Amateurs don’t get much love in the screenwriting business. UNTIL TODAY! Here are 15 amateur screenplays that caught my attention in 2012. Let’s find a home for some of them!


Gangnam Style Top 15 Breakdown!

One of the cool things about The Black List when it first came out was that you truly felt like it was celebrating the underdog – the guy who couldn’t catch a break – who couldn’t get his script read by the right people. Over time, as the list grew in popularity, so did the profiles of the writers who landed on it. There were still some little guys, but they were now overshadowed by much more accomplished writers. I think The Hit List has filled that gap to an extent, celebrating only spec scripts (as opposed to assignments, which is where all the high rollers play), but a lot of those writers still have agents. Which means there isn’t any list that celebrates TRUE amateur writers. We’re getting closer to that point, with amateur screenplays being tracked at a pace unheard of five years ago. There are just so many places online to get your script read and noticed. Still, how you siphon all of that into one bottle remains a tricky proposition. While we wait for that process to improve, I can at least give you MY favorite amateur scripts of the year. Keep in mind I’m including scripts that have since garnered representation. To be on this list, all you need is to have been a true amateur (no reps or managers) when your script was discovered this year.  Oh, and all of these scripts are available except for The Disciple Program. Here we go…

Title: The Wall (not reviewed)
Premise: A cheating husband’s desperate attempt to keep his son from dating his mistress goes horribly wrong when his son turns up dead. As he clambers to cover his tracks, his life spirals out of control, while his wife searches for revenge.
Writers: Jon Bachmann & Katherine Griffin
How I found it: Consult service
About: This script made the list because of its meticulous plotting. Jon and Katherine really know how to weave characters in an out of each other’s lives in interesting ways. The only reason it didn’t rank higher was because it didn’t have a hook or a juicy role for an actor to play. If you write a character piece, you need at least one of those things, and preferably both.

Title: Guest
Premise: After checking into a hotel to escape her abusive husband, a woman realizes guests in the next room are holding a young girl hostage.
Writer: Matthew Cruz
How I found it: Twit-Pitch Contest
About: Whereas “The Wall” had no hook, this has a great hook. And the idea is catnip to the spec buying world. Producers love contained situations with lots of conflict because they’re cheap to make and easy to market. I don’t think the current draft had enough meat to it, but I hear Matthew’s hard at work improving the script. I’m interested to see what he’s done since the review.

Title: Eden’s Folly
Premise: A left-for-dead rancher wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory of who he is. He goes off in a search to find out what happened.
Writer: Ryan Binaco
How I found it: Consult service
About: There’s something about Ryan Binaco’s writing that I find intriguing.  I’m not a drug-addict, but I imagine this is what it must feel like to be high on peyote.  You just get sucked up into another plane when you read Ryan’s work.  Sometimes that’s a weird thing.  But usually it’s good.  There are so many less interesting ways this story could’ve gone. I’ve seen those versions hundreds of times from lesser writers. But you’d be hard-pressed to guess where this one’s going. I wouldn’t say that all the choices are satisfying, but they’re certainly unique.

Title: Fatties
Premise: When a lonely masochistic chubby chaser is abducted by two fat lesbian serial killers, it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
Writer: Matthew Ballen
How I found it: Twit-Pitch Contest
About: Fatties may be my most controversial script endorsement of the year. Say what you will about the disturbing subject matter, but I dare you to stop reading Fatties once you’ve opened it!  There’s a scene in here you will never forget no matter how hard you try. And somehow, at the end of the rainbow, is a love story you’re kinda rooting for. This script made me feel slimy, but in an ooey-gooey way.  Yummy.  More Fatties!

Title: Nine Twelve
Premise: A man embarks on a relationship with a 9/11 widow after claiming to have lost his brother in the attacks.
Writer: Edward Ruggiero
How I found it: Consult Service
About: Dramatic irony, dramatic irony, dramatic irony. Nine Twelve shows us how powerful the tool can be. It’s why I highlighted D.I. so extensively in my book. Here, we can’t look away from this relationship because we know something this poor woman doesn’t – that our hero is lying to her about everything their relationship is based on. The script is an incredibly difficult sell because the main character is so unlikable. But it manages to keep our attention all the way through. Can’t wait to see what Ed comes up with next!

Title: 3022 (not reviewed)
Premise: The crew members on a space shuttle 600,000 miles from Earth must question their individual fates and fight for their lives after their home – Earth itself – is destroyed.
Writer: Ryan Binaco
How I found it: Consult Service
About: Ryan is back with a second script in the Top 15! This one is a cross between Solaris, 2001 and The Fountain, with just enough “mainstream” to keep it marketable. I’ve actually read a couple versions of the script, and I hear the latest version (which I haven’t read yet) is doing really well over at the Black List site. I’ve hinted to Ryan that he’s gotta make the story accessible if he wants someone to snatch it up. But at the same time, I don’t want to stifle the craziness that goes on in his head too much. That’s what makes his scripts so different!

