Warming up at the starting line

All those years of running finally took their toll – a minor tear in my Achilles tendon and a bone spur that inflamed the bursa on the back of my heel.

Thus the recuperation is underway. I’m out of commission for a few more weeks when it comes to hitting the road. Got a stabilizing boot and everything. Great news from the podiatrist – I may be able to start up again in January, which thrills me to no end.

While I may be doing a few more upper body workouts at the gym, it’s also given me time to get some more writing in. Current project status – coming along nicely, thank you.

But this has reminded me of how many posts I’ve written that compare/relate running to writing a screenplay. Turns out – more than a few.

So what better time than right now to offer them up for your reading enjoyment?

Some of them have similar content, but all the sentiments, perspectives, and observations still apply. Even if you’re not a runner, you can probably relate to a lot of it.

Enjoy.

The second half is all uphill

Run at your own pace

I speak from experience

My race, my pace

It most definitely NOT a sprint

Comfortable shoes will also help

One last thing – since running burns a lot of calories, my race-day tradition is to enjoy an incredibly delicious apple fritter from a local donut institution. I don’t have any posts about that specifically, but here’s something that could fall into that category:

If only you could eat a bad script

A gift they’ll love – bow optional

The holiday season is “officially” here, and maybe you’re racking your already-rattled screenwriter’s brain trying to think of gifts you’d like to give, or maybe you’d like to receive.

Sure, there are the usual items, like books, contest fees, or consulting services, and those are all great, but how about the easiest gift of all?

It won’t cost you a cent, and is beneficial to both the giver and the givee.

Time.

Got a little extra on your hands? Offer to read another writer’s script and give notes.

Not sure how to go about it? Never fear. It’s super-easy.

Just go onto the social media platform of your choice, and say something along the lines of “Anybody looking for notes on their script?”.

Then stand back and watch the responses flood in – which they will.

Don’t feel obligated to take all of them on. They can add up fast. As many you feel comfortable with. One, two, five. It’s your choice.

Our schedules are already pretty jam-packed as it is, but try to get them done in a timely fashion.

In theory, the writer will be very appreciative and let you know that, along with an offer to return the favor. Again, your choice if you take them up on it.

Giving notes may not be for everybody, but there’s something to be said for setting aside a part of your day to help out another writer (or writers).

One of the things I always try to promote here is how invaluable it is to network and be part of the online screenwriting community. Doing this can play a significant part in helping with that.

And I hope you enjoy the reads as much as the writers had writing them.

An overnight success years in the making

Well, it finally happened.

After countless hours, drafts, contests, emails, queries, coffee chats, and just about everything else I could do to help things work out in my favor, yours truly can now officially be called a professional working writer.

I kid you not.

A trusted colleague referred me to a producer seeking a writer for their microbudget project.

We talked, hit it off, and signed a contract.

(Once again showing the value of networking.)

Work on developing the first draft starts immediately, so the fantasy-comedy rewrite is on hold for the time being, which is fine by me.

And this producer already has a few films already under their belt, so the odds are better than average that this project will end up being a completed film. (As a friend said – always great when you can add a produced title to your resume.)

It’s all a bit overwhelming, but also quite thrilling.

This is what I’ve been working towards all this time. It may not be a huge industry-shattering deal, but it’s still me being hired to write a script for a movie.

Which is what this whole journey has been all about.

Fingers fully crossed that this is the first of what will hopefully be many more finish lines in this ongoing and never-ending race of mine.

I hope you have an excellent and productive weekend. Mine will most likely involve a celebratory piece of pie. Feel free to enjoy one wherever you are with my compliments.

The spark is lit once again

I hadn’t realized it had been quite a while since I’ve written about how my writing has been going, mostly because there hasn’t been as much of it as I was hoping, and what there has has been proving to be a bit of a challenge. Therefore…

The past few months have been me working on rewriting/overhauling the fantasy-comedy I wrote last year. For some reason, it just wasn’t clicking for me, hence the lengthy break.

So when I decided the time was right to dive back in, I really had to figure out what the problem was.

I still loved the concept, and a lot of what I’d already written, but something still seemed off. So I went to my tried-and-true practice of “take a step back for a closer look”.

