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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.

2 Comments so far


KP Mackie
June 11th, 2015 at 12:23 am

Very powerful.
Terrific emotion that unfolds slowly. Subtle hints of what’s coming, and the unexpected emotion of being surprised.
Well done. 🙂


April 28th, 2017 at 11:23 am

Thank you very much, KP! It’s really appreciated!

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