Far From The Trees // First Read Radio

Far From The Trees

Far From The Trees // First Read Radio

Turning short films scripts into radio plays! First Read Radio is a beefed up table read professionally recorded with voice actors and sound designed by a team of top-notch audiophiles all while under the direction of an experienced storytelling team.

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The saying goes “boys will be boys,” however when a prank goes too far for Gillian, she conjures the creature of the forest to help her settle the score. But, how far is too far?


Written by: Gary Jones
Directed by: Gary Jones
Sound Supervisor and Editor: Ryan Gottshall + Gary Jones
Produced by: Awfully Good Media


Narrator: Sean Barnhill
Gillian: Jamie Creedon
Billy/Teacher: Simon Hill

Have a script you’d like to hear on the show? Submit today! We’re accepting scripts 15 pages or less for season 2 now.

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Far From the Trees


Written by

Gary A. Jones



Angle on a large black eyeball, not human, but amphibian. Reflected is an old brick and mortar school house. A GECKO crawls across a concrete wall, making its way toward the main planters on the other side of the walkway.

A loud bell RINGS out, stopping the little guy in his tracks.

Countless pairs of feet storm passed it as the gecko tries to evade multicolored shoes stampeding toward the front doors of the building.


And just like that, the gecko is flattened. A rock is pulled back to reveal a dark haired boy with cold eyes brandishing a hellish grin; this is BILLY, 13. He quickly admires his work, then hustles back with the rest of the STUDENTS.

We are left staring at a gruesome murder scene of one defenseless gecko. GILLIAN, 13, wears a generic plaid school uniform and unconventional fiery red hair.

Billy observes from a distance as Gillian gently picks up the carcass and places it into a small hole dug into the soft soil. Sending the gecko to a place of rest.

The last bell RINGS as...


...Gillian sits in the center of an unruly classroom buried deep into a book designed with beautifully ornate foliage and gold leaf ink. The title on the front reads: Tales from the Mythic Forest.



Students sprint across a green field tossing balls, playing tag. Gillian sits perched against a tree, flipping through pages of old Celtic drawings depicting a man grown from the earth.



Gillian straddles a cement wall, rummaging through a brown paper sack. She pulls out a sandwich and unwraps it. A gentle breeze flows through her hair and for a brief moment she takes time to be present with Mother Nature.

Billy and a brood of his idiotic buddies, maybe 2-3, watch as Gillian feels the wind move all around her. It’s weird.


The moment passes and Gillian takes a bite of her sandwich. Immediately she springs to her feet spitting everything to ground. She looks to find a tail of the gecko on the floor.

Billy laughs uncontrollably, starting a chain reaction of giggles and pointed fingers throughout the yard.



A ruler hits against a chalkboard held by a TEACHER wearing a tweed jacket and a greasy comb-over, his names not important, all that’s important is the word CHAMELEON written across the board.


Who can tell me how the chameleon manages to stay alive in the wild?

Rows of kids roll their eyes. Some asleep. Some glazed over looking off into nothing.

Agitated tapping is heard behind Gillian who's sketching flowers and vines onto paper.

The tapping develops into a loud and heavy rhythmic thud with ever stroke of her pencil. Gillian peers at the ticking clock on the wall. The second hand in sync with the tapping.

Quickly it builds momentum till aggravation sets in. She presses the lead deeper and deeper into the paper unit, snap!

She swiftly turns behind her to find the source of her angst coming from Billy who's staring right at her. His dirt infested fingers tapping on the desk.



Gillian’s face turns red as she looks around the room to, everyone staring back at her.

She stands from her desk. All eyes on her.




What about it?

Gillian finds Billy glaring at her intently.


It’s used to blend into an environment so it can be hidden.

Billy’s eyes are fixed on Gillian as she stands there. Uncomfortable in her own skin. Naked and in the open.




Gillian storms out of the school doors, rushing down the stairs as fast as her legs can move. She trips, falling to the ground, pages of floral drawings scatter everywhere.

Kids rush from behind, paying no attention.

Billy strides past Gillian, eyes beaming and a grin that makes her skin turn to R.L. Stein goosebumps.

The wind kick her pages into the air, blowing further away from her reach. She chases them down as each gust scatters them further into it the...


She grabs the last drawing and finds herself far from the school. Isolated from anyone. Wind rushes through the trees.

