A holiday Q & A with Heather Hughes & Kate Wharton

Heather Hughes and Kate Wharton have been writing together for over 12 years and worked with Disney, Hallmark, and Lifetime, as well as a plethora of indie filmmakers.

They are both graduates of the TheFilmSchool in Seattle and studied with the late, great Blake Snyder.

They are represented by The Nethercott Agency in Los Angeles.

What was the last thing you read or watched you thought was incredibly well-

Heather: I thought The Queen’s Gambit was extremely well-written. The characters were very real and they avoided all tropes. I really enjoyed the mother and that character defied all my expectations. We also just rewatched Breaking Bad, which is about as far away from Hallmark movies as you can get, but genius

Follow-up: a Christmas movie, TV or feature, you think is well-written.

Heather: We detail the seven sub-genres of Hallmark movies in our book and we’re huge fans of the “fake boyfriend” sub-genre, which we call “The Christmas Fake Out” or “Rent-a-Boyfriend” and thought The Mistletoe Promise (2016) was quite well done.

We also like Mary Christmas, which has one of the most satisfying and unexpected endings of any Hallmark movie ever. It’s not The Usual Suspects, but for these movies it was a shocker!

Kate: Hallmark’s The Angel Tree is very nicely done. The plot setup involves good Hallmark-appropriate conflict and there are a couple nice plot twists. I think it’s the best of this year’s 40 new Hallmark movies.

How did you get your starts in the industry, and how did you get into writing Christmas TV movies?  

A producer requested our screenplay, which had done well in a contest.  He routinely asks the directors of the contest to send him the winning scripts.  When we started writing together, we were advised that some screenwriting contests were a way to get noticed. That proved to be true for us. We consider Austin, the Nicholl Fellowship, PAGE, Big Break and Kairos to be some of the best contests.

You refer to these films as Cozy Christmas Romances, or CCRs. Is romance a necessary component of the story template? 

Romance is a requirement for this genre. When we first started writing these movies we assumed that any wholesome content would appeal to these networks. We spent a lot of time pitching heartwarming stories that routinely got turned down. It wasn’t until we’d been at it awhile that we realized that these scripts had to be about—to steal from the late great Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat—two people who are better together than apart AND they needed to celebrate Christmas not just take place at Christmas. Or, as one producer told us, “It needs to be about Christmas, not just set at Christmas.”

There is an abundance of CCRs on several channels and streaming services, with new ones coming out each year. To what do you attribute the popularity of the CCR? 

There are several reasons they are so popular. These movies are predictable, safe, and uncontroversial. It’s a great escape! We like to call them the mac-and-cheese of movies. They’re familiar, warm and comforting. You won’t have nightmares after watching them and you can watch them with your 92-year-old grandma and your six-year-old niece. 

No one will be offended by them and they won’t trigger anyone. When we were researching the book, we actually found that a lot of military vets enjoy watching them because they can relax knowing that they won’t encounter any disturbing content.


We learned these rules in dribs and drabs while we were working with and pitching to companies that make films for Hallmark. It would have been helpful to us if someone had written down these guidelines. For instance: we wrote a whole spec script featuring a couple in their 50s thinking it would be perfect for them. After we submitted it, we learned the protagonists needed to be 28 – yes, they actually said 28. We wish the production company had told us that at the start!

How much research went into putting the book together? How many Christmas TV movies did you end up watching?

If you ask our husbands they would say thousands, but it was really more like several dozen. We also did extensive research with a ton of screenwriters, agents and producers. Some were eager to share, but wanted anonymity, especially when talking about money. After doing more and more interviews we began to see specific rules emerging. There are always exceptions to these rules, and we aren’t out to stifle creativity. But when we compiled our findings, we began to see them as a roadmap for writers who would like to write in this genre.

In the book, you list the 7 main types of CCRs. Obviously, that’s not all they’re limited to, but a majority tend to fall into one of those categories. If a writer comes up with something totally different from any of these but could still be considered a CCR, does that hurt their chances of getting it noticed?

We came up with the seven after watching many movies and reading all of the loglines. We’re sure there are more subgenres or ways to put these movies into buckets. We’d love to hear from your readers who identify others!

If a writer comes up with a new and original subgenre it could be great! But the companies seem to be buying similar content. If the idea strays too far from the conventions of the world (a Christmas town full of zombies, for example), it might hurt your chances of selling to Hallmark. Other networks might love it, though! 

Hallmark has honed its brand to the point where they know the 85 million viewers who tune in during November and December and what those viewers expect.

A few chapters involve the CCR beat sheet, along with filling in the blanks about the story. Some might say that there’s a certain predictability to these stories, so what advice would you give to writers striving to come up with something original?

We’ve noticed that many writers struggle with plot. They start writing with a lot of momentum, and then get stuck around page 50 because they don’t know what’s going to happen. The beat sheet is a fill-in-the-blank exercise to teach the writer a structure that is common to all these movies. If you’re great at plot without a beat sheet, then you probably won’t need this roadmap. 

