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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Keeping it Fresh – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by wonkavite

Keeping it Fresh
Ken and Ruth have done it all. Except this.

What are you willing to do to keep things fresh? That’s a question many couples in their 60s dare to ask, and Ken and Ruth do their best to answer.

Does Fresh mean honest? Or just exciting? And when the stakes are ‘whatever needs to be done to share one’s life’, how can a couple truly know?

As veteran writer Rick Hansberry’s script opens, we meet Ken and Ruth in their well worn family car; tersely discussing their “action plan.” Ruth’s awash with nerves – her hands playing with a folded piece of paper. Ken tries to be sensitive to her concerns, but fails miserably at every attempt.

Where is this duo going? And why?

Their destination – a grocery store. What on Earth could be nerve racking there?

Soon, we discover Ken and Ruth are in… a race. Of what kind? The truth’s unclear. But what unfolds next is a comedy of errors – a wondrous blend of anxiety and charm. Imagine the slapstick as Ken and Ruth dodge obstacles, friends, enemies, wet floors, and – of course – time.

What will the finish line reveal? We won’t spoil the surprise (or the produce). But you will find a warm, sophisticated comedy – ala a young June Squibb or Seymour Cassell.

This is a script with tons of buy-one-get-two-free.  Including: a budget friendly tale, featuring characters of a “specific” (and underrepresented) age. All of which makes this story stand out – and write it’s way into even old and jaded hearts.

Need some older actors? Consider giving your parents’ “cool” friends something to do for a day. But regardless of who you cast, you’ll charm your way into festivals with this Fresh, young-at-heart gem!

Budget: All that’s needed are two good actors, and access to a deli or supermarket – at least a few aisles.

Pages: 6

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

About the Writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” His first feature is set to be released in the summer of 2014. Trailer available here . He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tim Westland’s For the Love of God – Available for Viewing (but wait, there’s more)! - posted by wonkavite

Awhile back, STS announced that Tim Westland’s reviewed script For the Love of God had been optioned.  As you all know, that’s the first step.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the script has been shot by talented director Randy Smith – it’s distributed and looking… fabulous!

So take a peek at it on Youtube here…!

In the meantime, we highly suggest you look over Tim’s other work. The man writes in a variety of genres – each intelligently nuanced, and available for production as we speak:

Shorts

Better Be Good – (Holiday Fantasy Short) – When a young boy finds Santa’s lost bag of toys in a nearby forest, his first thought is to return it. His big brother has other ideas though, which might prove life changing for both of them. https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/better-be-good-short-script-for-review-available-for-production/

Balls Out (comedy) – Legendary Surfing Pioneer, Mick “Balls Out” Shelly, hasn’t hit the waves in five decades. But an opportunity to reclaim the spotlight takes Mick and people from his past on a trip down memory lane that none are likely to forget. https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/balls-out/

Careful What You Wish For (comedy/fantasy) – Magic genies and bottles. Such things never end well.  Or DO they? https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/careful-what-you-wish-for-short-script-review-available-for-production/

A Line in the Sand (Hard Political SF/Drama) – Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/a-line-in-the-sand-short-script-review-available-for-production/

TV Series

Loose Screws (TV Pilot/Drama/Thriller with writer John Robbins) – A successful psychiatrist finds himself losing his grip on reality – and turns to an old patient – a girl with a mysterious mathematical talent, that he used and betrayed years ago. https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/loose-screws-featured-television-pilot-review-available-for-option/

Features

Hunted/Stitched (Feature Horror with writer Rod Thompson) – After accidentally shooting a girl in the mysterious Ozark mountains, five hunting buddies must battle for their lives and their souls when a backwoods hillbilly taxidermist invokes ancient supernatural powers to bring his monstrous patchwork creations to life to exact his revenge.  Note to Directors who focus on contest winners… Stitched has been wowing the big ones.  Quite well! https://simplyscriptsreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/hunted-feature-length-script-review-available-for-production/

About Tim himself: Tim Westland, co-writer of the acclaimed graphic novel Chasing the Dead, received first place for Balls Out in the NNYM 15 page contest. An outstanding writer with an eye for the details, his IMDB page can be found here. And he can be reached here (when not subsumed in writing throes): timwestland “AT” hotmail

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Over the Lump – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop-Shorts

Over The Lump

Objects in the mind’s mirror may appear larger than they are.

