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Genre: Comedy
Premise (from writer): A closeted superhero wrestles with both of his secret identities, as the world embraces his superhero alter ego but his friends and family can’t accept the man behind the mask.
Why You Should Read (from writer): I saw that The Almighty Stud got really negative reviews based on the fact that it conveys a misogynistic message and displays a gay character that perpetuates the flawed association between homosexual men and predatory inclinations. So, why not offer a superhero screenplay that does the opposite of all that? My protagonist is a gay superhero that challenges the stereotypes, it has a cool feminist superheroine and the villain, although in a first moment seems to be just like The Almighty Stud villain, actually hides a secret that mocks through subtext the current trend among certain men of demonizing feminism and feminists.
Writer: Illimani Ferreira
Details: 103 pages

Zac-EfronZac Efron for Eric?

The competition for this weekend of Amateur Offerings was CLOSE. I don’t know if it’s because all the scripts were too weak or all of them were too strong, but going through the comments gave me a headache as the second I’d think I’d found a winner, the next three votes would be for something else.

The leaders seemed to be Midas and Super Epic, with Intelligent Design clipping at their heels. I had to make a decision though and when it’s decision time, I typically go with the premise that has the most potential. I do this because it’s what a producer would do as well. Unfortunately, I could make the case for all three of these premises turning into money-makers. But the one with the most innovative premise was clearly “Super Epic.” So that’s the one I went with.

Moving forward, when you vote for Amateur Offerings, please state your winner up front and clearly. I don’t always have time to read through every comment, so if your answer is to be discerned through your general reaction, I may not catch it. And with that, let’s grab our capes and swoop in on Super Epic!

Eric has a secret. He’s a superhero with super-human strength. He spends his afternoons hanging out with his dude friends, the psychotic Corey, the short in stature Butch, and the overweight Stockwell. And then at night, he battles the city’s evil villainess, Feminazi, who doesn’t so much push a feminist agenda as use it as an excuse to wreak havoc.

Eric occasionally teams up with a superhero named Butterfly, a skinny cat-lady who can fly and has a crush on Eric. Butterfly has good intentions, but always seems to take too long coming up with a solution to Femanazi’s evil plots, forcing Eric to save the day.

Unfortunately, Eric has another secret. He’s gay. And he’s so damn tired of being in the closet that he’s decided to tell his parents the truth when they bring their daughter to town for a beauty pageant.

And that’s pretty much the whole movie. Feminazi keeps threatening the peace and Eric keeps having to stop her. I guess there’s also a thread where Eric and Butch stop being friends when Butch finds out that Eric is Super Epic. But yeah, there isn’t really a plot here. Just a series of things happening.

tilda-swintonTilda Swinton for Feminazi?

Okay… this was not what I expected.

I really loved this idea but the execution… how do I put this… wasn’t very elegant.

There were a lot of first-timer mistakes that prevented “Super Epic” from becoming the awesome movie I think it could be.  So let’s dive right into them.

First, the screenplay should only be focused on two threads, just like the logline lays out – Eric should either be dealing with protecting his superhero identity, or he should be dealing with protecting his sexual preference. That’s what we came to see. So if there are large chunks of the story that aren’t dealing with one of these two issues – which there are – then the story will feel unfocused – which it does.

I think we go 24 pages in the script before we reveal that Eric’s gay. There are just too many wasted scenes that aren’t dealing with the script’s key issues.

It would be like if you read the logline for The Hangover – Three groomsmen try to find the groom the day after his drunken bachelor party when none of them remember anything – and then you had scenes where the characters went and took golf lessons. We’d be going, “What does this have to do with the premise?” That’s how I felt a lot during Super Epic.

On top of that, there were no STAKES attached to either of these secrets. The power in a character hiding something comes from our fear of what will happen if the secret is discovered. I didn’t get the feeling that much would change in Eric’s life if he revealed he was Super Epic, or gay, and since keeping these secrets was the point of the entire movie, I’m not sure how it can work without those things in place.

Take Eric’s family for example. These are the people we’re supposed to be afraid of Eric coming out to. But they’re a cartoon. They’re the Honey Boo Boo family. They hold no real weight as characters because they’re caricatures. Who cares if a caricature doesn’t accept your sexuality? If you want the closeted angle to work, you have to make the family real people. They can still be funny, but they have to be grounded. And we have to fear their reaction if Eric were to tell them the truth, which we don’t.

On top of this, there’s no real structure to the story. There’s no clean plot. Nobody’s trying to take over the city or has some big master plan. Feminazi just keeps occasionally wreaking havoc, and since there’s no escalation or focus to these attacks, we don’t feel like we’re gearing up towards anything. These characters need more of a plan and this plot needs more focus.

Then there are some obvious oversights. I mean, this is a movie about a guy trying to hide his homosexuality, but there’s no love interest! There’s no guy he likes or is going out with. How can we adequately explore a gay man’s hidden life if we don’t explore his relationship with men?

Let me give you an idea of how to solve some of these problems.  I’m not saying this is the only way to fix this screenplay, but it should give you an idea of which direction to turn the boat.

First, create some real stakes in Eric needing to hide his sexuality from his family. Make them real people, not a silly joke. Make them conservatives, probably religious, and unaccepting of homosexuality.

Next, I don’t think you get the most drama if Eric plans to tell his family that he’s gay. I think it works better if he’s planning NOT to tell them. He wants to hide it because he knows his family couldn’t handle it.

Next, have it so the family’s coming in for the weekend for some event, and they’re staying with Eric. This is important. We need them AROUND HIM so it’s hard for him to HIDE his secrets. The time limitation also gives your plot focus (you’re only covering three days, which gives us a clear ticking time bomb for the end of the story).

And make the family REAL. What’s the point of exploring the difficulty of hiding your sexuality from an unaccepting family if you don’t take it seriously? If it’s one big joke, then we won’t care if they find out or not. That’s not to say you can’t make jokes AROUND this issue, but the issue itself must be dealt with honestly so that we FEEL the weight of it.

Then, give Eric a boyfriend, someone who he kicks out for the three days while his family is there. Maybe this is someone he’s seeing secretly so even his friends don’t know. I’m not sure how you’d deal with that. My gut tells me there are too many friends anyway. Maybe drop the other two and just keep Butch.

Finally, make this the weekend that Feminazi (although I personally think you could come up with a better villain) drops her ultra plan to destroy the city.

Now you’ve got a scenario that really takes advantage of your premise. For three days, Eric must entertain his family, all the while keeping from them that he’s gay and a superhero, all while trying to maintain his relationship and battle the world’s biggest super-villain on the weekend she decides to take down the city. You see how much more focused that is?

Even then, there are still some things to shore up. For example, how did Eric get his super powers? We just see him as a kid pretending to be a superhero and then cut to him as an adult where he is a superhero. What happened to give him his super strength?

You may think that because this is a comedy, you can skimp on these things. You can’t. The details are what make the audience suspend their disbelief. If you graze over things and just figure the audience will “get it,” you’ll watch helplessly as they turn on you. A lot more thought needed to go into this world and how these people have powers. It didn’t seem well thought out at all. And when you combined that with a slip-and-slide narrative, it’s no surprise the script felt messy.

Illimani is really nice and really eager to get better at screenwriting. So while these words may seem harsh, they’re written with love and the hope that he uses them to improve. I hope your comments will do the same for him.

Script link: Super Epic

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

What I learned: One thing a reader will dismiss your script immediately for is if you haven’t thought through one of the key variables of your story. They know if you’re not going to do the work required to get the important stuff right, then you’re definitely not going to work hard on the rest of the script. There was so little thought put into how Eric became a superhero that I immediately knew the script was in for a rough run.

What I learned 2: Comedies tend to work best under tight time frames. A big reason why this script didn’t work was that it wandered. If you put in a tight time frame, you immediately focus the story.

