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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bethany – Indie Film Review by Anthony Cawood - post author Anthony Cawood

bethanyClaire (Stefanie Estes) and her husband, Aaron (Zack Ward), move back into her childhood home and things are looking up. But Claire quickly starts to experience odd sensations, semi-hallucinations and other general oddities.

She’s also having flashbacks to her childhood and her harridan of a mother, played with suitable zeal by Shannen Doherty, who terrorised her as a child.

Aaron is concerned for his wife’s mental health, increasingly so as the incidents and their effects become more intense and dangerous.

As an audience we’re also left wondering what’s going on… well I believe that’s the intention, but it’s pretty telegraphed really. So the surprise, when it comes, isn’t really one and it feels like a cheat.

I think the problem for Bethany is that it draws from a number of influences without differentiating itself or staking a claim to originality.

This is perhaps best illustrated in a shower scene, where Claire starts to pull hair out of the shower, and BOO a scary visage jumps out at her from nowhere – it may not be a direct lift but it certainly is a heavy nod to The Grudge and other J-Horror staples.

The final twist actually has you wondering more about the weird architecture of the home than the family tragedy that has been revealed.

Tom Green is in it too, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out why.


Watch on Amazon Streaming

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award-winning and produced screenwriter. He has sold/optioned four feature screenplays, and sold/optioned over forty short scripts, many of which have been filmed. Outside of his extensive screenwriting career, Anthony is also a published short story writer, interviewer and movie reviewer. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at

Friday, April 28, 2017

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

Yo-yo(3 pages in pdf format) by M.J. Hermanny

Bullying can backfire pretty badly…

Three pages. Not a single word of dialog, but a strict goose bumps guarantee:

You like horror? Then travel with us into the pages of MJ Hermanny’s Yo-Yo – a micro script that takes readers on a trip of horror, into the abyss of a wounded soul.

Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself or at least know someone who did. Being the outsider – the bullied one everyone laughs about – isn’t easy for anyone. Especially not teenagers. Life for them is awkward, as-is.

But what if those victims found a way to manifest all their accumulated pain and hate?

That’s the dilemma of 19 year old Ellen, Yo-Yo’s protagonist. Harassed and isolated, she ends up in a library where she pours over covers of horror DVD films. And the genre that sings its siren song to her isn’t surprising in the least. After all, when one suffers mental torment, the pain and unconscious longing for revenge proves a wonderful breeding ground for… whatever Ellen is about to find in those dark, dismal aisles.

It all starts out with a yo-yo. As the shadows deepen, Ellen’s encounter turns even more horrifying… building into an unholy agglutination of visuals that many will find themselves unable to face.

Sounds like the perfect blend of terror? For those who like stories that burrow under your skin, then trust me… Yo-Yo is! Just imagine the visuals of The Ring or Silent Hill – packaged into the ultimate creepy micro script.

If executed with solid special effects, Yo-Yo is guaranteed to be a jawdropper for film festivals. Pick this up before someone else does. And bring this demonic tale to life!

Budget: Low to medium. Some solid post or CGI required.

About the writer: Boasting an MA in Scriptwriting for Film, Theatre, TV & Radio, MJ Hermanny is an award winning writer, with shorts optioned and produced in countries as diverse as Croatia and Norway. Residing in sunny England, she is currently hard at work developing a series with the BBC Writersroom – as well as working on a number of features (including one low-budget horror and a fantasy adventure script.) Check out her blog, MJ herself can be reached via mjhermanny – AT – gmail!

About the reviewer: A German writer and computer scientist, Thorsten Loos is running his own software development company for a living. In his spare time, he primarily writes tales and scripts in the Science Fiction, Conspiracy and Paranormal genres. (Though he does drift into different genres with his shorts.) Thorsten’s currently working on episodes of an international TV series in development for a U.S. based production company. His pilot script Project Endolon made it to the semi finals of the Creative World Awards 2015, his pilot Mindwalker won ‘best TV Pilot’ in February at Wildsound Festival. His short script ‘The Wall In The Garden’ was recently optioned and is going to production in May. Want to learn more? Then reach out to him at loos.thorsten “AT”!

Read Yo-yo (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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

ScriptFest / Great American PitchFest – June 23 – 25 - post author Don

ScriptFest / Great American PitchFest is coming.

You can get 10% discount by visiting This discounted offer is only available until May 15. Just use the discount code WRITERJUDY10 for 10% off.

