Christmasville – Experience the Spirit While You Can!

CHRISTMASVILLE

Having lost his zest for life after the death of his daughter, a newly unemployed father takes a magical journey to Christmasville, where he receives the greatest gift of all — a second chance.

Christmas-themed movies will always be perennial favourites with audiences. From oft repeated classics such as: It’s A Wonderful Life, (1946) and Miracle On 34th Street (1947), to more contemporary classics such as: Home Alone (1990), Elf (2003), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), and Bad Santa (2003).

If there’s one thing the history of the film industry tells us it’s that Christmas themed movies are consistent box office winners, whether they be theatrically released, Indie, or direct to video and television productions. Audiences cannot get enough of what’s now commonly known as the celluloid ‘Countdown to Christmas’ where holiday movies play on solid run from Thanksgiving to New Year. The number of people in the U.S. alone who watched a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017 was around 65 million, with that number expected to exceed 85 million by New Year, 2018.

What’s the secret to their popularity?

Well, that’s simple. Audiences long for homespun, feel-good movies with their universal themes of love, family, hope, and redemption. Add to that the perfect backdrop of crisp white snow, a little mistletoe, the twinkling of Christmas lights and baubles, and a liberal dose of fairy dust, and you’re onto a sure-fire winner.

Steven Clarke’s onto a winner with his rather aptly titled Christmasville which has all these requisite ingredients plus a whole lot more.

We open on family man, Dale. A woodworker by trade, he’s resigned his lot to the ‘shipping and receiving depot’ of a factory in a small town. Dale is getting on with things but he’s also carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, living in the shadow of the tragic death of his young daughter, and more recently the passing of his father. Clearly, Dale is not living his best life. He has an eight year old son, Michael, who worships the ground his dad walks on, and a loving and devoted wife in Tabitha. But still the traumatic events of the past plague him.

As Dale surveys his town he thinks it ain’t all that bad. Sure it’s quaint with its Mom and Pop stores and everybody knowing everybody else’s business, but it sure is pretty this time of year; church steeples rising high into the sky, the shops dressed in their holiday wreaths and colourful lights, and lamp posts strung with pretty garlands.

It’s just over a week before Christmas, the first few flurries of snow are falling and the townsfolk are preparing for the annual Tree lighting.

There’s only one blot on the landscape for Dale and that is the woodworking store (that) stands dark and vacant. A FOR LEASE sign hangs in the fogged out window. This is the store Dale’s father once ran. The store that Dale should now be running.

Oh, and the fact that eight days out from Christmas, Dale is summoned to the boss’s office and unceremoniously given the old heave-ho. Budget’s been cut. Dale was last in, so he’s first out.

A crushing blow, but Dale’s not one to let the grass grow under his feet or let pride get in the way of a providing for his family, so he’s up next day at the crack of dawn to Marone’s Luncheonette. Store-owner Pete is a decent fellow who’ll give anyone a break and before long Dale’s proving his mettle with the popularity of his burgers and BLTs. Until that is – his less than stellar tomato-dicing skills land him in the Emergency Department. What rotten luck. A bunged up hand and a nasty trail of stitches means there’ll be no more working the grill for Dale. Not for a good while anyway.

Still Dale bravely pushes on, now relegated to stoically running errands for Tabitha, at the local Mall.

On the way home with daylight fading fast and the snow now falling hard:

A sharp turn looms ahead,
Dale cuts the wheel,
the brakes lock,
the car slides…

 The road twists left
Dale’s car goes straight
It fishtails,
Smashing into a guard rail

Dale tenses, can’t speak
This is it.
No time to react.
No time to—
CRASH!

Dale’s car crashes into a guard rail and down a steep embankment.

He falls into unconsciousness.

Then wakes sometime later – ‘everything out of focus, head bandaged’ – he locks eyes with a SMALL MAN by the name of Butter Finger, sporting green thermals and a red stocking cap.

From hereon in things get even more surreal. It appears Dale has entered an alternate reality of seemingly Rockwell-ian proportions – cobblestone sidewalks, a town square surrounded by an ice skating pond, a world inhabited by Elves and reindeer and pretty soon after Dale finds himself riding shotgun in a sleigh next to a hulking man with a white beard who for all intents and purposes looks like Santa. But is he? This Santa has a Pilates class scheduled at three, a particular penchant for the Elliptical machine and a personal trainer coming in at four-thirty. Huh?

For Dale things are getting weirder by the minute and all he really wants is out of this particular rabbit hole and back home to his loving wife and son.

But, try as he might it seems there’s no means of escape.

Meanwhile back home, with Sheriff Shirley Hastings at the helm, the townsfolk have rallied and a search party is underway. It seems Dale has disappeared off the face of the earth, something he promised his wife he would never do. Tabitha and Michael are beside themselves with worry of his whereabouts.

