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Friday, January 6, 2017

Always Be Writing – by John Montana - posted by John Montana

Many times I hear writers say they are stuck or are in a writer’s slump, because no ideas are coming or they don’t know what to write. They want an original idea for a film or some writing project that nobody has ever seen before. They want the next great original idea that rocks the film world. Some of them will wait for years for that inspiration for the next great project that will bring them fame and glory.

Now… you might get angry with me for saying this, or you will probably vehemently disagree, but I don’t think this should be your goal. Of course it can be a dream that this happens, but most likely the story in some form has already been told before. Don’t sweat it!

Really, I’m not kidding with you. Don’t let it prevent you from writing. Just write… let the words just flow out of you. Edit it all later. Write gobble-dee-gook, write crap, write anything. Just! Write! You can worry about judging it after you are finished.

When you are done you can go back and create a story that will inspire you to make a film of it. Think of it this way… You are a sculptor starting with a huge block of stone. This is your “gobble-dee-gook”. Then begin to slowly carve away the stuff that you don’t need. Carefully reveal the story you want to tell. In the end you will have something that you will be excited about putting on film. So what I am trying say here, as succinctly as I can, is don’t be obsessed with telling an original story or have an idea that nobody has thought of before. Because ninety-nine times out of one hundred… it’s been done before.

I make short films. I enjoy shooting them and making them. But I am not under any illusion that these short films will make my career. I have two full feature scripts waiting to be done. I am using my shorts films to open doors and to gain experience on the set. Period! 99.99% of short films will never make money or be commercial. They are only a means to an end.

A short film is merely a “means to an end”, to get someone to ask you this: “Do you have any feature scripts that I can read?” To generate interest in you and what you have written. So here is a saying that I have come across many times… Always Be Writing.

Here is another way to look at this: Treat your writing, or other creative work, with the same kind of respect you have for your family doctor or dentist. Doctors and dentists have studied hard for years and treated their work with respect and care. So should you.

If you treat your writing with disdain and laziness, or as a lah-dee-dah creative artist that will get to it “when inspiration strikes”, then shame on you. Because all you are doing is confirming to society that artists are all flaky and emotionally high-strung…and that we are ultimately disposable as paper in an outhouse. And to quote a line from Bruce Willis in Robert Rodriguez’s “SIN CITY” – “There’s wrong, and then there’s wrong, and then there’s this”. And I don’t say this to be flippant, it’s just that artists are treated so badly, I want to stop this the best way I can.

Exercise: For the next three weeks, set your alarm clock early in the morning and spend ONLY 15 minutes each day writing!! Something…Anything…Just write! Don’t look at it and judge it as being either good or bad. That is not the exercise. The exercise is to try and create a HABIT of writing. Like you go to your job. It is an attempt on your part to train your body and mind for just 15 minutes each day to take your writing seriously and just write. And for those of you with the excuse “I don’t have time”… then here is another saying that I really love. TIME IS MADE, NOT FOUND! – You make the time by prioritizing it and writing. Simple as that!

About The Author: John Montana is an actor living with his wife in L.A. and has begun to make short films. His most recent film, Hungry has been accepted into 24 film festivals all over the world. Check out his short films at No Title Production Films.

Images courtesy John Montana

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Deal of a Lifetime – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - posted by Guest Reviewer

Deal of a Lifetime (12 pages in pdf format) by James Barron

Some old cars are hidden treasures… aren’t they?

In today’s world, the adage “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is” is more relevant than ever. We’ve all received those amusing emails from Nigerian princes and accidentally clicked on those adverts offering us a way to get a beach body in 4 weeks days seconds.

But how many of you have asked for $10,000 for a rusty Corolla worth $400 max… and shockingly find it accepted?

Carl, the proprietor of Carl’s Cars and main character in Deal of a Lifetime, has done just that; successfully offloading the junker to young and apparently street smart Rodrigo.

Carl should be laughing all the way to the bank, right?

Well, he isn’t. You see, before Rodrigo arrived, another man, Gabriel, thought $2,000 was an absolute bargain for that hunk of junk, and left the dealership to get the needed cash.

So when Rodrigo grins with delight at the prospect of forking out $10,000, Carl begins to suspect foul play. Or some sort of scam.

However, he soon learns that his humble Corolla hides a priceless secret within its unappealing exterior. A secret so incredible that the potential buyers are willing to exchange something far more valuable than money for access to the vehicle.

In fact, their very lives…

Featuring a unique concept and amusing – yet thought provoking – dialogue, a Deal of a Lifetime is just what you’ll have on your hands if you scoop this script up, and drive it off the lot!

Budget: Not bad at all. Borrow a junker Corolla, and you’re pretty much set.

About the Writer: James Barron is a former law student turned screenwriter who loves to write comedy along with the occasional horror/thriller. Check out his work at JBarronScripts.com

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp (a) gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

Read Deal of a Lifetime (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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Silence, Eventually by Steven Clark – in post production - posted by Don

Stills and a clip from Silence, Eventually which is currently in post production. (click on the images to embiggen).