All Events to be held June 23-25, 2017 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport (2500 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505)

– Don

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Shovel – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Anthony Cawood

Shovel (9 pages, pdf format) by Mark Lyons

In need of extra money, a young boy shovels almost all the drives in his neighborhood

I consider myself a Genre writer, specializing in Horror and Near-Fi (that’s my term for Sci-Fi that’s just around the corner to reality.) But every now and again, I dip my toe into Drama.

Let me tell you: Drama’s hard. Really hard. It’s so easy to tumble into over-wrought cliché, creating caricatures, not characters. Then one gets bogged down in themes – losing sight of the story. So you try to write it now and again… only to swear off Drama every time.

Then you read something like Shovel: a story so effortless in its execution that it inspires you to try again. After it’s made you feel inferior, that is!

Shovel opens with young Raymond Dre, shoveling driveways in his rundown neighborhood. He clears all of them of snow… except for one. A house he purposefully leaves alone. It’s strenuous work for a kid, but at least Raymond’s free to concentrate. Everyone else is out at Church; there’s some sad to-do in town.

Later that evening, several neighbors stop by, offering Raymond payment for his labor. Surprisingly, Ray’s reluctant. He didn’t really do it for the money. And the neighbors aren’t just paying him as a commercial venture either… there’s something heavier weighing on their minds.

Raymond escapes the attention and heads back outside: intent to clean one last drive.

What follows is a master stroke of understated storytelling… one that brought an actual tear to my eye.

What makes Shovel so special? It’s a combination of several things. As a character, Raymond’s a wonderfully drawn character… organic, sympathetic and real. The subtle pace of the story blends with a great ending. Heart wrenching and warming in equal measures, Shovel strikes just the right balance – which pays off spectacularly.

If I haven’t made my opinion clear yet, this is one script you don’t want to miss. Custom-made for drama directors… Not to mention, festival wins.

Budget: Low. The only issue will be the snow. And that happens often enough – doesn’t it?

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a four-time award-winning screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, including ‘The Ephesian’, which won Best Drama at the 2015 Austin Revolution Film Festival (which also garnered him a Best Screenplay nomination), and was selected Best Drama for the Cinema Constant 2015. He also penned Best Film award-winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’ at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He was also nominated for a Best Screenplay award at the 2016 Action on Film Festival. Currently, Mark is teaming with writer Sharon Day and producer Justin Colon to co-produce the feature film ‘The Hay Men’, set to film in Summer, 2018. He can be reached at markielyons1107 (a) gmail

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at

Read Shovel (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, April 25, 2017

Feels Like Falling – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author LC

Feels Like Falling (14 pages, pdf format) by Eric Wall

An elevator operator finds his simple job becoming much more complicated when he tries to talk one of his building’s tenants out of an abusive relationship.

As film buffs, some scenes linger in our memories long after the lights come up. Remember when Kyle MacLachlan as Jeffrey Beaumont found the severed ear in Blue Velvet? Or when Jimmy Stewart as the wheelchair bound L.B. Jeffries in Rear Window aimed his binoculars at the apartment across the way? Now recall the unforgettable No Country For Old Men and the chain of events that followed Josh Brolin in the role of Llewellyn Moss after a fatal prick of conscience led him back to a dying man in the desert.

Of course Llewelyn should never have absconded with two million dollars, L.B. could simply have ignored the scream of a dying woman, and Jeffrey Beaumont should have never gone snooping into other people’s private affairs.

Sticking your nose into other people’s business can get you into a world of trouble.

On the flip-side: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Eric Wall’s character Marcus Kirby is a good man, a man of honor. Estranged from his wife he’s still as old fashioned and principled as his finely tailored suit. Marcus operates the elevator of a residential apartment block, and as such he is privy to some of the occupants’ daily trials and tribulations.

Enter, Sophie Gardner. On the outside she’s a confident and assertive young woman and dedicated teacher to her first grade charges. But appearances can be deceptive, or in this case revealing.

One particular day on the ride up in the elevator Marcus recognizes the tell-tale signs of domestic abuse. Though Sophie is determined to shrug it off and blame it on exuberant kids Marcus is well aware that David, Sophie’s husband, has a violent temper and a heavy hand to match. Indeed Marcus knows a thing or two himself about growing up in the hard school of knocks, and he knows just what it feels like to break free of the shackles of abuse.

