The participants we have chosen to read the winning scripts are individuals from established production companies. Whether you are already an aspiring television writer or a writer interested in exploring other avenues, Scriptapalooza TV is here to promote careers in television and provide exposure for the undiscovered writer.
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Scott Gray, a former Scriptapalooza TV winner, has written a book about his experience going from a courier to an Emmy-winner in just three months.
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Scriptapalooza TV has announced their category winners from among 707 entries. (383 Pilots, 195 Sitcoms, 73 1-hour dramas and 56 Reality Shows.)
An interview with screenwriter Armando Youngblood regarding the Scriptapalooza TV Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: "Dead Kids Walking" pilot episode of ‘Stallion Beach Innocents,’ catches Diana Stallion, the recently divorced co-founder of the real-life inspired “Innocence Project,” a “Nonprofit Legal Clinic For The Wrongly Accused,” on the day:
1)her clinic gets firebombed by protesters,
2)wrongly-convicted kids the clinic represents are scheduled for execution,
3)the school counselor labels Diana’s freshman son “a sex addict.”
To spend more time with her two wild teenagers, and provide a new office for the Innocence Project, Diana moves the legal clinic and her hormonally challenged teens into her family’s historic “Stallion Beach Hotel” and nightclub. Diana’s precarious balancing act leads to big fun for her teens and unforeseen risks from citizens unhappy with the (wrongly) accused terrorists, murderers and rapists the Innocence Project tries to save.
Each week the Innocence Project tackles a new real-life inspired wrongful conviction—she’s a 21st Century Perry Mason balancing out the distorted view of our judicial system served up by “Law & Order” and “CSI.”
A: A friend who transitioned from film to television, suggested a feature of mine, “Innocent Project,” which made it past the first level last year at Sundance, would make a better pilot. I barely finished the first draft by the deadline, so it hasn't yet been submitted elsewhere.
A rewrite and polish has now been done and will be entered in the summer pilot competitions.
A: I’ve been out of town since 2-04 digging through historical documents for my next feature, (before James Cameron buys up the rights to the landmark historical event :), and now a sabbatical in Mexico meeting that part of my family tree, so whatever the check was I presume it is somewhere in the huge stack of mail that couldn’t be processed online! Ah, for that era when all communciation is done online....Q: Were you given any feedback on your script? If so, did you find the feedback helpful?
A: N/AQ: Has your success in this contest helped you market your script? Were you contacted by any agents, managers or producers?
A: Added a nice line on the resume, elevating me at last out of the three-times-a-finalist in the major fellowship competitions category. It appears to have made securing interviews for when I return this summer to pitch easier.Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?
A: MFA in Film, USC. Juris Doctor in Entertainment Law. 2003 Warner Bros. Drama Workshop & Disney Writing Fellowship finalist for my first t.v. spec. 2004 CBS Writers Mentoring Program Finalist—which required a feature and a teleplay. “Innocence Project” feature advanced past the first round at Sundance 2003. As my first two teleplays have fared better than the features, I’m mostly concentrating on pilots for new projects.Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?
A: Yes, since film school I divide my time between our east coast and west coast residences.Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?
A: In the “new script bin” I’m finishing three pilots and presentations:
-a teen fantasy targeting the gap left by Angel, Buffy & Roswell—though with a 21st century hip-hop edge.
-A reality t.v. entertainment pilot that takes the “American Idol” genre to a new level, which as an Ivy League trained musician I’m extremely excited about.
-And a “Friends" marries “Will & Grace,” moves to Southern Cal and realizes there are people of color!” -- a hip-hop generation comedy for the “macho-down-lows, homos, heteros, and metros…” as Karen might say: Seven high school friends reunite after graduating college, and unable to afford Southern Cal rents, buy and renovate a huge old “fixer-upper,” – trying to live together under one roof while pursuing their romantic, political and career dreams.
The only feature in the new script bin is the aforementioned period piece, a “Titanic” meets “Poseidon Adventure” fact-based adventure epic.
In the “rewrite bin,” I’m polishing a rewrite of a West Wing spec “Extremophiles Want War,” which is hopefully now sensational enough to submit to my fellow USC Film alums at John Wells Productions.
On the feature side, I’m polishing “Diving In,” the teen legal drama from which the “Innocence Project” t.v pilot evolved.
I read with great interest the John August column in “Ask the Screenwriter,” on how he aims to work on just one new script at a time, while doing rewrites on several. That’s the pattern of self-discipline I’ve worked up to since film school--rather than rashly starting multiple new scripts, as I did back then.