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Friday, March 30, 2018

Kill Your Demon – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author David M Troop

Kill Your Demon by Dena McKinnon

A troubled man sets out to kill a Demon.
His only problem: the Demon happens to be a Man of God. Or is he?

            JON (V.O.)
Might as well be written in Holy Scripture
that free men have the right to bear arms.

     HANDS put the Glock back together like second nature.

            JON (V.O.)
Never was one to much argue Scripture, but
neither did I ever have much use for a weapon.

     Hands feed bullets into the clip one at a time.

            JON (V.O.)
Until the demons came.

This is just a sampling of the to-die-for dialogue in the opening moments of Kill Your Demon – the newest thriller by screenwriter/filmmaker Dena McKinnon. The script is an intelligent blend of classic noir and psychological thriller – with a dash of supernatural horror. In other words, this one has everything.

Our protagonist Jon is convinced he’s not only seen an actual, straight-from-Hell Demon, but they’ve also conversed and – on numerous occasions – played a friendly game of Scrabble in the social hall of Jon’s church, no less.

How is this possible? It seems the Demon has taken on the appearance of Bishop Tom, a man of the cloth: black suit, white collar, three Hail Mary’s…. the whole package deal. Devilishly sneaky, to say the least.

But can Jon’s perceptions be trusted? After all, he is taking three prescribed medications. Maybe something’s counteracting – in nasty ways?

As the script begins, Jon has appointed himself the official demon-slayer of The Holy Redeemer Church. Like all good Christians, he sets out for community game night with his Bible in one hand and a handgun in the other.

Ultimately, Jon and Bishop Tom find themselves in a showdown over a Scrabble Board. Jon aims his gun at the demon’s belly under the table and waits for the right moment to strike.

Will Jon slay the beast, or murder an innocent priest in cold blood?

Kill Your Demon successfully mixes elements from several genres together for one helluva-good script. Jon’s voice over dialogue is ripped from the pages of a Mickey Spillane detective novel. The words are so gritty, you can hear the sandpaper in Jon’s voice. The Scrabble board standoff is as tense as any Wild West gunfight: two gunslingers with itchy trigger fingers… with the balance of Heaven and Hell at stake. The twist ending’s so good it’s evil. And missing the opportunity to direct this one? In our minds – that would be a sin.

Budget: Moderate. One or two simple FX. A social hall/ rec center location.

About the Writer: Dena McKinnon has had four shorts produced. One of her shorts, The Box, directed by Sascha Zimmermann, has racked up numerous awards and has screened at Comic-Con. Dena has optioned one feature, Doggone, a buddy script cowritten with Kevin Lenihan. Currently, Dena has one feature in production, The Last Call, with Leo-PR, and is writing on assignment for an undisclosed TV producer. Check out Dena’s IMDB Credits. She can also be reached at girlbytheshore (a) hotmail.

Read Kill Your Demons (6 pages in 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.

About the reviewer:  David M Troop has been writing since he could hold a No.2 pencil. In 2011 he began writing short films for and His produced short scripts include INSOMNIAC and THE DINER. Born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, Dave now resides in Schuylkill Haven with his wife Jodi and their two lazy dogs Max and Mattie. He can be reached at dtroop506 (a) gmail.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Dear Abby – Short Script Review (available for production) - post author Marnie

Dear Abby by Ashley Hamilton

Haunted by tragedy, a young woman struggles to return to normalcy.

It’s common to take for granted just how easy some of us have it. We pass folks in the store, on the street, or even have brief encounters without knowing what struggles some people may be going through. Every person has a story, and some of those stories are tragic.

Twenty-five year old, Abby Miles has experienced tragedy. As a result, she suffers from a variety of mental issues, and it’s held her back. But she has worked hard, and is determined to push through it. Abby is a strong female protagonist, who courageously decides to make up for lost time and attend college, even reside in a dorm. Her new roommate, Becky however, makes a snap judgment based on Abby’s age and appearance. She relays her thoughts to a friend:

She’s sooo weird!…. And Old!

Just take off. Be nice tho.

She dresses like an Amish man. OMG

When Becky leaves for the night, we watch as Abby’s fears surface and her emotional issues fight to take over. You’ll find yourself wondering, is she just too far gone to have any kind of normal life? Is she delusional? Is she haunted by her past, or is it really coming back to get her? Abby’s strength will make you root for her, her struggle will make you sympathize. She is complex, and troubled…and you’ll find yourself just wanting her to be okay.

