Winning COMEDY TV PILOT Screenplay – EMMETT IN PEOPLELAND, by Larry Hankin

October 2016 Winning Comedy Short Screenplay.

Written by Larry Hankin
Read 10 Questions with the writer


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
EMMETT – Hugh Ritchie
RUSTY – Cass Van Wyck
MRS. B – Becky Shrimpton
CARMELA – Jane Smythe
OFFICER BUDD – Paul Whitaker
OFFICER LEW – Percy Alexander Harris
EDDIE/ROBBIE – Benjamin Camenzuli


Genre: Crime, Mystery, Adventure, Comedy

A Crime Comedy: A Homeless Gentleman in Venice, CA, sets out to help a friend accused of stealing a diamond ring, only to become the prime suspect in the theft.

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your TV series about?

It’s about how it’s possible to build your dream with just what you got inside and what’s available outside, but emotions and other people don’t work like that.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

3 reasons: A. Because it’s got a particular voice not out there. “Emmett”, the central character, is eccentric, homeless, and believes he’d make a great detective: a combination which allows him to use his eccentric “Illogic” and guilelessness to screw-up the “Logic” and Injustices of The Powerful, The Greedy, The Dishonest, and The Bullies that dare prey on the people who live in Emmett’s neighborhood: The Boardwalk, Beach, Alleyways, and Canals of Venice, California.

B. Basically, the hero – Emmett Sagittarius Deemus – sees himself, not as “a homeless window washer”, but as, “A Homeless Detective” – a Contributor to his Community. His enemies are Chance, Bad People, and Logic: a unique viewpoint for a TV show. “Sanford & Son” gave A Sly Old Junkman a voice. I think it’s time to give A Homeless Detective A Voice.

C. The “Columbo-type” detective structure (“Who dunit?” or “How did they do it?”) is needed for the particular solving-a-puzzle-or-crime narrative because you need time to get the audience involved in wondering “Who” or “How” along with Emmett. Plus: Columbo looked like he could have been homeless. Emmett just takes it there.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Very Funny.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?


How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Screenplay (Teleplay) – 3 months. The character,”Emmett Sagittarius Deemus”, that the screenplay’s about: eight years.

How many stories have you written?

Around 30 – from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. All about Emmett.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I wanted to understand the problems and gifts of the longer form narrative. The main gift was, I was able go more deeply into Emmett and what makes him tick.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Anything that stops me from getting it done- finito, typo’s and all; finding the time; making the time, protecting the time once I found it, and showing up regularly & constantly at the keyboard till it’s really ready. There’s no way around “Grit”.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Making films from the things I write with friends and others of like mind. Being outside riding my bike and not typing.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Simple synchronicity. I’d just finished it and wanted feedback. I gave it to a friend who read it and liked it and the same day I got an email saying you had a contest that gave feedback – so I entered. When it came, I got the sense the reader “got” the story. And I agreed with the feedback and notes. I thought making the changes would make it better. Easier to read. More direct. Cut two characters. I made the changes and it made it better. Cool.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

What I’ve been told seems to work: Read good screenplays in your genre or field. Write until you find your voice. Copy till it you get original. Be original. Writing a good, solid, finished screenplay is hard but finding an agent might be harder.


Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editing: John Johnson


By comedyfestival

Film and Writing Festival for Comedy. Showcasing best of comedy short films at the FEEDBACK Film Festival. Plus, showcasing best of comedy novels, short stories, poems, screenplays (TV, short, feature) at the festival performed by professional actors.


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