amateur-offerings-weekend

I’ll start today’s Amateur Offerings out by offering a couple of tips.  It’s funny because the things I assume are common sense are mistakes I keep seeing over and over again.  First, when you’re submitting a script anywhere, don’t start your e-mail with “To Whom It May Concern.” Know where and who you’re sending your script to and address them personally. In a world where people are so busy that they’re looking for every excuse to say no, an informal greeting gurantees your query won’t be read. In addition to this, please know the difference between words like “it’s” and “its” and “who’s” and “whose.” I will, without hesitation, dismiss these queries as soon as I read the misused word. This may seem cruel. But my experiences have taught me that these are always the sloppiest scripts.  Okay, here are this week’s contenders!  Read and tell us what you think in the comments.

Title: New Coke
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Premise: In 1985 the Coca-Cola company made the epicallly boneheaded decision to discontinue its original flavor in favor of a newer, sweeter one. A national nightmare ensued, which forever changed the destinies of three southern families.
Why You Should Read: It’s a mostly true story about one of the most fascinating marketing cases of modern times. Yes, it could be considered a long commercial for Coca-Cola, but it worked out for “The Lego Movie”, didn’t it?

Title: Wars of Eternal Spring
Genre: Martial arts/Asian epic
Logline: A rebellious-minded woman in ancient China seeks the help of Shaolin to save her village from a love-obsessed General and his bloodthirsty Captain.
Why You Should Read:  I’m a 44 year-old soccer mom who secretly loves kung fu. There are a lot of us out there – sneaking into Man of Tai Chi after the lights go down; snagging a $5 copy of Ip Man at 2nd & Charles so the Netflix queue stays “clean.” Every day we chauffeur, tend, cook, coordinate and cajole while desperately longing to settle things with a swift scorpion kick.

“Wars of Eternal Spring” took shape after the perfect storm of a “fu-binge,” Robert Downey, Jr. interview and spur-of-the-moment Google on “Wing Chun style.” Not long afterwards I read that Keanu Reeves was looking for his “next story” to direct. Filling needs is practically my raison d’etre these days, so the off-hand words of a man I’m never likely to meet were more than enough to fuel a feeble flame and get writing.

I gave myself a year. I even told my therapist. In between writing bouts I read screenplays and books on creative processes, story structure and character development. I searched high and low for a critique group. All the while I worked, re-worked and started to get a sense of how much time, realistically, writing anything worthwhile takes.

I believe that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. Your professional, experienced review would go a long way toward helping me do that. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Title: Lights On The Lake
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller
Logline: When a young woman fails to convince a small town that a former Nazi scientist is responsible for the death of her husband, she decides to destroy the menace herself.
Why you should read: I’ve spent a few years researching MK-Ultra and other Cold War mind control experiments from the early-1950’s. What I found most fascinating was the shadowy personnel employed by the government agencies as well as the strong resistance of the local populations, even though many of them where being completely misled by authorities.

Title: West Carver High
Genre: Horror
Logline: After all the teachers of a small-town high school disappear out of thin air, the students find themselves trapped in the building with man-eating wendigos… and no one is coming to save them.
Why You Should Read: You know what I hate in horror films? Dumb teenagers. I’d like to think this script is mostly absent of that, at least as far as “hey guys let’s put ourselves in danger because reasons!” I also wanted to capture how a group of teenagers would react in the face of an extraordinary, otherworldly event with no adult oversight. In this case, much of the student body reacts in a horrifying way: by building and supporting a monstrous social hierarchy just as threatening as the “real” monsters hiding in the school. I pitch it as in the vein of THE SHINING and LORD OF THE FLIES. Oh, and one more thing: an older draft of this made the semi finals in the Creative World Awards — so I’d love your perspective to help bring this script to the next level. Thank you!

Title: Condemned
Genre: Horror
Premise: Controlled-demolition experts tasked with bringing down an eerie grand hotel awaken the deadly supernatural force inside, putting them into a fight for their lives to escape (It’s the Overlook Hotel from THE SHINING meets explosive experts).
Why you should read: Since our last Amateur Friday appearance, we’ve been working hard to hone our craft and learn from our shortcomings on THE HOSTAGE. Have we made forward progress? We’re hoping Scriptshadow fans would like to know! Our latest collaboration, CONDEMNED, works in the same low-budget horror realm as THE HOSTAGE, but (hopefully) has richer characters and more satisfying surprises. Is the second time the charm? (Although, to be clear, the first time was definitely a charm–Scriptshadow got that script optioned.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Regarding ‘Wars of Eternal Spring’ — I’m curious as to why in your logline you don’t make reference to the fact that this story is about Wing Chun and Ng Mui, actual historical figures surrounding the origin of Wing Chun as a style?

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for taking a look at CONDEMNED. Sorry to throw you off with the very first line! There are tons of ways to do the same scene. We chose to try to capture that feeling of a close-up on an object to the point where you don’t yet know the location. We wanted to say, “pay attention to this object”.

      Here’s another time scripts don’t start with a clear location: You’re in a room, but the lights are off. So instead of writing:

      —–

      EXT. WRITERJOEL’S PORN DEN – NIGHT

      Total blackness, until Joel turns on the light to reveal an endless glory of tentacle-copious delights.

      —–

      You’ll write:

      —–

      BLACKNESS

      Until a CLICK of a light switch reveals–

      EXT. WRITERJOEL’S PORN DEN – NIGHT

      Joel enters his shrine to hentai fan-service.

      —–

      The second one feels preferable to us. Potato-spud.

      Please note, a script nazi could take your preference for CAPITAL LETTERS, and say, “Capital letters are for sounds and character intros only!” But to that, I say to each his own.

      • Gregory Mandarano

        A script nazi would be wrong. Capital letters are for emphasis, as are underlines, italics, and bold. All that matters is clarity, and it should never be sacrificed.

  • Poe_Serling

    Of course, the two that caught me eye right away – West Carver High and Condemned.

    From the writer of West Carver High: “…in the vein of THE SHINING and LORD OF THE FLIES.”

    From the writers of Condemned: “It’s the Overlook Hotel from THE SHINING meets explosive experts.”

    A horror slugfest. I like it!!

    • Poe_Serling

      Just finished the first ten of Condemned. A few quick thoughts so far..

      >>Liked how the writers jumped right into the action of preparing for the demolition.

      >>Clever and effective way of introducing the script’s characters** by following Charlie through the site as he unspools the wire.

      **Quite a few of them to keep track of in the opening pages.

      >>Starting to build a creepy atmosphere with shadows, noises, and lights that won’t turn off.

      **Page 8 – A trick of light? I always thought is was A trick of the light? Perhaps both ways are right.

      I’ll definitely keep reading this one.

      • andyjaxfl

        Quick side complaint about Stone Cold Steve Austin’s The Condemned. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I recall it being one of the softest R-rated movies I’d seen. I expected a movie with that cast and premise to have a nasty Paul Verhoeven ultra violence edge to it, but no such luck. There are bloodier episodes of Supernatural! And it’s hardly Stone Cold, the classic B-movie starring Brian Bosworth either!

      • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

        Thanks for giving CONDEMNED a look!

    • Poe_Serling

      The first ten of WEST CARVER HIGH. More quick thoughts…

      >>Title – sorta just okay in my opinion. It didn’t give me a horror vibe at all. Sounds more like a setting on a kids’ channel show such as Zoey 101, which takes places at The Pacific Coast Academy.

      >>Easy to read style and format.

      >>Some creepy going-ons right off the bat. The image of the stage from hell in the school library packs a compelling visual punch.

      >>Quick and efficient introduction of the main players Memphis, Sam, and the sinister Montague.

      >>Storywise – Some intriguing ideas bouncing around in the first several pages of the script. You got The Book of Adar, Walter Raleigh, Roanoke Island, and even a hint of some possible H.P. Lovecraft-inspired unworldly business.

      It does make me curious as a reader how all of it will play out within the context of the story.

      I’ll keep reading this one too.

      **One quick suggestion in regard to using the SUPER… Personally, I would put the SUPER after the line or two of description.

      Instead of:

      INT. HALLWAY – 2ND FLOOR – DAY

      SUPER: Last summer

      This brand new high school looks more like a psychiatric ward. Pure white walls, barren. Fluorescent lights. Uniform rows of blue lockers. Almost too orderly, a tad unsettling.

      I might go with:

      INT. HALLWAY – 2ND FLOOR – DAY

      This brand new high school looks more like a psychiatric ward. Pure white walls, barren. Fluorescent lights. Uniform rows of blue lockers. Almost too orderly, a tad unsettling.

      SUPER: Last summer

      >>This way you gvie the audience/reader a bit of imagery first… then feed them the info.

  • scriptfeels

    drank a few too many beers to read atm, but will crack a few scripts tomorrow to give some feedback and criticism.

  • Lucid Walk

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE
    if I were a producer and I could only check based on logline alone, it’d have to be this script

    • Levres de Sang

      Also love the title and WYSR on this one! Not sure I’ve even heard of MK-Ultra, but it sounds fascinating…

      • Gregory Mandarano

        You have further down the rabbit hole to go if you’ve never heard of mkultra. I for one feel uncomfortable discussing certain topics online without a pseudonym. Im sure the mkultra wysr is for the author to allude to mental conditioning in his script, and represent himself as someone on the fringe of orthodoxy in research, and add credence to the depth he might go to incorporate a shadow government theme in his script.

        • Malibo Jackk

          ABC Developing ‘MKUltra’ CIA Miniseries | Deadline Hollywood

  • Tony

    Based on the first thirty-five pages.

    Due to the familiarity and slowness in how these stories progress.

    This is a bit of a tough-call.

    Out of the five, the two with potential are…

    1st Place honors – Wars of Eternal Spring

    2nd Place honors – Condemned

    Congratulations!

    Notes based on the first thirty-five pages .

    NEW COKE – comedy/drama

    Page one, watch the tenses. Backs into…

    Page two, there are quite a lot of writer intrusions here.

    Page ten, comparing this to The Lego Movie probably isn’t a good move. While this sounds interesting, nothing has happened up to this point.

    Page fifteen, Stanley and Paula seem like they’re meant to be the protagonists of the story. But we know nothing about them. Who are these people? Not knowing who we’re meant to be following, may come down to all the character that have been introduced so far.

    Page twenty-five, below is the logline? Is it the logline?

    In 1985 the Coca-Cola company made the epicallly boneheaded decision to discontinue its original flavor in favor of a newer, sweeter one. A national nightmare ensued, which forever changed the destinies of three southern families.

    The above offers the reader no insight into the story. Who are we meant to be
    following? What’s the story about? There’s a typo!

    Page thirty-five, a number of issues. Too many characters to keep track of. Who is the
    main player in the story? There’s been no focus on any one character. Fixing the logline, or creating one might help. Then there’s all the writer intrusions.

    All the best!

    WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING – martial arts/Asian epic

    action/adventure/drama etc.

    What is the genre of the story?

    Page five, quite a tough story to tell.

    Is the writer familiar with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Hero (2002). If not, watch them! The dialogue isn’t reading too authentic at this point.

    Page fifteen, at this point, we suspect that Wing Chun might be the main character of the story, as her behavior seems to be a little unruly one so far.

    Page twenty-five, while a pretty standard and familiar story, a character needing discipline, responsibility etc. The writing ticks along at a nice pace, and despite apprehensions about the dialogue. The writer displays a good grasp of storytelling.

    Page thirty-one, make sure we know when a time-jump has occurred.

    SUPER: Two weeks later. Summer.

    Page thirty-five, active main character. We never get a feeling that Wing Chun is asking her character through this story with her choices and actions. She needs to take more control of her journey. Potential here!

    All the best!

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE – sci-fi/thriller

    Page five, this very much feels like one of those B-movies from the fifties. Can’t really say why. It just does. It maybe down to how it is reading on the page, or just the logline.

    Page fifteen, it’s not clear who we should be following at the moment. It could be one of two characters, either Hildy, or Josie?! Hildy appears to be the more active one so far.

    Page nineteen, Hildy seems like the driving force of the story so far. Buddy and
    Gord are following at the moment.

    Page twenty-five, the main area the writer might want to take a look at, is the lack of
    a main character that’s really taking this story forward in a clear direction. According to the logline, it should be Josie, but she isn’t really doing very much of anything. If anything, Hildy seems to be the most proactive, she’s the one hassling Gord and Buddy to investigate.

    “When a young woman fails to convince a small town that a former Nazi scientist is irresponsible for the death of her husband, she decides to destroy the menace herself. “

    The above is the logline. The story isn’t unfolding this way. Who is the main character here? If Josie is meant to be the main player, she needs to come out of the background, and shadows, and become far more active. The story needs to be revolving around her concerns and paranoia. At the moment, she’s just pottering around. She’s a sleeper.

    All the best!

    WEST CARVER HIGH – horror

    Page three, this book, is it going to play an important role in the story later?

    Page seven, this book with evil saying and phrases, seems very familiar. Hate to make
    comparisons, but the Evil Dead (1981) springs to mind.

    Page fifteen, things seem to be taking a while to get going.

    Page nineteen, the teachers have gone missing. Good. Something interesting. But why?
    Not sure if we saw anything, but it would be interesting if one of the students read the incantation, or whatever that sets up the situation that they find themselves in. And this is what they have to fix by the end of the story.

    Page twenty-five, it’s still unclear as to who’s leading this group of students, and who the main character is going to be. Nothing has really been made clear yet. Memphis, perhaps? Sam seems to vanished.

    Page twenty-eight, this is the first bit of real horror. There hasn’t been a lot so far. Whether it be scares, or full-blown gore, there needs to be more.

    Page thirty-five, apparently it’s late in the afternoon and the parents of these students will be arriving soon. Which leads to the question? What’s happened to this school? Where has it ended up? People arrive and leave school just like anywhere else. People ring up the student office to get information etc. phones are always ringing, and people are always calling. Why hasn’t anyone tried investigating this school to see what’s happened to everyone?

    There seems to be some logic problems that need to be addressed.

    All the best!

    CONDEMNED – horror.

    Although, to be clear, the first time was definitely a charm–Scriptshadow got that script optioned.

    Well done on the option.

    But options are just the start of a very long process. There’s a marathon to get through and a finishing line to cross before you start getting ahead of yourselves.

    Page one, you shouldn’t use the word ‘WE’, very naughty. Has no place in a script.

    Only joking.

    Page five, the writing flows well. And the story ticks along at an easy pace.

    Page twelve, a scare!

    Page fifteen, a good bit of suspense here.

    Page twenty-five, who are we meant to be following here? Is it Jack, or someone else?
    For a horror, this is quite a slow-burn, much like the previous one.

    Page thirty-five, not a lot of horror going on in these pages, and the overall story of
    a bunch of people getting stuck somewhere with an evil force/entity seems overly familiar. And who is the main player? With so many to choose from, and no one taking the reins, makes it difficult to figure out.

    Reads well.

    And remember, don’t use the word ‘WE’. Bad. Bad. Bad. You’ll get into trouble!

    All the best!

    • brenkilco

      Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on these. On the vital question of “We” I agree it should be avoided though I’ve certainly seen it used in professional scripts and there are places where it can be tempting to use. Take a situation where you have a lengthy tracking shot into a house, the camera not following a character- no I don’t know why we’re doing this and yeah I know you’re not supposed to direct on the page but just suppose.

      Seem like you have three choices
      We pass through the front door, across the foyer and up the stairs.
      The camera passes through the front door, across the foyer and up the stairs.
      Passing through the front door, across the foyer and up the stairs.

