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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Close To Sunset by Steven Clark – Short Script Review – In Production - post author Steve Miles

Close to Sunset (16 pages in pdf format) Steven Clark In Production

After the death of his mother, a middle-aged man learns the horrifying truth about the childhood disappearance of his brother.

Production Stills

Script Review

Home movie footage has a way of evoking emotion. A grainy, colour faded moment captured in time. This is how Beyond Sunset starts: young brothers, Jack and Sam, fool for the camera. A fleeting memory of lost childhood.

Shadows grow over a public playground. A car prowls along an adjacent road. The boys play, each lost in a world of blissful innocence. Moments later Jack looks up to find his brother gone. He squints into the setting sun, just in time to catch Sam wave goodbye before he slips into the car and vanishes forever.

Jump forward several decades. Jack, now in his 50s and with a family of his own. It’s been a rough week for Jack. Mom’s dead. Her estate needs to be settled which leaves Jack and younger sister, Trisha, to clear the old family home for sale.

It’s a task fraught with emotion. The sting of memory carried with every trinket and family photograph. There’s that yellow dress of Mom’s or the grave of Houdini, beloved house-cat who was never fully tamed. 

As Jack delves deeper into the shadows of Mom’s life secrets begin to reveal themselves. Old wounds are opened and tensions rise, until finally Jack stumbles upon the darkest recess of them all…

Steven Clark’s haunting thriller Beyond Sunset lights a fuse that burns its way to the very end. It’s a tense, brooding mystery, delivered with a subtlety that begs to be picked up.  Any filmmaker looking for a low budget nuanced thriller would be remiss not to check this script out immediately.

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: 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

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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, June 19, 2017

Mile 42 – Short Script (Available for Production) - post author Anthony Cawood

Mile 42 by John Dowgin

When an extreme distance runner encounters a human trafficking ring during a desert ultramarathon, he must battle both exhaustion and criminals to save innocent lives – and himself.

 Sometimes, a story grabs you. Instantly. Takes command of your senses and doesn’t let go. Maybe it’s the opening action. Perhaps a telling line of dialogue. With Mile 42, it’s the clear and intense imagery that sucks you into the script. A tale solidly set in New Mexico: baking heat, jagged outcrops of rock, parched tarmac shimmers in the sun. NM’s not a state I’ve visited. But now I can say I’ve “seen” it – at least, through this script.

…and the eyes of Jose. The protagonist of the story, Jose’s a competitive long distance runner of the ultra-extreme kind. When we meet him, he’s hitting Mile 42. His base camp support, Cynthia, chatters via bluetooth in his ear, quoting lines from movies. Jose spits titles back at her; it’s a game that keeps his mind focused, even if his physical energy’s on low reserve. But Jose’s determined to soldier on. Miles ahead of him (out of sight) is Timson. His running nemesis and competitor.

Soon, a reception dead spot cuts off Jose’s connection to Cynthia. And he catches up to Timson.

Bullet ridden and dead in the road…

A shot rings out. A bullet tears through Jose’s sleeve. Someone’s shooting at him! The runner darts for shelter – summoning what meager energy he has left.

Scaling a rock, Jose spots his would-be shooter… And uncovers a whole truck of trouble, far beyond the normal concerns of marathons. Corrupt border guards have intercepted a group of illegal immigrants, and plan to hijack them for a slavery ring. Jose’s run smack dab into hell. Stranded in the desert. Alone – and being chased – by a sadistic group of criminals determined to wipe all witnesses from the earth.

Faced with a series of unexpected challenges, Jose battles the odds and desert heat. But can he overcome his own frailties in time to save himself and the others? Or will he end up like poor, dead Timson?

Excellently paced, Mile 42 moves swiftly towards the finish line – a top notch action thriller, with a vibrantly real protagonist. It’s an action short that’ll leave you (and your audience) breathless. Cheering for the hero all the way.

Budget: Given the action scenes and extras, this one’s not meant for a newbie. But a skilled indie director looking to put a shining gem on his resume? That would be a perfect fit!

About the writer: John P. Dowgin is a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, as well as a founding member of the production company The Porch Room ( for whom he directed the original work ‘Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives” at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. Two of John’s plays have been published in the compilation “Accidents Happen” by Samuel French, and have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Toronto, Dublin, and Australia. A number of his screenplays are also in ‘development’, which he suspects to be a theoretical dimension like Oz. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an aspiring screenwriter from the UK with a number of scripts in various stages of production, two of which have just wrapped shooting. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category). You can find out more at

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Beacon Calling – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Dane Whipple

Beacon Calling (11 pages in PDF format) by Chris Keaton

How far would you go to save humanity?


