Give Me a Break – Short Script Review (Available for Production)


Ten year old Michael comes up with an idea to get his bike back from the thieving hands of Wes; the neighborhood bully.

Whatever happens to good old short stories (or scripts) that gave the reader/viewer a fun n’ quirky slice of life? They seem to be in short supply these days: bumped to the side in favor of vampire and zombie flicks… and comedies that focus on wacky scenarios and bawdy sex antics. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those, mind you.)

Well, here’s a blast from the past.  A fun, straightforward story of a few innocent kids picked on by the neighborhood bully… and the ten year old who hatches a plan to stop the lunk in his tracks.  The script’s simple, fun and short – with a neat twist. Give this one a read, and consider it for your next project. It’s sure to leave you with happy viewers, who will remember this short long after the credits roll.

About the writer: Matthew Dressel recently wrote/produced/acted in his own web series Let’s Kill John Stamos! One of his feature films, Killing Daniel, has been optioned by Darius Films. You can catch more of Matt’s work at

Pages: 7

Budget: Pretty micro.  All that’s needed are a few child actors (though we all know how difficult they can be!)




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.


The Barking Spider – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

The Barking Spider

A high school track star reflects on her special bond with her grandfather and prepares for the most important race of her life.

 Sometimes, the most memorable films aren’t about superheroes. Or “chosen ones” cursed with the power to save Humanity (from ghosts, monsters or aliens.)

Because in reality, it’s the hero/protagonist inside each one of us that matters, and our struggle to save each other from inner demons – one special person at a time.

The Barking Spider is that rare sort of screenplay; one that entertains, and inspires. It’s a story both intricate and personal. With a human, universal theme.

Meet Lana – a high school track star about to run the most important race of her young career. As she races towards the finish line, she reflects on the hardships of her childhood.

And the love of the grandfather who guided her to this point in life.

Sixteen years earlier: Lana’s pregnant mother Dixie stands on her father Joe’s doorstep – nine months pregnant, strung out on drugs. She’s in no condition to raise a child, even if she were willing. After Lana’s born, Dixie’s substance abuse problems continue to worsen, until she’s arrested and sent to prison.

Leaving a reluctant Joe holding the bag… and his infant granddaughter Lana. He sues for custody of the child, and sets out to raise her alone.

What follows is a deeply moving story told in flashback – Joe and Lana growing older together, experiencing the simple pleasures and heartaches of life. All the way to the finish line: with more than a few “hurdles” along the way.

Artfully told by Robert and Lois Gately, The Barking Spider is a script that celebrates life, love and family. While longer than your average short, TBS is the perfect screenplay for experienced filmmakers looking to expand into features. If your niche is Drama, this script is an inspirational gem – one with a distinctive human theme: that it’s never too late for redemption. And the love of (true) family is the strongest bond of all.

STS Editor’s Note:

It has come to our attention that TBS has also been expanded to feature length. 

So – if you like the short…find a full list of Robert’s work at:

Pages: 29

Budget: Although the main cast is small, there are a number of locations, some requiring extras. The director may want to raise funds through Kickstarter or a similar crowd funding website.

About the Guest Reviewer: David M Troop has been writing since he could hold a No.2 pencil. In 2011 he began writing short films for and His produced short scripts include INSOMNIAC and THE DINER. His script NAUGHTY is currently in preproduction. Born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, Dave now resides in Schuylkill Haven with his wife Jodi and their two lazy dogs Max and Mattie. He can be reached at dtroop506 “AT” gmail

About the Authors: Robert has written 2 novels, 2 non-fiction books, 12 screenplays and 3 stage plays since retiring early from AT&T. His body of work has been recognized as finalist or better in over 130 theatre, book and screenplay competitions around the world since 1999. His screenplays and stage plays combined have won a total alone 19 contests and came in 2nd place in 17 others (e.g., Breckenridge, Telluride, Fade In Magazine, Garden State Film Festival, etc.), and he is considered the most celebrated writer on the site. His short play was produced at the BaCCA Performing Arts Center at a One Act Festival on Long Island, and his longer stage plays won a reading series at Abingdon Theatre in NYC and Ohio State University. One of his plays he co-wrote with Drew Keil (GOING SOLO) and it won the American Film Awards, the London Film Awards and the Chicago Screenplay Contest in their respective stage play category. He taught adult education at Northampton County Community College in screen-writing, and was Temple University screenplay judge for their Senior Project class (Freese Award).




