Logan Martin’s script, “Meat,” becomes the first amateur script to make it into my Top 25 in over 5 years!!

Genre: Mystery/Horror
Premise (from writer): A misanthropic man notices bizarre changes in himself, his wife, and the animals inhabiting the territory around their homestead as they attempt to survive self-imposed isolation.
Why You Should Read (from writer): After moving from North Dakota post-college at the end of 2016, I started to write scripts in my spare time and fell in love with it. My first screenplay placed in the top 20% of the 2017 Nicholl fellowship, and as of now I’ve “finished” five features and am working on my sixth. I aim to create original, meaningful stories, but even more so focus on presenting them in a unique way. MEAT has been compared to The Witch by readers due to its low budget, as well as its setting and tone. It’s an unconventional horror story that poses a moral question without appearing pretentious.
Writer: Logan Martin
Details: 72 pages!

bloody-steak

Okay, I have to admit I’m a little nervous. I like this script so much. And I’m afraid I’m not going to convey all the reasons why in this review. I’m not going to articulate something or I’m going to forget a key reason for its awesomeness.

But the biggest thing I want to get across is that this is one of the best ways to break in as a screenwriter. Find a topic that interests you, come up with a story, then tell it in a way that best shows off your voice.

Because beyond this just being a great script, it’s a tremendous showcase for the unique way in which the writer sees the world.

Does that mean Meat’s perfect? That’s a tough question to answer. It’s perfect for what it is, for what it’s trying to be. But as a piece of screenwriting, it’s filled with lots of “mistakes” and rule-ignoring. However, I contend that following the rules is how you write a good screenplay, but breaking the rules is how you write a great one.

Meat introduces us to 30-something couple Ben and Rein. Ben and Rein are normal adults in every way but one – they live in the middle of nowhere, off the grid.

We learn later that they both had normal jobs, lived in the city. But at a certain point they became exhausted by the monotony of it all – the rat race, that thing all of us get sick of sooner or later. The difference is, Ben and Rein decided to do something about it. Or, maybe it was more Ben than Rein. But we’ll get into that more in a second.

When these guys say “off the grid,” they really mean, “off the grid.” To the point where they’re hunting their own food. Ben enjoys the thrill of the hunt, and he’s got a particularly healthy deer population to shoot away at. They also have rabbits skittering about, chickens, and a couple of pigs (Bert and Ernie) in their mini-barn next door.

Every night, Ben prepares some juicy red MEAT for dinner. He takes pride in the fact that he’s killed and prepared the meal. So there’s nothing that makes him happier than sitting with Rein after a long day and eating. That juicy bloody dripping red… meat.

The only thing left in life that agitates Ben is going into town. There are still supplies the two can’t obtain on their own. And so a few times a year, Ben has no choice but to make that trip to the grocery store and stock up on necessities. Ben dislikes his latest experience so much, he proposes to Rein cutting the store out completely so that they’ll finally, officially, off the grid. Rein’s hesitant but if it’s what Ben wants, she supports him.

As the days go by, we get the sense that Rein is having some regrets about this new life of theirs. It’s not blatant. She’s always agreeable and on board with her husband’s choices. But Rein may not have envisioned that “off the grid” was this off the grid.

And so one day she drops a bombshell on Ben. She no longer wants to eat meat. Ben stares at her, stumped. Hunting, preparing, cooking – they’re his favorite thing to do for her. “Why?” is all he can think of to say. While she doesn’t say it then, it’s clear that the process of killing animals and eating them has started to affect her. “Well, if that’s what you want,” Ben concedes.

And while they don’t know it yet, that tiny choice is the beginning of the end. Without a sufficient amount of food and protein, Rein starts getting thinner and thinner. Ben is increasingly frustrated with her decision, but he’s dealing with his own issues. Not long after that day, Ben goes hunting, and when he lines up a deer in his scope, he sees that a second deer, next to it, is… STANDING UP ON TWO FEET. As if talking. Ben lowers the rifle to watch the deer disappear into the woods.

Ben’s shaken by the experience as it was just so real.

As time goes by, Rein becomes more resistant to Ben’s hunting, and seems to be getting too close to the animals, particularly Bert and Ernie, their pigs. One day, one of the pigs gets out of its pen, and Ben goes chasing after it, following its tracks in the snow. To his shock, after awhile, the tracks turn from four separate feet… to just two.

And if that isn’t bad enough, the next time Ben goes hunting, he gets shot at. What the hell is going on? When he comes home later to find that Rein has made dinner with three table places instead of two, the truth of just how fucked up things have gotten comes to light. But what Ben doesn’t know is that it’s gotten far worse than he can imagine. And that he finally may be the hunted, rather than the hunter.

Oh man. Where do I start with how good this was!

Let’s start at the top and discuss the TENSION in Ben and Rein’s relationship, something that was felt from the get-go. This choice was paramount to the script working because, remember, 80% of this script is two characters. So you need some sort of conflict to make that interesting for that long. By adding this underlying tension to Ben and Rein’s relationship, you build SUBTEXT into every conversation they have. Every word has an additional meaning. A simple “How are you?” doesn’t mean “How are you?” It means, “Why aren’t you talking to me? Why are you acting so weird? Did I do something wrong? I’m trying to be respectful here and not push but I’m getting frustrated.”

This is something newbie screenwriters don’t get. Every time a character in one of their scripts says, “How are you?” it literally means, “How are you?” Which is boring. And that’s not to say sometimes “How are you?” can’t mean “How are you?” But it’s when EVERY line is literal that dialogue becomes patently boring. This is where the critique, “Your dialogue is on-the-nose” comes from.

Martin needed to stick the landing on that relationship because, as many of you noticed, there wasn’t any GSU in Meat! “Yo Carson. Didn’t you say all scripts need GSU to be good? Why you lie?” Sheesh, get your bloody meat hooks off me. GSU is the main ingredient required for mainstream genre screenwriting – horror, thriller, action, adventure, sci-fi. But it isn’t a writer’s only option. And it’s used less frequently with indie fare, which is what Meat is.

If you’re not going to utilize the GSU formula, your next best option is creating a dramatic question that drives the narrative. That’s a fancy way of saying: Have an overarching question that the audience wants to see resolved. In the case of Meat, it’s “Are these two going to make it?” It will, of course, be up to the individual reader to determine whether that question is interesting enough for them to be invested. And I would assume that, for some of you, it wasn’t. You didn’t care if these two “made it” or not.

This is the danger of moving away from heavy horsepower storytelling tools like GSU (goal, stakes, urgency). Is that people with short attention spans or less interest in the psychological battles of characters aren’t going to jump on board.

But see, this is why I think Meat is so great. It’s not just about the frame-battle between its two main characters. Martin starts adding little mysteries here and there that add layers to the story. When Ben starts seeing animals propped up on two legs talking, it’s like, what the fuck is going on? And when he starts getting shot at, it’s like, who’s shooting at him?? It could be their neighbors, it could be Rein, it could also be… the animals he’s been hunting.

And there’s actually one big advantage to a non-GSU script. It’s easier for the writer to stay ahead of the reader. If your hero has a clear goal, like getting the Ark of the Covenant or killing the terrorists, there aren’t a ton of ways to achieve that goal. As readers, we have a good sense of how things are going to play out, even if we don’t know the exact path by which we’ll get there.

Without that clear end point, the writer can yank the reader around in a multitude of unexpected directions because the narrative isn’t being pulled towards an obvious one (kill the terrorist). And that’s why I enjoyed this so much. I had no idea where it was going, pretty much up until the final page. And I can count the number of times that’s happened in the past year on one hand.

Now a lot of you may point out the short page count. And yes, I agree that that’s a problem. The industry standard for a feature is between 90-120 pages, with the sweet spot being between 100-110. However, if you are going to make a mistake in this area, it’s better to be on the low end (less than 90) than the high (over 120).

I fought with the 75 page count for awhile, wondering if it was because of the lack of dialogue. Dialogue takes up more space, so if you don’t use a lot of it, your script is going to be shorter. And there wasn’t a lot of dialogue here. Which I liked, by the way. It made it so that each time there was a conversation, that conversation had weight.

In the end though, I think this needs to be beefed up (no pun intended). You need one more subplot. And I’m not sure where that’s going to come from. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments. I’m thinking Ben gets most of the focus here. So a subplot that focuses on Rein would be nice. Maybe something where she spends more time with the pigs and chickens, especially since the pig payoff in the end is so great. If we can just get this up to 85 pages, I think you’ve got enough for a feature.

Man, I really liked this. Never has a sentence as simple as, “I don’t want to eat meat anymore,” shaken me so much. And that’s a testament to Logan and his amazing ability to capture the depth of this fractured relationship. I mean hell, this script even had a dream sequence in it (a HUGE Scriptshadow no-no) that a I liked. Has the screenwriting sky fallen?

I would love for “Meat” to get as much publicity as possible because I think it deserves to make the Black List. It’s exactly the kind of script they used to celebrate before they went all true-story/biopic. Hopefully the industry recognizes that it’s still possible to write original unique stories. Great job, Logan. I hope this script jump-starts your career!

Script link: Meat

[ ] What the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive (Top 25!!!)
[ ] genius

What I learned: Learn to dramatize your ideas. Say you want to make a statement about our society’s obsession with killing and eating animals. The bad writer will come up with a series of scenes of characters debating the issue. “Meat eating is bad.” “But we were put on this earth to hunt. We need food.” “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, no one would eat meat anymore.” Watching and listening to shit like that is nauseating. As a writer, what you want to do is DRAMATIZE your idea, like Logan did with “Meat.” In order to make a statement about this topic, he placed two characters up in the middle of nowhere where they had to hunt their own food then had one of the characters no longer want to participate, leading to an organic exploration of the moral implications of an animal-killing meat-eating culture. Always look to dramatize your ideas!

  • Justin

    Awesome! Finally, the review’s here.

    Now… Time to actually read it.

  • Poe_Serling

    Finally… Carson’s review of the “Best Amateur Script of the Year” has
    been… posted!

    Just adding a bit of excitement to the proceedings by giving a twist to
    one of the Rock’s most famous catchphrases from his rasslin’ days.

    ;-)

    Here are a few of my revised thoughts about the project when I gave it a
    spin on Friday:

    Yeah, the gears do grind slowly here, but the overall story has a sort of
    off-kilter vibe that keeps the reader turning the pages.

    From the featured writer’s WYSR:

    “I aim to create original … stories, but even more so focus on presenting
    them in a unique way.”

    Pretty close to accomplishing what he set out to do.

    In its own offbeat manner it’s almost a variation on The Most Dangerous
    Game scenario, especially during the final scenes. This particular
    woodsy tale taps directly into the whole notion of the hunter become
    the hunted.

    Although the script isn’t really in my personal wheelhouse, fans of the
    recent pics such as It Comes at Night, Dark Was the Night, and Hidden
    might really go for it.

    Couple of ?s I still have:

    Was the couple’s isolated lifestyle based solely on the items that the
    audience (readers) got to see inside the old paint can?

    Much like the reason why the elders in M. Night’s The Villlage left society
    behind. Or…

    Was there something else that motivated them to go so far off the grid?

    -and-

    Did the story ever hint at why all the creatures in that neck of the woods
    had the ability to be more human-like?

    Again, congrats to the writer for hitting one out of C’s ball park.

    • Justin

      Honestly, I actually preferred that there wasn’t an explanation for the strange human-like behaviors from the animals. It was a strange occurrence, and the script moved on from there. Perfect. I never questioned it.

      But that might just be me. The rest of your thoughts are spot on — and on The Most Dangerous Game note, I think the writer should have more scenes exploring that, instead of it happening at the very near end (if I remember correctly).

      • klmn

        I interpreted it as Ben going crazy, so that’s why the story concentrated on him. His POV.

        So, the anthropomorphic animals have to come at the end, not before.

      • Poe_Serling

        “… I actually preferred that there wasn’t an explanation for the
        strange human-like behaviors from the animals.”

        I guess I’m more on the other side of the fence. I felt that there
        needed to be at least a slight hint to explain the extraordinary
        events happening around the couple.

        Perhaps something as simple as the story element used in
        Night of the Living Dead:

        Possible contamination from a returning space probe.

        ;-)

        • Malibo Jackk

          My guess is —
          Meat was about creating mystery.
          NOTLD was about eliminating mystery.

          • Poe_Serling

            That’s an interesting observation.

            To connect on a personal level…

            I feel creating a true mystery component in your particular story line requires a lot of tangible connecting-the-dot moments rather than
            just an overall vagueness of what might be unfolding on the pages
            or screen.

            ;-)

          • Malibo Jackk

            Then you might be interested in the other comment I made more recently.

            Approaches differ. Perhaps the reason we have great writing is because the people who write them have different views.

          • Poe_Serling

            Of course.

            For me, just being extremely vague about a major plot element
            doesn’t equate to a compelling mystery angle or solid storytelling
            in general.

            But hey, that’s just preference in reading/watching scripts/films.

            ;-)

        • brenkilco

          My daughter, who likes fantasy fiction which I don’t care for, explains the difference this way. A guy is locked in a room. The mystery fan wants to know how he gets out. The fantasy fan wants to know what’s on the other side of the door.

        • ThomasBrownen

          “… I actually preferred that there wasn’t an explanation for the
          strange human-like behaviors from the animals.”

          One weird thought I had after reading this: what if Rein were somehow the cause of bringing the animals to life? As in, she loses her baby, is incredibly lonely, wants socialization but her husband won’t let her have it, and somehow, the loneliness and pain that she puts into her paintings somehow ends up getting reflected in the real world and bringing to life all of her fears?

          I might seem to cheesy if you make that the direct cause, but I wonder if a couple of “hint, hint” moments would add another layer of mystery to this. As it’s written now, it seems that she’s just painting what she sees, and she sees some odd things around her. But what if she’s the one bringing those odd things into existence in the first place. (Apologies to the author if that’s already implied in the script and I missed it.)

          • Poe_Serling

            As I’ve already mentioned more than a few times in this thread, I
            I think the story would benefit from and feel a tad more rewarding
            to most readers/viewers if there was just some inkling to all the
            unexplained behavior of the woodland creatures.

          • PQOTD

            If that’s implied, I missed it, too. I like your suggestion though, Thomas!

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Don’t have much time right now at my 8.30am, will come back later with a more detailed opinion – just to say that re. the human-like animals, I really liked what I felt was more of a LONG WEEKEND vibe (the Australian movie). But I like stories with ambiguity :)

      • Poe_Serling

        Most of the time we are on the same page about these things.

        Take Picnic at Hanging Rock…

        Probably one of the most famous fill-in-the-blank endings ever.

        What outside forces were at work during the story – supernatural,
        time dimensional, alien?

