Adam and I have been trying for about a year to get a 30 minute comedy TV Show pilot picked up with no luck, so I thought I would post our TV Show Bible for the series here in one of our posts to show our process. I hope it can be of some use to someone, at the very least be interesting to someone who may be curious to see how we approach these things.
We have very little connections in Network and Cable TV, so have been hitting mostly brick walls, but if you’re reading this and can see it as a Series AND have connections with anyone in TV, contact us, we’d love to get this into the proper hands:
EXT. OFFICES OF WYNN JUSTICE – ESTABLISHING
Superimposed, “One Week Earlier”.
Sign outside of a busy downtown city street building reads, “Wynn Justice Law”. The street is bustling with PEOPLE in suits and dresses, rushing to work.
A ZOMBIE slowly ambles into view in the midst of the madness. He slowly tries to grab and bite people, but he’s way too slow. People rush by, push him out of the way and move faster. No one is worried or taking the Zombie serious.
The Zombie population is ignored, and now commonplace.
A HOMELESS MAN sits against the wall of the building, next to him is a Zombie, also sitting against the wall. A WELLDRESSED WOMAN walks by and throws a dollar bill down on the sidewalk in front of the Zombie.
She then notices that she threw it in front of the Zombie, so she picks it up and then looks at the Homeless man and throws the bill in his lap. He nods a thanks.
EDWIN WYNN TALKING HEAD
EDWIN WINN (50’s) wears a tweed sports coat and plaid bow tie.
To say we were floundering would have been an understatement. In the current climate of Zombie Infestation, we just couldn’t find cases in our current practice area. It was getting desperate. We simply had to start thinking outside of the box, or risk the chance of bleeding to death.
He watches as a zombie ambles by and looks at the camera again.
EDWIN WYNN (CONT’D)
Series Logline: The zombie apocalypse has come and now living in a world filled with zombies is the new normal. Zombie Law is the law firm of Edwin Wynn and Calvin Justice, with the help of their Investigator Laurel Hunt, they represent zombies in all kinds of lawsuits.
Pilot Logline: In the current climate of the restless undead, struggling attorney’s Calvin and Edwin, with the help of bounty hunter Laurel, have to find new clients quick or face bankruptcy. Their first client, a zombie weatherman in a wrongful termination suit.
In a World Filled with Zombies…It’s Time to Fight…
…For Their Right to Proper Representation.
~ Calvin Justice, Esq.
The primary structure is a one-camera sitcom (Modern Family, The Office) type comedy that at times has a documentary feel where the characters talk to the camera.
In Zombie Law, the commentary is setup almost like video depositions in a case, scattered throughout each episode.
The feeling is a mix of supernatural, comedy, the law and the mundane.
The ideal would be Boston Legal during the zombie apocalypse or simply Office Space with zombies.
Sitcoms like The Addams Family or The Munsters could be accurate, but set within the modern business world not hidden behind the family’s sole residence.
Another good example would be to recreate the original Ghostbusters esthetic and tightly compact it within a sitcom format.
Each episode features a single case or lawsuit as the “A” story and then a “B” story that continues the season one arc and “C” storyline usually consisting of some kind of rift or resolution to the 3 main characters.
“A” STORYA completely compact case or lawsuit, within each episode. IE: the pilot episode is a wrongful termination lawsuit of a zombie weatherman from KRQ News Station Channel 13. Wynn-Justice Law is on the verge of bankruptcy and takes the case as their first in a long line of representing the new populace of zombies in the city. They change their name to Zombie Law.
Some examples of other lawsuits throughout the season can be:
- Family Law – A marriage counselor files for divorce citing irreconcilable differences because her husband is a slob and an unrepentant cheater and she’s dead. No longer…til’ death do they part.
- Personal Injury – A post-life insurance adjuster files for workman’s comp when his employer sends him to a construction site where he gets his arm severed in a wood chipper. In the end, his job costs him an arm and a leg.
- Tax Evasion – Zombie Law represents a Living Impaired Man who gets sued by the US Government when he stops paying taxes, just because he’s dead. Two things are no longer for certain; death and taxes.
