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: Carsonreeves3@gmail.com. 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: Comedy
Premise: A vapid beauty queen is abducted by aliens who think her title means she’s Earth’s ambassador to the universe.
About: It’s “Galaxy Quest” meets “Legally Blonde.” Deep space has never been more shallow (Carson note: When everyone pitched their ideas on “pitch your script day,” this idea shot to the top of the list!)
Writer: Colin O’Brien
Details: 106 pages

alice-eve-66585Alice Eve for Jane? Yespleasethankyou. 

When you put a logline out there for the screenwriting community to grade and the feedback isn’t good, it’s easy to accuse the readers of jealousy, or sabotage, or “not getting it,” or my favorite: “Being wrong.”  You know your idea is great. If they don’t acknowledge that, then there must be something wrong with them.

But the reality is, when a good logline gets posted, the community is the first to say so. And I don’t think we’ve ever had the kind of response to a logline as we did with Miss Universe, which first lit up the comments section when we did “Pitch your screenplay” Day. Everybody loved the idea. The only problem was, Colin hadn’t written it yet. So he went back to his pot of gold and made the long trek over the rainbow so we could finally read it.

It should be noted, however, this is a comedy logline. I’ve come across more great comedy loglines that turned into garbage screenplays than any other genre. It just seems easier to come up with a funny comedy logline than in any other genre. But it’s harder to write comedy than any other genre. So as excited as I was for Colin’s idea, I’d been down this road before.

I should add that Scriptshadow hasn’t always been a bastion for comedy discoveries. We had I Am Ryan Reynolds up for Amateur Offerings and the readers ignored it. The script would later go on to make the Black List. So as much as I love our readers who point out grammar errors on page 37, I want the comedy guys to show up today. I want the funny dudes to reach out and tell us what they think.

24 year-old Jane Breslin isn’t the brightest star in the universe. But that doesn’t matter if you hold the title of Miss Universe. Which Jane does. And boy is she excited about it. Her guido bofo Lyle, however, hasn’t been too excited. The last year has been a whirlwind of pageants and Jane’s rule of no sex during competition has left him… how do you say? A little blue in the nether region. But now that Jane’s won the final prize, he can FINALLY do a little copulation nation.

That is until Jane’s beamed up to an interplanetary spaceship of misfit aliens who think she really is Miss Universe – as in earth’s leader. Jane’s been called upon by alien Captain Hazz Mathers in hopes of negotiating the end of a universal war with Queen Kar-uton, the leader of the lizard people – known best for invading unsuspecting planets and turning them into giant dust bunnies.

When Jane can’t speak the Kar’uton’s native tongue to save their asses, Hazz realizes he may have made an oopsies. But it’s too late now. His trip to earth has piqued the Kar-uton’s interest, which they’ve now decided to invade and destroy.

They do this by sending a fake Jane down onto the planet to have sex with as many earthlings as possible so she can start laying alien eggs that will soon hatch, birth an alien army, and spell the end of mankind.

In the meantime, Hazz takes Jane to his old planet, which has since been destroyed by the Kar’uton. It’s there where she meets the planet’s former King, who it turns out… IS HER FATHER. Not sure how that happened. He informs Jane that she has the power to make a difference, inspiring her to jet back to earth with her alien misfit buddies and save earth. And with it, the universe!

Gerard DepardieuGerard Depardieu for one of the aliens. Keeps the make-up budget low.

I have a prediction. I believe that with the help of the Scriptshadow community, Miss Universe can become a movie. It hits that perfect sweet spot between Galaxy Quest and Ghostbusters. Along with a female lead (the new hot thing in Hollywood), and a great hook, this script has all sorts of market potential.

But it’s not there yet. And that’s okay. Comedies like these need to be work-shopped. You need to identify the stuff that’s not funny, get it out of there, and try something else. If you keep doing that and keep eliminating the least funny stuff with every draft, you can get something really good at the end of the process.

Here’s what worked for me. Alien Jane. Alien Jane was AWESOME. I actually thought the first act was too textbook. It felt like I was in a Blake Snyder seminar. But when Alien Jane showed up and started casually telling everyone that she was here to destroy earth, I started laughing. Hard. I loved the media coverage of her as well. That’s exactly what would happen if an alien Miss Universe did a press tour!

I thought the tone was solid. I thought most of the characters were great (and imaginative). I thought little touches like Bott being self-conscious that he was a cyborg were great. And I thought that Colin got a lot of out of the premise. It wasn’t perfect but he did more with this than a lot of writers would’ve done.

Here’s what I didn’t like. First, make it clear that Hazz is an alien! He’s introduced as “goofy-handsome” and I just assumed he was human. Which destroyed the whole point of the premise. Why wouldn’t a human know that Jane wasn’t actually an ambassador to the universe? It was only over time (not because of the writer) that I gathered he was alien. That’s an easy fix but a really important one.

Next, I didn’t like the King being Jane’s father. To put it bluntly, I thought it was stupid. And I lost a lot of faith in the script once that happened.

But when I took a step back, I realized it wasn’t just that that disappointed me. It was the entire storyline up in space. WHAT WERE THE CHARACTERS DOING UP THERE??? They had no direction, no purpose. All the fun and important stuff was happening down on earth. In the meantime, our main character’s biggest objective was playing matchmaker to a couple of crew members!??

That’s a subplot! It should not be a main storyline in the movie.

The biggest change that needs to be made here is that the up-in-space characters need a GOAL. That goal needs STAKES. And that goal and those stakes need URGENCY. I have an idea that isn’t very good but maybe it’ll get you started. Maybe, in that initial fight with the Kar’utons, they have to make an emergency light-speed jump to avoid being blown up. In the process, their ship breaks down and they’re stranded. With Alien Kate quickly populating earth with killer alien eggs, they only have hours to figure out a way to get back and save mankind. And it needs to be your main character who’s instrumental in figuring out how to do that.

I think Colin can come up with something way better than that. I’d like more movement in space if possible.  But the point is, you need a storyline that FEELS IMPORTANT up there. Right now, everyone up in the alien ship just seems to be hanging out.

Scriptshadow Nation – I implore you to help Colin out. Read this script. Or hell, just read the logline. Then give Colin funny ideas to make this better. Those of you who don’t like commenting, at least upvote the ideas you think are funny. Let’s help Colin turn this into something great. I think it has loads of potential!

Oh, and one last thing. A writer e-mailed me to demand that the title of this be changed to “Miss Universe Saves the Universe.” The same writer proposed the title change to Colin but Colin doesn’t like it. So please vote which title you think is better in the comments.

Screenplay link: Miss Universe

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

What I learned: Relationship exploration needs to happen AROUND THE PLOT. It can’t BE THE PLOT. The entire second act stopped so that Jane could help Bott try and land his crush, Zumba. I actually liked that story thread. But it’s not big enough to drive the entire up-in-space story. There needs to be something bigger they’re trying to achieve, and then Jane’s matchmaking needs to take place around that bigger objective. Look at Han and Leia in Star Wars. All of their relationship development occurs as they’re trying to achieve bigger things. The movie never stops to center on them just chatting. In the later sequels of the series (Return of the Jedi), when the writing got worse, it did stop to center on them. It’s no coincidence that the relationship became less interesting in the process.

  • Cavil

    A writer e-mailed me to demand that the title of this be changed to “Miss Universe Saves the Universe.”

    Terrible idea. It’s longer, clunkier and harder to say. I’d even argue that it has too many ‘s’ sounds in it. Plus it obscures the whole point of the film, which is that the title of Miss Universe could be misunderstood to comic effect.

    I think a good deal of the script still needs changes, some quite substantial, but if there’s one thing Colin should keep, it’s the title.

    • Citizen M

      • S.C.

        See below for discussion.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Missing Miss Universe

          • brenkilco

            Missed Universe.

          • Gregory Mandarano

            All in all, I think Miss Universe Saves The Universe is the best title so far suggested.

  • davejc

    “That’s a subplot! It should not be a main storyline in the movie.”

    Well, it was the main storyline in Clueless. And it was good enough for Jane Austin to use in Emma.

    • carsonreeves1

      I should probably clarify that statement. In character-driven stories, character-driven plotlines can take center stage. In bigger concept-driven movies, they shouldn’t.

      • G.S.

        I’ll second that, and go further with the Star Wars example. The second prequel “Attack of the Clones” tortured us in the second act with Anakin and Padme staring at each other, rolling in the grass and talking about their feelings and it was one of the most painful experiences of my movie-viewing life. I’m serious. It haunts me.

  • Casper Chris

    Just read the logline and yea, this will get made. Hollywood will make this idea, either with this writer or someone else.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Great logline. Great title. Don’t change it.

    I’ll try to get some of this read and comment later.

  • S.C.

    If you can, keep the title. You may not be able to keep the title on copyright grounds, but right now you don’t have to worry about that.

    Congratulations, Colin!

    • Nicholas J

      *Cue dorky white guy at a wedding dance.

  • Magga

    I’m one hundred percent sure I’ll read this, and I’ll have more to say then, but my guess is making Miss Universe use her brain power is key here. She’s been floating by with her beauty her whole life, and this is her first test of character. She needs to learn about the challenges in life, and prove that she has character. Maybe that’s in the script, maybe not, but it’s a perfect opportunity for an arc. Either way, great premise, and yes, this will get made. No doubt in my mind. I’ll chime in more when I, you know, know what the hell I’m talking about.

    (also, I asked to read a TV spec with a greta premise here a while ago and haven’t gotten to it. Really sorry about that, and I’ll try to fix that soon)

    • carsonreeves1

      the arc in the script is that she figures out inner beauty is more important than outer beauty but I like your suggestion better.

    • Magga

      Three pages in, need breakfast and Louie, but the pages are great! Might be fun if the boyfriends says “break a leg” when she points out that they’re dying, for more misunderstanding. Radiation suit = hilarious

    • cjob3

      I like what you’re saying about brains over beauty. I can see going that way. The inner beauty/outer beauty theme worked for me mainly because Alien Jane is the definition of beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside and no one in her superficial world seemed to mind. Likewise, Hazz wasn’t particularly handsome, but he was a good guy. But even when he was trying to save the day, no one was interested because he wasn’t super hot like the others. Her mother, as well, essentially tossed aside when she stopped being hot. Plus I liked the dynamic of Jane being vexed that even though she’s super hot, this weird homely dude wasn’t impressed because he didn’t respect her. There just seemed to be more opportunities to illustrate the inner/outer beauty theme. But I’m going give this some consideration.

  • jeaux

    Go Colin! I read the whole thing earlier so if I think of anything that may help bring the funny I’ll chime in. Congrats! Well earned.

  • Paul

    Congrats Colin, I haven’t read but from Carson’s synopsis I wonder should the evil lizard aliens capture Jane and Hazz after the failed negotiations and have them trying to escape and get back before the Earth is taken over? Also gives the chance for a romantic sub plot coinciding with Jane’s beauty isn’t skin deep realisation? Anyway congrats again, and I’ll have a read over the weekend and post back with anything else I think might help.

    • carsonreeves1

      I like this better than my idea. The only problem is that a lot of the other aliens on Hazz’s ship play a part in the story, and they’re all pretty fun.

  • Fish Tank Festival

    Yeah, I have to hand it to the writer. I really enjoyed the first 30 or so pages I read — and even laughed out loud which I rarely do with scripts. Congrats to Colin it is!

  • Cfrancis1

    “Miss Universe Saves The Universe” is too on-the-nose and too long. “Miss Universe” is succinct and clever. Stick with “Miss Universe”.

    • Evangelos

      Also cheesy.

      • Ninjaneer

        Miss Universe or: How I Learned to Stop Being Dumb and Save the World

        • Evangelos

          Lol that second one actually has potential.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Hi everyone.

    I just wanted to share that my friend Al Pierse, who was a featured character in my script about Levon, and was instrumental in helping me get the notes to write it, passed away last night from ALS. He’ll really be missed.

    • Citizen M

      Terrible disease. My cousin had it. Sympathies.

    • klmn

      Really sorry to hear this. All the best to his friends and family.

  • Stevetmp

    What I like most about this post is how inspiring it is to feel “present”, in a scriptshadow-kinda-way, whilst a writer takes an idea from pitch to page so successfully. I think it was last september that he posted the logline. 7/8 months later and he’s able to share this draft with us. Completing a spec (and doing it well) is like a badge of honour. With only self-imposed deadlines and no one to crack the whip it’s an amazing test of character.

    Congrats Colin, you’ve passed.

  • S.C.

    It has been mentioned.

    Title could easily be changed to Miss Earth if there’s a problem. Not as good a title, but the story could stay the same.

    • carsonreeves1

      None of that really matters until the movie is released in theaters though, which would be a really great problem to have. In the meantime, all the way up to that point, you can name it whatever you want, as I’m sure has been mentioned already.

  • S.C.

    Scanning through the script, I see a problem. Not a unique problem, most of us have it at some point.

    Characters sounding the same.

    This is JANE’s dialogue.

