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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Left in the Dark – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author KP Mackie

 

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“Left in the Dark”

A traumatic incident from his past clouds a father’s time with his daughter.

Write an original story, breathe life into unique characters, add some color, and — voilá — a compelling story. Writers have it so easy!

If only it were really that simple… Injecting emotion and heart into characters and the story may be a writer’s toughest challenge.

The heart of “Left in the Dark” manifests itself in four-year-old Brianna, “cute is an understatement,” who convinces her father, Zach, to join her tea party. Unbeknownst to Brianna, the tea party’s dark location — a tent of strategically-arranged beach towels in her closet — resurrects in Zach a distressful childhood experience. While he struggles with on-setting panic, a sympathetic Brianna realizes she has the perfect panacea.

The sweet father-daughter relationship in LITD will tug at your heart. For this loving father, his adoring daughter is just the right prescription… As it will be for any director looking for a solid character piece with soul.

So, act quickly. You won’t want to miss out on any of the “ahhh” moments! And neither will your audience!

About the writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” His first feature is set to be released in the summer of 2014. Trailer available here . He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

Page Count: 5

Budget: Low. A house interior, and a small cast. Secure a tea set, BYOBT (bring-your-own-beach-towels), and don’t forget to invite Jasmine and Ariel!

About the guest reviewer for “Left in the Dark”: California uber reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on another animated feature. KP’s work is available for viewing at moviepoet.com!

 

READ THIS 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, September 20, 2016

Textual Assassins – Directory’s Commentary - post author Don

I found this in the comments section from Rob Wright, the film maker of Textual Assassins. There are some great insights here on the film making process. For writers (and film makers) there is a lot of valuable information here on working with a director to go from script to screen.

– Don

Rob writes,

robDear Simply Scripts, hello!

I hope you don’t mind me jumping in on this thread – I’m the film-maker behind Textual Assassins.

First off, I wanted to say a big thanks to Simply Scripts.com for providing such a fantastic resource (for both script writers seeking feedback on their work or looking for opportunities to have their work made, and for film-makers looking for material or writers to collaborate with).

Back in April of this year, when I was considering making a film and before I had settled on Nolan’s wonderful screenplay, I spend many enjoyable evenings here reading many, many screenplays – I was struck by the creativity and quality of the work, but also by the supportive community spirit evident in the forums.

Anyway, by way of giving something back, I thought I might share a few insights about this project in case any of this might be of interest or useful in some way to your community?

I should say at this point (in case it isn’t obvious) that Textual Assassins was my first attempt at making a film (at least on this scale) – I am therefore very much a beginner/indi film-maker still learning the ropes and as such anything I say below should not be taken too seriously – it’s certainly not an industry insight – however, since Nolan Bryant and I managed to come out of our little collaboration unscathed, still on speaking-terms (haha-Nolan), and with a finished piece of work we are both quite proud of, I suppose we must have done something right !

I’ve tried to think of a few things below which might be of interest, but please feel free to ask any other questions if you would like to know more. (Who knows, Nolan might also answer from his perspective too)? If anyone is interested there are some photos, example storyboards, and further thoughts on this Facebook page.

Why Did I Choose This Particular Script?

There are some fantastic scripts on this website, but for me Textual Assassins appealed for a number of key reasons. It’s witty (in a black comedy kinda way), well written, with some great characters and fun dialogue, etc. – but on a more practical level, it was just… ‘do-able’ (read: manageable for me as an indi film-maker). Limited locations / minimal props needed, a small leading cast, concise and to the point (about the right length for me, not too ambitious in scope, but still a challenge). A beginner film-maker’s dream really. I also read the community forum posts alongside the script and got the sense (largely by the way that the author was responding to suggestions and critique from others) that he would be someone I could work with.

What Happened Next? How was Contact Made?

I contacted Nolan via email, and asked permission to turn his screenplay into a short film – I was open and honest with him about my pervious limited experience but sent some examples of smaller projects I’d completed in the hope that this would show I was serious. I was trying my best to give assurances that I’m a ‘finisher’ and if he would take a chance and grant me a time limited option, the film WOULD be made. After a good number of initial email exchanges we settled on agreeable terms. I also agreed to consult before any major changes occurred, and promised to keep him posted on progress as I hit the milestones.

There are Some Differences Between the Screenplay and the Film – Why so?