- Breach of Contract – A dead mailman wants to sue his life insurance company for not providing him the full death benefit to himself when he died. Their argument is simply that he is not the beneficiary, not that he’s not dead, but since his wife is also a zombie, they don’t feel the need to pay her either.
- Letter of Eviction – A tenant tries to fight a letter of eviction from the management company of the apartment building he’s “living” in. They argue that he can’t really be “living” in the apartment since he’s dead.
Where do you suggest he move?
SEASON ONE “B” STORY
The “B” storyline is that a major pharmaceuticals company (MOREAUCORP) is the one responsible for the zombie outbreak and Zombie Law has several clashes with the company in and out of court throughout the season.
It gets to be an all-out war, when Moreaucorp creates a new kind of zombie, a faster-stronger Berserker Zombie that threatens the whole world.
There are two main bad guys in the leadership at Moreaucorp.
The name by the way is a hint to the real identity of the CEO (the secret shadow figure) who is the heir of the famous…DR. MOREAU. The H.G. Wells fictional protagonist in The Island of Dr. Moreau where Dr. Moreau was found to have been creating human-like hybrid animal beings, is the CEO, Edward Prendic.
His main LABORATORY SCIENTIST turns out to be THE FLY.
Throughout the series, the scientist will slowly pull in SCIENTIFIC ABORATIONS into the world Ala ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.
This way, we can also bring in other classic monsters that are science or organic based like:
- The 50ft WOMAN
- The SHRINKING MAN
- CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
- SWAMP THING
- THE BLOB
- LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.
(These could all be variations or our versions of these things.) Think about all the campy 1950’s drive-in feature creatures.
Not only is the CEO a secret shadow figure that gets revealed during the season, he also turns out to be a well-regarded State SENATOR, that eventually runs for President of the United States against the…
Here’s more on that:
The atmosphere behind the zombie apocalypse is the political commentary. Politics keeps coming up in several episodes that go along with the rising tide of zombie supporters for zombie rights. It’s a metaphor for rights groups throughout history. Later on in the season, the President of the United States gets bitten and becomes a zombie and Zombie Law is brought in to argue the diminished capacity of the President in front of House of Representatives and again in a trial at the Senate and whether or not he’s capable of doing the job of the executive office. This ultimately comes full circle as Zombie Law fights from episode 1 all the way through the series for zombie RIGHTS.
The 3rd story thread usually consisting of some kind of rift or resolution to the 3 MAIN CHARACTERS; Calvin is in love with Laurel, Laurel hates Edwin, Edwin creates chaos for Calvin…etc. Here is a specific example:
- Calvin’s ex-fiancée, that spurned him at the altar, comes looking for him. She’s recently dead and wants restitution from Moreaucorp for accidentally creating the zombie that bit her. She’s realized a lot of regrets since dying, the main one being Calvin. This causes confusion and complications with him and with Laurel, whose jealousy makes her realize that she may have deeper feelings for Calvin.
LAUREL HUNT TALKING HEAD
I’ve known Cal for most of my life, I’ve never seen him this low before.
She looks behind her to see if Cal may be around listening.
LAUREL HUNT (CONT’D)
And I’ve seen him get stood up at the altar. That was embarrassing. Pathetic really. But this was a new low. Even for him.
Calvin (30’s) is a bleeding heart without a paycheck, a conservative idealistic do-gooder.
Mona looks solemnly at Edwin and then to Cal. Cal knows when to speak and when to listen.
I have been here a long time. We’ve been thru a lot together. Edwin, Cal, you’re excellent lawyers… But you suck at running a business!
Edwin looks hurt, but Cal looks like that’s just about right.
Cal, you’re a bleeding heart and you take every sad story that comes along. Many of them pro bono.
I do not.
My car broke down this morning. Can I borrow some money to get it fixed?
Mona holds her hand out.
(Taking his wallet out.) Oh, I didn’t know that. I only have…
Mona spreads her arms out for validation. Cal realizes and puts his wallet away.
That was just mean.
He doesn’t like that he got roped into going into practice with Edwin years before, simply because Edwin thought their names together made for “great marketing”.
