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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You’ve Finished the Damned Script – Now What? (Anthony Cawood Primers for a Networked World) - posted by wonkavite

Us writers tend to obsess over the details of our chosen craft.  Creating memorable characters, story arcs, and grab ‘em by their short and curly concepts.  Screenwriters specialize even more – spending god-knows how many hours mastering formatting, structure, and the painstaking art of hyper-streamlined prose.  In other words – we deal with writing. It’s our raison d’etre. Our whole world.

So much so that we become blinded to other aspects of the industry.  You see, it’s not enough to write the perfect script. You gotta market the damned thing.

Which raises the question – where to start?  Never fear: for we at STS have some answers….

Over the next few months, STS will be publishing a series of articles on what to do after Fade Out.  Conceived as primers for newbies (and some veterans), we’ll be covering topics such as discussion boards, contests, and copyrights.

Today, we’ll be publishing the first in our series (presented by Anthony Cawood): tips on establishing an internet presence and maximizing exposure – both for you AND your script.


So – you’ve finally done it; you’ve completed your first short script. Congratulations! Great feeling, isn’t it?

Now what? Well re-write, re-write and re-write…. Until the final version really shines.

But once you’ve gotten to that blessed point, how the heck do you get it filmed?

Now what? That was the question that confronted me in August 2013, when I finished my first short, Prototype. (A dark serial killer script… available again after a lapsed option. Hint, hint, hint…)

Now what? Over the last twelve months, I’ve wrestled with that question every day, on some level or another. And I’ve discovered there’s no one answer, or quick unravel of this Gordian knot. Believe me on this. I’ve looked and tried.

What I have discovered in my research is a wealth of information scattered around the net: resources, writing communities willing to help – and a bunch of places to connect with potential filmmakers. (Including STS: Shootin’ the Shorts, of course!)

In the interest of paying it forward, I’ll be using this series of articles to share what I’ve personally learned, including topics such as:

  1. Marketing yourself
  2. Where to list and publicize your work
  3. Where to share works in progress, and learn more about your craft
  4. Where to find Directors/Producers looking for scripts and new writers
  5. Competitions
  6. General Resources for the new (and not-so-new writer)

A quick editorial note: I write shorts, so that’s where my articles focus. But many of the resources I’ll be mentioning can be used for Features and TV, too.

But first things first. Forget for a moment about the script. You have to be ready to market you.

Marketing Yourself

Let’s be honest. To some, “Marketing” is a dirty word. But it’s best seen as a great opportunity – a chance to showcase your writing. With the right approach and attitude, you can use the tools of marketing to share:

  • News on your newest scripts and their availability
  • Your growing success when things get produced, wins in competitions, etc.
  • Your thoughts and ramblings on writing and film making
  • Your own tips and info on how to get those darned scripts made

In other words, you have to “get yourself out there.” It’s a horrible, over-used expression – but important if you want to get your scripts actually filmed. And get them made regularly.

I was lucky. For me, marketing came naturally. You see, I work in marketing (please don’t hate me or throw things!) But for others, it might not be as easy. So here’s a quick guide to some of the tools you can use to “enhance your profile”:


A website’s essential. It provides you with somewhere to refer potential film makers to – a place they can look beyond the pat logline, and find details of what you have available. It’s a place to compile and showcase scripts that you’ve had filmed, and show that you take writing seriously. In other words, it’s the hub of you.

Mine, incidentally, is When you step into the world of web design, btw, you should seriously consider getting your own domain. (That’s the bit after www.) If so, have a look at domain companies like or If you’re proficient in building websites, you can even consider a do-it-yourself option, and place it with a dedicated hosting service. Check out for a few examples.

Mine you, building your own site can be daunting. Chances are, you’re not an IT programmer! But, it can be easier than you think. There are tons of services out there that take IT out of the process… providing templates, drag and drop functionality, etc. Check out Top 10 Website Builders 2014 for a good selection of options. Most of these throw in a domain as part of the process, too.

But what about content? That can vary according to your style. Here are just a few examples of writer websites I personally know about from the Simplyscripts and Moviepoet community:

Rustom Irani:

Marnie Mitchell Lister:

Breanne Matson:

Mark Lyons (Rc1007): Facebook page for The Ephesian –


Alex Sarris:

Dena McKinnon:



Dustin Bowcott:

Quite a diverse bunch! But as you look them over, you’ll see some reoccurring themes and topics, such as:

  • Scripts with loglines and additional script details
  • News of their latest scripts and any developments in various projects
  • Details of produced scripts (with links to videos)
  • Contact details (email, phone, etc.)