  • susanrichards

    glad you reviewed this one, carson.congrats to illimani for getting here! i was thinking, instead of having a love interest, what if he had a crush on a guy who he thinks is straight..but in the end it turns out hes gay too? or maybe hes just unsure and hes afraid to make a move cos he was rejected before.
    this way he has more at stake..being rejected.
    exploring gay lifestyle with a heterosexual audience is a delicate task. maybe it would be easier if the love interest was a crush.
    i personally dont have a problem, but im thinking of the masses, and you really want your script to be marketable. its a good story, and we want the focus to be the story, right?
    good luck to illimani :)

  • susanrichards

    orrrrr maybe everyone knows hes gay, except himself. like, he wont confront it. nobody has a problem with it, and we really want to see him accept himself for who he is. hes so busy trying to hide the fact that hes a superhero, he hasnt even confronted his sexuality.
    you could have a lot of jokes and innuendo, that he just doesnt get. thats..a joke in itself.

    • Jim Dandy

      No offence, but does the apostrophe key on your keyboard/iPhone not work? Or maybe you’re going for that “typed by someone in a sheltered workshop” look?

      • susanrichards

        yeah, jim, you did mean to offend. it would be like i said to you ” no offense, but cant you read words with lower case letters or do you just have a giant stick up your ass?”

        i especially know you meant to offend as i saw you edit your post maybe 3 times, to further dig away at me.

        i dont really CARE, but because you used caps and apostrophes didnt disguise the fact that you were having a go at me. fyi…i dont call myself a writer, but i AM a storyteller.

        i chose not to reply at that time because my post was the first of the day, and i did not want to take away from the screenwriter’s day by replying to your post that had NOTHING to do with his script.

        i dont know about you, but when i want to post a reply, theres a little box that says “join the discussion”. im discussing. this is my discussing voice.

        like you, i took latin in high school. excelled in it actually, as all of my courses. (yeah, i looked at your post history to see just what kind of fellow i offended with my lazy typing). and i know that latin is a dead language. it is what it is, and thats why its used in law and medicine.

        english is alive. the way we communicate is also alive. perhaps you need to be able to read all kinds of communicating?

        if how i type on here offends most people, then maybe thats something i will think about changing.

        OR, maybe, possibly, you can get past the lower case letters and lack of apostrophes and read what im SAYING, and not what letters i use.

        end reply to rant.

        • drifting in space

          This is classy as fuck. No joke.

          No offence, Jim, but you’re being a fucking asshole about it.

          You can’t be offended, though! It’s the rule!

          Ha. I kid, I kid. Back to Super Epic.

        • Jim Dandy

          Sheesh girlfriend. Keep your tits on! I didn’t say your writing offended me. It’s just that it’s a difficult slog to get through the density and “unreadability” of your prose.

          • drifting in space

            You should probably just let it go, Jim.

            A. You’re being offensive.
            B. You’re not even aware of it, which is worse.

            Also, it’s not all that hard to read what she’s writing. I’d rather read that than disparaging comments from you.

          • susanrichards

            no, its ok.

            I GOT THIS

          • susanrichards



            maybe im just getting my period.

            bet that cleared the room, eh?

          • walker

            Yeah boys don’t like period pieces. But seriously Susan, I am sorry you had to deal with this today, it was way out of line.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          No offense either but I never read any of your posts because of the complete lack of punctuation and basic grammar rules. Never mind reading one of your scripts some day. Take it the wrong way all you like but you do come across as a lazy and very non serious writer. When we have to sprinkle in capital letters, apostrophes and whatnot ourselves, even a single sentence IS a chore to read.

          • susanrichards

            Ha ha…no. no offense taken from your post, you were being honest.
            I see it all very differently than you do.

            I’m posting, not writing. Just a different form of communicating, that’s all.

            My grammar is fine, but if you don’t read my posts, you wouldn’t know.

            However, this is a forum to communicate.

            When in Rome, right?

            By the way, I wouldn’t write a script in such a casual style, silly girl!

            There are strict rules for that. It’s serious business.

  • Illimani Ferreira

    Thanks to everybody who voted for Super Epic and to Carson for taking the time to assess it. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t your cup of tea. I guess it’s up to me now to justify the narrative choices Carson criticized.

    I don’t think that the story wandered away from the threads that drive it: the primary one, with Eric deciding to come out as a gay man (and surmounting the obstacles for such goal) and the secondary one, Eric fighting the super-villain that creates havoc in his town.

    For the primary goal, I intentionally avoided references to the scene or even suggesting that Eric may be remotely happy in a unstable relationship. There are many reasons for that. There are some: 1) As Susan pointed out in her comment, my script sells an LGBT story to a straight audience. I didn’t want it to be a niche LGBT movie. I delivered a blockbuster; 2) The theme of this script is friendship, not love. There are many consequences for a gay man when he stays in the closet. Being sexually frustrated is only one, the obvious one that I didn’t want to tackle in this script. Eric probably hooks-ups with guys, but I didn’t need nor want to show that side of his life. And that’s, because 3) Being gay is not only determined by your sexual life. Yes, you can come out of the closet as you display your sexuality when you openly date guys and if you have a problem with that, suck it up buttercup. But if you don’t, that doesn’t change the fact that you are into men, that you fancy them. 4) The characterization of Eric’s family serves that purpose. Are they a caricature? Yes and no. Yes, I opted to bring on a good ole screwball comedy to depict Eric’s parents’ relationship, but as we see, underneath Eric’s dad submissive, mild mannered nature, there’s a raging bigot. The same applies to Eric’s “liberal” friends. I wanted to tackle this side of homophobia and discrimination in general and personally I think that’s more timely than ever. Has anyone been reading Amy Pascal’s leaked emails? She is a liberal, she donated tons of money to the democrat party, she supports President Obama publicly, but still, she is a closeted racist. What do you guys think that it happen if, let’s say, Shonda Rhymes before she was validated and successful, tried to pitch Grey’s Anatomy to Amy Pascal? She’d think “Why the hell this fat, black woman with such a ‘urban’ first name is pitching a show about white people crying? PASS!”. What’s true for racism tends to be true for homophobia as well. Anyway, sorry for the digression, but my point is: we saw openly conservative bigotry so many times before, but never the kind I’m addressing in my script.

    For the secondary goal: yes, Feminazi’s strikes are somewhat erratic, and I wanted the reader to frown and wonder why, to notice that there’s something fishy in her action and finally get an answer as he/she reaches the huge twist in the climax. Then everything makes sense.

    Finally, addressing some other points:

    – I don’t explore the origins of Eric’s superpower, that’s true, but I suggest that it comes from the female side of his family since his sister seems to be super-strong as well (and unaware about that).

    I hope I’m not sounding as someone who can’t take criticism. Again, I appreciate a lot the time that Carson took reading my script and giving it a spotlight here. I was aware that Carson has a bias when I submitted this script, but those who have been reading and learning with him in the long run (I’m one of them) know that sometimes Carson can like a script for its other assets even if doesn’t fit the standard he defends. I guess it wasn’t the case with Super Epic, but what can I say… you can’t please everybody, and that includes your heroes. :)

    • Matthew Garry

      > I guess it’s up to me now to justify the narrative choices Carson criticized.

      No, it’s time to sit back, reflect on what Carson has written and what others will still write, and then take away from that what you find useful and actually improve your script; maybe write up an explanation of what you attempted to do with certain elements, and ask how these might have been conveyed clearer, since people seem to have missed them.

      Alternatively you can just continue to assume everyone is biased and keep on pitching it to producers who actually give you their time, and then call them idiots if they too fail to see the blockbuster potential and won’t shell out the requisited 30-50 million.

      One of these ways has a future…

    • charliesb

      Just about to crack open your script, but this:

      “I was aware that Carson has a bias when I submitted this script, but those who have been reading and learning with him in the long run (I’m one of them) know that sometimes Carson can like a script for its other assets even if doesn’t fit the standard he defends.”

      Gave me pause. I’m not sure what bias your talking about, but Carson’s review is clear about loving your subject matter and not loving your structure. The standard he’s defending in your case is a clear, fully formed, GSU filled script. Considering how complimentary he was of you I’m surprised your immediate reaction was to try to justify your choices (and go off on an odd rant about Amy Pascal and Shondra’s name & weight).

      I hope I’m not sounding as someone who can’t take criticism.

