Shootin' The Shorts | Page 2 | Script Revolution

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

Echo of Guilt - What Did You Just Say?

Echo of Guilt
A haunting tale in which modern technology serves as Judge and juror.

Despite Alexa’s popularity, convenience, and resourcefulness, I never owned one personally. Sure, you can get an answer to any question and gain access to information with a mere voice command. But there was always something about it I just never trusted. For one, once upon a time when I slept over a friend’s house, her Alexa turned on randomly in the middle of the night and kept playing creepy music. If I was considering purchasing an Amazon Echo before that, I sure as hell wasn’t after. Second, I never trusted its ability to recognize your voice and absorb information. I just always got this feeling that Alexa was ALWAYS listening.

But what if Alexa isn’t only cognitive to your voice? What if Alexa can hear things… that you can’t?

That’s exactly what Drew Jones begins to suspect in writer David Lambertson’s Echo of Guilt.

Set in the near-future, the story begins as Drew Jones enjoys a football game on TV one night at his high-tech secured house, his abode stocked with all the latest innovations in technological appliances. Including the latest version of Alexa, an Amazon Echo Cylinder that projects a hologram while operating. Suddenly, the device turns on by itself.

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
Massachusetts reinstated the death penalty
in the year two-thousand forty-one.

DREW
Damn it… I didn’t ask you any–

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
Qualification for the death penalty requires
the existence of special circumstances.

Just a tad random. “Who the fuck are you talking to?” Drew wonders aloud.

Unbeknownst to him, his Alexa device is indeed communicating with the spirit of a deceased woman named Melanie…

ALEXA HOLOGRAM
… Born December first, two-thousand
and one. Presumed dead, July tenth, two-thousand
and thirty-nine. Cause of death, undetermined.
Victim’s body – not discovered.

Though we can’t hear what the spirit is saying to Alexa, we can get a sense of it through the seemingly random bits of information Alexa continues to spout aloud, further confusing our story’s only living character. But as the information becomes more and more specific, Drew begins to put the pieces together inside of his head, discovering more and more details about Melanie’s death.

Another function of Alexa (in this story as well as in real-life in today’s world) is that it can gain access to and control other electronic devices within the household. And as Drew’s device continues to operate seemingly on its own, other household appliances also begin to “malfunction”, operating on their own… building to a very satisfying ending to this spooky, futuristic take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart – a very loose take, mind you.

The Script

Echo of Guilt

In the future, Alexa will be Judge, Jury, and Executioner.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

David Lambertson's picture
Real name: 

Hmmm - how does one craft a writing biography for one that has not spent a life writing? I'll give it a shot. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was eighteen. I started writing when I was 56. In the years between I got married, had children, got divorced, got married again, had grandchildren and spent more than thirty years as a Government bureaucrat. Exciting - I know. There is good news and bad news in that. The bad news of course is that I spent my life working at a career other than...Read more

Lines - Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Lines
A mother and daughter, struggling to get by, find themselves eluding gangsters when their deadbeat, drug addicted husband/father can’t pay the gangsters the money they’re owed.

A cool little thriller by the very talented Paul Knauer, the opening visuals of Lines focuses on drug paraphernalia neatly lined up on a desk at an auto repair shop. Soon, we’re introduced to Steve who, along with being a mechanic, is also a deadbeat father, awful husband and meddling drug dealer who owes his boss some money – rather than selling his product, he’s been partaking a little too much.

Back at their apartment, we’re then introduced to Steve’s wife, Leslie, a homemaker who desperately searches the empty cupboards and refrigerator, trying to find dinner for their eight-year-old daughter, Stella. Met with cobwebs, Leslie decides to gather some change and take Stella to a local fast food spot to order a burger off the dollar menu. But as they’re gone, two goons break into their apartment, searching for the stay-at-home mom and the little girl, most likely related to Steve’s money situation.

Meanwhile, Leslie and Stella are at the fast food spot, getting dinner. While the fast food clerk has their back turned, Stella snatches up a bunch of ketchup packets and stuffs them into her mother’s purse – this seems to be a routine for them while also being a strange way of mother and daughter bonding.