      In this staccato era seems like number three would be the obvious choice. But it bothers me. It’s so untethered. What or who is passing through the front door? Only the audience POV and at least the two other choices make that clear. Plus I like whole sentences. Anyway, passing over your reviews we pause at the one about the Nazi scientist.

      • Tony

        No! No!

        Wasn’t saying you shouldn’t use ‘We’. By all means use it. If a sentence needs it, use it. We see, we hear, camera angles etc. If they’re needed, use them. Nothing wrong with using them. Should have written ‘By all means use them’ after! ‘Only joking’.

        The story is what matters.

        Story! Story! Story!

        No one’s going to drop a script they like, or see potential in, just because they came across these things. It’s a myth! The story and characters will always trump everything. The story is king!

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Believe you-me, We know what a free lollipop the option is! Or rather, it is known what a free lollipop the option is.

      All the best!

  • Andrea Moss

    New Coke. Nuff said!

  • Malibo Jackk

    No must read scripts.
    (What is a must read script anyway?)
    Good collection of genre scripts though.

    Beginning to question the value of the WYSR.
    I understand it eliminates some novice screenwriters,
    but no one goes to the theater based on a WYSR.

    Maybe we should be asking —
    What does the trailer look like?.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Is there such a thing as a trailer script? Like, a script that describes visuals and includes lines of dialogue from the actual screenplay?

      If so, it would be an interesting experiment to do an Amateur Offerings weekend where the winning script is chosen based on the strength of the trailer rather than based on the entire script itself.

      Most moviegoers are making these kinds of decisions based on trailers, so I wonder how it would change the results if we were limited to a narrow “trailer” view of each script instead of being given the entire script. Each writer would have to write a trailer script, pulling whichever visuals and lines they feel would make for good moments in the trailer (either because they are cool visuals or funny lines, or because they explain the plot and tease the story a bit).

  • Brooke

    New Coke. Interesting Idea. Clean writing. I’d love to see Carson tackle it.

  • ChadStuart

    Hey Guys. Thanks for all the notes on “New Coke” so far, and all the ones that are sure to come.

    I know it’s not a GSU type of script, but the story amuses me anyway. Don’t worry about being nice or sparing my feelings with your thoughts. Niceness isn’t going to improve it. Be blunt. Thanks!

    • Matthew Garry

      Are you secretly a team of gnomes?

      • ChadStuart

        No, but I have enslaved a family of monkeys and locked them in a rooom with typewriters. They’re actually much more efficient than the anecdote would have you believe…

    • Jonathan Soens

      “New Coke” is by far my favorite premise. The more I think about it, the more I want a movie made about that little sliver of history. But I stopped reading about 20% of the way through the script.

      While I love the idea of a script about this subject, it just didn’t feel like the script I wanted it to be. I can see what you’re going for with a whole quirky comedy tone, but I wanted something a little more serious.

      I may just be reading too much into this, but I got the sense that you were worried a story about suit-wearing executives and ad men wouldn’t be funny enough. So it felt like you were trying too hard to make sure comedy was coming from everywhere else, just to cover your bases.

      Making fun of accents?

      People exchanging “dick” and “pussy” insults?

      Making fun of fanboys who loved Coca-Cola?

      Olivia Newton-John references?

      Some landed, some didn’t, but I felt like you were spending too much time and energy working towards the wrong goal. You were courting laughs in tangential areas when you could’ve been telling a more dramatic story that would probably end up being funnier even with less laugh-baiting (because comedy is funnier once you’ve made the audience care more about the people/situation).

      Honestly, I think there is too much inherent comedy in the botched New Coke campaign for you to feel like you need to be constantly asking for ancillary laughs. I think you need to double down on telling a story that takes itself more seriously, confident that the laughs will still be there because of how genuinely laughable the whole New Coke fiasco was.

  • MichaelAQ

    Based on the loglines, West Carver High and Wars of Eternal Spring seem intriguing.

  • walker

    I vote for anyone that is an amateur and participates in the Scriptshadow community. I think the recent trend of connected or “semi-pro” writers attempting to use Amateur Friday to build some momentum for their stalled or moribund scripts is cynical and unhelpful. Does anyone else notice that these writers are typically uninterested in the substance of their review or in receiving notes or comments? They rarely even show up in the forums when they don’t get the “impressive” that they are certain they deserve. So they are revealing by their actions that they don’t really respect Carson’s criticism or value the community, they are just hijacking the Amateur Friday submission process for narrow self-promotional purposes. Quite a few interesting scripts, including some by regular commenters, have been ignored in favor of these semi-pro efforts, which would be slightly more understandable if any of them were really as good as their authors thought they were.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      “Amateur” should be any writer not signed with an Agent or Manager and/or doesn’t have a Producer attached to one of their scripts.

      Nothing against the Semi-pros out there (congratulations on your semi-success), but you’ve already got your foot in the door. Let this one day a week be for us real Amateurs (no agent, no manager, no producer).

    • jw

      I’m not even sure who you’re talking about, but holy shit that was an awesome kick in the teeth! You should start your own greeting card company called “Take That MuthaFucka!” Nicely done.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        Who he’s talking about, yesterday’s “amateur” already has a manager and she made ZERO comments about her script review.

        And one of today’s entry’s (Condemned) already has one of their other scripts (The Hostage) optioned.

        • jw

          Gotcha, and I can’t say I don’t agree with you, because I do. But, isn’t this the same as The Blacklist website now “carrying” The Verve scripts? I mean, something that began or at least had the “intention” of potentially giving a voice to an undiscovered writer has actually morphed into a new way for repped writers to get their material higher up the food chain, no? Can’t say I agree with that, and does it stink a little? Of course. But, what could possibly be done to change that? If the submitting writer simply left out the fact that they were repped and had a script optioned, then none of us would know. Maybe that’s something for Carson to consider — removing from WYSR any comments relating to where the writer is in their journey? This would at least remove any sort of bias from a reviewer and allow us all to view the material by itself without any preconceived notions. Just a thought.

    • Nicholas J

      Who said it’s a requirement for the writers to make comments? Maybe they don’t want to influence people’s opinions. Maybe they are afraid of coming off as petty if they defend their work. Maybe their script was submitted months ago and they haven’t thought to check the site lately. Maybe they’re on vacation or maybe their house just burned down. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

      An option has nothing to do with whether someone should be considered an amateur. I could option your script for a dollar. Does that make you a pro writer?

      Same goes for representation. You could have representation and still have never made a dime from your writing.

      If your script doesn’t get noticed on AOW, regardless of who wrote the other four, you don’t need a lower playing field. You need a better script.

      • walker

        Good question Nicholas J, who said it’s a requirement for the writers to make comments? Not me. I said the behavior of some of these writers is cynical and unhelpful, and that they seem uninterested in feedback. And I stand by that.

        • walker

          I should add that it is hardly a matter of “lowering the playing field” as these semi-pro scripts to which I refer are not markedly superior to the general quality of the AF submissions.

          • Nicholas J

            Then what’s the issue if their presence isn’t taking away from the opportunities of others? Because you think they are ungrateful? That’s a complete generalization based on your assumptions, and it’s something that shouldn’t have anything to do with who Carson lets in anyway.

          • walker

            Well I never considered whether they were “ungrateful”, but now that you mention it they do seem somewhat discourteous and self-regarding. But that is beside the point, which is that they are in fact edging out other hopefuls. By the way, you seem to have a lot more tolerance for their shenanigans than you do for my expression of what is clearly my personal opinion on this matter.

          • Nicholas J

            I’m respecting your opinion just fine and I’m simply giving you mine. No need to take this personal.

            To be honest, I’m not even sure what “shenanigans” you think I’m tolerating. One writer not being present in the comments section? Come on now. I’ve seen far, far worse from complete beginners on here, and I’m sure you have too.

            Nobody is stealing anyone’s shot at the spotlight, IMO.

          • walker

            Yeah the not participating is really a secondary issue for me, but as I say in my original post it sort of reveals the cynicism of the writers in question. What I think happens is this: when selecting the five scripts that will comprise an Amateur Offerings Weekend, Carson may be influenced to include these scripts, maybe only subtly. He has told me he sometimes struggles to get a quality set together. Then during the very informal and obviously non-binding “voting”, I think the commenters replicate and reinforce that process. So there is a bias toward these scripts, and perhaps that is understandable; as some guy was nice enough to point out above, this is the real world. But in the real world, if you option your script and the option expires, or if your top line management company isn’t taking your new script out, then it just might be your script. In the real world, in those situations, I sort of doubt that even a glowing review from Carson is going to override the judgment of your producers or managers. So in the end the bias toward these scripts could actually be argued to be unwarranted. For me, I would rather see a bunch of regulars get their scripts workshopped if that is what they want.

    • Tony

      In the real world, you’re up against other aspiring amateurs, and working, professional writers.

      That’s the nature of the game, or any game for that matter.
      Suck it up! And get used to it. Stop complaining and making up excuses.

      Worry less about this stuff, and concentrate on writing something good enough that will get you attention. All the best!

      • walker

        Hey thanks for telling me how it is in the real world. All the best!

      • Frankie Hollywood

        walker’s not talking about the ENTIRE “real world,” he’s talking about a very specific “Amateur Friday.”

        You’re taking a confined argument and generalizing it. Doing that ALWAYS trivializes the original intent.

        If you want to be taken seriously, please stay within the realm of the discussion.

      • klmn

        Carson seems to agree with you, at least in his comments about why he rejected Let Us Touch The Sun.

        So anyone considering submitting might be wise to refrain from commenting.

        • davejc

          Carson said he wanted to review Let Us Touch the Sun. Reading between the lines that tells me Somebody or Something wouldn’t let him. Then Carson said Somebody sent him messages telling him to review Jennifer Got a Cult…

          the plot thickens

      • davejc

        But most of us haven’t got to the real world yet.

    • Eric

      This is why Carson needs to create a space for Free-for-all Saturday when AOW isn’t up. It’d be a mess, but those who haven’t been selected through the normal process would at least be able to take a stab at it. And if they make enough noise, who knows? Maybe we’d see their entry selected when AOW returned. It’s happened before. There’s be less people sitting around stewing, wondering why “this” or “that” script was selected over theirs.

      • Jeaux

        What exactly do you propose for “free for all saturday”?

        • Eric

          Just a blank space that says “Go Wild”. An open invitation to post whatever and discuss each other’s work. Like I said, it’d be unorganized, but it would still be a chance for a script to gain fans in the community even if their “Pitch” isn’t really jumping out at Carson from his Inbox.

      • brenkilco

        I like your idea in theory, but my God. This is a typical AF and it’s already a mess. Free for all Friday would be Armageddon.

        • Eric

          But it would be Armageddon at a specific place and time. This has been a mess because there’s a bunch of people airing grievances they’ve got no where else to put. Who’s work do you think would get the most recognition on a Free-for-all Weekend? Top commentors. No question.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Okay, one of the writers of CONDEMNED here. I have tried three times now to respond to this particular post, and they all get flagged as “pending”. It’s a really awesome response. Carson, a little help?

      • walker

        Hey writerjoel, I was not talking about you at all. I was referring to a general trend I have witnessed over the last year or so. I have been around here a long time and am aware of your participation and of your previous AF script, which I read.

        • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

          Great to hear! And my longer comment still awaits approval, so know I wrote it before your reply. Not that anything in it is harsh!

          • walker

            Ok but posting it twice seems a bit harsh.

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            Carson approved version one as I was trying to fix version four! Now trying to take the version four one down!

          • walker

            I do think it is a bit unfair that you presumably receive free car washes.

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            Free SELF car washes, thanks for the plug, carslovedriven.com.

    • Pooh Bear

      I’m reluctant to respond but my feeling is this…

      ‘No one owes you anything.’ (collective you)

      Semi-pro’s, up-n-comers, those on the fringe or cusp, first time writers… it’s all part of the game. ‘Amateurs’, by whatever definition is being used, are up against not only the semi-pro’s but the working writers (pros).

      You write a screenplay, in my book you’re a screenwriter.

      It personally doesn’t bother me who gets the Friday spot. Unfortunately the selection process is not as black and white as we would like it to be. i.e. whomever receives the most votes from last weekend.

      Concept is king. It’ll get you past the vetting process. Come up with a great concept, you’ll beat out the semi-pros and pros. And from reading above, make sure your query letter is on point. Next, you’re writing better be top notch. If not, you get a bad review.

      I’ve said it before, I don’t think this place should be used for development. That’s probably my rub.

      I’ve submitted my latest screenplay twice to AOW and still can’t get past the gate even though I’m a regular contributor (at least I think I am), it doesn’t bother me. It’s part of the game. So now I have to step it up even more.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Ok, so I think this comment is about me and my co-writer? So many things to talk about here. As I commented last time we submitted a script, my co-writer Brian is shy, so consider these comments from me alone. Let’s take things one by one.

      1. RE: hijacking Scriptshadow. Maybe other “semi-pro” writers have done this. But I’m not one of them. I have been commenting here since the beginning of Scriptshadow. Hell, I was defending this site during certain controversies in its past. So hate the pretenders, but know that I’m not one of them!

      2. I get the impulse to see a repped script and see a tall poppy (Some of you may know the reference). Maybe I shouldn’t have entered the script with the cover page! There was anger at this three years ago as well (different manager back then). But if I enter the script with aliases, then other managers might call to rep me. It wastes their time, and the flirtation with other reps disrespects my manager, who works very hard to make me a professional writer some day, so far without making a dime. So, yes, I have a manager. I’ve made it! I wish…

      3. I’ve never had an agent. I’ve never been in the WGA. I pay my bills nowadays running a lube/smog/self-car-wash. My total revenue from screenwriting is not sufficient to disqualify me from entering the major screenwriting contests. I’ve gotten as far as I’ve gotten thanks in part to this website, for which I’m grateful. It’s given me a boost, and helped me hone my craft. I’m on the cusp, perhaps. Staffing season is around the corner. I’ve got a pilot and a new spec. Maybe a little heat could get me a meeting with a showrunner, and I could actually afford the family I’m trying to start through writing. But wait, that dream is void: I have a manager.

      5. Think about it for a second: If having a manager is making it, then why hasn’t my manager gotten me an agent? The answer is because A) you haven’t really made it until you’ve made it, or B) my writing is AMATEUR. If B, then I’m by definition the perfect candidate for AMATEUR FRIDAY.

      4. The truth is, you haven’t really made it until you’ve made it. Until you’re in the WGA, you’re not a pro. You’re getting dollar options, and rewriting drafts for free, and drinking free bottles of water on studio lots with executives asking you what you’re writing for free next. It’s an accomplishment to get this far. I’m proud I’ve gotten this far. It’s not pro. It’s not even semi-pro. It’s job interviews, not a job. I implore you, Scriptshadow: Help me land the job! Don’t throw chum on me as I’m about to go to the interview! Don’t hate-read CONDEMNED.

      I look forward to everyone’s comments, which, like last time, I responded to.

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

      Being repped doesn’t make you a professional. Being optioned doesn’t make you a professional either. Or even semi-professional. A non-working writer doesn’t make you a non-professional writer, just means he/she isn’t writing for someone at that moment. A professional screenwriter, in my opinion, is someone whose script has been bought. Or who works in TV. Or who works rewriting scripts for the studios. Or are given assignment work. And who are in the WGA, which you can only get into by being paid for your work. You can’t get in the WGA by optioning a script. That is a “let me think if I really want this script or not” so nobody else snatches up a script.

