Shootin' The Shorts

Shootin' The Shorts is run by J.E. Clarke a longtime prolific screenwriter who loves to give others a little boost in the marketplace by highlighting why she believes their short script may stand out. She brings with her a loyal band of readers who share the same compassionate attitude who have joined her cause as it's grown and grown to connect writers with filmmakers on a monthly basis. Now it finds a home here on Script Revolution.

This is all about highlighting what makes a script great by focusing on the positives. You'll find no negative criticism or lists of issues here. Submitting a short script for consideration couldn't be easier, simply scroll down to the bottom of your script edit page and tick the "Submit to Shootin' The Shorts" checkbox. Please note; it takes time to get through all submissions, everything is subjective, and we're by no means saying these are the best short scripts on Script Revolution, they are simply the ones that have found an admirer within this section - CJ

The Chocolatier - Murder: Served up Dark and Sweet

The Chocolatier
Two detectives must investigate a killer, but mystery is not as sweet as it seems…

The ‘game’s a foot’ in The Chocolatier - a Victorian England whydunnit; one with a sweet n’ savory edge.  If you’re into Sherlock Holmes mysteries, this should be right up your cobbled street.

Frank and Edward are two detectives hunting a serial killer… as good detectives are wont to do.  At least, until a mysterious note is delivered to them, from a just-as-mysterious Jacob Stiles.

The epitome of a man scorned, Jacob has been adding a secret ingredient to his delicious chocolate truffles – ones that’ve been selling like hot-cakes as of late.

Luring the detectives to his shop, Jacob confesses to Frank and Edward that his first victim - wife Rose – couldn’t resist a nibble now and then.  Needless to say, most revenge is best served cold. Cool, calculated and skilled in his art, Jacob has more not-so-sweet surprises in store.

And so begins the game of cat and mouse. Who will be Jacob’s final victim? Frank or Edward? Or someone else? Most importantly, what is Jacob’s true motive? To serve up “true desserts”… or does he simply “hunger” to kill?

If you’re in the mood for a detective story with a taste for intrigue, window-shop The Chocolatier.  You may find it’s just your taste!!

About the reviewer:
Elaine Clayton is a London-based screenwriter, who has written several well received shorts and is currently doing a Masters in Play and Scriptwriting. Comfortable in a broad range of genres, Elaine has an innate sense of structure and arc development. Contact her at Elaine_clayton(AT) hotmail(.)co(.)uk

The Script

The Chocolatier

While the streets of London are being stalked by the blade of a serial killer, two detectives must investigate a strange note left at the station.

About The Reviewer

Elaine Clayton's picture
Real name: 
A writer of scripts and plays of different lengths and genres. Based in the U.K. and currently doing a Masters focused on crafting a family Christmas movie - Evil Mrs Claus. Other work includes: Developing a sitcom called Shelf Life with mentor and Script Editor, Peter Vincent. Interning with...Read more

About The Writer

Anthony Hudson's picture
Real name: 
I've been writing on and off for around 10 years now and mainly write comedy, but have ventured into horror and drama too. I've written over 25 short scripts, with a number being produced. My features total 5 with a few more being worked on. Not only do I love writing but I also enjoy...Read more

All the Fives - And None of the Luck

All the Fives
A burned-out cabbie seeking fortune may have just hit the jackpot.

Working for tips.  Same dead-end job for years.  Growing debt. Minor addictions to help cope with the stress of trying to make ends meet.  Who hasn’t fantasized about winning the lottery?

Mitch, the protagonist of Steve Miles’ All the Fives, sure has. A taxi driver for years, he’s into sport betting.  Consequently, he pays more attention to the games than he does to the road, having given up on the idea of ever getting a handle on his finances through an honest day’s work. 

The film opens with Mitch in his cab, listening to a game.  He has a lot riding on the Black and Gold and has no desire to pick up a fare at the moment.  So, he’s understandably irritated when a man approaches the cab and gets in.  But, money’s money, so Mitch makes sure he makes the most of it: he takes advantage of his passenger’s altered state by driving endlessly as the meter runs wild. 