These movies are intentionally predictable, but within that framework there is a lot of room for originality. If you want to write CCR movies, your original ideas will probably center on an unusual hero, and a unique romantic combination. For example: you could find a new reason the female character needs to leave the big city, an unusual job for the male character, or a unique Christmas activity to include in your montage.

You also go into “what to do after the script’s done”, i.e. queries, meetings, etc., and reference several non-professional writers who sold their scripts. While not every script is guaranteed to sell, is this something you would recommend for aspiring writers?

When you write a script, the goal is to get someone to buy it and make it into a movie—unless you want to film it yourself, which is a great option for aspiring filmmakers. After writing your script, the second hardest thing to do is to get people to read it. Our process of research and queries is a good system for getting people to read your script, regardless of your genre.

We think this is a good place for new writers who like these movies to break in simply because of the sheer number of CCRs made each year. This year Hallmark made 40 new movies, Lifetime made 30 and UPtv made 5. There is never a guarantee that a script will be optioned, but there are many companies looking for content.

The two of you are about more than just writing Christmas TV movies. How can people find out more, as well as order the book?

We love teaching and writing together. Readers can contact us through our website writingtherom.com or on our Facebook page We Heart Rom Coms.  You can buy our book on Amazon, and we’d love to hear any thoughts your readers might have about it. Feel free to reach out!

Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

We both adore pecan pie with a ton of lightly sweetened whipped cream! No wonder we’re such great writing partners!

If your pie preferences run a bit more savory, we also recommend Costco chicken pot pies. They’re amazing—flaky crust, delicious chunks of chicken, and a light creamy sauce. Find them in the back, by the rotisserie chickens—It’s a cost effective, delicious meal.

Q & A with Heidi Hornbacher of PageCraft

A graduate of UCLA’s screenwriting program, Heidi Hornbacher has written numerous features, treatments, and TV pilots for various independent producers. She’s judged for the Slamdance Film Festival screenwriting contest and co-founded the Slamdance Script Clinic. She and her husband founded PageCraft Writing in 2008, offering script coaching and writing retreats in LA and Italy. Her clients include Emmy winners, TV legends, and brand new writers too. Heidi has written, directed, and produced numerous commercials, music videos, and electronic press kits for various artists. She’s currently making a documentary film about British artist Paul Whitehead.

What’s the last thing you read/watched you considered to be exceptionally well-written?

There is so much great TV right now. I was mesmerized by I May Destroy You. Anything that makes me say “wow, I could not have written that” I love. I had a Kenyan writer on my podcast recently and she noted that it was a very African storytelling style which I found particularly interesting. 

How’d you get your start in the industry?

I moved to Los Angeles to go to the UCLA Professionals Program in Screenwriting at night and landed a day job at Paramount as a president’s assistant. From there it was a lot of reading, learning, developing skills, and networking. And just making things without waiting for permission.

Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?

I think this is absolutely something that can be taught. If you have a natural instinct it helps but you can train your eye to spot things the same way a sommelier trains to spot subtle flavor differences in wine. When I first started reading for contests I would decide to advance or decline a script based on instinct, but had to develop the facility to be able to say why.

Once I could could point to things like unmotivated dialogue, a major story turn being on the B story but missing from the A story, unearned reveals, etc. it helped me codify those elements into my own writing and into a teachable curriculum for PageCraft.

What do you consider the components of a good script?

Solid characters that have been well developed with clear goals, and positive and negative stakes to achieving those goals. Scenes that work hard to move your story forward and don’t just sit there. Even in a reflective moment, we should be learning something new about the character or they should be learning something about themselves. Every scene having a clear Goal-Obstacle-Outcome, or what we call GOO structure. Yes. EVERY SCENE.

What are some of the most common screenwriting mistakes you see?

Where to begin? The most offensive mistakes are things like not spellchecking (how hard is that?) and grammar errors. Those tell me you just don’t care about your craft or my time, so why should I give my time to looking at your craft?

A lot of scripts that are findable online, etc. are shooting scripts rather than original scripts so I see a lot of bad habits writers pick up from those such as writing in edit and camera direction. There should never be a CUT TO or CLOSE UP ON in your original script. Every slug line implies a cut so there’s that, and you should be able to imply the angle and type of shot by how masterfully you work your action lines.

I see a lot of over-directing the actor from the page. Unless a movement is key to the plot, don’t tell your actors how to move their bodies. The hardest thing about screenwriting is getting your head around the fact that it’s a collaborative art where we often never meet our collaborators because they come in after we’ve done our part. Learning to trust that your actors are going to bring nuance and physical choices to the role can be like a trust fall. If you’ve written the script well with clear context for what that character is going through, the actor will run with it.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

Aside from lazy things like the detective with the board full of photos connected by red string, I’m really tired of societal tropes; rape as a motivator for why a female character becomes stronger, stories that only view Black characters as suffering characters. Can we move on? We’re more nuanced as humans so our stories should be too.

Then there are just overused dialogue lines like “it might just work”, “that went well”, and “we’re a lot alike, you and I.” We actually have a powerpoint with stills from over 40 films and shows illustrating how overused that last one is.

