CONGRATULATIONS TO ANTHONY – for the recent optioning of TWO of his scripts reviewed on STS/SS: A Face in the Crowd and Fridge Feeder.  Two more that we (cough) hadn’t gotten around to have been optioned/sold as well: Terminal Z and From Time to Time.  Our point?  This, folks, is a man who knows how to market his stuff.  So tuck in for a read of the following words of wisdom.  Oh – and take a look at Anthoney’s Love Locked - that one hasn’t been optioned yet!
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A writer’s work is never done. Let’s see, where were we? Oh – that’s right. Marketing you and – most importantly – your SCRIPTS.

You got yourself an online presence. TICK.

You’ve used some of the handy sites we mentioned last time to garner feedback, and improve upon perfection. TICK.

So – here you stand (or more likely sit): armed with a finished, polished script. But now who’s going to make it? And how will they learn of its existence?

Well, our third article is here to help you out – providing you, the writer, with a host of sites and services especially geared to get your script out there. To be seen – and hopefully filmed. After all, that’s what we’re writing them for!

Isn’t it?

A few tips before we dive in.

  • On Forums and Message Boards, make sure you follow their rules and post in the right place. Nothing’s more offensive than a writer who barges in, and doesn’t bother to get the “lay of the land.”
  • Keep posts short and sweet – and watch them for responses.
  • As part of the “getting to know you process”, mention any achievements you may have. EG: My script won XXX award was filmed by John Doe Director in 2014. You know, that sort of thing.
  • Post your logline, and make it zing. After all, it’s the first thing a reader will react to.
  • Link to your website or IMDB page etc. That gives people a chance to check out your work.
  • Please note: I personally specialize in shorts, so the resources listed may be biased that way. But I’ve mentioned sites that focus on Features, too.

*Speaking of “getting to know you”, I’ve included in these listings the number of short scripts I’ve managed to option/sell/get made from the various sites. Just so you can get a sense of how active and successful they could be for you.

So onto the resources. And what better place to start, than …

Simply Scripts (SS)http://www.simplyscripts.com/submit_your_script_new.html

Submit a logline and your script. When you do, it’ll appear in two places.

The Discussion Board – lots of screenwriters frequent SS. It’s here that they’ll take a look at your work, and offer you their thoughts. These are great free reads. Perfect to use for your next revision.

Unproduced Scripts – A round up of all scripts submitted in the previous week.

TC Note: Your script will also be findable via the sites’ search engine, various genre links and (potentially) through SS’s ‘Random Script of the Week’.

Simply Scripts, Shooting The Shorts (STS)http://www.simplyscripts.com/category/scripts-available-for-production/

I’ve separated this out from the main SS site/service since it represents a different service and opportunity. Submit your script for review here (a link that’s separate from the main Simplyscript’s submission page.) If selected, a full review will appear a few weeks (maybe a month) later. Built as a showcase, all reviews are positive – giving potential film makers a taste of what’s in store when they crack open that PDF. It’s so much better than a simple logline on the site! (Submit finished/final drafts at – http://simplyscripts.com/submit_your_script-sts.html)

So far STS has been responsible for at least 14 scripts getting optioned/made. And that’s just the ones they know for sure!

Between SS and STS I’ve had 5 scripts sold/optioned so far.

Inktip - http://www.inktip.com/

Inktip is primarily for indie, lowish budget Features. From what I’ve heard it’s got a pretty decent track record of connecting screenwriters with producers and getting things made. They also provide a host of other services including script tracking, an online magazine, a competition portal and a whole lot more. Some things are paid for, others free.

To date, I’ve gotten five shorts sold/optioned through Inktips. Submit your short for free via http://www.inktip.com/sa_short_script_listing.php

Blacklisthttp://www.blcklst.com/

A site definitely geared for the Feature screenwriter. My experience of it is non-existent, but some writers have had success. Blacklist takes the approach of evaluating and scoring scripts by at least two of their readers (the site’s reader evaluations are paid for by the individual writer. Any resulting industry reviews are free.) This allows prospective film makers to get an opinion of a script in advance – though some writers have taken issue with evaluations and scores.

Reddit, Produce my scripthttp://www.reddit.com/r/producemyscript

There’s a forum for everything you could ever think of on Reddit, and that includes Screenwriting. The ‘Produce my Script’ forum has been set up to connect writers with filmmakers. The filmmaking side tends to be students and gifted amateurs. But give it a try. You never know where the next Tarantino will emerge from. I’ve had three successes here thus far.