Not every script has to make a moral statement, or be over the top splashy.  Some dramas simply aim to provide their reader/audience with a slice of life…  a little peek into a character’s world and situation.  And when done right, that can be a fun and enjoyable ride by itself.

Over the Lump is one of those scripts – opening up on our protagonist Craig Bahl in the shower. While lathering up, Craig discovers, well, an anomaly in his nether regions; a bump that never used to be there.  Craig attempts to show it to his wife, but finds the situation awkward.  Running into a medical student at work, Craig works up the courage to flash the guy (in the men’s bathroom of course. Perverts!).  The kid’s assessment starts a chain reaction of doctor’s visits.  What will the diagnosis be?  Will Craig’s world right itself? Or is this the start of something far more grave?

Scripts about medical issues can be very serious stuff.  Over the Lump treads the line well… dealing with its subject with respect, while retaining a gentle humorous tone.  If you’re looking for a straight dramatic piece, this is one short you should open up.

About the writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” His first feature is set to be released in the summer of 2014. Trailer available here .  He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

Pages: 5

Budget: Pretty low.  There are a number of settings: Craig’s house, a bookstore, a few doctor’s rooms.  The cast isn’t unmanageable either; Craig, his wife, a handful of doctors and extras.  You get the idea.  Certainly in range for a director that isn’t completely cash-strapped.

READ THIS SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Balls Out – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Laptop-Shorts

Balls Out

Legendary Surfing Pioneer, Mick “Balls Out” Shelly, hasn’t hit the waves in  five decades. But an opportunity to reclaim the spotlight takes Mick and  people from his past on a trip down memory lane that none are likely to  forget.

The search for a perfect script can be harder to come by than the perfect wave. Winds, tides, breaks, and rips. Balls Out accounts for these elements, and the experience is a worthwhile ride.

Mick Shelly, once a surfing legend, now spends his days with an ear to the ocean, waiting for it to whisper his name one more time. However, there is one critical lesson Mick never bothered to learn: how to swim. Failure was never an option, and it’s in those stakes an ordinary kid is commissioned into surfer lore. As Mick’s career begins to ride high, he commits an innocent sin against the quaint culture of the 50’s, which in turn bans him from professional surfing for life. Most would ask if his punishment fits the crime; furthermore, why he wouldn’t appeal it in the court of rebellion. For whatever reason, Mick chose to remain dry for the next half century.

In the barrel of its wave this script displays humor, heart, truth, delusion, and a bitter surfer who longs to catch one last wave on the wet pave. Can he borrow your board?

About the writer: Tim Westland is an award winning writer and 2015 and 2014 Page International Quarter-Finalist, as well as a 2015 Screencraft Semi-Finalist.  Tim co-authored the acclaimed comic book series / graphic novel, “Chasing The Dead” and recently completed a write-for-hire adaptation of the New York Times Bestselling novel “Quantum Lens”, by Douglas Richards. He can be reached at timwestland “at” hotmail!

Page Length: 16

Budget: Needs surfers to perform stunts; improbable Kelly Slater cameo

READ THIS SCRIPT HERE – AND DON”T FORGET TO COMMENT!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Unrelated – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by wonkavite

Unrelated

A young man presents his new fiance to his family – only to uncover a horrible secret

Of all shared human experiences, love is the most compelling. How many memorable stories are cast around that traditional tale! You know the one I’m talking about: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy proposes to girl, boy finds out that girl is his sister. Wait, hang on just a sec!

Easy and breezy like its characters, Unrelated tells the story of a young man’s quest to find “the one”, a pursuit continually thwarted by the unending sins of his father’s past.

As Unrelated opens, our hero Stan is introduced as a young lad with a dreamer’s perspective. Giddy with newly discovered love, he presents newly minted fiancé Tilda to his parents at a family barbeque. His mother Lisa is pleasantly surprised. But father Hank – a flirtatious man with roving eyes – cannot abide by the news. For some mysterious reason…

All of Stan’s hopes for a future are dashed when Hank reveals the horrid truth: that Tilda was born of an affair he had with her mother. In other words, Stan and Tilda are brother and sister!

Needless to say, Stan is forced to foreswear Tilda and start again. And so begins a long pursuit to find a female whose lineage is not tied to his own… a woman to whom Stan is unrelated.

A well spun narrative with a clever resolution, Unrelated is a subtly subversive tale, not to mention an easy film to make: only three locations set in one home and a small cast of characters. What’s even more important is this story is one that resonates with a wide audience, relatable to the human experience of love.

