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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Changes – and a Great Partnership! (STS Moving to Script Revolution!)

Hard to believe, but it’s now been over three years since Shootin’ the Shorts opened shop here on WordPress. And we’ve had one heck of a rollercoaster ride ever since.

So many shorts produced, so much networking between writers, directors and film buffs.

And we ain’t even CLOSE to done.  

As they say so eloquently in the classic comedy Galaxy Quest:
Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

And STS isn’t giving up.  We’re evolving.

As many readers already know, STS has partnered for awhile with the terrific and ever growing site,

Script Revolution: http://www.scriptrevolution.com

And now, it’s time to roll STS completely into the Script Revolution fold.

For that reason, this particular page and all the reviews will remain live, and are worth continuing to search for gems – but you won’t be seeing any new reviews over here.  But tons ‘o them over at Script Rev.

And all you have to do to keep up on the latest is mosey on over to that URL (again, that’s www.scriptrevolution.com), and sign up for a free membership.  It’ll be easy to find the neon signs pointing to STS… plus much more.

Trust us – it’s very much worth it.  The art of screenwriting and movie making always is.

***

As a reminder: back on March 15th, Dropbox finally discontinued the use of the old “public folder” link process.  As a result, there will be some links to reviewed scripts here that are no longer active.  But that does not mean they’re necessarily off the market.

If a review/showcase has you itching to read a script that’s no longer linked, just check out the “about the writer” section of the review and email them directly.  We’re confident you’ll be glad you did – and that they’ll be glad to hear from you!

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish… and see you ASAP at Script Rev!!

 

Family Man – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Family Man

Before a member of a mob family can be named the new Capo, he has to take care of an unpleasant task to prove his loyalty to the family.

Mob movies are an interesting subculture… one which has spawned some – well, really seriously good sh*t.   Seriously: The GodfatherScarfacePulp Fiction. Reservoir DogsThe Sopranos.  The list goes on.  When done right, the genre seems to create some of the best quotes in film history, and some of the most memorable characters.  But since it’s been done so many times, how can a mob script find fresh material?

Family Man manages to pull it off.  Starting in familiar territory, FM fades in on Johnny Parisi, a loyal mob soldier that’s been handpicked as the new Capo.  You see, Frankie – the older Capo – doublecrossed the boss. As a result, they’re still scraping Frankie (and his dog) off his lawn. The thing is – Boss Lombardo doesn’t want a repeat performance.  So he’s testing Johnny first.  Before he gets his promotion, Johnny’ll have to take care of Frankie’s accomplice.  But when Parisi finds out who that is, all his plans go to hell.  Who’s the rat? And will Johnny pull the trigger? Or end up on the wrong end of Lombardo’s wrath?

If you wanna find out, you’re gonna have to open this script yourself. ‘Cause I ain’t gonna be the one to spill the beans…

About the writer: Gary Howell is an attorney who has been writing as a hobby for years, and his short “The Family Man,” led to a connection with an Australian film director. The two collaborated on a feature film, “Broad Daylight,” which is currently in pre-production, with filming to begin in New Orleans in July. He is currently working on two new features.

Pages: 10

Budget: Moderate.  This isn’t a Tarantino script – you won’t blow your budget on squibs.  But there are a moderate number of locations (both exterior and interior) and a healthy number of characters.  But the settings are pretty flexible; this could be shot most anywhere.

READ THIS 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.

 

Cooked – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Cooked

A this-or-that of urban legends as an old cat lady goes about her day. …

There’s something about mixing horror and comedy that just works so well.  You know, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – mix chocolate and peanut butter (or is that peanut butter and chocolate?), and the result is better than any single ingredient.  Doubt me on that?  Try some of these titles on for size: Army of Darkness, Shaun of the Dead,  American Werewolf in London (in parts.).  ‘Nuff said.  Game, set and match.

Following in that noble of tradition of laughing at potentially grisly events, Cooked follows the story of little old lady Barbara, as she pulls into her driveway.  Her son Jacob has lent her the family cat for a day of fur-baby sitting – and Barbara’s thrilled.  But, as old people sometimes are (especially in films), Barbara can be a bit… absentminded.  As the script progresses, the feline dangers in house begin to mount.  An open microwave.  Upended knives in the sink.  Will Barbara be a good grand-mamma to little pussy?  Or is there a cat-astrophe in their future?

