A pair of copyrighters continue their career-long battle long after retirement.
There’s a lot to like about “Cards,” a short script by award-winning screenwriter Rick Hansberry. First of all, it’s so well-written that it’s a special treat for those of us who simply enjoy reading screenplays. If that’s you, go ahead and give it a read. The atmosphere is nearly perfect, vivid characters abound, and snappy dialogue almost leaps from the page. It’s a pleasure to read.
More importantly, though, “Cards” is a filmmaker’s dream. It tells a heart-warming story about life-long “frenemies” with a touch of humor and an element of suspense. There’s even a little romance in the air. All in five pages!
Fred and Jack, two curmudgeonly 70-somethings, have been friendly rivals for many years, in fact long before the portmanteau “frenemies” was coined. Every morning, they meet in the local greasy-spoon diner to needle each other — under the watchful eye of Ida, the waitress, who ensures their needling stays cordial. Without her scrutiny, there’s a good chance it might not. As the script tells us, “Ida dangles the coffee pot over their mugs. Her eyebrows arch, inferring that if they don’t behave, no refills.” They behave. Mostly.
And each morning as they munch their breakfast to the sound of golden oldies on the juke box, they have a friendly/not-so-friendly competition. They scribble feverishly on their paper napkins, and when they’re done, Ida judges the results. Her verdict this morning? “They’re both good,” she says. Rats!
But what do they scribble on those napkins every morning? That’s the real question. We don’t find out until the end of the script, but when we do we also learn a lot about Fred and Jack. And that’s the heart of the story.
“Cards” is a sweet slice of life, and it would be extremely simple to film. One location — a diner. Three very choice roles for some “seasoned” actors, and a few extras. This could easily be a film festival favorite.
About the writer: Rick Hansberry is a screenwriter, producer and director with more than 20 years of industry experience. His SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches” features narration by Daniel Stern and garnered international festival awards. In 2017 his thriller/horror film, “Evil In Her” was released on Amazon Video and Vimeo On Demand. His most recent short, inspired by true events, has won praise for its portrayal of one girl’s positive approach to handling her Type 1 Diabetes. You can view It’s Not Permanent free. Rick has shorts and features available here 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.
About the guest reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.
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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.