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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ready or Not – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by KP Mackie

Ready Or Not by Tim Ratcliffe

“A little girl has an easier time hiding from her father than the harsh realities of life.”

You had me at “hello.”

Rather like Renee Zellweger’s infamous one-liner to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, you’ll be had immediately with the first few lines of description in Tim Radcliffe’s sentimental short, Ready Or Not:

The girl in the photo, ABBY, four, curly hair, stands in the middle of the room. Her hands cover her eyes.

            ABBY
Eighteen, nineteen, twenty.

     Her hands fall away to reveal her face beaming with excitement.

            ABBY
Ready or not, here I come.

Who’s not a sucker for stories about adorable kids and their loving parents?

Abby and her dad Jack play hide-and-seek. A lot. And according to Abby’s mother Jenna, Jack is pretty good at it. On one particular occasion, Jenna tells Abby: “He’s hiding in a really good spot.” But young Abby is never deterred. “I’ll find him. I always do.”

Abby searches all Dad’s usual hiding places: a kitchen cupboard, under the dining table, behind curtains. Will she find him? Of course she will! Because this game has one indisputable rule: Jack ALWAYS lets Abby find him.

            JACK
You got some x-ray vision
that you’re not tellin’ me about?

And just like it’s supposed to be for an adorable daughter and her loving dad, Jack raises a giggling Abby over his head.

            ABBY
No Dad, I’m just good at this game.

So it goes… until the familiar and fun game of hide-and-seek isn’t just child’s play anymore.

Ready Or Not speaks volumes. Three words uttered — in most cases screamed — after counting to twenty in the popular kids’ game, signal the beginning of a game. In RON those words ultimately deliver an ironic ending: Sometimes there’s no fun and games whatsoever when it comes to the unpredictable game of life.

Are you a director with a soft spot? If so, be ready to be had by Ready Or Not too. Here’s a guarantee — you won’t be alone.

Budget: Low. Simple casting because ALL four-year-olds are adorable. Two loving parents required, plus one extra. Several interior shots could be staged for two common locations.

About the Writer: Tim Ratcliffe is an Australian writer who frequently travels the world in search of new adventures and experiences. A former journalist, he has written a number of short screenplays and had a few produced. A lover of all things creative, Tim has also tried his hand at acting, improv and stand-up comedy. He can be reached at tjames.ratcliffe ‘AT’ gmail.

Read Ready Or Not (5 pages 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.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Visit With Pearl – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Guest Reviewer

A Visit with Pearl by Jason K. Allen

When a lonely old man visits his beloved wife’s grave, he encounters a charming little girl who lifts him out of his doldrums and gives him hope.

Love and loss; it’s an age old theme brought to life with an elegant touch in Jason K. Allen’s A Visit With Pearl.

The scene: a cemetery in the country. A lonely grave. The name etched on the headstone: Pearl.

Old and barely able to walk (let alone sit down), Preston’s just mustered the courage to visit his wife’s resting place. A widower after fifty-five years of marriage, Preston still feels the fresh sting of grief, one year after her death.

At a loss, Preston talks to Pearl. Communing with nature… and silence.

Until company intrudes… in the form of a precocious pigtailed girl. Ignoring her mother a few feet away, the little girl skips over to Preston – filling his solemn moment with vibrant life. Not to mention the usual flurry of questions a child asks; innocent, straightforward and naively sweet.

Which ultimately makes Preston realize there’s more to life than loss. And that the world’s – sometimes more than what it seems.

Grab this one and do it justice. It’ll bring more than one tear to your eyes.

Budget: You’ll need one location and three actors. The closer you can match Preston to the old man in Up, the better. Couple him with a small role for a woman and a spirited girl. And lots of nostalgia, as well.

About the writer: Jason K. Allen is a writer and filmmaker from Nashville, Tennessee. His produced short scripts include AMERICAN SOCK, which won Best Screenplay at the 2014 San Diego Film Awards, and AUTUMN LOVERS, winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Artlightenment Festival in Nashville. He also wrote the feature film LUCKY FRITZ starring Julia Dietze (IRON SKY) and Corey Feldman. Jason is also a wilderness guide, nature photographer, and published author. See IMDB for his complete credits:

Read A Visit with Pearl (8 pages 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.

