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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Insta-Dream – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by LC

Insta-Dream (5 pages, pdf format) by Richard Russell

What if you could orchestrate the perfect life with the click of a button…

Well, actually you can. Life in the digital age means it’s never been easier to present to the world at least the illusion of perfect.

Log on to Facebook or Instagram and witness the multitude of shiny happy faces, perfect families spouting philosophical platitudes and sunny dispositions; posting funny home-videos, snaps of vacations, announcements of promotions and celebrations of career milestones.

If it’s photogenic enough even your lunch and gourmet coffee can go viral.

Richard Russell’s cleverly titled Insta-Dream presents the idea that even if you don’t like your life you can easily give it an Insta-Facelift.

Enter thirty year old Trevor, not exactly living the life of his dreams. He’s a waiter in a local diner with aspirations of being a writer. So far Trevor has the equivalent of ‘zilch likes’ and he’s about as far away as anyone can get from cracking any best seller lists or making it big with that blockbuster screenplay.

The reality is he’s barely eking out a living serving eggs sunny-side up on minimum wage. There’s one thing however that Trevor can do, and that is to give the illusion that everything in his life is going swimmingly well.

Cue Natalie, also in her thirties, mother to Billy, ten, and Isabella, eight. As they settle into a booth at the diner it’s clear she, Trevor, and the kids share a special rapport. Trevor ruffles Billy’s hair, gives Isabella the warmest of smiles, as they huddle together for what appears to be an idyllic family snap.

But what’s really going on here?

Trevor’s out to impress, that’s for sure, but it’s not Natalie he wants to impress.

See it’s not easy being a hack flipping burgers day to day when your dad is an adventurous traveller off to explore far flung exotic locales. Most recent trip the crystal blue waters and white sands of Bali. Next stop, Prague.

All Trevor wants is to make his dad proud. Nothing wrong with that. Right?

As with all good tales there’s a surprise twist in the final denouement you won’t pick.

Insta-Dream is a poignant heartfelt and bittersweet story where lives intersect but don’t quite connect, where an estranged father and son communicate via the pics and highlights of their lives, where a picture can seem to paint a thousand words, but can be masquerading as something else entirely.

Want your dream to become an Insta-Reality? Best frame up this one quick smart then, before some other lucky filmmaker decides this one is going to be their Insta-Success.

Budget: Low. Locations: A Denny’s type Diner, and two other modest sets. Talent: Three adults, two photogenic kids, and a few extras. No FX needed.

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

About the reviewer: 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.

Read Insta-Dream (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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Deuce – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Zupke

The Deuce (10 pages in pdf format) by R. E. McManus

An elevator and two guys on their way up. What can go down?

We’ve all been there. A hundred times, some of us more than a thousand. It’s the world’s most uncomfortable space. Some are boxy, most rectangular. Fans, no fans. Carpeted or tiled. Mirrored or paneled. But always stuffy, cramped and slower than slow is: the infamous elevator ride.

I recently (true story alert) took a ride in my office building all the way from the penthouse to the ground floor. One floor down, six people shuffled in – one holding a newly-peeled banana, which she consumed as we descended. Ever peel a banana in a closet? With 10 other people present? Not an ideal situation for the senses. And that’s putting it mildly.

The situation is similarly far from appealing (pun alert) for Dominic Barry’s elevator ride in R. E. McManus’ “The Deuce,” a riveting and witty 10-page journey starting with:

“The sound of a body being dragged over concrete.”

The body is Dom’s and the draggers are Joey, 22-year-old scowler, and his pal Chrissy, “The type who could chew a toothpick without looking stupid.” Chrissy’s the brains of the operation, the sole purpose of which is: deliver Dom to the eighty-eighth floor.

Problem is, Dom’s not awake and Joey and Chrissy (think distant, but equally witty, cousins of Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega) differ on the importance of his consciousness.

            JOEY
Maybe I should wake him up.

            CHRISSY
You can ravish him for all I care.

Joey looks disgusted.

