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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Time Lines – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author Guest Reviewer

Time Lines
Sometimes, it’s best to let life pass you by…

Remember the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? If not, shame on you. But here’s the classic tale you’ve somehow let slip away:

Groundhog’s a film about a dude forced to relive the same day over and over and over – until…. well, that would be a spoiler. So we’ll leave the final scene blank for now.

Time Lines, written by versatile scribe John Hunter, is Groundhog Day for 2016. That is, if Groundhog Day was gorier, bloodier and much… gooier, as well.

That’s no knock on the story. In fact, it’s a compliment. Only four pages long, Time Lines nails a darkly comedic tone and keeps you guessing through each scene, as you race.

Here’s the basic premise; young protagonist James goes about his daily routine – resulting in an extremely unusual (and disturbing) day. Our narrative begins as James drives to work. He runs a red light and… gets demolished by a truck. Seconds later, time seems to rewind. James misses the truck and makes it to work. That’s encouraging, right? But then he steps out of his car… and gets flattened by a speeding van. So on and so forth: the tragedies keep unfolding and reversing. Will his miserable day never end?

Which leads to the true mystery of this script: what’s the secret behind what’s happening? Time Lines’ll keep you guessing until the end. Even after you read the final words, somethings remain “open to interpretation”, as they say…

Take our recommendation to heart: if you’re an experienced director looking to make your mark, Time Lines is a special tale. One that could potentially play great on the festival circuit – especially with the right cast/crew. Grab this one while it lasts. Remember, you only live once! (Unless you’re Bill Murray, then you live 12,403 times. A special thank you to Obsessed With Film for the precise number of days Bill Murray suffered through in Groundhog Day).

Budget: Moderate to high: a couple of car accidents, one tragic equipment failure (make of that what you will). Also to be depicted: an assault rifle attack (a weapon of any sort could probably be substituted here.). But don’t let that stop you, or James – remember, there are many ways to make effects work on a budget. Don’t ask me how, I’m just a writer – but stock footage and magic may suffice. You’ll also need lots of fake blood: this one’s messy (in a good way!). As for actors, there’s only one major role. And you can probably get by with just two extras (one man and one woman) on the side.

Settings – A highway, a parking lot, an elevator, and an office building/break room.

Pages: 3

About the reviewer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website (http://mitchsmithscripts.wix.com/scripts) offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at Mitch.SmithScripts “AT” gmail and follow Mitch at https://twitter.com/MitchScripts.

About the writer, John Hunter: I am an award-winning and produced writer. Please visit http://www.networkisa.org/profile/1001989/John-Hunter to see a short bio and list of my scripts available for production. My email is x32792 (AT) yahoo.com

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

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, April 26, 2016

Congratulations to Michael O’Farrell – Geoff Optioned!! - post author wonkavite

Please join STS in a round of applause to Michael O’Farrell – whose satirical comedy (and goofball gem) Geoff has now been optioned to Director Vivek Kolli.

Want to contact Michael and see what else he has available? Ring him up at Michael.ofarrell “AT” knology DOT net! Quick – before the next script gets away! 😛

About the writer: Michael O’Farrell is a mathematician who worked on the Space Shuttle Program and now writes fiction. Stories that obviously “add up” and get grabbed…

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wishbone – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Dane Whipple

Wishbone
Make a wish.

Snap! With the breaking of a wishbone from a simple chicken dinner, inspirational author Nick is sent down an alternate reality.

As an author, Nick has served as an inspiration to many a reader. Recently, though, Nick could use some inspiration himself. You see, he’s been down on his luck ever since a car accident took his wife, Chloe. Riddled with guilt and haunted by dreams (and perhaps his future self),

Nick contemplates just how he has ended up at this low point. But is there another way?

Enter Kat. Kat has just moved into Nick’s building, and it seems she has a past that haunts her as well. As their friendship grows, the parallels between Kat and Chloe become undeniable, and the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. What unfolds is a dreamlike romance that defies reason and even time itself. All of this builds to an unforgettable finale that you’ll never see coming.

