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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hunting Grounds – Indie Film Review - post author Anthony Cawood

Hunting GroundsOkay, I admit it, I’m fascinated by man-beasts, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yowie… whatever it’s called in your neck of the woods.

So I put this film to the top of my review pile and settled down for and action-packed scarefest… hmmm.

I understand, I really do, low budget and you have to convince an audience that the guy in the fur suit is a real, scary, wild animal. Many low budget films will take time with the reveal, keep the monster in the shadows until the last moment so that people can’t see the zip.

But not with Hunting Ground, here the reveal is early, and repeated… and it does detract from the scare aspect as the suit isn’t remotely convincing.

The other problem, inherent with Bigfoot films, is that stories of Bigfoot encounters don’t generally involve violence and attacks, they appear to be (assuming they exist for a moment) shy and reclusive animals. It’s like someone making a horror film with a Panda as the monster.

All bad then?

No, not entirely.

I realised about forty minutes in, despite the monster suits and dubious acting, that it was kinda fun. Silly for sure, but fun too.

When the sustained attack on the cabin happens and the set is wobbling, furry arms are poking through every hole and the gore effects are amped to the max… well it was difficult not to be impressed with the chutzpah on display.

A for effort and F for fun!


Well not entirely


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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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome to the Machine – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author Guest Reviewer

Welcome to the Machine (6 pages in pdf format) by Dustin Bowcott

A Job Seeker looking to work for The Machine isn’t happy when she doesn’t get the job she wants.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Dalberg-Acton

Such is the theme of the great metaphorical script Welcome to the Machine, by talented writer Dustin Bowcott.

This grisly tale starts out with something we’ve all been through: a simple job interview.

A young woman named Angela waits nervously while Teufel, her potential boss, looks over her application. Lucky for her, she gets the job. Once Angela begins her job training, however, things take a… bizarre turn.

You see, in this world, a huge monster exists who must be fed to be appeased. And this monster is hungry… for human flesh. So Angela and Teufel head down to the cave and watch as hordes of people are herded into the creature’s mouth.

Images of Nazi Germany come to mind as Angela sees someone from her past, about to be fed to the monster’s cavernous maw. Will she be a hero and rescue the man from certain death? Or turn her back on humanity and embrace the beast?

The surprise comes when Angela finds out what job she’s really being offered. Spoiler alert: it’s not quite what she (or the reader) thinks.

Just know that the end highlights that age-old question: how far would YOU go to get ahead?

Budget: High, but still possible, and worth the bang for the buck. Lots of actors (though only three speaking parts) and some CGI or other effects for the monster. But a savvy director could probably make this for less, though there will still be some cost attached.

About the Writer: Dustin Bowcott is a self employed microbe retailer and father of four boys and a girl. He has enjoyed writing since the day he read his first novel. For Dustin, writing is something he has to do, when not writing, he’s thinking about writing and will absorb himself into multiple projects at one time. When he gets tired of writing one thing he moves onto another and has been known to work on three different stories in one day, writing for sometimes 12 hours straight and, on occasion, even longer. Dustin can turn his hand to any genre and has just finished first draft of a new children’s novel. Dustin is a BBC Writer’s Room finalist and a Shore Scripts finalist both in 2014. He is a produced and optioned writer, and has recently turned his hand to production, having produced his first short film with another in the pipeline that should be completed this year. Want to see what else he has in store? Give him a shout-out at dustin7375 “AT” gmail.

About the Reviewer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website ( offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at and follow Mitch 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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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

Balancing Act (14 pages in pdf format) by Jason Allen

You think balancing rocks is easy? Think again!

A mockumentary in the vein of Best in Show, Spinal Tap and more…

Rocks. What mundane fragments of Nature! Found across the globe, in so many shapes and so many colours, their uses are positively endless. People have built walls with them, collected them for their own pleasure, and competed to see who can skip them the furthest across ponds and lakes.

They really are the most versatile objects in the world. So why not make art with them as well?

Odell Jenkins, 42, asks that very question and pursues it with such vigour that his entire life becomes devoted to the skill of stacking rocks.

Written mockumentary style, Balancing Act follows Odell as he declares his passion for his art. And explores his most memorable moments: from meeting his wife Jenny, to the appearance of mysterious symbols suspected of being a message from aliens. Code written into rocks – from the sky!

Sure, Odell may be obsessed – but he’s also a reflective and humble man who takes his art seriously. A simple soul who knows his purpose – and desires to make his mark on the world.

As a result, Balancing Act is more than a story about rocks. It’s also a moral about balancing life. The tale of a man who wants to be inspired and wants to inspire, as well.

Like any of us, Odell is seeking the answers to the universe’s biggest questions… under whatever rock they may hide.

With a tongue-and-cheek tone, this short bursts with subtle wit. Highly amusing and entertaining, Balancing Act elevates a humdrum topic – all the way to the stratosphere.

Why should you choose Balancing Act? Well, Odell’s down-to-earth personality will resonate well with audiences. And if that doesn’t convince you, here’s one more reason to place on the pile:

This is a script with heart and humour. Deftly moving between parody and drama, it’s a ‘balancing act’ in and of itself . Compelling as much as diverting, Balancing Act’s is a thought-provoking piece indeed.

