plan B’s Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner will produce with Murphy. Pitt and Gardner also produced Eat Pray Love in which Murphy directed Roberts. That pic was put in turnaround by Paramount with Julia Roberts attached, then picked up by Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal who paid Julia $10M to play a woman who walks away from her marriage to travel the world and find herself.

Clean high-concept, a reverse Mr. Mom.

Loved that movie, written by the late, great John Hughes.

Pitch Sale: "Untitled John Hlavin Thriller"

June 8th, 2010 by

DreamWorks wins bidding war to nab action-thriller pitch from writer John Hlavin. Per THR:

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the story is described as an internationally set heist movie.

Hlavin has worked on such shows as “E-Ring” and “Daybreak” and was a writer and story editor on “The Shield.”

Good to see an alum of “The Shield,” one of my all-time favorite TV dramas, doing well in feature films.

Hlavin is repped by UTA and Benderspink.

Pitch Sale: "Most Wanted"

June 7th, 2010 by

Universal buys action-comedy pitch package “Most Wanted” from writer Pete Chiarelli with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds attached to star:

The story sees Bullock as a criminal suspect with Reynolds as an FBI agent who is supposed to be escorting her to court when the two are ambushed and forced to go on the run. The project is described as having a tone similar to that of “Midnight Run,” Universal’s 1988 action comedy starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. Universal is developing a sequel to “Midnight Run.”

Midnight Run is a “one like” title that has been knocking around in development circles for years. “Do you have one like Midnight Run,” or “Do you have one like The Sting,” or “Do you have one like Goonies.” I’ve always found the love for Midnight Run to be intriguing as it did not set the box office world on fire, grossing only $38M domestically when it was released in 1988. But it’s a clean high concept, a solid buddy action-comedy, and has two strong comic performances by Charles Grodin and Robert DeNiro.

Chiarelli is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Pitch Sale: "The Fight Before Christimas"

May 26th, 2010 by

Per Variety, Fox buys comedy pitch “The Fight Before Christmas from writer Adam Sztkiel:

Fox made the preemptive purchase late last week. Other than disclosing that “Fight” is a family-centered comedy, studio’s keeping the logline under wraps.

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Sztykiel is also re-writing dating comedy “The Game,” set up at Lionsgate with Spyglass and Depth of Field producing.

Great title for what has got to be a strong high-concept.

Sztykiel is repped by UTA and Kaplan-Perrone.