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Screenplay Review: Anya

Anya, written by Mike Greenwood, won Best Screenplay of the Year at the 7th annual Top Shorts Film Festival. Here is the review from the judging team:


Anya is a teen comedy-drama with the protagonist being a Gen-Z punk girl. Young, angry and rebellious she may be, she still has a real talent for music, and a shy heart that desires love. This story demonstrates her daily life with her single father, her school life as well as a talent show audition she participated. The story captures the emotion of a certain type of teenagers, as well as represent some social topics like single parenting issue, family issue and so on.


The whole script is split into 5 parts. The teaser starts at the climax of the story then cut back to the past, providing a strong sense of suspense. From then, the story basically follows a more linear narrative with some flashbacks about Anya’s childhood inserting in the middle, while her parents were getting a divorce and a cliffhanger style ending implying what could happen next.


While the first act of the script mainly portrays Anya‘s every-day routine, it does develop a storyline that Anya had to go to a TV talent show audition. What I find most impressive is how packed and vivid the way Anya spent her daily life, her characteristics and her relationship with her father are delivered in this part. The narrative of act 1 is equally interesting and important as the later parts. As the story develops and gradually gets to climax, it gets better and better, with an almost surreal experience, a strong direct conflict between Anya and another distinct character as well as a showdown of Anya’s spectacular music talent. The whole plot feels tight, touching, suspenseful and powerful. The bond and conflict between Anya and other characters feels both realistic and romantic. The typical happy ending seems a bit deliberate but that’s all about story formula.


The dialogue in this script doesn’t quite impress me in the first place. But after I feel something different after reading the entire story. Although mostly written in a normal and conventional manner, every single line has its purpose, from shaping a character to creating conflict and push the story forward, the simple and direct dialogue works in a good way. Anya’s rap lyrics is the best part of the dialogue which helps establishing Anya’s true self.


The writer's greatest success is in creating the protagonist, emphasizing her motivation and character traits. Anya is a teenage girl with a strong yet complex personality and a rather extreme (anarchical) agenda. But beside such a distinctive main character, the story also offers a set of well-developed side characters such as Anya’s father Frank, who drown himself in alcohol and decadence, producer Devin, who is a typical control freak and tyrant. All these characters are entangled together to make the story filled with dramatic moments.

Congratulations, Mike!

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