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Monday, February 6, 2017

Beacon Calling – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Dane Whipple

Beacon Calling (11 pages in PDF format) by Chris Keaton

How far would you go to save humanity?

Ping.

Three world-worn wanderers walk wearily through a white winter wasteland. They are John, Noah, and Wilda, and their only guide is the small metal box with the flashing red light.

Ping.

Driven on by the incoming signal, our three explorers are obviously on an important and dangerous mission. Pausing briefly to appraise their situation, they discuss turning back. They are, after all, running low on supplies, and out there, somewhere in the darkness..someTHING is stalking them. Beaten both emotionally and physically, the three realize that there is no decision to be made: if they fail their mission, they’re all dead anyway.

Ping. Ping.

The signal is getting closer…but so is the creature! The group presses on, into the unknown. Where are they heading, and just what have they left behind? And WHAT is this creature!!

Are you getting a sense of the tension in this script? I hope so, because you may want to pop a Xanax before reading. Sled tracks, bloody footprints in the snow, a discarded iPod. The mystery deepens with each visceral image. And if it sounds like I’m being vague, don’t worry, it’s only because I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending.

Get ready for an eleven-minute panic attack, because Beacon Calling is a master class in suspense writing. A slow-build tense thriller filled with all the mystery and intensity of the best episodes of Lost, set in a Mad-Max-in-the-snow style wasteland (take note, George Miller!). This is one script guaranteed to keep your audience on edge, and keep them guessing until the shocking finale. They won’t know what hit them. Directors, come in from the cold and grow something sinister out of this script.

Ping. Ping. Ping!!!

Budget: Low. Location may be tricky, since it is set in snow. But as long as your production doesn’t go all Revenant on you, costs are reasonable. (Plus, there IS a desert version of this available as well…!)

About the writer: Chris Keaton is an Air Force veteran living with his family in sunny Arizona. He’s primarily a screenwriter, but he does love diving into prose. He has had several short screenplays produced and go on to win awards. He’s optioned a few features screenplays and currently has a thriller feature in post-production. A young-adult novel based on one of his screenplays is soon to be released. You can see some of his projects on his website, Chris-Keaton.com or follow him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ChrisKeaton.

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple: put the coffee down, coffee is for closers. He is currently working on that screenplay everybody keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (a) live.com

Read Beacon Calling (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, 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

Read Truth or Dare

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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 2, 2017

Dry Days – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by Gary Rowlands

Dry Days (8 pages in pdf format) by Mitch Smith

In a dystopian society where water has all but vanished, two deserters find a mysterious corpse that appears to have died from drowning.

Manhunt movies. A thrilling genre, to say the least. Heart pounding action at its best.

North by Northwest. The Fugitive. Silence of the Lambs. We keep watching – no matter how far into the nightmare dark they lead us. Why? Well, in part to see the hero win the day. But also because the best of such films contain some sort of mystery, which drives us to never turn our eyes away (at least until the secrets are revealed.)

Following in the footsteps of such cinematic greats is Dry Days. Written by talented scribe Mitch Smith, the script packs a mean action punch. And also asks the thematic question: “Can you have too much of a good thing?” – in a clever and entertaining way.

Set in a future where food and water are in desperately short supply, the story opens with our hero and heroine dragging themselves across the blazing hot desert. Being hunted by someone. Or something.

Exhausted and dehydrated, our fleeing couple are almost at death’s door. They encounter the corpse of a man lying half buried in the sand – a grim reminder to their pending fate. They’re on the verge of giving up… when our heroine – a former nurse – realizes the dead man drowned!

She deduces there must be water nearby. But how could someone drown in the desert?!

Hopes renewed, the two begin searching for water. Their quest is cut short by the arrival of Raze, a bone-thin deserter-hunter – with wild eyes and a loaded gun.

The dry blood around his mouth and ravenous look leaves us little doubt about his intentions.

Will our couple live to see another day? Or will survival of the fittest reign?

If you’re a director looking for the next Mad Max, then give Dry Days a spin. It’s easy to shoot, and action packed – with a fresh twist on the usual dystopian fare!

Budget: Fairly low. A sunny beach for the desert and a hallway made to look like a hospital. Throw in a handful of actors, a dune buggy and that’s pretty much it!

About the writer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at Mitch.SmithScripts (a) gmail and follow Mitch on twitter @MitchScripts.