    JANE: I can’t take any chances, momma.
    JANE: Can you just zip me up, please?
    JANE: No, you wait here. Technically, Miss America isn’t supposed to have a boyfriend.
    JANE: Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.
    JANE: Thanks!
    JANE: Hello, kids!
    JANE: I’m super excited to be here with all of you! We’re gonna have so much fun today! (aside to Nurse) Is the photographer here yet?
    JANE: (bored) I’ll be representing our country in the Miss Universe pageant, an annual tradition that was started in 1952 in Long Beach, California.
    JANE: The Miss Universe organization is proud to promote the voices of young women in culture, politics, the community. Any questions?
    JANE: Of course you can, sweetie! You just have to believe in yourself and be super hot.
    JANE: (faux disappointment) Aw, really? Boo!
    JANE: Thank you, kids! I hope those of you that are still with us will root for me in the big Miss Universe pageant! It’s in two days so hang on ’til then!
    JANE: You too, Earl! You guys still keeping the park safe?
    JANE: No, ma. We gotta get to the airport.
    JANE: It was easier back then. There were less people on the planet. Plus, it was before hi-def so you could barely make anything out.
    JANE: After the pageant, Lyle.
    JANE: So what do wanna do? Break up with me until it’s time to have sex again?
    JANE: (under her breath) Guess you could always call Miss Kentucky again.
    JANE: How could you? She’s a state! I outrank her!
    JANE: Do you what I’ve sacrificed to get to Miss Universe? I haven’t had ice cream in two years! I can’t do anything to jeopardize this now.
    JANE: Getting pregnant is what cost my mother the crown. Getting pregnant with me. I cost her the crown, don’t you get that?
    JANE: She gave up everything for me. She raised me singlehanded after dad abandoned us. I owe her.
    JANE: After the pageant, Lyle. I promise.
    JANE: Hey, back off, Axis of Evil!
    JANE: Just leave her alone, you bullies.
    JANE: Don’t mention it. Good luck.
    JANE: (stilted) I personally feel that I, as a U.S.
    JANE: Whooooo! I’m Miss Universe, bitches!
    JANE: Where am I?
    JANE: What’s going on?
    JANE: (tasting her mouth) Does anyone have gum?
    JANE: You’re asking me?!
    JANE: What are you– How can I– I don’t even understand what I’m looking at!
    JANE: I am freaking out right now!

    OK, she’s the main character, she has her own speech pattern and it’s appropriate for the character. This is LYLE’s dialogue:

    LYLE: Sure you don’t want me to come in with you, babe?
    LYLE: Okay, well, knock ‘em dead.
    LYLE: Right. Good luck, I mean.
    LYLE: It’s hard to believe there was a time your mother could have won this pageant.
    LYLE: Or maybe sexiness just runs in your family…
    LYLE: But there’s always a pageant, Jane!
    LYLE: Sorry. Look, I’m just frustrated.
    LYLE: Is that an option? (off her glare) I’m joking. Of course not!
    LYLE: Oh, stop it.
    LYLE: Are you seriously bringing this up again?
    LYLE: Yeah, but Jane–
    LYLE: But Jane–
    LYLE: Jane–
    LYLE: I told you. There was some kind of explosion. One minute I was in a hot tub on the roof, next thing I know my naked ass was splattered across your windshield.
    LYLE: I don’t know what else to call it.
    LYLE: (under his breath) Was Miss America. Now she’s Miss Universe.
    LYLE: She is! Look, I passed your Breathalyzer and I told you everything I know. I’ll pay for whatever damage my ass did. Can I go now?
    LYLE: There you are! What the hell, Jane?
    LYLE: Oh, well, good for you! I’m fine too by the way, just got my ass blown off a skyscraper. No biggie.
    LYLE: Oh, ya think? I could have died, Jane! I was just naked in a police station for the past four hours and you’re just hanging out in the hot tub like you don’t even care!
    LYLE: Oh, that’s typical Jane, isn’t it?
    LYLE: Well, yeah! (then) Wait, what?
    LYLE: Hold up. Are you saying that, now that you’re Miss Universe, you might finally want to start a family?

    If you took away the character name, could you tell whose dialogue this was? Here’s some dialogue from PRESIDENT MURRAY.

    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Yes!
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Yeah, I’m sorry, guys, it’s just that I hear a lot of these sky-isfalling scenarios. Global warming, killer bees, nothing ever happens.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Well, it was some concerned guy in a suit.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: So you’re saying…?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Shouldn’t that disqualify her?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Wow. Seriously?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: This is her?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: What did you say her name was?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: “Jane.” That’s a pretty name.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Well, yeah, by all means, bring her in for questioning or y’know, whatever, we’ll play it by ear.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Well, gee fellas, I hate to pull rank here but President!
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Hope you don’t mind, I went a little casual tonight. I’ve always found I do my best diplomacy in this room.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Great. The wife’s away on some kinda humanitarian thing in Haiti so we shouldn’t have any interruptions.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: (snapping out of it) No! God, no. Sorry, was I staring?
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Jane, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you here.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: Some people just don’t get it.
    PRESIDENT MURRAY: I’m here to help.

    It’s a comedy, so it’s a comedy president. But he still needs to sound a little bit presidential. Again, from the dialogue, could you tell he was a president?

    Here is MISS GERMANY’s dialogue. All of it:

    MISS GERMANY: Nice pigtails, little girl.
    MISS GERMANY: Which is about what her chances of winning are.
    MISS GERMANY: Neither of our countries were part of that.

    And MISS RUSSIA:

    MISS RUSSIA: You call that a bathing suit? You look like a nun.
    MISS RUSSIA: Once again, America is sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong.
    MISS RUSSIA: She makes no sense. I do not care what she looks like, there is no way she will win with that.

    The bit about America sticking its nose in is funny, but she doesn’t sound Russian, nor does MISS GERMANY sound Germanic. And, again, you could switch the dialogue around, or change the nationalities, wouldn’t matter.

    Things you could do to make characters sound different:

    Accents.
    Slang
    Catchphrases or repeated words.
    Distinct point of view or flaw.

    • Magga

      What does “sounding Presidential” mean to a generation that lived through this?

      • jeaux

        haha!

      • Linkthis83

        It’s because of this man that Zaphod Beeblebrox was great in THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY movie.

        ZAPHOD: So, in the name of the people and freedom and, I dunno, democracy and stuff like that, I hereby declare this ship officially stolen!

        ————

        TRILLIAN: Can we put your ego aside for one moment? Something important has happened.

        ZAPHOD: If there’s anything more important than my ego on this ship, I want it caught and shot now.

        http://www.orcahome.de/images/stuff/h2g2moviescript_rev3.pdf

        • drifting in space

          And President Camacho from Idiocracy. Terry Crews, man.

          Shit. I know shit’s bad right now with all that starvin’ bullshit. And the dust storms. And we runnin’ out of French Fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.

          • S.C.

            Looking through this transcript of IDIOCRACY (a movie I’ve not seen), I still think you can get some idea of which character is talking, without character names. Even the president sounds different to the other characters. My point.

            http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=idiocracy

          • drifting in space

            Oh, you can. You should see it. Low-brow at times, but I love it. Mike Judge is great.

          • Nicholas J

            Yeah it’s pretty great. And full of electrolytes, too!

          • Doug

            Go away, batin’ !!!

          • drifting in space

            YES!

            Welcome to CostCo, I love you.

    • cjob3

      Hmmm… I’m not completely convinced. Do you have any more examples?

      No, you’re right. I’ve gotten that note all my life. I feel I’ve improved by I still have a long way to go. Too often I want the character to say the funniest thing possible, whether it suits the character or not.

      • S.C.

        Nothing personal, I just wanted to focus on dialogue today as I usually bang on about story.

        I like to look at each character’s dialogue, make sure they’re not all using the same idioms, all have different attitudes in a scene, etc.

        I’m more of stats freak than some, but I like using Final Draft’s statistics report to see if I’ve got too many characters, too few locations, check dialogue, etc.

        Best of luck, Colin!

      • klmn

        You might want to look at how other movies treat dialect and steal a little here and a little there. Not jokes, just the general feel of the language.

      • Eric

        First off, congrats on a Worth the Read.

        I noticed that every time Jane made a crack about Star Wars (cantina scene) or some other comic book joke (adamantium), I disbelieved the character. A couple of the broader ones worked (kryptonite), but I don’t think your typical ditzy beauty queen would spit out a bunch of comic-con jokes. Maybe if she was set up as being a closet nerd it could work, but as it played it just seemed out of character.

        As far as the other characters, I think it comes back to giving everyone more of a purpose. Dialect can help, but most of the “voice” comes from understanding who the characters are and what they want. Their personalities inform way more than their accent.

        Lyle for instance could’ve been a better defined jerk boyfriend. When I saw that Alien Jane lays an egg after sex with Lyle, I thought there was a missed opportunity. You set Lyle up as a horny boyfriend who just wants sex. When Jane says she doesn’t want to get pregnant, he dismisses the idea; doesn’t see it as that important. Because of this I actually thought Alien Jane would impregnate Lyle. Then you could take this “man’s man” and turn him into a hormonal pregnant chick who arcs into someone who takes his role very seriously (to the detriment of the human race).

        Little subplots like that are what’s going to make some of these characters easier to hang on to than others. So just go back to the major characters and either create an arc (even a shallow one), or better define it so the reader doesn’t end up wondering who the characters really are (as I wondered if Jane was a closet nerd).

        • cjob3

          The Westworld joke is a stretch too.

          And yeah, more can be done with Lyle. Thing is, he was originally written as a whipped, button-down Jason Bateman type. I changed his description but not much else. Frankly I can’t remember why I even did that.

      • Bob Bradley

        I prefer the character saying the funniest thing possible, as well.
        If you read Angels in America that’s one guys voice. Leave it to the actors to make it their own.
        I hear Quentin Tarantino speaking a lot of the times when actors are delivering his lines.
        I disagree with with everything SC says, including taking the script apart like that. Lines bounce off each other. If you take them out of context, even to make the point that he does, strikes me as the wrong way about it. His fixes will just look like fixes. You don’t want that. You want it to FEEL right. It needs that bounce.

  • hickeyyy

    Congrats Colin! I’ll read the whole thing and chime in when I get some extra time. This is an official place holder for ‘I owe you one review!’

  • Javier Eliezer Otero

    Read to page 47 and just two laughs. So I pass. Not my kind comedy, but the writing is good. The guy has potential.

    [x] Wasn’t for me.

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    “The entire second act stopped so that Jane could help Bott try and land his crush, Zumba. I actually liked that story thread. But it’s not big enough to drive the entire up-in-space story.”
    Without having read the script… did that happen because the writer needed to come up with a way/talent/competency that is attached to Jane and is the key to overcoming the final obstacle?
    If yes, then maybe he could somehow tie that solution to the main problem/villain/battle, so that it feels organic. That Jane was the only one who could save the universe based on that talent.
    Kind of how Legally Blonde wins the case because of something only she could think of.

  • mulesandmud

    This is what you’re in for, folks. Get used to it.

    Someone who spends one day emphasizing the importance of grammar and presentation will tell the proofreaders to stay home the next day because the concept is good.

    Someone who insists on the necessity of goal, stakes, and urgency will give high marks to a script that has none of those but needs them all. Because the concept is good.

    Someone will recommend a script while also recommending to jettison the plot. Because, well…yeah.

    Carson remains a great window into how young execs think and act. They will shift gears suddenly and as necessary in the search for a winner. You need to listen close but not take anything on face value.

    Learn to navigate this sea of contradictions, because the waves only get bigger the further out you go.

    A good concept helps.

    Good luck with it, Colin.

    • S.C.

      Miss Universe is one of the first scripts in a while where my first advice wouldn’t be to scrap it and start again, or do something different. Main problem, for me, dialogue. Story probably needs fixing too, but if the dialogue was sharper, funnier, I think Colin’s got something.

    • Nicholas J

      Someone who spends one day emphasizing the importance of grammar and presentation will tell the proofreaders to stay home the next day because the concept is good.

      This comment could be misinterpreted as something criticizing this script for having a great concept to cover up an endless string of grammatical errors, which is not the case. This script is about as clean as they come, I believe. And besides, yesterday’s post was about the importance of queries. Title, logline, genre, clarity, efficiency, cleanliness. This has all of those.

      Someone who insists on the necessity of goal, stakes, and urgency will give high marks to a script that has none of those but needs them all.

      I can tell you have not read the script. There is a rather large chunk (of one storyline) that needs some more GSU infused to it, but to say this script “has none of those” is wrong and uninformed.

      A good concept helps.

      Welcome to Screenwriting 101.

      Is this script perfect? No.
      Will a script be given more leniency because it has a good concept? Yes.
      Does this script get by only because it has a good concept? No.
      Are there a ton of other good things about this script that you could probably realize by reading it? Yes.
      Does it at least deserve a [x] worth the read even with its shortcomings? Absolutely.

      • mulesandmud

        Have not read the script, and didn’t mean to imply anything positive or negative about it, except that the concept is good. I agree that “has none of those but needs them all” was presumptuous on my part.

