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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lowlife – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by simplyscriptshorts


A small-time enforcer is pushed deeper into a world of violence and deceit when he finds himself indebted to the dirtiest cop on the street.

What is it about anti-heroes? They make such terrific cinema; in any genre you can name. The Maltese Falcon. Scarface. Pulp Fiction. The ambivalent protagonists of In Bruges. SF has it’s fill, as well: Han Solo, Snake Pliskin… Mad Max (to some degree.) All characters that live in violent, gritty worlds – skirting the crusted edge of morality. We love them, dammit, despite their flaws. Or perhaps because of them…

Thanks to writer Kosta Kondilopoulos, we can now add another name to the list: Ritchie Boland. A world weary hitman – living somewhere between the shadows of Film Noir, and blood-soaked Tarantino streets…

Lowlife opens much as other crime tales do… A run-down apartment, with rain battering the window pane. Ritchie’s waking up to no-name coffee… and a not-so-inexpensive blonde girlfriend. Cut to a desolate alleyway. Richie sits with colleague Sammy in a car. A nervous Sammy interrogates Ritchie as they wait for their mark. A dirty cop’s been putting the screws to him, asking uncomfortable questions. If Ritchie’s told him anything, he’ll put that pretty blonde of his on ice. A few bullets put Sammy’s questioning to an early end. And set Ritchie on a fateful path that’s not quite so cut and dried…

A few years pass. The blonde’s long gone; but Ritchie’s still stuck in his nowhere place. A violent errand boy for the Powers That Be – doing everyone’s dirty deeds. His latest gig for old friend Nikki Jergens: retrieving a bag of blow from some tweakers…. By any means necessary. A few dislocated shoulders later, Ritchie meets Nikki at a diner. She’s got a freelance job, she tells him. Something that pays enough to put them both in retirement. You see, her friend Gwen has an abusive husband. And she really (really, really) wants him gone. Ritchie turns down the offer: he’s got safer things to do. Like help Gangster Bobby Golden shake down a porn distributor for a return on his investment. Despite Nikki’s tears, Ritchie takes his leave. He’s too old to do the risky stuff anymore. He’ll stick with easier money.

…but is everything as it seems?

Ritchie heads to “Pink Monkey Studios” to squeeze money out of Bobby’s deadbeat colleague – and runs into an old acquaintance. Someone who knows quite a bit about Sammy’s demise. And intends to leverage it for favors. Across town, Nikki’s decided to take matters into her own hands – with disastrous results for her and Gwen. A panicked Nikki runs to Ritchie for help. And things spiral out of control. Gwen’s husband’s very much alive; with friends neither of them wants to meet. As double crosses deepen and plots twist, Ritchie’s past roars back for revenge. Leaving him with nowhere left to turn. And no way to protect the long hidden secrets (and people) that matter to him most of all…

Starkly written, Lowlife’s a breeze to read. And an easy shoot to bring to life. Much like QT’s Reservoir Dogs, Lowlife eschews fancy set pieces in favor of realistic – yet surprisingly non-gratuitous – violence. (And even a touch of humor.) Most importantly, this is one script where you’ll root for the anti-hero – despite his various misdeeds. That in itself is worthy the price of admission. Because making one’s characters bleed is easy. Making you care about the blood spilled…. an accomplishment that’s far harder.

About the writer: I’ve been writing for about four years now. I always loved it but managed to get constantly side-tracked by silly things like: finding a real job, getting married, having kids, a mortgage… I finally decided to stop making excuses (not completely) and write “for real”. I made it to the quarter-finals of the Nicholls Fellowship last year, the semi-finals of the Screencraft Fellowship earlier this year, and the finals of the Industry Insider competition featuring Sheldon Turner. I’m still pretty wet behind the ears, but for the first time in a long time, I actually refer to myself as a writer. I can always be reached at kostak “AT”

Pages: 95

Budget: Relatively low. A few very affordable FX – but Lowlife is primarily a character driven story. Get the right actors and cinematographer, and you’re golden!





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, June 7, 2016

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.

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.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Thy Enemy – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by KP Mackie


“After learning his estranged brother is a rogue spy, a disgraced FBI cadet becomes a fugitive to stop his sibling from detonating an experimental weapon in New York City.”