And websites have added benefits: they make you more visible in Google and other search engines, and are also a convenient place to store your scripts (in case of that future devasting hard-drive blow-out.) I have a hidden page on mine that holds PDFs of all my scripts. That way, if I get a script request when I’m away from home, I can just send people the relevant link. You can of course use Dropbox, Google Docs and similar services for the same purpose. Or email yourself updates of scripts just in case.

And then there’s the fringe benefits. I’ve had numerous occasions where a potential film maker has asked to see Script A, checked out my website and saw a logline that they liked… then asked to see Scripts D and F too!


Like most people out there, I already had a Facebook (FB) page for personal reasons. But it can be used for industry purposes as well. Many film makers create specific pages/sites for their film projects. They serve the same sort of purpose as a dedicated website, but tend to be more project specific. And also are slightly easier to set up and share. FB pages are terrific for news, networking with people who share your interests and creating communities for your work. And when it comes to connecting – don’t forget LinkedIn as well. Because knowing people is the name of this game!


When it comes to internet tools, Twitter’s more of a two way street. Not only can you share your news, views and general rants – but you can also get feedback from fellow writers, producers and directors. As with Facebook, it’s a great way to keep people posted on your writing developments… Just make sure you don’t end up using it as a writing diversion! I’m @anthonycawood11, by the way….

Other Stuff

Admitted, Facebook and Twitter are my two main marketing weapons of choice. But don’t forget to explore other noteworthy options:

  • Dedicated Blogs. Service providers include Tumblr, WordPress and others…
  • Instagram – great for sharing stills from films made from your scripts.
  • Vine – good for posting short clips
  • Youtube/Vimeo – also great for getting your videos seen by the masses
  • Pinterest – I’m sure there’s something useful here. But I don’t quite have a handle on this one. Yet.

One Last Tip

Don’t forget synergy! (You’re a writer – you know what that means…) Combining the power of these tools are a great strategy for marketing. Forget any hesitation, and mention them at every opportunity. For instance, Facebook and Twitter are both prominent on my website. And my email footer has my web address listed.

I know and you know that you’re a great screenwriter. But make sure everyone else finds out, too! :)

About Anthony: Anthony Cawood is an aspiring screenwriter from the UK with a number of scripts in various stages of production, two of which have just wrapped shooting. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category). You can find out more at

Monday, September 1, 2014

Static Town – Feature Length Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Without further ado, please find STS’ third feature length script, Static Town

(chosen for both script review and pending coverage next Monday by No Bullscript expert consultant, Danny Manus!)


Laptop Features

Static Town

Fed up with the overuse of social media, a teenager purposely causes a power outage in his town in hopes to win over the new girl at his school. 

Disenfranchised youth.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart, every generation passes through that phase.

A lot of classic art (literature and film) has come out of that puberty driven, hormone flushed, pimple ridden state of affairs. Stories of clashing with the reigning culture – asserting one’s own identity: Catcher in the Rye. Rebel Without a Cause. 80s films like The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. And more recently: iconic classics like Napoleon Dynamite and Juno. Dissatisfaction with life is pretty much part-and-parcel of the whole teen dynamic. Not that it’s a negative: without the rise of new generations to question the status quo, humanity tends to … stagnate. And, short of utopia, no-one wants that. Do we?

But every generation faces a brave new world… New problems and challenges. In the net connected universe of Facebook, Selfies and Twitter, what’s honestly left to bitch about? AT&T’s appalling record of dropped calls?

Well, how about technology in general – and the growing alienation of Millennials from real life, and humanity?

As Static Town opens, that’s the issue on Wyatt Donnelly’s mind. Seventeen and sardonic*, Wyatt’s less than impressed with the wonders of the web. In Wyatt’s own words, “I have five hundred and thirty six friends online. Enough statuses to prove my witty way with words, and enough pictures at parties to show I’m not a complete loser. In a generation where looking like you’re having fun is more important than having any… I do okay.”