Give Cooked a read.  It’s a fun little script with a strong ending.  And hey…  any script that endangers a cat is fine with me.

About the writer: Chris Shamburger was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Shriekfest Film Festival and finalist (Top 10) in 2013 for his recently-produced script, Hiccups. He was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Straight Twisted Horror Screenplay Contest and has been published in Twisted Dreams Magazine and Horror in Words. He lives in Marietta, GA with his partner and their Chow-mix rescue, Walter. Aside from writing, Chris has been teaching pre-kindergarten for the past five years.

Pages: 4

Budget: Low budget ; the entire script takes place at a single house (interior and exterior shots.)  One character.  Two, if you count the cat.  Which  is probably the only tricky part.  But that’s what stuffed props are for!! Or housecats you no longer need…

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.

 

The End in Sight – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

The End in Sight

A hired killer tries to finish one last job before going blind.

A bad guy with a soft spot – looking to do something right after a lifetime of mistakes…  What the heck is it about characters like this that captures the imagination?  Because they do. Every time.  They’re just so… more interesting than vanilla good guys. Screw Mark Hamill.  I’ll take Han Solo any day.  (And admit it…you would too.)  Hit men especially.  Watch the Professional or In Bruges, and dare to disagree.

The End in Sight is a short script that “hits” that exact note perfectly.  Enter Hugo – the consummate hit man.  He’s killed efficiently all his life. Now – unfortunately – he’s going blind.  Which, one could imagine, is really bad ju-ju for a man who relies on visual acuity…

Hugo’s trying to finish one last job before he retires: kill a gangster, and return a wayward prostitute, Winter, to a rival pimp named Skarda.  Needless to say – things get emotionally complicated and go horribly wrong.  Given the setup, this could have been a cliche script.  But The End in Sight does things right; pulling out twists and character beats that make the whole trip worthwhile. So if crime and thrillers are your forte, crack this one open. It’s got a killer ending…

About the writer: Breanne Mattson is no stranger to accolades.  Her feature lengths have made Nicholl Quarterfinalist three times (yeah, that’s three times, beeyotch!) She’s also made semi-finalist in Bluecat, Final Draft and honorable mention in TrackingB.  She’s also received a “worth the read” from Scriptshadow.  Her website can be viewed at www.breannemattson.com (IMDB credits here.)

Pages: 35

Budget: Okay. This one’s no “newbie” script.  Thirty five pages long, it features plenty o’ squibs and bullet hits,  stunt car driving, and both inside and outside locations.  But in experienced hands, this script could be amazing.

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.

 

Dropbox Links n’ Stuff (But Never Fear!)

Here ye, here ye!

Thanks to an overdue change in Dropbox (the phase-out of the old “public folder” system), please be aware some of STS’s reviewed scripts will no longer be available via the link at the bottom of some of our older posts.

But that doesn’t at all mean the scripts are no longer available, folks!

For those scripts this affects, please head on over to the “About the Writer” section of the reviews you find yourself intrigued by, and contact the writer by email instead.

Trust us, it’s worth it.  Because when faced with technological obstacles such as this, it’s the director who takes the initiative who wins the script – and the prize!!

Baby Steps – Short Script Review (Available for Production)

Baby Steps

You never forget the first time you fall in love – even if you were in diapers.

Okay, we’ll admit that talking baby scripts aren’t always the best thing since sliced bread.  Case in point: the Look Who’s Talking Series, from One through…well, whenever they decided to finally stop torturing the movie going public.  Honestly – after the first fifteen rounds, baby poop jokes get kinda…stale.  To put it mildly.  (Even if poop itself continues to be funny to those of us with a case of arrested development.)

But occasionally, a script comes along that proves the exception to the rule.  A script with a gentle sense of humor, and heart.  Baby Steps is that exception.

This short follows the story of Millie and Hank – two babies that meet cute one day in the park; only to have their chance encounter and hopes dashed to smithereens when their mothers roll them away.  Their baby hearts are broken – never to meet again.  Or will they?  (Cue the dramatic music here.)

Folks, this one’s an honestly cute and intelligent romance.  Not to mention an easy shoot – baby wrangling and spit-up aside.  Give this short a shot… and make your audience feel young at heart.

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.

Pages: 9

Budget: Very low.  Well, with the exception of dealing with baby actors.  Unless your friends have a few that can be borrowed…

READ THIS 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.