The writing in Christmasville is what elevates this story from any comparison to a ‘by the numbers cookie-cutter’ holiday tale. With its ensemble cast every role is three dimensional and beautifully drawn. It’s no easy task for a writer to create character with only one line of dialogue, but writer Steven Clarke does this with aplomb. Larger standout roles such as town Sheriff Shirley Hastings, (a lovely nod to Marg Gunderson, Fargo ) and her well meaning but slightly dim-witted Deputy Rick, are particularly memorable.

Christmasville seamlessly blends the comical with the sentimental, the dramatic with heart-rending, the nostalgic with the modern. This is an original and beautifully written tale that will entertain the whole family.

Producers: Want all your Christmases to come at once? Well, best open your present early, cause this is a one of a kind limited edition, and it’s sure to sell out fast.

About the reviewer: Libby Chambers has been writing all her life. Over her career, she’s worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, trained as a FAD, and served professionally as a freelance web-content editor and proofreader. 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 Steve: 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” verizon.net (or on Long Island, if you’re in the area!!)

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Mr. Schultz’s Zombie Army – Short Script Review (Available for Production!)

Mr. Schultz’s Zombie Army
Two young friends are convinced their neighbor is building an army of the undead.

How well do we really know our neighbors? We say hello to them every day, we borrow their sugar, sometimes we even invite them over to dinner – but do we actually know what goes on behind closed doors?

Super screenwriter Phil Clarke’s script Mr. Schultz’s Zombie Army tackles this age-old question. It’s a clever homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window written in the style of a classic R. L. Stein’s Goosebumps book.

Bobby and Mikey, like most ten-year-old boys, enjoy reading comic books and watching sci-fi movies – and sometimes spying on their neighbor Mr. Schultz. Okay, mostly spying on their neighbor Mr. Schultz. It seems the mysterious man next door has been sneaking some odd-shaped boxes into his basement for the past month. And not your ordinary box of groceries or the occasional toaster. Schultzie’s loading up on test tubes and beakers, which can only mean one thing to Mikey. The diabolical Mr. Schultz is building an army of ten thousand zombies!

Okay, maybe there’s a reasonable explanation. Not when you’re ten years old. And besides, Mikey just saw the same thing happen in a movie. Case closed.

So, do the boys just sit idly by and wait for Mr. Schultz to take over the world with his army of the undead? Shucks, no! Mikey and Bobby wait for their dastardly neighbor to leave his house one evening, so they can get the proof they need to stop his evil plan. But, when Mr. Shultz returns unexpectedly, the boys suddenly find themselves trapped in the basement with their fiendish nemesis.

Mr. Shultz’s Zombie Army is in one word a hoot. A throwback to the 1950’s B-movies. A sly wink at the master of suspense. And just plain fun.

Directors who appreciate classic horror films should find this script a scream. Film in black-and-white, low angles, or add your own winks to famous monster movies of the fifties. The possibilities are endless.

Pages: Eleven

Budget: Low to Moderate. No real FX. A dark, creepy basement. The real key to this film is the casting of the two boys.

About the reviewer: David M Troop resumed writing in 2011 after a twenty-five year hiatus. Since then, he has written about 50 short scripts, two of which have been produced. Dave would like to make it three. He is a regular, award-winning contributor to MoviePoet.com. 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.

About the writer: Phil Clarke, Jr. is a contest winning writer who has had multiple feature films optioned.  Produced shorts of Phil’s have been featured at Cannes and Clermont Ferrand.  More of his work is available at his website: www.philclarkejr.com.  (IMDB Credits listed here.) Phil can be reached at dogglebe “AT” yahoo!!

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

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SCRIPTREVOLUTION.COM

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 Child Outside – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Warning: Strong and Disturbing Content

A Child Outside
Motherly love can be shown in oh so many ways… even murder.

We don’t like to hear about a young person being hurt, much less witness it. How could a parent ever intentionally harm their own child? Or… kill them? What could possibly possess a parent to perpetrate such a deed?

It’s not easy to portray the unpinning of fundamental societal assumptions, especially when they have to do with family, loyalties or a mother’s unconditional love. Yet, Chris Keaton masterfully does just that in his latest work, A Child Outside.

The main character, Anna, is convinced that mommy knows best, that death is the only option. It’s for their own good. It’s what God would want. And, Anna’s faith is unwavering.

ANNA
I’m sorry sweet baby I should’ve-

She chokes back tears.

ANNA
I should’ve paid attention to the signs…

She whispers a prayer to herself.

ANNA
Fear not, for I have redeemed you. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…

Anna appears to be crazy; her daughters so young and innocent.

Short but not at all sweet, Keaton’s very dark A Child Outside comes to a twisted and chilling end: one that will be sure to unsettle any audience’s assumptions about Satan or sanity.

