Official Entry of the 2017 Academy Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting Award
Reader Comments

Title of submitted screenplay: The Gray Truth
Screenwriter: Stacy Dymalski
Comedy, Dark, Thriller, Noir, Satire
104 pages
Log line of the screenplay:
When all evidence points to Gray Dudley as a murder suspect, he decides to film a documentary about the victim in order to help the police find the real killer. His plan backfires when he falls for the daughter of the deceased, forcing him to choose between freedom or love.

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Screenplay Title: The Gray Truth Screenplay #: 485

Round 1 ­ Read 1 Comments:

What is well captured in this script is the craziness of what it takes to get a movie made. It keenly dramatizes the necessary luck, the funding, which comes and goes, and the insecurities and desperation of the people involved, not to mention the egos. True, there isn’t anything unique to what is portrayed here, but it stays consistently entertaining, although some of the actions are a tad over-the-­top.

Crafted with skill, the settings are portrayed with short, but effective images. The script rolls along at a good pace with characters whose motivations are clear­cut. The protagonist, Gray, is easy to relate to, but also to laugh at. What is perfectly illustrated is that this man has a huge opinion of himself, and how people like him often self-­sabotage just when things are going so well.

The dialogue has some real snap and edge to it with characters constantly firing out insults at each other. These people live in a world where nobody can be trusted and that is well established.

It all builds to an ending that has a nice twist to it, although this reveal could have been a little better foreshadowed. It also underlines one of the messages of this cautionary tale – that you better be careful what you wish for at heart.

Round 1 ­ Read 2 Comments:

The opening reverses our expectations right off the bat, and from there it embarks on a speedy jaunt through territory that traverses dark comedy and noir with equal dexterity. Boasting an endless array of witty lines, this script employs familiar devices like flashbacks and voiceover and uses them in the most appropriate way to illuminate the mystery behind Gray’s murder conviction.

The script skewers Hollywood’s fickle taste as Gray sets out to produce something absurdly akin to “THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON meets NUNSENSE.” The fact that he is beholden to financier Court who strong­arms him into casting his daughter Ava sets up the conflict well. Told via flashbacks in an interview with a reporter, the action unfolds in an engaging manner as we realize that there are many nuances to the scenario. The last act is the most impressive as the action continues to keep us on our toes with a surprise reveal.

The script incorporates a nice noir element, balancing it out with satire to broaden the appeal. Sure there are some silly elements, such as the nun film plot, and the female characters aren’t necessarily the most dimensional, but factor in some hilarious voiceover and a charismatic protagonist and this murder mystery manages to hit all the right notes.

Click below to see the original coverage document submitted by the Academy Nicholl Fellowship