      I don’t consider yesterday’s screenwriter a professional screenwriter. Or even a semi-pro. She has a manager, sure. Which she got for acting. A manager sees potential in a person they think they can prune into a good writer or actor. They don’t always take on people who are ready to go out to meetings. An agent on the other hand will usually only pick up someone who is ready to go out to meetings. They’re thinking about the money now, while a lot of managers see the bigger picture of down the road. Some are more like agents and want you to be ready now.

      Has Carson ever reviewed an AOW script from somebody who was in the WGA? I don’t think so.

      That makes them amateur scripts in my opinion, even if their writing skills are top notch and their scripts professionally written and engaging. The label doesn’t actually reference how good or bad your work is, it’s just a reference that you haven’t had your work reach the right hands yet (if it’s indeed ready for those hands to take it).

      And this site is just one of many avenues to, one, see if it’s ready for Hollywood, and two, if it is, a possibility for the right person to read it and make the beginning of your dreams come true. I personally think you’re turning an ant hill into Mount Everest.

      And if your script is really that good… then trust me, it’s going to be seen by the right person, because once people read it, word of mouth about your script will spread like wild fire and everyone in town will be requesting it. So write that script that they can’t put down and stop worrying about the injustices of Scriptshadow ;)

      Just my opinion anyway. Take it or leave it.

    • ChadStuart

      Well, I’ve been at this game a long time, and I can impart some wisdom, take it or leave it.

      First, if anyone thinks being repped by a manager is in anyway a plus they are going to be sorely disappointed if and when they ever get one. I’ve had three. One was with a semi big “agency” and the other two were go-it-aloners. And yet, I’ve yet to make a nickel off of a script, and I’ve really only had a few “close ones” when it comes to sales.

      A manager is in no way a guarantee. You still have to bring the goods on your own. There is no one that’s going to fight as hard for your script and your ideas as you will. And part of that means doing anything you can to wave your hands in the air to be noticed in an ever growing crowd of people who all want the same thing.

      But the main piece of wisdom I can dole out is that if you’re expecting any semblence of equity or fairness in this industry then you seriously need to cowboy up or get out. There is aboslutely NOTHING fair about this business. I mean nothing. Not one shred. Imagine the smallest object you can and that’s still larger than the amount of fairness in this business.

      You’ll get passed over for so many reasons that go beyond how talented you are or how good your script is. You’ll be brushed aside because the other guy’s obviously worse script gives the buyer a better chance at getting laid. I’m not being figurative here, that’s an acutal reason (I suspect “getting laid” is actually the primary motivator of most decisions in business).

      Or a script of yours will be passed over because another one that’s a similar subject but trashy and terrible will be actually made and put out because the network/studio needed a tax liability. They purposefully wanted a bad script and you get the shaft precisely because you’re better.

      And, to the point, you might not get picked by Carson for a review because it’s his site and he can do whatever the hell he wants to do. Just like Jerry Bruckhemier owns a production company and can do whatever the hell he wants to do. If someone submits a script about a Cronut Contest on the same day that Carson is craving a Cronut (and who wouldn’t, they’re delicious), then they might just get picked for a review over a dozen great scripts. There’s nothing fair about it. There’s no rhyme or reason. And no amount of complaints is going to change it.

      • Malibo Jackk

        I’m buying everything except the needed tax write-off.
        (Hollywood has the most creative accountants in the world.)

        Carson needs a Thursday article on sex trafficking in Hollywood.

        • ChadStuart

          That’s probably a bad example then. I don’t know enough about corproate taxes to say it’s true or not (but there’s got to be a reason they release “Seventh Son”, when they knew it would tank, instead of just dumping it to VOD).

          Instead, subsitute that a studio will produce a movie to hold on to the rights (like “Fantastic Four”) in lieu of greenlighting your movie. That could actually happen.

  • Pooh Bear

    Scripts…

    • Pooh Bear

      New Coke

      The ensemble cast works. You were tipping the scales towards being over written but I’m glad that stops after the first act. I recommend you focus more on making the character actions and dialogue funny and less on trying to make the scene description funny. So far all the characters are easy to remember as we bounce back and forth. You do a good job of giving us just enough time with each set of characters as we follow their plot thread through this premise. Unfortunately it took me until page 38 to get hooked in completely. I will say there were little bits that kept me reading to find out what happens in the next scene. It reminds me of Best in Show not so much in tone but in style.

    • Pooh Bear

      Wars of Eternal Spring

      Ai yo! Gung fu movie! I grew up on these.

      I think I read to page 17 then sort of skimmed to page 37.

      First scene, I could totally see Michelle Yeoh running up in her elder nun garb.

      And then a nice spry up and coming actress from the Hong Kong action scene in the role of Wing Chun, fiercely independent. I loved it…

      But then it quickly started to drag…

      As a kid growing up I loved the fight scenes. For a marital arts movie there aren’t enough fight scenes… at least in the first quarter. Maybe there are fight scenes but it seems you gloss over them too much.

      IP Man is awesome because not only is it based on a fascinating true story but it has really cool, unique fight scenes. I know you’re not a fight choreographer but you can still use your imagination to make them unique. Go beyond the obvious choices.

      Some of your writing needs a little more polish. There are confusing bits. For instance, the courtyard is over run. Over ran by what? Monsters, Rebels, Birds, a fog that turns you inside out? Clarify. She yanks the thief’s two front teeth out… how? He has an apple in his mouth. Or did she yank the apple out and the two front teeth followed?

      I do like the clever device you use where we see the character’s thoughts. It fits the story’s universe. Very well done.

      I kept waiting for interaction with the rebels and how that opening scene fits in. I think it’s merely the inciting incident to have General Jin and his army make camp. You can’t throw us a teaser like that and not come back to it. Maybe you revisit it later but I can already say we stay away from it too long.

      I think this is more of an asian epic with a dash of marital arts. My recommendation to you is find a better balance. Maybe I’m not your demographic for this.

      • Elizabeth Barilleaux

        Thanks for the read! Michelle Yeoh is my 1st choice for Ng Mui! :-) I’ve gotten other comments on the need for more kung-fu and you’re right – it needs more.

    • Pooh Bear

      Lights on the Lake

      What didn’t work for me was keeping the UFO crash a big secret to the reader. I felt a cut away or two to what’s going up there would help. It doesn’t have to reveal exactly what’s going on but it would help with the other scenes that don’t do much. Keep the characters in the dark, not the audience. So on page 20 when we finally go to investigate I had already checked out.

    • Pooh Bear

      Condemned

      What might have been a great premise lost me in its clunky opening. Introducing upwards of 10 characters is tough to keep track of in the first 8 pages. I might be in the minority but it was off putting. I had to stop and keep scrolling back up and trying to remember who’s who, or where did this person suddenly come from. I will say, bravo to the Lenisha character, she has a great, memorable opening.

      I feel like the story wants to hit the ground running but maybe taking a step back first will help the reader catch up.

      Other stuff:

      BENNY – Mucho bueno. Lenisha needs to hablar con usted.

      Mucho bueno is not grammatically correct. I believe Muy bueno is correct. Also ‘needs to hablar’, literally translate to ‘needs to to speak’.

      Do building demolitions typically happen at night?

      • Randy Williams

        “Do building demolitions typically happen at night?”
        Yes, so they don’t kill the stray cats sleeping in there during the day.

    • Pooh Bear

      West Carver High

      I couldn’t get into this one. Sam’s dad seems a little over the top, almost in mustache twirling and maniacal laughing territory.

  • Somersby

    The writer of Wars of Eternal Spring offers the best WYSR ever! Well done. Just had to say that. Looking forward to the read.

    • charliesb

      Agreed. Normally I like a short, to the point couple of sentences that compare the script to another movie or expand on the themes. But this one made me want to read the script. So congrats to the writer for that.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks! As good as it felt to finish a whole screenplay, it was even more of a relief to come out of the closet. My therapist is going to be so proud!

  • Linkthis83

    (1/5)

    Congrats to the writers this week. Carson should just reserve a spot for Chad each weekend. Or just do a whole week dedicated to reviewing Chad’s scripts. :)

    **NOTE: I only read genre/title first, then pages, then logline/WYSR**

    My pick: ???

    NEW COKE (comedy/drama)

    p3 = love Grandma’s line to the Pepsi guy.

    p9 = I know it’s the CEO’s office because you wrote it in the slugline – Why would I not be able to tell? :)

    p9 = STOPPED

    SUMMARY: A story about New Coke is a fascinating concept. Especially for those of us who “survived” it. However, with this script, it is your writing style that has prevented me from getting into the story. Also, the story I have gotten so far hasn’t been delivered in a way that gets me hooked/interested.

    I’m reticent to give actual notes because it would involve changing your style and your style seems to be working for you. I’m not sure if you write like this in your other scripts (I don’t think I participated in your other weekends), but for me it isn’t working.

    I feel there is just way too much telling. In action lines and especially the character descriptions for Sergio and Brian.

    Examples:

    …fully prepared to lower it in her cart (fully prepared?)

    …perhaps a little embarrassed (perhaps? – I know the intention here is to not give away that she’s doing this on purpose, but why can’t she just act embarrassed?)

    …who, were he to actually say something,…

    …unfortunately…(it’s unfortunate that he’s not Paul Newman?)

    It’s distracting. I feel I’m getting too much of your witticisms to enjoy the set up of the story.

    And in regards to story, I felt the way Eddie and Randall interacted was a lost opportunity. Calling each other “dick” and “pussy” doesn’t sell us on the rivalry. They are just insulting each other. They should insult each other by incorporating the brands they represent. And maybe do it just by using the slogans – “Catch the wave.” and “The choice of a new generation.” Create a quick, playful back-and-forth here.

    p1 = I never care about this. I don’t even care now, but I noticed it so I’m mentioning it –> In your first sentence of your first action line:

    irritating(adj) – screeching(v) – receiving(n) – rolling(v) – scraping(v)

    • ChadStuart

      And I got some more where those come from. I write a lot and I write pretty fast. I don’t like to use the word “prolific” because I reserve that for writers who are actually really, really good and write a lot. I just say I write a lot.

      • Linkthis83

        I haven’t checked out MULTIVERSE, but it seems like you’ve gotten quite a bit of love for that one here. Of course that’s not going to fall under “quirky” and help you decide. But getting support for a script here is still awesome.

        • walker

          You can’t try and guess what the Nicholl will “like”. Based on what I have read, The Multiverse looks promising. You should also consider a couple of other contests, particularly the Austin and the trackingb.

          • ChadStuart

            I made the finals of Austin last year in the TV Pilot category (I also made it to the finals in 2006 in features). I got a meeting with AMC who responded well to it, but nothing came of it. All of the “heat” from that has now dissipated. The same thing happened in 2006. And the guys who won those years similarly didn’t get much from their wins.

            Nicholl is the only contest where you consistently see the fellows do something with their wins. There are sporadic success stories here and there, but not nearly as consistent as Nicholl. Money’s pretty tight this year due to unexpected job woes, so I need to enter early and I can only enter once.

            And, you’re right. It’s hard to predict what they will like. But, i figure if I get a strong enough reaction from a few people, that’s a good one to enter. That’s my thinking at least.

          • walker

            Wow congrats on your success so far. Maybe you should still consider the trackingb, it costs a lot but it has a great history of getting deals for the finalists, and it has the latest deadline of all of them. Something like The Multiverse might do well in that contest.

    • Linkthis83

      CONDEMNED (horror)

      p1 = you write about two guys lazily guarding “an open manhole” and then the next thing is Charlie asking if it requires both of them to watch “an open manhole” – it’s unnecessary and repetitive.

      p7 = By now you’ve introduced us to ELEVEN characters. That’s a bit much. You did a good job of bringing us to each, and showing us the relationship dynamic between them, but still, this is a lot. I also felt like I was watch the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE team setting up – only there were twice as many demolitioners as secret agents.

      p8 = “Trespassers?” = Why did you choose to include this in the action line? It’s not needed at all. You just showed us what two people going through a taped door looks like. No need for this. We will get that it’s an indication that somebody/something has gone through this door.

      –Also, you actually have Benny say “Trespassers?” later. So Benny covers it for you :)

      p11 = Really? A jump scare with a cat? Oh no wait, it’s a double jump scare with more cats. C’mon. Lol

      p19 = If I’m in the theater watching the movie, I doubt that the look Samantha gives her dad would convey that she has decided to drop out of medical school. And there’s certainly no need for the added “How can she tell him now?” – You should just end on Charlie’s poignant question. For me, it ruins the impact of that question when it’s followed up by you guys explaining the drama of that question and then adding your own dramatic question.

      p19 = stopped

      SUMMARY: I’m sure setting up all those characters first serves a certain puprose that you’ve set up. However, it feels like this story could start with just Aaron and Patt going to investigate the light on the penthouse level.

      By the point that I stopped in the story, what is it you’re hoping you’ve created to have somebody invested and wanting to read further? The relationship between Aaron and Patt? The girl in the hoodie? The story the goth kids told? What do you think people will have latched onto at this point and thinking “Yes, I must continue this?”

      Because you are operating in familiar territory, there’s nothing about this so far that is unique enough to me that has me engaged/invested. A spooky hotel and a spooky, strange girl aren’t presented in a way that are pushing me to carry on. The demolition team is a nice angle with plenty of killbait, but it just doesn’t pull me. It doesn’t welcome ME to the Haverford (which is what I think you should be focusing on).

      (by the way, this hotel wasn’t started by Tom and Jean-Ralphio was it? When they were (singing)”Flush…with caaaaasssshhh.”

      • Poe_Serling

        Just watched Oculus too.

        I thought the first half or so was quite good. Really liked the tough-as-nails Kaylie character. Also, the blurring of their current reality with the family’s tragic past.

        I felt the ending was a bit predictable and a letdown, especially in regard with Tim character going back to square one.

        • Linkthis83

          I truly liked a lot of the set up. I thought it was a neat approach to say “Here’s this scary thing, and I’m prepared to go kill it.” – I thought they did a masterful job of transitioning us from the world we know to a world we couldn’t trust.

          I agree about Tim, but I could also understand arguing for that choice. If you are assuming that you’ve done everything well up to that point, it makes sense that the worse thing that could happen to Tim was to experience this phenomenon again with a similar/tragic result.

          I think it doesn’t work as a choice because it was Kaylie’s journey we were on, not Tim’s. So it’s not impactful. I think it would’ve made more story sense if Kaylie came away as the murderer at that point. The crazy one.

          What really earned credit with me was the argument between the two characters and when it’s done, the cameras are all out of place. You first think, “ah, the ghost showed itself” and then you get the reveal…I thought that scene was very solid and new.

          • Poe_Serling

            Good point about it being Kaylie’s journey. She’s definitely the driving force in the movie.

            Some of the horror films that I’m looking forward to this upcoming year:

            Based on their unsettling trailers alone, I want to see “It Follows”(coming out in March) and “Unfriended” (coming out in April).

            “Insidious: Chapter 3″ – I thought the first two were well done. Curious to see what screenwriter Leigh Whannell does with his directorial debut. Release date: June 2.

            “Poltergeist” – They’ve been trying to remake this one for the last ten years or so… I want to see if it was worth the wait. Opens in July.

            “Crimson Peak” – Guillermo del Toro’s haunted house pic. Oct. 16

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            I watched OCULUS last night, as well as another Shi… sorry, Blumhouse production, OUIJA :) First things first, I really enjoyed OCULUS even though it didn’t initially attract me. There were a few weaknesses – exposition dump ahoy ! when Kaylie explains the mirror’s past, the mother disappearing for too long, the too predictable apple/lightbulb scene and a few other minor things – but overall, I really liked the atmosphere and thought they did a great job weaving the past and the present together. As for OUIJA, oh man :/ That is not a movie, that is an insult to the horror genre. A straight-up crap fest. The most inexplicable thing is the editing. Every 10mns or so, we get the feeling that there are a couple of minutes missing since the scenes in question have neither pupose nor ending. I have rarely seen such a truly WTF movie as this which leads me to the reason for substituting Blum for sh*t above.

            When Blumhouse started out, I thought it sounded great – finally, a producer taking a chance on unknown directors ! Well, yeah – the good movies Blum has produced so far are movies he didn’t have anything to do with other than picking them up for distribution. His business model flaws are getting ever more obvious with each movie they release, the most recent examples being JESSABELLE (groan) and now OUIJA.

            Ok, rant over :) Back to writing.

          • Poe_Serling

            Yeah, Blum is almost a producing machine out of control. By my count, his company has seven films completed and waiting to be released, another eight films in post-production, and six more filming or in pre-production.

            The few that caught my eye were M. Night’s The Visit, Greg Mclean’s 6 Miranda Drive, and Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Yeah, I was a little angry yesterday after the Ouija thing :p
            I’m hoping there’ll be some good ones yet to come – those three are directors that I like a lot. And I had heard about the Carpenter project but also that Big John didn’t want to go back to the sets, that he’d rather leave that to the new generation (while still cashing a few checks for remakes ^^ ).

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the vote and your thoughts! Glad you liked the humor – it’s nice to have a laugh in between the bloodletting, I think.

      • Linkthis83

        For the pages I read, this is done really well. And yes, the humor, got real smiles and laughs out of me. Looks like you got a lot of support from this weekend and that’s an accomplishment itself :) Good luck with this!

  • Randy Williams

    WEST CARVER HIGH

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I started with this one because I loved the logline. Thought I would settle into a single location horror with the teachers disappearing in the first five pages but after reading 15 pages the logline was nowhere to be seen.

    The beginning is nicely drawn, I thought, with a sense of dread. Nice choice of action with the character cleaning out the lockers in an empty school. Loved the racoon, always think they were really creepy critters. Loved that the character questioned his own vision. The logline was shaping up very nicely.

    Starting on page 7 with the two friends talking (why does one call the other “good looking”? – they wasn’t paid off at all) there is a sudden turn in tone from that creepy, dread filled opening to lots of exposition, introduction of several elements, the book, philosophy of religion. I’m getting antsy. At least, maybe continue that same tone with some tension between these friends? “Good looking” could cause that tension. Make the book a distraction.

    page 10, some hint this is a cult family story and inheritance of some special power. Not what I signed up for. But reading on…

    page 14. More talk of God, prayer, religion. The promise of a prayer group doesn’t evoke horror filled pages, I’m stopping here.

    I like the writing here. I’m taken with the writer’s ability to create dread so I’m curious to see how it all pans out so I might read more later as time allows.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read 16 pages of New Coke. This is not a movie. Sorry. You are going for a satirical edge, which I can dig if I felt you had an interesting story or characters.

    The opening scene is, by one of your own character’s estimations, “pretty tame”. Which makes me question why you open with it. A cursing grandma is very first choice. Soda tastes like shit. Okay. Very broad comedy, or maybe I should say ‘old broad’.

    The scene with the reporter and Brian and Sergio comes across like an attempt to hide your exposition in a history lesson. The ‘co-coola’ thing might get old quick.

    I can laugh at southern stereotypes with the best of them. Paula and Stanley are idiots. They are Coke’s biggest fans but their first reaction to new Coke is to not drink it? If they love everything Coke (as you go out of your way to show) why would they think that Coke could ever do something wrong? Their faces should light up. They should be eager. They go for the drink with gusto. Then they drink the awful shit and Stanley drops dead of a diabetes heart attack. Or suffers liver damage on the spot. I assume you are going for satire here. You describe him as obese, Brian and Sergio could just say that Stanley was a ‘walking time bomb anyway’.. something like that. Then they go to Alabama because of ‘weak consumer protection laws’ or some such shit. I mean, if there is anyone on the planet dumber than a Georgia redneck it’s an Alabama one, right?

    Anyway, this needs to be funnier and much more outrageous to work for me, because the story isn’t that compelling so far. I don’t care about these guys, so what if they get fired? What are the stakes? We know New Coke fails. That’s not interesting. I need to be invested in the guys who are leading us through the story.

    Full disclosure, I worked for Coke after I graduated college. Shit product.

    They can Brix my ass.

    Anyway, i really enjoyed your Multiverse script. Would like to see Carson review it.

    • ChadStuart

      Thanks for your thoughts. The funny thing is that historically the most devoted Coke drinkers did reject the new formula without even trying it. It did do overwhelmingly better in taste tests. People are just very resistant to change, which is the main take away from the entire New Coke debacle. The company underestimated people’s sentimental attachment to it.

      So, with that in mind, is that a thought you think would need to be moved up sooner to explain Stanley and Paula’s reaction? I was trying to show that point with their reaction, but do you think it needs to be laid out better or sooner?

      • Kirk Diggler

        Well, I never understood who we’re supposed to be following, and judging by the comments of some others who read further than I did, they had the same issue. If the taste-test couple are your main characters why not start with them? If this story is about old Coke being the ‘stasis’ and New Coke being a brave new world and how it affects the most loyal customers, then starting with a taste test within 5 pages would be what you should do, IF that’s what your story is about. Your logline suggests as much.

        The cranky grandma scene serves little purpose. Her reaction is the same one Stanley and Paula are gonna have, right? Why waste time on someone we probably won’t see again?

        Was the Reporter even necessary? It just makes me think of Citizen Kane for some reason. Why does the story need to be framed as a flashback? This just goes back to who your main character(s) are supposed to be. Having an older Brian and Sergio meet with the reporter as older men suggests that THEY are the main characters, the story to be told through their eyes. Your logline doesn’t even mention them, unless they are part of the ‘southern families’, but they’re Coke employees so it’s unclear.

        Other than that, what are you going for thematically? Is this supposed to be a broader satire of American consumerism? The failure of New Coke ultimately isn’t that big a deal, it didn’t kill the company, they only got bigger over time.

        Your logline seems to hint that it’s a broad satire but for the most part it seems you were making fun of Stanley and Paula. It’s hard to invest in characters that the writer has disdain for (even if it’s deserved). I don’t know what more to say.

        • ChadStuart

          Well, there’s not supposed to be a main character. It’s a multi-character piece. It’s four interconnected stories. It’s not meant to be a traditional hero story with a main character who goes on a journey, it’s about people who refuse to change; who are resistant to it.

          And that’s probably the main theme. It’s also about how a large chunk of the country ignores the “fly-over” states and the south. Culturally we’re very centered on the two coasts. It’s partly why “American Sniper” doing so damn well surprised everyone since they forgot about the non-coastal population.

          At least, that’s what I’m going for. It could be that I didn’t set people up for that well enough, or it could be that I’m not delivering it well enough. Or both. That’s what these weekends are great for. I have a writers group, but they all know me so the opinions aren’t as bluntly honest as they need to be. Most people here are strangers and are harsh, which is exactly the type of feedback I need.

  • klmn

    I opened all of them, they all read flat. So I abstain from voting this week.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Try reading them standing up.

      • klmn

        Don’t need to. I have no trouble sleeping.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    Kudos to this week’s AOW candidates. I hope some of them chime in.
    One thing I want to clear up about me: — MY VOTE IS NOT FOR SALE. —

    It can’t be bought with active contributions here or nepotism.
    Ask around, I’m equally critical on and off-site to all my colleagues.
    Please don’t use my vote to denigrate the hard work of others. Thank you.

  • Felip Serra

    A FEW THINGS RE: “LIGHTS ON THE LAKE”
    I was roped in by your logline, as I have a passing interest in similar subject matter. I jotted a few notes while reading. Please take them for what they’re worth:
    — LOCATION: Lake town of Gimli in Manitoba, Canada. What was the choice for this? Even at present time the population is barely a couple of thousand people. What would be in the 1950’s? It may be too remote.
    — FIRST SCENE: Could be drawn out a bit as I felt it was a bit abrupt. I kind of liked the idea of an older cleaning woman who, upon seeing a UFO, grabs a camera and chases after it. That was a little unexpected. But WHAT are we seeing, or if we’re not meant to right away, WHAT is so mysterious? What are we HEARING? Is anything in the forest being affected?
    — WRITING: Your descriptive paragraphs are lean. More importantly they are filmable e.g. they are visual and to-the-point. However: You use CONTINUOUS a few times unnecessarily (pgs. 15 and 29). CONTINUOUS denotes when there is no break in scene. So on pg. 15 you go from EXT. HILDY’S CABIN to INT. HILDY’S CABIN – CONTINUOUS. Unless we are MOVING FROM outside the cabin to the inside in one unbroken shot it is not CONTINUOUS. Pg. 29 the action in the scene is not CONTINUOUS; A FEW MOMENTS LATER would suffice.
    — SETTING: Some things felt out of place. Gord Johnson in his 60’s in 1950. I got the sense he’s supposed to our no non-sense war veteran e.g. the skeptic. You realize the second World War ended five years prior? Unlikely he would’ve seen combat in his fifties. Also, in his office a photo of “jungle combat” or some such. Is this the jungle adjacent to the beaches at Normandy?

    • Eric

      “Unless we are MOVING FROM outside the cabin to the inside in one unbroken shot it is not CONTINUOUS.”

      I don’t believe this is the case. CONTINUOUS is meant to denote that there is no break in the time between headings, that doesn’t mean the shot has to be unbroken as well. The camera can still cut as long as the action is understood to be uninterrupted from a real time stand point.

      I went to look at the specific example, but it’s hard to say what it should be when the author is using things like “LATER THAT DAY”, “THE NEXT MORNING”, and “AN HOUR LATER” in place of DAY and NIGHT. Those need to be changed to appropriate time indicators.

      • Felip Serra

        You are correct. I hastily wrote “unbroken shot” when I meant “unbroken” in relation to time. Thank you for pointing that out.

        • Eric

          No problem. The only reason I piped up was you’re not the first person I’ve seen put it that way recently. I was worried a new ‘school of thought’ was forming on the matter.

    • brenkilco

      Good observations. With mambo on the jukebox and afro-Cuban jazz on people’s record players this is a pretty hip little Canadian hamlet for 1950. But with regard to the implausibility of a Nazi in their midst, audiences didn’t seem to question Orson Welles as a Nazi war criminal successfully posing as a New England history professor. And The Stranger was made in 1946.

      • Felip Serra

        “The Stranger” is a very apt. Thank you for mentioning it.
        I was actually thinking of another story (a radio play actually, and I forgot the title). Anyway: It’s all told from the POV of a quadriplegic who survived WW2 (voiced by James Stewart of all people). He can’t move, can’t speak. He goes through the motions of coming back to civilian life, it hardships etc. Then once day he being strolled through the streets and he sees what he believes is the Nazi guard who tortured him into his current condition… Quietly working in a flower shop. He fills with SUCH rage but can do nothing about it. He begins to obsess about revenge that it occupies no other thought…
        I’ll leave it there. Anyway. I thought if the author of “Lights on the Lake” focused more on the emotional arch of the wife, with her backstory and what’s currently developing in her town, it could propel an interesting story that COULD go into more, lets say, “conspiratorial” avenues. I wish him luck.

  • Randy Williams

    WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    This is not my kind of thing, but, boy was I drawn into this. Read ten pages and enjoyed it. Out of Covington, LA, even. Must be som ‘em in the waater.

    There’s something for taking a female character and throwing the world at her in the first ten pages to try to make her cry and she doesn’t. Works every time.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the vote and glad you liked the idea. And BTW at this end of the Mississippi, there is LOTS of stuff in the water!

  • jw

    Took a look and there’s definitely some decent writing here. Nothing’s really going to blow anyone away and unfortunately when Carson reviews any of them he’s going to give them a “wasn’t for me”. But, nonetheless, solid efforts here.

    My vote is going to be for Wars of Eternal Spring, not just because a 44 year old soccer mom who secretly loves kung fu is a little bit hot, but because of the visuals. At the end of the day, screenwriting is a visual medium and the way this writer created the visual of the world in a very clear and concise way is highly commendable. I’ve read others comments on here and they are pretty spot-on in relation to this script, so I won’t go any further. A nicely created world from early on.

    In regards to New Coke, I wanted to commend the writer on the TONE they intended to use for this script because I think it was spot-on. It reminds me of satirical stuff I wrote when I first started writing. The reason it doesn’t necessarily work is because the beginning confuses its GENRE. Satirical is fine, but you don’t want to open your script with a scene that could be confused with something like Bad Grandpa. Satirical may be openly poking fun at something while staring it in the face, a la Thank You For Smoking, but there has to be a sophistication, originality and intellect to it where the audience takes it seriously at the same time. The other part of satirical is that the comedy is usually based on poking fun at something that happens in everyday society that no one stops to look at and go, “why hell do we do that”? When you open with “lower brow” humor with people calling each other “dick” and then transition into “what the hell grandma”? it doesn’t ring as satirical as much as it rings Bad Santa, and I don’t think you want that. Or, at least it’s my impression that you don’t want that. I like the tone you’ve set and this may be an early script, so keep it up because you strike me as one of those writers that could one day marry what you’re intending to write with what’s on the page and when you do that it may be magic!

    Write on all!

    • ChadStuart

      Well, the grandma bit is supposedly a true story. Since I made up just about everything else, I felt beholden to use that to give it a sense of authenticity to hold on to some semblance of “true story”. So, then, do you feel that way? Do you care if most of it is made up (although bits and pieces are based on fact, such as a person really did horde a barn full of the old formula)?

      • Magga

        Read the script, liked it. Are you going after an early Zemeckis/Gale-tone? I think there’s a point to be made about how, in the eighties, everyone got tired of newness and wanted to get back to how they imagined things once were, with the conservative movement and all. So the coke song playing over the back-to-normal statue of liberty etc could work. I think the coke-hoarders should be introduced before the new coke-scenes, as we can start imagining their reactions to the change. I’d also get to the moonshiners earlier. Introduce them all in the first five pages (couple loves coke, execs want to change the formula, something about American industriousness, cut to moonshine dealers, or something) so we get an overview of what we’ll be reading, instead of the story introducing brand new elements for at least twenty pages. There might be some gold in the fact that the eighties was the decade of coke (as in cocaine) in the business world (“THIS is new coke!”). I’d also love a quick tutorial on coca cola in the beginning (who spoke in the opening, by the way?) starting with the use of coca-leaves, so that when the brothers find the old recipe it’s a pay-off rather than something they might be wrong about.
        Basically, though, the desire for old-school, pre-Vietnam, pre-pill, pre-hippie, pre-psychadelia Americana, as mythologized and sold by Reagan, is what could add more substance to the idea of wanting to go back to “the real thing”.

        • ChadStuart

          Yeah, I specifically tried to go for an 80s style and tone. And, honestly, I think that’t ultimately the script’s undoing. It may just be too old fashioned for people today. It really hit me last night after I turned off “Neighbors” half way through after not laughing once. I’m just not moved by the current comedy style, and can’t write that way. But, since that’s in vogue right now my “comedy” scripts probably don’t stand much of a chance.

          It’s partly why I didn’t bill it as a straight-up comedy. It’s meant to be closer in tone to “Forrest Gump” which is funny, but closer to drama. Still, although I love that movie I understand that it’s current reputation in pop culture history isn’t all that grand, so I shouldn’t be surprised this isn’t received as well as I would like.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the vote! And my sister thinks it’s great that I’m only considered “a little bit hot” – she rubs that in a lot now.

