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Friday, June 26, 2015

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


A divorcing couple argue about his infidelity on the way to see their lawyers, they find something unexpected along the way and have twenty two floors to reflect.

Cast your mind back to your childhood – to a more innocent time when you believed in Fairy Tales – to Cinderella, the perfect fit of that glass slipper, to Sleeping Beauty awoken from her one-hundred year sleep. To Snow White trapped in her crystal coffin. Now picture: Prince Charming, coming to our fair maiden’s rescue – he leans in to plant a kiss upon her lips, then sweeps her off her feet.

Cue swelling music  –

And, they lived happily ever after.

Okay, now come back down to earth because…
Everybody knows the perfect fairytale ending is just the beginning of the story.

Why? Because: the course of true love never did run smooth.

Enter Mark and Davina Grearson. Location – the lobby of a high-rise office block. Judging by the scowls and sullen looks on their faces their relationship is anything but smooth sailing. In fact, if these two had theme tunes they’d be running in a continuous loop – Chris Isaaks crooning ‘Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing’, and Tammy Wynette belting out her ‘Divorce’ anthem.

Because Mark did indeed do a bad, bad thing, and Davina’s sent him to the dog house. Their marriage has hit the skids and it ain’t pretty. No conscious uncoupling for these two.

‘Fairytale’ writer, Anthony Cawood, pulls no punches with the realism of his two leads. He decides the best thing to do with these two ex-love-birds is let ‘em blow off a little steam. What better way then but to lock ‘em up in a claustrophobic, sweat inducing, steel box we commonly call an elevator-car. Then stand back and see what happens.

After all Davina’s got a few home-truths she wants Mark to hear, and Mark – well, for now he’s just going to have to stand back and weather the storm.

So ensues some good old fashioned sparring via some cracking dialogue. A perfect blend of verbal thrust and parry combined with a healthy dose of double entendre. Think thirties and forties stars, Tracy and Hepburn, Gable and Lombard, Bogart and Bacall.

Fancy seeing you here.

We wouldn’t be here if you’d kept it zipped.

Wow, how long’d that take, five seconds?

Is that what she said?

Ouch! Davina – one. Mark – nil.

Oh dear. It looks like the twenty-second floor, also known as the ‘divorce floor’ is really the end of the line for these two? Or is it …?

Just when you think you know where this story’s going, writer Anthony Cawood casts a spell of a different kind, opening a door into another realm of divine intervention.

Something is about to happen inside this elevator-car that neither Davina nor Mark could ever have possibly imagined, something that defies logic –  something that might just remind both of them that magic does exist, and maybe, just maybe, they might remember why they fell in love in the first place.

Want to create a little on-screen magic of your own? Filmmakers, sprinkle your own brand of fairy dust and this one could be a true work of art.

Pages: 10

Budget: Pretty small. An elevator is about it. And perhaps a dash of fairy dust…

About the reviewer: Libby Chambers has been writing all her life. Over her career, she’s worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, trained as a FAD, and served professionally as a freelance web-content editor and proofreader. She lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia, and describes him as being both a good and a bad influence on her writing. You can contact Libby at libbych “AT” hotmail

About the writer: I’m an award winning screenwriter from the UK with over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of my screenwriting career, I’m also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to my films and details of my scripts can be found at





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, June 25, 2015

Congratulations to Lee O’Connor – The Brightest Star Update! - posted by wonkavite

Back in November, STS was thrilled to announce the optioning of Lee O’Connor’s short, The Brightest Star.

And today, we’re honored to be able to help unveil the finished product. Directed by Grant Pollard, TBS will be hitting the festival circuit – including TMFF and the Apex film festival in Minnesota (and that’s just for starters!)

In the meantime, the full film is available for your viewing pleasure here: Congratulations again to Lee, for a job well done!

About the writer, Lee O’Connor:

I am a writer from the UK for the screen and theatre. I have written several shorts which are in various stages of production. I am currently in the process of writing a feature film which will be shot in L.A early next year. Alongside that, I am in the process of working on two feature films which the genre and subject will remain a mystery.