Three world-worn wanderers walk wearily through a white winter wasteland. They are John, Noah, and Wilda, and their only guide is the small metal box with the flashing red light.


Driven on by the incoming signal, our three explorers are obviously on an important and dangerous mission. Pausing briefly to appraise their situation, they discuss turning back. They are, after all, running low on supplies, and out there, somewhere in the darkness..someTHING is stalking them. Beaten both emotionally and physically, the three realize that there is no decision to be made: if they fail their mission, they’re all dead anyway.

Ping. Ping.

The signal is getting closer…but so is the creature! The group presses on, into the unknown. Where are they heading, and just what have they left behind? And WHAT is this creature!!

Are you getting a sense of the tension in this script? I hope so, because you may want to pop a Xanax before reading. Sled tracks, bloody footprints in the snow, a discarded iPod. The mystery deepens with each visceral image. And if it sounds like I’m being vague, don’t worry, it’s only because I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending.

Get ready for an eleven-minute panic attack, because Beacon Calling is a master class in suspense writing. A slow-build tense thriller filled with all the mystery and intensity of the best episodes of Lost, set in a Mad-Max-in-the-snow style wasteland (take note, George Miller!). This is one script guaranteed to keep your audience on edge, and keep them guessing until the shocking finale. They won’t know what hit them. Directors, come in from the cold and grow something sinister out of this script.

Ping. Ping. Ping!!!

Budget: Low. Location may be tricky, since it is set in snow. But as long as your production doesn’t go all Revenant on you, costs are reasonable. (Plus, there IS a desert version of this available as well…!)

About the writer: Chris Keaton is an Air Force veteran living with his family in sunny Arizona. He’s primarily a screenwriter, but he does love diving into prose. He has had several short screenplays produced and go on to win awards. He’s optioned a few features screenplays and currently has a thriller feature in post-production. A young-adult novel based on one of his screenplays is soon to be released. You can see some of his projects on his website, or follow him on Facebook at

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple: put the coffee down, coffee is for closers. He is currently working on that screenplay everybody keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (a)

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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, January 25, 2017

Good – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author The Merrows

Good (6 pages in pdf format) by Erich Von Heeder

An ex-convict priest attempts to save a neighborhood.

Colm MacKenna is a priest. A man of God. And a complex protagonist. He’s tough – streetwise. And he’s done jail time. Given that, is he good? Colm himself speaks that that issue. “The moment you pretend to be good… in that moment, you are good.” But does the father practice as he preaches…?

Erich Von Heeder’s dark morality tale would seem to indicate otherwise.

The opening pages of Good puts Colm to the test. And his motives in question. Sneaking through a dark alleyway, Colm is assaulted by two thugs…. Targeting his duffel bag. A violent struggle ensues, leaving Colm bloody but victorious. And the thugs in need of hospital care. A quick glimpse into the bag deepens the mystery. It’s filled to the brim with money. Lots and lots of money.

Shortly thereafter, Colm pays a visit to Father O’Callahan – pastor of the local Catholic church. And it’s far from a friendly Sunday visit: closer to a syndicate shakedown. Accusations fly between the two men of the cloth: refusing to hear Colm’s confession, O’Callahan calls him a false prophet. A fake. He threatens a hostile takeover of Colm’s tiny ministry – and brings his funding into question. Money may be the root of evil, but it has to come from somewhere.

Needless to say, the meeting doesn’t end well. Colm storms out – threatening judgement on Callahan. He retreats to a secret basement, and sets to work on… something. What he’s up to isn’t clear. Then again, O’Callahan’s no saint, either.

Gripping and fluidly written, Good is a hybrid tale of the best kind. A noir thriller that doesn’t let go – yet still has something to say. Directors are urged to grab this one while they can. And pray you don’t arrive too late…

Budget: Low – Medium. One fight scene, and a handful of locations. As with so many quality shorts, acting and cinematography will make or break this one!

