Ben Clifford | Script Revolution
Ben Clifford's picture
Ben Clifford
Brisbane, Australia

Who am I? What Am I? Why Am I? 

I'm a mid-twenties (...27)  Australian writer who primarily writes absurd, surrealistic comedies or dramas, both of which are crowd-pleasing genres. I write features, shorts, pilots (half-hour/full hour/streaming) or short stories and novellas. I'm try to set them in the part of the world I come from (Queensland, Australia - I'd be one of the first).  I have a full-time educated day job as a social worker and I've had two produced shorts to my name (they ain't great). I'd like to break into directing before I get too old -- any film people in South East Queensland wanna meet up with this awkward dude and show me the ropes? I learn quickly. 

I am proudly inspired by and indebted to the works of these filmmakers: Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite, The Alps), Todd Solondz (Welcome To The Dollhouse), Andrea Arnold (all of her films), Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), Harmony Korine (Gummo), Cate Shortland (Somersault and Berlin Syndrome), The Marx Brothers, Justin Kurzel  (Snowtown and True History of  the Kelly Gang), and David Michod (Animal Kingdom and Crossbow,).

In terms of literature, my biggest idols are:Jefferey Eugenides, (The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex), James Joyce, Karl Marx, Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Pygmy), Lionel Shriver (We Need To Talk About Kevin) , Peter Carey (Bliss) and Armistead Maupin (Tales From The City), and Sally Rooney (I an the millenial every white-hair columnist writes an op-ed about!). 

AVAILABLE SAMPLES OF MY SCREENWRITING

SLOW-MOTION CAR-CRASH (Feature, Comedy 92pg): A self-absorbed TV staff writer despairs when his boyfriend suddenly leaves him for a 21-year-old actress who, on top of everything else, is girl. To add insult to injury, she is cast as the lead on the TV show our protagonist writes for. Can he handle this like a functioning adult? No. Of course not, he’s a trust-fund millennial who doesn’t believe in 401ks. On the other hand, he has a crafty plan to destroy the relationship. Will our protagonist learn from his mistake and grow as a person? No! He sucks! 

MOTH (Short, Drama, 13pg): A young, single mother will do anything to escape her baby's incessant crying.

ALL GOOD! (Short, Drama/coming-of-age, 21pg) When his father is released from a mental institution, a confused teenage boy begins questioning his cagey mother about Dad's return to the family home.

I’ve written scripts for which I’m proud of their quality, and some which are so bad they have can't be spoken of without unleashing a curse. The three I’ve listed (in no particular order), I believe capture my style (poignant, subtle and emotive but also uniquely funny), and a distinctly Australian voice. Please enjoy.

Accolades and/or shamelessly curated feedback on my writing

"[Ben] is keen observer into human nature and won't shy away from the truth with characters [..] topics that can be uncomfortable for people [..] explicit sex, or mental illness, addiction etc." L.C (user), 202. From a review of “All Good”, a short script.

“Beautifully written, author Ben Clifford tackles themes such as mental health, self-discovery and sexuality with great sensitivity and care [..] The way the story is told feels like it comes from a very genuine place…a real pleasure [..].” From a review of “All Good”, a short script

“…the complex, true-to-life characters in writer, Ben Clifford’s slice-of-life, coming-of-age drama highlight a very poignant, heartfelt script that hits all the right notes.” From a review of “Are You Looking After Yourself?”, a short script.

“This was a refreshing read. A very well thought out, witty and funny story…I thought the dialogue was realistic. The characters themselves [were] also complex and motivate[d]” From a review of “Slow-Motion Car Crash”, a feature-length comedy spec.

I was completely taken by this [short] story. Great job.” – Gaby Goulding, reviewer, re: prose “Letters to Annette”, Scribopihile, Dec 2020

“…it's a really emotional, honest and engaging piece.” Summer Hemingway, reviewer, re: prose “Letters to Annette”, Scribopihile, Nov 2020

Unassorted Accolades:

Story of The Month – “The Sweater [Short Story]” -ABCTales (Jan 2021)

Story of The Week – “The Piss Test [Short Story]” -ABCTales (Nov/Dec 2020)

To be continued, unless I die.

WHAT I UNIQUELY BRING TO THE ARTFORM OF FILM

As you may have guessed from those samples, my focus is on bringing to screen frequently ignored human behaviour and controversial thoughts. I like that we can be shocked and horrified by the thought in our mind: “How do we get there, what happens next, and did drinking an energy drink give me this unthinkable impulse?” “Are your trauma behaviors a permanent part of your personality, are you defined by them? Can they be changed in time? If not, are you really irresponsible for your flawed personality?” This is what inspired me to write (for example) “Bunnies” on spec, which is available on Script Revolution (written by me) and explores intergenerational trauma, and a story known in Australia's collective. 

