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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pee Buddies – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Zach Zupke

Pee Buddies by Shane Murphy

A man suffering from a bizarre phobia recruits a coworker to help him overcome his fear.

Man, is there anything worse in life than really, really, really having to pee? I mean, of course there’s much worse, like being taken hostage, being dismembered or losing your job.

But, for sheer physical and emotional agony, the inability to urinate when nature is calling, er, screaming to stream, is hard to top.

So are the comical moments in Shane Murphy’s short “Pee Buddies,” a story about, er, pee buddies – Don and Glenn. Don’s got urinary issues. He’s also got boundary issues at work because the opening scene finds him in the bathroom discussing his pissues (hopefully I’m the first to coin the phrase) with his young, happy-go-lucky co-worker Glenn.

            GLENN
Don.

            DON
I’m begging you. Two minutes
of privacy.

            GLENN
You can do this, buddy.

            DON
One minute?

            GLENN
Let’s just try again.

            DON
Why are you torturing me?

            GLENN
It’s not torture, it’s therapeutic.
A licensed therapist told you to do
this. Now get over here.

And they’re off (so to speak)! But nothing’s coming out, except genuine LOLs on every page as the momentum, suspense and pressure builds. Glenn even resorts to urinating next to him – really peeing there for Don.

            DON
     (annoyed)
Really?

            GLENN
It’s for your own good. This isn’t
so bad, is it?

            DON
This is my nightmare.

            GLENN
Come on, the hard part is over.
You’re standing next to me,
your unit is out—

            DON
Stop saying unit!

You won’t stop smiling the rest of the way through Murphy’s story of a workplace thera-pee session gone very, very bad for Don and Glenn, but quite entertaining for the rest of us…and a co-worker who walks into the bathroom, unbeknownst to Don and Glenn.

I’m thinking Jack Black and Will Ferrell would be splendid choices to play Glenn and Don, respectively. If they’re not available, the right director could certainly pull the necessary performances out of any capable actors.

Pee Buddies” needs to be produced – if anything just so the marketing tag can be “Pee Buddies – streaming now!

Budget: Um, a bathroom. Two main actors with two “units” – though not necessarily on camera, please!

About the writer: Shane Murphy is a writer and comedian from Toronto, Canada. For contact information and stand-up dates please visit shanemurphy.org.

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. Zack was a latch-key kid (insert “awww” here) whose best friend was a 19-inch color television (horrific, he knows). His early education (1st grade on) included watching countless hours of shows like “M*A*S*H,” “Star Trek” and “The Odd Couple” and movies like “The Godfather,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall.” Flash forward to present day and his short “The Confession” was recently produced by Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. He’s currently working on a futuristic hitman thriller with a partner and refining a dramedy pilot perfect for the likes of FX. You can reach Zack at zzupke “at” yahoo.

Read Pee Buddies (9 pages in pdf format)

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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Afraid of the Dark – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Afraid Of The Dark by Paul Clarke

In a world over-run by electricity-consuming monsters, only one source of power remains…

The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The War Of The Worlds,  Cloverfield, The Thing…

Notice a common theme? That’s right – monsters. In all their slimy, shape-shifting, slamming, shrieking, marauding glory. A few other films with monsters that leave a lasting impression: Alien, The Day of The Triffids, The Fly, and that granddaddy of all monster flicks (recently remade) – the 1954 classic, Godzilla.

The creation of the monster/creature feature has long held our attention. As a genre, Science Fiction and in particular ‘end of the world’ scenarios gained renewed popularity following World War II and the advent of the Cold War, when the combined fears of foreign occupation and the threat of global annihilation by nuclear weapons entered the public consciousness.

In Afraid Of The Dark Paul Clarke creates a unique monster of his own imagination. Cleverly combining elements of sci-fi, horror, and heart-pumping action, with a cursory nod to The Matrix and sub-genre cyberpunk, the story is set against that perennial crowd-pleasing backdrop of a post-apocalyptic ruin – burning waste, burned out cars, weeds, no electricity…

We open on a darkened room in the dead of winter. A conversation takes place between a young woman and a child, both of them huddled over their only source of light and heat, a solitary tungsten bulb. But this bulb is not connected to a cord and it’s not plugged into the wall. Instead we’re given a rather startling and surreal image. The bulb is connected to a writhing and pulsating black blob. And that blob is locked inside a cage.

