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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Scared Yet? – Short Script Review, Available for Production - posted by James Barron

Scared Yet? pdf format by Zack Akers

Late one stormy night, two young children are confronted by a terrifying figure in the dark.

Guilt. It creeps up on you. Lurking in doubt’s oily shadow, darkening your thoughts, inching right up your spine.

That’s why six-year-old James can’t sleep. Can’t stop re-living his mother’s death. His thoughts roiling as the storm rages outside his bedroom window.

“Your mind is playing tricks on you,” says his older sister, Lizzy.

But he sees it: His mother, in a white gown, standing on the front lawn.

Lizzy’s protests drowned out as the storm crests, thunder and lightning booming in deafening waves.

THEN BLACK.

Power’s out. And they’re not alone. Someone’s in the house.

Lizzy fumbles desperately for a flashlight, trains a shaky beam of light on the bedroom door.

As it CREAKS open…

Scared Yet? You will be once you’ve read Zack Ackers’ newest horror short and get hit with an ending you won’t see coming and won’t soon forget. This is the kind of easy-to-make single location horror that sets YouTube on fire (See: Lights Out).

Production: Two adults and two kids. A bedroom.

About the writer: Zack Akers started writing in 2005, stumbled upon Simplyscripts in 06. Since then, he’s written over 25 shorts, and is currently hard at work on his first feature. He’s wanted to write scary movies ever since he was seven years old. Still chasing the dream.

About the reviewer: James Barron is a former law student turned screenwriter who loves to write comedy along with the occasional horror/thriller. Check out his work at JBarronScripts.com

Read Scared Yet? (8 page short drama in pdf format)

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On the Job – Short Script Review - posted by Guest Reviewer

On The Job Training 1 page in pdf format by Tim Westland

Two grave diggers bond over their work

In its entirety, the world’s shortest novel runs just six words. SIX WORDS; words that relay so much – in so short a span – that more story’s simply not needed. Granted, the details are left to the reader. But six words paint the broad picture. Though not entirely accurate, the tale’s often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. And the novel itself reads like a lesson in brevity:

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.”

Succinct writing isn’t a gift, or just a useful trick of the literary trade. No – it’s an absolute must when writing for the screen. And good screenwriters learn the ropes quickly: de-flower your adjectives, obliterate your “wrylies.” As an art form, scriptwriting requires a scribe to be dead-on point at all times; strategically detailed in each word they write. And that’s what separates screenwriters from authors. You see, screenwriters don’t need three hundred pages to tell a tale. In fact, in the case of “On The Job Training”, Tim Westland needed only one.

You got that right. A single page. Top to bottom, left to right. Start to Fade Out and Finish. The whole script – in one page. As it opens, Westland’s story follows two men toiling away in a cemetery… absorbed in the task of digging a grave. We quickly learn their names, and ages. And dialogue fills in missing pieces. More aspects are quickly implied: one man is clearly more experienced at this work. His younger successor frets about performing well on the job. Yet it’s what hides in the shadows of sentences that really matters in the end. Resulting in a story that starts long before FADE IN, and lingers on a reader’s mind after Westland’s world FADES TO BLACK. A truly great story – and a prime example of a writer’s craft.

Production: Cast 3 – two grave diggers and one corpse. Location – Dirt. Budget: Minimal.

About the writer Tim Westland is an award winning writer whose many scripts have consistently place in the Semi/Quarter finals in Page, Bluecat, and Screencraft. His screenplay, OBeast, co-authored with frequent writing partner Rod Thompson, finished in the Top 10 of ScreenCraft’s 2017 Horror contest. OBeast is also a 2017 iHorror.com finalist. Tim is also the co-author of the acclaimed horror comic/graphic novel (and screenplay), Chasing the Dead, published by IDW.

About the reviewer: Rod Thompson is an award winning, produced screenwriter of both shorts and features. His tally includes one produced feature length film, four produced short films, a Table Read My Screenplay genre win for Best Drama, a BlueCat Quarter-finalist placing, two NAFF Quarter-finalists and one Semi-finalist placing.”Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Go Fish – Short script available for production - posted by Ingrid Short

Go Fish (9 pages in pdf format) by Kirsten James

Two young boys play cards and drink a beer in their father’s hunting cabin until the reality of their day unexpectedly catches up with them.