WinningScriptshttp://www.moviebytes.com/ws/

Sister site to MovieBytes (Great competition portal). WinningScripts offers writers a great opportunity to get their scripts listed and seen by industry professionals. One can list an unlimited number of scripts on the site for a modest annual fee (currently $29.95). Included in that is a logline, synopsis and script excerpt. Interested film makers can contact you to request full scripts. There’s also a Top 10 section based on scripts that have won or placed in competitions. I’ve not had a script success from here yet, but I remain optimistic.

Stage 32http://www.stage32.com/

A great online community for all aspects of film making. Once you’ve joined, you can upload loglines. People can check them out and contact you if interested. I’ve had two shorts optioned by other Stage 32 members to date.

International Screenwriter’s Association (ISA)http://www.networkisa.org/

Upload your script’s logline and other details, which are visible via the site’s database. The site also has a ‘Jobs’ section – more on that in the next article. I haven’t had any success with this site as yet, but I have had a few read requests.

Script Boutiquehttp://www.scriptboutique.co.uk/

A relative newcomer from the UK. It’s similar to Inktip in that as you can list your logline and synopsis for viewing. Script Boutique is free for screenwriters from all round the world. No successes so far, but it’s a new site which will probably grow over time.

There are also some other sites/forums that I regularly post on. No luck with these so far… but then again, you never know! ;-)

Screenwriter’s Market - http://bproducersseekingscreenplays.runboard.com/f2

Indietalkhttp://www.indietalk.com/forum.php

Student Filmshttp://www.studentfilms.com/

Done Deal Prohttp://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/index.php

Screenwriting Goldminehttp://www.screenwritinggoldmine.com/forum/

Film Maker Forumhttp://www.filmmakerforum.org/script-marketplace/

Happy writing to the STS community. And until next article – get those damned scripts out there!!

About Anthony: Anthony Cawood is a new(ish) screenwriter from the UK with two produced short films, two in post production and another seven sold/optioned. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category), and two other scripts have recently placed 2nd and 3rd in the FilmQuest Screenwriting Competition and Reel Writers Screenwriting Competition respectively. Links to his films and details of all his scripts can be found at http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Xolotl’s Curse

Some lessons are learned the hard way…

Ah. Lessons taught by the horror genre. No matter how often they splatter across the silver screen, so rarely are they taken to heart. Don’t go on that isolated camping trip with your friends. Don’t answer that phone call while babysitting. Don’t open the creaky closet door. Leave that creepy-ass looking doll alone.

And don’t play with artifacts hidden under your grandpa’s bed. Well, we guess some folks will never learn…

Case in point: Xolotl’s Curse.

Billy’s Grandpa is a foul-mouthed, misogynistic bully who constantly berates Billy’s mom and emasculates his dad. In other words, he’s your usual relative. Now he’s moving in. And he has secrets.

See, Grandpa’s an old archaeologist – pushing 100, although he doesn’t look a day over 75. He’s keeping an ancient Aztec box locked up in his room that may belong to Xolotl, god of the dead and bad luck. Billy tries again and again to get his hands on the box. But Grandpa is always one step ahead of him. But some secrets are better left buried…

Chris Keaton – an old hand at clever macabre stories – sets this tale of terror in the day-to-day life of suburbia, with a keen ear for the trash-talking dialogue between a 12-year old and an old man who may as well be squabbling kid brothers. Despite the topic, this script’s got a slow, subtle (and often funny) burn – building to a chilling conclusion.

What happens next? Well, we’re keeping this review short and sweet. No spoilers for you lazy folks out there. Crack this one open far before Halloween arrives, and savor its bloody twist for yourself.

Xolotl’s Curse. A perfect script for either a seasoned horror director or any up-and-coming filmmaker who wants to dabble in the genre.

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 pre-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, (www.Chris-Keaton.com) or follow him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Keaton/456096811068609).

Pages: 14

Budget: The script is light on the special effects budget, but you’ll want a good makeup artist who does their best work with some fake blood and a nail gun. Sets include one car scene and one house, and a multi-generational family of four – mom, dad, little Billy, and Grandpa.

About the reviewer: 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.

 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.

 

 

Martyr

Two strangers meet in a park…

There’s a complicated cat-and-mouse game at the heart of this tense psychological thriller. A high stakes balancing act, with hundreds of lives at risk.