The taxi driver soon realizes however, that his passenger isn’t just out of it, he’s wounded, seriously wounded.  Not one to pass up an opportunity, the cabbie makes a wager that could change his life forever.  He quickly rummages through the stranger’s bag.  Score!  Wads of cash!

Reveling in his sudden good fortune, Mitch now just has to figure out what to do with the body.  Or so he believes. The man in the backseat stirs, and the stakes of this game just got raised way beyond what Mitch—or the audience--could ever have imagined.

If you love tales with twists that tease and torment—like Twilight Zone meets Reservoir Dogs— you really should come along for the ride that All the Fives has to offer. 

 

The Script

All The Fives

An indebted cabby stumbles on an opportunity to reverse his fortunes when he finds a duffel full of money. But first, what to do with the dead passenger it belongs to?

About The Reviewer

Julia Cottle's picture
Real name: 
Julia Cottle is a cultural anthropologist living in Chicago. She has worked for years as a university instructor and researcher for organizations committed to social justice. She always has loved to write, but only recently has discovered the joy of film and stage writing.Read more

About The Writer

Steve Miles's picture
Real name: 
Started writing scripts around five years ago after realising his social life was vastly overrated. Enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit - from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of...Read more

Man's Best Friend - And You Better Treat Him Right

MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Three days after a couple’s beloved dog goes missing, a phone call arrives that will change the game. Forever.

Put aside whether you’re a dog person or cat person just for a moment and focus on the incomparable talents of Man’s Best Friend, and why mutts have earned this most eminent title.

Ready…?

Guide dogs, guard dogs, sniffer dogs, therapy dogs, herding, hunting, tracking and cadaver dogs, bomb, drug, and chemical detection dogs; dogs of war, dogs who can sniff out cancer – dogs who rescue their owners from burning buildings and rolling rapids… And that’s just to name a few of their talents. Add to that, unconditional loyalty and love, goopy grins, sloppy kisses and perennially wagging tails, and really – the ‘elegant tramp’, (as one of my friends labels felines), is really not much competition, now is it?

From Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie to the memorably cute but a lil’ fugly Verdell in As Good As It Gets, it’s no wonder dogs have an illustrious celluloid history, in both leading roles and as sidekicks.

Okay, now picture this:

You’re wandering down the street, minding your own business, and you look up to see MISSING, LOST DOG, or REWARD, stamped across a poster and nailed to a telegraph pole. Typically a photo of said AWOL pooch looks dolefully and adorably into the camera. Aww, so sad, and guaranteed to tug at the ol’ heartstrings.

This is also the opening scene of Steven Clark’s screenplay, Man’s Best Friend.

But hang on now, cause if you’re thinking this is going to be a cute fluffy-dog piece think again. Curt and Cassie, a couple in their thirties (he’s a cop btw) have just received a rather ominous telephone call and discovered there’s a bounty to be paid on Ranger, their missing ‘family member’ – and a rather hefty ransom demand.

MAN (V.O.)
We have your dog. …
He’s got nice teeth. But I’ve got
pliers. … $10,000 dollars for the mutt. Cash. Or
I start playing dentist.

Eww! Marathon Dog, anyone?

To say anything further would spoil the fun, the suspense, and the very, very, dark twists and turns of this piece. Suffice to say this tail (sorry, tale) is less for lovers of Marley And Me , and more for fans of teeth baring, and snarling Cujo, and Seven Psychopaths.

Dare I say, if you’ve got a nose for talent you can call off your search right now cause with Man’s Best Friend you’ll definitely be barking up the right tree.

The Script

Man's Best Friend

Three days after a couple's beloved dog goes missing, a phone call arrives that will change the game. Forever.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Steven Clark's picture
Real name: 
A writer since 13, I began screenwriting four years ago as a more direct outlet for my creativity. Since then, I've had two short scripts produced, and two more optioned. My writing style is subtle and understated, yet powerful in its emotional simplicity. I'm currently collaborating on a...Read more

Tower of Strength - Can You Climb to the Heights?