Mental illness is a silent struggle, and ABBY portrays that beautifully. This is a short drama that offers an excellent opportunity for a female lead to showcase many sides of herself.

Budget: This can be filmed on a very low budget, in basic locations like a bedroom.

About the Writer: Ashley Hamilton is attached to direct and star in the horror film Gothic Harvest.

Read Dear Abby (7 pages in 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.

About the Reviewer: Marnie Mitchell-Lister has creative A.D.D. Some of her writing can be read here: Some of her photography can be seen here:

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Role of the Dice – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author LC

The Role of the Dice by Dave Lambertson

The fate of two couples is determined by a single roll of the dice.

Couples game night. It’s very much a tradition for some. And no – we’re not referring to some kinky type of seventies Key Party, or Twister played in the buff. We’re talking about a board game that is an institution to most, one that’s been around since the nineteen-thirties – the classic game of Monopoly.

Game nights can be great fun. There’s nothing like combining a healthy dose of friendly rivalry while cultivating memories and bonhomie with good friends. Cracking the caps off a few cold ones, opening a bottle of wine, snacking on some appetizers. Then sit back and let the games begin. Of course, there’s the little matter of winning being a whole lot more fun than losing, not to mention playing fair – in life, just as in the game.

In The Role Of The Dice, our hosts for the night are Chuck and Hannah, their guests, well to do friends Demetri and his heavily pregnant wife Stephanie. Expertly presiding over the entire affair is writer David Lambertson.

Remember I mentioned ‘fun’ and ‘playing fair’?  Straight off the bat our host Chuck doesn’t appear to be enjoying much of either.  To say he’s in a bad mood is an understatement – the words ‘grudge match’ instantly come to mind. But why, we wonder? Well, Chuck’s got his reasons. While out on patrol today (Chuck’s a cop) he discovered a little wheeling and dealing going on behind his back, and he’s about to exact revenge.  Exactly what he saw we’ll leave up to you to find out… We will say, how he enacts justice, is just as captivating as why.

Equally captivating is the skill with which writer David Lambertson spins this very clever yarn by juxtaposing the action with the moves of the Monopoly game. We watch as with every roll of the dice Chuck’s rage intensifies, and with each juicy revelation the subsequent plays on the Monopoly board mimic his state of mind – as do the escalating tensions of the other players around the table.  Mind games, double entendre, (Chuck’s first weapons of choice) – until it becomes patently obvious that Chuck has the monopoly over all of the players at the table, and that the game is about to take a deadly turn.

One of two entries tied for Reader’s Choice Simply Scripts One Week Challenge, The Role Of The Dice is a skillfully written and well plotted thriller that’s already proven to be a crowd favourite.

Filmmakers: Want to invest in something that’s a sure fire winner? Don’t leave this one to Chance, and Do Not Pass Go, it’s time to make your move. You never know, this might just be money in the bank.

Budget: Minimal. Get a board game, good actors – a little bit more – and you’re done!

About the writer, Dave Lambertson: I took up writing rather late in life having already been retired before I put pen to paper (okay – finger to computer key) for the first time.  My favorite genres to read and write are dramedies and romantic comedies. In addition to this short, I have written four features; The Last Statesman (a 2015 PAGE finalist and a Nicholl’s and BlueCat quarterfinalist), The Beginning of The End and The End (a PAGE Semi-Finalist). Taking Stock (a drama) and a new comedy – “Screw You Tube”. Contact Dave via his website

Read The Role of the Dice (12 pages in 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.

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.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Original Script Sunday for March 25, 2018 - post author Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are seventeen original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Friday, March 23, 2018

Interview – Joey Tuccio from Roadmap Writers - post author Anthony Cawood


Road Map WritersI recently caught up with Joey and asked him a ton of questions about Roadmap Writers – he was good enough to take some time and provide answers and some great insights.

Thanks, Joey!


Q: First up, how about a little bit of background on the man behind Roadmap Writers, how did you get into the industry?
A: I used to be an assistant at a company called Bold Films (that did movies like Drive, Whiplash and Nightcrawler) and part of my job was to turn away unsolicited writers/submissions. It was clear from most of the writers’ approaches that many had zero idea on how the industry works and how to put their best foot forward. So me and my team wanted to create something that helped writers get the lay of the land by working with execs in the industry that develop and sell material for a living.

Q: How would you describe Roadmap Writers to a new writer or producer?
A: Roadmap is an educational hub for writers to connect with and learn from hundreds of executives on our roster. Our monthly programs serve as stepping stones to help writers create the strongest portfolio and pitching materials possible. Our programs are feedback-driven and put the writer in immersive and interactive learning environments with the goal of making them competitive in the marketplace.

