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: Horror
Premise (from writer): After survivors of a recent hurricane relocate to a quiet Louisiana bayou town, a creature goes on a nightly rampage of terror and carnage. Convinced it is the legendary werewolf known as loup garou, an intrepid teen vows to discover the beast’s true identity and destroy it.
Why You Should Read (from writer): This script is my take on the classic monster movie. The story moves quickly, is filled with colorful characters and contains a truly badass werewolf. It’s placed well in a couple smaller contests and now I want to see how it fares in the AOW thunderdome.
Writer: S.D.
Details: 93 pages

werewolves-werewolves-8012458-1024-640

It only seems appropriate that a script about a mysterious werewolf is written by a mysterious writer. Known to us only as “S.D.” the Primal scribe has thrown his hat into the Amateur Offerings arena.

Mysterious or not, S.D. has a tall order ahead of him. Of all the monsters out there, I think werewolves are one of the weakest. My issue with them is that they’re basically glorified wolves, and the rules that govern them aren’t as clean as some of the other monsters. For example, we know vampires need blood to survive. We know zombies need human flesh to survive. What do werewolves need? Why do they kill? That’s something I thought a lot about during Primal.

Say you’re a guy who turns into a werewolf.  If you move into an area and start killing everyone in sight, you’re probably going to have to move out fairly quickly, which is logistically inconvenient – having to move from residence to residence every week or so. Now if you HAVE to kill? If killing is something you have no control over? That’s another issue.

But that was my problem. I never knew why the werewolf was killing. I don’t know if werewolf fans care about this stuff. But as a storyteller, I think it’s in every writer’s best interest to know all of the rules governing their universe and convey those to the reader clearly. Especially since S.D. appears to be breaking away from werewolf lore (his werewolves don’t need a full moon to turn). With that in mind, let’s check out Primal.

18 year-old Chris Durance works as an assistant manager in a New Orleans trailer park, where he also lives with his father. Things seem to be going well until two new sets of tenants move in. First, there’s the easily agitated James Hettis, and then the father-daughter duo of Remy and Annie. Lucky for Chris, Annie is a little beauty queen in the making, and she seems to have the hots for him.

Soon after that, the killings begin. There’s a hunter, an old codger, and even Chris’s own father! It’s serious enough that a Monsters-are-real blogger type, Tobin Fromski, shows up and starts documenting the killings. The thing is, nobody really believes that something supernatural is at work here. It’s gotta be some angry bear or something, right?

But as the evidence continues to mount, all signs point to some French version of the werewolf, which is like, the worst kind of werewolf there is. This guy doesn’t even need a full moon to turn. He does it whenever he wants!

The rest of the script is about everyone (including us) trying to figure out who the damn werewolf is. Is it the mysterious drifter who’s always hanging around just outside of town? Is it the intensely private new tenant James Hettis? Or is it some outside presence they haven’t met yet? Download the Primal script below to find out.

Werewolf

Primal was so easy to read! This script slides down your throat like a tall glass of milk. The paragraphs are short and to the point. The writing glides along from word to word. And it’s a pint-sized 93 pages.

Now there’s some debate about whether that’s a good thing or not. The argument being, how can you move someone on a deeper level if everything’s so short and simple? In the end, that’s a choice you make as a writer. Not every script is going to be Casablanca. Not every plot needs to be as complicated as Citizen Kane. So when you’re talking about a “monster in a box” werewolf script, simple is probably the best way to go.

With that said, the lack of complexity did affect my enjoyment of the story. Despite how well this was written, I knew who the killer was almost immediately. (spoilers) The other suspects (the drifter, James Hettis, and Annie’s dad) were so outlandishly bad that it would’ve been too obvious if they were the werewolf. That left one person – Annie.

The thing is, I believe Annie was the right choice to be the werewolf. S.D. just needed to cover his tracks better. This is essentially a murder mystery. And with any murder mystery, your job as the writer is to keep fucking with the reader. Every person we meet has to be presented along with the tiniest clue that THEY could be the killer (or werewolf in this case).

So everyone Chris investigates – whether it be old man Swagger, Deputy Munro, or even Chris’s own father – has to make us reevaluate what we think we know. I mean Chris’s father just came back from some long job, right? Maybe he caught something out there.

From there, whoever your killer is, you have to give us one scene that DEFINITELY RULES THEM OUT, so that we never consider them as a possibility. So for example, Chris should be with Annie when one of the killings occurs. That way we don’t even consider her and when she turns out to be the killer, we’re truly shocked. How you explain that other murder will be tough, but that’s what a writer’s job is. To come up with creative solutions to tough problems (they did it in Scream by creating dual-murderers).

Character-wise, I think S.D. suffocated the script with too many characters for a 90 page screenplay. On my count there were 18-20 characters, which is way too many for something as simple as this. With all those characters, you weren’t able to get in depth enough with the characters that mattered.

I mean I barely knew Annie. She had, what? 3-4 scenes with Chris before she’s devastated to hear that he’s leaving with his father? If you cut out some of those other characters, you could up that to 7-8 scenes, and then it feels a lot more realistic when she’s upset. I know when that scene came I was like, “What?? You barely know this dude.” I mean we have two deputies here. Do we need two? We have Sam Washington. Who the hell is Sam Washington?

Likewise, use that extra space to beef up the depth of ALL the key characters. I liked how S.D. built up Wes’s (Chris’s dad) backstory, how he lost his wife and had turned to drinking. But I barely knew anything about Tobin, the blogger, who probably gets more time than anyone. And come to think about it, I barely knew anything about Chris, too. And he’s your hero!

Outside of that, the script felt a little small. I don’t know if there was enough of a twist here to get people excited about this as a film. There’s the trailer park angle, which was different, but is it different enough? These movies can certainly get made because the setup is so easy to convey. But to REALLY get a producer excited, you need something fresh.

I mean there’s all this talk about this being a special kind of werewolf, but the only thing different about it was that it could change whenever it wanted. If you could expand the mythology of the werewolf and add some new twists to it, maybe this starts to feel fresher. I wish I could give some suggestions but, again, werewolves aren’t really my cup of tea.

Like a lot of people who win the Amateur Friday slot, S.D. is definitely a good writer. In addition to that, he’s writing movies that have a chance in the marketplace. But I think this is one or two complexity notches below what gets producers excited. Get rid of some characters, beef up the remaining ones, add a little more mythology to the werewolf, keep us guessing with the killer, and this script could eventually do some damage. I wish S.D. the best of luck!

Screenplay link: Primal

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

What I learned: Remember that whatever vice your character has, there was a trigger for it. It might’ve happened recently or it might’ve happened a long time ago. Find that trigger, because it’s probably the thing that’ll most shape who your character is. So for Chris’s dad, he’s a drunk. The trigger for him drinking was his wife dying a year ago. That’s who he is in this story. He’s a man grieving. He’s a man who must get over the death of his wife.

  • Ange Neale

    Hi Carson, I’ve only just been alerted to your article from yesterday and have posted in response. Thank you, but I won’t get in the way of ‘Primal’. Please could you delete this as soon as you see it? Better yet, I’ll flag it myself.

  • carsonreeves1

    Not impossible. Maybe Remy is a werewolf too. Nothing’s impossible. It’s writing! I’m just really big on veering suspicion away from Annie since, at least to me, it was so obvious she was the werewolf.

    • Abdul Fataki

      Nothing is impossible in writing. Amen to that. There are loads of solution.

      Maybe there’s a copy cat killer who thinks the murders are done by a serial killer or something. They could kill this guy at the end of ACT II only to find out this guy is human — maybe they kill him and the murders continue. Or maybe he tells them as he’s dying that he saw “it” and that “it was beautiful”.

      • astranger2

        Exactly. There are an infinite number of possible scenarios to solve that… unless it exists in a finite world where werewolves don’t even exist…

        • Paul Clarke

          Writing is problem solving. You have to use this crazy thing called an imagination.

          Especially if the main driving force in the movie is the mystery of who the killer is.

    • Andrew Parker

      Definitely not impossible! My favorite movie as a paradigm for misdirection is “Scream”. Kevin Williamson used one killer and one assistant killer to draw our suspicion away from the actual killer. I know Kevin didn’t invent that, but he executed it well.

    • jridge32

      Good point, Carson. All I was saying was that given the parameters of this story — only one werewolf — I think the writer did a really solid job of not drawing too much attention to Annie. Sometimes it pays to be a gullible reader – I enjoyed the script for what it was, and wasn’t surprised by the reveal, per se, but didn’t see it coming either.

      But if we’re not simply reviewing the material as is, then yes, possibilities are endless.

      • Nicholas J

        If the writer has shown they can write a well-rounded character in the script, and the only suspects are 5 or 6 one-dimensional characters and 1 well-rounded character, it’s usually pretty obvious that character is the guilty one.

        And (if we’re dealing with a competent writer) if out of all the suspects only one has any strong connection to the protagonist, that’s another dead giveaway.

        Not saying either is the case here, but it sounds like it might be? Not sure, I only read 15 pages or so on AOW.

        Either way, point is, sometimes the trick isn’t throwing red herrings in the mix, sometimes it’s just realizing every single suspect as a multidimensional character and making sure they all have equal importance in the story.

  • sotiris5000

    Ooooooooooooooh!

    • Ange Neale

      Someone set up the ring; I’ll fetch the gloves. Queensbury rules or MMA?

      • Paul Clarke

        Bare-knuckles

      • Cuesta

        Mortal Kombat.

        • Ange Neale

          Good suggestion!

        • Jaco

          Register it with the U.S. Copyright office. Keep records of who/where you send your script to. Don’t bother with WGA registration – though if it makes you feel good, certainly go ahead.

          • NajlaAnn

            Agreed. I have stopped the WGA registration. I have other ways of spending my money.

      • Linkthis83

        • Ange Neale

          Hey Link,
          Ha! Cool.
          Did you notice all the continuity errors with the blue door? Sometimes it’s there, open to the left. Other times to the right, then a couple of times it’s vanished completely.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Hey Dan
    I think it might be interesting
    if you also wanted to post your script.
    You might want to post the notes you got as well?
    Did you copyright or keep a record of your e-mail?

