Private Project

"My Psychic Life"

Filmed in the mockumentary style of "Parks and Recreation" — with a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" reverence for everyday madness — "My Psychic Life" takes us behind the scenes of a self-made realty TV show, tracking the life of a lovably eccentric (and, perhaps, clinically disturbed) psychic: Saige Winters.

Intended as a showcase for Saige's supernatural gifts, the show quickly becomes a window into the lives of her clients, her rivalries with New Age peers, her seemingly doomed quest for a boyfriend, and the everyday adventures of a gifted "sensitive" living in one of the most insensitive cities in the world.

  • Carla Briscoe (Writer)
  • Suzanne Smith (Concept/Story)
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Carla Briscoe (Writer), Suzanne Smith (Concept/Story)

A Tisch Merit Scholar and graduate of NYU (B.F.A, M.A.), Carla studied improv and sketch writing with several of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), attending classes on both coasts. A regular performer with the group "Livestock" at the People's Improv Theatre, she was also one of the original cast members of Stephen Ruddy's critically acclaimed "Gravid Water " — one of the longest running  (and still running) shows at the UCB.

After completing advanced studies with the UCB, she apprenticed with the award-winning Labyrinth Theater Company in 2007; Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz then acting as Co-Artistic Directors. Later that year, her play “The Lie Down" became a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting.

A former Teaching Artist with the Women's Project, Carla oversaw writing and performance workshops with the formerly incarcerated in programs sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation, devising the play "The Life" from the writings of sex workers to raise funds for continued programming. One of her current projects, “Released: Life After Prison”—an episodic documentary—will use the personal narratives of the formerly incarcerated to examine the systemic and policy based issues that often lead to recidivism. Relative to this endeavor, she recently completed coursework at the Maysles Documentary Center in the Spring of 2016.

She is currently the Project Coordinator for the Writers Guild Initiative—working with marginalized and underserved populations—and can be seen performing standup at venues such as Caroline's, the Broadway Comedy Club, Eastville, and The Women in Comedy Festival, among others. More information is available at:

Actress and writer, Suzanne Smith has appeared on television in "Sex and the City," "Law & Order," and in numerous independent films, including "Double Whammy," directed by Tom DiCillo and "Meeting Marty" for the Sundance Channel.

Suzanne has been influenced and inspired by filmmakers and actors who create their own original work, like John Cassavetes, Christopher Guest, and Larry David, and by the work of strong, comedic women, including Roseanne Barr and Bea Arthur.

Suzanne began creating original characters and writing her own material while studying with her teacher and mentor, Wynn Handman, the renowned acting teacher and Artistic Director of the American Place Theater. She is now a part of a writers group led by award-winning playwright, Leslie Ayvazian.

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Writer Statement

In Fall of 2015, Jon Thoday of Avalon Television (Producer of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," "Workaholics," and "Catastrophe") saw an episode of Suzanne Smith's web series, “Saige Winters: My Psychic Life,” and taken with the concept, suggested she write a pilot script.

Suzanne, as creator and star of the show, was accustomed to improvising the series based on several specific conceits and subsequently finding the arc in the editing room. As a result, despite being an extremely capable writer, she was unsure about how she could translate the improvised show to a scripted format, so turned to me—her friend and collaborator.

I had directed and co-directed numerous episodes of the web series, aiding in the development and fleshing out of story ideas, and assisting in the shaping of the final narrative in the editing room—so she trusted and respected my instincts as they related to the show. And given my UCB comedy and writing background, she and I felt confident I could turn out a respectable first draft.

I transcribed the first few pages from an episode of the web series, and then proceeded to write 30 pages of new content—creating characters and situations that felt wholly appropriate to the world Suzanne's series had already established.

In March of 2016 we heard back from one of the heads of scripted development at Avalon, Anna Madley. She raved about the script and told us that they wanted to option it with the hope of developing it into a series.

Shortly after, Suzanne obtained an attorney and negotiations began, shifting the option to a potential shopping agreement at our attorney's request (as the fee to option was low-balling at best, and the term, with renewals, was longer than he felt reasonable)...but five or six months in, things fell apart. Why is difficult to say. Avalon's attorney was replaced during this time...and Anna Madley eventually left too. Perhaps the timing was less than perfect.

Despite this, the interest from Jon, Anna, and Avalon, gave us every confidence in the script and concept for the show...We always thought HBO was the right home for the project. We hope you agree.

Warmest regards,
Carla Briscoe