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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Congratulations to Gary Howell – Roadside Attraction, now Optioned! - posted by wonkavite

STS is thrilled to announce that Gary Howell’s creepy little script, Roadside Attraction, has now been optioned! Jeremy Gleason from Jackson, TN will be directing. Shooting expected to begin this summer, with the final film unveiled in winter 2015. We’ll keep you apprised as to new developments!

About the writer: Gary Howell is an attorney who has been writing as a hobby for years.  His short “The Family Man,” which was posted on Simply Scripts last year, led to a connection with an Australian film director. The two collaborated on a feature film, “Broad Daylight,” for Arclight Pictures, which is currently in development.  He is finishing a new draft of a comedy, “Backstage Pass,” with Mark Moore, which he hopes to market shortly so that he can pay for his daughter’s wedding.  Gary can be reached at garymhowell AT gmail.com.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Madd – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Madd

The murder of a historical figure leads to the birth of an equally famous personality.

Read enough scripts, and you’ll find they have certain… patterns. Conventions and tropes that constantly replay. Zombies. Vampires. Stories of family strife. Followed by human redemption. One of our goals at STS is to hack through the weeds for you, and find the gems. Every once in awhile, we find a script that’s oddly different. A bit deranged. Dark, twisted and evil? We’ll showcase that in a heartbeat.

Case in point, a script called Madd. It’s a strange, atmospheric piece; special in a quirky way.

Our story opens in a dismal hotel room. The year: 1849.

A man lies bound on the floor; a barrel of liquor pouring down on his face. With the rushing liquid comes the promise of Death by Alcohol. And not in a voluntary, fun filled way.

The man’s name? Edgar Allan Poe.

And his tormentor? A shadowy gent, who goes by the name of Jonathan Madd.

What are the motives for Madd’s insane actions? Even poor, drowning Poe doesn’t know. Fortunately, Madd – like scores of evil villains before him – is more than happy to tell.

What follows is a tortured tale of love, loss and mystery. A fun, gothic script full of literary Easter Eggs – all the way to the twisted end. It’s a short that’ll play great with ex-English majors. Or any dark, morbid crowd!

Pages: 9

Budget: Moderate. A bit of cash will be needed for the period costumes. But the rest should be easy.

About the writer: A 2013 Big Break Screenwriting Contest Quarter-finalist, Steven Ray Smith Jr. currently has a short film and web series in production based on his script “ZOMBLIVIOUS”. Quoted by the owner and CEO of Rum House Productions to be “a smart and engaging writer” and “quite readable”, Steven can be reached at stevenraysmithjr “AT” GMAIL.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

 

 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Offline) - posted by wonkavite

Recently, STS reviewed Gary Rowland’s ultra limited location horror, Offline. (Script available here.) 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 Offline. 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 http://www.nobullscript.net/contact/. Or on Twitter @DannyManus.

About the writer of Offline: 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.

NO BULLSCRIPT ANALYSIS

 

Title: Offline

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author: Gary Rowlands

Number of Pages: 89

Circa: Present

Location: Bedroom

Genre:   Supernatural Horror/Thriller

Coverage Date: 4/14/15

Budget Range: Low

LOGLINE: When a young, bed-ridden hacker with a tormented past meets a girl online who turns out to be dead, he realizes nothing is as it seems and the girl’s murderer may lie closer to home – and she may not be the only victim.

Warning: Spoiler Alerts!

COMMENTS: Gary, thank you for submitting your script “Offline” to Simply Scripts. In the subsequent pages, I will go through the things that work well and what still needs to be worked on, developed, or changed to make this a more viable and commercial script and series.

Overall, I think this is a nicely written, easy to read, and potentially commercial script. It’s Rear Window-esque with a Psycho and supernatural Sixth Sense twist. It can certainly be produced for a very low budget with basically 1 location and a handful of characters, and you set up a nice creepy tone immediately and it remains consistent throughout. You’ve got a couple nice twists in the story and there are some strong visuals and moments, though I do think there are a few issues that need to be addressed still.

