Two grave diggers bond over their work
In its entirety, the world’s shortest novel runs just six words. SIX WORDS; words that relay so much – in so short a span – that more story’s simply not needed. Granted, the details are left to the reader. But six words paint the broad picture. Though not entirely accurate, the tale’s often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. And the novel itself reads like a lesson in brevity:
“For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.”
Succinct writing isn’t a gift, or just a useful trick of the literary trade. No – it’s an absolute must when writing for the screen. And good screenwriters learn the ropes quickly: de-flower your adjectives, obliterate your “wrylies.” As an art form, scriptwriting requires a scribe to be dead-on point at all times; strategically detailed in each word they write. And that’s what separates screenwriters from authors. You see, screenwriters don’t need three hundred pages to tell a tale. In fact, in the case of “On The Job Training”, Tim Westland needed only one.
You got that right. A single page. Top to bottom, left to right. Start to Fade Out and Finish. The whole script – in one page. As it opens, Westland’s story follows two men toiling away in a cemetery… absorbed in the task of digging a grave. We quickly learn their names, and ages. And dialogue fills in missing pieces. More aspects are quickly implied: one man is clearly more experienced at this work. His younger successor frets about performing well on the job. Yet it’s what hides in the shadows of sentences that really matters in the end. Resulting in a story that starts long before FADE IN, and lingers on a reader’s mind after Westland’s world FADES TO BLACK. A truly great story – and a prime example of a writer’s craft.
Production: Cast 3 – two grave diggers and one corpse. Location – Dirt. Budget: Minimal.
About the writer Tim Westland is an award winning writer whose many scripts have consistently place in the Semi/Quarter finals in Page, Bluecat, and Screencraft. His screenplay, OBeast, co-authored with frequent writing partner Rod Thompson, finished in the Top 10 of ScreenCraft’s 2017 Horror contest. OBeast is also a 2017 iHorror.com finalist. Tim is also the co-author of the acclaimed horror comic/graphic novel (and screenplay), Chasing the Dead, published by IDW.
About the reviewer: Rod Thompson is an award winning, produced screenwriter of both shorts and features. His tally includes one produced feature length film, four produced short films, a Table Read My Screenplay genre win for Best Drama, a BlueCat Quarter-finalist placing, two NAFF Quarter-finalists and one Semi-finalist placing.”Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com
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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.