This script is not one to pass on. Not if you want to wow them at festivals!

Pages: 5

Budget: Very low. Just invest in some good actors.

About the reviewer: New to STS – yet already wowing the editors, Faith Rivens is an aspiring author and filmmaker in her early twenties. New to the business, storytelling is a passion born innately within her. It doesn’t matter the genre, or the medium. What matters is the story woven within. With any luck, her first novel will be out on the stands in 2016. So keep a sharp eye out! Want to drop Faith a line? She’s available at faithrivens.writer “AT” gmail!

About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook has four produced features, a fifth one in pre-pro, and twenty five shorts to her name (full IMDB credits here.) She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written seventy short screenplays and ten features. (Yeah… that’s not a typo. Seven ZERO.) She can be reached at gatortales “AT” gmail!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!! 

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

 PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

 OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

Monday, October 6, 2014

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Memories) - posted by wonkavite

One week ago, we reviewed Marnie Mitchell Lister’s Memories – our fourth (but far from final) feature showcase. As readers of Shootin’ the Shorts are aware, our goal at STS is to find new and promising writers, and provide them with the platform they need to get their work seen (then hopefully optioned, and produced!)

One of our not-so-secret weapons in this quest is Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine at one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list.   Partnered with STS, Danny provides wonderfully detailed and helpful notes for the monthly STS feature script.  This coverage is provided free to the writer, and can be posted our site or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. But wait – there’s more!  Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts…

Below, please find Danny’s notes/coverage for Memories. Read, learn, comment…. and don’t forget to submit your best work for possible review!

**To submit a script, please visit STS at the page listed HERE. Danny can also be contacted directly via the No BullScript Consulting website at http://www.nobullscript.net/contact/. Or on Twitter @DannyManus.

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NO BULLSCRIPT ANALYSIS

 

Title:   Memories

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author:  Marnie Mitchell-Lister

Number of Pages: 98

Submitted To: Simply Scripts

Circa: Present

Location: NJ/TX/Memphis/Grand Canyon

Genre:  Dramedy/Road Trip

Coverage Date:  10/1/14

Budget Range:  Low

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COMMENTS:  Marnie, thank you for submitting your script, “Memories” to Simply Scripts. The following notes and comments will go through what I think works well and what still needs to be worked on or changed in order to make this a more viable and commercial script.

The family road trip movie has been a tried and true successful genre in film for years. From National Lampoons Vacation to Little Miss Sunshine, The Guilt Trip to Road Trip, RV to We’re the Millers. And I think overall, your script follows in their quirky tradition but with an interesting twist. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a Winnebago with your parents – except perhaps being trapped in a Winnebago with your divorced parents, your dad’s new yoga-loving girlfriend, her spiritualistic protective father, your eccentric grandfather, and his white trash crooning love toy…all while suffering from amnesia. It’s certainly a strong recipe for comedy and conflict, and I think you deliver both. It’s kind of Little Miss Sunshine meets The Ref but with amnesia and yoga.

It’s a nicely written, quirky, low budget, character-driven dramedy/road movie that tackles a few important themes including the importance of family, the timely message of living in the moment instead of trying to capture it in a photo, and the importance of self-discovery and moving on. And while I think you do a nice job of bringing these themes out through your character arcs and plot, I do think it becomes a bit heavy-handed in the third act. For me, the symbolism is laid on a bit too thick and a bit too often.

Road trip movies are often comprised of a series of set piece scenes in interesting locations where at each stop, an action occurs that helps advance the character arcs and builds towards a reveal, a lesson, or a major payoff. And I think Memories fits that mold quite well while still having its own original hooks to it.

Since this is a character-driven dramedy, the success of the script really comes down to your characters, their dynamics and dialogue. I think you do a nice job of giving most of them their own distinct personalities and voice and originality, which is great, however I’m not sure that most of your characters (other than the surprisingly grounded Sierra and the very ungrounded Jake) are that likable. And I think that while some of their dynamics are strong, we don’t really find out the reason behind those dynamics.

