Breaking announcement: A hearty STS congratulations to Lee O’Connor.  The Brightest Star has now been optioned!!  We’ll provide additional news as production progresses.  For anyone who likes what they see here, give Lee a shout out at lee.a.oconnor “AT” gmail and see what else he has available!

The Brightest Star

“Losing somebody you love isn’t easy. Look up at the brightest star and remember them.”

Life is messy. We’re not talking day to day trials and tribulations. More like the big picture. The “None of us gets outta here alive” sort of stuff.

Movies about death and dying are instant drama, custom-made to tug at one’s heartstrings. It’s tough enough to deal with it as an adult. But inject a child into the situation? Guaranteed there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

In The Brightest Star, a young family faces a life-threatening illness. To five year old James, death is a just a concept he’s not old enough to comprehend. So his parents, Mary and Paul, opt to provide the boy with the perfect visual substitution. Stars. As Mary explains to her son, “Stars are where we go when we pass away.”

And that, James can understand. Happy with his mother’s answer, he draws a picture of Planet Earth – filling the dark sky above with stars, and leaving just enough space for “Grandma and Grandpa.” But for Mary and Paul, the reality is far more complicated. And far too soon, Grandpa and Grandma’s stars will be joined by a third…

Simply written, TBS is a straightforward, touching story. One in which the subtext speaks volumes. One with a compelling, universal topic… witnessed through the eyes of a five year old. And a smart script for any director interested in meaningful drama shorts.

About the writer, Lee O’Connor:

I am a writer from the UK for the screen and theatre. I have written several shorts which are in various stages of production. I am currently in the process of writing a feature film which will be shot in L.A early next year. Alongside that, I am in the process of working on two feature films which the genre and subject will remain a mystery.
I like to tackle subject matters that will pull on the heart strings, educate and open a your eyes. Although these genres are at the opposite ends of the spectrum I predominately write drama and sci-fi. I believe you write with what you know, so be yourself and don’t try to mimic another film or script you have read, create your own voice. I am reachable via email: lee.a.oconnor “AT” gmail

Pages: 3

Budget: Basic. A living room, bedroom and hallway interiors. One exterior shot in a garden. Three actors with lots of heart. And a telescope for looking at stars.

About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.com!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

Yeah, STS is on a roll…

Since the site went live, we’re thrilled to say our reviews have helped multiple writers get their short scripts optioned, as well as facilitating several indie director/writer connections and options-in-the-works.

But… we need your help, in two very important areas:

Give us some damn’ good scripts!

A site is only as great as its content.  So we need good scripts to review.  Lots o’ them.  Tons of them.  Short and feature length.  We wanna drown in (good) scripts like it’s a mega-budget producer’s slush pile. Our mission statement at STS is to find the best, highest quality short (and feature length) scripts for review.  So if you have a gem that’s really ready for prime time (or have someone you want to recommend)the link below for submissions. (Don’t forget to include a URL link to your script!)

http://simplyscripts.com/submit_your_script-sts.html

Give us a few damn’ good writers!

STS requires a ton of readin’ and reviewin’, so we’re gonna need a bit of help.  In addition to script showcasing, STS also features occasional interviews with indie directors and industry related book reviews.  If you feel you’ve got a knack for any of those three writing areas – and want to contribute – send us a sample of your work for consideration using the URL listed above.  No, it’s not paid.  But you’ll get credit for your article and press.  And in this biz, that’s a pretty good thing….

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hearty well-done and congrats to writer Chris Shamburger.  His horror short, The Doll (featured at STS) is due soon for release by Nova Wolf Productions – and guaranteed to horrify the hell out of everyone in our generation.  (You know, the same folks that were traumatized by Chucky, Magic, The Trilogy of Terror, Poltergeist and now Annabelle.)

And speaking of magic – for those who can’t get enough of the Sham-Magic, check out Chris’ other works here!

Cooked (comedic horror) – A this-or-that of urban legends, as a cat lady goes about her day.

Coprophagia (gross-out horror) – A horror/satire about dog poop.  Seriously.

About the writer: Chris Shamburger was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Shriekfest Film Festival and finalist (Top 10) in 2013 for his recently-produced script, Hiccups. He was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Straight Twisted Horror Screenplay Contest and has been published in Twisted Dreams Magazine and Horror in Words. He lives in Marietta, GA with his partner and their Chow-mix rescue, Walter. Aside from writing, Chris has been teaching pre-kindergarten for the past five years.

 

 

The Hunger of Pride

“At the height of the American Revolution, two generals share dinner in a bid for peace.”

Ever watch black and white footage on PBS, and chuckle about how the “old times” looked? Those women in long dresses and bonnets. Men in handle bar moustaches and hats. Not to mention their primitive modes of transportation: horse and buggies, old streetcars. Didn’t they realize how silly it was? Nothing like modern day. With our power suits, and cell phones… The people back then seem so quaint. Almost less than human.

