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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Take Your Last Embrace – Short Script for Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Jansen

Take Your Last Embrace (5 pages in pdf format) by MJ Jermanny

A loving, elderly couple cannot bear to be parted and take matters into their hands with disastrous results.

Love is one of the most popular themes in cinemas – in all of art for that matter. There are stories about falling in love, being in love, losing love… Love is simple, yet complex. Personal, yet universal. Being in love also asks certain questions: “What would you do for love, for the one that you love?”

There’s no question that octogenarians Edmund and Winnie love and care for each other. But love can’t slow Winnie’s encroaching Alzheimer’s or give Edmund the strength to leave his wheelchair. Their children’s arguments for seeking out nursing homes go ignored since it means Edmund and Winnie couldn’t stay together.

Still, Edmund can’t deny Winnie’s worsening mental condition. And she can’t give him the physical care he needs. As the situation deteriorates, Edmund find himself forced to make a decision, before they’re torn apart forever. He remembers his shotgun in the closet. They say love can make one do strange things. If he and Winnie can’t be together, he’d do what he can so they’re not apart…

Though darkly written (and not for the squeamish), Take Your Last Embrace has a soft core. Underneath the gritty surface lies a gentle psalm for love and companionship. When it’s real, love can last a lifetime. But what happens when that lifetime comes to an end…?

A fitting companion piece to the Oscar-winning Amour, Take Your Last Embrace is a definite showcase for older actors to shine. A love story 60 years in the making.

About the writer: Boasting an MA in Scriptwriting for Film, Theatre, TV & Radio, MJ is an award winning writer, with shorts optioned and produced in countries as diverse as Croatia and Norway. Residing in sunny England, she is currently hard at work developing a series with the BBC Writersroom – as well as working on a number of features (including one low-budget horror and a fantasy adventure script.) Her website is available here: redcatwriter.wordpress.com. MJ herself can be reached via mjhermanny – AT – gmail!

Budget: Low. Just a single location (a house for interiors and exteriors); two main characters, two supporting characters, and a few extras for a crowd scene. No special effects to speak of. Except for a shotgun…

About the reviewer: Zach Jansen is an award-winning and produced screenwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He enjoys spending time with his kids, anything movies, and sitting at his desk pounding out his next script. If for some reason you want to learn more about him – which of course you DO! – you can check out his IMDb page or quasi-frequently updated blog.

Take Your Last Embrace

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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, May 2, 2017

Jessup – Short Script Review – In Production! - posted by Anthony Cawood

Jessup (pdf format) by Mark Lyons is in production…

…as a Senior Thesis Film Project and they need a little help finishing the project. If you have some spare coin, that would excellent!


After an outburst at work, a young man obsessed with control is ordered to see a therapist, who might just be as equally manipulative as he is.

Optioned and in production

As screenwriters, we’re constantly told to “show, don’t tell”. And that talking heads should be avoided like the plague.

Well, someone also once said that “rules were made to be broken.” Mark Lyons’ Jessup does that – in spades. It’s a script with just two characters. A verbal fencing match, across a desk.

And it’s that dialogue which makes these one worthy. As uncomfortable and disquieting as it may be.

Meet twenty-something Jessup: malcontent extraordinaire. He’s been a disruptive influence at his workplace. But he’s got talent worth retaining. Thanks to that one saving quality, Jessup earns himself a trip to the company psychologist – instead of the unemployment line.

An experienced head-shrinker, Ronald Simplot’s a piece of work himself. In his forties, he’s seen it all – and Jessup’s manipulative tricks are an open page. As the conversation between the two morphs from pleasantries to battle, Simplot lays it all on the line. Jessup’s a whiny little brat. One that deserves a major spanking. His career may force him to talk to losers like Jessup… but there’s no reason he can’t tell it like it is. He laces into the youngster; refusing Jessup’s request for a “psychological break.” And he tells the boy just what he thinks of him – revealing a surprisingly sadistic side…

But battles of wits are fluid. And how quickly tables can turn. Who will win in this fight? Doctor or Patient? And who are we rooting for, anyway?