            JOEY
There’s no need to be so, so base.

There’s a “ding” as floor number 40 unexpectedly lights up. Chrissy pulls Joey tight to shield Dom as the doors open. Nothing. It’s a misfire in the mechanics. Doors close, and they resume ascending… just as poor Dom stirs. Joey and Chrissy pull out their silencers, an act which fails to silence Dom. He demands to know how he’s found himself bruised and battered in a dressing gown, plastic cable ties around his hands and feet.

“You’re David Barry and we’re taking you to John Feltz,” they tell him. Duh.

“I’m Dominic Barry and who is John Feltz?” Dom replies.

So the elevator rises, along with everyone’s blood pressure. Who is John Feltz? Is Dom really Dom, not David? Or is he just lying to stay alive? What will Feltz do if they deliver the wrong man? And why is the elevator stopping on the wrong floor yet again, this time on 70? Will all three men make it to the top?

You’ll be floored when you read the entirety of “The Deuce,” a suspenseful ride filled with exceptional dialogue. It’s an excellent opportunity for the right director and capable actors. Interest in this gem is sure to be…going up.

Budget: Minimal. Find a mate who works in an office building to let you in for a day on the weekend. Just make sure his last name’s not Feltz.

About the writer: R.E. McManus was born in England, of Irish roots. Hence he was always a little confused. He has since travelled the globe, and noted what he saw on his travels. He’s been writing since he could pick up a pen. The fact they were IOUs is neither here nor there.

He fell in love with film when he first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at the age of six. Although he’s still not sure about the spelling of Odyssey. It’s still looks wrong,

He loves Fincher, Hitchcock and Kubrick. And Faith No More. And Elvis. He even has a dog named after him. This seemed like a good idea until he went to the park.

Visit his webstie at: rendevous.yolasite.com. Or email him directly at redarcy2000 (a) yahoo.co.uk

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. He can be contacted via email at zzupke “AT” yahoo

Read The Deuce (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.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Free – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by David M Troop

Free (76 page Sci Fi Drama in pdf format) by Paul J. Williams

An honor student begins the next phase of his life.

If time travel was scientifically possible, what would you do? Really?

Would you change the course of human history? Or simply go back and tell someone you loved them – one last time? Would you prevent a horrific accident from occurring, saving thousands of lives? Or spend the day with one special person, and change their life forever?

Time travel and its possibilities – it’s been the theme of some of the most popular movies in history (in a variety of genres): The Terminator travels back in time to eliminate an enemy by killing his mother. In Groundhog’s Day, an egotistical weatherman relives the same day again and again – until he learns the true meaning of love.

In his short script “Free”, Paul Williams explores a question we’ve all asked ourselves. What if we could go back and time, and undo a costly mistake?

Although only eighteen, Robert McKenna has a lifetime of accomplishment ahead of him. A brilliant and promising merit scholar, Robert studies quantum physics – specializing in the theory of time-travel. Staying at home with his mother and younger brother Timmy (12), Robert’s preparing for a four year trip. He whiles away the remaining hours working on equations and algorithms… making sure they’re absolutely right.

But Timmy won’t let him be. Seeking his big brother’s attention, he pesters Robert with questions. About the possibilities of time travel. And Robert’s own plans for the future. Has his big brother found a gateway to the past? And if so… what’s his motivation?

Free may have the sheen of Science Fiction. But at heart, it’s a tragedy. About families. Grief, loss and regret. And wishing you could solve life’s problems with a mathematical solution. If only it was that easy.

This is a script that every skilled director wishes for: subtle and deeply touching, with layers of rich symbolism. Properly brought to the screen, it’ll haunt your audiences for a long time.

Budget: Low to moderate. One location: an upper middle-class home. And a pet bird. (Don’t ask – just read the script!)

About the writer: Paul J. Williams is a New Jersey-based multi-award-winning screenwriter, producer, and director with several scripts in various stages of film production. He has been a member of the New Jersey Screenwriter’s Group since 2009. His latest movie, Case #5930, which he wrote and produced, was released in 2015.

