Tag Archives: tv spec

Winning FAN FICTION Screenplay – DR. WHO “The Kingdom of the Mara” by Paul Hewitt

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

The Doctor accidentally picks up Shona and the two investigate a red comet that lands on Earth. The Doctor discovers the Mara are back, and must use their technology against them to defeat them once more.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
The Doctor: Brian Carleton
Shona: Konstantina Mantelos
Solomon: Anthony Botelho
Vladislav: Jack Comerford
Mila: Andrea Meister
Enok: Jordy Kieto

Get to know the writer:

What is your TV spec screenplay about DOCTOR WHO about?

The Doctor and Shona (last seen in the episode “Last Christmas”), find themselves in Bohemia during the Dark Ages. A tyrant, Lord Ivan, hoards a peculiar red crystal with telepathic powers called the Crimson. Wearing jewels made of Crimson, Lord Ivan and his followers collectively conjure a serpentine gestalt being from the darkest recesses of their minds: The Mara.

Possessed by The Mara, Lord Ivan quickly conquers all before him. He besieges the largest castle (and only cathedral) in the rival kingdom of Vladislav. The Doctor knows that walls, warriors and weapons are no match for the insidious, seductive spell of The Mara.

The Doctor and Shona rouse King Vladislav and his people to fight The Mara through very unconventional means – particularly for The Doctor. The world’s future truly rests on a hope and a prayer.

Why does this screenplay fit into the context of the show?

It’s a traditional good versus evil story with the odd bits of comedy and horror that you’d expect from Dr. Who. I wrote it for the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi – who I think is fabulous – a throwback to the 70’s Doctors, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

This story is very much in the mold of classic Doctor Who. You have a historic setting that is disrupted by the presence of a perfidious alien – oh, and then there’s The Mara and a mysterious red crystal. Seriously though, The Mara was one of my favourite Who monsters from the 80’s and I am surprised it has not reappeared on TV (yet). The companion Tegan’s experience with the “evil dream snake” is what made her my favourite during the Peter Davison years.

We all know The Doctor’s companion is a surrogate for the audience and a great companion makes for a great Who story. I chose a character from a recent Christmas special – Shona McCullough (played wonderfully by actor Faye Marsay)– because I immediately saw in her the potential for a long term TARDIS traveller.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Faith Wins

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

Doctor Who
(also Game of Thrones, Mad Men…)

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Six months (Off and On). So maybe 6 weeks’ worth of an actual research and writing (and rewriting).

How many stories have you written?

Two Features (Housesitting, Guttersnipe)
One Documentary (All About Me)
One Short (co-wrote) (Saved From The Grave)

Next up is my own TV series and this TV spec script was an excellent exercise in writing for this genre.

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

In My Life (The Beatles)

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time was my biggest obstacle… finding the time.

The second challenge was how to portray The Mara. It is obviously not my own creation, so I wanted to do justice to the original Mara stories with my version.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Acting, films, politics, history, rugby and beer (not necessarily in that order)

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

I had my first feature screenplay analyzed not once, but twice. I was impressed by the depth and value of the criticism. So I did not hesitate to submit my Doctor Who script for analysis and I am pleasantly surprised in the end to have it recognized here. Thank you.

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

It’s an old cliché but true: Write what you know. That’s why I picked Doctor Who for my first TV screenplay.

Be prepared to take a lot of criticism along the way. Your story (and your skills) will benefit from it.

Procrastination is thine worst enemy.

*****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Camera Operator: Kierston Drier

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Edward Pronley – January 2017 TV Spec (MODERN FAMILY) Screenplay Winner

Watch the January 2017 Winning TV SPEC Screenplay Reading.

Best Scene from the screenplay MODERN FAMILY Screenplay
Written by Edward PronleyCAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
CLAIRE – Val Cole
MITCHELL/LUKE – Nick Wicht
GLORIA/ALEX – Shannon McNally
HALEY/LILY – Catherine D’Angelo
PHIL – David Straus
CAMERON/JAY – Charles Gordon

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comedy, Family

After refusing to fulfill Claire’s request to hire tree trimmers, Phil, with Luke’s help, takes matters into his own hands; Claire and Mitchell attempt to have a relaxing getaway; Gloria has problems trusting the Dunphys.


How does this screenplay fit into the context of this show?

When the idea for this story came to me, I knew it would be able to fit in nicely with the rest of the series. The conflict that arises from the three separate storylines converge in a way that I have definitely witnessed on the show before.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Trust family.

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

I have a problem with continuously re-watching, not only Modern Family, but also How I Met Your Mother. These two shows have great strengths in both writing comedy, and in writing characters we care about. I love seeing that in a comedy and hope to create something similar in my own writing.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started this screenplay in the Summer of 2016 while pursuing a Screenwriting Certificate from NYU. It took me about the entire summer, with the help of my professor and my fellow classmates, to establish a good first draft. From there it went through many revisions until it was in it’s strongest form by around the end of December.

How many stories have you written?

Although this is my first spec script that I have written, I’ve written and produced a number short films (one that has gone on to be nominated for Best Screenplay at some festivals), I’ve written a feature, and most recently I finished a Two-Act comedy play that will be produced and performed around the end of April.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Last Summer, before I even thought about writing this spec, I had been helping my father cut down trees around the yard. My mother begged him to hire professionals instead of doing it himself, but he thought it would save time and money. Well, a few days later as I was helping him cut down a rather large tree in our front yard, we miscalculated where it would fall and it ended up crashing into the top of our house. The A story of my script follows, almost exactly, this chain of events. After this occurred during the Summer, I had so many people telling that it would fit very well into an episode of Modern Family, so I decided to bring it to life.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

There were numerous obstacles that I faced when finishing this screenplay. It went through so many changes during my revision process and before even sending it to festivals, there was a point where I basically scrapped half of it and started over. The reason for this was due to the three complex storylines that intertwine throughout the script. I knew where I wanted them to go and how I wanted it all to end, however, it was getting them all to that point that had me scratching my head and scrapping rewrite after rewrite. In the end though, I feel that it came together very nicely.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I really enjoy doing anything that has to do with music. I play a number of instruments, including guitar and a little bit of piano, but I have recently got into the habit of trying to learn even more instruments. Most recently, I have picked up the drums and the trumpet.

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

Initially the biggest thing that made me want to enter this festival was the recorded performance of our written scripts if we were to win. After receiving my notes from the festival though, I would say that I now have two big reasons to submit to this festival again in the future. The notes I received were very well thought out and helped me immensely during my most recent revision of the script. The festival put a lot of effort into making the notes as thorough and helpful as possible.

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

The best advice I could give other writers would be to power through. There are times where you might think that you need to take a break from your writing and step back, maybe giving yourself an hour or a week to think about the story and your characters before you continue. I know in my experience though, that an hour turns into five and a week can turn into a month. If you sit down and write out your story, no matter how terrible it might seem to you, just know that the revision will always be better. Revisions can’t happen though, unless you actually write the script.

****
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

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