We’re looking for Writers for a new Web Series
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.
You can read the script of the first four episodes of Exceptionals, collectively titled Future Certain, here.
Want to be on the writing team of Exceptionals web series?
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.
You can read more about Abe Rotimi and Dr. Jean Speerel on the Exceptionals series website.
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.
- Interview 7 – click the link to read more.
- Donald and Abe speak with Dr. Speerel in Interview 10 (not written). Donald sympathizes with Dr. Speerel and Abe is bothered by her.
- Somewhere around Interview 20, Donald and Abe have a falling out regarding ethics (not written). Abe leaves to join Brynne Vaness and less morally-challenged exceptionals’ advocates.
- Donald continues the interviews alone.
- Interview 24 – click the link to read more.
- 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:
- Gloria Ramirez, “The Toxic Lady”
- The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic
- Genie, The Feral Child
- HeLa Cells
- Contagious Cancer
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.
- Submit your scripts to Full Brain Films contact page.
- You may submit more than one script.
- 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!