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Genre: Rom-Com
Premise (from writer): A woman with a rare auditory disorder reconsiders her life of solitude when she meets an inquisitive sound engineer (who might just be crazier than she is). But is his interest in her a case of romance…or research?
Why You Should Read (from writer): Did you love “A Beautiful Mind” with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly? Did you secretly wish it had been more like Russell Crowe’s personal life – i.e. funnier, with less math and more assault charges? — If you answered ‘yes’ to both these questions then please consider casting your eyeballs over my RomCom, The Introvert’s Playlist. I’d be grateful for any and all feedback. I’ve already pledged my first born child to BifferSpice in return for his absolutely incredible notes, but if I wind up having twins you’re all welcome to fight over the other one I guess.
Writer: Rachel Woolley
Details: 94 pages

anna-kendrick-anna-kendrick-10124234-683-983Anna Kendrick for Iris??

Rachel Woolly, thank you for making me a happy man. When I opened this and saw 95 pages after a full day of work, I praised you and the Dragon Gods of Screenplay Heaven.  If I’d opened a script that was more than 110 pages, I don’t know if I would’ve made it to the end. Never, my screenwriting friends, NEVER underestimate the power of a low page count. It can IMMEDIATELY put the reader on your side.

It’s been a weird last couple of weeks with a shockingly low amount of industry news.  Even Comic-Con was light on talk-worthy topics.  One thing I’m noticing more and more is that I no longer have a go-to site for movie news. It used to be Deadline Hollywood when Nikki Finke was running the show. But now they’re just copying and pasting press releases to keep their feed going. I thought for sure Finke’s new site was going to fill this gap, but her posting has been scarce to say the least. Why did she even start a new site if she wasn’t going to post on it?

This has left me scrounging for tidbits from multiple sites (THR, Variety, Latino-Review, Slash-Film, First Showing, The Playlist, The Wrap). And still I feel like I’m not getting as much movie news as I desire. More and more, sites are dedicating their time to television, which is great. I cover television on Tuesdays as well. But movie news is still the reason I get up in the morning. I’d be curious to hear where you guys browse around. Maybe the ultimate movie news site is out there. Or maybe there’s an opportunity for somebody new to step up and fill the gap. It might even be you.

Okay, let’s clumsily segue into today’s first Rom-Com script in forever on Scriptshadow. Iris, 29, has a rare hearing disorder where simple noises (breathing, ticking, eating) become extremely loud in her head, to the point where it’s like 17 construction companies all decided to build the world’s tallest skyscraper inside of her brain at once.

Naturally, this has made Iris quite anti-social. In fact, she spends most of her time at home, where she can control the noise. But even that’s becoming difficult, as the next door neighbor’s dog is constantly barking his snout off.

As if God hasn’t made her life difficult enough, Iris gets pulled into Jury Duty for an assault case and must sit in a quiet court room all week where simple noises go to breed. The breathing, the coughing, the hacking, the shifting. It’s like bullet holes to her face.

Strangely enough, another audio-obssessed individual happens to be the defendant in the trial. 31 year old Levi is a professional sound recorder who ended up here for supposedly assaulting a ditzy 23 year old who enraged him when she ruined his recording (by taking selfies no less).

Iris is the only one not buying the girl’s story.  And after a protracted argument with the other jury members, she finally convinces them to vote Levi innocent.  After the trial, Levi finds Iris and wants to thank her for helping him out.

The two get to know each other, and Levi gets a first-class seat on Iris’s insane auditory life. All of Iris’s defense mechanisms are up and she tries to go back to Alonesville so she can live in her safe little bubble again. But wouldn’t you know it, Charming Levi convinces her that love is more important than anything, including annoying breathers.

As I read my way through the first 10 pages of Introvert’s Playlist, I was really impressed. I’d seen some of the comments on the Amateur Offerings post, and while most were praising the writing, many said there were big problems with the story.

Well that wasn’t the story I was reading. The writing here was confident and strong, highlighted with perfect “show don’t tell” scenarios about Iris’s unique disorder (dismantling the waiting room clock at the dentist’s office because it was ticking too loudly). Her writing was also that perfect combination of sparse, yet informative.

But then something happened. A switch was pulled. It’s important for every writer to know when they lose their reader – which story choice broke the suspension of disbelief camel’s back.  Because without that knowledge, you can never truly fix your script.

It was page 12 when it happened for me. I had just learned a ton about this unique and intriguing auditory disorder. That alone gave me tons of confidence in the writing because normally when I read a script, the writer’s droning on about something I know EVERYTHING about because I’ve read 20 scripts about the exact same thing over the past month alone.  This, however, was new and fresh and different.  I was in!

Then we go into this ultra-silly jury case that felt like it was made up on the spot. Having a full 12 member jury for something as insignificant as a simple assault case felt false (especially since it was so clear that the girl was lying). And once that felt false, the introduction of this entire Levi-Iris relationship felt false. And since I had to buy into that relationship in order to buy into the rest of the script, this scene ensured that I wouldn’t get into the rest of the script.

I think writers forget this. That certain scenes in scripts are so critical, that if they don’t work, they ensure dozens of other scenes won’t work either. When you’re setting up your key relationship, even in a comedy, that’s a scene you have to get right. And an overly silly court case isn’t right. There’s no truth to that scene. And when the reader senses a lack of truth, they stop trusting you.

If I were Rachel, this whole court scene is the first thing I’d ditch. Figure out another way for these two to meet each other. Make it more natural. Make it honest. Because this moment is the infrastructure for everything that happens after it. I actually wondered why Rachel didn’t put Iris up in the mountains in place of Assault Girl.  This seems like a place Iris would go (to escape the noise) and therefore a more natural place for her to run into Levi.

The other big issue I had was with Iris herself. And I sympathize with Rachel because I know the balancing act she was trying to pull off here. But whatever way you cut it, Iris is equal parts sympathetic and annoying. We feel for her because we know what she’s going through. But it’s kind of like the complainer girl in a group of friends, the one who’s always too cold and she lets you know it? The first time you hear her say it, you feel bad for her. The second time, less so. The third time, it’s a little annoying. The fourth time, really annoying. And after that you just want to strangle her.

There’s a little of that going on here. I feel bad for Iris’s situation, but there were times where I just wanted to say, “Get over it!” Every script has one big balancing act you have to pull off, and I think this is Playlist’s.  You have to convince an audience to sympathize with someone who’s annoyed by something no one else finds annoying.  Not an easy task.

Now with all that said, there’s some quality writing here and I do see some promise in the story itself. But it needs more truth. I say ditch the over-manufactured court stuff and tell a simpler story about a unique couple.  Focus on exploring the characters, not some overcooked plot.  I see this as more of an indie film due to the quirkiness of our heroes, so I’d play it more drama-comedy than comedy-drama. Somewhere in the tone of Lake Bell’s “In A World.” That’d be my advice on where to go. I wish Rachel the best of luck. ☺

Script link: The Introvert’s Playlist

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

What I learned: Despite my early rant about page count, page count should always be dictated by story. Several key factors will play a hand in whether your script should top out at 90 pages or 120 pages. The main two are genre and character. Fast and loose genres like Thrillers and Comedies will be around 100 pages. Thicker and more introspective genres like Period Pieces, Real Life Drama or book adaptations, can easily top out at 120. If your story has a high character count (Zero Dark 30), you’re going to need more room to fit them all in. And if you’re doing some major character exploration and/or character development (Silver Linings Playbook), you’re going to also need more pages. Then there are the miscellaneous things. Big world-building stuff (Guradians of the Galaxy) will need space, as will really elaborate plots (Burn After Reading, American Hustle). In the end, take in all this information and figure out if you need a lot of space to tell your story or not that much.  Be honest with yourself, give yourself a page goal ahead of time, then try to hit it.

What I learned 2: Always put “INTO PHONE” (or “ON PHONE”) in parentheticals when a character is on the phone. Not just the first time they speak but on all of their phone dialogue lines. This is ESPECIALLY important if you’re intercutting a conversation with a third party. That’s where things start getting confusing for the reader. When Kynlee was on her phone AND having a separate conversation with Levi, I wasn’t clear who she was talking to.  Here’s the first part of the exchange in question.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.56.00 AM

  • Scott Crawford

    I love romantic comedy. The funny ones: When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman, Along Came Polly. Remember in Polly when Phillip Seymour Hoffman “sharted”? Or Ben Stiller’s crazed attempt at Latin dancing? Hilarious.