What are some key rules/guidelines every writer should know?

-As I said above: Make sure there is GOO (Goal-Obstacle-Outcome) in every single scene.

-Make sure you have a solid structure and outline before you start writing. You need a roadmap!

-Make sure you’ve done your character work and understand what motivates them. Make sure you’ve done as much work for the antagonist as for the protagonist so the struggle is worth your protagonist’s time. 

-Make sure every major story turn occurs on the A storyline – the external story. Turns on the B and C storylines can serve as point and counterpoint to that but if a turn is missing from the A story, the narrative will feel off and it can be hard to see why. 

-Remember that a script is a blueprint for a visual story and as such everything in it needs to be visual and filmable so no internal writing about what a character feels or remembers – we should get that from how you externalize those feelings. 

-Break up action line chunks by story beat, audience focus or implied new camera angle so they stay below 5 lines each and keep the reader’s eye flowing down the page.

Have you ever read a script where you thought “This writer gets it”? If so, what were the reasons why?

All the time! It’s clear when a writer just doesn’t know the rules versus a writer who knows the rules and breaks them creatively. These tend to be scripts with thoroughly developed characters, great pacing, and a satisfying emotional catharsis. They are scripts with a clear point of view and strong positive and negative stakes for the characters. Their message is the byproduct of a great story and not the sole reason for the story (i.e. the story isn’t preachy).

How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

It depends. If you do well in a big one, you can get noticed. The right ones can help you get representation or otherwise forward your project. For example, one of my clients just won the Nicholl. She will get lots of meetings off of that.

There are obviously a ton that are a waste of money but it can boost your confidence to get those laurels. There is a backside to that too. When I see scripts in competition with laurels on the title page (DO NOT DO THIS!), it’s like they’re painting a target on themselves saying “find reasons to tear this down” and, except in the rare occasion when it’s a stellar script, we always can.

How can people find out more about you and the services you provide?

Visit us at PageCraftWriting.com. Our next round of script workshops starts in January, we offer one-on-one consulting services, and check out our Hearthside Salons podcast (on Podbean and iTunes) featuring conversations with writers, directors and other creatives.

Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

That’s like asking me to pick a favorite sunset. I love anything fruit-related and made some killer loquat-ginger pies this spring. But I love pecan and pumpkin so I’m happy it’s that time of year. More pie!

Q & A with Naomi Beaty of Write+Co

Naomi Beaty is a screenwriting teacher and consultant who works with writers, producers, and directors at all levels to develop their film and TV projects. Naomi has read thousands of scripts and worked with hundreds of writers, first as a junior development exec at Madonna and Guy Oseary’s Maverick Films, and currently through group workshops and one-on-one coaching.

She also wrote the short, actionable guide Logline Shortcuts: Unlock your story and pitch your screenplay in one simple sentence.

What’s the last thing you read/watched you considered to be exceptionally well-written?

I’ve been bingeing a lot of series over the past several months (who hasn’t?) and the three I absolutely fell in love with have been The Great, Mrs. America, and The Queen’s Gambit.

And I was blown away recently by a script I read for a client, but I haven’t asked if it’s okay to mention him here, so I won’t. But if anyone’s looking for an amazing boxing movie, I’d be happy to connect you!

How’d you get your start in the industry?

Like a lot of people, I went the assistant route. I worked for a producer-manager, which was a great introduction to how the industry works. And then moved into development at a larger production company, which was a real education. 

Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?

We all have gut reactions that tell us whether a story moves us, right? But being able to read a screenplay and understand whether or how it’s working takes some experience. So there’s obviously something to be said for whether a screenplay gets an emotional response from you, but we shouldn’t stop there. It takes time and effort and a lot of reading analytically in order to truly understand what makes writing “good.” 

What do you consider the components of a good script?

A strong concept, structure that delivers a satisfying experience, characters we care about and invest in who are transformed by the events of the story, clear, meaningful stakes, dialogue we actually want to hear. And all of those things working together in a way that makes us feel something.

What are some of the most common screenwriting mistakes you see?

There are a bunch that I think fall under one big umbrella, which is: forgetting that you’re a storyteller. We want you to guide us through the story, direct our focus, tease out the tension, all to achieve the effect you want. It’s easy to overlook when there’s so much that goes into just figuring out how to put a story together, you know? But the delivery of it can separate good from great.

What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?

The clumsy hot chick comes to mind. It’s right up there with “beautiful but doesn’t know it.”

What are some key rules/guidelines every writer should know?

I often joke that there are no rules in screenwriting… except these three:

1. Don’t confuse us.

2. Don’t bore us.

3. Make us feel something.

Other good guidelines:

– Know what story you’re writing. That doesn’t mean you have to know on the first draft – sometimes it takes time to figure it out – but until you know, that script is going to be a struggle.

– Make sure you share that story with the audience. We need to clearly understand who wants what, why they want it, what they’re doing to get it, and what’s stopping them. It sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how few scripts really nail all of those pieces.

– Start with the strongest concept you can. It’s something that’s tough to correct for later on.

