Today’s Thriller Script Reading: COYOTE AND THE DUST DEVIL by Jonah Jones

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Best Scene from COYOTE AND THE DUST DEVIL Screenplay
Written by Jonah Jones
Read 10 Questions with the writer


How we connect with our inner selves and what happens when we fail to do so.


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JO – Aidan Black Allen
KRAMER- Steve Shand
CRANE – Brett Kelly


Best Scene Reading of COYOTE AND THE DUST DEVIL by Jonah Jones

Watch the Best Scene Reading of COYOTE AND THE DUST DEVIL:


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JO – Aidan Black Allen
KRAMER- Steve Shand
CRANE – Brett Kelly

Get to know writer Jonah Jones:

1. What is your screenplay about?

How we connect with our inner selves and what happens when we fail to do so.

2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It’s an original idea with plenty of room for visual indulgence. The landscape in which it’s set is one of the most stunning in terms of starkness and contrast. The ways in which the Mescalero Apache express themselves are at once simple and stunning and so the contrast between their way of thinking and our technology-based violence provides a great background conflict.

3. This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this story in two words?

God inside.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Not sure – Oh What a Lovely War, Ben Hur (1959 version), 2001, North by North-west and most of Laurel and Hardy.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The first set of notes on the subject were made in 2013. Other projects got in the way and then I really got down to it about a year ago.

6. How many stories have you written?

Probably in the hundreds – I’m pretty old.
I’ve written about ten short films and this is my third feature-length script.
Eight stage plays produced, two radio plays transmitted, several short stories published or broadcast and five or six novels that didn’t work.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

A sense of wonder that came from research for a failed novel, based on a successful radio play (The Triumph of the Cunning Man) in which I looked at aspects of the Mescalero Apache mysticism, their ways of perceiving this world and the way that their history is entangled with that of the atom bomb.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Several negative reviews – mainly along the lines that mysticism doesn’t sell or that I had too many main characters.

There were a couple of criticisms (numbers of characters and confusion as to which of them were meant to be significant) that meant I had to make fairly big changes to address them.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m in process of directing my first film – a short, written by someone else – and I’m enjoying it.

Music – I’m an old rocker, have eight guitars and jam with any other old rockers in the neighbourhood.

I also love graphic art. Have had some cartoons published.

I’m a recorder for this part of Wales – i.e. I record whatever wild-life I see when I’m wandering around and send it to a central database.

10. What influenced you to enter the Thriller/Suspense Festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The atmosphere that I gleaned from the web-page seemed like the sort of place I’d feel at home.

In the past, I’ve had good experiences with Canadian-based film-makers. I came third in the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition a few years back with a film called Planning Meeting. In a past life I was an animator and we always rated what was going on in Canada during the Seventies.

The first feedback was one of the most positive and kindest I’ve had. The second one didn’t seem as kind but it was still positive. I’ve revised the script to suit both. I’ve also revised the script after reviews I’ve had from other sources – some positive, some not so.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Get as many critiques as you can afford – and not from people who know you. I must have fifteen to twenty of them on this script. You can then see what issues come up most frequently and therefore need addressing. You can also see more clearly the weaknesses in the script that you knew to be there but didn’t want to admit.
Listen to everything everyone says and try to understand why they said it. I spoke to someone about the fact that one of my critics said that Anna killed people throughout the film. She doesn’t and so I was dismissive about the criticism. The other person said “But why did the critic think it might be true?” Make sure they can’t get it wrong.

Criticism is more use to you than praise but learn to judge the judges.

Watch the Table Read of the Thriller TV PILOT Winner “WESTBOUND”

Winner of best TV PILOT at the October 2015 Writing Festival

Watch WESTBOUND, by Jeff Alulis


Follows a group of individuals who live the world of “Train Hopping” and move from city to city around the United States.


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
Termite/Doughboy/Pennwise – Jerald Bezener
Uranium/Caboose – Rob Salerno
Emily/V-Switch – Misha Harding
Ozarks – Charles Gordon
Trails – Katelyn Cooper

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Deadline November 10th for Thriller/Suspense Film and Writing Festival

Deadline: FEATURE Screenplay Festival – Get FULL FEEDBACK. Get script performed by professional actors

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Watch Thriller 1st Scene Script Reading: THE CURSE OF SAM HAIN

Deadline October 20th for Thriller/Suspense Film and Writing Festival

Watch 1st Scene Script Reading of THE CURSE OF SAM HAIN:


The long survivor of a crash landing on a distant world becomes the surprising savior to the aborigines facing genocide.


NARRATOR – Frances Townend
Belenus – Sean Ballantyne
Sam Hain- Neil Kulin
Daughter – Julia Vally
Rider – Kaleb Alexander
Wife – Jacqueline Brown
Man #1 – Charles Gordon
Man #1 – Rob Salerno

Watch the Best Scene Thriller Screenplay Reading: I’M STILL HERE by Sean Elwood

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Watch I’M STILL HERE by Sean Elwood:


After a car accident nearly kills him, a young man begins to experience strange occurrences around his home, leaving him to believe that his near-death experience has opened the door between the living and the dead. As he attempts to uncover the truth, he discovers that his sanity might be at stake.


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
Ryan – Vince Jerad
Kayla – Alissa DeGrazia
Receptionist – Danielle Nicole

WATCH the past best scene readings and see what happens when you submit:

Watch the 1st Scene Reading of the THRILLER Screenplay LITTLE PROFESSOR

Deadline October 5th: FIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) SCREENPLAY FESTIVAL Get it performed at the festival. Full feedback

1st Scene Screenplay Reading: LITTLE PROFESSOR
May 2015 Reading

Written by Monte Light & Cooper Holmes


It’s a surreal crime thriller about three Las Vegas college students saddled with crippling debt. They break some laws, raise havoc. But when their friend overdoses on drugs, they take it on themselves to pay his out-of-control medical bills, which means they have to rob a very ruthless bank. Finally they must seek revenge against a manipulative drug dealer.


NARRATOR – Angelica Alejandro
SAM – Steve Rizzo
JACK STROOP – Craig Estrella
ZEBRA – David Occhipinti
DANNY – Sean Ballantyne
PRETTY WOMAN – Holly Sarchfield

WATCH past 1st Scene Festival readings: