Get Your Script Reviewed On Scriptshadow!: To submit your script for an Amateur Review, send in a PDF of your script, along with the title, genre, logline, and finally, something interesting about yourself and/or your script that you’d like us to post along with the script if reviewed. Use my submission address please: Remember that your script will be posted. If you’re nervous about the effects of a bad review, feel free to use an alias name and/or title. It’s a good idea to resubmit every couple of weeks so your submission stays near the top.

Genre (from writer): Supernatural Dramedy
Premise (from writer): When a delusional drunk retires to the Mexican Border to be left alone, dead desert barflies, a video-game gunslinger and the local drug lord just won’t leave him be.
Why You Should Read (from writer): Everything I’ve written to date has placed at either Nicholl or Austin. This latest effort, I believe, is my best so far, but I write full-time next to the Santa Susanna Nuke plant out in West Hills/Simi Valley. JOHNNY BOOGERS is pretty out there. The percolates, PCE contamination and plutonium migration might be clouding my judgment — I could use some honest opinions, and a new place to live. I would gladly settle for the former.
Writer: Hank Dumont
Details: 103 pages (note: The draft of Johnny Boogers I posted on Amateur Offerings was nine months old. Hank has supplied me with a more current copy).

Jeff-BridgesBridges for Caleb?

Wow, yesterday’s exercise was really fun. No doubt we’ll do it again a couple of times before The Scriptshadow 250 deadline. I noticed that some of you were concerned that people were voting for their favorite commenters as opposed to the best idea. But I can safely say that I read every entry and the top two vote-getters, Scott Strybos (reappearance of a dead daughter) and Somersby (Lord of the Flies meets Gilligans Island), had the best ideas.

My personal vote goes to Somersby’s “Jillian’s Island.” There was just something specific about Somersby’s take, whereas a lot of entries relied on generalities. I felt like I read one too many versions of, “A family is lost in a sea of uncertainty as a mysterious energy challenges their beliefs. When they realize the Gods of the Triangle are testing them, it is up to the father to overcome his past to keep his family alive.”

This is actually a good screenwriting lesson as I read lots of loglines with the same problem. They’re all so vague! Phrases like, “a mysterious secret” and “must battle his past,” rarely do anything for the reader. I know loglines are small and therefore must be general in some respects, but often what makes them stick out are the specifics – that’s how you differentiate yourself from the pack.

That’s the perfect segue into today’s AOW winner. I don’t think you can blame Johnny Boogers for being vague or general. The question is, is it too specific? Let’s find out.

“Johnny Boogers” follows Caleb Walcott, a 60 year old gentleman who’s just quit his call center life insurance job and bought a trailer out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico. The only spot that contains fellow human beings in the area is a dive bar run by a man named Johnny Boogers.

Naturally, Caleb spends most of his time there, getting drunk on warm beer and hitting on the only two women, a couple of Native American lesbians. Retirement is going well except for a local trouble-maker named Cinnamon, who claims Caleb has some heroin of his.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Caleb’s grandson, a retarded kid whose mom was just slammed into by his special needs bus, shows up at his doorstep courtesy of the absentee father. It appears that they’re now going to share custody. Seeing as the child likes to go to the bathroom in his pants, this is seriously cramping Caleb’s retirement style.

When Cinnamon kidnaps his grandson, Caleb must finally make contact with the reclusive Johnny Boogers, who hasn’t made a public appearance in years. Shots are fired. People die. And Caleb will have to rely on the ghosts of the people in the bar, along with his favorite video game character come to life to survive the madness and secure the peaceful retirement he’s always dreamed of.

Well, let’s state the obvious here. You will not mistake Johnny Boogers for being unoriginal. This is a bizarre little screenplay that sometimes hits and sometimes misses. But in the end, like its title, it leaves you a little confused. What is it that I just read? I’m still trying to process that.

One of the more perplexing things about Johnny Boogers was the pace of the story. One of the notes I was going to give was that the story moved too slowly. “You don’t even get to his retirement town until page 30,” I was going to say. But when I went back to check the page number of where that happened, it turns out Caleb got to his new town on page 15!

While I was glad that Hank had moved his story along faster than I thought he did, this leads to a different problem. How come 15 pages felt like 30?

One potential issue was the writing. I found myself re-reading a lot of sentences. Obviously, if you’re reading everything twice, it’s going to take twice as long to get through the story. But I think there’s a good argument to be made that there’s some serious overwriting going on here.

Take a couple of sentences from the screenplay…

“Juvenile Javelina string squirts across the blacktop beneath a Luna County Hwy 9 sign. Insects make their presence known.”

And then…

“Quarter mile out, all four lock up again. Hard left, lights on, the truck crawls down through the ditch, seesaws north and farts tailpipe flames.”

I had to read the first sentence three times to have a semblance of what it meant. And I’m still not entirely sure. And while I understood everything about the second sentence, it seemed an out-of-the-way way to say that a car was going somewhere. Sometimes it’s okay to say: “The car plows through the desert.”

Look, I understand that you’re trying to convey a visual to the reader, and being specific helps that. But there’s a difference between specific and overwritten. And Johnny Boogers walks that line throughout, making for a harder-than-usual read.