Title: Proving Ground
Premise: 9 strangers wake in a deserted Mexican town besieged by killing machines: they must discover why they’ve been brought there to survive.
Writer: James Topham
How I found it: Twit-Pitch Contest
About: Proving Ground was the winner of my Twit-Pitch contest. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a really cool idea with a sound execution. The reason this one makes the Top 10 is because I want to see this movie! I want to see these people being attacked by these giant machines. I want to see them trying to figure out how they got here and how they’re going to get away. There are too many spec scripts in Hollywoodland that are well-written but not “big” enough to be made into movies (I liked Nine-Twelve, but its too small to get a producer excited about it). Proving Ground is not one of those screenplays!

Title: Saving Lexie Lee (not reviewed)
Premise: When a popular high school girl looks into some mysterious murders happening around town, she’s shocked to find out that she may know the killer.
Writer: Michael Morra
How I found it: Consult Service
About: I really liked this one, so much so that I asked Michael if I could come on as producer. We’ve since played around with the script and while we’re getting close, there’s something that isn’t quite there yet with the ending. The thing I liked about the script was that it had this really weird structure that you never see in these types of films. That’s proven to be a roadblock for some, since it requires a complete rethinking of how these movies work. But I still have faith in its unorthodox approach.  “Lexie Lee” is basically “Scream” but with a really fucked up second act. We’ll figure it out eventually. And when we do, I have a feeling this could sell.

Title: Lovin’ Brooklyn (not reviewed)
Premise: When her rich step-dad cheats on her mother, a young girl is forced to move into her aunt’s home in Brooklyn, where she’s introduced to a “player” pizza boy who needs her to help him win a dance competition.
Writer: Guy Guido
How I found it: Consult Service
About: The thing that kills me is finding a really good writer who’s written a script that’s tough to sell. Guy is a kick-ass writer. He’s the kind of guy you’d want to write your next romantic comedy or “Save The Last Dance.” But Lovin’ Brooklyn is so specific, you’d have to find JUST THE RIGHT buyer for it, and it’s never easy finding that buyer. With that said, the success of Silver Linings Playbook gives me hope for Lovin’ Brooklyn, as there are some definite similarities between the two.  This could be the next cool dance flick that breaks that “on the bubble” young female TV star.

Title: Keeping Time
Premise: A for-hire time traveler who specializes in “preventing” bad relationships meets his match with a mysterious woman who claims to also be a traveler and is determined to stop him from completing his mission.
Writer: Nathan Zoebl
How I found it: Amateur Friday
About: After my review of this script, Nathan snatched an agent at WME (Mike Esola) and went through a couple of close calls getting talent attached. I couldn’t resist being a producer on this one either as I’m always looking for the next great time travel comedy. Now it’s a matter of stepping back, possibly doing another rewrite or two, and getting this script back in the game. I really want to make this one happen so if you’re interested, e-mail me!

Title: Fascination 127
Premise: A group of men are hired by a mysterious client to remove Jim Morrison’s casket, give it to him for 24 hours and then return the casket into the ground before it is publicly exhumed to be moved to the United States.
Writer: Alex Carl
How I found it: Amateur Friday
About: This script totally took me by surprise. I thought it was going to be a half-assed weed-driven series of college conspiracy theories on what happened to Jim Morrison. Instead, it was a taut highly-engrossing heist film. But even better, Alex and I took everyone’s feedback from the review and incorporated the best notes into the script. Alex is almost done with his latest draft and I can confirm that it has gotten a LOT better. Once it’s finished, we’ll go out there and, at the very least, land Alex an agent.

Title: Reunion
Premise: At their ten-year reunion, a formerly bullied outcast decides to enact revenge on the cool kids who made his life miserable.
Writer: Adam Zopf
How I found it: Amateur Friday
About: I know, I know. This is kind of a cheat. I originally aired this review in 2011. But since I didn’t have an official “Best Amateur Scripts” list for 2011, I decided to move Reunion to 2012. So what’s going on with the script? Some good stuff, depending on how you look at it. The production company that optioned Reunion wasn’t able to get it going in time, so the script’s reverted back to Adam! That means it’s back on the market. I’m going to meet with Adam some time this month and we’ll discuss Reunion. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up working on it together.

