Christmasville – Experience the Spirit While You Can!


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—

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” (or on Long Island, if you’re in the area!!)

Christmas Cards – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Christmas Cards

An elderly man spends Christmas with his friends and family.

As we post this review, it’s the end of December.  The cold remains of winter on city streets.  And time marches forward, implacably.  Christmas is over; a fading memory.  In its place, Valentine beckons with a red velvet finger.  Two holidays which pair together well: both dedicated to spending time with those you love. Which is a great sentiment….

If they’re here.

But what of those who have lost their family?  For the aged, time is not always a friend – more of a ticking reminder.  What can they look forward to, during these days of supposed cheer?

For Walter, 70s, it’s the rituals that keep him going.  Waking his weary bones in the morning. Boiling up tea on the stove.  And – on Christmas – writing personalized holiday cards by hand.  Then there’s that long slog to the senior bus.  Headed for the cemetery.

It’s a tiring routine for an old man, but Walter does it every day.  Why?  Because it’s a way to remember. To commune with friends and family.  Even if they’re no longer here.

But on this Christmas Eve, a storm is brewing.  And the bus doesn’t run on holidays.  Yet Walter vows to make the five mile trip. He’ll walk through sleet, if that’s what it takes.  But is the danger worth the risk?  To honor fading memories?

Far from Hallmark cliché, Christmas Cards is perfect for dramatic indie directors.  Written as a psalm for remembrance, CC’s a subtle and sweet script – perfect for any holiday.

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  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.

Pages: 8

Budget:  Relatively low.  One main character, one supporting role… and a handful of extras.  Add a bus and a cemetery location, and you’re good to go.




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 Christmas Spirit – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

 The Christmas Spirit

Santa’s spirit visits a young man who has lost his Christmas zeal.

For a script to work, it’s got to be intense. Controversial. Deeply relevant to the cultural and political atmosphere of one’s time… A story that shakes its audience’s beliefs to the very core.

Oh screw it. A good script should be entertaining. That’s the whole criteria. In a world that taps us into global devastation 24/7 via net and news, there’s something very vital to be said for a story that’s light and fun. Uplifting in a frothy, cheerful way. And Christmas Spirit is a script that can deliver exactly that type of present…

CS opens on our protagonist, Chris, in bed. Your average 30 something, Chris’ idea of holiday fun is sleeping late. It’s Christmas Eve, and he hasn’t even bothered to put up the tree. Still half asleep, he snuggles up to girlfriend Emma. But something doesn’t feel right. Chris opens his eyes, and finds Santa (or a reasonable facsimile) in bed with him. A horrified Chris leaps to his feet, his screams drawing Emma into the room. He grabs a baseball bat to bash Saint Nick all the way back to the North Pole – and realizes Emma can’t see the intruder. Santa’s either a figment of Chris’ imagination, or – gasp – the real deal!

Upset at Chris’ shenanigans, Emma storms off to work – leaving Chris to face his unearthly guest. And Santa isn’t looking too jolly. You see, he’s noticed Chris’ lack of holiday cheer. And he’s ready to give him a lump of coal… Unless Chris changes his naughty ways.

Whisking a still-stunned Chris away, Santa embarks with him on a buddy road trip, Kringle style. Will Chris find his holiday spirit after all? And maybe something even more precious?

A cute script, CS manages to pack its pages with a surprising amount of smart dialogue, such as when Santa lists Chris’ holiday “crimes”: “I know you didn’t really call Aunt Mabel. And you bought Emma a book for Christmas? Road maps aren’t a girl’s best friend…!”

If you’re a director in search of fanciful comedy – then we urge you to give CS a try. It’s sweeter than milk and cookies. And a treat for holiday audiences everywhere.

About the writer: Elaine Clayton is a London-based screenwriter, who has written several well-received shorts and is currently working on her first feature length scripts. Comfortable in a broad range of genres, Elaine has an innate sense of structure and arc development. Contact her at Elaine_clayton (AT) Hotmail(.)co(.)uk

Pages: 5

Budget: Low. There are no magical flying reindeer here, or fast talking snarky CGI elves. Just a handful of generic locations, and a few supporting human characters: Chris, Emma and Santa. (Get a solid actor with a real beard, and that’ll really make the visuals pop!)





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.

Better Be Good – Short Script for Review (Available for Production)

Better Be Good

When a young boy finds Santa’s lost bag of toys in a nearby forest, his first thought is to return it.

His big brother has other ideas though, which might prove life changing for both of them.

Ah, Christmas stories! It’s a beloved genre… with lots of cinematic gems. Let’s see; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Silent Night/Deadly Night… Okay – scratch that last one off the list. But – aside from exceptions that prove the rule – Christmas stories share a certain something special. Whether it’s Jingle All the Way or Frosty the Snowman, Christmas stories share sweetness. Child-like wonder…

…and a little touch of magic. Penned by talented writer Tim Westland, Better Be Good has all three traits.

