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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Original Script Sunday for July 31st - posted by Don

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

– Don

Friday, July 29, 2016

So Dark the Series - posted by Don

Awesome news from Mark Renshaw

I thought I’d share a bit of good news which all started off on Simply Scripts.

Back in 2012, a script found on this website called So Pretty was produced. It was written by our very own James Williams and I helped produce it. A sequel followed called So Dark. Since then, development has slowly continued behind the scenes.

Recently it was repackaged and relaunched on Amazon as a web TV mini TV series in development. In only two months, these two ‘episodes’ have had over 210,000 views and yesterday was given a 100 Stars Award by Amazon.

See the Official FB page for further details.

dodark-theseries

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Rust Garden – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Julia Cottle

The Rust Garden
A woman has the unusual job of digging up the remains of a horrifying past. She never expected to encounter something equally terrifying and still very much alive in her own back yard.

Digging up the past, especially when it has involved brutality, murder or genocide is an all too delicate task. Holocaust memorials, museums and family histories serve to remind of Nazi atrocities. Truth commissions facilitate the healing process in countries battered by ruthless dictatorships. Perpetrators continue to be hunted and pursued through legal channels when possible. Inevitably, there exists a burning desire to achieve closure, honor the dead and scream “never again!” And, then there are others who just want revenge.

Steve Miles dark, dark drama, The Rust Garden, is set 70 years after the war in a forsaken site in Belarus where the dead far outnumber the living. The protagonist Ela and her young son live in the middle of this wasteland, where Ela works diligently each day digging up human remains. One day, as Ela’s son Namov looks on more in curiosity than horror, an elderly disabled stranger emerges from seemingly out of nowhere, shakily walks towards them and collapses.

Ela’s surprise turns to a growing concern when the sergeant who arrives at the scene, fails to show much curiosity and even less concern about the man and his unusual appearance. She realizes that given the stranger’s condition, he could not have traveled far before perishing before her eyes. Who was he? And, where did he come from? As soon as her son has left to visit his father, Ela ventures off in search of some answers.

Ela soon discovers that she has neighbors she never knew existed and that the ones she knew of are nothing like she could have possibly imagined. Her journey proves as painful and frightening as Franciszek Kalina’s, the Polish immigrant from Chicago in Pasikowski’s Aftermath without the catharsis that holocaust revenge movies like Phoenix or Inglorious Basterds offer, nor the comic relief that the latter’s excesses provide.

If you crave the opportunity to work with an awesome script that crafts a darkness that intensifies right through to the end, leaving audiences entirely unsettled, look no further than Miles’ The Rust Garden.

Number of pages: 16

Budget: Moderate. There are a number of specific props, several actors with specific physical characteristics and scenes in outdoor landscapes needed.

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 always has loved to write, but only recently has discovered the joy of film and stage writing. She may be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.

About the writer: Steve Miles decided to get serious about writing around three years ago. Since then he’s concentrated on putting together a collection of shorts with a goal of finishing up a feature or two by year-end. Oh, and giving George RR Martin a run for his money! Email him at stevemiles80 “AT” yahoo.co.uk

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM

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.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Cure for Loneliness – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

A Cure for Loneliness
A psychiatrist searches for a way to connect his lonely patients.

Loneliness. One of the paradoxes of our time. We’re more “connected” to others in the world than ever thanks to technology, but no-one seems to be willing to connect in reality. Why bother to talk about the relative dullness of life when there’s eons of excitement available at your fingertips?

Our protagonist in A Cure for Loneliness, Joel, has both verbal and observational evidence to prove this point. As a psychiatrist, many of his patients confess their feelings of isolation to him in the office. And outside of work, his commute features the all too familiar sight of people addicted to the bleeps of their new iSurface Pro 7, and conversations between fellow residents of his high-rise flats are trite and depressingly short:

Joel pulls his mail from his box. Next to him, a WOMAN, professional, attractive stops to get her mail.

JOEL
Hello.

WOMAN
Hello.

Truly Shakespearean stuff. But neither person has any motivation to continue talking – they don’t know each other.

However, the motivation in arrives in the form of a sudden crime wave in Joel’s high-rise block. At first, it’s only a few break-ins, but as the offences escalate in seriousness, the community response escalates too. Locals begin to monitor the floors and organise fundraisers to upgrade security. Town hall meetings, usually emptier than a Donald Trump rally in Mexico become more packed than most trains at rush hour. Copious community cooperation returns. But at a price.