Tower of Strength
Good Guys vs. Bad Guys isn’t always well-defined…

Nothing’s more intense than a good cop story.

Crime tales have built-in tension. There are always good guys – usually the police. And the Bad Guys run the gamut of Evil: one hundred and fifty Shades of “grey”. For anyone who loves such gritty tales, you can usually expect one pivotal scene: usually with three ingredients – a cop, an interrogation room, and a suspect.

And the conflict goes wild from there.

The good cop in Jeremy Storey’s Tower of Strength is a detective named Peter. When TOS opens, Peter has suspect Alex in custody – imprisoned in a cramped interrogation room. As Peter turns his tape recorder on, the lightning quick questions begin.

PETER
Please state your name for the record.

ALEX
Alex Barnes.

PETER
Where do you live?

ALEX
456 Dorchester.

PETER
Where do you work?

ALEX
Crescent Security.

Sound familiar? Well, just you wait.

Because, just about the time you think Peter may elicit that confession of guilt: “Peter’s voice starts to fade. Alex looks over his shoulder to the outside. He’s no longer listening… just looking at the sky” …

The next scene describes Alex “tightening a few bolts” on his son Ben’s new bicycle. And hence the tragic flashback begins…

What’s the “gotcha” of this story?

Well, Peter’s got a grisly murder to solve. He thinks – in fact, he’s damn certain — that this “ruggedly handsome, athletic” father is somehow involved in the bloody mix.

So who exactly has been killed?

No spoiler here: but there are bad cartel guys across the border. A gang of murderous thugs and monsters that take-no-prisoners-alive.

PETER
These ‘monsters’ are like locusts. For every one put away or put down another three will appear. For every eye they take two. They fear no one.

ALEX
You’re worried about retaliation?

PETER
It’ll be a bloodbath.

Absolutely. Alex is a guy with a different agenda – one he keeps very close to his chest. Will Peter be able to solve the murderous crime? Does he even have the right suspect?

Maybe, maybe not… And for folks who love crime stories, that mystery’s the juicy part. 

Are you a director on the hunt for a riveting drama – one with adrenaline-pumping tension and pace? Then TOS could be your fix. It doesn’t get much better than this…

The Script

Tower of Strength

A distraught father with a violent past takes justice into his own hands, after his son is accidentally killed in the cross-fire between rival gangs.

About The Reviewer

KP Mackie's picture
Real name: 
Uber reader/reviewer. Enjoy reading all genres. Former member of MoviePoet, where I read over 2,000 scripts. Love writing animated scripts, historical-fiction, and drama when I'm not reading or researching new story ideas. Script Revolution is a great place to interact with old friends, and...Read more

About The Writer

Jeremy Storey's picture
Real name: 
I've been writing on-and-off most of my life. I've written Feature length screenplays, as well as award-winning Short screenplays and Stage plays. For me, writing is a form of catharsis. I love to creatively explore emotions, characters, and worlds. It's a place where I lose a sense...Read more

Solitaire - A Game for One... or More?

Solitaire
A troubled loner is about to get a second chance. And maybe more…

In the final act of Steven Clark’s screenplay ‘Solitaire’, main character Randy makes the following comment:

RANDY
They say this game mimics life.
Ladders, chutes. Up, down. Everything
by chance.

This poses the question: Are the cards we’re dealt in life pre-determined, or is the game of life just a random result of luck and fate? Similarly, does playing by the rules, employing strategic maneuvers, knowing when to show your hand and when to keep your cards close to your chest ensure a better result in this game of life?

Steven Clarke’s characters Randy and Amy have been playing by the rules all of their lives. Randy washes dishes in a small-town diner. Amy is a waitress. During his breaks Randy can be found sitting at a table at the back idling away at his favorite card game: Solitaire – or Patience, as he likes to call it.

We get the impression life up until now has been a bit of a struggle for Randy. We know he’s recently returned from a stint in the military and has suffered some sort of trauma. Some might call him damaged goods… As a result, for the most part, he keeps his head down and his mouth shut.

Amy’s also doing it tough as a single mom supporting her daughter.

