View Full Version : The Shell Game

Tom Shortridge
12-05-2009, 05:10 PM
The Shell Game

Logline: Father teaches son the art of the con.

1 location (living room), 2 characters (30ish father, 6-10ish son). Minimal props.

*** 1-11-10 update - has been picked up for production.

* 12-6: Rough draft complete.

Russell Moore
12-09-2009, 05:54 AM
I'm always up for a good con story.

01-10-2010, 09:06 PM
This would certainly be a micro budget short. I thought it was good if a little abrupt. It wasn't necessarily short, but I got sucked into it and then poof it was done. So congrats on drawing me in. I'm trying to really visualize these shorts and when they are written well it's much easier to do, so good job.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
01-11-2010, 11:13 AM
Interesting story.
The topic is pretty meaty.

I guess I could see an older child pulling that off but not one that young. That's a nitpick though. Short but sweet.


Captain Pierce
01-11-2010, 04:16 PM
I have to agree with MAH (again) that Kevin does seem a little young, not only to pull off the trick but also for the clever wordplay and particularly that level of burn on his old man. :)

But man, what an epic burn. :D

Nice job on writing a short, very producible, script; and also on telling an interesting story with some extra depth to it at the same time.

01-11-2010, 06:47 PM
I agree on the age of the child as well. This didn't feel like betrayal to me but more like trickery.
I would have liked to have gotten invested in the child, somehow. Give us more of him to care about.

I do think simple stories can bring out a solid product, but invest in the characters a little more.

01-12-2010, 05:03 AM
:kali: KEVIN

:cry: Dad

:undecided Me



I liked it. Unlike a lot of shorts, it's easily producable for pennies!

I think the minor tips on the dialogue of the seven year old are kind of mis-aimed, though. Me and my 8 year old talk about some seriously deep shit sometimes, and he never ceases to amaze me with some of the things that he picks up or says. So when I read Kevin's dialogue, I didn't even think that it was above his age level. Not pulling a Kathy Lee / Cody moment...just saying.

I seriously liked it. Total set up and burn.

Russell Moore
01-13-2010, 04:41 PM
Good, easy read. Pulled me into the story in a short amount of time.

You gave us good insight into the characters and their relationships with very little, well done.

Didn't see the ending coming. Very good script.

Tom Shortridge
01-13-2010, 06:33 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your comments and critiques so far.

I'm going to hold off on addressing specific points until after the rating period's over - I like to have the script speak for itself, at least at first.

At that time, I'll also be posting my feedback on everyone else's scripts as well.

01-14-2010, 02:08 PM
You found the lost pages of Kramer vs. Kramer!! lol

Thought the exposition was brilliant. "You cheated....mom says you cheated..." GREAT!

In my mind Kevin is both too young and too old at the same time (or should I say mature), so maybe pick one on the final draft. Going back to the line I mentioned, he is either a really sly kid and means what it sounds like, or he's a really cute kid that makes the dad feel like garbage accidentally. But then, at the end, he's obviously sly when he steals the pea. Hmmm...I like both, but you'd have to get a kick-a$$ actor to pull off the transition while keeping it real.

In the end though I think it really works and might just need tweaking to make sure the performances won't be as apt to falter from the characters you create. LOVE how easy this would be to produce, with a lot of potential for great looking shots. One of my highest rated.

Anthony Todaro
01-15-2010, 08:50 AM
Polished writing. Always welcome the hustler, getting hustled story.

I disagree with the others. A (7) year old from the city, is a different kid from a (7) year old in middle America. Some kids that age are wiser then some adults. I agree that his dialogue could have been a bit more "childish" but thats a minor.

It's a subtle betrayal, which counts. The only thing for me was it felt like Mike didn't want to go back. Maybe if he seemed more interested in getting back together or apologetic, the subtle betrayal would be stronger.

Those are nit-picks. I really liked the flow of your writing. Well done.

01-15-2010, 09:48 AM
Hi Dopey, just read your script.

I agree with all that has been said with regards to Kevin and age. I feel a few more rewrites after a child actor has been cast would work wonders, as not all kids are the same and some have better grasps of the english language... Look at Dekota Fanning, she freaked me out as a kid because she said things that were beyond her years!!!

The story is very well crafted, and hits us with a hammer blow at the end. I really liked it. Short but sweet, well done.

01-15-2010, 10:06 PM
Man, I really felt bad for Kevin. The kid stuck in the middle. Nice job showing a broken family without really showing the broken family. Interesting and very clever. :)

01-16-2010, 11:11 AM
catchy beginning, drew me in immediately.
Great ending as well, didnt see that one coming.
Nice to see another short script on here :)

A very good script. Well written, didn't react to the dialog like the others did. Nice work!

Sarah Daly
01-17-2010, 03:51 PM
Beautiful, simple little scene that works really really well. Nice depth, great use of analogy - an accomplished little short that fits the brief excellently and flowed really well while also evoking huge empathy in a very short time, but also not falling into the trap of too much exposition. You gave us just enough. Very impressive work!

01-18-2010, 07:01 PM
Great work! A very effectively simple script. It draws your attention and the end just sort of sucker-punches you. You got a lot out of very little, good depth.

01-21-2010, 11:50 AM
I really liked the way you gave us glimpses into the family's relationship by quick lines of dialogue. It really helped you to develop your characters in such a short period of time. The read was quick and the story was engaging. Good job.

01-25-2010, 04:35 PM
This was in my top 3.

Simple, elegantly told story that perfectly employs the "show don't tell" axiom.