      Unfortunately you kinda are. More troubling is your “justifications” don’t respond to Carson’s criticism’s in any sort of concise way. In other words, I don’t think your rebuttal really clarified your choices or point of view.

      I’ll take a look at your script now.

    • Somersby

      “…my script sells an LGBT story to a straight audience. I didn’t want it to be a niche LGBT movie. I delivered a blockbuster.”

      A blockbuster? Okay, you might want to dial back the self-confidence just a tad there.

      You need to be writing about THEME, not writing an AGENDA.

      In this case, theme would be “You have to be true to yourself”. But selling “an LGBT story to a straight audience” is your agenda—and they work at cross purposes.

      Focus on theme. It’s clearer and EVERYONE can relate to it. Gay, straight, rich, poor, whatever.

      Selling an LGBT story to a straight audience turns your script into a propaganda piece. You’re audience isn’t stupid. They don’t want to be told what to think, what to feel. A story told truthfully and passionately will achieve those results.

      One that comes across as a sales pitch does not.

      I only got to page 15 and had to stop. It just didn’t grab me because it reads more like a Saturday morning cartoon than a comedy I can take seriously (and yes, a good comedy needs to be taken seriously to draw us into the world the writer has created.)

      Too many groan moments for me. The fanny pack scene alone goes on for 3 and a half pages—and this is within the first five pages of your script. Sorry, but I was shaking my head wondering why are we still talking about this? It’s irrelevant. And worse, it’s too easy. It shows a lack of effort at trying to make your point in a more succinct and creative way.

      The same goes for the Urinal Man.

      Is “Damn, I still have a big load to go there” supposed to be funny? If it is, I don’t get it. Ken Levine suggests a writer should throw away the first joke that comes into his head because there’s likely very little original or even funny about it. This seems like the first line that popped into your head. Chisel away at it until it can’t be any funnier.

      Plus, some obvious inaccuracies pulled me right out of the story. You write After some seconds the rink becomes a large pool. The water reaches the knees of those hockey players who are still standing.” A little research would tell you that the ice surface in hockey rinks is only an inch thick. Not enough water to reach above the blades on a pair of skates. (Yup, another groan moment.)

      Hey, I don’t want to discourage you or take the wind out of your sails. It seems to me this is a very early draft of your script. One of the biggest mistakes young writers make, in my opinion, is to send off scripts before they’ve been worked and reworked and then reworked again.

      I hope you seriously consider some of the feedback given here and not take it as a personal attack. Good-luck with the rewrite.

    • Shawn Davis

      You might’ve wanted to count to ten and take a deep breath before hitting that enter button.
      Where else would you receive this level of feedback from people truly wanting to see you succeed?

    • Altius

      “I guess it’s up to me now to justify the narrative choices Carson criticized.”

      – This might be your real problem. I’d recommend you take a different tack, and instead of justifying all of the things he pointed out as not working, you improved them. You don’t need to set out to “please everybody” but remember, your script does not come with footnotes! What you write is what they get. You can’t attach a letter explaining and defending the meaning of it, why the choices you made were the right ones, and what your true intentions were.

      It’s your script to do with as you like, of course, but when you get multiple voices of feedback (which are generous and free of charge), take heed. It will help you grow as a writer.

    • RJ

      I usually don’t comment. I enjoy lurking. But, your response perfectly illustrates what’s wrong with so many writers in this industry. The truth is that your script needs improvement. In fact, I would venture to say that every script ever written could benefit from improvement (even Academy Award-winning scripts). There’s always something a writer could do to strengthen their material. Always.

      You could reject what Carson and the rest of the readers have to say and justify your choices. Or, you can take the notes provided and think about whether or not those notes will make your story better. That’s the thing about notes that so many writers miss: Writing is not about your intention; It’s about the effect your material has on the reader. If several readers don’t get what you are trying to convey, you’re writing is the problem.

      When I get notes, I don’t make it personal. I only consider if it will make my script better. If it will make the script better, I almost always apply the note.

      • drifting in space

        The thing I love about great notes is… they are almost like cheat sheets, telling you what exactly you need to work on. If they are good and help your work, apply them!

        Getting notes as an amateur is hard enough. If you get them from a place like this with a lot of visibility but show a lack of ability in applying them and would rather reject them, what producer/agent would want to work with you?

        You’re going to get a lot of notes in your career. This is not a career for egos.

        • RJ

          Correct. My pilot is being produced in a couple of months, and I can’t tell you how many notes I’ve received. It’s the nature of the business.

          If a reader tells you that a particular plot point is not clear and you don’t agree. You have two choices:
          a) Ignore the note
          b) Apply the note
          Applying the note cannot hurt your material in any way. Even if you think the plot point is clear, how does making it clearer hurt your material? It’s annoying, maybe, but it only will make your material stronger.

          *I had a typo in previous comment. I promise I know the difference between you’re and your.

          • drifting in space

            That’s awesome! Congrats!

            As for notes… I mean, if the people paying you are telling you what needs to be done… may as well.

          • Rick McGovern

            I don’t think that’s what he meant… he was talking about if something wasn’t clear and making it clearer.

            On other notes… you pay attention to the note, usually ignoring their solutions, and finding one of your own (not always, but probably 8 out of ten times).

            Executives usually come up with solutions they’ve seen in other movies. Most of the time they forget the solution they gave you. But they know when it’s fixed.

            They also don’t know the entire script like the writer, and therefore don’t know how one thing can unravel an entire script.

          • Rick Hester

            Shhh. I don’t think Grendl noticed.

    • carsonreeves1

      I can understand not including a male relationship in fear of this being tabbed a “niche LGBT” movie. That’s a legitimate concern. I just think that by refraining from doing so, you’re writing with one hand tied behind your back. Movies are about showing. And if you’re not showing us the specific struggles Eric engages in by living a closeted gay lifestyle, then we’re not going to see him as having any problems in that area. Eric can talk all he wants about how difficult it is to be gay (which he doesn’t for a very long time anyway). If you’re not SHOWING it, we’re not going to get it.

      The thing is, a physical display of Eric’s life as a homosexual doesn’t have to be some flashy relationship. Just give him a crush on the local male barista. Have him be someone Eric wants to ask out and therefore the physical embodiment of his problem. This is the coffee shop he and his friends go to. If he asks this guy out, he’ll have to come clean to his buddies.

      As for this notion that this is a script about Eric and his friend – I strongly believe that’s the wrong way to go here. His friend already knows he’s gay (and approves), so already you’re going against what you promised in the premise (that the key people in Eric’s life didn’t know about his secrets).

      Also, the friendship doesn’t have nearly enough weight to carry a movie of this magnitude, nor do the themes promised in the logline mention anything about a guy who needs to build better trust with his best friend. That’s a completely different movie (and it was already written, in Black List script “Gay Dude.”)

      Family ties cut much deeper and therefore I think that’s the play here. But only if the family feels honest and not a slapstick joke.

      Hopefully there’s something in this comment that helps. I think your intentions are noble, Illlimani. But the way you’re going about expressing them isn’t providing the reaction you’re intending. Changing around a few of these components might help. Good luck. :)

  • Shawn Davis

    To expand on something Carson said: “First, create some real stakes in Eric needing to hide his sexuality
    from his family. Make them real people, not a silly joke. Make them
    conservatives, probably religious, and unaccepting of homosexuality”.

    I’d take this to the edge. You can go the conservative, religious route, and it works, but why not ramp that up. He can be Jewish in love with a Muslim. Look at those stakes. a lot of times, the very best comedy is drawn from negative situations. The conversations between them could be hilarious.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be facetious here. I’m being serious. If you give it a dynamic like this, it’s like shoveling coal into the comic fire. BUT…you have to use a soft hand when doing it.

    Not the up front stuff that keeps the two religions fighting but the back end stuff. Can you see a conversation between two gay men of opposite faiths discussing circumcision.

    My two cents.

    Best of luck.


  • grendl

    At the risk of earning the ire of the illiterates on this board, I say the following in a genuine attempt to help.

    Now they’re going to cry foul again and say I’m nitpicking, or would if I didn’t post this first so I’m cutting them off at the pass.

