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Thursday, August 17, 2017

At the End of My Day – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Gary Rowlands

At The End Of My Day by Rod Thompson

A ghost hunter takes off in search of an urban legend… only to find some mysteries are best left in the past.

Since the dawn of time, mankind has been held spellbound by ghost stories. Be it around the campfire, in print, or up on the silver screen, there’s something spine-tinglingly good about a spooky tale laden with creepy atmosphere and supernatural tormentors.

Much like the apparitions themselves, good ghost stories never die. They simply haunt our memory. Forever.

Some of the very best ones also serve up a twist ending that not only terrifies us to our core, but hits us on a deep emotional level as well. One need only think of M. Night Shyamalan’s superb The Sixth Sense – to appreciate just how effective this type of storytelling can be.

Writer Rod Thompson continues this proud tradition of spooky ghostly tales with his excellent At the End of My Day.

When eight year old Norman Ellis is confronted by a weeping apparition at the foot of the stairs, his entire world is changed. Though assured by his parents that there is no such thing as ghosts, Norman finds his belief system turned upside down. And a life long obsession forms. What exactly is the Crying Man? And what mystery lies beyond those tears?

Flash forward some forty years. Norman, now a practising parapsychologist, arrives at his childhood home determined to solve the mystery once and for all. Not that he comes alone. This time he’s forewarned and forearmed: with state-of-the-art equipment, and energetic assistant Curtis.

All to soon, darkness falls. Footsteps can be heard upstairs. The wood floors creak and moan… hints of some ghostly presence.

Sure enough, the Crying Man apparition floats towards them. And Norman looks upon it with terror and disbelief…

Will Norman and Curtis survive this ghostly encounter,or will yet more tears be shed – this time, at their grisly end?

Budget: low.

About the writer, Rod Thompson: I have been writing creatively since I learned how to write. There is just something about telling a story that I can never get over. Storytelling in itself is like an old flame that occasionally comes to me and just says, “Use me.” The ability to watch a movie through words, or to craft a world in such a manner is the closest to Godliness that man will ever come. True story. Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 (a) gmail

Read At The End Of My Day (8 pages in pdf format)

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

About the reviewer: Gary Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy and was a commissioned writer on the hugely popular Spitting Image broadcast on national television in the UK. His contained horror Offline was the ‘featured script of the month’ in March and has since been optioned. He is seeking representation and can be contacted at gazrow (a) hotmail.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Not Born a Monster – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Not Born a Monster by Bill Sarre

Joshua would try anything to start his life anew. Can a money-hungry, sex-craved tweaker be the one to help him change his ways?

Most people aren’t born monsters. But, what if you had become one? What would you do if you found yourself doing things you regret without any control over the situation? What if the memories of your evil deeds haunt you…constantly? Would you turn to medicine? Therapy? If all else failed, would you dare pursue a riskier procedure that promised to eliminate any recollection of the habits you’ve picked up, the lives you’ve destroyed, and the torture you’ve endured?

Joshua, the protagonist of Bill Sarre’s latest work, Not Born a Monster, would. This wealthy, meticulously-dressed, sixty-year old werewolf knows that he wasn’t always that way.

We’re not born monsters, you know.
You catch it, like a disease.
But it’s one that makes you feel good,
even though you’re sick.

Joshua has tried everything—even psychoanalysis—to no avail. (Of course, killing the shrink probably didn’t help much in his recovery process). Joshua figures that if he could just erase his memory to a time before he became a werewolf, life could be different. He could forget the evil deeds he has performed; forget the demands of a werewolf existence.

And, he finally could be freed of the urge to eat his grandchild. A boy he loves more than anything else in his hellish world.

So, Joshua makes his way to a very shady side of town, where he meets up with Felix, a sketchy, shaky has-been scientist who runs a business designed to erase memories…for a price. Felix is eager for business because it’s been awhile since he’s scored and maybe even longer since he’s been laid, both of which currently obsessively occupy his thoughts. Yet, he is nervous about accepting the job because he had never before performed the task of removing so many years of memories.

            JOSHUA
Everything…everything, after the age of ten.

     Felix throws his hands up in despair.