After leaving, Leslie sees the auto repair shop in the near distance and decides to take Stella there to pay Steve a visit. Unfortunately, Steve’s no-nonsense drug boss, Victor, has already beat them to the punch. Unbeknownst to Steve or Victor, Leslie eavesdrops from the other side of Steve’s office door.

STEVE
You can’t have my daughter. Please.
She’s my blood. My angel.

VICTOR
You prefer, I take you? And, what’s
left of my drugs, of course. What’s
your life worth – a couple grams?
What’dya say – your kid, and you
get me the money – or your life?

Steve hesitates. Looks at the picture.

STEVE
How about my wife?

Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. But Leslie’s got something else up her sleeve, finding a way to get back at her husband while ALSO eluding Victor and his goons. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say those ketchup packets come very handy and play a major role in her plans.

Insanely clever, Lines is one that filmmakers and producers should be scrambling for. With a sensible budget and great characters, this could EASILY be filmed with social distancing in rules in effect.

The Script

Lines

A mother and daughter, struggling to get by, find themselves eluding gangsters when their deadbeat, drug-addicted husband/father can’t pay the gangsters the money they’re owed.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Paul Knauer's picture
Real name: 

I’m an optioned screenwriter working out of the Kansas City area. My main focus is thrillers and slightly absurdist comedy with heart. But, I believe becoming a better writer requires the ability to push personal boundaries, so you’ll notice a thorough mix of genres in my portfolio. 

Born and raised in St. Louis, I’ve lived in multiple small towns around Missouri, and now Kansas. My projects often center on life in the Midwest -- highlighting the heart of the hard-working Midwest soul...Read more

From Vilna With Love - Justice Has No Expiration Date

From Vilna With Love
Twenty-four years after the death of their parents in war-torn Germany, a brother and sister seek revenge on the man responsible.

In Warren Duncan's emotionally gut-wrenching and thought-provoking revenge tale, From Vilna With Love, we’re taken back in time to 1963, post-World War II Germany, where brother and sister, Tomasz and Lena drive through snow-covered landscapes in the middle of the night, eventually arriving at an isolated cottage deep into the forest. Why they’re here, we don’t know yet.

That’s when we flashback to 1939 – Tomasz and Lena, small children, play while their parents, Piotr and Nadia (both painters) sell their work at a local market in Vilna, Poland. A loving family, Tomasz in particular seems to be obsessed with his favorite toy, a miniature, red toy car. So much so that he even plays with it during dinner, to his father’s chagrin.

But, during what seems like a peaceful dinner with family, the impact of bombs in the distance throttle the small home.

In a later flashback, we’re taken to a church where the family, along with several other frightened Vilna residents, hide from Russian soldiers, who eventually make their way in. It’s there where Tomasz and Lena witness the execution of their father at the hands of soldier, Viktor Ivanov, a memory forever etched into the siblings’ memories, especially Tomasz, who tries to come to his father’s aid, dropping something on the ground.

Viktor ignores Piotr and points towards the object that fell from Tomasz’s hand.

VIKTOR
(to a soldier)
What is that?

The soldier retrieves the object and hands it to Viktor, it’s the red toy car. Viktor laughs.

VIKTOR
The time for being a child is over.

Back to present time at the isolated cottage, we find out that this is Viktor’s home. And it’s made abundantly clear why Tomasz and Lena are there when Tomasz knocks on the front door with a gun.

You’ll have to read for yourself to find out how this tale of revenge ends. But I will say that the ending might surprise you. I personally pictured this being filmed in black and white with the toy car being the only color we see in the story. Much like Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Schindler’s List, the red car’s purpose in this story (more specifically the color red) is so vital to the theme. But, in this story in particular, it’s especially vital to the theme of nature vs nurture – a child’s innocence taken away from them at the hands of a cruel, war-torn environment.

One of the more engaging shorts I’ve read in quite a while, this is a story meant to be seen on screen.