For comparison’s sake, here’s an average line from Fargo, a film I would argue is in the same cinematic universe as Johnny Boogers…

“Jerry is sitting in his glassed-in salesman’s cubicle just off the showroom floor. On the other side of his desk sit an irate customer and his wife.”

Look at how simple that paragraph is. Nobody gets to the end of it and goes, “Huh?”

I also scrolled through the entirety of the Fargo script and noticed just how little description there was. When I went and did the same for Johnny Boogers, I saw an immense amount of description, and all of a sudden it became clear to me why it took so long to read. Was all that description really necessary?

Even the dialogue bore the marks of overwriting at times. Lines like, “If it sounds like a baby rattle, looks like an itty bitty lobster, or reminds you of Howdy Doody… it ain’t your friend,” look good on paper until you realize they make no sense.

I’m struggling here because I didn’t read the script under ideal circumstances (I was really tired). But rarely do readers read scripts under ideal circumstances. In fact, with amateur scripts (scripts that their company doesn’t already have an investment in), you’re usually catching readers at their worst time. So it’s your job to pull them OUT of that funk. Not send them deeper into it.

This was a tough review because Hank definitely has talent. But I think he’s trying too hard. Stop trying to write every sentence perfectly and just tell a fun story. Read all of the Coen Brothers’ scripts. They’re masters at creating unique worlds in very minimalistic ways. I wish Hank luck and hope his next one kicks ass. This wasn’t for me though.

Script link: Johnny Boogers

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Don’t let your writing get in the way of your story. The default approach for description should be minimalism. Sometimes an element will be so important that you have no choice but to describe it in intense detail. But when that’s not the case, try to describe the action in the simplest terms possible. There will be times, such as when you’re trying to create mood/tone, where you will take more liberties with your description (February). But I’ve found that only the best writers get away with this and that writing a script that’s description-heavy is almost always a losing endeavor.

  • Linkthis83

    Yeah…I’m a little jaded today:

    YESTERDAY: “Today I’d like to discuss an often overlooked aspect of screenwriting – the angle. The “angle” one tells his/her story from is often what separates the pros from the amateurs. You see, coming up with an idea is only half the battle. Once you’ve done that, you need to figure out the way you’re going to tell that idea. This is the “angle.” And it can turn a boring idea into something extraordinary.

    And now for some fun. Let’s see if you learned anything from today’s article. Below, I’m going to give you an idea. In the comments, I want you to pitch your ANGLE for that idea. Whoever comes up with the best angle (in my opinion), I’ll give them an AUTOMATIC BID into the SCRIPTSHADOW 250 CONTEST. Make sure to upvote the angles you like. I’m curious to see the popular consensus winner as well. Good luck!”

    TODAY: “Wow, yesterday’s exercise was really fun. No doubt we’ll do it again a couple of times before The Scriptshadow 250 deadline. I noticed that some of you were concerned that people were voting for their favorite commenters as opposed to the best idea. But I can safely say that I read every entry and the top two vote-getters, Scott Strybos (reappearance of a dead daughter) and Somersby (Lord of the Flies meets Gilligans Island), had the best ideas.”

    –If I would’ve known it was an IDEA contest and not an ANGLE contest, I would’ve pitched something completely different. But alas, and woe is me, combined with a “whatevs” — Cuz I ain’t shocked by the outcome.

    And a huge congrats to Somersby!!!! Hope to go to battle against you in the 250!

    • Scott Strybos

      Agreed, my pitch was more of an idea than an angle.
      Congratulations to Somersby.

      • Linkthis83

        And you do have a great idea. I hope you do follow through and write the story. That’ll be a great one to check out.

    • Eric

      I said it yesterday, but I’ll post again here. The sentence Carson provided was simply not developed enough to promote a “pure” angle. You can’t angle an idea that’s as undefined as “A family boat trip goes awry when they accidently drift into the Bermuda Triangle.”

      Who is this family? How many? Goes awry in what way? What does it matter that it’s the Bermuda Triangle as opposed to just lost at sea? What genre is this? He even left it a toss up between TV and Feature. Sorry to say this, but all of the entries had creative additions to the original sentence, even the ones that thought they didn’t.

      • Linkthis83

        I would disagree. In his examples using The Hangover and 500 Days of Summer, those ideas are pretty run-of-the-mill, but it is the ANGLE that helps make them interesting.

        ANGLE = HOW do you take this general idea and make the telling of it interesting. More compelling.

        Making things more specific does help facilitate an ANGLE, but that was also the fun of the challenge.

        • Eric

          But if the kernel of The Hangover is “guys have a crazy bachelor party”, the groom getting lost the next day and the men having to play detective are all substantial creative additions to the story that are not inherent in the original concept. Perhaps this angle stuff works so easily with romantic relationship stories because we already know the beats of a relationship. We don’t need to create them as much, they’re inherent in what a relationship is. Ditto the angle in Memento. We know the beats of a detective/revenge story, so we don’t need to elaborate them to get to the “angle”.

          But the beats of getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle? That could be anything. The inclusion of the Triangle is almost a direct invitation to get creative, otherwise what is its purpose?