Q: You have helped over 40 writers get signed up to agencies, do you see this as a key success criteria?
A: Absolutely. For us, our goal is to equip writers with the experience and knowledge needed to get the attention of entertainment industry professionals. Working with writers is our passion, so when we’re able to help a writer get signed, it’s the ultimate reward for us. It’s such a great feeling and why we’re so fired up to do what we do.

Q: You’ve also a few writers optioned too, any close to going into production that we should be watching out for?
A: Yes. Roadmap has worked with production company Route One Entertainment twice on an annual contest where the winning script will be produced by them. Keep watching the trades for those announcements!

Q: And what was it like with the first few? Validation?
A: It’s not really validation for us because we know that we know what we’re doing. It’s more validation for our community to know that the industry is not a cold and distant place sitting on top of a mountain. It’s accessible if done right.

Q: Of these successes which are your proudest of, or most pleased with?
A: I always love to see success stories for the underdogs (i.e. diverse writers, writers that don’t live in LA, etc). I especially like to see writers of an older age getting traction because it’s proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Q: There are many other players in the training market these days, what do you think differentiates RW?
A: We really pride ourselves in working with what we call career writers and not hobbyist writers. We take the time to understand the writer as an individual and strategize to put them in front of the executives and literary reps that speak to their writing goals and style. We want to work with writers who are willing to put in the time and effort to master their craft and take advantage of every opportunity we have. We consistently encourage writers in our programs to audit other pitch and feedback sessions so that they can still learn from the exchanges and conversations between other writers and executives. We also don’t want to work with EVERY single writer trying to break in. That’s impossible to manage and prevents Roadmap from being a cold, assembly-line machine like so many other places. We have turned a number of writers away from using our programs. We only want to work with writers that want to do this as a career. Not writers that want to be famous in 24 hours. We only want to work with writers that we would feel comfortable putting in front of execs.

Q: You describe yourself as a training service, but you also offer pitch service, mentoring etc, can you give us a brief run down of the paid services?
A: We give writers a number of different resources to grow in their craft. Our pitch classes give writers an opportunity to practice pitching industry professionals at top management and production companies. The feedback they receive allows them to make changes to strengthen their pitch and identify ways to maximize effectiveness. For writers looking for more hands-on work to elevate their script we offer month long mentorships with executives who will help to develop and provide detailed feedback to the writer on their material.

Q: And what about the RW Network, how does that work?
A: The Roadmap Writer Network is our monthly program designed to give writers a comprehensive overview of a variety of Roadmaps education offerings. The RW Network includes one Open Pitch Session – Verbal or Written to an industry executive. Writers also participate in a 5-Minute Elevator Pitch to 3 execs in an online roundtable setting. Some of our past elevator pitch sessions included execs from Dark Trick Films, Original Film, Rumble Films and Lawrence Bender Productions. Writers also receive 4 Educational/Interactive Webinars covering a wide range of screenwriting & industry topics. All webinars are recorded so if you can’t attend live, you still get the recording. Writers also get a private logline review with Roadmap’s Director of Writer Outreach and a group pitch prep webinar with literary manager Chris Deckard of Fictional Entity.

Q: And any free content or tasters available for people to experience RW?
A: Definitely. We host free webinars sessions typically once a month on a variety of different topics. For example, we recently had a free webinar on Exploring TV Diversity Initiatives: Why We Need Them that was hosted by an exec from AMC Networks.

Q: There are a lot of people competing for aspiring screenwriter’s limited money, from guru’s, through coverage services, and a plethora of competitions. What makes RW a good investment?
A: We differentiate ourselves by bringing literary reps and executives into the educational process. Writers are learning directly from those working in the industry. We also know that transparency is paramount and while others services/competitions talk in vague circles we pride ourselves in being direct and candid with our writers. Our reputation with industry professionals is what makes us an invaluable resource. So maintaining the highest level of openness with our writers is extremely important to us. Lastly, our main goal is to try to get writers out of our programs (by providing them with enough tools and executive allies that they are ready to conquer the world without us!) and not feel like they have to stay in programs forever. We tell writers in our Top Tier programs that the main mandate is that we want writers out of the programs as fast as possible.