        I think the difference here was that Peter Weir and company
        at least left a few bread crumbs for the viewer to follow down
        one or more of the above paths to form their own conclusion.

        ;-)

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          I do agree with you about the breadcrumbs, actually ;) I just really didn’t have more time to develop my thoughts this (my) morning…

          I don’t know what it is about this script, though, but the fact that there are no breadcrumbs makes it all the more creepy and also open to interpretation. But I’m guessing that if this gets made, something will be added to give us more clues as to what’s happening.

          • Poe_Serling

            And I definitely see what you’re saying.

            As you know, one of my all-time favorite flicks is
            Duel.

            There’s almost zero explanation what’s motivating the
            driver of the rusty big rig.

            But, during the course of the film, I do think there are
            some subtle signposts:

            Just a few:

            >>Somehow the truck seems to be lurking around every
            turn in the road and always ready to give chase.

            >>The main character, Mann, utters the line wondering
            how the truck can go so fast.

            >>The ending with the almost monstrous groans of
            the rig rolling down the hill.

            To me, it all hints at some kind of supernatural experience.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Yes, and it’s a very delicate line to tread, isn’t it? The clues should be in there upon inspection, so to speak, but feel invisible while watching and enjoying the movie. Clues that you just unconsciously pick up on. And now I want to rewatch DUEL ^^ (a fave of mine as well, obviously)

        • PQOTD
  • furiosio

    I was kinda on the fence with the whole thing, but it did keep my interest, with wanting to know how it would end.

    Adding a subplot would bring some variety to the narrative since there was a sense of repetitiveness to how their days went. Visually, it may not be a problem. Conversations seemed to be about the same thing, even with the subtext, etc.

    If this thing could be beefed up with another subplot, maybe give the neighbors some more to do, since it was odd seeing them later. Did they deserve that? I might have mixed up the names, but there was not many characters, so I don’t think I did.

    Besides the point, I LOVE the ending.
    I wanted more, but then it wouldn’t be unique if it played out.
    It pretty much HAS to end the way that final sentence says.
    A visual setup and THAT IS A PAYOFF.

  • carsonreeves1

    I’m heading to sleep so if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll approve you first thing once I wake up. :)

  • creakycranky

    I wasn’t such a fan of meat. There were parts that I did really like and found effective – the blind baby mice that Ben clubs to death, and I think the script would have benefitted
    from having more of these. The main impediment, for me, was the walking deer which just reminded me of Animal Farm – the image was too cartoonish to really feel threatening. And the pictures that Rein drew of animals in human settings, just reminded me of that painting Dogs Playing Poker.

    And while there may have been tension between Ben and Rein, it didn’t really seem that realistic to me. I mean, granted, giving up meat seems problematic when you’re isolated,
    but doesn’t really seem to mean the end of a relationship. Maybe it might work better if Rein had a better reason for giving up meat – perhaps because watching their child suffer
    and die that she couldn’t stand to inflict that on another living creature?

    There were some inconsistencies that I made me pause. For example, Ben wants to live off the grid,but has a vacuum sealer and a lawnmower? I’ve probably watched too many Life Below Zero episodes, but I’m pretty sure no one mowed their lawn. Also, at one point Ben comes into the main room of the cabin and splashes water on his face at the sink – when Rein tells the neighbors that they don’t have plumbing in the main cabin.

    I actually thought there was GSU here – the goal being figure out what’s going on, and the stakes being their relationship and the urgency being that things keep getting stranger.

    The writer is clearly talented, but I think this script might have benefited from a few more rounds (and probably a few more pages). For example I counted about 12 scenes that
    involved Ben and/or Rein in bed – these scenes are good for showing how a couple interact when it’s just the two of them, but since Rein and Ben are already mostly alone with each other, I think the excess can easily be cut or moved to different locations (maybe have Rein accompany Ben on one of his hunts?)

    Also, for a moment at the end, I thought maybe Rein had killed the neighbors and that this was something she’d done before and that’s the real reason why they were running. This wasn’t the case (unless I’ve misread) but thought it might be an interesting angle to possibly explore.

  • Howie428

    Congratulations on getting people excited about the script. I hope it goes well from here.

    That being said, I looked at this over the weekend and unfortunately it didn’t play well for me. I can see the point about this being an indy project and I guess that a filmmaker could make this textured and moody.

    The following are the notes I made as I was reading. Hopefully there’s something helpful in there…

    Pg 1 – My eyes rolled at “SUPER: Spring”. I’m hoping we’re not getting our hand held like this throughout.

    Pg 6 – I’m at the bit where a deer looked at him. So far this is feeling quite mundane and drawn out. For a script with 73 pages that’s a bit worrying. Also, deer look at people all the time, so why would we think this is unusual?

    Pg 10 – Not much happening yet. The conversations so far have been rote and mundane, which even if it’s deliberate still doesn’t save it.

    Also, the way this is written so far makes for an easy read, but is worryingly thin. It’s nice to give lines to describing shots of knife racks, cooking, parking cars, etc, but if you do that too much then the danger is that when it’s edited together these pages will either be dull or they’ll play much shorter than the page length.

    Pg 12 – “SUPER: Summer” – I can confirm that it did feel like months went by! Aside from a minor mystery over why these two are out here, I’m not sure I’m seeing anything happening yet. If the story started here would it make any difference?

    Pg 17 – As someone who routinely sees deer in my yard and gets looked at by them, I’m finding it hard to get excited about this stuff. Indeed, I’m wondering if the writer has ever personally encountered a deer, since he seems to have a weird idea of how they behave.

    Pg 19 – The scenes over the last few pages feel like rehashes of earlier scenes. Are they that different from the previous ones? Is the story dragging its feet? Also, I’ve gotta say at this point that it’s blindingly obvious that Rein is pregnant and that we’ve all seen stuff where the woman is not feeling well and not eating properly, so as an audience we’ll be miles ahead on that storyline.

    Pg 20 – “So, what’s the plan for tomorrow?” I get that this is a repeating thing and that it has an element of irony about it, but there’s a danger that it works as a negative. You’re flagging their boring repetitive life while showing us a drawn-out version of it. This could get annoying.

    A deer has walked near his cabin in the woods in a place where deer live. I guess I’m not seeing why I should be excited by this.

    Pg 21 – “She dabs her brush in red, but it’s all out.” – Painting doesn’t work like this either. She could be squeezing all she can get out of a tube.

    She lives in the woods and has done for a while, but she gets spooked by a few mice?

    Pg 23 – “His stomach growls.” – It’s going to be tough to make that come across on screen.

    Pg 24 – Someone takes a spider out of a house and that is a highlight of many months. I’m sorry to be facetious here, but I’m struggling to see what would be happening on screen in this that would keep me watching. For me, people who live in a forest encountering animals needs to be pushed to greater extremes if it’s going to come across as something weird.

    Pg 25 – “The deer, still just standing there. Occasionally it moves its “arms” at the other deer.” – Most likely, any version of this on screen would set an audience laughing.

    Pg 30 – Before I even read the dream sequence, I’m already seeing it as a sign of how slow the story is progressing. Very little has happened, so we’re given a dream sequence as a cheat to stave off our boredom.

    Pg 42 – The dinner scene felt like an excuse to dribble out evasive bits of backstory. Did the story move forward at all during it? Not really, because it didn’t seem like it added much that we couldn’t have guessed.

    Pg 43 – A man eats a steak scene. I’m not sure why it matters since he’s been eating meat all along.

    Pg 47 – Ben goes hunting in the woods in the winter and can’t find anything because it’s the winter! This seems to confirm my impression that this writer is an urbanite writing about the forest as if it’s a foreign country. The hunting season in America is after Thanksgiving, i.e. during the winter. The hunters have no trouble finding stuff to shoot and usually they like it if it snows because it makes tracking the animals easier.

    Pg 51 – Ben hurts himself again. Am I supposed to be getting something from this? If I am, it’s going way over my head.

    Pg 52 – It’s the middle of winter in a very cold place. The meat is stored in a freezer, so won’t the cold be enough to prevent maggots?

    Pg 55 – “After a while, they change from four prints to only two.” – And we the audience are going to be able to figure that out? We’re not going to think the further apart prints indicate that the animal is running?

    Pg 57 – Are you saying he’s been killing people all this time or that she has an interesting artistic point of view for her animal rights agenda?

    Pg 63 – “He hands her a mug, a thick scar across her wrist visible for the first time.” – Yeah, this feels to me like a big cheat. At no previous point would we have seen this?

    Pg 64 – Finally, something outside of the mundane has happened.

    Pg 72 – There’s some tension and interest here but it is limited by my being at a loss to understand what is happening. There are a bunch of possibilities and I’m struggling to care which of them will turn out to be true.

    Pg 73 – “They’re all having a conversation in their own voices.” – We either hear what their saying or we don’t, but to describe it this way feels like a cheat.

    And for me the end seems like an unearned stunt. The setup of what happens here has been slow and thin. Now we’re expected to go along with a massive forward jump. If this discovery is charted on a 1-10 scale doing it this way feels like spending most of the story at 1 and 2, edging forward to 3, then jumping all the way to 10.

    Overall, for me this feels like a short script that has a fun twist, but which has been drawn out to as long as the writer can stretch it. Even then it’s still only 73 pages.

    My suggestion for this would be to tighten it up and consider what this becomes if the plot line we’ve seen so far is the first half of the story. Where does it go from there? Does the Ben and Rein disagreement escalate? Do the animals reject both of them?

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Congratulations Logan Martin on getting Carson to review–and more importantly LIKE your script. It’s very important to be liked, and I hope Carson’s endorsement is a gateway for you to getting your script made and you getting discovered.

    I didn’t like this story very much, but did find your writing style easy to read. So good there. Don’t think you’ve got a tentpole movie here, but MAYBE a low budget movie on the Sci-fi channel, or a “Twilight Zone” episode. Sorry, just trying to be honest. Again, I would roll with the guy who endorses you and see what steps Carson suggests you follow from this point forward.

    Still, you managed to impress THE MAN, which is more than I ever managed to do in the years I’ve been lurking around here, so good job, Logan Martin! You succeeded where so many of us have failed–to be liked! Wish you nothing but God’s best in your writing career.

  • Malibo Jackk

    There’s a well-know sci-fi/horror short story that was rejected by several publishers,
    finally published, and went on to become famous.
    It begins with a man who runs into someone at a train station who claims to be
    an old classmate – and ends up inviting this man to come home to meet the family.
    Had to read it several times because it’s not clear WHAT’S HAPPENING, WHY, or WHAT THE CONNECTION IS.
    But it’s the horror at the end that makes it register with the readers.

    • Lucid Walk

      What’s it called?

      • Malibo Jackk

        Gave clues but don’t want to mention.
        Am working on something different but still inspired by it.

        And it hasn’t been a high priority. It being one of the more difficult script to write. There being easier scripts to sell.

        • Goose

          Huh? You can’t name a well known short story because… why exactly?

          Because you’re writing something similar?

          I don’t understand why you can’t mention what it is. If I’m writing my own script which happens to be inspired by Dracula, why can’t I mention Dracula?

          • Malibo Jackk

            Cool.

    • scriptfeels

      name?

      • Malibo Jackk

        Can’t give out the name.
        (See my answer to Lucid for why.)
        Don’t mean to play games but —
        might give out another clue later
        (in case it rings a bell with anyone).

    • Poe_Serling

      Now this comment has all the ingredients for a head-scratching mystery?

      What sci-fi/horror short story could this be… rejected by publishers at first…
      went on to become famous?

      Here’s the thing…

      You provided more than a few concrete clues for the reader/viewer to
      possibly connect the dots in a meaningful way:

      1) a gentleman seems to be the main character.
      2) he bumps into someone at a train station.
      3) possibly an old classmate.
      4) takes him home to meet his family.

      ;-)

  • PQOTD

    Congrats to Logan on the [x] impressive!

    My first thought on this script was if it was pared back to 10 to 15 pages, it’d make a kick-ass short film. As it is, it’s basically one long and impressive set-up and a pay-off. Logan could almost make it himself. He’d just need a couple of actors, a cabin in the woods and some farm animals.

    However, my second thought is Carson’s right and it needs an additional sub-plot because it is too skinny for a satisfying feature film. So I’ll chuck a couple of hastily-cobbled-together ideas into the fray…

    *Spoiler alert in case anyone hasn’t read it yet…*

    So, Rein was pregnant in the city (which we saw from the photos in the paint can), she either miscarried or the baby’s died (that’s hinted at but a bit murky), she’s attempted suicide at some point and they’ve escaped to the wilderness.

    Let’s set aside that women of child-bearing age tend to like the convenience of sanitary supplies and comforts like decent toilet paper (so going completely off-grid is a somewhat optimistic plan), plus the power to the basement freezer but not to anywhere else is a logic problem of significant proportions. I was thinking Logan could do a couple of things to plausibly pad his script out a bit.

    1/ What if Rein helped Ben butcher the animals until one day he came home with a doe that he didn’t know was pregnant when he shot her?

    When Rein sees the fawn in utero, she freaks out and decides she’s going vegetarian. At the moment, her decision to go vego seems to come somewhat out of nowhere.

    2/ What if the neighbors they aren’t too keen on – Will and Hannah – are churning out babies like they’re trying to populate an entire planet all by themselves, and, ignorant of Rein’s miscarriage, Hannah gives Rein a hard time about not having children? It’s her “duty” as a wife and a woman or some such crap. That would also plug the plot hole as to why Ben and Rein aren’t too keen on them.

    3/ Personally, I think we should also see Ben and Will meet while they’re out hunting, to show that Will and Hannah’s demise doesn’t really come out of the blue.

    Maybe Will could shoot a doe that is very obviously pregnant, which a/ gives Ben pause knowing how Rein freaked out about killing a mother-to-be deer, and b/ gives the animals even more cause for revenge.

    So… my two cents’ worth.

    Again, congrats to Logan!

    • Malibo Jackk

      Question: Is wanting to be vegetarian the beginning of her odd behavior?
      If it is, then you don’t want to explain it.
      That’s what I took from Carson’s review.
      But you’ve read it. (I haven’t read all of it. But if I was structuring it, I’d probably begin there.)
      If you explain the mystery there, then we’re just watching what happens.
      Yeah, I could be way off base.

      • PQOTD

        Sorry for the tardy reply, Malibo – I was watching tv then sleeping – it’s just gone 5 a.m. here. :)

        You’re right – Rein’s odd behaviour does begin with going vego. Well, no – , it actually begins with losing the baby and her suicide attempt, then their odd decision to move from cosmopolitan New York to within sight of the middle of nowhere. Hmm. Seeing as we have a dream already, why not throw in a flashback, too? (Kidding, of course.)

        The reveal about Rein having been pregnant doesn’t come until around page 62 (of, what, 73 pages), so it’s late in the game.