That she’s attracted to Randy is no secret, but Randy is so painfully shy he can’t even look Amy in the eye. Seems these two might be destined to be ships passing in the night…

We can tell by this line however:

Randy’s gaze follows her as she hip-checks through a swinging
door, out into the dining room.

So there’s still hot blood coursing through Randy’s veins. And Amy’s indomitable spirit ensures Randy’s brooding dark horse personality and solitary habits are not going to put her off.

Amy’s decided today is the day. She’s worked up the courage and she’s going to make her move. Brazenly, she steps up to the table where Randy’s playing his game and asks him for a date. Just like that. Game on.

Of course, as with all good dramas, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Having given his home a long overdue spit and polish, and donned a nice white shirt and tie, Randy sits down at the kitchen table to wait…

And wait… and wait…

Never has the dial on the kitchen clock ticked by more slowly, and still no sign of Amy.

It appears she may have just thrown a dummy move that no-one could see coming.

Then, just when you think game over, there’s a knock at the door.

Is Randy about to discover that Patience is indeed a virtue? That gambling on love, one of the highest-stakes games of all, is worth it? If he gets it wrong, it could be a falling house of cards. Then again, as the saying goes…You’ve got to be in it to win it, right?

With echoes of Frankie and Johnny, and It Could Happen To You, Steven Clark paints a very moving tale with Solitaire about two people searching for meaning in their lives, and that all important love connection.

Filmmakers: Know a good deal – I mean screenplay – when you see one? Don’t you dare leave this one to chance. After all, this could be that all important game changer.

The Script

Solitaire

A troubled loner is about to get a second chance, and maybe more.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Steven Clark's picture
Real name: 
A writer since 13, I began screenwriting four years ago as a more direct outlet for my creativity. Since then, I've had two short scripts produced, and two more optioned. My writing style is subtle and understated, yet powerful in its emotional simplicity. I'm currently collaborating on a...Read more

The Bear - Cuddly Doesn't Equal Safe...

The Bear

An elderly woman faces torment and exploitation at her nursing home — until an unexpected friend comes to her aid.

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is always difficult. Learning of abuse at a facility can turn a family’s loving decision into a nightmare. One can only imagine how frightening it is for a senior who has no family to protect them.

Margo Fleming, the protagonist in The Bear, does her best to fend off Pete’s violence. However, she is old, frail, and terrifyingly alone. Pete – a sleazy orderly – is after Margo’s teddy bear, a stuffed animal that the old woman takes with her everywhere and fearlessly defends. As a result, Pete’s convinced that the bear must harbor something valuable in its stuffing. And he’s determined to get his hands on it. By violence, if necessary.

Staff at the facility where she lives sees what’s going on, but Pete effectively scares them off by threatening to use his powerful connections to retaliate if they intervene.

As Margo comes up with strategies to thwart Pete’s plans, someone is watching… and waiting for a chance to take matters into their own hands.

Will Pete’s horrible plans be thwarted? Or will Margo become yet another senior home statistic? And, what secrets does Margo’s teddy bear hold anyway?

Writer Steven Clark’s work is suspense-filled and touching – with just the right amount of comic relief as it navigates the difficult subject of elderly abuse. Viewers will love the layers of surprises that await them in The Bear.

And there’s no doubt in our minds that festival audiences will love it as well.

The Script

The Bear

An elderly woman faces torment and exploitation at her nursing home - until an unexpected friend comes to her aid.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Steven Clark's picture
Real name: 
A writer since 13, I began screenwriting four years ago as a more direct outlet for my creativity. Since then, I've had two short scripts produced, and two more optioned. My writing style is subtle and understated, yet powerful in its emotional simplicity. I'm currently collaborating on a...Read more

Head in the Clouds - The Sky's the Limit!

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

A young boy with an overactive imagination gets it in his head to try for a real-life adventure. But can he pull it off? And even if he does, will anyone believe him?

It is a screenwriter’s job to hook you from the first page, to transport you to another world, introduce you to characters you instantly care about and weave a story you can immerse yourself in.