Title: Rose In the Darkness
Premise: A secluded boy’s way of life is threatened when he befriends Rose – the girl whom his parents have imprisoned in the family attic.
Writer: Joe Marino
How I found it: Amateur Friday
About: To think that Joe wrote this and he isn’t even finished with college yet! The review led to Brooklyn Weaver at Energy Entertainment reading and loving Rose. We’re pairing together to produce and Brooklyn is also managing Joe now. Some folks have been put off by the ultra-dark subject matter in the script but I think it’s only a matter of time before we find a home for this one. If you’re a production company who’s not afraid to take chances – if you want something on your slate riskier than the typical garden variety horror fare we’ve seen as of late, let me know. I’ll get you Rose and we can take it from there.

Title: 300 Years (not reviewed)
Premise: After waking up 300 years in the future, a San Francisco bike messenger learns that the world has been taken over by aliens, and that these aliens now keep humans as pets.
Writer: Peter Hirschmann
How I found it: Consult Service
About: What I love about Peter is that he’s gone all in after getting an agent (at Verve) and manager (at Kaplan/Perrone) since 300 Years broke. This man is furiously working on his new spec, as well as flying in and out of LA to take meetings for potential assignments. The assignment market is very competitive, but Peter’s gotten super close on a few big ones. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he scores one. In the meantime, I wait with baited breath for his new spec. Peter keeps his ideas close to the chest, but from the bits and pieces I hear, they sound awesome. And yes, I’m still a producer on 300 Years, along with Jill Messick. We’re going to push this script hard again once we get a director attached. :)

Title: The Disciple Program
Premise: A man wakes up to find his wife dead and no memory of the night before. His investigation into her death will lead him to a top secret government-sponsored program.
Writer: Tyler Marceca
How I found it: Consult Service (later reviewed on Amateur Friday)
About: Lots of people ask for updates on Disciple. This is all I can tell you. Morten Tyldum, the director attached to Disciple, recently signed on to direct The Imitation Game. So it looks like that’s his priority now. I think they were shooting for a tiny opening in Whalberg’s (also attached) schedule early this year, but they weren’t able to make it. What does this mean? Well, Whalberg has 10 billion projects lined up, so I’m not sure. But hopefully they figure out a way to make it work, or if they don’t, another package comes on board and gets it rolling, sort of like what happened with Prisoners. You’re always hoping for that dream scenario where you get the spec sale and then six months later, you’re shooting. But usually, you have to endure a few speed bumps along the way to the promised land, so I’ll keep hoping and wishing Tyler luck!

Again, all of these scripts except for Disciple are available. Feel free to e-mail me if you’re a producer/agent/manager and I’ll send you copies of the scripts you’re looking for. Sorry there are still no comments in the reviews I sent you back to. I still have to transfer Disqus comments over from the old site! Oh, and if you’ve read any really good amateur scripts yourselves, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments section!

  • Poe_Serling

    Coming full circle this week… here’s a reprint of my top amateur scripts from just a few days ago… with a few additions to make it an even Top Ten.

    Top of the heap: FATTIES. The reason? For its sheer audacity. FASCINATION 127: A very clever and exciting heist script with a twist of Jim Morrison.

    The rest of the best in no particular order. There were things that I enjoyed from all these writers’ projects:

    Proving Ground


    The Tradition

    Zombie Res-erection



    Rose in the Darkness

    Mrs. Satan – I know it’s an AF script from late 2011… but I’m pretty sure it’s still eligible due to some complicated legal mumbo jumbo found in the fine print section of the above submit link.

    • garrett_h

      Anyone know the deal on Mrs. Satan? Definitely one of the better AF submissions. I seem to remember a comment a couple months back saying it was in a rewrite?

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Garrett-

        I’ve been on the Mrs. Satan bandwagon from the first day she got engaged to Mr. Louis Cyphre. Plus, I’ve told gazrow the spec waters might be warming up for this sort of comedy considering…
        Fox just recently bought the script Dear Satan. The comedy follows a 7-year-old girl who accidentally misspells “Santa” and instead invites Satan to bring her a toy for Christmas.

        • garrett_h

          Yeah, I remember when Dear Satan sold earlier this year. Great story behind the writer coming up with the concept. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Literally.

    • gazrow

      As soon as I saw Reunion from 2011 had made Carson’s list, I was really hoping that Mrs. Satan might get a mention! Even though I have written other scripts since, I still think of it as my baby! Thanks Poe – you made my day!

      • Poe_Serling

        Mrs. Satan is an underrated gem in my book – even in Carson’s original review the positives of the project outnumbered the few concerns such as the character’s age, etc.

  • John Bradley

    My goal is to make the 2013 list=) remember this comment Carson! I will be there

    • carsonreeves1

      I’m marking it down. It’s marked! :)

    • jae kim

      me too. in fact, mark me down twice.

    • nawazm10

      I’ll third that!

      • crazdwriter

        Count me in too!

    • Lisa Aldin

      Heck yeah!!

