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Thursday, February 21, 2008

We’re back, One Week Challenge and an Apology - post author Don

The site has been down most of the day. In fact, any site hosted by has been down for most of the day. If your site is hosted by Globat, it should be up soon.

Tick, tock. The submission deadline for the One Week Challenge is fast approaching. I’ve already had a goodly number of submissions and in a couple of cases received scripts about ten hours after the topic was announced. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this post about the challenge.

Also, an apology to the newsletter subscribers. On Friday night last I kicked off the newsletter about the challenge to the subscriber base thinking that they’d all be in your inbox by Saturday night at the latest. I forgot, however that I had to set the mail server to send out 150 at a time rather than 750 at a time (this so my webhosting provider doesn’t think I’m sending out spam). The result was that some of you didn’t receive the notification about the challenge until as late as yesterday. For this I apologize and will get the notification out to newsletter subscribers earlier.

By the way,, this month’s sponsor of the One Week Challenge, is now offering iScript Previews of your script for only $9.99. And, better yet, if you like the preview and want to have the full script audio performed, the cost of the iScript Preview is credited to your next full iScript order. Click here to check it out. (tell ’em SimplyScripts sent you). – Don

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The One Week Challenge Topic is… - post author Don

… below.

The premise – you’ve been given one week to write a 12 pages script (properly formatted, etc.,) on the topic and genre given to you. Could you do it? Here is your chance to prove yourself.

The One Week Challenge is: Write a short dramatic script of 12 pages about a prison cell.

That’s it. Drama and Prison Cell.

No whining.

Off you go.

properly formatted and spelt and grammatical with punk-chew-a-shun in all the write places).

Still confused?

This may help. A little.

Entries need to be submitted no later than February 22nd at 11:59 pm in your respective timezone. Please note, don’t put your name on your script. For the first week or so, all scripts will be presented anonymously for folks (and you) to read and review. After a week, the names will be revealed. Three scripts will be selected by a completely unfair process which will most likely involve a Whiskey Loose Tongue. Those three scripts will be sent over to where one of the three will be selected to be audio produced by selfsame friends over at (Yes, it is a conflict of interest which is the beauty of the One Week Challenge.) This isn’t a contest. It doesn’t ‘cost’ you anything to enter. There are no prizes other than bragging rights. The point is, can you do it? – Don

Seriously, go write something dramatic about a prison cell. Or, see what other folks are saying about the Challenge – Don

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pineapple Express - post author Don

picpineapple1.jpgThanks to Andrew and Listen To Me Whine for the heads up on this November 28, 2006 unspecified draft of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Pineapple Express. A stoner (Seth Rogen) and his dealer (James Franco) are forced to go on the run from the police after the pothead witnesses a cop commit a murder. That would be found on the Movie Scripts page.

Tick, tock. Five hours until the topic for the One Week Challenge is announced. – Don

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gobs of Unproduced Scripts - post author Don

Over on the Unproduced Scripts page, there are twenty-three new or revised original works for your reading pleasure.

And remember, the One Week Challenge will be announced tomorrow night. Sharpen your crayons and see if you can write a short script in less than a week. – Don

Domino script - post author Don

Thanks to Donovan and Daily Script read Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly’s September 8, 2004 unspecified draft of Domino. Bored model decides to become a bounty hunter. It is over on the movie scripts page. – Don

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Strike is Over - post author Don

Thanks to Jack for the heads up (actually, he sent me some stuff last week, but I can’t find it). More info on the end of the strike at Deadline Hollywood and, of course my favorite insider John – Don

February 2008 One Week Challenge - post author Don

Sharpen your crayons. Coming this Friday, February 15th at midnight (eastern standard time), the theme and genre for the One Week Challenge will be announced.

The One Week Challenge isn’t a contest. It is a challenge. What if a director were to hand to you a theme and genre and other limitations and ask you to write a 12 page short script in one week. Could you do it? Find out on February 15th where you will have one week (until February 22nd, Midnight) to write a short script.

What do you get if you win? Nothing, other than that warm feeling for a job well done. However, one script will be selected to be audio performed by the fine folks at You can listen to other selectees here and here and here. iScript does great work. is sponsoring the challenge and will be judging the final three selected scripts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Simplyscripts meet up-ish - post author Don

If you live in the Northern Virginia area, swing on by JV’s on Saturday, February 16th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm to listen to the Rice Brother Band bring you some country favorites. Great Fiddle player. Come in early for some dinner and enjoy the show.. no cover. Kids welcome. I’ll be the dorky looking guy with no rhythm sitting next to a short Chinese woman surrounded by two hyper-active little boys. – Don

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sweeny Todd: The Demon of Barber Street review - post author Don

Sweeney Todd

Sweeny Todd: The Demon of Barber Street
Reviewed by: Dr. “Doc” McPhearson

Directed by Tim Burton

Written by John Logan (based on Stephen Sondheim’s musical)


Having just arrived back home from the opening day matinee showing of Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”, there’s only one thing I am sure of: It’s bloody great.