He has also served as a decorated law enforcement officer for the past eighteen years, both as a Federal Officer with the U.S. Department of Justice and as a Police Officer for the City of Newark, N.J.

He can be reached at pauljwilliams9 (a) yahoo. Check out his IMDB page.

About the reviewer: 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. Dave would like to make it three. He is a regular, award-winning contributor to MoviePoet.com. 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 (a) gmail.

Read Free

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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, February 9, 2017

The Eulogy – Feature Length Review (Available for Production) - posted by KP Mackie

Ruby (98 pages in PDF format) by Dena McKinnon

When a cantankerous woman is given only months to live, the town scrambles to see who will write her Eulogy – and inherit her vast fortune.

The Eulogy surrounds its readers in a rich tapestry of characters, which envelop you like a warm blanket.

The main protagonist is Ruby Mae Morgan: wealthy spinster, and owner of Morgan Textiles factory. An isolated figure, she lives out the remainder of her years behind the perpetually locked gates of her lonely Southern mansion. Despite her riches, she has no friends. Only employees (lots of them), who test the limits of her patience daily. Ruby’s miserable personality hints at some trauma in her past… but she isn’t interested in reminiscing or telling tales. Business takes priority over the personal. Always. Even when Ruby discovers she’s… dying. But rather than give up, she goes into high gear, determined to wrap up loose ends. Especially regarding who will get her factory and take the reins. Within days of her diagnosis, the old woman announces a contest: whoever writes the best eulogy for her (while she’s still alive and able to judge) will get her full estate… and company.

Needless to say – game on! As soon as the proclamation’s made, all the factory workers scramble to life, each determined to win the prize.

Among the contenders: Violet (24). Though young, she’s already had a hard knock life. Estranged from her husband (sleazy factory manager Sherman), Violet’s been abused, kicked out of her home, and forced to live with five year old daughter Abbey in their beat-up car.

Then there’s Catfish – Miss Ruby’s gardener – who readily admits he’s in over his head. Not only is he not a writer, he’s got more pressing issues on his plate. Like watching over two grown drug-addicted daughters, and caring for seven year old granddaughter, “Tadpole”. But still, a man can dream. Especially when his precocious granddaughter’s future is at stake.

Then there’s Miss Ruby’s greedy son Brent – a man who has had little to do with his mother his entire life. At least, until he hears about her eminent demise. After which point, Brent arrives with attorney in tow: clearly not interested in reunion. But hell-bent on inheritance.

Then there’s the rest of the colorful, quirky town – all desperate to grab for the brass ring that Ruby’s dangled before their eyes. Even if they have to brown-nose, cheat and lie.

Of all the characters that march across Eulogy’s page, it’s young “Tadpole” that stands heads and tails above the rest. “Seven going on Twenty Three”, Tadpole is perhaps the only one who truly feels sorry for Miss Ruby, and sees redeeming qualities in her. As Tadpole herself states: “Miss Ruby could be right mean. But I just figure she must be feeling really bad inside. Maybe she was scared about dying. She was like one of them suckers with the hard candy on the outside and the delicious bubble gum on the inside.” Ahhh, out of the mouths of babes.

Take our word for it. Tadpole will steal your heart…

As Miss Ruby’s illness accelerates, the contest reaches crisis point. Everyone’s needy – but who will win? And will Miss Ruby find peace of mind – or take decade long secrets to her grave?

You’ll care about the characters in The Eulogy. A lot. Honest, organic portrayals, this odd assortment of personalities will capture your attention, and hold it hostage to the end. This feature length will tug at your heartstrings, and win big at the festivals. And drama doesn’t get much better than that. J

Budget: The Talent. Get the best actors money can buy. Then let the script work it’s magic!