Though not popular, Wyatt’s got his inner circle to keep him sane: his video game playing stoner friend Dale (who only lets go of the controller long enough to grab pizza with a clean, never used pooper-scooper), and his on-again-off-again girlfriend Jennie (who Wyatt suspects is a bit too free with affections around school.) As for home life? That’s less idyllic. Even at the dinner table, Wyatt’s parents stay glued to their phones – emotionally distant from their son… and each other. And school is just as much a social void. Whole cliques pass in the halls silently: texting and Instantagramming rather than making the effort to say “Hello.”

Things start to look up when new girl Sophie arrives in school. Smart and sexy – and from out of town: Wyatt’s immediately smitten. But puppy love can’t heal life’s underlying woes – or Wyatt’s growing conviction that dependence on technology has created a dangerous disconnect in the world, affecting both friends and family. One night, Wyatt witnesses his mother getting into a car with a strange man – and fears the worst. Stealing the family ride, he drives up to an isolated lookout on the edge of town, determined to clear his racing mind. On a whim, he guns the car at a telephone pole… and knocks out an entire bank of power and phone lines.

Everything’s gone, instantly. TV. Computers. Phones. The electrical umbilical cord’s been cut – plunging the town into technological chaos. Deprived of their digital teat, the residents of Static Town struggle to survive as repairs commence – reduced to an almost Luddite state. But will the loss of technology bring about the paradise that Wyatt nostalgically pines for…? Or bring the true problems of his world to the fore?

At 83 pages, Static Town is a light and breezy read – don’t expect any Matrix or dramatic fight scenes here. Character is where this script shines. Utilizing fresh intelligent dialogue, writer Kevin Revie brings Wyatt, his friends, and the world of Static Town to colorful life – packing the script with a treasure-trove of throw-away gags and quotes: everything from hand lotion teen embarrassment to Wyatt’s musings on his generation’s educational failings: “The other day, I saw a girl post a selfie in her bikini with an Amelia Earhart quote as a caption. That’s not the worst part. She wrote that it was Marilyn Monroe.”

Are you a director that worships the intelligent self-awareness of films like Juno? Then give Static Town a read. It may be this generation’s next smart and funny “thing”.

About the Writer: Writing since his fingers found a keyboard, Kevin Revie grew up running around directing the neighborhood kids with fake blood on them. He’s continually writing features that range from John Hughes-like coming of age tales to weird zombies taking over the world. He can be reached at kevrevie “AT” gmail and is always in the mood for a hello.

Pages: 83

Budget: Moderate – low budget. Settings include Wyatt’s home, school and misc locations around town. The only FX involved would be the downed power lines… which could at least partially be implied.

* Though, isn’t that redundant?





All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.




Sunday, August 31, 2014

Billy the Bomb – filmed - posted by Don

Billy the Bomb 3 by AtholForsyth A pimp a hooker and some cocaine, what could go wrong? 5 pages, PDF format

AtholForsyth writes, Hey there, a few months ago I wrote a script in here and said I would film it in the summer, I’d never wrote a script or filmed anything either. We made this film for free using things we had at our disposal like ice cream van, mustang ect.

The only thing that I bought was some equipment although I had most of it with being a photographer.

Half the actors are in an amateur dramatics club and the other half are my mates.

This was like a test run just to get going, lots of mistakes were made along the way and it’s still not perfect but lots have been learned so the next one will run way smoother.

I’ll be happy to share what I’ve learned along the way if anyone is in the same boat as I was.

The dialogue will be hard to understand if you’re not Scottish but I’m sure you’ll get the drift.

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board
Discuss the film on the Discussion Board

Original Script Sunday for August 30th and a little voting - posted by Don

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


Carson Reeves over at ScriptShadow is having a vote for the top 25 amateur scripts.

Now, I’m not saying go vote for: WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU – Shawn (Ledbetter), WARNING SHOT – Breanne and PRIMAL – Ryan because these folks are your friends. I’m saying, go vote for top five or top ten scripts on the list of scripts on ScriptShadow based on the fact that you’ve read these scripts (some of you more than once) and they are entertaining and viable works.

After you have gone through the list of scripts, e-mail with the subject line: “VOTE”. Include your list from 1-5 or 1-10 of your favorite amateur scripts from the list. Voting closes at 11:59 pm Sunday, August 31st and he’ll announce on his site, ScriptShadow, following week.

For your convenience, below are the scripts up for consideration.

Note: Please go to the ScriptShadow website for the definitive information

Premise: A young Jewish woman in occupied France escapes the Nazis by changing places with a shop owner. But as her love grows for the other woman’s husband and child, so does her guilt.