    The opening image of Little Butch is described as “expansive, shorty, with a red bed sheet tied to his neck and a red bandana over his forefront”.

    Okay, he’s a kid so he’s probably going to be short, but I guess he’s short for his age, which is 5.

    But then we get to a red bandana over his “forefront”.

    You can be on the forefront of technology, but there is no body part commonly referred to as the forefront.

    Now don’t be mad about me pointing this out. This is the English language. It was here before all of us, and will be here long after us. Let’s leave it intact while writing these screenplays, shall we?

    I don’t post this to be snarky. I post this because there is a movement currently afoot trying to take the thought process out of writing, by people who think following rules of grammar is boring. They want to be rebels ( not the writer today necessarily ).

    Well, I’m at the forefront of people who think language should matter to writers. Sorry, if that ruins your plans for world domination, you anti-intellectuals living in your parents basements. If English was good enough for Samuel Clemens, and Somerset Maugham, and Tennessee Williams, it’s good enough for you. Prone means face down. Accept it. Embrace it. You’ve lost the war if you try to change its meaning. Miriam Webster and the good people at Oxford have more clout than you.

    How about a red bandanna wrapped around his black hair.

    Another awkward phrase.

    “She approaches her mouth to the microphone.”

    I have a question. Is English the writer’s first language? Again, that’s a genuine question because this kind of sentence is a land mine. No one approaches their mouth to anything.

    Now this isn’t being mean. Any more than an English teacher’s being mean when she corrects you. Again some have a knee jerk reaction to being corrected about anything. Someone corrected a mistake I made in my script, and I was floored that I missed it after so many rewrites but I had. We’re human. We make mistakes.

    But the thing to do is own up to them and then, here’s the trick…EDIT THEM. That’s what rewriting is for.

    Now in that first scene we see it’s Little Butch and not Little Eric who seems to have the passion for playing superhero, or supervillain in his case. We see no inkling that Eric even wants to be there, outside doing what they’re doing. So how are you setting him up 25 years later when we see him again as someone who pursued a life of a superhero. You didn’t establish in that first scene a desire for justice. There was no bully to fight as they were just playing.

    It’s things like that which bring up question marks. A story has to flow rationally. This happens therefore this happens, but then this happens. Anticipation mixed with uncertainty.

    Not just this crazy thing happens, then this crazy thing happens then this Feminazi shows up, then a Urinal man shows up in the bathroom. Is Urinal man a superhero name or someone who works in a public bathroom btw? Its not explained upon his introduction and its frustrating that I’m wondering about such things.

    If this is the world of the Tick, you have to establish that better.

    Now the first scene ends with Little Butch telling Eric his superhero name can’t be Super Eric. It has to be something epic.

    And then you leave us hanging flashing forward 25 years to find out the punchline. Or resolution to that question. You’re dragging. As JK Simmons says in “Whiplash”.

    The timing of this first ten pages is off, and I’m not sure what’s funny about it. It’s odd. its quirky, but there’s nothing to emotionally connect to, ( maybe there is later I stopped at ten ). I need a reason to root for Eric.

    Are you afraid to show him getting beat up by a bully? It’s perhaps the most recognizable kid scenario there is, and something everyone can connect with. Actually being picked on.

    You can’t take it easy on your characters even in a comedy. “A Christmas Story” had a bully in it. That wasn’t cliche, it was just an unfortunate fact of life being depicted.

    I say all of this in the spirit of trying to help. Take it or leave it, but know this.

    You can’t misuse the English language and expect readers, literate readers not to be bothered by those gaffes.

    Good luck with it.

    • readmoredolt

      “Are you afraid to show him getting beat up by a bully?”

      It’s “show him getting BEATEN up.”

      Now this isn’t being mean, grendl. Any more than an English teacher’s being mean
      when she corrects you. Again some have a knee jerk reaction to being
      corrected about anything.

      I know you, however, will learn from your mistake.

      • klmn

        I think “getting beat up” is okay in informal English, and more common in America.

        • Illimani Ferreira

          “Get may be followed by a past participle. The past participle functions as an adjective; it describes the subject. The passive with get is common in spoken English but is often not appropriate in formal writing.” Betty Schrampfer Azar

    • hackofalltrade

      lskhgo;sdahfasdf. dfsalakhsdf.
      saldhfsldkjfs, tskhe thehisw!!!!

      Sorry if that’s not proper grammar, I fell asleep reading your rant and face planted on my keyboard.

      • brenkilco

        If you’d fallen asleep with your face against the screen would your forefront have been on the keyboard?

        • Illimani Ferreira

          It was a typo. I meant forehead. My first language is Portuguese and I speak fluently English and French. The French word for forehead is “front” and although I know the right word in English sometimes my brain plays those tricks.

          • brenkilco

            If you are capable of writing a comedy script in a language not your own then frankly I’m in awe. Never understood how Billy Wilder was able to do it. Just getting a handle on idiom. Mind boggling. While I generally side with Grendel on grammar issues, in this case he, I and everybody else should just shut up. Especially as most of us haven’t even mastered one language yet.

          • Randy Williams

            Twentieth Century FOX. The founder, one of the many Hungarians to build Hollywood thought it looked more English than his family name, Fuchs.

          • brenkilco

            And Szmul Gelbfisz became Samuel Goldfish and then decided that Goldwyn sounded more classy,

          • klmn

            I suggest using a proofreader before you send your script out. This goes for everyone, not just foreigners. Miss SS does a good job of it.

          • peisley

            I got the sense English wasn’t your first language as is the case with many writers on this site. It doesn’t faze me and I, too, admire anybody writing extensively in another language. It’s probably a good idea to have somebody from the country you’re targeting give it a go before you send it out, like Carson’s proofreading service. At this stage, though, you’re looking for feedback on a working draft from other amateurs and probably don’t want to spend the bucks yet, so typos are going to pop up. At least you didn’t use “foreskin.”

    • Trent11

      This script lost me at “Feminazi”. Bill O’Reilly must’ve been an advisor on this project and thought he could sneak that little gem past us…

      • brenkilco

        Since we’re being sticklers today, it should be pointed out that this brainless neologism was actually coined by the four times divorced Rush Limbaugh.

      • Illimani Ferreira


        I decided to use the word “feminazi” precisely as a comedic tool of irony toward the way how it is employed by neocon male voices. I thought about this character as the incarnation of how a woman with power would look like under the POV of a man who is afraid of women with power. And as it turns out by the end of the script, just like the very concept of feminazi, Feminazi, the character, happens to be a robot under the control of a chauvinistic man.

    • Pooh Bear

      ‘Forefront’ threw me for a loop too, I reread and reread. My thought was is this guy might be British and that’s what they call a forehead. Listen, I look forward to reading the AF, if I have time. This week I don’t unless there is a compelling reason. I didn’t get past 3 pages and unfortunately for the author I read Carson’s review first. Sorry about that but them’s the breaks.

      I’ve noticed a small trend with the AF selections, they seem like first or second drafts… not ready for prime time. IMHO, you’ve blown an opportunity here. An ‘easy kill’ is to do a grammar/spelling pass. Have someone read it. Keep working on it. Walk away from it for awhile, go back to it. Cut the fat, try new story lines. Cut characters, introduce new characters. Try a different point of view. Kill your darlings, resurrect them. Do a few page 1 rewrites. Polish, polish, polish some more. Have another reader read it. Do another pass focusing on action… focusing on dialogue… focus on transitions… focus on logic, etc.

      Then when you think it’s ready for AF, have someone read it again.

      I guess the point I’m trying to make is don’t be so anxious to pull the trigger after you’ve completed your first draft.

      Great writing is rewriting.

      If you’re using AoW/AF for development purposes, I sort of shake my head. I personally don’t think this is the right place for that. Maybe it is?

      • drifting in space

        You sound just like me a year ago on this very same site.

