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Thursday, February 19, 2015

2911.21 – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by wonkavite


A down-and-out squatter seeks refuge in an abandoned house.

Mistakes.  Every one of us makes them, from time to time.  Mostly, they’re smallish things.  Not taking the garbage out, until it smells.  Forgetting a grocery item at the store.  But sometimes, we make real doozies.  Horrifying mistakes that change lives, and can’t ever be taken back.  And when that happens… Things change.  Our lives start a slippery slide down that horrendous hill… And sometimes, that slide doesn’t stop.  Except when you pause to wallow in the guilt.

Jonathan, 30s, knows what that’s like… He’s gone through some rough spots himself.  A gambling problem.  Almost losing his house.  But he’s gotten his act together in recent years.  A man re-dedicated to empathy, he spends his time on charity. Helping feed the poor. Watching over children in the neighborhood.

So when he spots a homeless man, Teddy, squatting in the abandoned house across the street, Jonathan’s natural instincts kick in.  He invites Teddy to stay the night, gives the man beer, and a meal to eat.  The two settle to a simple groove – complete strangers learning a bit about each other, and enjoying the camaraderie.

But is this meeting accidental?  Or has Jonathan just made the biggest mistake of his life… Letting a dangerous man walk in his door…. In the name of empathy?

Written by veteran writer Mark Lyons, 2911.21 (the Ohio code for Criminal Trespass) is a study of many things.  Mistakes, compassion, and – ultimately – forgiveness.  It’s a script that really hits home, custom made for drama directors that are serious about their craft.

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

Pages: 14

Budget: Not particularly expensive.  Two primary actors.  Suburban setting.






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, February 18, 2015

Sham’s The Doll got made and is an official selection for NY Scary Film - posted by Don

Sham’s script The Doll (4 pages, pdf format) has been made.

Some presents don’t like to be wrapped.

And, it is an official selection for the NY Scary Film Award. Check it out! You will have to register, but it is quick and easy.

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board

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

Old Wounds

A down and out loser gets an unexpected letter in the mail.

Memories. They’re both a blessing and a curse. Our own personal video on demand of both the good and bad times. Your first day at school. That time in tenth grade when Stephanie Starr winked at you? Then embarrassed you in front of all your friends? And time doesn’t dull memories. Sometimes, it makes them worse. Focusing on the joys, and the pain. Thinking of what could have been – but never was.

Stuart Percy knows a lot about “never was.” A twenty something loser, he lives in a rural mobile home. Short and skinny with glasses, and a limp due to his stunted legs. His only companion: a small tuxedo cat that keeps him company as he watches TV. It’s a sad, insignificant life. The monotony broken by the delivery of…. A letter.

It arrives on a forgettable day – but stirs something in Stuart’s memory. He circles a date on a calendar and starts to prepare. Buying things. Burning the midnight oil (and a lot of coffee) in his lonely trailer. As he works, he reminisces… about days gone by, and not-so-nice old friends.

What did the letter say, and where is this going? Read the script and find out. But warning: it’s a sucker punch to the gut. Not to mention an ideal choice for drama directors who want something relevant and timely – that hits like an emotional sledgehammer.

About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook has SEVERAL produced features and shorts to her name – full IMDB credits here. 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 also just recently optioned a feature length thriller (additional details TBD.) She can be reached at gatortales “AT” gmail.

Pages: 5

Budget: Very low. Actors for Stuart (and his cat). A trailer’s the only location. And a few bucks will be needed for props.





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, February 17, 2015

In Search Of – Guest Reviewers for STS! - posted by wonkavite

In Search Of – Guest Reviewers for STS!

Writers out there, take note! STS (Shootin’ the Shorts) is in search of a few TERRIFIC guest reviewers. After all, readin’ and reviewin’ scripts is hard and sweaty work. We need all the talented help we can get.

What we’re looking for: Seriously good writers that can preferably commit to one review a week. Though if it’s less, we understand and still want to hear from you! (In terms of time involved, we’ve generally found that a review can be written and polished in about one and a half hours, if not less. Depends on one’s writing style.) And regarding that writing style – we encourage reviewers to have their own voice but follow the general STS formula. IE: positive, humorous or poignant reviews that market the script’s best attributes.