The protagonist? A cute little kid named Charlie. Though a mere eight years old, Charlie’s already got problems. There’s his crippling fear of climbing trees. And domineering brother Robby (13).

Seeking a moment’s peace, a bullied Charlie runs to safety. Spotting a tree in the forest beyond his back yard, he scrambles up… fighting his phobia. At least, until a branch SNAPS… plummeting Charlie into a pile of leaves.

…where he makes a strange discovery. Hidden from view: a couple of wrapped Christmas presents. And a huge, red velvet sack. He peers inside. It’s as bottomless as a Christmas Tardis, and filled with an endless flood of toys!

Breathless, Charlie runs home to tell Robby of his find. He’s found Santa’s sack of toys. It must fallen from his sleigh.

Robby follows Charlie into the forest to investigate his crazy claims. He looks in the sack: the little dork’s tale is true! His skepticism melting into amazement, big brother Robby is thrilled. He’ll sell the sack on Ebay, and make a fortune. Enough for a million video games!

But Charlie has other ideas. It’s Santa’s property – they have to give it back, for the sake of the other children in the world. Besides, if they steal it… he’ll know. But Robby’s bigger. Older. Stronger. And used to getting his way. Will poor Charlie be able to change his mind… before Christmas fades away?

Indie directors, take note. Yuletide is just around the corner. Want a standout holiday script for your next project? Then take a look at Better Be Good. A humorous, family friendly story… in the best Christmas tradition.

About the writer: Tim Westland, co-writer of the acclaimed graphic novel Chasing the Dead, received first place for Balls Out in the NNYM 15 page contest. A moderator at Moviepoet, he’s an outstanding writer with an eye for the details. His IMDB page can be found here.

Pages: 6

Budget: Pretty low. Two solid child actors and a forest are the essential things you’ll need.





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.



Tim Westland’s For the Love of God – Available for Viewing (but wait, there’s more)!

Awhile back, STS announced that Tim Westland’s reviewed script For the Love of God had been optioned.  As you all know, that’s the first step.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the script has been shot by talented director Randy Smith – it’s distributed and looking… fabulous!

So take a peek at it on Youtube here…!

In the meantime, we highly suggest you look over Tim’s other work. The man writes in a variety of genres – each intelligently nuanced, and available for production as we speak:


Better Be Good – (Holiday Fantasy Short) – When a young boy finds Santa’s lost bag of toys in a nearby forest, his first thought is to return it. His big brother has other ideas though, which might prove life changing for both of them.

Balls Out (comedy) – Legendary Surfing Pioneer, Mick “Balls Out” Shelly, hasn’t hit the waves in five decades. But an opportunity to reclaim the spotlight takes Mick and people from his past on a trip down memory lane that none are likely to forget.

Careful What You Wish For (comedy/fantasy) – Magic genies and bottles. Such things never end well.  Or DO they?

A Line in the Sand (Hard Political SF/Drama) – Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

TV Series

Loose Screws (TV Pilot/Drama/Thriller with writer John Robbins) – A successful psychiatrist finds himself losing his grip on reality – and turns to an old patient – a girl with a mysterious mathematical talent, that he used and betrayed years ago.


Hunted/Stitched (Feature Horror with writer Rod Thompson) – After accidentally shooting a girl in the mysterious Ozark mountains, five hunting buddies must battle for their lives and their souls when a backwoods hillbilly taxidermist invokes ancient supernatural powers to bring his monstrous patchwork creations to life to exact his revenge.  Note to Directors who focus on contest winners… Stitched has been wowing the big ones.  Quite well!

About Tim himself: Tim Westland, co-writer of the acclaimed graphic novel Chasing the Dead, received first place for Balls Out in the NNYM 15 page contest. An outstanding writer with an eye for the details, his IMDB page can be found here. And he can be reached here (when not subsumed in writing throes): timwestland “AT” hotmail

A Jolly Encounter – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

A Jolly Encounter
Two young hikers encounter a mysterious backpacker with a candy cane phone and a penchant for milk and cookies.

How long have you had those boots,
Ted? Looks like they’ve seen
better days.

Well, it’s been about… Wait, how
do you know my name?

For many people, hiking is a paradoxical hobby – a chance to rest, yet keep fit at the same time. Undisturbed trails provide a calm backdrop for exercise… combined with walks of the meditative kind.

As Jason K. Allen’s “A Jolly Encounter” opens, two young ramblers – Ted and Melanie – are doing just that.

But their quiet hike through the great outdoors is soon interrupted: by an enigmatic man who calls himself “Nick”.

Nick? He looks odd at first glance. Yes, he owns a candy cane phone. And he’s got a sweet tooth for gingerbread men – even though he’s trying to lose weight.

