• The Great Nothing
  • Cesar Vitale
  • Black List Hit List Set Up 2017 Available
  • 86
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Details
Market April 13, 2017    Sold February 15, 2018
Agent Adam Perry, Debbie Deuble-Hill (APA)
3-2018 - Financier not disclosed at this time. Came to the project after it won the Nicholl and placed 9th on annual 2017 Black List. Untitled Entertainment reps the writer as of 2018.
Loglines
A grieving thirteen-year-old girl hires a terminally ill, acerbic philosophy professor to prevent flunking the seventh grade. What begins as a homework assignment blossoms into an unlikely friendship and a new appreciation for life that neither will forget.
When a thirteen-year-old enlists the help of a terminally-ill, nihilistic philosopher to help her pass the seventh grade, they discover new things about each other and themselves that ultimately lead to a fulfilling friendship and experience
After her mother's death, a thirteen-year-old girl must hire a nihilistic philosophy professor with a terminal illness to stop her from failing the seventh grade.
A teenaged girl comes to terms with her own mortality through the influence of a nihilist philosopher who helps her pass the seventh grade.
Format
Genres
Children, Comedy, Drama, Black Comedy, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Teen, Addiction, Alcoholism, Contemplative, Daughter, Death, Drugs, Dysfunctional Family, Education, Father/Daughter, Fatherhood, Female Protagonist, Friends/Friendship, Grief, Heartwarming, Illness, Mother/Daughter, Parenthood, Philosophical, Pregnancy, Slice of Life, Student
Pages
109
Rated
R
Budget
Medium
Lead
F White 13 Average
Similar
Beginners, Is Anybody There?, Wit, Restless, Breaking Bad, Leon: The Professional, About A Boy, True Grit, Dead Poet's Society, The Fault in Our Stars
When
Present, A few weeks, With a flash forward to a month of so later.
Where
Mostly in an LA suburb, which includes a graveyard, university classroom and hallways, bachelor's apartment, city park, middle school classroom, suburban home (living room, bedroom, office), church, interiors of cars, a lamaze class, and hospital room. One scene in a house in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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Synopsis
JUNE MORGAN (13) visits her mothers grave and tells her “mother” about a dream from the night before where she was perpetually repeating the 7th grade. Meanwhile, COOPER (50s) a university professor, gives a lecture on post-modern nihilism and the study of Dan Hopkins’ “The Great Nothing.” A Bum, DANIEL (40s) sits in on the class and contradicts Cooper’s claim that there is still joy and meaning to be found in life. After class, a student pulls Daniel aside and asks for his autograph—she recognizes that he’s actually DAN HOPKINS (40s) the author of the book.

That night, Dan goes through old emails in his apartment. Among them is a message from an alleged baby-mama with photos of a baby’s ultrasound. Dan deletes this email and all the others and does heroin. The next morning, Dan is awoken by CRUSTY (14), his heroin dealer, at the door. Crusty’s has a new batch for Dan, but when Dan admits he doesn’t have the cash, Crusty refuses to give him any of the narcotics. The next day, Dan bums around a city park. He notices a flyer for a math tutor and gets the idea to advertise his own philosophy/poli-sci tutoring services. He...
Reader 1 Comments
OVERALL (Recommend)
‘The Great Nothing’ follows the relationship between a terminally ill nihilist philosopher and the thirteen year old that enlists his help to pass the seventh grade. Overall, the premise is interesting as it is a drama that explores many questions about the human condition: what would you do if you only had so long to live and all your beliefs led to you believe that it’s meaningless? What if you found some things that made life feel meaningful? The characters are unique - Dan and June are a real odd couple. The conflict is great - terminal illness has been explored in other films but ‘The Great Nothing’ does it in a new way. Individual parts of the premise are unoriginal but the combination of the elements is new and fresh. The craft is descriptive and easy to follow....
Reader 2 Comments
OVERALL (Recommend)
In this low concept dramedy, a young girl hires a nihilistic philosophy professor with a terminal illness to help her pass the seventh grade after her mother's death causes her to lose all interest and motivation in school. What starts as a business arrangement, ends up being an unlikely friendship between two people who have no one else. It is a captivating premise, which explores themes like the meaning of life and death, grief and morality. The two protagonists are fully developed and their internal struggles with death and loneliness are the root of the interesting main conflict. The tone succeeds in finding the perfect balance between drama and comedy, the writing shows great skill with barely any grammatical errors, and the logic is sound for the most part. The three act structure is followed loosely enough to keep the plot from feeling forced or predictable but close enough to have all the major beats that keep the pace going at a good speed. Its weakness would be its lack of originality since there are several other films with similar tones and subject matter, but the events are not very predictable so they keep it from feeling stale....
Reader 3 Comments
OVERALL (Recommend)
“The Great Nothing” is a philosophical drama that chronicles the internal plight of June Morgan, a teen girl coming to terms with her own mortality after her mother’s death as she befriends Dan Hopkins, a nihilist philosopher and cancer victim who helps her pass the seventh grade. Through their mutual hard times, the two are able to discern what they hope to get out of their time alive on Earth, and are thus able to cause positive change in each other’s lives. The unusual relationship between Dan and June, and the profound consolation they’re able to offer each other, explores a fairly original premise. While June’s age is sometimes not portrayed accurately in her dialogue, the dialogue as a whole is engaging, and covers some fairly profound topics with its philosophical nature. Character arcs are not fully developed, but characters themselves are unique and each offer an interesting perspective. The tone, as well, reflects the quirky nihilism that pervades the premise. Overall, “The Great Nothing” shows potential and would be worthy of consideration for further development....