About the writer: Residing in Seattle, Washington, Erich Von Heeder can be reached at erich_vonheeder (a) yahoo

About the reviewers: Scott & Paula Merrow are a husband and wife screenwriting team. Since 2006, they’ve written over 50 short screenplays, several of which have been produced. They tend toward family-friendly scripts, but they’ve written a little bit of everything: horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy,… the whole nine yards. They’re reachable at scott-paula “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.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Truth or Dare – Short Script Review (Available for Production!) - post author Dane Whipple

Truth or Dare (8 pages in pdf format) by P.H. Cook

We all have our secrets.

A night of babysitting can be a trying feat under normal circumstances. But what if the child you are sitting is a mix between Damien from The Omen and that kid from Looper?

As a favor to a coworker, married couple Brynn and Mike Carter are looking after young Jayden for the weekend. It’s nothing they can’t get through with a little pizza and a lot of wine. At first, Jayden seems perfectly content to play his uber-violent video games, until BZZZZ, ZAP, the power goes out. To pass the time without electricity, Brynn suggests a game of truth or dare. Little does she know, truth is sometimes a thing best kept secret.

Things start off normal enough, embarrassing dancing, movie impersonations, etc. But then, Jayden starts to ask some questions that are… difficult. He seems to have a preternatural ability to probe the weak spots of Brynn and Mike’s relationship. Like a young Hannibal Lector, Jayden knows just what to ask in order to manipulate and intimidate. Will Brynn and Mike’s relationship survive the weekend? Will any of them survive the night? From here, it’s a slow burn to an unforgettable finale. Give away the surprise ending? I wouldn’t dare!

The best payoffs in psychological horror scripts arise organically out of well-plotted circumstances. The illustrious, enduring finales of The ExorcistPsycho, and of course Silence of the Lambs, are all made possible through their impeccably-structured first acts. So it is with Truth or Dare, which, in a few short pages establishes a situation that is at once high-concept and highly relatable. All of this builds to an ending that is both inevitable and completely surprising. It’s a rare feat and an absolute stunner of a screenplay that will unquestionably electrify the festival circuit.

I dare you to make this picture, because truthfully, the script is phenomenal!

Budget: Low. One room, three actors, and a pizza.

About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, P.H. Cook is the 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 (a) gmail.

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple has one hand in his pocket, and the other hand is playing a piano. He is currently working on that screenplay everyone keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT)

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Dry Days – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Gary Rowlands

Dry Days (8 pages in pdf format) by Mitch Smith

In a dystopian society where water has all but vanished, two deserters find a mysterious corpse that appears to have died from drowning.

Manhunt movies. A thrilling genre, to say the least. Heart pounding action at its best.

North by Northwest. The Fugitive. Silence of the Lambs. We keep watching – no matter how far into the nightmare dark they lead us. Why? Well, in part to see the hero win the day. But also because the best of such films contain some sort of mystery, which drives us to never turn our eyes away (at least until the secrets are revealed.)

Following in the footsteps of such cinematic greats is Dry Days. Written by talented scribe Mitch Smith, the script packs a mean action punch. And also asks the thematic question: “Can you have too much of a good thing?” – in a clever and entertaining way.

Set in a future where food and water are in desperately short supply, the story opens with our hero and heroine dragging themselves across the blazing hot desert. Being hunted by someone. Or something.

Exhausted and dehydrated, our fleeing couple are almost at death’s door. They encounter the corpse of a man lying half buried in the sand – a grim reminder to their pending fate. They’re on the verge of giving up… when our heroine – a former nurse – realizes the dead man drowned!

She deduces there must be water nearby. But how could someone drown in the desert?!

Hopes renewed, the two begin searching for water. Their quest is cut short by the arrival of Raze, a bone-thin deserter-hunter – with wild eyes and a loaded gun.

The dry blood around his mouth and ravenous look leaves us little doubt about his intentions.

Will our couple live to see another day? Or will survival of the fittest reign?

If you’re a director looking for the next Mad Max, then give Dry Days a spin. It’s easy to shoot, and action packed – with a fresh twist on the usual dystopian fare!

Budget: Fairly low. A sunny beach for the desert and a hallway made to look like a hospital. Throw in a handful of actors, a dune buggy and that’s pretty much it!

About the writer: Mitch Smith is an award winning screenwriter whose website offers notes, script editing and phone consultations. You can also reach him at Mitch.SmithScripts (a) gmail and follow Mitch on twitter @MitchScripts.