    • astranger2

      I’m confused… If Primal’s author’s plot points were so weak, and it was copied form Daniel’s — why would we want to read his?

      • witwoud

        I think he means, so we can verify Daniel’s claims.

        • astranger2

          Sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate so well without italics. Or other punctuational crutches…. Daniel may well have a claim, but his accusation seems arbitrarily stated, Imho… ; )

          • witwoud

            Haha. Sorry, realised about 2 seconds after posting that you were probably joking. Wake up, Witwoud.

          • Ange Neale

            OT here, Witwoud, but a little story you might be interested in pursuing some day, if you’re unfamiliar with it.
            I don’t know if books have been written about it, but it’s begging for a feature film or at least a documentary.
            WW2 — RAF pilots and aircrew whose faces and hands got terribly burned ended up with Prof Archie McIndoe at Queen Vic Hospital in East Grinstead (East Sussex, maybe? not far from Gatwick Airport).
            McIndoe was a Kiwi, a pioneering plastic surgeon. With the help and support of others, he focused as much on treating minds as bodies.
            Some of these poor blighters were horrendously disfigured, but they got each other through the worst of it.
            The men called themselves ‘the Guinea Pig Club’ because their surgeries were experimental, but extraordinarily successful, and hundreds of them ended up living long and relatively happy lives.
            There’s only a few left now (mostly in their 90s — maybe 100s, too, I guess).
            They called East Grinstead ‘the town that didn’t stare’, and local girls used to take them out to dances and movies to help them get their lives back to a sense of normality.
            Oh, and there’s something to be said for a hospital ward that keeps a keg of beer on hand.
            Good starting point: http://www.blondmcindoe.org/our-history.html

          • Citizen M

            I believe that was the origin of the term “basket case”. Some of them were so mutilated they were bandaged and suspended in baskets for the rest of their lives.

            IIRC Dervla Murphy the travel writer had an affair with a maimed airman.

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, thanks for that!

          • witwoud

            Hi Ange — actually, I’ve a very slight connection with the East Grinstead boys. My family used to own an engineering company, and during the war some of the ‘Guinea Pigs’ came and worked there — turning lathes and so on — in between their skin-graft operations. The factory was making equipment for the Ministry of Aircraft Production and needed as many hands as possible — not just the East Grinstead lot, but also housewives, bakers, solicitors, composers. Heck, even writers. Desperate times.

          • Ange Neale

            That’s fascinating, Witwoud!
            Seriously, have you ever considered writing that script?
            It’d make a cracking good yarn and I’d turn up to see it.
            As far as genre, drama would be the obvious one, but these guys made a meal of black humour, so it needn’t be a bleak and depressing story — much more triumph over adversity.

          • witwoud

            Its a nice idea, but it’d be entirely beyond my ability; I can’t do this sort of thing at all. Maybe you should do it!

            I suppose the most obvious angle is: could the ‘guinea pigs’ ever again have a proper romantic relationship? You could base the entire story around a disfigured pilot, a nurse … and the relentlessly upbeat Dr McIndroe urging them on despite the obvious obstacles. (And perhaps overplaying his hand: she starts to wonder if she is a guinea pig too.)

            But really, in this sort of film, I suppose you want to base it on real stories as much as possible rather than inventing stuff, and there are plenty of those. Also, there’s always a whiff of telemovie-style exploitation about this sort of thing, unless you do it really really well. Which, as I say, I couldn’t do in a thousand years.

          • Ange Neale

            You’re going to find this ironic, given what transpired with mine and accidentally hollowing most of the once-upon-a-time male characters out.
            In a really early draft when there had been fighter pilots, I sent my Allison character (the surgeon) to East Grinstead to learn from Dr McIndoe’s techniques because WAAFs were turning up in her ward with bad burns caused by cooking oil spills and fires, etc. Then when Jenny turns up to visit her there, she discovers a vain and arrogant pilot she’d had an altercation with, and that he was there because he’d saved a pal’s life at the expense of his own good looks (i.e. he wasn’t a complete shit after all, just young and cocky).
            I got advice it was apparently too contrived, felt tacked on and melodramatic, so I excised the whole lot of that, too.
            But that’s how I knew about the ‘Pigs’ — I’d forgotten it until the other day.

            I’d love to write the ‘Guinea Pigs’ story, but constraints are two-fold: my current time commitments, and I don’t presume that I can write men naturally (at least, not yet), especially where it involves intense emotions that they’d understandably feel like bitterness at the loss of their looks and resentment at being rejected.
            If you or anyone else here (Astranger2, Citizen M?) ever wants to consider a co-write down the track, I’d be game, but I just can’t until next year at the earliest.
            Astranger2’s right — he’s posted elsewhere: ‘The town that wouldn’t stare’ is a great title, even though it shifts the story to a bigger picture than just one pilot / aircrewman, one love interest and one doctor. It’d be a terrific homage to a whole community that adopted them as its sons.
            That also might side-step the exploitation potential, which I agree is a real risk. There’s also potential for melodrama, but their black humour should dispel that.

          • witwoud

            Whatever you do, just make sure you get Robin Williams to play McIndoe. :)

          • Ange Neale

            Yup; I’ll wrestle him to the ground and poke him with a cattle prod until he gets an NZ accent down pat.

          • Citizen M

            I’m searching IMDb for movies that might have dealt with the subject.

            So far, only a TV episode: Foyle’s War: Enemy Fire
            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582083/
            February 1941: When a local manor house is commandeered for use as a
            special burn unit for treating injured RAF pilots, Foyle is called in to
            investigate a series of strange accidents.

            Other than that, nothing. Maybe I’m not good at searching. It seems a wonderful subject for a movie, although I can';t think of a kick-ass concept right now.

            Maybe a biopic of Richard Hillary — Handsome fighter pilot, shot down and crashed in flames, face rebuilt, love affair with Merle Oberon despite disfigurement, flew again, shot down and crashed in flames again, died. http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-town-that-didnt-stare-by-kate-lord.html

          • Ange Neale

            Thanks so much for these links, Citizen M!
            Checked out the History Girls post and will get to the others as time permits.
            Yeah, it seems very odd to me that no-one’s pursued a feature film. I guess as Witwoud pointed out, avoiding creating an exploitation flick could be tricky.
            To think of all that medical science learned because of their contribution, and in our vain and spoiled-rotten century, plastic surgery is now so much more about making geriatric movie stars and billionaires look like they’re still 50 (i.e. Kim Novak at this year’s Oscars, doing her ‘Joker’ impersonation).
            Compare her look to the fabulous, natural 79 year old Dame Judi Dench, who hasn’t resorted to going under the knife to try to look 30 years younger, and is aging gloriously and with her dignity intact.

          • Ange Neale

            I’ve just downloaded several journal articles on the Guinea Pigs, McIndoe’s life and work, and the role of the nurses in the boys’ recoveries — the sorts of pieces you can’t get without database subscriptions. Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll send ‘em — neal0018 at gmail dot com.
            McIndoe actually seems to have been a pretty interesting character in his own right — maybe there’s a biopic in it, that could then be followed up by a biopic of Hillary, or vice versa.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Was only interested in giving the guy a fair shake.

          • Zadora

            He said he gave “Erik” his script last year. I read Primal two years ago.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Confused now.
            You, “Eric,” and S.D. …
            Which one was the psychic?

          • Zadora

            I know the writer of Primal. He first sent me this script in August of 2012. Daniel seem to imply that he sent his script last year, 2013, to a mutual friend of S.D and himself and then S.D must have copied his script. All I’m saying is that I have proof that I read this script two years ago. Way before Daniel sent his script to Erik. That’s all. :)

  • JakeBarnes12

    Can we look forward this week to a writer who is actually open to improving the script and learning more about the craft?

    • Michael

      There you go blaming the writer again. You should admit you are not smart enough to be a part of the “niche audience that a/ does get irony and b/ can hold the finer points of several scenes in their head at any given time.”

      • Ange Neale

        Michael, you’ve taken me somewhat out of context here.
        The post and the paragraph you’ve borrowed this from was talking about the ADD audience segment, if I remember rightly.
        By that I meant the one that’s satsified by big explosions, more explosions and they don’t need things to make sense to enjoy it.

        Are you taking a shot? Was this meant as tongue in cheek?

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    Without having read the script, I think Carson is giving some really helpful notes in this review.

  • astranger2

    IF this is true, and I have no real foundation for knowing, you have every reason to be hurt, and potentially impacted in a financial way. It just seems an odd way to bring it all up. Especially since Primal was posted prior to this.

  • Bifferspice

    only read the first 30 so far, but i think it’s excellent. quick confident writing, makes it so easy to visualise the finished film, the pacing’s excellent, natural dialogue. i could really see this on screen. looking forward to finishing it when work isn’t getting in the way

    • Bluedust

      Appreciate the read, Biff.

  • Abdul Fataki

    Post the script or STFU.

  • Tschwenn

    I had notes set up for last week – but then it wasn’t run for AF. My main criticism was that although it was a nice read, there was little substantial conflict early, in Chris’s life – the beast needs to be directly involved in Chris’s life by ~page 35.

  • pmlove

    Reminds me of a story I wrote in 1989, for which I received these comments:

    “A rip-roaring tour-de-force and the defining work of a generation, Seven
    takes us on a tour of an imaginative yet dark city in which the rules
    are hard-but-fair and the good guy doesn’t always win but gets the girl
    and then loses. It tells of a series of horrific and brutal murders,
    each one inspired by the days in which God created the world. When God
    said ‘Let there be light!’, our killer takes Him at His Word. When God
    rested, our killer finds someone resting, and stabs them 36 times in the
    face. Seven turns Genesis into Genesin.”

    Of course, one Andrew Kevin Walker, took apart this old short story and recrafted it into a dynamite film script. Seven became Se7en.
    After the addition of some major Hollywood players (including Brad
    Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey), a healthy dose of plagiarism and one-hell-of-a-plot-twist, Se7en went on to become a 5-star Hollywood Blockbuster.

    I never did get credited.

    • Ange Neale

      Geez, Peter, that’s a tough break, but it was one hell of a plot twist, wasn’t it? Still, it would’ve been nice for you to have seen, ‘Based on a short story by…’

      • pmlove

        Hey Ange – sorry, was meant more in a ‘unsubstantiated tales on the internet are meaningless’ kind of way.