Premise: An alcoholic stilt walker must save the small town that loathes him from an invasion of zombie midgets.

Premise: A wanton English Lord hires a “hermit” to live in his garden (as was the trend in 18th Century England). An alien from another planet stumbles into this scenario, who the drunk Englishmen consider to be French.

Premise: After surviving a violent car accident, a woman is attacked in her home by a masked assailant and finds herself living out a time loop that has her experiencing the attack from several points of view.

Premise: A Detroit bank thief accidentally steals from the Canadian mob and is forced to lift a rare painting from the Detroit mob to pay them back.

Premise: Fatherless Copywriter, Nick Adams, uncovers a stash of immaculate love letters dated the year he was born and post marked from Key West and Havana, Cuba. Convinced he is Hemingway’s bastard love child, he travels to Key West with teenage son in tow to usurp his birthright.

Premise: On the eve of the Third World War, a young soldier abandons his post to search out a robot claiming to have information regarding his father’s unsolved murder, only to discover these two are more connected than he ever could have imagined.

Premise: When his mother is kidnapped and sold into slavery, the legendary fableist must overcome being a short, ugly mute and outmatch Greek philosophers and bloodthirsty kings to rescue her and save the kingdom.

Premise: November 1944, Strasbourg, France. A Solider wakes up with amnesia in “La Zone Occupée”. The only thing he remembers is his duty to deliver a package on the corner of Rue St. Aloise and Rue Du Cheval at 10:30pm. No name, no date, and under no circumstances is the package to be opened.

Premise: A gambler wins millions on a crazy bet, yet is unable to
 tell anyone. Instead, he resolves to secretly use the money to improve the 
lives of those closest to him, and win back the love of his long-suffering

Premise: The life story of one of the most creative minds of all time, Walt Disney.

Premise: A book appraiser working at an old farm mansion finds a diary that implies the family who used to live there 200 years ago may have come in contact with a crashed alien ship.

Premise: A recently widowed cop reclaims an old property in a small southern town, only to discover that key figures in the town have been hiding a horrifying secret.

Premise: After his wife goes missing, a man heads to the darkest reaches of Transylvania to find her.

Premise: After receiving panicked messages from a girl he’s been Facebook-stalking, a meek agoraphobe wrangles together his closest internet friends and journeys into the real world to find her.

Premise: A teenage boy hoping to escape the poverty of his West African village finds the opportunity when a professional futebol scout comes to town.

Premise: A marginally talented tribute band finds itself magically/accidentally transported back to the year 1973 and seizes the opportunity to become actual rock stars by “stealing” the career of the group they’ve long made a living out of impersonating.

Premise: When a group of bank robbers kidnap his wife, an accountant must try and save her. But when they all end up in a strange Rube Goldberg-like trap-filled mansion, the kidnapping becomes the least of their worries.

Premise: (from writers) It’s a brilliant bank robbery plan. But there’s one contingency no one could have planned for: One of the hostages turns into a werewolf, turning the bank they’ve locked down to keep out the police into a deathtrap. And turning a criminal into a hero.

Premise: At their ten-year reunion, a formerly bullied outcast decides to enact revenge on the cool kids who made his life miserable.

Premise: After beating out his twin brother for the throne, Prince Charming finally settles down with his new bride-to-be, Snow White. But when she ditches him for his brother, he will have to find a way to win her back.

Premise: (from writer) In Victorian England, a respected geologist studies a strange crystal artifact that grants him incredible powers, tears his life apart and sends him on a deadly chase to discover its unearthly origin.

Premise: The members of a small Irish town housing a supposed Lochness-like monster in their lake find their world turned upside-down when an American documentary crew arrives to find out if the monster is real.

Premise: A moving company specializes in moving humans.

Premise: A left-for-dead rancher wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory of who he is. He goes off in a search to find out what happened.

Premise: (from writer) A lost cache of Nazi gold could save the crumbling hometown of a failed actor. But the key to the treasure, an antique shaving mug, is also the key to his doom. He must outwit, battle and defeat weird and dangerous Nazi sympathizers who have skulked into town searching for him and the treasure.

Premise: After learning that his family is leaving the town he grew up in, a heartbroken 13 year-old boy convinces his best friends to go trick-or-treating one last time in a daring attempt to break their town’s unbreakable trick-or-treating record and become legends.

