Exceptionals is an original series produced by Full Brain Films, LLC in Portland, Oregon. It was created by award-winning screenwriter and FBF member Greg Kerr and is produced by Full Brain Films’ members Nan Avant and Greg Kerr.
Levy Tran stars as the Olympian and covert operative Rachel LaTour. She is introduced in Episode 4 of the new, original series, Exceptionals.
The series follows the lives of a group of people who have unusual genetic traits that confer advantages on them that are much like super powers. The series is drama and includes high concept science fiction and thought-provoking dialogue and situations. The first four episodes are being produced and will be released after a marketing and promotion period soon.
The first four episodes (the pilot episodes) are self-funded by Full Brain Films, with a goal of production company or studio partnership to pitch to a network. Agents and managers who have experience with production company or studio pitches are welcome to contact us as well.
Exceptionals falls into the genres of narrative fiction, drama, science fiction, thriller and super-hero realism. The first four episodes (the complete Part 1: Future Certain) are being self-funded by Full Brain Films, with a goal of receiving investment to continue the series.
Future plot arcs move the series into a more science fiction and action-oriented direction, while still maintaining the drama and character relationship stories, thus the genre of super-hero realism: normal people who discover they have special abilities and their struggles to integrate these into their normal lives. The abilities are often difficult to control or have very dire consequences for the characters. Strong women are the core of the principal characters in this series.
Among the other important and unique aspects of this project are:
The target audiences are women and men in their 20s and 30s, particularly those who enjoy super-hero stories, relationship stories, realistic dramas, science fiction, and some action elements.
This script passes and exceeds all Bechdel test requirements.
Currently in Post-Production (Episodes 1 through 4)
Exceptionals pilot episodes contains adult situations and adult language.
Episode 1: Future Certain
Brynne Vaness can see the future, or so she says. And those that believe and those that do not believe will go to any lengths to prove it. What begins as a spiritual quest to understand her ability, quickly turns into a struggle for her life, pitting Brynne against organized criminals, terrorists and even Homeland Security.
As she learns more about her visions, both their power and limits become increasingly apparent, and Brynne finds that her own future – her own survival – is anything but certain.
Characters in Exceptionals, Episode 1: Future Certain
Brynne Dianna Vaness
A woman of small stature, youthful looking, could be mistaken for being much younger, until she speaks. She is a kind and generous person, not prone to anger or impatience. She is also curious and open to new possibilities. She isn’t quick to believe in the supernatural, which may explain why her power has only manifested recently and why she hasn’t attempted to find the limits of this power. This is a primary character in the series and the point-of-view in the first four episodes is on her.
A very devoted and deeply loving friend to Brynne and views Brynne as a sister. They have the same circle of friends. Although not explicitly mentioned in the script, implied about Lauren is that she does not live with Brynne, although she does live with other people, presumably her own family. She believes Brynne. This is a recurring character in the series.
Assistant Director (A.D.) Cathy Grant
All work and no play. A very serious woman who takes her job seriously and believes it is her role to stamp out any perceived threat to the U.S. Far from being “evil” she is a key antagonist to Brynne due in large part to her single (narrow) mindedness. She simply does not believe that Brynne can see the future and believes other motives are at play. Her first name, Cathy, is never referenced in this script, nor does anyone she knows call her that. She would be a Myers-Briggs ISTJ. This is a recurring character in the series.
He is having his own spiritual awakening late in life. Everything he tells Brynne when they meet is true – he never lies to Brynne. He is from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. He believes Brynne.
Radha (Misra) Mahmood
She works more directly with the Mahmood Family and the thugs, killers and terrorists they employ. It is likely and implied in the script that she is mentally ill and some of this may be due to the abuse suffered at the hands of her former husband, Kabir, who she eventually stabbed to death. She is a primary antagonist in the script. She believes Brynne.
An aging hippie and Libertarian, the easy-going Billy is a man living outside the larger culture and legal system. He makes his livelihood from producing false documents and the occasional grift. He has a free-spirited world-view and he is a guy who knows how to avoid trouble and the law. This is a recurring character in the series.
