Melissa Pilgrim
            Writer, Editor 

Romantic Comedies  

The Right One (Has Been Optioned Twice)
Laurels: Nicholl's Fellowships Quarter-Finalist, Writer's Network Screenwriting Competition Quarter-Finalist, Illinois/Chicago Screenwriting Competition Semi-Finalist 

* A modern romantic comedy where the twenty-something lead female has to make a major life decision involving her career and long-time love on a ticking clock deadline. 
* Present day. Set mainly in Chicago with a few scenes in New York City. 
* Can be done on a modest budget.

With Bells On

* A “feel-good, opposites attract” romance road picture perfect for the holidays! Features two strong leads, one female, one male, both around thirty. 
* Present day, the week before Christmas. Set between Los Angeles and Maine. 


The Mill  (Revised from early script entitled Choose)  
Laurels: ISA's Horror & Thriller Genre Busting Screenplay Competition Quarter-Finalist 

​* A college age horror with a love triangle being challenged in a mill in the woods. Features well-developed characters and more suspense than gore. Also features a strong female lead in her early twenties with a cast of her senior co-eds (5 female, 5 male, all early twenties). Antagonist is a burly man in his fifties. 
* Present day. Can be done on a modest budget since 80% of it is set at an abandoned mill deep in the Maine woods near a river. Other scenes are mostly interiors in homes, a high school, diner, and movie theatre.

The Bard 

* A supernatural, suspenseful ghost story featuring lead brothers, one in college (early twenties) and one a senior in high school (late teens), along with a cast of both college and high school co-ed friends. Antagonist is an old, petite, eerie-looking male (the last living bard).
* Present day. Takes place on Halloween (The Night of the Living Dead) in a small rural college town in Vermont.
New Horizons  (Dramedy)
Note: Pilot script and series book bible are available.

* Sweet Magnolias meets Gilmore Girls in this feel-good dramedy for both adults and teens that centers on two sisters banning together to save their family's historic Vermont horse farm while raising one of the sister's three kids. Features two strong female leads who play "opposite type" fraternal twin sisters (who turn forty in the first episode). Other leads are a sexy, thirty-something male ranch-hand drifter, a mid-teen athletic heartthrob, a young female teen misfit outsider, and an enchanting young female grade-schooler.
* Present day. Set in a fictional small rural Vermont town. 
* Features a supporting cast of all ages.

Sutherbee's by the Sea  (Dramedy)
Note: Pilot script and series book bible are available.

​* Mix the quirky characters of Northern Exposure and the main female character's aspirations in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and you’re in Boonbay Harbor, Maine; the ritzy little seaport town that’s the setting of this adult dramedy. It features a strong female lead who's just turned fifty and lost her husband---forcing her to now reinvent herself as her three adult children (a successful professional son in his thirties, an unsuccessful artistic son in his late twenties, and an "unsure about the future" daughter in her mid-twenties), each struggle with their own life challenges.
* Present day. Set in a fictional seaside town in Maine.

Dance Hall Girls  (Female-driven Western)
Note: Pilot script, series book bible, and premises for the first 13 episodes are available.​

All having their own reasons for wanting to build a better life, five young, attractive, independent single women of different backgrounds, races, and circumstances live out west in a developing town in Nebraska during the Civil War in 1863 for the chance to obtain their own 160-acre homesteads. That is, if they can all stay single and "head of household" for the next five years based on the actual law stated in the Homestead Act of 1862 for women that mandates it or else they lose everything.

By mixing fictional characters and storylines with actual historical facts and events of this time period, this unique, female-driven western drama series will appeal to the modern audience who enjoys watching strong, attractive female leads make it in a typically male dominated environment. Especially with the very diversified ensemble cast of whites, African-Americans (as freed slaves), Asians, Indians, and different ethnic groups all represented (and each done so according to how they historically would have been treated during this time frame in this new territory).

Producers & Directors:  To discuss a particular project or writing assignment, please contact:   

Available Feature Film and TV Series Projects...
Feature Film Scripts are Available in the Following Genres:
Looking for Theater Scripts for Your Next Production?  
Melissa has many of those too!  Go to: Published Plays


Countdown (Has Been Optioned Once)

* A suspenseful "whodunit" thriller like L.A. Confidential with a strong female lead in her late thirties, a strong female supporting lead in her late teens, and a strong male lead in his forties. 
* Present day/starts on New Year's Eve. Set mainly in Chicago with a couple scenes in Washington D.C. and Boston.

(Based in Los Angeles)
Top 50 Finalist, 2020 
International Screenwriters' Association 
Fast Track Fellowship Contest
Available One-Hour TV Series Scripts & Book Bibles:
        Dance Hall Girls 
   2020 TV Pilot Finalist
Available Half-Hour TV Series: 

           The Airbrush King 
2021 Screenplay Quarter-Finalist
Musical (For Preteens) 

Making the Grade! 

* Grease meets High School Musical in this high energy, relatable ​story where students at a typical midwestern high school learn valuable lessons about staying out of everyone else's business and risking it all by telling the truth. 
* Present day. Set in Chicago at a fictional high school.
* The full book/script for the musical is written with prompts indicating where each of the songs would go (including lyric notes for what they would be about to advance the story). No music is written so the songs can be written specifically for the desired style of production.
* Features a teen cast of "triple threats" who all act, sing, and dance.

Giving (News/Magazine Doc., Reality, Has Been Optioned Once)  

Made in America meets The Wall Street Journal Report

Fact: Billions of dollars, millions of material items, and thousands of hours of people’s time are donated to hundreds of charities and organizations each year. Does any of it make a difference? This intriguing show with heart will set out to uncover when it does and when it doesn’t. 

Melissa has been a Judge in 2 Screenwriting Contests: 
CineStory's Screenwriting Competition in Chicago (for 2 years) 
The Kingman Films International Screenwriting Competition in Los Angeles (for 1 year)  

Based on this experience, she wrote the article "12 Simple Tips for Entering Screenplay Contests" to help other writers enter their best work when submitting to competitions. This article has been published in Script magazine,'s newsletter, and Scriptapalooza's newsletter.  

Quarter-Finalist, 2021 
Southern California Screenplay Competition

          Dance Hall Girls 
2021 TV Pilot Quarter-Finalist
2021 Screenplay Quarter-Finalist
Semi-Finalist, 2023
Unique Voices Screenplay Competition
         Dance Hall Girls 
2023 TV Pilot Semi-Finalist
16 Plays Produced
4 Screenplays Optioned
1 TV Series Optioned

The Airbrush King
Laurels: Southern California Screenplay Competition Quarter-Finalist 

* An Adam Sandler-styled comedy perfect for a known, comedic male actor in his fifties and either a known or break-out young, twenty-something male comedic actor who would play his son (who's a recent artsy-type college-grad).
* Set in the late 1980's, mainly in Hampton Beach, N.H. with some scenes in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Our House

A feel-good dramedy with a strong, multi-generational cast like The Family Stone.
* Present day. Set mainly in a small rural town in New Hampshire with a couple scenes in Boston, Chicago, and New York City.
Can be done on a modest budget.

Hollywood Wedding Videos 

* A buddy comedy for two known or break-out young, twenty-something males who are in film school. 
* Present day. Set in the Los Angeles and Malibu area.
Can be done on a modest budget.