If you’re a movie aficionado (of course you are!), betcha you’ve seen at least one of the successful action films released in 2015. Among them:

The Martian, Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Furious 7 have been top money-makers, with Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Ant-Man, San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Spy not far behind.

Movies like these fill theaters because audiences love them. To exploding, earth shattering pieces.

And what’s not to love with scenes like these…?

Chases, explosions, suspense, and surprises. Break out the FX and CGI! They’re blockbusters that demand repeat attendance. For how could you possibly catch all the whiz, bang, and boom in one viewing?

Then there’s the franchise potential. Cha-ching!

The nature of a well-made action movie is to plunk a likable hero into a roller-coaster-ride environment demanding physical prowess and intelligence – throwing insurmountable obstacles in their path. Crafted

for both entertainment and empathy, the hero’s onscreen journey invokes responses across the board of human emotion: shock, fear, horror, awe and happiness. Then physical reactions grip you as well: from misty-eyed/choked-up to laughing and cheering. There go the credits. Let’s see this again. Wahoo!

Well, move over Ethan Hunt. ‘Cause there are two new heroes in town.

Their names are Nathan and Wyatt Crane.

Brett Martin’s riveting action story, Thy Enemy, opens with the breathless action in full play.

The “magnetic” and mystifying figure that fills the screen: a fearless Skydiver inside the empty bay of an F-117 Nighthawk jet – clad in “form-fitting body armor…fingerless gloves…heavy boots, and knee pads”.

The Bomb-drop hatches open suddenly, sucking roaring air inside.

“The Skydiver sprints the length of the fuselage…dives into the roaring darkness,” a gut-wrenching free fall “through the starry night.”

Gotta be one of our heroes, right? Not so fast. It’s the bad guy. Hold on there. She’s a… girl. A villainess extraordinaire by the name of Dietrich. An efficient and highly-trained Ukrainian operative, Dietrich’s on her way to an unfriendly meet-and-greet with a C-17 military jet.

Unfortunately for the soldiers guarding the jet’s important cargo (plus a veteran pilot at the helm) our bad girl’s bringing real bad news. Alarms blare. Explosions coalesce and down the plane – into “a blooming fireball.”

So who’s our hero? Nathan?

Well, he’s nowhere in the vicinity of Dietrich’s handiwork. “Sporting a designer suit” and representing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nathan’s visiting an old friend in a secretive facility on the Franco/Swiss border. He may not be playing Dietrich’s game, but Nathan’s on an equally important mission: to examine (and maybe steal) a valuable and potentially devastating new weapon.

Is Nathan a good guy, or are his nefarious motives aligned with Dietrich’s plans?

Enter Nathan’s 20 years younger brother – FBI Trainee Wyatt Crane.

So maybe Wyatt’s our true hero…

He and older brother Nathan have a long, competitive family history – which is far from positive. Wyatt’s a green FBI cadet. And, according to Nathan, he can’t do anything right.

So it’s not surprising when Wyatt flubs an FBI lesson – almost destroying an expensive obstacle course. Which makes his law enforcement career short-lived. Soon, he’s disciplined by Special Agent Benjamin Knowland. A man of action vs. words, Ben cuts to the quick: “You’re through, Crane. Tell me why I should waste my time.”

Taking refuge in a bar, Wyatt receives an unexpected phone call from his long-lost brother Nathan. Appearing to make amends after an eight-year bout of silence, Nathan asks Wyatt to fly to New York City instantly. “I need to see you…I need your help.” Then Nathan hangs up. Without an explanation as to why.

Wyatt heads to nearby Dulles Airport. By the next day, he’s on the red-eye at JFK. While waiting for his baggage, Wyatt’s intercepted by a handful of TSA Agents, led by Special Agent In-Charge Lau. The guards handcuff Wyatt and haul him off to an interrogation room. Lau’s particularly interested in Wyatt’s relationship with Nathan: “Why did you turn your back on a career in the FBI to meet a brother you don’t even like?”

Meanwhile, Nathan’s a no-show at the airport. That promised second phone call has vaporized.

