the writing of t.j. peters
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t.j. peters is a screenwriter and humorist living in Los Angeles, CA. His feature length and television screenplays have advanced in competition at the Austin Film Festival, Final Draft's Big Break, Bluecat, Screencraft, WeScreenplay, and others. His prose, poetry, and essays have been published by UCLA's Journal of the Arts, Rattle, Anomalous Press, Those People, The Higgs Weldon, and his mother's refrigerator.


feature length screenplays

(all scripts below are available to read upon request)

Muddy

Muddy [family shorthand for "mother" (late 70s, a worrier, suffering from dementia)] goes on an epic adventure through her own delusions-- joining forces with the Aflac duck; doing battle on the set of the Hollywood Squares; escaping the clutches of the evil Nurse Louise-- in an effort to regain one last moment of lucidity. Meanwhile, her adult daughters (Patty, Rosemary, & Molly) deal with the real-life struggles of moving Muddy into an assisted living facility, which in its own way seems detached from reality.

TONALLY AKIN TO: The cerebral dramedy of Eternal Sunshine meets the surreal, silly adventure of The Goonies

GENESIS: When my maternal grandmother was suffering from dementia, she often saw things that weren't there. Sometimes she almost seemed to be living in a different place and time altogether, visiting old friends, having meaningful encounters with celebrity strangers, and the like. At one point my mother said to me, "I just hope she's having a good time in there." My goal with Muddy is to take the viewer on an adventure through the "good time"-- a surreal journey of self-reflection-- while simultaneously grounding the story in the real-life comedy and drama that is dealing with a loved one afflicted with this almost incomprehensible ailment. 

 

Looking Up and Coming Down: The Legacy of Walter Strink

Walter “Wally” Strink, a conservative billionaire living on a massive estate in central Iowa, has his life rattled when an unexplainable beam of light from outer space descends on his property, drawing in government agencies, media, and vagabonds to his doorstep.

TONALLY AKIN TO: Birdman meets Up, but add a billionaire and an alien laser

GENESIS: For years, I've joked that if the big one was coming—the asteroid, the doomsday device, the world-ender—that I'd want to be right at the point of impact so I could throw a punch at it. When translating this idea into a character, I thought to myself, What kind of man would have this mindset? He'd have to be protective, stubborn, and a bit of an egotist. He'd have to have nothing to lose. He'd have to fear nothing. I ended up putting all these characteristics together, and then I gave him 30 billion dollars. I introduce you to Wally Strink.

 

To Elsewhere

Dave and Nelson, two friends drowning in their stagnant lives, decide to try and shake things up by attending Elsewhere, a four-day, off-the-grid festival in the northern Nevada desert.

TONALLY AKIN TO: Wedding Crashers meets The Hangover, at a rave in the desert

GENESIS: If it’s not obvious from the logline (or if you’re unfamiliar with the annual event) the setting of this script is inspired by Burning Man, which I have attended the last four years. This bizarre festival lends itself to a kind of self-exploration and vulnerability that has yet to be seen in a big screen comedy, and I think it’s time we take and audience there. As described by a character in the script, “It’s like Disney World for adults. Except all the rides are built in a week. And the attendees are also the employees. And instead of that big golf ball thing there’s an Orgy Dome.”


television screenplays

It's Boring Being a Hitman

Gordy Orton, 29, is a socially inept, nearly friendless man living in folksy, suburban Hickory Hollow, Illinois. As if that wasn’t tough enough on his psyche, he hates his job. For nearly a decade, Gordy has been a professional assassin, covertly murdering people for a shadowy agency, and it’s time to move on. Easier said than done.

TONALLY AKIN TO: FX’s BASKETS and AMC’s BETTER CALL SAUL

NETWORK/PLATFORM TARGETS: Cable; premium; streaming platform

MATERIALS AVAILABLE: Pilot script; One sheet

 

Canvass

Tyler, 23, a college dropout with a chip on his shoulder, joins the street canvassing team for a small environmental advocacy startup, SoCalEco. Through strange interactions during daily canvassing, politics and romance at the office, and events/protests sponsored by the environmental group, Tyler and his co-workers struggle to find the greater good in society and in themselves. Got a minute to save the planet?

TONALLY AKIN TO:  HBO’s SILICON VALLEY with a lil’ HIGH MAINTENANCE

NETWORK/PLATFORM TARGETS: Cable; streaming platforms

MATERIALS AVAILABLE: Pilot script; 10 page dev packet; One sheet

 

The Only American

James Johnson (25, ethnically ambiguous, has never fit into any social group) is an adopted son who has literally zero knowledge of his lineage. When James takes an at-home genealogy test, he is bewildered to find the results are totally inconclusive. Soon, the whole country is. James becomes a national phenomenon. He is the man with no ancestry, no origins to point to other than where he was presumably born. He is, by all measurable data, the only true, native American.

TONALLY AKIN TO:  NETFLIX's MASTERS OF NONE and NBC's THE GOOD PLACE 

NETWORK/PLATFORM TARGETS: Digital platforms looking for short-form mini-series

MATERIALS AVAILABLE: One sheet; Series outline


prose/poetry/essays

"How to Land an Incel" // Lady Pieces

"Gnat Slayer" // Trop Magazine

"I hate being a white guy" // Those People

"The Blue Border" // Anomalous Press (Come As You Are Anthology)

"Bomb Cyclone" // Poets Reading the News

"Black Pete: A Holiday Miracle" // Those People

"An Honest Thanksgiving Prayer" // The Bigger Picture

"HotelReview.com - Stay Where You Are, Which Is Here" // Rattle

"Transplanting" // Westwind, UCLA's Journal of the Arts

"The Journals of Old Man Marley, The South Bend Shovel Slayer" // BullshitIST

"Keel Day" // No Extra Words

"Ghosts Don't Answer the Phone" // Unbroken Journal

"A Pop Song by Justin Bieber" // Festival Peak

"Baskets" // Poets Unlimited

"Two Poems" // The Blackstone Review

"7 Deadly Sins Only 90s Kids Will Be Smote by God for Committing" // The Higgs Weldon

More of t.j.'s work can be found on his Medium account.


videos

Live Storytelling

"Rory Cleveland Does Not Exist" @ The Pack Theater

"The Groin Routine" @ The Comedy Central Stage 

 

Shorts & Sketch Comedy

"It's Only Temporary" // Writer/Director

"The Night of Joe" // Writer/Director

"Passed Out" // Writer/Director

"Uhmaway" // Writer/Director

"Grandsons of Anarchy" // Writer

"Inside the Screenplay - JAWS" // Writer/Director

"Broz Icing Bros Icing Bros" // Writer

"My Finest Piece" // Director/DP

"CJSB" // Writer/Director

"Zooey's NoPhone" // Writer

"The Other Guy" // Director

"When the Fuck Is Easter" // Writer

Directing Reel