Filled with surreal imagery in the tradition of Vanilla Sky and Shutter Island (hey, if it’s good enough for Scorsese, it’s good enough for you!), Wishbone deftly delivers the kind of weighty rumination that continually garners accolades on the festival circuit. It is a confident, considerate, contemplation of life, and the choices we make, with a ponderous political pitch. Think Déjà Vu meets The Dead Zone. This is one script that will keep audiences and critics intrigued, entertained, and ultimately satisfied.

What more could you wish for? And – as collectors of Monkey Paws are well aware – be careful what you wish for, too.

Pages: 23

Budget: Medium. Mainly because of script length. A scene involving a wrecked car may require some savvy directorial skill.

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple comes in a little glass vial. A little glass vial? A little glass vial. He is currently working on that screenplay everybody keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.com

About the writer: Jeremy Storey has been writing on-and-off for the last fifteen years. He’s dabbled in stage plays, screenplays and shorts. He even wrote a novel once, but the less said about that effort, the better. He’s had a few things produced along the way – a feature (REWIND), two shorts (GOOD DEEDS and ADRIFTING) and a play (LAST CUP OF SORROW). He’s even done quite well in a number of screenwriting contests over the years. However, it’s the process of writing and collaborating on creative projects with likeminded folks that really makes him happy and content. He’s delighted to be asked to participate in Simplyscripts, and is genuinely looking forward to connecting with other writers, producers and directors. Contact him at jeremystorey “AT” yahoo!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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, April 24, 2016

The Scripts of the One Week Challenge - post author Don

We had this challenge. Write a short script in a week. This past week writer’s were challenged to tell his/her own superhero story.
Topic: Superheroes
Genre: Comedy

Check them out!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Speaking Test – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author LC

SPEAKING TEST
Granted, Safeer’s English “not good”, but neither is his examiner.

The job interview has a long history with filmmakers. There’s terrific raw material to be mined especially in the comedy genre. Just take a look at Owen Wilson hamming it up in You, Me And Dupree, Monty Python’s skit The Lion Tamer with John Cleese and Michael Palin; Big Keith’s Appraisal in The Office, and Kevin Spacey’s turn in American Beauty – ‘would you like smiley-fries with that’?

In reality, job interviews are seldom easy and always challenging. Preparation is essential, as are nerves of steel. It’s essential to put your best foot forward. After all this is high-stakes stuff – this is your life, your future. More often than not you get one chance to make that all important first impression.

In Speaking Test, Manolis Froudarakis’ main character, Safeer, is determined to impress. A foreign national from an undisclosed country he has an extra challenge to overcome – English is evidently not his first language. Safeer’s applying for a job as a private investigator. He’s worked at the job successfully in his own country for the past four years. Now all he has to do is pass a test for ‘oral proficiency’ or rather, overcome the language barrier and convince the powers that be that he is indeed the man for the job.

This is no easy feat, especially when The Examiner is a man named Colton – a condescending, obnoxious, prejudiced and racist upstart who does little to disguise his disdain for Safeer by reacting to his test answers with a series of smirks, sneers and guffaws. He continues by stereotyping Safeer and ultimately rejecting his application.

SAFEER
(baffled)
My English good?

Colton laughs even harder. Safeer gulps.

SAFEER
Please, please! … Good detective is
important. Me, I search good, I
find many things.

COLTON
So you could find another
job, if necessary, right?

SAFEER
Other job?

COLTON
You know, like… in a restaurant…
(slowly, with exaggerated gestures)
Plates. Glasses. Water. You wash.

With those final words the interview is over and Safeer is shown the door. Little does Colton know however that by ignorantly equating Safeer’s broken English with stupidity he is the one who’s just made a big mistake. Safeer is nobody’s fool and he’s about to prove it by utilizing the very talents for which he’s just been passed over. Oh, such sweet irony.

Filmmakers: Want a cleverly plotted comedy with an equally powerful message? One that delivers with a terrific punchline guaranteed to have your audiences laughing in the aisles?

Well, don’t delay. Apply now! We predict this one will have applicants lined up around the block.

* We also recommend you read this imagining the role of Safeer being played by the late great Peter Sellers, the author’s inspiration for the character. Alternately, Sacha Baron Cohen would also do the trick. J

Budget: Minimal: yet more reason to interview and “hire” this one!