Number of pages: 4

Budget: Low. Just a bathtub, a couch, a television set, two Sunday best girls’ dresses and two child actresses.

About the reviewer: Julia Cottle is a cultural anthropologist living in Chicago. She has worked for years as a university instructor and researcher for organizations committed to social justice. She always has loved to write, but only recently has discovered the joy of film and stage writing. She may be reached at: Cottle54321“AT”Gmail.

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).

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.

Father’s Day – Short Script Review

Father’s Day
There’s no such thing as a bad day out with your kid…

What are doing reading this? The screenplay is two pages long, give it whirl!

Still reading? Alright, alright, here’s a quick primer:

A father and son spend quality time on the lake – fishing throughout the day. The fish may not be biting, but the two soon discover that the key to a successful Father’s Day may be just a matter of perspective, after all.

Written by veteran scribe Dave Troop, Father’s Day is the best gift a Dad (or a director) can receive: a quick set-up that delivers a heartfelt, heartwarming, and absolutely unforgettable finale.

If you were reading the script, you’d be halfway through by now. Well, your loss. Seriously…

Simple concepts – well-written and well-executed – are a rare find in the short-film world. Like Celluloid Chicken Soup for the Soul, Father’s Day is a recipe pre-simmered and fully packaged to inspire.

This is the kind of script that audience awards were made for: a tender testament to the bond between father and son – and a commentary about the legacies we leave our children.

So if you’re a director looking for soulful, cinematic meditation destined to put a joyous tear in many an eye – this one’s a perfect catch. Don’t let it swim away!

Pages: 2

Budget: Low. Three actors, two locations, and one great excuse to take a boat out on the lake.

About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple is quick with a joke or to light-up your smoke. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.com

About the Writer:  David M Troop resumed writing in 2011 after a twenty-five year hiatus.  Since then, he has written about 50 short scripts, two of which have been produced.   Dave would like to make it three.  He is a regular, award-winning contributor to MoviePoet.com.  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.

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

FOR YET MORE SCRIPTS AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION:

PLEASE SEARCH SCRIPTREVOLUTION.COM!

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.

 

Ribbeck Von Ribbeck – Short Script Review (Available for Production!)

Ribbeck Von Ribbeck
A rhyming, lyrical fable about an aging squire who teaches us how to cultivate a legacy: by passing-on the things most important to us.

Germany. A country that has a fascinating, yet bitterly haunting history. The literary past of the country does not stray from this statement: from the cautionary fairy tales of the Grimm brothers to the vindictive characters omnipresent in Sturm and Drang stories, it appears that the prominent German novels, short stories, and even films all have a very sinister coating around the meat of the story.

Which is why you’ll be cheered up by Dane Whipple’s adaptation of Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland, a 19th century traditional Teutonic Poem with a brighter touch, although still jam-packed with meaning. So much of it, in fact, that the poem is still taught in German schools today.

The poem is about a simple concept: Ribbeck is an old, well respected man who owns a pear tree, and he interacts with the young children of his village, Havelland by generously donating the offspring of his pride and joy. But when he passes away, the connection between the succulent pears and the appreciative children appears to have been severed…or has it?

Thankfully, Whipple has truncated the lengthy title to just “Ribbeck von Ribbeck”, and while the screenplay itself may seem similarly austere at just 4 pages, the expertly crafted interlocking of narration of the poem verbatim (don’t worry, it’s been translated to English) and action means you get a lot of plot for your page; every line adds new understanding to the story, as it should always be.

Despite the deceptively straightforward story, choosing to take on the task of directing this European classic will be a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one. A narrator with (or who can put on) a suitably powerful, yet tender German voice (and no, Arnie is Austrian) would be the icing on the cake. Actually, it’d be the fruit on the branches.

A faithful yet unique adaptation of a German classic, this short and delicate script is a must have for anyone looking to add some international flavour to their filmography. Capture the spirit of Ribbeck, and your film will stand out at festivals – far and wide!

And of course, there’s one question that needs to be answered: Does the dying man have one final trick up his sleeve to ensure fruity prosperity continues after he’s gone or will it all go pear-shaped for the kids of Havelland?

Pages: 4

Budget: A tranquil and beautiful location is best for this one. But is that a bank buster? In no way. Just a matter of cinematic taste.

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” gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.

About the writer: Dane Whipple is a highly-successful legal drafter, currently working as a senior construction defects attorney for a billion-dollar skyscraper and concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. As an award-winning author, he has written and produced several shorts, done punch-up work for various television projects, and is in the process of finishing his first feature: The Wild Age. A culmination of a full year of primary document research, the script is a music bio-pic with a kick. Think Ed Wood meets Eraserhead…with music. Dane is open to criticism (positive and negative) and collaboration. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.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.