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. He has since branched out into writing features and is actively seeking representation. He can be contacted at gazrow at hotmail dot com.

Read Dry Days

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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 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.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Initiation – Short Script Review (Optioned!) - posted by wonkavite

Initiation
A car, a man and a girl. And a life-ending threat if you don’t… drive!

Imagine this scenario: You’re a black man who just accepted a promotion; about to “pop the question” to your lady. Which is when a 14 year old white girl hops in your car, and starts barking orders. She’s going to scream rape if you don’t…. drive!

How can a guy get out of a situation this grave? How can one fight back, yet emerge unscathed?

Reminiscent of 1997’s The Game (Michael Douglas and Sean Penn), Pia Cook’s Initiation takes us on a nail biting car ride; one which has no brakes.

Nico’s the captive driver. And Amara? The out-of-control teen calling the shots.

When we first meet Nico, life seems to be going his way. There’s that promotion he’s worked his tail off for. He’s on the phone with his girlfriend – sharing the news, and planning the evening’s festivities. On his celebration short list: roses, chocolates, wine.. and a shiny engagement ring. In fact, Nico’s just bought condoms. Tonight’s going to be perfect. He thinks.

But that’s when skinny blonde Amara hops in: issuing orders and threatening Nico instantly.

Fearing for his livelihood, a terrified Nico complies. As he steers the car, Amara tears through his newly purchased gifts with abandon. Spilling wine, eating chocolates. Throwing condoms around the car. Nico’s so cowed by Amara’s random threats that he’s willing to do every little thing he’s told.

Things get particularly tense when the cops pull them over. Amara insists Nico follow her lead. He’s got to trust her, and keep his mouth shut. If so, she’ll get him out of trouble. Maybe.

What’s the game Amara’s playing? And whatever it is, will Nico survive?

A perfect short thriller, Initiation’s got all the ingredients you need: a fast paced script with a simple setup – one that delivers tons of conflict, emotional range and a spectacular twist. Despite featuring only two actors, there’s tons of meat to dig into here. Just imagine – the dramatic timing of The Game, with the intensity of Speed. Speaking of which: speed up and grab this one – before some other lucky Director wins the race!

Pages: 14

Budget: Pretty low. Make sure your actors have perfect timing and chemistry!

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: Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook is 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. (Yeah… that’s not a typo. Six 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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Congratulations to John Cowdell – Seven Hours Sold! - posted by wonkavite

STS is thrilled to announce John Cowdell’s thriller short, Seven Hours, has now officially been sold! The prize goes to 10AM Productions, and we have no doubt we’ll be seeing a wonderful finished product for the festivals soon…!

Needless to say, we’ve got several more Cowdell scripts in the queue… In the meantime, consider shooting John an email now (ommi80 “AT” yahoo.co.uk), and see what else he’s got in store!

About the writer: John Cowdell has been writing and making short films for over ten years as well as creating videos for the internet. During his time at college, where he studied Media Production, he made his first short film with a fellow student. The short film “City Road” reached the finals of a competition in 2000 and was shown at a local cinema. Most recently, John has been reviewing films and producing video content for Squabblebox.co.uk. His main passion is filmmaking and he hopes to write and direct feature films in the near future. Feel free to drop him a line at iommi80 “AT” yahoo.co.uk!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Piece of Glass – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

A Piece of Glass
Two warring sisters fight to regain what they’ve lost. Sibling rivalry can be a real killer.

We all know siblings can be competitive. Your brother or sister might be sportier, brainier or better looking than you. That’s just the way families – and life – is. Still, an element of competition can be good. Just look at Venus and Serena – competition hasn’t hurt them much. It’s even helped them. Kerching!

But in Debra Johnson’s A Piece of Glass, the equation’s quite different. In it, adult sisters Linda and Melissa take sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Bitter, spiteful, malicious and even murderous – it’s a whole new ball game for these girls.

Even in the opening, the rising conflict is in place. Linda searches the house for her missing sister. Who she finds in the attic – moping.

Why? Well, it’s that minor problem of losing boyfriend Tommy. Melissa’s not over the heartbreak yet. Especially since Linda’s the one she lost him to. Strangely enough, Linda’s not looking to apologize… she’s just trying to get an allowance increase (her sister handles the estate.) After all, twenty thousand dollars a month doesn’t cut it – at least with Linda’s expensive tastes. And when Melissa refuses to help a “poor girl” out, the conversation gets nasty – quick:

LINDA
God, you are such a pain in the ass. If it weren’t for the fact you control the inheritance, I’d…

MELISSA
You’d what? Lock me away up here?

