Matt Tolbert

Writer

 

A FADING FINISH LINE

A dramedy feature-length script

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

Four lifelong middle aged men face unexpected life-changing events when one loses his corporate job, another gets divorced, a third has to raise a grandchild and the fourth has to get in shape or die, forcing them to adjust to starting over as retirement moves further away.

 

 

Synopsis:

Four men have been friends for most of their lives: powerful ad exec ROBERT; nerdy but brilliant MARK; handsome salesman TIM; and pro football player-turned-DJ/rocker SCOTT. All four are in their mid-50s, and looking forward to the well earned retirements for which they have worked for decades.

 

But quiet and comfortable lives are not in the cards for these guys.

 

The L.A. Times abruptly lays off Robert, replacing him with a younger man. After years of loyal service, he’s suddenly plunged back into the job market. Robert is confident a man of his credentials can land on his feet, but the arrogance he’s cultivated from being powerful for so long is getting in his way.

 

Mark has been saving for retirement for a long time. But when his grown daughter dies, he and his wife are forced to adopt her son. Just when he was due for some peace, he has the expense and noise of a young child in the house all over again.

 

Out of nowhere, Tim’s wife of twenty-seven years announces she’s leaving. He thought they would grow old together, and now he’s dating for the first time since college. The bank forecloses on his house, and anger management issues cost Tim his job. He’s struggling on every front.

 

Scott seems to have it all: a hot young wife, a cool kid, a rockin’ band with a following, and an awesome radio show. But it has been a long time since he was playing pro ball, and he’s out of shape to the point that his doctor is giving him serious warnings. He thought it was time to enjoy life; now he’s eating salads and going to the gym, and he hates it.

 

Each of the guys has to find the courage to take on their flaws in a real way and change if they’re going to survive. The world doesn’t care how old – or young – they are; it’s time to face their mistakes. And if they don’t, instead of a comfy retirement, they could be heading for early graves.

 

 

 

Eriksson

A historical biopic feature-length script

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

The Viking Leif Eriksson, who, to prove himself to his legendary father Erik the Red, embarks on a dangerous voyage to find new lands and inadvertently discovers America.

 

 

Synopsis:

LEIF ERIKSSON has grown up in the shadow of his famous Viking father, ERIK THE RED. While Erik is a larger-than-life personality, a violent, quick-tempered man with a penchant for tall tales, Leif is a thinker, a strategist. But Erik only sees a weak lad who is a disappointment.

 

When Erik kills three men in an argument, he’s sentenced to exile, like his father before him. Instead of running to another settlement, though, Erik packs up Leif and his family, and strikes into unknown waters.

 

Luck is with Erik, and he discovers the country he would come to call Greenland, and declares himself its king. The people of Iceland flock to this new country, and Erik’s legend continues to grow.

 

To prove himself to Erik, Leif sets out on an expedition to establish trade with Norway. But he becomes lost in a fog, and ends up landing among the Vikings who have settled in Scotland.

 

Leif meets their princess, THORGUNNA, and they swiftly fall in love. However, when the time comes for Leif to continue his journey, Thorgunna’s father won’t let him leave with his daughter. With Thorgunna’s blessing, he slips away, promising to return for her.

 

Leif lands in Norway, where he befriends KING OLAF, who has recently converted to Christianity. Leif is impressed by how kind Olaf is to his subjects, as opposed to his own father’s blustery rule. He becomes baptized, and returns to Greenland with the intention of spreading the word.

 

Though the mission is a success, Erik is still frustrated with Leif, who has abandoned the old gods. Leif has yet to win his respect.

 

So when word comes of a land to the west, Leif buys a ship and sets out to discover a new country, just as his father had. It’s a dangerous voyage that sends him to a land that would one day be known as “America.”

 

 

Horns & Wings

A Supernatural Romantic Comedy

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

Two centuries old enemies – a male angel and a female demon – compete to guide the relationship of a new young couple only to wind up falling in love with each other.

 

Synopsis:

CHRISTOPHER (20s), in his apartment, cooks dinner for his date, HELEN (20s).  Invisible to Christopher, a man dressed in white and soft blue drifts into the room.  MARLOWE is an angel. FAUSTUS, a female demon, soon enters with her usual flair. Whereas Marlowe is there for true love, Faustus' job is to make sure the two mortals don't stay together.  They’ve been dueling over humans for centuries and they always relish meeting on the “battlefield.”

 

Eventually the passion erupts between Helen and Christopher and Faustus and Marlowe are left to watch clothes fly out of the bedroom.  The demon and angel get excited observing. They reveal just how much they enjoy their love matches, at which point Marlow and Faustus suddenly embrace and have wild sex.