What we offer: Well, like most writers, we’re all rolling in the money. (Insert sarcastic eye roll here.) Yes, folks – it’s a volunteer position. Unpaid. But what you gain is two fold – for every script you write, you’ll have space for your own “About the reviewer” logline. And a bit of exposure for your work, in that space. And you also gain writing experience – something to put on your resume, and hone your snappy writing skills until they bleed and shine. And trust us: that’s a very, very good thing.

Anyone interested, please send a shout-out to moderator Wonkavite at janetgoodman “AT” Yahoo.* Feel free to just introduce yourself. Or send a sample of your writing work (in the body of your email, please.)

Spammers need not apply. Seriously. None of us at STS needs a knock-off Armani bag, a mortgage refinance, or six extra inches. At least not the last time we checked…


Monday, February 16, 2015

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

The Office Party

How far would you go to keep your job?

It’s a bit frightening how much time we spend at our jobs. Most of us clock at least 8 hours a day. And that’s not including commutes. The majority of our waking hours are spent burning precious time to pay the bills – we eat at our desk, socialize exclusively with coworkers. For the average white/blue collar flack, our jobs are our lives: we need them to survive. As for getting a better gig? Best forget about it, pal. ‘Cause the employment market these days is murder…

Take the characters of “The Office Party.”  Joanne, Mary, Tommy, Pat, Joanne, and Ricky: your usual corporate flunkies. The frumpy secretary, the office flirt and hunk, the project supervisor, and the accounting nerd. Not folks that would choose to spend much time together. But they’ve got one thing in common: a desire to hold onto their jobs. So when corporate head Mr. Bell summons them to a mandatory party at the Halloween warehouse, they all show up (along with other coworkers). Bobbing for apples. A costume contest? Life couldn’t get worse or lamer than this!

Until Mr. Bell announces disastrous news. The recent merger’s resulted in downsizing. There are going to be layoffs. Fortunately, he’s hit upon a plan to make it fair. Pair off employees in a pitch black room, and force them to fight to the death. The winner keeps their job. The loser: well, they won’t need to pay bills anymore. And forget about opting out. ‘Cause Victor the security guard’s got a huge knife. And anyone who refuses to fight – forfeits with their very life.

After a few stabbings, the rest of the group fall in line: some more enthusiastically than others. Tommy and Mary (who are secretly dating) are chosen as the next blood-match pair. Fortunately, they’ve got an idea that just might get them out of there. Alive…

Reminiscent of Thunderball, The Office Party’s sure to be a hit with film audiences. It’s a fun, fresh premise filled with dry wit, bitingly satiric in some places. Not only that, but it’d be dirt cheap to produce. A warehouse and a handful of actors is all you’ll need.

About the writer: Writing comes naturally to Debra. She has published two books and it was during the course of hiring someone to adapt her book into a screenplay, it dawned on her to tackle the process herself. Therefore her love of writing screenplays grew. Want to contact Debra? She can be reached at gatolocofilms “AT” gmail.

Debra’s accomplishments:

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

Pages: 21

Budget: Very low. A handful of actors, a warehouse, some very minor blood effects and a “hospital room” is all you’ll need.





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.






Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Scripts of the February One Week Challenge - posted by Don

Wherein writers were challenge to write a scripts between 1 and 12 pages on the theme Urban Legend. The genre was open. Thirty writers took the challenge. Check them out on the Unproduced Scripts page.

– Don

Friday, February 13, 2015

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

Blue Pencil

A man receives a phone call informing him he’s booked for termination in five minutes.

Jupiter Ascending. Interstellar. Oblivion. SF films these days are all FX. Given the miracles of CGI these days, it’s easy to forget what’s important. Sure, good visuals can take your breath away. But that doesn’t make a story memorable. You want an SF script to shine? Take characters your audience empathizes with, toss in a seat-of-your-pants emergency. Add a dash of satiric humor. Then mix your ingredients thoroughly…

Take Blue Pencil, for example. Living in the not-so-distant future, Tom Klane’s your average sort of Joe. A journalist by trade, he researches stories on his tablet. Cooks up pasta primevara for his friends (with the help of a talking smart oven.) Everything’s pretty normal. Until his tablet rings….

…the caller’s Jessica, from Blue Pencil. A termination company. Yeah, you read that right. A voluntary euthanasia service.

