5 Top Script Picks From Screenwriter Michelle Hood

The impact 50 is a hugely ambitious project, and as a writer I can only imagine the difficulty in pulling together a feature length portmanteau of 50 shorts, to produce a complete and coherent story!

 

I became involved in this project a few weeks ago having submitted a couple of scripts into the mix, so I’m only just steering the tip of the ice berg; I stuck in my oar and waited for the ice to melt!

Of course, I realise that some icebergs require more than just a punt; a compass and a bit of teamwork to push the boat along, so I’m going to break the ice by highlighting some of the scripts that I liked and try to explain the reasons why.

The story arc is clear; the planet is awaiting a catastrophic event and from the president’s first address, the world has just five hours to make their last moments count. This is like the worst kind of death, and like any bereavement there are several stages of mourning: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and finally acceptance. This is a modified Kubler Ross model, but there are many other iterations.

The premise creates a vast gamut of material full of human moments: love stories, happy memories, forgiveness, resolutions, reflections and quiet realisations of what could have been or how close we came. But the world is not a perfect place and there would and should be some downright shocking moments too: waring moments with surges of violence, vengeful, inglorious, ingratiating, hell-fire moments that show the other side of the human chain reaction.

There are some great scripts here though most fit into the first and last stages of the Kubler Ross model, I would have liked to see more of the hell-fire moments with devious storylines and sinister endings, a bit more anger, bargaining and depression. They don’t always have to be loud, the subtler moments are just as powerful, but these are the stories that create the greatest tension, which in a feature (I think) is necessary.


That said, here are some of my favourite picks:


Crazy by Stephanie Ginger

I chose this story for many reasons, but firstly because of the succinct way in which it sets the tone, it’s a great visual piece with well thought out dialogue and seems to understand the implicit nature of emotions (actions instead of descriptions) and there are no redundant words here. There’s tension too, where Joe (80) has accepted his fate and is living in a happy memory, Angie is still in denial, believing there is sanctuary in the basement. There’s a clever circular theme which plays on the exchange of ‘crazy’ and creates a nice little twist at the end.

 

Silent Ruin by Chris Vanderhorst

A wonderfully emotive conversation between a deaf couple discussing what the final moments will sound like. Marcus and Viviana are in the final stages of acceptance and searching for ways to cope with the inevitable. There’s lots to get hold of here for a short film and it’s definitely worth a read.

 

Digging by Michael Montgomery

I liked this story for its simplicity - a father and son reunited. A father returns home from a shopping trip to find his young son digging a hole in the garden. Lewis (8) believes he can protect them from the impending doom (bargaining in vain) while his father finds solutions (testing/acceptance) to help him prepare.


Blood Sweat and Tears by Stephanie Ginger

Adeline is a volunteer nurse working her last hours in an Ebola Centre somewhere in the Congo! Her dilemma; should she leave with her husband and spend her final hours with their son, or stay with her young patients ensuring no one dies alone? It’s visually very rich and poses a ‘real world’ dilemma. 

 

Release by Craig Warren

A young mother living a life she probably never envisioned, finds an unexpected solace in the news that it will all be over soon! Between a crying baby, pots on the stove, a Nan who is hard of hearing and a heavily autistic son, Dani’s life has not been easy. But was it all worth it! This is a moment of realisation, the message may be subtle, but the visuals are anything but. It’s gritty and there’s a lot to get into here.

Like I said, there’s a lot of really good material and two months to submit and refine, so read through as many as you possibly can and make sure to leave feedback!

Michelle Hood

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