FADE IN:

Mid Summer… A quiet coastal road winds its way through gnarled trees and craggy rocks… the ocean visible beyond… This is Wyeth country…

Josh McDonald hooked me right off the bat with his opening description of Head In The Clouds. In fact, he had me in the palm of his hand the whole way through – and I wasn’t about to let go.

Martinsville Maine, circa 1955, small town America, where the characters look ‘like they wandered in from a Norman Rockwell painting.’

Enter: Johnny and Stevie, two twelve year old boys, and best friends, who couldn’t be more like chalk and cheese. While Stevie has his feet firmly planted on the ground Johnny lives in a rich fantasy world.

50s America is a quieter time, a place where kids are allowed to roam unsupervised. Though he’s growing up Johnny still lets his imagination reign supreme, something as ordinary as a stick can be transformed into a sword to be engaged in ‘swashbuckling swordplay’, likewise a discarded hubcap can magically morph into the ‘Discus of Achilles.

Endless summer days are spent idling along the coastline until sundown, the highlight of the day culminating at the business end of town with pocket money to be spent on penny-candies purchased from the General Store.

Something’s different about today though, and that something is ‘parked behind the store at the town’s main dock.’ Johnny believes it could be the perfect opportunity for adventure.  Stevie however, is quick to point out there are some things in life kids are just not allowed to do, certain activities reserved only for ‘important people…’ In fact he tells  Johnny in no uncertain terms, ‘you buy too many books’ – translation: you need to get your head out of the clouds and come back down to earth. 

But the seed of an idea has already been sown. Spending a lot of time inside your own head and alongside fictional characters in books will have that effect. Johnny knows there’s a bigger wider world out there full of adventure and he thinks it’s about time he experienced some of it.

Is Johnny’s dream about to become a reality, or will he come plummeting back to earth?

Head In The Clouds is a beautifully written and lyrical coming of age story with richly drawn characters.

Filmmakers, isn’t it high time you spread your wings and turned your own dream into a reality? Want to produce pure poetry in motion, perhaps inject a little of your own Malick-like magic into the landscape of this one? Look no further than Head In The Clouds.

The Script

Head in the Clouds

A young boy with an overactive imagination gets it in his head to try for a real-life adventure. But can he pull it off? And even if he does, will anyone believe him?

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Josh McDonald's picture
Real name: 
Writer, filmmaker, actor, director, Jack-of-all-Creative-Trades. I received a BA in film production from Bard College. Since then I've worked in broadcast television and public access production, as well as a few small micro-budget independent productions. In the past few decades the advances...Read more

Play Dead - Or DON'T Play at All...

PLAY DEAD
In the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, one man believes he has the perfect strategy to survive, but what will his plan cost him?

Decades before George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead ever hit the screen, the first feature length zombie horror film made its début. Its title: White Zombie, starring the inimitable Bela Lugosi. Prior to this in 1920, Robert Wiene mesmerized audiences with his silent film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which depicted a killer in the guise of a sleeping-walking zombie.             

Fast forward to the 80s and George Romero set the gold standard in popular culture with his unique and oft imitated vision of the Undead as plodding lumbering cannibals.

Various Zombie incarnations have proliferated since. Though the source of Zombie plagues is often not divulged, zombie outbreaks often represent a decaying society, and are depicted as allegory and cautionary tales. In a post apocalyptic world, corrupt governments, leaked mutant viruses, radioactive fallout and even supernatural occurrences frequently act as catalyst to outbreak. 

Zombie settings and genres are equally diverse. From outer space, to period drama, to  movie musical: Zombies On Broadway. From the brilliantly funny Zom-com: Shaun Of The Dead, to Zom-Rom-Com: Pride And Prejudice and Zombie, and the angst-ridden romance that is Warm Bodies. From the lumbering and kooky to the frenetic superfast avalanche of zombies in World War Z, and the grim and bloodthirsty mutants of Richard Matheson’s, I am Legend. How can we forget Danny Boyle’s provocative and intelligent reworking of a world gone to rack and ruin with its special brand of Rage-Zombies in 28 Days Later and its sequel: 28 Weeks Later.