The story behind the Sweeney Todd myth sparked in the 1800s, when a urban legend, about a demonic barber screaming for blood, spread through London like wildfire, reaching the ears of the masses by, more or less, word-of-mouth. It wasn’t long after its conception that many newspapers began publishing chapters of the Todd-tale in their “penny dreadfuls” (small newspapers that cost only a penny, and worked like multiple installments for a novel… oh never mind).

Speed ahead a hundred years, and Christopher Bond has adapted the legend into a stage play, mixing a complex revenge plot into the madness. Move ahead to the 1970s, a young talented musician named Stephen Sondheim, at the peak of his power, sees Bond’s play, and thinks to himself, “This would make a good musical.”

And apparently, it does. Winning what was at that time an unprecedented amount of Tony awards, Sondheim’s musical was so phenomenal that the very thought of it stuck with film director Tim Burton, up until last year, when he and his production team set about making this thing, which, hundreds of years after the initial plot’s creation, is one of the best films of 2007.

Quick stage setting: Benjamin Barker is a barber in London, where he lives with his beautiful wife Lucy and their baby daughter Johanna. However, unbeknownst to him, a corrupt judge by the name of Turpin watches them from afar, concocting a plan that will send Benjamin away and leave his wife ripe for the taking. And with the help of lawman Beadle Bamford, he does just that, imprisoning poor Barker on false charges, and exiling him to Australia for life. But fifteen years later, Anthony Hope, a young sailor, finds Barker, recently escaped from prison, adrift on a plank in the middle of the ocean. Bound for London anyway, Anthony is more than willing to transport the awry fellow there as well.

In fact, that’s where the film begins, with the ship drifting into the London harbor. But, much like the dirty, dingy, drearily dark streets of the city, Barker’s life in general has forever transformed in his absence; his whole world has become, for lack of a better phrase, jacked up. Turpin raped Lucy, after which she poisoned herself, leaving little Johanna with no option but to fall under the adoptive care of the evil judge himself. Yep, things are in the crapper for poor ol’ Benji Boy. So what does he do? He kills a bunch of people, is what he does! You think I’m joking? Well, I’m not. By the end, the body count is high, and half of the cast is ka-poot.

Oh, and while speaking of the cast, I should say, it could not have been better. Johnny Depp works wonderfully as the brooding vengeful anti-hero, using his skills as an actor to help show emotion even while hittin’ the notes with surprisingly substantial ease. Helena Bonham Carter plays Mrs. Lovett so that you don’t know what is going on in her character’s head, making her that much more ambiguously brilliant as a character. Alan Rickman is completely dry (I mean that as a compliment) as the wicked Judge Turpin, and, with Depp at his side, performs “Pretty Women”, one of the most darkly ironic duets I have ever seen put on film. Timothy Spall as Bamford is phenomenally slimy and conniving, and also one of the best bits of casting in this film. Sacha Baron Cohen is absolutely hilarious as the crafty, but ultimately doomed, rival barber Senor Pirelli; the moment he appeared on the screen, people were already laughing. And the younger actors (Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener, and Ed Sanders) all three make great debuts in this film, though some critics have shrugged off their characters as mere plot devices.

But it isn’t just the actors whose works shines through this dark, dark piece of work; Dante Ferretti’s production design, spliced into the same pie with Colleen Atwood’s costumes and make-up devices, blend the movie’s world with such Burtonistic (copyright 2007 Doc McPhearson) qualities, that, especially in moments like the “By the Sea” daydream, each one of them is destined for Oscar nomination no doubt.

Okay, I have to stop now. Seriously. No matter what I say, I feel as if I’m leaving something out. Look, if you take nothing else from this review, take this: strongly consider seeing this film. It is a fantastic adaptation of a even more fantastic Broadway musical. Please, understand, that while it will not be Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury singing these songs, the movie does the material justice in terms of both the actors, technicals, and screenwriting that could have been done, I believe. True, it shaved off several things here and there, most noticeably the entirety of the chorus lines. But with Burton behind the camera, Depp in front of it, and Sondheim’s fingerprints on every gorgeously gothic frame, you could not ask for a more perfect team in this violent, but oh so intimate, picture.

10 out of 10
Doc McPhearson

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think I mentioned, there’s a lot of blood in this movie. Like, a lot a lot. However, it is absolutely unrealistic, used as almost a romanticized quality, adding to the melodramatic film of the material. But still, please, don’t take any children to this thing. The therapist’s bill will eat you out of house and home.

Read more reviews on the Movie Reviews page.

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