"THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

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  • "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

    I had some health issues and also got slammed with submissions and my own projects last Winter. So much time went by, I figured no one noticed or cared that I didn't do a Lugnut List for 2014. Oddly, those requests starting coming in recently. In June. So here it is, only seven months late...

    THE 2014 LUGNUT LIST

    TOP 10 FEATURE SCRIPTS:

    REMEMBER THE TROJANS by Tommy Musni (Family / Sports / Comedy)
    Stuck in rural Idaho, a soccer-obsessed 13 year-old boy convinced he's going to be an international star bets the school board that if he wins a California tournament with a team of fellow rejects, his high school will offer the sport.

    THE SPY by Andrew Slattery (Spy Thriller / Action / Biopic)
    In 1941, veteran RAF pilot Roald Dahl is sent to Washington DC to use his writing skills and imagination to help sway a committee of U.S. Senators to rally America into joining Britain in its fight against Nazi Germany.

    GATED COMMUNITY by Jim Soscie (Thriller)
    An FBI agent and his family are placed in Witness Protection and housed in a quiet gated community in the middle of nowhere, but he soon discovers their new neighbors know his identity and the $6m bounty on his head has them motivated to kill him.

    SLICE OF LIFE by M.C. Selfridge (Period Drama / Comedy)
    When a flamboyant sword-wielding executioner is framed for murder by a vengeful gravedigger and faces his own execution, he’s saved by corrupt politicians who secretly hide him in a notorious asylum. But when no one comes for him as planned, he must find a way to escape and get his own dastardly revenge.

    BLUE DEATH by Pamela Kay (Action / Horror / Crime Drama)
    When his son becomes hooked on a deadly and terrifying new drug, an ex-Marine turned small town cop tries to save him but ultimately launches a one-man war against the dealer and the chemist responsible for creating “Blue Death.”

    FOUR PEOPLE DIE by Ali Imran Zaidi (Thriller)
    In the near future where an upscale lounge with a seedy underbelly sells an irresistible new service about to become illegal, four of six deeply entangled lives are about to end.

    ASCENT by Nicol Eilers & Michael Eilers (Sci-Fi / Action)
    A building engineer and his teenage daughter are aboard the inaugural launch of the Skyhook, an elevator connecting a giant ship in the Indian Ocean with a space station, but four hijackers crash the party and wreak violent havoc.

    WAR WOMAN by Steven Fournier (Period Drama / Action)
    In the late 18th century, a tough mother-of-two who lives off the land in the backwoods of Georgia picks up arms and takes the fight to the British.

    AGAIN, SPRING by Kent M. Williams (Wartime Drama)
    During the siege of Leningrad, a young girl who was separated from her parents helps the zookeepers stave off the deadly winter weather and a shortage of food to keep the zoo animals survive.

    FINER HOMES AND GANGSTERS by Amanda Good Hennesey, Art Hennesey & Brad Kelly (Comedy)
    Several women gather at a house on Cape Cod to throw a surprise birthday party for a friend, but the weekend gets a little complicated when the host meets with a gangster before everyone else shows up and he drops dead.

    - - - - -

    TOP 3 TV SCRIPTS:

    THE ORDER by Matt O'Reilly (Crime Drama / Fantasy)
    Set in a modern day world where elves are a human ethnic group, the leader of a clan of elvish criminals who trade on outlawed magic struggles to safeguard his family in a world that alternately needs and fears his kind.

    JUDASTOWN by Greta Heinemann (Crime Drama / Thriller)
    Shortly before her long-awaited execution, an ex-cop accused of killing seven men she believed members of a dangerous religious cult files an appeal and a new defense lawyer must bring himself up to speed on her case history.

    THE MAYOR OF HOLLYWOODLAND by Gayle Jackson (Period Drama)
    In 1930s Hollywood, the VP of Paladin Studios must contend with a whole spectrum of problems, from homicidal wives, to egotistical directors and movie stars, to the politics of keeping a multi-million dollar film studio alive during an economic depression.


    - - - - -

    A word about the Lugnut List. It is merely my favorite material from the 335 submissions I personally received and "covered" this past calendar year. It is definitely not an attempt to compete with any other list. It's just for fun and to potentially give the authors more exposure.

    If you're a writer on the list and want anything edited (or spot a mistake) please email me at [email protected]

    - - - - -

    As always, here's a few honorable mentions. I can't list everyone, so please don't be upset if you didn't make the list. There were many other screenplays I enjoyed reading, clients I'm a fan of, and plenty of cool ideas, some of which simply needed more development.

    POINT ARENA by Gerard Roxburgh & Lance Dumais
    ROOTS OF EVIL by Carver Gray
    ROSES AND RATTLESNAKES by Colin Simpson
    THE NEXT DAY by Alex Chu
    THE VACCINE by Rachael Blackwood
    INCURSION by Bill Lawrence
    MILLION DOLLAR BRIDE by Ourdia Hodge
    SANTA BABY by Scotty Mullen
    THE COMPOUND (TV) by Moises Zamora
    TAINTED by Samuel J. Winokur
    HYPERTHYMESIA by J.R. Halterlein

    - - - - -

    Every year, people ask how many "Considers" I award. I use four recommendations in my coverage:
    Consider
    Consider w/ reservations
    Pass w/ reservations
    Pass

    To answer another FAQ: less than half of the screenplays above earned a "Full Consider."