Jessica’s calling to give Tom his five minute warning. He’s booked for a killin’ at 3pm. But Tom won’t have to wait long. The Terminators will be on site shortly…

There’s just one teeny, tiny problem. Tom didn’t book an appointment. And he definitely doesn’t want to die!

Make that two problems. Because Blue Pencil doesn’t do last-minute cancellations. Tom’s missed his window of opportunity. And possibly his last change at life.

Needless to say, Tom panics. Jessica’s got to do something! Though she hates breaking protocol, a reluctant Jessica hits upon a plan. She talks a hyperventilating Tom through his paces, sneaks him out the back door. But running away’s no option: Tom’s got to evade his assassins, stall for time, and trigger BP’s systems into recall…

Which is far easier said than done. Especially with two killers at your door….

Will Tom escape termination? Or is his Primevara doomed to get ice cold? Bathed in bureaucratic satire, BP is an SF thriller worth the read. But hurry up. The clock’s ticking!!

About the writer: Eugene Brennan is from Kilkenny, Ireland. His stories have been published in Nebula Rift, From the Depths, Flash Fiction Magazine, and 365tomorrows. He’s available at eubrennan “AT” hotmail!

Pages: 10

Budget: Relatively low. One house setting, a tablet and a van (spend a few extra bucks, and get a snazzy Blue Pencil logo!)





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 12, 2015

How the Crazy Lady at CVS Can Help Write Character and Dialogue – Repost from CHIPSTREET - posted by wonkavite

How the Crazy Lady at CVS Can Help Write Character and Dialogue

You wanna write screenplays?  Seriously?  Hopefully for a living?  Well, one thing you’ve got to do is perfect your art. Write. Rewrite.  And keep plugging away… nonstop. Keep polishing your craft until it shines!

…and be open to lessons learned from those who’ve been in the trenches, and blazed the same trail that you seek.  STS is happy to be reposting a series of articles from ChipStreet.  Folks, this is a terrific website – we recommend that you check it out in more depth!  (Original article available here)

About Chip: Chip Street is an IMDB credited indie screenwriter, director, and art director. His short films have screened at festivals, and his feature screenplays have been optioned and sold. He is a screenplay analyst, competition finalist, screenplay judge for a major industry competition, screener for an International film festival, founder of Write Club Screenplay Challenge, and a respected blogger on the art and business of screenwriting. He’s been published or cited by The BlueCat Competition Newsletter, Script Magazine,, Bleeding Cool, NoFilmSchool, ScriptTips and


Originally Posted on June 24, 2011 by Chip Street

People watching may be the best way to hone those sub-textual writing skills.

So I was standing in CVS looking for a father’s day card for my son (note to self: There are no father’s day cards from dad to son-who-is-a-dad) and of course I wasn’t the only person who’d put it off perilously late.

To my right, a woman and her teen daughter scanning the rows of leftovers.

Enter screen right: A third woman, tension radiating from her clenched up little form like heat waves on a hot tarmac.

She ingratiated her way between the mom and daughter team, in that way that Obi Wan assured the Storm Trooper that these were not the droids he was looking for, by standing behind them making furtive little half-steps toward the space-between-that-was-not-large-enough-for-her, audibly huffing little puffs of what I was sure must be steam from between her pursed lips, until they realized that they must part for her just to get some of the sticky tension she was exuding off their person. She never said “excuse me”. She never addressed them directly. She just “made them want to step aside”.

Then she spoke. “Bobby. Suzy. Come here.”

No one came.

“Bobby, Suzy, now.”

Still no one came.

“Bobby, Suzy, come here now! Over here! Agh!”

I looked to my left, and there were two sweet kids I assumed were Bobby and Suzy, calmly looking through a row of “Father’s Day for Grampas” cards, guided by a man I assumed was Bobby and Suzy’s father. He pointed out options, the kids read (or looked at pictures at least).

“Grk! Come here, now! Bobby! Suzy!”

She stomped over to them, and I half expected her to grab both their wrists and drag them back to the (now very uncomfortable) mom and daughter duo. “Will you come here?”

Finally dad replied. “They’re looking here.

She tried to melt his face with eyes that, in another universe, would have been two lumps of burning brimstone. “The Grampa cards are down there,” she hissed.

Dad didn’t say anything. He just indicated the section the kids were already rummaging through. It said “Father’s Day for Grampa”.

She seemed to shrink, just a little. “Oh.”