  • Nicholas J

    New Coke didn’t work for me for a few reasons. You said you wanted us to be blunt.

    I was intrigued by the concept and immediately thought of The Lego Movie as well before reading the WYSR. But the big difference in why Lego works is because it isn’t about Legos. Lego is just the world that the story exists in.

    In New Coke, the first 10 pages is complete exposition about New Coke. There’s nothing entertaining or exciting to hold our interest. We are just reading about the thought process behind this product and that’s pretty much it.

    From there, we go to the two Coke-obsessed caricatures, and spend 7 pages reading about them taking the Pepsi challenge. You haven’t given us a reason to care about these characters, and they are written as if you don’t even like them. They really just seem to be there to make jokes about Coke.

    Compare that to Lego, where we start off immediately with our villain, and then our hero, and the fun Lego world in which they live. The hero is funny and his child-like enthusiasm is infectious. There is more to him than just being a Lego man, and he holds our interest while the story is setup. We’re presented with the necessary lightning bolt in the entrance Wyldstyle, and the mystery surrounding her character, and we’re off on the adventure. Again, the story isn’t about Legos, it’s about these characters and their mission in this Lego world.

    Back to New Coke, the story doesn’t seem to be much more than New Coke. You have the two Coke workers and the Coke-obsessed couple, who don’t seem to have lives outside of Coke. Why should I care if Sergio fails or if Paula doesn’t like New Coke? I don’t.

    I don’t think this concept is lost on you, to make the story about the characters instead of the product, but I don’t think you’ve succeeded in doing so. Don’t start off with Swearing Grandma’s dislike of soda. Start off with Sergio and why he needs this product to succeed. And I don’t mean “or else he’ll get fired.” Why do I care if he gets fired? Unless you give me a reason to care, I don’t. I feel nothing toward him. Instead of spending page 17 making random jokes about Olivia Newton John, maybe Sergio gets a phone call from his wife because the electric company shut off their power and it’s the middle of winter and their 5 children are now sharing the same twin-sized bed to keep warm.

    Or start off with Stanley and why something like New Coke might upset him so much. He’s having a hard time dealing with change since his wife left him, and the only thing that makes him happy is kicking back with an ice cold Coke. When he was little, he’d come home from school every day after getting beat up on the playground, and his mother would give him a Coke and console him and he’d feel better. Coke has always been there for him. So when it gets replaced with something that tastes terrible, okay, now we can empathize a bit.

    Make us care. Give these characters life outside Coke, and we will. Maybe you do later on, but you need to get this stuff in there early. As it stands now, there was nothing to hold my interest past page 20.

    Hope this helps, and thanks for sharing. Good luck with it!

    • ChadStuart

      Okay, let me ask you this: all of the stuff about how they arrived at the new formula, do you feel like you need to know it? Is that something that if it wasn’t there you’d be wondering how they got to that point, or would you rather just skip it?

      I felt it was necessary and rushed through it as quickly as possible, but now it seems like I could just skip it entirely. What do you think?

      • Nicholas J

        That scene was a big contributor to me losing interest. However, I think the information is great, necessary even, but the way you present it needs work.

        It’s exposition, which isn’t inherently wrong, but it should be disguised as story. Right now the scene is Sergio telling Brian about New Coke. There is nothing at stake. We don’t know the characters. He has a goal to convince Brian it is a good idea, and the scene turns, which is good, but again we aren’t really invested so it doesn’t matter. It isn’t dramatized enough. It almost reads like an educational or promotional video, where Sergio explains to Brian (who is the representation of us, the audience) about this formula. So unless we are super interested in Coke, we probably won’t care and it will be boring. You have to dramatize it.

        You know your story and the details better than I, obviously, but here’s an example of what I would do:

        Establish character early. Connect us to Sergio and make us empathize with him. Make him more than just a name on the page. Be sure to establish that Coke is in decline, and needs a spark, and that Sergio is tasked with that job, or else his career could be in jeopardy. Then, combine the factory scene with the next scene where he presents to the CEO. He’s not selling to Brian, a guy who’s opinion ultimately doesn’t matter, he’s selling to the CEO and a group of other important suits. This is Sergio’s big idea. This is his moment. Failure isn’t an option.

        So now the scene is dramatized. The explanation of the new formula is no longer the focus of the scene. Instead, we are interested in what will happen. We still get the details of how Sergio arrived at this new product, and we learn something, but you were so sneaky about it we didn’t even notice, and the pages zipped by.

        Make sense? A great film to look at would be The Social Network, or any Sorkin stuff really. He is one of the all time greats at this type of writing. Dramatizing information so you learn and are entertained at the same time. Great stuff. Hope this helps. And it’s just my opinion, I don’t pretend to speak gospel here. Use what you like and discard the rest. Good luck.

        • ChadStuart

          Well, this is what I’m thinking. Enough people are telling me that they don’t feel connected to the characters at the beginning becuase they’re all focusing on Sergio and Brian. Those guys are really just part of the framing story to give the other stories context. They’re not meant to be the main focus but people are focusing on them. And they really do delay me introducing the characters and conflicts I like until much too late.

          I’m thinking that maybe I don’t need the framing device. Several people on here have mentioned that they know enough about New Coke that it’s possible that I don’t need to tell that story. It’s pretty dry corporte stuff. I can try to jazz it up, but to anyone who’s had a marketing class at college they probably know the basics of it.

          It’s the other stories I’m more interested in, so do you think it’s a good idea to cut out the corporate stuff and just have this be a movie about the shenannigans on the consumer end? How does that speak to you?

          (Sorry if I’m overstepping my bounds a bit, but the feedback this weekend has been invaluable and you’re one of the more thoughtful commenters here.)

  • Randy Williams

    NEW COKE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    What’s not to love about a script where a description begins with ” Great googely moogely…!”?

    However, after reading 12 pages of this, I think it has potential but for me it lacked focus. More funny jokes, too, wouldn’t hurt but that’s a given for every comic script we see on here.

    The beginning is a little dry for a gadzillion dollar business. Stocking shelves and ole grandma? How about a board room fight or something of that sort where conflict abounds and maybe flashback to the beginning?

    There’s a lot to digest in the beginning. Why not focus on one character and follow the story from their point of view? I didn’t know a Mexican was responsible for the coke shift. THERE’S your HOOK! A role for a Latin actor to run with.

    One thing to be careful of. Dialogue can’t spring from thin air. We need a visual on the speakers first unless it’s V.O. Page 6. We’re in the Coca-Cola archives where memorabilia is being sorted. By whom? We have a conversation between Brian and Sergio. I had no idea of the visuals on them. Are they standing watching? Where are they in relationship to the memorabilia.

  • Eddie Panta

    One, Two, Three by: Billy Wilder had James Cagney pitching Coca-Cola to post-war Germany. An East meets West love story about communism vs. corporate corruption.

    The COCA-COLA KID tasks Eric Roberts with setting up the Coke brand in the Australian Outback. Coca-Cola kid was a love story about American capitalism vs. a simpler, more innocent, humble way of life, who will seduce who type scenario.

    And now New Coke, attempts its mass-market invasion story. But here, it’s the Americans forced into change.

    After a ten page read, I don’t know what New Coke is shooting at accept explaining what happened. A fact, which most people already know. There is so much dialogue that on pg 8 one character begs another to let him keep explaining.

    I think the story needs to be more visual, start in the factory, with the production.
    Those intense visuals, should be millions of cans of coke, not hundreds. This story needs to latch on to a theme, and quickly.I see no evidence of a philosophy, a new view into the corporate world at play here.

    The New Coke story is NOT so complicated that it needs an investigative journalist as narrator and guide, flashing us back and forth through time. This isn’t “The Insider”.

    This is crying for a much more zany Putney Swope approach with off-beat corporate characters hell-bent on market share and stock price and completely disconnected with the consumer. New Coke vs. Classic Coke is branding/marketing 101. Trust the reader already knows half this stuff. Grab on to a nugget, a thread to focus the story. Every scene should relay it.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      Pitching Coca Cola to post war Germany? Coca-Cola was heavily distributed DURING Nazi Germany, to the point that german POWs were surprised we had Coca-Cola in the west.

      http://xroads.virginia.edu/~class/coke/coke2.html

    • Ken

      How about a story concerning Fanta and the Nazis?

      http://modernnotion.com/fanta-and-nazis/

    • brenkilco

      The East West jokes in One, Two Three may be obvious but even all these years later the speed of the thing, which is almost entirely dialogue driven, is still pretty remarkable. And I second your opinion of Pamela Tiffin. Her bikini is the best thing in the Paul Newman movie Harper. Wonder whatever became of her.

  • Randy Williams

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read to page 30. I’d like to read more. One intriguing mystery box after the other. The crash, proved by the photos, then practically dismissed, the lights on the lake, Kaufman and the strange apparatus on the lake, Cassandra’s disappearance and the canoe. I was compelled to keep reading and was rewarded for doing so.

    Loved the little human touches, the scene in the bed between the couple on pages 8-9, oh, so nicely done.

    However, after 30 pages, I’m not getting anything that says this is something I haven’t seen before, especially the Nazi Scientist angle mentioned in the logline. It also doesn’t have the “pop” of current cinema, for me, but feels more like TV pilot or mini-series that can take its time.

  • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

    Stylistic choice which Brian has heard before! See, Brian! See!

  • Eddie Panta

    WEST CARVER HIGH

    I’m all about Wendigos so I’ll give this one a go…

    The writer’s intentions are in the right place. She’s elevating a well-worn horror scenario by zeroing in on its obvious failures and correcting them.

    I got the feeling from the script that the writer is very young, but I can’t be sure. So far what he’s up to is great, but the order and structure of the story need some work. There’s lots of disconnected details and disordered information…

    You can’t start the first scene in the PAST. a la Super: Last Summer.
    It’s the present, until will jump to the future.
    Also, a visual is needed for something to be superimposed on top of it.

    Very little about SAM tells me he’s (15) without the age written in the description.

    A character with a generic name, Lady Castodian is intro’d without much effect, later in the same scene, after she leaves, the main character, Sam, talks to himself. People don’t really do that. Why not have him say it to her? Also, there is dialogue in the action lines.

    IF within the character intro you point out a detail, like a charm on a necklace, we need to see its relevance on that same page. Or just wait until you can incorporate it into the characters action to point it out. Trust it will be forgotten on the next page.

    On pg.2 the plural of bends, feast, rips, chomps its flesh. is incorrect. Because the lead in sentence above it ends with sees..

    If Sam is described as “bolting up” The STAG, an animal, shouldn’t be described as “bolting up”. There are some redundant lines on the last paragraph pg 2 – Stares right at Sam, into Sam. ( didn’t get that) .

    Over the course of a few well written pages, we have the process of something occurring without the result. Then the result of something completely disconnected, a book burning, without any knowledge of its content or connection to Sam, the boy who’s burning it.

    The story takes a nice surreal turn when we’re not sure if there actually are animals in the library or if they only exist as a manifestation of Sam’s mind.

    We’ve spent a ton of time with setting this up without any resolution. I can only suspect later, when Sam is sketching animals in Memphis’ room that these are manifested somehow in the library, but why Sam isn’t sleeping, or sketching animals when we leave the Library scene is beyond logic.

    As Sam comes aware to the fact that what he thought was a day-dream is actually real, there is no emotional response, no confirmation if it is a strange or everyday occurrence.

    In the next scene, a leather-bound book, the kind you find in a lot of horror movies, is being burnt in a trash can by Sam., Sam is setting it on fire. Why? How is it connected to the previous scene. Lot’s of questions, set-up, very little answers or results. Character emotion in connection to the mysteries is missing here.

    Why Sam is cleaning school hallways when his father is a rich man? Although this is another interesting send up, it’s hard to distinguish whether it’s mysterious or simply confusion.

    I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Sam and Memphis seem to have a romantic relationship, this appears when Memphis says I miss you to Sam when he invites him over.
    This may be how two teenage girls speak to each other, but it’s not how two teenage boys talk.

    Horror movie wise I’m trying to get a feel for what age group this falls into Memphis and Sam droping the F bomb is probably not a great idea. Movies about teenagers don’t attract adults, so there’s a fine line to tread when it comes to horror flicks with a teen lead.
    An R rated scenario isn’t likely to have broad appeal.

    Later in Memphis’ room Sam finds the book he’s burnt, it has reappeared in his book bag.
    But now we’re firmly in troupe land, and now my hopes of a different type of horror film have vanished.

    This is where the visual storytelling ends and lengthy dialogue exposition begins.
    I’d look into another mystical element besides a book. But I don’t think one is really necessary. I’d recommend the writer here look at Vanishing on 7th Street to see how the mystery of a town vanishing, a rapture, goes on without the explanation, the cause remains a mystery.

  • Frankie Hollywood

    No, I’m not. Read my first comment.

    What I’m saying is that neither one of these people should be considered amateurs. One has a manager, the other has a manager and a script optioned.

    In my opinion, I wouldn’t consider them amateurs. Though, I believe both of them would consider themselves amateurs. Obviously, there are different levels of being an amateur.

    And at this point, who cares. It’s Carson’s blog, it’s entirely his decision. If having a manager and/or script optioned doesn’t bother him…so be it.

  • The REAL Rob Lowe

    Is this Meathead Rob Lowe? “And I can’t stop saying Bro, bro.”

    Hmm, Billy K seems to be saying “bro” a lot, too. One in the same?

    Go back to gym, lunkhead.

  • mulesandmud

    • walker

      No way, he’s Robert Towne?

  • Randy Williams

    CONDEMNED

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    This is the one script which read for me more like a movie than all the others. (read to page 17).
    Yet, I felt both compelled and reluctant to read on. What compelled me was the writers put me right in the middle of things. I felt I was there at the location with lots of little details. The people seemed real three dimensional characters.

    What made me reluctant was that the beginning was rather tame for a horror picture. It takes a while to get moving. I think the first sign of anything “horrific” is a shadow on page 9 and a shadow is pretty tame. In that beginning what intrigued me the most was the woman trying to catch the stray animals in the building targeted for demolition. I’d never thought about that aspect of it before. An option might be beginning with her chasing an animal to save it and failing. At least for me that would be a preferred opening and more “horrific”.

    On page 12 there’s a “glow” I have a “glow” in a current script I’m working on. I just realized reading the “glow” here, how boring “glows” are and I’m rewriting that “glow” to be more specific or something else.

    So, we’re taking a lot of time setting up this demolition and then it’s stopped for another walk through and the writers give us a cool surprise, the hello kitty girl. But then, we’re given the tired, candles in a room, portrait of a lady. Then, a Goth couple. So…it’s hum drum setting up and then all of the sudden THREE elements to digest. Personally, I didn’t care for all three. The hello kitty was the most surprising, I would stick with her.

    I’m still compelled to read on if time allows. I feel I’m in good hands despite the above bumps for me.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thanks for taking a look, Randy!

  • Eddie Panta

    CONDEMNED aka. Paranormal Parenthetical.

    RE: Dialogue

    JACK (O.S)
    (from radio)
    We’re good. We’re more than good.

    I believe one parenthetical ( OVER RADIO), next to the character name, not below, would suffice in all of these over radio dialogue moments. Also, there are redundant emotional parenthetical clues, on top of these that are destroying the read. Everyone is skipping it there’s no reason for them to exist.

    It’s killing the pages. That’s why it’s a 117 page horror thriller. 110 here is absolute max, that said, I do understand submitting your extended version for critique, as long as your aware that the script is a good 10 pages too long.

    That said: I love the concept, I want to see this movie. It reminds me of Section 9. Workers vs. Supernatural in a deserted place.

