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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Jolly Encounter – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

A Jolly Encounter by Jason K. Allen

Two young hikers encounter a mysterious backpacker with a candy cane phone and a penchant for milk and cookies.

            NICK
How long have you had those boots,
Ted? Looks like they’ve seen
better days.

            TED
Well, it’s been about… Wait, how
do you know my name?

For many people, hiking is a paradoxical hobby – a chance to rest, yet keep fit at the same time. Undisturbed trails provide a calm backdrop for exercise… combined with walks of the meditative kind.

As Jason K. Allen’s A Jolly Encounter opens, two young ramblers – Ted and Melanie – are doing just that.

But their quiet hike through the great outdoors is soon interrupted: by an enigmatic man who calls himself “Nick”.

Nick? He looks odd at first glance. Yes, he owns a candy cane phone. And he’s got a sweet tooth for gingerbread men – even though he’s trying to lose weight.

And Nick’s other traits are strange as well. Somehow, he knows both Ted and Melanie’s names, though they’ve never met him before. As the strangers settle down and chat, the duo form an educated guess as to who “Nick” is. Not surprisingly, they’re ardent fans!

From there, a more serious discussion develops: one that stands the cinematic test of time. What moral virtues should Ted and Melanie cultivate in themselves? What’s Nick’s work in relation to human nature? Or to Nature itself? And that’s the aim of all great films – candy coating universal themes in entertainment, helping the “medicine” go down. There’s even an unexpected twist at the end… one that will fill your audience with delight.

Like Pixar did with its classics, Jolly can be seen from many sides. A gentle story to amuse kids, with an adult message at its nougat core.

Are you a comic director who likes satire? Chuckles with morals on the side? Then choose Jolly for a read. It’s got mass appeal, sharp dialogue… and if you end up being the good little boy or girl who brings it to the screen, you may find some gifts (like festival awards) under your Christmas tree!

Budget: Pretty low. All you need is the great outdoors, some even greater actors. Oh – and a nice red suit.

About the writer: Jason K. Allen is a writer and filmmaker from Nashville, Tennessee. His screenwriting credits include the short films AMERICAN SOCK, which won Best Screenplay at the 2014 San Diego Film Awards, and AUTUMN LOVERS, winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Artlightenment Festival in Nashville. He also wrote the feature film LUCKY FRITZ starring Julia Dietze (IRON SKY) and Corey Feldman. You can contact Jason at allen.jason.k (at) gmail. See IMDB for his complete credits.

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 @HamishP95.

Read A Jolly Encounter (9 pages in 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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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

Heroes by Steven Clark

A father and son take a journey they were never supposed to make, on a day they’ll never forget.

I have a son. His name is Maxwell. I was unbelievably fortunate. I used to pick Maxwell up from school every day. No matter the “crisis” at work or the worldly event taking place, the earth was always spinning perfectly at 3:30 p.m.

When your child smiles up at you and grasps your hand like he’s been waiting for it all day, there’s no better feeling in life.

David Gonzales, a father in “Heroes“, is minutes away from that moment, sitting in his car in the elementary school parking lot. Just like other hum-drum day. So much so, David’s yawning into his cell phone.

            DAVID
Yeah. I’m here right now…
    (yawns)
No, I’m not gonna fall asleep… Oh,
don’t be silly. I’m not gonna forget
to pick up our son.

Then a man passes by in “dark clothes, black boots and a long bulky overcoat.” A fortuitous gust of wind opens the coat. “The muzzle of a rifle makes a brief but unmistakable appearance” and your stomach drops – as does the phone in David’s hand. He fumbles for the door handle; he’s going after the stranger. Absolutely whatever it takes.

A woman buzzes in at the front door, which stays open just long enough for the man in black to poke the muzzle through. He cracks open the door and lets himself in. The door remains open long enough for David to enter. But – tragically – he’s too late. The woman is crumpled on the floor; rivulets of blood everywhere. In other words: a parent’s worst nightmare.

Gun POPS ring out. Muffled screams down long corridors. David pounces on the gunman, and a struggle ensues. Wild punches. Bloody teeth clink on the floor. But the stranger’s still got the rifle. David reaches out for one last chance, then…POP.

