The Disciple Program/ Hyperdrive/Orphan’s Dawn

OK, let’s talk about scripts. I mean, if you want to write them, you have to read them. Science fact. I’ve been working hard at my day job, so I have to fit in reading on the subway ride there and back. Basically the most uncomfortable environment known to man or farm animal. A New York City subway car in rush hour is the nadir of civilization and people don’t even give you enough room to hold a Kindle DX, but I persevere because I want to win an Oscar.


The spec script everyone’s been talking about for the last few weeks. Uncovered and championed by Carson Reeves at Scriptshadow, it received major attention and now writer Tyler Marceca is signed to WME. It all happened in the blink of an eye.

The script is fantastic. It’s purposeful and muscular, every scene has a dramatic element to it and the opening ten pages make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The story is basically a version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, but it’s so well told it’s never anything less than riveting. (This goes back to what I was saying last week about execution.)

A couple of nitpicks are that it’s a little overwritten, a twist shows itself way too early and it doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the opening scenes. But they really are nitpicks. This script has already inspired me a great deal. Congratulations to Tyler, the talented swine.


Pretty solid sci-fi spec by Morgan Jurgenson and David Daniels about a famous author (who’s also a huge nerd) getting caught up in an intergalactic war exactly like the one he writes about in his books.

The tone is really flimsy, and the characters are a bit stock for my liking. They’re ‘playing’ with ‘genre conventions’. There’s a grizzled cop and his partner, an annoying wimpy sci-fi fan, a hot girl from space and some ugly space heavies. It plays out exactly how you imagine – it’s like MEN IN BLACK/GALAXY QUEST/ROUNDTABLE. Like I said, solid, but not inspired.


Epic original sci-fi by Josh Friedman. This is a weird one. It seems like it’s adapted from a set of revered novels, but it’s all original. It’s about a man who is ostracised from his people on a city floating in space, left to live the life of a wandering something. I forget what. He must help a woman who will lead the ship to a new planet and start a new life for the millions of inhabitants. So basically, the plot of WALL-E.

Very well written, he’s got an awesome voice (though I’m not a fan of the asides to the reader), and it’s densely plotted and sharply realized. The one thing that confused me was near the end, a long scene involving a tightrope walk and grappling hooks attached to the sky of the city (the sky is made of fabric). It’s not bad, it’s just a really odd moment – he lives in a city that has giant anti-gravity drives and yet there’s no such thing as a jetpack and he’s jumping around like Cirque du Soleil. Still, it’s commendable madness to write this on spec and expect it to get made, but it’s so ambitious I see why it sold.

11 Responses to The Disciple Program/ Hyperdrive/Orphan’s Dawn

  1. By Nathaniel, August 2, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Hi, is there any chance that you could email me the Orphan’s Dawn script or tell me where I might find a copy? I really enjoyed Josh Friedman’s other work (The Sarah Connor Chronicles in particular), and I’ve been looking for the Orphan’s Dawn script for years. Your site has the only recent mention of it since ~2005.

    Thank you

  2. By James, August 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Sure, drop me an email – james(at)crashlander(dot)com

  3. By Nick, November 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Do you have a copy of THE DISCIPLE PROGRAM? Have been looking all over for it. Would love to read it.

  4. By brian, August 15, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Any possibility of reading that Orphan’s dawn script? Sounds like a good read.

  5. By James, August 15, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Check your email.

  6. By strahinja, April 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Hi James!

    I’m looking for Orphan’s Dawn for ages. Do you still have the script? Please send if you can!

    Thanks in Advance

  7. By Kenny, July 20, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Hi James, would love to read Orphan’s Dawn if you’ll kindly share it. I learn best by reading what sells big and draws a critical acclaim from sites like this one. Thanks

  8. By James, July 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm


  9. By Vinny, August 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Any chance I can get a copy of Orphan’s Dawn sent to me? I was a huge fan of Sarah Connor Chronicles and I would really like to see what a Josh Friedman spec looks like. Thanks!

  10. By dylan, January 7, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Your review of The Hunter is terrible…Willem Defoe puts on what is by far his best performance ever…his acting alone makes this movie worth watching….im so happy that i paid the 7 bucks for this film…now that ive seen it i wouldve easily paid 20 or more

    • By James, January 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Willem Defoe is awesome. The movie just felt a little aimless. Glad you liked it though, you’re definitely not the only one.

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