From book, to comic strip, to video game, to movie and television, it seems our fascination and appetite for the Living Dead is insatiable.

So what makes a good Zombie script? Well, a fresh angle and originality is key. An audience wants to see something they haven’t seen before.

No easy task, but Stephen Well’s Play Dead, ticks all the boxes with his very cleverly crafted story.

We open on:

A SKELETON sits propped up against a gas pump.

MAN (V.O.)
In every city and every country
people died in record numbers. It was
a global pandemic. The end of mankind
as we knew it.

Suddenly, the sound of FOOTSTEPS. Slow and listless.

MAN (V.O.) (cont'd)
Then the darndest thing happened. The
dead started to rise.

A SHADOW looms over the skeleton and a figure staggers into view... A ZOMBIE.

We meet: Trapper Hat, the protagonist and narrator of the piece. By his own admission Trapper’s a survivor, doing his best to blend in with the Undead around him. It’s also clear Trapper Hat will do anything to survive. Through every word he utters it’s clear he’s capable and smart, but he’s also conceited, full of pride, and ruthless.

And yet:

TRAPPER HAT (V.O.)
I shouldn't have left them alone.

Trapper is also plagued by a guilty secret. A secret that will either redeem him, or could prove deadly.  

He rips the knife from the creature's skull and uses it to open up its mid-section.

TRAPPER HAT
I don't need backup. I just do what it takes.

He reaches in, takes two handfuls of blood and innards, smears them over his body and face. Gives himself a fresh coat of gore.

At this point the reader may well jump to the conclusion that this trope (above) seems a little familiar, but what happens next will shock and surprise you. From here on in this one definitely ain’t treading clichéd ground.

With its original storyline, visual writing and universal themes of love, loss, and betrayal, its multi-layered well drawn characters, and masterful twist, Play Dead is guaranteed to not only shock audiences but also bring a tear to your eye.

Play Dead was one of two Reader’s Choice picks in the April 17 Apocalypse Themed One Week challenge on Simply Scripts.

Filmmakers:  We just know you’re dying to sink your teeth into this one and bite off all you can chew.  You’d better move fast though, or you may well be left for dead.

The Script

Play Dead

In the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, one man believes he has the perfect strategy to survive, but what will his plan cost him?

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Stephen Wells's picture
Real name: 
Hailing from Derbyshire, England, Stephen Wells is a graphic designer who has been writing for several years after first getting the screenwriting bug in 2009. He had a feature script optioned in 2013 and placed as a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Bluecat feature competition.Read more

The Gifted Photographer - It's More Than Just the Eye of the Beholder... or the Lens

THE GIFTED PHOTOGRAPHER

A photographer pays a house-call to shoot a family portrait where his true talent becomes apparent.

Photographs, those treasured mementos of our lives – they can chart a life from birth through to adulthood, and beyond. We keep photos in our wallets, in lockets around our necks, in photo-frames by our bedside tables. Photographs allow us to freeze moments – to travel back in time.

The Gifted Photographer is set towards the end of the Victorian era. At first glance it conjures Great Britain, but America had its own Gilded Age, most notably in the regions of New England and the Deep South. Think Gothic Architecture, the Women’s Suffragette Movement, Republican domination, and literary greats such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain. This was also a period characterized by high society and strict morality.

Ian J. Courter manages beautifully to evoke the images of the time – the cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages and top-hats.

Photography at this time was in its infancy – there was no such thing as the ‘Selfie’ and no such thing as Instagram or Snapchat. The taking of photographs, in particular portraits, was only ever done for special occasions.

The story opens on Michael Houtman, the titular photographer of the piece. Herbert and Margaret Jaffe have requested his services for a very special family portrait with their daughter, Linda. Michael strikes up a conversation with Linda and discovers this sweet young woman suffered a nasty spill on the ice a few months ago. The accident has left her sickly and confined to a wheelchair, but this morning she wakes to a perfect Spring day feeling better than she has in a long time – and she’s ready for her close-up.

