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Friday, July 18, 2014

And THIS is what happens to Veteran Writers… (PJ McNeill in the Trenches) - posted by wonkavite

…they end up working on scripts – not to mention juggling a complicated home move.

Due to a looming deadline, P.J. regrets to inform STS’s faithful that he’ll be on vacation for a month – coming up for air on August 15th.  Until then, we promise to keep you fed with a bonus script review on Fridays  So make sure to tune in, anyway!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Give Me Shelter – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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Give Me Shelter

“Divorcees Moira and James attempt survival in the wake of an apocalyptic event. From a bomb shelter deep beneath the Earth, they must find peace between themselves before facing the new, chaotic world above.”

 The daily grind. Navigating bumper-to-bumper traffic, finding a seat on the subway, racing to class, transporting kids to school. There are appointments to keep, errands to run, never-ending housework, and a flow of constant bills to pay. Ah yes; the Responsibilities of Life. Your list may vary; but it stares you in the face everyday. Insurmountable… at least without that morning Starbucks.

For a few moments, though, imagine that everything you do — that routine you rely on so intimately — is gone. In a puff of smoke. The blink of an eye. Your daily life; obliterated. All that planning and plodding, blown clear out the window. And worst of all – no Starbucks!

As Douglas Adams was fond of saying, Try Not to Panic…

Even though your life has been shattered to bits.

In Rod Thompson’s drama, Give Me Shelter, 30 something Moira and James hole up in a small bomb shelter, having barely escaped the total destruction of their house, their neighborhood, and all their friends.

The bunker contains two small cots. A single light bulb dangles overhead. Some couples might find it romantic. But Moira and James are recently divorced. Not that divorce is the end of the world. Although, perhaps, in this case it is…

Because something HUGE is wreaking havoc above ground.

The couple huddle in darkness, hoping to escape attention. James attempts to calm a hysterical Moira – and promises her they’ll be safe. Though he can’t quite convince himself.

Apocalyptic events in a contained location; that alone is enough to sell a script. Yet, Moira and James’ relationship is what truly makes GMS shine – featuring terrific lines such as these:

James (singing to distract Moira from her fears): Sorry. Old habits.

Moira: No. Keep going. You may have been a shitty husband, but you were always a good singer.

James: By the sound of things up there, I may be the last singer before this day is over…

Confronting annihilation is no vacation from the daily grind. But it can really put things in perspective. Past the panic and the urgency – the dialogue in this script rings true, depicting the familiarity of two people that have been together for a long time. Fought – but loved each other, too. And in some small way… still do.

So if you’re a director drawn to well developed characters – and catastrophe – then grab your spot on the cot. ‘Cause there’s only one slot available!

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 occassional 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 “AT” gmail.com

Pages: 5 pages

Budget: Low. A sparse interior for the bomb shelter. Equip with cots, a bare bulb, and two talented actors. Imagine the fun you’ll have creating sound effects for the end of the world!

About the reviewer for Give Me Shelter:California uber reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Buyer – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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The Buyer

When it comes to empty houses, sometimes buyers should beware.

As Rod Serling used to say each week, “You unlock this door with the key of imagination.” And so it is with the best of scripts. Before you begin reading this one, take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine the theme music from The Twilight Zone. Then (after a short commercial break) start reading, because this story is definitely Serling-esque. In the best possible way.

It all begins in a picture-perfect living room, with dust gently drifting through rays of sunshine. Two women – one a realtor, the other a prospective buyer – move slowly through the space. There’s subtle tension in the air…

…and an eerie dynamic lurking just outside our awareness, involving the two women and the house. Stay alert to pick up details. Why does the cell phone signal fail at certain times? Whose overturned picture lies on the shelf? Most importantly, who (or what) is the mysterious woman seen briefly in the hallways?

Could it be a ghost? We’ll never tell. But we will paint a picture for you. Imagine The Others meets The Uninvited. Weaved together with poetic skill.