About the Writer: Dena McKinnon has had four shorts produced. One of her shorts, The Box, directed by Sascha Zimmermann, has racked up numerous awards and was screened at Comic-Con in San Diego. Dena has optioned one feature, Doggone, a buddy script cowritten with Kevin Lenihan. Currently, Dena has one feature in production, The Last Call, with Leo-PR, and is writing on assignment for an undisclosed TV producer. Dena just finished directing her script Kill Your Demon. Check out Dena’s IMDB credits and website at DenaMcKinnon.com/.

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

Read Ruby (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.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Watch “Kill Your Demon” Now! - posted by Don

Watch Kill Your Demon (7 page short pdf format) by Dena McKinnon

A troubled man sets out to kill a demon. Only problem, his demon happens to be a man of God. Or is he?

Discuss the Film

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Good – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by The Merrows

Good (6 pages in pdf format) by Erich Von Heeder

An ex-convict priest attempts to save a neighborhood.

Colm MacKenna is a priest. A man of God. And a complex protagonist. He’s tough – streetwise. And he’s done jail time. Given that, is he good? Colm himself speaks that that issue. “The moment you pretend to be good… in that moment, you are good.” But does the father practice as he preaches…?

Erich Von Heeder’s dark morality tale would seem to indicate otherwise.

The opening pages of Good puts Colm to the test. And his motives in question. Sneaking through a dark alleyway, Colm is assaulted by two thugs…. Targeting his duffel bag. A violent struggle ensues, leaving Colm bloody but victorious. And the thugs in need of hospital care. A quick glimpse into the bag deepens the mystery. It’s filled to the brim with money. Lots and lots of money.

Shortly thereafter, Colm pays a visit to Father O’Callahan – pastor of the local Catholic church. And it’s far from a friendly Sunday visit: closer to a syndicate shakedown. Accusations fly between the two men of the cloth: refusing to hear Colm’s confession, O’Callahan calls him a false prophet. A fake. He threatens a hostile takeover of Colm’s tiny ministry – and brings his funding into question. Money may be the root of evil, but it has to come from somewhere.

Needless to say, the meeting doesn’t end well. Colm storms out – threatening judgement on Callahan. He retreats to a secret basement, and sets to work on… something. What he’s up to isn’t clear. Then again, O’Callahan’s no saint, either.

Gripping and fluidly written, Good is a hybrid tale of the best kind. A noir thriller that doesn’t let go – yet still has something to say. Directors are urged to grab this one while they can. And pray you don’t arrive too late…

Budget: Low – Medium. One fight scene, and a handful of locations. As with so many quality shorts, acting and cinematography will make or break this one!

About the writer: Residing in Seattle, Washington, Erich Von Heeder can be reached at erich_vonheeder (a) yahoo

About the reviewers: Scott & Paula Merrow are a husband and wife screenwriting team. Since 2006, they’ve written over 50 short screenplays, several of which have been produced. They tend toward family-friendly scripts, but they’ve written a little bit of everything: horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy,… the whole nine yards. They’re reachable at scott-paula “AT” comcast.net

Read Good (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.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Truth or Dare – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Dane Whipple

Truth or Dare (8 pages in pdf format) by P.H. Cook

We all have our secrets.

A night of babysitting can be a trying feat under normal circumstances. But what if the child you are sitting is a mix between Damien from The Omen and that kid from Looper?

As a favor to a coworker, married couple Brynn and Mike Carter are looking after young Jayden for the weekend. It’s nothing they can’t get through with a little pizza and a lot of wine. At first, Jayden seems perfectly content to play his uber-violent video games, until BZZZZ, ZAP, the power goes out. To pass the time without electricity, Brynn suggests a game of truth or dare. Little does she know, truth is sometimes a thing best kept secret.

Things start off normal enough, embarrassing dancing, movie impersonations, etc. But then, Jayden starts to ask some questions that are… difficult. He seems to have a preternatural ability to probe the weak spots of Brynn and Mike’s relationship. Like a young Hannibal Lector, Jayden knows just what to ask in order to manipulate and intimidate. Will Brynn and Mike’s relationship survive the weekend? Will any of them survive the night? From here, it’s a slow burn to an unforgettable finale. Give away the surprise ending? I wouldn’t dare!