    Maybe it’s the influence of newer romantic comedy-drama indie thingies like Nick and Nora Really Like Indie Music or Five Million Days of Navel Gazing, but SOME writers seem to feel they’re not obliged to write “com” in their “rom coms”.

    Writing comedy is hard, and I’m not gonna pretend that I’m particular fantastic at it, but if I was going to write a romantic comedy or a comedy thriller, I would at least try to get some belly laughs in there.

    • b

      5 Million Days of Navel Gazing? Man, I hope you’re not referencing 500 Days of Summer, because A) your makeshift title makes no sense (navel gazing???) and B) 500 DOS is one of the best rom coms in recent memory.

      • Scott Crawford

        I stick with my opinion! 500 Days of Summer made $32 million domestic and earned ZERO Oscar nominations. You wanna copy that? That’s aiming pretty LOW.

        But go ahead, write 500 Days of Summer. It’s not like there’s a million such scripts out there….

        • Logline_Villain

          It is not to debate – but when the listed criteria for passing judgment on a movie are domestic gross and Oscar nominations:

          It’s worth noting that the first three Transformers movies earned a gazillion dollars and ALL earned Oscar nominations (so they were for sound mixing, it’s still an Oscar nod, right?).

          By this logic, Michael Bay was presumably aiming HIGH… ?

          Point being: In a vacuum, said criteria are often far from conclusive as to the overall quality of a given movie…

          • Scott Crawford

            Domestic gross and Oscar nominations mean quite a bit – for a screenwriter’s “quote”, for example.

            Be fair, 500 Days is not aimed at me, which is probably why I couldn’t make my way through it. And I KNOW that it will have its fans who will defend it with their lives. But… when I see someone has written a romantic comedy-drama, my immediate, gut instinct is “Chicken. Didn’t want to write comedy so they’ll call it a drama.” If it’s a comedy, it HAS to be funny. You have to make me laugh – or at least smile – PAGE ONE.

            Am I being harsh? Duh! Of course I’m not, this is the reality! Everyone’s trying to copy 500 Days – or similar movies – because it means they don’t have to write belly laughs.

          • Andrew Parker

            This is very true. I’m always playing with the Oscar statues when I visit Shane Black & Joe Eszterhas’ homes.

          • Scott Crawford

            They only play with their residual checks.

        • Nicholas J

          Aiming low? Lol. 500 Days of Summer is a fucking diamond. Easily the best, most creatively written and directed romcom in the past 15 years. It was also written as a spec by two (mostly) unknowns and really launched their careers. Oh and it made almost 10 times its budget in the box office with very little marketing.

          And a million other scripts out there? Show me ONE unproduced romcom that has as much depth, originality, humor, and heart.

          I’d be happy with 1/10th of 500‘s success.

          • Scott Crawford

            So you’d be happy with a movie that made $3.6 million? Here’s a list of the most successful romantic comedies, US domestic (unadjusted):


            500 Days made less money than Because I Said So! But what do all the top-grossing films have in common. THEY WERE FUNNY (to most people, anyway).

            B.O. aside, as I said above, if you’re going the indie drama route you are POTENTIALLY (it’s all potential) aiming low. You don’t have to make people laugh. You don’t excite or scare people. Your potential audience is small. You’re aiming LOW.

          • Nicholas J

            Because I Said So! only made $9 million more and was made for 5x the budget of 500 Days. It was also a complete critical failure while 500 Days was a huge success. And subtracting budget from box office, 500 Days actually made $23 million more.

            I honestly can’t believe we’re comparing the two.

            Using the list you gave me, aiming high is Hitch, Mr. Deeds, and Bringing Down the House. Lol. Reach for the stars, man!

          • Scott Crawford

            Hitch made me laugh. And While You Were Sleeping. And Pretty Woman and…

            Post 2009 – post your beloved 500 Days – only two romantic comedies made an impact at the box office: Just Go With It and Silver Linings Playbook.

            I would argue 500 Days killed the romantic comedy. Maybe that’s why I hate it so.

          • Nicholas J

            Or maybe after millions of people took out a small loan in order to afford a night at the movies and spent it watching Just Go With It they all went home and jumped head first off the roof.

          • Scott Crawford

            Blended. $121 million worldwide, three times its cost.

            People like to laugh.

          • Andrew Parker

            Blended proves the opposite — people willingly pay money not to laugh.

          • Nicholas J

            Blended is considered a box office failure. Yes it made money, but that does not mean it was a success. It was expected to make way more. You can’t just look at the numbers like that without factoring in everything else.

          • Midnight Luck

            I wasn’t quite sure i you were making fun of 500 Days of Summer (I was pretty sure you were, and it was a good one, as it was more like 500 Minutes of Navel Gazing) or A Million Ways to Die in the West, or maybe a mashing of both. Either way, I agree.

            500 Days was pretty much the end of RomCom’s, or at least it was for me. One of the more successful RomCom movies in the near past (at least Buzzworthy successful), yet absolutely one of the LEAST funny, most Boring movies ever.

            As a true lover and connoisseur of RomCom’s, this was just another that let me down, and pissed me off.

            The movie seemed to set a precedent for the boring, introspective, yet hip urbanite couple, lost in a sea of boring shallow, self referential, and need for continual blather about lame, uninteresting “real” issues.

            It also seemed to begin or explode the idea that RomCom’s were valuable if they had one Key Hook. One that had nothing to do with the plot, nothing of additive value. 500 Days was, “hey let’s just take Memento and use that narrative structure in a RomCom, but jumble all the days up for no reason at all, except that it will be cool”.

            I think ultimately, the only reason the movie caught on or did well at all was because people wanted to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel onscreen. They were the thing that propelled it and kept it afloat.

            Because seriously, never have I seen such a BORING, Vapid Romantic Comedy in my life (well, except for every single Katherine Heigl movie).

            It was a never ending onslaught of 20 year olds lamenting their “hard” lives and irritating love lives in a big city.

            We need to be given something of real interest, something to keep us involved, and 500 Days didn’t have it. It was the same million discussions of some dude in his apartment with his friends who “just don’t get it”, “no one understands”, etc. You had all the typical stereotypes involved as well.

            I found the whole thing rather irritating and the one thing you don’t want: BORING, as well as the other thing you especially don’t want in a ROM-COM: NOT funny.

            What has happened in the last 20 years to leave RomCom’s twisting in the wind is upsetting. They used to be well written and a solid staple in Hollywoods quiver. Now? They are just forgotten, and when they do appear, they are some of the lamest and poorest told stories around.

            I hope this will change. Soon.

          • Awescillot

            I just have to disagree.

          • Midnight Luck

            an that is entirely your right.

          • Scott Crawford

            Nora Ephron died. That was one thing.

            Comedy has become less about Dustin Hoffman in a dress and more about decapitating giraffes. Romance still exists, but Nicholas-sparks stuff. So romance and comedy have divorced, gone their separate ways. But I mean, look at Aline Brosh McKenna; she’s doing really, really well, with Annie and Cinderella coming up. But she ain’t writing romantic comedies anymore.

            I don’t really care what people’s favorite romantic comedy is, it’s always going to be different, but I feel people are just not trying at the moment. Hardly any romantic comedies are bought now and I suspect – based on this comments board I strongly suspect – it’s because everyone wants to do 500 Days and… well, that’s OK, but it’s a race to the bottom. Fewer laughs. Looser plotlines.

            Please don’t put lists of your favorite songs in your script.

            Leap Year was an AWFUL film, but at least it was TRYING to be funny.

          • Midnight Luck

            “A race to the bottom”. Funny, yet so true.

            Everything is cheap laughs, no heart.

            yes, a ton of 500 Days lovers are on here. So you won’t get much love when you say you don’t like it. (I know all too well, as well as don’t say you didn’t like THE MATRIX, the gloves go on and then they burn you down)

            And Nicholas Sparks, still kind of a bottom of the barrel romance novel thing, with too much schmaltz and too little real feeling or real life situations. I mean come on the central idea or twist in SAFE HAVEN (SPOILERS!!! don’t read if you don’t want to know —) ——is the girl being a ghost————. didn’t fit anything in the movie. A few have been ok, but most just so not good.