If you’re in search of a low-budget spine tingler with a humdinger of a twist, this script could be what you’re looking for. One location – an empty house. All interior. No special effects. And meaty roles for three 30-something actresses. What more could a director ask for?

About the writer: I’ve been writing for about four years now. I always loved it but managed to get constantly side-tracked by silly things like: finding a real job, getting married, having kids, a mortgage… I finally decided to stop making excuses (not completely) and write “for real”. I made it to the quarter-finals of the Nicholls Fellowship last year, the semi-finals of the Screencraft Fellowship earlier this year, and am currently in the finals of the Industry Insider competition featuring Sheldon Turner. I’m still pretty wet behind the ears, but for the first time in a long time, I actually refer to myself as a writer. I can always be reached at kostak “AT” kostak.com

Pages: 7

Budget: Very affordable. One house, three actresses – and you’re set.

About the reviewer: Scott Merrow co-writes screenplays with his wife Paula. 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.

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hero’s Gift – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

Hero’s Gift

A young boy learns that not all presents come in a box with a fancy wrapper. Some of the best presents are not even wrapped at all.

Christmas is a time of joy around the world for little boys and girls.

At least… most of them.

Despite having a not so jolly family life, Joey (5) still has high hopes for a visit from Santa. Breaking out the milk and cookies, Joey waits with baited breath to see what Kris Kringle has left for him. But when the big day arrives, all that’s waiting under that tree is the harsh truth. And a family that’s far from merry.

Holiday dreams crushed, Joey heads outside to greet the day – and runs across Walter (55), a “special emissary” from the North Pole. Taking the boy under his wing, Walter gives Joey words of encouragement… not to mention a very special present.

A life affirming story, Hero’s Gift is a dramatic tale destined to warm your heart – without schmaltzing you to death. Directors take note: whoever unwraps this script first is bound to light up any film festival audience!

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.

Pages: 5

Budget:Low. Interior and exterior of a two bedroom house will do the trick for the entire production.

About the reviewer:Brett Martin is an unrepped writer living in Los Angeles. He sold an action/thriller to Quixotic Entertainment, which is associated with Zack Snyder. Destiny Pictures currently holds the option to Brett’s comedy feature, CLONE WIFE. He’s working on two new features as he continues his quest to be a professional screenwriter. He can be reached at soleil.rouge13 – “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, July 14, 2014

Lost and Found – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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Lost and Found

Alone in an airport terminal, a man discovers he has lost something rather important.

Metaphysical discussions about the human experience: they’re the bane and the blessing of the indie world. When done for the wrong reasons (ie: the writer proving how “smart” they are), films that tackle such topics result in audience members scratching their heads. Or nodding off in their seats. But when done right, they can lead to “Ah-hah” moments of cinematic truth. Which is a goal every indie director hopes for. And which Lost and Found achieves (with a minimum of head scratching!)

Lost and Found opens at an airport, focusing on protagonist Peter. Forty-something and desperate, Peter’s about to text his estranged wife and beg her not to divorce him. He pauses before hitting send – and the world seems to melt away. When it returns, Peter finds himself in a strangely non-descript room. A strange little man informs Peter that he’s in Lost and Found; and proceeds to push him for details… exactly what has been lost? When did Peter lose it? As the interrogation proceeds, the questions take on a double-meaning… nudging Peter towards the biggest question of all. Has he lost his way? What steps will he take to get it back?

Though it deals with “deep” issues, you’ll find Lost and Found quite straightforward – a simple and elegant metaphor for taking back one’s life.

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

Pages: 6

Budget: Micro. Settings include an airport terminal (or similar location), and one almost unfurnished room. A total of two characters. It doesn’t get more stripped down than this!

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, July 11, 2014

Notes from a Veteran Writer – The Reclusive Writer (P.J. McNeill) - posted by wonkavite

The Reclusive Writer

I’ve always romanticized the idea of the reclusive writer.