And will this price increase? Will the crime spree continue? Who’s behind the nefarious activities, and why?

Warning! A Cure for Loneliness has multiple side effects, like forcing your hands to applaud when the dose is fully digested. It also induces your brain into asking unpleasant questions. Why does it take negative events to bring people together? Do we need to rethink our relationship with technology? You’ll certainly have your own personal questions to ask after reading this script, so challenge yourself and delve right in to this one!

Pages: 8

Budget: Low to moderate. A few settings and good actors is all you need.

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp “AT” gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

About the writer: Richard Russell lives in North Carolina where he plays golf and writes. He has been writing since college when his short stories appeared in the university literary magazine. He loves writing screenplays, and THE CALL, written with his partner, Felice Bassuk, is one of their best. They have written an award-winning feature, THE KOI KEEPER, which they hope to see on the screen in the not too distant future. Richard has a trove of shorts and feature length screenplays and continues to add to the inventory. Writing remains the sole source of sanity in Richard’s chaotic world. Write to Richard at wordmstr007 “AT” gmail!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE (AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!)

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Congratulations to Damien Michael Aulsberry – Family Business Filmed! - posted by wonkavite

Tons of STS congratulations to writer Damien Michael Aulsberry, who is now celebrating the official Dublin shooting of his gritty and colorful crime short, Family Business.

Directed by the talented Oison Woods, the film brings together a great cast as well, including Bosco Hogan, Paul Ronan, Karl Shiels, Anthony Morris and Bern Deegan.

But fear not – if you’re a director who missed out, please be aware that Damien has more work available – including features, as well as shorts.  So hit him up – and get your “business” underway!

About the writer, Damien Michael Aulsberry: In Damien’s very personal words: “I write for therapeutic reasons. If I didn’t get all the mad shit out of me head, I’d be a lunatic…” What WE think is you’re a lunatic if you don’t give Damien’s work a read! That, and you can reach out to him directly at damien “AT” donovanprinting “DOT” com

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Original Script Sunday for July 24th - posted by Don

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

-Don

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Letter – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by wonkavite

The Letter
A captive prisoner makes an unlikely friend. But Wars of Words can be deadly as well….

Fantastical figures fascinate forever. The ogre is a pertinent example: from French folklore to the universally adored Shrek franchise, stories involving ogres have never waned in popularity, especially those that humanize these “monsters”.

The opening situation of The Letter, however, introduces us to a female ogre with no humanity whatsoever. In a dilapidated hut on the tallest mountaintop, where snow falls eternally, she holds young elf Aladan in captivity. Chained to the wall and in intense agony, he’s forced to write on the wall that physically restrains him.

Despite his situation, he’s not writing angry prose. He’s writing love stories! You see, his illiterate and mute detainer is enthralled by legendary tales of the heart, and forces Aladan to write and orate them for her.

Why romance stories? Because it turns out this big beast has a big heart for a fellow ogre. Sadly, her love isn’t reciprocated, and so she uses Aladan’s storytelling as a way to temporarily escape her sadness.

But Aladan claims he can permanently grant her happiness. How? By penning a love letter to her heartthrob! And of course, if the ogre finds true love, Aladan will be surplus to her requirements and be a free elf. So they begin creating the ultimate confession of adoration, all while forming a closer bond to one another along the way…

Yet this newly found friendship is meaningless if Aladan cannot win over the ogre’s heartthrob and win his freedom. Will he succeed? Or is the pen not as mighty as proverbs say it is? Only by reading the letter in The Letter will you find out!

Pages: 11

Budget: Mid-range. Of course, the FX could be lengthy if one wanted to go that way. Or it could be CGI. Or simply… implied!

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp “AT” gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

About the writer: A fun guy with a wicked sense of humor, Jesus Diez Perez wears many hats: VFX, writer and director (just to name a few). Contact him at jdiezperez “AT” gmail.com! In his own words: I’m a writer, producer, director, editor and visual effects artist with experience in big companies like Weta or Lucasfilm. I love telling the untold stories, those that lurk in the shadows while the famous ones get told and retold. And I’m always looking for a different angle, with a new edge. For a list of my credits, please view them at IMDB here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3925667/

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Interrogation – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop-Shorts

Interrogation

An interrogator employs questionable methods to extract information from a suspect.