Pages: 5

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: Manolis Froudarakis has won two awards in short screenplay competitions. His main focus is comedy – preferably, comedy with a little edge. You can contact him at: mfroudarakis@yahoo.gr

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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, April 21, 2016

Tattooji – Short Script Review (Optioned!) - post author Zach Zupke

Tattooji
An abusive boyfriend gets his comeuppance when he has a new tattoo inked.

We’ve all seen them. Hell, most of us have been in them. Relationships that just make absolutely no sense. When you’re on the outside, it’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion. You’re there on the corner, watching them scream toward the center of the intersection from opposite directions. You know the outcome is going to be gruesome, but you can’t look away.

Screenwriter Anthony Cawood’s “Tattooji” is just such a screenplay, one readers (and soon, viewers) cannot look away from. He expertly gets us into the story late, after much of the damage has been done by 20-something Ben, who has a propensity for poor decisions and excessive drinking.

Ben’s excess is on full display as he exits a tattoo parlor and heads to the bar. It’s a brilliant intro quickly painting his shortcomings: usually the tattoo parlor comes AFTER you’ve had too much to drink. This guy’s such a mess, he doesn’t need booze to make bad choices.

After he gets on a good drunk, he makes an awful choice: arrives home bragging to his girlfriend about his new purchase.

BEN
… newest bloody thing they’d got.

He’s clearly drunk.

KAITLIN
Which is good?

BEN
Course, it’s fucking amazing.

Very drunk.

KAITLIN
And?

BEN
What?

KAITLIN
How much?

He reveals he paid 400 quid for the tattoo, which is a one-inch emoji that changes and becomes different emojis. His admission accelerates her anger and the tension quickly builds as she needles him for not only this decision, but many he’s made in their relationship. And the fact she’s not been able to treat herself to anything.

KAITLIN
I worked forty six hours this week,
taking shit from idiot punters for
every single minute of every hour.

BEN
But —

She pulls on her unkempt hair.

KAITLIN
Not had my hair done in six months.

BEN
Yeah —

KAITLIN
Or been out with my mates.

BEN
Me —

KAITLIN
Or had any type of treat, you whining little shit!

That gets Ben to his feet and the chase is on toward their violent ending. Again, you knew it wasn’t going to end well. And it doesn’t.

With a deft director guiding two strong and fearless actors, this short will definitely play well. And the extremely-limited budget (an apartment and a temporary emoji or five) will give all a smiley face – despite the eventual crash.

Pages: 6

Budget: Minimal. And a tiny amount of makeup (or animation done in post.)

About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. Zack was a latch-key kid (insert “awww” here) whose best friend was a 19-inch color television (horrific, he knows). His early education (1st grade on) included watching countless hours of shows like “M*A*S*H,” “Star Trek” and “The Odd Couple” and movies like “The Godfather,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall.” Flash forward to present day and his short “The Confession” was recently produced by Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. He’s currently working on a futuristic hitman thriller with a partner and refining a dramedy pilot perfect for the likes of FX. You can reach Zack at zzupke “at” yahoo.

About the writer, 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 www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE (AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!)

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.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

iRobot – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author wonkavite

I Robot

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

The ever widening dangers and potentials of technology. A common theme in both literature and film, the topic spans the gamut of genres. SF/Horror: Hal in 2001. Short Circuit (Comedy). Even Romance – Spike Jonze’s acclaimed SF film Her.

And cantankerous old people? No script writer can go wrong with that! Geezers aways make for colorful characters. Betty White in Lake Placid. The entire cast of Cocoon

Put those two factors into a short. Add a touch of dark humor, and the result is guaranteed to be memorable.

As iRobot opens, so does old man Roy’s door. Cranky and frail, he harasses the poor teen Postman relentlessly. He asks the kid a million questions. Insists on getting I.D. Eventually, Roy pulls the package from his hands. Slams the door in the kid’s face.

Back in his kitchen, Roy opens the box: it’s a surprise present from daughter Wendy. A fully automated Roomba style vaccuum cleaner; designed to help around the house. Though perpetually unimpressed, Roy turns the device on. He sets it down and gives it a spin.

