STS wishes to give a hearty congrats to writer Bill Sarre.  As the result of our earlier review, his short Lost and Found has gone into pre-production.  Please note: this shoot is non-exclusive, so the script’s still available for consideration by other producers. 

Then there’s Bill’s other numerous works of note.  (Take a peek before they’re gone!)

***************

Lost and FoundAlone in an airport terminal, a man discovers he has lost something rather important.

Inner Journey - An unconventional counsellor seeks to explain to a new client the meaning of her inner journey, only to discover he is uniquely placed to help her.

Shark DreamingAfter the death of his partner, a fisherman is tormented by a life changing decision he must make.

True MythWhen a secret military team gains the power of psychic foresight, their greatest challenge is what happens next.

The Ultimate WeaponA dying patient with an unusual story tries to explain to his doctor why he should fear the ultimate weapon.

The Grieving SpellA grieving man uses a special magic to relieve the pain he feels following the death of his wife. (Review pending in October – but script now available for download. Grand prize winner of the London Film Awards!)

 

A follow-up on the pending movie premiere of Alienate – by STS’s own Rick Hansberry!  SF buffs take note: the film’s being unveiled on November 7th.  You can get an early taste of it and the latest trailer at Synergomatique’s recent interview with Rick here: http://synergomatique.com/alienate-interview-with-the-movies-award-winning-screenwriter-rick-hansberry/

FYI – Rick can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

As for you SF directors and producers looking for your next feature length project…  Rick’s got more in his script treasure chest.  His script Expiration is available for viewing here.

EXPIRATION – When an insurance actuary discovers there may be a formula for calculating a person’s expiration date, he must race against time to solve the mystery of the equation before the impending death of his girlfriend.

*****

For yet more scripts by Rick Hansberry, check out the STS reviews below.  (Better grab ‘em before they’re gone…)

Taking the Reins (feature)

Confession

Hold Your Breath

Left in the Dark

Over the Lump

Burn the Ships

Home Field

Two brothers play an innocent game of baseball – unaware that life as they know it is about to end…

The best war films aren’t about war. At least not completely. As with all good drama, such tales are really about people. War may provide the backdrop – but highlighting the human experience is the true content. The good, the bad, the ugly. The heroic.

On the surface, Home Field displays the gritty trappings of war. But the beating, bleeding heart of it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of man. In this case, two brothers. Richie and younger brother Jamie.

When we first meet them, they’re just boys – facing off in a heated game of little league baseball. Jamie knocks Richie’s best pitch deep into the outfield…. Then their friendly rivalry’s interrupted in the worst possible way. A missile streaks overhead like a comet, and explodes nearby.

War has come. Their childhood ended.

Eight years later, the two are veteran soldiers; fighting a bloody ground war on home soil. Richie drags his wounded brother away from battle – ironically across the same baseball field. Jamie’s been wounded critically; he’s unable to even stand. As the two debate their next move, they recall the last time they were on that field. The smell of the grass. The crack of the bat… all memories that they (and upcoming generations) may never experience again. War is hell for a great many reasons; and one of the victims is innocence. Being on the field slams the message painfully home. But there’s no time for weeping. But perhaps there is time for one souvenir.

Bowing to his brother’s wish, Richie retrieves a precious object from the field. Then – as Jamie protests – he jams a syringe into his brother’s leg. Slings him over his shoulder and slogs away.

After all, one can’t live in a memory. And there’s a war to fight…

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: Low – Moderate; depending on how much wartime FX you choose to incorporate. Missiles. Explosions. Shots of planes. Much of which could be implied.

About the reviewer: Scott Merrow co-writes screenplays with his wife Paula. 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. Wanna give them a shout out? They’re available at scott-paula “AT” comcast.net

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.

 

 

 

Welcome to Development Hell

Part III: Game over, man. Game over!

Over the last 10 years, I have optioned nearly every single script I have written. And outside of a few short scripts, I have NEVER seen a feature script make it to production. I have watched each script painstakingly go through the development process, only to fall apart with little to no warning. That means that I’ve done years of re-writes multiple times for multiple scripts, with next to nothing to show for it.

Thankfully, as mentioned several posts ago, I no longer work for free (and you shouldn’t either). My last option that collapsed lasted for THREE YEARS. And think about it honestly: would you do ANY job for three years with absolutely no pay? Sure, I could go on a tangent about how it’s my passion and the joy of writing should be good enough for me, but screw that, I have a family, and three years is a long time. I can’t imagine if I looked back on the entirety of that time and realized I literally had nothing to show for it.