About the reviewer: Gary Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy and was a commissioned writer on the hugely popular Spitting Image broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since branched out into writing features and is actively seeking representation. He can be contacted at gazrow at hotmail dot com.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Congratulations to John Cowdell – Seven Hours Sold! - post author wonkavite

STS is thrilled to announce John Cowdell’s thriller short, Seven Hours, has now officially been sold! The prize goes to 10AM Productions, and we have no doubt we’ll be seeing a wonderful finished product for the festivals soon…!

Needless to say, we’ve got several more Cowdell scripts in the queue… In the meantime, consider shooting John an email now (ommi80 “AT”, and see what else he’s got in store!

About the writer: John Cowdell has been writing and making short films for over ten years as well as creating videos for the internet. During his time at college, where he studied Media Production, he made his first short film with a fellow student. The short film “City Road” reached the finals of a competition in 2000 and was shown at a local cinema. Most recently, John has been reviewing films and producing video content for His main passion is filmmaking and he hopes to write and direct feature films in the near future. Feel free to drop him a line at iommi80 “AT”!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Mile 42) – RECOMMENDATION! - post author wonkavite

Recently, STS reviewed John Dowgin’s desert thriller, Mile 42 (Script available here.) As readers of Shootin’ the Shorts are aware, our goal at STS is to find new and promising writers, and provide them with the platform they need to get their work seen (then hopefully optioned, and produced!)

One of our not-so-secret weapons in this quest is Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine at one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list.   Partnered with STS, Danny provides wonderfully detailed and helpful notes for the monthly STS feature script.  This coverage is provided free to the writer, and can be posted our site or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. But wait – there’s more!  Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts…

Below, please find Danny’s notes/coverage for Mile 42. Read, learn, comment…. and don’t forget to submit your best work for possible review!

**To submit a script, please visit STS at the page listed HERE. Danny can also be contacted directly via the No BullScript Consulting website at Or on Twitter @DannyManus.

About the writer of Mile 42: John P. Dowgin is a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, as well as a founding member of the production company The Porch Room ( for whom he directed the original work ‘Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives” at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. Two of John’s plays have been published in the compilation “Accidents Happen” by Samuel French, and have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Toronto, Dublin, and Australia. A number of his screenplays are also in ‘development’, which he suspects to be a theoretical dimension like Oz. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.



Title:  Mile 42

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author:  John P. Dowgin

Number of Pages: 96

Circa: Present

Location: Arizona Desert/Border

Genre: Thriller

Coverage Date:  6/20/15

Budget Range:  Low

LOGLINE: When an extreme distance runner encounters a human trafficking ring during a desert ultramarathon, he must battle a corrupt group of Border Patrol Agents and his own mental and physical exhaustion to save innocent lives – and himself.

COMMENTS: John, thank you for submitting your script “Mile 42” to Simply Scripts. In the subsequent pages, I will go through the things that work well and what still needs to be worked on, developed, or changed to make this a more viable and commercial script and series.

Overall, I think this is a very well-written, easy to read script with some strong action scenes, memorable dialogue, and a likeable protagonist in Victor. The Latino market is growing considerably and there are a number of Latino actors that are becoming more bankable and if you can bridge the demographic gap through a commercial action/thriller concept, it could do well. It certainly feels like it’s something that could sell to an international audience if cast right.

I think the story is pretty straight forward for the most part, and while there is an ever-expanding conspiracy, we basically know who is involved and who isn’t pretty quickly and we know exactly what they’re doing other than the whole Russian angle. I do think that there could be more inklings of this larger mystery or operation so that the Russian coming in at the climax answers some questions instead of just feeling like another guy in the mix. And while I do think the backdrop of this race is very interesting, I don’t think it’s a race anyone has really heard of and so a bit more set up could help especially since we only see 2 other people running this race.

Structurally, the script is very strong. The opening scene is visual and tense, though I didn’t know why there would be a bridge in the middle of the desert. You have a solid inciting incident that pulls us into the story, a great exciting midpoint, and some really strong individual scenes and turning points with a number of deaths that get quite extreme and gory, starting with Jeter and his severed arm. The subject matter of the story is dark, but it’s really only in the kills (and Victor’s feet) that the tone gets gruesome and graphic. Decapitations, venom poisoning, gangrene, shootings, etc. It gets pretty hardcore for a thriller that doesn’t seem quite as hardcore as the murders within it. But it makes it visual and shocking and it works.