Mardav Misra (Marty Alvarado)
Radha’s half-brother and the black sheep of this family, simply because he wants nothing to do with their criminal organization. He likely has had a hand in helping them, but after he met Tessa in Philadelphia, the two of them kept moving around the country to stay out of the reach of his family.
Marty’s wife and probably grew up somewhere outside the United States in a Spanish speaking country. She is devoted to Marty and their son Jared as much as Marty is in return.
Dr. Jean Speerel
A scientist and consultant to the N.S.A. She is extraordinarily insightful and in a rare position of power for a scientist.
Mahmood Family and Associates
Fahad Mahmood – Radha’s brother-in-law killed in Germany
Kabir Mahmood – Radha’s deceased husband
Tauseef Jalali – Pakistani terrorist in DC. Worked with Kabir Mahmood.
For the purposes of the reading, the Narrator is a critical role. The dialogue does not tell the complete story, so it’s vital to have the Narrator read the action lines and sluglines. Timing and a careful reading of this part is important.
Background and Minor Roles
There are a few other minor speaking roles and a few roles for background performers. These roles are for people of all different ages, genders, ethnicities, shapes and sizes.
On April 29, we completed the final shoot involving the Radha character (played by Kristina Haddad) for the Exceptionals web series in Portland, Oregon at Free Geek.
Here are some behind the scenes images of that shoot, thanks to Brit McLean.
Greg Kerr directs and operates the camera, Rochelle Muzquiz did the production design and was assistant camera, Walter Sebaste assists with sound recording, and Brit McLean read the script to support Kristina.
Exceptionals is a new web series made in Portland, Oregon by Full Brain Films. It’s a sci-fi drama that follows the lives of a group of people who have exceptional powers. It’s super-hero realism — in other words, regular people who have unusual abilities that try to incorporate them into their lives.
This show is being marketed for distribution and/or investment.
We are putting together a list of talented writers who can write in these genres and who would like to be on the on-going writing team. These writers will be the primary writers for the show and their names will be included in our promotional material.
All writers chosen through this submission process now will be offered paid positions on the Exceptionals writing team once the show is funded.
Writing on the series will commence once the show is funded.
For comparison, there are elements in this series that are similar to the shows X-Files and Heroes. Check out Exceptionals website for more information.
The series is being launched in May 2015 with the first four 30-40 minute episodes completed and the plan to obtain continuing funding. Prior to getting funding, we will be creating short, 10 minute long, webisodes to support the series and that are set in the Exceptionals universe. Filming of these webisodes will begin in Summer 2015.
Submit your short script (no more than 15 pages or 12 minutes running time). Your script will be your way to express your interest and audition for a writing role on the series. Script requirements are listed below.
Full Brain Films members and Exceptionals primary cast and crew will review the scripts. If it’s what we’re looking for in terms of style and creativity, you may be invited to join the writing team!
Submission requirements are listed at the bottom of this page.
Want to make a little money?
Your script submission is primarily your way to indicate your interest in being on the on-going writing staff of the web series Exceptionals. However, we may decide to make your short script into a micro-budget short film to support the series, and if we do, we’ll buy it for $100.
Bear in mind that it will be made into a stand-alone short film or webisode that will be used to help us market the series and not part of the actual series. However, actual actors and crew from the series have expressed interest in doing these and may be part of the webisodes we create, and they will be high quality short films.
Your short script must follow the guidelines below:
It must be no more than 15 pages (no less than 3 pages) and when filmed be no more than 12 minutes running time (although we are strongly preferring a 10 minute maximum running time).
It must be set in Exceptionals universe (see below).
New exceptional characters that you create must have prescribed abilities or in the vein of existing powers (see below).
It should be for one of these three plot concepts:
Plot Concept 1: Interview arc webisodes
These are interviews of people who have exceptional powers conducted by Dr. Donald Trent and Abe Rotimi.
Donald and Abe have been sent by Dr. Morris to interview people to see if they truly have exceptional abilities and whether or not they would be good possibilities for Dr. Morris to study, treat or at least keep track of. Along the way, they run into Dr. Jean Speerel who is conducting her own research.
