TV PILOT Screenplay Reading – ECHOES OF BONNIEVILLE by Simon Schneider

Watch the winning February 2017 TV PILOT screenplay.

Winning Screenplay – ECHOES OF BONNIEVILLE
Written by Simon Schneider

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Geoff Mays
TULLY – Talia Price
WILLIX – Casey Estey
OFFICE HICKS – Philip Krusto
PETER – John Lester Phillips
JAMIE – Ursina Luther

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Crime

A small town is rocked by creepy deaths where the victims have willingly offered themselves as a sacrifice to some unknown dark force. Investigating the murders are Officer Hicks, Sherriff Healy and visiting expert on the occult Dylan Willix but with the two cops mistrusting Dylan, progress is slow. Meanwhile, bored checkout girl Tully begins to experience strange visions that may link to the force behind the deaths.

Get to know the writer:

What is your TV PILOT screenplay about?

Echoes of Bonnieville follows Detective Dylan Willix, an investigator of the paranormal and occult, into the sleepy town of Bonnieville as he chases his Moby Dick: a serial killer with supernatural abilities. Meanwhile at the local convenience store, a disenfranchised customer service assistant named Tully Moorehead has the tedium of her life shaken up by otherworldly when she starts having gruesome visions.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I think my pilot would fit in nicely in the current trend of cinematic television and it offers a shade of horror audiences won’t get from anywhere else.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over?

I try to watch as much as I possibly can but my personal highlights include Fargo, Stranger Things and of course Breaking Bad.

How would you describe this script in two words?

I’m going to cheat and use three: Otherworldly detective drama.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

This script has been in the works since I read Uzumaki, which was shortly after university in 2015. When I discovered Lovercraftian horror and how paralysing and twisted it could be I had to write my own. That’s when I started brainstorming.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve lost count. This is probably my forth big project, where I’ve set everything aside to make it perfect.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

The Lovecraft style of horror is so invasive and incomprehensible that I was compelled to give my version of it. When I researched how Lovecraft had been represented in recent times I felt that no one had quite done it justice, especially in television. It felt like an untapped market that audiences wanted to see and my confidence in that was what drove me.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I encountered the usual obstacles of procrastination, self-doubt and the inability to illustrate on the page what I had in my head. The more I rewrote the script the more distant these problems felt though.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about video games, especially the spectacularly gory ones. They’re something I grew up with and they offer an experience unlike any other medium.

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

I was influenced to submit to WILDsound because of a previous experience submitting work to their short film competition and receiving such thorough feedback. So far, I have received lots of feedback on Echoes of Bonnieville but by far WILDsound’s was the most astute as it highlighted issues which I entirely agreed with. Ironically however, the feedback suggested one of the characters being a little pantomime (which was a fair criticism) but his dialogue was mostly lifted from real life scenarios. Go figure.

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

My biggest advice to other writers out there is practice your craft. There’s always more you can learn and if people aren’t responding to your work, its because it needs refining somewhere. I remember being naively self-assured about some of my old work and I look back at it now and cringe. Truthfully, writing is a growing experience.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

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TV PILOT Screenplay Reading of RUST by Cody Carson (plus interview)

Watch the TV PILOT Performance Reading of RUST by Cody Carson:

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Rachel Rain Packota
PAUL RUST – Troy Patterson
SARAH – Maya Woloszyn
KATIE – Megan Leach
DICKENS – Rob Salerno
CADDIS – David Occhipinti

Get to know writer Cody Carson:

1. What is your TV PILOT about?

Rust is about a former detective with a series of drug and alcohol dependency issues being brought back into a murder case that he “solved” five years earlier. In the pilot, Paul Rust is forced to confront the demons of the case that still haunt him while trying to come to terms with the news his ex wife has recently got engaged to a guy with a dark secret of his own. On top of that, Rust’s strained relationship with his fourteen year old daughter is about to get a little worse, as Rust discovers that not only is she hanging around with a group of older boys, but she’s been swiping pills from his medication cabinet.

2. Why should this script be made into a TV Show?

It explores a dark side of life that is more often than not overlooked in British TV shows. It’s set in Glasgow, Scotland, breaking away from the usual London setting of the majority of shows out of the UK. Glasgow is a gritty city with a drug problem and a bloody history of gang violence. Despite this, it’s home to some of the friendliest, most giving people in the world, and it’s this diversity of the city and the characters in it, that I think would help make Rust into an interesting TV show.

3. How long have you been writing stories?

I would write stories as a child growing up, just for the fun of it. I started writing short stories when I was around 19 and kind of did that on and off for a few years before starting to write screenplays when I was 23. So I’ve been doing that for the last four years now.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Probably Back To The Future. Scream and Good Will Hunting wouldn’t be far behind though.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

I think Ben Affleck as a director has been pretty great. The people behind the show Justified. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Casey Affleck are amazing actors. But I’d love to work with anyone who has an original vision of who they want to be, and not someone who’s looking to be the next Fincher or Tarantino.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’ve wrote a bunch of terrible short stories that have since been erased from existence. I’ve finished three screenplays which thankfully have all received positive feedback and I’m just starting work on my fourth as we speak.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I was reading a lot of true crime and I found it fascinating the connection the detectives in these cases developed to the victims. I wanted to write a story that explored that, and what cost that had in the detectives personal life.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

I feel like I’m still finding what works best for me. I wish I was more disciplined when it comes to routine. What I find works best for me just now is write for a couple hours after breakfast, take a break, read a script online and workout, then write a little more in the afternoon. I usually spend about a month or two planning a script. Laying out the story. Figuring out who my characters are and what their stories are before I start. Then more often than not, when I start writing the actual script, I find that the characters change in who I thought there were going to be, which I always think is cool.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I used to be in a band and for a few years I lived and breathed music. That’s not so much the case now. My main focus aside from writing… making my girlfriend happy. She’s really supportive of my writing and if she’s proud of me then I’m happy.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? What are your feelings on the initial feedback you received on your screenplay?

The chance to have my screenplay read out by actors was a definite draw. The promotional aspect of having the reading up on YouTube and promoted on Facebook and Twitter is a great opportunity for any writer to get their name out there. The feedback I received was great and a massive confidence booster. It was thorough and it was obvious the reader had paid attention to the script. The feedback, in my opinion, was worth the entry fee alone.

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

Don’t be afraid to write badly. Nobody starts off as a great writer. It takes time and perseverance. Don’t fear rejection because it WILL happen to you. But you just have to dust yourself off and get back up and start writing. You will always get better. But most importantly don’t give up. It’s easier to give up than to succeed, but you can’t fail if you never admit defeat.

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