            And I agree, Killing a helpless Giraffe for a visual comic piece? Who the hell thought that was going to be funny? it was cruel and heartless. Nothing like the first one. Then later on Bradley Cooper’s character KILLS the dogs and LAUGHS about it? in a totally cruel, and again, heartless manner. Uggh, stupid and mean. Just not good anything in that movie, and I didn’t laugh ONE TIME at anything.

            What happened to Funny? The whole “funny” in The Other Woman was supposed to be the two women getting drunk together and the one woman had huge breasts? (that was marketing as well). And THE HEAT? Two women are cops. Great, but where’s the Funny?

            There was soooo much possibility in IDENTITY THIEF, so why did it Suck so badly? So not funny.

            On and on I could just list these movies and they are just Cringe-worthy and un-funny.

            I keep hoping.
            They keep missing.

          • Nicholas J

            I don’t see why you are comparing films like Identity Thief and The Heat to 500 Days of Summer. They are two completely different types of films.

            I mean, I love Forgetting Sarah Marshall and it is 100x funnier than 500 Days but that doesn’t mean it is better. They were aiming for two different types of results.

            You’re criticizing 500 Days because it’s more rom than com when that’s exactly what it aspired to be.

          • Midnight Luck

            Yes, but see this is the problem.
            I don’t go into a movie thinking “I’m not going to like this if it seems like an Indie movie. If it isn’t what is going to be considered a Box Office Success”.
            I really don’t care if a movie is a BO success.
            I care if I like the movie or not.
            Yes that is the most subjective thing in the world i know, not unlike who someone falls for.
            No one in the world can explain to another person why being blonde or dark haired means that person is better or more “right” to fall for than the other.
            You just can’t do it. The person is going to like what they like.
            Well, in my absolutely unscientific way, I like what i like, think one movie is crap over another, love one movie, hate another, and none of it has to do with one being of one genre or another, because one had a small budget or another had tons of money behind it, or a bigger marketing campaign, etc.
            Now you can support whatever movie you like, you can swear more money makes for a better movie, you favorite movies can be Adam Sandler movies and you can defend your reasons and beliefs to your death, but i will never agree with you. Sandler’s movies are the most brain dead stupid crap movies ever, and i could care less that they made 100 times more money than [x] movie. they just suck.

            I could tell you why True Romance is a million times better movie than Jurrasic Park (and it is) and it doesn’t matter to me that they are of different genre’s or made different years or have better / worse Diectors, made boatloads more or less money, unequivocally, True Romance is a better movie. I don’t need to compare exact kinds and brands of anything. This is better than that to me. Just how I see it.

            so be it.

          • Nicholas J

            I get that you like what you like. I guess we just have to disagree though. I always feel that you should separate your opinion when judging the quality of a film as best as you can.

            In other words, “I didn’t like” does not equal “bad.”

            I don’t like Mad Men, but I don’t say it’s bad. It’s just not my type of thing. Yet I can still recognize it as a well-made show.

            I feel this is an especially important skill to have when it comes to judging amateur scripts such as today’s.

          • Kirk Diggler

            <<>>>>I think ultimately, the only reason the movie caught on or did well at all was because people wanted to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel onscreen. They were the thing that propelled it and kept it afloat……

            You really think that?? As John McEnroe used to say, “You can’t be serious!” Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s two most well known film roles prior to this were “The Lookout” and “Brick”.

            Zoey’s biggest film was probably “Elf” 6 years earlier. She also had thankless roles in “The Happening” and “Yes Man”.

            One could make a much stronger argument that “500 Days of Summer” made them! If there were people clamoring to see Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Zooey Deschanel on the big screen together I’d like to know who and where those prescient geniuses are today, because maybe they could look over my stock portfolio.

            Hey, it’s cool of 500 Days isn’t your thing, but to say that the ‘star coupling’ is what made it a success can only be said in hindsight.

          • Midnight Luck

            No, no, I think you are misunderstanding me.

            I, yes I, went to see it STRICTLY because the two of them were in it (and no I am Not saying I am a genius or something because of that, but I DO many times become intrigued because a certain actor or pairing is in it).
            The thing that MADE Zooey, in my mind, was her roll in ALMOST FAMOUS, as she was just amazing. And I loved Joseph before as well, mostly for his turn in BRICK. They were great actors, and that alone, actually DID get me to go to the movie. I see movies for all kinds of reasons, I like giving all kinds of flicks chances.

            And I don’t actually think they thought those thoughts I put down, before making the movie. Ultimately it really didn’t work for me, and everything about the movie seemed just trite and superficial and a bit cliche. Ok. basically, I just really wasn’t impressed and it didn’t work for me.

            500 Days really seems to split people, and I will give them that, for no other reason, the movie has that going for them. They got people talking because of it. I have tried watching it again since, and I really disliked it again. I think the friends he has in it, and some of the surrounding characters just really didn’t work for me.

            I guess I will leave it at that.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Like I said, i understand if it’s not your thing. I am not a 500 Days fanboy. I’ve seen it once, on dvd a few years ago after friends raved about it. Enjoyed it. Found it had charm and a certain spirit along with engaging lead actors.

            You may have been one of those people who saw it specifically for Levitt and Deschanel, but you would be in the vast minority. And since it was a minor hit, their star power was clearly not enough by itself. Make the same film today and it might be a different story.

            They both had some indie cred and you could see that one or both might be ready to break out into bigger stars, but I think this film served them as much as they served it. The right actors for the right roles who had chemistry, even if you didn’t see it, ;-).

            P.S. Completely forgot Zooey was in Almost Famous. Her career was in low gear for the longest time before taking off.

          • andyjaxfl

            Up vote for the Katherine Heigl slight.

          • Midnight Luck

            me as well.

            Power to the Scribes!

    • Awescillot

      When you say ‘the funny ones’, it only tells me which movies you personally find funny within the genre. Great movies, but that doesn’t mean other movies with another way of telling the story aren’t great. Kinda depends on how you like your comedic element to be delivered.

      Sure, the indie romcoms have their own way of dealing with the comedic delivery, but I can laugh with those moments all the same (maybe not laugh out loud, but in most cases that’s not the goal of the movie). If I’d expected some on-the-nose funny moments in 500 days, I wouldn’t be all that crazy about the movie. The story is told in a way that only lends itself to show certain situations, and with this, only certain ways of infusing some funny element that fits, as with every movie.

      If you’re projecting some expectation on the film (‘This better have some genuine belly laughs’) and you wind up with none of that, but something different (subtle funny moments) then, yeah, you’ll probably be disappointed with the choices the writer made.

      So if you would write a comedy thriller and you would think it to be better by including belly laughs, go ahead and try to include some of those. If it actually doesn’t add to the story or the experience of watching it, should you still include those, even if they make you laugh?

      I’d say look out for your audience. Adjust the ‘com’ to the overall tone of the movie, because not all ‘com’ is the same in every movie, nor should it be.

      Anna looks great today, btw, I agree.

      • Scott Crawford

        I just feel that, if you’re writing anything that could be described as comedy, and you’re NOT going to try and make my belly wobble, then what are you trying to do?

        If I wrote a suspense thriller – and I am writing a suspense thriller – and you’re NOT turning the pages, eagerly trying to figure out what is happening, then what am I trying to do?

        If someone else wrote a horror movie and you’re NOT afraid to go to sleep at night, then what is that writer trying to do?

        A writer could call their script a drama, then there’s no expectation of huge laughs, taut suspense, or bed-wetting. But then you’d have to grip me with the story and the characters. If the story is lightweight AND there are no belly laughs, I’m sure to lose interest before long.

        • Awescillot

          Yeah, I totally feel you on that one. It can be frustrating when you’re putting on a Comedy and it fails to make you laugh (guess you could call it a Drama then, but only from the box office perspective).

          But nowadays genres get mixed up quite a lot when writers experiment. I’m sure there’s a market for Dark Mumblecore Sci Fi Rom-Com’s, but as a writer you’re not only pushing yourself in the corner, you’re walking the plank. It’s really hard to pull off. The reader/viewer expects to feel and experience a whole lot more, than for example with a ‘simple’ comedy.

