BOTS - Pilot (Black Out the Sky)

Logline: During a world-wide famine, the city of St. John's, NL, finds itself over-run by a massive murder of ravenous crows.

Synopsis: The outbreak of a crop killing fungus has spread unabated through most of Europe and Asia. The government of Canada has pledged support to their European allies by means of grain shipments, and all provinces are mandated to chip in. This mandate has hit the province of Newfoundland and Labrador particularly hard. As rationing becomes necessary, and threats of foreign piracy take hold, an unexpected danger to the crops emerges. A growing murder of crows have become desperate, as they compete with man for the coveted grains. A culling of the crow population push these crafty and social birds to the edge of annihilation. Faced with extinction, the murder descends on the coastal town of St. John's in one final bid for survival.

  • Chris Donald Griffin
    "Mansion of Terror" (short film), "Grow the Fuck Up!" (short film), "A Match Made in Heaven" (short film), "Christmas Stuffing" (short film), "Those Hidden Amongst Us: Bar Tab" (short film), "There can be only One" (short film), "Pillow Fight" (short film).
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Genres:
    science fiction, horror
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Genre Celebration Festival, 2020, Round 1
    Tokyo, Japan
    December 5, 2020
    Nominated for “Best Short Screenplay”
  • Summer in the South Film Festival, 2020
    Atlanta, Georgia
    September 4, 2020
    Nominated for "Best International Screenplay"
  • Southern Horror Film Festival, 2020
    Atlanta, Georgia
    October 31, 2020
    Nominated for “Best Feature Length Horror Screenplay” (40-150 pages)
  • Austin Film Festival - Screenplay and Teleplay Competition
    Austin, Texas
    October 21, 2021
    Dramatic Pilot, second round, top 20%
Writer Biography - Chris Donald Griffin

Back in 2009 I created Angry Bear Film Productions as an entity to produce my films under.

Before anything, I started out performing improv comedy. My goofy imagination eventually branched off into writing, and then filmmaking.

I have written/directed/produced seven short films. I wrote eight feature screenplays, and I co-wrote two other feature screenplays.  In addition to this, I wrote three tv/streaming pilots.

Comedy has always been my niche, but I’m also a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan. My feature screenplays range from dark comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. My screenplays range from ultra-low-budget to sci-fi epic. I write the kind of stories I enjoy watching on screen, and reading in books and graphic novels.

I’ve also been fortune to have worked with some amazing cast and crew over the years, many of which I worked with time and time again. I had some talented and fun writing partners as well.

I also have a background working in film and television as a Lamp Operator in the lighting department. I’m a member of IATSE 891 in Vancouver, and a member of IATSE 873 in Toronto.

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Writer Statement

The pilot for "Black Out the Sky" is based on Chris Griffin's feature screenplay by the same name. One of the challenges of writing the feature, came from the world situation I built into the backdrop of the story, as well as exploring the unique culture of Newfoundland, and developing the evolution in the behaviour of the crows.

Crows are a fascinating species of bird. Their social organization, cunning, and problem solving skills go well beyond what one would expect from a bird. I wanted to utilize those unique traits in a "man vs nature" story.

I created the world famine story, and set the pilot in isolated St. John's, so I'd have a human population in a vulnerable enough state, that the crows might be able to gain an upper hand.

Unique to the pilot, is the use of a "future timeline event" that runs a full arch in the pilot episode. This takes place in the tiny Newfoundland town of Trinity. After the climax of the series - the fall of the capital St. Johns - the crows disperse across the province. I wanted to provide readers, of the pilot, with a chilling tale involving these already lethal birds. The "before time" explores what pressures caused these birds to change, and the "after time" shows how deadly they eventually become.