One of my favorite activities on the Script Hive Discord server is the One Page Challenge.
Every week, a new prompt is posted with a call for entries. Anyone can submit as long as their script is no longer than a page. The prizes are generally only the accolades of your peers, but there are occasional guest hosts and more significant prizes.
It’s a great way to keep my writing muscles limber and get immediate feedback. I think it’s helped me improve my writing craft significantly over the past year, and it’s also given me inspiration for a few ideas that I might turn into longer pieces.
My Favorite Submissions (So Far)
Prompt, Week #27
- A bus ride
- A character is daydreaming
Title: Where the Road Curves
Logline: A bus ride on a darkened rural road is all a young woman needs to find supernatural help.
Notes: This is easily my favorite of the OPCs I’ve written so far. It also got the most votes for the week.
Prompt, Week #64
- The genre is ‘Horror’
- A birth – could be the birth of a child, an invention, a group or organization etc.
- No dialogue allowed
Title: The New Queen
Logline: When a king forces his queen to drink a potion to make her young again, there are bloody results.
Notes: I was really happy with how this one turned out and decided to rewrite it as a short story.
Prompt, Week #66
- The scene takes place in a busy location.
- A twisted or unlikely romance.
Title: A Storm of Wings
Logline: When military men corner a young woman, she calls for supernatural help.
Notes: I really enjoy the gothic fantasy tone I achieved here.
Prompt, Week #74
- A character’s life is changed forever.
Title: Outer Rim Café
Logline: Two friends catch up at a space station cafe, but things take a strange turn when one notices a bee.
Prompt, Week #77
- The Genre is: Adventure
- Your main character/s is under 16
- A surprise!
Title: The Bone Forest
Logline: A scout and his talking squirrel friend journey through a forest made of bones.
Notes: This one received the most votes for the week.
Prompt, Week #81
- Your page takes place in one location.
- A place you would never expect to be haunted.
- A gruesome death using only two action lines.
Title: Eidolon Vintage
Logline: When a young woman visits a strange vintage shop, the shopkeeper makes it difficult to browse in peace.
Notes: This received the most votes for the week and the guest host picked it as a runner-up.
Prompt, Week #87
- The sub-genre is: Budget Horror
- You must open the page on the image of a physical object
- And close the page on an image of that same object
Logline: Four girls hang out in an empty house, but their night takes a dark turn when they play a game.
Notes: This script placed as a quarter-finalist in the 2022 Killer Shorts contest. Pretty cool!
All Other Submissions
Prompt, Week #18
- A setting with a pool
- A voice-over narrator
Title: The Pool Car
Logline: A private detective searching for a missing girl takes a ride in a strange car.
Notes: This was my first attempt at a one page challenge, but I haven’t shared it until now.
Prompt, Week #19
- This is page 75 of a feature film, all hope is lost for our main character
- The main character must be John Goodman, playing himself
- The page/main scene must take place in a moving vehicle
Logline: Two versions of John Goodman, one young and one old, make last-minute plans as they ride in a fairy seed-ship.
Notes: This is the first OPC I actually posted on the server. I fully admit to making it as weird as possible!
Prompt, Week #20
- Your page must focus on the inciting incident of a feature film
- You must include the line “This can’t be accurate?” in dialogue
- Choose one of the following as your setting:
- Somewhere underground
- Motel Room
- Fast Food Restaurant
Title: Mister Lonestar
Logline: A mysterious trickster tries to convince an angry young man to become his apprentice.
Notes: This won second place in a guest-hosted challenge.
Prompt, Week #21
- Your Protagonist is introduced in their identifying environment. Use whatever you want to get there.
- Your MC is not aligned with that environment. Any way to accomplish this is fine. Some examples might be:
- Highlighting the opposite ideals of your MC (as advertised by Craig Mazin)
- Indicating your MC is trying to be something they are not (see K. M. Weiland)
- Setting your MC up with a difficult decision that will impact their future lives wholly (R. McKee).
- Or forge your own paradigm! There are literally no rules here, only subjective interpretations of emotional resonance.
Title: The Fire Remembered
Logline: A young farm girl tussles with a dragon.