I like to tackle subject matters that will pull on the heart strings, educate and open a your eyes. Although these genres are at the opposite ends of the spectrum I predominately write drama and sci-fi. I believe you write with what you know, so be yourself and don’t try to mimic another film or script you have read, create your own voice. I am reachable via email: lee.a.oconnor “AT” gmail

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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

A late night talk jock gets an unsettling caller.

Hollywood and its inhabitants live in a crazy paradox. In one breath, they claim originality to be extinct. Yet they pan for it… daily. Then, when a true nugget of uniqueness is found, it’s immediately turned into a movie dating game:

“Think of it as Superman meets Super Fly!”

The Godfather – meets George Burn’s Oh, God!

Mary Poppins Meets Mary Jane!”

(I think that last one actually happened. At least my hallucination-induced penguins say so.)

And David Troop’s hauntingly clever Insomniac could certainly be pitched in those terms. It’s “Play Misty for Me” meets “Se7en.” Now there’s an easy elevator sell. But I’d rather call it… screenplay gold!

Like many an evil tale, Insomniac begins at the edge of night. Late night talk show host Dave Burrows burns the late night oil in Philly – catering to listeners who’d rather not be listening, but have tuned in for multiple sorry reasons: “My husband snores.” “You catch the Eagles game, Dave?” In other words, they’re insomniacs. Sleep’s a distant memory.

But Dave’s rapport with his listeners soothes their woes… well, mostly. Treating each anonymous caller as a long-lost friend, his delivery is warm and glib. Especially when he gets a ring from “The Caller”, who tells him – “I’m having this nightmare. But I’m awake.” The Caller worries out loud that he’s gone crazy.

“No. Actually it sounds like my first marriage,” quips a weary Dave. “Get out and take a walk. Clear your head.” Spot on advice. Or so it seems.

Two weeks later, the “Caller” resurfaces. This time it’s to thank Dave for his sage advice. The Caller’s enjoyed his new practice of walking at night. Especially that time he met a freshman girl. “She looked young. Almost too young to be in college…”

The Caller trails off, his voice sinister. And Dave snaps instantly awake. Both he – and the reader – know immediately when this story’s heading. Details of a butterfly shaped toe ring. A foot tied to a bed. Muffled screams. And a bedpost slamming against a wall. Helpless to do anything, Dave (and his technicians) take the horrifying sounds in.

But ultimately – is it just a prank? A sleep-deprived man’s sick idea of humor? Or is the Caller horrifyingly real – leaving a mysterious trail of terror, wafting over the city like scattered radio waves? You’ll have to read Insomniac to find out. Inspiringly original, it’s a throwback to the golden age of terror and suspense. A case of “clever” meets “terrifying.”

Budget/casting: Locations minimal. A rented sound booth would be great, but any office setting will suffice. An apartment and a toe ring. Four actors…and a foot. Also, I immediately heard Kevin Spacey as the Caller. If you can get him, give HIM a call. Immediately!

About the guest reviewer: An accomplished writer as well, Zack Zupke lives in Los Angeles. He can be contacted via email at zzupke “AT” yahoo

About the writer: David M Troop has been writing since he could hold a No. 2 pencil.  He’s a contributor and award winner on websites such as,, and this here one.





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, June 23, 2015

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


After an outburst at work, a young man obsessed with control is ordered to see a therapist, who might just be as equally manipulative as he is.

Warning – Adult Material

As screenwriters, we’re constantly told to “show, don’t tell”. And that talking heads should be avoided like the plague.

Well, someone also once said that “rules were made to be broken.” Mark Lyon’s Jessup does that – in spades. It’s a script with just two characters. A verbal fencing match, across a desk.

And it’s that dialogue which makes these one worthy. As uncomfortable and disquieting as it may be.

Meet twenty-something Jessup: malcontent extraordinaire. He’s been a disruptive influence at his workplace. But he’s got talent worth retaining. Thanks to that one saving quality, Jessup earns himself a trip to the company psychologist – instead of the unemployment line.