The bulb is just about to go out. And for the remaining survivors now forced to live in lockdown, it appears time is running out.

Cue our protagonist and the female narrator of the tale and her retelling of how the beast came to be:

            WOMAN (V.O.)
No one knows where they came from.
Some say a meteorite. Some say from
deep under the Earth. Others even
believe they’re something we cooked
up in a lab.

Whatever this monster is, and wherever it came from, there’s no doubt it is nightmare inducing… a formidable monster with a selective appetite.  Appetite for what? Well, you’ll just have crack this one open to find out.

Let’s just say the hunter is about to become the hunted. The remaining survivors are going to have to use the one element in the beast’s arsenal that they now need to survive – the beast himself.

Afraid Of The Dark is a richly layered and allegorical tale with a specific cautionary message about our reliance on energy and technology.

Filmmakers: Want to jumpstart your sci-fi/horror short-film career? Well, this one has the spark and surge you’ve been waiting for, and the power to leave audiences with a long lasting impression.

Budget: Mid-range. You want a decent budget to do this right. But trust us – this one’s worth it!

About the writer: Paul Clarke is an Australian based screenwriter who works as a cinema manager by day and paid coverage writer by night. His success so far has included a top 10 place in the Writer’s Store Industry Insider competition. And is currently working on a selection of short, feature, and pilot scripts. He can be reached at paul.clarke.scripts “AT” gmail

About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

Read Afraid Of The Dark – (13 pages in PDF format)

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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Original Script Sunday for May 21st - posted by Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are fifteen scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Art’s Tattoo Removal – Short Script (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Art’s Tatto Removal (13 pages in PDF format) by Mark Lyons

A retired hitman takes a job from an old employer in his new profession; slicing tattoos off people’s skin and selling them as artwork.

Originality is quite often the bane of a writer’s daily existence. Conceiving a story that hasn’t been seen before with an exciting premise and a neat twist is no mean feat.

Mark Lyons nails the brief with Art’s Tattoo Removal injecting style and colour (pun intended) into his story with more than a passing nod to crime noir and some of its tried and true conventions.

Told from the subjective point of view of the main character, an anti-hero with a jaded attitude but just the right amount of cockiness, the story effectively utilizes a wonderfully droll voice over and employs clever narrative time jumps, just to keep you on your toes.

Arthur Lionel, otherwise known as Artie or just plain Art’, is the titular character of the piece.

We begin in prologue then slide back into a little bit of Art’s back-story as he reveals –

            ART (V.O.)
I used to execute people for money…

Hmm, the operative words: ‘used to’. Not anymore apparently…

So, what’s a retired hitman to do when he’s hung up his very selective tools of the trade? Well, Art’s not going to hide his light under a bushel, no siree. He’s going to parlay his unique talents, along with his surgical skills, into another specialized area of work, one with less collateral damage and less potential for damage to the psyche.

Art’s now in the business of Body Art, enjoying a reputation, and a particular brand of skill to rival any of his competitors. So sought after are his talents he’s achieved a monopoly in the trade.

            ART (V.O.)
No one delivers a better,
more carefully removed piece
of flesh art than me.
One scalpel lifts the skin
up as another slices off
the gristle that holds it
to the muscle underneath.

Things are humming along. Good money, clear conscience.

However, when word reaches Art that a former employer has a job for him he’s a little surprised and a lot conflicted. After all the last job he did for Delvecchio didn’t exactly go according to plan.

            ART (V.O.)
I never thought I’d hear from
Vincent Delvecchio again after I
gave him his down payment back for
not killing that mistress. That
was years ago. I was surprised
when I heard he was trying to get
in touch with me.

Art suffered a severe case of the heebie-jeebies, you would too if you knew the circumstances, (you can, if you read the script) and he was unable to follow through.

Still, Art’s pretty sure there’s no bad blood. Or is there…?

Delvecchio has a proposal, one that Art can’t refuse. Deliver a much sought after and highly prized tattoo (Gupta, no less) of da Vinci’s ‘The Vitruvian Man’. This means peeling the skin off the back of its living and breathing host – as you do.

Art’s got one week to deliver, one last big score and one rather nice prize guaranteed. Easy peasy – enough money to retire on permanently. He’s already got his eye on a nice patch of sand and sea.

He’s also got a little ace up his sleeve and some insider information which can’t go astray, or can it?