It’s the 1930’s, but it could be any time. Two young boys, Samuel and Henry, best friends, play Go Fish to pass the time. The winner of a hand gets a pull on a bottle of beer. Who’s going to know? Just the two of them alone in a cabin. Or are they alone?

*Spoilers*

Grandpa is in the cellar and Grandpa ain’t Grandpa anymore. Grandpa is a werewolf and he’s very angry. As you progress through the story you realize this isn’t two boys hanging out in Dad’s hunting cabin. There is a deeper story and threat that they must deal with or wait out before they can leave.

Production: Budget: Medium to Low depending on how creative you are with the werewolf; Location: One – hunting cabin; Cast: Two young boys, one werewolf.

About the Writer: Kirsten James is an aspiring screenwriter in her early 40’s, originally from NZ, living in the USA. She started writing short stories 2 years ago, and after a year learned that she was more geared to writing scripts. Kirsten has a degree in psychology and finds this a great asset to her writing.

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inspiration – Short Script Review, Available for Production - posted by James Barron

Inspiration pdf format by Richard Russell

An Air Force pilot hunts down the person who sent her a Christmas greeting many years before.

A soldier’s mail is precious. There’s notes from friends always good for a laugh. Letters from family making you ache for home. Messages from a lover, hidden from prying eyes.

But for Lori Wells, a young air force pilot, no such mail arrived.

Only a card from a young student (Billy) she’s never met, thanking her for her service. And a kid’s cherubic smile beaming out from a photograph. A testament to a families love. A sense of belonging Lori can’t shake and can’t bring herself to throw away.

So, she carries the good luck charm with her through an entire career. Now Lori’s on her way to finally meet her seraph in the flesh.

Only problem is, grown Billy’s not quite the same happy boy. There are no loving parents. And Lori can’t shake a feeling of ineluctable dread. As the lies and doubts pile up, she’ll have to confront a brutal truth before it’s too late.

If you’re looking for inspired drama, be sure to check out this tale of shattered perceptions and false idols by the talented Richard Russell.

Production: One adult male and female role along with a few extras. A house, a backyard, and a couple other interior locations.

About the writer: Richard Russell A writer should never pen his own bio. What seems important to a writer will no doubt bore most readers. Yet, writers do create their own bios, to the chagrin of everyone. My bio must be short and to the point as I have few literary successes to boast of. It seems I have been writing all my life, and indeed, if pages of print equal success, then I am as successful as anyone. Pages alone, though, doesn’t connote fame or success, just pages. I live in North Carolina, and I write whenever and however I can. The mere act of writing produces a joy that I find in no other endeavor. Whether or not my writing becomes known to many means little to me. Oh, I would love to be a household name, but that is not my goal. My goal is to write stories that compel the reader to finish. My goal is to create tales that will not let me quit them in mid-sentence. I am a dreamer and a procrastinator, and those traits are not ingredients for success. I also suffer from reverse paranoia. I think people are plotting to make me happy.

About the reviewer: James Barron is a former law student turned screenwriter who loves to write comedy along with the occasional horror/thriller. Check out his work at JBarronScripts.com

Read Inspiration (11 page short drama in pdf format)

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Marguerite – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Marguerite (17 pages in PDF format) by John P. Dowgin

An aging diva finds her cherished voice failing her with a treacherous understudy waiting in the wings. But she has a few magical tricks up her sleeve…

“The devil’s voice is sweet to hear.” — Stephen King, Needful Things, 1991.

But it’s not the devil’s voice that takes center stage in “Marguerite,” a short script by John P. Dowgin — it’s Marguerite’s own voice, although there’s clearly some devilry going on behind the scenes. “Marguerite” is a modern Gothic horror tale rife with jealousy and treachery and the lust for fame and fortune. And voodoo.