Which is when Ridley Turner arrives. A self-proclaimed colleague/friend of Nathan’s, Ridley provides an explosive diversion, springing Wyatt from custody. “I need to find Nathan just as bad as you do. He’s the only one that can help us now.”

Against his better judgment, Wyatt takes a leap of more than faith – joining alliances with Ridley to hunt down his missing big bro.

Which is when Dietrich surfaces, joined by her “younger, tomboy sexpot” sister Mila. Not to mention a dozen Slavic mercenary partners-in-crime. Clearly, they’re up to no good…

Who’s in cahoots with whom? Have patience, sweet darlings. The details will come in time.

Amidst captivating action, there’s also a sweet love story involving a woman Wyatt meets on his journey. She’s in search of Nathan for her own reasons… a secret motive she refuses to tell.

Audiences love rowdy and wild action movies. Thy Enemy is all that and more. It’s also about “Characters.” That’s what differentiates a movie like Battleship from Mission Impossible or Bourne.

Imagine: an entertaining non-stop action pitting two brothers with sibling-rivalry issues against a diabolical bad girl you love to hate – against the backdrop of potential worldwide destruction. The fate of the world will depend on our hero’s success. But the success of this script in the box office? That’s a clearly win-win fate!

The question remains: Will the ultimate hero be Nathan or Wyatt Crane?

With intrigue and action around every corner, Thy Enemy is an invigorating ride from beginning to end. It’s the perfect screenplay for a big budget director to knock clear out of the park!

Pages: 111

Budget: Big. Several strong lead actors, male and female, many extras and plenty of stunt work. Locations are simple enough to stage, but the FX/CGI demands hands-on attention for excellence. This film is destined to be a blockbuster! The kind you see on opening night!

About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working on an animated feature.

About the Writer: Brett Martin is an unrepped screenwriter and freelance reader living in Los Angeles.  He sold an action/thriller to Quixotic Productions, which is owned by Brett Stimely (Watchmen, Transformers 3). He’s recently finalized a tentpole action feature & a brand new bi-weekly cartoon web series, Robots Love Movies, as he continues his quest to be a professional writer.

Want to read Thy Enemy (for option or sale)?

Of course you do!

Because we at STS are “good guys”, we don’t want to ruin opening night for anyone – so we’re keeping plot spoilers out of the public eye.

But email Brett Martin at soleil.rouge13 “AT” gmail.

Because Thy Enemy is fated to explode into life!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Red Light – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by wonkavite

Red Light

One year after a woman is killed by a red light runner, three teens run the same red light in hopes of seeing her ghost, who they believe is responsible for the recent string of bizarre murders.

Okay, horror fans: think quickly. On your grubby, bloody feet! Here’s a question about our much beloved genre… one you can answer instantly:

What sub-genres of horror are so iconic and classic they warrant separate categories in Netflix? Hmmmm, let’s see…. Zombies? That’s an obvious “no-brainer”… once the ghouls have had their feast. Then there are Possession/Exorcism tales. Alien Abductions. Creature Features. Ghost stories of every scary shape and size.

Then there’s the biggest creep show of them all – a category of horror that deserves it’s own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Folks, I’m a Preaching’ to Y’All about Slashers. Ruminate a moment, and you’ll see.

When you think of memorable horror films, what Big Bads come to mind? Come on kiddies – it’s easy! Michael Meyers. Jason Voorhees. And Freddy Krueger (oh dearest Wes, R.I.P.)

Those are the names of true Boogey Men. Sinister celebrities that stand out from the crowd.

And that’s what makes any horror film a box office blast: the creation of monstrous archetypes with mind-blowing visuals. Ones that burn their details into your mind.

And let’s be honest here. That’s a pool of talent which occasionally must be refreshed. Sure, classic creepy crawlies will always sell *some* tickets. But once the sequels reach #8-10, then it’s time for new faces to emerge. The rush of YOUNG BLOOD… as it were.

Ladies and Gents, STS is proud to present to you just such a thing. It’s a horror Slasher that has “Franchise” written all over it. And won’t leave you yawning “cliché!”

We bring to your attention: Red Light. It’s a creepy blood drenched entry to the horror cannon. With a memorable villain that’ll sear itself into your mind.