          • Linkthis83

            I understand this perspective, and I don’t really dispute it. I was attempting to simplify it. Because the angle of the guys figuring out what happened the night before is what makes it interesting. Those other factors are story elements that enhance the idea.

          • Eric

            I’ll admit some of the posts moved far away from the initial idea. I think I saw one that didn’t even mention the ocean. But I do think Strybos’ idea constitutes an angle, and I think that angle is, the family doesn’t want to leave the Triangle. It’s that simple flip of goal that leads to a different type of story than you might expect, while retaining all the key elements of the sentence.

          • ArabyChic

            Ah. I see I wrote pretty much what you had already written here… and without a new angle — damn!

        • Eddie Panta

          You are correct.

          But people attach different meanings to script/movie terminology.

          An angle on or take on a ” a bachelor party movie” or “a Bermuda Triangle movie” requires that there is a known preset, a “general” idea, but I’d argue that the “idea” of someone blacking out – having temporary amnesia is the “general idea” not the bachelor party.

          The ‘angle” is Vega Bachelor party + Dude Where’s my Car”, not the other way around.

          The SS article, to me, was making the point that sometimes it’s how you tell the story over what the story is.

          A generic idea like “Bermuda Triangle” logline is problematic because no character has taken a known action, the conflict is fatalistic, not like the pilot tv example where a husband cheats on a wife, which is a generic soap opera scenario but refreshed in the pilot by POV.

          A family lost at sea is only the set-up, the setting.

        • Citizen M

          I agree with you. Your angle is your approach to a known story. In the Bermuda triangle example, you had to first invent some sort of story, then your unique take on it. Most commenters seemed to stop at inventing the story.

          A better example to use would be something well-known like the JFK assassination. Say you get asked to pitch your take. You’d have to come up with something fresh.

          Hmmm… What if Kennedy ordered the hit on himself? Why would he do that? Because he realised he himself was the Manchurian candidate and he would be unable to resist launching America’s nukes on America as commanded to do so by the man on the grassy knoll!

          • Eric

            “Hmmm… What if Kennedy ordered the hit on himself? Why would he do that? Because he realised he himself was the Manchurian candidate and he would be unable to resist launching America’s nukes on America as commanded to do so by the man on the grassy knoll!”

            But therein lies the problem. To me that’s still an idea. You created a narrative that didn’t previously exist out of the known elements. To me an angle is more like, the JFK assassination told from the perspective of Jack Ruby.

          • Citizen M

            There’s angle and there’s POV. I’d say your Jack Ruby example is a different Point Of View from the conventional Third Person Omniscient.

            An angle is a slant, a way of looking at things, a re-interpretation, a fresh insight, an unexpected twist.

            “What if E.T. phones home and his mother says she’s now divorced and living on the streets and his father’s in jail and he better stay where he is and do the best he can?”

          • Eric

            That’s fair. I don’t really mean to nitpick terminology. It does seem to me that that expanded definition would’ve included many or most of the disputed pitches. For me, I thought an “angle” on the Bermuda Triangle really would lead to as many varied ideas as we saw.

          • Bacon Statham

            ”A better example to use would be something well-known like the JFK assassination. Say you get asked to pitch your take. You’d have to come up with something fresh.”

            That would’ve been a better example to use. There’s a lot of different ways you could go with it. Parkland and The Knoll come to mind.
            Personally I’d do The Fugitive meets Salt. Lee Harvey Oswald is framed for JFK’s assassination and must figure out who is setting him up and why. The angle there is what if Oswald really was innocent.

      • Eddie Panta

        Vegas + Party + Bachelors = known conflict: guys cheat
        Boat + Family + Lost at sea = known conflict: survival

        Problem here is that first you need to build/establish what the Bermuda Triangle is before you can do an “angle” on it.

        We all know what Vegas represents. but Bermuda Triangle is mystery box,, a puzzle that needs to be solved and stated first before you can adopt an angle to it. Once you add a generic known like “aliens” or something like “Atlantis” or time travel, then you can do a twist, angle, or take on it.

        There were two things to solve with yesterday’s storyline.

    • drifting in space

      Yep. I didn’t think my pitch was that unique, just an example of what was trying to be accomplished.

      That being said, waking up to find out that the “winners” were just two ideas and not necessarily angles, well… yeah. Defeats the entire purpose of the challenge.

    • ArabyChic

      I hear what you are saying, but a fresh ANGLE, without an accompanying take on a STORY, is useless. It doesn’t have any context. You need a glimpse of story to get POV, Character, Tone and Genre — all of which are your unique angle on the material.

      Take Hangover: It’s not just a changed “angle”/POV/way of telling the story, it’s a completely new STORY. The fact that it all takes place after the bachelor party, that the search for the missing groom is the engine that drives the story, that no one can remember the night before, are all key elements to the story, and I would argue more than simple change ups to make an old story new.

  • carsonreeves1

    There is some overlap on “take” and “angle” I realize. Defining that line is tricky enough that I didn’t want to try and do so for 300 entries. The discussion for where one ends and another begins could be the topic of a future article. :)

    • Andrew Parker

      I was able to infer an angle from Jillian’s Island.