Marguerite Woolsley is an aging African-American diva who will stop at nothing to preserve her youth… and her voice. She’s set to make her triumphant comeback in a modern revival of Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha,” which tells the tale of slave life on a southern plantation in the 1800s. But the title character is an 18-year-old woman, and Marguerite is in her 60s. As the screenplay tells us, “Her age shows even under stage makeup, but cannot dim her presence.” More important for an opera singer, though, is her voice, and it’s not what it once was. During a dress rehearsal she tries to hit a high “C” and her voice cracks. “The note she hits is not only clearly wrong, it’s not even close.” The producers panic, but not Marguerite. A little dose of voodoo — some candles, animals skulls, a necklace made of bones, and thirteen dead crows — and voila! Her voice is sweet again. As sweet as, well… the devil’s.

But Marguerite’s understudy, Therese, has plans of her own. And some voodoo of her own, too. Like a predator sensing weakness, she strikes, sabotaging Marguerite’s voodoo talisman, her gris-gris bag, and we watch as Marguerite withers. First her voice goes, and then, when we last see Marguerite, “Her face is ancient skin stretched over bone. Her eyes have recessed into her skull.”

And Therese is set for her “triumphant debut” in “Treemonisha.”

But there’s voodoo, and there’s voodoo. And when Marguerite’s gnarled hand reaches into her hidden voodoo shrine and retrieves the ancient book, the mysterious pearl box, and the magic red powder, it can only mean one thing…

…not so fast, Therese!

Budget: Rather high, but manageable, and definitely worth every penny. Locations (e.g., the Metropolitan Opera House) and some aging effects would be the most expensive budget items. If they were simulated somehow, the overall budget would be moderate.

About the writer: John P. Dowgin is a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, as well as a founding member of the production company The Porch Room (porchroom.com) for whom he directed the original work ‘Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives” at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. Two of John’s plays have been published in the compilation “Accidents Happen” by Samuel French, and have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Toronto, Dublin, and Australia. A number of his screenplays are also in ‘development’, which he suspects to be a theoretical dimension like Oz. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

About the guest reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.

Read Marguerite (pdf format)

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Incident on I-95 – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Incident on I-95 (5 pages in PDF format) by Fred Perry

The arrival of an ominous stranger shatters the serenity of an idyllic American town.

It’s often thought Utopian societies are the way to go. In a time where the O-zone is depleted, terrorists could be living in the apartment below you, and there’s something scary on the news every day – it’s nice to imagine a world where peace, health, and tranquility reign.

One day – humanity dreams – the perfect world will exist. But is that truly possible? After all, one of the greatest contributors to Chaos is the nature of humanity itself. Humans – no matter how peaceful, clean, and healthy their environment – are at heart wild animals ready to strike. Especially when confronted with something they deem threatening.

The soul of Utopian SF is dark satire. And Fred Perry’s Incident on I-95’s got that. In spades.

Picture if you will: a man disembarks from a bus. A stranger out for an innocent walk, and on snowy peaceful night…

As Incident heads towards its crescendo, the man strolls casually through lanes and alleyways. Taking in the serenity of a small, perfect town. But his wanderings are about to take a turn for the worse – into the hands of a bloodthirsty, angry mob. As to what triggers the violence? Read the script. Because this is one satisfying twist you’ll never guess…

A simplistic story wrapped in rich, deep visuals, Incident on I-95 is a joy to read. All the way from its soothing beginnings, to the thought provoking climatic end!

Budget: Moderate. A quick shot of a bus, and small-town streets. Lots of extra for the crowd.

About the writer, Fred Perry: Fred Perry has worked as a screenwriter in Europe, Mexico and the U.S., co-authoring six feature films for Omega Entertainment, Athens, Greece, as well as collaborating on multiple projects with Alfonso Arau (director of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE and A WALK IN THE CLOUDS).

Fred’s screenplays have won numerous awards. His dark comedy short, FIVE DAYS IN CALCUTTA, won the Grand Prize in the 2014 Palm Street Films Screenplay Competition (shorts category), 1st Place at the 2014 Richmond International Film Festival (comedy screenplay genre), 1st Place, 2013 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition (shorts), the Grand Prize, 2014 American Movie Awards (shorts), 1st, 2013 DC Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition, 1st, 82nd (2013) Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition (subsequently published), the Gold Prize in the 2013 Hollywood Screenplay Competition (shorts), and 1st in the 2012 PAGE International Screenplay Awards (shorts). The script will shoot this January, directed by Dawn Fields of Palm Street Films.