          I guess the point I’m trying to make is when you have mixed genres (Rom-Com, Comedy Drama vs. Drama Comedy to quote Carson, etc.) you have to take a lot more into consideration than just implementing laughs and sobby parts. Whatever you’re setting up, you have to adhere to the established unwritten conventions of both genres, and they have to complement eachother.

          Emphasize solely on the deep character-driven part, and it will be very hard to provide enough room for lighter on-the-nose moments. As the writer, you’re the first one to judge whatever works or what doesn’t, but you have to be willing to be your own worst critic.

          Mixed genres overall are pretty hard to write, I think. It comes down to a balancing act, but I don’t think there are easy to follow guidelines out there.

          • Scott Crawford

            Here’s the thing: you don’t get points for doing something that’s hard if what you write doesn’t work.

            I once tried “chocolate chilli sauce”. I hated it, made me sick. Did I then applaud the makers of “chocolate chilli sauce” for doing something different? F#’#’ no!

          • Scott Crawford

            Here’s the thing: you don’t get points for doing something that’s hard if what you write doesn’t work.

            I once tried “chocolate chilli sauce”. I hated it, made me sick. Did I then applaud the makers of “chocolate chilli sauce” for doing something different? F#’#’ no!

          • Awescillot

            Haha, strange enough, I’m enticed by the idea of ‘chocolate chili sauce’. I get your point; mixed genres are hard to write, as in, making them work.

            (I’ll take your advice into consideration on the chocolate chili sauce though)

          • Scott Crawford

            Chocolate? Love it! Chili? Yeah, I like chili. Not together, not now.

            I’ve seen comedies ruined by violence, horrors ruined by comedy, action films ruined by fantasy.

      • cjob3

        Is ‘Romance’ even really a category anymore? It seems like everything is just varying degrees of Rom Com these days. Maybe it’s because almost every movie has some degree of Romance. Like, I didn’t see 500 Days but I wouldn’t think to put it in the same category as Along Came Polly. One seems to be going more for Rom and the other more for Com. Doesn’t seem like the make straight-up romance movies anymore.

        • Scott Crawford

          It’s a romance if the question of whether the hero and the love interest will hook by the end is a central question of the story. Romancing the Stone is a romance. Raiders of the Lost Ark HAS romance (rather like a James Bond film).

          This is another POTENTIAL problem with going the 500 Days route (didn’t make it all the way through either). That story is boy meets girl, boy loses girl. So it ends on a downer. That’s not really romantic comedy, although as you say it’s a broad category.

        • Awescillot

          Yeah you’re right. I think nowadays they try to lower the risk of bombing by aiming at two potential audiences in stead of one.

          Straightforward genre is just one target audience, adding more genres to the mix equals adding all those potential audiences to your ticket sales? 10 genres mixed together might be worth a GAJILLION in ticket sales? – This might be how their logic works. And by ‘they’, I mean the guys who actually pay for it to be made. And the screenwriters might just adjust to that.

          • Scott Crawford

            When I was watching Transformers 2 and there’s all that stuff at college with the… hash brownies was it? What was all that stuff about? It’s like they felt they needed to ADD a comedy scene in there just so they could tick that box.

          • Awescillot

            Here’s probably how that went:

            “So, Main Guy goes to college, any ideas for some lightweight filler in between our CGI robot extravaganza?”
            – “How about, uhm, weed, hash brownies.. Students, and pot, you know?!”
            “Yesss.. Yesss, people think pot is funny! Give me mooore..”
            – “And how about being awkward around girls? Not just the one girl, but 55 of them, because it’s college!”
            “You magnificent bastard. Perfect!”

          • Scott Crawford

            I think there were a LOT of problems with that movie! Still, writers got $8 million for it, so…

            (Mind you, there are some writers here who I don’t think want to make money writing. Shame.).

          • klmn

            Haven’t seen it, but the whole franchise stems from a line of toys. Seems like they’re risking alienating their customers (the parents who buy that stuff).

          • Scott Crawford

            Four “Transformers” movies – and a fifth soon -, two “G.I. JOES”, one “Battleship” movie. It looked like it was going to be a juggernaut of toy-based movies, but, “Transformers” aside, it seems to have stalled. Kinda like video-game-based movies. People would rather play the game.

  • Rachel Woolley

    Thank you Carson for the read and the advice! Both are very much appreciated :-)

    • Mike.H

      Ms. Wooley, loved your work in The Fault in Our Stars. Says me the weirdo comic. Happy Friday :)

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey Rachel-

      Congrats on getting the AF nod this week. Iris is definitely a compelling character to build a story around.

      Good luck with it.

      • Rachel Woolley

        Thanks Poe!

  • IgorWasTaken

    Yes, the writing is pleasant. I disagree about the need for “(into phone)” there, because on the page it’s clear that Kynlee is oblivious to Levi. I also disagree about page 12. Silly trials happen.

    That said, I think the problem here is there’s not enough story – which I admit is a bit presumptuous to write here since I stopped reading at page 15.

    I say there’s not enough story because this script is maybe 13,500 words long.

    There are only 40 lines/page; normally scripts have at least 50 lines/page. So if this were written with 50 lines/page, it would be only 75 pages long. (It appears to have been written in Word with maybe Word’s default/loose line-spacing.)

    And based on my sense of how stuff might be tightened up on the opening pages, this would be down to 70 pages, at most.

    So it needs a lot more story. Or maybe cut it down enough to make it a tightly written short.

    • Scott Crawford

      Dare I say the dirtiest word on Scriptshadow?

      Yes, I dare.


      • Sebastian Cornet

        I didn’t even know that was a dirty word around here. Go figure.

        • Scott Crawford

          See yesterday’s post. I was LAMBASTED for suggesting people should outline. People were demanding PROOF that ANY A-lister outlines! This is the best I could come up with in a few minutes of looking:

          If you’re not going to THINK about the story you’re going to write before you write that first draft – and 9/10 that means writing it down – you’re condemning yourself to mediocre storytelling. And there’s a goshdarn lot of that in this world.

          • Sebastian Cornet

            Don’t know if John Truby counts as a A-lister, but he’s the guy who sold me on the pros of trying outlining. Anybody who doubts the power of plotting out should take a good, long look at The Wire.

          • Scott Crawford

            I can’t think of a book on screenwriting that says “don’t outline, just plunge in and make it up as you go along”.

            (Actually one: Viki King’s “Writing a Script in 21 Days”. Not a bad book, taken with a pinch of salt.).

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            She may not say “You should outline” but she does say something about writing down everything you know about your story so you know where you’re going :) Despite the cheesy title, it’s got some nice advice in it.

      • dawriter67

        I outline (gasp) sometimes. When I’m stuck I usually go for a walk or when I sit on the bus on my way to work, I will scribble what I think needs to be done. Often times I hit the aha moment in my head and just pour it on to the script then revisit it later.

        One thing to do is – take your time – I wrote an isolation script The Empty Planet – and it took me three years because there’s not much dialog and very little interaction with other characters for the hero. So I just took my time writing it.

        If we write too fast, then we will start to subconsciously borrow ideas from other movies just to get to the finish line…99% of us are not going to sell a script tomorrow morning so whats the rush?

    • carsonreeves1

      “Outline” is such a polarizing word amongst writers. Nobody has to outline, of course. But screenwriting is so dependent on structure that it really helps if you learn to do it. I admit it’s annoying at first though. You don’t feel like you’re “really” writing if you’re outlining. That puts people off.

      • IgorWasTaken

        Carson, I am flattered to get a personal reply, but I think you’ve dialed the wrong number… I didn’t mention outlining.

      • Scott Crawford

        I outline, and I think most screenwriters SHOULD outline, but… at the very least THINK about what story your going to write before you write it. Or at the very least outline the story after your first draft for a better rewrite.

  • walker

    Congratulations to Rachel on being picked for AF. Comedy-drama is tough to write and even harder to sell, but she has a nice voice.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Thanks again Walker. Especially for reading it all the way through when I know RomComs aren’t usually your thing :-)

  • bluedenham

    Agree completely about Deadline and Nikki Finke. Frustrating!