There is a strong supernatural feel to the whole story, from page one, and that continues throughout. However, I’m still not quite sure what supernatural entity is possessing his computer which types out messages to him and makes it go on and off randomly, etc. Or what entity makes the vase and nightstand levitates. His phone is possessed, his computer is possessed – but this story isn’t about the devil possessing technology. I think it COULD be – especially with the title being Offline – but it’s not really about a Hacker who caused deaths, and now possessed technology is taking revenge. If the supernatural elements were more directly tied to technology (especially since he’s a hacker), that might make it stand out even more. But I’m not totally sure what Dave killing all those women has to do with his hacking or technology or Satan.

The biggest issue for me, is that I knew pretty quickly that Dave was probably dead and that this was some Sixth Sense situation. I suspected it by page 20 and was pretty sure on page 24 as soon as he starts talking to Nichola. There are just too many obvious clues and hints along the way, and there are too many other logistic issues for it to be anything else. So while the MOM being dead already is a nice twist, and the hero turning out to actually have been the killer is interesting, I knew he was dead almost the whole time. I also knew there was a dead body in the closet, which I think is pretty obvious as soon as the fly comes out of there on page 27. And because of that, I think the story gets a bit predictable and repetitive and we’re just waiting for the reveal I knew was coming.

Lucy and Nichola’s characters are obviously evil and not really human because logistically, what they are doing and saying just don’t quite ring true. I knew Lucy was likely Lucifer from the start. What they are asking David to do doesn’t make sense unless they are something much different than they appear, and the random and awkward way they just appear doesn’t feel real or plausible. How would Lucy get in? His mother doesn’t notice? And if she is the cop on the case, wouldn’t she be on TV or seem more professional? If Lucy is a cop and Nichola is a psychic, would Dave really need to tell her that some serial killers take trophies? Wouldn’t they know that? I know that, and I’m not a cop or psychic.

With Nichola, I don’t get how Dave just picks up the phone and she’s already on the line (seemingly). She never gave him a number to call. I think Nichola feels so over the top and desperate and clearly out for her own reasons – and without any proof she is who she says she is – that I don’t know why Dave believes her. I didn’t believe her from the get go. I think that much like Ruth, they have to feel more convincing at the start. Nichola starts feeling childish and too obvious, especially on pg 44, and it made me wonder why Dave keeps believing her or talking to her. Then Nichola tells him “We’ll take you with us” on pg 44 and that makes it very clear to me that Nichola and Lucy are going back to hell and are going to take him with them because he was already dead.

The second thing that made me very quickly think Dave was already dead (or dying) is how he simply turns on the computer or just picks up the phone – and Clare and Nichola are instantly there. He doesn’t go to a website or any specific place or program where a girl would even BE on camera to talk to him. She’s just magically there. And I’m not sure how/why the computer dies and then suddenly comes back to life. It all feels very suspect. You tell us on pg 14 that “Clare’s offline” – but what program is he looking for her on? Skype? Instant Messenger? Gmail chat? A website? Women don’t just appear when you turn on your computer. And if she’s offline, then she must be from a specific program he’s looking at. The lack of specifics makes us not believe.

With David, I like the way you set him up and describe his room with the Star Wars figures as it helps him seem the young innocent, though with the big rat he sees in the room it paints a picture of David and his mother living in a dilapidated shithole. It’s a great visual and it does make us wonder if he’s having delusions or not, but it makes us think he lives in a hovel.

David’s backstory with his father’s suicide could be sad and impactful, but I am not sure what a child could steal from a Church that would lead to their father killing themselves over it. I mean, he could kill a Priest and I don’t think it would make a child’s father kill himself over it unless it’s set up that the father was incredibly religious. David’s crime didn’t feel important enough to force his father to do that. Yes, he stole money from the Church that was set for a mission, but it’s really his mother who is the bad guy. If there is a strong religious connection in this family, I think that needs to be set up and clear.