Abby is our protagonist, though she’s actually also the antagonist to the rest of this family. She falls more under the basket case archetype, like the ladies in First Wives Club or Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine. She kind of vacillates between being pity-able and being delusional, but neither of these really make her likable. I will say that I grew to like your characters by the middle of the second act, but it took me a while to invest in Abby or care because she seems pretty obnoxious, overbearing, in denial, and sometimes delusional. It’s not completely clear she and Mack are actually divorced (as opposed to separated), and we don’t know for how long they’ve been separated or what actually caused his heart attack and if that was the catalyst for him leaving her, if she caused it, or if it happened after the divorce? Also, it’s not so much Abby’s goal to get Mack back as it is her belief he’s already COMING back. The steps she finds and takes to win back her ex are OK, but it doesn’t really come into play until the end of your second act.

A small note, but I don’t really understand why Mack calls Abby “the strongest woman I have ever known” on page 12 – this doesn’t seem to be true, but it also doesn’t seem to be something he’d say. Certainly not to her.

While I do like that the story is about Abby’s road to self-discovery and realizing how she needs to change and move on in order to move forward and forge the relationship she wants with her daughter, and that makes for a very strong character arc, I think there’s also a version of this story where Julianna is actually the protagonist and she has to try to remember her life while forced on a road trip with her whole family that she doesn’t even remember.

Mack is certainly introduced as the more likable parent and character, and we do see a couple flashbacks through his POV even though he is not the protagonist. However, unlike Abby who becomes more relatable and likable as we go on, Mack has a period in the second act where he becomes very spiteful and unlikable and shows some of his true colors wanting to exact revenge on Abby for ruining his relationship with their daughter, Julianne. However, it’s never really explained HOW she ruined their relationship or how she kept Julianne away from him, especially since HE seems to be the one that left HER. This seems to be a very important piece of the puzzle and motivation for Mack, so to help us connect with him, maybe we could get just a line or two of more specifics of HOW Abby accomplished that (at least in his mind), and maybe Sierra can once again be the voice of reason and explain that Mack was just as culpable.

The other major issue with Mack’s feelings and motivation is that Abby never learns of it. They never actually talk about what happened between them or why he’s so angry, or why she is how she is or what happened between them. It’s really never explored what bits of backstory or issues made her so horribly neurotic, overbearing or obsessed with the perfect photo. And so for me, I think you could use a couple more of those moments.

As Abby tries to reconnect with Mack and win him back, she seems to do all the things that almost killed him the first time – donuts, bread, coffee, peppers, etc. So it actually underlines the fact that these two are not right for each other – she’ll just kill him again.

Julianne, for me, was the most unlikable character of them all. Yes, she has amnesia, but she seems to be purposefully hurting her parents and being a pretty obnoxious bitch throughout most of the movie (at least to them). Why is she SO cold to Abby and why can’t she stay in her bedroom? Why can she stay with Mack but not Abby? It feels awfully cold. Also, I think the moment that Julianne wakes up on page 16 needs to be a bit bigger of a moment.

I think you could set up Julianne’s love connection with Duncan a bit more as right now, they feel more like f-buddies than boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s also unclear if Abby or Mack even know about Duncan, though Abby does say “I knew you’d get her into trouble” on pg 11. But I assumed Julianne was keeping Duncan a secret.

I am unsure why Duncan and his existence is never mentioned to Julianne after she recovers, especially since he’s the thing that seems to bring her memory back. No one ever mentions him, he never calls or checks in and they never seem to let him know how she’s doing. It makes us feel like he wasn’t REALLY in love with her, or that the parents didn’t care. On page 83 when she does start to remember and Marshall suggests Jake, Bea and Sierra tell her about Duncan, those are the three people who probably know nothing about him. And when Duncan does finally show up again, I’m a bit surprised that Julianne isn’t mad that he totally left her or that her family never mentioned to her that she even HAD a boyfriend, etc.

On page 62, I’m not sure why Julianne’s answers to the cop seem so clueless. She may have amnesia, but she knows what a police officer is. And she knows who her mother is even if she doesn’t remember. She knows what they are all doing there, but she seems to answer like she has no clue. I like the thought of them all getting into some legal trouble here, but there’s not a great deal of comedy that comes from it – just the reveal that Abby actually bought the RV instead of rented it.

I think your supporting characters of Marshall, Trina, Jake and Bea all play their parts well and bring quirk and comedy to the story. However, I didn’t quite understand why Abby just walks into her father’s house in the middle of the night and then just leaves and waits for breakfast. It’s a bit of an odd scene and Marshall doesn’t really react much. He doesn’t even ask to see his ailing granddaughter who almost died and has amnesia.