        Shit. I don’t know, and I haven’t had nearly enough coffee yet to figure that one out.

        • Malibo Jackk

          I should have kept my mouth shut on this one.

          • PQOTD

            Lol. Me, too, probably.

    • Scott Crawford

      Carnage by Simon Anstell. Vegan sci-fi-fi.

      • PQOTD

        Oh, cool! I’m gonna kick back and watch this after I’ve caught up with the comments, Scott. (Early a.m. here.) Thanks for this!

    • UPB13

      I’m with you. I kept expecting one of the animals to have been pregnant. That would have added to the story, for sure.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Really good suggestions.

      • PQOTD

        Merci beaucoup. To borrow from card game parlance, I thought Logan had left a couple of ‘tricks’ on the table that could have helped his cause.

  • moog

    I’m pretty much on board with Carson’s review.

    It was a slow burn but the disintegrating relationship at the heart of this story had plenty to keep me interested. The revelation that Rein doesn’t want to eat meat coupled with Ben’s push to become 100% self-sufficient was a terrifying prospect. It’s a tiny thing, but in their context, has stomach-lurching implications.

    On page length, there’s a lot about this script that I could see
    pushing the final runtime further north than the count suggests. So much
    of this is about what we see as we follow these two characters around
    this new world they have chosen to live in and that takes time to show.

    Overall though, for me, the ending came too quick and denied us one key element of the story – their child, what happened and why I felt that the ending wasn’t strongly connected to this profound tragedy suggested in their past. I’m not saying I need a logical connection to this, nor do I need an explanation of why the animals behave in the way they do, but I felt that this story was a missed opportunity. I really wanted these two to go head to head on this. It’s evident from the script that Logan knows how to mine those everyday issues for maximum conflict and I’m certain could find something shattering and powerful in that story. So, in a way I felt like there was a missing final act to this or a part of the final act.

    Metaphorically, I liked the suggestion that Ben was the alpha in a different kind of jungle, but now, having returned to the wild, finds a new order. Hinted at in Rein’s paintings as and her approach to their environment.

    I can see how this could be delivered as a horror, but in reading it, that didn’t come through strongly for me, until much later. I characterised it more as a psychological drama / thriller.

    All that said, bravo Logan!

  • Wijnand Krabman

    Based on the first 37 pages; the story has no focus. The idea of people who want to live off the grid is OK. If you see it less dramatically; change your way of living, also OK. A lot of people would like to do it, but in the end only a few take the step. This story is like the movie Deliverance; a battle between the modern society and nature. This battle is beautiful played out in the famous banjo scene. Nature wins. Meat would benefit more backstory. There’s no point keeping things mysterious and not providing us with some drama. This could use a banjo scene or two.

  • gazrow

    Sorry to sound like a killjoy but I was really bored reading this. I got to page 32 and all the time I was trying to imagine this as a movie. It would essentially be an opening thirty minutes of a guy hunting deer, chopping wood, buying groceries, eating, conversing with his wife and… very little else. Minimal conflict and a hint at a mystery would not have kept me watching for that length of time and I would have switched channels long ago.

    Guess I’m one of those people with a low attention span that Carson mentioned lol.

    Congrats to Logan though for getting such a great review. I wish him well! :)

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    1. I think that one of the problems with this script is that the writer is too good with words.

    “In the clearing, Rein sits at a fire with one of each animal
    of the forest, all sitting like humans. Cowboy and Bert are
    there too, a rifle held on the pig’s knee. They’re all having
    a conversation in their own voices.”

    Technically the word choices here could be considered fairly good. The problem is that the audience won’t be reading the words “They’re all having a conversation in their own voices” on the screen, they’ll be seeing a scene that looks like Dr. Dolittle as written by Quentin Tarrantino; a barking dog, a grunting sniper pig with the mutation of a hoof capable of handling a rifle, a deer making whatever noises deer make, a couple hooting owls, and Rein saying God knows what. The end of this script looks like someone watching Charlotte’s Web while tripping balls.

    2. Jaws, The Birds, Aracnhnophobia, and Anaconda; are all scary animal films that share one thing: the animals do not talk. Disney movies have trained people to the point where I don’t think that we’re geared to see talking animals as scary. The minute Rein says she’s been talking to Bert and the audience realizes Bert is a pig the whole film becomes a dark comedy with only one laugh at the end of a very long set up.

    3. Rein and Ben have been married for a couple years. It’s insinuated that the year before the script opens they had a rough winter where maybe there were a few days where they didn’t eat. To have her turn on the husband that she’s stuck by through tough times for no reason is incredibly poor character arc work obscured by the fact that his writing is so clear. Also if someone you love switches their habits suddenly and starts losing weight I’d think brain cancer, stroke, or anorexia and take them to a doctor

    • GoIrish

      I do think there is risk the audience will be unintentionally amused by some of the visuals. Where the animals were named Bert and Ernie, I already had images of muppets in my head – so it kinda me laugh to think a muppet was slicing and dicing.

  • Lucid Walk

    Let me see if I got this right.

    Ben and Rein have given up modern life to live like nomads in the woods. And so, they have to live by the same means: farming, hunting, cleaning, etc. without any resources.

    And then slowly, but surely, this new lifestyle starts to drive Ben into madness. Or Rein. Or even both. Characters succumbing to insanity due to their isolated environment, a la Cabin Fever or The Shining. ‘Cause that’s the vibe I was getting.

    For Rein, she starts to see animals the same way she would people. Hence, giving up meat cold turkey (sorry, I had to). And Rein’s new attitude is what starts sending Ben over the edge.

    Gradually, more and more wedges drive them apart; Ben killing the rabbit and Ernie the pig, Rein sneaking off at night, Ben force-feeding Rein, all of Rein’s paintings, etc.

    If I’m not mistaken, Rein learns to converse with the animals. If that’s the case, I’ll buy it.

    But who shot at Ben? Was is Rein? Or Bert the pig?

    Who killed Will and Hannah? Rein? Did she even know they were dead or that she was eating them? Was it Bert the pig? Did he want to get back at Ben for killing Ernie? Or did Ben do it himself? Did he lose his mind and kill them by accident, having mistaken them for two deer?

    And what about Rein’s pregnancy? How come that was never addressed in any dialogue? Did she miscarry? Had she been secretly harboring that against Ben? It would make for a good subplot.

    And then comes the ending. Surreal. Scary. Downright genius. Rein was in fact speaking with the animals. My guess, she was pleading for Ben’s life.

    And when that twig snapped. They all stopped and turned their heads (if this were onscreen, they’d be looking straight at the audience; great stuff). And then Ben’s fate was sealed.

    Maybe Rein didn’t lose her mind. Maybe all the animals are in fact able to walk and talk. Maybe Bert did kill Will and Hannah, not tell Rein about it, and trick Ben into eating them. Maybe Rein saw the forest for what it was, and Ben had become a threat to that, which is why he was (presumably) killed.

    This is all just speculation, but that’s what I got out of Meat.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Stay tuned.
      All your questions will be answered next season.
      We promise.

    • HRV

      Like I said, it left one confused. Not enough information or explanation.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Great review and thoughts in general, Lucid Walk. If I ever get my script reviewed here you GOTTA give me your notes!

  • JakeBarnes12

    Reminds me of when screenwriter Paul Haggis buys his way to the top level of scientology and they put him in a secure room and finally show him the most secret writings of L. Ron Hubbard and he’s sitting there incredulously reading the scrawled fantasies of a lunatic and the thought forms clearly in his head; “is this a test and if I call them out they’ll show me the real document?”

    • Malibo Jackk

      What part of science fiction writer didn’t people understand?

      • PQOTD

        Now that was the most truly, God-awful, dreadful piece of schlock. I couldn’t stomach more than 60 seconds before changing the channel. Glad I didn’t pay to see it at the cinema. And Travolta’s shoes were too ludicrous for words.

  • Angie

    Congrats to the writer on getting an impressive. Hope good things happen as a result.

    At the risk of repeating what others have said, my thoughts are that the script is visual, but slow. The simple writing style makes for an easy read, but not at pro level. The script will benefit from a rewrite and a more thorough spell check to correct the many typos and logic fails.

    Great sense of place with so much description of the woods. Lots of innuendo (animals standing, staring). Skipping scenes allowed the passage of time from Spring to Fall in just
    25 pages of nothing really happening. The couple wants to be isolated for art? For hunting/gathering? To avoid people forever? To become animals?

    Many couples have lost a child. They work through the horrific pain and grief. They do not retire to…what? It is not clear.

    Page 2. “on the on the” in Ben’s dialogue

    Page 28 reads: “the pole poking at the nest. It soon lands a hit. Hmm, pole poking.Why is that so much better writing than just, “Ben pokes at the nest, lands a hit.”
    Page 31. “the the stairs.” Remove one the.
    Page 33: Ben speaks dialogue that should be marked Will.
    Pg. 48. Ben’s dialogue. “…skinnier and skinner.”
    Pg. 49. A sentient house? “The cabin feels the new day’s sun on its cold skin.”

    By Pg. 51 I was wondering when this would end.
    Pg. 58 “worn dorn” instead of worn down.
    Pg. 61 ROYGBIV’s Why make the reader look this up instead of just writing “puts the paints in the same color order as a rainbow?”
    Pg. 63. “The sun peaking through the trees.” Peeking?

    Bizarre ending like many of the old Twilight Zone episodes. I was left with lingering questions. If Rein sometimes turned into a deer why not when Ben catches her with the animals? How did that happen in the first place? What did Will and Hannah do to Bert? This was not foreshadowed. Did Rein kill them? Bert? How could Rein not know Bert dragged the bodies downstairs? Why not kill Ben first? Ben’s icon is a wolf. What did the animals expect from him except to be a hunter? If animals will turn the table on humans, will they only kill the meat eaters of the world sparing vegans like Rein? Not sure if the social commentary will go over with audiences.

    As others mentioned, Meat is too short for a feature. The hunting scenes can be dragged out to add film time but will slow the story even more. Maybe more indications of Rein’s true thoughts and of Ben’s fears. Also,an action sequence showing Will and Hannah as enemies of the animals can help. Sorry to seem harsh. The story line has potential. Just not as it is now. I wish the writer all the best.

    • Jarrean

      I thought most people would be familiar with ROYGBIV.

      • Angie

        Sorry. I must be one of the few not familiar with that.

        • creakycranky

          Me too – had to google it.

          • HRV

            I didn’t get it either. With as many acronyms we have to deal with nowadays…

          • Jarrean

            I guess but as it related specifically to her laying out the paint colors. I’m in my 30s and from the US. Idk if that makes a difference. Lol

          • UPB13

            It’s something I remember learning in 5th grade but haven’t thought about since.

          • PQOTD

            I’m 50s from Down Under and I knew it. But then, I’m a bit of a science nerd.

      • UPB13

        I think this is related to the writer’s age. If you’re an artist or if high school wasn’t that long ago, you’ll remember it. Otherwise, it’s something you haven’t thought about in many, many years.

        • Jarrean

          I can see this point. But had the Logan said the colors of the rainbow, I’d have to google ‘em.

          • UPB13

            My biggest issue with it was that by using it as a verb, it’s not tonally in tune with the rest of the script. It seemed goofy, more than anything. (Although I think too much is often made by readers who tear down a script because of one or two very small things).

          • Jarrean

            I’ll concede this point. If more than one Reader took issue with it than it should be addressed.

      • scriptfeels

        I know ROYGBIV, just the color spectrum.

  • Paul Clarke

    Carson’s recent article told of writing a script for different people – this is a prime example of a script tailor made for a reader. It is short, lots of white space, enough dialogue to speed the read along, and it is exquisitely written with words that paint a clear picture and really flow.

    But take that all away and what do we have?

    A movie that’s pilot length, with no action in the first 20 pages (could be longer, that’s as far as I got). Lots of atmosphere, and cheap to make, but the final film would be lacking in… MEAT.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Bingo! We have a winner here! You are sir, are 100% right!

  • scriptfeels

    So I had read the script based off of
    Carson’s post on Friday, I was reading half of today’s article before
    writing down my thoughts because some of my experiences were
    different from Carsons.

    I didn’t know the genre of this script
    before going to read it. Even after finishing, I’m not sure what
    genre it’s supposed to be. It reminded me of M. Night Shamalyn in a
    way because it’s a slow moving character drama with a quirky twist
    ending that to me seems divisive and spoiler worthy of the film.

    Things the script did well.

    Tone. The script had a consistent tone
    and really helped define the characters and setting of the film to be
    grounded and believable.

    Pacing. The pacing of the script worked
    great in my opinion. The script starts off very slowly and that’s why
    I put it down on AOW. I wasn’t hooked to read more. The script does
    build though and by the time I was half way through it I wanted to
    finish it to the end. Theres no awkward scene transitions or out of
    place scenes imo. When Ben starts getting more interested in meat,
    maybe because of cabin fever, it did shock me a little, but it didn’t
    throw the entire story out the window since he was grounded as a
    character.

    Character arc’s and irony. Ben loves
    hunting. He gets an obsession with meat where he’s rubbing blood on
    his face and eating raw deer in his anchovy salad combo. He wants to
    be more isolated from society cutting out the store. He makes the
    decisions of the household, but as the script progresses his
    relationship changes where his wife becomes almost absent of
    personality. Like a silent skeleton. Ben logically blames her diet
    for her strange character changes. Ben continues taking care of the
    list of food and preparing for their livelihood.

    Rein arcs from being a normal civilized
    person to being a vegetarian don’t harm nature type of person. She
    stays an artist through the script, but what she paints changes to
    animal paintings and landscapes. Rein starts talking to animals and
    standing by the edge of the property, taking walks outside at night.
    The main difference to me was when she stopped talking to her
    husband. At first, she is happy and responds to her husband, but by
    the second half she’s almost completely shut him off from herself.

    The writing of the script itself. The
    writing is lean, easy to follow, wasn’t confusing, very visual in
    many places, and moved quickly. It’s also told through action. Ben
    goes hunting. Ben cooks the meat. Ben makes the list for the
    household. Ben sleeps alone in his bed while his wife sleeps
    downstairs with cowboy. The characters feel stronger than other aow
    because they are shown their their actions and display their beliefs
    through that along with their own backstories which were slowly
    revealed through the script. It was enjoyable to read as I never
    reached a section that overloaded me as a reader. If the opening ten
    pages had had a better hook I think it would have interested more
    readers initially.