Marcus tries his darnedest to impart some of his wisdom to Sophie:

Alright. Way I see it, you’ve
only got two choices. You can go up
there and spend the rest your life
trying not to look too afraid, or
talk too loud, or say the wrong
thing, or look the wrong way…

Sadly, Sophie’s like a lot of women caught in the cycle of abuse and it’s going to take more than a well intentioned pep talk for her to make the break. However, a break does come in the form of serendipity. When Marcus and Sophie next see one another Sophie’s in an ebullient mood, glowing with the news she’s pregnant. Finally the resolve she’s needed to escape David’s clutches.

And then, a shocking turn of events.

Sophie turns up dead. Deemed a Suicide.

But that’s not all. Did I mention David is a Police Officer – and a drunk to boot? Sophie’s apparently killed herself with her husband’s service revolver after first firing a shot into the floor? Who does that?

Marcus tells the investigating officer it’s not possible – Sophie would never take her own life. When he offers to provide a statement to that effect he is given short shrift and told they’re quite capable of running the investigation without him. It appears the police have closed ranks around one of their own.

And when David adds insult to injury:

She got what she deserved.

Marcus is now forced to make a decision which may have far reaching consequences.

Feels Like Falling examines the larger themes of power and corruption, miscarriage of justice, and vengeance. Inspired by a true life account and one of two entries tied for ‘Reader’s Choice’ on Simply Scripts One Week Challenge – Feels Like Falling is a suspenseful drama with a poignant message, and powerful dialogue.

Filmmakers, feel like falling on your feet and reaping the rewards? If you know what’s good for you you’ll do this one justice. Case closed.

Budget: Medium. Only two main characters (with strong supporting roles such as David), and the primary location – an elevator. But bear in mind – this one deserves a robust enough budget to be done right!

About the writer: Eric Wall is a New Jersey based screenwriter who has written several short scripts, two features and is at work on multiple TV specs. He can be reached at e_wall1498 “AT” yahoo!

About the Reviewer: L. 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 currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.

Read Feels Like Falling (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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jasper and Mimi Forever – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author Guest Reviewer

Jasper and Mimi Forever(5 pages, pdf format) by Jason K. Allen

The curious tale of Jasper and Mimi, two wild n’ crazy outcasts in love

When it comes to love – true love – opposites attract. Both in real life and the movies, too. We’ve all drooled jealously over successful couples like Beauty and the Beast, Shrek and Fiona, King Kong and Fay Wray or… Howard the Duck and Beverly? Okay, so the last one was a little questionable. But you get the funky drift.

So now readers have Jasper and Mimi Forever… introduced to them at midnight as Jasper wakes from the grips of a fierce nightmare! You know, the kind of midnight sweats that steals away your urge to sleep. Jasper recalls the dream and describes it to his true love Mimi, who rests soundly at his side. With a soft assuring voice, Mimi informs him gently – dearest Jasper, that’s all true!

In the word’s of The Twilight Zone’s iconic Rod Serling, imagine if you will: a private conversation between two lovebirds – of a very peculiar kind. This story is heartwarming, funny and yes – odd. Especially when there’s a vegetable involved for a certain body part. And here’s a clue: that’s not Jasper’s nose!

But far from gratuitous, Jasper and Mimi Forever is pure unique. And bound to get the attention of many directors and producers (much like writer Jason Allen’s other quirky tales). So warning: don’t let this one pass through your fingers. Or you’ll be having nightmares that will drench you in your sleep!

Budget: Low. One location, some Halloween props and – a carrot. A big carrot. Hopefully. If you’re feeling generous and cocky, that is.

About the Writer: Jason K. Allen is a writer and filmmaker from Nashville, Tennessee. His screenwriting credits include the short films AMERICAN SOCK, which won Best Screenplay at the 2014 San Diego Film Awards, and AUTUMN LOVERS, winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Artlightenment Festival in Nashville. He also wrote the feature film LUCKY FRITZ starring Julia Dietze (IRON SKY) and Corey Feldman. You can contact Jason at allen.jason.k (at) gmail. IMDB Credits

About the Reviewer: Debra Johnson is an award winning screenwriter. She currently has two shorts in pre-production, which were found on STS. For more information on Debra, visit her website at

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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.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Original Script Sunday for April 23, 2017 - post author Don

Welcome to Original Script Sunday for April 23rd. I present the scripts of the eleventh annual April One Week Challenge. The Topic was: Apocalypse (before, during or after). Genre was open.