Sounds of inaudible whispers creep from behind her. Gillian turns quickly to find nothing but rustling leaves and branches.

She takes notice to a beautiful autumn tree, splashed with vibrant orange, yellow and red fronds.

She takes in the breeze, gently closing her eyes feeling it as it passes through her body.


The sounds of the wind moves through the trees all. In the distance, birds chirp at the sun. All of it, together, transforms into one harmonized symphony. Then...


(whispers) Hide.

Gillian snaps out of her trance to find Billy standing nose to nose.

Billy shoves her against a tree. Gillian's frightened but not quick to run. Billy reaches into his pocket and pulls out a KNIFE. He thrusts it against her thigh.


Let’s see if you’re really a redhead, huh?

The knife glides along her leg and up her skirt. Gillian stands strong, eyes fixed on his. She gasps as the knife slowly digs into her skin. Not too deep. Just enough to get Gillian to squirm.


I don’t see you stopping me.

Blood cascades down her leg as the knife sinks deeper...

BOY (O.S.)

Billy! Come on...

A group of BOYS, 2-3, stand in the distance. Billy puts his knife back into his pocket.


See you around.

And just like that, he disappears into the woods. Gillian wipes the tears from her cheeks.



Gillian sits at a cluttered vanity mirror, studying herself. She pulls up her skirt to find a puncture mark.



Wedged between her disconnected PARENTS Gillian stares off into a television her FATHER channel surfs through. Nothing but bullshit advertisements for cookware and golf equipment.

He leaves the channel on an old black and white Creature Feature: Creature from the Black Lagoon.


The gray sea MONSTER bursts out of the water, grabbing it’s victim and dragging them into the depths of the sea.


Gillian’s eyes come back to life. She leans in closer to the screen.


Gillian rummages through old boxes of COSTUMES, uncovering an old ghillie suit and a box of leaves from a production of something with tree’s.


Billy glares at Gillian’s empty desk.


Billy and his group kick rocks and light firecrackers as they make their way through the woods.

The wind picks up and a gentle howl moves through the trees. Billy takes notice.



The Boys stop and all listen. Another faint HOWL in the distance.


What the hell is that?


A wolf?


No wolfs out here.


Yeah there is. My dad told me--


Shut up.

A gust of wind blows through the trees and the Boys turn behind them to find a LARGE GREEN MAN, ten feet tall with hands the size of a bears and face like vines.

The Boys escape to the woods for dear life, squealing.

Billy slips over his feet and nose dives into a rock, knocking him out cold.

The Green Man stands laughing watching the Boys shriek in terror and high tail out. Gillian takes the mask off.



You should have seen your face.

Her eyes widen as she looks at Billy's who’s not moving. She quickly turns him over, revealing a blood soaked mouth.

Gillian peers around for help, but the Boys are already too far. She looks back to Billy who leaps from his unconscious state and wraps his hands around Gillian's neck.

Gillian fights with everything she has, gasping for any bit of air she can.

Gillian's hands fumble to find anything to defend herself with.


You like playing games...

She reaches into Billy's pocket, pulling out his KNIFE.

Billy smacks it out of her hand. A brief moment of air. Gillian takes a large gasp before Billy’s hands regroup around her throat. This time tighter.

Gillian’s eyes flutter as life begins to flee. She takes comfort in the wind and the rustling tree branches.

A strong gust blows leaves through the air, revealing a large rock.

Gillian’s fingers stretch toward it and in an instant she pulls up the rock and smashes it again Billy’s head.

Quickly, Gillian straddles Billy and begins to shatter his face into unrecognizable pieces. Blow after blow. She screams out in fear.

With one final THUD, Billy’s body goes limp.

Gillian gazes at the lifeless body. She moves to her feet as the tree’s begin to sing. Wind blows through her, she can feel its energy.

The wind blows leaves that begin to covering Billy’s body. Camouflaging it with the earth.

Gillian stalks past the mound, and blends into the beautiful autumn trees as we...



Passing // Daily Pick


A child is confronted after a prank becomes a hate crime.

Director Vision

No one ever talks about the moment you find out you are white. Or the moment you find out you are black. That's a profound revelation. The minute I found out I was mixed I had to renegotiate everything.

