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Monday, February 20, 2017

Change of Heart – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by AnthonyCawood

Change of Heart (8 pages in pdf format) by Eric Wall

A desperate virgin’s excursion to a dive bar yields unexpected results.

Urban Legends. They’re part of our culture. Our collective memory. Stories that are told again and again – usually with a moralistic spin. Don’t shirk your babysitting duties for your boyfriend. Or park in Lover’s Lane. Or investigate that noise in the closet. And definitely never get drunk in dive bars and hit on total strangers…

Now THERE’S an urban legend that’s stood the test of time: the one about the guy who gets wasted, only to wake up the next morning with a nasty hangover, in a bath loaded with ice… and missing some body parts… Maybe it’s never really happened, but that’s some evil stuff right there. A creepy tale that’s even inspired a notable Korean horror film, “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.”

It’s a scenario that inspired writer Eric Wall as well – and he’s taken it to some surprising (and delightful) places…

Meet protagonist Dennis. A sad-sack waste of a man. 37 years old. A virgin. Recently diagnosed with a heart defect. The fates haven’t been kind to poor Dennis – and it’s about to get far worse. When we meet poor D, he’s slumped in a seedy bar propositioning every female in sight. You see, Dennis is determined to get laid. Resolving at least one problem. Unfortunately for Dennis, his pickup lines stink on ice. As do his chances tonight…

At least until Tracy – an attractive vamp – slinks in the door. Sidling up to the bar and Dennis’ side, Tracy strikes up a conversation. And – as phenomenally unlikely as it seems – she seems to be attracted to him. A drink and some idle banter later, and Tracey agrees to take Dennis to a hotel room. Needless to say, she’s got a few ulterior motives in mind…

A straightforward, gory scenario – at least in SOME writer’s hands. But Change of Heart has surprises in store. Not to mention – heartfelt laughs. Witty and intelligent, Change has some amazing one liners. Not to mention amazingly fleshed out and sympathetic characters – in an eight page horror script, no less! You like dark comedy? Then give Change of Heart a try. It twists your expectations in delightful ways… all the way to its frosty end!

Budget: Relatively low – locations include a low rent bar and a cheap hotel bathroom.

About the writer: Eric Wall is a New Jersey based screenwriter who has written several short scripts, two features and is at work on multiple TV specs. He can be reached at e_wall1498 (a) yahoo.

About the reviewer: Anthony is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 2 features optioned and over 30 short scripts optioned, or purchased, including 8 filmed. Outside of his screenwriting career, he’s a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Read Change of Heart (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, February 19, 2017

Original Script Sunday for February 19th - posted by Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are twenty four scripts for your reading pleasure. If you are participating in the SimplyScripts Scarefest Club, remember scripts are due to simplyscripts.com/owc midnight est on the 22nd.

– Don

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Deuce – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Zupke

The Deuce (10 pages in pdf format) by R. E. McManus

An elevator and two guys on their way up. What can go down?

We’ve all been there. A hundred times, some of us more than a thousand. It’s the world’s most uncomfortable space. Some are boxy, most rectangular. Fans, no fans. Carpeted or tiled. Mirrored or paneled. But always stuffy, cramped and slower than slow is: the infamous elevator ride.

I recently (true story alert) took a ride in my office building all the way from the penthouse to the ground floor. One floor down, six people shuffled in – one holding a newly-peeled banana, which she consumed as we descended. Ever peel a banana in a closet? With 10 other people present? Not an ideal situation for the senses. And that’s putting it mildly.

The situation is similarly far from appealing (pun alert) for Dominic Barry’s elevator ride in R. E. McManus’ “The Deuce,” a riveting and witty 10-page journey starting with:

“The sound of a body being dragged over concrete.”

The body is Dom’s and the draggers are Joey, 22-year-old scowler, and his pal Chrissy, “The type who could chew a toothpick without looking stupid.” Chrissy’s the brains of the operation, the sole purpose of which is: deliver Dom to the eighty-eighth floor.

Problem is, Dom’s not awake and Joey and Chrissy (think distant, but equally witty, cousins of Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega) differ on the importance of his consciousness.

            JOEY
Maybe I should wake him up.

            CHRISSY
You can ravish him for all I care.

Joey looks disgusted.

            JOEY
There’s no need to be so, so base.

There’s a “ding” as floor number 40 unexpectedly lights up. Chrissy pulls Joey tight to shield Dom as the doors open. Nothing. It’s a misfire in the mechanics. Doors close, and they resume ascending… just as poor Dom stirs. Joey and Chrissy pull out their silencers, an act which fails to silence Dom. He demands to know how he’s found himself bruised and battered in a dressing gown, plastic cable ties around his hands and feet.

“You’re David Barry and we’re taking you to John Feltz,” they tell him. Duh.

“I’m Dominic Barry and who is John Feltz?” Dom replies.

So the elevator rises, along with everyone’s blood pressure. Who is John Feltz? Is Dom really Dom, not David? Or is he just lying to stay alive? What will Feltz do if they deliver the wrong man? And why is the elevator stopping on the wrong floor yet again, this time on 70? Will all three men make it to the top?

You’ll be floored when you read the entirety of “The Deuce,” a suspenseful ride filled with exceptional dialogue. It’s an excellent opportunity for the right director and capable actors. Interest in this gem is sure to be…going up.

Budget: Minimal. Find a mate who works in an office building to let you in for a day on the weekend. Just make sure his last name’s not Feltz.

About the writer: R.E. McManus was born in England, of Irish roots. Hence he was always a little confused. He has since travelled the globe, and noted what he saw on his travels. He’s been writing since he could pick up a pen. The fact they were IOUs is neither here nor there.

He fell in love with film when he first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at the age of six. Although he’s still not sure about the spelling of Odyssey. It’s still looks wrong,

He loves Fincher, Hitchcock and Kubrick. And Faith No More. And Elvis. He even has a dog named after him. This seemed like a good idea until he went to the park.

Visit his webstie at: rendevous.yolasite.com. Or email him directly at redarcy2000 (a) yahoo.co.uk

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. He can be contacted via email at zzupke “AT” yahoo

Read The Deuce (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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bad Moms screenplay - posted by Don

Thanks to Wes, over on the Movie Scripts page we have…

Bad Moms – June 9, 2015 unspecified draft script by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore – hosted by: Script Pipeline – in pdf format

Amy has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, a beautiful home and a career. However, she’s overworked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Enchanted Quill – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Steve Miles

Enchanted Quill (10 pages in pdf format) by Mark Renshaw

A troubled young woman seeking answers about her dark past discovers a magic software app that allows her to make wishes comes true, but at a price – each wish costs her a fraction of her soul.

Fairytales play on our most primal of fears; from our moral anxieties and deepest desires to the monsters lurking in our subconscious they resonate through the ages to serve as warnings to the frailty of human nature.

            MILLY (V.O.)
Once upon a time there was a little
Princess who was betrayed by her
Prince Charming.

Milly was once a young, free-spirited innocent – that was until she met Malcolm:

            YOUNGER MALCOLM
Your parents said they would be late.
They asked me if I could give you a
lift home.

Unwittingly accepting the ride, Milly finds her young life locked in a cycle of tragedy and abuse as she’s passed from one monster to another.

The years pass and the abusers move on leaving Milly to struggle with the horrors of her childhood. One day she stumbles upon the dark web where a magic app called The Enchanted Quill gives her the promise of revenge. Of course, a deal like this comes at a price, but what’s 5% of your soul per wish when sweet vengeance is at stake?

And this is where we join the tale. Not in an enchanted kingdom in a land far away but an abandoned warehouse with Malcolm and cohorts trapped and Milly able to control their every action with the aid of The Enchanted Quill.

And this Princess is in no mood for forgiveness:

            MILLY
Fuck yeah! Let’s get the endgame
rolling. Enchanted Quill obey my
whim, give Malcolm a compound arm
fracture, through the skin! Woo, I
did a poem!

Milly proceeds to recount her tale, jumping from the past to the present as she puts her tormentors through their own personal hell. From the visceral to the surreal: fingernails are removed, arm bones are gnawed on and in a nod to the source material the repetition of mundane tasks takes the form of torture. Imagine taking off your shoes only to put them back on again…over and over and over…

Writer Mark Renshaw draws out the darker aspects of a little known fairytale called The Enchanted Quill to deliver a uniquely modern tale of retribution replete with monsters, tortured souls and unflinching violence. If you like to wring every last drop of blood from your horror then this is for you.

Budget: Four characters. Simple enough location wise with one main room and a handful of exterior shots informing the flashbacks. Plenty of gore on this one so experience with make-up and some creative effects would be a bonus. Based on The Enchanted Quill

About the writer Mark Renshaw In 2015, a short film he wrote and produced No More Tomorrows won several awards on the film festival circuit. He also won a ‘Top Pick’ award for his short script, ‘Automatic Drive’ in the finals of Reel Writers Competition.

His second film Surrender was released in September 2016. It has won Exceptional Merit awards for best Short Film, Writer, Lead Actor and Original Score in the Depth of Field International Film Festival.

‘Surrender’was most recently showcased in the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles and will feature in the Sunderlands Film Festival in May.  

Mark is currently working on producing his next script, a sci-fi short called ‘The Survivor.’ Filming is due to start in Milwaukee in mid-March.

You can check out his work on Mark’s Script Revolution profile.

About the reviewer: Steve Miles started writing scripts around five years ago after realizing that his social life was vastly overrated. He enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit – from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of plaid and uses a calculator for the most basic of sums. Check out more of his work at sjmilesscripts.webs.com

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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, February 14, 2017

Screenplays – Dune - posted by Stephen Batchelor

At the time of writing, Denis Villeneuve has been selected to direct a new big screen adaption of the classic sci-fi series, Dune (a series so large, it’s put me off starting to read it). We’ve been treated to a number of adaptions of this incredibly popular series of books, the 80’s film, directed by David Lynch, I believe to be a masterpiece.

dune1A couple of different editions exist for this film, and the only thing Lynch hates more then the original film, are these ‘extended’ editions, which have simply inserted previously cut scenes or animated sequences (?!), all in a bid to make the film less confusing, sadly this has the opposite effect. to be honest, even without having the books, I was never confused by the original film.

At the turn of the century we were treated to a really well made mini series, which spawned a sequel – if you’ve never had the chance to watch them, hunt them down, you won’t be disappointed (or maybe you will, I don’t know what you like).

The scripts (yes, scripts, plural) are for the Lynch film, the drafts are a few months apart, but its neat to spot the changes, and on one of the scripts (I believe it’s the later draft), the front pages have ‘warnings’ about spilling the beans about the project. I’m not sure how far off these are from the shooting scripts, but it gives you an interesting insight into the development.dune2

Anyway, click the pics and have a read, let me know what you think, and if you liked the mini series adaption, I can’t be the only one, it’s got an all star cast, and the big guy from Ace Venture 2 plays Baron Harkonnen!

By the way, casting will begin soon for the new film, who do you think would be a perfect fit for characters like Paul Atriedes or Barron Harkonnen?

And remember, he who controls the spice, controls the universe.


Stephen Batchelor is a screenwriter. He watches movies. Reads scripts. Writes pages. Read His Blog, check out his facebook page Facebook.com/TheScriptMason and stalk him on twitter @thescriptmason.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Free – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by David M Troop

Free (76 page Sci Fi Drama in pdf format) by Paul J. Williams

An honor student begins the next phase of his life.

If time travel was scientifically possible, what would you do? Really?

Would you change the course of human history? Or simply go back and tell someone you loved them – one last time? Would you prevent a horrific accident from occurring, saving thousands of lives? Or spend the day with one special person, and change their life forever?

Time travel and its possibilities – it’s been the theme of some of the most popular movies in history (in a variety of genres): The Terminator travels back in time to eliminate an enemy by killing his mother. In Groundhog’s Day, an egotistical weatherman relives the same day again and again – until he learns the true meaning of love.

In his short script “Free”, Paul Williams explores a question we’ve all asked ourselves. What if we could go back and time, and undo a costly mistake?

Although only eighteen, Robert McKenna has a lifetime of accomplishment ahead of him. A brilliant and promising merit scholar, Robert studies quantum physics – specializing in the theory of time-travel. Staying at home with his mother and younger brother Timmy (12), Robert’s preparing for a four year trip. He whiles away the remaining hours working on equations and algorithms… making sure they’re absolutely right.