      It would have to be a Nickelodeon or Disney multi-cam show. And it would be about how life would be different for a family on an island without technology & the pressures of day-to-day modern living. The other families would provide love interest, some conflict, etc. Maybe there’d be some superpowers involved since this is the Bermuda Triangle & Nick/Disney.

      Would I watch this show? Absolutely not. But it is the type of stuff that we see on those channels.

  • Poe_Serling

    Congrats to Hank on nabbing the AF spotlight this week!!

    ” But I can safely say that I read every entry and the top two vote-getters, Scott Strybos (reappearance of a dead daughter) and Somersby (Lord of the Flies meets Gilligans Island), had the best ideas.”

    Perhaps Carson will reward both scripts by giving them slots in the SS 250 contest.

    • klmn

      No. They should fight it out.

      Two men enter, one man leaves.


      • Poe_Serling

        Based on their avatars – a tree and a typewriter – I think it might be a toss-up.

        • walker

          Hey it takes a while but typewriters kill trees.

  • ElectricDreamer

    OT: This is my take on the whole take thing…

    One writer’s take on a classic movie would be to tell the story of a young princess…
    Her guilded childhood with a loving family that the burgeoning Empire rips away from her.
    Does she crumble? Hell no. She resists any way she can and undermines her oppressors!
    Until one day, she meets this goofy blonde hot shot that saves her from certain doom.

    Pretty sure that’s a completely different TAKE on the premise of STAR WARS.

  • LostAndConfused

    Thanks Carson for the exercise and lesson. Part of learning is coming up with the best possible answer you can come up with at the moment, thinking that there’s nothing greater than it/you, and for a superior to tell you why it’s not good enough. I was on my high horse thinking that my body switch device was a great wrinkle to the story, and after a day to reflect on it I was just riding the wave of what everyone else had in mind, only slightly different.

    Would be awesome to have more of these in the future, if you promise not to charge us tuition lol.

  • Eddie Panta

    OT 80’s Futuristic Remake

    Denis Villeneuve ( Sicario – Enemy – The Prisoners ) to direct BLADE RUNNER sequel.Harrison Ford to reprise role as Deckard but no details on whether this is a starring role.
    Philip K Dick’s work has never been more relevant. produced a pilot for PKD’s The Man in the High Castle which is going to series, and as we saw in the SS pilot review, Minority Report is also going to series.

    I highly recommend Vileneuve’s Enemy to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

    • Eddie Panta

      Does anyone have the Wentworth Disappointments Room Script?
      theodorefremd g mail if anyone is willing to share. Thanks.

      • charliesb

        I found it…. disappointing.

        *Loud guitar riff*
        *Puts on sunglasses*

        Curious to know what you think of it. Please report back.

    • Midnight Luck

      Enemy was strange and interesting and kind of awesome.

      • Linkthis83

        Just saw Enemy recently. Had one of the best jump scares I’ve ever seen.

  • ximan

    OT: House of Cards S3 is up on Netflix. Talk to you all again in 13 hours.

    • drifting in space


    • Midnight Luck

      House of Cads

      I’m so there.

  • hankdumont

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Linkthis83

      Congrats Hank. Sorry for being a douche today.

      I think I referred to your style of writing as “wordy staccato.” – I too felt that hindered the read for me. But it also got my vote because it felt like you had a clear grasp on your concept/story (even if it wasn’t delivered in a more accessible manner).

      • hankdumont

        No worries. I live and learn. There is no such thing as bad input.

    • klmn

      Congrats on getting picked.

  • mulesandmud

    Now that the stampede is over and dust is settling, I know it’s tempting to debate the meaning of ‘angle’ versus ‘point of view’ versus ‘take’ versus ‘idea’.

    Don’t get too caught up in it, I beg you. Semantics are the quicksand of the internet; be careful where you step.

    Some of these terms have been adopted by Hollywood specifically because their meaning is fluid and execs can rattle them off without knowing or caring exactly what they mean, further distorting them in the process.

    Others are just words that Carson tosses around in his articles, useful in context but not part of any real industrial or aesthetic lexicon.

    For those scrambling to find a takeaway from yesterday’s exercise, try this on for size:

    —PITCHING IS A CRAFT. Even if you make it to the A-list, even you reject the studio model, even if you direct your own films, even if you work with microbudgets, you will have to pitch your project to people. A lot. Orson Welles had to do it, so do you. Learning how to present your ideas in the best way possible relative to the given situation is key. Finding ways to practice that presentation, including but not limited to impromptu comment section contests, is well worth your time.

    —READ THE SITUATION. You will almost always be given guidelines on delivering a pitch (often referred to as a ‘your take’, sometimes as ‘your angle’, occasionally as ‘your idea’, and infrequently as ‘your point of view’). It is your job as a writer to 1) understand those guidelines, and 2) judge how far you are allowed to deviate from them. Some execs will feed you a logline and expect you to speak it back to them verbatim, with zero variation, as though you just came up with the idea yourself. Some will respect you for running wild and blowing their mind by ignoring everything they asked for. It’s your job to read the person and gauge the competition as best you can, then proceed accordingly.