One of my biggest issues with Dave is that I have a hard time believing he’s a good hacker. His Google searches are incredibly vague and simple (“shyness” “psychics” etc.), and he’s not doing much on the computer before this whole thing happens and I would think he’d be all over it trying to hack something, find something, do something, etc. The Star Wars figures might make him seem a little nerdy but it doesn’t make him feel like a hacker. He doesn’t show off he has those skills until he suddenly needs them, and I would suggest you set that up earlier by showing him trying to do some serious hacking online – maybe even trying to find out who hit him or something that can connect later. Also, I’m not sure why he needs to look up “haunted house” on Wikipedia – does he really not know what one is? I’m pretty sure it’s self-explanatory.

My other major issue with David and his connection with Clare is that they never speak for more than 30 seconds, and every single conversation they have ends abruptly with David slamming his computer shut and just ending the conversation. It seems very rude and immature, and I’m pretty sure that you only get to do that to a woman once – maybe twice – until they never speak to you again. Yet she never seems to care. But the even bigger issue with him doing this, is that it stops them from ever REALLY creating a connection or chemistry that’s more than just instant physical attraction. And for US to connect with them and feel a connection, I think we need to see them talk a bit more and a bit deeper. Then you wouldn’t have to tell us that the chemistry between them is palpable because we’ll see it on screen.

While Dave’s willingness to sacrifice himself for Clare is sweet, and perhaps that’s part of him subconsciously seeking redemption for his crimes, it feels forced. They don’t seem to have a deep enough connection for him to do this, plus – he KNOWS she’s already dead! Why would he sacrifice his life so that a dead girl doesn’t find out she’s dead? It just doesn’t quite make sense. It would be one thing if he was sacrificing his own life to save her from dying, but just finding out she’s dead? I’m not sure those are big enough stakes.

A small note, but the way David tries to find out who Clare is seems to be a bit silly. He doesn’t know anything about her or where she lives, but he’s going to search through online yearbooks of every high school in the state? He doesn’t even know what state she’s in. If he was a real hacker, wouldn’t he be able to take a screen capture of her face and run it through some face recognition software or google images software to find a match? If she WAS killed or kidnapped, her face would have been all over the news and pretty easy to find on Google, wouldn’t it? It just feels like there’s a SMARTER way to find her and who she is online than looking at ever yearbook in the unnamed state.

Clare’s a nice girl but we know she’s dead by page 15. It’s a solid moment, but again he reacts to seeing her scars by just slamming his computer shut. The fact she’s a ghost is fine, and it makes sense with the witching hour being when she comes online (though you don’t have to keep telling us it’s the witching hour – we know!).

Ruth is an interesting character because her introduction is as the doting, caring mother who seems to genuinely love and care about her son. But it very quickly becomes unclear what type of relationship they have – even by the second time we see her – and then with each subsequent time she comes in, she seems more and more cold and insane. I appreciate that she’s bipolar and she makes a great red herring for the killer, though perhaps too obvious to actually BE the killer. I think perhaps she changes a bit too quickly – by page 10 she’s already psychotic. I would suggest stretching out a bit longer her downward spiral into psychotic behavior and her mental illness so that it takes a little longer for her to reach that point.

The ending is exciting and visual and I like how Dave’s story ends, however, it’s not clear who hit him in the first place and killed him. Was it Clare’s mother? Was it someone involved in the story or just some random person at the wrong place at the right time? I think you need to find a way to tie everything together and perhaps the way to do that is to reveal who killed him. I keep wondering why Nichola and Lucy need to put him through all of this stuff with Ruth and Clare and everything else instead of just taking his soul and sending him to hell from the start.

