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Screenwriter highlights: Spring 2021 Finalists

The Reno-Tahoe Screenplay Contest Spring 2021 cycle closed on July 21 with 62 screenwriters announced as finalists, including 3 winners. We wanted to highlight some of these talented screenwriters here.

Winner of short script category: “The Water Thief” by Ed Vela

Tell us a little bit about your screenwriting journey: With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I always bill myself as: “The BEST undiscovered writer in the vast and undying cosmos!” I started out my writing life as a playwright (so that’s why my screenplays and short stories tend to be dialogue driven, as my stock in trade has always been dialogue and character development) and have a few full-length plays, and short play collections published in the U.S., Canada, and England.

I have self-produced (for ultra-low budgets) several short films (that I’ve written, directed and acted in), and 49 episodes of a Web Series that is still floating around You Tube (Dad vs. Lad, a sitcom). To date I’ve written 2 feature-length screenplays, a half dozen or so TV pilots, and dozens of short screenplays. I also have 20+ short stories on a site called: ReedsyPrompts where I attempt 1000–3000-word prose based on a writing prompt offered by the site on a weekly basis. There I mostly write character driven dramedies or sci-fi (my other passion).

 

Tell us a little bit more about your script: Well, since BOTH my entries (this is soooooo exciting) have made it to the FINALS, I’ll give you two.

The Water Thief: In a dystopian world where water is worth more than gold, Warlords and Mercenaries control the remaining drinkable water supply, while small families fight to survive amid the violence and chaos.

The Mortality Game: Three unlikely friends, all terminal patients at the same mid-west hospital, decide to escape their dreary confines and embark on a “last hurrah” cross country road trip, all the while playing a dangerous game of death cheating one-upmanship!

 

Winner of TV pilot category: “Heritage” by Anna Maues

Tell us a little bit about your screenwriting journey: I am a Brazilian filmmaker that moved to New York with one dream in my backpack: becoming a screenwriter. I am totally passionate about writing and my life would definitely be greyer if I never tried to peruse this passion. Since I started writing screenplays, I have shot several short-films and written a one-hour episode TV series: Heritage. Heritage was really well received in many festivals, becoming even a winner in 2 big screenwriting contests. Now I am working on my first feature script and I intend to start a campaign to get it produced.

Tell us a little bit more about your script: Heritage tells the story of Liana, a young and naïve girl, that loses her father unexpectedly. Not too long after her father passes way, she starts to uncover dark secrets about her family and ultimately about herself. In a breakneck pace spiral, Liana finds out that her father seems to be involved in a series of murders that took place in the little town she lives in. Now she is determined to discover what is behind her father dark story and why that seems to be calling her into the same path. 

 

Winner of feature script category: “Aunt Jeannie” by David Gray

Honorable mention: “Snowflakes” by Ryan Costello

I am a screenwriter and playwright whose previous credits include the plays “Cody Stanfield, I Know You Stole My Gameboy Color in the Third Grade and Now the World Does Too” (Multiple KCACTF Honors) and “Emily Adams and Her Wonderful, Amazing, Extraordinary Death Ray”, as well as the films “Ears” (WINNER – Mary Hughes Screenplay Award, Cordillera International Film Festival) and “Detective Noir! An Interactive Adventure” (Finalist – Cordillera International Film Festival). I currently reside in Reno, NV where I regularly work and perform with the rapidly growing film and theater communities.

On the run from the FBI for their role in an unruly protest turned insurrection, two far-right conspiracy theorists must hide out and blend in with the progressive locals of a far-left mountain town. As they slowly begin to comprehend the severity of their actions, the two men are torn between embracing their new home for what it is… or making it “great again”. Despite the sensitive material, Republicans and Democrats alike can enjoy this hyper-relevant commentary on modern political discord. 

 

Honorable mention: “Into the Jungle” by Chelsea Hazzard

In 2020, I paused my marketing career to study screenwriting at London Film Academy. I’ve since written several pilots, features and shorts, and have had some award placements, including: LA International Screenplay Competition (Quarter-Finalist), Launch Pad Feature Competition (Top 50). I look forward to producing my first project later this year!

Like his older brother, my dad was born deaf; but when it came time to attend school, he chose a school for the hearing. He didn’t want to be “different.” But kids can be cruel. Though he doesn’t talk much about this time in his life, I know it shaped who he is today: a talented artist, a loving husband, and a compassionate man. In the Jungle explores the discrimination he experienced in school, and how he not only survived but thrived due to the unique point of view his disability afforded him.