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.





Shovel – Short Script Review (Available for Production)


In need of extra money, a young boy shovels almost all the drives in his neighborhood

I consider myself a Genre writer, specializing in Horror and Near-Fi (that’s my term for Sci-Fi that’s just around the corner to reality.) But every now and again, I dip my toe into Drama.

Let me tell you: Drama’s hard. Really hard. It’s so easy to tumble into over-wrought cliché, creating caricatures, not characters. Then one gets bogged down in themes – losing sight of the story. So you try to write it now and again… only to swear off Drama every time.

Then you read something like Shovel: a story so effortless in its execution that it inspires you to try again. After it’s made you feel inferior, that is!

Shovel opens with young Raymond Dre, shoveling driveways in his rundown neighborhood. He clears all of them of snow… except for one. A house he purposefully leaves alone. It’s strenuous work for a kid, but at least Raymond’s free to concentrate. Everyone else is out at Church; there’s some sad to-do in town.

Later that evening, several neighbors stop by, offering Raymond payment for his labor. Surprisingly, Ray’s reluctant. He didn’t really do it for the money. And the neighbors aren’t just paying him as a commercial venture either… there’s something heavier weighing on their minds.

Raymond escapes the attention and heads back outside: intent to clean one last drive.

What follows is a master stroke of understated storytelling… one that brought an actual tear to my eye.

What makes Shovel so special? It’s a combination of several things. As a character, Raymond’s a wonderfully drawn character… organic, sympathetic and real. The subtle pace of the story blends with a great ending. Heart wrenching and warming in equal measures, Shovel strikes just the right balance – which pays off spectacularly.

If I haven’t made my opinion clear yet, this is one script you don’t want to miss. Custom-made for drama directors… Not to mention, festival wins.

Pages: 9

Budget: Low. The only issue will be the snow. And that happens often enough – doesn’t it?

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at

About the writer: Mark Lyons is a screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, most notably ‘Best Film’ award winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’, at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He has also written the feature “Thistles” which was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2013 Bluecat Screenwriting Competition and the short “Ginger” which was a Finalist at the 2013 Shriekfest Film Festival. He can be reached at markielyons “AT” yahoo




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.


Last Dance – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Last Dance

As the seconds tick away on a song, so does one guy’s last chance with the girl that could become ‘The One’ or ‘The One That Got Away.’

“Last Dance,” a screenplay by Rick Hansberry, tells the story of a crumbling love affair — two people who had a chance at happiness but carelessly let it slip through their fingers.

The action takes place at a combination wedding reception/New Year’s Eve party, a celebration of joy and optimism and new beginnings. But this story isn’t about new beginnings — it’s about last chances, because the focus of this story isn’t on the joyful newlyweds, nor is it on party hats and champagne and New Year’s Eve merrymaking.

The focus is on John, the DJ.

As midnight approaches and John leads the crowd in the New Year’s countdown, Sara, his on-again/off-again girlfriend, arrives at the party, starting a countdown of another sort. Her appearance, “mired by storm clouds in her troubled expression,” lets John (and us) know that a moment of truth is looming. Sara has just come from a date, and her current beau has proposed marriage. John receives this news like “a verbal punch to the gut.” But he puts on his game face and continues playing party music as he and Sara face some music of their own.

It’s obvious to us, and probably to them, too, that these two people care deeply about each other. Subtle, subliminal clues — Sara’s fingers lightly brushing John’s last name on his business card, John’s hand lingering on hers as he takes the card from her — demonstrate their affection. The fact that Sara is even there with her startling news confirms it. And there’s a subtextual hopefulness in their conversation; they both seem to be seeking a favorable resolution.