        • Pooh Bear

          I probably read your post a long time ago and it’s in my psyche. Maybe the reason I bring it up today is because I’m working on something that’s about a year in the making and I’ve had folks read it and point out spelling/grammar errors. I fix them. I reread it several times and I always seem to find another one. I’m so reluctant to pull the trigger on it because I’ve done it twice before and they just weren’t ready or even worse I wasted time on a poor concept. So I guess I’ve learned (learning) my lesson.

          Heck, I even do the Ctrl+Find “your, you’re, they’re, there, their, etc.” and still read it wrong.

      • Pooh Bear

        One last point I’d like to make.

        A good story well-told will trump grammar/spelling errors. ‘Good’ and ‘Well-told’ being the key.

    • charliesb

      I wondered about the english thing too. There were more than a few moments that made me wonder whether a line was just a little clunky, or if it was a language thing.

      You know, when it’s up to your secret identity, does anyone else know… I mean, besides me?

      We’re having some issues with some sissy players that couldn’t stand with the chill yesterday.

      So Beverly-Ann, how’s your husband going.


    • Nicholas J

      I’m usually behind you on most (fore)fronts g, but I wonder what great movies would have never been made if they were thrown out after the first grammatical error in the script.

      Storytelling and writing are two different skill sets. People can be great storytellers and not-so-good writers. You do realize that even novels are somewhat of a team effort, right? Think of how many grammatical errors there would be in the world’s greatest books if there were no editors. Hell, I still find spelling errors all the time in published books.

      You’re right, language does matter, but nobody’s perfect. Today’s script is really not that bad, in fact, it’s quite impressive for someone whose first language isn’t even the one he’s writing in. Unless there are errors left and right and you can’t tell which way is up, perhaps we should stick to story criticisms. (Which are spot on as usual here.)

      Anyway, if you need me, I’ll be here in my mom’s basement like always.

      • brenkilco

        Storytelling and writing are two different skill sets.

        This could be the foundation for a whole post by Carson. Even if you’re right, does it matter? Does it matter whether you’re a great storyteller if you can’t write? No wait. How can you possibly be a great storyteller if you can’t write effective prose? The writing is the telling. I’ll grant that there are lots of successful writers who are referred to- because of style limitations and usually pejoratively- as storytellers. Stephen King and and J.k. Rowling for instance. But they still need to be able convey action and feeling effectively in words. If a writer has superior narrative gifts he can succeed without the ability to write great prose but he still needs to be able to write solid prose.

        • Nicholas J

          Well, there are many types of storytelling that require no writing. For instance, you can tell a story with song, with a camera, or around a camp fire.

          The way I use the word “writing” here is the act of taking that great story that exists in your head and communicating it effectively with words on paper. Some are better at it than others. If we want to get anywhere as screenwriters, we better be great at it. But even the great ones aren’t perfect.

          I’m not saying throw proper language out the window, or that we shouldn’t be striving for great prose. I’m just saying maybe we shouldn’t be throwing scripts out the window for a misused word here and there.

          You’re right though, it’s probably silly to separate the two and have a discussion about it. I still think they are different skill sets, though they do very much go hand in hand. But no, I’m not sure it matters. So we could talk about the story of today’s script instead. It’s a superhero movie that deals with issues like feminism and misogyny and is aimed at teens. Today’s kids will line up down the block to see it.

      • Rick Hester

        Most of our great writers had longtime relationships with their editors. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and Hemingway all worked with the same editor: Max Perkins. Why? Because they were too busy storytelling to get that PHD in English.

        My girlfriend, a journalist, is one the smartest people I know, and she has an editor. Just like every journalist, novelist, historian, etc everywhere. Occasional focus on grammar is understandable, but going OCD on the subject? Useless.

        • davejc

          Max once said that editing Tom Wolfe (the Look Homeward Angel Tom Wolfe) was like being strapped to a whale in the Atlantic.

        • brenkilco

          Suspect the function of a big time literary editor back in the day was far different from and much more than that of a proof reader.

          • Rick Hester

            I’m sure. And what a great conversation starter for Perkins:

            ‘Oh, you’re an editor. Do you edit anyone I may have heard of?’

            ‘Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald…’

          • brenkilco

            And according to Wiki nobody else at Scribners liked This Side of Paradise or The Sun Also Rises. Perkins had to wear them down. Sounds like he was more a coach and critic than any sort of red pencil guy. But clearly a remarkable judge of material.

      • Midnight Luck

        I say we should all have a party in your mom’s basement.
        Sounds like a great place to be.
        I might set my typewriter there, right next to yours.

        • Nicholas J

          It sure is. The rent is cheap, the pizza rolls are hot, and she gives the best foot rubs.

    • Kirk Diggler

      “Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don’t mind if I go out speaking the King’s”

      Lt. Archie Hicox.

      • drifting in space

        I want to fucking break the “upvote” button off on this. LOVE. IT.

    • Rick Hester

      ‘You can be on the forefront of technology…’

      First time I ever laughed reading a Grendl post. But then, true to form, the screed begins and I bailed.

      • grendl

        I’m glad.

        The people who upvoted are the ones whose opinion I respect.

        Yours? Not so much.

        • Rick Hester

          You could fart in your sleep and most of those people would upvote you.

          • guest

            Don’t you know that grendl’s the top-upvoted commenter on ScriptShadow, Rick?

            You don’t have the talent to make it as a professional, you try to impress wannabes instead. LOL.

      • guest

        Give grendl a break. He’s an old guy in his fifties who wrote two screenplays years ago that never went anywhere beyond contest.

        Why do you think he has all that bitterness against Hollywood?

        Ignore him and get on with your own writing.

        • Rick Hester

          Sage advice.

  • K.Nicole Williams

    I haven’t read the scripts and didn’t vote this week, but if you use WP Carson, I suggest you add a poll to come up with the winner for Amateur Week and that way you can see the winner straight away. Hope that helps!

    • Illimani Ferreira

      Sorry, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. We have already lots of people who just show up and say “My vote is for ___”. I’d expect that someone would vote after at least reading a couple pages of one of the submissions.

      • Nicholas J

        It would also make drive-by voting even easier. Whoever has the most friends with the most free time will get picked every week.

        • OddScience

          Solid point.

    • OddScience

      You could use 2 polls. 1 based on just the Title, Logline and WYSR. And the 2nd poll strictly for the scripts.

      Poll 1 would be more about us acting like a Producer: does the Title, Logline and WYSR even get me interested in your script?

  • Andrew Parker

    Movies are about relationships.

    Though flawed, Hancock looks at an essentially immortal superhero who turns towards alcoholism and negativity. So the premise explores how his relationship with a regular Joe PR guy and his family restores Hancock’s interest in life.

    With The Incredibles, you have a father/husband who has a hard time letting go of his superhero past. So the premise explores how his relationship with his family is hurt by his return to the world of fighting villains.

    Both movies deal with relationships. How they’re affected by the choices we make. Carson is right — if the movie doesn’t explore Eric’s relationship with his family, with his boyfriend, etc — then all you have is another superhero movie. And I’m pretty sure the world already has enough of those.

    • Illimani Ferreira

      The key relationship is the one between Eric and Butch (his best friend), not between Eric and his family or an eventual lover.

      • Andrew Parker

        I understand. I just don’t think the relationship necessarily has the gravitas to carry a movie.

        It’s tough with comedy. Carson reviewed my biopic Rigged at the start of this year, and looking back, I definitely sacrificed some emotional impact by trying to work more humor in. I tried to have it both ways, but it didn’t really work strong enough.

      • Randy Williams

        Yeah, I don’t understand all the push to have Eric have a lover.
        It’s almost insulting.
        Having a lover just makes it easier to be different. It’s a trench.
        Maintaining a friendship with a straight guy is traversing the mine field.

        • charliesb

          I don’t understand. Why would Eric being in a relationship make it easier to be different?

          And if the important conflict is between him and his friend, why is he coming out to his parents? Or is that just a small part of the story.

          • Randy Williams

            I haven’t read the whole script. My comments are on the AOW thread, Carson linked to. My thoughts that day mirrored his on the late entry of the logline’s promise and the scattered approach.I think I found what I read of the script much funnier than he did, however.