– Learn how to build and escalate emotional stakes! I don’t think I’ve ever read a script that wasn’t better for it.

– Finish your screenplays whenever possible. Abandoning something halfway through because it doesn’t seem to be working means you never get the chance to learn why it isn’t working, how you could fix it, or what you should do differently next time.

Have you ever read a script where you thought “This writer gets it.” If so, what were the reasons why?

Yes! The script doesn’t have to be perfect, but when it’s clear that the writer knows how to put a story together and can convey it in a way that it feels like a movie – then I know that writer gets it.

How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?

Some are, most are not, but in the end it really depends on what you mean by “worth it.” If you’re just looking for a reaction from a fresh set of eyes and a sense of how your script stacks up against others, there are a number of contests that can offer that.

If you’re looking to actually move the needle in your career, there are very few contests that are worth the cost of entry.

How can people find out more about you and the services you provide?

The best place to find information about my services and workshops is my website! writeandco.com. I also have a short ebook that’s available for free on Amazon, called Logline Shortcuts.

Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?

If I’m allowed a savory choice, I’ll take a chicken pot pie. But for dessert, chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crust, please.

Presenting: Your Scripts! (vol 2)

Since we’re all part of one big writing community, I wanted to do my part to help support my fellow creatives and offer everybody the opportunity to show off one of their scripts.

A very hearty thanks to all the writers who sent in. A grand total of 88 scripts for film and television, along with a new category loaded with potential – webseries.

Genres of all types are represented here, so there really is something for everybody. If any of the scripts below catch your eye or sound intriguing, please don’t hesitate to contact the writer. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to send it your way.

Happy reading!



Austin Curreri

Animated Action-Adventure

After a near-death brawl, a street-punk turned monk Amasai fuses with the Angel of Justice, embarking on a journey into the Pit to beat up fallen angels, sinners, and Sin himself to end evil.

Screencraft 2019 Fellowship – semifinalist

Screencraft 2019 Animation – quarterfinalist



Shawn Madeiros


U.S. President plots a dictatorship using his secret covert force to create chaos so Americans vote to give up their 2nd Amendment rights. The American Gun Club uses its network of U.S. militias in hopes of saving the “Land of the Free”.



P.J. Marino


During the quarantine, two nerdy teenagers meet at a skate park, fall in love, and hatch a risky plan to leave their depressing town behind.



Antonio Shorter


A male and a female live a happy life together as they dreamed of but jealousy is a common trait that people have and it can lead to consequences that no one wants to go through.



Ken Henderson


A young farmer struggles to survive a horrific dust storm and the hellish creatures hidden within it.

Screamfest Horror Film Festival – Finalist



Paul Zeidman


Stranded in the rural backcountry, eight high school overachievers find themselves in the middle of an outbreak of an intelligence-destroying virus that turns its victims into mindless savages.



Gregory Blair


The graveyard shift at a lone diner becomes the hilarious, raucous battleground for some disco-dancing, man-eating zombies and a handful of young, hick hash-slingers.

Script World Screenplay Competition – Winner



Michael McCormick


Cedar Hills in Boston, the only cemetery in the world with a trolley running through the middle, disturbing the peace of the dead, creating lost souls.



Peter Andrews

Comedy – short

Buying jewelry for his girlfriend becomes a hero’s quest when they visit the shop of a family friend.

Austin Film Festival – second rounder



Jonathan Concepcion

Period Drama

After the Second World War, the USSR censored all information on the Jewish Holocaust. When her last surviving relative – her half-brother, a Photojournalist – goes missing, a self-hating Soviet Jewish survivor goes on a journey to find him, and confronts the identity she left behind.

2018-2019 UK FIlm Festival – Top 50 feature scripts



Ery De Jong


After a meteor impact, a lesbian couple and their daughter move onto a sailboat to escape civilization’s end, only to realize that an alien force is hunting them through their nightmares.

LGBT Los Angeles Film Festival – Winner – Best Feature Screenplay



J.E. Swainston


In a dystopian future, a young woman leads a small group of survivors, fleeing the dangers of the big city to find sanctuary and build a new home;  better to serve in heaven, than reign in hell.



Travis Seppala

Biopic with Horror elements

When Thomas Edison creates a machine to communicate with the dead, it pits him against the most notorious skeptic of the day – Harry Houdini. [based on actual events]

2019 WRAC List – featured

2020 Shoot Your Sizzle – Top 100

2020 Screencraft True Story – quarterfinalist

2020 Table Read My Screenplay – top 100

2020 PAGE International – semifinalist



Clint Williams


After one of their own murders a Comanche boy, a small group of Spanish cavalrymen find themselves stranded without horses deep in hostile territory, facing the dangers posed by vengeful warriors, nature and each other.



Dina Mousa


In the world of trickery and betrayal of ancient Egypt, an arrogant goddess-queen is forced into a life of hiding and later leads a battle of the gods to save the world from eternal darkness.