            FELIX
No way! That’s how I got shafted
last time. Keep it specific, man,
like a car crash, or beating up a
whore, whatever.

Yet, deleting fifty years of a man’s life takes time. And the process is rarely pleasant to see…

But, will the memory deletion contraption hold out long enough to finish the job? If Felix fails, this could turn out badly – for both men….

Not Born a Monster interlaces the plights of these two sick men with a skill that will make audiences go crazy. It’s catching – just like an unstoppable virulent disease…

Budget: Medium. The opening shot requires futuristic-looking automobiles, including the interior of one car with computerized screens

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

Read Not Born A Monster (11 pages in pdf format)

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

About the Reviewer: Julia Cottle is a cultural anthropologist living in Chicago. She has worked for years as a university instructor and researcher for organizations committed to social justice. She has always loved to write, but only recently has begun to work on screenplays. She can be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chemistry of Life – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by David M Troop

Chemistry of Life by David D. DeBord

 Maybe Timmy’s brilliant ten-year-old mind can fix the horrors of his life.  Right after he re-animates his dead gerbil.

 We’re all familiar with Mary Shelley’s story of Frankenstein – the mad doctor who creates a living, breathing monster by reanimating a corpse.   The film version starring Boris Karloff is an American classic that’s been scaring us for almost one hundred years.  In that time we’ve seen countless remakes and re-imaginings .  Not to mention merchandising, cartoons, and comics – the Frankenstein monster is an icon even preschoolers can identify.

With all that diluting, it’s easy to forget the truly horrific question posed by Shelley.   If it were possible, would you bring a dead person back to life?  And even more important: should you?

Chemistry of Life asks that very question, albeit on a smaller scale.

Timmy is the ten-year-old mad scientist from Jackson Heights Elementary School, with a home life that’s less than ideal.  He lives with his drug-addicted mother and her boyfriend Spider in the remnants of a dilapidated home.  His older brother recently died.  And if that isn’t depressing enough, his only friend in the world is a gerbil named Ralph.

One day after school, Timmy decides he must fix the horrors of his life – even if that means Ralphie has to take one for the team.  So little Timmy unpacks his back pack full of borrowed equipment from the school lab, assembles his Dr. Frankenstein Junior Starter Kit, and gets down to grisly work.

What happens to poor Ralphie? And what further horrors lie in store? Give this script a read, and you’ll see. We guarantee some shivers down your spine.

Decanted from the mind of scriptwriter David D. Debord, Chemistry of Life is a unique take on Frankenstein. A mini monster movie begging to be “brought to life”!

Budget:  Low to Medium.   The biggest cost will be the gerbil brain dissection scene.  (I told you this script was awesome.)

About the writer: David D. DeBord has been a professional scriptwriter for twenty years. Recently he had three short film scripts produced, one in Fairfield, Iowa, a second in Houston, Texas and a third in Matulji, Croatia. In past years, his award winning scripts have been produced on radio, stage, television, and film. He is a past president and founding member of the Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance and lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, the best woman on the planet, Kris Sutton. Contact him at downtowndave “AT” att “DOT” net!

Read Chemistry of Life (five pages in PDF format)

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

About the reviewer:  David M Troop has been writing since he could hold a No.2 pencil. In 2011 he began writing short films for MoviePoet.com and Simplyscripts.com. His produced short scripts include INSOMNIAC and THE DINER. 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.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

3 Hours till Dead – Film Review - posted by AnthonyCawood

3 hours till dead film review

An AWOL soldier and his buddies stop at an abandoned farmhouse and encounter the living dead.

Writer/Director, Jason Mills, has taken a basic limited location/limited cast premise and thrown some zombies at it rather than go the normal thriller route.

There’s an attempt at giving the characters a little three-dimensionality, with one of the leads an AWOL soldier with PTSD, but the majority are stock roles. For example, thrown into the mix is a guy who is positioned as dangerous and worse than the zombies, there’s always one!

But the main twist here is that the ‘infected’ live for three hours, so can our plucky bunch survive long enough to outlast them? I personally think this was a good idea but wasn’t used effectively enough.