    Unsolved mysteries. I enjoy films that
    let the viewer decide and this script poses a lot of unanswered
    questions. Who killed the neighbors? Why did Rein not drive the truck
    to the store? Where was Rein going when she taking walks or outside,
    etc.? Who was shooting at Ben? What was the purpose of the moose
    dream sequence? What was the real reason that the characters had
    decided to isolate themselves from society? Why don’t Ben and Rein
    want to spend time with their neighbors? Why is Ben becoming more
    intense and animal like when he’s spending time with his venison? Was
    there a third person at their home in the ending, or was it all a
    false reality that Rein believes? Are the animals really walking on
    two feet like people and communicating? Are the animals actually
    watching Ben and talking to Rein or is Rein going crazy with
    vegetarian and wildlife humanity beliefs. The script had me
    questioning the characters and the reality of their situation instead
    of being frustrated at the writer’s decisions.

    The biggest flaw in the script to me is
    the ‘mystery.’ The driving question is, why does Rein stop eating
    meat? Why does she become vegetarian? The script assumes that people
    don’t become vegetarian for no reason. To me this wasn’t interesting
    because I’ve known lots of people who did become vegetarian out of
    the blue. I think this premise may be mysterious to people who would
    never consider becoming vegetarian because they can’t relate or
    understand that lifestyle choice. But to me, this was never a
    mystery. His wife wanted to stop eating meat. Okay, that seems
    believable since she’s watching her husband eat a deer’s live heart
    with his hands. She’s also in the garden and is spending more time
    around nature. I don’t think the big twist ending was validated by
    that ‘mystery’ and to me it was never a believable ‘mystery’. It
    wasn’t an intriguing mystery box to me, but a decision based on her
    character. I think this is the greatest flaw in the script because
    this didn’t warrant the mystery the script lifted this up as.

    Although I just argued that the
    vegetarian diet choice was an unbelievable mystery, the true mystery
    to me was the change in Rein’s behavior and the animals behavior
    around their homestead. The vegetarian diet fits into the same themes
    of strange decision making and misunderstanding of what is around us
    so although I didn’t question why she became vegetarian, because Ben
    did and it drove him to his violent outburst it did get more
    emotional weight because of the decision’s affect on Ben. If Rein’s
    decision to become vegetarian hadn’t affected Ben along with her own
    survival for not eating enough, then it wouldn’t have had the weight
    that was attached to it in the story.

    Unlikable protagonist alert. There’s a
    scene in the script where the husband forces meat down Rein’s throat.
    He also cut out all contact with everyone in his life before he moved
    with Rein to the wilderness. In comparison, he could be considered
    likable because he cares about his wife. Everything he does is to
    support him and his wife’s lifestyle in the wilderness. He also
    doesn’t talk too much, but you can see that he is respectful of
    Rein’s decisions until he looses his cool later in the script. I
    think we spend a lot of time with him on the page so we will follow
    through with him because of the time we’ve invested with his
    character. The ending with Rein was a little strange, when she left
    the house after Ben closed the blinds, Ben follows her. I was rooting
    for Ben to save Rein from whatever mysterious danger was threatening
    Ben’s life.

    Overall, the positives outweigh the
    negatives with the script. It’s a quick lean read. I would probably
    watch this movie and enjoy it, but the vegetarian mystery didn’t ring
    true to me personally, but to a majority meat eating audience I think
    it would have more draw because they wouldn’t relate to that
    lifestyle as much. I did enjoy the read and I have thought about the
    script after I’ve finished it, so there’s a lot of positives in here.

    I’d give it a [x] worth the read.

    • GoIrish

      What did you view as the big twist ending – 1. Hannah and Will, 2. Humans being hunted, or 3. The very ending with the scope? No.1 was surprising but I didn’t see enough of a setup to justify it as a twist. No.2 – whether real or imagined, it seemed evident this is where the story was headed within the first 10 pages or so. No.3 – someone said there were clues within the last 10 pages as to who was holding the gun but I couldn’t figure it out. So No. 3 could potentially be a big twist for me.

      • scriptfeels

        SPOILERS

        I actually did not see number 2 coming until the scene in the third act where Ben was shot at. I did think the deer standing on two legs like a human was strange, but didn’t expect them to hunt him.

        The big twist ending was everything from when Ben started get shot at to the end of the script.

        He goes hunting for the deer, then gets shot at by someone unseen, he returns home to see a figure behind the smoke in the kitchen. when he arrives, there’s a third seat at the table. Whose the third seat for?! He is shocked since his wife cooked the meat, and she hasn’t cooked for him in ages. After he’s half way finished and he’s questioning her about the third guest, she finally gives in to him and says it was the pig who escaped earlier in the script. that the pig was going to join them for dinner. Then he questions where the meat came from. He goes to his meat storage to discover the neighbors in a similar predicament to the venison that he’d been slaughtering and eating. he begins throwing up. He rationalizes that he must leave with Rein and start again after taking out a hidden cellphone and gun. She questions where he found them, and disappears by the time he decides to leave. (I may have some of this out of order, I read it yesterday). He follows her footprints into the woods and breaks through foliage to find her sitting with cowboy, the escaped dog, the deer, and I think some other animals (I forget) He aims his gun and we look at him (I think it was?). So all of this was a big twist. The escaped pig has the missing rifle. I like how it doesn’t answer who was shooting at him, but implies that the animals were behind it all, but leaves it to the viewer to decide. Hannah going off the deep end and joining a strange unreal animal community was definitely not expected. I had expected that she had been doing something with the animals, especially the pigs, but didn’t expect to see her talking and listening to the animals and helping their cause. I’m pretty sure the pig has the gun, but just because the pig has the gun doesn’t mean that he was the one shooting at Ben. Also, the pig was supposedly at the house with Rein before Ben arrived so if that was the case then he couldn’t have been shooting at Ben in the woods. I also really enjoyed how the wife talked to Ben about how the pig was going to forgive Ben, but that he was too nervous and ran away. It makes it believable that she is probably making it all up and that she is the psychopath, but because of the ending, her version of the truth ends up being what we see on screen in part because we see the missing pig and her communicating with the other animals. I’m ranting, but I do think the ending is a lot better than other AOW scripts I’ve read because it’s made me think more about the movie even if it can come out of left field to the majority of the audience most likely. I think this would be an enjoyable flick to watch and would be fun to talk about with friends afterwards because of the ending. Personally, I’d keep the ending just for controversy if it doesn’t turn off a majority of the audiences. I think it makes the script more interesting.

  • scriptfeels

    I like the concept of animals becoming human like and fighting against people. Planet of the apes but with a sentient alien controlling earth’s animals? Sounds fun

  • huckabees

    Again congrats to Logan!
    I liked the concise writing style, had a feeling the writer knows the outdoors/his story world.

    But the story itself didn’t do it for me at all. And you can’t blame short attention spans for this, like Carson does.

    What I found most frustrating:
    How Rein goes about dealing with conflict – she doesn’t. She avoids conflict. After the force-feeding scene the relationship between her and Ben is all about going separate ways, sleeping alone, spending time apart, her sneaking around in the woods (basically, to be able to set up the shocking ending). I know that in real life a lot of people avoid conflict but on the screen this will get boring very quickly.

    My problem with the theme:
    If you want to convey that “Eating meat is bad” and “Animals are people too”, is it wise to choose two protagonists as your targets who try to “go back to nature” and live a more wholesome, simple life? Wouldn’t people running industrial slaughterhouses be a more adequate choice?
    And: why don’t the animals kill the wolves? They are carnivores, too.

    My advice for a rewrite:
    – Cutcutcut this bloated script to its actual size and make a great short film.
    OR
    – Shorten what you have to 40 pages and make the ending your midpoint.
    And then: Dig deeper!

  • Jarrean

    I enjoyed the writing, but was hungry for more story. I’m not a fan of The Witch or It Comes at Night, but I can applaud this for its ease of being made.

    Suggestions: Beef up Rein’s role. Have her acts more peculiar. I think by doing this you turn it into a feature for real.

    Also, I thought more could’ve been done with their reasoning for isolating themselves and dinner with the neighbors.

    Final thought, the scene where Ben eats the raw heart in the woods. Felt like a set up that had no pay off.

    • UPB13

      I would like to see a situation where Rein is forced to be the one to kill the pig.

  • Randy Williams

    First of all, as a fellow Floridian in Irma’s path, I know you are under stress of some kind from the storm and its aftermath. I’m glad you get this celebratory time to forget all that.
    I think this script will probably make my top ten of the year due to the sheer power it wields in creating a tension that keeps one turning pages.
    I did have some thoughts. The visual twist at the end was muted for me by the wife already personafying the animals in her painting. Then, I thought there would be twists involving their past, since it is implied they may be running from something. I got a crime couple vibe, then a dead child vibe, then with the husband eating raw meat, and the wife gulping garlic, a vampire vibe. Maybe a few too many vibes for such a short tale?
    Good luck with the attention!

  • brenkilco

    Hm, where to start. How about this. Nothing in this piece is remotely believable. It uses quotidian monotony to conceal dream logic. Like a vegetarian polemic created by David Lynch. Carson liked the fact that he felt it could go anywhere. But when something can go anywhere, when it is both dramatically untethered and logically unaccountable, it is rarely satisfying. You don’t expect an explanation when someone tells you their nightmare. But you’re probably not thinking you want to see it onscreen either.

    Carson was fascinated by the minimalist exchanges between the characters. So pregnant with portent. I was just scratching my head. Who are these two? Sophisticated, well educated urbanites who’ve swapped stimulation and affluence for twenty four seven drudgery and utter isolation. This isn’t Green Acres. It’s No Exit. What’s their deal? Nervous breakdowns? Penance for some unspeakable sin or crime? They never have a single exchange that conveys humor or intellectual depth. So you can add terminal depression to the possibilities. The throwaway reference to their former lives that comes late in the game is just a small what the fuck moment to be added to all the others.

    And the wife who was gifted enough to teach the gifted embarked on this adventure without realizing that killing game and slaughtering livestock would be part of the deal? So all it takes is a privileged moment with a deer and a dead bunny to make her leave the program.

    And then, of course we have the animals. Frankly, despite the surreal or surrureal atmosphere if you don’t have a pretty good idea of where this is going when the first herbivore stands upright you should watch more movies. It’s just a nature in revolt movie like The Birds or Food of The Gods played at a lugubrious pace. Our barnyard and woodland friends have not only grown inexplicably superintelligent, forged an alliance with species that would in other circumstances be just as dangerous to them as humans, learned to pull rifle triggers despite the impediment of cloven hooves, but, wait for it, they’ve also developed a sense of irony. How else to explain the final dinner scene with its gotcha for Ben. Did Bert the hog find time to catch Hannibal on cable? This bit was a genuine twist in Ellin’s classic short story Specialty of The House. Not here.

    Sorry, but while the writing itself shows promise a certain skill with mood, I’d classify this as a brainless mindblower. And there’s nothing more irritating.

    • Mike.H

      The short version, it likely WON’T turn into a film.

      • brenkilco

        Even shorter

        Very unappetizing.

    • r.w. hahn

      I too was going through Hurricane Irma and her after effects MIA style so perhaps it was a reason I quit before page 15. Or maybe not. Maybe it seemed so repetitive and actionless(although the actual writing was good) I just couldnt get into it. I wanted to see why Carson was all fired up, but there was nothing to hang my attention span on. And I write and like slow burns but this was like me trying to light my grill because I had no electricity and my ice melted that I had to cook whatever MEAT was thawed out before it spoiled. But I had no lighter fluid so I had to stand there with the lighter holding the flame against the corner of the charcoal hoping it would catch. But the breeze that I so desperately prayed for but didnt get, suddenly decided to answer my petition and kept snuffing out the lighter. One flick after another after another failed, even lighting dried twigs and dead leaves didnt spark the cold black squares. The breeze that would have felt like air condition and been a welcome hug those previous sweat soaked nights, but was now taunting me like the large broken off black olive tree branch partially wedged in the crux of the tree dangling precariously and threateningly above my flat roof just out of reach of my chainsaw, finally died. I had never been more happy to again get punched in the face by that 95 degree heat as I was then. I flicked that lighter one more time, this time held the long orange flame against a charcoal and waited. And waited. And waited. The flame went out. So I pushed the little round knob forward and pulled back the trigger and nothing. I did it again. Again. Nothing. No spark. No flame. The lighter fluid spent. There would be no roaring fire. There would be no succulent slightly charred one inch New York strips to feed my exhausted body the protein it needed to recover and spend another day cutting, dragging, raking, and piling all the fallen trees and limbs into a massive pile just in front of my house. I had to try once more. I flicked that longneck Bic lighter with a prayer, the yellow flame shot out, held steady and I caressed a lonely brick, hoping and praying it catch. The flame went out. But wait the corner of the square started to smoke. YES! It is smoking. The lonely black square was getting ashen on the corner. Soon it would join the others and create a roaring fire perfectly suited for two stakes, a couple potatoes and some chicken even. I was to be resuscitated. Relief coursed through my tired bones. The meat calvary was on the way.
      Unfortunately, my desire to continue reading MEAT died like that breeze.
      Now that the Irma ordeal is mostly behind, I will give it another chance like that lighter. Maybe it will spark and catch me this time. And I will be able to enjoy it like I did the meal that night.
      Mmmmh. I wont soon forget that first bite of exquisitely charred medium rare piece of flesh.

    • kent

      I agree with every word. Spoilers abound.

      The dialogue isn’t deep with subtext, it’s on the nose. The theme is a two-by-four to the forehead.

      You can sustain the “How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Fine.” thing for about the 22 minute length of a Twilight Zone episode before the audience becomes as bored and depressed as the characters. “What’s the plan for tomorrow?” My God, the woman’s a depressed idiot who had no idea what living off the grid was about before traipsing off with her BFF. Or the writer’s sexist. Certainly the “EEEK a mouse!!!” moment for a woman living deep in the woods doesn’t help his case in that regard. Oh, we find out after slogging along for an hour that maybe she lost a baby…

      The dialogue at the store? Why bother? For the Ben & Jerry name hi-jinx? For us to find out that Mary tripped on a badly fixed stair like Claire in Modern Family? Who the fuck is Mary and why do I care? Why do I hear about her twice? Wait, maybe she’s going to get skinned later? Nope. Let’s juts invent some other convenient characters who host a tension-free dinner party. Sorry, this is lazy as fuck. All filler. Every word counts, folks. Every character needs to matter.

      Is Ben mowing his lawn in the woods because he’s insane? If so, give us a clue… you’re writer, find a way to scare us with the thought of how crazy this is. Instead I get Ward Cleaver on a Saturday morning. I sense the writer was filling the page trying to get to 74,oh, let’s have him mow the lawn, instead of thinking what this meant and trying to fill our heads. One or two good-sized deer would feed a couple for a year, so is Ben’s need to keep hunting crazy? Let us know. A few word clues please. You’re a writer. Write.

      This is not a movie. It doesn’t have 1/1000th of the chops of a “Captain Fantastic” or “Get Out.”