            Anyway..Eric being a relationship would make it easier because I think, in general it focuses that “hidden life” as Carson puts it on that relationship. Well, differences such as being gay are not so much about struggles between people as they are internal struggles in my view.

        • Andrew Parker

          How is maintaining a friendship with a straight guy traversing a mine field? How does that raise the ire of anyone? Unless the friend is a raging homophobe — in which case they probably shouldn’t be friends.

          • Illimani Ferreira

            As an LGBT person the friends a lost due to homophobia were the hardest part of coming out. More than direct bashing or physical aggression. Mild homophobia was enough to see them drifting away, quietly. I prefer to think they were good people with a wrong idea.

          • drifting in space

            Yes, I quite understand that, as my best friend came out shortly after high school, though I already had an idea. I do recall some of other “friends” fading away after he came out.

            But in your story, they are BEST FRIENDS. If that is the story, that is the relationship we’re going to watch. We’re not going to care what his parents or really anyone else thinks, ya?

            I don’t mean to pry, but did you lose your BEST friend? Or just merely acquaintances, people probably not worth having in your life to begin with? Either way breaks my robot heart, but I’m just curious in terms of where you are writing from. Sometimes the context in which you write your story is not so obvious to those reading the story.

          • Rick Hester

            If you haven’t already, maybe that’s something you should write about.

          • Illimani Ferreira

            I’m done with drama.

          • Rick Hester

            Insert joke here. :)

  • UrbaneGhoul

    Sorry, I didn’t read this, but did Feminazi find out Super Epic was gay? It would seem like another route to take and maybe she outs Super Epic to the public. Then he decides to come out and say the truth to gauge his family’s reaction. It’s revealing and heartbreaking and Feminazi says she’s reformed because she’s not just a super villain, she’s a super liberal and supporter of gay rights. But it’s a ploy at the end of the 2nd Act to strip him of his powers or something.

  • drifting in space

    Without having read this, I think the names should be changed. Just for starters. I can’t comment on the actual story, but on the surface, I don’t know how seriously anyone would take a movie that deals with homosexual themes and uses names like Butch and Feminazi. Seems to be poking the bear and that’s not a bear you want to poke.

  • OddScience

    I like Carson’s ideas for improvement, but I’d also add:

    -Have Feminazi planning on blowing up the beauty pageant b/c she finds it degrading.

    -And make the beauty pageant TOMORROW…tick…tock

    -Have Eric’s love interest (Todd) be in charge of the beauty pageant, and make him obviously gay. Eric’s parents see him and Todd secretly flirting at rehearsals.

    Religious parents with gay kids are a bit cliche. Maybe Eric’s dad’s ex-business partner is gay and embezzled millions of dollars, destroying the company and causing dad’s prejudice (not too sure about that one…but I wouldn’t go religious).

    p.s. Emma Watson is single again ;)

    • cjob3

      Feminazi attacking a beauty pageant is a great way to kill two birds. It’s nice and organic for both the hero and villain.

    • GoIrish

      I agree regarding the religious point. I was going to suggest a political component, but that was done in the Birdcage. Perhaps something along those lines could still be done – maybe the dad is the mayor running for reelection against a gay candidate.

  • Eddie Panta

    a gay superhero that challenges the stereotypes

    This is a good pick for AF, Super Epic is very different then a lot of entries we see here.

    I didn’t get a chance to read more than the first few pages. So, I’ll just comment on the WYSR for SUPER EPIC. By setting out to break stereotypes with this story, the writer’s intentions are contemporary. While he’s on the right track, I think that.the script needs to be more subversive in its approach.

    Screen characters in Hollywood blockbusters are about breaking stereotypes. Either breaking the stereotypes in society or the typical Hollywood lead stereotype. Just take a look at the new STAR WARS trailer, or the trailer for the new TERMINATOR GENIYS movie, where Sara Connor doesn’t need saving. Birdman is trying to break free of being typecast.

    While you can blame Hollywood Execs for not taking chances, one thing they do realize is that exciting characters are one’s that break form, that challenge preconceived notions.

    That said, I’d like to see SUPER EPIC deal with issues of bullying and revenge.

    • Citizen M

      My dentist is a gay guy who judges long-haired cats at international cat shows on the side.

      He also challenges stereotypes. He’s pudgy, balding, middle-aged, and boring as hell. The only things he’s put into my mouth are sharp steel objects, thank god.

      But when you lose the flamboyant or bitchy gay stereotype, you lose the humor. Making the stolid Eric the hero of a comedy was like making my dentist the hero of a comedy — always going to be an uphill battle to make it funny.

      I’ve posted this before, but a reminder:

      Note to comedy writers: I analysed the script of The Heat, regarded by many as a below-par comedy. There were 2-3 jokes per page, many character based, and a bit of physical comedy. Only 2 or 3 no-joke pages in first 25. That’s the standard you have to aim at.

      I can’t see Super Epic reaching that standard, no matter how much you tweak it. I think the best thing is to shelve it and move onto the next script.

      • Sullivan

        “But when you lose the flamboyant or bitchy gay stereotype, you lose the humor.”

        The problem with that is it’s been done to death. Look at making it fresh. What if his family or friends expect him to be that stereotype and use the fact that he isn’t as proof he isn’t gay? They could even try putting him in situations where he is expected to be that stereotype, fixing him up with guys who expect that, etc. Or if you are going with that stereotype, use it or parts of it for the straight characters, thus subverting the stereotypes. What if the straightest guy of all was flamboyant or bitchy?

        In other words, do something unexpected rather than trotting out tired stereotypes to be laughed at.

  • charliesb

    I read up to about page 53. When the word “faggot” started to get thrown around.

    I think Carson was being extremely kind with his review. There are plot, character and dialogue problems that I think are really holding this script back.

    First and foremost, I couldn’t understand why Eric suddenly felt a need to come out to his parents (and why he decided to do this at a pageant). There is no urgency or even explanation as to why this is happening now.

    It was mentioned in a comment from the writer below that this story is about friendship, but then if that’s the case why isn’t Eric coming out to Butch? Butch doesn’t seem to care that Eric is gay, he’s mad because he didn’t tell him that he’s a superhero. Which means the most important relationship in the movie has nothing to do with him being gay, which means why is his sexuality a major plot point at all?

    Grendl pointed out a lot of the grammar and working issues, but I also want to talk about your characterizations. Your male straight characters are shallow and misogynistic and relate to every female in the first 50 pages based on how hot they are (or are not) and whether or not they can get them into bed.

    We immediately have a man lightly hitting on a sexy lesbian with a tom-boy butch girlfriend with a German accent who despite being gay looks at Butch with “jealousy”.

    Humour is subjective obviously, but a lot of these jokes are way too simple, and repetitive or dated (Honey Boo-Boo, twerking). They lack imagination. Men peeing in urinals, people from whitetrashland who travel with kids inside suitcases? The kiss scene in the hot tub…. I mean these are grown men right? They’re daring their friends to kiss to prove they’re not gay? Come on. And since Butch already knows Eric is gay why would he play along?

    I think at the very least you need to go back and turn some of your caricatures into fully formed characters and then your humour will both improve and feel more organic. Build some backstory into your Hero, not just about how he got his powers, but how he exists in this world? Why does he have a day job? Do the cops call him when villains show up? etc etc.

    Good luck.

    • carsonreeves1

      I agree with all these points but it’s hard to write these reviews sometimes without feeling like I’m piling on. We talk about going deeper than just the first idea that comes to mind for a story choice. The same is true with comedy. You have to dig beyond the easy first joke, which, as you pointed out, many of these are. I, too, winced at the Honey Boo Boo and twerking stuff.

      I was really confused about the hot tub scene as well, since, as you pointed out, it turned out Butch already knew Eric was gay.

  • Randy Williams

    Since this is a Super hero script, think Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It’s a plot line that Lois might find out he’s really Superman, are those stakes that big, that interesting, who cares, really? For me the more interesting is Clark’s internal struggle about being different. It paints everything he does including his relationship with her.

    We don’t need her in his bed. ummm..does Superman sleep?