    • Andrew Mullen

      My goal is to make up half of the 2013 list. Because I am an arrogant bastard.

  • ThomasBrownen

    What a great list! I hope we hear more from these writers in the future, and I have no doubt that 2013 will bring a few more good writers to our attention too.

  • gj_d

    From the scripts listed here I’ve read they’re a pretty solid bunch. Nice variety too. Is it just me or has the bar for “amateur” scripts suddenly gotten a lot higher?

    • The Mulberry Tree

      I would say, amateur or not, the bar should always be high.

  • Tor H

    FATTIES and REUNION. If only there was some eye-rolling emoticon to use here.

    BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (anyone else remember this one?) is not only my favorite amateur script of last year, but it may well be one of my 10 favorites since I discovered ScriptShadow. A few too many ‘nudge-wink’ gags, but, overall, a brilliant sort-of period piece. The critical/commercial failure of FUN SIZE (which I kind of liked) might scare people away from making youthcentric Halloween comedies, but I say it’s worth a shot.

    MAD DOGS and ZOMBIE RESERECTION (warts and all) were also worthy amateur efforts.

    Also, good call on ROSE, FASCINATION and KEEPING TIME.

    • carsonreeves1

      Best Friends Forever came very close to making the list. I liked that one a lot too.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey Tor-

      Thanks for bringing up Mad Dogs… I completely forgot about that one. That script was a moonshine-fueled joyride from the werewolf orgy in the bar to the chainsaw-ripping finale.
      I’m heading back up top right now to include it my top picks.

  • Courtny W. Blanche

    I’m digging this…hopefully when I do this last rewrite I’ll get in there. I’ll be bugging Carsons email in a few weeks! Mark my words. : )

  • Malibo Jackk

    Disciple Program delayed?

    Heard Dick Wolf (Law & Order, Chicago Fire) on Morning Joe this morning.
    Apparently the Wolf is in tv because it once took him eleven years to make a movie.

    He also mentioned that he had made a pilot for a show which got sidelined by 911.
    And, it turns out — it had a few elements similar to one of my scripts.
    (Still think mine’s better than the Wolfman.)

    • Jarrett_H

      Thanks for mentioning he was on. Never watched Law & Order but I’ve been watching Chicago Fire. Kinda mixed feelings on that one. For those that want to watch his interview:

      Talks a lot about his novel but discusses writing and movies too.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Big fan of the Wolfman. (Not necessarily the shows.)
        Haven’t seen enough of CFire — don’t even know if there’s a story line.
        Saw a little on a plasma screen. Colors too vivid. Could have been the set.
        Also not a fan of the directing. Scenes appeared staged. Awkward.
        May have worked better if I had seen the episode from the beginning.

        • Jarrett_H

          There are a few individual storylines but it sorta goes show to show because most storylines drop out/get resolved. I mainly watch for the emergencies. Some of those are shot pretty cool, however improbable a few may seem.

          As a kid I wanted to be a firefighter so that’s probably the main reason I still watch.

          • Malibo Jackk


    • Poe_Serling

      Have you had a chance to crack open Grim Night yet, or have you been pacing the floor in anticipation of that unsettling ‘knock’ at the door? ;-)

      • Malibo Jackk

        Having trouble doing the simplest things. Schedule’s been messed up lately.
        Still haven’t thanked the guy for sending me the script.
        Just printed it out yesterday. Had time to look at the first 3 pages.
        Amazing idea. Love the opening. But that could be the easy part.

        Started working on two new scripts. The first act of one. The third act of the other.
        Writing those first, because they contain the amazing ideas.

        The rest will be hard work.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Happy writings :-) Hope to read’em someday !

          • Poe_Serling

            Hey MZG-

            Did you happen to see the latest redband trailer for the Evil Dead remake?


            It looks batsh*t crazy intense. And I thought Sam Raimi and co. took projectile upchecking to the limit in Drag Me to Hell… I guess I was wrong. ;-(

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Yes, I did :-) Even though I don’t care for remakes, I have to admit this one looks pretty intense. I just hope the trailer doesn’t depict the only good things about it… When is it released stateside ?

          • Poe_Serling

            Mama – Jan. 18
            The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia – Feb. 1 (confusing title)
            Dark Skies – Feb. 12
            Evil Dead -April 12

            Much like a Ti West film, a slow build for the first half of the year… then things start to pick up speed as we approach Helloween.

            Black Rock, World War Z, The Conjuring, Insidious 2, Carrie, and a slew of others.

        • Poe_Serling

          Glad to hear that you’re busy writing and that the Grims didn’t get you… yet. :-)

  • Steex

    I need to get to reading!
    I haven’t heard of a few of these, but I’m interested to take a look at each and every one.