Antiquated lives – separated by centuries. But are we really so different? No matter the time period, humans have always been united by our motives, and values we hold dear. Such things never change. Nor do emotions, Such as Love, Anger – and Pride. As true in 1782 as today…

As The Hunger of Pride opens, stalwart General Batchelder peers out his window. A crucial event is about to take place. Canons blast in the background; the American Revolution in full swing. The American general watches as a carriage arrives, and General Barr exits. His sworn British adversary – surrounded by a swarm of red-coated guards.

The two men adjourn to the dining room to discuss their situation. But their motives aren’t in sync. Batchelder wishes to broker a truce. Barr aims for the American’s unqualified surrender. As they tuck into a generous meal, Batchelder explains his plans for attack. The result is sure to be bloody on both sides. In order to save the lives of their men, isn’t there room for compromise? But – as with the world today – negotiation can be tricky. Will mutual interest win the day? Or will Pride goeth before one warrior’s fall?

Historical fiction can be difficult; but when done right it’s a marvelous thing: Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Schlinder’s List. 12 Years a Slave. The tales don’t always have to be true. But they do need to be authentic… touching on universals of the human condition that resonate through time. Confucious once declared, “Study the past if you would define the future.” The Hunger of Pride may depict days long past. But its emotions still ring true.

Emotionally gripping, and tied up in a perfect twist, THP is perfect for directors interested in something that will stay with their audience… no matter what century they come from!

About the writer, Rod Thompson: I have been writing creatively since I learned how to write. There is just something about telling a story that I can never get over. Storytelling in itself is like an old flame that occasionally comes to me and just says, “Use me.” The ability to watch a movie through words, or to craft a world in such a manner is the closest to Godliness that man will ever come. True story. Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com

Pages: 5

Budget: Moderate, only because the Generals’ costumes and the ambiance need to reflect the Revolutionary War time period. (Horses are likely optional.) Add some historically-accurate props to an interior room, and huzzah!

About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.com!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved.

The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

Friendly

Two men on opposite sides of a war face the end of the world… together

What separates good scripts from bad? Some would claim it depends on the genre. Jump scares and buckets o’ gore for horror. Explosions for thrillers. Breath taking FX for Sci-Fi. Then why is it so many blockbusters today seem hollow, despite 100 million dollar budgets and headline names?

Because – to a large extent – good scripts aren’t separated by genres. All those extras amount to is trappings. Good scripts – ones that move you, spark your imagination and stick in your mind – are all about one thing. Humanity. Our conflicts, hopes, values. Dreams.

Though ostensibly an end of the world tale, the heart of Friendly is about two men. Radically different in culture, they represent opposite ends of a lost war lost on both sides. But they’re united by something more basic; humanity. And that, dear readers, is why this script succeeds so well.

The setting: Northern Iraq. Captor Khalid heads down the stairs of a metal shed. There he finds American hostage Roark, the only other man left in camp. Khalid tosses Roark a pair of gym shoes, and leads him outside. You see, Khalid has a daily routine these days. Force Roark into a “friendly” game of soccer to while away the time. After all, they’re both stranded. No communication, or transportation. What else is left to do?

But today is different for several reasons. There’ve been more quakes than usual. And an ominous black cloud hangs in the sky. Roarke senses the end is near… and thus refuses Khalid’s usual game. He starts to walk away through the desert. Far from the cloud and Khalid. The Iraqui draws his gun and threatens to shoot. But what power do bullets have against a man threatened with death by apocalypse? And – more importantly – never seeing his family again?

A tense standoff ensues. For Khalid’s fighting for more than power over his lone hostage. Because without Roark, he’ll have… nothing.

Good scripts stay with you, no matter the genre. Haunting you with their characters and theme. Friendly falls squarely into that category. Because even when the world is over, the soul of humanity doesn’t breathe it’s last.

About the writer: I have been writing creatively since I learned how to write. There is just something about telling a story that I can never get over. Storytelling in itself is like an old flame that occasionally comes to me and just says, “Use me.” The ability to watch a movie through words, or to craft a world in such a manner is the closest to Godliness that man will ever come. True story. Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com

Pages: 7

Budget: Low. Just a metal shed, a “desert” field and two characters. The rest can be implied in post.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM 

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved.

The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

 

Pieces of Me

A young man wanders through a post apocalyptic world – in search of his own humanity

Post apocalyptic stories are often called “a dime a dozen.” It’s a genre that pulls on the collective imaginations of society, and begs us to think about a future completely askew and chaotic compared to our cushy present. It’s easy to hear post-apocalypse and think of MAD MAX, The Walking Dead, or TheBook of Eli. Worlds of never-ending ammunition and fuel, where the characters never seem to lose a single pound and always come out on top.

Then you have stories like Pieces of Me, by Jean-Pierre Chapoteau. A hard, truthful look into the bleak future through the cold, hungry eyes of a fourteen year old boy named Kaleb.