What was it I liked about the story? Did the way it played out seem like the best way to tell it? What could be done differently, yet still yield the same results (or something even better)?

When I was first putting the story together, I must have gone through at least half a dozen different ways to start it. Each one had it’s own pros and cons. I don’t strictly adhere to “this plot point HAS to happen on THIS PAGE”, but I do what I can to stay in the neighborhood.

As I wrote down scenes I wanted to include, a pattern started to emerge. If I started the story THIS WAY, that would lead to THIS happening, and maybe I could rearrange a few things so as to get the full impact of what I was going for.

Then another realization came to me. The story was working, but my protagonist was the wrong character. Another character initially created as a big supporting role seemed to hold more potential, plus having things revolve around them would really punch up the tone of the story.

More pieces of the puzzle were falling into place.

Because of this drastically new approach, I don’t have the option of just recycling scenes from the previous draft. Each scene has to be rewritten to accommodate this new perspective and really play up the impact this new protagonist has on everything around them.

It’s a challenge, but the new story is slowly coming together. My enthusiasm for putting myself through all of this and my confidence in the story is as strong as ever.

I’ll admit this is also taking longer to than I wanted it to. My initial hope was to have completed the outline a while ago and have a new draft done by the end of the year, but that ain’t gonna happen.

Instead, I’m totally fine with the rest of 2021 being all about hammering out the outline and its subsequent fine-tuning. Kicking off the New Year with pages isn’t a bad way to go.

As we head into the weekend, here’s hoping for a whole lot of productivity for everybody’s current projects.

Maximum Z Autumn ’21 Script Showcase

I’ve always been a big believer in supporting the writing community, and wanted to offer up the opportunity for as many writers as possible to put their material on full display for all to see. While there may be other sites that do this – most for a small fee, I thought it would be nice to do something similar – and for free.

Think of this as another tool in your personal kit of marketing materials. This is your chance to shine a spotlight on your script. Spread the word. Post the link. Toot that horn, and do it proudly.

What you will find below is a virtual treasure trove of material of 34 screenplays and 18 TV scripts. A vast spectrum of genres, many with accompanying awards and accolades.

But the most important part is that each and every one is available for you to read.

Something grabs your attention or piques your interest? The writer’s email is right there for you to click on and tell them “I’d like to read your script.” Maybe they’ll ask to read something of yours.

This is what networking and establishing professional relationships is all about.

So settle in and take a look around. Bet you find a script or three you like.

(And as long as I’ve got your attention, feel free to hit the ‘like’ button way down at the bottom of this post. Maybe even take it one step further and start following this blog. Management is dangling some enticing incentives for an uptick in numbers.)

FILM

AFTER EVER AFTER

David Schwartz

Animated Family Fantasy-Comedy

A royal princess has two weeks to rescue her prince from a powerful warlock, or else her sister will take over as Queen.

david@davidschwartzconsulting.com

ANNA’S EVERY-VERSE

Brian Tuttle

Drama

When a risk-averse accountant hits her head at work, she suddenly finds that every time she opens a new door, she steps into one of a dozen alternate versions of her life. She realizes the only way to get home is to keep opening doors, even if it means confronting every fear she’s ever had.

8 on The Black List

briantuttle11@gmail.com

AN UNDOCUMENTED RUMOR

Philip C. Sedgwick

Action-Adventure/Border Drama

A journalist for an US-based Arabian TV network heads to the Arizona border to sleuth out a rumor regarding a terrorist attack formulating in Mexico. When the rumor proves true, the reporter enlists a most unlikely team to intercept the attack and take on the even more unlikely forces behind the operation.

Best Original Screenplay, Burbank Film Festival, 2016

Best Feature Screenplay, San Antonio Film Festival, 2019

Official Selection, San Pedro Film Festival, 2019

Finalist, Official Selection, Beverly Hills Film Festival, 2016

Finalist, Hollywood Screenplay Contest, 2016

philip@philipcsedgwick.com

BANGK!

Mark Wesley

Crime/Heist/Thriller

A charismatic hustler devises a high-risk scheme to con the Bank of England into moving gold bullion to a location that’s easier to rob – if the New York mob don’t kill him first.