You hit all the right beats at the right moments, and your midpoint definitely stands out as you cut back and forth between the action with Victor as well as Borden and Carlos until they come together. The red ants were unexpected and it feels like a strong mini-climax that gives the story a nice boost and puts our characters back together. The only issue I have with the scene is I kept wondering where Somes is, as he seems to disappear.

The Shadow Wolves find the same group of immigrants that McCaffrey and Otilio are looking for, but how did they know the rest of the immigrants were hiding there? It’s not totally clear where THERE is in this scene other than in the desert. When the Shadow Wolves drop off the immigrants at mile marker 30 for catch and release, do they do anything or literally just drop them off? It’s not really clear since minutes later it seems, Somes, McCaffrey and Otilio find them there and tie them up again.

I think Victor’s mental state could become even more tenuous. The delusions he has and seeing Timson is great, and it puts us in Victor’s head, but we could get a bit more of that and see his downward spiral mentally as he’s trying to survive. It isn’t clear at first on page 71 if the bombs dropping on this mocked up town are real or if that is all in his head. We realize it in the next scene when Somes and McCaffrey are discussing it, but this bombing feels out of nowhere.

With the bombing, I’m not sure how Victor lived, but more than that, I don’t know who dropped the bomb or from where or how they knew to drop the bomb there. It feels like there’s a much bigger story going on here once the bombing occurs – perhaps with the Russians – than just some corrupt agents and minutemen or an immigrant trafficking scandal. But who is calling the Russians to drop the bomb (if it was them)?

One important scene that seems to be missing is when McCaffrey apparently shoots Carlos. We don’t get to see this – we only see him drag Carlos’s body to the SUV having already been shot. Yes, in the previous scene he seems to line up his shot, but it still feels like there’s a moment missing in between. The shot itself, Toraidio’s reaction, how they got down there and found them and tied him up, etc. If Carlos is shot, it’s a moment that could create a moment for Toraidio of if he runs or stays with his dad. Carlos still moving is a great moment, and his subsequent death is emotional and a strong scene.

The way Somes kills McCaffrey with the rattlesnake is definitely original and awful (in a cool way), but how did Somes grab the snake and put it down his shirt to begin with?

Victor is a likable and castable hero and it’s nice that he wants to save the immigrants he comes across, but I’d love to get a bit more about him to know why. We get backstory on him and why he’s doing these races, but is there anything in his personal history or family that makes him connect with Carlos and his son?

Victor’s backstory of being in the army and killing that young boy because he didn’t have a choice is certainly powerful and gives us some insight as to his deeper need and want and the redemption (or perhaps punishment) he’s seeking by doing all these crazy sports and races. And his dialogue in this scene is quite moving as well. But his list of extreme sports and activities/events he’s done is insane. What kind of person could do ALL that?

He’s virtuous and wants to do the right thing, but almost to a fault. I’m not sure why he confesses to the killing of Jeter, especially since he’s trying to run this race. Does he really think he can confess to murder and then just keep on running without having to go talk to cops or fill out reports, be interviewed, etc.? I don’t quite get this. And Somes’ response of “you’ll have to fill out a report” seems pretty flippant considering he just confesses to killing a Minuteman. Is that all you have to do when you kill someone? Fill out a report? This was an odd moment and reaction.

Perhaps one of the more surprising moments is when Victor gives Carlos and Toraidio over to the authorities even though it will save Toraidio’s life and he does it for good reasons. But his relationship with Toraidio becomes quite sweet and is a driving force in the story and in Victor’s motivations. And I think in the end, the fact he and Cynthia have seemingly adopted him is a great end.

Cynthia is a likable character, but I had no idea they were together until later in the script. She seems like a friend and a caring volunteer, but I didn’t feel any true LOVE between them in their first few scenes together. She blows him a kiss on page 19, but it felt more flirtatious than loving or like they were in a relationship already. There’s the “ove yo” message on pg 24 and that’s where I realized they might be in a relationship, but I think this could be a bit clearer, sooner.

You have created this quite large conspiracy and it’s interesting to watch it crumble not only from the outside, but also from the conflict that erupts from within the group and that it’s all over simple greed instead of the principle of the horrible things they’re doing. None of them really take issue with that.

Cutter makes for a solid secondary hero, though he’s mostly a desk jockey throughout the story until the climax. You do set up a suspicion around him so we’re not TOTALLY sure if he’s a good guy or not until the second half of the script, which is great. But if there’s one thing that could be set up a bit stronger, it’s Cutter’s relationship with Somes. Because while they seem like partners and they’re friendly, they are really only together in the very beginning of the script. I think their friendship could be seen a bit more, at least in the first act, so that when Cutter has to bust him in the end (and shoot him dead) he’s at least torn about it and the moment resonates not just as the good guy killing the bad guy, but a good man who had to kill his friend.