There’s something about a good torture scene that just… stays with you. You know what we’re talking’ about: the dentist scene from Marathon Man. The ear removal in Reservoir Dogs.

Yet, there’s a fine line between an exquisitely painful scene and gratuitous torture porn. Make no mistake – there is a difference. One is an example of high writerly art; admittedly of the squeamish kind. The other is pure sadism… the visual rendering of unpleasant corners of the human psyche that are best left unexpressed (or crushed by energetic bouts of electroshock.)

Ah, but when a scene is of that first variety? Cinematic stuff like that scars you for life – in a good way. And it’s impossible to forget. The visuals burrow into one’s mind like memory maggots, and take up permanent residence in one’s bleeding brain.

And that’s certainly the case with Interrogation, by Zach Jensen. A vicious little short, Interrogation takes place in – you guessed it – an interrogation room populated by two charming gentlemen: Agent Dawes and Simon – an unfortunate soul whose hand is strapped to the table. ‘Cause, you see, Agent Dawes has a hammer. And pliers. And an orange (don’t ask.) And really, really sharp paper.   And he knows how to use them. Not surprisingly, things get ugly.

Needless to say, the torture depicted is quite brutal. If that’s all this script had going for it, it’d still be memorable – and imaginative. But Interrogation does have more. The banter between Dawes and Simon is surprisingly witty. And mystery lingers in the air. Why is Simon there? And exactly what is Agent Dawes fishing for? Then there’s that twist. But never mind. I’ve said too much already…

If you’re a director with dark and twisted sensibilities, then you’d better open Interrogation quick. ‘Cause perps like Simon eventually crack. And scripts like this get optioned – causing delicious suffering along the way…

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: 6

Budget: Pretty low. But be sure not to skimp on a few solid practical FX. No need to show everything (subtlety can be a good thing.) But a touch of blood here and there will enhance your audience’s heebie-jeebies even more.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Interviews: A Meet N’ Greet with Screenwriter Rick Ramage - posted by Anthony Cawood

Q: Could you give me a little bit of background on how you got into screenwriting?

Oddly enough, I became a screenwriter by default; I wanted to be a novelist. I had just written my first novel and I sent it to someone whose opinion I trusted. He told me my book wasn’t very good – but that I was a good writer. He said he thought that I was very visual. So he suggested I try writing a screenplay. Thank God he was nice enough to encourage me!

Q: Was The Proposition the first screenplay you found success with?

While I was still in film school, I managed to option a script (for very little money). It was called “Triad” and it was a psychological thriller. But it gave me a tremendous surge of confidence to actually option a script. So I wrote The Proposition next. And that was my first major sale.

Q: How did you connect with the filmmakers and sell The Proposition?

A friend of mine showed the script to an exec at Disney – she didn’t buy it, but she did like the story and the writing. That led to an introduction to an agency. And that led to the script getting into the hands of the right producers. A few of those producers wanted it bad enough to get into a small bidding war. I think the whole process, from getting the script read, to getting an agent, to actually selling it took about a week. It was so fun – changed my life, too.

Q: The Proposition has a great cast – did you get to be involved in the production at all?

Now that I look back on the whole process, I was very lucky, because the producers and the director were really good to me. The actors were awesome, too. Even though I was a complete rookie, everybody treated me with great respect, and — more importantly – the script was treated with great respect.

Q: That was followed by Stigmata – another great cast. How did this script come about?

Stigmata was a re-write assignment. And yes, great cast. I was asked by MGM producer, Frank Mancuso Jr. to do the re-write and we pretty much went right into production after only a few drafts.

Q: Studio pics and living the screenwriter dream …

One of the best things to come from putting a spec script out, is that even if a studio doesn’t buy it, there’s a very good chance that you might pick up a writing assignment if they like your writing. I always try to assure new writers that a rejection is not always a rejection of your story or writing. It’s usually because the studio already has something “similar” in development, or because that type of story just isn’t going to line up on their slate. Often times a producer or an executive will read you and if he or she likes your writing, they will think of you for other projects they may have in development.

Q: Where did the inspiration for “Haunted” come from?

My manager asked me to meet with Andrew Cosby, the co-creator of the show. He pitched Haunted to the producers and they brought me in to work with him. Andy is a very collaborative guy, and we got along great in the writing process.

Q: Now the move to TV is fairly common, less so then. What prompted the shift?

To be honest, I really can’t remember why writing for TV even sounded good. I was making way more money as a feature writer … so I suppose it was the challenge.