  • Dane Purk

    Rose In the Darkness was a winner with me. I criticized the dialogue, but only because I had to criticize SOMETHING. :)

    I’ll be on here next year for sure. If only because Disciple doesn’t feel like a “number 1″ to me, maybe because it’s just a relative winner, so I’ve gotta give you something better to up the quality context.

    Seriously. 2013. Watch out for me. Shit will get so intense you will literally scream GET TO THE CHOPPAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    • carsonreeves1


    • LV-426

      Be careful, submitting a script to AF seems like it is potentially more painful than getting skinned alive by the Predator.

      • Dane Purk

        I’ll cover myself in mud first. Duh. :)

        Actually I’ll just write a good story, and THEN I’ll cover myself in mud.

  • Nigel Quinn

    ‘Sanctuary’ kicks ass

    • The Mulberry Tree

      Is it possible to get a copy? Been through Hell and high water looking for it with no luck…help me Nigel Quinn, you’re my only hope. Cheers.

  • The Mulberry Tree

    I like the list, but more than that I like the reasons. Also, it’s really great to hear what you do and are doing for these writers. Thank you Carson for giving us all hope. You have my ultimate respect…that’s right, I said ULTIMATE.

  • John Bradley

    If anyone is interested in trading screenplays and doing some peer reviews with one another I think that would be fantastic. I’d be happy to look anyones over. Also, I’m looking for as many friends as I can get in the screenwriting community, so feel free to add me on Facebook.

    • Kevin Lenihan

      Simplyscripts is a good place to get peer reviews, John. A lot of writers who will exchange reads.

      • Guest

        I have checked them out before… maybe I will spend some more time there. Time is crazy between writing, reading professional scripts, reading screenwriting books, etc…I just discovered this site a month ago and read the reviews as I’m writing. I’ve gone back to almost January 2011!
        That’s though Kevin, I will spend a little more time over there, checking them out.

      • John Bradley

        I have checked them out before… maybe I will spend some more time there. Time is crazy between writing, reading professional scripts, reading screenwriting books, etc…I just discovered this site a month ago and read the reviews as I’m writing. I’ve gone back to almost January 2011!
        Thanks though Kevin, I will spend a little more time over there, checking them out.

        • Kevin Lenihan

          Two most useful things in my development: simplyscripts & scriptshadow. Both SS! To get reads at simply, you do have to invest some time first. Post some reviews, get to know the regs. Good luck!

      • cjob3

        Really? I reviewed a few things there and got zero response for my efforts. Not even from the authors. I posted my script there months ago and maybe got one (generic) comment. Last I checked, it’s still on the front page too. Just seemed dead to me there.

        • Kevin Lenihan

          CJ, you have to learn how to use something, like anything. There are a lot of writers that post scripts there but never check into the forum. If you review those scripts, no one will ever see it. You have to make a point of learning who is active there, and there are quite a few. Talk to them, review some of their stuff. Put in the time wisely and you’ll get plenty of feedback. Use the portal to see what topics people are active in. Good luck.

    • klmn

      You could try Zoetrope. It’s not as active as it used to be, and it takes some effort to find the good reviewers, but it’s worth a shot. Of course amateur reviewers won’t have the same criteria as the pros. A $50 buck review on BlackList 3.0 will give you a brief overview of your script’s prospects.

  • ElliotMaguire

    The bar had certainly been raised. I think the reason amateur scripts are getting better is because you no longer have to be film grad student.

    I learnt the craft from a.Watching movies b.Reading the scripts from those movies and c.Reading reviews and taking advice from websites like this, AS and Write to Reel. There’s so much more access than there used to be.

    My favourite of this list is Rose in Darkness, a very subtle, creepy script, that had that great uncomfortable vibe to it.

    One that hasn’t been reviewed on here that I read over on Write to Reel was The Suicide Theory, a great conspiracy thriller, very Hollywood, very cinematic.

  • Rob B.

    Is there a golden rule against Amateur writers from writing Action movies or at least part Action? This list looks more like Drama Comedies with a splash of Thriller Sci-Fi.

    • Brainiac138

      There are probably a lot of factors involved like Carson’s tastes and what subject matter the writers want to tackle. I know a lot of writers find it difficult to come up with a cool action hook and place set pieces that are inventive.

  • BennyPickles

    Ah Reunion. The first ‘great’ amateur friday, and it still has that place in my heart (the first, at least, that I can remember). So I’d put that as my number 1. The Disciple Program was great, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before. Reunion, on the other hand, gave us a horror film with more heart than most dramas, and that’s pretty damn impressive for the genre.

    And, like many others, I’m hoping to be up here some day soon. Actually, let me rephrase that; I hope to be put on the list, but then disqualified because I lack ‘amateur’ status.

