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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Original Script Sunday for September 30, 2018 - post author Don

Over on the Unproduced Scripts page are thirteen! original scripts for your reading pleasure.

Also, if you anonymously submit an original screenplay you’ve written, if there isn’t an email address to contact you, it just gets deleted.

– Don

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Little Bit of History – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

So, before we get into today’s topic, I wanted to share a little background about Rick and me and how we started writing together.  I mean, you can obviously take the shortcut route and just read about us on our Writers page, but that’s the Reader’s Digest version.

We both were writing short film scripts for submission to a peer-review site called Movie Poet (R.I.P. to this great site), where every month a different topic was presented for you to write short script of up to five pages (and no more).   It had a very dedicated following and there were some extremely talented writers on that site.  I still run across some of these writers on other sites now, primarily Simply Scripts, another great peer review site (and free!).

One day — April 13, 2013, to be exact — I got an email from Rick asking me to read a series of two page scripts he had written.  This was to be the first of 1,316 emails (to date) that we have exchanged about scripts and other related matters (gmail does save every email you’ve ever written, I’ve discovered).

I gave him some feedback, he thanked me and that was that, or so I thought.  After a few months break, we connected again and I helped him with some notes and story ideas on his feature “Taking the Reins” (FYI, producers, this is a great script — ask Rick for a read!).  Then, in January, 2014, we committed to writing a feature together from scratch, and out of that came a great feature script (in my total unbiased opinion) called “According to Plan.”  It took about four months and when we finished, we sent it around, got a couple of reviews on the Black List, and put it on Simply Scripts (it’s still there, by the way, if you want to read it) but I thought it was one of those scripts where we thought we had written this great script (we had), but like 99% of most scripts written, it was destined to collect dust in the interwebs of history. Or so we thought.

Fast forward two years, after we’d been working on a lot of different projects — I had a short film produced and had been working with a director on a rewrite of one of his scripts; Rick had two feature films and two short films produced — he’s always been such a slacker — I received an email from a producer in L.A. who wanted to produce “According to Plan.”  He paid us to option the film and after some discussion, he decided he wanted to turn it into something completely different, much to our chagrin. Rick and I wound up writing an entirely new script out of it, called “The Journeyers,” and the producer is trying to find a director to helm the project.  We’ll see where it goes, but the option is still with him.  I could write an entire blog just on the process with that film, but it definitely gave me the idea for writing the blog for this script.

Rick and I have learned a lot about each other during the collaboration process, and the interesting thing is: we’ve never met in person.  He lives in Pennsylvania, and I’m in Texas.  We swear up and down we’re going to meet up someday, but life, as it always does, seems to get in the way.   We have similar backgrounds, both of us have experience, past and current, as DJ’s, we both have experience in the legal world, we’re both into fantasy sports.  So we come from a common place and a shared background, and it has made for a great collaboration.

What I’ve learned in writing with Rick is that we each bring different gifts and talents to the table.  He very much wears his producer’s hat and likes to think about the cost of everything that goes into the script; I’m more big idea guy and like to think about story, damn the costs.  Rick is pragmatic and I’m whimsical.  Rick does great subtext; I wouldn’t know subtext if it bit me in the nether regions.  Somehow we make it all work.

All that is to provide you with a couple of disagreements we had right off the bat, before we even started outlining for the script.  When I first thought about this piece, I envisioned this great opening where our protagonists enter to this great 70’s song from King Harvest called “Dancing in the Moonlight.”  Then I thought about other songs from the 70’s that would fit perfectly into certain sequences.  This needs to be a period piece, I thought.  Like “Dazed and Confused” (only better!).  Rick’s response: Uh, no.  Okay, he didn’t say it exactly that way, it was more like this:

“I don’t think it’s advisable. I’ve been watching postings for scripts and I never see anyone looking for ‘period pieces.’ Probably because they’re expensive to film and continuity is a bitch with what was and was not available — plus some youngish audiences will not know or appreciate ‘how’ things were. It works for adult drama series because they get an older audience.”

