Thanks to everyone who entered the Write On! Online January Challenge – Review Yourself! Here are the winners:

1st Place:
David Cook –
Review of his short film: Board Games
(Prize: Save the Cat! software; the 1st Place review is posted below)

2nd Place:
Cara Holman – Review of her short story: “The Ten Best Things” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings
(Prize: Save the Cat! Strikes Back by Blake Snyder)

3rd Place:
David King – Review of his blog: The Learning Garden (Almost) Daily
(Prize: Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies by Blake Snyder )

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1st Place Winner – David Cook – Review of his short film: Board Games (Watch the film on the Board Games Facebook Page)

“Do you want to know what’s on the other side?” This is the question asked of both audience and character in BOARD GAMES, a comedy short that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of paranormal investigation.

Our guides on this journey into the unknown are Phil and Benny, respectively playing their parts as amateur paranormal investigator and slobbish sidekick. When Phil’s obsession with a ouija board experiment blows Benny’s chances with the girl of his dreams, Benny finds himself part of an altogether different night of discovery.

High spirits materialize as the experiment begins. Benny hampers Phil’s efforts at every turn, beginning with the board itself (a hastily acquired coffee table top and alphabet spaghetti letters), to taking sneaky cigarette breaks during the session.

Despite setbacks, Phil finally makes contact when someone from the spirit world joins the party. But rather than imparting secrets from the afterlife, the ghostly guest seems more interested in the contents of Benny’s whiskey bottle…

BOARD GAMES takes its cue from the works of classic comedy acts such as Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello. It features the familiar pairing of fussy straight man and hapless stooge in a quest bound for comical disaster, but with a contemporary edge. The traditional fare of visual gags, one-liners and slapstick violence are present, but updated for a modern audience. As Benny states, Phil’s experiment is “like a chat room for dweebs, but without the computers.”

Although effectively a two-man performance, the story is livened by the presence of the supernatural, bringing the duo’s makeshift planchette (a shot glass) to life. It adopts a personality and agenda of its own, rolling and leaping angrily off the board until appeased with a measure of whiskey.

It’s at this point that we get answers to the question posed at the beginning of the film. Benny is the ‘everyman’ of this story. The ghostly guest shares more in common with him and only materializes after he commits himself to the experiment. Phil may dismiss the spirit’s final message as gibberish, but it turns out to be more of a prophesy for Benny…

And there lies the answer to it all, as reflected in the film’s tagline: ‘There’s always another idiot waiting around the corner. Even in the afterlife.”

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Thanks again to all who entered. Remember, the deadline for The Write On! Online – February Challenge: Have a Heart is February 28th. Also check Write On! Online on March 1st for information on The March Challenge!

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  1. […] Congratulations to the Winners of the Write On! Online January Challenge: Review […]


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