But there’s also a deep resentment undermining their true feelings, and it just won’t go away. John seems to think Sara doesn’t appreciate the importance of his work, while Sara feels that John is afraid of commitment, and that he buries himself in work to avoid it. “Clever dodge,” she says. “Book yourself for so many weddings, you never have to worry about having one of your own.”

“We talked about it,” he replies.

“We danced around it,” she snaps back.

Finally, nothing resolved, a dejected Sara turns to leave. She’s made her decision. “I walk out that door tonight. When it shuts behind me I’m done.”

Now it’s decision time for John. Can he stop her? Should he? Or is he too late?

Pages: 5

Budget: Low-to-moderate. A banquet hall, a crowd of extras, and some DJ equipment.

About the writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.

About the guest reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.




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.




Fruitcake – Short Script Review (Available for Production)


Through the years, a boy has trouble accepting the truth about his family…

Remember when you were young and couldn’t wait to grow up? Every explanation for “no” was accompanied by, “Wait until you’re older.” Bet you felt that day would never come…

But – eventually it does. And, for most of us, not a second too soon. Grownup privileges? You bet. But, with the good stuff comes awareness. And that crucial concept: maturity.

In Steven Clark’s drama Fruitcake, young Doug Merill isn’t old enough to truly understand the reasons for his parents’ divorce. Looking back, he remembers tons of arguing and “icy stares.” Sure, his father Peter wasn’t the world’s most hands-on dad. And his mother Judy – a proficient baker – cried a lot. All the time, in fact.

But as time passes, Doug adjusts. Judy becomes the primary parent, and Peter takes Doug on weekends. Driving up to the front of the house, Peter honks the car horn and Doug rushes out to meet him; carrying a box of Judy’s fruitcake. Until one fateful day…

Conflict between a son and his father – it’s a familiar tale, for which growing up’s the only cure. There’s a joke that getting older’s a bitch – until you consider the alternative. Fortunately – for Doug at least – time and age provides clarity…

A sad, poignant tale, Fruitcake has a sweet ending nonetheless. Easy locations. Interesting characters. And universal appeal. Which makes the decision to choose this script a piece of cake. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist!)

About the Writer: A writer since the age of 12, the first book that Steve Clark ever read was Amityville Horror. The second was Cujo. He’s been writing ever since, and is currently hard at work on two features. He’s reachable at SAClark69 “AT” (or on Long Island, if you’re in the area!!)

Pages: 14

Budget: Low. A handful of talented actors plus extras will enjoy inhabiting these characters. One tantalizing baked good required. 🙂

About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. She can be reached at kpmackk “AT” gmail.




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.



Shark Fin – Short Script Review (Available for Production!)

Shark Fin
An elderly fisherman teaches his grandson that sometimes in order to gain, you must lose something.

“You cannot take what is not necessary unless you are willing to lose something that is.”

A wise phrase, spoken by an even wiser old man in Shark Fin. Don’t let the title fool you; this script isn’t another Jaws or The Shallows, thrillers pitting man vs monster.

Fin’s far more substantial than those tales.

The wise old man in question, Fong, has a lesson for 9-year-old grandson Yeng.

And Fong has exciting material to illustrate his teachings with – his memories as a fisherman. Memories that Yeng wishes to relive himself after he grows.

But Fong wasn’t a fisherman in the ordinary sense of the word. He was a shark finner, albeit a reluctant one. One who understood his job involved taking what is not necessary to take. A shark’s life for its fin.

One who understood his job was a crime against nature. And yet – did so anyway.

But, as Fong explains to young Yeng, nature delivers swift justice in many ways. First, it tormented his dreams with visions of his crimes. And eventually turned its wrath on him.

Sometimes, nature is willing to forgive those who lose… and learn.

What did Fong lose? And will Yeng understand his morality tale – even at his tender age?