If you like your stories with multiple shades of gray, then Jessup is ideal. Crackling dialogue imbued with tension. A subversive power struggle – and an unexpected plot twist. Give this one a read. Unless you have delicate sensibilities!

Pages: 10

Budget: Pretty cheap to film: limited locations and a cast of two.

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a four-time award-winning screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, including ‘The Ephesian’, which won Best Drama at the 2015 Austin Revolution Film Festival (which also garnered him a Best Screenplay nomination), and was selected Best Drama for the Cinema Constant 2015. He also penned Best Film award-winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’ at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He was also nominated for a Best Screenplay award at the 2016 Action on Film Festival. Currently, Mark is teaming with writer Sharon Day and producer Justin Colon to co-produce the feature film ‘Lords and Harvesters’, set to film in Summer, 2018. He can be reached at markielyons1107 (a) gmail

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of his screenwriting career, he is also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Film links and details of his scripts can be found at AnthonyCawood.Co.UK.

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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.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tempest Road – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by LC

Tempest Road (11 pages in pdf format) by Steven Clark

Three years sober, a father must deal with the reality that his son is transgender.

There are some things we just don’t talk about in polite company, right? Wrong.

If you’re a writer, nothing’s off limits. In fact it’s a part of the writer’s and filmmaker’s brief to shine the spotlight on difficult and taboo subjects, to challenge beliefs and stereotypes, expose rights and wrongs, educate, enlighten, and of course entertain.

We are proud to put under the spotlight the subject of gender dysphoria, more commonly known as: ‘transgender’. Put simply, transgender people believe they were born in the wrong body. Those affected are often sent on a painful and daunting road to self-discovery, and in the process stigmatized and held up to public ridicule.

Films such as: Boys Don’t Cry, Ma Vie En Rose, Tomboy, all examine the issue of gender confusion and identity from the point of view of the child. Writer Steven Clark takes a different approach with his aptly titled: Tempest Road, telling the story from the parents’ point of view.

For all intents and purposes, characters Ashley and Gary Broussard, a couple in their mid-thirties, represent ‘normal’ middle-class America. They enjoy a comfortable life – nice house, two cars parked in the garage… We assume they’re doing pretty well. When we meet them however, they’re midway through a heated argument, each of them doggedly trying to convince the other that they’re right and the other is wrong.

The point of contention? Their son Charlie, who believes: God messed up and made him a boy. Ashley is supportive of Charlie no matter what, in fact she’s aware of the potential and dire consequences a lack of acceptance could have on their child. Gary however, is having none of it. He’s embarrassed, worse still he claims Charlie is ruining their family. Charlie should be playing with basketballs and footballs not dresses and dolls. He’s a boy, that’s what God intended him to be. But Ashley thinks otherwise.

So, how does Gary cope? The only way he knows how, of course. The reformed alcoholic storms out of the house and heads straight for his local watering hole. Along the way he encounters a couple of people who may or may not inadvertently set him on the right path – one of them a rather attractive woman, the other a highway patrol cop.

Tempest Road is a thought provoking and intelligently told tale which avoids preaching and never veers into melodrama or histrionics. Instead it challenges beliefs on a delicate subject and poses questions to its audience, not the least of which is: Can acceptance, tolerance and love triumph over ignorance. Steven Clark also avoids a pat happily ever after denouement, instead offering us a final and satisfying message of hope.

Filmmakers: Take the right route to success with – Tempest Road.

Budget: Reasonable. A handful of locations – but as with most straightforward (hard hitting) drama, this is not a budget buster…

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: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

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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, April 26, 2017

Shovel – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Anthony Cawood

Shovel (9 pages, pdf format) by Mark Lyons

In need of extra money, a young boy shovels almost all the drives in his neighborhood

I consider myself a Genre writer, specializing in Horror and Near-Fi (that’s my term for Sci-Fi that’s just around the corner to reality.) But every now and again, I dip my toe into Drama.

Let me tell you: Drama’s hard. Really hard. It’s so easy to tumble into over-wrought cliché, creating caricatures, not characters. Then one gets bogged down in themes – losing sight of the story. So you try to write it now and again… only to swear off Drama every time.