An experienced head-shrinker,  Ronald Simplot’s a piece of work himself. In his forties, he’s seen it all – and Jessup’s manipulative tricks are an open page. As the conversation between the two morphs from pleasantries to battle, Simplot lays it all on the line. Jessup’s a whiny little brat. One that deserves a major spanking. His career may force him to talk to losers like Jessup… but there’s no reason he can’t tell it like it is. He laces into the youngster; refusing Jessup’s request for a “psychological break.” And he tells the boy just what he thinks of him – revealing a surprisingly sadistic side…

But battles of wits are fluid. And how quickly tables can  turn. Who will win in this fight? Doctor or Patient? And who are we rooting for, anyway?

If you like your stories with multiple shades of gray, then Jessup is ideal. Crackling dialogue imbued with tension. A subversive power struggle – and an unexpected plot twist. Give this one a read. Unless you have delicate sensibilities!

Pages: 10

Budget: Pretty cheap to film: limited locations and a cast of two.

About the guest reviewer, Anthony Cawood: I’m an award winning screenwriter from the UK with over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of my screenwriting career, I’m also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to my films and details of my scripts can be found at

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, most notably ‘Best Film’ award winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’, at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He has also written the feature “Thistles” which was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2013 Bluecat Screenwriting Competition and the short “Ginger” which was a Finalist at the 2013 Shriekfest Film Festival. He can be reached at markielyons “AT” yahoo





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, June 22, 2015

The Fugitive – compare and contrast - posted by Don

Thanks, Phil for the heads up on these.

The Fugitive – February, 1992 early draft script by David Twohy – hosted by: National Central University Language Center – in pdf format

This is an early draft of The Fugitive. This story is based in Philadelphia, instead of Chicago, and it ends in a Pennsylvania coal mine instead of a Chicago hotel.

The Fugitive – May 10, 1993 revised draft script by Jeb Stuart – hosted by: Drexel Screenplay Library – in pdf format

Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble escapes from a prison bus and tries to find out why she was killed and who the murderer really was. He is relentlessly pursued by Samuel Gerard, a U.S. Marshal, and is forced to keep out of contact from any friends or relatives. However, his determination and ingenuity soon produce results and he comes to the frightening realization that he can trust no one.

Information courtesy of

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

The Lake

A man relives haunting memories when he visits a cabin where he spent his summers as a teen.

Tragic love stories… when it comes to drama, they’ve been a staple for eternity.  West Side Story. Rent. Miss Saigon. The Notebook and The Fault in Our Stars. Shakespeare used the theme constantly.  Which is far from surprising.  Doomed romance is a universal human experience.  Throw in a triangle and the trifecta’s complete. Love. Jealousy. And loss.

Like many tragic love stories, The Lake is a simple heartfelt tale; told over a series of years.  Three children meet over the summer – their families renting nearby cabins along a lake.  Little Laura, and twin brothers Jack and Matt; a trio of ten year olds enjoying life and having the time of their young lives.  There’s instant chemistry between the boys and Laura. An innocent – but undeniable – spark.

Which blossoms as they reach their teens.  Soon, Laura will choose a suitor.  But what of the brother left behind?  As Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet historically learned, teen romances rarely end well.  For the loser OR the victor…

Drama directors, take heed: A sad psalm to love, loss and regret, The Lake may be a simple tale. But it’s got one heck of an emotional punch.

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

Pages: 6

Budget: Relatively low.  Three terrific actors (and their child counterparts) are all you need for cast.  As for the location? A cabin, woods. And, of course, a lake.





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.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mark’s submitting to Film Festivals guide – repost from - posted by Don

Mark Renshaw has put together a guide based on his personal experiences in script and movie festivals.

Please also follow the discussion on this as well as other articles written by Anthony Cawood and P.J. McNeill.

Mark writes…

The below ‘guide’ is based on my own personal experience submitting scripts and short movies to festivals over the past 12 months. Take from it what you will.