…but the new-fangled gizmo does more than spin. It whirrs and clicks. And starts to clean. Mesmorized, Roy watches the bot “do its thing.” After conducting an initial patrol across the floor, the robot circles back – and slams into Roy’s ankle. Before you can yell “that tears it!” the war is on. A cat and mouse game ensues between Roy and his mechnanical nemesis. It may not be a Terminator, but this is one Roomba that’s ready to rock and roll. And not necessarily in a good way…

Easy to shoot, iRobot can be played several ways. Horror. Or tongue in cheek satire. But turn it on and give it your spin. It’s a fun tale of Man vs. Machine, with a lighthearted combination of genres.

About Anthony: 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 www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Pages: 10

Budget: Very low budget. Three actors and a roomba’s all you need.

Read iRobot

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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Keeping it Fresh – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author wonkavite

Keeping it Fresh
Ken and Ruth have done it all. Except this.

What are you willing to do to keep things fresh? That’s a question many couples in their 60s dare to ask, and Ken and Ruth do their best to answer.

Does Fresh mean honest? Or just exciting? And when the stakes are ‘whatever needs to be done to share one’s life’, how can a couple truly know?

As veteran writer Rick Hansberry’s script opens, we meet Ken and Ruth in their well worn family car; tersely discussing their “action plan.” Ruth’s awash with nerves – her hands playing with a folded piece of paper. Ken tries to be sensitive to her concerns, but fails miserably at every attempt.

Where is this duo going? And why?

Their destination – a grocery store. What on Earth could be nerve racking there?

Soon, we discover Ken and Ruth are in… a race. Of what kind? The truth’s unclear. But what unfolds next is a comedy of errors – a wondrous blend of anxiety and charm. Imagine the slapstick as Ken and Ruth dodge obstacles, friends, enemies, wet floors, and – of course – time.

What will the finish line reveal? We won’t spoil the surprise (or the produce). But you will find a warm, sophisticated comedy – ala a young June Squibb or Seymour Cassell.

This is a script with tons of buy-one-get-two-free.  Including: a budget friendly tale, featuring characters of a “specific” (and underrepresented) age. All of which makes this story stand out – and write it’s way into even old and jaded hearts.

Need some older actors? Consider giving your parents’ “cool” friends something to do for a day. But regardless of who you cast, you’ll charm your way into festivals with this Fresh, young-at-heart gem!

Budget: All that’s needed are two good actors, and access to a deli or supermarket – at least a few aisles.

Pages: 6

About the reviewer: Rachel Kate Miller is a veteran of the feature animation industry, having worked on several Oscar winning films, bringing stories to life. In 2012, she left animation to move to Chicago and run the design department for President Obama’s reelection campaign. She is now living in New York, writing, consulting on various projects and creating an educational animated series for elementary students focused on engaging kids in science.

About the Writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” His first feature is set to be released in the summer of 2014. Trailer available here . He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

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, April 11, 2016

Exclusive Interview – Matias Caruso: Proof that Nice Writers Sometimes Finish First! - post author Anthony Cawood

Matias Caruso: Proof that Nice Writers Sometimes Finish First!

Interviewed byAnthony Cawood

You know how articles and interviews always make note of when someone in the “business” (be it actor, director or more) is genuine, nice and down to earth?

Well, that’s to be expected – because sitting down for a chat with “good peoples” is ALWAYS a breath of fresh air.

Which is why we are thrilled to be able to give you an *exclusive* interview today with writer Matias Caruso – Grand Prize Winner of 2014 Page. Born in Argentina – and a homegrown veteran of Simplyscripts – Matias has always been a joy to read and chat with, and a gentleman master of his craft.

Recently, things have gotten really exciting for Matias. Now signed to CAA, he’s got tons in the works – including a high concept thriller entitled Mayhem… starring Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead!

And yet we STILL managed to corral Matias long enough to have him sit down with Anthony Cawood (interviewer extraordinaire.)

So pour your strongest coffee and settle in for one terrific read. ‘Cause with anything regarding Matias Caruso (affectionately known by SS’ers as “Mr. Z”) – that’s never close to a surprise! ☺

Q: Could you give me a little bit of background on how you got into screenwriting?

A: I discovered my love for movies when I was a kid. Birthday party entertainers used to project movie clips and I was amazed when I first saw Indiana Jones trying to outrun the giant boulder, or Luke Skywalker using his light saber. I remember the feeling of being transported to new, exciting worlds… But when I grew up, my world turned out to be a sterile cubicle maze where I was trapped full-time working as a lawyer; a world that generated all the stress of trying to outrun the giant boulder… but without the excitement.