About the reviewer: Rachel Kate Miller is a veteran of the feature animation industry, having worked on several Oscar winning films, bringing stories to life. In 2012, she left animation to move to Chicago and run the design department for President Obama’s reelection campaign. She is now living in New York, writing, consulting on various projects and creating an educational animated series for elementary students focused on engaging kids in science. Want to drop Rachel line? She can be reached at rachelkate.miller (a) gmail.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Close To Sunset by Steven Clark – Short Script Review – In Production - posted by Steve Miles

Close to Sunset (16 pages in pdf format) Steven Clark In Production

After the death of his mother, a middle-aged man learns the horrifying truth about the childhood disappearance of his brother.

Production Stills

Script Review

Home movie footage has a way of evoking emotion. A grainy, colour faded moment captured in time. This is how Beyond Sunset starts: young brothers, Jack and Sam, fool for the camera. A fleeting memory of lost childhood.

Shadows grow over a public playground. A car prowls along an adjacent road. The boys play, each lost in a world of blissful innocence. Moments later Jack looks up to find his brother gone. He squints into the setting sun, just in time to catch Sam wave goodbye before he slips into the car and vanishes forever.

Jump forward several decades. Jack, now in his 50s and with a family of his own. It’s been a rough week for Jack. Mom’s dead. Her estate needs to be settled which leaves Jack and younger sister, Trisha, to clear the old family home for sale.

It’s a task fraught with emotion. The sting of memory carried with every trinket and family photograph. There’s that yellow dress of Mom’s or the grave of Houdini, beloved house-cat who was never fully tamed. 

As Jack delves deeper into the shadows of Mom’s life secrets begin to reveal themselves. Old wounds are opened and tensions rise, until finally Jack stumbles upon the darkest recess of them all…

Steven Clark’s haunting thriller Beyond Sunset lights a fuse that burns its way to the very end. It’s a tense, brooding mystery, delivered with a subtlety that begs to be picked up.  Any filmmaker looking for a low budget nuanced thriller would be remiss not to check this script out immediately.

About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.

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

Read Close to Sunset (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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

QC Challenge Results - posted by James Barron

The QC Challenge results are in!

Writers faced a grueling, time-sensitive challenge and came through in spades. These scripts are light on page count and locale, but heavy on drama. No surprise that one short has already been snatched up for production. Don’t miss out on the rest!

 

Top voted script:

Cyborn by Mark Renshaw

A hunted, dying android crawls beneath the broken alter of a gutted Church. His name is Braxx. To the enraged Luddite mob outside, he has no name. He is a thing. An abomination of metal and wires they’ll soon rip apart the moment they’ve cleared the barricades.

Braxx’s sole comfort in his darkest hour – a set of dice. A very special set designed to trigger memories, each roll eliciting panoptic bursts of random past experience.

So, as the hordes close in, Braxx rolls. And remembers. And spends his last moments in the most human way possible – clinging to every moment before that, to life, through the wonderful vagaries of chance.

***Script currently in contest consideration. Only available upon request. Mark Renshaw can be reached through his website at http://www.mark-renshaw.com. An award-winning producer and director, his last project earned ‘Best Sci-Fi’ at the Top Shorts and Festigious film festivals.

 

Other top picks:

Ice Cream Soda pdf format by Steven Clark

Death is an everyday presence in nursing homes. But after a well-liked patient’s expiration, Nurse Helen begins to sense a more immediate, tangible force. Something sinister in origin, lurking like vapors from a faulty gas valve. It’s so near, this presence, she can hear it. A tap tapping coming from down the hall. Drawn to it, to the strange sight of a little girl at the end of the hall. A little girl singing a haunting nursery rhyme that chills Helen to the core.

Read the full script here. Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. He can be reached at Steamroller138 “AT” gmail and his work can be found on his new website.