 

Honorable mention: “Tree O’mine” by Bernhard Riedhammer

I’m Bernhard (Bernie) Riedhammer, a carpenter by trade, now working in marketing and business development. I hold a BA in Screenwriting from Staffordshire University in England and an M.Litt. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. I have worked for some three odd years as an assistant and story editor for a daily soap, and I’ve written several features and shorts, placing high in dozens of contests and festivals (e.g., BlueCat, Scriptapalooza, Austin Film Festival, Cinequest, BigBreak, ScreenCraft, Richmond). In particular, I love writing stories whoo deal with real-life issues, something quirky and heartbreaking, which makes people laugh and cry at the same time.

Tree o’ mine is a sweet and emotional tale about an eight-year-old boy who believes that he can save the life of his sick mother by planting and nurturing a tree in his backyard. 

 

Honorable mention: “Wendigo” by David Zuckerman

I do have a few produced screenplays. I’ve been working as a screenwriter for the past several years. My first produced script, Presidents Day, came out in 2016 to great success, even gaining a small cult following. My script, Wendigo, has seen incredible success in several contests, and is currently seeking funding and development. With those, I have a myriad of other smaller scripts written and produced, in various genres. I currently am a 31-year-old, Pueblo Native American filmmaker, working in the industry, and really hoping to make a mark.

A disgraced Native American returns to his home reservation to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Yet a greater evil, from ancient myth is at work, forcing the young man to face his demons and save his family. Wendigo is a story written by a Native American, about Native Americans, and starring Native Americans… This is our Get Out! Native culture has quickly taken over the zeitgeist of film, and this is the perfect blockbuster to bring that wave home.

 

Honorable mention: “Glow Stick” by Michael Raymond 

I’ve written well over a dozen feature-length scripts… one small credit for a short. A few noteworthy accolades along the way (Nicholl Finalist, Austin winner), but just an unknown writer from Seattle who feels compelled to tell stories.

GLOW STICK is a story about a troubled teenager, who jeopardizes his future and alienates himself in the local community when he claims to see and talk to his best friend who was recently killed in a tragic accident. I tend to pitch this story as “Ghost” meets “Say Anything” with shades of “Lars and the Real Girl”. At its heart, GLOW STICK is about friendship, but also about the uneasy topic of death and grief, but laced with dark humor and poignant moments of levity.

The film certainly has the market appeal for the young adult crowd with modest budget parameters. However, after seeing the material brought to life at a recent live table read in Austin, if the elements resonate in the sort of profound ways that I hope they might (including the comedic beats), there’s exciting potential to deliver this film to multiple quadrants or any audience.

 

Finalists (in random order):

 

Burn by Armand Ariekan

I am new to screenwriting, having started writing less than two years ago. 2021 is my first crack at contests and having my screenplays actually seen and read. As I approach retirement, I hope that my screenwriting will turn into the next career chapter in my life.

A veteran detective is investigating a series of arson/homicides. During his investigations, he is haunted by the memory of his first case, that has since turned cold, a serial arsonist. The first time it was just arson, this time it’s arson/homicide.

 

A Warm Place in the Sun by Brad Perrot

This is my 1st and only, with the ONLY exception being a sequel as I left four different plot strands for one. I am an actor, but in frustration for waiting to act in my breakout, I simply wrote it. I don’t think I have any exceptional ability as a writer, but if you have determination, you don’t need it.

Coverage analyst: “it seems like every character wrote their own lines and not the author, if that makes any sense.” The author of this screenplay is a lifelong salesman, making the dialogue source like none other in this industry; past, present or future. A cop drama is the oldest trick in the book, and that’s because it works. But this screenplay features not only a dialogue source like none other, but the constant flow of new information and rapid thrilling pace makes this screenplay a fast and quite engaging read.

 

Cascadia by Tim Millette

I’ve written two screenplays and a short. I am currently in working on a third feature project.

Cascadia is a modern fairy tale set against the backdrop of the Grunge era of the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s. Nye Valley is a place where magic and mystery entwine: Anything can happen. Using science fiction and fantasy, we tell the story of young couple in love who overcome tragedy. Oh, and there’s a battle with a giant beast as well! If Cascadia inspires wonder and awe while taking the audience on an emotional journey that results in a satisfying conclusion, then it achieved its goal.

 

Crankey Village by Alaina Warren Zachary

One Screenplay (best award but not produced yet.) These Broken Wings. One TV pilot – Crankey Village, NM winning a lot of laurels and looking for its production. Many comedy sketches, a two-person play.

No one really knows where New Mexico is unless you live here. Crankey Village, NM is a comedy love letter to all the quirkiness that abides here. Narcissistic widow, Lueella Crankey, wants to sell the family-owned retirement business so she can get a last chance at a Sex and the City lifestyle. I’m both younger than I feel and older than I look! I’ve had several scripts optioned and one sold and produced (very low budget). I’ve done well in multiple contests. That ‘breakthrough’ feels closer and closer. I’ve also done some seminars etc. in a writer’s group-type setting – love sharing what I know and have learned with others.

 

IF THEY WERE OF US by Rosemary Griggs

I have an MFA in Creative Writing. SKY GIRL, my poetry book about a flight attendant before and after 9/11, won the Alberta Prize and is published by Fence Books. My poetry and prose have been published in a number of literary journals including BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2014. I’ve produced one short film I wrote and am currently coproducing another. I’ve written 6 feature length screenplays. My screenplays have been recognized by the Nicholl Fellowship, Page Awards, Austin Film Festival, ScreenCraft among others, and have won 3 Best Screenplay Awards. I’m in my 40’s and support myself as a flight attendant normally working the SFO-CDG route as a French Speaker. Stay tuned for my French-American flight attendant script that I believe I’ve finally cracked!

IF THEY WERE OF US (True Crime Drama Feature) – Inspired by a true story, a middle-aged FBI Agent in suburban Chicago soon finds his latest murder case is invading the lives of the people he loves. This is about my dad who was an old school, gritty, every day American hero who died of Covid-19. He represents the hard work, integrity, and honesty that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find.

 

Secret Passage by Jennifer Healy Gloeb

I am a former tv news producer turned screenwriter. I have an optioned script and one script that is in pre-production. I have written several feature length screenplays, including a fantasy-adventure, rom-com, and dramas. The short I submitted to this contest was my first and only thriller.

Secret Passage” is a single location thriller about a black female protagonist who takes a trip down memory lane to visit her grandparent’s former homestead that was once part of the underground railroad. When the seemingly innocuous white middle-aged homeowner invites her inside to take a look around, she soon realizes he is the serial killer the news has been warning the public about. Trapped inside, she must rely on memories from her childhood to get her through the secret passage ways and out to freedom.

I wrote this for a director to really showcase his/her talent. I think if this is done right, it has great potential to be nominated for an Academy Award. I think having a strong, black female lead and the backdrop to the Underground Railroad has immense appeal. I am a white woman, but I grew up watching Roots, Queen, North and South, and most recently Harriet, and I have always been interested in the plight of the African-Americans during that time in our nation’s history. I love that our strong protagonist turns the tables on her white abductor using the tunnels and weapons of the civil war era.

 

A Girl to Love by Joe Thayer

I am a 47-year-old, self-taught screenwriter. This is my first screenplay. I am writing a second with a director friend, and have been hired to write a third.

A Girl to Love is a different kind of love story about a young man prone to fantasy and hallucinations. His only friend is an imaginary six-foot statue of Michelangelo’s David, which helps him cheat at poker. He finds purpose and family when he latches onto a beautiful hustler and her little sister. When things go wrong with their illicit underground delivery service, he must put his demons aside to save the 11-year-old girl.

 

Forget-Me-Nots by John Dummer

I’ve been writing for some years now, and I’ve had some nibbles and some option offers. I put a great deal of thought and effort into each script. My sense is that eventually the right script will catch the eye of the right person at the right time. Until then my job is to keep writing stories that audiences will connect with, and to keep improving my craft.

FORGET-ME-NOTS is the intimate tale of three humans, scarred by personal loss, who face a threat epic in scale. With its small cast, limited locations and modest budget, FORGET-ME-NOTS bears comparison with 10 Cloverfield Lane, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Signs. In today’s chaos of pandemic and civil unrest, the story has proven even timelier and less fantastical than I’d anticipated when I began writing it.

 

Music Tech by Paul Blake

I started writing 4 years ago when I had a sketch idea. This became a 20-minute comedy short which was my first ever. I was immediately hooked and started to research writing from the ground up. Since then, I have written 6 short films, 3 sitcoms and have 2 film ideas.

Music Tech takes place in a run-down university just north of London England; it’s a course which is apparently one of the best, but the first day during the forced orientation activities it is obvious that’s not the case. The students don’t care, it’s seen as a free ride for those who don’t know what to do in life, so for Ryan; the 29-year-old pushing 30 trying to restart his life, it’s a nightmare. He quickly befriends Chris, a younger student with the mental age of a 50-year-old, he’s bitter and hates everything and Sophie, the only female on the course who is constantly patronized and belittled by others, she finds this hilarious.

The three of them for their own personal reasons have to fight through the crazy mess and embarrassment to complete the 3-year course.

 

No Right Of Way by Samantha Reynolds

I am a woman of 52 who is returning to writing after having a child and teaching Montessori. I did go to USC graduate film school some years ago and now am returning to my creative roots. This is the first screenwriting competition I have submitted to and am thrilled and honored to be a finalist. The story I have submitted is based on my personal experience.

Feature Script Pitch: When her last chance of becoming a mother is stolen, a married 40 something school teacher, slowly spirals into her own altered reality and hatches a covert plan to give birth to her aborted fetus still inside her so she can experience the taste of motherhood – to the horror of those around her.

 

Out of the Shadows by Jeff Rosenberg

I was working in customer service and always wanted to be a writer. A co-worker had a friend who wanted to make a web series, so we hooked up and I started writing. The show failed but I kept writing. I made contact with the incredible actress Adrienne Barbeau on Facebook, and she graciously offered to read a script I wrote. The feedback was amazing and helpful. I wrote a horror script, “Betrothed”. and connected with a producer, also on Facebook, who read and loved the script so much he produced it. I’ve been working as a writer for hire for a few years, trying to get noticed.

Out of the Shadows” is a fast paced horror that’s like “The Fog” meets “The Babadook”. Trapped by a blizzard, a front desk clerk fights to protect the guests and staff at her remote mountain lodge from creatures that seem to be nothing more than shadows; pitch-black silhouettes, featureless, evil, malevolence personified.

 

Rube by Dan O’Brien

Rube” is my first screenplay although I’m working on others. I’ve also served as a script consultant for a friend who directs independent films. My background is TV news/sports where I wrote and produced a number of documentaries. Another friend is a longtime unit publicist in the film industry. He occasionally hires me to assist with press packets. This includes major films directed by the likes of Ron Howard, George Clooney and Sam Mendes.

Rube” is the incredible true story of George Edward “Rube” Waddell, baseball’s eccentric Hall of Fame pitcher. Though likely mentally challenged, Rube rose to fame as baseball’s most dominant pitcher and biggest drawing card during his era (early 1900s). His exploits off the field was as colorful as his performances on the diamond. He was known to wrestle alligators, fight fires or lead parades. Born on Friday the 13th, Rube died on April Fool’s Day at age 37, the result of his heroic efforts during a massive flood on the Mississippi River. For more visit my website: http://rubewaddell.net

 

Canyon Rock by Ellen Golden

Seemingly a lifetime ago, I walked through the doors of The Betty Ford Center as a 28-year-old cocaine addict. I left thirty days later, profoundly changed, and eternally grateful to the remarkable place that gave me a second chance at life.

In my script, Canyon Rock is a high-profile addiction center struggling to survive in the current time as it fights the newest political and economic realities.

The show is equally a story of the human struggle. All these hugely diverse people – patients and staff – find themselves together, 24/7, in a community with seemingly nothing more in common than the fact that they have hit rock bottom and their lives are filled with secrets and lies. The powerful bonds and seismic divides that develop are the stuff of compelling drama and, yes, unexpected humor. 

A life-long New Yorker temporarily living in Atlanta, I am incredibly keen to share the grit and exceptional beauty of the enchanting city of Santa Fe, home of Canyon Rock, with worldwide audiences. Canyon Rock is my first television drama. Canyon Rock is a high-profile addiction treatment center struggling to survive in a changing new world order of healthcare and politics. It is where an eclectic group of colleagues still dedicate themselves to saving patients, as they continue to confront their own punishing secrets. Canyon Rock is set in Santa Fe, a city of grit and exceptional beauty, with as many contrasts and contradictions as the characters who populate the show.

 

Web Trail by Drew Wagner

I started writing right after college, when I realized my heart wasn’t in my chosen occupation and that my dream was and always had been screenwriting. I have a couple produced short films. As far as unproduced scripts I’ve written, I have eight features, a handful of short scripts, and seven pilots of various genres in my stable.