I could have stayed there forever, but things started to change when one day I wrote a short story. Showed it to a few lawyer friends and they dug it (allegedly). One of them is an entertainment attorney, so he works with production companies in my country and reads lots of scripts. He told me I had a very visual style and that maybe I should try writing a script.

So I said “Cool, what’s a script?” because, like most people in Argentina, I believed that the actors and the director were the ones who came up with all the cool stuff on set. But when my friend gave me a script to read, I soon discovered that movies were actually written first by people who, to quote Spielberg, “dream for a living”. And I was hooked.

Q: I’m assuming English is not your first language? What sort of challenges has this presented?

A: Right, it’s not. When I started writing 11 years ago, my English was very rusty; I could spend a full hour trying to figure out how to word a descriptive paragraph. It really slowed me down. But many scripts and years later, I got the hang of it and now it isn’t a problem. Every now and then I have to check online dictionaries/translators to check on a particular word or phrase, but not as much as before.

Q: For other writers facing this challenge, any tips or suggestions to get to your level where it isn’t evident at all?

A: English courses are key I think (I attended a bilingual school). I’d also advice reading in English (scripts, novels, comics, blogs, whatever) and writing in English every day in order to practice. Watching movies with subtitles in English or no subtitles at all also helps.

Q: I think you first appeared on SimplyScripts back in 2005, was this when you first started writing?

A: That sounds about right. And yes, that’s when I started writing.

Q: Your first credit, at least according to IMDB, is the 2008 short, Forgotten, did that get optioned and made?

A: I sold it to an indy filmmaker in Alaska I met online. And yes, he shot it.

Q: Did you learn anything from that experience and subsequent shorts?

A: You always hear that scripts are just a blueprint for the movie, but that really sinks in once you see for yourself how much scripts can change during production.

Q: Obviously you’ve written a lot of shorts, many of which have been on SimplyScripts, did you start out with shorts and then move to features?

A: I started with both at the same time more or less, but at first my English wasn’t polished enough to give a feature a try, so my first few features were written in Spanish and nobody at SS saw them.

Q: Of the filmed shorts which is your favourite and why?

A: “Numbers”, because of its great production value.

Q: And of those not filmed, which is your favourite?

A: Probably “The Tower of Wishes”. I love fantasy.

Q: Any other shorts in pre-production we should be looking out for?

A: An Irish filmmaker is trying to find financing for a supernatural thriller titled “The Touch”.

Q: Would you advocate writing short films, why do you think they are useful?

A: While I think features should be the main focus of those who aspire to write professionally, writing shorts on the side can definitely be useful. They can be completed in just a few days, which means the writer can get feedback from peers shortly after typing “fade out”. Objective feedback is key to identify sticking points and hone the craft, so it’s helpful to workshop short scripts on the side during the long months in which the writer works in isolation to finish a feature.

Also, if the short does well at film festivals and/or becomes viral, it can lead to working and networking opportunities.

Q: When it comes to Feature scripts, how do you approach structure in your scripts? Do you follow any particular method?

A: Yes, I follow a method which has been slowly evolving throughout the years. It’s a mix of advice I picked from books/articles about the craft, advice I got from working writers, tips I gathered from reading hot scripts, and a bit of my own half-baked theories about what works best.

The subject is too big for the scope of an interview but here are a few basics guidelines that help my process: The first act is roughly 25% of the script and sets up the conflict, the second act (50%) escalates the conflict, and the third act (25%) resolves the conflict. And conflict in my stories usually come from a character (protagonist) who must achieve something (goal) facing big resistance (obstacles/antagonist) or else something very bad will happen to him or someone he cares about (stakes).

Q: Same question for characters, yours are always vivid on the page, how do you go about these creations?

A: I do separate worksheets for the main characters where I write their bios, and defining traits. I also see if they fit any well known archetypes which I then research. I re-read these character worksheets a few times during the writing process, not to lose track of what makes them tick.

Q: What are your thoughts on structure models like Save the Cat and the like?

I’ve read lots of how-to books. Some were useful, some weren’t, but overall I think it’s a good habit to be an avid student of the craft.

