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Friday, August 1, 2014

Taking the Reins – Feature Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop Features

Taking the Reins

A reckless equestrian struggles through personal and professional setbacks to try to make history as the youngest winner of the elite Rolex championship, but his destructive personality poses the biggest obstacle to claiming the title.

Horse fanciers. They’re an extremely enthusiastic group. For those who love horses, the fascination colors much of their world. Which isn’t surprising. Horses are powerful and elegant, not to mention an integral aspect of human development for centuries.

Throughout the history of cinema, a number of classic movies have been made about these majestic creatures. National Velvet. Sea Biscuit. The Black Stallion. Black Beauty. Flicka. Even animated movies such as Spirit:  Stallion of the Cimarron have made it to the silver screen.

Often focused on the strong, symbiotic bond developed between horse and owner, many of these films have revolved around the Old West. Or that familiar horse related sport – racing.

But there’s more far more to horses than just the Kentucky Derby. Covering such exotic challenges as dressage and jumps, equestrian eventing may be lesser known than horse racing. But it’s equally competitive; with quite the passionate fanbase. Given that, it’s surprising no film has focused on this aspect of horse related sports. Only Sylvester touched on eventing. And only briefly.

But that’s where Taking the Reins comes in….

As the script opens, we meet 25 year old Will Ranck and his horse, Hemingway. Though relatively new to eventing, Will and Hemingway show great promise. Except for a few minor problems. First and foremost, Will’s dead broke. Then there’s the issue of his mother – a skilled eventer in her own right, she died two years ago at the hands of a drunk driver (his employer’s spoiled son, Terrance). Will’s taken to the bottle and bar fights since then, reducing his chance at success even more. Things go from bad to worse when Will’s fired from his job, and his father moves away… leaving Will to succeed or fail on his own.

Through a combination of fast-talk and dumb luck, Will secures a gig at Cross Meadows Farm, training with expert eventer Katheryn Brooks. Needless to say, things don’t go smoothly. Many of the riders on Katheryn’s team view Will as an unworthy interloper – making social integration less than easy. But despite the hurdles*, Will pushes ahead. Cutting a deal with the devil – his ex-boss – Will earns a slot in the Jersey Fresh competition. And his relationship with Cari, one of Katheryn’s riders, is just starting to heat up.

Then he qualifies for the ultimate competion – the Olympics of Eventing, Rolex. Things seem to be finally going Will’s way. At least, until Terrance pulls the sponsorship from under him, leaving Rolex and glory out of reach. Can Will overcome his obstacles and grasp the brass ring…. Or will he and Hemingway be left in the dust?

Custom-made for the festival circuit, Taking the Reins is unique. Set in a cinematic world that hasn’t been done-to-death, Reins is a classic “underdog” story: complete with romance and horses.

Several prominent people within the equestrian community have already expressed an interest in seeing a film like this get made. Matched to the right production company, this is a script with a ready-made fan base. What more could an indie director ask for? Option and purchase rights are, of course, available.  :)

* Readers of STS: please forgive the pun

About the writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” 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.

Rick’s first feature Alienate just released a new terrific trailer – available for viewing here:

Pages: 111

Budget: Medium.  Needless to say, a director would need access to horses and an eventing competition field.  But other than that, there are no exotic locations that would put a script like this out of budgetary reach.





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.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Based on a True Story – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop Features

Based on a True Story

A fictional film about non-fictional events that are entirely fictional.

As loyal (and not so loyal) readers are aware, STS has finally geared up to tackle that white whale of scriptwriting: the feature length! Our goal is to showcase high quality scripts that should be optioned already, but just haven’t gotten the exposure and/or reached the desk of the right director to see it through to production. Yet. We’ll be starting with one feature per month, to be posted on the 1st, with the intention of transitioning to semi monthly. Then weekly. Then, Pinkie, we plan to take over the world…

As for today – STS is honored to showcase its first ever feature script; a gem of a comedy entitled Based on a True Story. Read on McDuff. And if you’re a director, grab this one before it’s gone!