Here’s the grim scenario: a lonely, miserable dark night. The location: rural “Old Haven Road” – smack dab in the middle of bum-f*ck nowhere. An old woman – Tabitha Hudson – approaches the intersection, clad in a bright yellow raincoat. The light’s safely red – so she crosses.

Just as a car shoots through the light, ignoring the ruby warning sign. Smack! A hit and run – instantly. Tabitha lies in the gutter. Suffers and dies. Yet the driver of the car keeps going: both a crime…and a tragedy. Even more complex than one can understand.

Fast forward. One year.

Another car blows through the light. Again.

Yet another lonely night. But this time, there’s no victim – just a group of careless teens. Some drunk. Others texting. The irresponsible jerks stop at a diner for a bathroom break, only to meet a horrific fate. An avenging shadowy figure kills all but one of them (Matt) in gruesome ways. Who is it? We don’t know. But the killer wears a battered yellow raincoat. And carries a gore-dripping steel pipe.

Within a day, rumors abound. Especially at nearby Augustus State University… attended by the lamented victims. Stories circulate about the yellow-coated specter of death – and the grisly end that awaits anyone who runs that fearsome light.

Among the concerned students are several bosom buddies: roommates Hannah and Nikki. Their fabulous – and muscular – pal Xander and Hannah’s estranged brother, Jimmy. Taunted by snobby sorority queen Rebecca (Jimmy’s catty ex), the crew run through the Old Haven light on a dare. Sure, they’re a bit nervous. But who cares? The curse can’t be really true. After all, Matt survived the massacre.

That night, Matt meets a nasty end…

Which leaves the teens fearing for their lives. Taking the initiative, Hannah and Nikki begin to investigate the true death of Tabitha Hudson. Who drove the car that killed her? And are supernatural forces in play? Or is the rumor just petty gossip – generated by Rebecca and her bitchy entourage?

The mystery quickly deepens. As does the bloody trail. The clock ticks loudly for Nikki and her friends. Each of them – marked for death.

Needless to say, spoilers need not apply. But rest assured – the characters in this Slasher are in Technicolor 3d. The killer and the deaths? Both memorable. As much as Freddy, we’d say…

But the twists and turns are under wraps. So contact writer Chris Shamburger at cshamburger “AT” live dot com for a copy of the script.

Red Light’s a horror classic in the making. Not to mention a future franchise!

Check out Coverage of Red Light by No Bull Script Consulting

About the writer: Chris Shamburger was a finalist (Top 10) in the 2013 Shriekfest Film Festival for his recently-produced script, Hiccups. He has been a semi-finalist twice and has also been published in Twisted Dreams Magazine and Horror in Words. Chris lives in Marietta, GA with his partner and their Chow-mix rescue, Walter. Aside from writing, Chris has been teaching pre-kindergarten for the past six years. You can find him on IMDb.

About the reviewer: Review by STS

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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Offline – Feature Length Script Review (Optioned!) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop Features


When a bed-ridden teen discovers his online crush has been murdered, he vows to hunt down her killer – before the serial psychopath strikes again.

Limited location. It’s a popular genre in films, these days. The indie appeal is obvious; less locations means lower budget. And the ability to focus one’s funding on what truly counts: drop dead cinematography, great actors. And of course – a riveting plot and script. What could be better than that? Why – single location, of course! And before you claim “too extreme!” look what’s come out of that ethos… Buried. Cube. Moon. The Descent. Not to mention older favorites, too. Twelve Angry Men. Night of the Living Dead (mostly). And who can forget: Rear Window.

Ah yes, the classic Rear Window. In a film often considered Hitchcock’s best, Jimmy Stewart plays a photographer – confined to his apartment by a broken leg. He passes the time watching his neighbors out the window. He begins to suspect a murder has been commited. But what can one crippled man do?

A fascinating premise, chock full of possibilities. What if… one were to skew that concept more towards horror – updated for internet reality? That’d pack audiences in. And the name of it would be…


This time, our hero’s name is Dave. An awkward hacker teen, convalescing at home: having barely survived getting hit by a mack truck. Both legs in casts (take that, Stewart! And you were crippled by just one leg!) Even worse, Dave’s got amnesia. Short term memory loss. Sure, he remembers the mistakes of his younger days. But the accident and high school friends? That part’s a big sucking blank. Needless to say, Dave’s lonely. All he’s got left is his widowed mother, Ruth. But ever since his father’s suicide, Ruth hasn’t been – shall we say – “all there”?