Save the Cat is my favorite. While I don’t take everything Blake Snyder wrote as gospel (nor any other guru for that matter) he used to be a working writer so his advice comes from experience, and that’s a plus. Also, I write genre/popcorn movies so his method and my creative instincts align. A writer who, for example, likes European independent cinema might find Snyder’s method to be too formulaic and “hollywoody”. And that’s okay. It’s about finding what best works for you.

Q: What was the first feature you wrote and how did you get it out there? Did you query Producers, enter competitions, use Inktip, etc?

A: The first thing I ever wrote was a short story and my first feature was an adaptation/expansion of that story. It sucked big time so I didn’t shop it around. It was a learning experience, not an earning experience, but I’m okay with that.

Q: You are one of, if not the most, successful writers to use and contribute to SimplyScripts, how has the site helped you develop?

A: I think Pia has more produced credits than me, but thanks 🙂

SS and Moviepoet helped me a great deal. It’s hard for me to be objective about my own work, so getting objective feedback from peers has always been key in my learning process. Even more so when I was just starting out, and that’s when I discovered the site, which allowed me to get my work read and reap the benefits of joining a writers community.

Also, each time good news come my way, Don gives me a shout out on the site and that’s been helpful as well to make my work known (Thanks, Don!)

Q: There are a ton of people out there who offer coverage services, position themselves as guru’s etc, what your view on such services?

A: Nowadays these services are so many and varied that it’s hard to have one single view about all of them collectively. I’d say it’s a case by case basis and it depends of what’s being offered, at what price, and what are the credentials/experience of the guru. Based on that, I believe that some are helpful and some not.

Q: What are your thoughts on the business side of screenwriting, getting your scripts ‘out there’ and networking to make connections?

A: The most common pitfall (in which I fell into myself) is worrying about the business side of things prematurely. Networking and making connections becomes relevant only once the writer’s craft is polished enough to get industry people interested in his work. It usually takes many years and many scripts to reach that level, so until that happens, any time spent at networking events or sending out query letters is time better spent writing. There’s not much use in connecting with industry people, only to have them pass on the material because it’s not ready.

Once the writer can write at a professional level (or close), then I subscribe to the common view that he must be proactive in getting his scripts out there.

Q: If you’ve used services/sites like Inktip, SimplyScripts, The Blacklist, what’s your view on this type of model for screenwriters to get their scripts seen, and hopefully picked up?

A: I used Inktip and Simplyscripts for shorts and both sites helped me connect with filmmakers that responded to my work. So they’re definitely worth it. Never used them for features, though. And I’ve never used The Blacklist.

Q: Carnival ended up on the annual Blacklist as well, any interest since then/options etc?

A: The script was actually optioned before the Blacklist placement. By the time the list was published, there were already two producers on board collaborating with major agencies to try to find directors/financing. And I had already travelled to LA for a round of general meetings with industry people that had read the script. So the interest was already high and there wasn’t much room for the project to become hotter. Maybe the placement sped up some pending reads, but that’s hard go gauge. A couple of indy filmmakers did contact me to discuss potential projects, though.

Q: What are your thoughts on screenwriting competitions, obviously you’ve had a massive win with Page in 2014, but thoughts in general? Any other successes?

A: I think the contest route is a legitimate way in. I placed in Page and Trackingb and both helped my career in very meaningful ways. Some contests are solid and some don’t have industry relevance. A quick look at the success stories listed in a contest’s website, can let you know if their winners/finalists get traction with relevant industry players or not. I would advice entering only those that do, like Page and TrackingbThe Nicholl Fellowship is another one that’s definitely legit.

Q: Aside from the monetary prize from Page, what else has happened since?

A: Just in case, to avoid confusion, the Page script and the Blacklist script are one and the same (used to be titled “Three of Swords” but now is titled “Carnival”). Thanks to Page I met the producer who optioned the script. He had some interesting notes and I did like 10 drafts; the development process was very intense but also very rewarding because we ended up with a much stronger version. He then started sending out the script, another producer came on board and I had representation offers from 5 agencies.

Q: I believe that you were signed by CAA after winning Page, how has this been for you?

A: It’s been great. My agents circulated the script among production companies/studios and the script has gathered fans. I travelled to LA for a round of general meetings in which I got to know some wonderful people, and was offered the opportunity to pitch for writing assignments.