Senses of humor vary radically. Some people think Porky’s is the height of hilarity. Remember that one, folks? Others prefer Woody Allen’s neurotic wit and TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. One thing’s for sure… humor’s changed a hell of a lot over the years; with the focus veering towards over-the-top gross outs. This is the End anyone? Whatever happened to smart, character based comedy? Is there anyone out there still writing intelligent humor?

Yep. His name is Matt Dressel. The script in question is Based on a True Story. (That’s the title, folks. Not the description. The script itself is completely fictional.)

Smart, funny and low budget, BTS revolves around protagonist Bill, a screenwriter that can’t seem to get his big break. (Gee, I wonder how often that happens in real life?) Demoralized, Bill pays the bills working at a 911 crisis center, and most of his nights hanging out with incompetent actor pals Tim and Sam. (Okay, Sam’s not exactly a friend, more of an unfortunate acquaintance.) They live in Quigley Quagmire’s hotel… a depressing little 80’s reject hovel that’s only one step removed from the Roach Motel. In other words, life ain’t going well.

That is, until Bill has his brilliant idea. Hollywood likes reboots and movies based on True Stories, right? Why not stage a bank robbery themselves….and then cash in on the press with a best selling screenplay? Between Bill and his crew, they’ve got creativity, actors and props on their side. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

How often has that question been asked? With the logical answer. Everything.

What follows is a highly intelligent – and yet goofy – romp through an escalating comedy of errors: from “Auditioning” the other bank robbers (and other theoretically important stuff, like how to handle guns and bank vaults) to the actual caper. And the inevitable complications that ensue. A master of understated comedy, Matt Dressel populates the script with colorful characters… not just the protagonists, but walk-on supporting bits as well. Not to mention rioting Nazis, pizza delivery men, and David Bowie groupies. (Don’t even try to ask. Just read the script and see.) Sound over the top? In Dressel’s hands, this script actually maintains comedy balance … peppering the script with wonderful lines like that of Crusty Detective Vic Cardigan: “I’ve been chasing (these robbers’) sorry asses for nearly 25 years of my life – ever since I was a rookie on the force.” Police officer: “They appear to be about 30 years of age, sir.” Cardigan: “Damn, they’re good.”

You know what’s really good? This script. It’s an indie breath of fresh air in a world populated by dick jokes and vomit gags. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those… in moderation.) But if you’re an up and coming director looking for a comedy with intelligence and staying power, check this one out. Fast. Before it gets away like a bank robber with the loot…

About the writer: Matthew Dressel recently wrote/produced/acted in his own web series Let’s Kill John Stamos! One of his feature films, Killing Daniel, has been optioned by Darius Films. You can catch more of Matt’s work at





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.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wrath of God by Lonnie Turner – Featured Unproduced Script of the Month - posted by Don

Wrath of God by Lonnie Turner
– Featured Script of the Month

Wrath of God by Lonnie TurnerWrath of God by Lonnie Turner

William Athman steps outside his home on Christmas Day, grabs an axe from the chopping block, strolls back inside and murders his entire family. What could make a man do something like this? That’s what psychiatrist Timothy Vick intends to find out when he’s requested by the murderer himself to take his confession. But when Athman claims he was forced by God to kill his family, Tim must struggle with his own beliefs (or lack thereof) in order to stop the next person to kill in God’s name — himself.
(Horror, Psychological Thriller) 90 pages in pdf format

Read the Script

Status: Available

Lonnie TurnerWriter Bio: Lon Turner is a lifelong film fan and movie buff who found his way into screenwriting after a roommate brought home a copy of Syd Field’s Screenplay. Lon’s first completed screenplay, Wrath of God, was named a finalist in the 2005 Shriekfest screenplay competition. His second completed script, The Silk, was purchased by Movie Plus Group. He is currently at work on a number of original screenplays, mostly in the horror/thriller genre.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mafia Dogs by Phil Clarke Jr & Sonja Michele Whittle – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

Mafia Dogs by Phil Clarke Jr & Sonja Michele Whittle – Featured Script of the Month

Mafia Dogs by Phil Clarke Jr & Sonja Michele WhittleMafia Dogs by Phil Clarke Jr & Sonja Michele Whittle

A young Samoyed escapes from an illegal puppy mill, and experiences adventure in the world around him… until the mob’s canine enforcers are sent to bring him back into the fold.