        My comment was about Carson, who, like most advice-givers and decision-makers in the industry, sometimes contradicts himself in the search for the secret recipe. That’s part of the game, and something that screenwriters have to be aware of, and reconcile.

        Will try to take a look at MISS UNIVERSE later, though based on your passionate defense, I suspect Colin is in good shape.

        • Nicholas J

          I know, just didn’t want this script to come across as some sloppy mess held together by a good logline, when it’s actually a very clean and structured read. Cheers.

    • carsonreeves1

      I always contend that a script is the sum of its parts. I know not every script is going to meet my impossible bar. But if more of it meets it than not, I’m happy. :)

      And I like grammar Nazis. I actually learn a lot from them. But today is all about the funny!

      • Casper Chris

        A script is sometimes more than the sum of its parts. That’s why you liked When The Streetlights Go On.

    • Citizen M

      It’s not like going to medical professionals with years of training and mentoring. If you present with a problem, their advice is always consistent:

      A physician will recommend medication
      A surgeon will recommend an operation
      An acupuncturist will stick needles into you
      A chiropractor will bend and twist you
      A naturopath will recommend diet and exercise
      A herbalist will make you eat leaves
      A homeopath will give you diluted water
      A psychiatrist will dull your brain and send you to the funny farm

      A screenwriter will probably tell you you need a goal in life, urgently, the stakes are high.

      • Midnight Luck

        what does one dilute water with?
        soda?
        Vodka.
        yes, that works.

    • cjob3

      I don’t think Carson was saying the GSU is entirely absent from the script but maybe just that particular section of the script. There’s a big section where Jane on the spaceship isnt doing anything particularly important while they wait to get to planet Mannitol.

      Fun fact. “Mannitol” is an ingredient in the gum I was chewing while searching for a planet name.

  • Nicholas J

    Yes, Carson! Yessssss. (Though I think it should be xx worth the read instead of x.)

    I’m not sure how much this has changed from the draft I read, but those were my exact same positive and negative notes. 1) Alien Jane is gold. I thought the premise was starting to wear thin until she was introduced, and the threat of world destruction came in. That second concept really saved the script. And 2) pretty soon after Human Jane gets into the spaceship, it’s a lot of waiting around for Alien Jane to wreak havoc which would give Human Jane something to save.

    I think Colin has what is required of all comedy screenwriters if they want to get anywhere: He’s naturally funny. I don’t know how much time he spends working on the jokes in his scripts, but the funny feels very natural and effortless. I laughed more reading this script than any other amateur offering on SS, and even most pro scripts! My favorite part is when Lyle and Jane are in the hot tub, and clink their champagne glasses, and Lyle gets immediately blasted off the roof by a UFO and lands on a cop car. It’s so unexpected, and visual, and I think that contrast between the tiny clink of the glasses and a BWWOOOM! from the spaceship blast would be hilarious. Great stuff.

    But yeah, I think in terms of plot, Jane just needs more to do. One thing about high concept stuff is that it’s so hard to execute. It’s easy to fall into a landslide of exposition as you explain all the rules and goings-on of your universe you’ve created. Colin avoids this to a point, by giving Jane an immediate need as soon as she gets abducted. The aliens need her to translate a message from Queen Kar’uton. Great, we are setting up the story and rules and all that in motion. Except not long after that, that momentum slows too much, and it becomes a lot of walking and talking. Again, I read an older draft so maybe this was improved, but by Carson’s notes it seems like it’s still an issue. If I’m wrong, go ahead and ignore this note completely.

    But luckily it’s not long before Alien Jane enters the story and adds some much needed oomph. And since her scenes are so entertaining and hilarious, whenever we cut back to Human Jane in the spaceship, her scenes are much flatter by comparison, and it really helps illustrate the need for momentum.

    Anyway, I don’t have much else to say on this one. Consider me a fan. Colin is a hilarious writer and this is a good script. It’s not without some faults, but no script is. I think any problems it has can be worked out in development, and so this script is right where it needs to be to get noticed. If Colin doesn’t get some heat from this, to be blunt that will depress the hell out of me. If a script with a great concept like this that is also really funny doesn’t turn heads, what the hell chance do I have?!

    I’d sure as shit hand over $10 to see this on a Friday night.

    • cjob3

      Thanks for pointing out the bit with the champagne glasses. I tried to call-back that moment later in the flashback where Jane’s mom and dad get abducted.

      Yeah, I’d like to think it’s a marketable idea (that’s the only kind I attempt to write) but the feedback I’m getting from industry types is that studios don’t buy this type of comedy anymore. Comedy doesn’t play well internationally so studios don’t like spending money on it. Especially if it comes from a newbie with no track record and an original (unproven) IP. “Maybe twenty years ago…” but not today, is what I’ve been told.

      • Nicholas J

        The good thing about comedies though is they can be relatively cheap to make, so they don’t have to make Avengers-level bank to make a good profit. Which is something that might work against this script, since it probably comes with a higher price tag.

        Though when I say “turn a few heads” I don’t necessarily mean in terms of this script selling, but more in terms of people noticing you as a writer. If there’s anything this script does well, it’s show that you know how to write an entertaining story with a marketable concept and execution, and that you can be really funny while doing so. If a script like this doesn’t get some people interested in your work, and possibly bring you in for a pitch or two, I don’t know what will.

  • Shawn Davis

    Nice job, Colin!!!!

  • Paul Clarke

    As it is a comedy, it could be simply changed to MISS GALAXY or something similar. The pageant could even be a humorous ripoff.

  • Eddie Panta

    Wow! Nice to see a comedy break through on AOW.

    I enjoyed most of the script, haven’t had time to finish thanks to tax time. ( uggh).

    Yes, Hollywood is currently in love with a female lead. But a strong female lead.
    To me, Jane is a bit too much of a foil. I didn’t think her trailer park background was contemporary or even necessary. Sure, it’s good for the gags, but it’s the go to situation. Also, it’s not very realistic considering she was already Miss America.

    Jane’s ignorance doesn’t appear to be a virtue. But above all else, a contemporary female lead is one with intention. In Legally Blonde it is Elle who decides to become a lawyer, she is the one who chooses to transform. She’s doing it for all the wrong reasons, but she still believes she can. We find it hard to believe that Elle’s current skills will aid her in obtaining a legal degree but they do.

    In “Miss Universe” shouldn’t Jane believe so much in her position as Miss Universe that she could actually solve all these intergalactic problems? Wouldn’t someone so brainwashed from growing up in the pageant circuit actually be flattered that she was “chosen” to save earth?

    While in space, Jane skills should become evident. The Miss American hand-waving jokes are great, but she’s a bunching bag, too easy of a mark.

    I think that jokes can get beyond the FUTURAMA level if they dig deeper into real satire. Jane needs to operate from a point of believeing in the pageant where we never believe her “skills” will actually be useful, but they are… a la Legally Blonde.

    It’s obvious from the premise that Jane will win Ms Universe, the pageant contest and crowning is kept to a minimum, but I think there’s another take on this which starts with Jane already winning and moving along straight to the press conference.
    What we learned about Jane, her boyfriend, and her mother could all be done within a hotel suite after she’s already won.

    • carsonreeves1

      There’s definitely more that can be done with Jane’s character. As someone else mentioned, shifting her flaw over to her having to use her brain instead of just getting by on her appearance might help.

      It’s hard to make a dumb lead compelling/interesting, which ups the challenge of a script like this. But the genius here is Alien Jane. An actress that signs on isn’t just playing one role. She’s playing two, which makes the project a lot more appealing.

      • Eddie Panta

        Yeah, the Alien Jane character is what takes this beyond the level of an SNL skit and transforms it into a full length feature. You’re getting two movies from the price of one, which now, is basically a must. You need one movie for the logline and another for the script.

        A character with a dual role like this is very attractive to a actors. It’s definitely something that can get the script more attention. The intercutting back and forth from Jane to Alien Jane is done really well, also very advantageous for a comedy script like this. The ability to cut away on an upbeat keeps the scenes fresh and punchy.

      • Citizen M

        Your choice Alice Eve has been in space before. She could get far on appearance alone.

      • cjob3

        EXACTLY my thinking, Carson! Dual role! How many of those come along? Plus it’s like two fish-out-of-water movies in one.

    • Eric

      “In “Miss Universe” shouldn’t Jane believe so much in her position as Miss Universe that she could actually solve all these intergalactic problems? Wouldn’t someone so brainwashed from growing up in the pageant circuit actually be flattered that she was “chosen” to save earth?”

      THIS. I’ve also been thinking that Jane’s flaw should be directly tied to the concept. She should have an inflated sense of herself. This is how you can keep the gag alive. The Aliens take her position seriously, and so does she. They both think her title is that important. Then you can construct her arc around being humbled by the reality. (SPOILER) Having her mom be the real Miss Universe gives you a chance to complete that arc. If Jane can only save the planet by passing off the crown to someone else, you’ve got a scenario where Jane must give up what little importance she has for the greater good (thereby resolving her flaw).

      She can still be ditzy and superficial, but as per the logline, those traits aren’t her real problem in this situation, the false importance of her title is.

      Also, having a protagonist who is stupid works best when that character is earnest. So when Jane says she wants to ‘help bring about world peace’, she should really mean it. She just doesn’t realize her title doesn’t actually offer that opportunity. And of course at the end there can be a joke where she sticks her tongue out at her detractors and say, “See!? I told you I’d bring world peace.”

      • Eddie Panta

        Yeah, that about sums up my thoughts on turning Jane into a more complex and contemporary female lead character, one that subverts our expectations.

        I don’t really want to recommend plot changes because I haven’t finished reading it, but there’s a need to bring Jane up to the level of Alien Jane who has intention, a goal. Will she achieve it = suspense.
        Jane’s goal is only to get back to earth, to return to her vapid pageant lifestyle.

        • jeaux

          Maybe Jane’s goal is to reach earth to save her mother who supposedly holds the key only to find out that (spoiler!) her mother is actually the one who saves everyone else/earth.

  • Linkthis83

    How about: AMISS UNIVERSE

    (part of the gag could be dancing around the trademark during the script/story)

    • pmlove

      Sounds very Arrested Development.

      • Linkthis83

        Love that show. One of the best ever.

  • S.C.

    Problem is, what if someone does a GRAVITY, takes the title and their version of the idea – what can you do about it?

    Miss Congeniality turned Miss America into Miss United States. The Olympics is usually called World Games, Red Cross becomes International Aid, etc. All protected properties.

    Trivia question: In what film did the United Nations insist their name be changed to Allied Nations?

  • S.C.

    Are there four more words in the world more exciting than….

    Someone else is typing…

    • carsonreeves1

      lol. Wait until computers get even more sophisticated and we see, “Someone is thinking…”

      • Nicholas J

        Someone is becoming slowly infuriated to the point of unyielding rage while reading this…

      • IgorWasTaken

        “Someone is typing…” does not necessarily correlate with “Someone is thinking…”

        • klmn

          Don’t bring up correlation. Carson can barely count months.

      • Eddie Panta

        THINKING really gets in the way of TYPING.

  • Abdulrahman Ugas

    I haven’t read it but it would be interesting to have this dumb blonde go to a intergalactic United Nations type meeting where she’s supposed to represent earth.

    Someone tries to assassinate someone, she gets blamed and now she has to find out who did it/why or else Earth gets invaded.

    Have her be low self esteem, she knows she’s not too intelligent and she knows people talk down to her and only judge her for her looks.

    But now she can prove to them and to herself that she’s more than a banging body.

    Something along those lines.

  • carsonreeves1

    Butler it! “Colin O’Brien’s Miss Universe.”

    • IgorWasTaken

      “Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Miss Universe'”

  • Nicholas J

    MS. UNIVERSE

    • carsonreeves1

      Miss Univer$e

  • Eric

    “Miss Milky Way!” Sponsored by MARS, Inc.

    • Nicholas J

      MISS MULTIVERSE

      • carsonreeves1

        “Miss_Universe.” So many ways around this problem!

        • Eric

          My only thing is, if you know you’ll have to change it (and you will, no chance, not with Donald Trump) you’re basically putting off a rewrite you know you’ll have to do. I also disagree that the movie getting released with this name and sued into obivion is a good problem to have.

          Now Colin has more important things to do with his next rewrite than spend a lot of time thinking about this, but it needs a game plan at least. For instance, who knew this…

          http://miss-galaxy.com/loc/world/index.php?site=home

          …was already a thing? And if he were to make it ‘Miss Milky Way’ or an intentional Miss Universe rip off, there’s an opportunity to write some jokes around that. If he leaves it for the last minute there won’t be room for much more than a Find and Replace job.

        • klmn

          A distinction without a difference.

  • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

    I’m gonna do it a little bit differently. I’m halfway through, I’ll post my thoughts and expectations then come back and do the 2nd half. (Currently writing: Sunshine Pack)

    THOUGHTS AT PAGE 66:

    Everything happening on Earth with Alien Jane is great. The construction worker scene stood out because it was its own mini-story, also the TMZ stuff. These things serve as nice comic moments. The only issue is the drama in the spaceship doesn’t contrast enough.