Both Nolan and I were open from the outset to the idea that some things would change. This was a two-way street though – I suggested a few things, some he was happy to run with, and others, he explained, he would rather not see happen – and this was OK for me too. Nolan was a great person to work with, clearly talented, but also flexible and open – this was important to me.

For the most part I tried to adhere to the original Screenplay and use it as the blueprint for the story, but here were a few reasons for change, which might be food for thought?:-

i. Localisation – the original script used some phrases that tied it to a particular region (of the world) – and yet the film was going to be made elsewhere (I’m from the UK so that is where the film would need to be set, Nolan is not). A example: the original script included one character described as “bush-league” – this is simply not a phases well understood in the UK (it was changed by me through negotiation with Nolan to “School-Boy error” to address that).

ii. Character Names – some of the film characters have different names to those in the Script (eg. Kyle became Big-Dave). Again, a bit of a localisation thing for me. Kyle isn’t a widely popular name in the UK in the age range of the character. Also, this wan’t a big deal, but my actor playing the role of Kyle looked to me more like a BIG-DAVE!

iii. Other changes came about during early rehearsals or indeed ad lib, where my actors felt their characters would respond slightly differently. As their Director I wanted to allow them this ownership of the characters. Some other direction changes came about due to taking advantage of the layout at the locations we had available. The two pillars in the hallway were just crying out to be used for the stand off between PETE and DAVE for example.

iv. Another somewhat larger change occurred towards the end of the film. In the original screenplay when the police show up, the five assassins are instructed to “drop their guns and raise their hands” and we do not know their fate (but assume they are arrested?). However in the film, I wanted the viewer to see Rookie making a move (and we assume hit fired at the police?). Nolan and I talked this through, along with a third possible ending and I had agreed to shoot all three alternative endings and then we could evaluate which worked best in the edit. As it happened, unfortunately, I overran on the schedule during the film shoot (a night-time shoot at the location) and had to make a quick judgement call in the moment – either continue shooting and risk annoying the location owners (it was about 2:30am and the flashing police lights were becoming annoying!) or cut our losses and only shoot one of the endings. I opted for the latter.

(I suppose the point here is, sometimes even with the best will in the world, a Director might need to make changes and sometimes they need to be made quickly).

How many table-reads / rehearsals did we have with the cast before shooting?

We had rehearsals only for the 3 main characters (Assassins – PETE, DAVE & ROOKIE). The other actors learnt their (few) lines independently and I gave direction as we filmed on location, we filmed multiple takes till I got what was needed. Remarkably, other than the actor playing ROOKIE, the cast consists entirely of good friends of mine whom had zero previous acting experience (I think they did a great job!). I arranged for PETE and DAVE to have two acting classes before we held rehearsals with ROOKIE. The actor playing ROOKIE was more experienced and helped a little on set with acting direction. We had only two rehearsals sessions in total before we filmed.

How long did it take to make the film?

5 Months (not a day-job) – although in reality most of this time was spent planning. Getting the actors on board, converting the script to storyboard, then to shooting script and shortlist, location-hunting, prop-making, organising dates and times when I would be able to access equipment (camera and lighting etc.) and when people would be able to make it. Once the planning stages were done, the film was shot during only 5 shoot-days (2 long days in the main house location + 3 shorter sessions at the other locations). There was a great deal of pressure during the shoot days, as I was leaning on the job to some extent, and was very mindful to keep the location owners on board.

How much did it cost to make the film?

Textual Assassins took a great deal of time, energy and effort to make – but this was largely because I was trying to do pretty much everything on my own – a labour of love you might say. I wanted to direct this film, yes, but I also wanted to use this opportunity to learn something about the other key roles typically associated with film-making. This means that I made the storyboard and props myself, I sourced the locations, organised the cast, arranged the acting-classes/rehearsals, stood as DOP, I operated the camera and microphones, I set up the lighting, recorded sound-effects, edited the footage, colour graded the film, decided upon the soundtrack music, I composed the additional music, etc, etc.

Honestly – I think I gained about 5 years of real film-making experience by tacking this project in this way, but it was a heck of lot of work for one person alone and much more that I had anticipated.

Other than a few items which I bought or hired – most of the technical equipment was hired for free through a lot of begging and borrowing! My actors (my friends) all agreed to work for free (although I fed them!) and they all commented that they really enjoyed the experience very much.