    • m_v_s

      Won’t ever forget reading it for the first time, I had an idea what I was letting myself in for and the script didn’t disappoint. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

      • garrett_h

        Neither will I.

        I remember going through AF after AF, most of them being terrible, while a few showed promise but weren’t “there” yet. I had begun to lose faith in AF. When I picked up Reunion, I was prepared to hate it. Lo and behold, it was the best horror spec I read that year. Really hope it gets made. It’d play awesome on-screen, and I’d be the first in line.

        • Adam Zopf

          Appreciate the kind words. Glad you enjoyed.

    • The Mulberry Tree

      Hey Benny, congratulations on getting the Christmas Script notes! If you wouldn’t mind, could you send a copy of the script you sent to Carson? I would really like to see what he looks at and what he thinks needs to be changed, just want to see if I agree…I could give you notes myself if you want. Either way, I hope this year finds favor in you. Cheers.

      • BennyPickles

        Can’t argue with that! I will send it as soon as I get home. Thanks!

        And if anyone else wants it, I’d be happy to oblige. Although I can’t guarantee it’ll be any good.

    • jae kim

      hi Benny, I would also like to read your script. I’ll give you my honest feedback, I promise.

  • ripleyy

    Great list, I’m always fascinated with new amateur writers and what they come up with. Looking forward to 2013’s crop of Amateur Fridays :) keep up the good work!

    • tea_and_crumpet

      Ditto. A good year of reading and learning the craft through others’ work.

  • Avishai Weinberger

    It pains me to say I only read one of these. My New Years resolution is to read more amateur scripts.

  • Kevin Lenihan

    Because of this article, I opened 9/12. Only read first 20, so not going to comment in depth. But the writer should consider an update to the draft. There are references to the upcoming 10 year anniversary to 9/11. Perhaps the writer wants to set this a few years in the past, an odd choice, unless the story catches up to the present eventually.

    He does seem to be doing one thing very well in his set up. Artie is not likable, but that is also the reason why he needs this woman, why she is right for him. We want to see our main character change, to grow, and we sense she is just the thing to trigger that. Wanting to see a couple together is what drives the rom com, and the writer is well on his way to doing this. So what seems at first an unusual choice, making the hero a jerk, is probably very clever. Wish the writer best of luck with the script!

  • 21BelowZero

    A Bullet For My Best Friend wasn’t in the Top 15? I’m sad. It’s definitely a wild ride and one you’ll never forget.

    Maybe add it on at least as an Honorable Mention.

    Though I do agree with 1, 2, 3. Very solid.

    • cjob3

      Agreed. That was well done.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Like your idea of Honorable Mentions
      — a way of not diluting the top 15.

  • K__David

    Looking forward to seeing Rose in the Darkness on film. The script was great! Definitely my favorite from this list (all though I’ve only read a couple from this list.)

    Nice range of consulting, twit pitch and AF scripts in there. I wish I could afford Carson’s consulting price. I’ll have to roll the dice, cross the fingers and hope Carson reads one of my scripts for AF. Can’t beat free.

  • RyanMFB

    I’m curious about the high placement of 300 years. I was really underwhelmed by that script. Good for the writer that he’s having some success though.

    • Andrew Mullen

      Yeah…I would have placed a lot of other scripts much much higher than 300 years. I know Carson loves it, but I still don’t understand that at all.

    • Chy85

      Agree with this. Thought the idea was good just lacking a definite tone. Also felt the same for The Equaliser. Definitely a good action script and I can clearly see Denzel playing McCall, I just expected much more from the hype.

      If I compared those on Carson’s Amateur list to the Blacklist you can tell that the difference in some cases is minimal (here’s hoping I can bridge that gap soon). A lot of it is down to having a great hook and timing.

  • WhoAreYouCallingAmateur

    As someone who has been paid (and well) for scripts without having either a rep or manager, I see major limitations in your definition of “amateur”! Guess I’m unusual, though, as I hail from a strong business background…

    • Malibo Jackk

      Love your name —
      (Where’s the question mark?)

  • Jarrett_H

    I loved Fatties, Disciple Program was solid, and definitely think Guest needs some more meat but it has promise. After thinking about it, I’ve kinda cooled off on Keeping Time but still think it’s ok. Those are the only ones I’ve read from this list.

    Haven’t seen Viral mentioned. I did read that when it was an amatuer script and liked it.

    TBH I don’t read very many amatuer scripts since I always expect them to be terrible, and I already come across some pro scripts that I think are terrible.

    Apparently I should stop posting comments and read Reunion right now though.

  • SeekingSolace

    A list that truly represents legitimate amateur writers and their screenplays. It’s about time!!!!