And THAT’S why they’re paying you. Not only for your time (and the time the script is off the market), but for the off-chance that NOTHING happens with your script. If nothing happens with your script and you have no money to show for it, what can you actually say about the last three years (give or take) of work you’ve done? I’ve done $0 options before, and when the years have passed and the project collapses, you look back and realize that is time you can’t get back. And worse, your idea might be outdated by that time. Several years ago, the three year option script was original and had a unique selling point. Now, when I try to pitch it, I get responses like “I’ve had two people try to pitch a script like this in the past couple months.”

The biggest thing independent filmmakers love to fall back on are points, instead of pay. The very first option I had was for one dollar, but man, oh man, did I have lot of points on the back end. I remember feeling pretty damn proud of myself, negotiating the percentage of my points higher than what was originally offered. Unfortunately, the filmmaker held onto the script for a couple years and eventually gave it back to me, thus making my points completely and utterly worthless. You can have a million percentage points, but it’s pointless (heh.) if you don’t end up with a film. (Add that to the fact that even if you DO get a film, those points are probably worthless. Seriously, get cash up front.)

It’s going to be hard to tell people your option fell apart. You know how I said, in the last entry, that you’ve probably told your friends and family, and they’re most likely always asking for updates? Well, now you get to tell those same skeptical people that your project fell apart.   It will come to the point, if you’re like me and have had several options that didn’t work out, that the people you know will become skeptical of optioning/development. It’s like how people get less and less excited with each kid you have. Everyone’s pumped with the first one – sending you congrats and what not – but by the forth, it’s like “Alright already, you can have kids. Hooray. Let me know when they do something worthwhile.” Same thing with optioning. I can see it in people’s eyes now. I tell them I optioned something, but all I see is “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me know when it’s a movie.”

The biggest fear you will have is people thinking your script didn’t get made because it isn’t good. That YOU’RE the problem. Let me just say: that’s bullshit. It’s not your fault if your script doesn’t get made. There are so many factors at play in securing funding for a film, that it is horribly simplistic to blame it entirely on the quality of the script. It’s not just the good scripts that make it to production. Don’t believe me? Take a look at ANY section on Netflix Instant. If it WAS your script, odds are it was because your script didn’t fit a particular mold. Your script isn’t the type of script you can point to and say “THIS is why it will make money.” And when you’re trying to secure funding, it’s all about finding out what is “sellable” about your script. Your script being “good” sadly isn’t enough. My last story session with the director concentrated more on “what would sell” than what would make for a good story. (Spoiler alert: any scene over two pages – doesn’t sell)

I’m more confident about my current project in development than I have been about any project before it. I would be shocked if I received an e-mail telling me they were pulling the plug. I fully expect it to go into production. Which is great, because they told me I could have 125% of the film’s profits. Suckers.

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.

 

Crash Evolution

A CIA executive comes clean regarding a dubious top-secret project.

Science. An intrusive exploration into the unknown. A continual penetration – prodding, probing, and peeling back of Nature’s layers. To some, science could be viewed as espionage into God’s greatest works. For thousands of years – beginning with ancient astronomers and alchemists – scientists have sought the answer to the universe’s mysteries. We plant our spying tools deep into space, under the oceans, and even journey into the microcosm of creation. Continually, and passionately trying to discover… just what exactly?

The perfect crossroads of Science Fiction, Religious Faith and Political Rhetoric, Erich Von Heeder’s gem, Crash Evolution, centers around CERN’s Hadron Collider – and the CIA’s covert, all seeing eyes. As the story opens, CIA Director Danilo Gregory presents himself to a panel of Senators, in a clandestine boardroom. Awkward tension fills the air – thick and palpable from page one. Danilo faces his silent, judgmental “jury”, opens a file and starts to read. What follows is so phenomenally written that to spoil the details would be a crime!

I’m dead serious. For that reason, my summary of the plot stops right here. You can (and should) read on, to uncover what exactly is revealed.

This much I can say: for all the future Neill Blomkamp’s out there, Crash Evolution is a must read, must option and must shoot. Period. It’s hard SF at its best; immersing the reader in scientific data so deeply that there’s no need for suspension of disbelief. Because that left town on page one. On a level with “Andromedia Strain,” Crash is like reading short-form Crichton at his best. By the time I read Fade Out, I was convinced. Erich Von Heeder’s story crafting ability could be a science of its own.*

“Screen Ready” is the greatest compliment a screenwriter can receive. You don’t need a microscope to see that Crash Evolution is that – and more!

* Bonus Reviewer Note: If you have a copy of Clint Mansell’s “The Fountain” score laying around, I highly recommend playing track four, “Stay with Me” as you read.

About the writer: Residing in Seattle, Washington, Erich Von Heeder can be reached at erich_vonheeder “AT” yahoo

Pages: 6

Budget: Reasonable – low. All that’s needed is one room for the committee – another generic space for the lab. As with most good SF, the heart of the story is drama and ideas… not specifically visuals. To the extent that it is needed, the minimal FX can be done in post.

About the Reviewer: Rod Thompson currently serves on Active Duty in the United States Navy, with fifteen years of honorable service. In the past ten years he has written numerous award-winning short scripts, with five (or so) having been produced. He recently won Best Drama in 2014’s “Table Read My Screenplay” feature length contest. Rod can be reached 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Killed Rosa Maria Morales?

The man who knows the truth about a mysterious murder lies in an ambulance after a heart attack. Detective Sanchez needs to question him before it is too late.

If you’re old enough, you probably remember the phrase “Who Shot J.R.?” It was an American obsession during the summer of 1980, after the season finale of Dallas. An unknown assailant had shot the show’s conniving protagonist, J.R. Ewing. With eight months before the next episode, the entire nation was thrown into a tailspin…

Who Killed Rosa Maria Rosales channels the same sort of obsession. But this time it’s all focused on one man – gritty homicide Detective Sanchez. A heart attack victim lies prone on the floor, teetering on the precipice of death. As a frantic paramedic scrambles to resuscitate his patient, Detective Sanchez looms over the barely-conscious man – grilling him mercilessly.

You see, Rosa Maria Morales has been horribly murdered. And Detective Sanchez’s determined to find out who did the monstrous deed – before the secret’s taken to the grave.

As paddles shock and monitors beep, Detective Sanchez yells out a string of suspect names. The cheating lover? Rosa’s sister? The Taco Mogul? Sanchez mercilessly batters the stricken man with questions. This is one lawman not to be denied.

It’s down to the wire – with everything at stake. Will Detective Sanchez solve the case before his witness flat-lines? A better question perhaps might be… why does he want to know?

A sweet who-dunnit with a fun twist, the read for Rosa’s an absolute hoot. And perfect for mystery loving directors – tongue planted firmly in mid-cheek.

About the writer: Relatively new in screenwriting, Manolis Froudarakis has won two awards in short screenplay competitions. His main focus is comedy – preferably, comedy with a little edge. You can contact him at: mfroudarakis@yahoo.gr

Pages: 5

Budget: Low (once you get your hands on some ambulance stock footage, and miscellaneous EMS equipment)

About the reviewer: Scott Merrow co-writes screenplays with his wife Paula. 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. Wanna give them a shout out? They’re available at scott-paula “AT” comcast.net

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.

 

 

Conference Call

Jeremy’s management team had better resolve the problem fast – before it resolves them.

Zombies are everywhere. They’re eating our favorite characters on TV, dragging themselves across the pages of novels and comic books. In movies, they’re no longer just relegated to anonymous background performers, but are portrayed by known – and sought after – actors (see Warm Bodies and Life After Beth). In this raging media apocalypse, the biggest problem facing writers is doing something fresh and new with the genre – while still adhering to the tropes that zombie audiences know, cherish and (rottingly) love.

Starting innocently, Conference Call opens with an introduction to five staff members, attending a video conference. Office babble ensues, along with various departmental conflicts. Just another “work meeting” comedy. Right?

Until one of the employees has her brains eaten by the living dead.

One by one, each co-worker is attacked by zombies – in various gory, disgusting ways. As their colleagues become undead lunch, the remaining attendees remain unphased – focused on business at hand. Buzzwords fly as the survivors argue over the solution to their crisis… Should sharks be shipped in? Perhaps snakes? Or should they consult legal?

For anyone who’s ever suffered in an office environment, the absurdity of the situation is all too real. In corporate America, you either contribute to the team, or you’re dead. Through it’s 5 breezy pages, Conference Call takes that concept to a logical, humorous extreme.

Are you a director looking to make a zombie film – yet fear the inevitable cliches? Then grab Conference Call before it’s gone… a “biting satire” on corporate culture – and a loving homage to the genre.

About the writer: Pete Barry is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actor, director and musician. His short plays have been published in numerous collections. He’s also a cofounder of the Porch Room, a film and theater production company, website available at http://www.porchroom.com/.  Please feel free to reach out to him with script requests at petebarry27 “AT” Hotmail.

More of Barry’s reviewed shorts are available at the following STS links:

Restraint (also zombie related)

Cheater (drama)

Page Count: 5

Budget: Low to medium. There are five speaking parts, but the budgetary focus is on the numerous zombies. How much a filmmaker ends up spending ultimately depends on how all-out s/he goes with the zombie makeup and gore effects.

About the reviewer: Zach Jansen is an award-winning and produced screenwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota.  He enjoys spending time with his kids, anything movies, and sitting at his desk pounding out his next script.  If for some reason you want to learn more about him, you can check out his IMDb page or quasi-frequently updated blog.

READ THIS 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.