His feature sci-fi script, CROSSINGS won the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Screenplay at the 2014 Richmond International Film Festival, 1st at the 2014 Omaha Film Festival, 1st in the 9th annual Filmmakers International Screenplay Competition, 1st in the 2013 Holiday Screenplay Competition, and was a semifinalist in the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships.

He is a published playwright, his two-act, THE ASCENSION OF TWYLA POTTS, winning the 2013 London Film Festival (stage play category), and earning the Special Marquee Award at this year’s American Film Awards. Fred has also written and directed plays at the Colony Theatre in Los Angeles and the Carrollwood Players Theatre in Tampa Bay.

About the reviewer, Rod Thompson: I have been writing creatively since I learned how to write. There is just something about telling a story that I can never get over. Storytelling in itself is like an old flame that occasionally comes to me and just says, “Use me.” The ability to watch a movie through words, or to craft a world in such a manner is the closest to Godliness that man will ever come. True story. Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hello – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Hello (20 pages in PDF format) by Rick Hansberry

Interesting what you can find in used bookstores – and often there’s a reason it’s there.

The genre “drama”; as a classification, it tends to be simplistic. Because underneath that ever-so-wide umbrella are a multitude of shades and layers. Thriller dramas: dealing with mysteries, plot turns… the penultimate ticking clock. Sociopolitical dramas: shedding their unforgiving light on society’s often violent conflicts. Emotional crisis dramas: focusing on the impact of fate’s cruel slings and arrows – and the pain that inevitably results. Then there are Introspective dramas – examining the quirky details of Life. Hello belongs in this last category. A gentle, quiet indie script – offering a wry commentary on modern romance…

Young woman Lexi is looking for love. Her best friend is Will – a plugged in young guy, embroiled in a long-distance relationship himself. As the script opens, Lexi’s dragging Will into a used video/bookstore (the absolute last place he’d want to be.) And the last place a relationship might be kindled. But as Will flees to the store next door, Lexi reaches for a book. And finds herself face to face with Chase. A chance encounter. Is it fate?

It’s the perfect “meeting of souls”. But can it survive the cold light of reality? At first, Lexi and Chase’s relationship seems perfect. Until she senses a sea-change in his mood. Along with underlying character traits, not evident upon first meeting. Assisted by ever-supportive Chase, Lexi examines the dynamics of her new relationship. Different personalities. Different lives. A union perhaps not meant to be.

Let’s face it. Everyone’s been there. What can a girl do when faced with a relationship that clicked, then clacked? Can one ever expect a happy ending from a used bookstore called the Second Time Around? Or escape the impulses that make us love who and what we do?

Though firmly set in modern day, Hello reads like a remake of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” – enacted by the cast of Friends. Rest assured, that’s a compliment. Each character an actor’s dream role – endowed with depth and vitality. The dialog’s smart; oozing subtext like beer at a frat party.

In the hands of the right director, Hello has lots of indie potential. A short, eminantly affordable drama that awaits the proper quirky touch.

Budget: Very affordable. A handful of characters, and easily obtainable settings.

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.

About the reviewer: Michael O’Farrell is a mathematician who worked on the Space Shuttle Program and now writes fiction.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Line in the Sand – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

A Line in the Sand (6 pages in pdf format) by Tim Westland

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. – The Dalai Lama

“A Line in the Sand,” a short screenplay by award-winning screenwriter (and graphic novelist) Tim Westland, describes a gritty dystopian future, a civilization on the edge, at a crossroads — a dramatic, high-tension moment that could either rescue mankind from itself or cause our society to unravel completely.

