screenplay by Tammy Gross
TOL'ABLE DAVID is a rip-roaring adventure with comedy, romance, tragedy and action rolled up tighter than a two-dollar cigar. It’s oldtime West Virginia, and a small town finds itself in need of a hero when three fugitives take over an old man’s farm. Who’s that hero? A 16-year-old wannabe mail carrier who’s got something to prove to his parents, his sweetheart, and himself.
“The script captures a very tense and intriguing narrative that is as exciting as it is emotionally resonant.”
What Critics Say
COVERAGE INK judge:
“Tol'able David presents a classic tale of growing up within a visually potent setting. The story is affecting and universal.”
FRESH VOICES judge:
“ I really was impressed by Tol'able David, I think it was quite successful, equally impactful both as a coming of age tale and as a violent almost-western. I thought you used the inevitability of the tragic events well to create tension as I read them.”
PAGE AWARDS judge:
This is about the actors and rich performances.
This is about a director having an opportunity to work with a subtle palate of emotions that play in counterpoint to strongly visual scenes.
This can be shot for cheap, draw in critics and 25+ audiences.
An unforgettable adventure.
An awards-friendly, character-driven period piece with romance, comedy, drama, and action.
Powerful, memorable supporting roles.
Elements of a Western.
Surprisingly funny and touching in its romance scenes.
A portrait of a family.
A rare family-friendly film that can be attractive to all [ages, male & female].
COVERAGE INK judge:
“Tol'able David contains many strengths. Chief among them is its engaging and often times emotionally resonant character work.”
INT'L FAMILY & FAITH FF judge:
There’s an inherently cinematic narrative in place in this script, which boasts an action-packed story and strongly motivated central protagonist in David.
“The setting is nicely textured and becomes a well-developed character in its own right in this case. It makes for a rich tapestry upon which to tell a fresh and engaging screen story, one that can and should appeal to a wide array of viewers in the long run.
“Furthermore, there’s a steady pace to the action in the narrative. It’s highly visual and
downright fun to watch.
“The script has the potential for critical and commercial success in a variety of platforms.”
“The script provides clear, visual language in its scene description. Due to this, the reader can easily understand how you intend the action to play out on screen, especially during more action-centric sequences.
“Additionally, there is a general cinematic quality that really boosts the impact of scenes.”
“The script’s simple premise, consistent tone, and memorable characters keep the reader engaged throughout.
“The strongest quality of your script is its sincere approach to characterization.
“David becomes a character that is both inspirational and authentic. Especially in the way we see him struggle, his story feels highly human.
“In general, the way people behave feels highly appropriate to the time period. You capture a slower style of life, but one that often holds more weight of danger, both physical and emotional. The immersive quality of the storytelling is strengthened, and holds more impact on the reader.
“What is more interesting, however, is how you manage to keep the faith-based tone, without simplifying the characters involved. Capturing this quality is difficult, and you manage to do so through characterization that thinks about the humanity of the situation first, before the moral lesson it is curtained around. You end up creating a balance between these two elements of storytelling that vies your narrative a distinct stylistic flair.”
PAGE AWARDS judge on the writer:
“You show a gift for knowing how to use the screenplay format effectively, so that the words disappear off the page and the script plays like a movie in the mind.
“I also applaud the delicate restraint you used in your scene descriptions—you give us just enough without overwhelming us with detail. You keep the tone with small in-text comments that reflect on the scene without taking us out of the movie.
“Though foundational, these are not common skills and the result is a script that is easy to read, clear in its storytelling, and lightly touched with enough personal style to
reflect well back on you. Nice job!
“Those are the kinds of things that make people wonder what else you can write, and
have the confidence that you can pull it off.
“You’ve also done well in that the plot of TOL'ABLE DAVID is solid and easy to pitch,
and at its center is a relatable story of a boy becoming a man. I genuinely enjoyed
reading this—you’ve created a heck of a page-turner here, with characters that pop
off the page, and dialogue that captures the era without ever seeming stilted.”
“Tol'able David is a textured and real-feeling bildungsroman. The characters are charming throughout, which makes the more emotional scenes register.
“David’s inner need comes across through his actions; while his requests for more responsibility show his persistence in achieving his objective. World-specific lines remind us of the obstacles he faces in this goal.
“The supporting characters also feel drawn with detail. The dialogue is universally textured and realistic, which adds to the script’s world.”
“Presenting faith-based material without pandering, or alienating non-faith-based audiences can be difficult, but you nail it. You make your script hold an accessibility to it that is not often associated with this type of tone, but do so thanks to your strong writing style, and dedication to human drama.
“Additionally, the material never feels as if it has to sacrifice its moral-centric messaging while achieving this tough to reach quality. You present a good vs. evil story that is about man’s inner struggle, just as much as it is about the external struggle our characters face. Due to this quality, there is a nuance within the storytelling that stands out, and clearly shows off your talents as a screenwriter.”
PAGE AWARDS judge:
“Frankly, I loved it and there were several scenes that had me literally holding my breath as I read them.”
“David’s Rite tells a deeply moving and emotionally resonant story of a teen’s quest for vengeance after his family is devastated by a pack of thugs. Retelling a [100-year-old] story, the pages here embody and embrace its 1925 Virginia setting to maximum effect, encapsulating the small town vibe and making the presence of the villainous Worley cousins feel as if it is lingering right behind the action taking place.
“In addition, the world feels very fleshed out and detailed, particularly in regards to the mail run operated by Joe and then bequeathed to David.
“Finally, as an updated take on David v. Goliath the script works very well, and it effectively stacks the deck against protagonist David...”
COVERAGE INK judge:
“The writer showcases a strong voice in regards to their potent descriptions of the environment and their sometimes non-verbal depiction of emotional moments. The aesthetic presentation of Tol'able David is excellent.”
“The script has an excellent sense of forward momentum from beginning to end. Especially in the way the plot is constantly moving forward, but scenes have enough breathing room to keep the narrative strings from feeling too visible, there is a clear talent present in the way you write.
“The silent film style sequences are captured wonderfully, and really boost the already sincere tone of the story. It gives a romanticism that feels tonally appropriate, and which is connected to the time period in an interesting, cinematic manner.
“It is rare that films really dive into the complexities of old era jobs in the way your script does. Seeing the dangers of being a mailman in these times, which many people may not have realized, gives a level of intrigue to the narrative that will capture audience quickly, and provide a nice concept to drive trailers.
“Additionally, every action in the script holds a clear sense of weight, making it intriguing to get involved in the narrative. You provide careful, subtle details in the writing that make the scene come to life on the page.
“You present a clearly captured, and immersive narrative world. It allows the reader to become engaged quickly, and care about the fate of the characters involved.
“Another aspect of the writing that stands out is the excellent sense of structure. There are clear emotional arcs for every main character, both protagonists and antagonists. This combined with the use of devices such as the silent film style sequences makes the overall flow of the narrative astounding.
“The script holds wonderful pacing within individual scenes. It makes us feel swept into the drama unfolding.”