The NOVEMBER 2016 Winning TV Screenplay
Kimmy creates a fake account on a millionaire dating website to help Jacqueline gain self-esteem.
Get to know the winning writer:
What is your TV Spec screenplay “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” about?
My spec “Kimmy Learns to Catfish!” is, at its core, about learning to accept emotional baggage. Everywhere but the core, it’s about Kimmy accidentally setting up a date with Jacqueline from a completely fake online dating account.
How does this screenplay fit into the context of the show?
This episode comes into play immediately after the end of season two. Each character revisits something in their past that is affecting their life currently. Kimmy reflects on her relationship with Dong. Jacqueline lets the trauma of her divorce affect her relationship with Russ. Titus’s lifelong string of unsuccessful relationships makes it hard for him to trust Mikey. Lillian, who, after years, still hasn’t come to terms with the death of her husband, spends the entire episode talking to a rat who stole her wedding ring. They each find a way to acknowledge their past, and its role in their present, by the end of the episode. Also, it’s very silly.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
I’ve probably watched 30 Rock four times all the way through. Friends and Gilmore Girls have also gotten the go around twice each, at least. At the moment, I’m re-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. It holds up.
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
I worked on this for about two months before calling it ready, but the main bulk of the writing was done in about a week.
How many stories have you written?
I write stories constantly, though not always in this form. I write and perform with the house sketch team Stockton at the Magnet Theater in NYC, so I’m generating several sketches every week. I’ve been working on a pilot as well, and developing a story for that has been an interesting process. This is my only spec script so far.
What motivated you to write this screenplay?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I decided I wanted to write for television when I started doing improv and sketch comedy. I took a TV writing class at Gotham Writer’s Workshop with Jim Mendrinos, who guided me through the process of writing this spec.
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Landing on a storyline you can really get behind is a challenge, but the hardest thing about writing is probably editing – finding it in your heart to cut a joke or a bit that you love in order to serve the story. RIP to the jokes I left behind – I still love you babies.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Improv. Singing. Ukulele. My new skateboard that I am not good at riding yet. Snacks. My family. Dogs.
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I had written this thing, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I started looking into festivals and programs that I could submit it to online, and WILDsound was the first one I landed on. I appreciated the feedback so much – it was incredibly helpful. It was clear that it came from a place of extensive knowledge, and that my script had been carefully studied and considered.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
This is obvious, but write all the time. Don’t wait for the perfect idea – even a writing terrible thing is better than not writing a thing. Sharpen your skills daily so that when your perfect idea hits you, you are actually good enough to handle it.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson