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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Based on a True Story – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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Based on a True Story

A fictional film about non-fictional events that are entirely fictional.

As loyal (and not so loyal) readers are aware, STS has finally geared up to tackle that white whale of scriptwriting: the feature length! Our goal is to showcase high quality scripts that should be optioned already, but just haven’t gotten the exposure and/or reached the desk of the right director to see it through to production. Yet. We’ll be starting with one feature per month, to be posted on the 1st, with the intention of transitioning to semi monthly. Then weekly. Then, Pinkie, we plan to take over the world…

As for today – STS is honored to showcase its first ever feature script; a gem of a comedy entitled Based on a True Story. Read on McDuff. And if you’re a director, grab this one before it’s gone!


Senses of humor vary radically. Some people think Porky’s is the height of hilarity. Remember that one, folks? Others prefer Woody Allen’s neurotic wit and TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. One thing’s for sure… humor’s changed a hell of a lot over the years; with the focus veering towards over-the-top gross outs. This is the End anyone? Whatever happened to smart, character based comedy? Is there anyone out there still writing intelligent humor?

Yep. His name is Matt Dressel. The script in question is Based on a True Story. (That’s the title, folks. Not the description. The script itself is completely fictional.)

Smart, funny and low budget, BTS revolves around protagonist Bill, a screenwriter that can’t seem to get his big break. (Gee, I wonder how often that happens in real life?) Demoralized, Bill pays the bills working at a 911 crisis center, and most of his nights hanging out with incompetent actor pals Tim and Sam. (Okay, Sam’s not exactly a friend, more of an unfortunate acquaintance.) They live in Quigley Quagmire’s hotel… a depressing little 80’s reject hovel that’s only one step removed from the Roach Motel. In other words, life ain’t going well.

That is, until Bill has his brilliant idea. Hollywood likes reboots and movies based on True Stories, right? Why not stage a bank robbery themselves….and then cash in on the press with a best selling screenplay? Between Bill and his crew, they’ve got creativity, actors and props on their side. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

How often has that question been asked? With the logical answer. Everything.

What follows is a highly intelligent – and yet goofy – romp through an escalating comedy of errors: from “Auditioning” the other bank robbers (and other theoretically important stuff, like how to handle guns and bank vaults) to the actual caper. And the inevitable complications that ensue. A master of understated comedy, Matt Dressel populates the script with colorful characters… not just the protagonists, but walk-on supporting bits as well. Not to mention rioting Nazis, pizza delivery men, and David Bowie groupies. (Don’t even try to ask. Just read the script and see.) Sound over the top? In Dressel’s hands, this script actually maintains comedy balance … peppering the script with wonderful lines like that of Crusty Detective Vic Cardigan: “I’ve been chasing (these robbers’) sorry asses for nearly 25 years of my life – ever since I was a rookie on the force.” Police officer: “They appear to be about 30 years of age, sir.” Cardigan: “Damn, they’re good.”

You know what’s really good? This script. It’s an indie breath of fresh air in a world populated by dick jokes and vomit gags. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those… in moderation.) But if you’re an up and coming director looking for a comedy with intelligence and staying power, check this one out. Fast. Before it gets away like a bank robber with the loot…

About the writer: Matthew Dressel recently wrote/produced/acted in his own web series Let’s Kill John Stamos! One of his feature films, Killing Daniel, has been optioned by Darius Films. You can catch more of Matt’s work at





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.

4 Comments so far


June 1st, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Thanks Janet! I really appreciate the review and so many of the kind words contained within.


Jake Tyler
June 4th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Mr. Dressel, I loved your script! I was entertained the whole time, and laughed out loud quite a bit! I would love to see this turned into a feature film, you really deserve to get this made! As a aspiring screenwriter, I know how difficult it is to write not only a feature screenplay, but a great one as well! If we could get in contact, I would really appreciate some pointers and updates on the status of this film! Congrats’


June 4th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for letting me know you liked the script, Jake! Glad it made you laugh (the ultimate goal). If you ever want to reach out to me, my e-mail is


June 17th, 2014 at 3:16 am

Didn’t get pass the first 10 pages, but was hooked all along. I saw a movie in the script, and I didn’t have any trouble understanding what you meant. It was a fast read, I couldn’t believe I was on page 10 already, considering that I’m a slow reader. I’m really impressed. I do hope it gets produced in future.

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