David awakes in a “dark void,” a blurry alien-like form approaching. Soon, he recognizes the silhouette. It’s Leonard, his 6-year-old son.

            LEONARD
Hi, Daddy.

            DAVID
Hey, buddy. Oh, I missed you. I missed
you so much.

            LEONARD
I missed you, too.

The conversation that follows is priceless, one I would never spoil. You should read and experience this one yourself.

There may be some stories we never want to hear, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be told.

“Heroes” may be one of them, but it will take a very brave director. One who has pulled into a school parking lot a thousand times. One who has navigated an on-rush of hundreds of children in a deafening hallway, looking for one smiling face. And one who knows there’s no better feeling in the world than a little hand holding yours so tight.

Give this script the proper treatment – and you’ll be a hero… yourself.

Budget: Not bad. One “school” location and a handful of actors.

About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.

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

Read Heroes (8 pages in 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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

In Flanders Field - posted by Don

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Original Script Sunday for May 28th - posted by Don

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

– Don

Friday, May 26, 2017

Conference Call – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Zupke

Conference Call by Pete Barry

Jeremy’s management team had better resolve the problem fast – before it resolves them.

Zombies are everywhere. They’re eating our favorite characters on TV, dragging themselves across the pages of novels and comic books. In movies, they’re no longer just relegated to anonymous background performers, but are portrayed by known – and sought after – actors (see Warm Bodies and Life After Beth). In this raging media apocalypse, the biggest problem facing writers is doing something fresh and new with the genre – while still adhering to the tropes that zombie audiences know, cherish and (rottingly) love.

Starting innocently, Conference Call opens with an introduction to five staff members, attending a video conference. Office babble ensues, along with various departmental conflicts. Just another “work meeting” comedy. Right?

Until one of the employees has her brains eaten by the living dead.

One by one, each co-worker is attacked by zombies – in various gory, disgusting ways. As their colleagues become undead lunch, the remaining attendees remain unphased – focused on business at hand. Buzzwords fly as the survivors argue over the solution to their crisis… Should sharks be shipped in? Perhaps snakes? Or should they consult legal?

For anyone who’s ever suffered in an office environment, the absurdity of the situation is all too real. In corporate America, you either contribute to the team, or you’re dead. Through it’s 5 breezy pages, Conference Call takes that concept to a logical, humorous extreme.

Are you a director looking to make a zombie film – yet fear the inevitable cliches? Then grab Conference Call before it’s gone… a “biting satire” on corporate culture – and a loving homage to the genre.

Budget: Low to medium. There are five speaking parts, but the budgetary focus is on the numerous zombies. How much a filmmaker ends up spending ultimately depends on how all-out s/he goes with the zombie makeup and gore effects.

About the writer: Pete Barry is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actor, director and musician. His short plays have been published in numerous collections. He’s also a cofounder of the Porch Room, a film and theater production company, website available at PorchRoom.com. Please feel free to reach out to him with script requests at petebarry27 “AT” Hotmail.

About the reviewer: 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.

Read Conference Call (5 pages in 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, May 25, 2017

The Handmaid’s Tale – Pilot Teleplay - posted by Don

The Handmaid's Taleorange arrowThe Handmaid’s Tale – November 29, 2015 “writer’s draft” script by Ilene Chaiken (Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood) Revised by Bruce Miller – hosted by: LA Screenwriter – in pdf format

Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Based on the bet-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state, and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women, Offred, is determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, and find the daughter that was taken from her.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

Find other teleplays on the Teleplays and TV Scripts page.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Head in the Clouds – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Head In The Clouds by Josh McDonald

A young boy with an overactive imagination gets it in his head to try for a real-life adventure. But can he pull it off? And even if he does, will anyone believe him?

It is a screenwriter’s job to hook you from the first page, to transport you to another world, introduce you to characters you instantly care about and weave a story you can immerse yourself in.