      Carson, are you pranking us? Or is the writer Chance The Gardner unintentionally pranking you? And the reason you, Carson, have no idea what’s going to happen next is because this script is a classic amateur example of “… and then this happens. And then this happens…” No way to know. Or care.

      Sorry about the rant. And I’m sure the writer is a nice guy. And there is a minimalist tone I can appreciate being put to better use. But this script needs a shit ton of work to make a serviceable short. My opinion.

      • Stephjones

        I also wondered if the lawn mowing was a sign of mental deterioration and think this is not a bad story direction to go in. But, if the dude is going insane, it needs more clarification.

      • brenkilco

        Totally forgot about Mary. Maybe she’s the key to the thing.

        • GoIrish

          There’s something about Mary.

    • ThomasBrownen

      “Carson was fascinated by the minimalist exchanges between the characters. So pregnant with portent. I was just scratching my head. Who are these two?”
      This was a main driver of the story for me. The mystery of who these two are, what made them live out in the middle of nowhere, and then what was going on with all these weird suggestions that something might be off with either Rein and/or the animals.

      I also liked the authenticity. I’m not sure quite what it was, but something about the writing made me confident that the author was familiar living in a settling like this. I wasn’t surprised to see he lived in North Dakota (assuming he’s telling the truth about that, and it’s not just a clever Scriptshadow marketing ploy, LOL). Maybe it was the way the author treated Ben fairly (acknowledging that he needed to hunt to survive), without it devolving into a writer-who’s-only-ever-lived-in-LA-writes-about-culture-he-knows-nothing-about-but-nonetheless-disdains story.

      My main concern is how this ends up playing overall. It’s an anti-meat story in which the animals become humans at the end? That’s a bizarre twist to it that almost sounds sarcastic, not filled with horror. I think over the weekend people were posting Bizarro comics, and there is a feel of that overall.

      Still, great writing. Great exploration of the relationship. I liked the creeping horror, the creeping mysteries, even if they’re unexplained at the end. Well done. And congrats Carson for finally getting a script to brag about!

      • brenkilco

        I agree the writer does come across as somebody who has dressed a dead deer, not just read about it. But this needs a sense of dread I don’t think it manages. And more fully developed leads. At least the writer wisely spared us a scene of Bert the pig puttering around the kitchen. I had enough trouble with that animal confab at the end.

    • Poe_Serling

      Once again, one person’s impressive (Carson) might be the next
      individual’s so-so reading/viewing experience.

      And it isn’t a good or bad thing.

      I sorta see it as half the fun of watching movies and such. The real
      enjoyment often comes in finding a film that relates to you on some
      kind of level (whether it’s deep, shallow, or nestled somewhere
      in-between).

      ;-)

  • huckabees

    A suggestion for adding conflict at the beginning:

    Start the story with them moving to the cabin. Makes it a fish out of water story. Shit goes wrong while setting up things. Adds conflict because they don’t know how to hunt etc.

    And then on top of that: Rein refuses to eat meat…

    • thedudespeaketh

      I was thinking the same thing. Actually show the very beginning of them losing their sense of the world, and then their kid dies, then they go off the grid. It would put the script over 90 pages.

      • huckabees

        I agree. A lot of writers overestimate the power of mystery. Empathy is far more important. If you show their loss, you make us care about them and what happens to them when they move into the woods.

        At the moment, these characters seem so dull because the writer withholds crucial information about them in order to set up some revelation which comes too late to care even anymore.

  • hickeyyy

    I fall on the praise side of the Meat debate.

    I think Logan did a great job establishing the tone from the get go. I can tell just based on reading that we can chuck the 1 page = 1 minute rule out. That’s not going to happen here. I don’t think you really need to add to this at all. And I’m not sure what it would accomplish.

    If I had no choice but to beef it up, I think that some more Rein would be a good thing. You could certainly give her a bit more limelight without bringing things to a screeching halt. Considering the already deliberate pacing, I think you could fit it in if you wanted to make the page count less intimidating. Check out the 2014 horror movie Honeymoon that stars Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame. Might give a few hints as to how you could get Rein a bit more time.

    I don’t agree with the comments to add more to the back story or giving clarification. We don’t need every answer spelled out. Just hints are good enough for me. We know something bad happened involving them and their child. Does it change the story to know it was a miscarriage versus a disease versus the kid getting hit by the car? Not really. All I need to know is something fucked up happened and they wanted to get away from it all.

    Overall? I was really impressed with the read. Logan clearly knows what he’s doing and crafted an excellent script. Would love to see him pop in and chat with everyone today about his review!

    • thedudespeaketh

      Yeah, I don’t think we need to show clarification, I’m just looking for more of raising my engagement in this amazing couple. Like you, I also enjoyed it very much.

  • thedudespeaketh

    I liked it. And if the movie is done right, I can see loving it. Definitely works for me. This has potential to be one of those movies that will stay with me for a long time. And for the small things that struck me as odd or didn’t work, will all be taken care of by the director and actors. For instance, we spend a lot of time with these two characters and only get one emotion. I would have love to laugh once or twice with this couple.

    And I do feel for me that in this particular story, I would have like to actually see the backstory. Show me them in the old world. This would have helped my small annoyance with the slow burn. A small thing, because once Ben was shot at, it was full speed ahead. Just my preference on this particular story, but well aware of all the sentiments about less is more or we don’t need to be fed everything. I get that, but sometimes it does help and for different reasons. I think in this particular story, I was so invested in this couple that I would have love to see their backstory unfold.

    I really liked the script. I’m really interested in what everybody feels about it.

  • https://twitter.com/deanmaxbrooks deanb

    Experimental, polarizing stuff like this tend to be high risk/high reward. You tend to either get a Being John Malkovich or a mother!

    I think Meat falls closer into the BJM category due to its sophisticated dark humor, which is what I admire most about it. The story is what you might get if Charlie Kaufman got in a time machine back to the early 60s, and was asked to write a Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode.

    Everyone has mentioned that this is a moral fable about eating meat. I actually think the subtext is about marriage and relationships.

    But really, what sells this story is Logan’s unique (and quite literary) voice, which can be found seeded even in his logline construction. I did some Googling and found a few more of his scripts from https://www.scriptrevolution.com/scripts/meat

    White Feathers: Two teenage girls develop a relationship as they prepare for a school play, leading them to experience love, loss, and then loss again as they’re taken down a rabbit hole melding reality and fantasy.

    White Sheets: Two intertwining stories of love and hate collide as a jewish girl helps a black boy write a Western loosely based on the recent death of his mother.

    Black Knights: A strained paramedic’s repetitive night shifts get even more repetitive when tragedy repetitively invades her repetitive days.

    Congrats, Logan. Great to see another writer in ND succeed.

  • scriptfeels

    OT: I finally saw IT and thought it was pretty good. I know the boats sailed, but if it wasn’t for the hype I probably would’ve stayed at home and waited to netflix it. So thanks for the praise.

  • UPB13

    What really took me out of this early was that the very first time the deer was standing on two legs (within the first 10 pages), I started thinking Animal Farm. And while it wasn’t as much an allegory as Animal Farm, I spent the next 60+ pages waiting for the moment where the animals became people. This took a lot of the tension out of it for me.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    Also I think it’s a rule that if my wife feeds me the neighbors we’re divorcing. I’m not asking you to run away with me if you’re feeding me the damn neighbors. I like steak not filet of Will’s ass.

  • Mike.H

    Since MEAT is ambiguously written, my interpretation of it being, the WIFE was the unseen person in the end shooting her husband ( THE POV thru the scope).

    The photo scene on p.62 that revealed Rein as being pregnant in NYC and subsequently with scars on her wrists perhaps was due to suicide / depression suggesting she had suffered a miscarriage ( where’s the baby?) and developed post partem mental issues?

    And there’s no clear explanation in the script to suggest either Ben or Rein was the one who killed those two people stored in the hanging room. ( Were they killed for their MEAT, or out of circumstances? The truth was never revealed).

    May be I skimmed or perhaps it was 3 long days ago since I read it and distracted by work related stress, I’m left in the dark about these ambiguous plot points. Thoughts?

    Lastly, these animals who sit and behave like humans, were they real or imaginary?

    • GoIrish

      Rein is sitting at the fire with the animals. It doesn’t seem like she could be the one viewing the husband through the scope. Stylistically, it’s a nice visual ending. But substantively, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t add much.

      • Omoizele Okoawo

        It had to be the pig because it had the gun on its lap. American Sniper 2: That’s Some Pig!

      • thedudespeaketh

        I think it sets it up for us to conclude that it’s the pig holding the gun, and a smart choice not to actually show it. As soon as the text goes red with the scope on Ben, the first thing that popped into my mind were the words, “oh yeah, baby, let’s see you take it now.” When the movie’s made, they’ll even probably cut the shot of the gun on the pigs knee or lap. Don’t want it to get goofy.

    • hickeyyy

      I believe that the rifle was being held by their old pet pig Bert/Ernie (whichever was alive still), which to me indicated that the pig was scoping him.

  • JasonTremblay

    I know the story touches on them losing a child, but wouldn’t it add more to the story if we saw that? What if Rein gets pregnant there? She can go through the pregnancy, complete with what Ben perceives as “mood swings,” and when they lose it, he can blame her post-partum for the strange goings on.

    But he’s wrong. So very wrong.

    Great idea for a story. Big congrats!

  • Adam McCulloch

    It’s certainly a nice fast read but I suspect you’ll get a lot of comments taking sides on whether it deserved the rating Carson gives it. I’ll try to ignore that and just give feedback. I’m also writing this on Friday so as to avoid being tainted by other comments.

    It feels a little like Take Shelter which I like. The thing for me was that I could see where you were going by about page ten so there were no surprises left for me throughout. This made me think about how mystery boxes work. They are certainly useful for kick-starting the story but I think their function changes as the story progresses. We know the animals are going to become sentient and are looking forwards to that moment. You deliver on that but it then sets up another mystery of how the whole relationship between humans and animals works and how these characters are going to get along. Maybe what you’ve established is a first act mystery and it needs a second act mystery to carry it forwards.

    That’s the main problem I had with the story. If feels like several repeats of the same sequence and then the gag about the animals being sentient. Definitely feels like a short film. Something around 30 minutes seems right. For it to be a feature I want to know where the story goes from there.

    But that’s the problem. As soon as you get to the talking animals it becomes a completely different sort of film. I would want to see how the animals relate to the humans and they would need character arcs and all the usual set up. I don’t think it’s impossible to make this work — maybe there’s some kind of berry or something that your characters are accidentally eating that gives them these powers –but I kind of want to know where this goes.

    And that’s the other thing: the sequences felt repetitive. I wanted to see the characters seek out more exploration of what the hell was happening. I kind of felt they just accepted it.

    A quick note about the geography too: I felt like you didn’t use the geography enough to tell the story. A whole story can be told just by the choice of and order of locations. They represent different things psychologically and I’d really love to see you make more use of them, especially since we are talking about a person who is becoming more aware of the wild world around him.

    I’d almost like to see Rein become a deer or something in the end. Again I think poison berries or something to create a sense of ambiguity about whether this is happening for real might work. Also, if you establish that these guys are kind of new to the whole survivalist thing, it might create more of an arc. It’s that old trick of, if you have a character with a flat arc, and you can’t raise the arc at the climax then lower it at the beginning.

    Anyway, good to see some interesting ideas here. Congrats on the visibility. Ignore anything I said you found irrelevant or stupid. It’s all practice for me in breaking down a script too so please just take it for what it is.

  • Craig Mack

    Carson,

    How you can mark this an “IMPRESSIVE!” “TOP 25!” and still shit on Birdman, Lobster, Shape of Water, etc? It’s wildly inconsistent.

    • Mike.H

      I did not get Birdman and hated Lobster the movie. I just had Lobster with butter 8 hours ago, it was boffo!

      • r.w. hahn

        Love me some sea roaches…..mmmmh good

      • thewildkingdom

        Loved Lobster, hated Bird(man).

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      That the way art is, man. That’s the way art is. #yougottastartsmokingmorepot

      • Craig Mack

        “Art.”

    • ff

      I have disagreed with tons of his script choices and ideas. It’s just a blog after all and these are just his thoughts. It’s all subjective.

      • Craig Mack

        I’m not ragging on him, it’s just and “odd” script to “move him” the way it did.

        • ff

          I agree. For me this is a first idea. There’s really not much here.

  • shewrites

    MY COMMENT FROM FRIDAY.

    Finished it. Loved it.

    Definitely
    a glacial burn yet Logan managed to make turning the pages a must. His
    writing, though bare bones:-), weaves into the plot-light story a
    tension that is impossible to ignore.

    Is the script perfect? No. But rich on so many levels that I see why Carson was hooked.

    SPOILER: SPOILER:

    Wonder if Logan’s inspiration came from a notorious Far Side Gary Larson’s cartoon? Regardless, great work!

    TODAY’S COMMENT:

    I am the first surprised at how much I like Meat as I’m more of a straight story kind of person.

    Clearly, Meat is not for everyone.

    Regarding some of the inconsistencies, I think they are easy fixes. For instance, the fact they Ben and Rein live of the grid but have a climate controlled basement make sense. They only use electricity where it supports their choice of being able to depend less on the outside world if that makes sense.
    Interestingly, I read an article this weekend about Amish people (some at least) using technology where it makes sense to them (cell phone of all things!).

    Another when Ben washes his face at the sink: he could simply have a bucket of water right there.

    I think the beauty of this script comes from some of the underexplained aspects. Sure, I could do more with what happened with their child for instance,

    To add to the script, I would start it with Ben and Rein at the early stage of their new life in the woods.

    Everything is hunky dory at first. Then little by little Ben pushes for more isolation from the real world, subtly forcing Rein to give up more and more of what matters to her. Rein gives in because yes, they did agree that they wanted a “simpler”, “truer” life.

    Forced in utter isolation, Rein begins to develop what Ben deems an unhealthy attachement to their pigs. She is the one who one day refers to them by name which alarms Ben.

    It escalates to Rein’s wonderful statement “I don’t want to eat meat anymore”.

    From there, as happens in the script, Ben and Rein grow more distanced.
    Rein’s reaction to Ben killing the pig is to “adopt” a wild animal, perhaps the fawn of a doe Ben killed,

    The irony of it all is that Ben is the one who pushed for a life closer to nature, more true to the natural order of things. But it’s Rein who reaches that state by “siding” with the animals against the human invader represented by Ben. So in the end, Rein has attained what Ben was aiming for and Ben is the casualty of his own endeavor.

    Finally, I feel this script is not meant to be taken at face value (animals shooting at humans) as a true/real story but as an allegory for the delusion (my perspective) that humans can live like animals, off the land/grid, not only predators but also as preys.

    Or it could simply be that Ben’s visions of animals hunting him is his own conscience getting back at him.