I thought that was it. Tension defused. “I didn’t know,” she fumed. Then: “Well, hurry up.”

Dad exhaled. Inside, I knew, he had just counted to ten. “They’re looking.”

“Just hurry up! Pick one!” She paced. She paced uncomfortably close to their backs. She made those same little half-steps, from one end of her tiny invisible cage to the other. I think her knuckles were white.

Apparently, they didn’t move quickly enough. She huffed again. “God! Will you just hurry? Never mind. Forget it. I can’t stand this. I’m going outside.”

Dad turned, and put a hand on her shoulder. He kind of guided her away a step. “Just calm down, will you? Wait over here.”

“No!” She stamped back to position one. Mom and daughter had beat feet. She had her section to herself. I’m not sure why the cards didn’t burst into flame.

Dad saw the kids hadn’t found what they were looking for, and crossed behind me, guiding them gently toward mom. I don’t know how much pushing he had to do.

I’ve never been so tempted to stop someone and say “Is she always like that?” Or “You’re a saint.” Or, to her, “Do you have any idea how fucking unpleasant you are?”

But I didn’t. Because, of course, I don’t know if he’s a saint. I don’t know what came before the drugstore. I don’t know her relationship with the Grampa, how late they were to get somewhere else, or what hellions the kids had been in the car. None of which, of course, should excuse her terrible behavior. But all of which, very possibly, very likely, informed it.

What I did know was, in all likelihood, this exchange was not at all about the cards.

And therein lies the point.

It’s the subtext, stupid

Most arguments, and many conversations, are not really about the subject at hand. That’s what subtext is all about. Writing dialogue that in fact reflects the true nature of the dynamic between characters is “on the nose”. It is “exposition”. It is (almost without fail) suboptimal.

In the first Write Club Challenge, script analyst John Rainey stated that “Rarely do characters say what their objective is. They speak around it in an effort to persuade the other character to give him/her what he/she wants. A guy on a date would never say ‘Let’s go to my place and have sex.’ … To say that would be ‘on-the-nose.’” (read more of John Rainey’s screenwriting advice here…)

We don’t know what the crazy lady at CVS was really angry about. She didn’t tell us.

It’s possible they were running late, but she never said “We’re going to miss dinner at Grampa’s if you don’t hurry and pick out a card.”

It’s possible she hates Grampa, but she never said “I don’t know why we’re wasting money on an emotionally abusive old man who never gave me a birthday card my whole life.”

Real people, at least the interesting ones, don’t do that. They talk around the problem. They project their anger elsewhere, perhaps (usually) inappropriately. They often don’t even know themselves what they’re actually angry about.

They don’t explain their anger. They are just angry.

This scene, with this woman, was fascinating in its intensity, its impropriety, its inference that there was much more to the story to learn. More than I would probably ever know. And, it was fascinating in its organic realism.

As writers, it’s our job to hone our observation skills, to people-watch, to make mental notes, to become keen spectators of human communication … and to see the truth of just how imprecise, and woefully inadequate, it really is.

As writers, it’s our job to know what’s going on in the character’s mind (even if they don’t); to know how much the character does know; to know what the character wants out of the scene (or the scene needs out of the character); and then to find ways for the character to express what they want without ever letting them say what they want.

In a perfect world.

Are you doing enough people-watching? Has it made you a better writer?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Congratulations to writer Anthony Cawood! - posted by wonkavite

We’re proud to announce that Anthony’s been officially hired by Dunnigan Productions to pen a horror spec (scheduled to film in Summer 2016)!  The folks at Dunningan discovered Anthony via his short, Terminal Z, which will be going into production in the next few months.

Wanna get in on the Cawood speedwagon?  Then check out some of his other available works, reviewed right here on STS!

GraftA grieving Doctor cannot understand why the skin grafts keep disappearing. She suspects a thief but the answer may be more macabre.

Bump in the Night - A foul mouthed drug addict decides that burglary can get him his next fix, but he picks the wrong house and the wrong couple to mess with.

iRobotIt’s Man Vs. Roomba when Octogenarian Roy receives a surprise present from his daughter.

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

More about Anthony: 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


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February 28, 2015

    The Catch by Steven Clark

    Upon returning home to discover his son's lost in video game land, Steve realizes there's only one thing to do. 4 pages
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