Q: Peacemakers was a change in genre … do you have a particular genre?

Good question. I’ve never wanted to allow myself to get pigeon-holed into one genre, because that very definitely limits your marketability for assignments. Every time I write a spec, I try to keep it fresh (genre-wise) so that producers know I have a wide range.

Q: How did ‘Ichabod’ come about?

Ichabod was a labor of love.

I’m a great fan of classic literature. I sold a spec script for a lot of money that year, and I wanted to do something cool for my kids. (They were in 4th or 5th grade at the time.) Most dads go out and buy a pony or something – but I wrote my kids a play.

I approached some song-writers that I knew and suggested we do Ichabod for kids in grade school and middle. As it turned out, we had 89 sell-out performances and won some awards with the play … But my feature career was just too busy to run a theatre company, so I let the company go for several years. Then, when I decided to see if I could direct a film, I went back to Ichabod. I was honestly thinking about doing a TV series for kids based on the classics. So it (kind-of) made sense on a business level … It aired on PBS and I thought I was going to launch the series, but then my funding fell through. It’s still a dream of mine to do the series, which I called “Timeless Tales”.

Q: How was the experience of directing Ichabod?

Flat –freaking– awesome. I’ve never had more fun. It was truly one of the best creative experiences of my life.

Q: Thoughts about moving to LA to pursue a screenwriting career?

I’ve always said the hardest thing about being an artist is financing your life while you do the work. I think writers should live where they can do their best work … If that means Denver, or Miami or Fargo — so be it.

I also think too much emphasis (especially for new writers) is placed on living in LA. Meeting with executives and producers don’t just fall out of the sky. Until you have a bullet-proof script, you’re really not going to get good meetings anyway. Once you have a truly great writing sample, I believe producers and agents will find you. LA is always looking for the next great talent that will take the world by storm.

My advice is get the script right, and the rest will take care of itself …

Q: Your career appears to have gone quiet for a few years. What were you working on and what happened to all those projects?

The truth is, I took a few years off because I felt burned-out. I thought I would finally write a novel, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Then one day, a friend of mine called and asked me pretty much the same question you just did: “Where have you been? You’re not working …” I laughed when he said that he was really glad I took some time off, because now he could finally afford me because my quote would suck … He said he wanted me to write the script for a project that he thought he had set up – but that didn’t work out. So then he asked me if I had any old specs sitting around. I said I had one, but I was saving it so I could direct it … Needless to say, he talked me out of that, and we took the script out … It sold over the weekend, and we had a green light within the week. The script was “Heaven Sent” due out this holiday season.

Q: What was the genesis of the documentary?

I’m laughing because I still don’t know how that project landed on my imdb page! I need to take it off! … It was really just a small favor for a friend : )

Q: When it comes to feature scripts, how do you approach structure? Do you follow or advocate any particular method?

Yes. Yes. And… yes!

I am a creature of method. And I do have a very particular way of addressing structure, and character development based upon a method that I’ve developed over the years. But if I go into it here and now, I’ll spoil the first episode “Method vs. Madness” of The Screenplay Show… And it’s so important for me to get it right when I describe it to new writers. I honestly believe it will make a difference in the way they approach story.

Q: Have you ever tried the conventional “breaking in” routes?

To be honest, no. I’ve never had to write a query letter or make a cold call as a writer. I’ve been really lucky in that I was approached by my first agent because he read one of my scripts (through a friend) which then sold. So you might say Hollywood found me.

That’s why I tell new writers that it really is all about the material. My career didn’t start because I was good in a pitch meeting or because I wooed an agent, or because I was a nice guy that producers wanted to meet. Producers buy your work and employ you to rewrite their scripts because they respect your writing …

Q: You are now launching a new venture: The Screenplay Show. Where did the idea for that come from?

A friend of mine who runs a writer meet-up group asked me to do a seminar for his writers a few years ago. Very reluctantly, I agreed… But then instantly regretted it because I was completely afraid I would bore people to death, droning on about a “how to” approach.

So I pulled my editor into the mix, and we put together a very visual presentation which actually shows examples of screenwriting elements, such as writing transitions, creating character arcs, writing action, the plot, etc.