Not since Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” have I read a story so gray and saddening that I came to the final page with my own sense of despair. Pieces of Me is one of those tales that doesn’t leave you thinking, “How cool would it be if that really happened,” but instead makes you ponder, “Have I made the most of my life in case this happens. “

The bitter aftertaste, one of possible premonition, where you’ll mourn the world we live in even though it still exists. You’ll find yourself looking at your children and wondering if they could survive on their own if they had to. You’ll look back on every moment that you’ve put off spending time with loved ones, or engaging in a hobby, and ask yourself what was so important that life got in the way of life. A lot of readers call scripts like Pieces of Me “depressing,” but the only depressing note is whatever the reader brings to the table once they allow this story to take them in. While never once does the main character make reference to the old world, living in his world for only a few pages, we somehow feel like we’re being forced to suffer as he suffers, fight as he fights, and mourn as he mourns. Emotional storytelling at its best.

This script is one of those that needs the right director’s touch. Not for the timid, and hardly for the novice. Kaleb, the world he lives in, and the world that no longer exists deserves this film to be a Festival winner. This story was meant for more than the labyrinth of videos on Vimeo and YouTube.

In closing, let me just say – when you’re done reading and that moment of solemn remorse overcomes you, in your reflection of all of the things you’d regret in Kaleb’s world, would not making this film be one of them?

About the writer: Jean-Pierre Chapoteau started writing feature length scripts in 2005 then focused on shorts in 2009. Since then he’s had three scripts produced and two more optioned. He has won several awards for his shorts and has become a moderator at the site MoviePoet, who specialize in the craft of the short scripts.  Jean-Pierre was a finalist in the RAW TALENT Competition for his faith based feature length script: ‘Far From Perfect.’ And was also a semi-finalist in the SLAMDANCE teleplay competition and a finalist in the OBSWRITER teleplay contest for his adapted teleplay, Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Guardian.  You can contact Jean-Pierre Chapoteau at:  Jeanpierre_4_25 “AT” msn(dot) com

Pages: 8

Budget: Not for the novice… but not unreasonable, either. All the settings are outdoors, and very little is needed in the way of props. But a script like this should be done with a budget – and with style.

About the reviewer: I have been writing creatively since I learned how to write. There is just something about telling a story that I can never get over. Storytelling in itself is like an old flame that occasionally comes to me and just says, “Use me.” The ability to watch a movie through words, or to craft a world in such a manner is the closest to Godliness that man will ever come. True story. Contact Rod at RodThompson1980 “AT” gmail.com.

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SIMPLYSCRIPTS.COM

OR THE BLOG VERSION OF STS HERE.

All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

 

A word from Wonkavite:

Folks, we hate to be the bearer of bad news.  But today – sadly – is the last regular posting for P.J. McNeill.  P.J. wrote to us a few weeks back, and expressed that he felt he’d said everything there was to say.  We at STS really, really hate to see him go – and fully expect to have him back for special articles time and again.  But the weekly column will be a thing of the past.  So… in light of this occasion, please join us in brewing one last cup of joe, and reading a few famous last words!!  :))

*********

Goodbye Stranger, It’s Been Nice

(aka: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish…)

So, I hate to say it, but this is the end of P.J. McNeill for awhile. When I started this, I made a list of things I wanted to discuss and stories I wanted to tell. And for the most part, I’ve told all the stories worth telling; at least pertaining to screenwriting. Sure, I have others, but they all fall under a common theme of things that have already been covered. For example, I’m sure I have more “I can’t believe I blew money on this” stories, but how many of those stories do you need to hear before you learn the moral on that one?

But seriously, if you take ONE THING away from my time writing these articles, let it be to look at your money-spending habits more carefully. Is that film festival really worth it? Do you really NEED to go to that workshop? Is 200 business cards too much? I can’t give a definitive answer on all of these; all I can say is to evaluate them with great care. You shouldn’t be spending more money than you’re making (at least after a certain number of years).

If this is your first time reading anything written by me or you’ve only caught a couple, I urge you to go back and take a look. I’ve covered everything from querying to development to internet trolls, and I think I’ve touched on things most other people don’t. I don’t want to call myself a pioneer or anything, so we’ll just rest on hero. Yeah, hero sounds nice.

I’ll pop on from time to time when I have something important to say, but for now, I’m hanging up my hat. Because honestly, if I kept going at this rate, this column would just devolve into a series of motivational articles. And there’s only so many ways to say “Never give up”, yet some people seem to make careers out of it. If you want motivational quotes, go to Twitter and search #SCREENWRITING. You’ll get a bunch. Here, I’ll do it right now.

Ah, here’s one:

Sometimes it’s the 5th or 6th draft before it starts to get good. Don’t stop. #indie #screenwriting

Boom. Motivated.

Now go write. Because if you’ve learned anything reading my ramblings, it’s that the writing is the easy part. The hard part comes the minute you type THE END.

About the writer: A talented writer and 10 year veteran of the industry, “P.J. McNeill” has seen it all (and he’s ready to kiss and tell.) Got a question, a comment or just general bile /praise you want to spew?  Email PJ at pjscriptblog@gmail.com.