Bored and suffering. Dave whiles away the time popping pain pills and watching newscasts on TV. There’s a serial killer named Slayer on the loose – killing girls and stealing their designer shoes. And when that gets too repetitive, there’s always stuff to browse online. One night, Dave surfs over to a live girl porn-cast…. But the transmission gets re-routed, Face-timing Dave with Clare. A sweet beautiful girl, with large brown eyes. Definitely not the flash-for-cash type. Despite the initial misunderstanding, there’s instant chemistry between the teens. Over the next several days, Dave and Clare Skype-chat (always at 3pm, like clockwork). Their attraction is palpable. Everything seems to be looking up. Until Clare turns away from the screen briefly – revealing fatal stab wounds across her back.

A horrified Dave terminates the transmission. He Googles psychics, and hooks up with Mystic Mary – a faceless woman who confirms the truth. Clare’s dead – a victim of the Slayer. And she doesn’t even know it yet!

Confused, Dave grapples with his feelings – including a deep emotional connection to Clare. Contacted by a female detective (Lucy) on the “Slayer” case, Dave vows to shield Clare from the hideous truth. And help bring her killer to justice.

But that’s a promise easier said than done. Hallucinating from pain medication and subject to his mother’s increasingly violent tirades, Dave can’t even save himself. How in hell will he solve a murder – and protect Clare’s ghost?

You think you know where this is going? You don’t. Though confined to Dave’s bedroom, Offline serves up tons of twists and turns. A gem of an affordable script in a tiny space, Offline keeps its readers guessing to the very end. Complete with a “Jimmy” of it’s own (read it and see), the story’s a modern Rear Window – mixed with Paranormal Activity. If he were alive today, Hitchcock would be scratching at his coffin. Not to mention proud.

About the writer: Gary Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy and was a commissioned writer on the hugely popular Spitting Image broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since branched out into writing features and is actively seeking representation. He can be contacted at gazrow at hotmail dot com.

Pages: 90

Budget: Blissfully indie! Just one location, and a handful of actors. There’s a bit of blood and FX involved – but this is one indie horror that truly focuses on atmosphere, acting and story!





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 8, 2014

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Introduction and Script Review (Static Town) - posted by wonkavite


One week ago, we reviewed Kevin Revie’s Static Town – our third (but far from final) feature showcase. As readers of Shootin’ the Shorts are aware, our goal at STS is to find new and promising writers, and provide them with the platform they need to get their work seen (then hopefully optioned, and produced!)

One of our not-so-secret weapons in this quest is Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine at one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list. Partnered with STS, Danny provides wonderfully detailed and helpful notes for the monthly STS feature script.This coverage is provided free to the writer, and can be posted our site or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. But wait – there’s more!Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts…

Below, please find Danny’s notes/coverage for Static Town. Read, learn, comment…. and don’t forget to submit your best work for possible review!

**To submit a script, please visit STS at the page listed HERE. Danny can also be contacted directly via the No BullScript Consulting website at Or on Twitter @DannyManus.



Title: Static Town

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author: Kevin Revie

Number of Pages: 84

Submitted To: Simply Scripts

Circa: Present

Location: Linden Mills, Suburbia


Coverage Date: 8/22/14

Budget Range: Low


COMMENTS:Kevin, thank you for submitting your script, “Static Town” to Simply Scripts. The following notes and comments will go through what works well and what still needs to be worked on or changed in order to make this a more viable and commercial script.

I think overall the writing is strong and there is definitely a voice and a timely message that comes through the pages, and it’s a generally enjoyable and fast, easy read. A quirky comedy about a teen who is so sick of the disconnection that exists between people these days due to technology that he causes a severe blackout in his town, is a strong set up and premise. It’s not an insanely original theme or message but it shines an LED-Screen on our society and how tech-obsessed we’ve become and how we have suffered for it in a fun way, and certainly this is a theme we can relate to these days. It presents a strong question of what would happen if a town was suddenly without power and had to start reconnecting on a personal level.