Textual Assassins was made with a budget of only c.£300 (c.400 USD / c.350 Euros).

…anyway, I hope this post proves to be in some small way useful to the community here at Simply Scripts. I know the film isn’t perfect, but given the constraints highlighted above, I’m quite pleased with the outcome and I believe Nolan is too. We thank you once again for this great resource through which we were connected.

Keep writing the great material people!

Rob.

Textual Assassins (10 pages in pdf format) by Nolan Bryand

Being a hitman is tough, killing indiscriminately is harder than you’d think. (Short, Dark Comedy)

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board

Forget-Me-Not – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author KP Mackie

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Forget-Me-Not

“A troubled inner city youth liberates a forgotten community garden, unlocking a magic that reconnects his neighbors with their lost loved ones.”

When you think about it, every story at its heart is drama. By their very nature, they require a dramatic force to keep their audience’s attention: characters struggle – clash against others, providing conflict. Ebb and flow. Back and forth. There’s a rhythm to telling a riveting tale – no matter the supposed “genre.”

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/author Anna Quindlen once wrote “Every story has already been told.” If so – how do you make YOUR drama unique? One method is to swirl additional genres into the mix. Do it right, and you’ll have a winning recipe on your hands!

And that’s the appeal of Steven Dexheimer’s inner-city story, Forget-Me-Not. On the surface, it’s a drama about troubled 16-year old Michael who lives in the tenements. His four friends aren’t exactly a gang, but peer pressure’s a powerful force on the street. Michael wants to fit in, but he’s got an interest far outside their sphere; he’s been spotted in the neighborhood community garden with Mrs. Friedman, an elderly lady who’s as far away from “ghetto” as one can be (at least outside of Ikea).

When Mrs. Friedman falls ill, paramedics load her into an ambulance. A nosy neighbor recognizes Michael as a frequent visitor to the garden, and starts asking him questions. In front of his friends.

Michael visits Mrs. Friedman in the hospital. She asks him a favor; care for the garden while she’s away. A good kid, Michael does what he can… but falls afoul of his old gang, who take a dim view of Michael’s new “hobby.” As the garden grows, so does the animosity – forcing Michael to choose between new allegiances and old, in a world where very few good things grow….

What makes Forget Me Not a stand-out script? Let’s pluck those petals and count the ways:

Friendship (and a touch of lost romance): Mrs. Friedman’s love for her dear departed “Stanley” (symbolized by the blue flowers she nutures in the garden), and the bond that forms between her and the teen.

Crime: A gritty inner city setting – depicting “thug life” and its very real consequences.

Fantasy: Though “rooted” in reality, something magical happens in the community garden. Affecting far more than the flowers…

Poignantly written, Forget Me Not weaves these themes together seamlessly – creating a fresh story of hope, community and friendship. If you’re a director looking for a story with substance, then F-M-N should be directly in your line of sight. Visually compelling with dramatic impact. You’d better act now – before this one’s off the market…!

About the writer:Steven was a finalist in the coWrite competition, an innovative community-sourced screenplay developed in association with respected production company Benderspink (A History of Violence, The Butterfly Effect). He also took 1st Place honors in the March 2009 MoviePoet short script competition.

Steven is a member of Writer’s Boot Camp, was a finalist in the 2008 The Movie Deal screenplay competition and has twice been a finalist in the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Competition (2007 & 2008). He holds a Bachelors degree in Theater and an Associate degree in Film/Video Production. More of Steven’s work may be found at his website: www.StevenDexheimer.com (email: Steven “AT” 8mdFilms.com)

Pages: 14 pages

Budget: Moderate, but not pricey. And definitely worth the investment. An establishing shot may be enough to set up the inner city neighborhood, hospital, and high school. An actual or imitation hospital room, classroom and bedroom shouldn’t take much of a bite from the budget. Almost an ensemble piece, there are several main characters – all likely coveted roles – plus some extras to act as neighbors. But get yourself a good garden. Because it’s a star of this show, as well.

About the reviewer for Forget-Me-Not:California uber reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.com!

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.

Major Congrats to Ammar Salmi: Quality Control produced! - post author simplyscriptshorts

What can we say? We love it when a plan (and a script/production match) comes together.