Quarterfinalist – 2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards

markwesley13@gmail.com

BLACK OMERTA

Victer A. Levell

Drama

A corrupt Marine Corps Officer / Investment Banker with an old school Black and Italian upbringing reflecting on the origin and consequences of his actions after Federal conviction. Hiding in plain sight his entire career with Black Panther Party, and Gambino Crime Family affiliations. Living with a dark family secret, child abuse, and teenage PTSD results growing up into an adult broken with a Machiavellianism dark side.

usmc4457@gmail.com

CALYPSO

Fiona Faith Ross

Supernatural Thriller

When Granddad dies, a bereaved young American woman travels to the ‘old country’ to find her last living relative, an aunt who insists she is the immortal sea-goddess, Calypso.

Best Feature Screenplay – May/June 2021 round, Pinnacle Film Awards, LA

fionafaithross@gmail.com

DRAWING DEAD

Kelly Parks

Horror

Six poker pros tricked into a game of Texas Hold’em with The Devil must win or die.

2nd Rounder – Austin Film Festival

Top 25% – Coverfly

Quarterfinalist – 2021 Emerging Screenwriters Genre Competition

kelly.parks@gmail.com

FORSAKEN

Jeffrey Stackhouse and Wendy Lashbrook

Action-Adventure/Horror

A Confederate officer rides an urgent trail when the shocking brutality of a Black family found slaughtered forces him to choose a path of blood-soaked retribution, with only an adolescent Black girl as an ally.

PAGE Awards – Bronze Award – Action-Adventure

shadowlandonline.net

stackk@usa.com

FREEDOM FORT

Clint Williams

Historical Action-Adventure

Following the War of 1812,  withdrawing British forces turn over a fort and its armory to former slaves and Native Americans. But calls for an assault by the U.S. Army threaten the thriving community.

Winner – Final Draft Big Break – Historical/Period

Grand Prize Winner – Write/LA

clintwilliams3@gmail.com

INSENSIBLE EXISTENCE

Mark LeClair

Action Drama

A Special Forces veteran realizes his revenge slaying of the gang that killed his family won’t bring them back, nor his emotions, which makes him a valuable tool for the Feds. With help from his veteran-brothers, he agrees to take care of a pest problem for the FBI & DEA, but realizes too late that he is being set up and not expected to survive. The most dangerous person alive is one with nothing left to lose.

Semifinalist – 2021 Filmmatic Drama Screenplay Awards

mark.leclair@hotmail.com

KISS ME DEAD

Ken Henderson

Fantasy/Thriller

A hard-boiled ex-cop stays on a missing person case even after he’s murdered.

Winner – 2019 PAGE International – Thriller/Horror

Semifinalist (top 50) – 2014 Nicholl Fellowship

Quarterfinalist – 2019 Final Draft Big Break

2nd Round – 2019 Austin Film Festival

Quarterinalist – 2014 Scriptapalooza

kenhenderson@gmail.com

LUCKY DIP (short film)

Brian Weston

Drama

Everyone dreams of winning life changing money on the lottery. A big win changes lives. But sometimes not for the best.

bw1707@yahoo.com

MAN OF COLOUR

Martin Keady

Historical Drama

MAN OF COLOUR is a biopic of Walter Tull, one of Britain’s first black professional footballers, who was driven out of the game by racism (even from within his own club) but rallied to become one of Britain’s greatest heroes of World War One. 

Best Screenplay (Feature) – 2021 Page Turner Awards

keadym1616@gmail.com

MAX & LUPE: TREASURE HUNTERS!

Jane May

Adventure Comedy

MAX AND LUPE: TREASURE HUNTERS! is a movie about a heartbroken and hapless American dude who just wants to enjoy his all inclusive Mexican vacation but gets tangled up with a couple of slick international treasure hunters who are racing against a seriously bad hombre in order to score their biggest prize yet!

janemay11@gmail.com

MIDNIGHT

Alvina Charles

Action/Drama

A teenage boy is involved in an underground case to take down his father’s enemy but switches sides when secrets unfold.

riaria200113@gmail.com

MISS ME?