Your characters are largely likable and I think there are a number of strong lines and very funny moments within the script. That being said, I think there are some ways to make this feel like the story has a bit more depth and MEAT to it, perhaps flesh it out the plot a bit more. For me, what’s missing most in the story is conflict. And because conflict is generally really what drives plot, the lack of conflict equals a lack of plot and stakes. I think the voice and tone feel like a nice mix of Juno, Safety Not Guaranteed and Perks of Being a Wallflower, but without the major stakes, twists and drama those projects had

Your concept could lend itself to a more satirical feel, and I wonder if there’s some more comedy that could be mined from that. This town is without power and computers and cell phone towers – but we never really see what happens to the people in this town other than Wyatt and his close group of friends. Yes, we see people go outside and play and start enjoying each other’s company later in the story – but that probably wouldn’t be the immediate reaction. There should be a larger downside and a level of chaos before the people begin to embrace it. I think you could take the level of satire up a bit by showing some funny extremes or people reacting or what people in this town resort to, to try to get power. Right now, the only moment we get of that is on page 24-25 when people try to get water and duct tape. I think you could have this type of panic last a little longer. Even without power, you figure you have 18-24 hours before everyone’s phone battery goes dead. So when that happens, it could be like a countdown to phonemageddon.

There’s a totally different version of this story where it is full-on satire and you have people becoming almost cannibals and zombies because they can’t text, and just looting and murdering for batteries while this kid did it just to try to get the new girl to notice him. I think then you could go even more over the top with the message and the comedy if it was wrapped in more satire. But that is a different tone and story..

With quirkier small comedies and dramedies, it’s really about three things – character, voice, and a situation or hook that presents enough opportunities to bring out character and voice through plot. I think you have these, but I do think Wyatt’s character, while likable, could be just a bit stronger and more consistent in his set up and the things he does (or discovers) throughout the story could also be a bit stronger to add more plot.

Wyatt says things like “I’ve never been able to really express how I feel” on page 7 – but that’s not really evidenced in the plot. If that’s one of his flaws, we need to see how that actually affects his life.

With Wyatt, while I think he is relatable and sweet, his place within the world of his high school hierarchy is a bit unclear. He doesn’t seem like an outcast, and I’m guess since this is a TINY town his graduating class all knows each other and has since birth. So, it’s not clear where he ranks in the popularity/clique levels. He’s already slept with the hot slutty girl in school, so that tells me he’s not a total loser. But I think it’s odd that he is nervous about going up to Jennie on page 7 and talking to her, even though he’s already slept with her and has been hanging out with her, and he already knows she’s seeing other people. Clearly her boyfriend Barry is not really an obstacle for her sleeping with other guys, but I didn’t quite get the connection between Wyatt and Jennie and what he actually wants from her.

It’s also odd that he sees the new girl on page 6, seems to be enchanted and attracted, but then totally forgets about her and goes back to sighing over Jennie and her boyfriend on the next page. I might suggest switching those two scenes so that we actually meet Sophie a couple pages later but his reaction will make more sense because he’s already been turned down by Jennie and all the sighing over her is over. It would also give a bit more meaning to the scene of Wyatt, Geordie and Dale talking on pages 8-9 if it lead to seeing Sophie for the first time.

I also was curious what video Sam posted of him last year that scarred him so badly. What did he do? Did it go viral? Is that why he doesn’t like technology much anymore? I was waiting for a bigger reveal on that.

Wyatt’s reasoning for wanting to stay off of social media needs to connect more to his character and what’s going on in the story. He tells Dale he’s going to stay off social media because they don’t take chances or risks anymore and he’s lacking spontaneity. But that really has nothing to do with social media or cell phones. Then he says everyone is just living through screens and not looking around them and people are just advertising themselves as they want to be seen. But that’s a totally different issue. Not taking risks and lacking spontaneity is different from people living their lives through technology and putting out or creating false senses of selves. And this is why his true motivation for knocking down the power lines is unclear.

While I love that Wyatt knocks down the power lines, I feel like there needs to be a stronger catalyst or motivation for him to do so. There’s no specific PROBLEM that Wyatt is facing or situation he needs to fix or deal with that would inspire him to do this.