 

Six months later.  Helen has moved in, Christopher and she are madly in love. Faustus and Marlowe remain a passionate couple too.  However, unlike mortals, the demon is not allowed to use the word “love.”  Subsequently, they agree to use the word "hate" in place of "love."

 

Two years later.  The honeymoon is most definitely over.  Nevertheless, Helen still seems willing to give their relationship a shot.  It is obvious the infatuation has gone from the angel and demon as well.  Affected by this conflict, Faustus and Marlowe vow to put more effort into their own romance.

 

Four years later.  Helen announces she can’t do this anymore and leaves. Faustus is thrilled because the end of their relationship means she beat Marlowe.  Just then, there’s a knock on the door. Christopher opens it to find ROBIN (20s) standing there.  She explains that she is his new neighbor and she locked herself out.  As they continue to converse, it becomes clear they might be perfect for each other.  Faustus turns to Marlowe and realizes he outsmarted her.  His goal was true love but that didn’t necessarily mean it had to be with Helen.  Faustus tells Marlowe she hates him and he smiles, telling her that he hates her too.  Leaving Christopher and Robin to get to know each other more, Faustus and Marlowe walk off, side by side…

 

MAN(NY) VERSUS MACHINE

A comedy feature-length script

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

When an awkward ad exec named Manny beats up a coffee maker, every mechanical device goes after him thwarting his chances of winning a CLIO advertising award and destroying his relationship with the woman he loves.

 

 

Synopsis:

MANNY DECKARD (20s) has never been what you might call “mechanically inclined.” In fact, since day one, if a machine could break, go haywire, stop working, or outright attack Manny (often in the most embarrassing way possible), it would.

 

Manny has spent his entire life at war with the machines everyone else takes for granted. But that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his dream of following in his father’s footsteps as a creative advertising exec, and one day win the CLIO that eluded dad.

Ironically, Manny is able to turn his struggles with technology into a hot ad pitch for an office equipment company. Despite the machines’ best efforts, it seems like Manny’s star is on the rise.

 

Even better, Manny meets the lovely LENNON, hippy-ish musician whose father had a run of hits back in the ‘60s. Manny and Lennon bond over their shared love of the music of that time.

 

Though Manny’s frequent misadventures with machines make him seem like a weirdo, that’s oddly what Lennon likes about him… Manny is definitely different from other guys, and his inherent sweetness draws her to him.

 

Manny is right on the cusp of closing the office equipment account. But Manny’s anti-machine antics have led the unctuous CEO to believe Manny is a dangerous lunatic. After a big presentation goes completely awry, he demands that Manny be fired, or he walks… and Manny loses.

 

Manny is so caught up in his work and machine woes that he barely notices when Lennon tells him she has been offered a cable show in New York. Tired of playing second or third string in Manny’s life, she takes the gig.

 

But Manny has noticed that the machines tend to leave him alone when Lennon is around. Now all he has to do is patch up his relationship with Lennon, save his career, and just maybe call a truce with the machines.

 

 

 

 

THE STARTER MARRIAGE

A romantic comedy feature-length script

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

A pair of twenty-something friends decide to go through a one year “starter” marriage so they can practice for the real ones they hope to have later in life… only to let love get in the way.

 

Synopsis:

MARK is among a group out celebrating their mutual friend KEITH’s divorce. In the midst of a long, drunken night, Keith admits he made a lot of mistakes in his marriage, but if there is a silver lining at least he’s determined not to make them again if he ever remarries.

 

The idea plants a seed in Mark’s mind. After his mother passed away, his father RICKY became a serial “marry-er,” and is on wife number six. Ricky has no idea how to keep a marriage together, but has plenty of advice when it comes to the reasons why a relationship falls apart.

 

Chloe invites her friend, TINA to join the group in a night of charades. That night Mark announces he is going to try a “starter marriage” – a marriage in which he can make all of his mistakes and learn from them, so when he gets married “for real,” it will work out.

 

To the surprise of all of them, Tina agrees it’s a good idea, and wants to be his starter wife. Her life is in a rut, she never takes chances, and something big has to change. Tina daydreams of a "happily ever after" marriage and this could be her chance to get it.

 

Mark and Tina agree to get married for one year, with divorce papers dated for their first anniversary drawn up and ready to go. Ever the workaholic professional, Mark draws up a "for worse" list to make sure they accomplish all the mistakes of a marriage. Tina counters with her "for better" list.  The idea is they will work their way through both lists in the course of the year.

 

It’s a rocky start, and the first two months are definitely heavy on the “For Worse.” But as they spend more time on “For Better,” they grow closer… until sex enters into the mix, and they realize they have feelings that weren’t mentioned in the contract. As the anniversary approaches, they wrestle with fulfilling the agreement and letting what they have get written off as a starter marriage.