Obviously, this is a low budget effort and tries hard to overcome this with a number of decently staged, and occasionally tense, attack sequences. The effects too are reasonable for this type of film, but…

Ultimately the problem here is that there is nothing that you’ve not seen before, it’s a zombie movie after all, so it’s all a bit too familiar.

Fairplay for a decent effort but it needed something to elevate it.


IMDB Watch it Streaming on Amazon

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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Play Dead – Short Script Review – Available for Production! - posted by LC

Play Dead by Stephen Wells

In the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, one man believes he has the perfect strategy to survive, but what will his plan cost him?

Decades before George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead ever hit the screen, the first feature length zombie horror film made its début. Its title: White Zombie, starring the inimitable Bela Lugosi. Prior to this in 1920, Robert Wiene mesmerized audiences with his silent film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which depicted a killer in the guise of a sleeping-walking zombie.

Fast forward to the 80s and Romero set the gold standard in popular culture with his unique and oft imitated vision of the Undead as plodding lumbering cannibals.

Various Zombie incarnations have proliferated since. Though the source of Zombie plagues is often not divulged, zombie outbreaks often represent a decaying society, and are depicted as allegorical and cautionary tales. In a post apocalyptic world, corrupt governments, leaked mutant viruses, radioactive fallout and even supernatural occurrences frequently act as catalyst to any outbreak.

Zombie settings and genres are equally diverse. From outer space, to period drama, and movie musicals such as: Zombies On Broadway. From the brilliantly funny Zom-com: Shaun Of The Dead, to Zom-Rom-Com: Pride And Prejudice and Zombie, and the angst-ridden romance that is Warm Bodies. From the lumbering and kooky to the frenetic superfast avalanche of zombies in World War Z, and the grim and bloodthirsty mutants of Richard Matheson’s, I am Legend. How can we forget Danny Boyle’s provocative and intelligent reworking of a world gone to rack and ruin with its special brand of Rage-Zombies in 28 Days Later and its sequel: 28 Weeks Later.

From book, to comic strip, to video game, to movie and television, it seems our fascination and appetite for the Living Dead is insatiable.

So what makes a good Zombie script? Well, a fresh angle and originality is key. An audience wants to see something they haven’t seen before.

No easy task, but writer, Stephen Well’s short script Play Dead ticks all the boxes with his very cleverly crafted story.

We open on:

    A SKELETON sits propped up against a gas pump.

            MAN (V.O.)
In every city and every country
people died in record numbers. It was
a global pandemic. The end of mankind
as we knew it.

    Suddenly, the sound of FOOTSTEPS. Slow and listless.

            MAN (V.O.) (cont’d)
Then the darndest thing happened. The
dead started to rise.

    A SHADOW looms over the skeleton and a figure staggers into
    view… A ZOMBIE.

 

We meet: Trapper Hat, the protagonist and narrator of the piece. By his own admission Trapper’s a survivor, doing his best to blend in with the Undead around him. Its also clear Trapper Hat will do anything to survive. Through every word he utters it’s clear he’s capable and smart, but he’s also conceited, full of pride, and ruthless.

And yet…

            TRAPPER HAT (V.O.)
I shouldn’t have left them alone.

Trapper is also plagued by a guilty secret. A secret that could either redeem him, or could prove deadly.

    He rips the knife from the creature’s skull and uses it to
    open up its mid-section.

            TRAPPER HAT
I don’t need backup. I just do what it takes.

    He reaches in, takes two handfuls of blood and innards,
    smears them over his body and face. Gives himself a fresh
    coat of gore.

At this point the reader may well jump to the conclusion that this trope (above) seems a little familiar, but what happens next will shock and surprise you. From here on in this one definitely ain’t treading clichéd ground.

With its original storyline, visual writing and universal themes of love, loss, and betrayal, its multi-layered well drawn characters, and masterful twist, Play Dead is guaranteed to not only shock audiences but also bring a tear to the eye.

Play Dead was one of two Reader’s Choice picks in the April ’17 Apocalypse themed One Week challenge on Simply Scripts.

Filmmakers: We just know you’re dying to sink your teeth into this one and bite off all you can chew. You’d better move fast though, or you may well be left for dead.

