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Matt Joseph Misetich

Dani Barker

By | Interviews

Actress/writer/producer Dani Barker’s screenplay Follow Her was developed through Script Pipeline’s Workshop. The multi-hyphenate Dani stars in this original thriller, which marks her feature debut for writing and producing. She previously produced the series Starvival. Follow Her was workshopped through Script Pipeline by a few readers, who were all in agreement that the premise could be a standout for the genre. The modernized child of Misery, in a way. How did the story itself come about, and what drove you in this conceptual direction?  So that’s an interesting story actually! Follow Her evolved out of a collaboration with a stranger I found on Craigslist (of course, Craigslist and I have a very deep and long history together), who wanted me to write him a short film that he could star in, in the vein of Hitchcock. Upon thinking of ideas, I came up with this creepy concept—how freaky would it…

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David Bornstein

By | Interviews

A selection in Film Pipeline’s 1st Annual Short Film season, David Bornstein is a young director on the rise, with several short films under his belt. His finalist short A King’s Betrayal showcased a comedic approach that stunned Pipeline judges with thematic depth presented in a most unusual package. David continues to build a strong director’s portfolio steeped in broad, diverse cinematic influences. A King’s Betrayal, as we’ve stated before, is the most existential piñata drama we’ve ever seen (no, really!). What was it that made you read the script and say “that’s pretty funny,” while also, through your directorial personality, adopt an indisputably sobering tone? Of course, the joke is it’s actually, beyond the veneer, a philosophical drama, but was there an urge to force the humor? To make it a spoof?  Way before I ever even saw the script for A King’s Betrayal, it was the pitch that…

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Spencer Mandel and Dikega Hadnot

By | Interviews

Film Pipeline winners Spencer Mandel and Dikega Hadnot wrapped production on their winning short script Little Brother in 2019. The filmmaking team was praised by judges for their ability to craft a remarkably vivid and socially relevant story. Little Brother comes after a decades-long friendship between the two and will likely lead to future collaboration. You two have a bit of history together. What brought you together to become co-writers and eventually co-filmmakers on Little Brother? Spencer: Dikega and I met in the 1st grade, and have shared many formative adventures in the 25 years we’ve been friends, including a high school road trip to South Dakota and an archaeological dig in Northern England. We’ve collaborated on projects on and off since day one, but it was only when we reunited to write a pilot together in 2016, a historical drama inspired by our dig at the Roman fort, that we realized…

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Kendall Goldberg

By | Interviews

A finalist in Film Pipeline with her short Gloria Talks Funny, writer/director Kendall Goldberg is well on her way to establishing a notable presence in the industry. Her first feature, When Jeff Tried to Save the World, starring Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), released in December 2018—a project she started developing prior to her sophomore year at Chapman University. You’re a recent graduate and, to the certain envy of writer/directors everywhere, you’ve already completed a feature (When Jeff Tried to Save the World). Forgive the simplistic question, but. . . how did you pull it off? I started writing and developing the film the summer after my freshman year. I was overly eager to keep making things, but my intention was never necessarily to make a feature right away. It was just make movies, make movies, make movies. When my childhood friend and writing partner Rachel Borgo—who was at school in Chicago…

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Marina Michelson

By | Interviews

Marina Michelson’s short film Biophilia, co-financed by Pipeline Media Group (Script Pipeline), won Best Screenplay at the 2018 Brooklyn Film Festival and was screened at several other fests nationwide. A 4-tool talent–writer, director, producer, and actress—Marina’s first short, Eureka!, premiered in 2012.  Both Biophilia and your first short film Eureka! feel very much like short stories come to life. Almost treading in Flannery O’Connor territory. A short film is basically a short story, so that sounds obvious, but not every short is equitable to the pacing and vibe of literature. Something about your interplay between the characters, the setting. And again, the themes organically intertwined, meant to present instead of preach. What (or who) influenced your style of filmmaking and storytelling? Wow, what a compliment! I love Flannery O’Connor. I first read her short stories in middle school along with some of William Faulkner’s and was uniquely drawn to their style:…