    • peisley

      She’s mentioned something about still fighting in court with Penske over her Deadline contract and that’s taking up a lot of her time and energy. She’s also diabetic and has bad bouts now and then. I do miss regular posts from her, too.

  • ElectricDreamer

    “If I were Rachel, this whole court scene is the first thing I’d ditch.
    Figure out another way for these two to meet each other. Make it more
    natural. Make it honest.”

    This is an excerpt from my AOW notes for this script:

    The courtroom sequence is a very unrewarding to read.
    Why all the rampant convenience? Why not have Iris try to — HELP HERSELF.
    Iris researches ways to mitigate her unusual condition.
    And that plucky research leads her to a quirky sound engineer.
    I want to know more about that girl and how she relates to a suitor.
    That’s all you need. Let the characters find each other, organically.

    I enjoyed the voiceover a lot. And the author can frame an intro and turn a phrase.
    Always happy to see the much maligned rom/com get some love!
    Congrats to Rachel for nabbing the AF spotlight. I hope she benefits from the attention.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Aw, thank you! And thanks again for the notes. They were articulate, thoughtful, helpful – I really appreciated them.

  • Andrew Parker

    Rachel should be applauded for adding something unique and interesting to her screenplay (Misophonia). It even got me to wikipedia the disorder to learn more.

    That being said, it is very hard for a two hander to be carried by one character having a neurological disorder and the other character always having to react to that person. That tends to make the screenplay repetitive by nature.

    Comedies that succeed where one character has a mental disorder — e.g. As Good As It Gets — tend to be a bit more of an ensemble so you can see how the disorder affects a wider array of people. Or as in Carson’s favorite, When Harry Met Sally, Sally’s mental issues had broader manifestations that added a new type of conflict to a lot of scenes, plus Harry had his own problems he needed to deal with.

    I did enjoy the writing style in this though and was glad to see the screenplay didn’t involve a couple trying to exclusively have a sexual relationship without it jeopardizing their friendship.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Thanks Andrew! I actually read As Good As It Gets again just this week and was AGAIN filled with seething jealousy over how well done it is!

  • Nick Morris

    Congrats on snagging the AF review, Rachel! I’m pretty sure I saw that a couple of your scripts advanced in Scriptapalooza too. Nicely done! I can totally see this one getting produced.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Wow, thanks Nick, that’s really nice to hear!

  • Magga

    This is by far the most interesting story I’ve had pitched on this site in months! Haven’t read the screenplay yet, but my thought through Carson’s whole description was “I wanna direct this!” Imagine getting to do these sound isolated rooms and all that sound design and have a Twelve Angry Men homage as a meet-cute. Just reading the logline, it sounded unique enough for me to be interested. This wasn’t someone going after bad guys to save their family or a town invaded by zombies or someone given a day to accomplish something, it was different. I’ll read the script when time permits (write instead of read has been my motto this week), but whatever the execution this is a director’s dream as a set of ideas. I’m gonna pay you the ultimate compliment here: I want to steal your idea. I won’t, of course, but if I got my own script up and running to direct and I had a chance to pick my next thing I would consider this story in a heartbeat. Remember, many directors love sound and they love creating subjective moments. Maybe I’ll dislike the script, but it doesn’t matter because the concept has a lot of potential

    • Rachel Woolley

      Lol Magga, your thieving inclinations are a massive compliment indeed! Thank you so much. The concept is very near and dear to me so it’s nice to know other people find it interesting as well.

    • IgorWasTaken

      I agree with you about the idea. But is it more than an “idea”?

      I am really taken by the setup for Iris – her problem. And wouldn’t this be a great role for a young actress! Also seems like great Sundance bait. (From both standpoints, I have a hunch that it would help if Iris were early 20s.)

      I know this is something I’d never want to hear (sorry for the pun), and I’ve never suggested this before to a writer, but – I wonder if maybe the entire story should be rethought.

      Iris is a great character. So, maybe Rachel should maybe sit down and run through a large variety of situations/settings/story ideas – to imagine how Iris would deal with each one. Maybe structure this like Juno – which does have a rom-com B-story. Or Little Miss Sunshine (though obviously not so ensemble-y).

      Maybe even think of some specific movies you like, even various genres, and imagine Iris dropping in the middle of them. How would she deal?

      I got a sense of this while I was reading, but only when I read Magga’s post did it really hit me.

      • Rachel Woolley

        Completely agree with you Igor. The story needs a lot of fleshing out and could definitely be restructured. Iris is such a hot mess – you could throw her just about anywhere and conflict would follow :-)

        • Poe_Serling

          “Iris is such a hot mess – you could throw her just about anywhere and conflict would follow.”

          You’re so right… the possibilities are endless.

          Make her a lone technician on some kind of remote space station… then toss in a few high-pitched aliens for her to battle. ;-)

          • Rachel Woolley

            Ha! That’d be a short movie – with her earplugs in she’d never even hear them coming ;)

          • Poe_Serling

            What if we lose the earplugs… and make the aliens extra stealthy. Now Iris’s acute hearing is suddenly an asset and alerts her to the impending danger on the ship.

          • Rachel Woolley

            I like it. Pitch Black but with eardrums. All of you! Spit out your gum if you want to live!

      • Magga

        Granted, I haven’t read the script, but from the synopsis it sounds like it would be cool if the guy seemed guilty but Iris was attracted to him and managed to talk the other jury members into letting him go, then approached him. This would add danger to the character, which is pretty original in a rom-com. It would also give depth to Iris. We’ve seen men let desire get in the way of reason before, but I can’t think of a femal equivalent. Of course I might say “don’t change a word” once I read the thing. And of course he would need to look great, since she doesn’t want to hear him. I think the concept can be commercial

    • Casper Chris

      That’s what I told Rachel on AOW. That the whole sound/audio angle is interesting. Didn’t have time to finish the script unfortunately so I’m not sure how the story held up, but there’s some interesting ideas here and Rachel has a nice, clean writing style.

      • Rachel Woolley

        Thanks Casper :-)

    • carsonreeves1

      I knew that sound geeks were going to love the idea of directing this script. From a sound perspective, it’s a director’s dream come true.

  • brenkilco

    Romcoms are my least favorite genre so I may not be the best person to judge this script. The writing is very precise and clean. Impressive. The characters are distinct and sympathetic. The background and premise are unusual and well handled. In the hands of the right director and right actors it might make a pleasant indie film. Though the storyline was different I was reminded of an Uma Thurman indie from some years back where she played a socially insecure woman afflicted with bouts of psychosomatic blindness. So what problems did I have? Well, like a lot of indie films, it is very slight Not much happens. Iris isn’t cured of her condition. The crux of the thing is a tenuous romantic relationship that gets marginally stronger by the end. And since the two principals don’t start interacting until almost fifty pages in the course of their relationship, despite the disability element, is a bit thin and standard. They meet, get close, sort of break up over Iris’s fears, get back together when she decides to make an effort. There are a lot of disability/terminal disease love stories that fit this pattern.

    I think the trial is an ill considered meet cute. And a catch 22. The more realistic you make it that the rest of the jurors would consider Levi guilty the more unrealistic you make it that Iris would have anything to do with him. You’re forced to make all the other jurors look like utter fools and it really doesn’t work. The bit with the dog is also troubling even though Levi adopts Jeff. Doing a favor for someone he doesn’t know that involves slander and a possible criminal charge for false statement, when he’s just barely beaten an assault charge. Is this really someone our heroine should be dating? I would look for another way to get them together.

    And I’m not all that crazy about bringing Kynlee back as a sort of diabolus ex machina for a semi slapstick windup. By this point the audience may have forgotten about her. She certainly hasn’t been established as a comic villainess whose humiliation we are rooting for. And the scene doesn’t really fit the tone of the story to that point. It doesn’t do anything to resolve the problem of Iris’s condition as it affects her relationships which is what the story is really about and what I think your climax should be about.

    There is definitely enough excellence here for you to work through the rough patches. Good luck.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Thanks brenkilco – you raise some excellent points to tackle in my next draft :-)

      • brenkilco

        Oh, a couple of minor things. The plaintiff in a criminal case is the state,not the individual making the charge. He or she is the complainant. A judge would never make reference to a hung jury being a waste of taxpayer money. That sort of egregious remark might well get a verdict reversed on appeal. And jury tampering is a crime that would be investigated by the police. under no circumstances would there be an in camera conference between the individual accused and the trial judge. Again, good luck.