Michael Raphael Salomon

Folk Horror

A young psychopath’s penchant for darkness comes full circle after hallucinogens, a pagan ritual in the forest and a series of unexplained deaths lead to the unearthing of his family’s hidden past—murder, insanity, incest and human sacrifice.

Austin Film Festival – Second Round

Tracking Board Launchpad – Second Round (still in contention)



Tom Batha


When a grief-stricken widower decides on suicide he must first travel cross-country to deliver his playful 110 pound Rottweiler to its new home.

Stage 32 Feature Screenwriting Contest – winner



John Henderson


A high school senior races to stop a killer who strikes each year on graduation night before she and her friends become the next dead students walking.



Ash Willeby

Family Action

On one of the worst days of her life, a blacklisted video game developer gets imbued with her in-game-character’s powers; can she use them to get her life back on track? 



Cindi Woods


A struggling actress who can’t afford to work local hire hits on a sketchy plan to use a nursing home for free lodging but runs into bigger trouble when the plight of her elderly roommate threatens to derail her Hollywood dream.



Simon Doyle


An elderly woman worries that her frail husband is turning into a different person after leaving hospital, a condition which may be related to the appearance of a mysterious occult group in the area. The Shining meets The Wicker Man.



John G. McGillivray


After an alien virus wipes out most of humanity’s presence among the stars, a young actor and her sole companion, a talking synthetic eagle, search space for survivors and hope.



Brian Fitzpatrick


A teen singularity is hunted by relentless enemies for his shape-shifting nanotech ability. It’s The Matrix meets Harry Potter.

The Script Lab Screenwriting Contest – quarterfinalist

Screencraft Sci-Fi/Fantasy – quarterfinalist

Final Draft Big Break – quarterfinalist

PAGE International – quarterfinalist



G. DeAngelis

Family-friendly Comedy

An awkward girl determined to lead an elite fife-and-drum corps is thwarted by its powerful director, so she forms her own corps of misfits, and rights an old wrong, when she leads them to a public showdown.

PAGE International – finalist

Humanitas Comedy Fellowship – finalist



Stephen Tronicek


A dangerously obsessive horror fan is invited to her favorite director’s mansion, and must learn to let him go.



Ross Allaire


A retired first-grade teacher and her orphaned grandson must outwit an obsessed small-town sheriff in order to save who they think are refugee aliens on a doomed planet.

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, 2020 – Semi-finalist



Tony Ferrendelli

Supernatural Comedy

After a man accidentally sells his girlfriend’s soul to Satan, he must go to Hell to retrieve it.

PAGE International – quarterfinalist

Houston Comedy Film Festival – nominee – Best Feature Screenplay

San Angelo Revolution Film Festival – nominee – Best Feature Screenplay

ISA Fast Track IX Fellowship – top 50 writers

Table Read My Screenplay (Park City) – semifinalist



Lynn Matheson


A middle-aged woman’s cancer diagnosis becomes her coming of age story when she finally finds her voice and chooses how to live her life.



Kevin Powers


Disillusioned Delta Force Operator Ken Baker rediscovers the ideal that he fights for after finding himself embroiled in a conspiracy involving a dangerous new faction in Afghanistan, an energy corporation and a traitorous team member.

Recommended by Indie Film Hustle (coverage)

Recommended by WeScreenplay (coverage)

2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards Spring – semifinalist



Chaise Gerber


One night long ago reshaped Maya’s life and forever changed the future of her and her family, and if she’s ever going to move on she must face her scars of the past and rise above.

2020 Screencraft Drama – semifinalist



Natalie Higdon


After her life falls apart, a struggling actress goes on a haphazard journey with her estranged half-brother in order to pick up her late stepfather’s inheritance, forcing her to come to terms with the family she left behind.

2020 Nicholl Fellowship – quarterfinalist

LiveRead/LA – official selection

2020 Screencraft Fellowship – semifinalist



Ryan J. Murphy


A journalism student stumbles upon a mystery involving a deadly spirit who is murdering rideshare drivers. Think The Ring without a videotape.



Brendon Udy


A woman flees her abusive partner, only to find herself captive in a strange Victorian home. Now tormented by the larger-than-life homeowner, the woman must make a daring escape before her bones are ground to make bread.



Jeff Haber


A federal undercover agent pursues a bomb suspect through a luxury hotel, but must do so in silence.



Rebecca M. Gintz & Sarah K. Croshaw


A young computer programmer’s life is in jeopardy after she purchases an antique that an evil entity is attached to. Being agnostic, she struggles to accept the paranormal activity in her home and seeks psychiatric help.

2020 Script Summit – Winner – Horror Feature

2020 Script Summit – Winner – Golden Age



Steffany Sommers


An up-and-coming district attorney is compelled to confront her own painful past when she prosecutes an elderly woman who took the life of her severely disabled adult son.

Script Summit – Debra Landwehr Engle Fellowship – winner

Diverse Voices Screenwriting Competition – semifinalist



Peter R. Feuchtwanger

Romantic Dramedy

After starting at a new high school, a charmingly quirky teen with a delusional disorder, or “daydreaming on steroids,” falls quickly for another new student but, after finding that she has bipolar disorder, the two lovebirds struggle to find order in their disorders.