Budget: While locations are plentiful, the number of characters is limited. If you’re willing to put the money in, the production will be well worth the final creation.

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. See IMDB for his complete credits:

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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.

About the Reviewer: Faith Rivens is an aspiring author and filmmaker. New to the business, storytelling is a passion born innately within her. It doesn’t matter the genre, or the medium. What matters is the story woven within. Her first two books in the Iníonaofa Chronicles, Eléonore and Heralding are available on Amazon. Want to drop Faith a line? Reach out to her at Or, follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jessup – Short Script Review – In Production! - post author Anthony Cawood

Jessup (pdf format) by Mark Lyons is in production…

…as a Senior Thesis Film Project and they need a little help finishing the project. If you have some spare coin, that would excellent!

After an outburst at work, a young man obsessed with control is ordered to see a therapist, who might just be as equally manipulative as he is.

Optioned and in production

As screenwriters, we’re constantly told to “show, don’t tell”. And that talking heads should be avoided like the plague.

Well, someone also once said that “rules were made to be broken.” Mark Lyons’ Jessup does that – in spades. It’s a script with just two characters. A verbal fencing match, across a desk.

And it’s that dialogue which makes these one worthy. As uncomfortable and disquieting as it may be.

Meet twenty-something Jessup: malcontent extraordinaire. He’s been a disruptive influence at his workplace. But he’s got talent worth retaining. Thanks to that one saving quality, Jessup earns himself a trip to the company psychologist – instead of the unemployment line.

An experienced head-shrinker, Ronald Simplot’s a piece of work himself. In his forties, he’s seen it all – and Jessup’s manipulative tricks are an open page. As the conversation between the two morphs from pleasantries to battle, Simplot lays it all on the line. Jessup’s a whiny little brat. One that deserves a major spanking. His career may force him to talk to losers like Jessup… but there’s no reason he can’t tell it like it is. He laces into the youngster; refusing Jessup’s request for a “psychological break.” And he tells the boy just what he thinks of him – revealing a surprisingly sadistic side…

But battles of wits are fluid. And how quickly tables can turn. Who will win in this fight? Doctor or Patient? And who are we rooting for, anyway?

If you like your stories with multiple shades of gray, then Jessup is ideal. Crackling dialogue imbued with tension. A subversive power struggle – and an unexpected plot twist. Give this one a read. Unless you have delicate sensibilities!

Pages: 10

Budget: Pretty cheap to film: limited locations and a cast of two.

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 ‘Lords and Harvesters’, 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 over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of his screenwriting career, he is also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Film links and details of his scripts can be found at AnthonyCawood.Co.UK.

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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, May 1, 2017

Tempest Road – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author LC

Tempest Road (11 pages in pdf format) by Steven Clark

Three years sober, a father must deal with the reality that his son is transgender.

There are some things we just don’t talk about in polite company, right? Wrong.

If you’re a writer, nothing’s off limits. In fact it’s a part of the writer’s and filmmaker’s brief to shine the spotlight on difficult and taboo subjects, to challenge beliefs and stereotypes, expose rights and wrongs, educate, enlighten, and of course entertain.

We are proud to put under the spotlight the subject of gender dysphoria, more commonly known as: ‘transgender’. Put simply, transgender people believe they were born in the wrong body. Those affected are often sent on a painful and daunting road to self-discovery, and in the process stigmatized and held up to public ridicule.

Films such as: Boys Don’t Cry, Ma Vie En Rose, Tomboy, all examine the issue of gender confusion and identity from the point of view of the child. Writer Steven Clark takes a different approach with his aptly titled: Tempest Road, telling the story from the parents’ point of view.

For all intents and purposes, characters Ashley and Gary Broussard, a couple in their mid-thirties, represent ‘normal’ middle-class America. They enjoy a comfortable life – nice house, two cars parked in the garage… We assume they’re doing pretty well. When we meet them however, they’re midway through a heated argument, each of them doggedly trying to convince the other that they’re right and the other is wrong.

The point of contention? Their son Charlie, who believes: God messed up and made him a boy. Ashley is supportive of Charlie no matter what, in fact she’s aware of the potential and dire consequences a lack of acceptance could have on their child. Gary however, is having none of it. He’s embarrassed, worse still he claims Charlie is ruining their family. Charlie should be playing with basketballs and footballs not dresses and dolls. He’s a boy, that’s what God intended him to be. But Ashley thinks otherwise.

So, how does Gary cope? The only way he knows how, of course. The reformed alcoholic storms out of the house and heads straight for his local watering hole. Along the way he encounters a couple of people who may or may not inadvertently set him on the right path – one of them a rather attractive woman, the other a highway patrol cop.

Tempest Road is a thought provoking and intelligently told tale which avoids preaching and never veers into melodrama or histrionics. Instead it challenges beliefs on a delicate subject and poses questions to its audience, not the least of which is: Can acceptance, tolerance and love triumph over ignorance. Steven Clark also avoids a pat happily ever after denouement, instead offering us a final and satisfying message of hope.

Filmmakers: Take the right route to success with – Tempest Road.

Budget: Reasonable. A handful of locations – but as with most straightforward (hard hitting) drama, this is not a budget buster…

About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.

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 Tempest Road

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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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