FADE IN:

Mid Summer… A quiet coastal road winds its way through gnarled trees and craggy rocks… the ocean visible beyond… This is Wyeth country…

Josh McDonald hooked me right off the bat with his opening description of Head In The Clouds. In fact, he had me in the palm of his hand the whole way through – and I wasn’t about to let go.

Martinsville Maine, circa 1955, small town America, where the characters look ‘like they wandered in from a Norman Rockwell painting.’

Enter: Johnny and Stevie, two twelve year old boys, and best friends, who couldn’t be more like chalk and cheese. While Stevie has his feet firmly planted on the ground Johnny lives in a rich fantasy world.

50s America is a quieter time, a place where kids are allowed to roam unsupervised. Though he’s growing up Johnny still lets his imagination reign supreme, something as ordinary as a stick can be transformed into a sword to be engaged in ‘swashbuckling swordplay’, likewise a discarded hubcap can magically morph into the ‘Discus of Achilles.

Endless summer days are spent idling along the coastline until sundown, the highlight of the day culminating at the business end of town with pocket money to be spent on penny-candies purchased from the General Store.

Something’s different about today though, and that something is ‘parked behind the store at the town’s main dock.’ Johnny believes it could be the perfect opportunity for adventure.  Stevie however, is quick to point out there are some things in life kids are just not allowed to do, certain activities reserved only for ‘important people…’ In fact he tells  Johnny in no uncertain terms, ‘you buy too many books’ – translation: you need to get your head out of the clouds and come back down to earth. 

But the seed of an idea has already been sown. Spending a lot of time inside your own head and alongside fictional characters in books will have that effect. Johnny knows there’s a bigger wider world out there full of adventure and he thinks it’s about time he experienced some of it.

Is Johnny’s dream about to become a reality, or will he come plummeting back to earth?

Head In The Clouds is a beautifully written and lyrical coming of age story with richly drawn characters.

Filmmakers, isn’t it high time you spread your wings and turned your own dream into a reality? Want to produce pure poetry in motion, perhaps inject a little of your own Malick-like magic into the landscape of this one? Look no further than Head In The Clouds.

Budget: Reserve a bit to do this right. Though plane scenes could be artfully edited with stock footage… thereby reserving the rest for actors that make this work!

About the Writer: Josh McDonald is a writer, actor, cartoonist, & filmmaker living in Vermont. He can be reached in the Clouds. Specifically, at josh-mcdonald (a) comcast.net

About the Reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

Read Head In The Clouds (10 pages in 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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pee Buddies – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Zach Zupke

Pee Buddies by Shane Murphy

A man suffering from a bizarre phobia recruits a coworker to help him overcome his fear.

Man, is there anything worse in life than really, really, really having to pee? I mean, of course there’s much worse, like being taken hostage, being dismembered or losing your job.

But, for sheer physical and emotional agony, the inability to urinate when nature is calling, er, screaming to stream, is hard to top.

So are the comical moments in Shane Murphy’s short “Pee Buddies,” a story about, er, pee buddies – Don and Glenn. Don’s got urinary issues. He’s also got boundary issues at work because the opening scene finds him in the bathroom discussing his pissues (hopefully I’m the first to coin the phrase) with his young, happy-go-lucky co-worker Glenn.

            GLENN
Don.

            DON
I’m begging you. Two minutes
of privacy.

            GLENN
You can do this, buddy.

            DON
One minute?

            GLENN
Let’s just try again.

            DON
Why are you torturing me?

            GLENN
It’s not torture, it’s therapeutic.
A licensed therapist told you to do
this. Now get over here.

And they’re off (so to speak)! But nothing’s coming out, except genuine LOLs on every page as the momentum, suspense and pressure builds. Glenn even resorts to urinating next to him – really peeing there for Don.

            DON
     (annoyed)
Really?

            GLENN
It’s for your own good. This isn’t
so bad, is it?

            DON
This is my nightmare.

            GLENN
Come on, the hard part is over.
You’re standing next to me,
your unit is out—

            DON
Stop saying unit!

You won’t stop smiling the rest of the way through Murphy’s story of a workplace thera-pee session gone very, very bad for Don and Glenn, but quite entertaining for the rest of us…and a co-worker who walks into the bathroom, unbeknownst to Don and Glenn.