Premise: A repressed teen werewolf tracks down her estranged father — the sheriff of a resort that caters to the hedonistic pursuits of werewolves — but an outbreak of weaponized rabies turns their reunion into a fight for survival.

Premise: (from writer) A for-hire time traveler who specializes in “preventing” bad relationships meets his match with a mysterious woman who claims to also be a traveler and is determined to stop him from completing his mission.

Premise: (from writer) A man embarks on a relationship with a 9/11 widow after claiming to have lost his brother in the attacks.

Premise: (from writer) A secluded boy’s way of life is threatened when he befriends Rose – the girl whom his parents have imprisoned in the family attic.

Premise: (from writer) After landing a job at an escort service, a young woman learns that her first date is an international spy who’s just stolen a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical secret. She agrees to help him shake the assassins waiting outside of the hotel, and soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly game of corporate espionage.

Premise: (from writer) A demented 14 year old girl strikes up a weird relationship with a convicted sex offender. Shit gets crazy when they embark on a twisted road trip in a “rape van.”

Premise: (from writer) After a radical exorcism leaves a possessed teen in a coma, a psychologist reluctantly helps the clergymen, who performed the rite, wake the child, but soon suspects foul play and finds himself trapped in a secluded monastery with only one person to turn to for help: his newly awakened patient.

Premise: (from writer) When a young vinyl music store owner loses everything — love, friendship and vinyl records — he struggles to rebuild his life, hindered by pimp-like friends, a beautiful agent provocateur and an ex-girlfriend who refuses to let their relationship die until she finds a suitable successor. In the vein of HIGH FIDELITY and 500 DAYS OF SUMMER.

Premise (from writer): Based on a true story, a group of college kids in the 60s pose as royalty from a made-up country (Marchentia). What starts out as innocent fun, spins out of control when the media turns their arrival into the most important visit in the city’s history.

Premise (from writer): A colorful but washed-up bad boy recounts his epic rise and fall in Hollywood on an online video blog.

Premise (from writer): P.I. Sam Marlowe shows novice writer Raymond Chandler the realities of detective work, juggling gangsters, corrupt politicians and movie star Jean Harlow to find out who’s burning farms on the Arroyo Seco Canyon.

Premise (from writer): When a professional contract killer discovers he’s become the target of an assassination himself, he teams up with the would-be killer to figure out who set them up.

Premise (from writer): When an outlaw biker, and soon to be father, attempts to leave the sins of his old life behind, he is pushed by a vengeful Sheriff into the arms of an ancient cult of disease worshiping sadists.

Premise (from writer): After survivors of a recent hurricane relocate to a quiet Louisiana bayou town, a creature goes on a nightly rampage of terror and carnage. Convinced it is the legendary werewolf known as loup garou, an intrepid teen vows to discover the beast’s true identity and destroy it.

Premise (from writers): In 30 A.D., a charismatic stonemason bent on revenge leads a band of guerrilla rebels against the Roman occupation of his homeland.

Premise: When a young gang of girls kills her brother, Dakota, a former member of the gang, vows revenge.

Premise: (from writer) When a woman is kidnapped in Texas during the Dust Bowl, her husband embarks on a harrowing odyssey where he’s forced to confront danger in the forms of Mother Nature and man and also the mysterious past he buried years ago.

Premise: (from writer) Trapped in a shrinking air pocket deep beneath the ocean’s surface, the survivors of a plane crash battle to stay alive long enough for the rescue teams to locate them.

Premise: (from writer) When a child killer is sentenced to death under dubious circumstances, the investigating detective discovers that the very man being executed holds the keys that can solve the crime.

Premise: (from writer) A mother and daughter held hostage at an isolated farmhouse struggle to survive as one of their captors grows increasingly unstable.

Premise: (from writers) When an elite team of Allied forces assault a top secret research facility, they become trapped underground with a sadistic Nazi Colonel and a mysterious Machine which allows him to switch bodies, turning the team against one another as they desperately try to survive.

Premise: After checking into a hotel to escape her abusive husband, a woman realizes guests in the next room are holding a young girl hostage.

Premise: 9 strangers wake in a deserted Mexican town besieged by killing machines: they must discover why they’ve been brought there to survive.

Premise: A group of men are hired by a mysterious client to remove Jim Morrison’s casket, give it to him for 24 hours and then return the casket into the ground before it is publicly exhumed to be moved to the United States.