    I agree with Carson to a degree on the Space stuff – they can just hang out, but I need a reason. (Maybe Jane used the materializer too much and they run out of power briefly). The comedy is hitting, I can see bits of the emotional arcs, the thing that needs the most attention is the action (which is a good problem).

    Also, this may be on me, but I missed why they’re going to this other planet with the King on it (?). Again maybe I missed something.

    • carsonreeves1

      The construction worker scene is what convinced me this could be a movie. I could see it up on screen. I could see it in the trailer. It was a perfect reversal. Loved it.

    • carsonreeves1

      The stuff about going to the other planet isn’t well set up. I almost missed it too. It’s basically Hazz saying, “Uhh, I want to show you something.” The stakes of this trip aren’t nearly high enough to justify it.

      • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

        O ok. Yeah, I’ll try to help with an alternative once I see what he’s going for at this point in the story…

      • cjob3

        Well, there’s some vague talk about Miss Universe being “the chosen one” according to the “prophecies,” so when Hazz discovers Jane’s an idiot, he decides they have to confront the king because maybe he can provide some answers. Hazz doesn’t really know what else to do at that point. Jane was supposed to save the day but since she clearly can’t – he retreats to home base. The problem probably is, that because Jane and Bott are basically goofing off along the way, none of it feels important enough. I’m actually surprised you didn’t like the father twist. I thought I had a decent explanation for it. There were scenes I was expecting you not to like- but that wasn’t one of them. Anyway, thanks again, Carson! I love this day.

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      THOUGHTS ON 66-107:

      Ok, I see where you’re going now. There’s great stuff here. I’m going to focus on the negative because if I focused on the positive I’d be here all day.

      SPOILERS

      I’m not understanding why the King didn’t just tell the crew that the crown had the stones in it. Usually a prophecy is misunderstood because it is written and if written – anyone can access or interpret it. It felt like the King should have told the crew when they first went out on the mission.

      I’m on board with the rest. I don’t have a problem with WHO the father is – just his narrative role in this regard.

      In short, almost every scene on Earth is GREAT. But, everything in space is just OK. Part of it may be just the level of activity (2nd act on).

      ALIEN JANE – seduce Lyle…seduce other males…press conference…meet president…national press conference…get defeated.

      JANE – negotiate treaty…meet crew…meet Father…help save the day.

      With Alien Jane it builds and builds. With Real Jane we don’t have matching beats, so the subplot is kicking the main plot’s butt.

      Our heroes HAVE to be trying to end this as quickly as possible.

      You have a great story. Great job!

  • 21BelowZero

    It’s a comedy, couldn’t the title be used because of the law protecting “satire” (and “educational” use)? You know, the same thing that saves SNL from getting sued every week.

    • S.C.

      Passing off – would a moron in a hurry think Donald Trump endorsed this depiction of Miss Universe?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_moron_in_a_hurry

      Things that are trademarked/vigorously protected:

      For Dummies books
      Miss America
      Miss Universe
      Miss World
      The Olympics
      The Red Cross

      and many more.

      • Bob Bradley

        Shouldn’t it be Ms. Universe, anyway?

    • klmn

      Is this satire?

  • IgorWasTaken

    Open with the talent competition. Jane’s talent is marksmanship. Scene 1, as she takes aim, she breaks a heel, misses the target, kills Trump.

    Scene 2…

  • ChadStuart

    No, stick with “Miss Universe”. It’s perfect.

  • walker

    Congratulations to Colin, who has in the past proven himself to be adept at comedy.

  • IgorWasTaken

    Anyone know if Futurama ever did an episode in which Leela was crowned Miss Univision, and then the suits from Univisión showed to to take her crown?

  • 21BelowZero

    Besides the “satire” protection, I would think all the advertising the movie would get because of a lawsuit with Donald Trump would by FAR outweigh the cost of the suit.

    The studio and law firm could probably just use interns for a measly copyright infringement case. Keep the title and let Trump help you with advertising.

  • IgorWasTaken

    A lot of people opining here about trademark law…

    Calling a movie “Miss Universe” would likely be a problem. Calling it “Miss Universe Saves the Universe” would not be – unless the studio lawyers said, “But we don’t want the expense and PITA of dealing with Donald Trump.”

    As for what to call the script? Call it whatever makes people want to read it.

    • Randy Williams

      How about “Smile Miss Universe”?
      Photographers always asking her to smile and of course, this script puts a smile on your face.

  • S.C.

    I feel like I’m at a party and the birthday boy hasn’t turned up yet.

    Where’s Colin?!

  • cjob3

    Your leader’s review pleases me. This one you call Car-son is wise and all-knowing. You shall all be allowed to live. End communication.

  • cjob3

    I just want to point out, I’ve been working on this script for three years now. And I’d say for about 2 years and 11 months the introduction at top of page 13 read “The goofy-handsome and HUMAN-LOOKING Hazz Mathers.” I decided to cut that “human-looking” just before submitting it to scriptshadow. Just so I could save all that space. Totally worth it, wasn’t it? Really made the read go by faster, didn’t it? (insert facepalm emoji)

    What can I say. I’m stunned to get a “Worth the Read.” STUNNED. The fact that it’s such a beloved logline only added to the pressure of high expectations. It seems like, as soon as people hear the idea, they already have half the movie in their heads. I honestly didn’t think the script was ready but I sent it anyway because I was so exasperated I didn’t know what else to do. Pro feedback is too expensive and you can’t rely on friends’ opinions, so thank god for Scriptshadow. The problem with writing comedy, particularly screenplays, is the more you re-read your jokes, the less funny they become. After years of pouring over these pages, I’d lost all perspective. I couldn’t remember what was even SUPPOSED to be funny about half this shit. So this is an incredible and badly-needed validation. I can’t tell you how grateful and honored I am. “Hits the perfect sweet spot between Galaxy Quest and Ghostbusters.” I have to frame my computer screen. Ghostbusters is my favorite movie, you have no idea. Thank you to Carson and everyone on Scriptshadow who took the time to read, comment and help improve my script. This is an amazing community. Honestly, I’m blown away.

    Special shout out to my long-time friend, collaborator and editor, Edward Levi Dodd III. Without him I’d be illegible. He’s my most trusted barometer for what’s funny and what’s not. And a special shut up to that “other writer” Adam. None one likes your dumb title. Can I hear the end of it now? I also used “Beat” in a screenplay and the world didn’t end. Lastly I’d like to acknowledge the incredibly fierce and talented competition of my weeks’ Amateur Offerings. “Rose” sounds especially incredible, but there wasn’t a clunker in the bunch. http://scriptshadow.net/amateur-offerings-strike-back/#comments

    • Shawn Davis

      Welcome to the [X] club, brother!!!

      There are also some folks over at simply scripts wishing you well.

      Enjoy the day.

      Shawn…..><

    • brittany

      Congrats, Colin! You deserve it!

      • cjob3

        Thanks, Brittany! I do! I totally do!

        BTW, I know I don’t get to T’Ville much these days – but if you ever have anything you’d like me to read, don’t hesitate to email me. Love your work.

    • carsonreeves1

      Re: you originally having “human-looking Hazz Mathers.” It’s one of the scariest things about being a writer. You get so close to things you have no objectivity whatsoever. It can be hard to tell how changing just a tiny passage will affect that moment, or that scene, or that act, or the entire script.

      • Eric

        I would suggest giving Hazz at least one distinctive characteristic. Vulcans have pointy ears. Klingon have the ridge on the forehead. Hazz needs something like that. Something small, but undeniably alien.

      • cjob3

        Totally. It’s why people dread RE-writing. There’s always a chance you’re replacing something just okay with something worse.

        I’m wondering though. Assuming I make the suggested changes, get things moving in the second act, etc., could this type of script even sell in todays marketplace? I’ve heard from a couple industry contacts who seem to agree, nobody is buying this type of comedy anymore. Maybe twenty years ago but not in the current climate. Comedies don’t play well overseas and studios don’t like to gamble big money on them – especially when it’s from an unknown and not based on an existing property. I’ve seen you say something similar. I love the script obviously but maybe I should focus on something that might actually put gas in my car?

        • Kirk Diggler

          “I love the script obviously but maybe I should focus on something that might actually put gas in my car?”

          How are your waiting skills? ;-)

    • ThomasBrownen

      Congrats Colin!! I look forward to seeing this one up on the big screen!

    • Joe Marino

      Congratulations, man!!! Looks like you have one hell of a winner on your hands. Best of luck at getting it into passionate hands who love it as much as you do. All the best!!

  • klmn

    If a studio wants to make the movie, they’ll change the title. It’s not a problem cjob needs to address.

    • S.C.

      Unless – not sure if that is entirely the case here, but as a fictional example – the title is all your screenplay really has going for it.

      I bring up the GRAVITY situation again. My opinion – Alfonso Cuarón liked the title but didn’t like the book, so he and his son wrote their own version of the story USING Tess Gerritsen’s title.

      You should always be aware of potential legal issues in your script.

  • scriptfeels

    A worth the read! I’ll have to read this one for sure! I was a huge fan of the logline and concept when it was pitched in the comments forever ago, so I hope i can give some feedback on this one!

  • JakeBarnes12

    As I said in an earlier comment, I love the logline and the title.

    But here’s the thing. The logline sounds like a close riff on Galaxy Quest, which may be fine, except every page I read, I’m thinking of Galaxy Quest. Colin’s substituted a beauty queen for TV actors, but otherwise the premise is very close; aliens mistake hapless earthlings for important intergalactic players who can help them defeat an enemy. Heck, even the lizard-like enemy is similar.

    Maybe that would be okay if I found the pages I read funny. And I know it’s hard to make people laugh on the page. But I read the first twenty-seven, didn’t crack a smile, and decided to bail. I know because Carson said so that Alien Jane is coming up (a big point of departure from Galaxy Quest) and that she’s funny, but I got seven pro scripts on my iPad I want to read and limited time, so if the first twenty-seven don’t grab me or make me laugh, then I’m gonna stop.

    Here’s the big difference between Galaxy Quest and this script; Galaxy Quest has a whole range of well-defined characters from whom the humor originates. Yes, they’re painted in broad strokes, but they’re cleanly defined. You got the worried guy who goes into every situation convinced he’s going to get killed. That’s his thing. You got the Shakespearean actor who believes he’s too good for the role that’s made him famous and who then condescends to everyone around him. That’s his thing. Etc.

    And of course giving those characters such well-defined personality traits (actually flaws) gives you clear but satisfying arcs for those characters.

    There’s just a comic richness to all those roles.

    I’d suggest Colin gives his main players similar clear traits beyond just Jane. And here’s the thing. You can stop being superficial. You can’t stop being dumb. In a screen story, at least at some point, shouldn’t we be on the flawed hero’s side, not rolling our eyes at her? The best ever handling of this I’ve seen is “Clueless.” That’s a master class in fine control of a flawed character. One centimeter either direction, we’re gonna hate her. Play it just right, we’re gonna want to see her change.

    I’m also not getting a fix on Hazz, for example. What’s his dominant trait? I know from Carson’s review that the cyborg is insecure about being a cyborg, but I’ve already been introduced to him and haven’t picked up on that. Etc.

    When the humor doesn’t come directly from character foibles, it can feel random. And after the hazmat scene, I see very few even attempts at humor in those first twenty-seven pages.

    Just a couple of small extra things:

    1. Never explain the joke. On p. 2, just before Jane walks into a sick children’s ward, Lyle says “Knock ‘em dead.” Jane replies “Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.” We’ve just seen kids with bald heads so we know that already.

    2. Even in a comedy with intergalactic kidnapping, a character falling from a penthouse and surviving by bouncing off an awning onto a police car just turns it into a cartoon. It means no one can really be hurt, which reduces any sense of danger or stakes. Galaxy Quest had the scene where the good alien was getting horribly tortured by the lizard bad guy. It “grounded” the story and the humor because there was a sense of incompetent people (the TV actors) facing real threat.

    3. Just a formatting niggle: on p. 15, you write “BOTT (off Jane) Is that her, Captain?” That should be “(re: Jane).” “(off Jane)” means a character is reacting to something a character says or does or a specific reaction they show at that moment. But Jane hasn’t been described as doing anything except sitting for half a page. Bott is referring to her, hence (re: Jane). Yeah, it’s a small thing, but I don’t see that kind of mistake in pro scripts.

    So overall my best advice would be to give ALL the characters specific and immediately recognizable character traits and allow the humor to flow from that.

    Sorry this wasn’t for me. All comes down to, I’d have kept reading if I’d been laughing.

    • IgorWasTaken

      1. Never explain the joke. On p. 2, just before Jane walks into a sick
      children’s ward, Lyle says “Knock ‘em dead.” Jane replies
      “Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.” We’ve just seen kids
      with bald heads so we know that already.

      Whether or not that’s a matter of “explaining” a joke, I don’t know. But the initial reveal of the sick kids should be deleted. We should see them only if/when they are a setup to an immediate punchline, or seeing them is a punchline. IMO, it’s a matter of timing.