        I most definitely had nothing to do with Seven!

        • Ange Neale

          Oh, Peter, I had a day of inhaling dumbass gas yesterday. I couldn’t tell ‘just kidding’ if it leaped up and boxed me around my ears. My bad!
          (And it really was a hell of a plot twist, wasn’t it? Genius.)

  • Zadora

    I read Primal two years ago. It had a different title at the time, but the script is the same.

  • Randy Williams

    In my AOW comments, besides fawning over this writer’s ability to grab the reader, I suggested consolidating characters. I thought making Annie the daughter of the paranormal video blogger would be one good move in that direction. This would not only steer suspicion away from her but provides some irony, too, which Scriptshadow just adores. Might have upped the rating here with some irony, just saying.

    The blogger was too busy blogging to notice his precious girl transformed herself at night into a raging unicorn, I mean, werewolf. A lesson for us all.

    • Bluedust

      I think you may have an excellent idea in consolidating some of these characters, Randy. Upon reading Carson’s review, I realized how the plethora of peripheral characters may have distracted from the two leads.

  • Craig Mack

    I read Primal front to back, good story with a lot of potential.

    As I stated in the AOW, the only problem I have with the screenplay is the simplicity of the ‘who dun-nit’ nature. We know who the killer is immediately.

    You throw us some curve balls with the drifter/heisenberg etc, but they are too OBVIOUS.

    Annie is the only logical werewolf (or Chris’s father — which would have been cool as well).

    As a fan of the genre, I still really enjoyed it. Great job.

    C

    • Bluedust

      Thanks again for the read, Craig. Obviously I’m going to put some work into the whodunit nature of this story and create some more doubt as to the identity of the werewolf. Glad you liked most of it.

  • Randy Williams

    Sorry for your devastating week. I hope you are truly mistaken here in your accusations, though.

    Did you read this writer’s well-received found footage vampire Vietnam script that appeared on here as well? Someone pointed out that the writing style was very different from Primal’s.

    • Bluedust

      Randy, I can assure you I wrote both scripts and have never heard of Daniel or his werewolf screenplay.

  • ElectricDreamer

    “There’s the trailer park angle, which was different, but is it different enough? These movies can certainly get made because the setup is so easy to convey.”

    The set up is easy on the eyes, because it’s cleverly transplanted from: The Last Starfighter.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087597/

    That being said, I’m convinced this is done as a SWEET HOMAGE to the film. Why?
    Cuz the name of the film’s trailer park, is the name of a motel in S.D.’s spec script.
    Easter egg confirmed. Nice touch to add that nugget on page 18.
    I was an Amblin Kid. So, I have a soft spot for that soft film too, S.D.
    After seeing it three times, I went to arcades so my Skywalker arc could begin too.
    But the video games I beat never transported me to space. :-(
    Congrats on getting the AF review. Get another project in development soon!

    • Bluedust

      You’ve got a good eye, E.D. This is indeed an 80s throwback creature feature and I threw in a li’l homage to Starfighter and Silver Bullet, among some other flicks.

  • Bluedust

    Danielebon… I have no idea who you are or what scripts you’ve written. You are correct that I cowrote one script with Erik, who apparently is our mutual friend. However, he’s never mentioned or sent any of your scripts to me. I truly don’t know what you’re talking about, so I’m going to chalk this up to a misunderstanding, which I’m sure will clear up when you get in touch with Erik and verify everything I’ve stated. Then I expect you to post a full apology right here. You can rip my plotting all you want, but don’t accuse me of plagiarism. But hey, thanks for the “congratulations.”

  • Eddie Panta

    I read the entire Primal screenplay and enjoyed the read.

    The trailer park and the abandoned trailer homes hooked me, set-pieces rarely do this. I think it’s a great contained environment for a werewolf story.

    I would of preferred the Werewolf show up much sooner though. Waiting for the creature to be revealed builds up expectations that the story doesn’t fulfill. Also, since it is a ” Who Done it” you don’t need the “what is it” mystery that is occupying most of the character’s time and dialogue. The reader/viewer will know it’s a werewolf.

    The transformation scene, is pretty much what werewolf stories are about. It is really a Jeckyll and Hyde story. Without this sooner in the script hardcorre werewolf fans will be disappointed. But if you skip it because it’s a who-dun-it then you’ll need to show the beast right out of the gate, or at least part of it. I don’t think you can have it both ways. But I will say that the transformation scene here was very well written.

    The beast that is revealed to be a werewolf should be sneakier, pickier about its victims, especially since there are so many transients around in the area. Why attack the local hunter everyone knows?

    – SPOILERS –

    IF the GIRL were much more of a “MANIC PIXIE GIRL” stereotype then it might help throw the viewer off course. Also, provide a nice twist on the stereotype when she turns out to be the werewolf. You can use troupes to distract the audience. It’s risky though.

    You can’t really copyright ” a ” werewolf only ” your ” werewolf.

    This is where Carson’s statement about “the rules of the monster” comes in, establishing the rules of your monster not only creates a better story but also gives you something that is inherently unique. Since Primal is set in the Bayou it should have visual attributes that are specific to the region . The exposition of the legend should be even more local, and less historical.

    The set-up and the legend of the beast makes Primal a bit of a throwback to 80s creature horror, but in those days it was easier to hide the beast, to reveal it late, audiences are much more impatient now. I also thought there were some elements of the “The Lost Boys” in Primal.. Especially with the werewolf, blogger, yeti hunter. In terms of tone and walking the line between comedy and scares Lost Boys can’t be beat.

    I think this could be worked into a cool script. It is like the review mentioned very marketable.

    • Bluedust

      Thanks for the read, Eddie. And making this more of swamp-centric werewolf is something I’m going to work on in the next draft. A beast that would have adapted to life in the bayou.

      In earlier drafts, I had the creature appear sooner, at the pool scene, but I had this notion of building up anticipation of what the thing actually looked like. But your point is well taken about audiences being less patient with the creature reveal these days.

      • Eddie Panta

        Cool. I’d love to read it when your done.
        The IMAGE chosen for the review here pretty much kills the suspense of the “what is it” mystery. The same would be true for any distribution.
        I need to finish reading Black Autumn.
        See you next week.

    • Poe_Serling

      “Since Primal is set in the Bayou it should have visual attributes that
      are specific to the region . The exposition of the legend should be even
      more local, and less historical.”

      I like how you think, Eddie… that was my major suggestion regarding Primal. My post from 6 am seems to be lost in netherworld of Disqus.

      • Eddie Panta

        Thanks! Great minds think a like.

  • ArabyChic

    Considering that these kind of plots are pretty cookie cutter and are numerous, with almost every horror screenwriter trying to write something similar, and also considering this script sounds very much like one probably HALF OF US on this site have written — I find your accusation to be irresponsible. If you don’t want people to write something similar to one of your scripts then write something more original (no offense S.D.). Don’t point fingers willy nilly with zero proof.

  • brenkilco

    Have only read the first fifteen pages so I’m going chiefly by Carson’s review but if the mystery element is what you’re depending on to set this apart from other werewolf flicks then personally I’d want it to be a real mystery. A killer that’s adept at covering his/her tracks, so to speak. Real clues and not just red herrings. A plot to follow and not just a series of visceral scare scenes with just enough stray character development to hold it together. But maybe I’m not the target audience. BTW the idea of a werewolf mystery isn’t new. Theres a Peter Cushing movie from the seventies called The Beast Must Die. Sort of Ten Little Indians with a werewolf. Recall it as being pretty awful.

  • mulesandmud

    Seems like Disqus is really freaking out today.

    Hope it settles down soon. I fear that a lot of thoughtful feedback and some fairly gripping melodrama has gotten lost in the ether already.

    • Craig Mack

      I agree, three of my posts have been eaten by the Disqus Goblin.

      • mulesandmud

        I’ve caught glimpses of your suggestion that adding an actual bear attack might help muddy the trail and distract from the identity of the real werewolf. That’s a great line of thought – hopefully it’ll surface again at some point and the board will actually let us talk about it.

  • fragglewriter

    Congrats on your script. I didn’t read it, as it’s not my thing.
    Great What I Learned Tip. Small explanations are big on readers.

  • JW

    There’s something about AOWs that is pushing me off this site. I don’t know what it is. Whether it be how the “masses” choose the AOW selection, or the outcome of that script, it just never really pops (how many “impressives” have been given in the last year to an AOW?). I don’t see any of these becoming films, getting real attention (or selling), and while the argument can be made that “it’s for teaching,” at the end of the day folks, once you’ve covered the basics, once you’ve read the books, and been on a peer review site for a couple years (of which there are many), all of these things should be in your repertoire. After that it comes down to genre and story type that you choose to tell. And, not only that, but if the selection of the AOW goes to the masses as “this script is good enough to review” and time and time again these scripts are getting “not for me” rated… I don’t know, does that say something about the selection process? I know, I know, it’s not a polite question to ask, nor is it a popular stance to take (and I’m likely to receive vitriol for opening my big mouth), but let’s be honest here, anyone you remember in your life was someone who didn’t take “mediocre” as the standard. Hollywood is no exception. I guess I would just figure that if C is receiving a certain number of amateur scripts each week, out of that we could pull some OUTSTANDING work. Maybe I’m wrong. Just a thought.

    • leitskev

      Have you read through the Black List scripts? How many of those are truly outstanding? Writing an outstanding script…one which excites a lot of people…is an extremely hard thing to do.

      Thousands of scripts have to be sifted through to find those rare diamonds in the rough. Even pro writers are only able to bat a certain percentage, so certainly it’s tougher for amateurs. The challenge is to have filtering processes which tries to find these diamonds. The studios pay readers, there are contests, and now you can pay to have your script reviewed on the black list. AOW is just one such filtering process. There are no paid readers for it. Either Carson has to filter through himself, or he uses his blog regulars to help with the process. That’s the choice, and the latter seems to give a little better chance of finding those diamonds. But they will always be rare. This is hard.