The Shadow Wolves sound like they could be a movie unto themselves (it’s a great title anyway), and could have their own agendas and motivations, storylines and rivalries, but right now they don’t bring anything DIFFERENT to the table than regular federal agents or border patrols. Even their names are pretty white-angle sounding. The fact they are Native American and working on the reservations is an original hook, but I’m not sure it actually pays off or makes a real difference in the plot. I’m also not totally sure you need THREE of them in a story where there are a large number of characters already, but it’s fine. I just think Terrence, Tom and Chris (and their personalities) get a bit lost in the story when really they should stand out more than anyone.

The climax is exciting and action-packed without it being huge budget and it really creates nice tension and builds well as everyone converges. Cutter finally takes a more active role while Victor still gets enough revenge on Somes and saves Toraidio. It’s a really tight and nicely written climax that tracks a large number of moving pieces, and that’s not easy to do in a visual and clear way.

Turning to the dialogue, I think this is where the script stands out nicely. There’s some very strong dialogue throughout and a nice voice. Some of the banter and the way you get across your themes in subtle ways in most scenes is quite strong. This type of story could have gotten very preachy or message-heavy, and it’s not. The “limits are there to be tested/limits are there to limit” conversation stood out, as well as a few other lines listed below. You even have a few nice moments of levity in a story that’s awfully dark and serious. You walked a really fine line very well, and it was an enjoyable read.

“Your feet only get you into the desert. Your mind gets you out.” Another great line.

A small note, but after 22 miles, how has Victor only burned 800 calories? Feels like it should be way more than that.

I do have a few additional page/line notes:

Pg 35 – Victor’s reply “Fuck would you know” is pretty rude in the moment. Not sure why he’s so harsh.

Pg 45 – You can cut the scene heading EXT. COTINUOUS and just say MINUTES LATER.

Pg 47 – Typo – THAT’S=THAT’D

            “You’re just a citizen” is a weak line that caps off a really impressive and powerful 2 pgs of dialogue. It doesn’t quite feel like what Somes would say. Plus, while there is a nice callback to this line on page 92, Victor was out cold when Somes said it.

Pg 51 – I keep wondering where is Somes?

Pg 65 – I don’t know what the phrases “who cut sign on foot” and “cut so much sign” means. I’m not sure if it’s a typo or just a saying I’m not aware of but I didn’t get the context.

Pg 75 – “You could’ve lived a hero. Now you’ll die an alibi.” – That’s a great line.

Pg 79 – The line “He just wanted to pick cantaloupe” almost comes off as funny in this moment even though I know it’s not meant to. But it’s kind of a comical line.

Pg 81 – Good angle Victor brings to his dialogue here to Cynthia.

Overall, I think the concept and the action is commercial and exciting, and at is budget level I think this could be a successful project if cast correctly. It tackles an issue without becoming an issue movie, it could bridge the gap between Latino demographics and mainstream thrillers, and it’s an enjoyable and easy read. The story is a bit straightforward, but the structure is strong, it keeps moving nicely and tosses in some gory, gruesome deaths for flavor. I do think there’s a bit more you could do with the Shadow Wolves or with the larger operation involving the Russians, and I think Cutter could seem a bit move active and connected to Somes. But generally, the story is strong. There’s some great dialogue moments throughout, and a nice voice that knows how to write visual action, economically. And knows what level of levity is appropriate at what times. There are many companies out there looking for a good $1-$2M thriller and many companies looking to cater to the Latino demographic, and I think this could easily be optioned if it’s not already. So stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again John for submitting your script “Mile 42” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month!



Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise   X        
Story        X                       
Structure                    X      
Conflict/Drama        X    
Consistent Tone          X              
Pacing       X    
Stakes          X    
Climax   X                
Resolution/Ending        X        
Overall Characters                  X    
Protagonist            X    
Antagonist                    X    
Dialogue      X                
Transitions              X    
Format, Spelling,   Grammar, Pg Count               X      
Well Defined Theme                      X      
Commercial Appeal/Hook                           X      
Overall Originality                         X    
Production Value   X    
International Appeal        X                        

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December 15, 2019

    Cinephile by Max Pustina

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