As a queer person, I have been writing gay (male/ male and female/female) lovers in my specs and incorporating them into straightforward genre narrative. Mainstream LGBT flicks are mostly stories about how super gay one of the characters are, which isn't fun anymore. My spec feature  “Slow-Motion Car-Crash” is an attempt to make movie about toxic relationships and leaving bad friends, rather than relying on gay sex for provocation. 

Message me here or on email if you wanna chat to me about this, or just listen to me talk about how my life is in shambles because I don't believe in investing. 

I VERY MUCH WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN…

I’m interested in collaborative work with talented, serious, and English-speaking co-writers who have taste and sensibilities like mine, and live in Brisbane hopefully. 

Please contact me on S.R or [PHONE REDACTED] if you like my style, any of my works, or just want to scream obscenities at me. I have one short in pre-production overseas  and am nearly finished a treatment for a production studio. Aside from my day job, I’m fairly flexible because my life is empty because I push the people close to me away. 

WRITING SHORT FICTION

I also prolifically write contemporary non-genre short stories (I will scream if the New Yorker publishes me). The most impressive and inspiring authors in my opinion at the moment are -- Jeffrey Eugenides, Karl Marx, Lionel Shriver, Sally Rooney (I know I'm a basic bitch, but she is outstanding), Chuck Palahniuk, Raymond Carver, Sylvia Plath, J.D. Salinger, and Bret Easton Ellis (y’know, before he went crazy and had to go to jail for writing White, which is hat happened definitely). 

In terms of my prose and plot style, my creative objective is to extract the characters from my head and onto the page, where they belong and can’t hurt me anymore. I start by meeting my protagonists and secondary characters, learning their strengths, quirks, and flaws. Plot and theme are borne from them (stylistic choices are the placenta and afterbirth). A respected peer who read my short story draft and described me thusly here--

"Ben is a perceptive and humanistic writer. Ben, please stop telling people I work with that I hate them. It's affecting my --"

And she's right - I am very perceptive. It's why I do what I do. 

AVAILABLE SAMPLES OF MY SHORT STORIES AND FICTION

The Yellow Sweater [Flash, modern; 840 words]  ABCTales Pick Of The Month - Deec 2020/Jan 2021

Are You Looking After Yourself? [Short Story, Lit, 3638 words]

You can always contact me about my work. I love getting emails and providing feedback for writers. I also love flame emails, it's all very 90's. Get in touch. I don’t have a lot going on, because I push everyone away from me. 

Ben

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Scripts By Ben

Bunnies
Twenty years after being rescued from his incestuous family as a child, a traumatized man attempts to find the twin sister he was separated from in the process.
Feature Drama For sale 113pp
2 readers love this script
Slow-Motion Car Crash
When the woman his boyfriend left him for is cast on the TV show he writes for, a young, self-absorbed writer goes to great lengths to destroy the new relationship and get his ex back.
Feature Comedy, Romance For sale 91pp
Duck Soup
A young boy's life is complicated as he develops a crush on his irresponsible mother's new boyfriend, right around the time his addict father returns from rehab.
Feature Comedy, Drama Available for Free 80pp
3 readers love this script
The Piss Test
A precocious eight-year-old boy accompanies his beleaguered mother to complete a court-mandated drug test, whilst thinking about all the things he's learnt from her -- good and bad.
Short Drama Available for Free 14pp
1 reader loves this script
...For Dummies
A couple planning a special evening for their anniversary have exactly one hour until their guest of honor arrives.
Short Comedy Available for Free 10pp
1 reader loves this script
Read Review by Michael J Kospiah
Are You Looking After Yourself?
After feeling his wife has checked out mentally, a young father bonds with a widower in his neighborhood over a shared sense of loss.
Short Drama Available for Free 18pp
1 reader loves this script
Read Review by Michael J Kospiah
Moth
A young, single mother will do anything to escape her baby's incessant crying.
Short Comedy, Drama Available for Free 10pp
1 reader loves this script
Read Review by Michael J Kospiah
Thursday Girl
A teenage girl, guilty over her role in a friend's death, attempts to find catharsis by spilling the beans to her friend's grieving mother.
Short Drama Available for Free 10pp
1 reader loves this script
All Good!
When his father is released from a mental institution, a confused teenage boy begins questioning his mother about his father's return to the family home.
Short Drama Available for Free 18pp
Read Review by Michael J Kospiah
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