I like the mini-climax of Mack being rushed to the hospital at the same time Julianna passes out and is taken to the hospital, but Abby doesn’t seem to spend time with her – she never even goes into her hospital room. She’s too busy worrying about Mack. Though I do like her turn at the end of this scene where she realizes he is Sierra’s responsibility now and she has to let go. It’s a strong moment for her arc.

I have read a number of scripts lately promoting the virtues of Yoga. It’s the weirdest trend I’ve come across in scripts, but this is the 5th script I’ve read this year that had a heavy yoga influence or plot point. For me, I think yoga can be a great setup to a very funny scene (like in Couples Retreat), but it’s not something that can drive a story.

It’s not exactly a cinematic hobby.

I think the dialogue has some great, hilarious moments, mostly from Jake who provides some great comic relief especially in his “cock” conversations. There is definitely a voice that comes through the pages, and you have some nice quirky subversive moments.

But while there were some laugh out loud lines, I think the project could still use a bit more comedy. A family road trip drama is a hard sell, but comedies and dramedies usually do better in this genre. There were numerous dramatic moments in Little Miss Sunshine, but the outrageously funny climax is what everyone remembers. There was a huge payoff in comedy in the climax. In this story, that doesn’t really happen. The climax and ending is much more of a drama, and I’m not sure it should be.

Abby actually falling off the cliff is funny, but it’s hard to tell exactly how trapped she is after that or what kind of cavern it is that takes a rescue team to get into. For me, the last 10 pages of the script take too long and are lacking in comedy. The dragonfly being dead, the bats signifying change, is really nailing the symbolism home a bit too much – we get it, she’s not “stuck” anymore. And then Doug’s line “You’re stuck in a dark place. I know it’s scary but we’re going to get you out” is really on the nose especially when paired with all the other symbolism. Then the rebirthing ceremony with Mildred Eagle Feather drawing the comparisons between the cavern and a womb, and then once again with Jake on pg 97 screaming about the dragonfly and transforming – it’s just all very heavy handed and not really necessary.

I think you could actually cut all of it and just let the actions and Abby’s change in personality and disposition speak for themselves. She falls, we see the dead dragonfly, her emerging from the cavern, her apology to Julianne – that’s enough. Though what’s really missing while she’s in the cavern is a conversation with Mack and/or Sierra. Something that explains the feud between her and Mack and will allow them to be better parents and lead healthier lives…apart.

I like Doug, but I think perhaps you could show him on page 10, in the background, fixing something perhaps so we at least make some visual recognition to him later on. Abby’s reaction to Doug rescuing her could be a bit funnier as well.

Overall, I think this last sequence with Abby being trapped needs to be much funnier, and it’s odd that all of a sudden Julianna remembers everything, even her class parties as a child. When did that all happen? When Abby went into the cavern, she didn’t have all those memories. And now that she does remember, does she also remember how much she hated her mom? Julianne never really becomes that likable in the end, and since Julianne’s amnesia is really the catalyst and hook for this trip (and the story), I think it may need to play a bit more into the resolution of the script and be a bigger moment when she gets her memories back. Some realization moment of her own so that SHE can grow a bit like her mother and father have by the end of this trip.

I have just a couple specific page notes or questions –

Pg 43 – Is Mack fat in this flashback? Or regular size?

Pg 80 – It’s a funny beat, but I didn’t understand why Melvis and Trina got together if Melvis was with Bea, and she doesn’t seem to react to the news at all.

Overall, I think you have an interesting and potentially very funny twist on the family road trip genre. A road trip to make one of them remember who the rest of them are, but everyone has their own agenda which causes conflict, comedy, and almost kills them. I think that can definitely work, and you have some nice quirk and comedy, but if you can increase the comedy quota throughout and make your main characters just a little bit more likable, maybe shed a bit more light on the backstory, etc., I think it would be much stronger. And I think if you examine the last 10 pages with Abby being stuck in the cavern and make them a bit funnier and have a bit more resolution between she and Mack, and tone down the on the nose symbolism, that could also help. It has potential though. Stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again Marnie for submitting your script “Memories” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month.