  • Logic Ninja

    Just a random thought (haven’t read the script yet!). What if Iris and Levi got permission to visit the Orfield anechoic chamber, apparently the quietest room on earth. For a few blissful moments the door is shut and they’re along together, with only the rhythym of each others’ heartbeats. And maybe they have their first kiss. Could be an interesting scene. Best of luck to Rachel!

    • Rachel Woolley

      Very cool idea! Thanks Ninja!

      • Logic Ninja

        Ok, I’ve been checked out for a bit so I missed your AOW, but I just finished your first 10….

        Holy shit, this is impressive. I haven’t read enough to detect any story problems, but I CAN tell–you, my friend, can WRITE.

        “Music shield going up in 3…2…”

        “Kynlee responds with a just-lobotomized stare.”

        This stuff is awesome. Black List level awesome. Seriously, work out whatever story issues exist and hone your characters, and you’ve got a high-concept romantic comedy that might just spark up a nice feeding frenzy. I’m actually jealous.

        Best of luck to you. I’ll be finishing this sucker tonight, should have more notes by tomorrow morning.

        • Rachel Woolley

          Aw shucks :-) Thank you so much for the kind words, and for taking the time to read it. And I get notes? Yes please!! I’m way out of my depth with most of this stuff so I really, sincerely appreciate the help.

          • Logic Ninja

            Ok, just finished! Here are a few thoughts.

            My earlier opinion of your writing hasn’t changed one bit. I’ve found with many amateur scripts (like a few of mine, haha), the writing gets steadily worse as you approach the end. But yours held up perfectly, which made for the quickest, easiest amateur read I’ve ever come across. It was awesome!

            Let the record show that I’m thoroughly impressed and jealous; you’ve got the Skillz what Killz. If you don’t make it, what hope is there for the rest of us? This script has tons of positives (like, it’s hilarious. The dog-fighting luchador flyer? Gold.), but as per usual, I’ll concentrate on the negatives.

            First, I think the attraction between Iris and Levi comes too easy. Besides Iris’s disorder–which would be a stumbling block no matter who she was with–what’s really preventing them from getting together? I’m no expert on Rom-Coms, but I believe the trick is to establish an attraction between your two leads, then add in a HUGE reason why they can’t be together. YOU’VE GOT MAIL is the standard example. Same holds true for HARRY/SALLY or SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, etc.

            Next, it seems way too coincidental that these two sound-obsessed individuals meet in the same courtroom. As it stands, Levi pursues Iris because she advocated for his acquittal. It has nothing to do with her disorder, which makes the whole thing seem way too serendipitous. But here’s the thing: the slightest tweak could fix this problem.

            Let’s say Levi has no idea Iris was his advocate. He notices her acting bizarrely outside the courtroom, asks the foreman if she’s ok. The forman barks a laugh, tells Levi all about Iris’s freaky behavior. Levi’s intrigued, asks for more detail–and THAT’S why they meet. Now their mutual obsession with sound has brought them together, so it’s no coincidence.

            Third and finally, Carson’s right–Iris gets a bit unsympathetic at some point. Happened for me about 3/4ths of the way in. Thing is, Iris’s disorder defines her; we know little else about her. What can she do well? In what world is she a badass?

            As ye olde saying goes, note-givers are good at highlighting problems, and TERRIBLE at solving them. So here’s my terrible attempt to solve the issues above. Enjoy!

            I’d have Iris vote for Levi’s conviction. While she knows Kynlee’s full of shit, she’s got a head full of machine-gun gum chewing, and she’s ready to leave. But there’s this ditzy blonde

          • Logic Ninja

            Oh! I forgot! If you haven’t read these two Wordplayer columns, I think they’re pertinent:


          • Rachel Woolley

            These are fantastic ideas! Thank you! Iris does need to be awesome at something – both to flesh her out as a character and to make her more sympathetic. I love your idea to have Levi find out about her disorder prior to pursuing her. It makes so much more sense and is more in keeping with the question my logline raises about what his true motivations. Thank you so much for reading it and taking the time to brainstorm all these great suggestions. I’ll definitely take you up on your offer and pester you with my next draft – after I make things MUCH more difficult for these two ;-)

          • Logic Ninja

            You’re quite welcome! I’d love to help in any way I can! Keep me posted :)

          • Rachel Woolley

            Hey, I replied to you yesterday on my phone but it doesn’t look like it worked…? I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read everything and give me such excellent suggestions. You’re 100% right that Iris needs to be awesome at something – both to flesh her out and to make her more sympathetic. And these two do need more obstacles on the way to getting together! Heading into my rewrite, I’m really energized by these notes (and the words of encouragement). I will definitely take you up on your offer to bounce future drafts/ideas off you. Thank you again!!

    • Casper Chris

      I like that idea. Always look to milk your premise for all it’s worth. If you can create scenes and even settings that relate to that basic premise (or theme) in some way, you’re ahead of the game.

  • Somersby

    –disqus test

  • Randy Williams

    This morning I’m coming across a bridge on my bicycle on the narrow pedestrian and bike walkway. There is a young woman, petite, cute, in my path walking in the center of the walkway. She’s got on earphones, she’s listening to music, I guess. I need to get past her, most people scoot over for bicycles. I’m sure she can hear me coming. My bicycle brake pads are screwed too tight and they’ve lost their padding and the metal is grinding against the rims and I’ll fix it all when I get home and I want to get home fast, but she’s in my way. She must hear that hideous grind. What is she listening to, demolition recordings? I can get close to her and shout, but I might scare her. Instead, no,
    I slowwwwwly follow behind her, all the way across the freaking bridge.

    And I thought about this script. I had no idea it was going to be the site today.

    Women and sound, such power. This script had the power to stay with me.

    Congrats to Rachel, one of the coolest around here, for grabbing this slot and for all the good stuff Carson said about the script and you, well deserved!

    • Rachel Woolley

      Thanks Randy :-)

    • klmn

      “I slowwwwwly follow behind her, all the way across the freaking bridge.”

      I think you just liked the way she looked from behind.

  • Kirk Diggler

    This is a nice solid idea in need of an actual story. The writing is sharp but the structure and pacing are nowhere to be found. A proper antagonist would also add another layer.

    99.99% percent of romcoms have the two romantic leads meet somewhere in the first act. Some easy fixes would make this a neat little indie film with a touch of originality, but it’s imperative to nail the 3 act structure down, you’ll be glad you did.

    • Rachel Woolley

      I appreciate the advice Kirk. This was only the second screenplay I’d ever written and I didn’t outline at all. I’m going to take what I’ve learned about act structure since then – not to mention the great feedback/suggestions I’ve gotten here – and keep working to make it better.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Keep at it, it seems there are plenty, Carson included, who like your concept and see the potential in it. Good luck!

      • S_P_1

        I know the current debate is outlining your script. If that isn’t your method then don’t feel the need to oblige differing writers opinions. Writing organically is like woodshedding in music. You’ll surprise yourself more so being spontaneous.

        Needless to say take advice on this board with a grain of salt. I personally over-critiqued Of Glass and Golden Clockwork. At the same time I did offer constructive alternatives to some of the problems I perceived. Bottom line is this, we both entered Nicholls 2014. He advanced to the quarter-finals, I didn’t.

        My current approach is emphasizing what works in amatuer scripts and reading what the writer is trying to say. Its very difficult to be non-biased and judgemental, but that’s my goal. I’ve read a few amatuer scripts and didn’t comment mainly due to not having anything constructive to say.

        I personally have not read your script. But the premise does sound (no pun intended) commercial. I’m getting The Tragic Life of Dexter Strange indy vibe from reading other comments.

        Last but not least, Congratulations on being chosen for AF!

        • Casper Chris

          OGAGC didn’t make it past the quarters? (I don’t follow Nicholls)

  • Scott Crawford

    I’m trying to make money. If I was writing comedy and it wasn’t funny, I’d starve! So go ahead, everyone, write another 500 Days of Summer. You’ll be the only ones.