Screencraft Comedy – finalist

The Script Lab Free Screenplay Contest – finalist

Filmmatic Comedy Awards – semifinalist

Big Apple Film Festival – semifinalist



Nicolas Edelbach

True Crime – Drama/Black Comedy

The night after Sharon Tate and four others were murdered, Charles Manson, along with six family members, spends the night driving around Los Angeles county seeking two more homes to continue their kill spree; but not everyone in the car is on board with the plan.



Kent Hill & Sean Francis Ellis


When his friend disappears in a secluded mountain town, a former Special Forces Soldier discovers the townspeople are being subjected to mind control experiments by a secret organisation.



Wesley Chambers


While mourning her sister’s suicide, a recently discharged soldier seeks to ruin the life of the therapist she blames for the death.



Patrick Mediate and Kristin Ilagan


A clever ex-NYPD cop turned small town detective on the verge of retirement is forced to take on one last case when his teenage daughter is abducted. His investigation leads him from Suburbia to the underground world of Haitian voodooism where he finds out that the kidnappers’ intentions are darker and more sinister than he could have ever imagined. In a race against time, he must suspend his conventional beliefs and accept the world of the supernatural in order to save her from a fate worse than death.

Winner – New Orleans Horror Film Festival

Winner – Mile High Horror Film Festival

Winner – The Magic of Horror

Winner – The Los Angeles Film Awards

Second Rounder – The Austin Film Festival

Quarterfinalist – Screencraft Horror

…and over 15 additional Official Selections, Award nominations or wins.



Anthony Moore

Animated Science-Fiction

The self-proclaimed greatest hero of all space and time is supposed to rescue a Prince from an enemy planet before his upcoming coronation, there’s only one problem, the kid doesn’t want to go.

Future Film Writers – 5-Page Read – winner

Flixze Film Festival – finalist

Las Vegas International Film and Screenwriting Festival – in consideration



Darcie Gray

Romantic Comedy

A woman strives for the dream career in male dominated 1980s NYC, but love could jeopardize everything in this high stakes world of blinding lights, fabulous fashion and electro beats.



Ericka S. Gomez

Comedy – short film

A lyrical genius decides his key to acceptance is through the Hip-Hop battles at his new high school until a popular senior threatens to ruin his life by forcing him to ghostwrite his lyrics.

Columbus Black International Film Festival – Winner – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Houston Comedy Film Festival – Winner-Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Script Summit Film Festival – 3rd Place – Best Michigan Short Screenplay

Portland Film Festival – finalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Summer In The South Film Festival – finalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay

Filmatic Short Screenplay Awards – semifinalist – Best Comedy Short Screenplay



Jay Han-San


The perfect world of an angel of death turns upside down when he falls in love with an angel of life putting him on a path of self-discovery.



R.J. Anderson

Christmas Comedy-Drama

When a Christmas Spirit transfers into a young boy, two families struggle to return it before Christmas is forgotten.



Elizabeth Ditty

Romantic Dramedy

In the days before their mother’s funeral, a newly-jilted former trust fund kid leaves her siblings in the lurch when she embarks on an emergency road trip to discover the truth about her parents’ marriage, her mother’s massive jewelry collection, and herself.

Screencraft Comedy – quarterfinalist

Screencraft Drama – quarterfinalist

Austin Film Festival – second rounder



L.S. Garvey

Science-Fiction/Fantasy Romance

When his mirror image goes rogue and steals his girlfriend, a mentally ill cello prodigy struggles to control his reflection in order to save his girlfriend before he loses her to the other side of the mirror forever.

Austin Film Festival – semifinalist (top 2%) – advanced in comedy, sci-fi, horror, and Enderby (can be made for under $10M)



Robert Rhyne


After moving into an isolated farm with a strange history of suicides, a newly-single mother discovers a ghostly intruder living there, and must protect her troubled teenage son from becoming his next victim.

Stage 32 Search for New Blood – first place

Horror Hotel Screenplay Contest – finalist

Shriekfest – finalist

After placing highly in the 13 Horror.com screenplay contest, “The Intruder” was published by the contest sponsor as a paperback and kindle e-book, now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart’s platforms.



Kevin Nelson

Historical Drama

The incredible true story of Ida Lewis, a lighthouse keeper who saved dozens of lives while facing the struggles of a woman thriving during the Reconstruction Era. 

2019 ScreenCraft Public Domain & True Story – finalist

2020 Nicholl Fellowship – top 20%

2020 Launch Pad Feature Competition (Pending) – quarterfinalist

2018 Austin Film Festival – second rounder

2020 Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting Competition – quarterfinalist



Johnny Dinh


A group of ex-henchmen find themselves abducted by their old boss, and now must escape his lethal torture rooms. 



Sean Francis Ellis


A snowboarding champion must embrace his First Nations heritage to save his girlfriend from a legendary beast, which needs her DNA to restore its humanity.