Medium Budget: Depending on skills, but this one’s well worth it.
Exterior day-time shoot.
Three main characters: 40s male, mid 30s female, young lad of 14.
One motorcycle enthusiast.
Blood and gore FX, pyrotechnical skills would be handy, or use stock footage for one scene.
EXTRAS: A modest swarm of The Undead.

About the Writer:Hailing from Derbyshire, England, Stephen Wells is a graphic designer who has been writing for several years after first getting the screenwriting bug in 2009. He had a feature script optioned in 2013 and placed as a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Bluecat feature competition.

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 Play Dead (9 pages in PDF format)

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Not My Son – Short Script Review, Available for Production - posted by James Barron

Not My Son by Glenn Doyle

After the death of her husband, a mother is convinced her son has been replaced after an accident leaves him paralyzed.

Nothing tests the human spirit like the loss of a loved one.

Martha’s just lost her husband. But life doesn’t wait for gaping hearts to heal. There’s bills to pay, a house to clean. And, thankfully, her son Sean. Her stalwart against the storm.

Then tragedy strikes again — Sean sprawled out, motionless, beneath his favorite climbing tree.

Everything happening in a blur.

Martha pacing hospital corridors, Doctors offering condolences, her only son slumped in a wheelchair.

How could this be? Her son, lifeless, unrecognizable. Her Sean could run and smile and light up a room. Her Sean didn’t need food shoveled in his mouth. No, this thing is not her son.

But the Doctors won’t listen. They tell her she’s not thinking clearly. She needs rest, and pills.

If only she could stop the squirming thoughts in her brain. Then a solution arrives. In the form of a mysterious woman, dressed in all black, with a very important message:

            THE DARK LADY
     (loud whisper)
It is not your child. Kill it.

Is this a case of a fragile mind broken? Or are there forces at work beyond our comprehension? Time is running out for Martha to make a decision. One that could have devastating consequences for everyone involved.

Production: One adult female, one male child, and a few extras. A house, a front/back yard, a sidewalk, maybe one other interior location.

About the writer: Glenn Doyle is a 27 year old from Dublin, Ireland. He grew up writing short stories and studied film at Dublin Business School. To date, he’s written close to twenty shorts and one feature. You can check out his IMDB page 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 Not My Son (8 page short horror 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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Conference Call – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Zach Zupke

Conference Call by Pete Barry

Jeremy’s management team had better resolve the problem fast – before it resolves them.

Zombies are everywhere. They’re eating our favorite characters on TV, dragging themselves across the pages of novels and comic books. In movies, they’re no longer just relegated to anonymous background performers, but are portrayed by known – and sought after – actors (see Warm Bodies and Life After Beth). In this raging media apocalypse, the biggest problem facing writers is doing something fresh and new with the genre – while still adhering to the tropes that zombie audiences know, cherish and (rottingly) love.

Starting innocently, Conference Call opens with an introduction to five staff members, attending a video conference. Office babble ensues, along with various departmental conflicts. Just another “work meeting” comedy. Right?

Until one of the employees has her brains eaten by the living dead.

One by one, each co-worker is attacked by zombies – in various gory, disgusting ways. As their colleagues become undead lunch, the remaining attendees remain unphased – focused on business at hand. Buzzwords fly as the survivors argue over the solution to their crisis… Should sharks be shipped in? Perhaps snakes? Or should they consult legal?

For anyone who’s ever suffered in an office environment, the absurdity of the situation is all too real. In corporate America, you either contribute to the team, or you’re dead. Through it’s 5 breezy pages, Conference Call takes that concept to a logical, humorous extreme.

Are you a director looking to make a zombie film – yet fear the inevitable cliches? Then grab Conference Call before it’s gone… a “biting satire” on corporate culture – and a loving homage to the genre.

Budget: Low to medium. There are five speaking parts, but the budgetary focus is on the numerous zombies. How much a filmmaker ends up spending ultimately depends on how all-out s/he goes with the zombie makeup and gore effects.