    Good on Mr. Reeves for bringing these scripts to everyone’s attention, because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else willing to do so.I think the list should be five slots longer though so scripts like “Mad Dogs” get a little more recognition. Either way I hope this list catches on all over the interweb thingy.

  • Nawab

    Hi, Carson. You’ll have my script knocking on your door very soon. All the way from Nigeria. I don’t think you’re ready for this one.

    • Kevin Lenihan

      That’s pretty cool. I’ll read the first 10 if he posts in the email.

      • Nawab

        Thank you, sir. You’ll end up reading the first 120 though.

        • Kevin Lenihan

          Cool. Carson usually emails the first 10 first, of a bunch of scripts. I usually only read the well constructed loglines.

    • klmn

      Where are those gold bars you promised me? i gave you my bank acct. info.

      • Nawab

        Lol. If you’ve ever done that before, then you’re obviously not too bright. Sorry.

  • Mb

    I wasn’t crazy about 300 Years, which I mostly read, but some of the other non-reviewed scripts sound pretty good. But Fatties made the list and I enjoyed the strangeness of that one. This list represents a nice variety of subject matter.

  • blue439

    No less than four of these have the “… wakes up with no memory of…” beginning. So tired of this plot point.

  • JNave

    I really liked Rose and 127, thought Keeping Time was okay but full of issues, and never understood the allure of Fatties. I love raunchy humor, but there was nothing appealing about Fatties for me.
    I came into Scriptshadow just after Disciple broke out and never got a chance to read it. Would love to get a copy if anyone had it –

  • Ambrose*

    Did you hear that your all-time favorite script, ‘Looper’, was one of the 5 Original Screenplay nominations for the WGA Awards?

    Alas, if only you had a vote.

    • TheDevil’sAdvocate

      And if only that vote had any weight against the popular opinion of the voters.

  • cjob3

    Funny, I loved (or really liked) most of Carson’s picks, Reunion, 300 Years, Fatties, A Rose in Darkness and especially Keeping Time but The Disciple Program, I don’t know, I couldn’t get past 10 pages. Seemed so overwritten and the opening at least, was ludicrously over-the-top. Maybe I’ll give it another chance but for #1, I’d expect to be sucked in and I just wasn’t.

  • crazdwriter

    Carson, bravo to you for all you do to promote the work of amateurs. May you have an awesome 2013 and may all the writers on this site have a great year as well!

  • crazdwriter

    I like the Green List and I agree with Seeking Solace. Make the list a full Top 20!

  • MWire

    Good list. There’s a lot to be learned from what made the list and what didn’t.

    My question would be, how many of the positive reviews on this list would be shared by other pro readers and how many are just the tastes of Carson?

    And should I start outlining a script about a time traveling amnesiac who collects severed arms?

  • Writer451

    Hahaha! LOOPER and THE MASTER were nominated by the WGA for best screenplay today. These are experienced professional writers voting on them.

    • TheDevil’sAdvocate

      …are you suggesting that the people who vote for the WGA nominees aren’t able to discern talented writing? There’s a reason those films were made.

  • MrTibbsLive

    Of course Disciple is my top pick, it definitely deserves the attention it’s received. And I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. But Fatties is still the most memorable for me :)

  • Acarl

    Thank you for the top 5 ranking, Carson! Here’s to a prosperous 2013.

  • Boxman

    Thanks again to Carson and the SS community for helping to make 2012 one for the record books for yours truly. I’ve taken lots of great notes from the community to nip and tuck Keeping Time, helping to better shape it in revision.

    • The Mulberry Tree

      Congratulations on getting the rep with WME! That is huge news. I mean getting an agent is already awesome, but WME!, way to rock and roll. I hope to see your work on the big screen some day and if you ever have time or feel like checking out an amateur script, let me know.

  • NajlaAnn

    Will “The Wall” be available for us to read? It sounds quite interesting and different.

  • rosemary

    I join the site pretty late so I was unfortunate to read these script. Eden’s Folly sounds like interesting read.

  • rosemary

    I was unfortunate to come to this site late. I wasn’t able to read these script. Eden’s folly sounds like my kind of read

  • Kevin Lenihan

    Babz has helped a lot of people and been generous with her time.

  • Andrew Mullen

    BFF would have probably made my 10 ten list if I made a top 10 list.

    • 1989cubs

      Appreciate it, Andrew. Glad you liked it!

  • Shaun Snyder

    Congratulations to all of the writers on this list! I love reading the amateur scripts and I’ve learned a ton from them. I haven’t read Reunion or Eden’s Folly yet, but I will be doing so in the near future; they both sound awesome. Also, I know other people have probably asked this already, but does anybody have a copy of Disciple Program? If so, could you send it to I’ve heard so much praise for it on this site and elsewhere, the fact that I haven’t read it yet makes me feel like I wasn’t invited to the party (uh-oh…high school flashback…I need a moment…*sniffle*…I’m okay).