(Action, Adventure) 108 pages in pdf format

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Status: Available

Phil Clarke Jr.Writer Bio:Phil Clarke Jr. Born and raised in Bronx, NY, Phil earned ‘professional writer’ status when he sold his first stories to DC Comics, Inc in 1984. Since then, his work has appeared in numerous publications. For the past few years, he’s concentrated on scriptwriting. To date, seven short films have been produced from his scripts and two of his feature scripts have been optioned. One feature, Bad Penguin, is in pre-production by Drawassic Studios.

Sonja Michele WhittleWriter Bio:Sonja Michele Whittle created FilmNoir 2020 Entertainment, a unique company. FilmNoir 2020 is described as a boutique development agency for A-list and smaller indie writers, producers, and directors to sell, option, pitch and produce projects. Clients are introduced to A-list insiders, executives, and filmmakers in the industry. Client roster includes writers Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, writer/director Wilson Bell, and writer/producer/actor Maura Soden. Sonja’s official site is and you can also follow heron twitter at:

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Niner by Eric Dickson – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

Niner by Eric Dickson – Featured Script of the Month

Niner by Eric DicksonNiner by Eric Dickson

An offbeat cop harbors a murder suspect and blackmails him into testifying at a criminal trial.
(Thriller) 128 pages in pdf format

Read the Script

Status: Available

Eric DicksonWriter Bio: Eric Dickson graduated Full Sail University in 2003 and worked in the development departments of The Radmin Company, James Manos, Jr. Productions and Omniquest Entertainment. He has worked as a contractual writer for Spear Films, L.L.C., penning the 35mm horror movie Dark Games, starring Twilight Saga’s Booboo Stewart, Martin Kove, Danny Trejo and Jeff Conaway. The film marked Conaway’s final on-screen appearance as well as Stewart’s first breakout role. Eric has also worked as a studio photographer for Norwegian Cruiseline and have recently started a scriptwriting service, I Write Your Script, which specializes in writing treatments and re-edits for feature screenplays.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Complete by James McClung – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

By Sean Elwood - seanelwoodart.blogspot.comComplete by James McClung

Nikki’s romantic getaway turns into a nightmare when her boyfriend reveals a gruesome plot to bring them closer together.
(Horror, Thriller, Drama) 91 pages in pdf format

Read the Script

Status: Available

poster by Sean Elwood

James McClungWriter Bio: James McClung graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia in May 2009 with a degree in Film and Media Arts.

He has been writing screenplays since 2005. His work extends to all genres (and subgenres) from horror and psychological thrillers to romantic comedy. He has to date written over thirty screenplays, including fourteen features, and hopes to continue exploring new ground.

In 2007, James sold his first screenplay Abattoir, a throwback to 70s-80s horror movies, to Canadian filmmaker Kalman Szegvary (“Cannibal Rollerbabes”). Abattoir is currently in post-production with an anticipated worldwide release in 2012.

Since then, James has written several other scripts now in varying stages of development, including Baptism by Fire, a short drama set during the Vietnam War. Baptism by Fire was produced by film student, Craig Surko, and is currently gearing up for a festival run, having already made Official Selection at this year’s Princeton Student Film & Video Festival.

James is active in his local independent film scene, after cutting his production teeth in Paris, France at Partizan Films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) in 2010. He is currently writing for a secret project based in Maryland and in pre-production for his directorial debut in his hometown of Washington DC.

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Artwork provided by Sean Elwood

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Fempiror Chronicles: The Initiation of David by George Willson – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

The Fempiror Chronicles: The Initiation of David by George WillsonThe Fempiror Chronicles: The Initiation of David by George Willson

A world of genetically modified warriors collides with a headstrong teenager. (Adventure)

Read the Script 140 pages in pdf format

Status: Available

Synopsis: In a story that could change your perception over what constitutes a “vampire” (though the story actually contains none), 17-year-old David Taylor is thrust into the world of the Fempiror when he disobeys a decree against being out at night to be with his beloved, Beth. Now, he is forced to follow a new set of laws – to protect humanity from the dark side of the Fempiror race. Unfortunately, their laws prohibit him from seeing Beth again – a rule David is not interested in keeping. As David encounters advanced technologies of the Fempiror society, learns of their mission, and understands the very real danger he poses to humanity, he begins to second guess his desire to return to Beth. But when that opportunity arises, he disobeys and changes his life and the lives of everyone he loves.