 

Eeny Meeny pdf format by Dustin Bowcott

For octogenarian Imani, time has not healed the wounds of racial bigotry suffered growing up in an all-white 1950’s neighborhood. Nor has it helped reconcile her single, horrible act of retaliation. Time has only sharpened dueling emotions of guilt and indignation down to a fine, cutting shame. Haunted by images of her past, trapped in a maelstrom of self-loathing, Imani will make one last desperate attempt to break the cycle of remembrance.

Read the full script here. Dustin Bowcott is a BBC Writer’s Room and Shore Scripts finalist. He is a produced and optioned writer, and has recently turned his hand to production. You can reach him at dustin7375 “AT” gmail.

 

Skip pdf format by Gary Howell

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a special challenge. Anna’s learned to steel herself to the blank stares and tepid responses that dominate her mother’s once ebullient charm. But on this particular visit, Anna’s brought along her granddaughter. And for one fleeting moment something truly magical is about to happen. Something that will briefly unite four generations in shared harmony.

Read the full script here. Gary is an attorney and accomplished author who can be reached at garymhowell “AT” gmail.

 

Sunset View pdf format by Pia Cook

Senior citizens Todd and Martin have vastly different views on their twilight years. Todd sees opportunity, an aura of significance to each day with a multiplicity of joys yet to be discovered. For Martin, it’s an inevitable march to the grave blighted by lonely nights and illness. Determined to change his friend’s outlook, Todd arranges the perfect date with a vivacious female resident. But will it be enough?

Read the full script here. Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook has four produced features, a fifth one in pre-production, and twenty five shorts to her name. Check out her IMDB creds. She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written seventy short screenplays and ten features. She can be reached at gatortales “AT” gmail.

 

On a Pair of Dice pdf format by Dena McKinnon

Love your neighbor. Feed the hungry. Comfort the sorrowful. These are some of the most basic Christian principles. Notions that will be put to the test when a mysterious beggar stumbles into a prosperous Church during tidy Sunday worship. And the item he places in the offering plate just might send shock waves through the entire community.

Read the full script here. Dena McKinnon is a talented writer with a number of produced shorts under her belt. Check out Dena’s IMDB credits and website at DenaMcKinnon.com/.

 

Congrats to Warren Duncan, who’s script Numbers of the Beast was optioned before the contest even finished. You can find more of his work here. Last but not least, be sure to check out all the other QC Challenge scripts for more great stories!

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

About the reviewer and runner of the Quickie Challenge: 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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Last Date – Short Script Review (In Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Last Date by Richard Russell is in production. Script removed.

A man and woman meet for a last date – both of them by proxy…

Ah, life’s endless agonies. Childbirth. Root canals. Ending a relationship. Because when it’s time to say “I want out”, does anyone really want to be there? Not the one being dumped. Humiliating. And the dumpee? Awwwwkkkkwardd….

We’ve all been there and done that, on both sides of the equation. And once you’ve been through the wringer several times, you don’t want to experience it again.

But what other choice does one have? Put a happy face on a ruinous relationship, sing “fifty ways to leave your lover” with harmony, or…

Pay someone ELSE to end it.

And in an opportunistic society, that scenario’s not out of the question. Because when money’s involved, there will always be someone to do your bidding. Even if the task is crushing the soul of a soured sweetheart.

But what happens when mercenaries collide?

That’s the scenario of Last Date. A chance encounter at a bar; not between ex-lovers ending a doomed relationship – but between two paid stand-ins. Meeting on behalf of “Bonnie” and “Will”, Matt and Emily are experienced masters at their jilting craft. Having researched the relationship’s history, Matt and Emily know just what to say… Everything from “It’s not you, it’s me”, to “I know about that office affair.” On behalf of their clients, Matt and Emily face off across the table – for confrontations and drinks. Both are consummate professionals… But can these actors truly separate themselves from the play?

Dryly humorous – and deceptively simple – Last Date is the perfect match for directors who groove on social commentary. A script that skewers society on multiple levels: the eternal battle between men and women… and a modern world where anything can be bought or sold. Including the pain of a Last Date.