Or maybe… just one.

As Martyr opens, a man named Kenneth waits on a bench. He’s adjacent to a lecture hall, watching it fill with college students. Strangely, he’s wearing a heavy coat – on a blazingly hot day. Ken’s sweating profusely. Mumbling and fidgeting like a crack addict. But it’s not drugs that has Kenneth agitated. It’s the bomb that’s strapped to his chest, just under his bulky attire.

Enter Zoe, a college student who makes the unfortunate decision to sit next to Kenneth on the bench. Quickly, she notices there’s a problem… and gets up to take her leave. But Ken won’t let her. “If you get out of this seat,” he warns her, “hundreds of people will die.”

But it’s not a threat. It’s a warning. Because Kenneth’s not a terrorist – he’s a pawn. He’s convinced terrorists are watching his every move. His bizarre task: to coerce the first person who sits next to him (the unlucky Zoe) to participate in a deadly experiment.

He shows the girl a gun, and informs her she has a choice. Shoot an innocent person, or the terrorists will remotely detonate the explosive; killing everyone. (Including both of them as well.)

Naturally, Zoe’s skeptical. With the clock ticking, Ken struggles to convince the girl that 1) He’s not crazy, 2) The stakes are real, 3) She’s the only person who can prevent the coming disaster, and 4) Both their options have run out. A daunting task; with multiple lives at stake. So, the cat-and-mouse game begins.

Will anyone escape alive?

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: 13

Budget: Very affordable. A bench. A prop gun. The exterior of a lecture hall. And two very impressive actors.

About the reviewers: 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.

Imagine… A hideous evil, hidden in the most innocent of places – a simple, unassuming children’s jack-in-the-box. Mix in a generous dose of Lovecraft, and a backstory that involves Nazis, the Dark Occult and an abandoned concentration camp…

Voila. You’ve got the Devil’s Toy. Penned by writer Chris Keaton, this worthy horror short has already found a home. Produced by Sprocketboy Films, the script’s won several awards. (Check out the full short film here!)

…and now it’s spawned a full-length script. While not an official pick (yet) for the STS feature of the month, the Devil’s Toy is a note-worthy horror that shouldn’t be missed. Especially near Halloween:

An old man lies dying. Before he passes away, he calls his estranged son, John, to his side. You see, he’s got a few souvenirs from the war upstairs. Ones that must be kept locked away.

Needless to say, things don’t turn out quite so easy. Before John can carry out his father’s wishes, his two sons open the box. Releasing a terror that can’t be contained.

Directors and producers take note: if you’re a fan of Lovecraft, and looking for your next project – Devil’s Toy has a lot of treasures locked away, ripe for the taking. A reasonable budget. Spectacular gore. And a premise that begs to be explored…

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 pre-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, (www.Chris-Keaton.com) or follow him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Keaton/456096811068609).

Pages: 86

Budget: Within the reach of an indie budget. Some wild effects – but nothing that can’t be done with blood, and a touch of animatronics/stop motion.

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.

 

 

App Happy

Two white-haired denizens of an old-folks’ home marvel at the wondrous capabilities of their cell phones.

 Smartphone technology; ain’t it a marvelous thing? Gimmicky gags. Addictive games. The freshest gossip on celebrities. She takes her kids to school! I take my kids to school! Famous people really are just like the rest of us! From Foursquare to Angry Birds, seems like there’s an app for everything.

Except for keeping people connected together. At least in any meaningful way.

What image pops into your head with this description? Eyes glued to the latest Smartphone/iPhone/Android/Fire Gizmo device, oblivious to the world around them? Probably a gaggle of teens at the mall – pants hanging down to their knees. If so, then App Happy has already usurped your expectations.

‘Cause the current generation isn’t the only one distancing itself from life….

Edging into his 80s, George parks his wheelchair at Deering Oaks Senior Living, wasting away his Golden Years hammering frantically at his phone. His latest obsession: Flaming Weasel, the hottest new game for the digital scene. His friend Maude doesn’t see the appeal. Her idea of fun (when not catching slasher films on movie night) is getting the latest updates on the Kardashians. Even the most trivial members of Team-K… from her newfangled Koo Koo Kardashian app.

Yep, today’s technology is a dazzling wonder. And it’s great to while away the time.   Who cares if you’re stuck in a senior home if you can focus on gathering Farmville Snorkers, or Twittering a Kardashian Chihuahua’s latest potty mishap.