  • susanrichards

    how about we stop arguing with EACH OTHER and just try to keep to the topic. this is Illimani’s day and side arguments only detract from any constructive criticisms he may get.

    i really dont want to get into an argument with you, as i feel you have a lot to offer, and arguing on the internet is not something i want to add to my already busy life.


    i can see from your posts that you hold a very high standard, as you should. but when you START OFF with something so detailed, and seemingly lose a lot of us. dont forget that you are speaking to many levels of writers and storytellers. we can all benefit from your opinions.

    im not saying your points arent of value, as i feel they are. but to be more effective, it would be better if you started off with the bigger, more general criticisms FIRST, and then whittle away to those things that bother you, that do not appeal to that higher level you have achieved.

    the way you do it now, you come off as arrogant and snobbish, and i can feel the eyes rolling from others as i scroll down the page.

    i also dont like to see people who dont even know each other sling harsh words at each other just because they are behind a computer screen.

    “there goes grendl again, with his scary avatar and scarier words”

    you may think that i dont care about writing, but i do. i take my WRITING seriously. i dont take myself all that serious. on here, im posting. OF COURSE i will write a screenplay as professionally as i possibly can. i will write several drafts, polishing up as i go.

    you may think i dont have respect for the english language, but i do. however, i have more respect for other PEOPLE and other writers/storytellers than some people on here, who jump all over others for they way they type on a messageboard.


    • Nicholas J

      We’re not arguing, we are discussing like civilized gents. Don’t be scared of grendl, he has a very warm heart. I know because he showed it to me. Though he never did say where he found it. Probably some hitchhiker’s.

      • susanrichards


        but, JUST COS YOU SAY SO.

  • hackofalltrade

    Haha! I guess my humor is a “troll attack,” and your undeserved condescension towards “illiterates” and those “living in their parents basements” is a righteous calling.

    Congrats to you for being a self-proclaimed internet champion of all things grammatical! The impact you will leave on the world will never forget such a man, who absolutely does NOT live with his parents, (this is like bragging you’ve never been to prison BTW) nor ever makes mistakes! Fourteen whole human beings up-voted your rant against those with imperfect screenplays. Hooray for you!

    I am thrilled to have made the day of someone so famous/important/grammatically superior! I hope you laughed. I sure did, and I made sure to keep it down. Didn’t want to disturb my mom upstairs, I think she’s up there with Burt Reynolds.

  • drifting in space

    It could also be seen as the troll getting to you… just sayin’.

  • MJ86

    I voted for Super Epic for its fun premise, but I agree with Carson, there’s no real plot.

    IMO, the best way to figure out your plot is to figure out your core, ironic joke (the underlying joke anchoring all of your comedy and plot points). In Miss Congeniality, it’s “beauty queens get saved by a tomboy.” In Bad Teacher, it’s “even shitty teachers make a positive impact.” What’s Super Epic’s core joke? Spitballing from what you already have, it could be that “being a super hero is like being gay: one must protect their secret identity at all costs.” You start to go there, but don’t really get there.

    For example, why aren’t all of the supers gay? It could be fun(ny) for them to have a AA type of organization where they lament their superhero woes as well as the hardships of being gay in that city/society. And they wear a special costume just for those meetings (so even they don’t know who they are).

    And/or, one of Eric’s parents left the relationship because they’re gay—which is why he doesn’t want to tell them. Say, Mom hates Dad because he left her for a man, but it turns out he didn’t and she’s been lying about it for Eric’s whole life.

    And/or, Butch rants all the time that he got raped in college one drunk night at a frat party—but it turns out he actually consensually slept with Eric and doesn’t remember… or does he…?

    Also, I think the current Feminazi character takes the narrative in an unrelated direction. Why’s she a quasi-feminist? You could tie that over into the gay element, as many people
    think feminists are just (political) lesbians anyway (that’d give Fem and Butterfly something to complain about in the AA meetings—just sayin’)! And I think it’d be a good idea to make Fem a real person, not an android (that wasn’t a particularly interesting twist to me), and make them friends who work at the same company for Dorchester.

    So like Carson said, tighten up your plot/structure. Figure out your actual story. Brainstorm it through your logline! Who’s your protag, who’s your villain and what do they each want? “When a super villain threatens to eradicate all men using [enter super weapon], a superhero struggles to save his city while protecting his secret—that he’s gay.”

    Act 1: Who are these people? Show Eric’s life in transition. He’s really close with
    his mom and Butch. He’s met a guy he really wants to date (I vote Dorchester) and is about to tell his family he’s gay. But, then Feminazi unveils her plan to exterminate all men and Eric’s mom is totally down with the idea of it—yes, even though Eric’s a man.
    Act 2: Explore Eric’s plan to dismantle the weapon / thwart Fem’s plan while keeping both of his identities secret—which are both things only his boyfriend knows
    and constantly threatens to reveal. Eric’s mom joins the Feminazi cause. Eric’s boyfriend is captured.
    Act 3: Eric fails to save the boyfriend. Boyfriend betrays him and Eric’s secrets are
    revealed. All of the gay supers gay-ness is exposed—turns out Fem isn’t gay and isn’t even super, she’s pissed that none of the things she wants are real (ok, I stole that from The Incredibles). Everyone rallies behind Eric and they (Mom, Butch, Butterfly) take down Fem together.

    Of course these are all off the top of my head. Just starting points for your consideration
    because I obviously still think this thing has tons of untapped potential; so get to digging!

    • drifting in space

      Reading your post, I couldn’t help but to think of a plug:

      This story would really benefit from reading “The 90 Day Screenplay.” I know everyone here hates those dang books full of rules, but it would really help what is a great premise turn into a great story.

    • carsonreeves1

      I like this – “figure out your core joke” and keep hitting on it. It’s why a movie like “Big” was such a classic. It figured out its core joke and pretty much every scene hit on it in some way.

      • walker

        That is a great point. Successful comedy emanates from a central comic conceit, or “core joke”, which is really a humorous or ironic articulation of the main theme. Your core joke is your theme.

  • Howie428

    Congratulations on getting selected. I read to page 16 on the selection weekend and made some comments about this needing to tackle the subject more directly. Having taken a look at the rest of it, I think that’s still a good summary of my opinion.

    At page 17, I know that frozen ground is hard to work, but are frozen rocks any harder to break up than not frozen ones?

    On page 20, it seems odd that Hannah knows Eric is Super Epic, so his secret identity isn’t secret? If she finds this out early on then you could use that for some early story beats.

    The bit on page 70 where Dorchester describes his sexual tastes would be lucky to avoid an X-rating. Your other uses of strong language make this clearly an R-rated story, but I’m not sure that matches with the lite fun of the action.

    The final act of this has a fun set-piece, even if it’s a bit Adam West Batman and quite dialogue heavy.

    I saw your comments about the agenda of this script, and I’d say that your ultra-safe coy way of tackling sexuality in this script would have been spot on about 20 years ago. However, the world has moved on and being this evasive about the subject is almost a problem in and of itself.

    There is a fun idea in this, and some likeable characters with enjoyable banter, but I think other commenters and Carson are right that this would benefit from a complete rethink of how the plot progresses.

    For example, the scene you have at the midpoint of the story where he comes close to telling his family he’s gay would play well at the beginning of the story. The stuff that happens prior to this is treading water. After that the issues of the story are in motion and you could focus in on giving us the dual secret identity story that got people excited.

  • Nicholas J

    If you haven’t noticed, I’m a man of hyperbole. I did read your whole post, and I don’t think I’m misrepresenting it. I’m magnifying it to make a point.

    As McKee says in Story, “The sign on the door doesn’t read ‘Dialogue Department’ or ‘Description Department.’ It reads ‘Story Department.'”

    That’s not to say we shouldn’t bring attention to something like clunky description, but IMHO I don’t think we should let it be the primary focus as readers. I think you did that. (And yes, you did comment on the story as well, and were spot on, as usual, and I did mention that already.)

  • drifting in space

    No joke.

  • Illimani Ferreira

    Thank you, that was one of the most constructive inputs I’ve read tonight. I have some disagreements, but I won’t bring them on since I don’t want to be accused of being defensive and incapable of processing feedback.

