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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Better Times – Short Script Review (Optioned!) - post author LC


A desperate young couple are faced with a stark choice in exchange for the promise of a better future.

The Hunger Games, Mad Max-Fury Road, Interstellar, Tomorrowland, The Maze RunnerInsurgent, The GiverLooperElysiumThe PurgeSnowpiercerDredd — Ooh, I’m running out of breath… These films make up a partial tally of the last few years of movie releases in the Sci-Fi/Dystopian genre. No guessing then that the popularity of this genre is at an all time high, and with box-office gold almost guaranteed, the demand for quality stories is on the increase.

Dystopia, as the name suggests, features worlds where the setting is bleak, oppressed, threatened. In the extreme – impending nuclear fall-out and zombie apocalypses. At the other end of the spectrum – a dying earth, societal breakdown, hard-core surveillance. One thing’s for sure, there’s always a fight for survival. Second thing is, audiences appear to have an insatiable appetite for these future worlds of bedlam, mayhem and decay.

Up and coming filmmakers will be interested to know that quite a few esteemed directors transitioned from the short format with Dystopian fiction, to feature film success.

Spielberg’s Minority Report was originally a short story by Phillip K. Dick; James Cameron made Xenogenesis – a short film featuring a female heroine, cyborgs and a giant robot inspiring Terminator; George Lucas made his dystopian short film, Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB and its later incarnation THX 1138, a ‘short’ which put him on the map. More recently Neil Blomkamp with collaborator Sharlto Copley shot Alive In Joburg, expanding upon that same source material to eventually produce District 9.

Want to scale the same heights as the aforementioned film luminaries? Recall me mentioning quality stories?

STS is pleased to present Steve Miles’ short screenplay, ‘Better Times’.  Set in the not too distant future of 2078, Better Times is a cautionary tale of a world run by big business and ruled by corporate hegemony.  Sebastian and Eileen Cade, a couple in their 30s with a baby on the way, are facing the biggest decision of their lives. Sebastian has just agreed to the ultimate sacrifice – all he has to do is sign on the dotted line. Question is, will he be signing his life away in a deal with the Devil, or will this most noble act result in the couple’s salvation?

Better Times is a flawlessly written and atmospheric tale of two ordinary people trying to survive in a most extraordinary world… with a chilling revelation in the final act that you won’t see coming.

Do you have your eye on a bright future in the film world? Then look no further than: Better Times. 

Budget: Not bad at all. A tiny bit of Tech-FX, but just to add that extra flair.

Pages: 9

About the Reviewer: Libby Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She has also worked professionally as a freelance web-content editor and proofreader. She is thrilled her first ever entry (Simpatico) into a Screenplay Comp – The LA Comedy Festival ‘Short’ screenplay division took out Top 3 Finalist and hopes the high placing will be a continuing trend. 🙂 Libby would love to see her words come to life on screen.   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: Steve Miles decided to get serious about writing around three years ago. Since then he’s concentrated on putting together a collection of shorts with a goal of finishing up a feature or two by years end.  Oh, and giving George RR Martin a run for his money! Email him at stevemiles80 “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.

2 Comments so far


Damien Michael Aulsberry
December 10th, 2015 at 11:47 am

Really enjoyed this. Thanks for posting!


KP Mackie
December 11th, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Very compelling story.
Well written, and the anticipation of what could possiblyy be coming makes for a quick read.
Well done. 🙂

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