2016 Toronto Horror Film & Screenplay Festival – finalist

2017 Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenplay Competition – official selection

2017 Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship – quarterfinalist



Suzanne Lutas

Supernatural Thriller

When a claustrophobic art intern is held captive, she must restore a mysterious painting which has more inside than just paint.

2018 Screencraft Horror – quarterfinalist

2020 The Script Lab Free Screenplay – quarterfinalist

2019 Pitch Now Screenwriting Competition – finalist – Thriller/Horror

2020 Miami Screenplay Contest – semifinalist

2020 Wiki Screenplay Contest – semifinalist



Amir Olin


A priest breaks the seal of confession over a series of child murders and reveals it in a court. The murderer is sent to prison, where he gets killed by co-prisoners. Soon, something evil settles in the priest’s house.



Mark Rodney, Ronald Wenick, and Anat Golan

Biopic Drama

A famous Grammy-nominated jazz musician by day and con-artist by night must sacrifice himself to save his son in 60’s  Vegas, after the two get in way over their heads with schemes involving the US Army, Howard Hughes, Sonny Liston, Sheriff Ralph Lamb, and the mob.

Sundance – finalist (special mention for finishing in top 4%)

StoryPros – finalist

Scriptapalooza – semifinalist



Jerron Spencer


Resurrected as avatars of Heaven, Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison fight evil– and their own sinful natures– as they battle to save a small town from the wrath of a vengeful demon queen seeking to create hell on earth.



Isaac D. Lucas


A savvy teen is forced to flee when a greedy scientist hunts him down to harvest his advanced DNA as a cancer cure.



Rachel Woolley


Adult girlfriends struggling to reconnect at an old-school slumber party must fight for their lives when the “dream dudes” from their dating board game manifest in the flesh…and turn out to be total nightmares.

Women In Horror Fest – Winner, Best Feature

Screencraft Horror – finalist



Pat Semler


A world-weary oil wildcatter and a strident biology student must work together when a fracking drill site she’s documenting is overrun with radioactive carnivorous moles.



Jeff Naparstek

Romantic Comedy

Embark on this zany romp through ancient Rome as a struggling farmer vies for the hand of the emperor’s daughter. Cat and mouse games abound in this wacky tale of love and sport. Buckle up for a fun ride!

2019 Houston Comedy Film Festival – winner

2019 Portland [Oregon] Comedy Film Festival – winner

2020 Austin Revolution Film Festival – semifinalist

2020 Indie Gathering Film Festival – 3rd Place – Rom-Com Category

2020 Page International Screenwriting Awards – semifinalist

2020 Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices – semifinalist – 2020

2020 Red Flight Pictures Screenplay Awards – semifinalist




Niya Kapree Johnson

Historical Horror

In 1720, Aida, a young enslaved African woman takes part in a ritual gone wrong, resulting in the creation of the first of her kind, werewolves. Fighting those who wish to oppress them is just the beginning of Aida’s problems when Captain Billy, a mysterious supernatural being, blows into town looking to cause trouble for Aida and her pack.



Zaelyna Beck

Drama/Supernatural – pilot

After getting fired from a temp agency, a chronic insomniac takes up meditation therapy, where she befriends a comatose girl and awakens a supernatural gift within her that could forge a new career.



Cari Haim


Bubby, a recently widowed Jewish grandmother, moves into her daughter’s happy family home. Will their conflicts about religion, raising kids, and family traditions bring them closer together, or create a permanent rift?



Christopher J. O’Bryant

Crime Drama

Debt collection is a multi-billion dollar industry. Career collector, JOSH, life falls apart after he repossesses the wrong car and winds up confronted by dangerous men who will kill to keep their secrets.

2020 Page International – finalist (top 10 best drama pilot scripts)



Andrew Orillion

Fantasy Police Procedural

After being thrown out of his guild in the Medieval fantasy port metropolis of Dog’s Head, a former apprentice wizard finds a new lease on life when he joins the local police force known as the Dog Men.



Justin Olson


A guilt-ridden physicist resurrects the hometown he destroyed decades ago inside a massive Time Sphere, giving himself just 27 hours to save his wife and son from nuclear catastrophe.

Write LA – finalist



James Tichenor

Science-Fiction – pilot

A recovered addict hitching rides to track down her abducted six-year-old son joins forces with a mistrustful independent trucker to combat the first wave of an alien invasion hidden in his sealed cargo.

2020 TSL Free Script contest – semifinalist

2020 Screencraft Sci-Fi – quarterfinalist



Isaiah Taylor

Half-hour Dramedy

A Black student-athlete from the West coast gets a culture-shock after receiving a basketball scholarship from a Midwest university. Now he must overcome racial prejudices to find his place and leave a lasting impact on the basketball team.



Seth Nelson


An irresponsible deadhead taxidermist continues the prank of a lifetime, until a nosy talk-singing podcaster uncovers his true identity, sending his life into a depressive downward spiral of despair.



David Priest

Supernatural Crime Thriller

In a small Arkansas town plagued by mysterious disappearances, a doubting monk in search of cosmic meaning uncovers a secret tradition of his order that might save the townspeople, at grave risk to his own soul.