    • Nicholas J

      Well articulated, and I don’t necessarily disagree with most of it, but…

      You read 14 pages of the alien characters and didn’t find them to be defined enough? I wonder if you read 14 pages of Galaxy Quest without ever having seen the movie if you’d still feel the same way about those characters…

    • Kirk Diggler

      “But I read the first twenty-seven, didn’t crack a smile, and decided to bail.”

      The script is funny. I’m sure you’re a real hoot at parties, the guy with a lampshade on his head who thinks he’s cracking everyone up but isn’t.

      • S.C.

        The script isn’t THAT funny, and there’s no need to get personal with Jake.

        This script is still a few rewrites away from being a really funny read, which is what it will need to be to compete against the comedy scripts that (occasionally) sell (or get you work).

    • S.C.

      I got seven pro scripts on my iPad I want to read and limited time, so if the first twenty-seven don’t grab me or make me laugh, then I’m gonna stop.

      REAL important to remember this, folks. You have to give people a reason to read your script, otherwise they’re just reading out of politeness (and that isn’t always helpful).

      I’ve got a lot of pro scripts to read too, and some that I’m waiting to get, and when I get those, I’m dropping everything and reading them first!

      Can the same be said of every AF or AOW script?

    • Bob Bradley

      He’s not explaining a joke.
      When it comes to comedy you should state your idea of humor before you critique the script so that the writer knows what kinds of things make you laugh.
      This is a funny script. Maybe you think Hemingway is funny. That would be good to know.

      • S.C.

        Another personal insult. He didn’t find the script funny – get over it.

        • Bob Bradley

          I wasn’t insulting him. Read it again with that in mind.

      • Nicholas J

        Are you saying Hemingway isn’t funny? Because Hemingway is very funny.

      • carsonreeves1

        I thought the “Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying” was a funny joke as well. For what it’s worth. But it’s comedy. Everyone has a unique sense of humor.

        I do think the script can be funnier though. Colin can keep pushing himself, keep taking his least funny scenes and replacing them with new options. That’s what stand-up comics do. They try jokes. If they bomb, they trash them and try new ones in the next set. That way, when they do their big specials, all their jokes are winners.

    • cjob3

      You have a point. Hazz’s character could be sharper. I never really zeroed in on who to picture while writing for him. And I know it’s starts off like Galaxy Quest but I like to think it goes it’s own way after that first Karu’ton scene.

      Anyway, no hard feelings on this happy day. That’s the bitch about comedy. Not everyone can agree on what’s funny. Bob brings up a good question though. What would you say is your favorite comedy of all time?

      • Kirk Diggler

        I’m guessing he’ll say ‘Nil By Mouth’.

      • Randy Williams

        Maybe some people don’t like “situation” comedy which a “fish out of water” tale like Miss Universe is. Not saying it’s Jake’s issue but situation comedy may make some people feel insecure because it is about “powerlessness”. They prefer the highbrow, the satire, the droll, the sex jokes.

    • Eric

      “1. Never explain the joke. On p. 2, just before Jane walks into a sick children’s ward, Lyle says “Knock ‘em dead.” Jane replies “Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.” We’ve just seen kids with bald heads so we know that already.”

      I agree-ish with this. “Knock ‘em dead” was a funnier line to me than Jane’s retort. Jane’s line is merely repeating the joke that already happened. Don’t follow a funny line with a less funny line on the same subject unless you need to build a conversation. In this case, I think it would be more effective for Jane to say nothing and just move on to the next bit. (Afterall, would a ditzy beauty queen even catch that joke to begin with?)

      • Bob Bradley

        Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.

        Is a funny line. If you read it as explaining, you’re missing it.
        Now I want to explain why it’s funny. But I won’t.

        • Eric

          Is it funnier then, “Knock ‘em dead”? I felt like that was the joke and the second line was the same joke. I didn’t say it wasn’t funny. I said it was funny the first time.

          • Bob Bradley

            I think it is funnier. In fact, it makes knock’em dead funny. see witwoud.They aren’t jokes, exactly. They’re funnier than that.

        • witwoud

          I thought it was funny too. And yeah, it’s difficult to say why. But you can see HOW she says it. Earnest. Dim-witted. Brow furrowed as she self-righteously scolds her boyfriend for his insensitivity, before wading into the children’s ward wearing her chemical suit. That tickled me.

          This is what I really like about Colin’s humour — tiny little character moments like this that come at you sideways. They aren’t jokes, exactly. They’re funnier than that.

          • Eric

            For me, there were things that undercut Jane’s earnestness. She seemed to be there under obligation, so I interpreted all her dialogue to be of the impatient ‘let’s get this over with’ variety. I never registered actual offense and that’s why the second joke fell flat for me.

            I actually offered that as a note elsewhere, that the character should be more earnest because I got conflicting signals during the first act.

          • witwoud

            I agree, it is a bit inconsistent.

        • brenkilco

          The writer has to decide just how dumb the character is. A smart character would simply shoot Lyle a look. A dumb character who thinks Lyle is even dumber would deliver the line as written. And the delivery might get a laugh. An impossibly dumb character wouldn’t register the irony. So the writer has her mid level stupid here but a page later impossibly callous and stupid as she hopes the dying children live long enough to see her win the pageant. The character who delivers those lines wouldn’t have expressed any concern for the dying children. So funny or not, and it isn’t really on its face, the line should go.

  • GoIrish

    I read all of Ms. Universe. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to give it the dreaded “it was okay” review – certainly not bad by any means, but I felt like I wanted more. For me, most of the jokes were more amusing than laugh out loud funny (but particularly for comedy scripts, I think the way actors deliver lines can have a huge impact – turning slight chuckles on page into huge laughs on screen). I had the same issue Carson had with Jane’s focus turning to matchmaking. Also, it seemed like once they were in space, they just flew to the king only to turn around and head back to earth. I forget, was there anything preventing them from calling the king? I had a little confusion with the king (**SPOILERS**) – was he an alien the whole time we saw him? If so, why didn’t he just take the crown and sceptre when he first met Jane? I think the other issue I had is once we get past the initial premise of Jane being mistaken for an intergalactic ambassador, the story felt a little familiar (save earth from alien invaders). You do have a little bit of a twist in the end in the end with the mom, but I guess I was hoping for something more. I realize it’s a little unfair to say come up with something different when you’re dealing with a specific genre like alien invasion (you need to battle the aliens – there’s really no getting around it). I wish I had some specific suggestions for what I am looking for. ..but kinda drawing a blank. Congrats on the worth the read. Keep the title if you can.

  • shewrites

    Thrilled for Colin that his script got picked.

    I am about two thirds of the way through and as a comedy writer, I think the tone is great, there are a ton of funny lines. No doubt Colin has comedy chops.

    A tiny pet-peeve of mine: Can’t stand the use of “Bitch/bitches anymore. It’s everywhere.

    Suggestions for amping up the stakes and giving more meat to act 2:
    Unless I’m mistaken, Jane doesn’t know about Alien Jane, at least through what I read. I think she should find out about her in the first part of act 2 and that Alien Jane is a praying mantis type. Alien Jane needs to keep Lyle alive because he helps her navigate this world she doesn’t know and keeps her from being found out as an impostor which would jeopardize her mission.

    However, as soon as she’s mated with a critical number of men (number required to take over Earth), she will kill Lyle. Jane finds out about it and her goal in act 2 is to get back to Earth to save life on Earth and Lyle before it’s too late.

    In order to that, she has to be a lot smarter than she’s been so far and she finds within herself the knowledge and/or cleverness to each her goal, a la Legally Blonde (perhaps, she actually dumbed herself down because she was convinced that being smart would make her a less likely Miss Universe winner).

    Also, though I love the way Alien Jane communicates, perhaps it could be toned down as in she did learn but not quite master Earth language before she was sent on her mission and her speech pattern is a mix of regular speak and her current speak. She always has to catch herself not to give herself away.

    There could also be a danger for her. Perhaps an agency specializing in monitoring alien presence on Earth is onto her which would create a second ticking time bomb.

    Well done and best of luck, Colin.

    • S.C.

      Not a big fan of bitch/bitches either. Mmmm. Any other words people object to in scripts (keeping it PG-13)?

    • jeaux

      I like the save Lyle angle as a goal.

    • cjob3

      I know, right? I’m burned out on people saying Bitches too. Have been for a long time. I don’t know why I used it. It just felt right there. But I know exactly what you’re saying. It’s way played out. That and the phrase “That’s what I’m talking about!” We seriously need to retire that one.

    • Bob Bradley

      Have her say something extremely smart and then “correct” herself with the dumb down expected answer.

  • klmn

    Congrats to Colin for getting picked and for the Worth The Read.

    • S.C.

      Yes, I don’t think Colin is getting enough praise. A Worth the Read is a big deal, and Colin deserves it.

      • cjob3

        Never too much praise!!

        But yeah, I’m trying to explain to some lay people about this but I’m not sure it’s coming across. WTR is pretty rare on AM FRI right? Seems like there’s only been a handful in the past few years.

        • S.C.

          Don’t really want to count it, but I’d say about five plus one impressive in the last twelve months.

          In my opinion, anything less than a Worth the Read – or a borderline Wasn’t For Me/Worth the Read, or unless there is a LOT of commentator support – and you might as well not bother doing anymore with it.

          This is a sign that you’ve got something with potential. Bear in mind the comments you get and GO FOR IT!

          See you on The Black List!

        • Midnight Luck

          It isn’t Rare, it isn’t even Medium Rare, it’s Bloody Rare!

          Congratulations on your bloody-meaty rare spot on AmFri!
          Good things!

          Hope it leads to grand things for you Colin!

        • klmn

          I expect you’ll get some meetings from this.

          Brace yourself and good luck!

        • Shawn Davis

          It can sure lead to good things. I had one here that got a [XX] and it’s now optioned by Futureproof/Shoreline.

          I owe that to Carson.

          I hope Colin sees the same (or more) success from this review.

          Shawn…..><

  • jeaux

    Miss Universe. tagline – In space, no one knows you’re an idiot

    • S.C.

      In space, no one can see your cleavage.

      Close Encounters of the 33DD Kind.

      She Wants World Peace. They want Galactic War!

      Her Hobbies Include Dressmaking, Being Kind to Animals… and Kicking Alien Butt!

      Miss Universe®®. Sue Us, Trump!

  • Howie428

    A big problem that comes with having a high concept idea is that everyone will second guess your take on it. It’s almost inevitable because by definition a high concept idea will make people picture the movie based on the idea. Where your take doesn’t match their picture is where the second guessing starts.

    Now I shall do some second guessing!

    My big note on this would be to change the lead character into a positive role model style Miss Universe, and to depict the contest itself in a positive way. You’d hope that by doing this you’d get past the trademark issue.

    This character would have to have a character flaw and for me the obvious one would be that she’s too positive and too idealistic. She really believes that we can Kumbaya our way to world peace and the end of poverty. She takes a pacifist approach to everything and her arc is to learn that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and kick some ass.

    At the same time you have the Alien version of her, which is a great idea, and that version can be used to portray all the super negative beauty pageant tropes. With that character you get Miss Universe behaving badly and all the fun jokes that come with it.

    In the finale of the story all the alien babies would be born, because it turns out it can’t be stopped. Also because there would be something pretty funny about all the men Alien Jane has sex with giving birth to the alien babies!

    However they are a matriarchal society and look to their mother for leadership. That sets up a Jane versus Alien Jane battle, which Jane wins. That leaves her as mother and ruler of a vast brood of aliens. So the movie ends with her now the de facto ruler of our part of the Universe, because her boyfriend has a spaceship and she commands an alien army. She ends the movie as the thing they mistakenly believed her to be.

    Also, that seems like a cool place to start a sequel from…

    • Eric

      “However they are a matriarchal society and look to their mother for leadership. That sets up a Jane versus Alien Jane battle, which Jane wins.”

      I definitely like that bit. Instead of having a magic crystal/cut off the head of the snake scenario, tie the final confrontation to character conflict. In many ways this would be a literalization of Jane facing herself, a chance to capitalize on the character flaw.

  • Pooh Bear

    And here’s an example of concept trumping execution.

    • S.C.

      Maybe. If the concept is rotten, all the effort that goes into execution may be for nothing. Here, there are problems, but they’re WORTH fixing because the concept is good.

      So if you had to choose between a strong concept and a weak concept you think you can work around, choose a strong concept anytime.

    • IgorWasTaken

       

      And here’s an example of concept trumping execution.

      Versus Trump executing the concept?
       

  • Casper Chris

    I’m going to start a Miss Multiverse beauty pageant. What little girl with half a brain is going to want to become Miss Universe when she can become Miss Multiverse?
    Ka-ching!

    • klmn

      That’s a good title.

    • Citizen M

      I’m going to start a Miss Punyverse for short girls. (I’m short too. I don’t have a chance with the standard long-legged beauties.)

