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Spring Contest 2018 – Introducing our 3rd Placed writer and script!

Spring Contest 2018 – Introducing our 3rd Placed writer and script!

It’s time to introduce the cream of the crop from our Spring 2018 Contest! Landing in third place is an exceptional screenplay, a topical mystery-thriller set in Greece: FIRE ON THE ISLAND by Timothy Jay Smith!

Congratulations to Timothy, who also won our award for Best Indie Script and is a former Grand Prize Winner from 2010! His prizes include a year of script and pitching development worth $3200, previews of our Virtual Film School, exclusive prizes from InkTip, and more!


Here’s the logline for FIRE ON THE ISLAND:

When an arsonist threatens an important Coast Guard station on a Greek island, the FBI agent stationed in Athens arrives to investigate, finds himself immersed in a community rife with conflict, and falls in love with his chief suspect.


And Timothy’s summary of his script:

An arsonist threatens to burn down a Greek island village by blowing up a fuel tank in its harbor. Alarmed by the possible disruption of the local Coast Guard’s vital operations in rescuing refugees, Nick Damigos, the FBI Agent posted to Athens, arrives to investigate.

The arsonist has struck eleven times in as many months, each fire coming closer to tiny Vourvoulos, and each followed by a mysterious poison pen letter. The last one makes it clear: the arsonist plans to strike within days. With no clues, Nick searches for a motive that would drive someone to such a destructive act. He discovers a village embroiled in conflicts, some dating back generations, and uncovers earlier crimes—all casting a wide net of suspicion.

Gradually the mystery is revealed through the interwoven stories of a struggling restaurant owner and her feminist teenage daughter, a seductive widow and lovelorn waiter, a scurrilous priest and patrician mayor, and a host of colorful characters who paint a portrait—both humorous and soulful—of Greece where the past mingles with the present. While sorting it out, Nick’s life is threatened, and he falls in love with a young waiter who becomes his chief suspect.

Plus a biography of Timothy himself:

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-day crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel, and his screenplay adaptation of it was named Best Indie Script by WriteMovies. Another novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland, will be published in spring 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012.

Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

Timothy’s latest book, The Fourth Courier is now available for pre-order on Amazon – click here!

Example Studio Consulting: GONE GIRL Script

Example Studio Consulting: GONE GIRL Script

An example script consultancy on a reading of GONE GIRL script, a film that starred Ben Affleck and Rosalind Pike.

The script is long, but tightly constructed and there is no superfluous detail…” Extracts from a script report by our trainee Sandy chapman, based on a reading of the GONE GIRL script: If you want to learn more about the internship, too, just email

To see the full industry-standard format we use for Studio Coverage, either commission your own (CLICK HERE) based on the script you submit, or purchase The Confidential Studio Manual to get the inside track on how the industry will really assess and process your script (CLICK HERE)!



TITLE: GONE GIRL                                    LOCALE: Missouri

AUTHOR: Gillian Flynn                            SETTING: Urban

PERIOD: Modern                                            FORM: SP

PRODUCER: N/A                                          BUDGET: Medium


Sinister voice over suggests Nick is a threat to Amy, but also that she is guilty of something. This is a tense relationship. Nick drives to the bar he runs with his sister, Go. It’s his fifth wedding anniversary. Flashback/Amy’s diary entry of when she met Nick at a party. There was an instant connection between them.

Present day, and Nick complains to Go that Amy’s anniversary treasure hunt will reveal all his shortcomings. Back home, Nick finds the front door open, the living room wrecked and no sign of Amy. Boney and Gilpin arrive. Boney recognises the ‘Amazing Amy’ books – her disappearance will grab the media spotlight. Gilpin questions Nick, who comes across as remote, detached. Police teams find ‘Clue One’ of the anniversary trail and evidence that Amy paid for everything the Dunnes own.

Nick heads to a press conference with Amy’s parents. He appears uncaring, is photographed smiling. Her parents have a big campaign launched. Boney wants Nick to solve the anniversary treasure hunt, to retrace Amy’s steps. They get as far as Nick’s office, where Boney finds a red lacy thong. Flashback/diary entry: Amy has given her parents most of her trust fund. Nick is unhappy as they’re both unemployed, but accepts the situation…


Amy’s disappearance, the inciting incident, occurs early in the script and is an immediate hook: will Nick be charged with murder? It’s already been revealed that their relationship had soured, and this, combined with a series of media gaffs, points the finger firmly at Nick’s guilt. Yet the opening voice over has already alerted us that things will not be as they seem in this script: we might suspect Nick isn’t guilty, but have no idea how he will prove his innocence. The script drips mounting evidence against him carefully throughout act one and the beginning of act two, from money worries to violent behaviour. The most damning evidence is his affection for Andie. Her appearance urges the audience to think that perhaps Nick is guilty after all, he’s certainly less likeable, and that perhaps we were wrong to be rooting for him thus far.   

The audience are thrown another twist at the mid-point. Even if we weren’t convinced of Nick’s guilt, the extreme measures Amy took to frame him are incredible and the initial hook remains intact. The shift is that we are no longer in any doubt that Amy is the driving force behind this story, and behind Nick’s future. Her motives and actions are believable: she may act beyond the boundaries of ‘normal’ behaviour, but she is disturbingly real. Nick is forced to play by her rules, and in a last-ditch attempt to save himself appeals to any vestiges of love she may have for him. Amy responds, but in true Amy fashion her plans require more extreme action that will keep the audience enthralled. Nick may have proved his innocence, but he is, in effect, sentenced to a lifetime with Amy. The ending avoids the cliches and neatness that one might expect from the genre, but is completely fitting for the characters, adding depth to the story and drawing greater empathy from the audience. 

The script is long, but tightly constructed and there is no superfluous detail. It retains the feel and the drive of the bestselling novel on which it is based and has the advantage of having been written by the same author…

 To see the full industry-standard format we use for Studio Coverage, either commission your own (CLICK HERE) based on the script you submit, or purchase The Confidential Studio Manual to get the inside track on how the industry will really assess and process your script (CLICK HERE)!