Winning TV PILOT Reading – WHEN THE WORLD WAS SQUARE, by Irwin Greenstein

Winning Screenplay – WHEN THE WORLD WAS SQUARE
Written by Irwin Greenstein


NARRATOR – Frances Townend
NEAL – Peter Mark Raphael
ALLEN – Jonah Akler-Silliman
JACK – Christopher Huron
CAROLYN – Vanessa Quagliara
HENRY – Charles Gordon
SHEILA Kayla Farris


Genre: Romance, Drama, LGBT

A moody, intense drama about the Beat Generation of writers during their time in San Francisco. Focusing on Allen Ginsberg, this pilot tells the story of their tragically entwined lives as they struggle with the responsibility and tediumof a “normal” life and try to recapture their identity.

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

Their fierce appetites for sex, drugs and freedom of expression push Beat icons Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady to defy taboos of repressive 1950s America and ignite the anti-establishment insurgence that still makes headlines today.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Commercially, “When the World was Square” presents the flip-side of Mad Men — the unrefined and raw sexuality and hipster fashions that have been largely ignored. Creatively, it presents and birth of America’s gay rights movement and pivot point toward the individual freedoms of expression we now enjoy.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Sexy and addictive.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Black Sails

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About 2 years.

How many stories have you written?

In terms of fiction, I’ve written my fair share of unproduced screenplays and unpublished novels — combined I would say about 10. But I’m a professional writer and I write non-fiction every day that’s available to me, so my output is very high.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Facing the challenge of integrating the research and history of the Beats into a compelling, structured narrative. You want to remain true to the original souls but at the same time portray their lives in a commercial and prescribed format.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Sports cars. It’s an expensive habit. Right now I have an old Porsche. Don’t ask about the repair bills. But drop the top on a beautiful day here in South Georgia and the experience is all worth it.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I would say it’s the dream of every aspiring screenwriter to see their work performed by people passionate about their craft, and short of a full-blown production a table read is really inspiring. The feedback was great. I took it all to heart and a few weeks laters ended up with a much-improved version.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

In retrospect, I would urge you all to stay in medical school. Short of that, strive for originality because even if you find yourself eventually drifting into commercial trends at least you would have started in place that’s true to yourself.

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Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Kierston Drier

Casting: Sean Ballantyne

By WILDsound Festival

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