But this is no ordinary day, no ordinary photo-shoot, and no ordinary photographer…

Far be it for me to shed too much light, or bring into focus the darker themes and rich cultural history explored in The Gifted Photographer, suffice to say the Latin phrases Ars moriendi and Memento mori both give clues into a not so well known practice explored in this unique tale.

Of course, all you have to do to find out more is read the script. You’ll not only discover the secret talent The Gifted Photographer possesses, but will also uncover the talent of writer Ian J. Courter.  

With an ending that will stay with you long after the lights come up (we recommend reading it at night) and a final sting in the tail you won’t see coming, we advise you to get The Gifted Photographer in the can quick as a flash, before somebody else snaps it up.

The Script

The Gifted Photographer

A photographer pays a housecall to shoot a family portrait where his true talent becomes apparent.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Ian Courter's picture
Real name: 
I have been a technical writer for nearly fifteen years and published two academic articles, but my true desire has been screenwriting. So far, I have written eleven shorts and three feature-length scripts, one of which earned a first round finalist in a screenwriting contest. I draw inspiration...Read more

Speaking Test - Passing and Winning Are NOT the Same Thing...

SPEAKING TEST
Granted, Safeer’s English “not good”, but neither is his examiner.

The job interview has a long history with filmmakers. There’s terrific raw material to be mined especially in the comedy genre. Just take a look at Owen Wilson hamming it up in You, Me And Dupree, Monty Python’s skit The Lion Tamer with John Cleese and Michael Palin; Big Keith’s Appraisal in The Office, and Kevin Spacey’s turn in American Beauty – ‘would you like smiley-fries with that’?

In reality, job interviews are seldom easy and always challenging. Preparation is essential, as are nerves of steel. It’s essential to put your best foot forward. After all this is high-stakes stuff – this is your life, your future. More often than not you get one chance to make that all important first impression.

In Speaking Test, Manolis Froudarakis’ main character, Safeer, is determined to impress. A foreign national from an undisclosed country he has an extra challenge to overcome – English is evidently not his first language. Safeer’s applying for a job as a private investigator. He’s worked at the job successfully in his own country for the past four years. Now all he has to do is pass a test for ‘oral proficiency’ or rather, overcome the language barrier and convince the powers that be that he is indeed the man for the job.

This is no easy feat, especially when The Examiner is a man named Colton – a condescending, obnoxious, prejudiced and racist upstart who does little to disguise his disdain for Safeer by reacting to his test answers with a series of smirks, sneers and guffaws. He continues by stereotyping Safeer and ultimately rejecting his application.

SAFEER
(baffled)
My English good?

Colton laughs even harder. Safeer gulps.

SAFEER
Please, please! … Good detective is
important. Me, I search good, I
find many things.

COLTON
So you could find another
job, if necessary, right?

SAFEER
Other job?

COLTON
You know, like… in a restaurant…
(slowly, with exaggerated gestures)
Plates. Glasses. Water. You wash.

With those final words the interview is over and Safeer is shown the door. Little does Colton know however that by ignorantly equating Safeer’s broken English with stupidity he is the one who’s just made a big mistake. Safeer is nobody’s fool and he’s about to prove it by utilizing the very talents for which he’s just been passed over. Oh, such sweet irony.

Filmmakers: Want a cleverly plotted comedy with an equally powerful message? One that delivers with a terrific punchline guaranteed to have your audiences laughing in the aisles?

Well, don’t delay. Apply now! We predict this one will have applicants lined up around the block.

* We also recommend you read this imagining the role of Safeer being played by the late great Peter Sellers, the author’s inspiration for the character. Alternately, Sacha Baron Cohen would also do the trick. :)

The Script

Speaking Test

Granted, Safeer’s English “not good”, but neither is his examiner.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 
L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works...Read more

About The Writer

Manolis Froudarakis's picture
Manolis Froudarakis is a produced, award-winning screenwriter from Greece. His main focus is comedy, often with a dark edge. You can contact him at: mfroudarakis@yahoo.grRead more

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