This week we have SIX scripts instead of five. Blame it on my bad grades in math growing up. You know the deal. Read however much you can and help the writers out with feedback. Feel free to be critical, as long as it’s constructive. Enjoy and let’s find a great script!
Title: Black Friday
Logline: A tightly-wound retail store manager on the brink of being fired struggles to prove his worth against a crew who hates him, a competing retailer (who happens to be his ex-girlfriend) out to sabotage him and a mall full of crazed Black Friday shoppers.
Why You Should Read: Because it is a story about working in retail which means that while it’s written as a comedy, it could easily pass for a horror, a drama, a thriller, an action-adventure or any of the wild aspects that make working retail soul-crushingly awful and occasionally (oh so occasionally) great. Also, this script is very much a product of ScriptShadow. I studied screenwriting in college, but spent many years caught up in absurdly grand fantasy-adventure screenplays that were really novels written in Final Draft. And then I stumbled upon ScriptShadow, learned some new lessons, refocused my writing, and set out to create screenplays that were actually screenplays. “Black Friday” is one proud example.
Title: Santa’s Shrink
Logline: A down-on-his-luck psychologist must help Santa Claus overcome a mid-life crisis just three days before Christmas.
Why You Should Read: Need one reason why you should review Santa’s Shrink? 1. My mother says it’s brilliant! And she never lies! Need a second reason? Please enjoy the following haiku:
Santa’s Shrink is fun.
Carson Reeves just might agree.
Thank you in advance.
Logline: After being manipulated into covering up the murder of a coworker, a collections agent’s life spins into a frenzy of psychological and physical torture that can only be stopped by the compassionate love of his new crush.
Why You Should Read: Revision was named one of the 12 finalist in the 2014 Hollywood Screenplay Contest Thriller category. I love movies like Fight Club, Memento, and Shutter Island when the protagonist doesn’t realize that he is the antagonist. You should read Revision because it is engaging, entertaining, and scary. Mix Tyler Durden’s mania with Lenard Shelby’s “condition” and you get the main character, Arthur Graham. He fights off his demons as he struggles to hold on to his new girlfriend; and he does it all with a smile on his face (most of the time.)
Title: The 11th Hour
Logline: “A cop still dealing with the tragic loss of his son has to team up with a serial killer on death row to stop a series of copy cat murders.”
Why You Should Read: Carson and I emailed back and forth a few months ago regarding our Industry Insider contest win for a television show (same contest Tyler Marceca won). We also just got in the top ten of a Sheldon Turner sponsored screenplay contest through the Industry Insider contest. Although we didn’t win, we received a double recommend for both the script and as writers. As we are big fans of your site, we wanted to send it to you.
Title: Bard Lane
Logline: When Hamilton comes home from college and finds his father dead, his mother married to his uncle, and himself hopelessly in love with a feuding neighbor, what follows is much ado about Shakespeare.
Pitch: Nine Shakespeare plays crammed together in the suburbs.
Why You Should Read: I’ve been a longtime reader of your site and enjoyed all your insights into the craft. I lived out in LA for three years, during which time I completed the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting and did some internships around town. My very understanding and supportive wife was still back on the east coast, so I didn’t have an unlimited amount of time. Toward the end, I was having coffee with a manager (the only time this happened) and his advice to me was “You can write anywhere.” That’s absolutely true, but the flip side is that each script I’ve sent out since I moved home has gotten less reads as my contacts dried up. At this point, I almost feel like I’m starting back on first base again.
Which brings me to my latest script. It’s been a very interesting project for me, learning all about these Shakespeare plays. I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan before, but reading them as many times I have at this point, I definitely have huge respect for the material. It’s a fun script, present day, small cast, based on stories known the world over. But it boggles my mind how difficult it’s been getting people to request it. Scripts that were a lot less high concept had an easier time getting read. Is Shakepeare really that big of a turn-off?
Logline: While working with a possessed teen, a self-assured psychologist makes a startling discovery that challenges everything he has ever held as true.
Why you should read: (The Long Version) After my SS review I was sure Carson was wrong. Sure of it. So I shopped ‘Inhuman’ around a bit. And, as more and more people came back with the same damn note (change the end), I didn’t say, “Eh. Maybe they’re right.” Instead, I said, “Fuck you, all.” And I didn’t write for a while. And what did that get me?
So, I wrote again. And, to be certain nothing like what had happened with ‘Inhuman’ would happen to me another time, I decided to write/direct/produce my own short… that way I would have total control over everything that went into my movie.
And that’s when I learned a valuable lesson: there’s no such thing as “total control” in the movie making process. EVERY SINGLE THING is a group decision. I could only work with shots the camera managed to get. My actors delivered their lines in ways I had not expected. So much of what I planned, just plain and simple, didn’t work… and people during the entire process chimed in. And, thank God, I didn’t shut them out. I listened to their advice. And, I learned.
Earlier this summer, I found myself in a parking lot talking to a writer friend of mine about a possible rewrite of ‘Inhuman.’ He asked me this simple question: “Why do you think people were so taken by the first sixty pages and not the last thirty?”
I responded: “The first sixty pages were about character. The last thirty were about plot.”
I don’t know why I answered that way or why it excited me so much, but I do know that–almost immediately–I realized it hearkened back to so much I have read on SS.
So I sat down and began plotting out a new direction for ‘Inhuman.’ While I was doing so Carson mentioned Pixar’s motto–simple story/complex characters–a few times and I used that as a guide while writing.
The thing about changing a screenplay’s ending is that you really have to go back and rewrite every single one of the setups (since the payoffs have changed). And, so, what I offer you is what Hollywood always wants: The same thing. Only very different.