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

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.

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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, April 13, 2017

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

Cards (5 pages in pdf format) by Rick Hansberry

A pair of copyrighters continue their career-long battle long after retirement.

There’s a lot to like about “Cards,” a short script by award-winning screenwriter Rick Hansberry. First of all, it’s so well-written that it’s a special treat for those of us who simply enjoy reading screenplays. If that’s you, go ahead and give it a read. The atmosphere is nearly perfect, vivid characters abound, and snappy dialogue almost leaps from the page. It’s a pleasure to read.

More importantly, though, “Cards” is a filmmaker’s dream. It tells a heart-warming story about life-long “frenemies” with a touch of humor and an element of suspense. There’s even a little romance in the air. All in five pages!

Fred and Jack, two curmudgeonly 70-somethings, have been friendly rivals for many years, in fact long before the portmanteau “frenemies” was coined. Every morning, they meet in the local greasy-spoon diner to needle each other — under the watchful eye of Ida, the waitress, who ensures their needling stays cordial. Without her scrutiny, there’s a good chance it might not. As the script tells us, “Ida dangles the coffee pot over their mugs. Her eyebrows arch, inferring that if they don’t behave, no refills.” They behave. Mostly.

And each morning as they munch their breakfast to the sound of golden oldies on the juke box, they have a friendly/not-so-friendly competition. They scribble feverishly on their paper napkins, and when they’re done, Ida judges the results. Her verdict this morning? “They’re both good,” she says. Rats!

But what do they scribble on those napkins every morning? That’s the real question. We don’t find out until the end of the script, but when we do we also learn a lot about Fred and Jack. And that’s the heart of the story.

“Cards” is a sweet slice of life, and it would be extremely simple to film. One location — a diner. Three very choice roles for some “seasoned” actors, and a few extras. This could easily be a film festival favorite.

Budget: Low

About the writer: Rick Hansberry is a screenwriter, producer and director with more than 20 years of industry experience. His SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches” features narration by Daniel Stern and garnered international festival awards. In 2017 his thriller/horror film, “Evil In Her” was released on Amazon Video and Vimeo On Demand. His most recent short, inspired by true events, has won praise for its portrayal of one girl’s positive approach to handling her Type 1 Diabetes. You can view It’s Not Permanent free. Rick has shorts and features available here 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 available here.

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

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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 11, 2017

Lone Star Runner Hunnies – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Anthony Cawood

Lone Star Runner Hunnies (7 pages in pdf format) by C.J. Walley

Fleeing a drug deal gone wrong, four girls held up in a lonely Texas diner face the dilemma of capture vs saving a mortally wounded friend.

Roadside diners make great locations – for almost any genre you can mention. Comedy. Romance. Horror. And crime dramas are no exception. (Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, anyone?) But you need a talented writer to populate such a setting properly. With fresh, interesting characters.

Fortunately, Lone Star Runner Hunnies has a surplus. Enter Ameena, KJ and Scotty.

As the script opens, the girls burst into a rundown café, agitated and out of their depth. They’re clearly running away… from something or someone. Scotty and Ameena dash immediately towards the back, ignoring startled clientele. They’re heading towards the restrooms. And for whatever reason, it’s urgent. (Get your minds out of the gutter, folks. This is a crime script – not comedy.)

KJ plops down at the nearest table. She’s quickly approached by the cook, a down-home type named Jake. Though concerned, Jake does his best not to pry. He takes KJ’s order. She grills poor Jake about the soup. And uses the menu to hide her tears.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom – things are getting urgent. Ameena cleans up the blood as best she can, hands Scotty a syringe…

…and joins KJ outside, whispering across the table. What are they gonna do next? And is Scotty even gonna survive?

Which is when an unexpected visitor appears at the door. Throwing the mother of all spanners in the works…

What makes a good crime story great? Well, just like diner food – there are a few essential ingredients. Interesting personalities. Rich visuals. A ticking clock of some kind. Not to mention mystery.

