This Next Year by Mark Violi | Script Revolution

This Next Year

A school shooting survivor now suffering with PTSD, Kate takes employment at a new high school. In crisis herself, Kate fixates on a student suicide but the truth she exposes puts more students at risk.

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Page Count: 
58pp

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Synopsis/Details: 

At a high school in Indianapolis, Kate Gardner (26), begins a normal day by meeting with a female student. A shooting breaks out with a male student gunman wreaking havoc. In a rush of gunfire and blood, he shoots out Kate’s office window injuring a student. Kate, too, suffers a head wound from flying glass. She blacks out.

Months later, Kate announces her intention to take a guidance counselor position at a High School near Philadelphia. Her psychologist confronts Kate about the decision, warning her she suffers from PTSD, still in crisis herself, still healing. Kate promises to continue therapy and the doctor capitulates to the move.

In Pennsylvania, we meet members of the Pope family. Ben (17) is anticipating a big year, sure his baseball skills will be noticed by pro scouts. Jess (14) shops for a sexy top she knows her mom would not approve of. But mom, Lisa Pope (40s) is carrying on an affair with her real estate partner, Mike Trechler (50s). Their dad, Barry Pope (40s) is none the wiser.

Arriving in Pennsylvania, Kate is met by teacher and baseball coach Joe Chielli (35) and informed by the hawkish vice principal Heather Brandt (40s) that a female student, Rachel, has recently committed suicide. This has prompted many changes at the school. Including the resignation of the school’s other guidance counselor, meaning Kate will be the only school counselor for now. Kate is also surprised to meet a new principal, Matthews Pride (50s). Impressed with her vigor, Pride encourages Kate, dubbing her a rarity, like a “left-handed unicorn”. But after having a flashback scare in the parking lot and all the unexpected changes, Kate begins to wonder if she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

Also on this day, the Pope kids are having a pool party at their house as a final summer sendoff. We meet more of their friends. Jess’s bestie Kelsey shows up with beer she pilfered from her dad and she catches the eye of Jess’s older brother Ben.

At last able to visit a favorite old eatery, Murray’s Diner, Kate is disheartened to find the place closed and being emptied. A worker underscores to her that “everything is temporary”. Kate grabs the old menu board from the trash pile as a souvenir.

The next day, Kate becomes obsessed with investigating Rachel’s suicide. She begins setting up student interviews bent on uncovering the causes of her death.

At midday, Kate becomes entangled in a student fight. With the fight escalating, a visual trigger pushes Kate into an anxiety attack in front of students and staff. Defeated, Kate tells Pride she just can’t contribute what he needs.

That evening, while video chatting with Ben, Abby reveals Kate’s investigation into Rachel’s suicide. Rattled by the news, Ben deletes an intimate text history between him and Rachel.

Ever petulant, Heather Brandt confronts Kate, warning her she should go back home where she might “get the help she needs”. Never lower, Kate is sure Heather is right. But when a freshman loner named Max comes to check on Kate, he reminds her all troubles are temporary.

Later, Heather begins planning on a replacement for Kate. While consulting with Pride, they find Kate nailing Murray’s former “Open–Please Come In” sign to her office door. She’s here to stay.

After school, everyone begins their evening routines. That night Kate awakens from a flashback nightmare of the shooting. In a stunning turn, the final image is Kate unpacking her licensed handgun placing it on her nightstand.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

THIS NEXT YEAR earned a CONSIDER rating from WeScreenplay TV Content Coverage. Among the comments were: “This is a good pilot, particularly in terms of the ideas and themes at stake. It’s relevant, important, and entertaining.”

THIS NEXT YEAR was selected as a winner in Wildsound's TV Screenplay Festival. Among their comments:
"This is a strong opening for a drama series, a sort of mix between high-school drama and something more serious.
The opening sequence setting up Kate’s character and backstory is absolutely mind-blowing and one of the best
openings I’ve ever read, setting the stage perfectly for the series as a whole"

"It’s very well-written and audiences will be eager to see how Kate’s story develops."

Video: 
2021 Wildsound TV Festival Winning Script – Scene Reading
Submitted: May 25, 2021
Last Updated: August 20, 2021

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The Writer: Mark Violi

Mark Violi has written nine feature film screenplays with three feature film script options to producers in New York and Los Angeles and two scripts entering development deals. The comedy feature WIFF has been optioned to both Page Four Productions and Clear Pictures Entertainment. The comedy feature MOBBED UP has been in development with Starline Films. The drama FROM BEDSIDE is currently in development looking for producing partners. Mark is also co-writer of the feature documentary JOHN HART: PORTRAIT OF A PATRIOT which has completed production in New Jersey. Mark was hired to rewrite the comedy feature PET PROJECT for Millennium Films. Additionally, Mark has had two stage dramas... Go to bio

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