Turning to the dialogue, I think it’s nicely written but it’s not very subtle, and with supernatural/paranormal mysteries and thrillers like this, subtlety is important so that the audience doesn’t suspect what’s going on by page 10. I think that even though David is 18, his actions and words feel a bit young, as does Lucy and Nichola’s and that’s part of the reason I knew exactly what they were from the start. So, I think that while it’s great to place those little breadcrumbs in the dialogue so that when we look back, we recognize all the little nuances and hints that make us realize the truth, if they’re giving it away then they ruin the mystery.

Pg 61 – You can cut the INT. BEDROOM scene heading because we’re already there.

Pg 68 – Why are the clocks in military time and not regular time? Shouldn’t it be 11:45?

Pg 70 – Can cut the Scene heading at bottom – we’re still in the same location.

Pg 71 – For me, the maggot scene is really gross. Not just the maggots, but the puking all over himself, etc. It’s visual for sure, but it’s a visual that would make me gag.

Pg 72 – I thought Ruth smashed the computer. It’s ok again? I’m also not sure why he thinks he can amputate a leg with basic scissors? I’m not quite sure what that would do anyway, but it’s a dumb idea to try and cut your leg off with scissors.

Pg 82 – Why is Clare calling out MOM?

Pg 87 – I get the visual, but I’m not sure why the disgusting bugs are needed in this supernatural thriller.

Overall, I think the concept and premise is commercial and visual and works for a low budget horror/thriller with a recognizable Rear Window/Sixth Sense hook, but for me I think some of the major elements of the mystery are too obvious. It has to be much less obvious that Dave is dead, it has to be less obvious that Nichola and Lucy are evil and not who they say, and it has to be less obvious there’s a dead body in the closet. There are logistic issues and some character issues that I think need to be addressed with Dave and Ruth. It needs to come together a bit better and use the supernatural elements to stand out more and make it LESS obvious that Dave is dead instead of more obvious. It’s got potential and these types of projects are always getting made, especially since this could probably be produced for $100-250K. So stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again Gary for submitting your script “Offline” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month!

NO BULLSCRIPT 20 POINT GRADING SHEET AND RECOMMENDATION:

PROJECT: CONSIDER

Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise X
Story X
Structure X
Conflict/Drama X
Consistent Tone X
Pacing X
Stakes X
Climax X
Resolution/Ending 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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Grave Love – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Grave Love

A man tends to his garden at midnight, but something more sinister is at play.

 Never underestimate the importance of intelligent dialogue and pacing – even in a horror script. Sure, you can throw a monster in. Sprinkle loads of blood and gore on top. But the true essence of horror isn’t FX. Or facile jump scares. It’s the slow, skillful building of suspense. And finding the characters interesting enough that you care what happens next…

Meet John. A gardener. Handsome. A GQ fantasy from a school girl’s dreams. When we first meet John, he’s hard at work – tilling the soil, planting seeds. Spectactor Tom watches from the sidelines… equally cute and dressed to kill.

And full of snarky commentary. Which starts with the plants – but doesn’t end there. As with all good dialogue, there’s a rich vein of subtext. And this undercurrent’s mighty dark. What went wrong in their relationship. Tom analyzing John’s fatal flaws. Seems like the school girl’s bound for disappointment; the two bicker back and forth like an old divorced couple. Which, basically, they are.

John ignores Tom’s nasty barbs – moving from daisies to sunflowers. Tom asks his ex who that was for. Which is when Robert steps from the shadows. Young. Rugged. Gorgeous. Well, except for the gaping ax wound across his face, that is. Which is when Tom adjusts his collar; exposing deep strangulation marks.   Looks like when John ends a relationship, he really seals the deal.

John ceases puttering, and moves over to an empty grave. Yet more men join the Greek chorus – chiming in with comments galore. Has John’s conscience finally gotten the best of him? They take bets on how he’ll off himself… Gun, knife. Perhaps pills?

John puts a knife to his neck, and faces his tormentors. True, he may be dead soon – but at least he won’t have to listen to them anymore!

But best laid plans always go awry. Even in the best tended gardens….