  • The Old Man

    To each their own. Carson loves the story, a rare impressive. I really don’t understand why Carson is so gung-ho on it. It’s a mystery/horror? What’s the mystery? I knew early on where it was going, except for the “Animal Farm” ending. Which I didn’t like. And where’s the horror? Sorry, the story wasn’t for me.

    Lose the electricity in the cabin. That didn’t make sense. He only goes to town a couple times a year, and wants to stop altogether. How does he power the generator? There are several ways to preserve meat without electricity.

    This has to be fleshed out more to interest me. Turn the story over to Rein. Have her bond with the animals, and turn against Ben. Forget about the animals talking and walking on two legs. That wasn’t a shock for me, it was an “eye-roll”. Rein and the various animals can communicate without talking. Ben killing Ernie should have been the last straw for Rein. Ben must die to protect her animal friends. She sets him up for the kill in the woods. You might even show Rein earlier, hunting the mountain lion with the rifle and shooting it to protect her animal friends.

    Will and Hannah being in this didn’t make sense to me either. I’d prefer just Ben and Rein, alone in the wilderness. Then Rein winds up all alone and happy with her new friends.

    Just my thoughts…

  • Jack madden

    I’ll reiterate what I said last week. The writing is terrific, I personally liked it but, alas, what we have here is an oxymoron: a long short.

    I’ve seen it many times with independent cinema—a great, cheeky ending but no (or minimal) plot in the middle section. Meat has minimal plot, I’d say this is the main reason the script is trying some people’s patience.

    My advice would be to trim to around 55 pages (thus addressing the lack of content) and continue on with the story—I think there’s more to say. Obviously, the audience don’t need
    to know whether or not Ben is seeing things, but the author needs to know. I would be interested in knowing if the author has asked himself this question.

  • thedudespeaketh

    I love reading passionate reviews like this. Really gives me a sense of just how powerful storytelling can be. But come, Andrew, losing respect because of somebody’s taste is like losing respect because how they dress. LOL. I bet there’s a ton of other scripts you two would have parallel opinions on. Just not this one. Other than that, I find all your points valuable.

  • scriptfeels

    I don’t mind it. I find myself using it somewhat often, but usually during editing take it out to describe the scene instead of using we.

    for example, we move down the hall way, past scattered clothes and blood.

    Instead would be, the hallway is littered with crumpled clothes. A blood drop trail hidden among the cotton.

  • klmn

    Is Carson or the writer coming back to answer questions about the script? We’ve had quite a few takes on it.

  • Jaco

    Is it me, or is this script a mashup of BABE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES . . .

    MEAT: After deciding to get off the grid and leave civilization behind, a husband and wife have the misfortune to choose a place in the wilderness inhabited by sentient animals who are led by a Ernie, a psycho-hipster pot bellied pig.

    I fall in the camp where I felt this script needed more flesh, a spine, and a lot more heart. Without a plausible explanation, the sentient animal thing felt contrived and cartoonish. Especially the paintings and ending.

    But, there are obviously people who do connect with this – so good luck to the writer – if this doesn’t get you on your way, I’m sure you are going to write something else that will do the trick.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    I loved the script – the characters, the story and the overall LONG WEEKEND-like atmosphere. But, like others have pointed out, it’s way too short. It’s written in a clear simple style, sure, but it mostly reads like a first draft in the sense that everything is there on the page but not yet fleshed out and worked through. There is so much room left for adding to the simply constructed sentences in almost every scene without overdoing it, of course :)

    Ex: p5: “EXT. WOODS – DAY
    Ben makes his way through the woods. Climbs over a fallen tree, pushes through bushes, etc.”

    “Etc”? No, SHOW us the etc. Paint the picture, tell us HOW he pushes through, if he ignores the cuts and scratches he receives from the brambles, if the branches seem to hold on to him if only for a second, and so on.

    p9. The slicing, cutting and preparation of the meal: THAT’s what I’m talking about :)

    As for adding a subplot to Rein, yeah, I think that C’s idea of seeing more of her reacting to the animals is a great one. I loved the scene on p11 with the pregnant doe which would merit a whole page, by the way, not just two lines. I get what you’re going for but in comparison, preparing the meal reads as wayyy more important than the chance encounter with a pregnant doe which very clearly disturbs Rein so much that’s it’s a key scene.

    As for the second half of the script, it flew by and was so much better written than the first that I didn’t really take any notes :)

    Congrats on the Impressive and cross my fingers for this to get made and your bright-looking future :)

    • Kirk Diggler

      “it mostly reads like a first draft in the sense that everything is there on the page but not yet fleshed out and worked through.”

      Agree.

  • Taylor

    After reading through this I found your writing excellent, and while the story itself wasn’t for me, I still wanted to turn every page. Carson nailed what the best part of this script is, and that’s your ability to set the tone and develop tension filled relationships. I will read anything that you write, Logan.

    SPOILERS:
    If I understood correctly, it seemed the final straw that drove Ben and Rein away from society was a miscarriage or a child’s death? I realize one of the story engines is the reason they left the city, but I suggest ending that with act one and then replacing it with this subplot: Act two begins with Rein finding out she’s pregnant. This would add a lot more weight to every decision. Do they move back to the city or stay (Ben convinces Rein to stay)? It also means that when Rein stops eating meat and becomes unhealthily skinny, Ben knows it is also his unborn baby suffering. Maybe Rein still insists on going into town when Ben gets sick, but when she comes back, she’s no longer pregnant. The baby was giving her cravings for meat so she made a decision. I know it would take some work to ensure you don’t muddy up themes, but I think it could add some interesting elements to the story.

  • Jack madden

    To go a little darker– around about the time Rein is getting thin, gaunt, I would have Ben on his knees in the forest throwing one over his thumb as he watches two deer humping. Stands
    to reason, if she has gone off meat, salami would be off the menu too. Becoming sexually aroused by animals would still be thematically related while adding another flavour of horror: disgust.

  • Stephjones

    I enjoyed the writing. The story started as a slow burn but I really didn’t mind that either…at first. Some of the story choices were nonsensical, like not having any alternative energy sources like solar or wind but then emphasizing the need for an electric freezer in a house without running water/indoor plumbing, like Maggots in deer meat in the dead of winter, like killing Ernie without more evidence of desperation…but I hung in there.
    on page 57 A full year has passed, all tension has dissipated. They survived an iffy winter without any real hitches other than killing Ernie. It was just a slow disintegration of a marriage which wasn’t noteworthy to begin with. Rein’s artistic choices weren’t all that ominous to me, they made sense in the setting and weren’t even particularly original. As far as their relationship goes, an isolated couple can expect things to get a bit strained.
    But then, I read on to the end. What a fucking story killer. Too ridiculous for words and definitely not properly set-up. Ernie was killed on page 54 without real justification. As a tipping point between the pigs and the humans we need a better build-up. They were barely mentioned beforehand. The deer had the more obvious grievance. Also, the freezer was still full of meat at the end, so no justification for killing Ernie.
    Did I misunderstand the thing? Did I take it too literally? Was it really just a story about a man’s descent into insanity? A guy who just couldn’t handle being off the grid? if that’s the case, it has potential. If everything is just from the POV of a guy descending into madness, that I can buy. If he’s paranoid, delusional and reads things into animal behavior which doesn’t exist, that is pretty cool. But, if that’s the case it needs to be clarified.I dunno. curious what others think

    • Adam McCulloch

      I didn’t feel it earned the surreal punchline either which then, for me, called into question the whole story. In addition to that there are many nuances to do with our position as top predator on the planet that the story didn’t address.

    • Justin

      Hmm… From what I remember, the maggots infested the remainder of his meat supply… can’t remember if he ate through the frozen meat supply or not. If not, then you’re right — there’s no justification for the action.

      I definitely loved the script and stick by it, but going over it again, it seems like a script that has an “[x] impressive” potential, but falls just under “[x] worth the read.”

      Is it weird that I still love it?

      • Stephjones

        Check out page 70 –the freezer is full of meat. I just really hated the Ben character when he killed Ernie. I’ve been a spearfisher-woman most of my adult life. It would be hypocritical to claim that Ben’s survival desires are wrong. I’ve lived off-grid and off the sea in pursuit of a simple life. I’ve killed a lot of seafood. I’m not ‘innocent” and thank god the grouper and lobster didn’t set the sharks on me (except for a few times)
        The killing of Ernie had Ben cross a line because it felt inserted for story-telling purposes only. Life with nature bonds you with nature. It becomes more about respect, which is the direction Rein went in. Ben’s obtuseness about his wife and the brave new world he was inhabiting made him an unsympathetic protag not because he was a mean-spirited man but because he really didn’t care enough to try to understand. He offered us no insights or fresh POV . There was never a moral dilemma because to his mind, one didn’t exist which made his character one dimensional. I didn’t find him to be a protag I could get invested in, which is crucial to a story of this sort.

        • PQOTD

          I also found it slightly weird that Ben and Rein had two boars but no sows. That’s like having a pair of rams but no ewes, or bulls but no cows.

        • Justin

          Smart catch there — yeah, this script needs a lot of work. But on the offchance that it gets made into a film, I’ll be the first to see it.

  • thedudespeaketh

    I really liked Rein’s refusal to eat meat, almost as if she was thwarting Ben’s quest to hunt animals. When he shot the rabbit in front of her, my heart goes out to her. My God, that inner struggle between compassion and what we as human’s need to survive is so fucked up. One or two more scenes like this wouldn’t hurt,

  • thedudespeaketh

    I did not get for a second that Ben was going crazy, or descending into madness. Did not pick up on that at all, if in fact that’s what was happening.

  • Mike.H

    I’ll be controversial a bit due to Monday workday blues. Half of readers here liked it cause Carson flashed two giant mighty thumbs up.

    • thedudespeaketh

      Controversial? More like a hidden contrivance. LOL! Does this mean you won’t take anything I say about the script serious?

    • thedudespeaketh

      I would have thought impressive is more than two thumbs. No?

    • JasonTremblay

      Yes, no one has their own mind except you. You really are an arrogant &$@.

      How’s that for controversy?

      • Mike.H

        I don’t work as Barista; not remotely close. Thank you from Lattka Gravis the TV sitcom character — Taxi.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      We are followers. We are sheep. If the peanut gallery had actually been participants in the script some of us would have been in the crosshairs of Ben’s riffle; a metaphor for putting your script out there. Maybe a couple of us would have made it to that end reveal at the campfire, but I’m not sure.

      Didn’t get this UNTIL I thought about it later but the antagonists name of “Rein” was totally apropos. Rein is short for reindeer and they would most certainly NOT have been on onboard with what Ben was doing to those animals. No “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas” for him!

      • GoIrish

        A Bentley running over a Reindeer.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Funny how there are also at least two sides to one thing. My controversial take is that the other half is just upset that C doesn’t like their own scripts as much as this one so obviously, they’ll hate this one.
      Who’s right, who’s wrong? No one :)
      Oh, and we’re not all blind sheep stupidly following a leader. Some of us do have the mental capacity for personal opinion…

  • Randall Alexander

    So many scenes of them sleeping/in bed. ZERO action between the two. No wonder Rein went off the rails.

  • hickeyyy

    Thanks for popping in, Logan.

    It seems you’ve sent this forum into a flurry of anger or delight, with very little in between.

    Good luck! I hope this review gets you some eyes on your work.

    • Logan Martin

      Yes, I never imagined that it would get such a strong reaction. And thanks!

  • ASAbrams

    Hmm. I actually don’t want to be on the “wasn’t for me” side, but here I am. Maybe because I figured out what was going on with the animals when I was told in an aside that the pigs parted as if interrupted in the middle of a conversation. Then my mind went, Animal Farm + Horror + POV of the humans. Everything became inevitable from there.

    Knowing the mystery is only part of what turned me off though. I thought that what the author was working from was interesting. However, this seemed to be too sparsely and vaguely told. If a reader is into the story, all the holes and connections will be filled in when encountering an ambiguous scene or action. But someone like me will only think, nothing’s happening. Or at least nothing definite.

    Moreover, I don’t think the story explored the full implications of what was happening to this couple. It seemed that Ben was becoming more voracious in his meat-eating, as well as how he was treating Rein. This thread was dropped before it really got started. I think the predator/prey concept could be deepened within the context of a marriage. Rein showed wariness and resentment toward her husband but never fear even when Ben force-fed her meat. Also, how would Ben get along with the wolves or other predators?

    Actually, a lot of threads were introduced and then dropped before going anywhere. For instance, when they got together with the neighbors, I wasn’t sure why they were so against it. They all got along fine—what was the big deal? It wasn’t as if the neighbors were pressuring Rein to eat meat or giving them electrical appliances all the time. Did the off the grid goal include no contact with humans? How did Ben and Rein think that would work?

    Another example: Rein was obviously talking with the pigs in the woods at night and being influenced by those conversations (as seen by her sudden vegetarianism and the change in her painting subjects), but I would have like to have known the fuller picture of how her worldview had changed. She became so closed off that I didn’t know what was going with her, even to the end.

    The ending didn’t feel satisfying without proper development of the main characters and their situation. I don’t think the ending itself was a problem (it would be to easy to make everything laughable if, say, Rein married the pig and had that baby that she had miscarried before). But I don’t think it was earned.

    The premise is solid. I’m not in the “concrete GSU or bust” camp. The couple striving to live off the grid and the effects that has on their marriage, good or bad, is enough for me. I just don’t believe the conflict was taken deeply or far enough (something that The Witch, which the author said this was compared to, did fairly well). I mean, the logline promised terrible changes happening to both the animals and the couple. Explore this idea more thoroughly.

  • klmn

    If you wonder where Carson is today, IT’S NATIONAL CHEESBURGER DAY!

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/09/18/national-cheeseburger-day/676395001/

  • http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts Eldave1

    Hmm.

    I dug the style/craftsmanship of the script. Not so much the story itself. At times if became a bit tedious – struck me that there were way too many “everything okay?” type scenes. It was a beat that appeared often.

    I had a hard time with the vegan = starvation issue. Aside from the fact that the planet is filled with healthy vegans, there were so many viable options for Rein to get nourishment (vs. starving) it just seemed like an unrealistic predicament for me. I mean rather than violently stuffing a wad of meat down her throat, why couldn’t Ben just fill the cabinets with fruits and vegetable. The woman he loves is starving to death so his dislike of stores as a barrier seemed like a false barrier to me.

    This passage:

    WILL
    So, what’s goin’ on with Rein?
    BEN
    What do you mean?
    WILL
    Well, I mean… somethin’ isn’t
    right. You said she just up and
    stopped eatin’ meat. People don’t
    do what she’s doin’ for no reason.
    Somethin’ caused it.

    Kind of summed up some of the logic problems. Aside from what was the day before a perfect stranger psycho analyzing a woman he doesn’t know, it’s just an odd premise in a world full with vegans. i.e., yes, people do stop eating meat – all the time.