The Interview story arc follows this rough timeline:
Prior to interviews, Donald meets Abe as Abe is doing work with Dr. Morris to help people with uncontrolled telepathic powers.
Donald and Abe go out on Interview 1 (not written).
Donald and Abe learn, during Interview 6 (not written), that people are looking for Exceptionals either to control them or harm them. They are unsure who these people are, but are aware that people with exceptional abilities have been killed or kidnapped.
Somewhere around Interview 30, Donald abandons working with Dr. Morris to work with Dr. Speerel. The interviews end.
Though not described on the website, Dr. Donald Trent was the star prodigy of Dr. Morris and Dr. Morris assumed Dr. Trent would take over his research when he retired. Unfortunately, disagreements with Dr. Morris’ approach caused a rift. While Dr. Morris does perceive the danger with Exceptionals, he believes that studying them can lead to a greater understanding of humanity and will help them as well. Dr. Trent believes that they are dangerous and should be controlled, which is why Dr. Speerel’s approach is more appealing.
Plot Concept 2: Star Harmony Channel stories
The quirky Star Harmony Channel web show seems like an over-the-top new-agey talk show, but Star and Harmony do get actual Exceptionals as their guests. Watch this long version of the interview from Exceptionals Episode 1: Future Certain:
Plot Concept 3: something original
Yes, you can do something original. Keep in mind, that if we are going to film it at a low budget, you should try to keep this in one location and with less than 5 characters.
Otherwise, feel free to be creative within the context of the script requirements and series guidelines (see below).
You may also want to consider some real life stories upon which to base your scripts. Here are a few that might lend themselves to Exceptionals’ plots:
The universe for the series has been created, established, and copyrighted by Greg Kerr along with the members of Full Brain Films and primary cast of Exceptionals. It’s deep, it’s rich and we have a plan for six seasons for the series already.
Your goal when writing Exceptionals characters and events is to stick within the boundaries of this universe.
Themes and Background
No Good nor Evil
Even though these characters are labeled Heroes, Villains and Unaligned, there is no stereotypical good or evil. For example, Vivienne is a thief and con-artist and doesn’t mind torturing someone for information, but she ultimately works for the benefit of Brynne’s coalition of “good” characters. Dr. Speerel seems cold and heartless, but she has a jaded view of people because she can read their thoughts and she isn’t a killer… well, not yet. And other than the sociopath Maruyama Kura, the line between Hero and Villain is crossed by characters frequently.
Telepaths are Drawn to Each Other
There is a sense that telepaths are attracted to one another. This appears to be on a subconscious level, but it may be a biological imperative, too. Dr. Morris is studying the genetics of telepaths to learn more about this.
Eventually Rachel LaTour, Erik von Trapp and Tina Plantes have to work with one another to solve a serious physics problem and in the process save humankind. There are many instances of odd unions and strange bedfellows in Exceptionals.
The falling out of Sandesh Misra and Radha Misra has caused their factions to effectively go to war against one another. Radha is seeking out other telepaths to control and use and Sandesh’s followers are trying to stop her and destroy telepaths to do it.
The Enigmatic Dr. Morris
Dr. Morris, who has been studying those people he labels Exceptionals for many years, suddenly goes missing. And it seems everyone is looking for him.
Although he seems to be “just another schizophrenic”, Kamal holds a secret that is the primary arc of the series. Dr. Speerel goes to extreme measures including risking her own life to find out what he knows.
The Search for Brynne Vaness
The cliff-hanger in Episode 4 has Brynne eluding Homeland Security. Eventually, the NSA and the Misra family actively engage in the hunt for Brynne. Meanwhile, Brynne has her own heroic quests to undertake. This is a major story arc during seasons one and two of the series.
You can use any of the already created characters in your scripts (see the list of established characters on the Exceptionals series website).
In the Interview arc, you should at least use Donald Trent and you can include Abe in scripts that precede Interview 20.
In the Star Harmony Channel stories, you can and should include any of the three established characters, Star and Harmony being the primary two, and also Jasper if you are interested. Jasper can be a stand-alone character in his own short story as well.