A dark and smartly written script, Grave Love has a ton of things going for it. Memorable characters. And just one location – with terrific atmosphere. Horror directors, jump on this one. Or someone else will surely snatch it away!

About the writer: Vladimir Jovanovski can be reached at vjcinend “AT” Yahoo!

Pages: 7

Budget: Pretty low. One location – basic gore FX. Save your money for creepy actors!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Atticus Institute – trailer - posted by Don

Chris Sparling, writer of Buried, has written and directed a new horror film, The Atticus Institute.

In the fall of 1976, a small psychology lab in Pennsylvania became the unwitting home to the only government-confirmed case of possession. The U.S. military assumed control of the lab under orders of national security and, soon after, implemented measures aimed at weaponizing the entity. The details of the inexplicable events that occurred are being made public after remaining classified for nearly forty years.

Check out the trailer.


The Atticus Institute is available on demand, DVD, and Blu-ray Jan. 20. Deets to follow.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pins and Needles – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Pins and Needles

Desperate to save his afflicted wife, a tailor decides on a drastic last resort.

Horror’s changed quite a bit over the years. Once the venue of Bela Legosi and Boris Karloff, the genre’s – well – mutated. Over the top FX in the 80s – followed by the rise of slashers and torture porn.

Yet, some of the best horror remains simple. Haunting tales, focused on unassuming characters – faced with fate, loss. Tragedy.

A story of love and sacrifice, Pins and Needles harkens back to that traditional time. The protagonist in the story: a stocky little tailor named Marvin. At sixty-four, Marvin’s a simple man. A small business owner with modest dreams. And despite being married for over forty years, still deeply in love with his wife, Tess.

But fate can be unkind. Four years ago Tess had a stroke; leaving her a vegetable. Unable to walk or communicate – though awareness remains in her eyes. Marvin’s taken Tess to a million doctors. Prayed. But nothing’s worked.

And now – Marvin’s ready to take drastic measures.

As the script opens, Marvin waits in the store basement, accompanied by his wife… and a “guest”. Twenty something Rebecca – duct tape on her mouth, her hands tied. You see, Marvin’s done his research, and uncovered a demonic sacrifice that will restore Tess to her glory days. The price may be grisly… but worth it to save the little man’s True Love.

But will everything go as planned? Or does Fate have something else in store?

A sweet little story in its own way, Pins and Needles is perfect for horror directors who want a classic tale – of love, demons and sacrifice.

About the Writer: Living in CA, Ryan Lee can be contacted via ryanlee1800 AT yahoo. His IMDB credits can be viewed here.

Pages: 11

Budget: Some demon FX to do in post – but most of P&N’s straightforward. Three characters. One basement!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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.

 

 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Ruins screenplay - posted by Don

The Ruins – January 19, 2007 unspecified draft script by Scott Smith – hosted by: Horrorlair – in pdf format

A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More scripts, horror and otherwise, on the Movie Scripts page.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Haunting In Connecticut screenplay - posted by Don

A Haunting in Connecticut – June 25, 2007 unspecified draft script by Adam Simon & Tim Metcalfe – hosted by: Horrorlair – in pdf format

The day Karen and Ed Parker move into their dream home, ominous clues of its chilling funeral parlor past greet them: crucifixes on doors, toe tags and coffin keys in the basement. Their 14-year-old son, Paul, claims he sees apparitions and hears voices. Soon, the house is plagued by dark forces that torment the entire family, and it will take a desperate call to Edward and Lorraine Warren-investigators of the Amityville haunting-to offer any hope of relief.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More scripts, horror and otherwise, on the Movie Scripts page.

Happy Halloween! - posted by Don

Something to put you in the Halloween spirit.


Pumpkin Nightmare from Indie Me on Vimeo.

A young woman arrives at home after a Halloween party and finds a nice pumpkin at her door. She brings the pumpkin inside, which turns out to be a big mistake…

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