Shiny Penny (feature)

First Place Winner, Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s AAA Screenplay Competition, 2011

Magic-Realism, Horror-y, Awesome

When a reclusive children’s book author befriends a sick student whose reality is ripped apart, he must resurrect his belief in the raw force of imagination and selfless love in order to save her life.


Stephen Sparrow is a middle-aged professor. And a raging cynic. The author of a classic children’s book, he hasn’t written a word in years, not since his lover, Jacob, was gunned down in a robbery. He’s practically a recluse, but begins to open up when he meets…

Penny, a quirky college student who’s seen better times: her boyfriend’s a dick, her mom is dying a slow and excruciatingly painful death, and Penny’s lost her grip on reality. Sure it could be the tumor in her brain, but she also has the feeling that there’s something… else, there under the surface of everything. Even under her very own skin. Something dying to get out… And in this helpless state, she turns to Stephen, who takes her in and slowly learns to care again.

To love again.

To believe again.

Which is asking a lot, because not only is there something inside Penny dying to get out, she’s being assaulted by a bizarre and grotesque world all around her—fantastical creatures nobody else can see. And some of these things aren’t playing nice—especially Pinocchianna, an evil bitch of a puppet who’s really jonzing for some flesh of her own…and she’s got her eye on Penny’s.

And if she gets it—if that puppet rips off every inch of Penny’s flesh, what’s left? Can Penny really be just a wooden puppet underneath it all? And if so, can she still feel pain? What happens if you chuck her in a fire or saw her leg off? Do puppets scream? We’ll find out…

Because both Penny and Stephen discover something the rest of us have forgotten: The every day world is filled with monsters and ogres and magic invisible to everyone. Hell, sometimes WE’RE the monsters ourselves, we’re giants, we’re capable of horror and wonder, and the tragedy of the human condition is, we don’t even know it. We just know that something’s missing.

We’re all string-less and our sole salvation is found in the life and love we give to someone else. And in the end, all these characters find that salvation. And pay for it with their lives. But we’re okay with that, because, well, this is one hell of a beautiful and horrific fairy tale. 


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