G. Leo Maselli

Dark Comedy

After six long years in a French convent, a teenage girl, with a pathological narcissist disorder in full bloom, returns home in California determined on having sex with her hero who just so happens to be her father’s best friend.

donleonado@gmail.com

MO’ALLEM

Nerris Nevarez-Nassiri

Coming of Age

When a brilliant Iranian teenager finds out she must give up her dream of going to college for an arranged marriage, she secretly fabricates an identity as a school teacher to obtain an American visa and escape the morning of her wedding.

Finalist – Austin Film Festival

Semifinalist – Vail Film Festival

nerrisnassiri@gmail.com

OUT BACK OF BEYOND

Dave Goossen

Comedy

After bungling a multi-million dollar deal, the two women responsible are sent to the Australian outback to save the project but end up battling their ruthless boss to save a quirky town instead.

davegoossen@gmail.com

PRELUDE TO A DREAM

David Dinning McDermott

Fantasy, Romance

A story that integrates magic and mythology into the fabric of the modern world, as we follow two lovers across the boundaries of death and time.

Finalist – Bright International Film Festival

Finalist – Beyond The Curve International

Finalist – Hollywood Screenplay Festival

Finalist – European Cinematography Awards

dinningproduction@gmail.com

ROMANTIC DOG

Das Bleu

Drama

A struggling musician is at a crossroads with life until he meets an alluring ballroom dancer while staying at the Chateau Marmont.

Semifinalist – Big Apple Agents and Managers Networking Lab

Semifinalist – Big Apple Film Festival and Screenplay Competition

dasxbleu@gmail.com

SCARLET SEAS

J.C. Young

Father and daughter hunters pursue a fugitive vampire to the New World; whose blood-thirst unleashed when pirates plunder the ship ferrying her coffin.

Red List selection – Coverfly, Feb 2021, July 2021

Top 20% – Coverfly – Top 20 Action-Adventure Feature Screenplays

Semifinalist – 2020 Filmmatic Screenpay Pitch Competition

Semifinalist – Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices Competition

Quarterfinalist – 2021 Screencraft Sci-Fi & Fantasy

writer.JCYoung@yahoo.com

SEX WITH MY EX

Lucy Linger

Romantic Dramedy

An interior designer relives her teenage years, and puts her marriage at risk, when she lands a job working with her first love.

lucy@lucylinger.com

STAND TALL!

Vincent Paterno

Romantic Comedy

A Vegas waitress tripled in size becomes a beloved showroom headliner, falls in love with the scientist who accidentally enlarged her, and vows to rescue him when he’s kidnapped by three mutual rivals.

Most Original Concept – Feature Screenplay – LA Under The Stars Film Festival

Best Character – Colleen Cossitt – Die Laughing Film Festival

Finalist – Los Angeles Cinefest

Finalist – Beyond The Curve International Film Festival

Semifinalist – Stage 32 New Voices in Animation Screenwriting Contest

vpaterno0819@gmail.com

TALONS

Brent Rouleau

Crime/Mystery/Thriller

While investigating a series of bizarre deaths, a veteran detective who quit big-city crime for small-town policing finds his life in danger when he uncovers a long-hidden black-ops program with ties to the highest level of the American government.

Semifinalist – Screencraft Drama

2nd Round – Austin Film Festival

2nd Round – Launch Pad Feature Competition

leafswinin05@yahoo.ca

THE BRIDGE

Persephone Vandegrift

Supernatural Horror

After agreeing to take part in a dangerous séance, a grief-stricken young woman discovers the truth behind an entity’s vengeance against the town and must stop it before it kills again.

sephvee7@gmail.com

THE FIRST GENTLEMAN

Mark Gunnion

Action/Romance

When President Rosa Cortez’s secret Camp David peace summit is taken hostage by brutal commandos, her scandalous ex-jock husband Will slips through the cracks. As war hero Rosa fights back from within, they must find a way to save each other – and the Chinese President.

Grand Prize – 23rd Annual Fade-In Screenplay Awards

3rd Place – Action-Adventure – Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition

Semifinalist – StoryPros Screenwriting Competition

Official Selection – 15th Annual “Action On Film” MegaFest in Las Vegas

Official Selection – Vancouver Badass Film Festival

markgunnion@gmail.com

THE FUNNY FARM

Robert Ward

Horror

A wisecracking demon slaughters the parents of a farm girl hiding in a cellar… but when the demon extricates her, they battle to a ghastly ending.

