Congratulations to 2019 Feature Screenwriting Master - Montgomery Burt for “The Outskirts of Paradise”

“The Outskirts of Paradise checks all the boxes of what a true dark comedy should be.”

In addition to writing "The Outskirts of Paradise," Montgomery has completed four feature scripts and written for radio and television. His teleplay "Career Move" was produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and his Twilight Zone script "Borrowed Time" won second prize in a national competition. CKNW Radio also produced his black-comedy radioplay, "Leonard McTivey's Last Day at Work." Mr. Burt received two Praxis screenwriting fellowships through Simon Fraser University, and he runs Upwords, an ongoing screenwriters workshop that develops new talent. Recently, a short comedy film he wrote and produced, "The United Guys Network," played at over 40 festivals worldwide and picked up five awards along the way.

In addition to writing "The Outskirts of Paradise," Montgomery has completed four feature scripts and written for radio and television. His teleplay "Career Move" was produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and his Twilight Zone script "Borrowed Time" won second prize in a national competition. CKNW Radio also produced his black-comedy radioplay, "Leonard McTivey's Last Day at Work." Mr. Burt received two Praxis screenwriting fellowships through Simon Fraser University, and he runs Upwords, an ongoing screenwriters workshop that develops new talent. Recently, a short comedy film he wrote and produced, "The United Guys Network," played at over 40 festivals worldwide and picked up five awards along the way.

The Screenplay

New to the town of Paradise, Stan Wheeler has a passionate affair with another man's wife, Darlene Forzani, but they can't leave together until they find stolen money her husband Earl has hidden in his junkyard. Meanwhile, the real owner, C.W. Getz, wants his money back in this story of lust and greed on the wrong side of the tracks.

The Inspiration

A friend of mine from high school was an up-and-comer in the sports world until he had a serious knee injury that ultimately cut short his career. I wanted to write a story about someone like that who nearly had it all but is now a has-been, with a wife who resents him for it. At the same time, I was fascinated with film noir and wanted to tell a story like that within the noir framework. I wanted to have a likeable, down-on-his-luck central character, Stan Wheeler, end up in the middle of this dysfunctional couple, Earl, a former race car driver who lost his nerve, and his wife Darlene who feels she gave away her best years. In noir fashion, there's murder and double-crosses, and stolen money to fight over as an ambitious tow truck driver, C.W. Getz, wants it all at any cost. I wanted it to have a darkly comic tone without sending up the noir genre. (Too many films don't honor the ideas behind film noir, they only mimic the snappy dialogue and the stylized forties look.) Above all, I wanted to write a movie that entertains an audience with a story about little people with big problems in a town everyone drives past.

 
 

In addition to the $1000 cash prize, Montgomery comes away with the Screenwriting Master Trophy, Judges Notes, Entry To Next Year’s Competition, and a copy of Final Draft 11 courtesy of our sponsors at Final Draft.