Flat Pennies

Creator: Robert Ward
Genre: Drama
Age rating: 13 and older
A shut-in hires a mysterious teen as an errand boy who helps him conquer his fears of the outside world and fight for the love of the woman next door — before the identity of the teen is revealed.

FLAT PENNIES is the story of IAN, late-30s, who lives in a dark apartment, alone, with just his extensive model railroad layout. His next door neighbor, ANTOINETTE (30-ish), a soon-to-be single mom with a 10-year-old boy TYLER, is dealing with an insensitive and abusive estranged husband MATT (late-20s).

Living in fear and peeking through his curtains, Ian witnesses many of the altercations between Antoinette and Matt. Ian is too frightened to get involved, though a deep part within himself wants to help. Ian battles feelings of weakness and worthlessness as he lives his entombed lifestyle in a wheelchair. The landlord of the apartment complex, a colorful and domineering MRS. GUTH is an antagonizing force in Ian's life as she constantly blames his layout for power outages at the complex. Ian also has to deal with Matt soon enough when Ian finally gets involved in trying to defend Antoinette and Tyler.

Entering Ian's life is ALEX, a profound 17-year-old who answers Ian's ad for an errand boy. They develop an odd friendship and through Alex, Ian gains the confidence to venture outside, to go shopping at stores rather than online, to get a nicer apartment in a better area of town, and to even fight for the love of Antoinette. For most of the screenplay, Antoinette believes that Ian is a former firefighter, injured on a call, and now a paraplegic. The model railroad layout has many staged scenes where miniature plastic emergency personnel and firefighters are rescuing people in various situations.

Ian and Antoinette fall in love and begin a relationship that's constantly harangued by Matt. Ian grows in confidence and inner strength to the point where he can say goodbye to Alex, not needing his services anymore. Ian vanquishes the troublesome Matt after saving Tyler in an arson fire that Matt set in Ian's apartment as a way of getting rid of Ian. Antoinette soon learns that Ian was no firefighter but instead an engineer aboard a freight train that smashed into a passenger train.

Ian explains to Antoinette who Alex really is. That Alex, his make-believe errand boy, was killed years ago as a four-year-old along with his parents and several others aboard the passenger train. Ian describes how he calls forth Alex whenever Ian needs help during the crises of life. Alex, along with all the people depicted in the layout's staged rescue scenes were all killed by Ian's freight train. Ian has spent many years in his wheelchair living with immense guilt, the reason he daydreams about rescuing those he killed by using his model railroad layout.

The story ends with Ian and Antoinette leaving each other — only to reunite a short while later to live the idyllic family life.

Latest Work

All Work

  • Script 24 - Robert's 21st Draft
    Creative Notes:
    Due to feedback I received from others at Amazon Studios, I clarified my script's use of several daydream scenes and sequences by annotating exactly when the story shifts to and from such scenes and sequences.
  • Script 23 - Robert's 20th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This version replaces the last uploaded version which I mistakenly uploaded.
  • Script 22 - Robert's 19th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    For this revision, I re-entered most of the cuts I had previously made, in an effort to bring the screenplay back to its original and authentic version -- essentially back to the version that was placed on Amazon Studios' "New & Notable" List for a couple of months early last year.
  • Script 21 - Robert's 18th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision has numerous plot changes that lead to a more cohesive story line. I also replaced a lot of on-the-nose dialogue throughout the script.
  • Script 20 - Robert's 17th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This current version has been reworked to improve the dialogue of the powerful and unique storyline.
  • Script 19 - Robert's 16th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision underwent numerous changes -- now a script that Greg Beal, the Director of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, noted received two positive reads in 2012's competition. I increased dramatic tension within daydream scenes; massaged quite a bit of dialogue; added a "forgive me" motif within daydreams; and removed all amateurish character parentheticals. A perfect project for AS.
  • Script 18 - Robert's 15th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision is a major rewrite of the last version. I eliminated several characters and deleted superfluous scenes to tighten the script and make it more coherent, while editing all the dialogue to remove on-the-nose wastage. A severe rewrite.
  • Script 17 - Jamster's 2nd Draft
    Creative Notes:

    My second draft is based on the notes that I made in my review of Robert's excellent story.