In this case, the honors go to Ammar Salmi, whose SF “thinker script” – Quality Control has been produced by Tin Mirror Productions!

Not only that, but TWO premieres of Quality Control are right around the bend, at the following locations:

November 4, 2016 at The Creative House, in Long Island, NY – Event Brite tickets available here:

November 6, 2016 at Metropolitan Room; known as the best cabaret in NYC with a dinner-theater type atmosphere. Event Brite tickets available here

About the Author: Born and raised in Bir El Ater, Algeria, Ammar Salmi majored in computer science at USTHB university. He found interest in screenwriting when he was 19 – falling in love with it only two years after reading “The usual suspect” script. Ever since, he’s been learning, reading, and writing (his words). Ammar’s gearing up for his first feature, and can’t wait to see what the writing future has in store!

Want to see what else Ammar has available? Reach out to Ammar via realxwriter “AT” gmail.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Original Script Sunday for September 18th - post author Don

Over on the Uproduced Scripts page are twenty five original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Textual Assassins by Noland Bryant – Filmed - post author Don

Textual Assassins (10 pages in pdf format) by Nolan Bryand

Being a hitman is tough, killing indiscriminately is harder than you’d think. (Short, Dark Comedy)

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dick Jokes – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author simplyscriptshorts

Dick Jokes
A stand up comedian discusses the male sex and their urges,
whilst going through a very personal journey.

Who wants to hear a dick joke? Well, nobody in the aptly named script Dick Jokes, by Cameron Grey.

But settle into your seats, folks. You’re going to hear a good one anyway.

As the script opens, standup comedian Redmond is just warming up his routine. Standing on stage at a Baltimore comedy club, he opens well-enough – gets a few laughs and dodges one heckler with ease.

But then Redmond runs into trouble. And one particular line falls flat: “I’ve come all the way from NYC to talk to you about dicks.”

Record scratch.

One female audience member gets up to leave. Redmond stops her, begging her to hear the joke before judging. Her response: he has two minutes to make her laugh or she’s gone. Unwilling to fold, Redmond accepts the challenge and begins telling his tale.

As Redmond digs deeper into his “bit”, we cut to flashbacks of Redmond’s life offstage. What led him to the comedy club tonight – and why is he obsessed about… well, Dicks?

Funny and smart, with a surprisingly grown-up message, Dick Jokes will have you in tears, both from laughter and being genuinely touched. (No, not that kind of touched, perverts!)

Trust us, any script that blends comedic timing with real emotion is special. Especially when dick jokes is the focus!

Believe it or not, this one’s safe for work. And great for festivals, as well!

Pages: 10

Budget: Low to medium. A few actors, several settings and a few costume changes, but if you know of a community theatre nearby, you should have everything you need to tell your own dick joke that’ll slay them in the aisles.

About the reviewer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website (http://mitchsmithscripts.wix.com/scripts offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at Mitch.SmithScripts@gmail.com and follow Mitch at https://twitter.com/MitchScripts.

About the writer: I’m a Scottish/Australian writer. Despite being in proud possession of an Ancient Studies degree, somehow I’ve ended up working in architecture, largely doing3d visualisation and project coordination. Not sure how that happened but it pays the bills!

I initially took to writing scripts as some kind of therapy, a release from the pressures of the construction industry and family life. Now I’ve got into screen writing, work and family life is a breeze but looking for the next idea is a stress. Life’s a bit odd…

My first efforts were in drama, but to my surprise comedy seems to be clicking for myself. Interested in Dick Jokes? (And who isn’t?) Then contact me at cammygray1983 “AT” gmail.com

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, September 13, 2016

The Mating Dance – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author KP Mackie

 The Mating Dance

When it comes to romance, listening to advice can lead to unexpected results…

Ah – the love story. Nowadays, almost every movie has one. Even genre movies throw in a handful of romance. Milk, Iron Man, The Wolf of Wall Street. Even the animated hit Frozen gets in its share of kissy-cuddly action. It’s almost a required sub-plot B.

For the romantic-comedy, of course, relationships take center stage. Two people “meet-cute.” Life throws obstacles in their way – simultaneously tearing them apart, yet bonding them subtly closer. Just as they realize they’re meant for each other, a misunderstanding causes a tragic break up. Ultimately, the couple reconcile and kiss. The curtain falls. The last scene fades.