      • mulesandmud

        Also, it’s worth noting that the primary value of AOW is not the possibility of discovering a great script, but the opportunity for serious discussion about a work in progress, usually involving the writer. The discussion can be great whether the script is good, bad, or ugly. If the script is a winner, then that’s value added.

        I often think that the commenters get a better deal than the AF writers. Sure, Carson reads their work and maybe makes a few thoughtful remarks, but by the end of the weekend there’s such a flood of notes to sort through that it’s dizzying. A writer who isn’t mature, clear-sighted, and experienced in sorting feedback could easily get confused or caught in a loop of bad ideas.

        Meanwhile, the rest of us reap the rewards of shared perspectives and (hopefully) constructive conversation, can invest as much or as little as we like, and can opt out at any time. Pretty sweet deal.

        • Linkthis83

          YES! Assessing a value that is unquantifiable is a great point.

          Having endless scripts to breakdown has been paramount in my growth as a writer. The other key component? Being able to discuss with writers their intentions for scripts/scenes.

          This is why I love when writers defend/explain their work. They wrote it. If I get to hear them talk about their goals and intentions, it helps me understand why they may have made the choices they have and appreciate their effort more.

          • Gregory Mandarano

            I think there’s more value to be learned from reading the collaborative suggestions and analysis of middle grade scripts, than there is in reading high end scripts or terrible ones.

    • Linkthis83

      If you go by the data alone, regarding amateur spec scripts, received by the entities that have the actual resources to make something of these scripts, you’d already know how unlikely it is for OUTSTANDING work to come through SS.

      We have seen it happen. We’ve also seen work that has received much support not get a rating the masses thought it deserved and vice versa. Hence, the highlighting of how subjective ALL of this is. Including your meaning of OUTSTANDING.

      And this: It’s amazing to me how little understanding there seems to be when it comes to this stuff. There are so many examples of everything depending on which stance you take. GREAT SCRIPTS ARE SO RARE. And the ones that are so supported now have the luxury of historical context and popularity based on film.

      If you dive into the history of the scripts for the films that are considered greats, there are so many stories of who passed on that script, how long it was developed, that it was passed on for years until so and so got a hold of it. This stuff is ample, and endless, and we are aware of it.

      So if you wanted to blame anybody, I’d say it’s the writers fault. And then the script choosers, And then us, the reviewers/voters fault, and then Carson’s fault. And much like a script, you realize there are many influences and none can be isolated as the sole perpetrator. Great scripts have turned into terrible movies. Terrible scripts into great films. There’s no answer key to the test we are taking.

      Just like stories, there’s no one perfect way to do this. Sure we can tweak, but the core of your issue is a lack of great scripts/stories/writing/concepts/etc. Hollywood is experiencing the same issues, plus business matters.

      We discuss previously the current system here on SS. It’s imperfect, but I am grateful as shit that it exists. There’s a place where amateurs can go to truly interact and possibly get noticed. It’s not perfect, but you already know this.

      Be the change you wish to see. If this place makes you unhappy, start your own site with credibility and standards you seek.

      The only real change I wish for here is to see writer’s get credit for the quality of their script when the STORY doesn’t jive with Carson.

      [x] Worth the read, wasn’t for me.

      • Malibo Jackk

        George Clooney has said —
        You can make a bad movie from a good script,
        but you can’t make a good movie from a bad script.

        (Gotta love the guy.)

        • Linkthis83

          I’d have to side with George on that.

          Kind of breezed through that part of my post.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I don’t recall seeing your name on weekends. How can you can complain about a process that you don’t partake in?

    • Nicholas J

      We’re only given 5 scripts to choose from. Given that less than 5 scripts out of 100 are ever any good (made up stat but close enough) it’ll take an average of 20 AF reviews to find just 1 that gets a [x] worth the read. That’s like 2 or 3 [x] worth the reads a year.

      It’s a miracle that Carson has managed to find even 1 [x] impressive.

      It’s not the process or the readers that’s the problem. It’s the scripts. Writing ain’t easy, dude.

    • Citizen M

      95% of amateur scripts are crap. Therefore on average it should take four AOWs (20 scripts) before finding something halfway decent.

      • Malibo Jackk

        The figure I’ve always heard has been 99%.

        Which begs the question — how can so many think they have a great screenplay?
        It also suggest that there’s little room left for the people who will tell you —
        ‘Liked your screenplay, but didn’t love it.’

      • Malibo Jackk

        Had you been talking to “ERIC”?

      • JakeBarnes12

        Better be careful, Citizen.

        There’s assclowns round here will want to know where you got those percentages. :)

        • Linkthis83

          There’s no need. I’ve seen material that supports Citizen’s statement. However, I’ve never found any that support your biased, bullshit remarks that degrade writers.

          And it’s okay, you can just say assclown. :)

          • JakeBarnes12

            Yo, Mikey, go back to helping Ange with your expert advice.

        • Citizen M

          I pulled them out my ass, of course.

          Why? Where do you get your statistics?

          • JakeBarnes12

            Don’t you know that 50% of amateur scripts are awesome, Cit? ;)

    • maxi1981

      Everyone’s script is shit.Until it is good or great. Practice makes perfect.

      I heard the team who wrote the Dallas Buyers Club lost count of how many drafts they wrote( heard it was over 100) before handing in the final script. Then it went on to be an Oscar nominated screenplay.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Super on board with throwing some RED HERRINGS into the narrative stew.
    Googling Louisiana’s most dangerous predators… Black bears are #2.

    They maintain a small threatened population.
    Of course, the number one predator in the state w/o wifi — GATORS!

    A swampy werewolf could easily get mistaken for one of those kinds of attacks.
    And now you’ve got werewolves and gators in your creature feature. Winning.

    • Poe_Serling

      “A swampy werewolf could easily get mistaken for one of those kinds of attacks.
      And now you’ve got werewolves and gators in your creature feature. Winning.”

      Exactly. And it suddenly makes the opening of Primal just a bit more dynamic and mysterious.

      Then the scene from page 12… with the sheriff checking out the tree cam. Here you have another opportunity to muddy the waters even more.

      Have a big old gator or bear in one of the photos. Now the police just sorta chalk up the killing of the hunter and his dog as a local predator attack.

      Perhaps exit that above scene on a CLOSE SHOT of the computer scene… way, way in the background is the grainy image of something much bigger in the bushes that the sheriff and others have overlooked.

      Then the Bigfoot Hunter arrives on the scene and shows up with that particular piece of evidence that he stumbled upon via the internet or etc.

      • ElectricDreamer

        And the Great Smoky Mountains Nat’l Park in KY is just a few states away.
        Years ago, that’s where they released all the RED WOLVES.

        Their travel routes actually coincide with a nearby gator refuge.
        By cross-referencing geocentric species, you can potentially have…

        A RED WEREWOLF that likes to EAT GATORS for SNACKS!
        Hey Sy-Fy channel, you hiring? :-)

  • brenkilco

    I’m not sure I buy this first scene launching pad idea. I remember reading something by William Goldman once that the first ten minutes of film or the first ten pages of a script are the only point at which the audience or reader will allow you a little time. A little time to set up your world. Not everything needs to start with a shark attack. All a first scene really needs to do is anchor you in that world and provide some sense of direction. Die Hard starts with several minutes of domestic chat, North by Northwest with Cary Grant dictating to his secretary on a Manhattan street, Psycho with a dullish tryst. The first scene of the Godfather, which you seem to admire, is completely irrelevant to the plot(I’m defining the first scene as the exchange with the undertaker) All it does is suggest who this person is. And Planet of the Apes, which I believe has the best first act of any movie ever, starts with some lengthy musings on humanity by Charlton Heston. The point is first scenes don’t have to grab you and sometimes it’s better if they don’t.

    • grendl

      By the way musings on humanity are compelling and universal.

      You have sort of glossed over some of my points in the previous thread, like tapping universal themes and questions, like what it would be like to win the lottery.

      Or just the dressing of the corpse to begin the Big Chill intercut with the players introductions who are linked to him.

      Grabbing you intellectually or emotionally is still grabbing you. And as I said having a mundane setting worked great as in Bonnie Parker’s back yard, because Cinderella was about to be whisked off to the Gangsters Ball by Prince Charming.

      Still compelling as hell to discover a stranger trying to steal your mother’s car.

      And its not a “launching pad idea” its a metaphor for having a strong start. Its not a theory I adhere too, its a metaphor. Okay? If I say a story didn’t launch for me, or had a structural flaw in the hull, or heat shield before its reached escape velocity or left port, that’s a metaphor?

      Is that okay with you?

      • grendl

        That’s a metaphor wasn’t a question btw. It was a statement of fact.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          I just had a vision of the werewolf asking permission before it maimed you.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I agree with Goldman’s first 10 idea, but I think it applies more heavily to a film than it does a script. In a movie theater, our attention is held hostage by the screen and the people around us.

      In a script, our mind often wanders. I was just reading Pulp Fiction a few minutes ago. It opens with a seven page scene in which two characters talk about the the merits of robbing banks and liquor stores vs a place like a restaurant or cafe, where there is less of a ‘hero factor’.

      Yes the dialogue is good… or great. In hindsight it’s great for sure. But any amateur who opens their script with 7 pages of two people talking where “nothing happens” will automatically get excoriated, fair or not.

      Take the bit the scene ends with.

      PUMPKIN (yelling to all): ” Everybody be cool this is a robbery!”

      HONEY BUNNY: ” Any of you fuckin’ pricks move and I’ll execute every one of you motherfuckers! Got that?”

      The dialogue with Honey Bunny is different than what was uttered in the film. I assume it was changed somewhere along the way, maybe by the actress herself. She ended up saying. “Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!”

      Which, A: Is better than what was written in the original manuscript, even though the change is incredibly subtle,

      and B: lacks the amazing manic glee in which Amanda Plummer recites it. She sounds as if she gutturally spews it out from her bile duct.

      I guess my point is, nothing much happens in the opening 10 pages of Pulp Fiction. We cut from the Honey Bunny scene to Jules And Vincent talking about hamburgers fro 3 pages. I mean, hello? It’s great on the screen, but I guarantee if this was never made and Quentin pitched this to AOW, there would be a slew of “I quit after 10 pages, nothing happened, two people talking about a robbery that we never see and 2 guys driving a car talking about mayonnaise on french fries, I’m out!”