The best payoffs in psychological horror scripts arise organically out of well-plotted circumstances. The illustrious, enduring finales of The ExorcistPsycho, and of course Silence of the Lambs, are all made possible through their impeccably-structured first acts. So it is with Truth or Dare, which, in a few short pages establishes a situation that is at once high-concept and highly relatable. All of this builds to an ending that is both inevitable and completely surprising. It’s a rare feat and an absolute stunner of a screenplay that will unquestionably electrify the festival circuit.

I dare you to make this picture, because truthfully, the script is phenomenal!

Budget: Low. One room, three actors, and a pizza.

About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, P.H. Cook is the director of the short film Them That’s Dead and writer of produced feature films Finders Keepers: The Root of All Evil and Blackout. She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written over sixty short screenplays and ten features. She can be reached at gatortales (a) gmail.

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple has one hand in his pocket, and the other hand is playing a piano. He is currently working on that screenplay everyone keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.com

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grenade – Short Script Review, Available For Production - posted by James Barron

Grenade pdf format by Steve Miles

A chance discovery at an abandoned army barracks gives a bullied youngster a chance to reconnect with his errant grandfather.

The L2 series fragmentation grenade has a detonation delay of 4.4 seconds. Pull the pin and you’ll hear the metallic clang of the primer, igniting the fuse, tick tick ticking down to detonation. Four and half seconds till a bubbling cauldron of combustive materials unleashes molten shrapnel fury indiscriminately over a 15-meter blast radius.

Its efficiency as a killing machine is undisputed.

But can it be more than that? Could a device built to maim and destroy serve as an agent of change?

Steve Miles’ complex and moving drama short Grenade seeks to find out exactly that. When a troubled, isolated 12-year old named Iggy discovers a live grenade, the future looks very bleak indeed. Then there’s his mother, barely keeping the family afloat. His grandfather, detached and aloof. Not to mention a group of bullies determined to make Iggy’s life hell. Will the grenade be the spark that sets it all ablaze? Or can it somehow bring a family back from the brink?

Production: A few interior locations, couple exterior (street and park might do the trick), four main characters, please don’t try and use a real grenade.

About the writer: 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 here.

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

Read Grenade (17 page short drama in pdf format)

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Life for Yours – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Guest Reviewer

My Life for Yours (6 pages in pdf format) by MJ Hermanny

A man makes amends for leading an innocent astray.

Remember those anti-drug commercials in the eighties? Don’t do drugs? Crack is whack? Often more laughable than effective, the intent was to show kids the ugly side of drugs… scare them straight. A well meaning endeavor – even if it did devolve into a punchline.

Well, they ain’t got sh*t on this short gem.

As My Life opens, muscle bound jock Jason drags a drug-addled Mandy towards an abandoned house. A rotted shack in the middle of nowhere, no-one around for miles. There’s a stained bed in the corner, outfitted with chains. And a video camera set up for filming.

Readers will cringe as Jason shackles Mandy’s ankles. Whips out the drugs, and takes some hits. Because everyone knows what’s coming next. Kidnapping. Rape. Maybe worse…

Well, not exactly. Because Jason’s got other plans in mind – and a dark, gritty lesson for his girlfriend that’ll forever change both their lives.

Who is this couple – and why are they in this situation? As Mandy gets ever more frantic, a stoned Jason recalls the “Sid and Nancy” tale: a series of flashbacks about the innocent girl he met years ago… and the way he’s watched both of them change. And it sure ain’t for the better.

Though it wears the trappings of a thriller, My Life is at heart a romance: a clever, tautly written tale of how far someone will go to save the one they love the most.

Think you know where it’s going? Think again…

Budget: Low – 2 primary characters, unnamed partygoers, one vehicle and a dingy house that no-one has a use for, anyway…

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 (a) gmail!

About the Reviewer: A writer himself, Leegion’s works can be found on www.simplyscripts.com.

Read My Life For Yours

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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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