    —IT’S NOT FAIR. There’s a lot about this stuff that you can’t control. Luck is a factor. So is bias. You will sometimes be asked for one thing and expected to deliver another. You will sometimes be intentionally misled as a test or power play. You will sometimes have the best ideas or the best presentation but somebody in the room doesn’t like your shirt, or has a pet peeve about people who say ‘angle’ when they mean ‘take’ and even though you swear you almost never do that they’ll be damned if you’re getting this gig. Unfairness is one of the rules of the game; accept it and keep moving.

    Apologies to JOHNNY BOOGERS, which I haven’t read and won’t get to today. Always tough to be the magic act that follows the rock concert.

    Best of luck to the writer.

    • Linkthis83

      well…I’m not debating semantics. Not even debating. Just using Carson’s exact words.

      I don’t think anything is unfair. I’m disappointed. I put in real work to create an angle. And I also think Carson was accurate regarding “angle” and “idea” yesterday, and completely missed it today.

      And I agree with the majority of this.

      • davejc

        I looked for your entry into SS250 but couldn’t find it. I ended up voting for the one with a bar between two worlds because the idea is something I have thought of for a story.

        • Linkthis83

          No worries. I was going to contact you a week ago to see if you were still in Louisiana and wanted to meet up, but I got sent back to Corpus Christi near the end of my trip. So I had to drive straight through.

          • davejc

            Lol! Everybody from my job got sent to Corpus Christi except me. I’m still in N.O.

    • walker

      What’s wrong with my shirt?

    • LostAndConfused

      This mini contest is tearing up the SS community more than that stupid dress is to the world.

    • Andrew Parker

      Well said.

      Plus, this was just a contest to automatically be entered into ANOTHER contest, for which you have to have the best screenplay to win. So presumably the winner be picked by their logline anyway (possibly Somersby), but yesterday’s winner was really a moot point.

      This was the Seinfeld of contests… it was about nothing.

      • Tired

        You have to impress Carson with your pitch – that is you need a great title, great idea/logline, maybe even a nice Why Should Read. Now, as Carson has pointed out, coming up with that big idea, writing that great logline… it’s a not a skill that everyone has, even if you’re good at everything else.

        So, yesterday’s winner – Somersby, as it happens – and any future winners or future contests can enter any script they want without having to worry about impressing Carson with the idea (since they’ve already demonstrated that they CAN come up with a good idea).

        That’s why so many people gave it a try yesterday – even grendl, after his customary scorn at everyone else for wanting to be successful, gave it a go. A free pass to the final 250 is a good prize. WINNING the contest, that’s gonna be more difficult.

        • Andrew Parker

          He’s reading 250 scripts. I know pitching is a hard skill to master, but even if you have the 249th best pitch, he’ll read your script. How many AOW scripts have made it to the big screen so far?

          Plus, it’s a $5K option. If you have the goods on paper, there’s others out there who will pay you more and read it sooner. Don’t rely on a contest with an entry well in the future to motivate you. And never think a contest is fair — have you read some of the Nicholl finalists?

    • davejc

      This gets my vote for comment of the week. I love this line:

      “Some of these terms have been adopted by Hollywood specifically because their meaning is fluid and execs can rattle them off without knowing or caring exactly what they mean, further distorting them in the process.”

  • Midnight Luck

    I think this exercise just shows how most people and most Hollywood people look at things. It is difficult to be impressed by an idea if the idea isn’t fully formed yet, or doesn’t excite. It is even harder to choose a story based on a unique “angle” if the angle is the only unique or interesting part. But if the STORY or idea isn’t there yet, then the different Angle isn’t enough to excite the reader. You must have a solid and interesting idea first and foremost, then add in the unique angle or twist.

    Also, I do believe most people need more than 10 hours to come up with a great story and a unique angle to a partial logline.

    That being said, I wish a big congrats to the winners, great job! Some great ideas and quickly. Impressive.

  • Magga

    Congrats to the winner. I’d like to suggest that whenever there is a 250 slot up for grabs that we do it on a day other than Thursday, as my guess is many of the comments here will be about yesterday and not about the script that got a shot at Amateur Friday. Ironically this includes my comment. I’ll see if I can get back to Johnny Boogers later today

    • Me

      Monday might be best. After AOW. Before AF.

  • carsonreeves1

    Again, there’s some overlap. Without me being super-specific about every rule that constitutes angle, I think his entry was within the spirit of the contest.

  • Linkthis83

    I agree with this sentiment. I made a similar post yesterday. That I could infer angles, but didn’t feel like I was being pitched an angle.

  • carsonreeves1

    Moving forward, let’s try to give Hank some constructive feedback if possible. I was quite tired when I read the script, and so I battled with whether the difficulty of the read was indeed overwriting or if being tired contributed to it. What did you guys think?

    • klmn

      You have a point about the description. It might be better to save the stylized writing for dialogue, and maybe just one character.

    • Bob Bradley

      I only read ten pages. I decided that this was short story writing. Very clever. Like Lee K Abbott. A lot of fun to read. But as a screenplay it loses me. Turn it into a novella and you may have a book deal.

  • Eddie Panta

    Awesome Thanks!

  • drifting in space

    Please stop using Sendspace, Jesus. I don’t like clicking to download a script and having a new window popping up to have me install malware. Thanks.