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Skyler Lawson

By | Interviews

Finalist in the 2017 Script Pipeline First Look Project with his short film Nora, writer/director Skyler Lawson was praised by Pipeline execs for his distinctive approach to filmmaking and his striking ability to combine classic cinematic technique with a definitively modern sense of storytelling. Nora stunned us a little. Predominantly with its style. Not sure many directors have this type of look and feel anymore. Across the board, too: the directing, the score, the cinematography, the locations. . . . As you know, we’ve affectionately labeled it “Neo-Americana” (if that term has already been taken, so be it—we’re giving it a new definition). What gravitated you toward this approach? Did it happen organically, through a direct influence of classic cinema and the rural areas you were accustomed to? Or was it a conscious decision to give your work an identity unlike other filmmakers? Thank you so much for all of…

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Amir Motlagh & Charles Borg

By | Interviews

Charles Borg is a two-time Script Pipeline Screenwriting finalist. He partnered with director Amir Motlagh for the indie feature MAN in 2017. We live in an era now where screenwriters are oftentimes told to “write to the market” (which I think is ambiguous and largely misinterpreted advice, but. . . the catchphrase persists). MAN is clearly a passion project that takes a fresher approach to character—and audience—perspective, putting us literally into the lens of the lead with a camera mounted to the actor. As a script, there’s no real way this could work on paper. It has to be seen to be appreciated. What made you decide to pursue this idea and this approach, seemingly counter to the norms of Advice Factories who’d likely recommend against producing such an experimental film? Amir: Possibly the easiest analogous I have to this question is a non-fiction 1970s book by Studs Terkel called…

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Gianluca Minucci

By | Interviews

Gianluca won the 2017 Script Pipeline First Look Project with his short film Chimeras, a crime/thriller. The short served as inspiration toward a feature screenplay version, which received a “Recommend” from Script Pipeline in 2018. Chimeras is such an incredibly well-put-together short film. While the subject matter might be uncomfortable—relinquishing one’s child for survival—the themes you’re going for here land hard. What sparked the idea? What were some of the underlying commentaries you were aiming for? I remember reading some old news articles back in my hometown (Trieste, north-east Italy, at the border by Slovenia), where a lot of different illegal trafficking took place, especially before Slovenia entered the UE in 2004. That being said, I wasn’t really interested in the social issue itself, but I thought it could have been a great background for something very personal in terms of themes and characters: fatherhood and father/son relationships. The feature script…

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Jane Baker

By | Interviews

Jane placed as a finalist in the 2017 Script Pipeline First Look Project with her short film (and series pilot episode) The Parker Tribe, an introspective, autobiographical dramedy. She’s currently writing for both film and TV. You were a finalist in the Script Pipeline First Look Project with your short film The Parker Tribe, which also doubles as essentially the first episode of a dramedy series you’re shopping. The story itself is personal, correct? What compelled you to bring this one to life? I’ve been writing about my life since 2002 when my mother passed away. I realized that I knew very little about my mother before we seven kids came along. Having two boys myself, I was damned if I was going to leave them without a backstory on their mom. So I began writing about all the things that happened in my childhood that people thought bizarre or…

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Evan Cooper

By | Interviews

A top 10 finalist in the 2016 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition with the thriller Ballerina Girl, writer/director Evan Cooper will make his feature directorial debut with The Will O Wisp, starring Chrissy Metz (This is Us). Your screenplay The Will O Wisp attached Chrissy Metz in 2017. Fill us in on the process from concept, to development, to getting a name attachment (and in our opinion, a stellar actress). How did it all come about? The Will O Wisp actually came from a nightmare, believe it or not. I tend not to remember my dreams, and rarely wake up in a panic, but I had this frightening image of a man and his dog watching an endless tree line of phosphorescent lights. It sounds silly, but it was really haunting at the time, so when I woke up, I immediately started writing. Who was this guy? The dog? Why the…

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Prarthana Mohan & Kay Tuxford

By | Interviews

Writers Prarthana Mohan and Kay Tuxford collaborated on their first film, The MisEducation of Bindu, a coming-of-age dramedy offering a fresh perspective on the dynamics of high school identity and integration, seen through the lens of a 14-year-old Indian girl living in Midwest America. Prarthana and Kay were selected for Seed & Spark’s #HometownHeroes campaign, which allowed Mark and Jay Duplass to come on board as executive producers in 2017. Kay previously won the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition, and Bindu is Prarthana’s feature directorial debut. Both are graduates from Chapman University’s film program. Who pitched the idea to who, and why did you feel this was the kind of story to pursue? Did the co-writing and co-development partnership come naturally, or were there some hurdles (there are always hurdles, right?)? Kay: The nugget of this came to me in film school for an assignment in my screenwriting class with Paul Wolansky….

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