Prompt, Week #22
- Have a character do objectively morally good things
- Make the audience increasingly hate/despise this character
Title: Coffee, Interrupted
Logline: A nervous man waits to speak to a woman but is overshadowed by a another, better man.
Prompt, Week #23
- The genre is Thriller
- Important exposition must be delivered through the use of a smartphone (whether on a call, through a text or photo, or by using the smartphone in any other way)
Title: The Bird-Watchers
Logline: A furtive meeting on a secluded park bench takes a violent turn.
Prompt, Week #26
- Two scenes, each 1 page long (so 2 pages total!)
- Minimal action lines
- Each scene involves the MC talking to a different single person
- In one scene, the MC has authority over the other person
- In the other scene, the other person has authority over the MC
Logline: Two identical women plan a heist, but when one is caught, a secret about her nature is revealed.
Notes: This was the rare two-page challenge!
Prompt, Week #28
- Your page must include exactly 2 speaking characters
- One character portrays themselves as having lower social status in order to better achieve their goal
- The whole page takes place during a Halloween party
Title: Plastic Fangs
Logline: Two college guys attend a Halloween party, but when one suggests a costume change, the other takes offense.
Prompt, Week #29
- All of the characters have to be middle-schoolers
- There has to be a fantasy/supernatural element
- Your page takes place at one of these locations:
- A junkyard
- A water tower
- An amusement park
- A submarine
Title: The Case of the Upside-Down Ocean
Logline: A group of kids drive a submarine into an ocean in the sky to try and save their sick friend.
Prompt, Week #55
- A sound effect.
- An artifact from an unknown technology
- The line “That’s just crazy enough to work”
Title: Comfort Zone
Logline: Two friends explore the universe hiding inside a puffy couch.
Prompt, Week #56
- An egg.
- A character who switches tactics to get what they want.
- A Super or ‘Chyron’
Logline: When a man finds himself trapped inside a mysterious white void, he tries to convince his captor to let him out.
Prompt, Week #67
- The Genre is: Science Fiction
- Your main characters must hate each-other
- It ends with an explosion (of any size)
- You must invent a new word that is:
- Relevant to the plot or characters
- Appears in dialogue
- Can be understood from context clues only.
Logline: A family dog takes issue with the robot dog he suspects is meant to replace him.
Prompt, Week #71
- Your main character seems to have achieved everything they could possibly want.
- Something makes them realize what they actually want.
Logline: A puzzle-loving man is drawn out of his comfort zone when his neighbor shows him a mysterious artifact.
Prompt, Week #72
- Your page takes place in one location.
- We must never see ‘the monster’
- But we should know what that monster is.
Title: Crust Punks
Logline: A scrappy punk band realizes that a former member may be taking revenge from beyond the grave.
Prompt, Week #82
- Your characters are on holiday.
- Tensions rise during an awkward moment.
Title: Out of Body
Logline: A hip young couple shares a relaxing out-of-body experience, but things go badly when the woman jokes around.
Prompt, Week #83
- The Genre is Animation
- A character who isn’t human that can talk.
- A visual or special effect.
Title: The Deeper Cut
Logline: A gravely injured man confers with his bizarre, toothy familiar as they search for a dragon.
Prompt, Week #89
- Your page must take place in space.
- A heist.
Title: Haste, Spice
Logline: A woman on a date in a man’s luxury cabin reveals her ulterior motives when their spaceship’s gravity field abruptly shuts off.
Prompt, Week #94
- The page must start on a dead body
- The words “you’re not serious” included in dialogue
- The page must end with us knowing what actions will be undertaken next in the story
Logline: When a young woman inherits her late uncle’s mansion, she is disturbed to learn about his dying wish.
Notes: Voted favorite of the week by other members of the Discord.
Prompt, Week #100
- A locked door is involved in some way.
- Only one character can have dialogue.
Title: Key Ring
Logline: A woman tries to open a mysterious door in the middle of a forest clearing.
Prompt, Week #109
- A SINGLE action scene.
- The line of dialog “I told you it wasn’t me”
Title: A Conversation Before Dinner
Logline: A woman interrupts her husband’s dinner prep with a nasty fight about a shady deal.