What’s going on with Two Pages a Week?

Two Pages a Week is currently going through a redesign. Soon it will be easier to browse all the scripts and see all the short films that have been made. Once the new design is live I will post all the new films to the site, sorry it has taken me so long to get to it.

In the meantime why not browse the Script Index or read my top five scripts?

Gravediggers – Something smells rotten in the state of Denmark. Two familiar gravediggers have a chat at the end of a busy day.

Touch – A young woman has retreated from society because she freezes everything and everyone she touches.

Taste – In a mysterious patisserie, pastry chef Dulcia sells quick fixes and solutions to an array of problems.

Smell – A strange detective surveys the scene of a murder.

Last Drink at the Urbis Club – Mr. Melville and Okuma have come to the mysterious Urbis Club for a drink, but one of them has some business to attend to.

Film: Mugged!

The first guest script has been made! Alexa Brown’s script Mugged! has been made by Elizeth Labega from California. Hope you like it.

Firstly, here’s Alexa:

I am delighted that my first two pager, Mugged, has been made into a short film. I wrote it after thinking about all the seemingly vital (but ultimately unimportant) things I carry about with me and how I would hate to lose them. Talking to Zee, the director, I realised how UK-specific parts of the dialogue were: the brand names and turns of phrase that were a mystery to US ears. So she and I had a fun time adapting the script a little from the original printed version.

Zee and the cast have done a fantastic job – I hope you enjoy it too!

and Here’s a few interesting notes from Elizeth:

This was my third non-documentary short film. The horse head mask and NERF guns during the credits are references to my two earlier short films.

My “storyboards” consisted of stick-figures drawn on the back of business cards.

This was my first time making a non-documentary film that was a) written by someone else and b) featured dialogue.

Penelope was originally going to be the mugger.

I was hoping for an overcast day so I could shoot it during the day and try to make it look like nighttime. Overcast days are common here on the central coast of California, but on shooting day Mother Nature had plans and the sun came out with a vengeance!

At the last minute I got Clarke to help me out and be the mugger. He didn’t have much time to look at the script.

In addition to writing the script Alexa Brown was a cultural interpreter and helped me Americanize the story, otherwise I would have had the actress pull an oyster shell from her bag. I didn’t know that an Oyster is a public transportation card in London. Hahahaha!

Everyone involved in making this short film had fun!

Where are all the new two-pagers?

Hi all,

You have probably noticed that there hasn’t been a new script for a while now. This is because I have been busy finishing off a webseries, working hard on a new draft of a feature spec and developing a new pilot and a new feature. The weekly scripts will be back soon, probably the new year. In the meantime why not catch up on any scripts you’ve missed or leave a comment on your favourites (or least favourite)?

Hope you all have a merry Christmas!


Téja’s Top Ten: Part Two

Here, as promised, is the second part of Téja’s top ten. Thanks again Téja!

It’s Wednesday! And with Robert Lee in the air somewhere over our globe en route to a new life in Australia, it’s time for my final Top Five Two Pagers! I have to admit these were tough to put into any kind of order because I love them all, and I surprised even myself with a couple of more recent works trumping older favourites. Hope you like them too 🙂

#5 – The Sleeping Beauty
The sentimentality in this script makes me hold my breath…and then an instant later it takes me completely by surprise. Perfectly toned and paced, this little story fits wonderfully into the two page format, and would make in incredible festival short. In an early draft it was set in an old lighthouse, and that sense of barren isolation is the only thing I miss.

#4 – Last Drink At the Urbis Club
I am still amazed at the richness of setting and costume, such wonderful characters and an entire mythology encapsulated in two short pages…so many possibilities for layers upon layers of meaning infused into the making of this as a film, and again I think it could be a real hit at the festivals. I love the premise, the richness of the world, the understated not-over-explained nature of the plot. And bizarrely, this would probably be the easiest script on my Top 5 list to actually film…

#3 – Chromathymia
One of the earliest Two Pagers, this grabbed my heart the minute I read it, and ever since it has been my #1. But much to my surprise, when I first started to make my Top 10 I re-read all of the shortlisted scripts, and it became clear how much Robert Lee has developed as a writer since then. I still love the concept here, the visual nature of the film and the insight into the whimsical way that Rob sees the world, but I now also think that the dialogue and the tricks themselves could use a little refresh to bring them up to standard.