I normally wait until the writer’s names are announced before posting these, however I thought I’d give any potential producer/director a sneak peek at these scripts as OWC scripts very often get snatched up.

– Don

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Psychos (Review) - post author Anthony Cawood

Three women receive a video message that documents their previous captivity. They compare notes about their abuse and it galvanises them into action of the revenge type. Who sent the videos is a mystery and why they now need to do something about it is beyond me – and them…

But anyway, they track down their abuser (very easily) and so ensues a cat and mouse, run around his house a lot sort of affair with him having the upper hand, then they do then…. ah who cares!

The plot here is paper thin, and certainly not something that will surprise you any, yes there is a twist but it’s telegraphed from the get-go so leaves you frustrated rather than impressed.

The film stars Angelica Chitwood, Daniele Ramos Cloutier and Melissa Elena Jones as the girls, aided and abetted by one of their boyfriends in the shape of Vince Peagler III, and with Aubrey Wakeling as the protagonist. The acting is variable and they are all willing enough, but…

This is an ultra-low-budget effort and everyone will have tried their absolute best here… but ultimately there’s not a compelling enough story to engage the audience and make you care about anything that’s going on.

Available streaming on: Amazon Streaming

About the reviewer: Anthony is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 2 features optioned and over 30 short scripts optioned, or purchased, including 8 filmed. Outside of his screenwriting career, he’s a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at

Friday, April 21, 2017

Prodigy – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Guest Reviewer

Prodigy (5 pages, pdf format) by Bill Sarre

In his twilight years, a teacher reminisces about one special student

“And so it stood, a warm and vivid patch in his life, casting a radiance that glowed in a thousand recollections.” – From the novel “Goodbye Mr. Chips” by James Hilton.

Prodigy, a script by veteran screenwriter Bill Sarre, casts a glowing radiance of its own. In the same vein as Goodbye Mr. Chips (as well as Mr Holland’s Opus and others), it tells a sentimental story about a beloved teacher in his waning years. In this case, the beloved teacher, a man named Ernest, is beyond “waning.” He’s 90 years old, and when we meet him he’s on his deathbed, reminiscing with a nurse who listens attentively while she does her best to make the frail old man comfortable.

His room is brimming with photographs, student photographs, taken over a lifetime of teaching, and although it’s clear that Ernest had high regard and affection for all of them (“I didn’t have my own kids,” he says, “so in a way, they became my children”), there’s one he’s especially fond of, a boy named Virgil. A prodigy.

When Ernest met Virgil the boy had issues. Serious issues. Abuse. Violence. And, ultimately, murder. The details were sketchy, even at the time, but six-year-old Virgil was found hiding under the stairs in the aftermath of the grizzly murder of his parents, and he never spoke another word after that.

Ernest rescued Virgil from this wretched existence. He took the quiet, damaged boy under his wing, and in time he found a way to break through to him. Music. The boy was a natural talent. Unfortunately, Ernest was not. But over the years, Ernest found ways to stoke the flames of Virgil’s musical genius. He found teachers, helped him enter competitions, and allowed the boy to spread his musical wings.

As Ernest says, “In the end, a teacher should learn to be part of a story’s beginning, but not the middle or the end. Allow them all to…fly away.”

Virgil did fly away. He went on to become a virtuoso pianist, touring the country, filling concert halls, and making records. Ernest watched the boy’s growing success with pride, but always from the sidelines. And now, as he lays dying, he tells the nurse, “I can think of no better way to go than having my children around me, with his music filling the air… and remember the joy I felt knowing I had once made a real difference.”

And at the very end, Virgil repays Ernest’s kindness with one last gift, but surprisingly it’s not only a gift of music.

It’s also a gift of words.

Prodigy has the two basic elements every indie filmmaker is looking for (or at least ought to be): first, it would be a fairly easy and inexpensive film to make. Second, and more importantly, it’s a film worth making. A story worth telling. Sentimental and poignant, it’s sure to please all audiences.

Budget: Fairly low.

About the writer: An award winning writer, Bill Sarre has had scripts place both finalist and quarter finalist with Page and Bluecat. Another short of his, The Grieving Spell, was recently grand prize winner of the London Film Awards. Bill can be reached at Bill.sarre “AT”

About the reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.

Read Prodigy (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.

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