Then you read something like Shovel: a story so effortless in its execution that it inspires you to try again. After it’s made you feel inferior, that is!

Shovel opens with young Raymond Dre, shoveling driveways in his rundown neighborhood. He clears all of them of snow… except for one. A house he purposefully leaves alone. It’s strenuous work for a kid, but at least Raymond’s free to concentrate. Everyone else is out at Church; there’s some sad to-do in town.

Later that evening, several neighbors stop by, offering Raymond payment for his labor. Surprisingly, Ray’s reluctant. He didn’t really do it for the money. And the neighbors aren’t just paying him as a commercial venture either… there’s something heavier weighing on their minds.

Raymond escapes the attention and heads back outside: intent to clean one last drive.

What follows is a master stroke of understated storytelling… one that brought an actual tear to my eye.

What makes Shovel so special? It’s a combination of several things. As a character, Raymond’s a wonderfully drawn character… organic, sympathetic and real. The subtle pace of the story blends with a great ending. Heart wrenching and warming in equal measures, Shovel strikes just the right balance – which pays off spectacularly.

If I haven’t made my opinion clear yet, this is one script you don’t want to miss. Custom-made for drama directors… Not to mention, festival wins.

Budget: Low. The only issue will be the snow. And that happens often enough – doesn’t it?

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a four-time award-winning screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, including ‘The Ephesian’, which won Best Drama at the 2015 Austin Revolution Film Festival (which also garnered him a Best Screenplay nomination), and was selected Best Drama for the Cinema Constant 2015. He also penned Best Film award-winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’ at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He was also nominated for a Best Screenplay award at the 2016 Action on Film Festival. Currently, Mark is teaming with writer Sharon Day and producer Justin Colon to co-produce the feature film ‘The Hay Men’, set to film in Summer, 2018. He can be reached at markielyons1107 (a) gmail

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

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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, April 25, 2017

Feels Like Falling – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Feels Like Falling (14 pages, pdf format) by Eric Wall

An elevator operator finds his simple job becoming much more complicated when he tries to talk one of his building’s tenants out of an abusive relationship.

As film buffs, some scenes linger in our memories long after the lights come up. Remember when Kyle MacLachlan as Jeffrey Beaumont found the severed ear in Blue Velvet? Or when Jimmy Stewart as the wheelchair bound L.B. Jeffries in Rear Window aimed his binoculars at the apartment across the way? Now recall the unforgettable No Country For Old Men and the chain of events that followed Josh Brolin in the role of Llewellyn Moss after a fatal prick of conscience led him back to a dying man in the desert.

Of course Llewelyn should never have absconded with two million dollars, L.B. could simply have ignored the scream of a dying woman, and Jeffrey Beaumont should have never gone snooping into other people’s private affairs.

Sticking your nose into other people’s business can get you into a world of trouble.

On the flip-side: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Eric Wall’s character Marcus Kirby is a good man, a man of honor. Estranged from his wife he’s still as old fashioned and principled as his finely tailored suit. Marcus operates the elevator of a residential apartment block, and as such he is privy to some of the occupants’ daily trials and tribulations.

Enter, Sophie Gardner. On the outside she’s a confident and assertive young woman and dedicated teacher to her first grade charges. But appearances can be deceptive, or in this case revealing.

One particular day on the ride up in the elevator Marcus recognizes the tell-tale signs of domestic abuse. Though Sophie is determined to shrug it off and blame it on exuberant kids Marcus is well aware that David, Sophie’s husband, has a violent temper and a heavy hand to match. Indeed Marcus knows a thing or two himself about growing up in the hard school of knocks, and he knows just what it feels like to break free of the shackles of abuse.

Marcus tries his darnedest to impart some of his wisdom to Sophie:

            MARCUS
     (sighs)
Alright. Way I see it, you’ve
only got two choices. You can go up
there and spend the rest your life
trying not to look too afraid, or
talk too loud, or say the wrong
thing, or look the wrong way…

Sadly, Sophie’s like a lot of women caught in the cycle of abuse and it’s going to take more than a well intentioned pep talk for her to make the break. However, a break does come in the form of serendipity. When Marcus and Sophie next see one another Sophie’s in an ebullient mood, glowing with the news she’s pregnant. Finally the resolve she’s needed to escape David’s clutches.

And then, a shocking turn of events.

Sophie turns up dead. Deemed a Suicide.

But that’s not all. Did I mention David is a Police Officer – and a drunk to boot? Sophie’s apparently killed herself with her husband’s service revolver after first firing a shot into the floor? Who does that?

Marcus tells the investigating officer it’s not possible – Sophie would never take her own life. When he offers to provide a statement to that effect he is given short shrift and told they’re quite capable of running the investigation without him. It appears the police have closed ranks around one of their own.

And when David adds insult to injury:

            DAVID
She got what she deserved.

Marcus is now forced to make a decision which may have far reaching consequences.

Feels Like Falling examines the larger themes of power and corruption, miscarriage of justice, and vengeance. Inspired by a true life account and one of two entries tied for ‘Reader’s Choice’ on Simply Scripts One Week Challenge – Feels Like Falling is a suspenseful drama with a poignant message, and powerful dialogue.

Filmmakers, feel like falling on your feet and reaping the rewards? If you know what’s good for you you’ll do this one justice. Case closed.

Budget: Medium. Only two main characters (with strong supporting roles such as David), and the primary location – an elevator. But bear in mind – this one deserves a robust enough budget to be done right!

About the writer: Eric Wall is a New Jersey based screenwriter who has written several short scripts, two features and is at work on multiple TV specs. He can be reached at e_wall1498 “AT” yahoo!

About the Reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

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

Prodigy (5 pages, pdf format) by Bill Sarre

In his twilight years, a teacher reminisces about one special student

“And so it stood, a warm and vivid patch in his life, casting a radiance that glowed in a thousand recollections.” – From the novel “Goodbye Mr. Chips” by James Hilton.

Prodigy, a script by veteran screenwriter Bill Sarre, casts a glowing radiance of its own. In the same vein as Goodbye Mr. Chips (as well as Mr Holland’s Opus and others), it tells a sentimental story about a beloved teacher in his waning years. In this case, the beloved teacher, a man named Ernest, is beyond “waning.” He’s 90 years old, and when we meet him he’s on his deathbed, reminiscing with a nurse who listens attentively while she does her best to make the frail old man comfortable.

His room is brimming with photographs, student photographs, taken over a lifetime of teaching, and although it’s clear that Ernest had high regard and affection for all of them (“I didn’t have my own kids,” he says, “so in a way, they became my children”), there’s one he’s especially fond of, a boy named Virgil. A prodigy.

When Ernest met Virgil the boy had issues. Serious issues. Abuse. Violence. And, ultimately, murder. The details were sketchy, even at the time, but six-year-old Virgil was found hiding under the stairs in the aftermath of the grizzly murder of his parents, and he never spoke another word after that.

Ernest rescued Virgil from this wretched existence. He took the quiet, damaged boy under his wing, and in time he found a way to break through to him. Music. The boy was a natural talent. Unfortunately, Ernest was not. But over the years, Ernest found ways to stoke the flames of Virgil’s musical genius. He found teachers, helped him enter competitions, and allowed the boy to spread his musical wings.

As Ernest says, “In the end, a teacher should learn to be part of a story’s beginning, but not the middle or the end. Allow them all to…fly away.”

Virgil did fly away. He went on to become a virtuoso pianist, touring the country, filling concert halls, and making records. Ernest watched the boy’s growing success with pride, but always from the sidelines. And now, as he lays dying, he tells the nurse, “I can think of no better way to go than having my children around me, with his music filling the air… and remember the joy I felt knowing I had once made a real difference.”

And at the very end, Virgil repays Ernest’s kindness with one last gift, but surprisingly it’s not only a gift of music.

It’s also a gift of words.

Prodigy has the two basic elements every indie filmmaker is looking for (or at least ought to be): first, it would be a fairly easy and inexpensive film to make. Second, and more importantly, it’s a film worth making. A story worth telling. Sentimental and poignant, it’s sure to please all audiences.

Budget: Fairly low.

