On… Filthy Liar


I never enter competitions. I don’t play the lottery, I don’t play board games, I don’t play badminton or tennis or croquet, I don’t play poker, I don’t throw any hats into any rings, ever.

Until at the end of last year, the WGA announced they were holding a competition to win fellowships with TV showrunners. “That’s what I need!” I thought to myself. “This is what I want to do with the rest of my life, this is reason I moved my tiny family to the USA. But I can’t just keep selling things and hoping they get made, because that’s a 1 in 100 chance. I need to learn from a real live professional showrunner, to ask them advice on a writer-to-writer basis. I need this.”

Because that’s the strange thing about being a fledgling screenwriter. I have been doing it for three years now, more or less, since my fifth and (probably) final book was published. I sold a movie script to New Regency, a TV show to ABC network, I had two TV shows in development with WB and Universal last year, I just sold a spec called RELATIVITY to Universal with a blind deal, I’m pitching more shows and movies and doing everything you’re supposed to do… but nothing has been produced, and moreover, I don’t know ANY professional working screenwriters. None. Not one. Bizarre, right?

So I sent in a spec I wrote last year, FILTHY LIAR. (Basic premise: A cocky British illegal immigrant will do whatever it takes to stay, survive and prosper in NYC. Kind of an updated Vanity Fair, with shades of Holly Golightly.) I figured I might get an interview, might get through to the last 100, the last 30, the last 10… and I did.

In fact, I won. Best comedy.

I didn’t just win best comedy. Mine was – apparently – the only script to get a complete score. It’s a goddamn miracle, that’s what it is.

So ANYWAY there’s going to be a staged table read on May 25, here in NYC, professionally cast. If you’re in the city, and you’d like to come, click here! (And cross your fingers that this gets optioned and made into an actual show. Cross them TIGHT.)


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10 thoughts on “On… Filthy Liar

  1. Grace

    Congratulations! I would love to attend but can’t get the link to work to RSVP. Again, congrats!

  2. Karen

    Congratulations! I’m sure it’s hilarious and I hope it gets made. Will they film the read so it can be posted on the web for those of us too far away from NYC to attend?

    1. GemmaBurgess Post author

      Oh thank you, that is so lovely to hear!! Maybe I’ll write more… I do love writing books, but it’s SUCH a solitary life, and I get so tired of the sound of my own (writing) voice…


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