Art surely wouldn’t dare cross Delvecchio again? Would he?

One thing is for sure, Art’s Tattoo Removal is a story that’s hard to erase from memory and sure to get under your skin.

Filmmakers: Need a little jab in the right direction? Art’s Tattoo Removal delivers the ink that is sure to leave an indelible mark. We think it’s high time you imprinted your own special style on this one. There’ll be no pain, in fact it’ll be a pleasure.

Budget: Low. Though this one surely deserves the best classy/gritty film-noir atmosphere money can buy!

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a four-time award-winning screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, including ‘The Ephesian’, which won Best Drama at the 2015 Austin Revolution Film Festival (which also garnered him a Best Screenplay nomination), and was selected Best Drama for the Cinema Constant 2015. He also penned Best Film award-winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’ at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He was also nominated for a Best Screenplay award at the 2016 Action on Film Festival. Currently, Mark is teaming with writer Sharon Day and producer Justin Colon to co-produce the feature film ‘Lords and Harvesters’, set to film in Summer, 2018. He can be reached at markielyons1107 (a) gmail

About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

Read Art’s Tatto Removal

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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Take Your Last Embrace – Short Script for Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Jansen

Take Your Last Embrace (5 pages in pdf format) by MJ Jermanny

A loving, elderly couple cannot bear to be parted and take matters into their hands with disastrous results.

Love is one of the most popular themes in cinemas – in all of art for that matter. There are stories about falling in love, being in love, losing love… Love is simple, yet complex. Personal, yet universal. Being in love also asks certain questions: “What would you do for love, for the one that you love?”

There’s no question that octogenarians Edmund and Winnie love and care for each other. But love can’t slow Winnie’s encroaching Alzheimer’s or give Edmund the strength to leave his wheelchair. Their children’s arguments for seeking out nursing homes go ignored since it means Edmund and Winnie couldn’t stay together.

Still, Edmund can’t deny Winnie’s worsening mental condition. And she can’t give him the physical care he needs. As the situation deteriorates, Edmund find himself forced to make a decision, before they’re torn apart forever. He remembers his shotgun in the closet. They say love can make one do strange things. If he and Winnie can’t be together, he’d do what he can so they’re not apart…

Though darkly written (and not for the squeamish), Take Your Last Embrace has a soft core. Underneath the gritty surface lies a gentle psalm for love and companionship. When it’s real, love can last a lifetime. But what happens when that lifetime comes to an end…?

A fitting companion piece to the Oscar-winning Amour, Take Your Last Embrace is a definite showcase for older actors to shine. A love story 60 years in the making.

About the writer: Boasting an MA in Scriptwriting for Film, Theatre, TV & Radio, MJ is an award winning writer, with shorts optioned and produced in countries as diverse as Croatia and Norway. Residing in sunny England, she is currently hard at work developing a series with the BBC Writersroom – as well as working on a number of features (including one low-budget horror and a fantasy adventure script.) Her website is available here: redcatwriter.wordpress.com. MJ herself can be reached via mjhermanny – AT – gmail!

Budget: Low. Just a single location (a house for interiors and exteriors); two main characters, two supporting characters, and a few extras for a crowd scene. No special effects to speak of. Except for a shotgun…

About the reviewer: Zach Jansen is an award-winning and produced screenwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He enjoys spending time with his kids, anything movies, and sitting at his desk pounding out his next script. If for some reason you want to learn more about him – which of course you DO! – you can check out his IMDb page or quasi-frequently updated blog.

Take Your Last Embrace

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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Bear – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

The Bear (6 page in pdf format) by Steven Clark

An elderly woman faces torment and exploitation at her nursing home — until an unexpected friend comes to her aid.

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is always difficult. Learning of abuse at a facility can turn a family’s loving decision into a nightmare. One can only imagine how frightening it is for a senior who has no family to protect them.

Margo Fleming, the protagonist in The Bear, does her best to fend off Pete’s violence. However, she is old, frail, and terrifyingly alone. Pete – a sleazy orderly – is after Margo’s teddy bear, a stuffed animal that the old woman takes with her everywhere and fearlessly defends. As a result, Pete’s convinced that the bear must harbor something valuable in its stuffing. And he’s determined to get his hands on it. By violence, if necessary.

Staff at the facility where she lives sees what’s going on, but Pete effectively scares them off by threatening to use his powerful connections to retaliate if they intervene.