Skywatch // Featured Short


When two outcast teens hack into a ubiquitous drone delivery system to pull a prank on their neighbor, they accidentally crash-land a dangerous prototype

SKYWATCH is a short sci-fi thriller, starring Uriah Shelton, Zach Callison, with an appearance by Jude Law. Yes, the Jude Law. Shelton and Callison play two outcast teens who figure out how to hack into a drone delivery system - the Amazon of the future - to swap shipments in transit and pull a prank on the girl next door. After they accidentally crash a drone on their apartment rooftop, they scramble to cover their tracks – but stumble upon a corporate secret that puts their very lives in danger. The short doesn't come from no one, as you might have already heard of Colin Levy right here on Film Shortage. Colin's psychological thriller 'The Secret Number' was featured on FS in 2012, winning none other than the Top short of that year. We had a short chat with Colin to tell us about his ambitious proof-of-concept.

How did the idea come about? Did you get a bad Amazon delivery?

I never feel like I have enough time – at any given point, there’s something important I’m neglecting. Sometimes it feels like an inconvenience to even have to eat. Ugh, do I really have to go to the grocery right now?

I found myself fantasizing about a future where fridges can restock themselves. What would that look like? How far off is this future, really? How would it impact the world? I kept returning to this thought experiment, and story ideas kept coming to me. I’ve been wanting to make a sci-fi action thriller since I first saw Minority Report at the age of 15, and I felt like this near-future world was rich with narrative potential for a story in that genre. The story about a teenage hacker who exposes the dark side of the system felt like a lot of my favorite movies mixed into one – and I knew I had to make it!

There are tons of graphic interface in the film. We absolutely love how you kept it user-friendly and not go over-the-top sci-fi futuristic. What was your design process?

I was really fortunate to work with some great graphic designers and concept artists on this project! We all shared a vision for how to keep it believable and grounded, yet visually clear and useful for the story. The process involved a lot of iteration over a period of months and years, but very proud of how it all came together. In particular I need to shout out Matt Bell (concept art) and Bailey Kalesti (graphic + motion design) for their incredible work!

Would like to ask how you got the cameo… but your video on ‘How to Get a World-Famous Actor for Your Short Film’ is just fantastic!

Haha, thanks so much!

Out of curiosity, what was your plan B if you couldn’t get a famous actor?

We would have just found / cast someone else – someone who you might not recognize, but could really send a chill down your spine. But we didn't have any specific plans!

The film is certainly getting lots of traction online, what’s next for the Proof-of-Concept?

Thanks so much! It's exciting to finally get to share it with the world. This was designed as a proof of concept for a feature film, for which I have written a screenplay – so I really hope that I get the chance to continue playing in the world of Skywatch. Since the short's release last month there have been a lot of great meetings and conversations... the future is still cloudy but I'm cautiously optimistic!

Knock Down Ginger // Featured Short Film

Knock Down Ginger

When a prank goes wrong on a London estate - Sarah-Lee learns that it's not all fun and games when it comes to growing up.

With not much else to do apart from cause trouble on the block - Knock Down Ginger is a coming of age film that explores female companionship, peer pressure and consequences. Set in the era of Nokia phones, tracksuit bottoms, reebok classics, old school garage and drum and bass, for some viewers it will have a feeling of nostalgia. The main character initially wants to hang out with a gang of older girls but struggles to impress them - meanwhile a prank goes wrong and Sarah -Lee learns that it's not all fun and games when it comes to growing up.

The idea came about because I used to do this kind of stuff when I was younger. I definitely went through that phase as a teenager and have lots of different memories. For this film I had one scene in my head for ages - which was a gang of girls running like mad down a tower block stairwell, I couldn't get it out of my head so I decided to create a story around it. I saw that Film London and the BFI were funding 20 short films so that was my chance to get the idea on paper and submit it for funding. The main goal of the short was to make a film that I myself, and my mates would enjoy. I wanted it to be exciting and entertaining and wanted to challenge myself with the story.

The film gets just about every feeling right, the connections, the excitement, the rage and fear, as well as the sheer force of teenagers feeding off each other. Directed and brought together by Cleo Samoles-Little who brought her own personal experiences into the basis of the film, but relies on a solid cast to deliver the great tensions and drama. The drum and bass just pulls all the rest together.

Last Day of Summer

Last Day of Summer

It's the last day of summer in rural Illinois, 1967. A boy lays on his back alone in the dirt. Trying to catch his breath, sweat rolling down his face, he remembers a recent encounter with two other boys. As the conversation unfolds we slowly realize who we are seeing and why he's alone.