The story takes place in 2037, and like all the best tales of futuristic dystopias (e.g. Blade Runner, The Matrix, etc.), “A Line in the Sand” is a masterful blend of two things: First, it’s a rockin’ good sci-fi story (complete with all the trimmings — UltraMarines, exo-suits, and high-tech weaponry) with a somber gloominess about it. This is one possible future that we hope never comes to pass. And secondly — it’s totally plausible. It could come to pass. “A Line in the Sand” pits religious fanaticism against nuclear madness. It’s like a headline from today’s news — projected twenty years into the future. Scary, to say the least.

There’s a third thing that ramps up the emotional impact of this script — more than anything else it’s a story about people. Specifically two people: two men, both warriors, but radically different nonetheless. One is a military man trying to save the world; the other a fanatical religious terrorist trying to tear it to shreds.

They meet on a California beach at sunset after the terrorist group has destroyed a nuclear reactor. It’s a horrific scene. As UltraMarine John Hawkins says, it’s “going to stain this coastline for the next ten thousand years.” While he combs through the rubble on the beach, he stumbles upon a lone survivor, one of the terrorists. The man is badly injured, “covered with festering radiation sores.” Hawkins could kill him right then and there. Why not? An eye for an eye and all that. Among the horror and the wreckage, what’s one more death?

But the damage is already done; one more death won’t make things right. And Hawkins is a compassionate man. So when the injured terrorist asks for a favor – the chance to enjoy one last sunset – Hawkins carries him to the beach and props him up against a rock at the water’s edge. As they listen to the waves crash against the shoreline and watch the sun touch the horizon, the two men share philosophies: one contemplating a grim future, the other with not much future left.

But which is which? And, the terrorist’s story-line isn’t quite yet. It turns out there’s still some life radiating within him.

Is the Dalai Lama right? Without compassion can humanity survive?

Maybe Hawkins should have killed him when he had the chance…

Budget: Moderate-to-high. Some futuristic scene setting may be required, but with some creativity (or some CGI), they could be simulated.

About the writer: The co-writer of the acclaimed graphic novel Chasing the Dead, Tim Westland received first place for Balls Out in the NNYM 15 page contest. A moderator at Moviepoet, he’s an outstanding writer with an eye for the details. His IMDB page can be found here.

About the reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.

Read A Line in the Sand

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Heartbeat by Anthony Cawood - posted by Steve Miles

Heartbeat (7 pages in pdf format) by Anthony Cawood

A florist is asked to help connect an unrequited lover with the object of his affection, with unexpected results.

A quiet day in a quiet florists finds store assistant, Maisy, counting her every heartbeat in a bid to alleviate the boredom.

Enter Derin, scruffy yet sincere, and – more importantly – in the market for flowers. For Derin it’s a special occasion; he’s got love on his mind. A certain kind of love that requires a certain kind of flower and Devin’s darned if he knows his Tulips from his Roses in matters of floral arrays.

If only there were someone to guide him…

As luck (and training) would have it Maisy has the answer to his quest – Daffodils. Unfortunately for Derin what she doesn’t have is Daffodils. They’re not in season and try as she might there’s no second best for Devin when it comes to affairs of the heart. Devin leaves empty handed. Maisy gets back to counting the minutes.

One quiet day rolls into another and as Maisy turns up the next day to open shop she makes a surprise discovery. A certain kind of discovery that sets her heart to racing faster than she can count.

But anything more would be spoiling the surprise.

Anthony Cawood’s Hearbeat offers a sweet tale of a young man’s first step on the road to love. The offbeat and understated style doesn’t so much as grab you by the hand and take you for a ride as much as smile and ask you to follow. Straightforward with minimal locations/characters and a few handy flowers as props. Great for a filmmaker looking for a heartfelt short to win an audience over.

Production: Florist shop. Three Actors.

About the writer: Anthony is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 2 features optioned and over 30 short scripts optioned, or purchased, including 8 filmed. Outside of his screenwriting career, he’s a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

About the reviewer: Steve Miles started writing scripts around five years ago after realizing that his social life was vastly overrated. He enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit – from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of plaid and uses a calculator for the most basic of sums. Check out more of his work at sjmilesscripts.webs.com

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

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March 29, 2017

    Heartbeat by Anthony Cawood

    A florist is asked to help connect an unrequited lover with the object of his affection, with unexpected results. 7 pages
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