Dr. Morris should not appear in any scripts at this time. His character is specifically enigmatic until later in the actual series.
If you create new characters, their backgrounds and exceptional abilities should follow the guidelines below.
Both ethnic and geographic diversity are a prominent feature of this series.
Rules for the Exceptional Abilities
The abilities of the characters tend to be subtle, although given the proper conditions can be very powerful. The more powerful an ability, the bigger the downside of that ability.
For example, Brynne Vaness has the ability to see the future, which is actually a form of temporal telepathy and it can be directed to a certain extent, but it’s intermittent (she can only see pieces of the future), it can only occur when she’s asleep and she gets intense migraine headaches when she uses the power. She has a brain tumor that’s actually a telepathic and tachyon receptor that causes this ability. It will eventually kill her.
All the powers must be based on physics or biology although these can be extreme versions of those. They have to be explainable through either extreme physics or extreme biology, so you may need to do your homework on related topics. If you are considering something in the science fiction realm, focus on Star Trek science fiction, rather than Star Wars pulp science fiction.
This is a list of abilities that will not be in this series:
Any ability that violates the rules of physics, like personal flight, power bolts, or bio-morphing (changing into an animal, a brick wall or some such thing).
Any ability that violates the rules of biology, like being able to heal someone else’s physical wounds.
Any magic, divine or supernatural-based powers. All the powers should be rooted in science and genetics.
This is a list of abilities that will be in this series:
Mental abilities are the most common form of exceptional ability, particularly telepathy (see below).
High intelligence is another (see Tina Plantes and Erik von Trapp)
Physical abilities such as physical excellence (see Rachel LaTour), regeneration (although within reason — see Vivienne Hayley), electrical conductivity (see Jintana Visalyaputra), and faster than normal reflexes (see Behrohk Jarrah)
Things in the new-age, pseudo-science realm might work if they can be explained scientifically.
Confusion between exceptional abilities that are mental or physical, but that may appear to be magical or divine will create interesting stories.
All telepaths either have proximal (short-range) or distal (long-range) telepathy, not both. Proximal is alpha, beta, or gamma wave-based. Distal is delta wave-based and only occurs during sleep.
Telepathic activity is generated from specific areas of the brain and will affect specific areas of the target person’s brain:
Brocal is related to current thoughts
Limbic is related to both emotions and memory
Frontal is related to emotions and thought and probably short-term memory
Occipital is related to sight and hallucinations
Temporal is related to smells, sounds and complex stimuli like place or face recognition
Levels of Telepathic Power
Not telepathic – most of the population on Earth. However, if they are exposed to enough telepathic activity they may be able to sense when it’s occurring to them.
Pre-telepathic – these are people who are sensitive to telepathic activity and may be able to sense it is happening around them or to them, but are unaware what it is. They may have more immunity to telepathic ability used on them. These are also people who tend to suffer from migraine headaches and may have some genetic telepathic trait that can be passed to their descendants. Lauren and Jeremy are examples.
Latent or low level telepathy – these are people who are sensitive to telepathic activity, but may be unaware that they have it or exactly what it is. They are likely to experience rare or intermittent flashes of telepathic experiences, though they are usually unable to control this ability. There may be a genetic link and other family members may be telepathic as well. Dr. Morris believes there are about 250 people on Earth who fall into this category. Radha and Lex are examples.
Medium level telepathy – these are people who know they have telepathy of some sort or another, and they are able to use the ability to varying degrees of proficiency. Dr. Morris believes there are less than 30 people on Earth in this category. Brynne, Ashley, Derek and Abe are examples.
High level telepathy – these are people who know what their abilities are and are highly proficient at using their abilities. Dr. Morris believes there are less than 10 people on Earth in this category. Dr. Speerel, Gauthier and Maruyama Kura are examples.