  • Scott Crawford

    I think people seem to be getting away, well away from my ORIGINAL point, which is that by writing something that is neither funny enough to be comedy, nor has the gravity of a drama, you’re on a highway to nowhere.

    • Nicholas J

      “Don’t write a comedy-drama script because they are not good enough to be successful.” (Proceeds to give an example of a comedy-drama film that was a complete and total success in pretty much every way a film can hope to be.)

      It’s not that we’re missing your point, it’s that your point doesn’t make any sense.

      • Scott Crawford

        My point is if romantic comedy is to survive it needs writers to take a few more chances. And that means WRITING SOMETHING FUNNY. So, rom com writers, write a rom com with some actual jokes.

        And since you’re still on about it, I would consider a $36 million/$60 million gross to mean low appeal. So, I’m not in the minority, even though you’re all ganging up against me.

        (Do you realize that more people have commented on my joke about 5,000,000 Days of Navel Gazing than have commented on today’s script? Does that tell you anything about today’s script? No offence to the writer, the script CLEARLY wasn’t for me.).

        • S_P_1

          (Do you realize that more people have commented on my joke about 5,000,000 Days of Navel Gazing than have commented on today’s script? Does that tell you anything about today’s script?


          But it tells me you hijacked Rachel’s moment in the sun.

          • Scott Crawford

            Not at all, it’s just that people are a bit sensitive about me not liking a movie they like. Have you read Rachel’s script?

        • Nicholas J

          Do you realize that more people have commented on my joke about5,000,000 Days of Navel Gazing than have commented on today’s script? Does that tell you anything about today’s script? No offence to the writer, the script CLEARLY wasn’t for me.

          No, but what a dick thing to say.

          • Scott Crawford

            Have you read Rachel’s script? You’ve clearly got a lot to say about me – including a pretty strong insult, thanks for that – and nothing to say about today’s script.

          • Nicholas J

            I have not read today’s script and that’s why I haven’t said anything about it. So? I’m simply defending the type of script it is because you’re saying it isn’t a valid project since it isn’t funny enough and that is 100% wrong.

            And it wasn’t an insult I was just pointing out that going around and dumping on an amateur script by throwing out empty comments devoid of tact and anything close to insightful criticism (like the one above) is pretty rude. You didn’t think the script was funny. We get it.

            I really hope Carson deletes most of this comment thread as it is long past contributing anything.

          • Scott Crawford

            I haven’t actually commented on today’s script. Read 12 pages of it, not for me. Made a comment about how people writing romantic comedy should try to make it funny. Could have been about any script. Made a joke about 500 Days and – BOOOM! – I’m a dick.

            My POINT about people not reading the script is that hardly anyone seems to read these scripts AND THAT’S BECOMING A PROBLEM. I’m not compelled to read every Amateur Friday script – especially when it only gets a “wasn’t for me” and the writer admits she didn’t use an outline to write the script.

  • Scott Crawford

    There’s just no news to get excited about. Maybe when they have the press conference for the new Bond film out next year. But when D.C. and Marvel are making most of the films, and planning them out so far in advance, and the other movies in production aren’t that inspired. And the big movie stars are gone – some forever – and the new light are lighter than a souffle.

  • Scott Crawford

    I’ve yet to try Tabasco chocolate, but I am tempted!

  • Craig Mack

    Not to take away from Rachel (Congrats!) but wanted to say THANKS to everyone who has given me notes on Scared Straight (Hard Time) over the last few weeks. Especially Brett, Lauren and Carson. This is a great community that I’m happy to be a part of.

    • S_P_1

      Congrats to Mark Townend – The Procurist.

      • Dan B

        Procurist was the first script I read on this site – glad to see it do well.

    • Bluedust

      Congrats, Craig. Hope you win the whole damn thing.

  • Dan B

    I recall loving the parenthetical – (Is it terminal, Doc?)

  • Midnight Luck

    Congrats Rachel on getting the AmFri spot.

    I really like what I’ve read of the story so far, and how you are using the idea of Sound and Hearing as a Center to your story. I believe you could play off this more though.

    It does feel a bit lightweight overall, but I think there are many things you could do to build it up. I just wanted to throw out some ideas out there.

    I apologize for my long winded, involved, and free flowing thoughts.

    With Rom Com’s we need to wonder if the two will be able to stay together. We need to wonder how it will play out, where it will end in the end. I don’t get this feeling from the story as it is now. I am 20 pages in and it overall is more of a nice, easygoing romp that contains a scene here and a scene there that cause “happenings” strung together but not a continual through line of where it is going or what it is about. I think the court scene only needs to give us a simple idea of what is going on, but not a play by play. It is talking and not showing, so 10 pages in and the whole story slows way down to a crawl. Remove the majority of those scenes and put the real scenes in on the mountain top, instead of flashbacks. Unless you want to play out how their relationship is progressing, then when something pertinent is happening between them, CUT to a scene on the mountain top that relates. Though, overall, I think it would be stronger if you stayed away from Flashbacks overall.

    It would be interesting to have Iris be up on the mountain top in the beginning and run into Levi as he is trying to document the squirrel and the surrounding sound. In a comedy of errors kind of way, she trips over him, or runs into him, in her Ear Plugged silent world, as she can’t hear him moving around. Crows overhead have unleashed a torrent of squawking so she ends up head gearing herself to the nines. As she fumbles she breaks something of his and they get into a quick get-to-know-you interaction. Who each of them is and what their worlds are comes across quickly and easily without words.

    At this point Levi hasn’t spoken. When he does he ends up being a “Low Talker” (a Seinfeld-ianism) and she cannot hear him. So she (ironically) has to keep asking him to Speak Up.

    Then, somewhere along the line, this Kynlee person comes along, and instead of being a bitch right off the bat, she actually falls all over herself for Levi. But the more she makes a play for him, the more he seems to be connecting with Iris, though in a very clumsy, improbable, fish out of water kind of way. The fact he doesn’t talk loud enough for Iris to hear is both perfect for her, and problematic, but seems to unite them.

    Kynlee on the other hand is loud and obnoxious and makes over zealous overtures toward Levi. Levi seems oddly pulled in by her manic ways, but Iris is repelled completely. Kynlee’s rudeness and lack of understanding just solidifies the two of their connection.

    I love that you have this great connection of auditory symbols. He with his headphones and audio recording gear. Her with hearing protection gear and her audio difficulties. I think you could REALLY play with these things even more.

    You could visually play for laughs things she does to protect herself from noise. She could come into places where you would never wear Ear Muff type protection. She could wear ridiculous hats with ear flaps during summer, or come into a beautiful orchestra playing wearing a full motorcycle helmet. You get what I am saying.

    As the mountain top scene progresses, somehow Kynlee DOES get injured in an odd playing out of her getting close to Levi, him pushing her away, or her trying to get in-between Iris and Levi and them falling down a steep grade, or something. Again, however you see it playing out.

    So, out of spite and jealousy Kynlee takes Levi to court (or both Levi and Iris). So Kynlee could play the foil between the two of them. She can be the Antagonist.

    Further in Kynlee can have some qualities Levi is really interested (not sure what that would be off the top of my head). If anything, she might be a comic version of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, where she is going to MAKE it happen with Levi, be damned anything he says about it. Then he and Iris’ relationship breaks down and suddenly Kynlee appears and needs his help for a real issue.

    It could be interesting to make Levi actually guilty of something that happened on the mountain, but that might be quite difficult to play out correctly. If you could make that work somehow, ok, but I am not totally sold it would be the way to go. The two of them being into each other will play better, and the keeping them apart, audibly and physically, could play for better laughs.
    Also, could cut down on her Reactions to sounds and what it does to her. There are a bunch of them from the beginning to page 20, yet I understood, very quickly, what you are going for.
    That also goes as well for your V.O. of what Misophonia is. Trimming it down would be better. I understand most of what it is without you extensively needing to spell it out.

    Ok, thanks for letting me read it and for listening. Maybe something in this will speak to you. Maybe not. It might be much different from what you or your story is trying to say.

    I will read on, but just had a slew of thoughts come across as I was reading the beginning.

    Good job, and keep at it. Great work for your second script, and full of possibilities.