Silence, Eventually 11 page short drama by Steven Clark

Two young men suffer an eventful first date at a night club, but that’s neither the beginning, or the end, of their personal struggles.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Original Scripts for the New Year! - posted by Don

Over on the Unproduced Scripts page are twenty six original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thank You and Happy New Year - posted by Don

Thank you to everyone. Particular thanks to those who have taken new folks under his/her wing and mentored new writers. I’ve been delighted to see a number of folks whose initial works were panned go back and re-work and a year later work is being optioned and produced.

Many thanks to Bert and Pia who continue to moderate the discussion board. Without their participation there would literally be no discussion board.

Thank you all for making the community what it is. Best wishes, much love and good things.

– Don

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Spirit by Richard Russell – Filmed! - posted by Don

Christmas Spirit (6 page short drama in pdf format) by Richard Russell

Filmed by Kurtis Watson

A belated offering for Christmas. A young man bent on crime listens to Charles Dickens.

Discuss on the Discussion Board

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Alba – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by The Merrows

Alba (5 pages in pdf foramt) by Robert G. Newcomer

Art…or abomination?

Alba, a short little screenplay, is a touching story of Science. Art. And a touch of magic.

On top of that, it’s mostly true…

Alba is a glowing bunny. Literally. Alba’s DNA has been spliced with phosphorescent jellyfish – giving her a greenish glow. (Especially when bathed in black light.) A case of science gone mad, you say? More like an art experiment – assisted by genetist “Ivan”. Unveiled to the world by artist “Dimitri” at the turn of the 21st century, Alba’s green glow was broadcast everywhere.

Needless say, not all were pleased. Angry demonstrations ensued, protesting the reduction of the “genome to a playground.” During the ensuring maelstrom of press, Ivan was almost fired. And Alba’s exhibit was cancelled – the bunny removed from her emerald spotlight.

As time passed, the headlines died away. Eventually Alba passed, as well. Over time, memory of the experiment faded – remembered only by a select few. Ivan. And his young daughter, Meghan. Too young to contemplate the greater issues, Meghan experienced Alba through innocent eyes – as the gentle (and glowing) creature she was.

Now grown, Meghan now tells the tale to her daughter, 7 year old Kelly. Giving it her own whimsical spin, Meghan tells Kelly of the sweet bunny… misunderstood by the entire world. Fortunately, there’s a secret grandpa’s been keeping. And a happy ending to Alba’s “tail”…

The truth is often stranger than fiction. In an industry where “dark and twisted” rules supreme, Alba is a stand out short. A touch of SF and fantasy – mixed with a huge helping of whimsy. A director can never go wrong with that!!

Budget: Low – medium. A few actors, minimal settings. Some glowing-bunny FX required!

About the writer: Robert Newcomer recently received his first IMDB credit for another short, Them That’s Dead. An intelligent writer, he has several other shorts and a horror feature length available for consideration. Bert’s IMDB credits are listed here.

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 (a) comcast.net.

Read Alba (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, December 28, 2016

Tattooji by Anthony Cawood – Filmed - posted by Don

Tattooji (pdf format) by Anthony Cawood

Filmed by Vintage Production

Tempers quickly fray when an inconsiderate boyfriend wastes their money on yet another useless gadget and she takes issue with his childish spending. (Short, Drama)

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Grieving Spell – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by The Merrows

The Grieving Spell (13 pages in pdf format) by Bill Sarre

A grieving man uses a special magic to relieve the pain he feels following the death of his wife.

It’s a paradox – so many really good stories revolve around a character’s bad decisions. This is definitely one of them.

Written by screenwriter Bill Sarre, The Grieving Spell tells the eerie tale of a man’s crumbling emotions after the loss of his wife Helen in a car crash… and his relentless quest to find relief from the pain chipping away at his psyche. So he makes a bad decision.

He turns to witchcraft.

Inspired by his departed wife’s interest in Wicca, Lawrence pays a visit to Astrid Dove – the High Priestess of the New Dawn Centre. “I need your magic to take the pain away – allow me to heal on the inside,” he tells her. Though he swears he’s not looking for an easy fix, Astrid has reservations. “I’m not sure this is the right approach for you.”

Talk about an understatement.

The bereaved widower persists: he desperately needs to move on. But what Astrid doesn’t know is that there’s more to Lawrence’s emotional crisis than loss and grief. There’s jealousy. And rage. And more than a touch of guilt.

A reluctant Astrid gives him a “grieving spell”, to be performed around a large fire. The priestess counsels as she writes it down: “Magic’s a subtle art. It’s not easy to predict.”

Understatement (and bad decision) part two.

As Lawrence performs the spell on a beach one starry night, a hazy figure emerges from the embers. Lawrence’s bad decisions have come back to haunt him. And finally set things right…

The Grand Prize Winner of the London Film Awards, The Grieving Spell is classic Monkey’s Paw horror. Watch out what you wish for… unless it’s a script like this, of course!

Budget: A few locations (car, beach, diner and office.) Four main characters… and some minor FX that can easily be done in post.

About the writer: An award winning writer, Bill Sarre has had scripts place both finalist and quarter finalist with Page and Bluecat. Bill can be reached at Bill.sarre (a) gmail

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 (a) comcast.net

Read The Grieving Spell (pdf format)

Find more scripts available for production

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

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