For instance, we pulled about fifty stills of Jack’s character from “The Shining” to visually document his character arc – or descent into madness. It was very effective, because people could see it in real time when it was compared to the script (I put page numbers beside the stills). You get the idea …

But what really surprised me is that the writers were almost more interested in the “writer’s experience” … They had more questions about method and the biz, than they did about the nuts and bolts. So that got me thinking: if I combine my “story” with the nuts and bolts, it’s really a very different kind of writing series.

I’ve been extremely fortunate during my 25 year career to have developed scripts with some of Hollywood’s top producers and directors. Those experiences have changed and informed the way I write and approach story. After all, they were generous enough to share their knowledge with me for one purpose – to get the story right. So, I began to think in terms of presenting that knowledge and those insights in the form of a narrative, or show style.

Q: How will people be able to see it / get involved?

Each episode will be approximately 30 minutes. You will be able to purchase and stream at our site. We will consider moving to other formats later. I’m also talking to a cable network, so that is a possibility now, too.

Q: One of the accusations leveled at other gurus is that they haven’t had anything produced or sold. But that can’t be leveled at you – is that what makes your offering different.

I hope so. I mean, you can talk all day about the nuances that make a race car driver great, or a football player, or a ballet dancer, or an artist – but I would hope you’d get the information from someone that has actually been “to the show” … Otherwise there is too much information missing from the actual process of learning. It’s called trial and error. You learn things in the script development process that just isn’t covered in books.

I believe that people know instinctively that you learn by doing, much better than by reading it in a book or a talking-head video. One of the things that I feel is really important, is to talk to new writers about rejection and heartbreak. In “The Screenplay Show” the highs and lows of the craft are talked about quite naturally in the narrative since I have had plenty of both in my career.

The trick is to learn from it and not take rejection too personally.

Q: What exactly is it, and what will the episodes cover?

The Screenplay Show is an actual show you’ll be able to watch. It’s a very different approach to screenwriting, from a personal point of view. It’s both the story of a writer’s experience in Hollywood, and how those experiences have informed the way I write and how I have survived for 25 years. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve developed material (from spec scripts, to rewrites, to book adaptations) with some of Hollywood’s most talented directors and producers. That has definitely informed the way I go about my business . I will be sharing that information and knowledge — both technical and philosophical – in a narrative, visual way during each episode of The Show.

The Episodes cover these topics:

1) Method vs Madness:

We live in two worlds: the physical and the mental. New writers are often balancing a full-time job with trying to find quality time to write. I talk about my own method, and how I discovered a way to get the work done. But I also explain how important it is to have a method that is intellectual – which leads to episode 2 called ….

2) “Write with Questions”

A very famous author gave me this tip, and once I came to understand exactly what he was talking about. I realized that he had just given me a method (of the intellectual kind) that actually helps me solve problems. I believe learning to write with questions is the single most important factor that has helped me set up and sell over 40 scripts in Hollywood. But here’s a teaser: it’s not what you think it is …

3) Writing the Beat Outline

Over the years, I learned to write my outlines using a technique that also informs the way I pitch. Most new writers think a pitch is a condescended version of the story … But a pitch is also the story of how you’re going to write a killer script. Don’t forget, you’re also auditioning to prove that you have the chops to back up your pitch. In The Show, I’ll share a technique that will help you get on the page as a writer – because it will assure the producer you’re not only a good storyteller, but ready to go to script.

4) Tone

It’s my opinion that this is where most scripts live or die. Most new writers DO NOT know how to give their script a voice. In fact, when I’m asked to do a rewrite, that’s usually what they are looking for – the proper tone (or writer’s voice) for the story. Another word for it is “soul”.

5) Character Arcs

A great director once told me that the key to writing great characters is that
“we write in search of ourselves…”It sounds obvious, but it isn’t. (It does tie very nicely into Episode 2 once we break it down … )

6) The Four Elements

This is another episode I’m anxious to get into, because once again, most new writers don’t really know how to write or execute these basic elements of screenwriting properly. 1) Action 2) Plot 3) Subtext 4) Transitions

7) Act I
8) Act II
9) Act III

We’ll be talking in-depth about the three-act structure, and how to seamlessly build three acts into one solid story. We’ll also delve into something that I feel is crucial to your success as a screenwriter: the mid-act breaks … It’s also very important that new writers understand how to enter and exit each act so that your reader will keep turning pages.

10) The Biz

When I do a live seminar, this is the topic the writers want to hear about the most – not only do they want to know how to break in, but they need to know what happens once you do sell that first script. How do you survive this intense and competitive business?