      I do think it’s important on the amateur spec level to grab readers sooner than later, but it’s a pity we don’t let the opening 10-15 breathe a little. We are so quick to judge. That’s why I’m anxious to see what Carson says about “Breaking the Chains”, the set up to the story takes a little while but there are some real nice pay-offs for those with the patience to stick around.

      • Cuesta

        If you pay attention you can even hear that reader from here:

        “Pffff, 126 pages and two four-line paragraphs in the first one… I just know the script is going to be bad :(“

  • brenkilco

    Not all movies need to grab you immediately and believing that they do can lead to a lot of contrived and artificial openings. If you don’t buy the world you won’t buy the story. Some movies draw you in before taking off. And some are more enveloping than propulsive. Examples: Lawrence of Arabia, Dr, Zhivago, Giant, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Birds. I could go on.

    • astranger2

      I’ve read Adventures in the ScreenTrade and thought about what Goldman said there many times recently — that a writer has time. I’m not sure if that advice is not dated. As amateur writers we are always hammered about the importance of the first ten pages so I wonder if his opinions still hold up. Adventures was written in 1983, and most of the films you mention are over forty years old.

      I’m not necessarily saying you’re wrong, as I appreciate a nice subtle set-up… I’m just not sure. Regardless, however, I do agree that even if it’s a man cutting the heads off of parking meters, breaking his ankle as he high-hurdles, or a Southern belle being cajoled by her nanny to eat something prior to the party, there must be something relatable about the intro character.

      • Linkthis83

        I think it’s perspective that is important here…

        If you’re an amateur with a spec script: you are always on the clock.

        • astranger2

          That’s the hard balance. Which balls do you have to juggle just to get the reader to flip pages since you don’t have the luxury of an established writer. And, if you juggle too many, how does that impact the following story, and it’s flow.

          • Linkthis83

            That’s easy. Just write awesomely interesting stuff from the start and don’t let up until the story’s over ;)

          • astranger2

            True. But you might jam plot points into the first act that you might give a slower burn to if you knew for sure the reader would push on.

          • Linkthis83

            I think if you follow my suggestion, the reader is guaranteed to push on ;)

          • astranger2

            There’s no doubt there. But that’s like telling a basketball team they’ll never lose as long as they make all their shots, and defend well… lol

          • Cuesta

            Pops keeps telling that. 15 straight years already.

          • astranger2

            Hard to believe it’s been that long… ; )

        • Malibo Jackk

          Harold Ramus said — It’s not the first 10 pages. It’s the first page.
          By that I think he meant that something on the first page must impress the reader.

          I tend to think that professional screenwriters are more attuned to the business than teachers, gurus or many how-to books.
          Having listened to a number of pros over the years, I only recall one who said — “You know it’s ok if you start out slow.”

          Back in the early days of SS we used to hear a lot of writers say — If you would only read the whole script… At least now we’re hearing people say — I know my logline isn’t that good, but if you could read the first 10…

          • astranger2

            Yup. Amps up the pressure. I think a great title will definitely get you some reads. Do you feel the same way about loglines?

          • Malibo Jackk

            The answer depends:

            For SS — we seem to favor horror & syfy
            For screenwriting competitions — many are more like writing contests.
            For marketing spec scripts — concept is favored over execution.

          • astranger2

            So unless I’m misinterpreting your meaning — if you actually want to sell something concept is king. In so saying, does that imply “title” and loglines are pivotal? Since they both potentially impart the concept instantly?

          • Malibo Jackk

            There are over 50,000 screenplays floating around.
            You need every advantage.
            A great title and logline will attract attention. It helps get you in the door.
            No one wants to hear — “Please read my screenplay.”

            I’m reading the AF script THE SOUL CATCHER now.
            I think the script may be going in the wrong direction, but I also see
            the potential — if the script and logline were reworked.

          • astranger2

            Normally, I’m not a fan of two sentence loglines:

            LOGLINE: A wayward priest hunts menacing souls by exploiting a woman in a constant vegetative state. The woman serves as an empty vessel for spirit possession but morality is questioned when she becomes conscious and aware.

            The logline’s a little convoluted, but does entice the reader. Actually sounds pretty damn scary if executed properly — of course the Exorcist is the greatest horror story of all time, and this captures its spirit, and potentially delivers more…

          • Citizen M

            A good logline might get someone interested enough to pull your script from the e-slushpile and crack open the pdf. After that it’s your writing and story that will keep them reading to the end.

      • brenkilco

        And you may well be right. Although what I think you may be right about is that movie storytelling has deteriorated. And I agree about the relatability. You often know very quickly that you’re watching a good movie even if all you’ve gotten is a bit of behavior or a few lines of dialogue.

        Like your examples but that ankle breaking scene was only stuck in to open up the play.

        • astranger2

          I’m not sure that the “launching pad” metaphor, and the “writer has time,” idea are necessarily incompatible. Regardless whether or not the opening scene features the protagonist or the antagonist, it should impart a feeling of characters you can identify with, and a sense of what kind of rabbit hole they will fall into…

          It doesn’t mean anything has to “blow up.” It can be as simple as Dustin Hoffman running in Central Park, or blankly staring on an airport escalator to eventually hearing a spiel on “plastics.” It can be subtle, or slower-paced, or it can be much more blatantly indicative of the coming story as the billfold scam in “The Sting.” But there does need to be something for the audience to relate to, and a flavor of the story to come. I think that’s true?

  • brenkilco

    I love the first scene of the Godfather. Everybody loves the first scene of the Godfather. Forty years on that fade in with I believe in America still gives chills. Just suggesting that if you happened upon an unknown script that opened with a secondary character whining for a full page about his daughter’s misfortunes by the standards you seem to be setting up you might not read any further.

  • mulesandmud

    I felt the same about that first scene – it seems like a placeholder. You were generous when you said that the scene could use two more pages; without some fresh blood, it’s already a page too long.

    One of the pleasures of genre storytelling is the set of built-in expectations that come with it. Genre is a pre-existing framework that your story gets to add to, comment on, or subvert. A genre story’s personality defines itself by the way it interprets the tropes of the genre, and the first kill is a horror classic. Jaws emphasized the sexual foreplay, then used a visual strategy that turned the whole ocean into the monster. Halloween used a POV shot and a child murderer. Werewolf in London injected self-conscious pop culture and wry humor. All very representative of the sensibilities of the film that followed.

    The swamp attack in Primal had no personality whatsoever. The beats were completely rote: scared dog won’t move; dog runs off; a yelp in the dark; a half-seen kill. So standard that it felt as though more creative variations had been aggressively rejected in favor of the plainest version possible. I started to wonder: does the writer think (s)he has to do this, start things plain and only gradually add spice to the recipe? If that’s what the goal is here, it’s a dangerous game to play.

    Add to that, putting both a scared-dog-won’t-move beat and a dog-runs-off beat in the same scene is almost a contradiction; either the dog knows what up, or not. Those two beats aren’t impossible together, but stacking cliches like that doesn’t add to a scene, it just pads it. Where are the unique elements that might help the scene stand out from a million others like it? Some unexpected behavior from either the dog or the man, maybe? Some hint of the monster that teases us in a way relevant to the creature and/or the setting? Some suggestion of the larger themes of the film?

    The one element I liked in the scene: the duck decoy. A cute prop, fun for a visual gag or a setup of some kind. Was curious to see how it would figure in the scene. Answer: it doesn’t, just gets a quick mention then bobs there, unused.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      “One of the pleasures of genre storytelling is the set of built-in expectations that come with it. Genre is a pre-existing framework that your story gets to add to, comment on, or subvert. A genre story’s personality is defined by the way it interprets the tropes of the genre, and the first kill is a horror classic. Jaws emphasized the sexual foreplay, then used a visual strategy that turned the whole ocean into the monster. Halloween used a POV shot and a child murderer. Werewolf in London injected self-conscious pop culture and wry humor. All very representative of the sensibilities of the film that followed.”

      Great observation!

    • Bluedust

      You’ve given me some inspiration with the duck decoy, Mules. Cheers. The new opening will be much more of a tone setter for the script instead just a death to get the ball rolling. Thanks for reading.

      • mulesandmud

        Quite welcome. Read most of act one; will chime in more this weekend if any potentially useful thoughts spring to mind.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Someone should compile a text file that has every one of Carson’s “What I Learned” all together in one place.

    • astranger2

      That would be nice… although I’m sure a lot of those tips are in his e-book.

      • Gregory Mandarano

        The book is the book, and it’s not like it’s updating itself. I’m gonna end up compiling this list myself next week.

        • astranger2

          It would be a great list… compile, give it to Carson, and get a percentage… ; )

          • Gregory Mandarano

            I’m thinking more along the lines of compile, and have them all ready while I continue work on my next script’s outline. Spent so much time working on my novel that I’ve forgotten how radically different the outline process is for a script. The next one I write is designed to be by the book on structure, and I don’t want to leave anything out. The tips list will be a great reference sheet for me. I’ll make a post once I’ve made it to see if anyone wants a copy.

          • astranger2

            That would actually be very cool.

          • Gregory Mandarano

            I think what I’ll do is include the link to the article next to every tip, that way it’s easy to read the article to put the tip in context.

            The only thing I can’t do is compile the ones from the mailing list. My old emails always end up being burned by god fire and sent back to the void.

          • astranger2

            That seriously is a killer idea. Most of his tips are stand alone, but someone might want to read the entire article based on the subject.

          • Gregory Mandarano

            On a side note, I think anyone who is studying the craft of screenwriting should take a stab at writing a novel. I spent a great deal of time learning about the process of outlining and writing in a different medium, and I think that it’ll only end up improving my ability to write scripts. I never would have considered writing a book previously, but after I read the Song Of Ice and Fire (Game o’ Thrones) books by GRRM I felt inspired to try my hand at it, and I’m glad I did. I’ve taken away a lot from the experience, and it builds my portfolio in a new way, which can only make my writing skills appear more attractive. After all, getting your spec made is only a first step in the right direction. I would think the goal here is to get hired for writing scripts on assignment, and whether or not they’ll do that is gonna be dependent on your exiting portfolio of writing material. I’m not saying every screenwriter should try to publish a novel, but there’s valuable experience to be gained from the entire act of writing the book.