#2 – Touch
I consider this to be a sister-film to Chromathymia and love it for all the same reasons; the charming whimsy, the visual nature of the premise, the magical way of looking at the world. On top of that, I think the emotional content is wonderfully paced and it is just a better written script. And yes, I’m a sucker for a good love story 🙂

#1 – Ellipse
We’ve been working with these two characters for a while now and I might be somewhat biased because I’ll admit to being a bit emotionally invested in their story. I adore their dynamic, their adventures and particularly the surreal way that Remy experiences his world, perfectly illustrated in this small vignette. Rob’s trademark whimsy abounds, but the core here is a strong sense of friendship and fallibility that is both thoroughly delightful and completely relatable. Well written, nicely paced, satisfyingly stand alone; Ellipse is flights of fancy with a strong emotional core – fantastic 🙂

Téja’s Top Ten: Part One

I have decided to begin my hiatus a week early as I have been far too busy preparing to move my family to the other side of the planet. So instead my good friend Téja Hudson has compiled her top ten two pagers and written a little bit about each one.

Téja is an important part of my process when writing these two pagers. Every week I will send the first draft to her and we will spend some time discussing the strengths and weaknesses before I tackle the next draft. I really can’t say enough nice things about Téja and I’m going to miss living in the same city as her (and indeed the same country, continent and hemisphere).

So in ascending order, Téja’s top ten part one:

#10 – Life Support

This is such a touching script, simple idea but with enough personality to make it both funny and sad and beautiful. I also think it’s a really well-structured example of the two-page format, of what can be achieved emotionally in such a short space.

#9 – Chronology and the Captain

Again, I love the simplicity of this one, but also the underlying depth of emotion of both characters. There is something so true and so human about what these two focus on when the whole of time and space are at their disposal. Lovely stuff.

#8 – Hole in the Head

Once again, Robert mixes serious ideas with delightful whimsy. I love this script for the caravan in the middle of the desert, for the scrap metal wind chimes and for that final line of dialogue, which turns everything upside down in my own head.

#7 – Falling Into the Sky

I love everything about this script, except maybe the title (which I feel gives away the surprise of the first scene). A strong, simple set-up and a delightful pay-off nonetheless, with rich characters that leave me wanting more.

#6 – The Gravediggers

I happen to think this script is kind of perfect; the only reason it isn’t higher up on my list is because I suppose I have a personal bias towards contemporary films and I’m completely in love with each of the five script I ranked higher.
Wonderfully descriptive characters, a new angle to an old story, and the feeling of being “in on the joke” all make this script a thoroughly enjoyable read. It also made me run for my copy of Hamlet again…

Make sure you check out the top five next week.

Two Pages a Week: Year One

A year ago today I posted the first two pager to this blog, a little script I wrote for the 50 Kisses competition called The Girl With the Camera. Since then I have had meetings with development executives and producers, had some films made and met one of my favourite screenwriters. All thanks to Two Pages a Week.

It started when my good friend Téja Hudson challenged me to write two pages a week. She liked The Girl With the Camera and thought the exercise might be a good way to hone the craft. She was right, not only do I think I have become a better writer but I have also found a voice and learned a lot of lessons. I can look at each of the scripts I’ve written so far and it represents a different lesson; be more concise, don’t hide the subtext too deep, take the time to think of a better title, introduce the conflict earlier…

Every writer has a drawer or folder full of sketches, notes and interesting articles, this was a chance to raid that, to get all the ideas that swim around in my head out there in some form. But there was also the chance that some of them might be made. I decided to offer the scripts for free to any directors or producers who might stumble across them. Soon enough I was contacted by Adam Plum with his charming version of King of the Cats (only four days after it had been posted I might add) and it was soon followed by Andrew Mitrak’s wonderful One Way Single with hopefully more to follow.

It may not seem like much but reaching a year of doing this certainly means a lot to me and I would like to thank my beautiful, supportive wife, Severine and daughter Clémentine, my very good friend (and proofreader) Téja Hudson, and all my friends, family, guest writers, and collaborators who remain constant inspiration.

Stay tuned.

Robert j. Lee – 25 July 2013