The Script

From Vilna with Love

Years after the Soviet invasion of Poland, a brother and sister track down the man who destroyed their family in an attempt to find some justice.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Warren Duncan's picture
Real name: 

I am an aspiring screenwriter and comic book writer from Australia. I have had multiple shorts produced as well as the first issue of my comic book series published.  You can contact me at Warren_Duncan@hotmail.com or check out my website using the link. Thanks for taking a look.Read more

Terms and Conditions - Make Sure to Read!

Terms and Conditions
A desperate dash to answer a call of nature leads to an unexpected diagnosis.

Technology is so smart these days, isn’t it? It kinda started off with the smart phone, which took me a few years to accept and adjust to. I didn’t even know what a “smart phone” was at first, though I was told that my flip phone wasn’t considered one (that was in 2014). Then everyone started getting smart TVs and soon after, I started seeing smart microwaves, toasters, ovens, refrigerators and even fireplaces.

In Anthony Cawood’s short “Terms & Conditions”, the story centers around a smart TOILET. Now, I had to Google this, but there are already smart toilets on the market. Though most are simple – they pretty much just save water and electricity – there’s a bunch out there that have foot and seat warmers, bidets, touch-screen remotes, built-in speakers to go along with built-in radios and MP3 players… you name it.

But the smart toilet in this story is, well… smarter. Imagine a toilet that can actually run tests on your urine with almost-immediate test results. Doesn’t really sound too far-fetched, come to think of it. It will only be a matter of time when these kinds of smart toilets are used to perform instant-result drug tests and possibly even medical tests, giving patients a diagnosis and prognosis within minutes…

Which is pretty much what the toilet in Anthony’s story does. Set in the near future, possibly the late 2020’s, we open in a shopping mall where we follow 70-year old Ted Lawson, who has one goal in mind: to find the nearest bathroom. He’s gotta go and he’s gotta go BAD.

Finally, after finding one, he hurries into the nearest cubicle and unleashes a stream that could crack a windshield. But, as he finishes up, something strange happens.

TOILET
Good afternoon Ted Lawson.

Ted spins round in shock, sending droplets over the walls.

TOILET
Thank you for choosing a MediScan cubicle,
we appreciate your custom.

Ted thinks he’s on one of them hidden camera shows at first – which would be the creepiest hidden camera show ever. But he soon finds out what exactly he walked into.

TOILET
… I am the MediScan cubicle.
Your sample is now being analyzed.

Ted taps the light, harder.

TED
Sample?

TOILET
Urine sample.
(beat)
The Terms & Conditions are on
the door if you wish to re-read them.

In a rush to relieve himself, Ted unfortunately did not read the terms and conditions posted on the door before entering.

Ted tries to leave but finds himself locked in until the MediScan toilet finishes analyzing his urine sample for results – results that he probably would’ve preferred to find out about from an actual doctor. And as Ted receives the horrible news, he soon finds out that MediScan isn’t only cleared to run tests and deliver results – it’s also allowed to perform a “service” that’s apparently legal in the future. I won’t give away the fun of it (or horror in this case), but let’s just say Ted signed something without reading it, allowing this frighteningly blunt robot toilet to perform what it was programmed to do.

For some reason, while reading the toilet’s dialogue, I kept hearing the voice of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Which kinda sent chills up my spine despite the screenplay’s fun nature – well, fun up until the horrifying conclusion. A very unique and original story, this would be a very memorable film to watch unfold on screen.

The Script

Terms & Conditions

A desperate dash to answer a call of nature leads to an unexpected diagnosis and a fight to survive.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Anthony Cawood's picture
Real name: 

Award-winning screenwriter with one feature produced and a further four features optioned or in pre-production. In addition to features, over forty short scripts produced/sold/optioned - including ten filmed. Also occasionally pens screenwriting articles, interviews with writers and filmmakers, and even a short story or two. You can find out more at www.anthonycawood.co.ukRead more

CC - Keep Your Eyes on the Screen!

CC
An Augmented Reality ghost hunt hits close to home.

