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Friday, July 31, 2015

Trick of the Trade – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop-Shorts

Trick of the Trade

When young Harry needs money to buy a gift, he learns that crime does pay, but in an unexpected way.

There’s something about scripts involving school boy crushes, and first loves.  Then again – who doesn’t like stories about disreputable (yet somehow charming) con men?  If you nodded to both of those statements, then Trick of the Trade is right for you.  Because this is a script that actually incorporates both of these elements into one package.

Little Harry Cartwright is a simple rural kid, growing up in Depression era Oklahoma.  The light of his life is Susie Clemons, a pretty little school girl and Harry’s first love.  Unfortunately for both, Susie’s family is moving to Texas. In just two weeks. A crestfallen Harry’s committed to getting her a school photo of himself as a keepsake.  Problem is, it costs a quarter.  And that’s way too expensive for him.

After his request is rebuffed by his father, Harry sets off to the local Pharmacy to see if he can steal the dough.  He’s stopped by Roscoe – a local con man and n’er do well – who tells him to leave the stealin’ to more capable folk.  Undeterred, Harry glues himself to Roscoe, determined to earn his pay… in addition to that damned quarter.

The result?  A combination of Ocean’s Eleven meets Mark Twain.  It’s a satisfying story with a lot of character… perfect for a director looking to prove their storytelling chops.

About the writer: Gary Howell is an attorney who has been writing as a hobby for years, and his short “The Family Man,” led to a connection with an Australian film director. The two collaborated on a feature film, “Broad Daylight,” which is currently in pre-production, with filming to begin in New Orleans in July. He is currently working on two new features.

Pages: 18

Budget: Moderate to Average.  Trick of the Trade is a period piece.  And there are a variety of locations, and characters. Despite that, there’s not much needed in the way of FX – this script is far more character/actor focused than anything else.

READ THIS 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, July 30, 2015

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

The Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pages: 12

Budget: Relatively small, interior locations.

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and a bunch of other scripts optioned and/or purchased.

Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

About the Writer: Richard Russell lives in North Carolina where he plays golf and writes.  He has been writing since college when his short stories appeared in the university literary magazine.  He loves writing screenplays, and THE CALL, written with his partner, Felice Bassuk, is one of their best.  They have written an award-winning feature, THE KOI KEEPER, which they hope to see on the screen in the not too distant future.  Richard has a trove of shorts and feature length screenplays and continues to add to the inventory.  Writing remains the sole source of sanity in Richard’s chaotic world.

READ THE 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.

 

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Fugitive – compare and contrast - posted by Don

Thanks, Phil for the heads up on these.

The Fugitive – February, 1992 early draft script by David Twohy – hosted by: National Central University Language Center – in pdf format

This is an early draft of The Fugitive. This story is based in Philadelphia, instead of Chicago, and it ends in a Pennsylvania coal mine instead of a Chicago hotel.

The Fugitive – May 10, 1993 revised draft script by Jeb Stuart – hosted by: Drexel Screenplay Library – in pdf format

Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble escapes from a prison bus and tries to find out why she was killed and who the murderer really was. He is relentlessly pursued by Samuel Gerard, a U.S. Marshal, and is forced to keep out of contact from any friends or relatives. However, his determination and ingenuity soon produce results and he comes to the frightening realization that he can trust no one.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

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

The Lake

A man relives haunting memories when he visits a cabin where he spent his summers as a teen.

Tragic love stories… when it comes to drama, they’ve been a staple for eternity.  West Side Story. Rent. Miss Saigon. The Notebook and The Fault in Our Stars. Shakespeare used the theme constantly.  Which is far from surprising.  Doomed romance is a universal human experience.  Throw in a triangle and the trifecta’s complete. Love. Jealousy. And loss.

Like many tragic love stories, The Lake is a simple heartfelt tale; told over a series of years.  Three children meet over the summer – their families renting nearby cabins along a lake.  Little Laura, and twin brothers Jack and Matt; a trio of ten year olds enjoying life and having the time of their young lives.  There’s instant chemistry between the boys and Laura. An innocent – but undeniable – spark.

Which blossoms as they reach their teens.  Soon, Laura will choose a suitor.  But what of the brother left behind?  As Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet historically learned, teen romances rarely end well.  For the loser OR the victor…

Drama directors, take heed: A sad psalm to love, loss and regret, The Lake may be a simple tale. But it’s got one heck of an emotional punch.