LINDA
No.

Linda steps closer to Melissa. Inches from her face.

LINDA
(whispers)
I’d kill you and take all the money.

As the mother of all arguments explodes, it’s hard to know which of these girls is worse. Everything is tit for tat. Insults are exchanged – as well as blows. These are two siblings that would definitely benefit from a Time Out on the Naughty Step. Unfortunately, Linda’s comments about Tommy come through crystal clear:

LINDA
Promise a guy pussy and he’s putty in your hands.

Melissa covers her ears.

Unsurprisingly, Melissa doesn’t take this well. And so the conflict rises. To a point of no escape.

Think Single White Female meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: this little page tuner is a ghoulishly gory tale, with strong roles any actor would be willing to kill for! Which of the sisters will make it out of the attic alive? Brother, you’ll have to crack open this script to find out!

Pages: 5

Budget: Minimal. Get an attic, two good actresses, and you’re done!

About the Reviewer: Elaine Clayton is a London-based screenwriter, who has written several well-received shorts and is currently working on her first feature length scripts. Comfortable in a broad range of genres, Elaine has an innate sense of structure and arc development. Contact her at Elaine_clayton (AT) Hotmail(.)co(.)uk

About the writer: Debra currently lives in New Jersey. Her accomplishments so far are: Finalist 2012 NYC Midnight Short Script Contest, Semi-Finalist 2013 NYC Midnight Short Script Contest, Official Selection 2014 Beverly Hills Film Festival, Semi-Finalist 2014 Hollyshorts Screenplay Contest and 3rd Runner Up 2014 TTL Log Line Contest. This is just the beginning. Look for Debra’s films at http://www.gatolocofilms.com

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, January 18, 2016

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

Beyond Treatment
A man needs help. But, what if the treatment works TOO well?

Surviving a traumatic experience doesn’t always mean you move on with your life. One may be haunted by the memories of the incident … for years or decades to come. Triggering events, nightmares, an inability to cope with everyday challenges – life becomes almost literal Hell.

And it’s that much worse when you feel responsible for the tragedy. Then guilt slips into the equation; building an ominous nest in your mind…

And that’s Larry’s situation. The wheelchair-bound protagonist of Thorsten Loo’s Beyond Treatment, Larry’s suffering a serious case of PTSD, following the violent murder of his wife. Larry’s troubles are mounting day by day: complaints about his outbursts threaten to have him committed. And his therapist has exhausted her standard techniques. Now, she’s at a complete loss. And Larry’s at his wit’s end:

Emilia lays her glasses down on the desk. Eyes him with worry lines on her forehead.

EMILIA
Really, Larry – I don’t know what else I could do for you. I’ve tried just about anything I could think of. I think you’re beyond treatment.

Or is he? Sometimes extreme problems demand radical solutions. Larry just might get through this.

There are a number of good films that tastefully capture the struggles of a person living with PTSD. For instance, The Deer HunterJacob’s LadderMystic RiverBrothers and a personal favorite – spoiler alert! – Stay. In a related vein, Beyond Treatment focuses on what treatment could look like: everything that could go right…and wrong.

Interested in investigating that visually? Your audiences will appreciate the sensitive look at PTSD that Beyond Treatment provides. Not to mention a bit of something else: a script that’s totally engaging and provocative – with just the right dose of irony. And a twist of “fate’s” evil knife…

Pages: 7

Budget: Low to moderate. Needs a room where you can nail boards to the walls.

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 always has loved to write, but only recently has begun work on screenplays. She can be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.

About the writer: A German writer, Thorsten Loos initially studied computer science and ran his own software development company for a living. These days, he primarily writes tales and scripts in the Science Fiction, Conspiracy and Paranormal genres. (Though he does drift into different genres with his shorts.) Thorsten’s currently working on episodes for a webseries called Unearthly, as well as character scripts for an international TV series in development for a U.S. based production company. His pilot script Project Endolon made it to the semi finals of the Creative World Awards 2015, and his pilot Mindwalker won a live table read by actors at Wildsound Festival recently. Want to learn more? Then reach out to him at loos.thorsten “AT” web.de!

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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