But Timmy won’t let him be. Seeking his big brother’s attention, he pesters Robert with questions. About the possibilities of time travel. And Robert’s own plans for the future. Has his big brother found a gateway to the past? And if so… what’s his motivation?

Free may have the sheen of Science Fiction. But at heart, it’s a tragedy. About families. Grief, loss and regret. And wishing you could solve life’s problems with a mathematical solution. If only it was that easy.

This is a script that every skilled director wishes for: subtle and deeply touching, with layers of rich symbolism. Properly brought to the screen, it’ll haunt your audiences for a long time.

Budget: Low to moderate. One location: an upper middle-class home. And a pet bird. (Don’t ask – just read the script!)

About the writer: Paul J. Williams is a New Jersey-based multi-award-winning screenwriter, producer, and director with several scripts in various stages of film production. He has been a member of the New Jersey Screenwriter’s Group since 2009. His latest movie, Case #5930, which he wrote and produced, was released in 2015.

He has also served as a decorated law enforcement officer for the past eighteen years, both as a Federal Officer with the U.S. Department of Justice and as a Police Officer for the City of Newark, N.J.

He can be reached at pauljwilliams9 (a) yahoo. Check out his IMDB page.

About the reviewer: David M Troop resumed writing in 2011 after a twenty-five year hiatus. Since then, he has written about 50 short scripts, two of which have been produced. Dave would like to make it three. He is a regular, award-winning contributor to MoviePoet.com. Born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, Dave now resides in Schuylkill Haven with his wife Jodi and their two lazy dogs Max and Mattie. He can be reached at dtroop506 (a) gmail.

Read Free

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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, February 12, 2017

Original Script Sunday for February 12, 2017 - posted by Don

Over on the Unproduced Scripts page are twenty-ish original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Friday, February 10, 2017

Music in Film – How Important is It? - posted by John Montana

Making a short film, or any film for that matter can be a lot of amazing fun. Here is how I came up with and developed the sound and music in my most recent film called HUNGRY. Its a wicked little dark comedy skewering the rampant greed of shoppers at Christmas time.

 

video makerSo the way I work is that in the very beginning of preparing to shoot the film, when I am still writing the script actually, I start to listen to music that I like. I listen with the sole purpose of getting a feel for how this particular song will go with the film. I use each song that I like or think might go well and imagine how it will tell my story. Here is an example…in “HUNGRY”, the story takes place at Christmas. So I was constantly listening to holiday songs, wild versions, old-fashioned ones, newer versions. The one I came up with was of a child choir singing Carol Of The Bells. This song was important in setting up the beginning of the film in 3 ways:

  1. It is a beautiful innocent rendition of this song
  2. It lulls the audience into the sweetness of the Christmas season
  3. It also didn’t telegraph what was coming to the audience

I cannot tell you how important music or sound is in setting up your story or film. If you can do it right, then the whole film just falls into place. Another example of how much music played a part in my film is when the main character walks into the shop, the owner is listening to 1930’s jazz. The story’s background was that this woman has been alive for several hundreds of years, and this is her favorite music. Now you don’t actually see a 500 -year old woman on screen as that was just the back-story. But this music really helped the actress get the feel for what I wanted. And her performance made the film. Another instance of how important sound was for me, was in editing. My film is a horror film, and so I had a small creature. But because I was on a small budget, I couldn’t really afford to build a creature that could move in every way I wanted. So movement was limited. What I did tho, was to search a couple of free sound sites for sci-fi sounds, or dinosaur roars. It took me weeks to get it the way I wanted. In order for the creature to look realistic, I had to use different sounds for each 2-second piece of footage that had the little guy in it. Each different sound conveyed a different want and emotion in the creature. It was incredibly grueling and difficult work. But in the end, the sounds and music are what really helped this film. In my opinion! And when my main character was being eaten alive, sounds were so vitally important in conveying the horror of what was happening to him. And at the end of the film, when it is clear that the owner is in cahoots with the creature, or the creature is almost her mate, then the music that I put in at the end conveyed the craziness of this situation. So I put in this wild and crazy piece that makes me giggle whenever I hear it.

Here are some examples of the films that I made and how and why I used the sound/music for each of them.