    • Eddie Panta

      Thank You.
      What is wrong with MEDIA FIRE? Why does anyone use sendspace?

      Even if we know where to click why are we supporting a site that delivers MALWARE two thousands of ppl everyday.
      I’m guessing the MAC users are not seeing what PC users are, I don’t know, but sendspace should not be supported by this website.

      • drifting in space

        Personally, I am an advocate for Dropbox.

        • BrucePayne

          Seriously. It’s free, no malware or confusion and you can designate a public folder for your screenplay.

    • The Seether

      Agreed. Im perfectly fine installing the malware without the windows.

    • carsonreeves1

      mediafire kicked me off when they realized I had a bunch of screenplays on there, probably b/c of the 20th Century lawsuit a few years back. I don’t know why. They weren’t public. Anyway, is there a third download site people prefer?

      • davejc


      • Citizen M

        There’s nothing wrong with Sendspace, one you know your way around.

        Right-click, “Save link as…” Boom. Done. (Using Firefox with pop-up blocker)

      • charliesb

        I don’t have issues with sendspace but if you have to change I recommend We Transfer, I’ve been using it for a long time and it’s functional and pretty.

    • charliesb

      This doesn’t happen to me. What browser are you using?

      • drifting in space

        Crome. The only browser that exists.

        • charliesb

          I usually surf with Chrome myself, but I’ve been using Safari for Scriptshadow and I’ve never seen the pop ups you’re talking about.

          But I tried the site in Chrome and you were right pop ups.

    • ripleyy

      Adblock does the trick :)

  • LostAndConfused

    I read a bit of the script, and I think I know what Hank’s problem is. He’s not properly focusing his efforts into developing the story, and instead has overdeveloped the writing. If that sounds condescending I apologize, I’m on an airplane back to LA and I only have a few minutes to spare before the waitresses tell me to put my phone away.

    It sort of feels like a first draft with the writing of a 50th draft.

    My advice for Hank would be to step away from his script for maybe a month or two so it will allow him to gain perspective on his own script. At the risk of being wrong I’m presuming Hank has worked on his story so much he doesn’t know how else to improve it, and he’s sought to develop it through writing.

  • Casper Chris

    Calm down folks. It’s just fun and games. Speaking of which, did no one get rickrolled by my lame-ass story?

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, I struggled with those description excerpts as well. The first one has an almost poetic feel. Could be a case of too much rewriting. Been there myself.

  • drifting in space

    OT: Leonard Nimoy Dies: ‘Star Trek’s Spock Was 83

    • Me

      Talented guy.

      • TheOtherME

        If you are ME, who am I?

        • Me

          I’m Me today, someone else tomorrow.

    • Midnight Luck

      So sad. He was iconic.

    • Pooh Bear

      and prosper.

      RIP Mr. Nimoy.

    • Poe_Serling

      Besides his 50 years of Star Trek activity, I’ll always remember Leonard Nimoy for his role of Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, host of In Search of…, and watching him in reruns on the old TV show Mission: Impossible.

      • klmn

        And now a little space music.

      • Levres de Sang

        Also look out for him in the Columbo Season 2 episode, A Stitch in Crime: “A ruthless doctor plans to kill a colleague who stands in the way of an important project…”

    • Midnight Luck

      Nimoy’s final tweet was poignant:
      “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” (Live Long and Prosper)

  • GoIrish

    Carson – to appease the masses, might I suggest a second contest where individuals can again try pitching an angle/take but they will instead use their own ideas/concepts. And instead of just one spot, maybe you could have 249 spots available.

    • drifting in space

      LOL! Nice.

  • Randy Williams

    “If it sounds like a baby rattle, looks like an itty bitty lobster, or reminds you of Howdy Doody… it ain’t your friend,”

    I actually liked this line and thought it made sense to me. I took a baby rattle as a rattlesnake, an itty bitty lobster as genital crabs, and Howdy Doody as a politician.

    Johnny Boogers is full of gems, but, like walking into a jewelry store, the glitter often blinded me to the pieces that mattered.

    Still, a writer with some talent, as you say.

    • klmn

      In the desert, I’d interpret an itty bitty lobster as a scorpion and Howdy Doody as a Kachina.

      • Randy Williams

        You’re correct on the scorpion. I’ve been hanging in the wrong deserts.

    • hankdumont

      rattlesnakes, scorpions and Cinnamon (red hair and freckles) Thanks Randy.

  • Midnight Luck

    OT: sorry, but might be interesting to some of the writers on here:

    HBO Writing Fellowship

  • Midnight Luck

    I read some of this before, now I have gotten to Page 16 of this version so far.

    There is something about the cadence to the writing that is kind of nice. Yet I am struggling with the same thing as Carson and many others, I have to re-read selections over a few times to understand what is meant. I think there are so many extra words and adjectives and descriptors that somewhere in the middle, meaning of the sentence gets lost.

    Also, I have to say, I had an immediate aversion to reading this because of the Title. I would seriously rethink JOHNNY BOOGERS. It is a bar, yes, but unless it has a real specific purpose which can be garnered before anyone opens the script, I believe you need to give us a much more appealing title.

    Even if it was a kids movie along the lines of GOONIES, maybe you could get along with the Title, but still, I believe only 5 year olds will think it is funny.