    There’s a lot of process here with very little result, especially considering there isn’t any explosion. We know the explosives aren’t going to go off. Every time I feel like I’m getting the result of something, we get yanked away to a different process already in progress.

    ALL CAPS for a moment in a horror movie where we CATCH A GLIMPSE OF SOMETHING, HALF-UNSEEN, with a HELLO KITTY HOODIE, is not going to give me the vibe that is something ghostly or creepy. It just can’t be creepy and illusive in all caps.

    I’ll read some more… Probably get my vote.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      I promise you an explosion, Eddie.

      • Eddie Panta

        Thanks for the pending Ka-Boom.

        But seriously, you guys are on this site, you know SS will flip out over 117pg contained thriller. That shouldn’t be a shocker.

        How many pgs do you think you’d remove by reigning in the parentheticals?

        • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

          Yes, we wanted the script shorter. 117 isn’t a crime, but 100 is awesome. Maybe we’ll find a trim or ten in the comments.

          That said, parentheticals can often SAVE space. Take the one on pg 3:
          —-
          CHARLIE
          (seeing the empty traps)
          Dammit.
          —-

          Three lines. But look what happens when you put Charlie’s seeing the empty traps in description:
          —-
          1.Charlie sees the empty traps–
          2.
          3.CHARLIE
          4.Dammit.
          —-

          So love the parenthetical, I say!

          As for (into phone) and (into radio) and (O.S.), I fear you just need them. There just isn’t any good way to do dialogue into technology. Leaving those out screws up the scene once someone enters the conversation in the same room. When are you talking to the radio, and when are you talking to the person in the room with you?

          How does everyone else like to do this?

          • Eddie Panta

            Don’t get me wrong, I totally get what you mean, the over radio & into radio audio clips lend a certain amount of tension and reality to the story.

            But I fear the problem is the length of which these scenes go on for. Your approach works for 3pgs, but after that, to me , it becomes redundant, and begins eclipsing the action.

            Take a look at the orig. Mission Impossible script, just for an extended scenes of dialogue via audio relay between two or more characters.

            You’ll find that the dialogue lines for the character speaking: into audio device are indicated in the action line, the same way a telephone conversation is written for screen. Only one character’s dialogue is (O.S.). The other character is presumptive into telephone or audio device. In that M.I. script OVER RADIO replaces O.S.

            (paraphrased excerpt)

            INT. HOTEL – LOBBY – MOMENTS LATER
            Their flashlights catch a glimpse of the large lobby fountain, no longer operating. Impatient, AARON SPEAKS INTO RADIO.

            AARON
            How about some power, Jack?

            JACK ( OVER RADIO)
            Uh, oh.

            AARON
            Jack, don’t be a jerk.

            JACK ( OVER RADIO)
            I’m sorry guys.

            And that’s it, not only shorter, but cleaner. A short phrase on the last action line ( which you already have room for) AARON SPEAKS INTO RADIO is all that is needed for “into radio” dialogue. Any further dialogue by Aaron is presumptive to be “into radio” unless otherwise suggested.

            Similarly, the way in which someone speaks need only be described once.

            Aaron and Patt see the glow. Nod to each other, tip-toeing down the hall as THEY SPEAKS IN HUSHED TONES.

            This would replace the parenthetical (whispered) present after each every line between them, which does add more page length to the scene. An awkward choice considering the position you’re already forced into with a 3-way radio dialogue.

            Another way to handle it, is to simply

            INTERCUT

            UNDER GROUND TUNNEL / HOTEL LOBBY

            On page 10, the scene headings don’t serve any purpose.

            The scenes are audio driven, the scene headings are not backed up by any visual descriptions, in fact, it’s simply repeated:

            INT. UNDERGROUND TUNNEL – CONTINUOUS
            Jack, in the underground tunnel, flips the circuit breakers on and off.

            Here, the action line repeats the slugline and neither supply any visual description, it’s all sound.

            The next SCENE HEADING, is not really a “new” scene.
            This is one intercut continuous sequence, as the sluglines indicate, They’re both INT.

            INT. UNDERGROUND TUNNEL – CONTINUOUS
            Jack, in the underground tunnel, flips the circuit breakers on and off.

            JACK
            (into radio)
            These circuit breakers are old, they didn’t like being turned off.

            INT. HAVERFORD HOTEL – LOBBY – CONTINUOUS
            Aaron and Patt steam —

            CHARLIE ( O.S.)
            (from radio)
            Jack, no joke now?

            JACK ( O.S.)
            (from radio)
            No Joke.

            Since there are no visual elements between the two locations: LOBBY and UNDERGROUND TUNNEL, this sequence might as well be done with as an INTERCUT with the locations established once.
            The characters are floating in empty space anyway.

            I’ll admit this gets challenging once PATT and MARVIN chime in on their radios, but this is more of a story structure issue, than a screenplay formatting issue.

            One main visual relay center where all the action can be shown specific to the POV of a main character instead of in an overall fashion might be the way to go. But I understand the desire to bounce around and be more democratic about the viewpoints.

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            Thanks for digging into the nitty-gritty.

            Mission Impossible combines OS and (from radio)?? You win! We’re doing that. Thx! Screenwriting is like law: Precedents are everything.

            We LOVE the intercut. But if you’re only going to be in each location once, then it’s over before it can become useful. Funny, I don’t think we ever did an intercut in this script (did we?). We’ll have to look at that.

            Oops. Yup: We missed cutting the repetitive “in the underground tunnel”. Good catch.

            But look again at page 10. There’s no way to intercut that bit. Patt and Aaron have entered the lobby, and then there’s ONE cut to the underground tunnel. There would need to be two cuts for intercut to be of any value.

            Thanks for looking things over like this. You should keep doing that! Find more things!

          • Eddie Panta

            Glad you found it helpful. It’s not about winning or being right. It’s about wanting you to have a good-looking script.

            I wasn’t trying to suggest there was an INTERCUT in the script. I was just listing all the options you can consider.

            In the Mission Impossible script, it’s clear that Ethan is the lead, that the visuals are mostly on him. The idea of 3 or 4 characters over radio at once is a tricky issue, and one I don’t have a script example for it.

            I’m more interested in the character’s skillfulness as supposed to their ability to be quibby back and forth. Readers/Viewers tend to like process scenes more when someone is an expert at something. By page 10 I’d like to see who is driving this story.

            An opening credit scroll with stock footage of buildings imploding, floors pancaking might be cool, especially if there’s no money-shot until the climax.

          • Eric

            Just noticed this formatting discussion. I wanted to note that when dialogue is coming from a radio it should read as “V.O.” because the character presumably is not just off screen. I suppose there’s some debate, but most sources seem to support this view.

            Also, as long as it’s clear who the characters are talking to and where they are located in a scene, you don’t need to include “(from radio)” or “(into radio)” in every line of dialogue. Just establish it and let us know if it changes. For instance, if there’s a two page scene with just two characters talking through the radio, you don’t need to mention the radio in every spoken line. True clarity in dialogue comes when the reader understands your character’s geography and intentions clearly. Under optimal conditions, we’ll know who the characters are talking to by virtue of what they’re saying.

            A link, just because…

            http://johnaugust.com/2008/on-the-radio

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            Thanks for the link: More precedent for a character-name-adjacent (from radio). Final Draft, start including that as a choice!

  • walker

    Hey bro, I would call you by your username but that would make me an accomplice in your cowardice. It’s funny that you would bring up last week’s first-time writer. That post generated 78 comments. In contrast, yesterday’s post about a script that has apparently been passed on by Anonymous Content generated 36 comments, a substantial portion of which were completely off-topic. Maybe Carson should have a special day for repped writers who aren’t making any headway and question the judgment of their management. And a special special day for writers who have been at it for twenty years and still can’t cut it.

  • Citizen M

    Please, writers, use the full title of the script as the file name. File names like “WCH 2.2.2015″ or “Lights2015″ are of little help when you have many scripts on your hard drive and you are trying to find one in particular.

    • Midnight Luck

      I second this.
      If anyone is going to search for the title of your script in the future, it would be much better for you (the writer) and them (the reader) if it was easily found.
      Even if the writer doesn’t think it is a big deal if anyone on ScriptShadow can’t find it on their hard drive, I would disagree.
      As a writer, you have no idea how anyone will get ahold of your work, so you have to think long term and very specifically about how it will be received. Not just the writing and characters and everything else, but even down to the title, and the file name.

      • Randy Williams

        I had a hard time finding WCH. I was like WTF?
        Also, I read all AOW scripts on my cellphone. I would think reading scripts on cellphones would be common in Hollywood. I find sluglines in bold
        to bother my eyes. They are fuzzy, not sharp as the other letters on cellphones that I use. They can even seem to vibrate. Personally, I avoid them now.

  • Howie428

    I think my vote is for NEW COKE. If I was a producer that would be the one I’d go for and as it stands it has lots of fun conflict. That being said, for me it could also use a major rewrite.

    My second choice would be CONDEMNED, which has a nice clean horror situation, and while pages I read drag their feet, I could see it being a sharp horror movie.

    My notes as I went through these…

    NEW COKE

    Firstly, this is a great subject for a movie. You could sell this even if they have to completely rewrite you! Also, I’d say that while getting rights approval might help, for me this subject was sufficiently public and famous that you could justify commenting on it without clearances. Actually you’re probably better off without clearances, since you’ll need Pepsi as well as Coke. Now I’ll read some pages and find out if they’ll need that rewrite…

    If you’re opening over BLACK, I’m astounded you resisted the temptation to throw in a PSSSTTT!

    Pg 3 – That’s a fun opening scene, although I guess that when you said “It starts out…” I was expecting to go back to before the decision to change the recipe.

    Pg 5 – I see that you’re going to frame this story as they tell it to a reporter, which is fine, but for me the opening page 1 voiceover doesn’t fit with this and probably isn’t needed. Also, for me it makes sense to include “We could change the recipe” at the beginning of this scene. It’s the key moment, indulge us by letting us have it. Indeed, I’d consider the options of going back to before that moment and showing us a build up to it. The Social Network doesn’t begin with Zuckerberg starting Facebook, it takes time to intro him and the things that led to Facebook. The heart of your story will be the characters of Sergio and Brian, so it makes sense to give them some page space.

    Pg 8 – Going through these settings is fun stuff, and obviously we need to learn about this background info, but as this stands it feels like an exposition style info video. Since the Diet Coke story is so key to the later decision I’d wonder about starting with them overseeing that roll-out.

    Pg 11 – “pe#d#al” – The read has been pretty smooth so far. At this point you have a lot of fun stuff in this.

    However, my big concern would be that you’ll need a fresh character story to carry us through this movie and so far I’m not seeing that. The New Coke story is one we’re basically familiar with so you’ll need to hook us with some part of it that we don’t know. Most likely that will be a question around the lead characters. Say, for example one of them has lost his family, has moved into a new house and become obsessed with everything being “new”. He has a psychological obsession with discarding his past. That fits with the New Coke thing and we’re compelled to find out if this guy can get over it and get back with his family.

    Pg 16 – While this test is fun, it feels like you’re jumping to the extreme negative response, which has me worried about where else there is for the story to go.

    Pg 27 – The Moonshining story is fine by itself, but for me it feels like a sideline, and that plays into my feeling that you haven’t put enough sugar into your core story to make it fizz! Sorry, couldn’t resist it. That gets me back to my earlier note about going further back to the origins of the story and about building it around a compelling character narrative.

    Pg 28 – There is an enormous decision described on this page and again we’re told about it second hand with the reasoning provided via exposition.

    I’m going to cut out here and even though I’m not convinced you’ve got the angle right on how to tell this story, you’ve still got me convinced that there is a fun story to be told here.

    CONDEMNED

    Pg 7 – The opening has some nice visuals and the situation has a good simple intrigue. I’m struggling a bit with all the different characters, some heavy description, and with a feeling that the story is dragging its feet rather than getting going. Essentially it has taken seven pages to show us a rundown building and the team arrayed around it.

    Also, I know this is a movie, but who would test the connection to the explosives at the explosives? You’re saying it’s live and they are standing right next to it?

    Pg 11 – The cat scares on this page are an amusing take on the cliché.

    Pg 16 – That opening sequence has a lot of fun tension and creepiness in it. I have a nagging doubt that it is essentially a teaser that has been drawn out to this length.

    Pg 26 – The family drama stuff is fine and it’s good that they have an obvious mission. I’m not sure I get why Charlie must have family help to blow up a building, so perhaps Samantha should volunteer against his wishes. Also, there’s something a bit odd about this demolition being incredibly urgent, but they have time to stop and wait the several days before the funeral. If it’s that urgent they should be under pressure to call Aaron’s death an industrial accident and get straight on with the work.

    I’m going to stop here, but there’s a lot of good stuff in what I’ve seen so far, even if some of it might be a bit drawn out.

    WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING

    Nice ironic title. I see page 1 is labelled as 2.

    Your first paragraph has some poetic description, although it might be a bit much and you’re being very vague about who this is, which makes it tough to picture.

    Pg 3 (actually 2!) – The teaser is fun, if a bit ordinary. I’m not sure how we’d know it’s a week later or late March.

    Pg 12 – This story line about Wing Chun is fine, although I’m not sure I’ve seen an exciting element to it yet. I’m also not sure how it relates to what happened in the teaser, which I guess makes it hard to me to get into the flow of the story.

    WEST CARVER HIGH

    The title’s a bit non-descript, but I guess that’s the point.

    Page 1 sets the scene but could be a little mundane.

    Then page 2 hits us with a cool surprise.

    I got a bit puzzled on page 3, since it’s not clear that his “realizes it was real” is something that was in question.

    Pg 5 – Since this is one of the last ones I’m looking at I’ll admit I might be being a bit impatient, but I’m finding this hard to follow. Stuff is happening, but I haven’t picked up a cause and effect rhythm yet.

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE

    Pg 7 – The crazy woman aspect of this works, although as she wears on the other characters there’s also a danger that she wears on us the audience. At this point I’m unsure if I’m supposed to believe her because I saw it earlier or not.

    Pg 12 – At this stage I guess the story has some intrigue and a friendly small town setting. However, I’m afraid I’m not engaged by it and I’m finding things a bit slow and dialogue heavy.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thanks for taking a look, Howie!

  • Frankie Hollywood

    “Bro, I don’t have time to care what you think.”

    Yet you took the time to write a post and tell him exactly what you think. Not very intelligent, are you?

  • Gregory Mandarano

    To be absolutely clear – in no way whatsoever have you “hijacked” Amateur Friday. You have just as much right to submit your script for everyone’s consideration, as does everyone else. Any negativity sent in your direction is nothing more than sour grapes, and should be ignored.

    IF ANYTHING, the fact you have representation should do nothing more than give people a bit more CONFIDENCE in your writing when giving your script a cold read. I may have picked on your formatting choices, but I certainly had more confidence in your script as a result of the title page. (Though the copyright symbol can go.)

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thanks Gregory, and best of luck to your script in the next AF!

      • Gregory Mandarano

        You just have absolutely no reason to defend yourself for having your script on the site. I implore you to bring the focus of discussion away from nonsense, and towards constructive criticism as to how your script can be brought to the next level. I for one will be reading it in its entirety soon. I tend to have more time to read scripts during the week than on the weekend.

        As for my script, the only thing I need luck with is Carson giving it a slot in amateur Offerings. My writing speaks for itself.

  • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

    Nope. No WGA for me. Would be nice.