Award Winner – 2019 Filmmatic Horror Screenplay

2nd Place – 2019 Best Feature Script – Hollywood Horrorfest

Finalist – 2017 Shriekfest

Nominee – Best Horror Screenplay – iHorror Awards

Grand Prize – Horror – 2016 Hollywood Screenplay Contest

rward@got.net

THE MAN OF LA CANADA

Sara Carpenter & Josh Greiveldinger

Comedy

Loosely based on Don Quixote, Alonso, becomes convinced he is a comic book superhero and, with the help of his reluctant best friend, attempts to take down a small town biker gang.

whitebeltfilms@gmail.com

TYPHOON BABY

Tad Israel

RomCom

As a typhoon turns his relationship upside down, the man turns from hater to lover.

tadisrael@gmail.com

UNDER THE BED

Ethan Chen

Horror/Supernatural Thriller

A young tormented girl Lily befriends a monster that is willing to kill those who wronged her. With each kill the monster changes with Lily changing as well.

Best Unproduced Script – Niagara Falls International Short Festival

Best Unproduced Script – Hong Kong Indie Film Festival

ethan_chen8282@aol.com

UNTIE ME

Carol Frome

Thriller

When Sophie and her girlfriend Isabella uncover murder evidence, they don’t know that it will lead Sophie to an unthinkable choice: kill her all-powerful father or be killed.

carolfrome@msn.com

WE ARE ROUGH MEN

J.R. Blomberg

Neo-Western Crime Drama

In 1972, a sheriff being investigated for murder must confront his rodeo past when he suspects bull riders in a slew of bank robberies.

jrblomberg75@gmail.com

WELCOME TO GARYTOWN

Seth Nelson

Comedy

When a popular podcaster moves back to his rural hometown and discovers his job-hopping childhood friend is living a double life, he must decide whether to go along with the prank, or expose the truth in an effort to boost his career.

Semifinalist – Filmmatic Comedy Screenplay Awards (Season 6)

snelson1076@me.com

WORLD WAR 3.0

Glenn Toussaint

Science Fiction

In 2065, a hacker and a group of telepaths lead three rogue nations in a desperate last stand, against the plutocratic world government’s drone forces. 

glen@sandyhornerealestate.com

TELEVISION

ANCHOR RIDGE

Christopher O’Bryant

A lawyer is sent to a small southern town to handle a troubled estate, but upon arrival something feeds off the fear and guilt from his past.

If TRUE DETECTIVE investigated THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE in the TWILIGHT ZONE.

obryantcj@gmail.com

BINGOMAN

Shauney Taylor

Thriller/Drama

A small town has had two young girls go missing in one month. Can this eight year old girl’s imaginary friend protect her from being the next one caught?

2nd Place – Open Topic Short Film Contest

2nd Place – Raindance Film Festival

taylorsue42@yahoo.com

BROKEDOWN

Richard Leone

Crime Drama

Set in Portland, Maine, Detective Sarah Leighton, a Combat Veteran and recovering opioid addict, investigates a drudge related homicide and must choose her career or her family when she finds herself crossing the line between cop and criminal in order to bring down a local drug ring.

richard.leone@gmail.com

CHANNEL SURFING

Peter J. Herron

Black Comedy Sketch Show

A half hour black comedy sketch show exploring the world of broadcast television by joining a viewer each week as they jump from channel to channel, catching dark/absurd/social commentary comedic vignettes of the news, TV shows, sports, movies, documentaries, adverts and everything else vomited out the media we consume today. 

peterjherroncartoons@gmail.com

FANGIRLS

Gary Barnard

Dramedy

When two best friends learn of a real life crime that mimics one of their favorite comic books, they do everything they can to solve it.

garybarnard25@yahoo.com

FATHER BROWN – THE BELLE OF THE BONFIRE (spec)

Karen E. Simmons

Light-comedy murder-mystery BBC series

Two of Father Brown’s friends go undercover at a high-class hotel to find the culprit behind a series of grisly murders, using themselves as bait to draw the killer out of the shadows.