    I mostly concentrated on the dialogue, changed/lost a few scenes - whilst leaving stuff that I thought really worked well alone.

    I hope that this draft helps Robert get "FP" closer to be 'considered' by AS - enjoy, with much respect, Jim.
  • Script 16 - Robert's 14th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision has been lightly edited since the last version, incorporating some of the feedback I've received since my last upload. Also, since my last upload, I received a valuable review from noted nationally acclaimed screenplay reviewer Carson Reeves, who said "Flat Pennies": "... actually has a great ending. Like “holy shit” level ending. I was shocked."
  • Script 15 - Jamster's 1st Draft
  • Script 14 - Robert's 13th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This version is ideal for the Consider List. It's one of the most recognized projects at Amazon Studios (475 downloads), discussed in the forums, with innumerable opinions regarding improvement. Though the script needs renovations, the nationally acclaimed screenplay reviewer Carson Reeves said it: "... actually has a great ending. Like “holy shit” level ending. I was shocked."
  • Script 13 - Robert's 12th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision is the script I want everyone to read. I have placed some new action scenes into the storyline and changed the ending of the script to reflect these additions. I believe that this, the 12th draft, is a more powerful read, with improved flow and pacing, and the overall emotional impact is heightened and intensified. I hope you enjoy reading my draft 12 as much as I enjoyed writing it.
  • Script 12 - Robert's 11th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    I changed my screenplay to reflect back on my original idea for this engrossing story. I also incorporated much of the feedback I received from others here. Plus, used a somewhat horrific cover pic for punch. Enjoy this ghost story ride!
  • Script 11 - Robert's 10th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    In this revision, I analyzed all of the characters' lexicon and exchanged weaker words for more powerful ones, thereby strengthening the dynamic flow and power of each interaction between characters. The scenes now have much more emotional weight and punch.
  • Script 9 - Robert's 9th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    I added crosscuts early to introduce my main character sooner; gave my protag a more pronounced character arc; showed both main characters having fun to balance out sad scenes; chopped up verbose action, giving what remained some breathing room; massaged all dialogue so subtext could bubble up; and made structural changes to make the shocking ending more powerful.
  • Script 7 - Robert's 7th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This version has the daydreams removed to make for a lighter, quicker read. (For those of you desiring a richer, more complex read, the 5th revision (Script 5) should also be read for a full experience of the original storyline, which contains the daydreams as intended.) I also went through the dialogue and made some of it a little snappier and less "on the nose", as they say in the business.
  • Script 6 - Robert's 6th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This version has the daydreams removed to make for a lighter, quicker read. (For those of you desiring a richer, more complex read, please check out the 5th revision (Script 5), which contains the daydreams as originally intended.)
  • Script 5 - Robert's 5th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    In this revision I tweaked the old dialogue and added some new dialogue. I also created a new cover image and new logline.
  • Script 4 - Robert's 4th Draft
    Creative Notes:
    In this revision I removed most of the profanity to make the script more acceptable to a wider audience. I also changed the logline.
  • Script 3 - Robert's 3rd Draft
    Creative Notes:
    In this revision I edited some of the narrative and dialogue after reading the reviews of my script that offered suggestions to make my script stronger. I also added some wording to the cover image.
  • Script 2 - Robert's 2nd Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This revision was a major correction and edit of all the weird symbols and imperfections that occurred when the original file was changed from Final Draft to RTF.
  • Script 1 - Robert's Original Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This script, after being downloaded here, was full of weird symbols and imperfections after undergoing a change from Final Draft to RTF. I will need to revise and submit a second draft immediately.