Budget: Very low budget. All that’s needed is a single diner or bar – and a few actors with good comedic timing.

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.

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

Read Last Date (9 pages 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, August 15, 2017

Midnight Spaghetti – Wrapping Production - posted by Don

Santi D. Spadaro’s script Midnight Spaghetti is being filmed by Micromeg Movie, an indie production company from Quebec. They have wrapped up production and you can check out a few behind the scenes stills on their Facebook page – facebook.com/MicromegMovie/. Head over and give ’em a “like”.

The owner of an Italian restaurant prepares a very late dinner for a very special guest.

About the writer: Born and raised in Italy, Santi Spadaro now lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he works as a research mathematician. A former poet and co-editor of the Italian literary e-zine Nabanassar he can be reached at santidspadaro (a) gmail

Monday, August 7, 2017

High Demand – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Guest Reviewer

High Demand by David M Troop

An awkward girl scout employs the services of her older stoner brother to beat her arch nemesis in a cookie-selling contest.

We’ve all seen them. And we’ve all pretended not to be at home when they’ve come a-knockin’ at our door.

No, we’re not talking Seventh Day Adventists. It’s a breed more tenacious: Girl Scouts!

The ultimate sales persons – branded by green sashes and pigtails – these little “cookie” girls sell their wares constantly. At least, if they want their badges and rewards. Given the high pressure stakes involved, it’s a miracle more haven’t pursued questionable means. Not to mention black markets!

Maybe after reading High Demand they will – the tale of one Girl Scout that discovers a whole new clientele through her stoner brother with all the right connections.

The script opens up in a sweet and innocent setting: five girl guides sit through a pep talk, in preparation for their annual cookie drive. Among them is our young heroine Margaret, a 12-year old girl with a rather dismal sales record. But this year is different. This year, there’s a brand new bicycle waiting for the girl who can sell the most. With that one incentive, Margaret is sold. This is the year she proves herself!

Opposed by her wicked den-mother, her condescending den-sisters, and the general apathy of the human population, Margaret quickly learns that her Herculean task will not be easily overcome.

Enter Bud, her older stoner brother with an insatiable appetite for sweets. Thus begins a brilliant scheme to exploit the cravings of certain “patients”. Impassioned anew, Margaret strives to best arch-nemesis Sharlee and the rest of the mean girl clan, proving once again that the underdog should never be underestimated.

Make no mistake: this is no half-baked story.

Full of charm and wit, the relationship between Bud and Margaret is memorable not only for their quick and humorous banter. The kinship at its core becomes especially clear as the story nears its resolution. What Margaret wants is not just a bike. But the ability to believe in herself.

Why should you consider this script? Well, it’s more than just scoring Thin Mints as props.

Not only does High Demand pursue an original twist on the well-known reality of the Girl Guide, but it ‘s infused with positive reinforcements for a female audience with strong never-say-die heroines. Margaret is an easily lovable character with relatable issues, and has the potential to champion a few more short tales.

What more could you ask for? Well, aside from “glaucoma treatment” and Girl Scout cookies?

Budget: Moderate. A few locations and a handful of extras to support a small cast. They key is finding great young actresses and making sure the chemistry between Bud and Margaret really comes alive!

About the Writer: David M Troop resumed writing in 2011 after a twenty-five year hiatus.  Since then, he has written about 50 short scripts, two of which have been produced. Born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, Dave now resides in Schuylkill Haven with his wife Jodi and their two lazy dogs Max and Mattie. He can be reached at dtroop506 “AT” gmail!

Read High Demand (15 pages 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.

About the Reviewer: Faith Rivens is an aspiring author and filmmaker. New to the business, storytelling is a passion born innately within her. It doesn’t matter the genre, or the medium. What matters is the story woven within. Her first book Eléonore: An Iníonaofa Novella is available on Amazon. Want to drop Faith a line? Reach out to her at AliasFaithRivens.wordpress.com.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Alligator Tears – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Gary Rowlands

Alligator Tears by Kirk White

A peaceful lake, a missing woman, a frightened child. A small-town Sheriff must enlist the help of his estranged son tofind out what…or who happened to a vacationing family.