I’m absolutely obsessed with the paranormal. I probably spend more time on Youtube watching ghost videos and listening to podcasts than I’d care to reveal. I’ve never really seen a ghost or any kind of paranormal entity, though I’ve had some eerie experiences that were enough to make me wonder and not completely dismiss the possibility. Though, in those same experiences, there were a number of logical explanations for each strange encounter. So, it wasn’t enough for me to conclude, without a shadow of a doubt, that ghosts are real, either. But I’d love to see one. It’s something I’d really like to cross off my bucket list. I even downloaded an EVP recorder app for my phone. So far, no such luck, however.

But, as cool as it would be to have a real paranormal encounter and as drawn as I am to paranormal Youtube channels, there’s a part of me that would freak the eff out if I did have an encounter. Fear is part of that curiosity. It’s a visceral feeling and part of the reason why so many people are drawn to scary movies, as well as shows like “Ghost Hunters” on TV and the litany of Youtube and TikTok channels devoted to things that go bump in the night.

The reason I was so drawn to Anthony Cawood’s eerie and aptly titled CC, was due in large part to how relatable I found his main character, 17-year-old Rosie, to be. That, and the script was also effectively creepy and extremely easy to film.

The story takes place in real time, but it kind of felt like my daily routine – just sitting on the couch, listening to music on my ear pods while peeping paranormal Youtube videos on my television. This is the extent of my ability to multitask. And this is exactly what Rosie is doing as her 15-year-old brother, Dylan, lounges around, doing what little brother’s do best – annoying their older sister.

Set in the near future – sometime later this decade, I presume – Rosie checks out a Youtube channel called, “pARa LIVE” with the sound off, reading the closed captioning while listening to music. A poor man’s, lower-budget version of “Ghost Hunters”, Rosie watches the first-person POV-filmed show as its curious paranormal researcher tracks some sort of entity through a neighborhood using a downloadable smart phone app called the PARA-APP. Rosie nonchalantly downloads the app as she continues to watch the show, the tracker catching footage of a small, pale, impish, troll-like figure…

CLOSED CAPTION
God, there it is. Fuck, can you see?

The footage shakes as the camera holder tries to zoom in on his phone camera.

The phone screen moves temporarily out of the field of vision for the Go Pro. When it does, the Imp has disappeared entirely now that it is no longer viewed through the app.

CLOSED CAPTION
Can’t see it normally, only see it
through the PARA-APP.

As she continues to watch the video, fully absorbed, a sudden chill tingles her spine once she realizes that the location of the live feed looks oddly familiar – just outside of her neighbor’s house. To make things creepier, the live feed follows the imp as it moves closer and closer to her home, forcing her to use the app as it seeks shelter within her once-comfy confines.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s an awesomely spooky example of classic, found-footage horror at its finest. As a massive horror fan, I can easily see this fitting into some sort of “VHS”-esque anthology while also racking up Youtube views as its own stand-alone film.

The Script

CC

A bored teen gets more than she bargains for when watching a reality ghost channel on YouTube.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Anthony Cawood's picture
Real name: 

Award-winning screenwriter with one feature produced and a further four features optioned or in pre-production. In addition to features, over forty short scripts produced/sold/optioned - including ten filmed. Also occasionally pens screenwriting articles, interviews with writers and filmmakers, and even a short story or two. You can find out more at www.anthonycawood.co.ukRead more

Passwords - You think *real* life is dangerous?

Passwords
A 12-year old gamer is harassed by an online opponent.

Remember the good old days when video games were simple and easier to play? My video game playing days came to an end when the controllers started becoming more complex – just “A”, “B”, “Select”, “Start”, “Up”, “Down”, “Left” and “Right” was complicated enough for my brain capacity to handle. I remember smoke coming out of my ears trying to get my brain to adjust from the 8-bit graphics NES offered to the mind-blowing 16-bit graphics of Sega Genesis. I mean, what was this, The Jetsons?

Since then, video gaming has evolved considerably. So much so that you can play with someone thousands of miles away while speaking to them through a headset. Not to mention the VR craze that regained popularity in recent years. I stayed away from VR after seeing one too many people fall and make asses out of themselves.