          • astranger2

            The last time someone on SS suggested someone else write a novel, it opened up a whole can of worms… j/k ; )

  • astranger2

    The Cadavers lost one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. Maybe after his championship streak with the Heat ends, they can court him back, and bring life to “mistake by the lake.” ; )

  • Bluedust

    Thanks for reading, Grendl. I can tell from your avatar you’re a man who knows his werewolves. I too love American Werewolf in London, as well as The Howling and Silver Bullet. You raise valid points on the opening. I think I jumped into the story too quickly and sacrificed tension for shock. In the rewrite I’m going give the hunter some time to realize his horrible fate and I won’t skimp on the gore. Looking back at Silver Bullet, the opening scene of the guy getting decapitated at the rail yard uses some of the devices you mention.

  • brenkilco

    The catch 22 of screenwriting. How do you know a script is great? You can’t really know it’s great until a great movie is made from it. And once the movie exists there’s no way to truly judge the script apart from all the film’s other elements.

  • mulesandmud

    The web porn is fun. I’m a lover of the horror philosophy that says every death is punishment for a sin of some kind. Not a hard and fast rule, but it points to the way a good gore film stokes the bloodlust of its audience.

    We need to entertain for a moment that the hunter might be the main character of his own movie, and we want the satisfaction of seeing the elements of his micro-movie develop and resolve themselves all in the course of this scene.

    The McBain murder at the beginning of Once Upon A Time In The West is a perfectly structured micro-movie. Leone establishes McBain hunting birds, just like in Primal – bird fly, McBain shoots them, dead bird falls. The crickets in the grass go silent – that’s odd – then resume their chirping. We meet McBain’s family, setting up for a party. Then the crickets go silent again…

  • Bluedust

    Glad you liked it, Poe. I’m definitely going to weave some deeper loup garou mythology into the next draft.

  • Casper Chris

    Writer of generic werewolf script accusing another writer of another generic werewolf script of stealing his generic werewolf script. Priceless.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Ouch!

      • Casper Chris

        I mean, if you’re going to be that sensitive, you better make sure you come up with something original. Truly original. Take me for instance. When I sit down to write a script, I don’t settle for the beaten path, the scenic route or whatever you call it. I go out of my way to make sure I’m breaking new ground, exploring unchartered territory. My most recent script is a vampire script, but I knew there’s a million other writers out there working on generic vampire scripts so I forced myself to come up with an original take on things, something never before seen. So how do you write an original vampire movie you say? You set it in Vietnam. That’s how. And get this, it gets even better: I added a found footage element too. A found footage ‘Nam movie featuring vampires. THAT’S how you make sure no one out there has script similar to yours. Now, I realize I probably made a mistake posting my idea here so let me be very clear: If I EVER see a found footage ‘Nam movie featuring vampires on Amateur Friday, better believe there’s a lawsuit coming courtesy yours truly.

        • Bluedust

          I’ll see you in court, Casper.

        • Caroline

          I can’t tell if you’re serious. If you are I don’t think you have to worry. Not to sound rude, but that sounds like a horrible movie you’re writing.

          • Bluedust

            I’m with you, Caroline. What the hell is this guy thinking?

          • Casper Chris

            ha ha :-)

          • Ange Neale

            I can’t wait for the Vampire superhero. Conflicted between the dark and good sides of his nature, he saves people only to succumb to the temptation of killing them and drinking their blood, then performing CPR, then… You get my drift.

          • Casper Chris

            I think you’re right, Caroline (in that I don’t have to worry about it). I mean, what are the odds that someone else would be writing a found footage ‘Nam movie featuring vampires? Pretty slim I’d say. Even if there were, the chances of it making into the Amateur Friday spotlight are even slimmer as most people can’t juggle three different movie sub-genres at the same time (I believe I can).

            Why do you think it sounds horrible though?

          • Caroline

            Well to me found footage movies come off cheap, it’s a gimmick. It was fine when “cannibal holocaust” and “blair witch project” did it. It was somewhat new back then. Now it’s just associated with cheap movies that have no “film” value. Digitally shot movies of people running around while the camera shakes. Because it’s “first person” we are suppose to be more scared of the impending doom. It gets tiresome after 30 min or so. It’s difficult to maintain interest. It’s cheap entertainment, that isn’t even entertaining any more. Everyone makes these movies now. Last good found footage movie was Rec. But again, it’s been done so much now the novelty has worn off and it’s pretty unoriginal and boring. “The sacrament” tried to add a Vice twist, but it still came off like “been there done that”.

            The Vietnam location is also something horror movies usually do to add an exotic setting to make the story feel like something different by setting it to an interesting backdrop. This was done a ton back in the 70s, cheap horror movies still do it. When you mix the two, exotic setting + found footage, it’s hard not to make an association to a really bad B movie, especially in this day and age. All the ingredients are there. I see nothing original or new about the premise. Vampires have been done to death, found footage movies have been done to death, horror movies set in an exotic locations have been done to death. If you mix the three, it doesn’t make it more interesting or new.

            You may have written a fantastic story. I haven’t read it. But when I hear Vietnam, plus found footage, plus vampires, I think of a group of people in their late 20s, early 30s running through a jungle or a bangkok market. The premise alone comes off cheap, predictable and unoriginal to me. I wouldn’t watch that movie.

            Again it may be great. I’m just you giving my thoughts on the premise alone. Good luck with it. I look forward to catching it on AOW.

          • Ange Neale

            Um, Bangkok’s actually in Thailand.
            You might be thinking of Saigon maybe (now Ho Chi Minh City)?

          • Caroline

            Yeah, LoL. My Bad.

          • Casper Chris

            Hehe Caroline, I’m pulling your leg. The writer of Primal featured here (Bluedust) is going to be featured next friday again (I think) as he won two Amateur Offerings Weekends in a row. And his other script just happens to be… a found footage ‘Nam movie featuring vampires.

            Hence Bluedust’s reply to you below: “I’m with you, Caroline. What the hell is this guy thinking?”

            ;-)

          • Caroline

            LoL.

            My point still stands. :) I don’t mean to offend anyone I’m just posting my opinion. I wish luck to everyone here.

          • Linkthis83

            That was entertaining. :)

          • Nick Morris

            Agreed about the found-footage, Caroline. This model can work when it actually serves the narrative. But lately, it seems the tail’s wagging the dog with so many horror movies adopting this approach squarely in the interest of the budget.

        • Eddie Panta

          I know you’re joking, but it could be true,

          Vampire + VIetnam + Found Footage

          Shark + Tornado + Bikinis

          Adding three different uncopyrightable elements doesn’t add up to a protectible premise.

          • Casper Chris

            Why are you pointing that out if you know I’m joking? :) And what could be true?

  • Somersby

    Strong, inventive notes as usual. Nicely done.

  • Somersby

    You’ve read Robert Bly’s “Iron John”? It’s a must for understanding father/son relationships.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    I grew up on that movie, but haven’t seen it in a long time… It might just be that time again.

    • astranger2

      Beware the moors… or is that from Othello? Could be Wuthering Heights… lol

      • Ange Neale

        Sounds very like it, doesn’t it?
        I’ve just checked my quotes dictionary (indispensable!) but it’s not among the ‘Othello’ quotes listed.
        Google says just ‘American werewolf in London’ and turns up in a few articles.

        • astranger2

          Are you funnin’ with me, Ange? That’s what they say at the Slaughtered Lamb in American Werewolf… btw, peeking above, “the town that didn’t stare” sounds an epically inspiring story…

          • Ange Neale

            No no — not funnin’. I was being a dumbass and just straight reporting of what Google said. I hadn’t read the whole conversation. Homer Simpson moment: D’oh!

            Yeah, the story of the pilots and aircrews who got burned would make a cracking good yarn.
            For the fighter pilots, before self-sealing fuel tanks were standard, the risk was having gasoline blowing up in your face.
            For the bomber crews — it was flak and ammunition going off and trying to put out electrical fires and what-not.
            I tossed it to Witwoud as he’s interested in 1940s Britain and I don’t presume I could write men nearly well enough to write a script for that. The emotions and psychological stuff that they must’ve gone through…
            Apparently ‘the Pigs’ (not a derogatory term — they called themselves that) would go into London to the pubs as a crowd.
            For the new patients especially, the horrified looks they got could be quite traumatic for them, and lots of them had been good-looking young men.
            That’s why they were so fond of the people of East Grinstead, who never ostracized them.

          • astranger2

            I’ve always been fascinated by WWII aircraft. (WWI too, and the Camels, and Fokkers, especially the DR1 triplanes and how they initially steel-plated the propellers prior to synchronizing them so the bullets wouldn’t shoot off their own props — and BMW, etc. LOL. Wow, I’ve asked a lot of these tired parentheses…)

            Interesting though, about the gas tanks. Early on in WWII the original Zeroes, or “flying swords” that were so amazingly crafty, and maneuverable, could fly incredibly long distances… were later exposed for having no armored protection in the “belly” of their gas tanks. Easy exploitable, and explodable, targets as their technology fell behind the Hellcats, Flying Tigers, and the like…

            Howard Hughes also complained about the Japanese stealing his flush-riveted prototype to build the Mitsubishi plane… Poor Howard… He never did recoup his patent infringements from them… ; )

          • Ange Neale

            I didn’t know that about the Zeroes, nor about Hughes and the patent infringements; bummer.

            Zeroes attacked Darwin in northern Australia a bunch of times in WW2. It was kept mostly quiet from the Australian public to protect morale, a bit like how the British Cabinet kept from people how often German pilots were strafing towns.

            As for plating propellers, I wonder if pilots ever got killed by ricochets? Or machine-gunned the wing wires by accident. They must have surely.

            If I remember rightly, the Hurricanes had their gas tanks right in front of the cockpit. Not a good idea until self-sealing tanks were standard.

            A really terrific book on war and technology is by a fellow named Max Boot.
            It’s called ‘War made new: technology, warfare, and the course of history 1500 to today’.
            I’ve got the hardback edition; there may be a paperback. It’s very readable, not dry and dense.