Such things may be entertaining… but they distract us from a phone’s first and best function – the ability to call home. And connect us with our loved ones.

Written in a goofy, light-hearted tone, App Happy’s a satirical commentary on the modern world we live in – no matter our age. It’ll make audiences smile, and tug on your heart. Far more effectively than Grumpy Cat.

About the writers: 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” comcast.net

Pages: 5

Budget: Low – an ideal fit for indie directors on a budget, but rich on comedic timing. One location – a few life-experienced actors, and a couple wheelchairs.

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 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.

 

 

 

 

We at STS are thrilled to announce that Matias Caruso has just sold his reviewed script, The Dollmaker!  Oh, there’s just one other little thing… He’s also just been announced as the 2014 GRAND PRIZE WINNER of Page Awards! Please join us in giving a major round of applause to a very talented writer… One for whom we know great things are in store!

 

 

 Hopscotch

“A little inner-city girl learns that some games are best not played.”

It’s night. A terrified young woman staggers through the woods. She stops briefly, leans against a tree to rest. Behind her, a tree branch SNAPS. In the theater, your breath catches. Your eyes widen, your heart pounds. You clutch the arms of your seat in a death grip…

Ah, the horror movie. What’s going to happen next? It’s impossible to tell. But you know there will be blood.

Just about any plot that elicits fear, fright, shock, or terror fits the horror mold nowadays. Along with a familiar cast of characters: vampires, zombies, haunted houses, and serial killers running amock through teen campsites. They say that the rule of thumb in marketable screenwriting is “give them the same, only different.” But how do you find that fresh idea? Where to unearth that new monster to make your heart go THUMP?

Have you taken a look around your neighborhood lately?

That’s exactly what writer J.E. Clarke did for the new horror short, Hopscotch. Originally inspired by chalk drawings on a Bronx sidewalk, Hopscotch tells the tale of two little girls (Kesia and Tricia) playing hopscotch outside their building. Chalk cartoon characters decorate the edges of the hopscotch grid.

The innocuous game is interrupted when three teens on skateboards arrive on the scene. Deliberately crashing into the girls, the hooligans smear the hopscotch lines, and steal the Kesia and Tricia’s penny markers.

But Ms. Ofelia comes to their aid. A 70 something Creole senior, Ms. Ofelia hustles down the street to confront the ruffians, wooden cane waving in her hand. Undeterred, the teens knock Ms. Ofelia to the ground – and lob a parting shot at poor Kesia: “You tell your brother Robbie your folks owe us money. He better have it tomorrow. Or we’ll take you instead.” Having succeeded at terrifying a six year old, they shove Kesia into the bushes and take their leave.

Ms. Ofelia calms the frightened girls. She redraws the hopscotch lines, adding her own personal “touch” to the cartoons.

Unfortunately, the ordeal isn’t over. That night, the teens track down brother Robbie and Kesia – and threaten to beat them both within an inch of their lives.

But have no fear! Retribution is coming. And everything’s not what it appears to be. Because Ms. Ofelia has a trick or two up her sleeve.

To say Hopscotch has a satisfactory ending would be an understatement. Of course righteousness prevails – but in a new and unpredictable way…

Not many horrors take place in urban locations – except for older fare like Candyman (and Vampire in Brooklyn.) So a new setting is always welcome. What modern woman would be caught dead in the woods at night, anyway?

If you’re a horror director looking for fresh concepts, Hopscotch is lurking in the dark for you. It’s a script you’ll want to sink your teeth into. Better bring your toothpicks! One additional plus to this script?  We hear from the author that a feature length expansion’s in the works!

About the writer: A versatile writer in several genres, Janet G. Clarke has placed SF in PAGE, and specializes in unique characters and intelligent plots. Having recently wrapped her first mainstream spec, and optioned her feature length horror “Containment”, Janet has 10 additional feature lengths in her roster, and a variety of shorts. She can be reached at janetgoodman “AT” Yahoo. A full listing of her scripts can be viewed at http://www.philclarkejr.com/jec.html.

Pages: 8 pages

Budget: Very manageable. Any city street would suffice. Two elementary-aged girls and four teen boys, three toting skateboards. Plus a special talent to inhabit Ms. Ofelia. A little CGI is needed for the end. So grab a box of chalk, and create your own unique monsters!

About the reviewer: California uber 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.