Okay. I get it. Pragmatism 1, Dreamers, 0.  I’ll get you next time, Pragmatic Rick!

Actually, I didn’t.  Next idea was the use of flashbacks to help tell the story.  I also envisioned an accident happening in one particular way.  Rick wasn’t necessarily keen on the idea. His response:

“Really, I’ve been trying to stay away from flashbacks. Not even from a producer’s standpoint of expense etc. I just find it ‘too easy’ — like you’re telling the audience to ‘pay attention, there’s a reason we’re interrupting the action to show you this.’ I like the challenge of a nuanced approach. Anyway, hack away and we’ll go back and forth. Nothing is carved in stone.”

A ha!  I’ll take that as a “maybe” and we’ll call it a draw!  Pragmatism 1.5, Dreamers .5!

We’ll hammer it all out, I promise.  And I’m going to get a victory for all of dreamers here soon!  Meanwhile, the outline is underway and we’ll bring you up to speed on how that is coming along in the next few posts.


The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pale Flesh by Dena McKinnon – Teaser trailer - post author Don

Pale Flesh 14 page short horror in pdf format by Dena McKinnon

A goth teen mistakes an alienated guy for one of her kind.

Note: the final film differs from the posted version of the script

Discuss this script on the Discussion Board

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tunnel Rat by John Staats – Produced! - post author Don

Tunnel Rat (5 page short screenplay in pdf format) by John Staats

A US Marine encounters unexpected perils as he clears an enemy tunnel.

This was one of the entries in the July Summer Heat/Cold Weather One Week Challenge. John re-wrote Tunnel Rat into comic format and submitted it to Hyper Epics who liked it and together they pitched it to an illustrator, and, one month later… (click the image to take you to the full version).

Please visit for the rest of the story.

About the writer: As a fly-fishing fanatic and skier living in the Arizona desert, John Staats has plenty of time for writing. After focusing on features and shorts for the screen, John has now ventured into writing for the illustrated page with hopes of eventually writing a full-feature graphic novel. His feature Impasse has also been published as an e-book on Amazon. John can be contacted at jestaats(a)hotmail.

About the letterer: Jaymes Reed is an comic book letterer. Check out his site and follow him on Twitter at @DigitalCAPS

About the artist: Sean Bova is an artist. Check out his website at:

About Hyper Epics: Home of the 3 page sagas, Hyper Epics is a bold anthology series that offers diverse and exciting comic book stories on its website – – and in print form. Each original story is packed with stunning artwork, memorable characters, and captivating stories enhanced with dazzling soundtracks. It is quickly becoming a go-to destination for readers worldwide.

Talk about it on the discussion board.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Original Script Sunday – September 23, 2018 - post author Don

Over on the Unproduced, original scripts page are eleven scripts for your reading pleasure.

Remember that studios are beginning to post scripts for award consideration. You can follow the action on the Scripts Studios are Posting for 2018 – 2019 Script Award Consideration page. Yes, the name needs work.

– Don

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We’ve got a logline – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

We have a logline.  We think.  At least a first draft of one.

Loglines are a pain in the ass to write. I’ll be the first to admit that, and some of the best writers I know stink I writing them.  Loglines require you to be concise and to basically come up with an overview to your entire movie usually in a single sentence.  But they are helpful to quickly explain to someone the essence of your movie.  If they get bored with that simple explanation, or don’t understand it, then it’s a pretty good sign you’d better go back to the drawing board.  Here’s a quick article on writing a good logline that might be worth reading: How to Write the Perfect Logline

For “Lake Regret,” we wanted to convey the sadly ironic situation that our protagonist found himself in, and create empathy for what he was going through so that you would pull for him from beginning to end.