And Nick’s other traits are strange as well. Somehow, he knows both Ted and Melanie’s names, though they’ve never met him before. As the strangers settle down and chat, the duo form an educated guess as to who “Nick” is. Not surprisingly, they’re ardent fans!

From there, a more serious discussion develops: one that stands the cinematic test of time. What moral virtues should Ted and Melanie cultivate in themselves? What’s Nick’s work in relation to human nature? Or to Nature itself? And that’s the aim of all great films – candy coating universal themes in entertainment, helping the “medicine” go down. There’s even an unexpected twist at the end… one that will fill your audience with delight.

Like Pixar did with its classics, Jolly can be seen from many sides. A gentle story to amuse kids, with an adult message at its nougat core.

Are you a comic director who likes satire? Chuckles with morals on the side? Then choose Jolly for a read. It’s got mass appeal, sharp dialogue… and if you end up being the good little boy or girl who brings it to the screen, you may find some gifts (like festival awards) under your Christmas tree!

Pages: 9

Budget: Pretty low. All you need is the great outdoors, some even greater actors. Oh – and a nice red suit.

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: Jason K. Allen is a writer and filmmaker from Nashville, Tennessee. His screenwriting credits include the short films AMERICAN SOCK, which won Best Screenplay at the 2014 San Diego Film Awards, and AUTUMN LOVERS, winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Artlightenment Festival in Nashville. He also wrote the feature film LUCKY FRITZ starring Julia Dietze (IRON SKY) and Corey Feldman. You can contact Jason at allen.jason.k (at) gmail. See IMDB for his complete credits:





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.


Damned Yankee – Short Script Review (Available for Production)


George just arrived in Songless.  And he’s got a tune to wake the dead…

Any scriptwriter worth their salt knows that the last ten years or so has seen a massive resurgence in the undead and all things zombie. Huge blockbusters like the recent World War Z have taken the box office by storm proving that there is still plenty of life in the ravenous flesh-eaters.

A point given further credence when considering the phenomenal success of TV’s The Walking Dead. The show is an international smash with millions of viewers tuning in each week to see Rick and his cohorts trying to survive a terrifying zombie outbreak where the only thing on the menu is them.

Given the rising popularity of these brain-hungry creatures it’s hardly surprising that there are probably as many scripts floating around as there are dead bodies in a zombie apocalypse.

Invariably, the inflicted end up as cannibalistic corpses due to a mysterious virus or lab experiment gone wrong.

So it’s particularly refreshing to see talented writer Cindy L. Keller breathe new life into the undead with her own unique take on the genre with her script Damned Yankee.

Our story begins when New Yorker, George Davidson’s rental car breaks down on the outskirts of Songless, a deathly quiet town in the Deep South. We think little of it until we discover that George is a country singer en route to Nashville – talk about irony!

George and his guitar take shelter from the sweltering heat under a tree where he encounters a mysterious dancing girl who likes to dance to the sound of silence! George attempts to make conversation, but the terrified girl runs off into the woods.

Fortunately, help soon arrives by way of wiry old hillbilly Phil Basher. Phil is the town’s chief peacemaker who not only has a strong dislike for “Yankees” like George, he also takes his job seriously… very seriously! So much so, that he refuses to allow George to play a single note on his beloved guitar and growls “You’ll raise the dead with that racket!”

They head off into town together and tensions soon rise between them. Phil eventually confides in George that the town is cursed, hence the reason why all types of music including singing are strictly prohibited. A statement borne out by the grizzly sight of hundreds of dead birds culled to prevent them from making so much as a peep.

But it’s too late! Modern technology intervenes and thanks to George’s ringtone all hell is about to break loose! Worse still, Phil has a much darker side to him as George is about to discover to his dismay.

Will George survive Phil and the undead hordes or are he and his musical career truly dead and buried?

About the writer: When asked where her inspiration comes from, Cindy will tell you that she was brought up in a small town. A town whose movie theater played Double Features on Saturday afternoons. Many of those being Horror double features. She loves the old horror classics. Movies like Dracula, Creature, The Mummy, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Horror without all the blood and guts, and she strives to incorporate that notion within her own writing.

Cindy is an award-winning screenwriter. She’s been a finalist at Page, finalist at Gimme Credit, Sixth place winner at American Gem, and the winner of Hellfire’s Short Horror Contest.

She has had two shorts produced, and has more shorts and features available for production. Cindy can be reached at skyburg “AT” hotmail

Pages: 21

Budget: low to moderate. A handful of characters (mostly non-speaking). A couple of vehicles. A few locations: Woods/House/Service Station/Cemetery and that’s pretty much it!

About the guest reviewer: Gary “Rolo” Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy for the hugely popular Spitting Image – a show broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since gone on to write several high-concept features and can be contacted at gazrow at Hotmail dot 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.