NO BULLSCRIPT 20 POINT GRADING SHEET AND RECOMMENDATION:

PROJECT:  CONSIDER

Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise X
Story X
Structure X
Conflict/Drama X
Consistent Tone X
Pacing X
Stakes X
Climax X
Resolution X
Overall Characters X
Protagonist X X
Antagonist X
Dialogue X
Transitions X
Format, Spelling, Grammar, Pg Count X
Well Defined Theme X
Commercial Appeal/Hook X
Overall Originality X
Production Value X
International Appeal X

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Memories – Feature Length Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Welcome to the next STS feature length showcase!  A sweet and wryly amusing family comedy, Memories has already garnered accolades: including Quarterfinalist in 2014 Scriptapalooza, 2nd round Austin, and Finalist status – along with an award for “Best Ensemble Comedy Screenplay” – at the Broad Humor Film Festival. Now all it needs is an indie forever home….  Could it be with you? 🙂

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Memories

Screenwriting – it’s an art that requires multiple layers of skill.

Sure, the fundamentals remain constant: an interesting premise. Structure. Character development – at least, to some extent.

But each genre throws fresh variables into the works – areas where writers must specialize. Wanna write for Michael Bay? The action damned well better leap off the page. If horror’s your poison of choice, your atmospheric visuals best be spit-shined… creeping your readers out of their skins.

Then there’s dramedy. In a world over-saturated with non-stop thrillers and FX blockbusters, dramedy’s an underappreciated genre. When done right, dramedy creates twice the work… demanding a writer create a compelling premise, empathetic characters – and make the audience laugh, as well?

That’s one heck of a balancing act – one that requires a feather-light touch to get right.

Fortunately, that’s one recipe Marnie Lister Mitchell’s got down pat: throw in a colorful ensemble – and a plot/bowl deep enough to keep them contained. Powder with good natured humor (organic only – no forced jokes, please.) Then bake carefully. Letting the story rise as it may…

In the case of Memories, the script rises on Abby Mahoney (50s). Though a successful photographer, Abby’s personal life’s in disarray. Her only daughter Juliana just started college. And then there’s her divorce from husband Mack, for whom she still carries a flame. Not a pleasant state of affairs… especially for a self-confessed control freak. Having found a new life (and exotic younger girlfriend Sierra) on an Arizona Indian retreat, Mack’s been pestering Abby to sell the house. Things just can’t get worse…

…until they do. While skipping class with her new boyfriend, Juliana sustains a major head injury. Abby and Mack spend a strained night in the hospital, waiting for their daughter to revive. When Juliana wakes, their delight fades – she looks at them as strangers. Juliana’s got amnesia. Indefinitely.

Mack sets up camp at a nearby hotel with Sierra – accompanied by her Native American father (and mystic guru) Jake. Abby brings Juliana back home, hoping the surroundings will jog her memory. But Abby’s pressure only makes the girl uncomfortable; driving her even further away. Juliana hits it off with Sierra – someone closer to her age. Despite Abby’s urgings, the only thing Juliana finds familiar is a faded photo from the Grand Canyon, taken during a family vacation a decade ago. An inspired Abby hits upon a plan: rent an RV and drive cross-country. It’s a chance to visit family, and reignite Juliana’s memories (and maybe her romance with Mack as well.)

…but there’s a kink in the plans. Juliana insists on Sierra coming along. And where Sierra goes, Jake does as well.

And so the group hits the road. As the miles roll by, the story enfolds: crammed into Winnebago sized spaces – not to mention public bathrooms. Will Abby win back Mack? Or push him (and Juliana) further away? Are the photos of a faded past worth saving… and were they real anyway? Unlike recent road trip tales like Tammy, Memories aims for subtlety; blending the clash of personalities, goals and expectations organically – mixed with gentle humor and a cast of colorful characters.

As any cook worth their “salt” can tell you, a recipe is more than just ingredients that one throws into a bowl and shakes. It’s a writer’s talent that blends the components together – creating wildly varying results.   (For anyone who doubts that statement – let them watch a double-header of Tootsie vs. Jack and Jill. Or Madea vs. Doubtfire) And so it is with Memories. A family road trip. Amnesia. The emotional agony of divorce. All such themes have been seen in other films. But when pulled together by a seasoned character writer (such as Ms. Lister) the result is something to be savored. Like a delicate dramedy souffle.

In the Indie world, budget isn’t king. But characters and characterization are. Easily shot in a handful of locations, Memories is chock-full of the things that give Indie dramedies their unique style and flavor – quirky characters. Genuine humor. And a story that will make you smile.

About the writer: An award winning writer AND photographer, Marnie Mitchell-Lister’s website is available at brainfluffs.com. Marnie’s had 5 shorts produced (so far) and placed Semi-final with her features in Bluecat.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

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