I’m going to leave the logline here for you to read, and ask yourself whether you would want to read this script.  If so, why?  If not, what is it that doesn’t appeal to you?  This is the sixth or seventh draft of the logline, and we’re willing to write seven or eight more, but your feedback can help us refine it further.

A high school senior who accidentally caused the death of a popular student tries to deal with the emotional fall out at a lake house graduation party, and at the same time cut ties with the small town he desperately wants to leave behind.

In our next post, we’ll start pulling back some more of the curtain about developing the storyline, and how a couple of guys who collaborate so well still can get into disagreements over the tone and direction of the script.

Bookmark this site and keep reading!  Hope to hear from you!


The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Award Season Has Begun! - post author Don

First out of the gate is Bleeker Street Studios. Thanks to “John” and “Barksid” for the heads up.

As with years past, I’ll be tracking Scripts Studios Post For Award Consideration.

Head over and check out the Shooting script of of Collette and three screenplays, Disobedience, Leave No Trace, and What They Had.

– Don

Monday, September 17, 2018

Zombie Romance by Oksana Shafetova – short script review (available for production) - post author LC

Zombie Romance by Oksana Shafetova

On the eve of a zombie apocalypse a young wife has to make a life or death choice in the name of love.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the horror staple of Zombies has reached saturation point and that our appetite and continuing hunger for the lumbering, rampaging, bloodthirsty undead has waned.

Future Box Office however, tells a different story.

There are some twenty Zombie horror flicks already slated for 2018/19 with titles such as The Cured, Little Monsters, Cargo, Patient Zero, An Accidental Zombie (Named Ted), Breathers, and Inherit The Earth, to name just some of the titles already released or awaiting release. These movies have big-name stars attached: Lupita Nyong’o, Ellen Page, Martin Freeman, Stanley Tucci, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Brad Pitt is returning in the sequel to World War Z 2, and the original cast of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Jesse Eisennberg make their return in Zombieland 2.

Chances are if you’re reading this blog you fancy yourself as the next George Romero, Jennifer Kent, Mike Flanagan, Julia Ducournau, or James Wan. You want to make a short film with maximum impact, which means you need good material with broad audience appeal.

Want something with a little horror, a little romance, and a good dose of humour? Not to mention blood, gore, and a decent dose of foreboding and suspense? Oksana Shafetova’s, Zombie Romance, has all these ingredients and more.

We open on Barbara, a young woman lying on a bed in a darkened room. Anyone who’s ever suffered a migraine knows the benefits of quiet and darkness. Only trouble is there’s some weird screaming and carrying on going on outside Barbara’s bedroom window. Rest and recuperation is not going according to plan.

We hear the fumbling of the key in the lock of the front door. Thank God, her loving husband Harry, is home. He can take Max, the dog, out for a walk. He might even be able to explain the weird auditory hallucinations Barbara is hearing from outside.

Maybe it’s all in her head.
Or maybe it isn’t…

One thing’s for sure. The words: ‘for better or worse’ and ‘in sickness and health’, are just about to be sorely tested.

Filmmakers: Zombie Romance is a killer script. One you’ll be dying to get your hands on. There’ll be a lot of clamouring for this one, so best set yourself apart from the hordes and get on it fast.

Contained Horror. One location, two leads, a mutt, minimal SFX, Zombie makeup… And you’re set to go.

About the Writer: Oksana Shafetova has always been fascinated with storytelling, but discovered her inner voice only a couple years ago. Graduated as an editor, she has worked in the fields of journalism and video game narrative, until she finally found her true passion in script writing. Oksana gets inspiration from cinematography, and empathizes with an audience to think up riveting plot twists in her own works. She currently lives with her husband, an illustrator, in Dusseldorf, Germany. SHe can be reached at: oshafetova (a)

Read Zombie Romance (4 pages in pdf format)

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, September 16, 2018

Original Script Sunday for September 16, 2018 - post author Don

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

And, The Night Gallery 7 Week Challenge has begun.

– Don

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