One of my idols, John Swartzwelder, is a recluse to the extreme. He’s credited with writing 59 episodes of The Simpsons; the bulk of those being works of sheer brilliance: Homer at the Bat, Krusty Gets Kancelled, Rosebud, Homer the Vigilante…the list goes on. Not only do hardly any pictures exist of the man, but I’ll be damned if I can find an interview. In fact, when the writers call up John Swartzwelder during The Simpsons commentary track, the man on the phone does about 4 minutes of commentary before stating “It’s too bad this isn’t really John Swartzwelder”, before hanging up.

Some people have speculated that he doesn’t actually exist. How cool is that? To be shrouded in such mystery that people question your very existence, and stories begin to be passed around, as if reciting tales of ancient lore. Pretty soon it becomes almost as much fun to talk about the writer as it does to read or view his work. For example, did you know that John Swartzwelder is the only writer on The Simpsons who didn’t have to show up to the writer’s room? He would send his scripts in, after writing them from the comfort of his own home, sitting in a booth he bought from a diner he used to frequent, before the diner instituted a “NO SMOKING” policy. Classic Swartzwelder…or so I’m told.

The thing is, John Swartzwelder is the exception, not the rule. I’m not going to be John Swartzwelder, and odds are, you won’t either. (Note: It’s really hard to write the name Swartzwelder over and over again. Microsoft Word doesn’t seem to like it either.)

Before I moved to LA, I read The Comedy Writer by Peter Farrelly. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale that chronicles when Peter moved to LA to make it as a writer. There’s a part of the book where Peter goes to a party, and he’s really nervous about people expecting him to be charming and funny because he’s a comedy writer. (A common fear of mine.) In the book, his agent instructs him that he’s a writer, and nobody really expects a comedy writer to be funny or talk much. I remember breathing a sigh of relief. “Thank God. I don’t need to be funny…or talk to people.” I’d be re-assured whenever I’d see the stereotype of the reclusive writer show up in movies and TV. You know the stereotype: socially awkward, hunched over, and most likely wearing grubby clothes. I took solace in the fact that I had chosen a career that rewarded merit, not how I acted or what I looked like. I could be John Swartzwelder.

Flash forward to an interview at Nickelodeon Studios for the position of writer. I had wowed them with my sample pieces, but now it was time to seal the deal with my personality. The interviewer stopped me 5 minutes into the interview and basically told me I needed to lighten up. I wasn’t “on” enough for her. I thought I had been doing a good job, but I wasn’t playing the part of the fun-loving writer that she wanted. “Tell me a joke”, she said. “Uhhh…”, I stammered back. I hadn’t ever been asked that in an interview. “Tell me a funny story”, she said after I stuttered my way through a joke. A funny story? My mind went blank. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I went in expecting one thing and it was something totally different. My boss at the time told me my mistake was thinking that there was ever a time I should be “off”. As a writer, people want a show. They want you to be as entertaining as your stories. If you’ve ever pitched your idea to a friend or family member, you know the difference between enthusiastically telling your idea and muttering out a few plot points. Obviously the former will pique people’s interest more.

So, practice your conversational skills. Take an improv class (it’ll help you turn off “the filter”). Think of a few amusing anecdotes. And most importantly, if you’re a comedy writer: learn a joke. Here’s the one I used:

Why did the cow go to the moon? Because it was one small step for man, but one giant leap for bovine.

…yeah, I wouldn’t have hired me either.

About the writer: A talented writer and 10 year veteran of the industry, “P.J. McNeill” has seen it all (and he’s ready to kiss and tell.) Got a question, a comment or just general bile /praise you want to spew?  Email PJ at pjscriptblog@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Honey Do – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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Honey Do

A woman confronts her lazy husband with a long list of things he’s promised to do around the house. When he doesn’t budge, she decides to do them herself.

