Site can help TV writers get a break
By Jonathan Horn
You might as well call him the scriptkeeper, but his real name is Scott Manville.
He holds the virtual key to more than 2,000 prospective television scripts and concepts from drama to reality series submitted by aspiring writers. They are all in his online database, known as the TV Writers Vault, which the Carmel Valley resident has introduced to more than a hundred production companies and several networks. There are no guarantees, but Manville said it is a way for anyone with a concept to at least put it out there.
"Even though people think that Hollywood is a closed door, it's truly not," he said. "I know from being in the war room with the producers and development executives scrambling for ideas, that when you walk in and you go, 'What about this?' and they fall in love with it, they don't care if it's from a guy in Florida."
But Manville also said getting those executives to even pay attention to a random Floridian's idea can be almost impossible, unless he is connected in some way.
"The network only wants to deal with people they've either worked with, or people they know can actually physically deliver a show," said Manville, who spends much of his time marketing the site to production companies and networks, 168 of which have signed on.
Each gets a free, exclusive login to search the scripts. If one stands out, a producer can ultimately contact the writer to speak further. Burk Lindahl, a Cleveland-based attorney, was one of those writers.
"It's not rocket science; it's getting the connection," he said.
A connection that, for Manville, literally came out of the pool shed. A 24-year-old aspiring writer, he broke into the business while cleaning pools at the Beverly Hilton, living rent-free in the hotel's 100-square-foot pool shed.
"I remember sleeping in there one night while the Golden Globes were taking place literally overhead," he said.
But it was also there that he met the executives of Merv Griffin's entertainment company, whose offices were in the hotel. Manville got to share his writings with many of the administrators, who had already hired him to do household tasks.
"All of a sudden they say, 'Why is this kid running errands, give him an office, let him keep (writing),' " Manville said, after a network showed interest in one of his scripts.
He worked his way into a development position with the Griffin Group, before starting the TV Writers Vault.
"When I look back, I see a lot of struggle, a lot of failure," Manville said. "But that creates just enough opportunity to find the right path for the ounce of success that keeps you going."
The TV Writers Vault can be found at
Jonathan Horn is a freelance writer from La Jolla.