    The ending also didn’t do it for me.

    Anyway – some real solid writing for what I thought was less than a solid story.

  • Nick Morris

    OT (but keeping with the topic of polarizing films) has anyone seen “mother!” yet? I haven’t, but I’m thinking about checking it out. I wonder what Carson’s take on that will be?

    • huckabees

      Carson is bashing “mother!” on twitter.

      I will watch it in the next few days. My feeling is: if you like Bunuel or other surreal movies, there’s a chance you’ll like “mother!”. But I think it’s not for the straight horror guy.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        It’s the popular thing to do right now. May even supplant bashing the president elect, who knows.

      • Nick Morris

        I’m generally down for surreal, metaphorical stuff if it makes me think and isn’t too pretentious. Seems like this one could go either way…

        • klmn

          Looking at the list of character names, it might be heavy-handed. But maybe some want that.

        • huckabees

          Yeah, could easily go in the direction of something like “Neon Demon” – hated that one. But it helps to take the risk if you have free tickets. So no harm done to my wallet, only possibly to my mind…

    • Kirk Diggler

      A friend saw it. Hated the fuck out of it.

    • Craig Mack

      It was absolute dogshit. A student film with, a budget and good actors. One of the most pretentious piles ever put to screen.

  • creakycranky

    What if Ben and Rein are young, from a rural town, decided to go off the grid to get away from family who thought they shouldn’t be together. Both Rein and Ben are avid hunters and that is originally what brought them together. Borrowing from someone’s idea below (sorry can’t find the original comment now) Ben and/or Rein shoot a doe that they find out is pregnant when they gut her. Shortly after this (or shortly before) Rein finds out she’s pregnant. Because they’re Romeo and Juliet-ing it off the grid, that would also account for their reluctance to interact with the neighbors. And the fact that their relationship was bound up in their love for hunting/meat would make Rein’s decision to go vegetarian have more of an impact on her relationship with Ben.

  • Kosta K

    I stopped eating meat a month ago and everyone is treating me the way Ben treats Rein! Hahaha

    The writing here was pleasantly transparent (except for some typos) and I enjoyed the pace. The payoff could use some work. I could definitely see this as a short or part of an anthology.

    Good stuff, Logan!

    • Midnight Luck

      Props to you for your meat abandoning!

      I gave it up over 11 years ago. Don’t miss it one bit(e).

  • Garrett

    When an amateur script gets an impressive on this site, it’s usually something to start paying attention to. With scripts like Disciple Program, which were obviously ahead of 99% of amateur scripts and many professionally written scripts, you’d expect something of the nature with this script.

    If Carson likes this script, fine, nothing can be said that will change his opinion of it. But there seems to be a glaring issue here with a comparison of scripts that easily earn their impressive rating and this script. There’s a level of craft on display in every other impressive rating except for this. This script, is muddled beyond reproach with significant errors.

    If Carson and we in this community are helping each other prep ourselves for a career in this field, celebrating this script only does harm to the writer as it sets the precedent that the effort and understanding of story put forth here is worthy of further investment by filmmakers and a possible career. This isn’t to say the writer is talentless or that the story was a waste of time, rather that it’s a great effort.

    Thankfully Carson is nice enough to read entire scripts for Amatuer Friday, where as the community resembles more closely how actual script readers act. If this showed up on the desk of a studio reader, there is no doubt it would be tossed in the pile before page twenty five as the pace is mind bendingly slow. Which is a huge issue throughout this script. Something that I don’t know if has ever been mentioned on the site. PACING. Scene after scene of eating and going to bed gets repetitive and does not push the story forward, which if the story isn’t being pushed forward at a fast enough pace….I’m sorry but, we are going to stop reading. Let’s be honest with each other that the only reason many of us kept reading was because Carson was blowing it up. If he hadn’t said anything about it, I venture to say reads would have been sparse.

    Logan, the best thing for you at this point would definitely be to keep writing. Take some of “Howie428″‘s notes to heart as I found his reservations to be professional and constructive. This script needs additional drafts to reach its full potential. Please don’t simply take Carson’s praise without taking the plethora of good criticism this review has afforded you!

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Time to give Quentin Tarantino a run for his money! Get ‘er made, ba-aoy! Get ‘er made.

    • Logan Martin

      Thanks! Obviously have a long way to go, lol.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Dude, strike when the iron is hot. Carson likes you. That doesn’t happen to just any ol’ person. He picked YOU! Which sure beats sitting picking your nose!

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Good suggestion, BUT it could backfire too.

  • Bacon Statham

    OT: Don’t wanna hijack the thread but, I found a decent site where you get paid to write. It’s based on views and gifts apparently. The more views you get the more money you get and people can give you money as a gift. It’s called Vocal.

    Anyway here’s my first attempt if anyone want to have a look. It’s a true story, based on recent experiences, which I’m still dealing with now. i guess it’s my way of venting.

    https://humans.media/my-first-love-1

    • PQOTD

      Mate, that’s tough. I hope you and she can work things out.

      • Bacon Statham

        Me too. Unfortunately I don’t think we’re gonna be able to. She hasn’t exactly been warm towards me these past few months, we’re not talking. I went a month of no contact and she decided to call me out of the blue crying about her new ex-boyfriend who had just recently dumped her. So she’s brought all these old feelings back and now she’s ignoring me, I kinda feel like the least she could do is talk to me. She said a part of her still loves me, she misses going places with me and that she cares about me, but it doesn’t feel like it. Not to mention her friend is harassing me too which is uncalled for.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Love the drawing.
      (I’m a sucker for great art.)

      • Bacon Statham

        Yeah, she drew it. She’s a playworker at an after school club.

  • Citizen M

    I munched on a lettuce newly pulled from the ground, crunched on a freshly-killed carrot, and lunched on the green life juices of wheatgrass pushed screaming into the blender. Then I cracked open the Kindle and commenced re-reading Meat, knowing it was awesome.

    And…

    I tried. I really tried. But I only got to page 12 this time and gave up.

    I kept thinking, why should I be interested in these people? They have absolutely no personality. Rein is a cypher. We know she paints and gardens and cans veggies, but other than that we know nothing about her. She could be anyone.

    Same for Ben. He shoots and cooks and does woodwork, but what sort of person is he? His conversations, such as they are, are boring. There’s no spark or animation. There’s no conflict, no goals, no problems. They are in a comfortable rut.

    In the first few pages of a screenplay/movie the reader/audience is very alert for clues. It’s like when you meet someone for the first time. You notice straight away so many things, many subliminally, that tell you social status, education, finance, ancestry, etc etc. These are things we are also looking for in a screenplay..

    For instance, at the store. We could learn a huge amount about Ben from the items he buys. Maybe woodworking tools, varnish, sandpaper, a new ax (at this stage we don’t know he does woodwork). But all we are told is he buys “some items”. That’s telling us nothing.

    He has a conversation with Jerry. It’s called “Martin’s Grocery” but Jerry works there. Is this a clue? Jerry mentions his sick wife. Is this a clue? He says “Not you, of course.” Why would Ben not get sick? Is it because of his isolation, or is there something paranormal about him that Jerry knows? These are questions we need answers to but don’t get. Just a boring conversation that doesn’t illuminate character or advance the plot.

    On page 12 a deer “stands tall on it’s hind legs”. I wasn’t sure if this was a clue. I imagined a deer with its forelegs against a tree as it tries to reach the lower leaves. Or does it stand on hind legs like a dog begging? Is this unusual? I don’t know deer. Maybe they need to do this to look over high grass. But judging from Carson’s review this is a major development. In which case it should be ALL CAPS and in a paragraph on its own to emphasize it, not dropped casually into the middle of an otherwise mundane paragraph as if it was perfectly normal.

    To me, the writer has done nothing to make the characters interesting or the situation intriguing. I couldn’t be bothered to read further, I don’t care how well others rate it.

    • huckabees

      Yep, this one won’t be winning a first-ten-pages contest soon.

    • Jaco

      “[A] deer ‘stands tall on it’s hind legs’ . . . [i]s this unusual?”

      Nope. Not at all.

      Heck, some of them suckers are even pretty good at pattycake.

      • Citizen M

        That’s amazing. You could score that like a boxing match. The one on the left got some solid hits in.

        • Stephjones

          they fight like girls

      • klmn

        Those stands are empty. That’s what I call piss-poor promotion.

      • huckabees

        Oh my God, it has begun…

      • PQOTD

        Roos do it MMA-style. Check out how they balance on their tails to use their hind legs.

      • Billie B

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/596e1c5b1981385ecbf200dc97623980d621d88bee1a038a82f55cf1f5eb1e41.jpg

        I walked in on this going on in my basement today and freaked the fuck out.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Typical Saturday night where I live.
        Two does fighting.

    • r.w. hahn

      100% on the same page as you. Nothing happened, nothing was happening, and by page 12 it seemed to me nothing was going to happen. By that time I my eyes glazed over and … and….what was I saying?

    • Devil.Fear.Dark.TRIO.GO

      test

  • Citizen M

    Agreed. I don’t think the writer did enough research on off the grid living.

    • PQOTD

      I can definitely see it as a short, too. That was my first instinct: it’d be a terrific short film, then the writer wouldn’t have to bother wih explaining a bunch of stuff like Rein’s lost baby or their former life in New York or the implausibility of their life off the grid.

  • PQOTD

    Lol at your very last comment, Shiv.

    • shiv maharaj

      Haha to be honest psychological thrillers and horrors generally are not my cup of tea, so it would take a really spectacular one for me to watch it cinemas. I enjoyed the Meat screenplay enough though that I would happily watch it for free though. On the otherhand something like Ballerina which Carson reviewed recently is definitely a movie that I would watch in cinemas.

  • Midnight Luck

    So I had only read to about page 16 before, and MEAT really didn’t bring the juice.

    But after Carson’s GLEE on Friday, I went back and read it in less than an hour.

    Now, anything I say, isn’t to disparage the writer, or his talents.

    But, I don’t see it.

    #1. Don’t be boring.
    #2. Give us character.
    #3. I’ll just stop there.

    Yes it is easy to read. Yes it is quick. Yes it is short.

    Are all those things good things? Are they all good when combined? I don’t think so.

    I don’t understand praising a script because it just flies by without effort.

    good for paid readers I guess, but it has to say something about the screenplay when it is so short and quick.

    Anyhow, my problem with it, as happens many times, I knew where it was going, I knew just about every step that was coming.

    Plus it had so many steps which were written to be mysteries, but instead came across as more wait time. Lots of vague unknowns. Lots of wait and see.

    For such a short script, you’d think it would just make it cruise. But instead the pacing and setups made it a slog while also being fast (short).

    As a script, this could’ve made a fantastic short. I’m not sure how you’d extend it into a full fulfilling script. There’s so much in it that could be cut, trimmed, really refined, that you could make it 30 pages without losing much.

    Lots of “ok”‘s, lots of empty looks, and agreements. Lots of staring into space, or at dishes.

    I get the writer is going for ATMOSPHERE, with a capital A, and also setting us up, but the execution is too slow, and not in a – pleasing and exciting slow burn- kind of way. No, it is just slow.

    I like the neighbors in the cutting room, but I also saw it coming.

    Okay, sounds like I am bashing too much, but mostly I just don’t see where the love of it comes from.

    I am all for the animals coming in for payback time, but we don’t get that very much. I’d love to see Bert or Ernie come in with a hammer and a tenderizer, Denzel Washington / Equalizer style and beat people to a bloody pulp.

    You want to get some serious retribution, I want to see the animals give it back in spades.

    It doesn’t have to be all mayhem and gore, but definitely want to have at least one scene of Redemption that feels utterly (!) deserved.

    ——
    Congrats to the writer for getting such an awesome score, and I wish him well with this and in the future.

    • brenkilco

      Yes this praise of brevity and its cousin white space is sometimes irritating. But I sort of get it. Carson has said that what a reader wants most is a great script. I dunno. Depending on how he’s being compensated I think what a reader wants most from any script is to already have finished it.

    • Citizen M

      You can get serious retribution from plants as well. My fingertips are still sore from being stung by stinging nettles this evening. (I grow them and eat them. They don’t sting once you’ve steamed them, but if you don’t handle them carefully when harvesting and chopping… ouch!)

      • Stephjones

        I get indigestion when I eat too much lettuce. I think That counts.
        Edit: and don’t get me started on cucumbers!

        • PQOTD

          If I remember rightly, fat-free ice cream had a similar effect on you, Steph. (Or was it sugar free?)

          • Stephjones

            holy crap! that stuff’s toxic!

      • Midnight Luck

        Cabbage and cruciferous stuff gives many people gas.

        it’s a war out there.

    • Malibo Jackk

      “I’d love to see Bert or Ernie come in with a hammer and a tenderizer,
      Denzel Washington / Equalizer style and beat people to a bloody pulp.”

      (This is what happens when you eat too many vegetables.)

    • august4

      Agree…. This would make a much better short.

  • huckabees

    Nitpicky question: using “etc.” several times in a screenplay?

    To me, that seems kind of careless. The writer could have painted a specific picture for the reader but instead he basically goes for: anyhooyeknowwaddamean.

    Thoughts?

    • brenkilco

      casual, lazy, imprecise, indicative of a lack of descriptive skills etc.

    • Jaco

      If the writer didn’t have a specific purpose, then probably not the best choice.

      Maybe here, they were used three times in filler scenes to convey a certain tone – that is – what Ben was doing was mundane and of no great import. Could have been a way to lull the reader to a false sense of boredom?

      That said, I’d carve ‘em out.

    • Justin

      Rarely necessary.

  • thewildkingdom

    Hey, I want to congratulate the writer for getting Carsons respected attention. All I ask when I put a new script out into the universe, is that someone will read and just ‘get it’. I mean that’s what it takes to get a film made; a bunch of people who just see it when maybe others don’t. I do not see what Carson see’s and it is almost maddening to me. I feel like like I have seen variations of this story done a lot better, but maybe those scripts were like Meat, on paper: very repetitive and unsatisfactory in the end (and no I am not describing my sex life). I just think Carson could envision it and I couldn’t. You’re not better than me, Carson!

  • ThomasBrownen

    Congrats Logan! Let us know what happens. We all want to be jealous of you. :)

    • Logan Martin

      I don’t know if that’s true, but thank you!

  • Levres de Sang

    Late to the party, but here are the notes I wrote yesterday…

    BEST AMATEUR SCRIPT OF THE YEAR with an [x] impressive made this a must-read. If only to get a line on the guy who’s read more scripts than anyone out there!