      • klmn

      • Casper Chris

        How about Miss Atom? Then you can format it like “Miss A Tom?” and it’ll be a love request.

  • IgorWasTaken

    Write in an alien duck-like character with a bad comb-over and call him The Donald.

    • Ninjaneer

      This is where you drop the mic and walk off

      • IgorWasTaken

        Thanks.

    • cjob3

      Grendel had a good line during that Pitch Your Own Script weekend. Something about Trump doing a cameo with a Tribble on his head.

  • Poe_Serling

    Just wanted to pop in to congratulate Colin (cjob3) on scoring this week’s AF slot and getting the often elusive [x] worth the read rating from Carson ‘Sexy Pics’ Reeves.

    As I think someone else already mentioned, one of the real keys to Colin’s success today here on SS – taking inspired action with his logline from “Pitch Your Script Day” and turning it into an actual script.

    Not much of comedy guy, so I’m glad to see others chiming in with some useful feedback for Colin and his project.

    • Nicholas J

      Carson ‘Sexy Pics’ Reeves

      You got his texts last night too? And here I thought I was special.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to the writer for a rare [X]WORTH THE READ …. and thanks for the laughs!

    “I thought you were a lamp” will go down as a classic.

    I suggested on AOW that he attack the story as though he were writing a stage musical version of it, but also suggested actually pursue doing so.

    Not only does that streamline the plot, sharpen the characters giving each a goal, find those nuggets of comedy that will stop a show but it keeps a great concept like this “alive” and “moving”. The following can only grow. And sometimes a great concept needs a following before Hollywood bites.

    Otherwise, as you go off alone and rewrite based on these notes and others, all this enthusiasm here for this story may dissipate. So, get it on Kickstarter, start a webpage with some songs downloaded as they are written. Whatever to keep it fresh and smiling down that runway.

  • Tom

    Well done, Colin!

    I usually don’t read to the end, especially not in one sitting, but your story had such a smooth, joyful ease that I just raced right through it.

    Let me start with the main issue that others have pointed out – In space, nothing much is happening.

    I have a script that operates under a similar premise (aliens mistake random person for someone more important). But there was something missing. My hero just didn’t have the purpose or mission that was necessary to power the script forward, but I hid that fact behind gags and fun dialogue. After a few meetings I came the realization that I had written a passive hero. She was just along for the ride, observing the lunacy and making snide comments. The same problem permeates Jane’s character as she really has nothing to do with relation to the A-story.

    Part of this problem stems from the fact that you unmask Jane very early. I’m not against this decision, because it forces you to take a different approach than Galaxy Quest, where the crew had to maintain their ruse throughout Act II. But the consequence of unmasking her so early is that your space crew then can push her into the background, and because she doesn’t have any space or battle skills, she becomes useless.

    So, either give her a tangible goal (“she wants to escape the ship”) or find something she can be useful at (“track down Alien Jane”). Personally, I like the second option. I think a lot of material can be gleaned from having your space crew spend most of their time on Earth (again, this would distinguish your story from Galaxy Quest, which is a comparison you’ll fight forever). Insert some rule that “Alien Jane can only be destroyed AFTER we’ve destroyed all her eggs” so that the team then has to go on a mission to hunt down all of her eggs, thus following a path through Jane’s life and the Miss Universe world. All without Alien Jane becoming aware. Since Space Team doesn’t know or understand Earth, Jane is FORCED to be their guide… thus giving her a front row seat as Alien Jane destroys her legacy. This way, the team’s insecurities, unrequited love, and general head butting will occur against the backdrop of an actual mission. The arguments would take place as they crawl through the sewers and attack an alien egg, instead of taking place around the commissary table.

    Moving on…

    Another feeling I had when reading the script was that its “heart” hadn’t yet been identified. It’s kind of an intangible thing, but there wasn’t much going on that resonated with me deeply. This isn’t a deal breaker, but if you can find a core relationship upon which to build this story, then it will really pop. It seems like Hazz is that relationship, but… I dunno… I didn’t feel it. In comparison (here’s THAT movie again) Galaxy Quest had a foundation of friendship. It was all about Tim Allen’s relationship with his crew. He helps them rediscover their self-worth, and as a result, he rediscovers his own. And at the end, Tim Allen finally shares the stage with his friends and they all take a bow together, having become the real version of the tight-knit crew they always played.

    Hints of that are scattered throughout Miss Universe, but I feel it’s a few passes away from solidifying what those core relationships are. I, for one, would love to see what kind of sparks might happen if Alma was also abducted by the crew. The main reveal and the main relationship that’s resolved at the end is between Jane and Alma, but unfortunately, Alma doesn’t exist between page 5 and 95. If there was a mother-daughter relationship at the heart of the story, it might not only resonate, but it would help us trace Jane’s arc. If they’re abducted together then Jane’s only human ally on the spaceship is also the person whom she’s most dismissive of and bickers with. Putting the two together would allow for them to hatch escape plans together, open up old wounds, split apart, and hopefully reconcile. And then when Jane realizes that she isn’t actually the chosen one, it would carry more punch because we’ve watched her dismiss her mother this whole time. Besides, I think you could write some great bickering between the two of them. If you can make me tear up during this story, then you have a real winner.

    Finally – President Murray. This is a small note, and admittedly is more a matter of personal taste, but… I hated the president character. I almost stopped reading because of him. The credibility of the story and the world jumped right out the window. By making him so incompetent, you ended up diminishing the threat presented by the aliens. Let Alien Jane conquer our military on her own. Don’t let her be helped by a buffoon who happens to be the most powerful man in the world. I know you have some decent gags there, and I know it plays into the themes of “men think with their dicks” but the President was a retread of Lyle’s character and didn’t add a new dynamic at all. If you have an entire world of vapid idiots, then where does that leave Jane’s character? I would ditch the stupid president. I would have an intelligent, badass military response that Alien Jane demolishes with her own badassery. And that leaves only one person left who can save the world – Jane.

    But all in all, this is soooooo close to being a winner. Great work!

    • witwoud

      Some good notes here. I agree about the President.

  • IgorWasTaken

    -

  • Midnight Luck

    Congrats Colin. Great job not only getting the most beloved logline from that script pitch way back, but also winning the coveted AmFri spot! I wish you great things.

    Some thoughts on story. My faulty idea of what the story was going to be vs. what you thought the story would be:

    I feel like you have a storyline all set up right there in the logline, and in my head I could see it all, but it seems you, the writer, had the gall to take it in your own direction? pssh.

    –Here is the basic direction I saw based on the idea, logline and what I initially understood about the story:

    Girl wins contest after contest. Girl is beautiful but dim. Boy is hot and horny into girl. Girl won’t give up her precious, until she wins the Universe contest, though Girl is hot and horny as well. Girl wins contest and all systems are GO!
    But then, a cloud covers the heavens and someone or something has taken our loveliest Girl of the Universe. But who? and but where?

    Well, Girl has been taken off to another Universe. A universe devoid of beauty and sex. She’s the only one who can bring beauty back to their universe. And sex doesn’t work in their universe either, until, SHE ARRIVES! Then all hellfire sex explodes! The horny get to knockin’ and not only is she in danger, but her SEX is in danger! Everyone wants a piece of her.

    But She Miss-es her Universe. Her Universe Miss-es her, she Miss-es her guy, who Miss-es her as well. She Misses her sex and he Misses his sex.

    The Earth is falling under a dark cloud as the Other Miss Universe has brought with her the end of Sex as we know it. She is Kryptonite to their loins. The world loses all interest in sexy things, which means no babies are being born as well.

    So now she is on a mission, not only to make it back to save Earth from the dark plight, but she has to make it back to redeem her promise to her Guy, that they will indeed be conjoined at their hips since she won.

    He has his own goal and journey, as he sets off into space to find and try to save her, but also to get him his rightful, deserved Sex!

    —–So as you can tell, there is a bit of Play on Words based on the title. We miss our Miss Universe. She misses her Universe, as well as being THE Miss Universe.

    Somewhere in there are Goals Stakes and Urgency.

    Is it good? At all? Probably not, But hey, maybe there is something in there you might find worthy of snagging for yourself.

    • HRV

      Sounds like elevated porn.

      • Midnight Luck

        I’m not sure what elevator porn is.
        but I can imagine it.

        • klmn

          There’s that contained thriller Carson is jonesing for.

          Great idea!

          • Midnight Luck

            I think you are right! quick one of us needs to write that one up right quick and get it out to him!

        • Citizen M

          It’s porn that causes something to rise. It’s a guy thing.

  • S_P_1

    Dammit! Just when you thought your idea was original somebody from the Netherlands beats you to it.

    http://mrsmultiverse.nl/

    • Casper Chris

      :(

      Silly that the URL is mrs though… silly Dutch people.

  • Darkline

    I’ll confess to only having read about 20 pages or so but I felt that jane needed to be thrust into a situation much more dangerous from the off, and should be the cause of the war, not just inept at preventing it.

    Currently she walks onto the bridge, there’s a hologram on screen and she is pretty much useless. We don’t see the attack, or really know what she’s suppose to say to prevent it anyway. No backstory is given to how she could help, even if she were capable. So to me the scene feels a bit confused.

    What if as soon as she wakes up they are dressing her up, ushering her quickly down to a planet surface, all the while aliens re-creating her make-up, giving her a crown and sceptre. She’s thrust, despite her protesting and confusion, into some kind of huge intergalactic chamber. Put in the spot-light in front of hundreds of planet officials. Instinctively falling back on all the things that won her the miss universe contest, what she does is actually escalate the conflict with her inept responses to the diplomatic crisis. Causing a bigger problem than when she arrived.

    This could end in a huge chase, getting her off planet and a reason for her to need to undo the damage she’s caused for the rest of the film.

    I know I know, I haven’t read it all and I’m jumping the gun on where the plot goes, but I felt the crisis moment needed to be built up much more and not simply ‘stop them attacking us’.
    Just a thought .

  • august4

    Haven’t read it yet, but why would aliens think she was “EARTH’S” ambassador with the title Miss UNIVERSE? Shouldn’t her title be Miss World????

    • Casper Chris

      Come on, it’s a silly comedy. If you’re going to subject it to that level of scrutiny, there are bigger fish to fry. Such as: How do the aliens know what the words World and Universe mean in the first place?
      Hell, maybe their own intergalactic ambassador is called Miss Universe (in their own language of course) so they just, like, assume…

      • Kirk Diggler

        To say nothing of the fact that their trans-warp drive is not fast enough to get them all the way from the southern part of the galaxy to Earth in the time it takes in this script. Re-god-damn-diculous.

      • cjob3

        Plus, why is the ships name a Latin word? Shouldn’t it be in some alien language? And wasn’t there a ship in Star Trek called the Excelsior? Wait, why am I helping with this?

        • sloppy

          Quick, wise guy, what place does the German ambassador represent?

          Got it? That’s how it works.

          So why would the aliens think Miss Universe represents our world and not the universe?

          The pros aren’t sloppy thinkers, even in silly comedies.

          • cjob3

            dude, I’m agreeing. There’s definitely holes in the logic, I’m the first to admit.

  • august4

    Page 2. Jane breaks character….

    LYLE – “Okay, well, knock ‘em dead.”

    JANE – “Inappropriate, Lyle. A lot of them are dying.”

    Jane’s supposed to be dim… Maybe something like:

    Jane – “Ooh, I hope not. I’ll watch my step.”

    Something a little more aloof…..

  • charliesb

    I really wanted to get this read before today but couldn’t find the time. Congrats to Colin for getting the WORTH THE READ, this and Scott’s idea for the Bermuda Triangle movie are two of the best premises I’ve read for films on this site. I will get to this script this weekend and chime in with some hopefully helpful feedback.

    Congrats again!

  • august4

    I can see quite a few places that it could be punched up (and I’m only on page 11)….

    The hazmat suit with the children should NOT be revealed right away… There should be a discussion with the mom, Why are you wearing? Blah Blah… then a CUT TO: to reveal her in the full suit… this will get laughs.

    On page 11…. when Miss Russia complains about her answer she could say something funnier.

    This was her response:

    MISS RUSSIA – “She makes no sense. I do not care what she looks like, there is no
    way she will win with that.”

    More laughs:

    MISS RUSSIA – (broken English) – “This makes no such sense. If she wins, I’ll blow… (scans audience) …That guy! (she points to a FAT UGLY GUY in the audience.
    CUT TO: Jane wins.
    CUT TO: Miss Russia grabs FAT UGLY by the hand. – (pissed) – Let’s go!!

    Just some quick thoughts. (It’s all personal taste)

    If you’re interested, I could help with a full punch up…

    Best of luck!

    • readmoredolt

      I agree. So many missed opportunities where Colin settles for lame lines or doesn’t even go for a joke at all.

      Look at Lyle early on, for example. He’s desperate for sex, which is comedy gold! But Colin gives us a tepid scene on page 7 or 8 where he just settles for being put off by Jane.

      Some lines from Lyle: “I’m joking.” “Oh, stop it.” “Are you seriously bringing this up again?”

      Characters who are desperate and can’t let things go are funny. Push the scene!