But as convenient and interactive as online gaming has become, it’s also opened up a whole another can of worms – online bullying, for one. One of the more frightening occurrences that have become more common over the years is swatting – when someone finds out your address and calls the cops on you, falsely reporting a hostage situation or other crime. And, through online gaming (and online technology in general), it’s also easier for people to find information about you – PRIVATE information.

This is what happens in Paul Knauer’s aptly titled horror short, “Passwords”, where we meet 12-year old Jesse, who’s playing an opponent through his VR headset while smack-talking through his computer. But the trash-talk rubs another online gamer the wrong way.

COMPUTER (O.S.)
You calling me stupid?

JESSE
You basically called yourself stupid. Post.

The message posts. Jesse lifts his headset, looks at the laptop…

JESSE
Goodnight… Leonard55.

To Jesse’s chagrin, this wouldn’t be the last he’d hear from the mysterious Leonard55. In fact, just after posting his comment, the electricity in his room shuts off for a few moments.

“How do you like the dark?” Jesse leans forward as a second message quickly follows: “Who’s stupid now?”

The lights snap back on. Music suddenly blasts from a nearby device. Jesse scrambles to unplug the speaker.

Not only does Leonard55 somehow know Jesse’s name, but he’s now gained control of his VR headset, taking over his virtual world and changing his avatar to that of a little girl. It’s here where Jesse (now a little girl) faces off with some kind of hulking demon in some dark, creepy-looking virtual basement.

For a story about some 12-year old kid sitting in a room, playing video games, this was surprisingly eerie and atmospheric with some nice horrifying visuals. Though frightening, the story was still very fun to follow. And the ending isn’t quite how you would expect it to unfold. A fun script, this would be even more fun to see on screen. Filmmakers need to jump on this one quickly!

The Script

Passwords

A young video-gamer's session is interrupted by a particularly aggressive online opponent.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Paul Knauer's picture
Real name: 

I’m an optioned screenwriter working out of the Kansas City area. My main focus is thrillers and slightly absurdist comedy with heart. But, I believe becoming a better writer requires the ability to push personal boundaries, so you’ll notice a thorough mix of genres in my portfolio. 

Born and raised in St. Louis, I’ve lived in multiple small towns around Missouri, and now Kansas. My projects often center on life in the Midwest -- highlighting the heart of the hard-working Midwest soul...Read more

Let 'Er Rip - Hold Nothing Back...

Let 'Er Rip!
An outlaw’s last words are more befitting than he intended.

The subject of this sharply-written historical - and delightfully morbid tale - is infamous cowboy turned outlaw/train robber, Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum of the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang that operated in America’s west in the 1880s.

The story opens with the judge banging a GAVEL (that’s one criteria item) before sentencing Ketchum to death by hanging. For what exactly? Felonious assault of a train – yes, you read that correctly. I know this may sound like a spoiler, but I’m sure you knew what happened to the Titanic before watching Titanic. This is merely historical fact – Ketchum was the first person to suffer capital punishment for the offense of “felonious assault upon a railway train” in New Mexico Territory (which did not become a state until 1912).

Ketchum was accused of attempting to rob a train – the conductor recognized “Black Jack” and shot him in the arm, which was later amputated. But as a REPORTER (criteria item No. 2) interviews him in jail, Ketchum denies the accusation.

TOM
Not much to tell. I tried to wave
down a train and the engineer put
two loads of buckshot in me. They
arrested me, cut off my arm, and
now I’ve been Judged.

KINCAID
Do you claim innocence?

TOM
Of felonious assault of a train?
Tell me…how does one assault a
moving train? And how does that
translate to a hangin’?

That’s exactly how the U.S. government felt about the law – they later found it to be unconstitutional. Unfortunately for old “Black Jack”, the law wasn’t changed until after his hanging. Just his luck, huh? Well, karma might’ve been in effect in this instance – after all, there were numerous other robberies and murders. So, one couldn’t feel TOO sorry for the outlaw.

During his interview with the reporter, despite being sentenced to hang, Ketchum expresses a more positive view on his time in prison while rubbing on his plump belly.

TOM
Hell, been eatin’ three squares a
day for almost two years now. This
here cot ain’t half bad neither.

Perhaps he’s been living a little TOO well – it’s been said the man packed on about thirty extra pounds while behind bars. Now, what relevance does his immense weight gain have in this story? That’s one aspect I won’t spoil for you. However, the ending stays true to historical fact while somehow being funny yet incredibly morbid without being gratuitous. You’ll have to see for yourself. But, interesting fact – the story is so historically accurate that a good portion of the reporter’s voice-over dialogue at the end was the actual reporter’s verbatim written account of the hanging – taken from an article written in the Denver Times back in 1901.

Its title taken from Ketchum’s last words, Let ‘Er Rip is an incredibly entertaining historical short that would be awesome to see on screen.

The Script

Let 'er Rip!

An outlaw's last words are more befitting than intended.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

John Staats's picture
Real name: 

I'm proud of the work posted here and the stories you're about to read. You have your choice of feature screenplays, numerous shorts (including a VR short) and some comic formats in case you're up for something a bit different. The links to my comics would make awesome storyboards if you want to bring the story to life.

If you like what you read, feel free to give it some love and tic the the heart icon.

Been around... Seen some things... Yep, a helluva story teller. No sh*t,...Read more

Confessions of a Cadaver - Oh What Tales the Dead Can Tell....

Confessions of a Cadaver
As a surgeon dissects a cadaver, it tells him a story he doesn’t want to hear.

If you watch gangster films, you’ve probably heard some variation of this line before – “Dead men don’t tell tales”. But if you watch true crime films and documentaries – I highly recommend Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot – you know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes, a cadaver can weave one hell of a tale… in great detail. A lot can be determined through examining a cadaver. Of course, cause of death is one of those things. And through toxicology reports and blood tests, you can also discover whether or not drugs were consumed leading up to their death… hell, you can even find out what the person ate the day of.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – What a grim introduction! Well, the script I’m reviewing is very grim and very dark. I’m sure you can tell by the apt title. But this isn’t just your everyday crime thriller or police procedural ala Criminal Minds, Law & Order or any of the CSI shows – this is a morality tale on a smaller, more personal scope that you’d see in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents reboot. And it all takes place in an autopsy room (or whatever the proper term is) where a surgeon examines a cadaver in front of a small group of medical students. And though they find out a lot about this cadaver in particular, its the surgeon that finds out more about himself during the examination in Matthew Taylor’s clever, sharply-written micro-short that’s just as grim as its title, Confessions of a Cadaver.

The story gets right to it, opening on a gloved hand making a Y-shaped incision into the abdomen of the title character, the cadaver.

SURGEON
Male, twenty-five years old.

All business, not a moment of emotional inflection in his voice, the surgeon is accompanied by an assistant/observer as the group of medical students watch attentively. As the surgeon continues to reveal more information about the cadaver while inspecting it, the observer seems to be a little bothered by his coldness and lack of emotion.

OBSERVER
He had a name you know. A life.

Surgeon takes a RIB CUTTER from a table, it GRINDS as it makes contact with bone.

Observer looks away, can’t bear to watch as Surgeon pulls the rib cage out whole, sets it aside.

SURGEON
It’s important to remain emotionally
distant from your patient.

As the examination continues, the surgeon poking, prodding and showing the students the scarred organs (including the heart), we find out that the cadaver has endured drug abuse, alcohol abuse and even further self-harm made evident by the slash marks on its wrists – this was one depressed individual who was battling some serious demons.

But it’s through the observer that we soon find out the cadaver’s name – Henry. In fact, as the surgeon continues to explain every medical detail to the class, the observer, who’s continuously annoyed by the surgeon’s matter-of-fact disposition, reveals more and more detailed information about the subject’s personal life, far beyond the medical aspect.

As we continue to peel away at the onion, layer by layer, a truly shocking reveal is made. This intricately told story has a much deeper theme than what I’ve described so far, but to reveal that theme would be giving away the twist of the story.

I’m a huge fan of Matthew Taylor’s work – I previously reviewed a short of his, Inbox (1), which is still available, by the way. And Confessions of a Cadaver is a big reason why I admire this writer’s work so much. Excellent at creating an eerie tone, the writer also excels at exploring deeper themes that start off as subtle, slowly building to a gut-punch of a reveal. I highly recommend Confessions of a Cadaver to any filmmaker searching for a sharply-written, atmospheric tale that, not only gets under our skin visually, but also emotionally.

The Script

Confessions of a Cadaver

As a surgeon dissects a cadaver, it tells him a story he doesn't want to hear.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Matthew Taylor's picture
Real name: 

I am a new writer simply trying to bring interesting stories and characters to life.

I have no formal training, just a passion to write and hours spent researching and reading. I would like to get involved in the writing community so that we can all help each other to get our stories to the screen.

If you are interested in any of my stories, please don't hesitate to contact me.

 

 

 

 Read more

Letters from My Father - Read... it's Right.

Letters From My Father
On the morning of a woman’s 21st birthday, she receives a very special delivery: a box full of letters written to her since she was an infant from her long-estranged father. As she reads the letters, she learns the truth about her father and what really happened to make him leave the family.

Get your Kleenex ready, ladies and gentleman. You’re going to need it for this one.

So, if you haven’t noticed, I usually gravitate towards horror scripts – my reviews tend to be a bit horror-centric. I’m an avid Shudder viewer and I, myself, prefer to write in the horror genre. But a great story is a great story, regardless of genre. Especially when it’s something that truly resonates and affects me on an emotional level. And that’s exactly what Larry Postel’s satisfying tear-jerker, “Letters From My Father” did.

Most families deal with some level of dysfunction, one way or another. But, through the hardest of times, we try to make it work. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t end up the way that we would’ve liked. And, sometimes, it stays with us, all the way through adulthood, affecting how we go about our own relationships later in life.

Even though not everybody has dealt with the circumstances the story’s protagonist, Sophia, has endured, it’s still easy to empathize and relate to her situation.

Sophia has just turned 21 years old. And she is HUNG OVER. To her chagrin, her flawed yet very loving and thoughtful mother, Barbara, wakes her up bright and early. But Sophie’s annoyance turns to pure joy when she sees why her mother has woken her up so early – she’s surprised with an envelope. Is it cash? A gift certificate? Nope, even better.

Puzzled, Sophia takes the envelope and opens it. She wipes her weary eyes to read what’s inside. When she does, her jaw drops…

SOPHIA
Oh, my God! Tickets to Vegas!!

With their flight leaving later that day, Barbara leaves to get her hair done. Excited for the shopping sprees, shows and perhaps a little casino-hopping, Sophia packs her bags while her mother is gone. But her packing is interrupted by a knock at the door.

Sophia checks to see who it is but is met by a mysterious box with a letter taped to the top of it sitting on her doorstep – the package is from her estranged father who she hasn’t seen in years.

Sophia opens the envelope and unfolds a handwritten letter. As she reads it to herself, we hear a MAN – presumably the writer – reading it out loud.

MAN (V.O.)
Happy birthday, Sophia. I’ve been
waiting for this day for many years
now. Twenty-one to be exact.
(pause)
Inside this box are letters I’ve
written to you since the day you
were born…the best day of my life.

For years, she was led to believe that her father abandoned the family. But as she reads through each heartbreaking letter, she eventually discovers exactly why her father wasn’t there for her during the bulk of her childhood. While some of the letters evoke fond memories, shown through some very touching flashbacks, they also evoke some difficult memories, made even more devastating as Sophia discovers the truth – which is slowly unveiled through each letter, arranged in chronological order.

Apparently, this was based on a true story, which makes sense. The characters felt very real – flawed but good-hearted people doing the best they can to deal with the difficulties life has presented to them.

Yes, Letters From My Father will draw some tears. But, though I won’t spoil the ending, it’s the joyful tears by the story’s conclusion that make the painful tears worth the journey – as in real life.

The Script

Letters from my Father

On her 21st birthday, a woman receives a very special delivery: a box full of letters written to her since she was an infant from her long estranged father.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

Larry Postel's picture
Real name: 

Larry credits his early interest in writing to his dad, a wonderful wordsmith and storyteller who had an advertising company he aptly named Post 'n Tell. Larry went on to study and work in advertising himself. His love of movies led him to screenwriting, with a focus on family comedy and character-driven drama.

A battle with cancer (Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma) in 2012 made Larry more determined than ever to achieve his dreams. In 2019, he had three original spec screenplays produced. The...Read more

From Before - What Goes Around...

From Before
An ambitious university professor finds the things he’s done to come so far so quickly come back to haunt him… quite literally.

As a massive horror fan, it might be surprising to hear that I am not a massive fan of horror films about the occult and satanic rituals. I’m not sure why, exactly, though I’ve seen a few really, really good ones – Rosemary’s BabyThe Wicker Man (not the Nicolas Cage remake), the excellent South Korean film, The Wailing and, more recently, Ari Aster’s films, Hereditary and Midsommar. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, for me to enjoy a horror flick about the occult, it has to be really, really good. The same goes for screenplays.

Luckily, I stumbled upon James Austin McCormick’s twisty, uber-creepy occult horror short, From Before, which is currently available for production.

The story kicks off when we meet the ambitious and already very successful Dr. Sam Adams, a 26-year-old professor of literature and vice chairman of the committee of trustees at his college. He’s speaking to his class about Faustus – a nice touch of foreshadowing – when, suddenly, he begins to smell something burning. He continues to quiz his students on Faustus but can’t seem to shake that odor that only he seems to smell. That’s when he looks to a student named Michael and notices peculiar burn marks fresh upon his face.

SAM
Michael, what’s wrong with your face?

MICHAEL
You did this to me.

SAM
What do you mean?

Sam looks at the other students. All of them seem like statues, unblinking, unmoving.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)
I’ll see you soon Sammy. I promise.

After blinking his eyes in disbelief, Sam looks to Michael again – but there are no burn marks.
So, what the hell just happened? Was it all in his head?

CLAIRE
Parasomnia.

SAM
Para…what?

CLAIRE
A waking nightmare. It’s more common than people realize.

Claire, Sam’s girlfriend, seems to think these waking nightmares are the product of stress. After all, Sam is taking on a lot of responsibility for someone in their mid 20s after rising up the ranks so quickly.

After a love-making session to shake off the stress, Sam wakes up to the horrifying image of a demon-like figure in his room named Jack – staring at Sam through the dark with reptilian eyes and claws. Jack tells Sam the same thing that he thought he heard in his earlier waking nightmare – “I’m coming for you.”

We soon find out that Jack is also the name of Sam’s brother, who has been lying in a coma for the past three years. You see, at least according to Sam, Jack was into magic and the occult and lit himself on fire as part of a magic trick. After Sam’s most recent waking nightmare, he learns that Jack has indeed passed away – one hell of a coincidence, so it seems. Of course, we discover that it wasn’t a coincidence at all.

As the story ensues, Sam’s mental health continues to spiral to the point where he’s scaring his girlfriend Claire, who’s quite disturbed by all the symbols and markings Sam has decorated his house with – he claims it’s for protection. But protection from what, exactly?

To reveal anything more would be spoiling it for you. But I will say there is quite a double swerve at the end – a very satisfying one at that. A very tight script with plenty of twists and turns, this little tale also has some genuinely creepy moments and even some great jump scares – which is difficult to pull off on paper. If you’re a filmmaker looking to scare the “hell” out of your audience, I recommend taking a look at From Before.

The Script

FROM BEFORE

An ambitious university professor finds the things he’s done to come so far so quickly come back to haunt him, quite literally.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

James Austin McCormick's picture

I'm a college lecturer and compulsive writer of speculative fiction. To date I've had many short stories published in various anthologies, as well as novellas and novels published with Class Act books. Anyone who wants to check out my fiction can find a detailed list at the link below:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?195589

And my page on Amazon...Read more

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