Q: I’m assuming this isn’t a purely altruistic venture? What are the costs involved to you and how will you charge for it?

Since this is a “show” format, and not a talking head seminar, the “usual suspects” on a line item budget are required: Lights. Camera. Crew. Actors. Sound. And finally Post – the show will have a rather hefty budget.

Basically, for $149.00 writers can pre-purchase all ten 30 minute episodes now at a 50% discount. (When we are finished with production, the show will retail for approx. $300.00.)

Q: Screenwriters are perhaps, rightly, a little suspicious of guru’s with schemes that promise them success – for a fee of course. What is different about the Screenplay Show and how would you answer that challenge?

Great question. I would answer by reminding people from the start that I’ve never taken the position that I am a “guru” or a “coach” or a seminar guy. I’m a working writer – so I won’t be spewing theory. I’ll only be talking about the methods and techniques that have worked – and continue to work – for me.

I think anyone who promises instant success in this business is full of BS. What I can promise, however, is that I’ll be coming at the craft of screenwriting from a very different perspective than most. Why? Because I’ll be sharing the same techniques and methods that some of Hollywood’s most talented writers, directors and producers have shared with me.

Q: How will you judge success for The Show?

I’m smiling right now, because I won’t get to be the one who does that. Only the writers who take the time to tune-in to The Screenplay Show will get to judge. And deservedly so. If they learn something that helps them become a better writer, wonderful. If they think I’ve wasted their time and money – I’ll get slammed. But that’s how it is for the writer of any show or movie. It is the nature of our business to get applause or … rotten tomatoes.

Q: If successful, what next for the project?

My hope is to take The Show on the road if we are successful. One of my personal requirements for any of my projects is that I only take on subjects that interest me. And I’ve always been fascinated by the methods of other writers, actors and athletes. I like to know how they prepare, execute, and deal with the business they are in. Learning from other writers how they do-what-they-do will be interesting to me. Why? Because I’m sure I’ll learn something.

I’m working on several projects right now, both film and television. I think we almost have to keep several irons in the fire for one to get hot … Working on several projects has always helped to diversify the odds of success vs failure.

Q: What’s the best / worst advice you’ve been given?

The best: “read the third act as many times as the first act” we tend to write FADE OUT and think it’s done too quickly.

The worst: “Don’t write so much exposition – the director will just ignore it anyway.”

To the latter, I politely say “bull”. My scripts are stories, first. They just happen to be formatted like a script. As a storyteller, I always try to think of my scripts as a literary work – or in other words, I’m on the page.

A producer once told me the script was fat, but I responded by saying that there was no charge for the extra words. I wasn’t being snide, either. I simply told her that it was my draft, because we were about to go out to the town on spec … people would be reading it and judging me as a writer, as well as for story. So I insist that my scripts read well. She agreed, too.

Q: Favorite film / script?

I have too many “favorite” films. But I’m an unapologetic romantic when it comes to most of my faves: I like anything by David Lean, but I also never miss a chance to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” … As for my favorite script, I’d have to say my favorite script-writer is Steven Zaillian.

Q: Favorite Author / book

Once again, too many to pick one. I did recently admire “Broken Music” by Sting. I was really taken by his writing. He’s as eloquent and lyrical and aware in his prose as he is with his music. And when I say “admire his writing” I really mean it makes me jealous. (Great writers will do that to you; you put them down wishing that you were that good : )

Q: Beer / Wine or other

I like brew pub blondes … But it’s a very cold martini that makes the voices in my head go away until the next writing session.

Q: What screenwriting software do you use – and why?

I’m a Final Draft guy. Why? Because it’s become like a pair of my favorite jeans – I’m comfortable with it.

Q; Favorite Food?

Pasta. Not the best choice for a guy who sits on his ass all day, but my wife makes it from scratch, so it’s hard to deny on Sunday.

Q: Any other interests or passions?

I’m a big sports fan – all types. Sports has become the other thing that helps me get the voices out of my head at night. I don’t sit there and analyze the seventh inning, the way I do when I’m watching a movie.

Q: Any final thoughts for the screenwriters of SimplyScripts?

I once had an agent tell me that any writer in Hollywood is just one script away from being a success. You are one script away.

About Interviewer Anthony Cawood: I’m an award winning screenwriter from the UK with over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of my screenwriting career, I’m also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to my films and details of my scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

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September 24, 2017

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