Since virtually the dawn of time, father and son stories have been mainstays in literature and fiction.  Be the form film, book or play: familial tales of love, loss, deceit, betrayal and death will forever resonate.

From Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet, to Pixar’s Finding Nemo: the special bond between father and son provides a never ending source of drama.

And so it is with Alligator Tears.

Our story opens on a tragic tableau: a distraught father and son sobbing on a Florida beach. Where’s Mom?  Missing.

Crusty local Sheriff Mickey Nemar takes charge, but the boy (Charlie) is inconsolable. Momma went skiing with Dad, Charlie says.  And a huge alligator ate her!

As Mickey gently prods for clues, Aaron Ames arrives on scene – an agent for the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Not to mention Mickey’s bitter, estranged son.

Immediately the two clash; at loggerheads.   Aaron casts doubt on his dad’s findings (not to mention his character.)  He particularly scoffs at the idea of an animal attack; the lake’s too populated for a gator.

What follows is a deftly written war of words brimming with conflict and mystery.  Can father and son set aside differences long enough to crack the case? And what exactly did happen to Momma?  This is one script that positively shines with subtext just below the surface… like an alligator about to rise.

Drama directors: don’t miss this one.  Much like a missing persons report… the result can be a tragedy.

Budget: Moderate. All you need is a beach. Small boat. Couple of vehicles. And a small but talented cast to do this clever script justice.

About the writer: Kirk White is an independent film maker, web sen”sation” and figure of note in the world of global logistics.  He is currently in pre-production on his second feature, The Soul Garden, which will basically be the art-house version of Re-Animator.  If you’re into that sort of thing, or just love movies with no fear…no limit… no budget,  check out QuiteFilm.com for all the juicy goodness.

Read Alligator Tears 12 pages 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.

About the reviewer: Gary Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy for Spitting Image a hugely popular show broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since gone on to write several high-concept features and can be contacted at gazrow at Hotmail dot com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Safe in the Countryside – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Pete Barry

Safe in the Countryside by Bill Sarre

A lonely couple hide out on D-Day. But the war isn’t the only danger they have to fear…

Betrayal comes in many flavors. In war sides must be chosen; even if your survival – and the survival of your loved ones – depends on betraying allegiances.

As the Allies finally roll through Normandy in 1944, all Henry and Francine Duvall have to do is ride out the storm, holed up in their isolated farmhouse. An easy task. Isn’t it?

After all, they have a new baby to protect. Henry wants no part of the outside world until the fighting is over, and they can seek the approaching army’s protection.

But when a wounded German soldier turns up on their doorstep, the besieged couple must decide: do they risk the wrath of the now-victorious French Resistance if they take him in? Is it better to leave him to die, or does every human being deserve mercy?

But the soldier’s presence is more than a moral dilemma. Within a few precious minutes, his appearance unravels treacheries that Henry and Francine have committed during the long way; against their country, and each other.

A gripping drama from writer Bill Sarre, Safe in the Countryside is a wonderfully effective tale, exploring the nature of betrayal and the terrible acts we choose to commit when faced with extreme circumstance.  For a director that can invoke the grim mood of war and secrets, Safe in the Countryside is an excellent story to try your hand at. And an obvious festival favorite!

Budget: The exteriors will require a farmhouse and some distant explosions, but the interiors are simple enough and the main cast is small – Henry, Francine and the soldier.

About the writer: An award winning writer, Bill Sarre has had scripts place both finalist and quarter finalist with Page and Bluecat.  Another short of his, The Grieving Spell, was recently grand prize winner of the London Film Awards. Bill can be reached at Bill.sarre (a) gmail

Read Safe in the Countryside (6 pages 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.

About the reviewer: Pete Barry is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actor, director and musician. His short plays have been published in numerous collections. He’s also a cofounder of the PorchRoom.com/, a film and theater production company. Please feel free to reach out to him with script requests at petebarry27 (a) hotmail.

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