You only partnered with me because of my last name.
I don’t deny, Wynn-Justice Law, it’s a good marketing gimmick, but we’re good together.
We’re bankrupt, Ed.
He does, however, embrace the idea of helping the zombies. He’s an activist with a cause!
Edwin Wynn is a brainless get-rich-quick schemer, putting his money where his mouth is…empty. Edwin is a liberal free-spirited entrepreneur.
(He taps his forehead.) I’m a marketing master. The wheels never stop.
Like recently, you hosted an adult Slip & Slide contest to try and drum up business.
(He smiles.) Brilliant, I know.
People got hurt. And your P.I. Referral just signed 3 new clients and filed cases against us.
Oh by the way, they sent you a fruit basket.
She points to a basket of exotic fruit off to the side. Ed gets excited.
He’s like a child in so many ways, 200% loyal, fearless, easily excitable, always upbeat and positive, his enthusiasm knows no bounds and often gets them into trouble, especially Calvin.
CALVIN JUSTICE AND EDWIN WYNN TALKING HEADS
We don’t need her. What happens when you fall off a horse?
ED, don’t cliché me.
Winners are just losers who never gave up.
I’m just saying, we’re Wynn-Justice. We just need to figure it out.
Although, if backed into a corner, he can be a scary and formidable foe. Someone you want on your side, he has a joyful glee in making people think he’s mean, but can use it at times to make the pair stronger. It’s downright mischievous at times.
Their INVESTIGATOR is a bounty hunter named LAUREL HUNT. She owns a self-defense dojo, which is appropriate when you think of the world they live in, survival is a much valued commodity. She is the muscle.
Laurel walks over to a small counter by the door. A rough Biker is waiting for her.
I’ve got a coupon for your “Evading Police Package”…
He pulls the piece of paper from his leather jacket vest pocket and slams it on the counter.
The free lesson on how to get out of handcuffs? She looks at the flyer and reaches into a drawer.
That’s the one.
She pulls out some handcuffs and slaps one on the wrist of the Biker.
Hey, what the…
You want the lesson, right?
She cuffs the other side to a pipe attached to the wall nearby.
Here’s the lesson. Don’t break the law!
What the? Why you little B—
Laurel headbutts the Biker in the face and knocks him out. He hangs limply from the pipe.
Long-time friends with Calvin, they do not realize yet that, THEY ARE IN LOVE. The sexual tension is tangible, from the very start. The attraction is there, even if they don’t admit it verbally at first.
Later in the season they complicate things by replaying the wall of Jericho scene in It Happened One Night. (look it up) Eventually, they connect.
She comes in handy every week and provides the show with some much needed action at times. In the 2 k’s…kicking butt and kissing.
JUDGE DEL TORO aka DODGER ELVIS
Living in an odd world where zombies are real and running around, gives the show an unusual feeling that anything and anyone is possible. To emphasize that very thing, we’ve created a character that exemplifies that “anyone can be anything” persona; The Dodger Elvis as a JUDGE.
Aren’t you going to swear me in?
JUDGE DEL TORO (40’s) turns to Robert to address him. Judge Del Toro looks like a Hispanic Elvis impersonator, with rings on all his fingers, sideburns, oversized gold shades and a pompadour. He picks up his bedazzled gavel and points it at Robert.
JUDGE DEL TORO
Now, see here, little man, this is just a hearing to determine if the plaintiff has a case, no need for that formality just yet. Please just answer the question, thankyouverymuch.
Let’s talk about what the series is wrapped around…ZOMBIES.
In most zombie films and TV shows, zombies are mindless, feeding monsters that are used as fodder. To kill and forget about, to mow down in droves.
Our series ventures to change that. The series ventures to play on that impression by starting out to make fun of it and then to slowly HUMANIZE the zombies again.
To show the progression of the zombie disease as if it was Alzheimer’s or Dementia. To slowly endear the zombie to the viewer. To get them on “their” side. We use it as a metaphor for HUMAN RIGHTS and to help us examine the human condition and the political and prejudicial atmosphere that is the United States of America.