The Binman by Alex Conway | Script Revolution

The Binman

When a hapless binman obsessed with being an 80s action-hero finds himself fighting for survival against flesh-eating zombies, only trashing his obsession can save him.



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These are the development notes I received from a Variety magazine film reviewer whose name can be supplied if requested.

From start to finish, THE BINMAN is a complete triumph of ideas and execution. The premise makes for a fantastic “pitch/logline” and the material is very commercial, almost to the point where you can’t believe that this hasn’t actually been turned into a movie yet! Compelling characters rule the day, especially our main protagonist, and the absurdity levels are both smart and over the top, with real skill being put to use in terms of the tonal balancing act and the blending of all of the ingredients. The British sensibility will create for a new-tasting-flavor for readers on this side of the pond, and if anything, you’ve been able to open the material up even more as a result of having the dual-country setting. In a world of hundreds and hundreds of zombie-related cinematic product, this one stands out from the pack, and will likely prove to the be an exciting writing sample for many readers.

One of the most thrilling aspects of THE BINMAN is how everything is rooted in character, and because GORDON is sympathetic, despite his idiocies, we’re always along for the ride, always keeping a rooting interest in his activities and developments, and when the stakes get continually raised, while we sort of assume that he’ll make it out alive, there’s strong suspense and a terrific flow to the action. It’s also very funny, with consistent laugh out loud moments. But in general, you just have a smirk on your face while reading (at least this reader did…) and because you’ve peppered the script with so many call-outs to classic action cinema from the 80s and 90s, there’s a joyous sense of movie love that permeates the entire piece.
And the most important thing is that you never lost sight of how strong the emotional bond is for GORDON and his family, and when he teams up with NOB and cohorts, all of the supporting characters come alive and feel strong and independent of one another. GORDON’s quest is always taking center-stage, and we learn tons of small and big details about him and his life all throughout the script. This creates a full-bodied idea of who he is as a person, and as a result, you can fill in the blanks around the edges of the story which creates the illusion of “always knowing” this guy. GORDON, bottom line, is a GREAT CHARACTER CREATION, and any actor will have a field day playing this part. And you were wise to make sure that everyone he interacts with gets a couple of moments to shine.

The British-ness of the entire piece is a big selling point, too. It will of course attract UK-based producers, but because it has a dual-edged nationality, there’s terrific flavor all over the script, and the humor that results in GORDON mixing up the month and day dates for his big trip is very clever and rather hysterical. It makes the “fish out of water” scenario even more potent, and it adds a new layer of stoner humor to the entire piece. GORDON always feels like a “Real Person” despite everything around him being completely “not real” and that’s the biggest reason why the script works as well as it does – you took stuff seriously – and that helps.

The action sequences are all fantastic, with great description of the bloody gore and severed limbs, and in general, there’s a mad ferocity to each zombie attack which makes those scenes all the more frightening. And it’s all well-balanced in terms of the amount of action versus amount of character building and quiet moments. You didn’t over do stuff, and you ended the script in just the right manner, which keeps it tight and exciting, and ultimately, very heartfelt. This is easily one of the most purely entertaining scripts I’ve read in a long time, and I honestly look forward to giving it another spin in the near future. It delivers on all that it promises, and the wink-wink nature to the entire piece allows for maximum fun.

The dialogue is consistently funny, and filled with all sorts of great one liners, either originally created or imported with perfect ease from all of the classic movies that you do call-outs to. Each character has their own voice and rhythm, and at the same time, there’s uniformity to how the entire script sounds as a completed organism. Tonally, this script is a tough act to pull off, because of so many different elements, and you nailed it on all fronts. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s emotional, it’s ridiculous, it’s serious – and at all times – it works and flows and feels organic and completely in line with what you were likely trying to get across on the page. We’ve been fed a very steady diet of zombie movies over the last 20 years, and yet, along comes THE BINMAN, which has something fresh and fun to say within the framework of one of the most tread-upon genres, and this is because you knew exactly how to make your film sound.

Structurally, this is tight as a drum, with each scene appropriately feeding into the next, and in general, the no-fat approach to the storytelling benefits the entire piece because we are constantly being fed one memorable scene after another. You do your scene-setting and world building with the quick interlude in New Mexico and then off to the UK to meet GORDON and his pals/family, and then before you know it, GORDON is off on his journey, and the ride never stops. All plot points occur in the proper spots, and everything feels deeply considered and well-planned. You’d mentioned that this script initially was clocking in at over 120 pages – you’ve done an excellent job in terms of pruning and trimming. Grammatically, outside of only very minor and superficial spelling mistakes, this is a very clean draft. There’s of course the issue of British slang versus American understanding, and some of the words you’ve used to describe certain American elements can be changed, but it’s nothing that works against the piece in any major fashion.

I am a very tough sell when it comes to horror movies of any sort, and the zombie genre has been done to death. But leave it to THE BINMAN to restore my faith in this type of story, because the telling of it was so fresh and unexpected. There are so many parts to this piece that stand out, and I think that anyone who specializes in this type of product will really respond to what you’ve come up with on the page. A visually-inclined filmmaker could really knock this one out of the park, and with all off the action movie references and little day dreams and interludes, there’s so many fun possibilities that this project could take.

Submitted: July 25, 2020
Last Updated: May 25, 2021

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The Writer: Alex Conway

Originally from London in the United Kingdom, Alex Conway has been a screenwriter for a number of years and written in a diverse range of genres. His first foray into the world of screenwriting resulted in the outrageous Binman Trilogy, an over-the-top horror-sci-fi-comedy that was inspired by his former teenage obsession for the muscle-bound action-movie gods he used to watch on a vinyl sofa back in the 80s. Another area of interest that has inspired several feature-length scripts in the genres of action-adventure, drama, epic and horror is the Greco-Roman world whose illustrious figures and their eminent works and exploits have long fascinated him. Lastly, the question of faith in... Go to bio

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