Specific Types of Telepathy
These are the types of telepathy that are possessed by current characters in Exceptionals:
Mind reading (proximal telepathy) – the ability to read the thoughts of others, but not transmit thoughts (although two people with this ability can communicate telepathically). It affects the Brocal region. The inability to filter out the thoughts of others is the key downside of this power. (see Villains – Dr. Jean Speerel)
Clairvoyance (distal telepathy) – the ability to see through the eyes of someone else at a very great distance and to be aware of what they see, what they say and what they do. This ability occurs during sleep and is associated with migraine headaches due to abnormalities in the brain of the telepath. (see Recurring – Derek Wainwright)
Precognitive and retrocognitive telepathy (distal telepathy) – the ability to see through the eyes of others or even yourself in other times, i.e., the past or the future. This is very much like clairvoyance (see above), but it is intermittent. It also deals with the concept in science and science fiction of tachyon particles as the mode of transmission. In this series, precognitive telepathy does not violate the principle of causality because the visions always come to pass and cannot be changed. As with most other forms of distal telepathy, this ability occurs during sleep. (see Heroes – Brynne Vaness)
Insinuative telepathy – the ability to implant images, ideas or suggestions into another person’s mind – proximal, affects frontal and temporal regions (see Villains – Maruyama Kura) or occipital region (see Recurring – Gauthier Renne)
Insinuative empathy – the ability to affect others with the empath’s current emotional state – proximal, affects frontal and limbic regions (see Recurring – Jim Martin, Ashley Fuller)
Suppressive telepathy – the ability to cancel out other forms of telepathy. The suppressive telepath generates brainwaves that create a destructive interference to the brainwaves generated by most other telepaths, thereby cancelling out their power. (see Heroes – Abe Rotimi)
Telesthesia – the ability to sense individuals or objects at a distance. This is also known as remote viewing or remote sensing. This manifests in the ability of the telepath to sense people or objects at a distance and occurs during sleep. The most prominent example is with the Lex character and her ability to sense other mental Exceptionals at great distances. In other words, she can locate Exceptionals. (see Recurring – Lex)
Other types of telepathy will be created as the series moves forward, including types of telepathy that require more than one person to activate and control.
Use the contact form (link above) and ask if you aren’t sure about the stated requirements or if you need more information.
You have permission from Full Brain Films to use the characters, subjects, stories and titles related to Exceptionals for the purpose of this submission only. Any use of Exceptionals characters or Exceptionals creative property separate from this submission is unauthorized and prohibited.
Submissions may be reviewed on an on-going basis as they are received.
Writers should not expect to be contacted regarding their submission, except to confirm receipt, and afterward only if Full Brain Films has further questions or comments.
Thank you and we look forward to your creative participation!
Full Brain Films is looking for screenwriters and illustrators to join an informal meet and greet on November 14, 2014 to discuss the possibility of a professional collaboration on our new web series, Exceptionals, http://exceptionalsseries.com
We’re looking for experienced screenwriters who write in the genres of drama, super-hero, science fiction, friend-relationship stories and thrillers. Strong female characters are the core of this series, so women writers are our priority here. We are also looking for illustrators for paid work creating black and white graphic novel versions of a few of the screenplays.
During this gathering, you’ll be able to meet some of the lead actors and crew in the series and a few of the other local writers with whom we’ve been fortunate to connect. Food will be provided and you can bring your favorite beverage.
This will be by invitation only – space is limited. Please let me know about your experience and any connection to or interest in our series concept. Don’t worry — this isn’t an interview! We’re just looking for experienced screenwriters who like the topic and would be interested in collaborating with a great cast and crew. For now, this gathering is just to discuss the idea in a casual, informal setting.
More about Exceptionals
Exceptionals is a web series about normal people who learn they have extraordinary powers and the complications those powers bring to their lives. This genre is super-hero realism, which is drama and it includes sci-fi and action elements.
The super powers aren’t supernatural. They are often subtle and have biological and/or physical explanations, albeit extreme biology and physics. Most of the characters have mental powers, like telepathy, some have physical powers. There is a downside to all the powers, and much of the drama revolves around how the characters attempt to minimize the deficits and maximize the benefits of the abilities. Many of the abilities are life-threatening.
We independently produced the first four episodes, collectively called Part 1: Future Certain, which are about the first Exceptional, Brynne Vaness. We are in the process of editing these. We are also producing Sneak Previews (like trailers) for Parts 2, 3 and 4 — we’re filming “moments” in those that will give people a sense of where the series is going. Our goal is to get investment or distribution to continue the series.
