I am currently in the middle of rewriting my latest comedy spec script,
(that crossed-out 'o' is not a typo, it's a purposeful omission), a script I haven't shown to a soul yet because it's not ready. It's an idea I've had for several years and I finally got around to writing it this year. It's a college-set comedy that follows an all-male a cappella group, C
untless Melodies, as they try to recapture their former glory to become national champions once again, if they can only defeat their archrivals, the three-time defending champion Blue Belles. It's completely "write-what-you-know" because I was in an all-male a cappella group in college. That's right. I said it. I was in an all-male a cappella group in college -- the
Johns Hopkins University AllNighters
. And we were good, too (at least, back in the day). So imagine my surprise when I surf over to IMDb today and see this trailer on their home page for
It's the exact same story as
, only told from the female group's perspective. But the obstacles are the same. The characters are the same. The setup is the same. It is
the exact same story
. OK, maybe I don't have a scene of two a cappella groups dueling in an empty swimming pool, but otherwise, it's the same. I shouldn't be too surprised. I mean, I knew a cappella scripts had made their way through development with the studios before, but none of them had seen the light of day.
Then Glee hit. And I don't like Glee for several reasons I won't cover here.
So the idea that had been swirling in my head finally took shape: Anti- Glee with an Old School / Superbad awkward fraternity vibe. And blow-you-out-of-your-seats, raw, live a cappella music, not the immediately studio perfect numbers on Glee .
As I broke the story, I was aware of Mickey Rapkin's book Pitch Perfect , but I never read it. I lived in that world for four years in college, so why read it? Finally, this spring, I pounded out the first draft and I've been in rewrite mode ever since.
However, I never realized Rapkin's book was acquired, adapted into a script by the very talented Kay Cannon (a writer and producer on 30 Rock , one of my all-time favorite shows), and set for release this October. And the trailer looks funny. Good songs. Good actors. Good singers . Funnier dialogue than what I have written so far.
So what do I do? Obviously, my script is way too similar to pursue as a spec script that I could sell anymore. As soon as I saw the trailer, I thought, "Damn. On to the next one."
But then I thought, what else could I do with this script? Because of Pitch Perfect , my script is basically unpitchable (pun intended). I can't even submit it to contests because they'll all say, "This is exactly like Pitch Perfect . What's this guy's deal?" It's still a sample of my comedy writing, however. It needs work, though. I'm almost finished the current rewrite, at which point I would need to solicit feedback.
So, I've decided to get out ahead of Pitch Perfect and I will publish my spec script in full online for all to read. In the next few days, I'll have a completed rewrite, then will put it up on Scribd. I'll share the link when the script is online, and if you have time to take a look, I'd welcome your feedback. If you know someone who likes comedy scripts, pass it along. If I receive constructive criticism that will improve the script, I'll rewrite it and post a new draft online. As a community, perhaps we can learn from the rewrite process together.
Also, full disclosure about my writing model: I write comedy specs that I hope to sell. I write drama scripts that I hope to make myself. Basically, one for them, one for me. So, if Pitch Perfect isn't your thing, I totally get it. The latest drama script I have written that I hope to direct someday soon is 180-degrees apart from Pitch Perfect , which is why it needs to be an indie film, not a studio project.
Have you been blindsided by a movie that snatched your amazing idea out of thin air and put in on the screen before your script was finished? Share your literal horror stories with us.
[via IMDb ]