I’m thinking Jack Black and Will Ferrell would be splendid choices to play Glenn and Don, respectively. If they’re not available, the right director could certainly pull the necessary performances out of any capable actors.

Pee Buddies” needs to be produced – if anything just so the marketing tag can be “Pee Buddies – streaming now!

Budget: Um, a bathroom. Two main actors with two “units” – though not necessarily on camera, please!

About the writer: Shane Murphy is a writer and comedian from Toronto, Canada. For contact information and stand-up dates please visit shanemurphy.org.

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. Zack was a latch-key kid (insert “awww” here) whose best friend was a 19-inch color television (horrific, he knows). His early education (1st grade on) included watching countless hours of shows like “M*A*S*H,” “Star Trek” and “The Odd Couple” and movies like “The Godfather,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall.” Flash forward to present day and his short “The Confession” was recently produced by Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. He’s currently working on a futuristic hitman thriller with a partner and refining a dramedy pilot perfect for the likes of FX. You can reach Zack at zzupke “at” yahoo.

Read Pee Buddies (9 pages in 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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Afraid of the Dark – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Afraid Of The Dark by Paul Clarke

In a world over-run by electricity-consuming monsters, only one source of power remains…

The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The War Of The Worlds,  Cloverfield, The Thing…

Notice a common theme? That’s right – monsters. In all their slimy, shape-shifting, slamming, shrieking, marauding glory. A few other films with monsters that leave a lasting impression: Alien, The Day of The Triffids, The Fly, and that granddaddy of all monster flicks (recently remade) – the 1954 classic, Godzilla.

The creation of the monster/creature feature has long held our attention. As a genre, Science Fiction and in particular ‘end of the world’ scenarios gained renewed popularity following World War II and the advent of the Cold War, when the combined fears of foreign occupation and the threat of global annihilation by nuclear weapons entered the public consciousness.

In Afraid Of The Dark Paul Clarke creates a unique monster of his own imagination. Cleverly combining elements of sci-fi, horror, and heart-pumping action, with a cursory nod to The Matrix and sub-genre cyberpunk, the story is set against that perennial crowd-pleasing backdrop of a post-apocalyptic ruin – burning waste, burned out cars, weeds, no electricity…

We open on a darkened room in the dead of winter. A conversation takes place between a young woman and a child, both of them huddled over their only source of light and heat, a solitary tungsten bulb. But this bulb is not connected to a cord and it’s not plugged into the wall. Instead we’re given a rather startling and surreal image. The bulb is connected to a writhing and pulsating black blob. And that blob is locked inside a cage.

The bulb is just about to go out. And for the remaining survivors now forced to live in lockdown, it appears time is running out.

Cue our protagonist and the female narrator of the tale and her retelling of how the beast came to be:

            WOMAN (V.O.)
No one knows where they came from.
Some say a meteorite. Some say from
deep under the Earth. Others even
believe they’re something we cooked
up in a lab.

Whatever this monster is, and wherever it came from, there’s no doubt it is nightmare inducing… a formidable monster with a selective appetite.  Appetite for what? Well, you’ll just have crack this one open to find out.

Let’s just say the hunter is about to become the hunted. The remaining survivors are going to have to use the one element in the beast’s arsenal that they now need to survive – the beast himself.

Afraid Of The Dark is a richly layered and allegorical tale with a specific cautionary message about our reliance on energy and technology.

Filmmakers: Want to jumpstart your sci-fi/horror short-film career? Well, this one has the spark and surge you’ve been waiting for, and the power to leave audiences with a long lasting impression.

Budget: Mid-range. You want a decent budget to do this right. But trust us – this one’s worth it!

About the writer: Paul Clarke is an Australian based screenwriter who works as a cinema manager by day and paid coverage writer by night. His success so far has included a top 10 place in the Writer’s Store Industry Insider competition. And is currently working on a selection of short, feature, and pilot scripts. He can be reached at paul.clarke.scripts “AT” gmail

About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

Read Afraid Of The Dark – (13 pages in 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.

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