A beautiful, highly visual fable which touches on a very real issue today, Shark Fin is sure to impress audiences with a penchant for socially conscious, captivating works.

Our recommendation: take what is necessary, and capture this script today!

Pages: 10

Budget: Admittedly, this one’s opulent. But two wonderful options make this worth your while. 1) Clever editing and post OR 2) Perhaps render Fin in CG? Just imagine the festivals you’d win then!

About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp “AT” If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

About the writer: Shawn began writing in 2008 as a means to overcome a lifelong reading disorder. After several short scripts, he took on writing his first feature screenplay in 2009.

Six years and several screenplays later, Shawn’s highly acclaimed script Equal Retribution was reviewed and given one of the highest screenplay ratings ever handed out by Carson Reeves of

View full review here –

Equal Retribution has also been submitted to and placed highly in such prestigious contests as The Academy Nicholl Fellowship and The Page Awards. It was also chosen as a top script on Francis Ford Coppola’s website, Zoetrope.

Working with ambitious co-writer Jeff Bush, Shawn’s latest work, Chernobyl was recently completed and is now available for consideration.

Shawn’s script The Right Tract was submitted to the prestigious Kairos prize competition for spiritually uplifting scripts where it placed in the top 10%.

Shawn has written for and been optioned by Nancy Glass Productions, MTV as well as other production companies. Two of his previously optioned screenplays, Reprisal (Thriller) and Till Dawn (Thriller) have both been released and are also available for consideration.




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.

Scooter – Short Script Review (Available for Production)


In the Suburbs of Sydney in the 70s, an adolescent girl longs for a scooter…or at least she thinks she does.

Remember when you were 12? We all do – no matter how long ago it was. No responsibilities and no worries. The realities of life left to the adults. Looking back, that childhood naïveté and innocence was pretty close to bliss. Even if we didn’t know it, at the time.

Indulging in a bit of nostalgia is comforting. And therein lies the appeal of Scooter. It’s the 1970s. The setting? Sydney, Australia – a sunny day. 12 year old Lizzie lounges outside with older sister, Nina. They’re watching a group of exuberant 14 year old boys race scooters down a hill. And Lizzie’s getting jealous.

“The boys fly down the hill at breakneck speed, whooping as they go.” Lizzie’s positively “transfixed.” Christmas is coming soon, and Lizzie wonders if Mum and Dad might buy her a scooter of her own. In bed that night, she shares those thoughts with Nina. But Nina discourages her, telling Liz she overheard their parents discussing Dad’s job. Asking for a scooter “isn’t a good idea.” Money’s kind of tight right now.

And with those simple words, Lizzie’s dreams are dashed to the floor.

Remember Christmas when you were a kid? Waiting with bated breath to see what morning would bring… and if it would be as magical as you hoped for? Lizzie’s about to go through that turmoil, too. But will she get what she really, truly wants?

A sweet sentimental script, Scooter is reminiscent of many classics. Stand By Me, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Moonrise Kingdom. Like those eternal standards, Scooter brings to mind that long-lost time – when life was simple, and the biggest concern on every child’s mind was yearning for that special present.

Are you a director or producer looking for Christmas to come early? Scooter would make a terrific gift!

Pages: 11

Budget: Low. Two girls, a few rambunctious teenage boys, and a hill. Simple interior shots in a house. Add BYOS (Bring Your Own Scooters) and some Christmas decor for a fun trip down memory lane!

About the Writer: Libby Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She has also worked professionally as a freelance web-content editor and proofreader. She is thrilled her first ever entry (Simpatico) into a Screenplay Comp – The LA Comedy Festival ‘Short’ screenplay division took out Top 3 Finalist and hopes the high placing will be a continuing trend. 🙂 Libby would love to see her words come to life on screen.   She lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia, and describes him as being both a good and a bad influence on her writing. You can contact Libby at libbych “AT” hotmail

About the Reviewer: California über reader/reviewer KP Mackie is still working hard on her animated feature.




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.