Yep, getting to “Happily Ever After” requires some choreographed steps. But even if you’ve heard this song before, doesn’t mean you’ve seen the latest moves.

In her short The Mating Dance, talented writer Marnie Mitchell-Lister puts a fun, original spin on that never-ending ballad of romance…

Separate guests at the Hilton, singles Jake and Marla literally bump into each other at the reservation desk. Their bags become entangled, resulting in several clumsy “dance steps”. When they finally break free, an embarrassed Jake heads for the hotel lounge. Sure, Marla’s cute and all. But Jake’s recently divorced. It’s been awhile since he’s been in the game. To kill time before his flight, Jake impulse-buys a book at the convenience stand: The Mating Dance for Men, by Ramesh Kumar. May as well read up on the latest tips…

After signing out, Marla also stops by the stand. And a book catches her eye. The Mating Dance for Women, by Dr. Padima Sanghi-Kumar. She grabs it, making sure no-one sees… and settles in to read as well.

We all know what comes next. The couples’ eyes meet. Then an awkward pause – mutual attraction in the air. Soon, the Mating Dance begins in earnest. Awkward introductions. Stammered “lines”. The two stumble toward Getting to Know Each Other, aided by contradictory advice from their hidden books. Yep, Jake and Marla could use some guidance. But will they find their rhythm, or drive each other away?

Like the best romance comedies, TMD doesn’t take itself too seriously: alternating “voice-overs” from the books with awkward dialogue between the couple. (Anyone who’s been through a bad first date knows exactly what that’s like.) You’ll be rooting for Jake and Marla instantly. And you’ll want to read this to the end. Because happily-ever-after doesn’t happen when a couple meets. It always clicks at the end.

Comedy indie directors take note… This is one script worth choosing as your dance partner. A fun premise, and easy to film, it won’t be single for too long!

About the writer: Having completed 9 features and over 70 shorts, Marnie Mitchell-Lister has no plans on stopping. Currently, she’s working on a variety of projects; an animated feature, a psychological thriller and a TV pilot about a bored housewife whose quest for excitement gets her in all sorts of trouble. Some of Marnie’s work can be found on her website: http://www.brainfluffs.com.

Pages: 6

Budget: Three simple interiors: a hotel lobby, the hotel lounge, and a shuttle. Two main characters, a couple extras, and two actors with distinctive voices to provide voiceover dialogue, preferably with catchy accents.

About the reviewer: California uber reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.com!

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.

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dude, that was fast…. CJ Walley’s Black SUV now optioned!! - post author simplyscriptshorts

Wow, it seems like only yesterday.

Wait a minute… it practically was!

September 7th, to be exact. That’s the day in history that STS showcased CJ Walley’s Black SUV.

Which has now been optioned to NYC based Kareem Gladden of GT Visionz. We’ve SEEN GT Visionz webpage. And we’re excited, to say the least!

So, as that trend continues, you better snap up CJ’s other work before it’s gone. Namely:

Dixie Gash Bandits – When they stop to fix their get-a-way vehicle, two runaway sisters must tackle both love at first sight and the bounty hunters hot on their tail.

Lone Star Runner Hunnies – Fleeing a drug deal gone wrong, four girls held up in a lonely Texas diner face the dilemma of capture vs saving a mortally wounded friend.

Stone Cold Sober – When a man confronts a woman that’s tailing him, he learns she’s his future daughter, who knows about an awful crime he’s yet to commit.

San Diego Impala Cholas – All they wanted to do was sell a gun. But things don’t always go as planned.

So Cal Gun Girls – After buying drugs and debating the commercialization of cannabis in California, two female gang members stumble straight into a robber who’s killed their beloved dealer.

About the writer, C.J. Walley: I began writing in 2012 and I’m pleased to say it’s been very exciting so far. I have been fortunate enough to have a short produced by a director in London and Amazon Studios have spotlighted one of my features as a notable project. My scripts place within the top 10% of various major screenwriting competitions and, as I continue to write new specs, I am remotely collaborating with a producers, directors, and actors in LA, NYC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, Zurich, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Dallas while occasionally blogging for Stage 32. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, then I’d love to join forces with you whatever the scale, do not hesitate to reach out and drop me a line. (CJ “AT” CJwalley DOT COM; http://www.cjwalley.com

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