Another of my Father Brown specs – THE WRONG SCONE – won 2nd Place for One-Hour Dramas in the 2021 Scriptapalooza competition

ksimmons511@yahoo.com

HER MAJESTY’S MUSKETEERS: LITTLE GIRLS SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH SWORDS

Phillip E. Hardy

Action-Adventure

Beset by enemies conspiring against King Louis XIV, a collection of courageous fighting women come together to train and fight for the greatest swordsman in France, the uncrowned queen.

Winner – Best Action Television Script – Mount Fuji International Film Festival

Official Selection – Las Vegas International Film and Screenwriting Festival

Official Selection – Best Script Award – London

phillip_hrdy@yahoo.com

HUMAN GAME 3: THE REVELATION

Nathan Waire aka Nathan Zen-Sapien

Suspense/Thriller

When a psychic begins to have visions of grizzly murders she enlists the help of one serial killing team to hunt down an even bigger threat!

Outstanding Achievement – Madras International Film Festival

Finalist – Toronto CIFT

Official Selection – Medusa Film Festival

Finalist – Best Script – ViZ Awards

nathanwaire@gmail.com

INTER-DIMENSIONAL RUNNERS

Alex Rodriguez

Animated Comedy

Prince, a half-demon slacker, falls into another dimension and looks for a way back home in time for ramen night, but is chased by inter-dimensional guards who want to kill her for disrupting the balance.

alejandra.rs92@gmail.com

KITT

Maura Campbell

Comedy/Drama

Lonely neuroscientist Susan transfers her cat’s consciousness into a homeless coma patient. But when the cat gets his tongue it sends everyone into a flap, not least the Ethics Committee overseeing her experimental project.

maura.campbell@btinternet.com

MALACCA

Benjamin Jimenez

Thriller/Suspense

After the mysterious disappearance of flight MH777 in the Gulf of Malacca, and the reappearance of Dr. Milton James and his six fellow passengers three months later, Dr. James is confronted with a mysterious, life-threatening conspiracy that he and his companions must uncover before it kills them and, what could be worse, these secrets serve to destroy the world as we know it.

bjimenezt@gmail.com

MASKED INTENTIONS

Rachel Amy Ritchie & Kate Burcham

Murder-Mystery/Dramedy

When a vindictive murderer rudely interrupts their graduation gala, the university’s supposedly brightest must bare their secrets to unmask the killer and make it to graduation.

raritchie13@yahoo.com

OCCUPIED INTELLIGENCE

Collin Lieberg

Historical Drama

Based on a true story. Two newly recruited female Resistance members risk their lives to rescue downed soldiers and translate Nazi secrets as part of a civilian spy ring, only to face betrayal and capture.

2nd Rounder – Austin Film Festival

Top 50 – ISA Fast Track Fellowship

Quarterfinalist – Page Turner Genre Screenplay Competition

Quarterfinalist – Screencraft TV Pilot Competition

collin.lieberg@gmail.com

RIVERMEADE

S. E. McKendrick

Fantasy

6 impossible things before breakfast?

  1. travel to a small English village on a whim
  2. find out that fairy tales are the historical documents of a parallel reality
  3. find out you’re cursed
  4. meet a mermaid
  5. meet a troll (who lives under a bridge)
  6. pet a dragon

Okay, that took until lunchtime, but wait ’til you see tomorrow’s schedule!

scripts2020@mail.com

SEX PASTA

Pilot – “Tiro”

Rowan Wood

Sitcom

A group of college friends return from winter break to find that things are changing more rapidly than they expected.

marphclon@gmail.com

TERRA NOVA

Pilot episode – “Scott”

Jonathan Tedman

Historical/Adventure

Robert Scott leads the Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica in his attempt to become the first human to reach the South Pole.

jonathan.tedman@ntlworld.com

THUNDERBOLT

Zachary Thomas Starnes

Crime Drama/True Story

In the late 1970’s, a father and son set to build a legacy by taking a hidden bar in their small town, from a stash house for the mob, to the regions most popular joint and the centerpiece for the true stories of wildly good times and various crimes that circulate it… Everyone has a Thunderbolt story.

zacharytstarnes@gmail.com

ZCBD

R.S.J.

Horror

A local street pharmacist is forcefully recruited by a secret  government agency that wants him to distribute a new strain of narcotic to his customers but unbeknownst to him the new drug does more than gets you high but also makes you crave human flesh.

reddyself@gmail.com