    This script is far from perfect (it really needs a proofread) but as Carson already mentioned: We become exponentially more invested as it goes along. Next thing to brush aside is page-length. It’s NOT a problem in my estimation. There’s so much seasonal TONE here to work with. Indeed, with its collage-like evocation of life off-the-grid, a Terrence Malick-inspired director could comfortably bring this in at a respectable 88-90 minutes. Indeed, the script emulates the experience of actually watching a film: those silences between Ben and Rein are driven by an all-consuming mystery — one that keeps us reading. Enigmatic beats that work in much the same way as they do on screen (when we might wonder to ourselves, “Why is such and such a character acting like this?”) In short, they are opportunities to ponder a film’s bigger mystery. In this respect, an interesting comparison is PALMER (a Black List script Carson reviewed earlier this year). There, I felt scenes were little more than vignettes with most of them ending on some variation of “Palmer and Vivian stare at each other for a long, lingering beat…” Ben and Rein are not dissimilar, but there’s one crucial difference: Meat uses MYSTERY to fuel these silences (What’s happening to Rein?) whereas Palmer remains routine indie fare with its protag forming “an unlikely-but-powerful bond” with a third character.

    A few other things that impressed me in MEAT:

    — Deliberate pace offset by TIME-CUTS. There’s always a sense that things have moved on or changed in some small way.

    — Only two instances of BACKSTORY: the evening with Will and Hannah around halfway and the found mementoes near the end. Just right for this kind of story.

    — The script felt TONALLY all of one piece. None of the issues that plague so many amateur scripts.

    Overall, despite its errors here and there, the author displays a real understanding of how a film unfolds — and because of this his script ends up doing a lot of things well. I can understand Carson’s enthusiasm.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    The quality of a script can be quantified by what you’d want to steal from it and

    • http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts Eldave1

      Love that scene!

    • Malibo Jackk

      Makes me think some of my scenes are too short.
      Some scenes should build.

    • Midnight Luck

      PS Hoffman, best actor in generations.
      Love him.
      Miss him.

    • -n8-

      “The quality of a script can be quantified by what you wish you could steal from it and use in your own work”

      Fuck. Thats brilliant insight.

      Like no bullshit. Brilliant.

      Thanks O!

  • ScriptChick

    Congrats to Logan for scoring an impressive! I think the tone/setting was the thing I admired most, also the attention to detail concerning the subject meat and making a deer’s look creepy since usually I perceive deer as prey vs. stalking predators watching your every move.

    Going off of the Witch, I have seen it and yes, it was similar to me in terms of the wooded isolation and slow burn. Some people like ambiguity, but here, with so much saved for the end, I’m not sure how much the ambiguity helped/hurt the story. In Witch (spoilers), I thought the slow burn was well earned because at the end it’s all very clear to us that the girl’s family has run-in with witches and the black goat is the devil who tempts her to join the coven. We know exactly who naked adolescent woman (and what our ending is) is as she floats up to the trees (if you join the coven, you’ll float too!). The ending here is a lot for us to surmise — the logical being Rein behind it all…but you give us a visual of animals sitting (by their own powers I would assume so there was no other direction otherwise). Plus with all the other hints that the ending can only be that the animals could act and talk like real people. That leaves soooo many questions to me that with a little less ambiguity, I think I would be able to buy the whole story. If you’re going for the illogical, I need a little more things in there to make it believable.

    But I love the pressure cooker setting and seeing it all through Ben’s eyes. I think you can beef up Rein’s part more and I would even consider involving the neighbor’s again. Like the reveal of them in the end, very shocking — but maybe another setup with them vs. the initial dinner party? Did Rein and Ben visiting them open the floodgates for unannounced visits and pleasantries?

    And one thing I need explained to me if anyone wants to jump in? What did Rein’s glasses for to do with anything? She wore them and when she started eating vegetables and/or realizing the true nature of the animals….she didn’t need them anymore? How does that figure? What ocular powers did she gain with that knowledge and/or change of diet besides eating carrots is supposed to help?

    And was Cowboy bullied into choosing the animal’s side vs. Ben’s? That was my guess as he was hiding his hind legs (like he was forced to walk upright) but I think even with the dog that conflict of allegiance can be shown more.

    • Logan Martin

      Re: Glasses

      They’re meant to represent a small way that Rein is trying to become less human. This is highlighted at the same time that Ben shaves/cut his hair, which in turn makes him look less like an animal. So when he asks her if she likes his new look, she doesn’t.

      • g r e n d l

        Why didn’t you make this more Rein’s story than Ben’s?

        She liked him more when he was long haired and bearded because it was more animal like…

        Well eating raw meat is animal like too, like predator animals.

        Do you think lions eat veggies???

        I want to understand what you’re trying to say here in this story. Siding with herbivores is well and good but thats not the entire animal kingdom.

        You know that right?

        • klmn

          And of course pigs are omnivores.

          Dogs are carnivores.

          • Omoizele Okoawo

            A vegetarian dog is a dead dog and pigs will eat other pigs.

  • Apex

    Hi Logan, I’m not sure if you’re planning a rewrite based on any of the notes around here, either way, now is a good time to look for a manager (if you don’t already have one that is). Don’t let this moment of heat lose momentum. It’s not every day someone gets an impressive rating here on scriptshadow. Now is the time to capitalize on it. Send out queries and be sure to point out your impressive rating here. Provide them with a link to this page so they can see it for themselves. There’s no guarantees in this business, but I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll get significantly more reads because of this, and probably signed by someone. Don’t ignore this. Good luck.

    • Logan Martin

      Thanks! I’ve been editing it throughout the whole process.

  • Apex

    Hi Logan, I’m not sure if you’re planning a rewrite based on any of the notes around here, either way, now is a good time to look for a manager (if you don’t already have one that is). Don’t let this moment of heat lose momentum. It’s not every day someone gets an impressive rating here on scriptshadow. Now is the time to capitalize on it. Send out queries and be sure to point out your impressive rating here. Provide them with a link to this page so they can see it for themselves. There’s no guarantees in this business, but I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll get significantly more reads because of this, and probably signed by someone. Don’t ignore this. Good luck with it.

  • Adam McCulloch

    OT: Has anyone else had that moment of disappointment at not being shortlisted for a competition, followed by this strange self-satisfied joy when you realize that you never entered it to begin with?

    • PQOTD

      Um, nope. Lol. Yet to cross that Rubicon.

      • Adam McCulloch

        Asking for a friend (hangs head and shuffles away from computer)

        • PQOTD

          Ah, yes – we all have such “friends”. Our little crosses to bear, aren’t they?

    • shewrites

      Yes. Felt more stupid than relieved though:-)

  • Craig Mack

    You CRAZY for this one, C.

  • Paul Clarke

    Of course if the audience is going to do all the imagining then they may as well save the high cost of a movie ticket and stay and home and stare at the wall and imagine any story they like.

    People pay to see a story, not have one vaguely implied.

  • PQOTD

    Hmm. Read most of the comments now, and, oh boy, is Meat ever polarizing!

    Some love it, others hate it, and some just shrugged or scratched their heads wondering what all the fuss is about.

    I’m still not sure where I fit into that mix. I don’t mind slow burns, and I thought the writer has talent, but the repetitive beats (hunting, butchering, cooking ad nauseum) in such a short, thin script and that the characters seemed a bit one-dimensional (imho) bothered me.

    I read it and thought there could be something there, especially as a short film for a festival, but is this a feature film I would hand over my hard-earned $$ to see?

    No, I can’t say that it is, and I guess that’s ultimately what counts, isn’t it?

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      I don’t know if such polarizing is due to hype, envy or just plain pigheadedness – yes, pun intended :) But most of all, it does showcase that most of the commenters judge a script as if it was a final shooting draft, even becoming somewhat mean in the process. Very few people here know how to look beyond what’s on the page and state constructive arguments for his/her pros/cons. And with this one, the possibilities are huge because everything is already right there on the page and that deseverves an Impressive in itself. Yes, it needs work – not because it’s a bad story but because it’s a damn good one that deserves to go as high as it gets.

      • PQOTD

        I hope I didn’t come across as mean because that certainly wasn’t my intent, Marija. I realise the script’s in need of development.

        As I noted really early on, I agree with Carson that it’s in need of another subplot to – ahem – flesh it out a bit more, and I suggested do more with Rein’s miscarriage (if that’s what it was), or bring in a killed, pregnant doe to freak her out to trigger her heightened empathy with the animals and her vegetarianism.

        I guess in part, too, I’m a bit squeamish about so much killing, butchering and cooking wildlife where it’s done almost to the point of fetishizing hunting, so those repetitive beats got a bit much for me but wouldn’t bother others.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Oh no, not at all :) I was commenting in a general way – not directly at you ;) – ‘cos it’s not the first time that there’s been such a divide over a script and well, I think some people just get a little carried away sometimes… After all, it’s easier to just “slam” something than critisizing it in a constructive way. I loved this story but I also see a few negatives in there and feel that there’s room for improvement. Of course, some subject matters just don’t appeal to our personal sensibilities – despite being a horror fan, I do have some as well, trust me :) And cannibalism is actually among them even though I think it’s an immensely strong theme.

          I did pick up on the negativity surrounding Ben but it didn’t bother me as I didin’t see him as the protag – Rein clearly is since she is the one we latch on to emotionally. I actually liked the dark weirdness characterising him because the guy moves out into the woods to live off the grid and off the land but he seems to grow an inexplicable hatred for anything out there. That, to me, is a very interesting subject worth digging deeper into, for instance.

      • Stephjones

        “Polarizing due to hype, envy, or pig-headedness..” or the other possibility…it didn’t actually have a storyline which made sense. it is now in Carson’s top 25 and held up as a sample of what to strive for yet the story is contrived and nonsensical with under developed characters and a climax which wasn’t properly set-up.. I think we can all see the potential in what Logan is trying to do but, IMO, this script is so rough the story could go anywhere. I thought it was about a guy slowly going insane. Is it? Who knows. But I’m damned sure entitled to give feedback about what’s actually on the page. Any story can be read and its potential speculated about. Most readers give feedback on what they think you SHOULD have written. your assumption that you GET what Logan is trying for and the ones who can’t see his brilliance are pig-headed? Give me a break.. If Logan can’t see the value of the feedback he’s received on this site, both positive and negative, he can go fuck himself. For you to label any feedback which is not in alignment with yours as envy driven pigheadedness.? Well, feel free to do the same.

  • Lucid Walk

    Who did kill Will and Hannah? Or is that part of the mystery?

    • Logan Martin

      It’s supposed to be at least somewhat ambiguous, but Bert is likely the mastermind.

  • klmn

    And someone wake up Carson. He can’t sleep through National Cheeseburger Day!

  • thewildkingdom

    My worry now is that Carson will turn around after reading all the comments and say; at least it got a reaction! You’re talking about it! I think we are all reacting so strongly because Carson amped it up so much. Over hype is what proceeds meager gratification.

    • klmn

      He’s not responding to anyone’s comments.

  • Garrett

    Whether he’s in a hurry or not, I am not sure. But I think you are right. This script is easily average or slightly above. But who knows, maybe he’s using a sliding scale rating system now?

  • ccm30

    I haven’t read the script yet but it seems to me like this script could have avoided a lot of issues people here have with it in the comments by getting into the weird animal/horror stuff earlier. Develop the relationship with Ben and Rein and their self-isolation situation while building the whole animal thing simultaneously. That way you aren’t spending ten pages in the beginning pouring cement for the foundation of this story with nothing other than world-building happening. That seems to be why everyone is getting so turned off (plus so many people here treat reading a script like a high jump rather than a 10k), because so much of the opening deals with building the story rather than actual telling it. Doesn’t help that, at first glance (now that I’ve opened the script while typing this up), the script is littered with mundane slices of life no one wants to read about (exchanging “Mornin’s”, a step-by-step sequence of watching normal food be cooked normally, etc.). I mean really I hate to say this but like get to the meat of the script asap.

    • ccm30

      Also btw I’m only saying the above because I think, once the story actually gets going, it’s a fun read. It feels like an actual movie rather than a script. So I don’t mean any of the above in just like bare critique but also with the fact that I’m enjoying it and hope it succeeds.

      • CCM30

        Finished the script not much longer after posting last night.

        Truthfully, while I still enjoyed the script and I think it (and the writer) have a lot of potential, there are still glaring issues. Despite it feeling very much like a movie, this really isn’t a feature film. Not just the length — the movie doesn’t even properly end. It’s like I watched the first thirty minutes of an hour and a half film.

        What’s off-putting is, despite the short length, there’s so much padding and filler in this script. In the dialogue, with repetitive exchanges of trivial small talk; repetitive description; repetitive beats (both literally and figuratively). And then when you get to some truly crazy stuff happening…the script just abruptly ends.

        It just all feels very unfinished. So it is a bit perplexing how this got the rating it did. It has the potential to get that rating. This script seems like a draft that precedes the draft that should be getting the rating it did, but because that later draft doesn’t actually exist it seems, here we are.

        Still, I enjoyed it, so I hope it’s worked upon because the script is begging to be improved.

  • Avatar

    Was this entered into one of the screenwriting contests? If so, how did it do?

  • John B

    Well, I read it and was oddly moved by it. I read some of the feedback. Some good stuff in here, and some just seemed unduly harsh. Guess I better develop thicker skin until I can write like this. The only thing I’d say about it is the ending is going to be tough to pull off on film, without it looking hokey. It’s one thing to write it, another to pull it off. But… he had me. I breezed through it, and liked how economical the dialog was even though certain things that others have called out felt a bit off to me. I’m just an amateur screenwriter, so what do I know? But, the script affected me for sure, and I liked it a lot better than scripts that I’m apparently supposed to like. It seemed to me that if there was a really good anthology horror series as good as “Black Mirror,” this would fit really well in 70 minutes. Like most, I had no clue what ROYGBIV was. Just assumed it was a typo and kept going. Nice job, Logan.

  • scottdow01

    Really enjoyed this, love the pacing. Would be easier to rattle off all the things I liked, two cents on things that I felt could use some boosting were:

    What is their sexual relationship like before Rein decides to stop eating meat? I get that it would be nonexistent in such a fractured relationship post-going vegan, but I think we deserve to see a creative choice in how this couple are intimately, would tell us a lot about them. And of course in a creative way. Just, from the beginning there was barely any intimacy between them, I feel like that can help contribute to Ben’s frustration – not in an obvious way – but also the arc of their demise.

    The other note I had, was, as few and far between as their conversations were, which I ultimately did like, it was a little too hard to believe Ben would wait so long to have a serious conversation with Rein about what was going on with her. We had full seasons passing us by and he always kind of skirted around the issue, which I found unbelievable. I think it’s a simple fix though.

    Great job!

  • cjob3

    This was definitely worth the read. Intelligently written, great slow burn but – is it just me? – picturing those two deer talking on hind legs make me this of a Far Side cartoon.