    • cjob3

      I think you’ll get a pass on this one.

  • Casper Chris

    Holy shit, this is one angry comment thread.

    • Rick McGovern

      lol isn’t it always?

      • Nicholas J


        • Rick McGovern

          I asked myself… doesn’t that count? ;)

          • Nicholas J

            I’ll let it slide this time, but I’m watching you.

          • Rick McGovern

            Aww man! I hate being on probation!

  • Rick McGovern

    Some of the better notes I’ve seen on this site.

    • carsonreeves1

      Bitchshadow. It’ll be huge.

  • charliesb

    OT: This Sony Hack continues to be a fascinating look behind the curtain. Someone really needs to turn this into a TV show, I’m sure it would be more entertaining than THE NEWSROOM at the least.

    Today’s instalment: Notes on the third act of the new Bond movie SPECTRE.

    If this is the movie that resolves the last three films then the emotional significance of that idea for Bond seems only lightly served at best. He finds the Vesper tape but never watches it. He appears to fall in love again for the first time since Vesper but there’s no real emotional vulnerability there – why this girl? Why now? When he leaves with her at the end of the movie and throws his gun in the river has he gone for good or is this just a well earned vacation as is so often the ending of a Bond film. Does he feel some sense of completion that he finished the last mission M/Judy left for him? It’s hard to know what significance any of these final gestures carry.

    the “meanwhile” action for bond is simply fighting henchmen in many overblown and familiar sequences – helicopter, elevator shaft, netting. he’s trying to save the girl but there must be a more dynamic set piece to come up with that doesn’t involve myriad henchmen and irma while BLOFELD is in another location.

    Take a look:

    • Malibo Jackk

      Always suspected grendl worked for Sony.

    • carsonreeves1

      It really is good stuff and a virtual “executive school” for those wanting to work in Hollywood. The balancing act Pascal has to pull off in placating everyone – gotta be one of the hardest jobs out there.

  • fragglewriter

    I read until page 30 of the script, and had the same problems that Carson mentioned above. But if you created this script in such a short-time, I think you did a good job. You just need to tweak it.

  • Shawn Davis

    One of the core issues here is the ability to truly write

    It’s the double edged screenplay…

    The genre everyone “thinks” they can write, when in fact, 99% of potential readers dread reading.


    Because most people are not funny.

    That’s just plain fact.

    They “get” humor and find things funny, but do not have a clue about how to make someone laugh.

    BUT everybody wants to believe they are funny.

    Truth is…

    Writing comedy is the hardest of ALL genres to write. PERIOD!

    But most writers think is so easy because of the few jokes they have in their bailiwick.

    Comedy is my first love, but I will stand here and tell you, it is not for someone who “thinks” they are funny.

    It involves setups, timing, and undercurrent with regards to plot and subplot that other genres don’t necessarily have to rely on to get the story across.

    Why? Because comedy either resonates with the reader, or it doesn’t.

    I think that’s why a writer who receives strong advice from readers on how to better their scripts tend to take it personally. Because they (personally) think, their work is funny.

    In all other genres, an average story is just that…average.

    In comedy, an average story is a reflection on a personal character trait. The writers sense of humor.


  • Midnight Luck


  • Midnight Luck

    I think you are putting too many pots on to boil Illimani with the Feminazi character.

    I would seriously look at having the main bad person be a guy. Be a superbadguy that the superhero is trying to take down, but also secretly thinks is hot, and is falling in love with. So every time he takes him down, he also, by slight of hand, lets him go. Gives him the beating of a lifetime, just so he can touch him, and get close to him, but then, at just the right moment, hoping no one sees it, lets him slip away.

    He enjoys having him be the person he is always going after. He almost stokes the fire to get this buy guy to do bad deeds, so he can fight him for one more day.

    But then one day the bad guy sets up his final attack, which Super Eric actually, accidentally helped him create the last time he let him skip away. And there might be some dirt on Super Eric’s hands.

    Meanwhile the city calls Super Eric in an gives him an ultimatum. Bad guy has given them 3 days to (X) or he’s burning the whole place to the ground. And from the looks of it, well, there is absolutely no way out. The only thing they will accept this time, is his Bad Boy’s head from Eric. Death, nothing less. So now, the City is asking to hire Eric as the assassin. And they are going to pay him mightily for it. So Eric must go Bad to be Good.

    If he doesn’t, they are going to banish him from the City forever.

    So the bad guy’s latest deed is so ballsy, so awesome, it actually makes Eric even hotter for him. So while he needs to kill him to save his beloved City (and you NEED to make us believe he LOVES this CITY more than ANYTHING) he ALSO wants to BED him more than anyone EVER in his life.

    The Good ones, always love the BAD BOYS.

    So somehow he devises a plan to make it look like they both die and then Eric can stop being Super and live his life Out of the Closet, with the Bad Guy. They can be normal guys in suburbia at the end of the movie.
    the very last scene is something so terrible, and smells exactly like only his bad boyfriend’s kind of stink. Did Bad Boyfriend do it, and if so, what does he do now? He’s in love,
    Dun, Dun, Dunnn…..
    they have just adopted a kid from Cambodia (or Africa or somewhere),
    and all the China has been set at for their wedding weekend, and

    Fade to Black

    so the stage is set for Super Eric 2.
    Does he come back from the dead to be Super Eric again?
    Does he let his bad husband off, does he finish his nuptials?
    did Bad Boy really do it, or didn’t he?
    Does the Bad Boy really love Eric?
    Or did he set him up, to take him down, one final time, on their Wedding Day, for good?

    Just Free Flowin’ here. You get the idea.
    A goal.
    A love interest.
    A second script.

  • LostAndConfused

    I think your response to the original post is the best and I’m surprised it only has 4 upvotes.

  • Citizen M

    I read the whole script again from beginning to end. In my opinion it needs a severe re-think and a Page One rewrite. There was little point in making any detail comments.

    If you do plan to rewrite it, here’s a couple of suggestions.

    To make Eric and Butch’s friendship the central relationship, it’s not enough to show them BEING friends. That’s not cinematic. You have to show them DOING THINGS friends do. Going to a hockey game with their buddies doesn’t qualify. It needs to be something the two do together where they have a good understanding of each other and have built up a history and rituals. And of course it has to be funny.

    One idea I had concerned who parks at the back in the driveway. When we first meet them leaving the house we don’t know they are friends. If the one parked in has a major fight with the other about being parked in, flinging all sorts of outrageous insults, we the audience expect a fist fight to break out. Next thing they smile, high five each other, and drive off. We realise they are friends and this is their morning ritual.

    Then when they have a falling out they can have a proper fight being mean and nasty to each other; then when they make up again they come out of the house, each with a suitably-gendered partner, and start their mock fight again. It’s a VISIBLE INDICATION of the state of their friendship.

    But I think you need more. What do they do for fun? Maybe they try breaking up hero-normative couples, with Butch ending up with the girl and Eric the guy, only of course they always bomb out. This might be a bad idea, but I think you need some strong interest they’ve been doing together for years before the movie starts, that supplies lots of jokes, and that can symbolize the state of their relationship.

    Your main characters need to be more lively and proactive.

    I have gays in the family and they tell me they don’t respect gay people like Sally Ride who come out after their death. They reckon they got the benefit of living a hetrosexual lifestyle and the pleasures of a gay relationship, but they never contributed to the gay way of life by being out and proud and accepting the knocks. So if Eric falls in love with a guy who demands coming out as the price Eric must pay or lose him, it puts Eric in the kind of dilemma you need him in.

    TRIVIA: I wondered if you were Portuguese. I worked for a year in the Gamtoos River valley in South Africa where where there were only six non-Ferreiras.The othere were all descendants of the two Ferreira brothers, Portuguese sailors who were shipwrecked near the river mouth a couple of hundred years ago. They’re Afrikaans now. I had to learn to speak Afrikaans in a hurry.

  • crazedwritr

    You have a lot of nerve correcting him on the spelling of Shonda’s first name when you spelled her last name wrong. In the words of pretty much every one of her Grey’s Anatomy characters: “Seriously?”

    • Illimani Ferreira