Web Trail” is an investigative drama that takes aim at the dual, sometimes conflicting, realities we now live in with our physical and our ever-expanding digital worlds. When a co-worker goes silent on all social platforms, our hero must navigate both the hidden truths found in people’s social media presences and the real world that she doesn’t quite fit in to. In the process, she will uncover lies, tragic realities, and perhaps even something sinister.

 

All The Bright… by Patrick Griffith

Only just started my screenwriting journey in 2018 with a certificate course at UCLA Professional Programs. I don’t have any produced credits yet and only two short screenplays completed with a feature on the way; the feature is an ongoing challenge. I’m 53 and finally decided it was time to get serious about the screenwriting desire (once and for all) – better late than never…?

I took the title from a line in “The Great Gatsby”, “All the bright precious things fade so fast, and they don’t come back” – Daisy Buchanan. It’s a story about the end of an engagement before it really began after the protagonist’s best friend dies. The ‘event’ of his friend’s death provides some badly needed clarity and he changes the trajectory of his life. The bright, precious engagement ring accompanies us through the story and fades as the relationship fades…and doesn’t come back.

 

Commemorar by John Iadarola

I’ve been a writer for a few years but never really submitted to festivals or pursued a career. At some point I decided to take it more seriously and even though I haven’t had any luck, I’ve learned that I at least have some talent. 

I was inspired to write this during a road trip from my childhood home in CO to my new home in Los Angeles. If you’ve ever been on a smaller highway in the desert chances are you’ve seen the white crosses smattered along the roads. There’s always so many and you’ll never know the stories. I saw an old couple cooking around a cross one day. I only saw them for maybe 10 seconds but it sent my mind going. It’s so macabre but also beautiful in a way. I wanted to write something about why someone would do that, and what they’re looking for. I’m in no way a spiritual person but the script became that. It’s one of those stories you like to tell yourself. It’s comforting.

 

Rising Above Mania by Kelly Karam

After experiencing a felon for a dad, a roving-eyed husband, raging teenagers, and teaching K-12, Kelly Karam bought a laptop and began a career in writing the year that she turned fifty. All of it, whether good or bad, has played a role in becoming the kind of award-winning screenwriter who brings human experience to diverse characters living in worlds where the rules in life are never fair but always worth the journey.

2020 Page International Screenplay Winner “Straight Man” is a short drama inspired by true events about an old man who turns the tables on the young addict who invades his home. It is a small story about how addiction affects the whole family to what is now the leading cause of death among Americans under fifty – drug overdoses.

Rising Above Mania” is a dark comedy about an aspiring writer struggling with bipolar who discovers her script is stolen by the bullish bodyguard to a box office king and must track him down to tell him the truth. In the end, there is only one question: Can a screenwriter struggling with mental illness better the world, exorcise her demons, and find friendship writing a 90-page screenplay as her only hope to thwart depression? And the answer is:  Yes! Yes, she can!

 

Remind Me by Kristian Noonan

I do have 1 film that has been produced prior, a short comedy by the name of “In Jeopardy.” Besides that, I am a published short story author (“La notte senza stelle” in the Vagabond Journal, Spring 2016 issue) who graduated from UC Santa Barbara. “Storyteller” is the answer I want to give when people ask me what I am or what I do, and I hope to reimbue that social role with the responsibility and compassion it deserves. 

Imagine While You Were Sleeping, but from Peter Gallagher’s perspective. We rely on our memories for everything, from making sure our pantry’s stocked to our liking, to maintaining those connections we could never live without. Oftentimes we choose to forget things, like pain, disappointment, suffering, things that make life less than what we dream it could be. If we really forget them though, how can we know when those things are coming back? That’s Riley’s problem, if you’d wanna watch! (Oh, and there is an expansion of this script I’ve been toying around with that puts it more in a While You Were Sleeping + Antman vibe. Let me know if that’s of any interest!)

 

My Right-Hand Man by Anthony Moschetto

I come from the world of stand-up comedy, and I began my writing journey later in life when it was clear my stand-up career wasn’t going to happen. I enrolled in the UCLA Writer’s Extension, earned a certificate in feature film writing, and never looked back. Since then, I’ve written multiple TV pilots, short scripts, a couple of features, and a stage play. I’ve yet to be produced, but who knows, this could be the year.

