After receiving over 700 logline entrants, we knew competition was fierce in our script-writing challenge. A dozen of the best entrants were asked to submit two pages of their script and, like the hardened Hollywood bigwigs that we are, we insisted that there was to be only one winner.
That said, our judges also picked out two highly commended scripts, on top of Ash Sharma's winning entry. Thus, a doff of the cap is well and truly deserved to Nigel McDowell and Pat Reid for their entries. Judges said of their work:
Feral Mob (Nigel McDowell)
Kris Thykier, producer of Kick Ass said of Feral Mob: “It may be more TV than film, but it is current, relevant and could be exciting.”
Zygi Kamasa, CEO of Lionsgate UK said of Feral Mob: “It immediately sets up a main character, a predicament with the police and some sort of mystery which is very engaging.”
Chernobyl Girls (Pat Reid)
Kris Thykier:“No idea if the story works, but the characters and dialogue are already taking shape. To be honest they had me at "Sigue Sigue Sputnick".
Phil O’Shea, director of the Plays & Screenplays MA at City University London: “Excellent logline and a lovely idea. Funny and sharp script. I'd love to read more of this one!”
Read their scripts, right here:
By Nigel McDowell
ORIGINAL LOGLINE: London, 10th November, 2010 - a seventeen year-old boy, on the cusp of student life and the edge of poverty, prepares to join with friends and fellow students for the protest against tuition fees. He packs a balaclava, some fliers, his mobile phone...and a gun. Feral Mob is a terrifying "what if"? story about the Britian as it is, and as it could be, on one day that changed everything
EXT. LONDON. MORNING –
BLACK, and sound: the low, fervent murmur of crowds, the grind of traffic, the keen of sirens and the frantic pulse of traffic crossings – the sounds of early-morning, rush-hour London. Then images, the opening credits trailing across the bottom of the screen like a news-feed: Parliament Square and the huddled village of tents containing the anti-war protesters; vendors attempting to foist free newspapers on passersby; students gathering in Trafalgar Square, banners and fliers and mobile phones in hand. The mood of the crowd is determined, but good-natured. BLACK. Then we hear (but don’t view) two speakers: both male, the first no-nonsense, the second not quite nonchalant –
FIRST MALE VOICE: Why did you bring it?
SECOND MALE VOICE: Excuse me?
FIRST MALE VOICE: Do you have a hearing problem, son?
SECOND MALE VOICE: Not that I’m aware of, sir. May I have a glass of water?
FIRST MALE VOICE: No – I ask the questions and you answer. Tell me: why did you bring it?
SECOND MALE VOICE: Oh, who can say why a person does anything?
FIRST MALE VOICE: Interesting response. Planning on studying Philosophy are we, son?
SECOND MALE VOICE: No. Politics.
More footage, camera wavering documentary style: a mass of bodies bearing ragged banners passing through Parliament Square. Police are visible, but unmoving: they are few, the crowd of students gaining in number and fervour. The SECOND MALE VOICE speaks, narrator-like, over this footage:
SECOND MALE VOICE: When you’re young you’re stupid, isn’t that what you tell us all the time?
The protesters arrive at Millbank; Conservative Party Headquarters –
SECOND MALE VOICE: Didn’t you ever make mistakes, officer? Things you regretted?
The camera wavers and focuses on a group of youths on the roof of the buildings, hands in the air, revelling in triumph. Then a quick succession of images, louder and more violent and more frenetic than before – bodies struggling back-and-forth, falling to the ground, grappling, broken glass, torn banners, a fire-extinguisher in free-fall, blood…abrupt return to BLACK…
FIRST MALE VOICE: No. Did you, son? Was the gun a mistake?
Silence. Then an extreme close-up of one protester, face obscured but probably male: hood pulled up, Afghan scarf hiding his mouth. He stares into the camera. He raises a gun, the barrel directed at the camera, at us…BLACK. A single gun-shot.
SECOND MALE VOICE: Regrets? None, officer. Next question, please...
A scream, then the title card, white on black.
By Pat Reid
ORIGINAL LOGLINE: At the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, two English boys spend summer on a Scottish island, desperately trying to lose their virginities.
EXT. MOUNTAIN TOP – AFTERNOON
Ethereal Celtic music is heard as mist shrouds two crouching hooded figures. They resemble druids in an ancient pagan landscape. We gradually distinguish the faces of two teenage boys. In this atmospheric light they appear angelic and rapt in contemplation. Then two things happen to shatter the illusion of timeless magic. First, one of the boys removes his hood. We see it’s not a druid’s cowl but a cheap plastic cagoule. Second, he takes off Sony Walkman headphones, and he speaks.
MARTIN: Here. Have a listen to this.
MARTIN passes the Walkman to his companion SIMON. Sound spills from the headphones and we realise that’s where the Celtic music is coming from (it’s the theme from ‘Harry’s Game’ by Clannad). Martin gazes serenely around the misty mountain top while Simon puts on the headphones, closes his eyes and listens.
SIMON: Wow... Yeah... That’s really...(Pause) Really...
Simon is lost for words, awed by the majesty of the mountain, the music and the moment. Martin nods wisely.
MARTIN: Yes. It evokes something eternal. (Pause) Anyway, sod this. Let’s go and find some lunch.
SIMON: Sod lunch. Let’s go and find some girls.
EXT. MOUNTAIN SIDE – AFTERNOON
Martin and Simon run down the mountain side, excited and joyous. As they get further down, the mist fades and they are bathed in glorious sunlight. Laughing and shouting, they strip off their cagoules, shirts and T-shirts. They slip and slide with skinny limbs flailing as they race and jostle. A pounding electro-rock track plays - ‘Love Missile F1-11’ by Sigue Sigue Sputnik. The music halts as the boys fall together in a heap by a mountain stream. They lay there, staring transfixed at the water.
SIMON: Is it safe to drink, do you think?
MARTIN: Comrade Simon, I have told you before. Why do you not wear the Russian underpants?
MARTIN & SIMON: Chernobyl fallout!
As the music crashes back in, Martin and Simon race off again.
SIMON: I think technically it’s not Russia. It’s the Ukraine.
MARTIN: Technically it’s not Russia OR the Ukraine. It’s the USSR...
MARTIN & SIMON: ...The Union! Of Soviet! Socialist! Republics!
EXT. CAR PARK, FOOT OF MOUNTAIN – AFTERNOON
Two people are waiting in a car – an old Austin Maxi.
INT. CAR – AFTERNOON
Light classical music plays on the car radio. A middle-aged man, MICHAEL, is reading a newspaper. A middle-aged woman, ANN, is cross-stitching. They are Martin’s parents. Michael’s newspaper carries a headline about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The car’s back seats are littered with the detritus of teenage boys. On the cover of the NME music paper is a picture of outrageous electro-punk band Sigue Sigue Sputnik. The headline is: WOULD YOU PAY £4 MILLION FOR THIS CRAP?