    Since the story seems to be more of a dark and adult movie, I cannot make sense of how titling a movie BOOGERS is appealing.

    Also, by page 16, I am a bit at a loss as to what this is about. Maybe I am on the cusp of the inciting incident, but I don’t know. Lots of people yammering, lots of bumbling around and chatting in V.O. about this or that. Many changes of scenery.

    There is the accident and the Mom dying, leaving a kid alone, which is effective in leaving the reader wondering what will happen to him, and how this will play out. But at this point, focusing so heavily on the old guy drinking in a bar and chatting for pages with the woman proprietor leaves me wondering how much further I need to read before I get a glimpse of where this is going and what it might be about.

    Based on the Logline, I have to say, I am still not sure what the story is about. The log is also a descriptor of what happens more than what this story is about and what might be the central theme or idea.

    Logline: “When a delusional drunk retires to the Mexican Border to be left alone, dead desert barflies, a video-game gunslinger and the local drug lord just won’t leave him be.”

    I do enjoy some of the description, and many of the action lines are quite inventive. Much of it is fun to read. I think however your writing may be more effective for a different kind of writing (short story, novel, etc).

    I think if you can parse down the overly descriptive lines, and find a way to highlight very specific description here-or-there it will be much more effective. I think the way it is written now, with SO MUCH complex description, the actual uniqueness, inventiveness, and power is lost in the morass of sheer volume. I believe if you can pinpoint what items are most important and NEED to be highlighted and given interesting description, it will make those items POP even more. Readers will notice the description in a powerful way. It won’t get lost in so much heavy handed description, as they are trying to make sense of it all.

    Great job getting on AmFri, and I wish you well and luck.

    • hankdumont

      Thank you.

  • klmn

    I finished the whole thing. For his next rewrite I think Hank should just simplify the description and then enter it in the upcoming contests. Maybe change the name Boogers – the story doesn’t turn on that name.

    • hankdumont


  • klmn

    Maybe anyone getting a single X Worth The Read or better in Amateur Fridays should get a spot?

    • Emma

      That would only be about half-a-dozen people so, yeah, why not. Free spot for that script or another one they might want to write (some of the Worth the Reads were – to be honest – a bit generous; promising writers rather than promising scripts).

  • ThomasBrownen

    Sorry I’m late to the party today and I didn’t have time to read Hank’s script, but I just wanted to say congrats to Somersby! 249 slots to go…. Keep writing everyone!

  • K__David

    Since Carson didn’t actually choose an ‘Angle’ like his informative article explained (I’m assuming he was busy/overwhelmed with responses and caved to most upticks, although the ones he chose were good ideas/story concepts) I would like to point out some really good angles that came out of yesterday’s exercise (I didn’t include mine for obvious bias reasons.)

    Leonardo Franzo – Movie Title: Boats. Right, it’s an adventure. Animation. Yes, it’s Cars meets Planes.

    Scott Chamberlain – Inside the Bermuda Triangle they can hear each other’s thoughts. The longer they stay, the deeper the thoughts. Will the family survive each other’s brutal honesty?

    Adrian P. – Each day they wake up, the Adults on board are getting younger, but the children on board are getting older.

    And whoever pitched the Adam and Eve angle. I looked for your post in the comments so I could give you credit, but didn’t find it.

    I’m sure I’ve also missed some really good ones in the sea of comments. But, seriously, how did you miss these?

  • Howie428

    I took a look at the first ten pages of Johnny Boogers on the AOW, and my main note was that I hadn’t got oriented in the story and that it hadn’t begun to flow. I attempted to pick it back up today and unfortunately it is a tough read.

    But Carson told us to be constructive, so I’ll shut up about that stuff and try… The big picture story in this has potential. Summed up it seems to be, “An aging dropout buys a ranch in a remote location, but finds his troubles follow him when his grandson visits and is kidnapped.”

    In contemplating that story I guess my gut feeling is that we don’t need to see much, if any, of his life before he arrives in town. That stuff has the feel of being backstory. The trigger of the story is the arrival of the grandson, and the launch of the core story is the kidnapping. So you could consider getting those beats to be the basis for your first act.

    A good trick for plotting out a story like this is to think of the obvious resolution to the story and have that be the midpoint. So perhaps he finds the grandson at the mid-point, but in finding the kid he realizes that there is a wider issue that will then be the basis for the second half of the story.

    If you can get some more energy into the plotting of your story, I’d guess that you’d find yourself less reliant on filling the pages up with description and heavy dialogue. So go for story energy, and see if that streamlines your style.

  • carsonreeves1

    This makes me love Blomkamp. What writer/director out there calls out their own mistakes?

    • andyjaxfl

      It’s very rare, but when they do correct their own mistakes (which are sometimes only in the director’s mind), we get five different version of Blade Runner, Greedo shoots first, and walkie-talkies instead of pistols.

  • drifting in space

    Wow, this is how I feel about how I come up with ideas.

    • LV426

      Same here.

      I usually stick with sci-fi stuff. I suppose it’s a potential curse of that genre.

  • G.S.