Premise: When a lonely masochistic chubby chaser is abducted by two fat lesbian serial killers, it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

Premise: Unhappy with her life, a housewife visits a physicist who transforms the way she views the world – and her own mind.

Premise (from writer): After two friends leave the bar after a night of drinking, they discover their car missing from the parking lot, an RV in its place, and a woman trapped inside.

Premise (from writer): A woman fights to escape an isolated home controlled by an Incubus, a demonic force that feeds on sexual energy. A task made more difficult by her co-hostages, who are content to remain under the creatures spell.

- Don

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Lies Beneath screenplay - posted by Don

What Lies Beneath - December 1, 1999 production draft script by Clark Gregg – hosted by: Horrorlair – in pdf format

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.

Information courtesy of

More on the Movie Scripts page.

Lookin’ for a few good scripts and writers! - posted by wonkavite

Yeah, STS is on a roll…

Since the site went live, we’re thrilled to say our reviews have helped multiple writers get their short scripts optioned, as well as facilitating several indie director/writer connections, as well as several options-in-the-works.

But… we need your help, in two very important areas:

Give us some damn’ good scripts!

A site is only as great as its content.  So we need good scripts to review.  Lots o’ them.  Tons of them.  Short and feature length.  We wanna drown in (good) scripts like it’s a mega-budget producer’s slush pile. Our mission statement at STS is to find the best, highest quality short (and feature length) scripts for review.  So if you have a gem that’s really ready for prime time (or have someone you want to recommend), check out the link below for submissions. (Don’t forget to include a URL link to your script!)

Give us a few damn’ good writers!

STS involves a ton of readin’ and reviewin’, so we’re gonna need a bit of help.  In addition to script showcasing, STS also features occasional interviews with indie directors and industry related book reviews.  If you feel you’ve got a knack for any of those three writing areas – and want to contribute – send us a sample of your work for consideration using the URL listed above.  No, it’s not paid.  But you’ll get credit for your article and press.  And in this biz, that’s a pretty good thing….

Friday, August 29, 2014

Notes from a Veteran Writer – How Do You Do It? (P.J. McNeill) - posted by wonkavite

How do you do it?

Don’t worry, we’ll get to “Development Hell”. But this is something I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile, and after getting a few e-mails on the subject, I thought it was worth exploring (sooner, rather than later).

So I go on a great deal about querying; about what to say to production companies, managers, etc. There’s a lot of blogs that do that: talk about how to query or how not to query. But few talk about how to contact those you’re supposed to query. These blogs all assume that you just “know” how to do it, and I apologize because I have been no different.

When I got out of film school, I had no idea what to do with my first feature script. They sure as hell didn’t teach it in school, and when I tried Googling it, the results were vague. Why? Why don’t people like to talk about HOW to get ahold of these people? I have a theory: if you tell people your “tricks of the trade”, there will be just that many more sharks in the water. And who wants that? This field is already so damn competitive. So go figure it out yourself. (Or buy their list of production companies, for the low, low price of $100!! *Don’t do that.*)

Truth is, I should tell you. Querying is so damn hard already, and that’s just when you actually get ahold of them. Who cares if you get a slight leg up on finding out how to contact them?

So, here goes. You’ve got a brand spankin’ new script. What do you do? (After you’ve bugged your friends and family for a series of critiques, of course.)

First off, figure out what type of movie your script is and then make a list of others like it. Then, do some research and find all the people involved in making that movie: producers, production companies, agents, whoever. If they made a movie similar to yours (in tone or genre), odds are they’ll be more likely to give your script a shot. But how do you do this? Simple. GET A 2 WEEK FREE TRIAL TO IMDB PRO. I’ve done this on multiple credit cards with multiple e-mail accounts over the years. (Sorry, but that membership is too damn expensive for the small number of times I use it every year.) **NOTE: Remember to cancel it. I’ve forgotten a couple times, and it stings having to pay that membership fee.**

So, you start digging, and you make a list. But now you need to actually contact these people. **NOTE: Leave the big fish alone. Don’t go for studio or large production companies. Go for the mid-to-low level companies. They’re more likely to respond.** Problem is, most of them don’t list their contact information; just an address. You can use this though. There is a pretty standard structure you can try out to most companies. Let’s say the person you’re trying to reach is John Smith (I’m a writer!). Here’s a few variations to try out:

                You get the point. Just keep trying until something sticks. You can also try Googling “@companyname e-mail John smith” and see what bounces back. There are ENTIRE THREADS devoted to this on the Done Deal Message Boards. You can also use Done Deal to find out if the person you’re contacting is reputable, so you don’t waste your time.