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 “AT” gmail.com

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

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

Violent Domestic by Kirk White

While hiding out from a double-crossing son of a bitch, an outlaw couple faces their greatest fear…waiting for the results of a home pregnancy test.

“If that test is positive, then I’m scared shitless because this is the part that terrifies me… no… not the ‘is it gonna work’ because I can’t control that… but the ‘how does one raise a human being’ aspect which is one hundred percent in our court. That, my love, is the kick in the nuts that keeps me up at night.”

As a father of three I can relate to this dialogue, spoken in Violent Domestic by protagonist Ted. It’s a sentiment voiced by many men, moments after their wife pees on a stick. It’s one of those defining moments in a man’s life – the potential beginning of his legacy. Damned nerved wracking, is what it is – the entirety of one’s future resting on whether there’s one or two lines on that gizmo bought at CVS. If you’ve never found yourself teetering on that particular line of insanity, you have no idea what you’re missing.

And our hero Ted’s in those sniper-sights. As the script opens, Helen’s holed up in a hotel bathroom.

As the obligatory three minutes count down, the couple debate the issue pro and con. A nervous Ted distracts himself with busy work, pulling C-4, guns and money from a bag. Yeah, that’s right. I said C-4. ‘Cause there’s one last detail:

Our lovebirds are two badass thieves, hot off a job gone askew. It’s Kill Bill meets Mr. & Mrs. Smith – with a dose of Parenthood! Like a real life Billy Joe and Bobby Sue*, they’re planning on taking the money and run: a modern day Bonnie and Clyde!

Only it’s not Frank Hamer they’re hiding from. Nope, there’s a particular “Grease Stain in a Suit” named Conn outside. He’s come to collect his cut, no matter what price the couple must pay. Ted negotiates through the window with Conn… stalling until he can hear Helen’s news. Ted and Helen are the ultimate bad “nice guys” – a helluva more sympathetic than Conn. They’re a pair you can’t help but cheer for. And the danger and stakes are sky-high.

A master of his craft, Kirk White weaves Domestic’s dialogue seamlessly. A touch of humor – lots of danger, and protagonists that really breathe. It’s one of those scripts that make you want to know what happens next. Because you love these guys. That’s what happens when a script’s done right. It takes a lot of practice to get to that stage. But when a writer does – the story truly comes alive. (Question is, will Ted and Helen make it out in one piece?)

Brass Tax: this script’s got the goods. Low on budget. High on character. A feel-good action piece with minimal logistics. You want a short that audiences will remember and talk about? Then this is the short for you.

*If you listen to the Steve Miller Band while reading this short, your proposal email to the author will write itself.

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. Kirk can be reached emailed at quitefilm “AT” gmail to request a copy of his work.

Budget: Moderate. Get a hotel room, two damned good actors, and a few props. The rest will handle itself.

About the reviewer: Rod Thompson is an award winning screenwriter of both features and shorts. His feature, “The Squire” won Best Drama for the 2014 Table Read My Screenplay contest, and he has placed numerous times for his shorts at MoviePoet.com. His short scripts “Gimme Shelter” and “A Memory in Winter” have both been optioned through their exposure on SimplyScripts.com. He is also “the most humble man alive.”

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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, April 18, 2017

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

Shelter 7 pages in pdf format by Bill Sarre

A homeless teen faces eviction from a men’s shelter – the last haven in his troubled world.

Theres no story if there isnt some conflict. The memorable things are usually not how pulled-together everybody is. I think everybody feels lonely and trapped sometimes. I think its more or less the norm. – Wes Anderson, six-time Oscar nominee, three times for screenwriting.

Ask any screenwriter. Conflict glues a story together. It’s an inevitable binding ingredient; essential for one’s masterpiece. Depicted in war, drama and action, Conflict’s always effective. Both to a macro – and micro – degree.

In his rivetingly tale Shelter, talented scribe Bill Sarre wields conflict with subtlety. As we journey through the script, Wes Anderson’s words ring out clear as a bell. “…everybody feels lonely and trapped sometimes.” The result is a truly gripping story – on a raw, bone achingly personal scale.