For instance, if he couldn’t get the attention of the girl of his dreams because everyone else was trying to get to her thru social media and texting and he was more of an old school romantic, then it might make more sense. Or if there was a video sent out about him that went viral and ruined his social life or his chances with the girl he loved, then that would be a great reason. I just don’t think it should feel like an off-the-cuff, spur of the moment decision without some catalyst or reason for knocking the power lines down.

Seconds before he does it, he sees a montage of “tech” things – kids glued to phones, Sophie dismissing him for a text message, his mother driving off with a man she met on the internet, no one paying attention at graduation, etc. – but only a COUPLE of these things actually happened and the rest are fantasies and projections of what COULD happen. I think these things he thinks of should be what actually happened to him that inspire him to do this. Let him give a speech at school where everyone is on their phone or replaying the viral video of him doing something stupid, let Sophie (or Jenny) totally dismiss him for a text and not pay attention to the guy actually talking to her in person, have his mom actually meet a guy off the net – these are strong motivations. Right now, though, they are all hypothetical. And so there’s not really a catalyst to make him do this. Whatever that catalyst is could be the inciting incident.

Sophie’s character is strong and she has a great introduction when she talks with Wyatt the first time. Her line “Somewhere in between get me out of here and maybe I can stay sane for like a year, max” is a great way to show her mindset about this town and a strong inciting incident for Wyatt.

I really like the twist that Sophie goes for Dale instead of the predictable Wyatt, though it does seem to be a bit of a bro-code violation. It’s a good reveal on page 58 that she’s there with him. It’s a heart-wrenching little twist on the love story, but also adds irony in that even without the power and the social media, he still can’t get the girl. Their scene together on page 64 is a bit harsh from both of them only because I don’t think there’s enough build-up to really earn those feelings. A couple more instances where she might have seemed to be leading him on would help.

The point Sophie makes in this scene is also the major issue with the second act. She asks Wyatt – ‘Okay, the power’s out but what have you done differently?’ And drawing this to light makes the reader realize – she’s right, Wyatt hasn’t actually done anything in 40 pages. It makes us realize we’re just watching things happen thru Wyatt instead of really experiencing things happen with Wyatt. And I would suggest that’s the biggest issue with the second act. Other than being sad about Sophie, there hasn’t been any conflict for him to face. He pretty much gives up on his goal of winning Sophie’s heart, so what else is left for him to accomplish the rest of the story? Maybe his lack of taking chances could be set up a bit more and this becomes his other goal, but it’s not really connecting enough currently.

Sophie gives him his cell phone back on page 67, which is great, but would be even more important if you were tracking the police investigation to finding out who was responsible. He didn’t seem worried about the phone until she gives it to him.

I like the subplot of Wyatt’s parents being pulled apart and then coming back together. It’s sweet, but is it really technology’s fault they’ve pulled apart? Also, on page 23, it’s odd that Karolyn doesn’t mention the blackout but only the car.

Turning to the story and structure, the other general issue for me with the script is that some of the scenes themselves are a bit lacking in purpose or are unnecessary. I think some of the scenes could feel like they have a stronger purpose in regards to progressing the plot or characters or revealing some new information.

For instance, even the opening party scene. It has a couple funny moments and we meet Jennie, but nothing actually happens at this party and it’s unclear what Wyatt’s struggle actually is if he’s already slept with the hot girl in school. I think this scene could show us a bit more about just how transfixed everyone is to their devices, and that people aren’t even talking to each other at the party – they’re just texting each other and snapchatting each other.

The scene with Wyatt and his buddies after they leave school on page 33-34 also doesn’t have much purpose. It’s just hanging out and mentioning the party, which they could do anywhere, and feels more like a filler scene to lead to the grandparent’s scene. The scene with Wyatt and his grandparents is nice, but I think it might actually be stronger in the FIRST act before he knocks the power out. He sees how they are without using technology, and looking at pictures and writing letters – that could be more inspiration for him to do it in the first place. Otherwise, I’m not sure it serves much of a purpose here and we never see his grandparents again, so they don’t really have any effect on the story if not as inspiration to go back to that simpler time.