About the writer: Pete Barry is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actor, director and musician. His short plays have been published in numerous collections. He’s also a cofounder of the Porch Room, a film and theater production company, website available at PorchRoom.com. Please feel free to reach out to him with script requests at petebarry27 “AT” Hotmail.

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

Read Conference Call (5 pages in pdf format)

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Scared Yet? – Short Script Review, Available for Production - posted by James Barron

Scared Yet? pdf format by Zack Akers Now With Audio!

Late one stormy night, two young children are confronted by a terrifying figure in the dark.

Check out the audio performance of the work by Vanessa Nicol

Guilt. It creeps up on you. Lurking in doubt’s oily shadow, darkening your thoughts, inching right up your spine.

That’s why six-year-old James can’t sleep. Can’t stop re-living his mother’s death. His thoughts roiling as the storm rages outside his bedroom window.

“Your mind is playing tricks on you,” says his older sister, Lizzy.

But he sees it: His mother, in a white gown, standing on the front lawn.

Lizzy’s protests drowned out as the storm crests, thunder and lightning booming in deafening waves.

THEN BLACK.

Power’s out. And they’re not alone. Someone’s in the house.

Lizzy fumbles desperately for a flashlight, trains a shaky beam of light on the bedroom door.

As it CREAKS open…

Scared Yet? You will be once you’ve read Zack Ackers’ newest horror short and get hit with an ending you won’t see coming and won’t soon forget. This is the kind of easy-to-make single location horror that sets YouTube on fire (See: Lights Out).

Production: Two adults and two kids. A bedroom.

About the writer: Zack Akers started writing in 2005, stumbled upon Simplyscripts in 06. Since then, he’s written over 25 shorts, and is currently hard at work on his first feature. He’s wanted to write scary movies ever since he was seven years old. Still chasing the dream.

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 Scared Yet? (8 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.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome to the Machine – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Welcome to the Machine (6 pages in pdf format) by Dustin Bowcott

A Job Seeker looking to work for The Machine isn’t happy when she doesn’t get the job she wants.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Dalberg-Acton

Such is the theme of the great metaphorical script Welcome to the Machine, by talented writer Dustin Bowcott.

This grisly tale starts out with something we’ve all been through: a simple job interview.

A young woman named Angela waits nervously while Teufel, her potential boss, looks over her application. Lucky for her, she gets the job. Once Angela begins her job training, however, things take a… bizarre turn.

You see, in this world, a huge monster exists who must be fed to be appeased. And this monster is hungry… for human flesh. So Angela and Teufel head down to the cave and watch as hordes of people are herded into the creature’s mouth.

Images of Nazi Germany come to mind as Angela sees someone from her past, about to be fed to the monster’s cavernous maw. Will she be a hero and rescue the man from certain death? Or turn her back on humanity and embrace the beast?

The surprise comes when Angela finds out what job she’s really being offered. Spoiler alert: it’s not quite what she (or the reader) thinks.

Just know that the end highlights that age-old question: how far would YOU go to get ahead?

Budget: High, but still possible, and worth the bang for the buck. Lots of actors (though only three speaking parts) and some CGI or other effects for the monster. But a savvy director could probably make this for less, though there will still be some cost attached.

About the Writer: Dustin Bowcott is a self employed microbe retailer and father of four boys and a girl. He has enjoyed writing since the day he read his first novel. For Dustin, writing is something he has to do, when not writing, he’s thinking about writing and will absorb himself into multiple projects at one time. When he gets tired of writing one thing he moves onto another and has been known to work on three different stories in one day, writing for sometimes 12 hours straight and, on occasion, even longer. Dustin can turn his hand to any genre and has just finished first draft of a new children’s novel. Dustin is a BBC Writer’s Room finalist and a Shore Scripts finalist both in 2014. He is a produced and optioned writer, and has recently turned his hand to production, having produced his first short film with another in the pipeline that should be completed this year. Want to see what else he has in store? Give him a shout-out at dustin7375 “AT” gmail.

About the Reviewer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website (http://mitchsmithscripts.wix.com/scripts offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at Mitch.SmithScripts@gmail.com and follow Mitch at https://twitter.com/MitchScripts.

Read Welcome to the Machine

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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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