  • brenkilco

    Finished The Lights On the Lake. The writing is generally sharp and economical. Some nice historical details and some that ought to be checked. The first part is pleasantly reminiscent of fifties sci films. But it’s more thriller than sci fi and the longer it goes on the less satisfactory it becomes. There’s real world logic. A movie logic. B movie logic. And real amateur script logic. Where characters alternately meander and rush about without much rhyme or reason, and change behavior at the drop of a hat all for the sake the plot. It’s a world where within moments laid back cops can become crazed avengers, where a few words spoken in German can convince a seemingly rational woman that a guy is a Nazi war criminal, where a villain can be seducing and kidnapping one moment and committing a valiant act of self sacrifice the next. Where a drugged out teen runaway can instantly sober up, develop nerves of steel and cooley plot the murder of somebody she really doesn’t have much reason to believe has done anything wrong and who she was sleeping with just a few scenes before. And where we can watch a crazed scientist constructing a flaring, arcing, strobing electrical contraption that must be kept secret at all costs and never find out exactly what it does. Writers should shoot to create characters real enough that they occasionally say to their creators. I know you need me to do this for the sake of your story but I’m not that dumb.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Great trailer moments.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT
    Noticed that the Black List script Bismark was “optioned” by Paramount.

    Not sure how that works. They pay him $5000 for an option — ask for a rewrite — then another rewrite — then another — and finally loose interest and drop him?
    Anyone know? Are they paying him good money for the rewrites?

    • mulesandmud

      ‘Option’ can mean lots of different things.

      It’s possible that Paramount will pay the BISMARCK writer to rewrite his optioned script; it’s also possible that he’s given the studio both the option and the rewrite for free because it’s a worthwhile opportunity.

      Since this option concerns a completed script with respect around town and big name management, some money was likely involved, but you never know.

      The WGA has a system of credit units that tracks paid work done for WGA signatory companies; the amount of units you get is tied to the size of the project. You need 24 units to be eligible for membership, which is (not coincidentally) the exact same amount you get for a feature script sale.

      An option does give you some units, but not enough to be guild eligible (same with rewrites, pilots, etc). Lots of people make it into the guild by earning their units piecemeal over a few years.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Good stuff.
        Thanks Mules.

      • walker

        Also, an option can be used to lock in a future purchase price.

  • peisley

    Carson doesn’t seem to have a problem with some street cred in your history. Since, it’s his site, I don’t think that’s going to change. I find it interesting though, why somebody would want to be associated with posting a script as an amateur if they do have a rep or producer attached. Perception is a valuable thing. I’m not sure a rep is too pleased to have one of their clients rated as amateur, let alone a producer. What are they going to say? My client just got sweet reviews on Amateur night? The Black List doesn’t use the amateur label as far as I know and probably can’t or they might be sued. So, I don’t have a problem with somebody getting their script listed in Amateur Offerings, even though they have a rep or producer. I just don’t know why you’d want to. Isn’t your rep or producer giving you feedback? They are the ones with your career in their hands. Not to denigrate ScriptShadow, btw. I know a posting can get some heat.

  • carsonreeves1

    Hey guys. I like to mix in writers with experience, sometimes who even have a manager or agent (but haven’t yet truly broken in) because, well, quite frankly, if I didn’t, you’d have a couple of entries a week where the writer couldn’t even make it out of the logline without misspelling a word.

    I’d love it if we could have five quality awesome amateur screenplays a week. But there’s a reason a lot of these writers are still amateurs. They don’t take themselves seriously enough yet. They’re not able to write professional-quality queries/loglines/screenplays. So if you’re going to get mad at anybody for including these scripts, get mad at me. DO NOT get mad at the writers. And, actually, if I see commenters out-and-out being rude to AO entrants, I’ll cut those comments off. Let’s keep this positive here. Thanks. :)

    • Joel

      You do realize that the submissions which you are making fun of up there come from the same people who read your blog, right? [And buy your notes.]

      Positivity is not a one way street.

      • grendl

        Making fun of?

        Is saying a lot of the scripts we see here suck making fun of them or pointing out the obvious?

        A lot suck. A lot show either a total lack of narrative acumen, laziness, derivative tendencies ( read that theft ), blatant ignorance as to what a multiplex would carry on the docket.

        That’s just truth.

        Writers who want to be coddled probably shouldn’t be sending their work here. You want to be lied to you and told how great you are, you have to break into the business FIRST, and then everyone will kiss your ass following a success.

        Outsiders don’t get that luxury. Nor do we need it.

        I’m not saying its necessary to tell a writer they suck, or their script sucks. It could be put in more diplomatic and kind ways. Some are worth giving criticism to because the writer shows potential. And then there are some that are so far past the point of no return, there’s no reason to try and help.

        The world owes us nothing. That’s something you learn as a writer. Nothing.

        And positivity isn’t nearly as helpful from a creative standpoint as negativity when its constructive criticism. Yeah, the Titanic sure was a nice looking boat, but if someone had just been a bit more critical about the design of the bulkheads, and the necessity for more lifeboats despite how ungainly they might look, a lot more people would have made it through that night.

        And pointing out those flaws is not making fun of them btw. Pointing out the flaws of fledgling writers who have the attention span of an autistic ferret, who spend more time on the internet and glued to their television than they do at the keyboard writing, actually writing and learning the process, that’s a positive thing.

        Pointing out the negatives is a positive endeavor. If its meant to help.

        I’m sick of people who want unconditional love for anything they manage to crap out.

        So many people want to give the Wachowskis the benefit of the doubt because of one Matrix movie, but they’ve proven time and time again they’re not going to listen to reason. They’re going to plow ahead with their narrative incoherence, their brainless spectacle regardless of what anyone says.

        They sort of have that luxury although that door is beginning to close after this weekend. Amateurs don’t.

        We have to be tougher on ourselves than other people as writers. We have to be our own toughest critics. And we shouldn’t rely on positivity from others.

        • walker

          Actually grendl, I feel that featuring poor or substandard scripts, like last Friday’s, just because the writer is represented, is a form of coddling. There is also a palpable reluctance among the commenters to criticize a script by someone who has made some connections. More coddling. That script is not good and I assume that the writer’s management has told her that. So her reaction to that is to get a second opinion on Amateur Friday. In my view it is these writers who cannot accept the judgment of their own management that are seeking to be coddled. And Carson and some of these commenters are only to happy to coddle them. It’s not a good look for Scriptshadow.

        • Joel

          Yeah, I don’t coddle anyone when I review a script. I’m harder on people for their typos and poor formatting than Carson. When I reviewed the script for Gravity, I gave it a score of 50 out of 100– that’s for a script nominated for an Academy Award. So, yeah, I’m pretty tough on the words people put on pages.

          There was quite a bit of subtext in my initial comment. For the record, I’ll draw it out.

          The problem with Carson’s post is that he conflates all submissions which he chose not to post on AOW with the worst of all possible submissions. All those writers who want criticism and a venue [in other words, capable Amateurs] are equated with people who can’t spell the word “wants”.

          I’ll be more literal from now on.

      • carsonreeves1

        That’s the funny thing. I can tell that submissions like the one I paraphrased above haven’t read my blog in any serious capacity (they didn’t even know my name) or else they wouldn’t have made some of the most basic mistakes a screenwriter can make.

        Maybe I was too harsh in the way I phrased it, but there is definitely a level of frustration on my end when I read queries like this because it’s like, “C’mon! You have thousands of terabytes of screenwriting information on the internet and you haven’t even done enough research to get the bare essentials down.” I want writers to succeed. But they must put in the effort. This business is so unforgiving. Sometimes you gotta give someone a good kick in the butt to let them know that.

        • walker

          You’re kind of selective about who gets a good kick in the butt. Why didn’t you tell Friday’s author that their script was meandering and poorly structured, with an unlikeable protagonist and implausibly rendered secondary characters? As for getting the little things right, the script has Jewish characters eating pork on page 9. On page 30 a husband and wife start a telephone conversation: “Denise Jacobson.” “Denise? It’s Ethan Jacobson.” These characters are supposed to have been married for over 20 years. If this content was truly anonymous I think you would have been tougher.

    • davejc

      But there’s nothing to prevent a pro, semi pro or repped writer from submitting a script to an amateur site by simply leaving that information out. But when you say you like to mix it up it sounds like you are choosing those scripts based on their semi repped/pro statis. If the SS community does the same then we are not vetting amateur scripts by unknowns. We are simply vetting scripts that have already been vetted. I think that is the point Walker was trying to make.

      • walker

        Not only that, Dave. In most cases those scripts have been vetted and rejected. The writers are coming petulantly to SS for a second opinion more in line with their own. There are limited opportunities for AF reviews and I think this ends up being a waste of at least some of those opportunities.

    • Howie428

      For me it makes a lot of sense to encourage pros, represented writers, and producers to want to get reviewed on this site.

      Indeed, I’ve been saying for a while that if I was a Hollywood producer developing a script, I’d seriously consider sending it to you. I’d ask you to distribute it to your mailing list, telling people that it’s still in development, and to review it on your site. They’d get a hundred sets of notes/coverages for free. Some of our notes have to be as good as what the intern says, and we’re less likely to be playing office politics with our opinions.

      Obviously those kind of reviews don’t fit under the amateur label and wouldn’t belong in the Saturday/Friday cycle. It makes sense to me that there isn’t really a clean line to be drawn between one group and the other, so it’s your call on what fits where.

      That being said, I think this format does create some expectations on you. When those people who are routinely looking at the Saturday scripts give their opinions they can reasonably expect that you’ll follow what they say. Mostly you do, but on those times when you don’t people will get irritated.

      Also, people who are active on this site are making a contribution and have historically been rewarded for that. The most powerful force in Hollywood is nepotism, so I think it’s fair for us to ask for some.

      You’ve discussed before the idea of creating an “approved” list of writers that this site would support. People who’ve shown they have potential. For me most of the very active commenters on the site, which wouldn’t include me, would belong on that list. It would make sense for those people to get Saturday slots whenever they have a draft they feel is ready, which might make it easier for you to fill the slots.

    • Eric

      I support this in general, but my eyes keep getting drawn back to the word “epicallly”. There’s a red squiggly line under it right now. It’s kinda hard to miss when you’re writing it. If we’re gonna be sticklers, let’s actually be sticklers.

    • klmn

      A dragon falling in love with Santa Clause shows real imagination. It could be the start of a surreal film.

      Too bad this guy isn’t around anymore to write the score:

    • Nick Morris

      I’ve actually managed to land representation since my AF last year. Still no sales, mind you, but I feel strongly that the incredible feedback I received from Carson and the ScriptShadow community helped me to improve my script enough to make that happen. So, thanks again for that!

      This being said, I still totally consider myself an amateur writer and certainly wouldn’t have hesitated to submit to SS again in the future. But now I’m really not sure if I should and kind of feel weird about it.

      Disappointing for sure, but however this plays out, I’ll absolutely respect the prevailing feeling of the ScriptShadow community with regards to exactly what constitutes an “amateur”.

      • Poe_Serling

        “I’ve actually managed to land representation since my AF last year.”

        That’s great news, Nick! Make sure you keep us updated on any future successes.

        • Nick Morris

          Thanks, guys! Will do.

      • Linkthis83

        Awesome, man.

      • walker

        Hey Nick. First and foremost, congratulations on your success and good luck going forward. I enjoyed your script and I think I may have commented favorably on it before. But secondly, as the commenter who inadvertently started this digression, I want to stress that my original post was in no way directed at regular participants such as yourself. And further, I am not “against” the idea of anyone submitting to SS. I do think there is going to be a bias in favor of the repped writers which is unfortunate for newbies, but I also agree with the concept that competing against better-quality scripts should force everyone to up their game. If a repped writer wants to submit and get feedback that is totally ok with me, although I wonder what their rep is doing for them and frankly why the rep would think posting their script online would be a good idea. I am really talking about several specific incidents where the writers seemed to be primarily trying to generate momentum for scripts that had fizzled out in the usual channels, and made no pretense of wanting notes or a review.

        • Nick Morris

          You did indeed. :) Thanks for that, walker, and for clarifying your position on this as well. Will keep it in mind going forward. Cheers!

    • Linkthis83

      I want to write a lot on this subject, but I honestly believe that no matter what I write, those who’d get it…already get it…and those who have the varying opinions will still have the varying opinions. So I will trim the bloviating and just try to keep it to the necessary.

      All of this is about perspective. From all angles. Just like characters in a story. If you take each perspective and put it in the context of where that character is coming from, then understanding ensues.

      1) Carson has every right to choose whatever he wants, however he wants. It’s his site. A site I’m so fucking grateful for that no amount of keystrokes could ever express effectively. Also, if I were Carson, I’d want to play a role in a script’s success. So I would expand my choices as much as possible. Especially because of the following: The industry is so saturated with scripts that have to be vetted in order to determine worth, that you can know which ones are worth picking until they are vetted.

      Also, Carson does a wonderful job of trying to maintain a balance of what he wants personally/professionally from Scriptshadow, and what we want as well. Because the relationship is symbiotic (hopefully I’m using that correctly here).
      We benefit from his site existing and he benefits from us doing what we do here.

      Which leads me to…

      2) There is a COMMUNITY here. So it makes total sense when those of us that are active here over long periods of time, want to see others in the COMMUNITY get opportunities that noncontributing people get.

      I put forth the effort I do because a) it’s extremely beneficial to me from a learning perspective. b) I get to interact with the actual writers and I get to learn about their intentions/choices c) I can have a direct impact on helping someone with a script/story.

      This is why it’s frustrating when writers don’t chime in on the AOW’s. They don’t owe me anything, but it’s one of the reasons I put forth the effort. There is so much more to be gained from a discussion about story than just me doing a one-sided review and that person not even saying thanks. But that’s also assuming that person even knew their script was in AOW in the first place. There are so many UNKNOWN factors that people constantly assume they know and then make a whole case based on it.

      The truth is that there is no scientific approach to any of this. Could it be better, sure. There are probably ways, but then those ways take up more time and commitments and the spirit of AOW for me is this:

      You are an amateur submitting a script because you either think it’s ready for consumption, don’t know if it’s ready for consumption, or you are just taking a shot because you think it’s good enough. All of these approaches are subjective. McKee states that you KNOW when a story is ready. I love a lot of what he has to say, but that is fucking bullshit. Some people don’t have a support group for this stuff. Which leads me to…

      3) I believe the sentiment about writers with managers/agents shouldn’t be coming here is because they now have an actual support group. It doesn’t mean they have the best representation, but they have somebody supposedly working on their behalf. Where a lot of folks here, in the COMMUNITY, may not. So we work on behalf of each other to help each other get closer to that shared dream.

      From my perspective, sure, I want to say “You got your team, stop interfering with us getting ours.” – However, if a writer I knew had representation and was thinking of submitting here I’d say, “Shit yeah you should. Are you where you want to be? No? Then keep doing whatever you feel you need to do to get where you want to go.” And there would be a consequence of somebody not getting their slot that weekend that has been an active contributor.

      It’s not about fair, it’s about controlling what you can control, and understanding they why’s of it all. That’s why a lot of people reference “luck” when it comes to their success. It’s about the effort they kept putting forth and then some random thing happens and sets them on their way. Or hell, it sets up the little moment that sometime down the road you won’t even be able to recall was the essential moment that lead you to where you are now.

      I would suggest this, Carson. If you have an AOW weekend where you are really struggling to put 5 things you think are “worthy” into AOW, find a script from a regular and throw it in the mix. Cuz yeah, they have earned it from my perspective.

      I’m 98% on the side of the writer. Especially the writers I know.