Structurally, the first act I think could be a bit stronger. Right now, the inciting incident is really Wyatt meeting Sophie and realizing people are tech-obsessed. But if there was more set up and an actual catalyst as to why Wyatt rams the power lines, that could be the inciting incident. Then Wyatt rams the lines, and the first act basically ends on page 24, which is a bit early even for a short script. But I think there are a couple scenes you could move to the first act, as stated, that would beef it up a bit more.

The investigation into what caused this power outage might be an interesting subplot you could work into the story a bit more. It might add some tension and higher stakes and a bit more worry and conflict for Wyatt, who is hoping not to get busted for what he did. The cops come talk to him the morning after, but then we don’t hear from them again.

The third act, much like the first act, is quite short and not that much happens. The kids going exploring into the abandoned house is cute, but it has nothing to do with the rest of the story and nothing important really happens within the scene. There’s no real point to it other than giving them a quick nostalgic adventure to go on. This is what I mean by the scenes need more purpose and connection to the plot. It’s great that they go there, but how does that affect or change anything.

Generally, I think the dialogue is quite strong. There are some very smart and funny lines throughout the script that showcase the change in how people think because of technology. When Wyatt asks Dale if he wants to go play catch and Dale says “I have Wii? If you want,” that’s a great moment. Natalie’s response to experiencing a black out on page 27 (and the teacher’s comment) is hilarious. Same on pg 33 with the hashtag daddy issues lines. Wyatt’s VO lines on page 55 are not making new points, but they are very well-expressed in a funny way. Even Dale’s stoner thoughts and dialogue made me laugh out loud. And the line on pg 74, “I feel like I just watched a Mythbusters episode of my own childhood” is such an insightful and clever line, I really enjoyed it.

That being said, I do think there are a few scenes or lines that could feel a bit fresher and genuine to teens. It’s really small things, like Geordie’s line “All right, let’s get out of this place” could easily be a bit quippier – “All right, let’s bounce this bitch.” It’s just about bringing different characters voices to their dialogue.

On page 28, I like the idea of this ice breaker, but these kids have been going to school with each other for 12 years and if it’s one thing social media does, it makes you know everything about a person without even knowing them, so I’m not sure they need an icebreaker. It’s a small class in a small school in a small town – they probably know everything there is to know. And if any of the kids had ridden an elephant, they would’ve posted pics of it on Facebook, so everyone would already know the answers based on people’s timelines. The question of eating Octopus – they would’ve Instagrammed the food pics. Geordie’s point about no calls home and no emails is well-taken though and pretty funny.

There is an odd line on page 38 that stands out, I think it needs rewording or there are typos – the wine cooler description line.

On page 76, Dale fears what would’ve happened if YouTube was around when they were kids – they’re 17. YouTube WAS around when they were kids. The internet and cell phones were already a thing by the time they were in 2nd grade. Facebook started getting popular in 2006/2007 – they were 10. So, they’ve already grown up with it.

SUMMARY: I think this is a well-written, fun read with a strong, relatable, timely message and some smart, funny dialogue. It has a voice, but I think if the actual plot and conflict were a bit stronger, and the stakes a bit higher, it would bring the voice out even more. I think there are other things you can work into the story to flesh it out a bit and create a stronger catalyst and clearer motivation for Wyatt to do this, and stronger consequences from doing so. He needs a specific problem, goal or issue he thinks this might solve. Some of the scenes could have a bit more purpose and progress the plot/character arcs more, there needs to be more conflict throughout the script, and the first act could have a bit more set up. The second act could have a bit more satire, and the action of the third act could have a bit more to do with the rest of the story. But I think there are some great moments and with a bit more work, it could be a very strong writing sample for you and the low budget will definitely make it more produce-able. Stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again Kevin for submitting your script “Static Town” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month.



Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise X
Story X
Structure X
Conflict/Drama X
Consistent Tone X
Pacing X
Stakes X
Resolution X
Overall Characters X
Protagonist X
Antagonist X
Dialogue X
Transitions X
Format, Spelling, Grammar, Pg Count X
Well Defined Theme X
Commercial Appeal/Hook X
Overall Originality X
Production Value X
International Appeal X

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 so few films have focused on this aspect of horse related sports. Only Sylvester and International Velvet touched on eventing.

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, 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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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.

Discuss Niner on the discussion forum

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