As Margo comes up with strategies to thwart Pete’s plans, someone is watching… and waiting for a chance to take matters into their own hands.

Will Pete’s horrible plans be thwarted? Or will Margo become yet another senior home statistic? And, what secrets does Margo’s teddy bear hold anyway?

Writer Steven Clark’s work is suspense-filled and touching – with just the right amount of comic relief as it navigates the difficult subject of elderly abuse. Viewers will love the layers of surprises that await them in The Bear.

And there’s no doubt in our minds that festival audiences will love it as well.

Budget: Moderate. Scenes with numerous actors in an assisted living facility.

About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.

About the Reviewer: Julia Cottle is a cultural anthropologist living in Chicago. She has worked for years as a university instructor and researcher for organizations committed to social justice. She has always loved to write, but only recently has begun to work on screenplays. She can be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.

Read The Bear (pdf format)

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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Original Script Sunday or May 14th - posted by Don

Over on the Unproduced Scripts page are seventeen original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Peelers Review - posted by AnthonyCawood

Peelers MovieWren Walker, plays Blue Jean, the owner of a low-rent strip club in the middle of nowhere. She’s planning on shutting the club and leaving for a more normal life. But on a normal night, just a few customers and the usual issues with the dancers and other staff, her plans are changed.

A group of coal miners walk in, flush after making a discovery in the mine… only problem is that the discovery is a contaminant that is turning them into violent crazies with a blood lust that knows no bounds.

So the setup for this is pretty straightforward… the owner of a low-rent strip club must defend her club, and the strippers from the customers who have turned violent, a la Crazies, after exposure to some strange oil.

It’s self-contained with almost all the action taking place inside the club and the action is fast, frequent and often gory… oh and funny too.

It’s clearly very low budget, but it spends the money it has on the gory kills, which are inventive and fun, and the effects are decent given the constraints.

The theme is well mined (pardon the pun) and it owes a lot to films like Zombie Strippers and Dusk Till Dawn, and like these films it takes a great delight in its B movie  roots.

I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing the Director and Writer at a film fest in 2016, the Q&A after the film was a laugh riot and that sense imbues the entire film… definitely worth a watch if you love a good exploitation flick.



IMDB
Stream It on Amazon Prime

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How To Write & Pitch Binge Worthy TV Series Pilot Scripts & Treatments - posted by Scott Manville

Your 5 steps to writing and pitching TV show ideas that will captivate audiences and engage TV producers reading your scripts.

Scott ManvilleTV Writers Vault founder and producer Scott Manville (Relativity TV, Lifetime TV) shares with Simply Scripts advice on creating binge-worthy characters for TV and premises palatable enough to binge on:

When screenwriters labor to develop their movie scripts, conjuring “what if’s” and plot twists to fuel the story, it’s driven by a need to bring clever closure to the movie in under two hours. When writing a TV pilot script or pitch treatment, the story demands a whole spectrum of choices that must deliver longevity for the series. In our exciting landscape of binge-worthy TV series, think of it as taking your TV show idea and writing it as a 13 hour movie script with powerful and compelling plots, unlikely heroes, and ironic wrinkles in the story. When a TV Writer is creating and writing their pilot script, it’s not just what’s printed within those 30-50 pages that engages the reader and lands a deal. It begins with the power of the original idea for a TV series, and then fans out with every choice of character and story. From concept, to character, to clever twist…they all must drive the story to deliver longevity with escalating stakes, and a heightened reality within the world of your TV series.

How to write and pitch a TV showThe most exciting aspect of that challenge is that a creator writing TV scripts faces expectations from today’s audiences that force them to make extraordinary choices for plot and character. We’re in a golden age for storytelling in television, with hit series of unparalleled quality we used to only see in theatrical films. Even more exciting is that unlike film where early storylines and plot develop slowly, in television we’re dropped into a series as if it were the second act of a film, with plot and plight often hitting the ground running, pulling viewers in who eagerly give a willing suspension of disbelief, binge watching the series to see what happens next so they’ll better understand the protagonist and their plight. Take advantage of this as as a creator. You’re not just punching out TV scripts that are easily digested, and seem to work, or that sound clever. Make bold choices in every aspect of your writing.

Keep these 5 things in mind when writing your TV pilot script, or TV series idea. Each of these factors will fuel the other, as they’re all related, but you’ll want to be mindful of each.