 

THE STARTER MARRIAGE

A romantic comedy TV pilot

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

After a friend gets divorced, goal-oriented Mark and dreamer Tina agree to get married for one year so they can learn from all of the mistakes the first time in order to have a successful second marriage.

 

Synopsis:

MARK and his friends celebrate KEITH’s divorce. Keith admits he made a lot of mistakes in his marriage, but if there is a silver lining at least he’s determined not to make them again, if anyone would ever marry him. Keith believes everyone should be married twice so they can get all their mistakes out of the way.

 

The idea plants a seed in Mark’s mind because next on Mark's list of lifegoals is a happy marriage. To do this, Mark decides to have a “starter marriage” so when he gets married “for real,” it will work out. Everyone thinks this is a bad idea, especially Keith.

 

Another guy breaks up with TINA. Her fantasy, daydream "world of Tina" continues to be better than her real life. She returns home, defeated again, destined to be single her whole life. She lives with her pushy dad, ADAM and her comforting mother, KELSI.

 

After Mark's mother passed away, his father RICKY became a serial “marry-er,” and is currently on wife number six. When Mark discusses the theory with Ricky, his father admits he has no idea how to keep a marriage together, but has plenty of insight on why a relationship falls apart. Ricky encourages Mark to go for it. After all, life is short.

 

The group get together for a night of competitive charades. CHLOE, a happily single sexy woman, invites Tina, who meets everyone for the first time. Mark announces to the group that he's going to give this starter marriage a try. ERIKA and LUKE, a married couple, think he's just playing house. If he does this, he needs to actually get married and not just live together. There's a difference. Tina agrees to be his “starter” wife because as Chloe points out, her life is in a rut, she never takes chances, and she needs to get away from her parents.

 

Mark and Tina agree to get married for one year. A prenuptial agreement is drawn up as well as divorce papers ready to be filed on their first anniversary. Mark squeezes in time during a business lunch to be married by a judge. They become husband and wife and Mark quickly returns to work. Tina wonders if she is doing the right thing.

 

 

 

THIRD FIDDLE

A 15 minute, faith-based short

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

The Holy Spirit, who is frustrated with getting third billing all the time and has become jealous of God and Jesus, seeks therapy from a psychiatrist that has troubles of his own.

 

 

Synopsis:

The psychiatrist, DOCTOR KIRK MORGAN, is having a mid-life crisis.  His children have left home for college. His wife is busy with her own life and doesn't like trying new things.  He feels he's hopelessly in a rut.

 

Until he meets his new patient, PARACLETE.

 

He is the Holy Spirit and is frustrated with getting third billing all the time. He has become jealous of God and Jesus.

 

Kirk doesn't believe who he claims to be but humors him. He tries helping and by the end of the session, it's Paraclete that has helped Kirk.

 

 

One location, two actors, 15 minute short.

 

TIN GODS

A science fiction feature-length script

Written by Matthew Tolbert

 

 

Logline:

When a second civil war arises in a future America, two warrior robots struggle with developing consciousness as they prepare to engage each other in a televised battle that determines the fate of the country.

 

 

Synopsis:

In the near future, the two-party political system breaks down to such a degree that the United States government becomes frozen in gridlock. Without compromise, the country swiftly hurtles toward civil war.

 

Fed up with the situation, MASON and ULRICH – two of America’s wealthiest billionaires – offer a solution: they will direct all of their companies’ wealth and technology to creating a pair of robots, each representing one of the political parties. The winner will take full control of the country and be able to govern.

 

And thus, MONITOR and MERRIMAC are built, fighting for the Democrats and Republicans, respectively. Named for ironclad ships that dueled during the First Civil War, the robots are the most advanced fighting machines ever devised. Because they are so evenly matched, a victory will only come from training and strategy.

 

To that end, Ulrich recruits his father BUCK to train Merriman, who in turn brings in Ulrich’s brother SHILO. Mason persuades his estranged daughter TAMARA, a brilliant robotics engineer who left his company to become a billionaire in her own right, to train Monitor.

 

Working closely, the trainers become very attached with their robotic fighters. Training and strategizing leads to a higher level of awareness in both Monitor and Merrimac. They become curious about humanity, and their place in the world. As the big day approaches, they question why they must fight at all.

 

None of them know that U.S. PRESIDENT HUNTER PETERSEN plots their destruction. Angered that Mason and Ulrich forced his hand with this contest, he plans to have an explosive detonated at the fight that will destroy the robots, kill many in the audience, and forever solidify his autocratic power.