An expert of this genre, writer CJ Walley breathes fiery life into his characters – and leaves plenty of questions between the lines. What happened before the diner? We never fully know. But we (and Scotty) are dying to find out. With Lone Star Runner Hunnies, Walley’s recipe is complete. Resulting in an expertly executed narrative that (unlike Scotty) deserves to be shot.

Budget: Relatively small – rent a diner and that’s it.

About the writer, C.J. Walley: I began writing in 2012 and I’m pleased to say it’s been very exciting so far. I have been fortunate enough to have a short produced by a director in London and Amazon Studios have spotlighted one of my features as a notable project. My scripts place within the top 10% of various major screenwriting competitions and, as I continue to write new specs, I am remotely collaborating with a producers, directors, and actors in LA, NYC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, Zurich, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Dallas while occasionally blogging for Stage 32. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, then I’d love to join forces with you whatever the scale, do not hesitate to reach out and drop me a line. (CJ “AT” CJwalley DOT COM; http://www.cjwalley.com

About the reviewer: 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.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

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

Last Dance (5 pages in pdf format) by Rick Hansberry

As the seconds tick away on a song, so does one guy’s last chance with the girl that could become ‘The One’ or ‘The One That Got Away.’

“Last Dance,” a screenplay by Rick Hansberry, tells the story of a crumbling love affair — two people who had a chance at happiness but carelessly let it slip through their fingers.

The action takes place at a combination wedding reception/New Year’s Eve party, a celebration of joy and optimism and new beginnings. But this story isn’t about new beginnings — it’s about last chances, because the focus of this story isn’t on the joyful newlyweds, nor is it on party hats and champagne and New Year’s Eve merrymaking.

The focus is on John, the DJ.

As midnight approaches and John leads the crowd in the New Year’s countdown, Sara, his on-again/off-again girlfriend, arrives at the party, starting a countdown of another sort. Her appearance, “mired by storm clouds in her troubled expression,” lets John (and us) know that a moment of truth is looming. Sara has just come from a date, and her current beau has proposed marriage. John receives this news like “a verbal punch to the gut.” But he puts on his game face and continues playing party music as he and Sara face some music of their own.

It’s obvious to us, and probably to them, too, that these two people care deeply about each other. Subtle, subliminal clues — Sara’s fingers lightly brushing John’s last name on his business card, John’s hand lingering on hers as he takes the card from her — demonstrate their affection. The fact that Sara is even there with her startling news confirms it. And there’s a subtextual hopefulness in their conversation; they both seem to be seeking a favorable resolution.

But there’s also a deep resentment undermining their true feelings, and it just won’t go away. John seems to think Sara doesn’t appreciate the importance of his work, while Sara feels that John is afraid of commitment, and that he buries himself in work to avoid it. “Clever dodge,” she says. “Book yourself for so many weddings, you never have to worry about having one of your own.”

“We talked about it,” he replies.

“We danced around it,” she snaps back.

Finally, nothing resolved, a dejected Sara turns to leave. She’s made her decision. “I walk out that door tonight. When it shuts behind me I’m done.”

Now it’s decision time for John. Can he stop her? Should he? Or is he too late?

Budget: Low-to-moderate. A banquet hall, a crowd of extras, and some DJ equipment.

About the writer: Rick Hansberry is a screenwriter, producer and director with more than 20 years of industry experience. His SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches” features narration by Daniel Stern and garnered international festival awards. In 2017 his thriller/horror film, “Evil In Her” was released on Amazon Video and Vimeo On Demand. His most recent short, inspired by true events, has won praise for its portrayal of one girl’s positive approach to handling her Type 1 Diabetes. You can view It’s Not Permanent free. Rick has shorts and features available here 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 available here.