Once you exhaust your list, you can broaden your search and start querying other companies, managers and agents. Keep it short and sweet. No big paragraphs. Don’t try to be cute and market your film either: “It’s (blank) meets (blank) and will make 52 million”. They just want to hear your logline and maybe a couple other enticing bits. Did you place in a reputable contest? Put that in there. And like I’ve said in previous entries: keep your query blasts small. Only do about 20 a day (if that). This way, you can see what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not getting a hit, maybe you need to change your subject. Or maybe your logline needs work. Don’t blow it by doing 500 in one day.

It’s tough, it’s rarely rewarding, and sometimes it feels downright stalkery. (Not a word.) But for a lot of us, it’s all we have. And most importantly: it works. I promise.

About the writer: A talented writer and 10 year veteran of the industry, “P.J. McNeill” has seen it all (and he’s ready to kiss and tell.) Got a question, a comment or just general bile /praise you want to spew?  Email PJ at

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Day with Death – Official Trailer - posted by Don

Congrats to Breanne. Her script A Day with Death has been filmed. Check out the official trailer.

A Day with Death – Official Trailer # 1 (HD) from asurftv on Vimeo.

A cantankerous sixty-five-year-old woman has a few things to do before she goes and Death will just have to hold off. Along the way the two become unlikely companions.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that this particular Reaper is a tall young lady whom Margaret quickly nicknames “Kulapo.” Being the charming lady that she is, Margaret convinces Kulapo to accompany her through the town for one day – tying up “loose ends.” Along the way, they develop a bond…

Written By Breanne Mattson
Produced, Directed & Edited By Asurf Oluseyi
Production Manager – Larry Homs Ahmed

Talk about it on the Discussion Board.

- Don

Adaptationing Night School – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite


Adaptationing Night School

A screenplay writer runs into trouble when his lunatic twin stops by to help…

(Warning – adult language and situations)

Some scripts defy explanation. And logic. And sanity…. Yet somehow they still make sense (after a dose of LSD.) Some rather classic titles fall into this category: Blue Velvet, Donny Darko, and Being John Malkovich are some examples. While not universally loved – or understood – there’s a certain appeal that such scripts bring. When faced with a steady diet of Hollywood cookie-cutter films, craziness can feel fresh. And good.

While not as psychedelic as Naked Lunch, “Adaptationing Night School” falls into this general genre: a slightly unhinged breath of fresh air.

A strange little script, Adaptationing opens with nebbish protagonist Noel. Unattractive with a receding hairline, he’s Paul Giamatti on a real bad day. Plunking away at his laptop, he’s also a wanna-be screenwriter. His class assignment (adapting a novel) is due in only ten hours. And he’s barely gotten past fade-in. Enter Leon: Noel’s identical twin brother. Fun-loving and crazy, Leon’s everything Noel isn’t. Not to mention pushy. Within minutes of arrival, he gets an earful of Noel’s writing woes and takes charge. He dictates changes in the script and arranges a “school trip” to the local booze n’ dive: in the name of “research”, of course.

At that point, things get weird. Like they weren’t already. Guided by Leon’s voice-over narrative, a few characters (including Noel’s snarky writing teacher Sparkman) appear and disappear. When Noel refuses to meet cute with the local barflies, Leon impersonates his brother – and picks up well-endowed lush Maureen. The three head back to Noel’s with the intention of (cough) getting to know each other. What happens then? Well, everything goes even more to hell even more…

Will every audience like Adaptationing? Hell, no. Probably not even the majority. Scripts like this are an acquired taste: like Octopus and Thousand Year Old Duck eggs. But this script is a writing gem, full of quoteable lines. Sparkman’s are particularly standout. Check out Adaptationing if you like your stories somewhat skewed. And have David Lynch sensibilities… J

About the writer: 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, you can check out his IMDb page or quasi-frequently updated blog.

Pages: 17

Budget: About the only thing that’s not crazy about this script. Settings include an apartment, a bar and some street scenes. No FX needed. Characters include Noel, Leon, Maureen, Sparkman and a handful of extras.





All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

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