  1. Needs Talking – I actually came up with the idea of this film because I can hear a train’s whistle in the distance from my current home. Hearing the train, I was hit with how lonely it sounded… and then the story came to me of a married woman being alone in her own home. And then leaving!
  2. A House Cleaning – This had the feel of an old 30’s mobster film for me, and I went looking for some music from that time period. I had 2 songs from public domain that I used… the first one being a lively jazz piece that slowly moved into a foreboding piece when it becomes clear to the audience that danger is approaching. I thought the music really helped the film.
  3. LATE – You know… I used the sounds of the airport to open this film. The hectic rushing to and fro at LAX and how the lead woman came rushing into focus. And then I used the fading of those loud and crazy sounds into silence to enter into old memories. And then the quiet of the hospital hallway and the hum of the elevator to convey her fear. As it is always quiet before the storm. And then I used the saddest music I have ever heard when she finds out her mom has died before she could say goodbye.
  4. The Chaser – This is a very eerie little story that I adapted into a short. I found some very strange screeching of metal sounds and high-pitched eerie music to open the film to show just how far the lead guy had to go to have this meeting. And the strangeness of the building.

Some of my favorite films have some great music in them as well.

  • LUCY – by Luc Besson
    This is the most recent film by the French director who brought us the beautiful and haunting film – “La Femme Nikita”. In LUCY, the use of music has really been amped up to make the horror of what is happening to Scarlett Johansson’s character. There is the slow low drumbeat of when she is waiting in the office lobby in the beginning that makes you squirm in anticipation of something really bad coming her way. Then there is her becoming super aware: She hears the minute sounds of creatures crawling and the sounds of radio waves as they go up out of peoples cell phones. There are way too many examples of  how he uses sound to enhance this film.
  • RED – The final film of the Three Colors Trilogy by Krzysztof Kielslowski.
    This is such a magical film and the music he used in it is beautiful and eerie. From sudden crashing cymbals to convey horror, to gentle intoxicating music for the “Fashion Show”, to again crashing doors for when the storm blows in. It is such a subtle and at the same time “in-your-face sound effects and music.
  • BLADE RUNNER – by Ridley Scott:
    For me… the music in this film is the most amazing sounds and music I have ever heard used in a film. From the weird lively beat by some kind of reed instrument (I’m guessing) when Deckard is walking thru the outdoor bazaar to the echoing music when he is in the great building of the Tyrell Corp. Even the weird futuristic music by Vangelis for the scene transitions are masterful. For me again… this movie is the perfect example of how important music and sound are to creating the world of the film you are making.
  • IRREVERSIBLE – by Gaspar Noe
    In this film, there is an undercurrent of bass that was purposely put into the soundtrack. The reason for this is because this low bass sound creates a feeling of nausea and confusion and dizziness for the  audience. I have no conclusive evidence of this, but if this was intentional, then it is a brilliant use of sound to affect the audience and bring them into the world of Monica Bellucci’s character and of the  world of rape.
  • WITNESS – by Peter Weir
    I cannot tell you how much I loved this film, for its power and simplicity of the storytelling. The arc that Harrison Ford’s character makes as a result of living with this Amish family for a while is why I love the acting business. When done correctly, it truly is wonderful to watch. There is a scene that beautifully shows the world of the Amish… it is the shot of the fields swaying in the breeze. The sound of the wind as it moves slowly thru the wheat or grass field is mesmerizing. In that one piece of film, you are instantly transported tot his place and the sound is so tranquil, that I could understand why some people choose to live this lifestyle. And that is ultimately what you strive for…for your audience to get   immersed into your world… if only for an hour or two.

short film ideas

In conclusion, if you are in preparation for a film shoot, or if you are already in editing, then I cannot stress the importance of taking your time and getting the music and sound right. If you have the right style of music that brings your audience into your film, and the right sound effects if you are shooting a horror film, then this will improve your odds of this being a successful film. If nothing else, it helps your audience into your film, and it help in keeping them there. If you don’t believe me, go and watch the movie Brooklyn.  The music in this film will bring you instantly into this world, and it keeps you there. Whether you like the movie or not!

About The Author:

John Montana is a video maker living in L.A. and has begun to make short films. His most recent film, “Hungry” has been accepted into 24 film festivals all over the world. Check out his short films at No Title Production Films.

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