The two main characters: Daren, a 17-year-old denizen of the New Hope Mens Shelter, and 50-year-old Maggie – the world weary mistress of the space. Daren is a good kid – but one plagued by substance abuse issues. Not to mention homelessness. It’s a brutal life for anyone to survive. And unimaginable for a teen. And as bad as it is, it’s about to get worse. As the script opens, Daren’s hopes spiral out of control when his best friend is gunned down in a drug deal. Daren reacts to the news by trashing his room. He passes out in a drunken binge… bringing down Maggie’s wrath on his head. A woman at the breaking point, she shrieks at Daren: “I thought you were different. But you’re just like the rest…” Disappointed by his actions, Maggie screams at Daren. She demands he pack his things. And leave….

Enter Lucinda – Daren’s guardian angel. A bright and cheerful case worker, Lucinda is the teen’s only hope – stuck between Daren’s hard knock life and the world weary pain of Maggie. Stepping into harm’s way, Lucinda fights for Daren. She gently leads the teen through his problems. And begs Maggie for compromise.

The result as the narrative unfolds: a dizzying literary display of characters – conflict and despair. A dramatic masterpiece ala Wes Anderson, Bill Sarre’s Shelter is a raw, crisis riddled tale. Drama directors take note: Shelters a ‘slice of life’ story for the festivals – one that speaks of strength of character. Not to mention kindness. And hope.

Budget: Low. The main ingredients: modern settings. Solid actors. P.S. If someone makes this movie, let me suggest the music for the closing credits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJtq6OmD-_Y

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 “AT” gmail.com

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

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Whatever it Takes – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Whatever It Takes (Reader’s cautioned. 9 pages in pdf format) by Paul Clarke

To escape imprisonment, Tom is willing to do whatever it takes…

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. — Thomas A. Edison

True, Edison’s point was about the importance of hard work and perseverance, but the fact remains — one percent inspiration is essential. Especially for creative endeavors, inspiration can be the critical ingredient that makes all the difference – between the extraordinary and the mundane.

In Whatever It Takes, a short screenplay by Paul Clarke, protagonist Tom understands the importance of inspiration well. He’s a successful writer, hard at work on his latest novel. The reason Tom’s successful is that he lives (and dies) by Edison’s rule. When we first meet Tom, he’s locked in a dingy hotel room – writing hard enough to save his life; pouring ninety-nine percent perspiration onto the page.

Yet, Tom just can’t find that last little bit – the inspiration required to make his novel pop. But he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. How much?

We’ll soon find out.

For instance, Tom’s novel is set in a prison. So he gets down to role playing; hard core. From the get-go, he’s locked in his hotel room… barricaded from the outside. His agent has the key, there are bars on the window and Tom’s dressed in a prison jumpsuit – he hasn’t bathed in several days. A dedicated writer, he’s gone to great lengths to make it all seem real, including a primitive shiv hidden in his bed… not to mention, a make-shift noose.

Whatever it takes. So they say.

But even after a brush with death, Tom still can’t summon his muse.

Enter Katie (age 27), Tom’s girlfriend. And what a grand entrance she makes: “She rips the coat off revealing a Halloween-style slutty prison warden costume. Complete with thigh-high boots, and fishnet stockings.”

With a naked Katie, underneath. Which is when the story virtually explodes… into a funny, bawdy, high-energy romp, reminiscent of Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn. Or Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert. Cary Grant & Rosalind Russell; any classic couple you can name. If they’d been making films in the twenty-first century, that is. And summoned the spirit of Mae West…

A masterpiece of set-up and pay-off, Whatever it Takes is a lot of fun. The first half? Suspenseful. The second is a riot and a great pay-off. Are you a director who likes intelligent raunch mixed with drama, not to mention a riveting tale? Then let Whatever It Takes inspire you. Put in the perspiration to do this right, and it’ll be a film festival favorite!

Budget: Fairly low.

About the writer: Paul Clarke is an Australian based screenwriter who works as a cinema manager by day and paid coverage writer by night. His success so far has included a top 10 place in the Writer’s Store Industry Insider competition. And is currently working on a selection of short, feature, and pilot scripts. He can be reached at paul.clarke.scripts “AT” gmail

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

Read Whatever It Takes (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.

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October 19, 2017

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