    • Rachel Woolley

      Wow Midnight, thank you! A LOT of this speaks to me. I think your approach to Kynlee would be an especially brilliant way to make her a more engaging antagonist throughout. And she does seem like the kind of chick who’d make a move on Levi purely because Iris (or any other female) is present – just to prove she could turn his head :-)

      • Midnight Luck

        Yes, VERY good point. She would go after him anyway, just to prove a point, or to try to steal him from her, or? who knows. so many possibilities. I think she could want him, just to want him, without actually wanting him. If that makes any sense.

      • Midnight Luck

        I am happy to help, If I can.

        It sounds like you are looking already to your next script, which is great. However there do seem to be quite a few people on here intrigued and behind you and this story. I think there is something here, you just might have to dig it out a bit more.

        You never know, this script, with a few changes, and redefining of certain characters and situations, it very likely could be a contender.

        I wish you the best.

    • Scott Crawford

      I think Rachel gave it away slightly when she said she didn’t use an outline. OK, you’ve gotta go with what works best for you, but you wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe; not unless you want everyone to get food poisoning. You wouldn’t build a house without an architectural plan; not unless you wanted to tear down the building when you’re finished.

      Try this, from “Writing the Romantic Comedy” by Billy Mernit:

      1. The Chemical Equation: Setup
      2. Cute Meet: Catalyst
      3. A Sexy Complication: Turning Point
      4. The Hook: Midpoint
      5. Swivel: Second Turning Point
      6. The Dark Moment: Crisis Climax
      7. Joyful Defeat: Resolution.

      And an example from the same book from Chasing Amy:

      1. Holden and Banky are extremely tight best friends and partners.
      2. Holden and Alyssa seem to have like-minded sensibilities.
      3. Holden finds Alyssa frustratingly unattainable.
      4. Holden and Alyssa become lovers.
      5. Hurt and maddened by his mistrust (and his siding with Banky), Alyssa walks out on Holden.
      6. Realizing Holden is wrong for her, Alyssa leaves him for good.
      7. Holden, Banky, and Alyssa, having learned from their experience, are moving on.

      That’s the sort of level of story you need, nothing too complicated, but enough twists and turns to keep everyone hooked. Now, buy Billy’s book before he accuses me of copyright theft (it’s really good, by the way).

      • Midnight Luck

        Everyone has their feelings about Outlining. But sometimes there really can be a lot, and I mean a lot, to be said for just Getting It Down On Paper.
        However, after that you end up having a lot, lot, lot more rewriting to do (I know all too well, many times I have had to just throw down on paper without outlining, just so I could get it out of me, and the amount of rewriting needed after that, is, well, a mega ton).

        • Scott Crawford

          Yeah, at some point you have to stop checking the parachute and just JUMP!!!

          • Midnight Luck

            But I still do LOVE jumping without a chute (I mean writing without an outline!) I really do. It is very freeing and lets your mind just go!

        • Nicholas J

          If I outline I never get anything done. Vomit/spit drafts ARE my outline.

          • Midnight Luck

            Me Too!
            most of the time.
            Very occasionally I do Actually Outline. BEFORE I start writing.

        • Magga

          Draft one, outline, draft two.

      • Rachel Woolley

        Thanks Scott, I’ll have to check that out :-) I’m too new at this to have anything that works best for me yet. I’m lucky if I have anything that WORKS period! I am trying the standard board/index card approach for my next story so it’ll be interesting to experience the difference that makes.

  • Bifferspice

    Really glad Rachel got her review. I think her writing style is sharp, concise and draws you in, and the story itself is warm, original and involving. I also think, as someone else said, a director could have a lot of fun filming this. Would not be a bit surprised if this generated some heat, and Rachel comes across as someone willing to engage, collaborate, and create. She has the right attitude, and if this is her second screenplay ever, she also has the chops!

  • Stephjones

    Congrats, Rachel. I think you’re onto something really great!

    • Rachel Woolley

      Thank you!

  • Rachel Woolley

    Thanks Javier. I know I have my work cut out for me so the words of encouragement are definitely appreciated!

  • MaxNorm

    Anyone with unproduced short scripts (preferably thriller/horror, but open to drama as well) please contact me at or on twitter @MaxNormandin

    • Poe_Serling

      You should check out ElectricDreamer’s short horror script The Widow’s Peak. The ten-pager is a scary homage to such films as The Changeling, The Innocents, etc.

      If interested, you can find the link for the script on the Aug. 06 post of Scriptshadow: The Disappointments Room. It’s near the end of the comment thread for that particular day.

    • ElectricDreamer

      Poe, you’re such a nifty critter for pimping my short supernatural tale! :-)

      MaxNorm, if you’re interested, here’s the script link:

      • MaxNorm

        Excellent short, Brett.

        Very atmospheric and downright creepy. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have the budget to do it right.

        You up for a writing assignment? Contact me at

        Thank you, Poe, for putting us in contact.

  • ElectricDreamer

    OT: Last week’s AOW candidate is this week’s OPTIONED script!

    There’s a post on Simply Scripts that states CODE BLACK got picked up by a prodco.
    Anyone heard details on this latest alleged amateur breakthrough?

    P.S. Big props to all PAGE Semifinalists!

    • Casper Chris

      “tricked a prodco into optioning my script”

      I’d love to hear what that means. And how the writer feels about possibly getting an AF review now.

  • Citizen M

    On the plus side, the banter between Levi and Iris is good. I liked them both and wanted them to get together. Levi’s a good romantic lead — thoughtful and inventive. Iris is vulnerable. She needs someone sympathetic. Their relationship is a good core to build a movie around.

    On the minus side there’s not enough meat for a feature film. There needs to be more happening.

    Could all the separate scenes of noises she hates be combined into one big funny scene?

    Iris loses her job. Perhaps there could be a running gag where she applies for a series of jobs hoping they’ll be quiet only to learn some unexpected source of noise. Where’s quiet? Hmmm. Funeral parlor? Archivist? Forest fire lookout? Just an idea.

    Levi needs something going on in his life, too. He needs to choose between something and Iris.

    The scene with Kynlee in the supermarket didn’t work for me. It was tonally wrong, being too slapsticky, and just wasn’t funny. Cut it and think of something else.

    There was no big finish. I couldn’t believe it ended when it did. I felt cheated. There needs to be a climax where early scenes pay off and Iris gets a job and she and Levi learn to be happy together.

    p. 2 – Most battery clocks are very quiet. Numbers of older digital clocks make a noise when they flip over. Sticky tape the hands of wind-up clock?

    p. 4 – All these examples of sounds she hates should have a payoff at the end. They don’t.

    p. 6-29 – Jury duty and court case scene. Way, way too long. Does not advance the plot much and mostly shows what we already know about the character. Meet cute should be maybe three pages long.

    p. 33 – Levi saw the bag and deduces she’s a tea drinker. Good.

    p. 33 – How did Levi know she was the reason he got a Not Guilty? There should be a scene in court where he learns it (foreman whispers to him, or he studies their expressions, or something). Okay, next page he saw the way they looked at her. Show that scene during the trial sequence.

    p. 52 – Levi plays busy restaurant noise. Good.

    p. 36 – Super boring. “It’s like regular boring only you go to bed even earlier.” Good.

    p. 91 – Not sure what recovering Kynlee’s cellphone accomplishes.

    p. 93 – Iris with headphones needs to be a replay of similar scene where she left. (The scene on page 33 she left because she thought he was a stalker, not because of slurping.)

    • Rachel Woolley

      Appreciate the notes Citizen!

  • Mike.H

    Great article, Thanks, Carson!

  • klmn

    Will there be a newsletter this week? Amateur Offerings?

    Has Carson lapsed into a sugar coma?

    Someone give him an insulin shot.

    • Malibo Jackk

      The World Health Organization wants to lower the recommended
      daily sugar intake to 25 g. (for numerous health reasons — the effects of sugar
      on the heart, cancers, alzheimers, and obesity.)
      The food industry blocked this move years ago by threatening to pull US funding
      from the W.H.O. In subsequent years, they managed to convince the public that
      saturated fat (also bad) is the real problem. And when they removed some of the
      fat, they added more sugar to improve the taste.
      Think 8 oz of orange juice is good for you? 0 saturated fat, 22 g of natural sugar.