After another epic bout of social anxiety leads to yet another job loss, NORMAN seeks comfort with his old coping device, a thirteen-inch hand puppet, dressed in a scout uniform named the Anxiety Ranger. When Norman wakes up the following day, he’s shocked to realize the anxiety hand puppet is not only stuck to his hand, but it SPEAKS to him. Incredibly, the voice is ARNOLD FITZKEE, a newly deceased, bitter stand-up comedian with a nasty drug addiction who discovers his spirit is trapped inside Norman’s anxiety puppet. Worst gig ever. Irreverent, inappropriate, yet often touching, MY RIGHT-HAND MAN is a comedy that proves how sometimes the most unlikely of friendships can fit like a glove.

 

RED PLANET BLUES by William Gunn

RED PLANET BLUES had an Inauspicious Beginning under another Title: MARS GENERAL.  Under that Title I began numerous false starts that led nowhere. I’d have to remove entire sections, rewrite entire scenes that didn’t make any logical sense in the overall storyline. Characters were Aimless, Dialogue was Logy and Stilted.  The whole thing was an absolute Mess! 

That is until I joined Stage 32.  After that I began learning my skills and with a lot of Practice and Hard Work my screenwriting became better and better.  The culmination of those skills is my screenplay, RED PLANET BLUES.  But it’s Not my last.  I intend to do as much more screenwriting as I possibly can.

 

Are you Here? By Andrea Cabañas

I’m Brazilian-Australian, a published writer and former producer with years of experience in the Brazilian entertainment industry (including directing two TV programs). Working with Brazilian soap operas has drawn my attention to screenwriting. I took short courses in this field and worked as a screenwriter assistant for a while before moving to Australia in 2007. It was only in 2014, when I decided to pursue my career as a writer/screenwriter writing only in English as Australia became my home. I got one script optioned once, but the producer didn’t get the funds. Then, two of my scripts were shortlisted in a screenplay competition in 2019 (Get it Made LA). As a result, I became part of a screenwriter community, the Get it Made X (GIMX), in which I’m one of the Ambassadors. While writing my second novel, Sonata for You, I developed the proof of concept Are you Here?, a finalist at the Get it Made LA short film competition, in 2020. Now, the same script got to the finals in your contest. I know, I am a producer, and you might be asking, ‘Why don’t you produce your own shorts?’ Well, I quit the production industry for a reason, so here I am. Extra notes: when I was in high school, I wanted to be an actor, but life led me to work behind the scenes. Nevertheless, my grand achievement on stage was performing in a play called The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. This was in 2017. I’ll turn 50 years old this year; I’m happily married, no kids. I manage our dental clinic business parttime, and the other half, I write and write. Drama is my genre, and I’m also a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar.

Are you Here? is a proof-of-concept film based on the second novel I’m editing at the moment, Sonata for You. It’s a fiction drama with a hint of magic realism. It tells about Liam, a ten-year-old Australian boy who’s overcoming loss and grief. His grandparents raised him, and his grandfather Graham dies. Liam didn’t say goodbye to him. While going through the five stages of grief, his grandmother, who’s in a nursing home with dementia, tells Liam that Graham visits her every night. On top of it, he learns through his father’s girlfriend about the existence of the afterlife. She’s Brazilian and a follower of a religion that believes in the survival of the spirits. With this hope in his heart, Liam gets obsessed with the idea to communicate with his grandfather. He even tries to summon spirits, bringing conflict with his mother. When communication happens—and only his cat senses it—Liam freaks out. This is the exact moment portrayed on my POC. Nevertheless, this is not a haunting story. This movie is about grief and loss; it’s about love and afterdeath communication. But most importantly, it’s about Liam’s acceptance that death is not the end; it’s just a physical loss.

 

Retirement Road Trip by Joe Leone

I am relatively new to Screenwriting, just started penning my first script three years ago. I currently have (3) Feature Film screenplays and (2) Short Film scripts complete at this stage of my writing career – still a “works in progress, but improving.” No produced credits as of yet. I previously worked for Paramount Pictures in Motion Picture Marketing for six years before leaving the Entertainment Industry many years ago. I am in my Mid-50’s. My advice to young writers, never give up on your dreams. It’s never too late to tell your story.

