Backgrounders: Fear and Loathing on the E-List by Timothy Shireman | Script Revolution

Backgrounders: Fear and Loathing on the E-List

Pilot: During an eventful first day as a film extra, a teacher has a brush with celebrity and unwittingly plays a pivotal role during an on-set crisis.



Page Count: 



Age Rating:


BACKGROUNDERS is a half-hour sitcom following an unlikely group of accidental friends.

Format - 30 minute television series
Genre - ensemble workplace comedy
Logline - A diverse group of extras form a dysfunctional family to navigate the absurd & often surreal world of TV/film production in Atlanta

COMMUNITY meets EXTRAS. This impromptu 'work-family' of talented misfits serves as an emotional support system for our troop, while actively encouraging its individual members to pursue their own dreams. Come join our colorful cast of underdogs as they embark on an epic quest for fortune and fame in the cutthroat Bizarro World of the entertainment industry. The idea for the series was born during many months spent booking gigs as a background actor in Atlanta, where I witnessed more than enough compelling drama, ruthless ambition & unexpected hilarity to provide source material for many seasons to come.

Background talent resides at the bottom of the food chain in this dog-eat-dog media landscape. They don't get starring roles, invites to flashy Hollywood premieres, or even decent food. Yet most remain undaunted, upbeat & optimistic, generally being supportive & looking out for one another. Attending a 'cattle call' casting provides some truly World-Class people watching. Once the horde invades, the vast white tent fills with hundreds of would-be actors of every conceivable age, race, sexuality, income, & religion. Digging deeper, I found a unique community of fascinating individuals, a multicultural tribe of colorful personalities sharing their artistic trials, tribulations & triumphs. All doing their level best to overcome the roadblocks & challenges familiar to nearly all aspiring creatives. After many long hours on set & languishing in holding for paltry wages, what has remained with me is an appreciation for the warmth, humor & essential goodness of my fellow extras. We share a familial camaraderie born out of shared experiences good & bad, all for the sake of a moment's fleeting fame. There are 10 principal & several ancillary characters that will reappear periodically throughout the season. Loosely based on people I've met during my time on set, these are their (made-up) stories.

Submitted: January 8, 2022
Last Updated: February 7, 2023

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

Timothy Shireman's picture

The Writer: Timothy Shireman

There are some who call me Tim. A pre-WGA scribe who hails from a far-off, desolate wasteland known as New Jersey. After two decades in Atlanta, my Philly roots are now sunk deep in the Georgia clay. Having spent the last 15 years as a graphic designer and production artist, I decided to try something completely different & took up screenwriting. Making the creative jump has been a challenging yet rewarding transition. With a renewed sense of artistic freedom, I've dedicated myself to learning the craft of storytelling. A true genre fanatic, I was raised by the Horror section of Blockbuster. My cinematic pedigree & irreverent sense of humor give my work a unique sensibility. I hope... Go to bio

More Scripts From Timothy

Bad Foodie: Part Two
Our hero has bitten off more than he can chew in his quest for Hollywood stardom, & secrets are exposed when a televised food fight with his nemesis gets personal.
Feature Comedy For sale 107pp
1 reader loves this script
Invasive Species (sample)
Capt. Zach Burton thought his crew had seen it all. Wrong. To keep a biological weapon out of enemy hands, these American heroes will need a planeload of grit, gadgets, and maybe a gizmo...
Feature Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror Example of work only 15pp
1 reader loves this script
Bad Foodie: Part One
A cynical food show host shares bawdy tales of his celebrity past & risks gastronomic disaster while filming a new TV series that could save his career.
Feature Comedy For sale 83pp
1 reader loves this script
The Genesis Strain (SAMPLE)
A veteran discovers an ancient cannabis strain and must stop a ruthless CEO from patenting it's DNA. When legalization is overturned, she flees to the mountains and uses her combat skills to battle mercenaries.
Feature Action, Thriller For sale 5pp
Shock Collar (SAMPLE)
An underachieving pet sitter suspects his client's neighbor is a serial killer and must solve the case himself ​or risk becoming the next victim.
Feature Comedy, Mystery, Thriller For sale 11pp
How to Make a Killing Online (SAMPLE)
Podcasters at a true crime convention risk their show & their lives when a prominent Ripperologist is slain by a killer seeking to ensure that the Whitechapel Murders remain unsolved.
Feature Comedy, Horror, Mystery Example of work only 5pp
The Admiral
A musician chasing a record deal in the 90's finds himself immersed in a seedy underworld of sex, drugs, and violence when he takes a job as a strip-club bouncer in America's Most Dangerous City.
Feature Biography, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Music For sale 101pp
Profound & Absolute (SAMPLE)
In this tense revenge thriller, a terminally-ill killer serving a life sentence faces prison justice and a new cellmate who harbors a dark secret of his own.
Short Crime, Drama, Film-Noir Example of work only 6pp
Aspen Grove 2 (SAMPLE)
To find her missing father, a young woman must infiltrate the exclusive Northwoods Estate: An historic private hunting lodge for the power elite, where the perks are infinite but the dues are murder.
Feature Action, Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller Example of work only 10pp
Heavy: a tale of Rock n Roll redemption (SAMPLE)
In a time of big hair & bigger dreams, five streetwise rockers pursue fortune and fame. With stardom in sight, one fateful night will change their lives forever.
Feature Comedy, Drama, Music Example of work only 8pp
Rapunzel (SAMPLE)
You know the story, but this is no fairy tale. A young woman is kidnapped by a delusional admirer. To escape, Barbara must piece together fragments of her captor's shattered mind.
Feature Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller Example of work only 3pp
Red White & Doomed (SAMPLE)
At this relaxing weekend retreat, nothing is what it seems. Election season may be over, but for these political animals, the stakes are life and death.
Feature Action, Comedy, Thriller Example of work only 14pp
Watery Grave (sample)
As Bishop's Crossing celebrates it's bicentennial, it's founder's sins are revealed. Once the murders begin, an unlikely pair must stop the killings, exposing a tale of revenge from the days of the Underground Railroad.
Feature Thriller Example of work only 11pp
Aspen Grove
In 1845 Montana, a dangerous mountain man crosses paths with a Native American family and escapes justice for his crimes, only to face ravenous skinwalkers & the legendary Wendigo.
Episode Adventure, History, Horror, Thriller, Western For sale 61pp