    I’m late to the party, but wow is the house a mess. While I can understand, on some level, the confusion about the “rules” of this little contest, I think the distinctions being drawn between angles, concepts, stories, etc. has been overstated. All of those things are related.

    Let’s compare Carson’s prompt to what he wrote (and what we know) about The Hangover.

    Hangover prompt: A group of guys have a wild bachelor party adventure in Las Vegas.
    Bermuda prompt: A family boat trip goes awry when they accidentally drift into the Bermuda Triangle.

    Hangover angle: What if they got so wasted they don’t remember anything from the night before.

    Bermuda angle 1: While most stories would want the family to escape, what if the family wants to stay?
    Bermuda angle 2: What if we tell the story from a kid’s point of view, and she loves being ‘lost.’

    Interesting, but these aren’t complete ideas. These aren’t pitches yet. And that’s what Carson is looking for in the Scriptshadow 250. Think of the contest this way: Round 1 is a pitch contest. Your query has to show a fully realized concept in short form. Round 2 is the actual screenplay contest. The Bermuda contest was just a variation of Round 1. That in mind, would anything above qualify for the 250? I should hope not.

    So then we develop the angle with a concept.

    Hangover concept: The guys take a drug that removes their inhibitions, but leaves them completely without memory.
    Bermuda concept 1: Inside the Bermuda triangle, a couple are reunited with their dead kid.
    Bermuda concept 2: The family is marooned on an island in the Triangle.

    The angle required a concept to support it. You don’t get shenanigans out of responsibly sober people. You don’t get group memory loss without some outside influence. Why would anyone want to STAY inside the Bermuda triangle. A kid’s permanent dream vacation probably isn’t in the middle of the sea, so you need an island. It’s all good. But we’re not done yet. Now we need a story. Which means goals and conflict.

    Hangover story: The guys have to figure out what happened so they can find the lost groom, battling Mike Tyson and a funny little drug lord along the way.
    Bermuda story 1: The couple has to battle the weather, supply shortage and pirates to stay with their daughter in the Triangle.
    Bermuda story 2: Everyone in the family wants to get back to their old lives putting them at cross purposes with the protag. In the mean time, they have to contend with a cast of weird characters that may or may not be helpful.

    All of these elements – angle, concept, story – combine to form a pitch. And that pitch can be completely different if any one of those elements is changed. So, the pitch wouldn’t be complete without all of them clearly defined and working in concert.

    In my view, the top two ideas were EXACTLY in line with Carson’s article about angles. The key was not stopping with the angle change. Carson didn’t ask for JUST an angle. He asked for a PITCH.

    Congrats Somersby on the win and Scott on the honorable mention.

  • Citizen M


    Finally finished it. It was a tough read. Carson’s WIL “Don’t let your writing get in the way of your story.” certainly applies. The language of a screenplay should be transparent to the reader. It’s not there to be savored for its own sake, it’s there to do a job: conveying images and story. Leave that type of writing for your literary novel.

    The dialogue, on the other hand, although a bit hard to decode sometimes, fitted the characters and location well.

    This was certainly no page-turner. I read from a sense of duty rather than from a desire to know what happens next. One reason was none of the characters was particularly likeable or compelling, nor did any of them seem to be in imminent jeopardy except for the occasional confrontation scene. No suspense, in other words.

    And the reason there was no suspense is it was tough to figure out what kind of story we were in. It was rambling and disjointed until the threads came together near the end. We don’t meet the titular Johnny Boogers until page 63. You wonder why he’s in the title until right near the end when you realise he was the architect of the story.

    I think THE REVENGE OF JOHNNY BOOGERS might be a better title. It gives the reader more of a handle on the story.

    Personally I’m not a fan of the supernatural and never figured out when we were dealing with ghosts and when not. Maybe that was the writer’s intention. This story is the sort of thing one would appreciate more on a second reading, like Fight Club, to see how all the parts fit together, but I ain’t gonna read it again.

    One thing that flummoxed me was the water tower. Since it is so central to the story it merits more description. There are many mentions of people looking out a “door”. A door is an opening in the side of something, which doesn’t make sense in a steel water tank. I think maybe you mean a “trapdoor”. Big difference. Also, how high is the thing? They seem unconcerned to let little Eli climb down it alone in the dark to take a pee, so presumably not very high.

    The one scene when they are all taking a swim was in the tank, I presume. It wasn’t made clear. I thought at first there might have been another pool near the bar. BTW it would take a long time to fill a tank from a 4″ pipe, no matter how good the pressure.

    I can see how this script would have its fans, but even if it was more conventionally written I wouldn’t be one of them. It’s too slow a burn. It doesn’t move with enough momentum.

    • Citizen M

      Couple of things…

      There are an extraordinary number of night scenes. I counted 18 DAYs and 40 NIGHTs. From a budget point of view you might want to change that balance. Night scenes tend to be expensive (lighting rigs, overtime, transport etc).

      I only now saw Nathaniel Bannister’s comment on AOW. I want to endorse what he said.

  • Citizen M

    You could say the same thing about Prometheus, mutatis mutandis. And Oblivion.

  • andyjaxfl

    The studio doesn’t have much faith in Chappie. They pushed viewings for critics back from the Monday/Tuesday before release to the night before.