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amateur offerings weekend

Today we have not five, but SIX Amateur Friday contenders. Why? Well, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think writers are bringing it with their concepts. They’re not bad ideas, but remember, when you’re an unknown screenwriter, you need your idea to STAND OUT. You want it to be exciting and different. Heck, a good half-dozen of Thursday’s IRONIC LOGLINES, which seemed to have been made up on the spot, were better than all the loglines I received in my Amateur Offerings inbox this week. By expanding the field, I’m hoping to increase the chances of finding something good. Good luck to all!

Title: The Patron
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Crime Thriller
Logline: Fresh out of prison, a young Brooklyn artist attempts to restart his career, but his plans are derailed when a seductive older socialite blackmails him into murdering her husband.
Why You Should Read: I know in the past you’ve said you love a good psychological thriller, and this is a dark one with more twists and turns than Taylor Swift’s love life (okay, I guess it hasn’t been that exciting lately). I set out to write something in the vein of classics such as “Fatal Attraction” and “Basic Instinct”, but with a different, unexplored central dynamic – specifically, one between an older woman and a younger man (40s and 20s, respectively). The power imbalance between the characters due to her wealth and his recent incarceration only serves to heighten the conflict in the story. The script received high-enough ratings to place it on the Top List page of the Black List website; I humbly submit it here in hopes that it will be met with similar regard. On a final note, I was a Quarterfinalist in the 2013 Nicholl competition, so I’d like to think that my writing skill is at a level that won’t leave you wanting to gouge your eyes out. (Sorry to end with that disturbing image, but it felt appropriate).

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Logline: To help her sisters cope with their parents divorce an intelligent and highly imaginative teenager fabricates fantastic stories, not realizing elements of those stories are manifesting in the home and drawing their father deeper and deeper into the dark world of his id.
Why You Should Read: Some of you may recognize this script from when it was featured last year on AOW. I received many notes that weekend for which I am eternally grateful. I put it away the script for some months and worked on other projects while trying figured out how to address the story with a whole new approach. Needless to say I woke from a dream one night to find none other than Billy Wilder standing at the foot of my bed. Together Billy and I took the story by it’s horns and wrestled it into submission. We even gave it a new title. The sun came up, Billy was gone and The Three Degrees Of Separation was ready for discerning eyes. Love it or hate it, it will leave an impression on you. I think you will love it. But if you hate it, blame it on Billy.

Title: Damn Nation
Genre: Horror/Action Thriller
Logline: Five years after a plague has overrun the United States, turning most of the nation into feral vampiric creatures, a Special Ops unit from the President’s current headquarters in London is sent back into the heart of the US in a desperate attempt to find a group of surviving scientists who claim to have found a cure for the disease… but not everyone wants to see America back on its feet.
Why You Should Read: I believe screenplays are evolving. With the advances of technology in the last couple of decades such as the internet, computers, ipads, smartphones, etc, screenplays can be more than words on paper, they can be visual and even interactive experiences. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to integrate artwork into my screenplay, but I think this approach, if done right, can add a lot of value to a project. Integrated artwork is just the tip of the iceberg though. I believe soon people will be adding a lot more elements, such as photo references, storyboards, video, sound effects, music, and other audio-visual components embedded into their scripts. The possibilities are endless.

However, I know that my view on things is going to be vastly unpopular right now. I think most people will have an old school attitude and believe that writers should write, leaving the fancy bells and whistles to someone else.

With that said, I do believe nothing is more important than the words themselves. Above all else, I hope my script is judged on the words, not the images. Everything else I’ve added is just a bonus.

Title: Sarah’s Getting Married
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Harry, wrongfully accused of embezzlement, escapes from prison in order to get to his daughter’s wedding and walk her down the aisle.
Why You Should Read: Concept is king. It’s something we’ve all heard, and I feel this script has a great concept that can really sell. This is an idea that I’ve had for years, and it has gone through many changes. But I finally came up with a good, fun way to tell this story and I want to share it with everyone who is willing to take a look at it. Besides, who doesn’t like a good comedy that has heart?

Title: Lifeline
Genre: Dramedy
Logline: A womanizing dockworker is forced to take in his estranged, brain-injured father after the old guy is ousted from a nursing home.
Why You Should Read: I’ve placed my story in the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia because I wanted the setting to set the tone of the script and influence the characters. It’s a “relationship” dramedy that’s fun and poignant and has a lot of heart (I hope!) Sorry, no guns, explosions or time travel. I’ll save that for the rewrite!

Genre: Family
Logline: Three talking gorillas escape from captivity and enter the world of professional wrestling. The two older brothers – managed by the intellectual younger brother – take a run at the tag-team championship.
Why You Should Read: It’s something different for both of us. For me, it’s a shot at lighter writing. For you, it’s a chance to escape from the usual AOW ghetto of contained thrillers, gross-out comedies, and derivative horror. Have you ever reviewed an amateur Family screenplay? — Also, this script Quarterfinaled in the 2014 Fresh Voices contest. This is intended as live action with latex makeup, like the original Planet Of The Apes – not animation.