Ah, Mawwage. Mawwaiage… that bwessed awwangement. That dweam within a dweam. Twue wove… (Reviewers note: if this reference has you scratching your head, then shame on you. Go rent The Princess Bride right now.)

But seriously. Marriage; what a sacred institution. That blissful experience of merging lives with another soul so utterly that you complete each others’ sentences – and totally lose any hesitation to make rude bodily noises in your beloved’s presence. ‘Course, it takes a few years to get to that stage… at least for most couples.

Unfortunately for Mindy – the protagonist of “Honey Do” – her marriage with Frank has gone beyond even that.   Frank’s retired, and Mindy’s put on a few pounds. These days, Frank’s lost all interest – spending day after day in his basement man-cave, watching Nascar and snoring on the couch. Despite Frank’s promises to fix up the house, things have really gone to pot upstairs. The car’s not working – and Frank’s looted the living room furniture for his “office.” Mindy’s at her wit’s end. Scrounging up a few pennies, she heads to her local hardware store – determined to find the tools and know-how to do it herself. But when she ventures between the shelves… will she find something she needs even more desperately?

A good-natured riff on marriage gone wrong, Honey Do is part Edgar Allan Poe, with a touch of Christopher Guest. It’s a well-written and fun combination – perfect for any director of comedy.

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

Pages: 7

Budget: Very basic. One house. One Home Depot-esque location. Three characters.

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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Love Locked – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite

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Love Locked

Two teenagers discover romantically painted padlocks on a bridge. Are they Valentines from a love-struck Romeo… or something more sinister?

Mystery is a terrific engine for driving a story; the history of cinema has proven that time and again – from the appearance of the Monolith in 2001 to Who Killed Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks. The existence of a question mark in your script will keep audiences on the edge of their seats – no matter your chosen genre.

In the case of Love Locked, the genre is horror. And the mysterious objects: a series of padlocks found on a bridge by teenagers Susie and Sam. It’s Susie who discovers the first one; a lock painted in red with initials – PC hearts KS. A cute romantic gesture. Over the next several weeks, the couple finds even more – each with PC… and someone else. Who is PC? And why is he (or she) so fickle? Susie decides to find out – but will she get more than she bargained for?

Love Locked is perfect for horror directors on a budget – a fresh little tale that ends with a bang.

About the writer: Anthony Cawood is an aspiring screenwriter from the UK with a number of scripts in various stages of production, two of which have just wrapped shooting. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category). You can find out more at http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Pages: 10

Budget: Pretty cheap. A few outside shots, and only two main characters!

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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

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Confession

A conflicted man struggles with truth and consequences.

There are certain requirements of screenwriting. Create interesting, empathetic characters. Give them a dilemma they have to escape. Tell your tale in chronological order…

Actually, ever since Pulp Fiction, that last rule has sort of fallen by the wayside. Sometimes, starting with the point that everything explodes is the absolute best thing to do with a story. Then work backward – leaving your viewers dying to know how your characters got there.

Confession is a solid example of a script that does just that – while keeping the interest and urgency of intact.

True to its title, Confession opens with protagonist Jake in a confessional booth, about to speak to a priest. Dressed in a torn sports coat, Jake’s nervous and bloody. Stricken with a sudden change of heart, Jake flees before unburdening his sins… to himself (or the audience.) What follows next are the steps that brought Jake to his knees – literally. The crime, the sin. The small life decisions that ultimately add up to consquences greater than its sum.

Make no mistake. There’s action in this script. But at its heart, Confessions is a character study… one that an indie director could sink their teeth into; no matter which direction this story’s told.

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: 6

Budget: Relatively low. A handful of sets (including, of course, a confessional booth.) There is one action scene that requires a bit of stunt work. But nothing budgetarily crazy.

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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July 24, 2014

    Bad Trip by Dirk Visser

    Two bank robbers, held up in a motel after a job goes south, find their loyalties shifting after they are visited by an unexpected guest. 12 pages
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