You’ve created a masterpiece. Maybe it is a script Tarantino would go medieval on your ass to own, or maybe you’ve managed to get a script produced into an ass-kicking-awesome movie. You’ve written your Oscar speech and hired your mom to be your Manager. What now?

Well, you could enter a film festival to show the world (especially JJ Abrams) what you are capable of. What are your options?

There are over 3000 film festivals worldwide. That number is growing exponentially; a bit like my stomach as I eat those bags of chocolate that are ‘big enough to share’ but I ain’t sharing pal! The point is, there are so many it’s impossible to track. Luckily there are websites which specialise in this area.

Festival Submission Websites

The two main contenders are Withoutabox and FilmFreeway. Both list thousands of festivals, provide various tools to help you create your projects, upload materials and browse/submit to the festivals.

Withoutabox has been going since the dawn of time (2000), you can tell by their archaic design. In 2008 they were bought out by IMDB. So the good news here is you get an IMDB title page/credit for every eligible submission. The bad news; the website is user unfriendly, they’ve been slow to keep up with changes in technology and there have been complaints about overcharging. Personally I don’t like them. I’ve had submissions go missing and others where the status has not updated, so I’ve had to contact the organisers direct to sort things out.

Filmfreeway is the new kid on the block. It doesn’t have as many festivals available as Withoutabox but the list is growing all the time. It’s more modern looking and is constantly adding new functionality in response to feedback. Personally I prefer it. I’ve had a good user experience so far. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Withoutabox buys them out once they’ve reached a certain size.

How much will submissions cost?

Withoutabox and Filmfreeway are free to join, free to use but the entry fee for each festival varies and is based on a tiered system. The key here is to get in early. Some festivals start accepting over a year in advance and most offer an early bird discount. If it’s a Seasame Street festival I’m sure they’ll offer a Big Bird discount, but I digress…again. From this point on the prices rise steadily through a tiered range as time goes by.

To save some cash it is also worth following some festivals on social media, as they do randomly throw out discount promo codes.

Some festivals are free! If you use the advanced search options, you can set the price filter to $0 . Be careful though, some of these are only free under special circumstances, like if you are a student or a wizard with a lisp or something.

Which Festivals should I enter?

This is where you are going to have to do your research. Festivals will gladly accept any script or movie you submit. They’ll gleefully accept your money, while dribbling saliva down their chins like rabies infected baboons. However, as soon as they start trawling through the thousands of submissions, they will reject yours faster than a fast thing that’s been fast for a very long time, if it doesn’t meet their criteria.

Let me put it this way, it’s no use submitting a script about a blind albino transgender Jew in war- torn Nazi Germany, who has a secret love affair with Hitler’s briefcase, to a sci-fi festival is it? And yet you will be surprised how many people pick festivals at random.

It’s not just the genre. Some festivals focus on a certain theme, others specialise in supporting a cause or championing a specific gender. I saw one which specifically said in the small print they only accepted submissions where you could prove it was a collaborative project involving people from different countries. Yet, the rest of the promotional material did not state this rule.

The other aspect to consider, what are the prizes? If you just want to promote your work, get some awards, any festival will do. There’s nothing like bragging rights, right? However if you want a way into the industry, if you are looking to get an agent, win a professional table read or if you want cash, then only certain key festivals offer such rewards. Be warned though, the competition for these is fierce!

So before parting with your hard earned cash:

  • Read ALL the rules and criteria for the festival. It’s easy to get caught out by a stipulation.
  • Research the festival! The promotional page makes it look super professional and slick but go to their actual website and it may look like something a demented child has hacked together with a hammer and a jar of marmite. Do you really trust your work and money to a festival that can’t even put together a decent website?
  • Review some of the previous qualifying/winning entries. If last year’s winning entry was a black and white silent film showing a slug’s life over 24 hours, should you submit that romantic comedy?

What are my chances?