            There’s also a reputedly fantastic airshow in New Zealand that I’ve always wanted to get to but haven’t yet — ‘Warbirds over Wanaka’. It always features a lot of these marvellous old aircraft. This year’s (because of the centenary) had WW1 aircraft in it. Have to wait now until 2016…

          • astranger2

            The Hughes “patent” infringement comments were tongue-in-cheek. At the peak of WWII, suing Hitler, Tojo, or Mussolini, I don’t think, was a practical idea… don’t think you’d progress very far in their respective legal systems. (And I think HH’s sale of the Spruce Goose, and other developmental aeronautical projects to the U.S. government, well-compensated him for any losses.) The Zero did come from his design, however, make no doubt.

            From what I’ve read, whether it might’ve been successful or not, an invasion of Australia was very, very close… don’t know if it was the Japanese Army or the Navy, but one department said logically it spread the empire too thin. Most likely the Navy, as the Army was full of incredibly insane aggressive zealots… that made Himmler look like Mary Poppins…

            (Now that I recall, wasn’t there a “warm and fuzzy” story about an Australian WWll Japanese POW camp where they bonded…?)

            In WWI propellers WERE initially shot off on occasion. And, after the steel plating, pilots WERE occasionally killed by ricochet. It wasn’t until, as often in war, a downed Fokker plane with synchronized machine guns was captured, did the allies implement them.

            And I believe, it wasn’t until we found a downed Mitsubishi, did we find the lack of the self-sealing tank, or lack of any protection whatsoever in that aircraft. That’s why the Zero had an incredible range, and amazing agility and speed. (The famous Fokker tri-plane gave up speed, for agility.)

            One interesting story is how Zero pilots had an incredible climbing rate sustainability — Japanese pilots would go into a vertical climb knowing from experience certain planes like the Wildcat would eventually stall, and fall easy prey to their guns.

            Later, when the Hellcats that looked similar to the Wildcats, were introduced, they had a higher climb sustainability. A Hellcat pilot retold a story when he was in a vertical climb with a Japanese pilot, and could see the expression on his face — as his plane stalled FIRST. And fell to the Hellcat’s machine guns…

            I need to look up this Max Boot book. But… hardbound and paperback editions? What century are we in? No ebooks? lol…

            Ciao,

            Chat later…. ; v )

          • astranger2

            Oh, went to Amazon, and they don’t have the ebook, but the hard bound’s only a few dollar anyway… looks like powerful reading, thanks… later

          • Citizen M

            The South African public were kept in the dark about how many ships were sunk by submarines off the Cape, a natural marine choke point.

          • Ange Neale

            And a death zone for seals, too, isn’t it? With Great Whites? I bet they had fun with all those poor sailors.

            An anecdote I read somewhere about the Atlantic convoys once the US joined the war was that as they were leaving New York, New Yorkers would park their cars along the shore and leave the headlights on.
            For U-boats sitting just outside the 12-mile limit, they could see when the ships were passing because they were silhouetted by the headlights.
            Thus, they could pick the ships out and sink them, providing New Yorkers with the entertainment they’d gone out to watch.
            It took a while for authorities to catch on to what was happening.

          • astranger2

            This has to be apocryphal. Seriously? Sounds too much like the actual recounting of the beginning of the Civil War where Confederate aristocracy sat lawn chairs, and spread out buffets, to witness live action of the drubbing they assumed the North would take at Ft. Sumter, and the war… or are you like, Eddie Izzard, just yanking the Yanks chain…?

            I cannot believe 1940s Americans would purposely spotlight Allied shipping for amusement?? Is this done all tongue-in-cheek? Am I missing this? Of course, an “anecdote,” isn’t a factual account…

            I’m a trifle surprised… unless this is a Jay Gatsby-type reality I’ve never read… is there any substantial factual basis… or are these just fanciful musings…

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, my bad for implying people may have done it deliberately.
            I’m sending you an article that’s partly about the Battle of Atlantic that explains what transpired.
            I’ve muddled people independently watching the ships burn with drivers who left their headlights on and mayors who refused to turn street lights off, even after it was evident that U-boat crews were taking advantage of any light source they could.
            Any lights could be a problem as the ships were in silhouette as they passed.
            The mayors feared loss of tourist dollars — that was much more important to them than the lives of merchant seamen and hundreds of thousands thousands of tons of shipping and war materiels.
            There’s also a book review here which covers the general topic of city lights and passing automobile headlights during the coastal war — http://magazine.columbia.edu/reviews/fall-2010/atlantic-pacific
            And I’ve emailed you the other article.

          • astranger2

            Thank you, Ange. ; )

          • astranger2

            Actually, that’s what the mayor of Amity Island feared. Loss of tourist dollars… just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water again, regardless of what Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss warned…

          • astranger2

            I don’t know if it’s “comforting,” but mass numbers of people dying does compel nations to quickly create solutions in so many different fields of technology… of course, if we were just better to one another, we might not need so many different… “solutions…”

          • Ange Neale

            Hear, hear!

          • Citizen M

            I remember once I was at the laundromat very early in the morning. I was the only person there, sitting reading, and looked up as someone entered the door.

            It was a tall Indian (from India) woman. She must have been the victim of an acid attack or something. Half her face was ghastly. It looked like melted pink candle wax or something. The other half was normal dusky Indian skin and features.

            There was a flicker of horror on my face as I registered the sight, then I got my expression under control and acted as if it were quite normal.

            But she had seen that flicker of horror. She turned around and walked out and I never saw her again.

            I regret my reaction. But it was instinctive. I couldn’t control it in the first shock of seeing the sight. I needed a bit of time to mentally process the situation and arrange my features into a socially acceptable expression.

            It must be terrible having that effect on people.

          • Ange Neale

            No reflection on you or your sensitivity — when you’re not expecting it, it is an instinctive, visceral reaction: shock, sympathy and horror all mixed into one.

            That was the reaction the ‘Guinea Pigs’ had to get used to getting, which was why they’d go around in a crowd at first, supporting each other.

            That was the real genius in McIndoe’s treatment of and for them.
            He fought for them to be able to wear their RAF uniforms in public, for instance, so they got respect and a measure of understanding for that.
            It wasn’t an easy decision for the RAF, I imagine, because if other pilots and aircrew saw them, they’d be reminded of what they themselves risked.

            But they had soccer matches and went to dances and tried to live as normally as possible, and a lot of them had successful careers.
            McIndoe also hired pretty nurses to care for them, but even the nurses sometimes couldn’t help their reactions, which must’ve hurt them deeply. And of course the new burns patients also carried the stink of burned flesh, which didn’t help their cause.
            But one of the first things McIndoe and his team noticed was that the men who’d come down in the sea fared so much better than those who parachuted onto land or into fresh water.
            Saline baths quickly became a standard part of their treatment.
            Think of all the lives that could’ve saved in WW1 if doctors had known about that.

          • astranger2

            I just read the article about the “Guinea Pig” club you provided the link for. It has a lot more GSU than just the obvious. Lots of romance as many of the nurses adjusted to the “Pigs,” and though many of them lost their wives and girlfriends due to their condition, according to the article, many of the nurses ended up marrying the men.

            And as you mentioned, the men incorporated a lot of black humor to carry them through their daily ordeals. With such a great title, “The Town That Wouldn’t Stare,” it really is a shame you don’t pick this up. (Not to mention the scientific discoveries…)

            I know you have wayyyyyyyyyyy too much on your plate. Maybe down the line… Because as witwoud said, it would take someone like yourself that has the discipline, industry, intelligence, and perseverance this project would necessitate — with all the thorough research, and nuance a true story like this would need.

          • Ange Neale

            Missed the last comment somehow – wasn’t she in ‘Logan’s Run’, too?

  • whoisthisET

    There’s something to this, Grendl, and I’m not sure I’ve quite got my finger on it yet. I like this idea of using metaphor to guide your steps as a way of creating genre-appropriate depth to which Mules alluded. That way you reverence the genre conventions while giving yourself limitless options all the same through the power of metaphor. I haven’t read Primal but I wonder from the discussion points what that metaphor could be. And if I understand you, the point is that applying THAT more than trying to simply roll out various scare tactics will guide the process more effectively. Yes?

  • whoisthisET

    I mean, hell. If Annie is the werewolf, then doesn’t this automatically become a metaphor about how feminism is the greatest threat to men being men?

  • whoisthisET

    Just like in “The Three!”

  • Howie428

    As with others here, I found the story in this to be a bit thin. I realize that being a doormat is the main character’s flaw, but he spends a long time in the script as an observer to the events and characters around him. For me it feels like the amount of time spent with peripheral characters comes from the need to fill out the story.

    My suggestion for a story like this would be to try and devise a big midpoint story shift. That might come from squeezing what you currently have, so that your current finale reveals are moved up to the middle, or from adding a new dimension/trajectory, which can pay-off at the midpoint.

    My initial thought on this script would be to think about where the story would go if you squeeze things so that the Annie reveal happens at the midpoint. It seems to me that you could get a lot more mileage out of that discovery if the story plays on from there.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Seems like only yesterday
    — that there were too many unicorns.

  • astranger2

    Well, the Frankenstein monster’s real father loved and cherished his “son,” and created a wonderful wife for him — of the finest spare parts. Better parts than any Oscar-Meyer plant could hope to provide. It wasn’t the Baron’s fault the bride was an ungrateful monster.

    A Whale of a good story…

  • Ange Neale

    Yeah, with vampires, you kind-of get that you get bitten by one and if she/he doesn’t exsanguinate you, you turn vampire yourself, or the vampire opens a vein of his/her own for you (I.e ‘Interview with a vampire’).
    But with werewolves, how do you perpetuate that species?
    I can’t claim credit for the idea though — that was shamelessly borrowed from ‘Species.’

  • Citizen M

    When I go to the movies I like to amuse myself by guessing what the first scene will be. 50% of the time it’s someone driving through the countryside, or into the city, or through a small town.

    • Somersby

      Fifty percent of my scripts start that way!! :-)

      • Ange Neale

        Does flying over countryside count?
        I could be in a spot of bother here…

    • Linkthis83

      When I went to see Tomb Raider I said to the people I was with, “If they put her in the shower in the first ten minutes of this movie it’s going t suck.”