Q: And what are your thoughts on the plethora of competitions out there for screenwriters, RW run a few too… are any actually useful in careers terms?
A: I think competitions can be very helpful for a writer to get more industry exposure for themselves and their material. I think there are a handful of competitions that are doing things at a very high level. My advice to writers is to always look at the success stories of the competition they are looking to enter. What have they done to help further the career of its past entrants? Who are their judges? Identifying those things can help you determine the quality of the competition and make an informed decision.

Q: And what changes have you seen in the industry since you started?
A: The desire to find diverse voices is very real and has increasingly become part of the conversation when speaking with execs and literary reps.

Q: What future developments are in the pipeline for RW?
A: We’ve got some great new executives and companies that we’re bringing into the fold which will help increase the reach and access for our writers. We’re also looking to do an overhaul of our current writing competitions with the goal of generating even more opportunities for writers. And of course, we are always refining our programs based on writer feedback to make sure our offerings are the best they can be.

Q: Any advice in general for the aspiring screenwriters on Simply Scripts in terms of writing more saleable scripts and breaking in?
A: Never chase the trend. Write a story that speaks to something you are passionate about. Don’t forget that your characters are everything. Let us inhabit your story and your world through them and experience the fears and vulnerabilities that we has people are afraid to face or acknowledge. Also, I always tell writers who are newer to writing to look on scripts on I often host free opening page analysis training programs to writers and if it’s clear they don’t know how to format, I direct them to Simply Scripts so they can learn from scripts that have actually been produced. Also, when pitching or networking remember that you are human first and a writer second. Execs don’t want robots. They want human beings they can relate to and work with for years and years.

Okay, now for some getting to know Joey questions…

Q: Fave movie?
A: Jurassic Park

Q: Fave script?
A: The Spectacular Now

Q: Best and worst screenwriting advice you’ve had/heard.
A: Best Advice: “Have 10 different friends read your script and ask them to describe it back to you to make sure the movie in your head is the movie on the page.”
Worst Advice: “It’s okay if it’s not on the page. We’ll fix it on set.” Needless to say that is a recipe for disaster.

Q: Fave food?
A: Grilled cheese sandwich with chicken.

Q: Fave drink?
A: Vanilla Latte

Q: Fave thing to do outside of RW and screenwriting related stuff?
A: I’m obsessed with dogs. I’m the dog father to two gorgeous pit bulls, Piper and Gilly. I work a lot with a few local LA dog recuse shelters as well as being on the board of one, and am always happy to help a dog find a loving home. Anthony, do you want to adopt a pit bull?

Q: Any final words of advice to the aspiring writers out there?
A: Trust your gut. Know that this business is built on relationships so doing everything you can to build them.

Once again, thanks to Joey for taking time out of his busy schedule for the interview.


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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cold Smoke by John Staat (short script available for production) - post author Steve Miles

Cold Smoke by John Staats

A ski patrol rookie finds the lure of cold smoke an irresistible temptation. It pays to listen to the professionals.

How about something a little different for the new year? 

For most, the thought of breaking trail up a snowbound mountainside only to slide back down again is one seldom dwelled upon.

But for a dedicated few, winter in the mountains is the sweet soul-food of life itself, and every storm pure mana from Ullr.

John Staats’ Cold Smoke embraces not only those few but does so with a virtual reality script. It’s a little different to what some may be used to, yet the simple storyline and crisp writing leave no doubt as to the writer’s intent.

We join a trio of ski patrollers on a dawn mission for fresh tracks. Rookie patroller, Brownie, leads the way, breaking trail under the watchful gaze of veterans Squat and Buckster. A breathless hike later and they’re staring into Hidden Canyon and two feet of pristine powder.

Brownie, with his youthful energy and cocksure approach, thinks he’s got it all figured out. But the others are soon to warn him to the finer points of mountain safety. Beneath the surface lurks a greater danger. One that no amount of experience or caution can ever fully predict.

Yet for Brownie, like countless others before him, temptation proves too great. With the call of cold smoke ringing in his soul their warnings are quickly forgotten and Brownie soon discovers that one wrong turn can (literally) bring down a whole mountain of trouble. Will Brownie live to see Taco Tuesday? Or did the rookie just call last run?

Cold Smoke is a great short script for an experienced filmmaker looking to try their hand at a new technique, or even a public body looking for an entertaining and informative way to educate the next generation of skiers and snowboarders in backcountry travel. Cold Smoke puts you right there on the mountain with fun characters and an insight that could make for an exciting and practical piece of film making.

Cold Smoke is based off an actual event whereas the character Squat was the author, John Staats. The VR format is a new frontier that he ventured into on his own free will.

About the writer: John Staats currently resides in Tucson, Arizona, after living in resort and old mining communities throughout the Rocky Mountains. A former professional ski bum and current safety manager, John writes for a creative outlet and hobby. He has completed three features and a multitude of shorts that can be found on ScriptRevolution. His feature Impasse has also been published as an e-book on Amazon. John can be contacted at jestaats(a)hotmail.

Read Cold Smoke (10 pages in 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.

About the reviewer: Steve Miles started writing scripts around five years ago after realizing that his social life was vastly overrated. He enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit – from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of plaid and uses a calculator for the most basic of sums. Check out more of his work at

Monday, March 19, 2018

Unrelated – Short Script Review (Sold!) - post author Guest Reviewer

Unrelated by Pia Cook

SOLD! (script no longer available)

A young man presents his new fiance to his family – only to uncover a horrible secret

Of all shared human experiences, love is the most compelling. How many memorable stories are cast around that traditional tale! You know the one I’m talking about: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy proposes to girl, boy finds out that girl is his sister. Wait, hang on just a sec!

Easy and breezy like its characters, Unrelated tells the story of a young man’s quest to find “the one”, a pursuit continually thwarted by the unending sins of his father’s past.

As Unrelated opens, our hero Stan is introduced as a young lad with a dreamer’s perspective. Giddy with newly discovered love, he presents newly minted fiancé Tilda to his parents at a family barbeque. His mother Lisa is pleasantly surprised. But father Hank – a flirtatious man with roving eyes – cannot abide by the news. For some mysterious reason…

All of Stan’s hopes for a future are dashed when Hank reveals the horrid truth: that Tilda was born of an affair he had with her mother. In other words, Stan and Tilda are brother and sister!

Needless to say, Stan is forced to foreswear Tilda and start again. And so begins a long pursuit to find a female whose lineage is not tied to his own… a woman to whom Stan is unrelated.

A well spun narrative with a clever resolution, Unrelated is a subtly subversive tale, not to mention an easy film to make: only three locations set in one home and a small cast of characters. What’s even more important is this story is one that resonates with a wide audience, relatable to the human experience of love.

This script is not one to pass on. Not if you want to wow them at festivals!

Budget: Very low. Just invest in some good actors.

About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook is director of the short film Them That’s Dead and writer of produced feature films Finders Keepers: The Root of All Evil and Blackout. She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written over sixty short screenplays and ten features. She can be reached at gatortales – “AT” – gmail.

Read Unrelated (5 pages in 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.

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.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Original Script Sunday for March 18th - post author Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are fifteen original scripts for your reading pleasure.
– Don

Friday, March 16, 2018

Noob – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Hamish

Noob by James Barron

An alien-made artificial intelligence faces its greatest challenge: teaching a cantankerous, technology-averse 80-year old human how to work an iPhone.

Old people vs technology: it’s a perennial battle of the ages. And as technology gets more and more advanced, it ain’t gonna get easier any time soon!

Which doesn’t mean one can’t have multiple laughs at its expense…

That’s exactly what James Barron’s satirical Noob aims to do. Lead character Henry’s a grizzled war vet – the kind of guy who thinks physical prowess proves a man’s worth. So when his daughter buys him an iPhone, he struggles to understand the basics – and we mean really “basic”… like turning it on.

Frustrated by failure, the old man’s grief is multiplied when his wife suggests getting help from experts. But Henry’s determined to lone wolf this operation. At first, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea – Henry calls the correct number for his queries. But then he accidentally changes the language to Spanish. Qué desastre!

Already confused, Henry’s utterly baffled when the weather suddenly changes and a large metallic craft appears. He’s being abducted! So it seems.

As it turns out, his abductor is a computer sent by a technologically advanced species to observe human behaviour for academic reasons – and poses no danger to Henry’s health.

But Henry poses a great threat to the computer…

…because he thinks it’s the Apple support system! And while he didn’t know how to work an iPhone, he certainly doesn’t understand the requests the AI makes – leading to a massive series of escalating communication breakdowns.

Threatening the poor bot’s circuit-sanity.

Hilariously ironic with a brilliant payoff, Noob is a clever commentary of the universal love-hate relationship we have with technology. It’s guaranteed to have everyone laughing – with or without the Genius Bar!

Budget: Okay, there’s a bit of FX called for here. But nothing a touch of post or CGI can’t handle.

About the writer: James Barron is a former law student turned screenwriter who loves to write comedy along with the occasional horror/thriller.

Read Noob (11 pages in 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.

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp (a) gmail. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

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