    As always, thank you to all my clients for trusting me to read your work.
    __________________
    Last edited by EvilRbt; 07-25-2015, 02:28 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

    BRAVO!
    Congrats to the writers named on the List.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

      Congratulations to everyone on the 2014 Lugnut List!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

        Thanks so much. We're excited to be on the list. It's lovely to be recognized.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

          Thanks for posting these, Andrew; and congrats to the honorees. I'm very impressed with these loglines; pretty much all of them sound interesting. In my never-ending quest to ascertain just what makes a logline tick (since we all know how ridiculously hard they can be to write), I tried to figure out what elements these examples have in common that grabbed my attention. I came up with the following:

          High Concepts or Specific/Interesting Protagonists: Concepts that are clearly unique/haven't been seen before (often with a trace of irony), or protagonists that are highly specific and/or have an interesting job/quality.

          High Concepts: A Witness Protection program participant realizing his neighbor knows who he is; whore houses that allow clients to sleep with augmented versions of desired partners; an elevator connecting a ship in the ocean with a spaceship; a young girl helping adults stave off deadly winter; a gangster dropping dead at an upscale vacation home.

          Specific and/or Interesting Characters: Soccer-obsessed 12-year-old; veteran RAF pilot; sword-wielding executioner; building engineer.

          Good Examples of Both:
          In the late 18th century, a tough mother-of-two who lives off the land in the backwoods of Georgia picks up arms and takes the fight to the British.

          When his son becomes hooked on a deadly and terrifying new drug, an ex-Marine turned small town cop tries to save him but ultimately launches a one-man war against the dealer and the chemist responsible for creating "Blue Death.-

          Specific Locations: Specific geographic locations or place types. Examples: rural Idaho; Washington, D.C.; quiet gated community; 18th century Paris; Indian Ocean; backwoods of Georgia; Leningrad; a house on Cape Cod.

          Vivid Verbs: Verbs that are unique and actionable (paint a clear picture of Second Act events). Examples: scrapes together; help sway a committee to rally America; plots dastardly revenge; launches a one-man war; crash the party and wreak violent havoc; picks up arms and takes the fight; stave off the deadly winter weather and a shortage of food.

          Specific or Interesting Antagonists: Antagonists that are highly specific and/or have an interesting quality. Examples: vengeful gravedigger; chemist; four hijackers; deadly winter weather.

          Interestingly, it seems like the higher a concept is, the less any other factor matters. Examples: Gated Community; Four People Die; Ascent. The lower the concept, the more important it seems it is to make the protagonists' and antagonists' qualities stand out.
          "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

            Thanks, UpandComing. Your evaluation of the loglines/concepts is really interesting.

            Oddly, 2014 was heavy on action pictures and thrillers. Not as many comedies and horror scripts as I typically receive.
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            • #7
              Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

              Originally posted by EvilRbt View Post
              Oddly, 2014 was heavy on action pictures and thrillers. Not as many comedies and horror scripts as I typically receive.
              Guessing people are just following the market. Action is dominating spec sales right now, and will continue to in the near future as the international box office takes more precedence over domestic.
              "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                The Order sounds super interesting. Hope it gets made!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                  Originally posted by wsaunders View Post
                  The Order sounds super interesting. Hope it gets made!
                  Thanks. This pilot also won me a Script Pipeline fellowship this year, but I entered it into Page and it didn't even make the QFs, so go figure.

                  But thanks to Andrew for the nod! Highly recommend the Screenplay Mechanic!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                    Originally posted by wsaunders View Post
                    The Order sounds super interesting. Hope it gets made!
                    It's one of my all-time favorite TV pilots which came to me as a submission. I firmly believe sooner or later someone will pick it up.
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                    • #11
                      Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                      WAR WOMAN has also placed in the quarterfinals at Nicholl. But I'm just as proud to be on The Lugnut List too.
                      We gain our innocence by taking yours.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                        Originally posted by AE35-Unit View Post
                        WAR WOMAN has also placed in the quarterfinals at Nicholl. But I'm just as proud to be on The Lugnut List too.
                        This is awesome and well deserved, AE35-Unit!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                          Thanks, Bruce.
                          We gain our innocence by taking yours.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                            Originally posted by AE35-Unit View Post
                            WAR WOMAN has also placed in the quarterfinals at Nicholl. But I'm just as proud to be on The Lugnut List too.
                            Congrats on that! That's a good accomplishment.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: "THE LUGNUT LIST" -- The Mechanic's Top 10 of 2014

                              Just want to say a sincere thank you to The Mechanic for his incredibly helpful notes for INCURSION. I highly recommend his notes service.

                              I'm very excited to see INCURSION on the Lugnut List for 2014. For anyone interested, here's the logline: When a former UFC fighter reluctantly accepts a kidnapping job from the Russian mob, he sneaks into an upscale apartment complex to capture the target but finds himself in a high intensity hostage situation when armed terrorists simultaneously take over the building.

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