5 Steps To Inspire Your Binge-Worthy TV Pilot Script:

1.  The Core Idea:

Knowing how to pitch a TV show means knowing how your original core idea fuels all aspects of the series.

The first and most important element in the process is conception. Creating that “Idea” that is the premise and plight for the main characters in your TV series. Choose the genre, subject, and world that hasn’t been explored yet, and establish the right components to create chemistry and conflict. Producers and viewers look for stories and worlds we haven’t seen before. Even within subjects we’re already familiar with, your core TV series idea must have some original hook that makes us want to experience that world and its characters. It’s all about the premise and plight. Look for social issues within the main character’s life that people can relate to today, but take it a step further by “flipping” the expected circumstances so the story and character’s have more dimension. Knowing how to pitch a TV show means knowing how your original core idea fuels all aspects of the series. When the premise and plight are highly original, the story writes itself to a large degree.

2.  Humanize The Characters:

Look for the contradiction in their behavior and create circumstances and scenes that fuel that.

The reason we love entertainment and story is because it helps us explore and witness the human condition. Great actors know how to make choices that bring characters to life. Their choice of reaction, behavior, clothing, props, movement, and all things unwritten are the choices they make to help communicate the person they’re playing. To every rhyme, there is a reason. As a screenwriter, the choices you make will bring your protagonist and story to life. Examine your characters as an actor would. Ask yourself what your characters life experiences are that drive their choices and actions that ultimately drive the story. When you know the roots of your characters, you’ll have truth that fuels your choice of storyline and scenarios. Look for the contradiction in their behavior and create circumstances and scenes that fuel that. Find the flaw in the hero, and the redeeming qualities in the antagonist. Know what they want versus what they need. When you understand your characters you can make strong choices, and the tapestry of your TV series is woven tighter and becomes more brilliant when examined from all sides.

3.  Create A Heightened Reality:

Viewers tune in because they want to experience a heightened reality- witnessing what is possible, instead of what is probable

As a screenwriter, the ability to write realistic and plausible scenes can easily lead to scenes and moments written that may be true to life, but are ultimately just boring filler. Viewers tune in because they want to experience a “heightened reality”, witnessing what is possible, instead of what is probable. Each of the other items mentioned feed right into this; The protagonist’s plight, the irony of their character, the core idea and premise for the series, and every choice of character and story you make. But the one thing to keep at the forefront of your mind when conceptualizing to fuel a heightened reality for story is the “imaginary what-if”; What if by unexpected circumstances the protagonist was forced to do something completely against their own moral fiber? What if the protagonist isn’t who you think they are? What if the villain becomes the unlikely hero? Look at the pivotal moments in your story and take them to the next level for a heightened reality. These are often the moments that define and reveal your characters.

4.  Intention & Obstacle:

Grab ’em by the throat, and never let ’em go.

The intention of each character, and the obstacles they face, is your story. In a TV pilot script this needs to unfold immediately. What your character wants, and the opposing force of what they’re up against, are the ingredients that fuel the conflict and create your scenes. Again, make strong and unexpected choices. This is the most important facet of your story and episode. When the protagonist’s intention is strong and born from an intensely personal cause, and the obstacle they face threatens their success or survival, then you have high stakes that will grab the emotions of the audience. Legendary screenwriter Billy Wilder once told Cameron Crowe about keeping the audience engaged- “Grab ‘em by the throat, and never let ‘em go.”

5.  The Reality of Resolution:

When you have specific resolution to the series in mind, then you’re able to make stronger, poetic choices within the earlier life of the series

One might think that having a definitive end to a series planned ahead of time would inhibit the life of the series. And some may argue that the life of a series should be able to go on and on. I argue that when you have a specific resolution to the series in mind, then you’re able to make stronger, poetic choices within the earlier life of the series that will both drive that agenda and create a better set-up that leads to a more powerful conclusion. It doesn’t have to be black and white, but knowing where the main protagonist will end up, will help you make stronger choices with all other elements in your story that lead us through the series.

Learn more about how to pitch a TV show pilot script, and visit Scott’s Blog for direct discussion of this and other aspects of writing and pitching for TV today.

 

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May 23, 2017

    Jabberwocky by Tyler Daniels

    Based on the poem by Lewis Carroll. Through a detective and a reporter's investigations, a young boy's terrifying encounter with an infamous creature takes form. 7 pages
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