Michael Boaks

Medical/Crime Drama

An ER doctor struck off. A crime boss diagnosed with cancer. Gangland tensions rising. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship…

2020 Austin Film Festival – second round

2020 LA International Screenplay Awards – finalist



Nick Burrows

Comedy/Drama pilot

A trainee recruiter quickly learns about the dark side of the industry when he pursues his future father-in-law as a client. As his personal and professional lives collide his future at the firm is thrown into doubt by a contentious merger with their biggest rivals.



Teresa Warner

One-hour Dramedy

After her father commits suicide, Katie, must learns to navigate her grief and this new part of adulthood with the help of a suicide loss support group. Maybe with their help she can figure out if her father is actually haunting or she’s going crazy.



Janese Taylor

Action/Thriller limited series

After freeing a group of teenagers from a sex-trafficking ring, a Black female vigilante’s own personal plans go awry when a Russian syndicate puts a price on her head.

San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition – semifinalist

Austin Film Festival – 2nd rounder

Coverfly Red List – #4 for Action Television in October 2020



Kim Hornsby


After a horrific car accident that takes her sight and robs her of telepathy, a kickass ghost hunter with a popular YouTube show finds both senses restored in the presence of a sea captain ghost from 1850 who strikes a deal to enable her if she’ll help him pass on.

Austin Film Festival – 2nd rounder

Imaginarium Screenplay Contest – finalist

Table Read My Screenplay – top 100



Collin Lieberg

Historical Drama pilot

Based on a true story. Two women risk their lives to rescue downed soldiers and translate Nazi intelligence as part of a civilian spy ring, only to face betrayal and capture.

Page Turner GENRE – quarterfinalist

Screencraft TV Pilot – quarterfinalist (still in contention)



Joan Albright


Trapped in the demilitarized zone between warring American states, a disavowed soldier must keep her half-brother alive while evading the gangs which feud over the Zone’s meager resources.



S.E. McKendrick

Science-Fiction – pilot

Welcome to Plainsville, the town on the edge of the final frontier.



Layla Cummins

Supernatural Crime Drama

A homeless mother witnesses the strange murder of a political activist on the streets of Bristol and becomes the new target of a killer-for-hire summoned by society’s wealthy elite.



Erick Buckley


Chance Blood, a luckless, middle-aged Dad stumbling through a mess of a life, haplessly becomes the avatar of Eris, Goddess of Creative Chaos and must cope with Gods and Goddesses, Monsters and Demons, his kids and ex-wife, and his new place in this ever stranger Universe.



Guy Crawford

½ hour comedy-dramedy

A prodigal daughter and her surprise fiance return to her small southern hometown to take over the family diner, setting up a collision of worlds and values that leaves everyone trying to figure out how to coexist  in the new normal.

You can take a peek at selected scenes of this LBGTQ-diverse cast script being performed on the Southern Fried episode at thethingforawd.com.



Michael Hager


Two teachers grapple virtually with difficult parents, manipulative administrators, and absurd colleagues, all while maintaining a shred of a romantic relationship in the time of COVID.



Elisabeth Joplin

Drama – pilot

After walking away from a long term relationship, a young woman gets a job as a sex worker where the lines on morality begin to blur.



Alison C. Wroblewski


When the Hollywood Canteen opens to fanfare in 1942, a secretary, soldier, and star decide if they still want “in” while a murderer lurks in the shadows.

WeScreenplay TV Pilot – quarterfinalist



Justin & Chris Cleroux

Crime Drama

A debt-ridden doormat of a suburban dad starts to seize opportunity after a chance encounter with two familiar, unexpected robbers.



Irene Platt

Crime – pilot

A senator’s wife is tortured through a cochlear implant she doesn’t know she has…



Catherine Chen

Family Animation

Eight-year-old Jackie is determined to protect her newest pet, a tiny turtle named Lucy, at all costs. Even if it means chasing down a massive hurricane called the Hollow Monster.

Student Academy Awards – semifinalist (short film)

Animation Block Party – Best Animation for Kids




Aray Brown


When a brainwashed girl must kill her uncle and sacrifice his blood to a cult God, she joins forces with an unconventional cop to save her soul.


Opportunity’s knockin’ once again. You ready?

A few months ago, I presented an extensive list of film & TV scripts as part of an effort to help each of those writers spread the word about their work.

It offered up an amazing assortment of scripts, and some of the writers asked if there were any plans to do it again. Which brings us to today.

A post just like the last one is in the works, and slated to go up on Oct 30. If you missed out last time, or have a new script you’d like to submit, this is your chance to be included.

Here’s how it works.

Email the following info about your script here with the subject line “Maximum Z Script Showcase”:

Film or TV





Awards (if applicable)

Your email (in case somebody would like to contact you about reading your script)

Two very important details to keep in mind:

ONE SCRIPT PER PERSON. Sorry. No exceptions.



Submissions will be accepted until Thursday, Oct 29.

So don’t delay, send it today! Or at least reasonably soon.