      Here’s just one small example.

      Colin’s version:

      JANE
      Do you know what I’ve sacrificed to get to Miss Universe? I haven’t had ice cream in two years! I can’t do anything to jeopardize this now.

      LYLE
      Yeah, but Jane—

      JANE
      Getting pregnant is what cost my mother the crown. BLAH. BLAH. BLAH.

      Hilarious, right?

      How about this instead:

      JANE
      Do you know what I’ve sacrificed to get to Miss Universe? I haven’t had ice cream in two years!

      LYLE
      So try licking something that won’t make you fat!

      JANE
      That’s disgusting.

      LYLE
      Latex comes in all kinds of delicious flavors. I’ll bet they’ve got pistachio.

      JANE
      Can we leave nuts out of this for two minutes? Getting pregnant is what cost my mother the crown. BLAH. BLAH. BLAH.

      Or something like that. You still get to the serious stuff, but you’re getting more zingers into the dialogue.

      Hey, don’t use my lines, but at least put something funny in there.

      This script’s filled with lines and situations that need to be way punched up to compete with comedy specs making the rounds.

      • drifting in space

        That sounds like something I’d say to my wife. Hilarious. He should straight up copy/paste this in.

  • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

    I want to piggyback off some of the great comments to help Colin some more.

    Let’s get emotional:

    There are a lot of different themes you’re dipping into, as Tom points out. But the strongest to me is.

    Honesty vs. Superficiality

    The Bott/Zumba romance, Jane/Hazz romance (she’s cheating! ;-), Pageants in general, Jane’s poverty/fame, Alien Jane/Lyle “romance”…

    The problem is the end reveals don’t support this – it goes into another theme which is more about IDENTITY. In that type of story – people aren’t who they seem to be for better or worse. I’m speaking of Jane’s relationship with her Mother and Father.

    As it stands, and as I think about it more, I’d rather they both be dead. Mother and Father (plotlines and people).

    These two themes are competing too much and I think all you want to say is already there and shining brightly.

    If anyone, disagrees please say so.

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      MIB’s theme is IDENTITY and it does it very well:
      Aliens disguised as humans, Anonymous agency, Fingerprint removal, Memory wipes, cute squid baby, Noisy cricket, Giant insect, John Doe, Tiny galaxy…

      Everything is meant to defy your expectations of what you think things are.

      GALAXY QUEST does FRIENDSHIP very well (as someone pointed out)

      Your domain is your own if you stay on theme, take advantage of it.

      • cjob3

        Hm. Nice insight.

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      If you ever eliminate the mother – a better alien power might be MIND CONTROL through SEX. (then we believe the dumb president and Lyle) With the eggs you get into reproduction and FAMILY vs. CAREER. It’s all in where you want to take it. You don’t use the creatures much so it might be something to think about.

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    “Miss Universe Saves Earth”?

  • klmn

    That would be like the blind leading the blonde.

  • cjob3

    You’re right, Dodd. I’m actually still waiting for you to read the script so you can form an opinion.

    Hey everybody, it’s Dodd from Not Safe For Work!

  • gazrow

    Congrats to Colin for a coveted [x] worth the read!

    I have to be honest and say I wasn’t a fan of the gags aimed at the sick kids. I thought it was kinda cruel and tonally off. The title Miss Universe suggests a family film to me rather than a dark comedy.

    As regards Carson’s suggestion: “Give Colin funny ideas to make this better.”

    My own take on this story would be to keep Jane in the HazMat suit for when she boards the alien ship. Why? To hide her face! On earth she is exceptionally beautiful. But what if the aliens found her exceptionally ugly?! So much so, that they’re planning to use her “ugliness” to destroy the Kar’uton Queen like a modern day Medusa.

    Jane of course would have no idea initially that the aliens find her so hideous and would believe that she was taken because of her supposed linguistic skills. The only creatures that could talk to her without her wearing the HazMat suit or a paper bag over her head would be robots/droids and maybe a blind alien. There would be a ton of dramatic irony and I believe loads of laugh as we watch this superficial girl slowly discover she is not quite the vision of loveliness she thinks she is. Her arc would mirror the theme as she grows to learn: “Beauty is only skin deep.”

    I wish Colin the very best of luck whichever direction he takes the new draft in.

  • HRV

    “Miss Universe Saves Earth” was what came to my mind too. Just don’t know if that has enough oomf to it. I’m still reading — hopefully I’ll finish it up tomorrow. I did get some chuckles, but nothing that cracked me up yet. Everyone’s perception of funny is different anyway. I thought THE NEW COKE was funny, but it didn’t garner enough attention.

  • IgorWasTaken

     
    What If Miss Universe Were
     

  • witwoud

    Congratulations, Colin. This is one of the funniest scripts I’ve read on Scriptshadow.

    I know exactly what you mean when you say the jokes stop being funny when you’d re-read them 5000 times (or five times, in my case) so I’m happy to say that yours tickled me greatly. This was my favourite exchange:

    HAZZ (grim)

    There she is. Mannitol. The latest planet to fall to the Kar’uton.

    JANE

    It’s so funny because on my planet, “croutons” are like these little bits of bread—

    HAZZ

    You’ve told me this like, five times.

    I don’t know why that’s so funny. It just is. I see a lot of guys here are busily rewriting your jokes for you, but I’d resist if I were you.

    I’ve been racking my brain for helpful suggestions and have come up with nothing. So here’s a rather unhelpful suggestion. I can’t help wondering if you’ve made life difficult for yourself by choosing a vapid beauty queen as your hero. It’s an excellent joke, don’t get me wrong. The problem is, it’s hard for her to play an active part in the story until late in the movie. Whereas if you look at the classics of this ‘Unlikely Hero Saves the World‘ genre, the unlikely heroes usually get heroic pretty quickly. The Ghostbusters are busting ghosts from the start. Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest wants to go on this real adventure at once, even if he has to drag the rest of cast behind him. And in both movies we can just about accept it when these group of goofballs step up to the mark and save the day, using whatever left-field expertise they have. It’s harder when the main character is a shallow beauty queen.

    What if Jane, after winning the Miss Universe competition, realises that this isn’t enough. She really does want to help bring about world peace, albeit by kissing an orphan or two. So, already she’s got a little bit of direction. Then, once she’s whisked off into space, she’s thrust into situations which a) have something to do with the main plot and b) require some resourcefulness on her part. At first she can only offer moisturizing tips. As things get worse, she has to dig deeper into herself, and find what she’s really made of. I know that’s cheesy, obvious, Robert McKee type stuff. But it might give the movie more of a spine. I feel that the best movies of this comedy/sci-fi genre are tales of heroism as much as they are comedies.

    Anyway, just my tuppence. Good luck!

    • cjob3

      You and I are on the same page, I can tell. You really seem to get it. I’ve liked all your comments. Are you british? I’m a big fan of that humor. Anyway, great ideas there. And thanks for pointing out that exchange. To me, that’s definitely a designated trailer line. Sums up their whole dynamic.

      • witwoud

        Thanks Colin. Yeah, British as charged. :)

    • Citizen M

      I thought President Murray had some of the best lines:

      SUIT: “We have reason to believe Miss Universe is from another universe.”
      PREZ: (beat) “Shouldn’t that disqualify her?”

      PREZ: “Well, gee fellas, I hate to pull rank here, but President!”

      GENERAL: “I recommend a full first strike, the sooner, the better!”
      PREZ: “Oh, that’s your answer for everything.”

      GENERAL: “…are you sure you’re not just thinking with your dick here?”
      PREZ: “I am the President of the United States. I’m leading with my dick.”

      • cjob3

        Thanks, M! I been wondering how people felt about his character. The only two mentions I saw were really negative. Me and my friend discussed cutting him back last night. Everybody gets that is Bill Murray as the President, right? What’s not to love about that?

        • Citizen M

          He’s funny, but I’m not sure that he’s organically tied in to the plot. I think we need a scene where Real Jane tries to convince him to do the right thing and fails.

        • Tom

          I’m definitely one of those in the “negative” camp with regards to President Murray.

          He’s funny, no doubt. His lines are great. But I think he does more harm than good.

          Here are my contentions with him, and obviously these are my opinion, so take what you will.

          1. His characterization is identical to Lyle. If Lyle became the president, he’d say those same lines. Because of this, I don’t feel the president elevates or expands the humor at all. It’s the same jokes, but coming from a different mouth. The comedy and dialogue feel one-note, and the president isn’t adding a new wrinkle at all. His lines feel like jokes for the sake of jokes.

          2. He destabilizes the balance between absurdity and realism. In essence, there’s so much craziness that the script needs more straight-men. By having an absurd president you undercut the comedic value of the other absurdities in your story. Everything in the world is then absurd. Someone (preferably someone in power, like the President) needs to stand up and say “What’s wrong with you people??? This is crazy!”. I think you could get away with an absurd president if everyone else in your script played it straight, but he tilts the balance too far toward absurd and the result is a world that feels gimmicky and cheap.

          3. His incompetence undermines the threat of your antagonist. To me, this is the biggest problem with the character. Alien Jane only takes over the world because the president’s too stupid to stop her. That’s way too convenient and easy. It weakens her because you’re not forcing her to rise above a worthy adversary (i.e., the US military). And that means that real-Jane has even less to rise up against.

          In all, he’s a fun character and he has fun lines. But, unfortunately, I feel he damages the story’s stakes and credibility. I think your world, your antagonist, and your hero would all be stronger if you killed this particular darling.

          • witwoud

            I agree with this. President Murray is very funny, but he’s rather too ‘Futurama’. He suggests a world of total absurdity rather than the semi-absurd world of Miss Universe.

    • cjob3

      You’re right. Her being a little weary of the pageant circuit and wanting something more could give her the extra dimension she needs. Right now, she’s a bit of a one-note joke. Higher aspirations could round her out.

      And thanks. I love the croutons thing too. It’s a long way to go for that joke but I think the thing is, the first time we hear the word ‘Karu’ton’ we’re (subconsciously?) expecting her to make the obvious joke. Then we’re a little surprised when it never comes. Then, late in game, we find out she’s not only made the joke, she hasn’t shut up about it. We laugh at Hazz’s reaction because it’s a little cathartic for us. Like ‘Aha! I knew she must have made that joke!’ Sorry for the tangent but you got me thinking about what makes that line so funny. I wrote it yet it still gets me. The lamp line too.

  • cjob3

    I’m reminded of a line from the underrated show Action: “I thought about her the whole time I was writing. In fact, I think about her a lot when I’m not writing.”

  • ASAbrams

    I can always get behind a comedy effort. Congrats, Colin on the ‘Worth the Read’ rating. Hope you get your script going in the direction you want it.

    When I first read this for Amateur Offerings, I didn’t finish it. I got to only page 21 or so because Jane was too ill defined for me. I didn’t know what she wanted in life. She was going after Miss Universe, and then she got it–just like that. What, then? Her need that would be fulfilled (or not, if this were more tragic) by the story’s end was non-existent.

    I definitely liked the tone of this. All of the characters were in the realm of funny, without any too serious (though Hazz came close as the ‘I’m just here to be the love interest’ person) or off-putting characters (read: mean-spirited) making things jarring.

    I liked Alien Jane, too. There were points in the story that I considered her to be the protagonist of the story. She’s the one with a goal and a distinct personality (which I find ironic since she’s Jane’s doppelganger).

    Also, Jane’s big flaw is muddled for me. And that means that the second act is also muddled for me. Why? Because the second act is where a character who learns and grows (keeping in mind that not all characters change) faces obstacles and ordeals that test his or her big flaw. I think that conflicts that come out of who the characters are and what they really want will be what really makes this funny because then we’ll be more invested in them and more engaged in what’s happening.

    So what is her weakness or flaw? Being too superficial? I didn’t see Jane challenged in this area. She lost her Miss Universe crown, but she gains another at the end. (Her reaction to losing that was more intense than watching her former boyfriend die right in front of her.) I would expect that she would have to choose between that superficial quality and something more important. For example, maybe Alien Jane captures Hazz and his crew and then demands that Jane hands over the crown or else Hazz and co. will be killed. We could see that Jane is legitimately conflicted and that handing it over will be a big deal while the friendly aliens watch, appalled that this would even be a question.

    Or, maybe Alien Jane challenges Jane to a fight, and the winner can do what they wanted with Earth. And Alien Jane stipulates the rules: it must be done following some ancient reptilian ritual–like, for instance, each contestant must shave all the hair off their bodies, including their heads. Or they just battle with knives, which would imperil Jane’s beauty (Why wasn’t her beauty ever in danger? Real danger).

    But anyway, Jane should face things that challenge her core weakness, so that at the end when she gives the big speech about what she has learned, it resonates. By the way, she said she learned that she couldn’t defeat the enemy because she wasn’t strong enough. When did the story become about strength?

    As far as Jane and Hazz goes, I didn’t really feel anything there. Yet I thought it might be funny if Jane actively tried to seduce Hazz to prove that he found her attractive. Especially if she kept it up at inopportune times.