  • Shaun Snyder

    Congratulations to all of the writers on this list! I love reading the amateur scripts and I’ve learned a ton from them. I haven’t read Reunion or Eden’s Folly yet, but I will be doing so in the near future; they both sound awesome. Also, I know other people have probably asked this already, but does anybody have a copy of Disciple Program? If so, could you send it to I’ve heard so much praise for it on this site and elsewhere, the fact that I haven’t read it yet makes me feel like I wasn’t invited to the party (uh-oh…high school flashback…I need a moment…*sniffle*…I’m okay).

    • Shaun Snyder

      I swear, I love ScriptShadow! I’ve had three generous people already send Disciple Program to me. What a fantastic family of screenwriters this is!

  • JaredW

    Great list, it’s cool to see updates on amateur scripts that have been highlighted throughout the year. Disciple Program for me is definitely the number one, and the other scripts I read from this list (300 Years, Rose in the Darkness, and Reunion) were all enjoyable in their own way. The writing seems to have clearly gotten better as Amateur Friday has rolled along. The Wall, 3022, and Saving Lexie Lee have really perked my interest. I’d love to read them!

  • The Mulberry Tree

    I think Amateur Friday has really come along with Carson asking us to read them and sending the good ones on to him. It pushes the good ones forward and really helps get those writers and stories into the hands of someone that can make a difference. I hope this continues.

  • garrett_h

    No problem, and good luck with Offline!

  • Xarkoprime

    I remember most of these,

    Fatties still my fav :D

  • Nawab

    Hahaha! If you’ve ever done that before, you’re obviously not too bright, boy.

  • Nawab

    Hahaha! If you’ve ever done that before, you’re obviously not too bright, boy.

  • ernstdegeer

    Great post for someone who’s only been reading Scriptshadow for a couple of months. Definitely going to check out some of the older scripts. Reunion seems pretty good, for example.

  • nicohajj

    That List is the Most interesting one and follow Carson desire to get unknown Writer to find their way into the Entertainment Industry. Great Job!

    I’m happy to be part of the scriptShadow family since the break of the Discipline Program.
    I personnaly liked this year:
    Guest & Proving Ground, 2 Amazing Thrillers…
    Fatties, for being so over the Top.
    Rose in the Darkness, for that emotional touch and ‘Let me In’ feel to it.
    and the Discipline Program of course.

    Another great spec I would die to read is SANCTUARY. If anyone has a copy, would you be kind and sent it to: ? THANKS!

  • smaild

    Interesting picks. Honestly, I have reservations with Disciple Program. It just wasn’t subtle enough and the “twist” comes almost completely out of nowhere. There’s no really build up. And it could be better if it went more in the vein of Blade Runner (the whole is he one of them or isn’t he?) bit.

    EDIT: Also why are my comments consistently being moderated? Every single one. I’m not posting volatile material here…just my opinions. :/

    • smaild

      still being moderated

      • carsonreeves1

        you should be okay now. :)

        • smaild


  • LV-426

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of these yet, but I have to say that Eden’s Folly really stuck with me. Great imagery and an interesting and unique plot. I’d love to see it get made someday by some crazy visualist director like Tarsem, but it seems the writer has a new spec with 3022. That one sounds really interesting too. I hope to be able to read it someday.

  • Scots Chris

    I can’t find Fascination 127 or Keeping Time, nor can I find Echo Station or The Equalizer. Greatly appreciate if anyone would take the 30 seconds to flick me an email at chogarty at gmail dot com with whatever scripts they have. Many thanks.

  • AstralAmerican

    In no particular order…

    A Bullet For My Best Friend
    Proving Ground
    The Disciple Program

    And that’s all I read.

    • Poe_Serling

      ‘…the one with the sheriff in the hedonistic werewolf town.’

      Mad Dogs.

      • AstralAmerican

        Ah, thanks Poe!

        • Poe_Serling

          Yeah, that was one of my top picks from 2012… the script had some inventive new twists on the ol’ werewolf legend.

          • AstralAmerican

            I have one, too, that spins the “legend” in a different direction. Twice-optioned. We NEED a kick-ass werewolf flick bc the faith is long gone!

  • Malibo Jackk

    Carson —
    A question — When are you going to give us a tour
    of your 25,000 sq. ft. penthouse???

  • lest78

    Would it be possible for someone to send me a copy of FATTIES please? I’d love to read it.


  • Thunk24

    Feel like I arrived at the party late. Any chance of making the whole list available for reading Carson?

  • rayzrsharp

    Rose in the darkness?! Really? Not a good script at all. Like… not in the least bit.

  • Crazdwrtr

    OMG this is amazing. Kudos to you!