      Ten minutes later = “Called it!”

      (One might say, “You didn’t know it was going to be bad before you went?” — “Nope. I was working at a summer camp that year. Had no idea what it was going to be.”)

      • Ange Neale

        Tomb Raider? I’d been informed it was a cinematic masterpiece. Darn it, misled. No wonder I have so many problems with mine, lol.

        (Still hunting for headset, Link — got sidetracked yesterday.)

        • Linkthis83

          No worries. I’m sure I’ll forget all the solutions I had to your opening pages by the time you locate one :)

          • Ange Neale

            I can remember my delivery’s not as EFFECTIVE as it could or should be, if that helps? I completely agree, btw.

    • Ange Neale

      “Brokeback’ – Ennis hitching a ride with a truckdriver, driving toward Signal across a vast plain close to dawn.

      On the bright side, at least it’s not a hand reaching for a f&#^ing alarm clock…

    • Ange Neale

      I heard 50% of statistics are made up on the spot. Or was it 60%?

  • Citizen M

    I used to read a lot of biographies. The most common parental pattern for successful people was a nice guy but underachieving father and an ambitious mother who devotes her energies to building up her son.

    • Casper Chris

      Holy shit, I’m destined for greatness.

  • lonestarr357

    Well-drawn characters (really liked Fromski, who struck me as a sort-of mix of Tom Arnold and Guy Fieri; this could be good or bad, YMMV), swift pace, vivid (sometimes too) attack scenes, neat twists.

    I’d say that S.D. landed a K.O.

  • Poe_Serling

    Just saw this trailer the other day. I think it’s kind of a cool lead-in if Black Autumn by Bluedust nabs the AF slot next week.

    From celebrated Director Bobcat Goldthwait (hey, that’s what his bio says) comes this found footage/Bigfoot project.

    http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/bobcat-goldthwaits-willow-creek-horror-gets-new-trailer-poster/

    A couple of things going for it:

    1) It comes from Dark Sky Films. The same production company associated with Ti West (The Innkeepers and The House of the Devil).

    2) Incorporating the well-known Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot incident as a jumping off point for this film.

    • Casper Chris

      Reminds me of the poster in the “Concept Artists” section of this site.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Man…
      How cool this would be if Goldthwait played the lead.

    • andyjaxfl

      He wrote and directed an interesting flick called God Bless America. It’s about a terminally ill man who goes on on a killing spree with a teenage girl across the US.
      They target mostly spoiled reality TV stars (think Jersey Shore) and unreasonably cruel TV hosts (the American Idol people). It’s hardly a perfect movie, but it’s never boring. It is available on streaming Netflix and is worth checking out!

    • IgorWasTaken

      I think the poster is good except for the footprint. I think the people at the top are supposed to be the toes. But then, why are there toe-like things at the heel?

      But if the things at the bottom are supposed to be the toes, then they should be facing upwards, and the title should be at the top. In other words, I think the subliminal part of the artwork is terrible.

      • Poe_Serling

        I think the ‘things at the bottom’ are a set of teeth… at least that’s what I see in the poster. ;-)

        I do like this new poster (the foot) over the the original artwork promoting the film.

        http://www.impawards.com/2014/willow_creek.html

        • IgorWasTaken

          Oooooooooh. OK. Now I see the skull and the teeth. I thought that was a footprint. And what I now see to be an eye socket, I thought that was a raised part of the foot.

          Huh. With a story about some creature named “Bigfoot”, somehow I was thinkin’ “foot”. Skull? OK.

      • Malibo Jackk

        It’s a Rorschach test.
        (Somebody call a psychiatrist.)

  • Caroline

    Look at all these found footage movies that have come out in the last 10 years:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_footage_(genre)

    Vampires have been a trend for some time now. You see them in teen books and movies like: Twilight and Vampire Academy. You see them in action movies like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Priest. They are even present in small art movies like Byzantium and Last lovers left alive. True Blood was a huge show. Vampires have been a trend, there is no denying that.

    And I wasn’t just talking about movies shot in the Philippines. There are still today people filming movies in South America with tribes and cannibals and what not. You see 3-4 movies like that a year.

    I don’t understand why people can’t write something like what was done in The Descent. Just write some kind of creature. You make up your own rules and it feels more fresh, instead of writing about zombies, vampires and so on.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Anyone ever write a drama/comedy aka dramedy and then decide to enter it in a contest and then have a hard time figuring out what category to put it in?

    Take a movie like The Way Way Back. All the stuff with Sam Rockwell is pretty funny, yet all the stuff with Steve Carell and Toni Colette is heavier family drama. Yet it feels more like a comedy than a drama, even though the dramatic stuff is clearly there.

    • Stephjones

      Last year I entered a dramedy in the Creative World Awards. If I remember correctly I paid a little extra to enter it into 2 categories, comedy and drama. I think I’m funny so was leaning towards comedy. It went to semi finals in drama.
      So, if given the option, I pay the extra. If that’s not available and my script doesn’t have a laugh every few pages I enter drama.

      • Ange Neale

        I’m considering entering mine into the ‘Comedy of Errors’ category, Steph. There’s an old pop song here that was once, well, popular… It’s called, ‘I’ve done all the dumb things’, lol.

        There’s a big thing with Ph.D’s — find the gap, the undiscovered country, then go forth and discover it. I’m trying to come up with a unique contribution to the pantheon of scriptwriting fubars. I truly believe this is my purpose in life…

        (Have you left for safer waters yet, Steph?)

        • Stephjones

          Not yet. Routine boat maintainence keeps turning into mini-drama. Yesterday we almost sank, in situ. Hubby and I embody the adage: what is the point in being stupid, unless you can prove it?

          • Ange Neale

            In situ, like as in at your moorings?
            If so, that was a commendable effort!
            I once got my dates muddled and turned up two days early for a job interview.
            I borrowed from an old adage and quipped, ‘Better to turn up two days early and be thought a fool than two days late and remove all doubt.’
            They laughed, but perhaps not surprisingly, I didn’t get the job.
            Btw, semi-finals is pretty encouraging!

          • Citizen M

            “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” — Niels Bohr, Danish physicist (1885 – 1962)

            Sounds like you are well on your way to small craft mastery ;o)

          • Stephjones

            Oh yeah. 35 years of this and you’d think we’d have figured a few things out by now. But we’re 2 very different people. I worry about everything( which immobilizes us) my hubby worries about nothing( which endangers us) if we balance perfectly, we’re golden.
            Beer helps.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Danes are funny. Like the Brits. And when Danes speak English, it is easy for us Americans to understand them; whereas when listening to Brits, sometimes, not so much.

    • Midnight Luck

      I am pretty sure WAY is a drama. If you look at the central theme and the main characters, they are coming of age drama themes. The characters learn and grow, especially the main one. I think i would base your choice on the main driving goal/concept/idea. A lot of the comedy in movies like these is extra. Additions to balance against the heavier and darker.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Yeah I see what you’re saying with the dramatic themes. It was marketed more as a comedy though (because it’s no doubt easier to fill seats). The Broadcast Film Critics Association gave it a Best Comedy nomination, as did some other minor critic awards.

        RotTom lists it as a drama/comedy. The two most noted performances in the film are by Sam Rockwell and Alison Janney, both highly comedic. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Ah well, maybe I’ll throw a dart or flip a coin.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Kirk Diggler wrote: “Anyone ever write a drama/comedy aka dramedy and then decide to enter it in a contest and then have a hard time figuring out what category to put it in?

      I have had people read a script of mine and say, “Wait. Is this supposed to be a comedy?”

      Does that count?

    • Malibo Jackk

      AFF suggests you list it as a drama.
      Their comedy judges appear to be looking for something that is really funny.

      Before wasting your money, you need to understand what you’re paying for.
      I used to think dark comedy meant comedy.
      I used to think the best scripts would win.
      With many contests — it’s the best written script.
      (Full disclosure — I’m not the best writer. Just read any of my posts.)
      If you have a good concept, a producer could care less if there’s a spelling mistake, a grammatical error, or if you alter the formatting style. But the reader will find these. And contests will take off points. In theory, a 10 script could drop to an 8. And you don’t make it past the semi-finals.

      I just got back the judges comments from a script contest I entered.
      I’m embarrassed by a grammar mistake that appears 9 times as well as a few typos.
      Overall the script was rated 8.25. (And no, I’m not proud of that.)
      But the comments (if you can believe them) suggest a higher score.

      Strange things happen when you enter these contests.

      • Kirk Diggler

        “With many contests — it’s the best written script.”

        By this you mean what? Best prose in the action lines? Best structured?
        There are a lot of ways to interpret that. A so-so idea that is perfectly presented will win a contest? Hmm. I agree contests are a crap shoot. Been a couple years since I’ve entered one.

        An 8.25 sounds pretty good, assuming it’s out of 10.

        • Malibo Jackk

          This is where I disagree about the 8.25 being pretty good.
          A few years back I ran across a web site where a guy posted a list of the seventeen scripts that he had written. At first, I thought it was a good idea. Then I noticed he listed all the contests in which each script had placed. — And, of course, he hadn’t sold a single script.

          I think all scripts have to have structure, drama, and be written in a dramatic manner. That’s a given for all good/great scripts. (There are other considerations as well — concept, character, and some things that are genre specific.) IMO.
          Goldman, for example, did all these things — but wished he could be a better writer. And yes, prose, descriptions, general appearance, and reader friendliness — all have an effect on the reader’s judgement.

          With contest, you really need to look at the score card to see what they’re grading you on. (Some are better than others.)

          Nicholl said it best when they said —
          We are more a best screenwriter competition that a best script competition.

  • Ange Neale

    One stand-out exception to the underachieving father rule: Joseph Kennedy — one of his boys was always going to be the first Irish Catholic president if he had his way.

  • Guess Who

    Give it up. You lost the point.

    Lots of men fought in World War II, Steve-O? You must be a history professor.

    It’s called focusing the story. Ange focused on the experiences of her women characters.

    If you’d written more than two scripts ten years ago you’d know you don’t name minor characters. That’s call controlling emphasis, which in terms you might understand means keeping the focus on the important characters in a script.

    Oh, look. Back to focus again.