About the writer: An award winning writer AND photographer, Marnie Mitchell-Lister’s website is available at http://brainfluffs.com/. Marnie’s had 5 shorts produced (so far) and placed Semi-final with her features in Bluecat.

Pages: 6

Budget: Relatively low.  Three terrific actors (and their child counterparts) are all you need for cast.  As for the location? A cabin, woods. And, of course, a lake.

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, June 18, 2015

X-Files: Flight 180 (became Final Destination) - posted by Don

This in from Zack, Came across something cool today on bloodydisgusting.com that may interest you. It’s the original script for “Final Destination”, back when it was title “Flight 180″ and was actually an episode for “The X-Files”.

Final Destination – january 15, 1999, early draft script by Jeffrey Reddick – hosted by: Bloody Disgusting – in html format

Alex is boarding his plane to France on a school trip, when he suddenly gets a premonition that the plane will explode. When Alex and a group of students are thrown off the plane, to their horror, the plane does in fact explode. Alex must now work out Death’s plan, as each of the surviving students falls victim. Whilst preventing the worst from happening, Alex must also dodge the FBI, which believes Alex caused the explosion.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Impact – Create 50 Contest! - posted by wonkavite

Hey.  Pssssstttttt. You there.  Yeah, you. The writer with the laptop burned to their legs. And a glassy look of too-much-Red Bull and Final-Draft-glare in your eye…

Wanna vie for a spot on a project that’s got Joe Eszterhas’ name attached?  Then check out The Impact – a new contest by the folks that created 50 Kisses.  The concept – a meteor’s about to demolish every bit of life on Earth.  Humanity’s only got two hours left.

Got that?  Well, create a 1-2 page script on anything in that time span.  Drama. Or dark comedy.  Just – make it be a fascinating slice of life.  On August 31st, judging begins – and the top 50 scripts will be chosen, and offered to multiple indie film crews for production.  The top each of THOSE will be gathered into a feature length compilation.  And voilà.  You just got credit alongside one of the best!

The price?  $5 UK (about $8 USD).  And three reviews of your peers.  Not a bad price for entrance.

So – get ready, set… Start writing!   We’ll meet you at the finish line!  :)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Bad SF Can Teach Us About Writing Screenplay Description – Repost from CHIPSTREET - posted by wonkavite

What Bad SF Can Teach Us About Writing Screenplay Description

You wanna write screenplays?  Seriously?  Hopefully for a living?  Well, one thing you’ve got to do is perfect your art. Write. Rewrite.  And keep plugging away… nonstop. Keep polishing your craft until it shines!

…and be open to lessons learned from those who’ve been in the trenches, and blazed the same trail that you seek.  STS is happy to be reposting a series of articles from ChipStreet.  Folks, this is a terrific website – we recommend that you check it out in more depth!  (Original article available here: http://chipstreet.com/2011/06/24/what-bad-science-fiction-can-teach-us-about-writing-screenplay-description/)

About Chip: Chip Street is an IMDB credited indie screenwriter, director, and art director. His short films have screened at festivals, and his feature screenplays have been optioned and sold. He is a screenplay analyst, competition finalist, screenplay judge for a major industry competition, screener for an International film festival, founder of Write Club Screenplay Challenge, and a respected blogger on the art and business of screenwriting. He’s been published or cited by The BlueCat Competition Newsletter, Script Magazine, JohnAugust.com, Bleeding Cool, NoFilmSchool, ScriptTips and IndieWire.com.

*******

What bad science fiction can teach us about writing screenplay description

Originally posted on June 24, 2011 by Chip Street

Why too much detail destroys screenplay description – and pisses readers off

I just finished slogging my way through another script as a judge for a screenplay competition.

Yes, slogging. It was painful. It was boring. Frankly, I couldn’t finish it. I gave it a “pass”.

Because the writer gave me too much description.

Exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop

The screenwriter told us just how many steps a character took to cross a room (11), whether the couch was on the right or the left of the doorway (left), how many seconds a dog barked (5), and precisely how much space is between the lights in an alleyway (30 meters). I learned that the kitchen table is rectangular, and how big it is (approximately 33 inches by 60 inches).