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

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Dixie Gash Bandits – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Zupke

Dixie Gash Bandits (8 pages in pdf format) by C.J. Walley

When they stop to fix their get-a-way vehicle, two runaway sisters must tackle both love at first sight and the bounty hunters hot on their tail.

I believe Mr. Torrance said it best when he tapped: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Pulling for good to triumph over evil is human nature. Rooting for and wanting to be the bad guys once in awhile – it’s just fun. Especially when they’re on the run.

Butch and Sundance riding from state to state. Bonnie and Clyde driving from bank to bank. Thelma and Louise flying in their T-Bird to a better life. We all have an inner want to be the one pushing the pedal to the floor, thumbing authority as we streak down the highway.

In the opening scene of CJ Walley’s “Dixie Gash Bandits,” a Mustang blazes down said highway through the night and we know we’re in for a helluva ride. The car is being pushed to the limit by Savannah, whose sister Ginger implores her to ease up on the gas and give their stallion a break. No way Savannah’s giving in. And no way these women are going back or stopping for whatever’s chasing.

The stage is set for the entire story in less than half a page. Brilliant.

            GINGER
You’re pushin’ too hard.

            SAVANNAH
Baby, you run fast enough for long
enough, people have to stop chasin’.

            GINGER
Yeah, and if you run too fast or push too hard,
you crash and burn. You’re burnin’ us up.
They’re running on empty and troubles a comin’.

Savannah spots a lonely and much-needed gas station “with small store and a rusting hut workshop” and pulls the tired ‘Stang into its lot. Is this gas station an oasis or their final resting place? Or neither?

A mechanic, Bobby, saunters out. He stares a little too long at Savannah. Instant connection.

            BOBBY
What can I do you for?

The Mustang hisses, steam erupts, a definite foreshadowing of the steam to come after Savannah admits “we got cash flow problems.” Soon after, she and Bobby crash as one into the workshop, kissing, groping and unbuttoning.

Not too far off in the horizon, relentless and ruthless bounty hunters Colt (what an awesome name for a “suited and booted” good old boy) and Jessie are hot on the sisters’ trail, questioning a man about Savannah and Ginger’s whereabouts when…BANG! Question time is over. Man slumps.

            COLT
Now that was an overreaction.

            JESSIE
No, that was a waste of time. Now
what? I’m getting impatient.

You won’t lose patience racing through the rest of this tightly-woven tale as Jessie and Colt catch up to the runaways at their gas station. The story ends with multiple bangs as all five characters find themselves in a bloody shootout leaving just two survivors.

Do Savannah and Ginger go down in a blaze of glory a la Butch and Sundance? Do they go out on their own terms like Thelma and Louise? Or, do they write their own classic ending? I’m guessing you know which and you also know this superbly-written story will find a director faster then you can type “All work and no play….”

Budget: Find a kick-ass Mustang and a rusty old gas station and call ‘er a day, partner.

About the writer, C.J. Walley: I began writing in 2012 and I’m pleased to say it’s been very exciting so far. I have been fortunate enough to have a short produced by a director in London and Amazon Studios have spotlighted one of my features as a notable project. My scripts place within the top 10% of various major screenwriting competitions and, as I continue to write new specs, I am remotely collaborating with a producers, directors, and actors in LA, NYC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, Zurich, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Dallas while occasionally blogging for Stage 32. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, then I’d love to join forces with you whatever the scale, do not hesitate to reach out and drop me a line. CJ “AT” CJwalley DOT COM; http://www.cjwalley.com

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. Zack was a latch-key kid (insert “awww” here) whose best friend was a 19-inch color television (horrific, he knows). His early education (1st grade on) included watching countless hours of shows like “M*A*S*H,” “Star Trek” and “The Odd Couple” and movies like “The Godfather,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall.” Flash forward to present day and his short “The Confession” was recently produced by Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. He’s currently working on a futuristic hitman thriller with a partner and refining a dramedy pilot perfect for the likes of FX. You can reach Zack at zzupke “at” yahoo.

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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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