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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Test – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Anthony Cawood

The Test by Richard Russell

In a futuristic society, life changes for a teenager who can’t pass the test.

In my humble but clearly infallible opinion, Ray Bradbury wrote some of the best short stories. Ever in the history of the world. Case closed; that is all.

And Bradbury’s novels aren’t too shabby either. Take for instance, Fahrenheit 451 – a story of censorship and social control echoed in Richard Russell’s SF short, The Test.

Fade in on the script. The time: the plausible near future. And the humble setting: a middle class home, with an almost 50’s domestic vibe.

Iola is the mother – tooling around the kitchen with her trusty tablet, preparing the family’s meals. Everything’s colored coded. For instance, today’s dinner is “green.” Which is probably just as well, because Iola doesn’t appear to be all there…

Husband Ron arrives from work moments later, dressed in a cop-like uniform. He regales his wife about his day (he’s some sort of ‘inspector librarian’) – and asks Iola about their son Josh’s test. Important scores came in today. But Iola’s unsure where they are; she’s forgotten already. A fact which doesn’t surprise Ron. And so he grabs a beer, and heads to Josh’s room…

…to be confronted with some cold, hard facts. Fourteen year old Josh failed his test miserably. And that means dire consquences – including “Educational Camp”. A prospect that Ron fears at all costs…

After dinner, Ron escorts Josh to “old man Granger’s” house. A thin old man with “wispy hair”, and dusty secrets in his basement. To save Josh from his mother’s fate, Ron’s arranged a special trip…

And that’s where my summary stops. No need to spoil a great script.

Instead, take a read for yourself – discover the multi-layered narrative and well-drawn characters; each with their distinct voice. Despite the SF setting, this is one cautionary tale that would be easy to produce. There’s no elaborate special effects – and a very human story at its core. It’d be a winner at festivals. And Ray Bradbury would be pleased.

Budget: Relatively small, interior locations.

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.

Read The Test (12 pages in PDF format)

Find more scripts available for production

This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an aspiring screenwriter from the UK with a number of scripts in various stages of production, two of which have just wrapped shooting. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category). You can find out more at AnthonyCawood.co.uk.

4 Comments so far

1.

KP Mackie
July 31st, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Very entertaining.
The characters are interesting. Realistic and relatable within the context of a future time.
Well done! 🙂

2.

anime
July 31st, 2015 at 10:41 pm

I just wanna say, this is an amazing piece of writing. I really like ROSCOE he reminds me of my character uncle Joe. too bad ROSCOE died though, but at least herny got what he wanted. 😉

3.

naman
June 22nd, 2017 at 5:13 am

this is good writing. the narrative is simple, intriguing and provides a glimpse into a near future where freethinking is anti-establishment and having books in possession is crime. I really loved the thought of the film.

4.

janete
June 22nd, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Sinopse… Verdadeiro homem de ouro
Um jovem órfão, criado por seu padrasto,um rico fazendeiro,
O jovem descobre que foi seu padrasto que matou seu pai para tirar seus bens.
O jovem vai tira satisfação com Seu padrasto,mas para manter seu crime oculto manda
Matar o jovem também, O jovem sobrevive ganha poderes, Se torna EM um grande
herói; Voltando a sua cidade de origem para fazer justiça, mas ao se tornar herói,O jovem tem problemas com Élson, que quer seus poderes, mas para ter os poderes do jovem E recupera sua verdadeira aparecia, Élson tem que matar o verdadeiro homem de ouro,

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