Q: I’ve always wondered, when you get asked to come to LA and do general meetings… who asks? And who pays for you to travel?

A: It’s usually the manager and/or the agent who tells the writer his work has had enough positive responses to warrant a trip and sets up the meetings. For a round of generals, it’s usually the writer who pays for the trip (that was my case). I heard of writers who were flown to LA by studios/production companies, but those were cases in which they had already been hired to write a specific project.

Q: So you have agents in CAA, do you have a manager as well and what’s the difference in your experience?

A: Yes, I have a manager as well.The manager gives general career advice, reads scripts and gives development notes, acting in general like a writing coach. The agent is more like a salesman; his job is to sell the writer’s material (not developing it) or put the writer in rooms where he can get hired for writing assignments. Also, managers can attach themselves as producers in their clients’ projects, while agents legally can’t.

Q: News broke in March that your script, Mayhem, is going into production. How did this script come about? Is it another spec or were you commissioned to write it?

A: It’s a spec I wrote back in 2010 which used to be titled “Rage”. Thanks to a contest placement back then, I signed with a couple of managers who then circulated the script to producers. It’s been a rollercoaster of good news/bad news ever since, and I had to do countless drafts to address notes from producers, director, actor, etc. But finally, everything came together recently and it’s happening.

Q: So what is Mayhem about and any idea when it’s likely to film?

A: It’s about a corporate law office that’s quarantined because of a virus that makes people act out their wildest impulses. Follows the story of a lawyer who is wrongfully fired on that day and must savagely fight for his job and his life.

It’s been shooting in Serbia for two weeks already. The director is posting cool updates on twitter (@TheJoeLynch) and instagram (thejoelynch).

Q: I think there’s a saying that you need to write something like seven feature scripts before one will be good enough to get sold, what was your golden number and do you agree with the sentiment?

A: Experience is a good indicator of skill, and the number of scripts written is a good indicator of experience. But I’d say it’s impossible to come up with a magic number because there are many other variables to factor in (like talent) which can’t be measured so easily. “Seven” doesn’t sound like a bad estimate, but in my case it was definitely more than “ten” (not sure about the exact number).

Q: What projects are you working on now and when can next expect to see your name on the credits?

A: I’ve recently completed a sci-fi/thriller script for director Marcel Sarmiento who’s working with producers to secure financing. Also working on an action/fantasy pitch with a production company and starting to outline my next spec. Don’t know if any of these will get to the screen one day, but let’s hope 🙂

Q: What’s the best and worse screenwriting advice you’ve been given?

A: The best: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

The worst: “Hollywood is too big and far away for you, focus on your country’s film industry instead”.

Now for a few ‘getting to know Matias’ questions

Q: What’s your favourite film? And favourite script, if they’re different.

A: Ha, it’s impossible to name just one. Can I cheat a little? “Avatar”, “The Matrix”, “The Dark Knight”.

Some unproduced scripts I really liked: “Medieval” and “Goliath

Q: Favourite author and book?

A: I think Stephen King is the author I read the most and liked most consistently.

Best book I’ve read in a while is “Ready Player One”.

Q: Beer or Wine (or something else)? And which variety?

A: Red Bull + Vodka 🙂

Q: Favourite food?

A: Burgers!

Q: Football team? Favourite player?

A: Not a football fan nowadays, but my favorite player is Messi. He’s a wizard.

Q: Any other interests and passions?

A: I used to play the electric guitar back in the day, maybe someday I’ll have time to get back to it. I like jogging/doing exercise, reading, videogames, and going out with friends.

Q: Born in Argentina, still living there? Any thoughts about moving to LA?

A: Yep, born and still living here. I think the next step for me is to start travelling to LA more often for meetings. Depending on how my career continues to evolve, I’ll decide about moving permanently.

Q: Any final thoughts for the screenwriters of SimplyScripts?

A: I still remember that day many years ago when I submitted my first script to the site. It was a short script written in broken English and everyone could tell right away I wasn’t a native speaker. Yet everyone was so helpful and encouraging, which helped me take the first step in a very long journey. So thanks SS friends, you’re good people (Except you, Bert. You’re pure evil).

About 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 www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

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