George WillsonWriter Bio: George Willson has written books, plays, musicals, and screenplays, and he adapted three of the Fempiror Chronicles screenplays into novels. He produced and directed a low budget feature film. He writes music and sings as well as playing piano and almost a dozen other instruments and has two produced albums. He lives in Broken Arrow, Ok with his wife and three princesses.

The first three books in The Fempiror Chronicles series, The Initiation of David, Genesis of the Mutation and The Hunt For The Razers are available from

You can follow the series on Facebook

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Zombie Playground by Brett Martin – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

Zombie Playground by Brett Martin – Featured Script of the Month

Zombie Playground by Brett Martin

Zombie Playground by Brett Martin

Children of cohabiting scientists must overcome their prejudices and battle junk food obsessed mutant zombies that take over their playground. (Comedy, Family Adventure)

Read the Script 93 pages in pdf format

Status: Available

Brett MartinWriter Bio: Brett Martin took to a life under the lights on the stage at a very young age. His mother starred in a production of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” while seven months pregnant with the lad. Technically making it, “Ten and a Half Little Indians.”

An academic background in journalism and creative writing led to years of relentless malaise. These were followed by a tenure as an Operations Manager for an anime distribution company in New York. That was followed by a stint as Education Director of a wolf rescue facility in New Mexico. Brett got to take wolves all over the southwest and say cool things about them in front of large groups. One of the wolves got cast in a John Carpenter film, Brett did not.

A nasty car wreck reminded Brett that he should write some stories before he can’t write them anymore. His short script, Lie Detector, was recently optioned by Burning Phoenix Films. Zombie Playground is his first original feature. He talks to producers about it, and lots of them request the script, though this may be a tactic to silence the enthusiastic writer, only time will tell.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Singles Camp by Breanne Mattson – Featured Script of the Month - posted by Don

Singles Camp by Breanne Mattson – Featured Script of the Month

Singles Camp by Breanne Mattson

Singles Camp follows the misadventures of Anna Lee Utah, a Kentucky girl who goes to the title place in pursuit of romance. There she encounters wild animals, poachers, illegal loggers and a bizarre cult. It’s a comedy that’s way better than being gagged with a lumberjack sock.

Read the Script 103 pages in pdf format

Status: Available

Breanne MattsonWriter Bio: Breanne Mattson hates bios written in the third person. She thinks they are, as Monty Python’s Graham Chapman would say… silly. That’s why, starting with the next paragraph, she has decided to write her bio in the first person, the way Breanne thinks it rightfully should be.

There. Isn’t this more comfortable?

I started out as a musician performing as a singer/songwriter in Nashville clubs. I segued from there into event coordinating, booking acts for clubs and organizing musical entertainment for everything from festivals to charity events. One day an independent producer approached me about helping him find music for a low budget film, a sort of Walter Mitty style B movie with daydream sequences. I took one look at the script and fell in love with screenwriting.

I’ve written numerous scripts, spanning most every genre. I’ve had one script optioned in Hollywood, originally titled Tormentor. Some of my scripts have been produced independently, such as the feature Immersion or the shorts Cobra Blood Cocktail and the animated Sexual Harassment.

I’m currently working on my directorial debut with the short film Selfless. Shooting has wrapped and the film is currently in post production. I hope one day to produce my script Warning Shot, which was a semifinalist in the BlueCat Fellini Screenplay Competition, for my directorial feature debut.

As for my personal life, I currently reside in Oregon with my husband Michael. I work for KWVT and KSLM television in Salem.

To end as I began, in the third person, Breanne Mattson feels honored and privileged to have her script selected as Script of the Month at Simply Scripts and she hopes you enjoy Singles Camp.

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