I wanted to shoot myself in the head. For the record, this is not how you want to make your reader feel.

Perhaps because this was a sci-fi script, the writer fell victim to the classic hyperspecificity of Golden Age authors like Arthur Clarke (whose penchant for detailing the precise number of rivets in a spaceship might make for good geekery, but doesn’t make for good Literature [opinion] or screenwriting [fact]).

But consider this: even between the covers of a sci-fi bestseller, there’s such a thing as too many words. Too much specific description. Too much time spent on details that are not story critical, and that actually disrupt the rhythm and pacing of the read.

The Larry Niven reference

Once, many years ago, I had brunch with acclaimed sci-fi writer Larry Niven, and he shared a story about the writing of the bestseller Ringworld. He said that he spent days writing about a detailed and lavish banquet. Every exotic food, roasted creature, colorful fruit, bizarre drink, strange and alien utensil. He loved it, and was so proud of it.

Then he turned it over to his sometime writing partner Jerry Pournelle for some honest feedback. Jerry, he said, was a ruthless editor. Jerry reduced the scene down to two words:

 They ate.

Larry laughed. He said Jerry was right. He didn’t need it. He had to kill his baby.

But I see the movie in my head

I know, I know. The writer saw the movie in her head and needed to share it. Every moment was crystal, the dramatic void of silence as the protagonist thoughtfully crossed the room was critical to pacing and mood. I get that.

I get why the lights were 30 meters apart, I do … because that vision of a black alleyway punctuated with pools of yellow light was mysterious.

So say that. In that minimalist syllable-counting haiku that is (or should be) screenwriting. In the way that makes every word count. In a way that’s artful. In a way that doesn’t suck the life out of it, and devolve into a soul-less mechanical blueprint for the set designer.

In a way that doesn’t make the reader (and that’s your audience) roll his eyes and shut your script on page four after you’ve pulled him out of the story because you can’t get to the fucking point.

And no, it won’t be easy. That’s why not just anyone can do this. As I said in Writing Screenplay Description with Personal Style:

… it’s a tricky balance… Style (with a capital “S”) can’t supersede the screenwriting tenet of direct simplicity. It’s an interesting challenge, to introduce enough of your Style to create a personal voice, while avoiding the hyper-specificity of extraneous detail that slows down the real-time pace, and readers hate.

It’s not your job

Here’s what you need to know, young newbie. It’s not your job to design the sets. It’s not your job to costume the talent, or do their hair.

It’s not your job to choose camera angles, or block the action.

It’s not your job to direct.

Yes, sometimes, it is story critical to drop in a hyper-specific detail like “the couch was on the left”. If you’re writing Memento, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Run, Lola, Run, those details may resurface, and make themselves important to the story.

But as a reader, let me say this: If you specify that the couch is on the left, or that he takes 11 steps across the room, or the dog barks for 5 seconds, those details damn well better be story points. ‘Cuz I’m going to be waiting for them to justify themselves in some important way.

And they better.

But I like to write all that description

I got the feeling, reading this painful script, that maybe what the writer really wanted to do was write a sci-fi novel.

Then write a novel. Seriously. Maybe that’s what you excel at … maybe that’s what really stokes your creative embers. Maybe sorting out and displaying all those fabulous details, all that texture, is the language of your art. And good for you, dammit. Go forth and do it. Between the covers of a book.

But remember Larry’s story … remember that even there, less can indeed be more.

BY THE WAY: I am compelled to assure you, dear reader, that I did not actually lift any lines verbatim from the script. I paraphrased, to create a representative example. No inappropriate plagiarism to see here. Move along.

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ashley – screenplay - posted by Don

Thanks Domenic Migliore for the heads up on his script, Ashley (originally Sprawl). You can watch the film directed by Dean Matthew Ronalds on Amazon Instant Video.*

Ashley – October 11, 2011 final draft script by Domenic Migliore – hosted by: Scribd – in pdf format

A teenage girl, distraught from her vain attempt to connect with her estranged mother, resorts to cutting herself. When she develops an online relationship with an older woman, she learns to accept her sexuality and the endless solitude of sprawling suburbia.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

*I fixed the broken link.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Movie Poet Contest Winners - posted by Don

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!


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