“Up to this point, I’ve been the primary writer and I’ve written all the characters and plot ideas. Moving forward, and considering the length of each episode, and the likelihood we’d have to produce up to 16 episodes each season, I’ll need a team to help me.
This is why I’m reaching out to Portland writers, particularly women writers — you may have read that part of our goal with this series is to highlight women in front of the camera and behind. Other than this making us different than most super-hero shows, this just makes good business sense. There are amazing women actors in Portland and they are under-utilized — I have worked with many and we have some incredible talent in this show already — and having women pen their dialogue is vital.
There’s also an untapped market for shows that follow the non-romantic stories of women. For example, there is no discussion in the first four episodes about Brynne’s love interests. The dialogue revolves around ethical and moral dilemmas Brynne faces. I’m not opposed to including love-relationship stories as the series continues, but I find that the friendship-relationship and work-relationship stories are extremely compelling and not explored as much in women-centric shows.
So, my goal now is to find a compatible team of writers in the Portland area who can brainstorm some ideas within the limits of the broad outlines I’ve established (which I’ll explain when we meet). There will be a need to create more characters and new plot ideas. I have an outline for 7 seasons, but the specifics will have to be figured out.”
– Greg Kerr, Member of Full Brain Films and Creator of Exceptionals
Full Brain Films is excited to announce that Lori Lewis from FreeSpirit Casting will be the casting director of our new web series, Future Certain. Lori brings extensive knowledge and experience to FBF and this SAG-AFTRA project. We’ll be providing more information regarding the casting schedule and hiring timeline very soon.
We are looking for volunteers, some to read and some to listen, to an informal reading of the latest version of the screenplay, Future Certain, prior to this Web series moving to pre-production and casting.
Seating is limited, so please reserve a space.
Please use the contact form when submitting your interest in a role or to be a guest. The subject would be: Future Certain Table Reading
Table Reading Info
What: This is a table reading of a new and original screenplay, Future Certain. The roles available are listed below.
When: Tuesday, August 6 at 7:30pm to 10:00pm
Where: 12375 Mt Jefferson Terrace, Lake Oswego. About 5 minutes from Portland Community College Sylvania Campus. (A map is on the Contact page.)
Brynne Vaness (read by Mariessa Portelance) can see the future, or so she says. And those that believe and those that do not believe will go to any lengths to prove it. What begins as a spiritual quest to understand her ability, quickly turns into a struggle for her life, pitting Brynne against organized criminals, terrorists and even Homeland Security.
As she learns more about her visions, both their power and limits become increasingly apparent, and Brynne finds that her own future – her own survival – is anything but certain.
This is a table reading, so memorization and movement is not required.
You will be provided a printed copy of the screenplay at the time of the rehearsal if you need one.
There is power available for several laptops or tablets if you prefer.
Iced tea and lemonade will be provided.
Roles Still Available
Sandesh, man 50+ Assistant Director Grant, woman 40+ Radha, woman 30+ Stephen Bascomb, man 40+ Tessa Alvarado, woman 25-35 Billy, man 35+ Agent Juarez, man 30+ Smaller Woman Roles, woman Smaller Man Roles, man Narrator (for action lines, descriptions and sluglines), any age or gender
Note: ideal age ranges are listed above, though anyone will be considered.
The subject would be: Future Certain Table Reading – Character Name*
What role or roles you are interested in of those above. (It may be possible to double up and receive commensurate pay for more than one role.)
A recent headshot (an image of yourself in a Web-friendly file size format).
A link to an online resume or information you can paste into a message field. Or alternately, you can attach a Word document or PDF with the attach button.
A link to a reel of your work.**
* This is the name of the character/role you are interested in reading.
** This one greatly helps in the decision-making process on who to hire. If you do not have some acting or related work you can reference on another website (like YouTube or Vimeo or your own site) you will likely be rejected.
If you have any difficulty with attachments, please use the form without attachments and mention that in your message. We’ll provide a direct email address to send to.