    I agree with those who felt like the President was unnecessary. He was introduced too late in the story and felt too cliche when he arrived.

    More Alma, please. I think Alma’s struggle through the conflicts could show Jane that while being beautiful is on the outside is great, her mother is beautiful in other ways that Jane should appreciate.

    This will be a pretty cool story if the external plot is properly connected to the internal change of the main character. I just need to know why this story is about Jane and not someone else who happens to be very pretty.

    All in all, while I thought it could be stronger, I did laugh at quite a few spots. Thanks for letting us read your work.

    • Midnight Luck

      Very nice breakdown. Great job. Concise and well put.

    • cjob3

      Doing a re-write now. Re-reading these old comments and I guess yours got lost in the shuffle. Great stuff about the internal/external story. Thanks!

  • carsonreeves1

    That was my assumption that he hadn’t written it yet. My fault.

  • Bob Bradley

    I appreciate the writing and the humor. BUT. Too much of this seems to be grounded in cartoons and other movies. Reality is not an obstacle. And that’s a problem.

    Either think jokier. Or think more seriously about what you want to say with this premise.

    What wrongs do you want to right? Who or what do you want to expose?

    Our planet is corrupt. Politics. Religion. Banks. Take your pick. There’s nothing that isn’t corrupt.

    So, now, what do your evil aliens represent? Are they a cleansing agent? No. They don’t represent anything. They’re just pure destruction. That’s not at all interesting. Have the alien invaders invade for a good reason. There are plenty of them. Now, there’s also some ambiguity. Maybe they’re doing us a favor. Some people might root for them. What’s their weakness?
    You just blow them up. The “when in doubt blow shit up” mindset further immunizes people against thoughtfulness. You have a great opportunity to make people see their world from another angle, on a small and large scale.

    If people leave the theater with a belly full of empty laughs that might be ok, but I’d say, pick a few targets besides TV shows and dumb people. There’s no real heartbeat, yet.
    Why not make Jane extremely intelligent and she wins only because people feel obliged to give her the crown. And then have the media and everyone treat her like a freak for spouting trenchant insights and really trying to connect with people. What do you do with someone like that?

    I’m writing an alien invasion comedy also. Do some research into alien conspiracy stuff. It’s interesting. Tons of ideas there.

    If the ideas behind the jokes are strong then the jokes withstand multiple reads.

  • lesbiancannibal

    Congrats Colin, knew this was good.

    Check out Ed Solomon on the Austin Film Festival podcast on iTunes talking about writing Men In Black.

    The thing you realise is how much of a struggle it is, even for the pros.

    Took him four years, he was fired and rehired five times (he says, might be exaggerating, definitely once). They wanted to change the point of view of the movie to Tommy Lee Jones’ because he’d come off the back of The Fugitive and they hadn’t cast Will Smith yet, and Solomon didn’t agree.

    Then he got loads of notes off talented producers, five weeks out in the Hamptons with the director Barry Sonnenfield re-breaking the movie, etc, and the rest of it. Will Smith ad-libbing and Jones cutting lines to improve where he sees it needs it.

    And you see how much the screenplay changes through the process. He writes about 10 different versions, totally different.

    Really interesting podcast – most of the Austin ones are.

    So to get to this stage with Miss Universe is really impressive, especially as lots of comedy is written in a room.

    I’m not saying you should be of the opinion that it doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re an amateur etc, just that you should have in the back of your mind that no one finds this easy, and to keep pushing on.

    I think you’ve a better handle on comedy than a lot of people commenting (sorry guys) so I’d be wary of changing on a whim. Agree with the structure elements though with regards to the goals of Jane and Hazz.

    I like the sick kids stuff, you need to be a little edgy. I also like the fact she’s a bit of an airhead, but an airhead with a heart. For god’s sake don’t make her use her ‘intelligence’ to get over obstacles.

    On the title: Under the Skin 2

  • Citizen M

    Finished reading the script. Verdict: good in parts.

    For me, the main problems were the character of Jane, and the trip to the King, and the audience targeted.

    When you meet Jane at the kiddies’ hospital, you realise she’s a female douchebag (douchebaguette?). She’s a bit nasty. I would much rather she were a person genuinely trying to be nice in an overwhelming situation.

    So for instance when she meets kids with genuine afflictions she tries to be positive about them. Later when she meets aliens who seem to have even worse afflictions, she puts her foot in it by trying to be positive about things which are normal for them. e.g. “A mouth in your forehead? I wish I had one. Makes it so much easier to lick the ice cream dripping off your cone.” “Don’t speak out of your anus to me, Upside-Down Face.”

    The trip to the King detracted from the urgency of what was happening on Earth. The story lost momentum. If it were possible, I would ditch the whole King thread entirely. I realise the King is a device to give your story a good twist and wrap things up neatly at the end, but for me, meeting the King was where the script jumped the shark.

    In any case, when Hazz says on the spaceship the aliens on board are the last of their kind, that implies there is no other alien, including the King, left alive. And is he the King of Hazz’s species alone, or all species in the non-Kar world? More exposition needed.

    The emphasis on sex tells me this will be PG-13 at least, and I think you need a general audience, not least because this might make a good animated feature.

    The voracious sexual appetite of Alien Jane didn’t lead to enough humour to justify it, IMO. And only straight males were targeted. You need to affect females and maybe gays as well. Not exactly sure how to accomplish that, but a tweak of the Kar life-cyle. Normally, only the Queen can lay eggs. So then what does that make Alien Jane? In any case, why do they need human DNA when they have the ability to clone themselves to any shape. And where does Alien Jane lay eggs? Normally they would be in some sort of prepared nest with a food supply waiting for the hatchlings.

    If they eat the entire food supply of a planet they will go extinct (Earthlings take note). How will they survive when they have conquered the last planet? If you could somehow replace the too-much-sex-is-bad message with some sort of conservation message, I think the concept would have broader appeal and be more marketable.

    I think the alien plans need more careful thought.

    Some ideas I had (maybe they are unworkable — I haven’t thought them through)

    – When Hazz realises she is not THE Miss Universe, he asks her to act-as-if in the hope of fooling the Alien Queen.

    – Jane should use her beauty queen training to devise the plan that defeats the Kar aliens.

    – Aliens should be far more respectful in addressing her. Their speech should be much more formal when addressing royalty. And she should be more formal when putting on a royal act.

    – Maybe aliens think her boobs are weapons because they have none themselves.

    – I hate to suggest something as cliche as a bitchy gay hairdresser, but if the aliens mistakenly beamed up her hairdresser with her, it would be comedy gold with her trying to be nice about aliens and him/her being catty. Could also be a funny alien sex angle there.

    – Maybe Miss Universe actually IS Queen of the Universe. It’s a secret passed on from one Miss Universe to the next at her coronation. Only problem is, owing to a klutzy transporter operator on the alien spaceship, Jane is snatched away at the point of being crowned before the previous Miss Universe can whisper in her ear.

    – Following on from above, maybe all beauty queens are in fact secretly Earth representatives in galactic councils, and for the final showdown Jane has to rally all the beauty queens (and kings) behind her to defeat the invasion.

  • cjob3

    It wasn’t finished at that time, but it was pretty close. And really, I worked this specific “Miss Universe” angle for 3 years, but I had a script about a sexy escaped alien killer, called “Sweet Jane” since right after “Species” came out. What was that? 97? I scrapped it after an episode of the Simpsons did something super similar to one of my big set pieces.

    Miss Universe originally started life as idea called “Planet Jack,” about a guy being telepathically invaded by a peaceful alien, who’s race was under attack. Jack was the only one who could hear this alien voice in his head. Basically an extraterrestrial “Oh, God!”

    One day I thought to make it a ditzy chick instead of a Jack Black slacker and here we are.

  • charliesb

    Finally found time to give this a read. I read up to page 40 before I stopped, but I do intend to finish it.

    I have some comments for the beginning of the story. I didn’t really understand the point of the scene with the kids in the hospital other than to point out that Jane is a little unlikeable. I’d start right from the pageant and beef that scene up more, instead of a scene where they talk about Lyle hitting on Miss Georgia, give us that scene (and the resulting fight) backstage, instead of Jane telling Lyle that she’s doing this for her mother. Have the scene back stage where maybe her mother is fussing with her hair (in lieu of a stylist that they can’t afford) and she tells her mother directly that she’s doing this for her. Start off with the glitz and glam of the award ceremony so that we can see what the Aliens are watching and why they might mistake all this hoopla for something important.

    Next, I thought the scene where Jane is taken could be a little stronger. If the Aliens actually believed that she was the Ambassador, would they really just kidnap her out of a pool? Why wouldn’t they attempt some kind of formal contact?

    What if they are watching her, gathering recon, because they know the Karu’ton’s are going to strike. Maybe Hazz is starting to suspect that they might be wrong about her after all, and he and the crew (other delegates) are arguing about how best to approach her, when a Karu’ton attempts to grab her at her house (hotel?). She freaks out, Alpaca Crewman (who has been cloaked and following her), shoots the Karu’ton (into the pool?) and kidnaps Jane bringing her to the ship and dumping her in front of the Captain and crew. Now knowing that there are Karu’ton already on earth, they take off with Jane, while profusely apologizing on how they’ve treated her, except Hazz who is still suspicious of her status.

    Even if you don’t do something similar, I feel like you need to increase the urgency around why the Aliens just grab her and take off. And increase Jane’s initial reaction to it. Why isn’t she freaking out? (even though she says she’s freaking out) or bargaining, or trying to convince herself that she’s been roofied or something. I’d like a scene where she freaks out, and another where she acclimates (maybe through Bot).

    Anyway, those are my suggestions on your first 40. I really like Alien Jane though. She reminds me of the alien woman from Mars Attacks.

    Good luck with it!

  • cjob3

    Thanks, man. I see your point about Alien Jane hitting the same beat over and over. I’m definitely gonna look at that in the next draft. I was really, really close to cutting the breakfast in bed scene but I thought it was important we see AJ kill at that point. (But then we can see her kill in the following construction scene, so…) I also wanted to set-up that she gets away the publicist and goes out on her own (by running off with the Lothario) – but there are other ways to do that, I’m sure.

    My Kill-The-Dog scene (sorry Blake Synder) was a joke left over from a previous incarnation. Except then, the alien was in true alien form when it ate the dog. So maybe that’s why it didn’t work. I tried to shorn-horn it in here. I see what you mean that him coming back to her may ‘jump the shark.’ I don’t know. I’m torn. You could kinda say the same about why isn’t the media appalled when AJ starts spouting that she’s going to kill everyone and take over the world…? But yeah, maybe I’m taking the over-the-top reality too far there.

    Good food for thought here. Thanks so much for taking the time. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Dan B

    Super Late commenting, but having read the script back when it was posted on AOW, I figured I’d leave some notes.
    The premise is great, its high concept and it may be the most marketable script I’ve read on here in AOW. I can see the movie poster now.
    I think the start is strong, and well structured. We spend the first 10 pages or so getting to know a lot about Jane, and then she’s abducted around page 12 if I recall.
    Jokes in the first 10 – I found the hospital bit to be hilarious. It showed that she’s ditzy, and maybe a little selfish (flaws). Some commenters have thought it was dark or out of tone. I disagree, her line “Inappropriate Lyle, Some of these kids are dying” absolutely floored me.
    Also – her biography “hates phonies” cracked me up.
    Most of the jokes are based on the premise which is great. Sometimes in comedy scripts, there’s the plot, and the jokes are all throwaways that don’t have to do with the situation, but a more “banter” related, which doesn’t work as well.
    Later in Space – I think Carson is right about the second act plot problem, it seems the whole story line up there is Jane helping the Cyborg, which does make her more likeable. However, it felt like a more drawn out version of Legally Blond where Elle helps that awkward guy when he’s asking out those girls. They both sort of accomplish the same thing, but in Legally Blonde it’s about one page. I think spending more time on a GOAL here could help out the second act. While the Earth plot is great with Alien Jane, I was a bit bored in space. Perhaps, her and Hazz run into an issue at his home planet., Maybe after meeting the King and getting some of that backstory, they find out they’ve been tricked by the “King” and then they need to escape an attack from the bad aliens? It could bring Jane and Hazz closer as well, since that seems to be part of the end game.
    In the original script, I don’t believe they find out they’ve been tricked until they get back to Earth.
    Some other comments: The President character was hilarious. Yes he was like a Cartoonish Clinton character, and made me feel like I was in Mars Attacks, but it was still funny. I also think the character fit the tone of the rest of the movie.
    I liked how Jane and the crew were actually taken as hostiles by the Florida trailer park people, didn’t expect that. It wasn’t a big hurdle, but still gave them something else to overcome.
    Honestly think this could be a movie, maybe some work on the second act to keep the story full of energy. But, if this movie came out in theaters, I don’t know how it doesn’t do well.
    Congrats on the WTR.

    • cjob3

      I’m super late responding but thanks, man! I really appreciate the feedback. Glad you liked it. And yeah, a celebrity president – a’la – Mars Attacks! is just what I was going for.