Here is the mule kicker. Entering and paying a fee doesn’t get you into the festival. It’s gets you a consideration; that’s it. You can pay a small fortune and simply end up with a load of rejections with no explanation as to why.

What festivals will never, ever do, is inform you of your chances of being accepted. The promotional material makes it all sound glamorous, exciting and within your grasp. Just remember it is all marketing aimed at trying to generate as much money as possible.

Let me throw some figures at you – this is based on independent movie submissions only, I don’t have any actual figures for script submissions.

• Manchester (UK) International Film Festival – This is their first year. They’ve had over 1000 submissions with only 20 slots available.

• Palm Springs (LA) Film Festival – Over 3400 submissions.

• Sundance – 200 slots available – woo hoo! Over 9000 submissions – WTF?

With so many entries, it’s hard to fathom how they could possible review each one and give each their full attention. From the stories I’ve heard some festivals don’t. Mere mortals like us have no idea which festivals review each entry fairly and which just take your money and run.

So unless your work has the backing of a big player, a recognised actor or a major Indy studio is involved who could promote your work, it’s worth considering:

Online festivals – They have more slots compared to traditional venues and the festival can run over longer periods of time.

Smaller, specialised festivals – Sure they may not be as glamourous as Cannes but there are less submissions to contend with.

Feedback Festivals – Some festivals provide feedback! So even if they reject it, you’ll know they gave your submission the attention it deserves and you will know why you got rejected. Please note, some festivals charge a hefty extra fee for feedback but some provide this service as standard.

New Festivals – These are trying to establish themselves, they’ll be wanting to make a good impression in their first year, get as many submissions as possible and therefore the rules for acceptance may be less strict.

Super Secret Tip!

If you’ve read this far, well done! You win a straw donkey! Plus, I’ll let you in on something I’ve only recently discovered. The GOOD festivals actually want you to engage with them direct!

Shocking I know. It’s easy to leave the communication between the third-parties like FilmFreeway, I did for a long time and ended up with a lot of rejections. I’ve come to realise that once you’ve submitted your project, the best thing you can do is get hold of the festival’s email address, tell them a bit about yourself, tell them about the project you’ve entered and even tell them how it’s doing/done in other festivals.
I’ve only used this method for the past few weeks and already I’m receiving great engagement from the festivals via email and on social media. Will this increase my chances? Who knows? Time will tell but it can’t hurt to try.

If you have any personal experiences to share please do so.

Best of luck, unless you are entering the same festivals as me! If you do, may your submission supernaturally explode and I win by default.


Follow the discussion on the discussion board.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Congratulations to Eric Wall! - posted by wonkavite

Please join us in a resounding congratulations to Eric Wall.  His “cutting edge” script Change of Heart has now been optioned.  Please note: that’s on a non-exclusive basis.  So, the script’s still available… at least for now.  We recommend you check it out soon, before it’s gone!

As of press time, Eric currently has three scripts reviewed on STS.  Here they are, for your viewing (and production) pleasure:

Family Trip (Drama) A poor Texas family loads up their camping gear for a weekend trip, but one of them will not be returning. (Note: an STS editorial fav!)

Change of Heart (comedy/horror) A desperate virgin’s excursion to a dive bar yields unexpected results.

This Tornado Loves You (fantasy) A young woman held in captivity has one chance to ensure her freedom… and one last night to endure her captor.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

X-Files: Flight 180 (became Final Destination) - posted by Don

This in from Zack, Came across something cool today on that may interest you. It’s the original script for “Final Destination”, back when it was title “Flight 180″ and was actually an episode for “The X-Files”.

Final Destination – january 15, 1999, early draft script by Jeffrey Reddick – hosted by: Bloody Disgusting – in html format

Alex is boarding his plane to France on a school trip, when he suddenly gets a premonition that the plane will explode. When Alex and a group of students are thrown off the plane, to their horror, the plane does in fact explode. Alex must now work out Death’s plan, as each of the surviving students falls victim. Whilst preventing the worst from happening, Alex must also dodge the FBI, which believes Alex caused the explosion.

Information courtesy of

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