Below is the ending description from a recent screenplay review about Retirement Road Trip. I believe that it sums up the feeling of the story, quite well. Retirement Road Trip’ is a story about self-discovery as much as it is the goofy road trip among childhood friends after life has knocked them around hard. The writer leaves us with the poetic idea that it is ‘only a few good minutes of open talk amongst friends’ that is needed to end the frictions that have stopped life from being what it could have been. But quite often, those few minutes come a few decades too late, a few thousand miles away from home and in the middle of a life-threatening incident.

Logline: A commercial airline pilot (Kyle) plans to retire and do nothing, but comfortably relax in his paid-off custom-built home. However, his plans suddenly change, when a demolition crew levels his home by accident.

Tagline: Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.

 

Roswell ’97 by Samuel Bollen

25 years old, Princeton grad. I have been paying the bills with marketing and screenwriting on the side. I have a few produced commercials under my belt, but no feature or TV work that has seen the light of day yet. I have written 3 features and about 5 TV pilots. Many, many short films and short stories as well.

ROSWELL ’97: A young housewife falls pregnant after an alien abduction. After being cast out of her community, she makes a cross-country road trip to Roswell, NM, where she hopes to find acceptance, safety, and self-determination. Adventure-comedy with light sci-fi elements. Think Raising Arizona meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

 

Among the Spirits by Emily McClain

I am a published/professional playwright but I am very new to screenwriting. Among the Spirits is my first screenplay. 

Among The Spirits is a historical thriller featuring the partnership between Harry Houdini and Rose Mackenburg as they expose fake mediums and spiritualists in 1920’s New York.

 

Two Ladies by Rajiv Kachappilly

I have written a few shorts, optioned one short, assisted in a web series, and have one unproduced feature screenplay. 

Two Ladies is a high stakes horror short that involves four female characters in one location. Two young con artists think they can rob two elderly women by sneaking into their remote home at night. Once inside the house they start to make frightening discoveries about who these two women really are and ultimately lead to their demise.

 

Firemore by Piper Ozmer

I’ve always loved storytelling, but until recently I only wrote “user stories” – that is, technical requirements for software development. I attempted my first screenplay in 2019 and was instantly hooked. Two years (and a lot of Googling) later, I’ve written a grounded sci-fi romance, several holiday features (including a ScreenCraft Finalist), and a handful of short scripts. I also optioned a faith-based script for a fantastic producer, which has given me the opportunity to see the industry up close and quickly synthesize feedback with production in mind. It is an absolute joy to get to write!

As a clinically proven love potion supplement takes the world by storm, a happily married couple argues whether or not they should give it a try. One partner will do whatever it takes to guarantee the relationship’s success, even if it’s fake. The other refuses to consider it, but hides a dark secret that could destroy the entire relationship. Set in one house with one main couple and one supporting, this short is intimate, twisty, and darkly satisfying. 

 

Verity’s Game by Jennifer Giacalone

I’m in my third metamorphosis in life; I spent my twenties as a rock musician, touring and recording. I spent my thirties as a graphic artist, creating artwork for top fortune 500 companies and honing my drawing skills for my personal satisfaction. And now in my forties, I’ve blossomed into a writer, bringing the breadth of my experiences into both novel and screenplay formats. 

Verity’s Game is the first of the four screenplays I’ve written since last fall, a fast-paced action movie that takes a moment now and then to reflect on themes of loyalty, love and morality. It’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets Killing Eve, set against the backdrop of Mexico City and intended for two dynamic women of color as they navigate a world of corporate criminals and corrupt politicians to save each other’s lives.

 

Running by Sean Chandler

My background is mostly in theater writing. I’ve had two plays and one musical produced in five different states and one European country — Ireland. I’ve written three full screenplays and two series. I’ 56 years-old and live in New York City with husband, David.

“Running” is the story of a political family whose closeted-gay, mayoral candidate patriarch is outed in a very lurid, public manner and how that affects his campaign and, most importantly, his family. 


Shape of my heart by Isaac Lucas

Shape of My Heart… is loosely based on my time as a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House and Camp Quality NZ (children with cancer) as well as a young boy I got to know online who passed from the disease. 

Shape recently had a table read with Chad Kukahiko from We Make Movies. Feedback was that it should either be silent or with lines throughout (as at the read-through), which is interesting since it began as a ‘silent’ short. So now, the latest draft is back to non-dialogue and is only 8 pages in length. 

My first short was also a children’s one – The Odd Sock Thief, which features Jimmy the Dwarf and newsreader Judy Bailey in a cameo (plus one cute Husky).