Script File


(PILOT EPISODE) Circa 2010 in Austin, Texas -- A dense, yet well-meaning, young, independently-operated cult movie rental store owner (Sly Donovan) navigates through the complexities and questionable ethics of his personal and professional lives, while struggling not to succumb to his rambunctious, undisciplined store staff.

  • Jesse Dorian
    'SVEN,' 'Morituriosis,' 'The Four Of Us Are Dying,' 'As Scared As You,' ' Donavan Emery, The Android & Himself,' 'She's Never Coming Back'
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Austin Under The Stars Film Festival
    Austin, TX 🇺🇸
    September 7, 2023
    🌟 Official Selection - Best TV Pilot (Long Form)
Writer Biography - Jesse Dorian

Clinically depressed (yet, properly medicated) ADD/bipolar screenwriter/actor/editor/film director/songwriter/composer/musician, community college dropout, with dumb little gothpop music project on the side; also (as of 2022) newly a small e-commerce business owner, and apparel designer (LostScorpion/LostScorpion Apparel).

Endgame is to station in Los Angeles and focus on acting and music. Would also excel as a writer/actor, and would ideally fit in writing/producing/directing independent projects for distributors A24, NEON... with long-time mainstream prospects including creation of/writing/producing/directing franchise and world-building feature film projects for Universal Studios.

Has 2 rescue cats named Fred and Caramels.

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Writer Statement

I started, and finished the first draft of ‘Sly’ way back in 2010, when I was living in Austin, Texas.

During the 8 years that I lived in Austin, I had developed a genuine appreciation for both -- the exciting rise of indie filmmaking, and the diverse local music scene that had -- and still have — strongly contributed to the city’s distinct identity.

Although my views of Austin are much different now than they were back then, ’Sly,’ in 2010, had sort-of served as a love letter to ATX; an excuse for me to show off what I loved about the city at the time. Much like Paul Thomas Anderson’s depiction of Los Angeles, Woody Allen’s depiction of NYC, and yes, even Richard Linklater’s depiction of Austin, TX — but of course, with my own spin.

I should probably also mention that ‘Sly’ was originally written to be a feature film. But the problem was — it was far too long to be a feature film; a comedy that was 218 pages. To put it mildly, it would’ve been a tough sell, independently financing production on a 3 1/2 hour - 4 hour theatrical feature film/comedy. And the story I was trying to tell, didn’t warrant a 2nd draft in which I would basically cut the length in half. And so, the draft laid dormant and untouched for a little over a decade.

Deciding to give ‘Sly’ another look in 2023, it immediately made sense what could, and should be done with it. Although it wouldn’t work as a theatrical feature film, it would obviously work now as a TV series. And not just as a pilot episode, but as an entire first season, ideal for a premium format such as Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, Prime, or HBO.

‘Sly’ is, and always has been, a comedy with dramatic elements; and an ensemble with diverse, and infectious characters. The possibilities of what can be done with most of these characters almost seem infinite. Unfortunately, what I believe are the true scene-stealing characters of the series — said characters do not show up until Episode 2 of ‘Sly.’ So, for the pilot, the establishing of the main character, his privately-owned cult video store, and his immediate circle of peers — are the primary focus.

Lastly, while assuming at first, that everything about ‘Sly’ would have to be updated for 2023, I was not enthusiastic about redrafting this story. That was until I realized that — the setting itself, DID NOT have to be updated. The story could serve as a time capsule, of what it was like to live in Austin, in the year 2010.

Tapping into a new era of nostalgia, America was different. Barack Obama was president. Most people didn’t have a smart phone. Compared to now, life was almost simple back then. Only in such a time, could adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s passionately argue about movies, and behave like children while doing so — and back then, the call for mainstream social justice really didn’t need the support of adults like them; or, at least not like it would need them now.

It was a time when the political climate wasn’t so openly aggressive, nor was it as polarizing; and people’s political affiliation almost didn’t matter. In Sly’s world, the movies were the politics, and these characters’ lack of self-awareness in their own self-seriousness, is where I think many of the jokes shine the brightest… or, at least as long as you remember — what world they lived in.

Copyright Registration Number:
PAu 4-188-455