      There’s no science to this shit. And if there comes a day there is, then I won’t want to play any more. I also don’t view us as being in competition with one another. Which is why I have no issue helping people whenever I can. Writers are a community. Just because you run faster than me doesn’t mean you win in this game.

  • Citizen M

    My vote goes to WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING, with WEST CARVER HIGH and CONDEMNED as runners-up.

    NEW COKE
    Read to page 16. Unfortunately, it’s over-written with too many asides to the reader. This slows down the read and pushes up the page count. Take away the frilly bits and there’s not much there: a lot of exposition and an unconvincing slapstick Pepsi Challenge scene with cliché rednecks.

    There are some glimmers of humour there. Curb your writing enthusiasm and focus on telling a story and it might amount to something.

    WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING
    Read to page 26. Certainly captures the spirit of the martial arts movies with their formal dialogue and bursts of philosophy. The pace drags a little. The outline of the plot should be clear by now but it still seems to be setting up. But it’s promising, with an admirably low character count. I like Wing Chun and I want to know what happens to her.

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE
    Read to page 24. The story is moving too slowly. The dialogue is uninspired. I don’t even know who the protagonist is; could be the policeman, his wife, or his crazy aunt. She seems to be the only one doing anything.

    p. 1 – “Little, green buggers!”
    p. 8 – “little, green men”
    p. 14 – “This is, KAUFMAN.” Comma abuse x 3.
    p. 14 – A song takes over two minutes. To dance a tango and part of a mambo would take at least three minutes. So this scene should be written in three pages not two paragraphs or else the minute per page timing will be off.
    p. 22 – “anodyne” is wrongly used. Substitute ‘relevant’ or ‘germane’.

    WEST CARVER
    Read to page 31. Interesting premise. A bit slow and expository in the beginning. I can’t figure out why Sam, a rich man’s son, is acting as a janitor. Is the religious talk really necessary? It slows things down. We want monsters! The monsters themselves were hard to imagine. Variously described as humans with stag heads, but also running with clattering hooves. So how do their feet look? I expected a bigger reaction from Sam when he found the book he had burned in his gear, unburned. And the kids were slow to realise there were no teachers. You’d think they’d pick it up within minutes. But I’m interested enough to read on.

    CONDEMNED
    Read tp page 30. Lots of characters. I didn’t quite get who’s who in the zoo, or what their functions are. I get that the hotel is jinxed, but it’s unclear if the evil force has been unleashed yet, or why it inhabits the hotel. So far we’ve seen a real Goth couple and a possibly incorporeal girl in a hoodie, neither of which seem particularly evil. Do we need all the family melodrama? I’m not sure how it’s related to the theme, if there is one.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the read and the feedback!

  • Montana Gillis

    WOW! A lot of strong feelings on WHO gets to submit for AF. This was bound to happen as SS grows more powerful and influential. While I agree on keeping AF reserved for the “purity” of novice amateurs without any representation, I gots ta wonder about the status of those with a manager that has done absolutely nothin for their (or consistently for anyone else’s) career. SS has grown to become a potential, bonafide conduit to a film writing career. Of course it’s going to attract all levels of writers who haven’t “made it” yet.

  • Montana Gillis

    Wars of Eternal Spring: This is overwritten to the point it should satisfy Carson’s latest craving for complete sentences and plenty of prose. I’m sure there is a great story in here but I can’t stay with it long enough to find it. Remember, Scripts need to be lean, here is an example from page 14:::::

    CHEN: This is a pleasant valley. It looks as though trouble lands lightly here.
    MR. YIM: We are fortunate. We are of no use to anyone but ourselves.
    GANBAATAR: No trouble with Mings?
    MR. YIM: Not much. From ruler to ruler we have been left mostly in peace.
    GANBAATAR: Because of the Shaolin.

    Try reducing this to give us the essence of the exchange while preserving the gems of your dialog ::::

    CHEN: Trouble lands lightly here.
    MR. YIM: We are no use to anyone but ourselves. No one penetrates the Shaolin.

    (okay the last sentence sucks but you get the idea. 5 exchanges are reduced to 2 and the meaning is still apparent — Do this throughout the whole script and it will give you a lot more pages to fill in the story.)

    • Gregory Mandarano

      Excellent advice on distilling dialogue.

    • Matthew Garry

      I agree in general, but dialogue is tricky when it comes to streamlining. It has a natural flow, and even when it is doing nothing for the plot, it can be advancing character.

      Here, Chen is a good guy. He notices the pleasantness of his surroundings and tries to easy (or trick) Mr. Yim into giving information. Ganbaatar is obsessed with rooting out the Ming and presses the matter. Mr. Yim deflects the discussion and tries to play down any sort threat they might pose.

      It’s actually a pretty tense scene with three very different characters, who all want something. It’s okay to have smalltalk, as long as it’s not really smalltalk.

      You always have to try and give actors something to work with characterwise instead of just conveying information in the quickest way, even if some of the dialogue might may not seem relevant. It can be the character’s way of performing it that gives it its relevance, not the actual meaning of the words.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks to both of you for the insight! It’s always a challenge to find that balance between how much characters say and how much they do. After watching a lot of DVD “how it was made” bonus features and listening to director commentary it seemed to me that those decisions become very fluid as a film is being shot. I tried to weigh each scene with the thought that dialogue should move things forward but in the end not be so precious it couldn’t be cut. There are a lot of good actors out there who can accomplish volumes with a look (I’m thinking of Idris Elba in “Luther” and Anson Mount in “Hell on Wheels”) but others that can really work a line.
      And as far as “penetrating the Shaolin” goes….I’m a visual thinker and now I’m never gonna be able to un-see that. Aiiiieeeee! :-)

  • shewrites

    My vote goes to Wars of Eternal Spring.
    The logline reads like a movie.
    I’m usually not a fan of the WYSR section but this one amused and intrigued me. I was happy to see the same understated humor playing through the pages I read.
    Read up to p40, I love the tone, world, and characters.
    Though at times the descriptions fit a novel more than a screenplay, they are very evocative and well turned out.
    Yes, this script definitely gets my vote.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Several other folks have mentioned the excessive prose – It’s something I’ll be working on.

  • Nathaniel Bannister

    My vote goes to LIGHTS ON THE LAKE. I read the first ten of everything and chose to read Lights on the Lake in full on the strength of its first ten. Feedback:

    New Coke: the action lines read too much like prose to me with some needless asides that won’t really translate to the screen. Sergio and Brian: who are they? What is their role? Why are they allowed direct access to the CEO of one of the world’s biggest brands? Tell me more about them and cut out the prose.

    Wars of Eternal Spring: the dialogue style of this genre really grates on me – on-the-nose and overly expositional. But it didn’t deter me too much – the conflict is nicely set up. I would probably introduce the general earlier. The first ten lacked focus to me. My main issue though is what is the purpose of this script; what does the writer want to say? Just wanting to write a cool genre flick is not enough in my eyes.

    West Carver High – that title needs a rethink. This didn’t really do it for. I felt the kids were just mouthpieces: they didnt talk like real teenagers would (not ones I know anyway). They launch in to this philosophical debate about god which seems forced.

    Condemned – this was confidently written and a flowing read but there was too much going on for me in the first ten. We had like seven or eight characters? And lots of things being drawn to our attention (a laundry chute, a gargoyle, a broken trespass sign). Its difficult though because I can imagine on screen this would be a lot easier to handle – the camera lingers, we have a visual. But on the page there was too much going on for me.

    Lights on the Lake – great mystery box opening but I think there is a gradual drop in quality as the script goes on and by the end I was skim-reading. There are too many factors in play: UFOs, Nazis, Communism, general xenophobia (which seemed unusually fervent and was used as an excuse to section Josie pretty quickly – yet no one had a problem with Kaufman?). Added to this I felt like the writer cheated a little with some of the story choices – Cassandra just happened to be laying low in the nearest city (rendering pointless Buddy’s investigations); Josie just happened to be a Polish refugee (how the hell did she end up in Gimli?) who recognises Kaufman’s voice. And then there were a few things that just didn’t ring true – Hildy committing suicide, Josie being sectioned, Cassandra hating Josie. I think there is the germ of a good story in here – it just needs focus. Cut some of the extraneous characters, choose one ‘theme’ (UFOs or communist paranoia) and work on more fully integrating those themes in to the dialogue and characters so that story developments feel less forced.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the read and the comments!

  • walker

    The last time he reviewed a script by a repped writer (Friday), he had his lowest comment total (38) for months. Less than 20 of those comments were about the actual script. By contrast, the previous Friday he reviewed a script by a first-timer and that drew 78 comments.

  • grendl

    A repped writer wrote a colossal bomb at the box office this week end.

    Make that two repped writers wrote two colossal bombs.

    The fact that people like you like to suggest the pros are anything more than lottery winners, which they are, is funny.

    The movies tanked big time. Big time.

    Pros fail.

    You don’t have to accept it. They do. We see it every weekend because we have access to box office numbers.

    Pro writers are often just people who know someone in the business, dumb enough to back their project.

    You understand that right? Pro just means someone was paid. If an idiot pays you, it still counts as pro work.

    So talk about the business, troll. “Jupiter Ascending” made 19 million this week-end. and used up all the suckers who worship the Wachowskis and Mila Kunis. The drop off next week end will be EPIC.

    Failure. Pros failing. And people like you spending your time laughing at amateur scripts while they do fail.

    Turning a blind eye to the crapfest that is Hollywood mainstream movies means you’re not very astute. Or maybe you think you’re going to one day break in. You won’t.

    Post a script. Let’s see it. Man of a thousand lame fake names. Show us how its done.

    I’ll find you wherever you go on this board. Its not hard. Wherever there’s a stupid new fake name, an unsold angry writer will be behind it.

    Repped writers can be just as awful as non-repped ones. The fact that their movies are actually greenlit just means theres a lot of morons with money out there. You may as well mock people for not winning Powerball.

    Thats as random as success is today.

  • Somersby

    My vote is for Wars of Eternal Springs, basically because it nicely captures the style and tone of every chop-sock-martial arts flick I’ve ever seen. The settings seem authentic. The characters, while not especially original, are certainly serviceable. And I suspect that’s exactly what the writer was intending.

    The script could move a little faster, and at times it bogs in its own flowery descriptions. But not enough to throw me off track. Someone else pointed out that the flashbacks really need to be identified as such. I agree. I had to reread a few sections just to be clear I knew what was actually happening.

    The dialogue could be trimmed in spots. I think the Drunken Soldier giving the exposition on Ganbaatar and Jin could be handled better. Perhaps with flashbacks? I’m not sure. As is, it’s one of those bog moments I’m talking about. It’s contrived and slows everything down.

    But a great effort nonetheless. And as I mentioned, I love the WYSR behind this. Love to see Elizabeth get rewarded on Amateur Friday.

    New Coke was a breezy enough read, but as others have pointed out, it’s weak on substance. I didn’t find myself engaged—or really caring to be engaged. The emphasis is on the product. Unless you’re a student of marketing, that’s not going to appeal to a lot of people. Coca Cola represents a mega global corporation that’s driven by profit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – but they are about as far away from generating any kind of empathy from an audience as you can get.

    Besides, do I really want to know more about how they replaced sugar with corn syrup?

    I’d rather see the New Coke story as background to a story about people. As is, I don’t think any of the existing characters are interesting enough to warrant that sort of attention. Certainly not Paula and Stanley. And Sergio and Brian are simply two businessmen doing what businessmen do. Unless there’s something MORE and MORE INTERESTING about their personal lives, there’s not a lot here to hang your hat on.

    I do think the numerous writer asides distract from the story. Anything that pulls the reader away from the action to contemplate the wittiness of the writer’s side comments only serves to diminish the story. I know they add a certain personality to the read. But you’re not selling personality, you’re selling story.

    Only read 10 pages of the other three scripts. I like the writing in Condemned, but the number of characters in those first few pages is overwhelming. Had to backtrack a couple of times just to be clear who’s who.

    Lights on the Lake didn’t grab me. Not a bad beginning, but I couldn’t figure out why Hildy didn’t just tell Buddy that she had pictures of the crash site. Have them developed. No longer crazy! Little things like that pull me out of the story and didn’t leave me wanting to read more.

    I have to admit I’m not a horror fan. Not in the least. So any assessment I’d have to offer on West Carver Highwouldn’t be much help, I’m afraid. That said, I was totally upended by one sentence when Montague says this to his son: ”We will remodel all of humankind with this kind of power. It’s real, Sam. The dawn of a new age, made in our image!”

    Do people really speak like this? Even in horror flicks? Maybe it’s standard fare, I’m not sure. But if it is, you can understand why I’m not a fan. :-)

    Good luck to all the writers.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the comments! I did originally have the Drunken Soldier’s exposition as a voice-over flashback but I thought it might be too much time jumping. I’ll give it another think through.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: Lights On The Lake. I like sci-fi thrillers and this one is pretty well written.

  • davejc

    My vote: Wars Of Eternal Spring

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks! I appreciate the vote!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    Carson, I’m not mad at you for choosing scripts by repped writers.
    It’s right to include them, they’re the COMPETITION.
    You want to get better than semi-pros, jump in the deep end. I hear you there.

    But where was that same sentiment when you disqualified Lev’s euro-vamp tale?
    Don’t tireless note-givers that work in the film industry EARN their chances to?
    So why use a DOUBLE STANDARD here?

    Give your tireless note-givers the chance they’ve EARNED by supporting you.

    • klmn

      Actually, the working writers are our competition.

      And Carson does review their scripts.

  • davejc

    Business To Run, if what you say is true, then why is a soccer mom kicking their ass?

  • S_P_1

    OFF TOPIC
    My $0.02.
    Before I actually created a forum account I lurked on this site not participating. I wanted to gain a general consensus of the Scriptshadow community.
    Several forum members have brought up valid points on participation and professional connections.
    walker commented on something I noticed as well. Writers who land a spot on AOW without prior participation. I can understand the gross unfairness that situation may portray. The counterpoint is this, it’s a strategic advantage not to post prior to your script submission. If this were a meritocracy only your script will be judged. However once you start voicing your opinions and viewpoints a bias towards the actual writer will form.
    Something I became aware of after purchasing script consulting services, some consultants also rate the writer. Under what basis can you judge the person?

    • Gregory Mandarano

      I dont agree with you. I’ve been on this site for years with 500 comments spaced out over forever. I’ve given dozens of people notes, and had notes given to me by email, and have had great conversations with plenty of people. But I’ve never had a script offered publicly, and if I did, I cant imagine anyone having a preconceived notion about who I am, or having their judgment of me affecting their read. There’s plenty of us who have been here posting for years, and still feel like ghosts.

      • S_P_1

        You still have a level of notoriety even if you feel virtually invisible. Carson for the most part announces when a forum regular have submitted to AOW. Your long term standing isn’t insignificant on any level. Whether forum members pander to you or not, you have to be the ultimate judge.
        There is a level of courtesy extended when a (personal) group of like minded individuals get together for the purposes of improvement. How you respond may not vary from a private group to an public forum. Usually feelings are spared in a private writers group versus the anonymity and impersonal nature of the internet.
        Human nature always comes into play. That means extenuating circumstances may factor into reading any script. Are various forum members going to receive differing opinions based on forum popularity?……..
        How many one time submitters to AOW specifically reference grendl? How many one time submitters are grateful when a select few give notes on their script?
        The only hedge factor I have is writing the best script I’m capable of. My success as a writer is largely due in part to my ability to craft a well understood story.
        I chose understood instead of written because questions left in the readers mind leads to vagaries in the script.
        This ultimately is another opinion on the hot topic for today.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          You’re a nice guy SP1.

  • Levres de Sang

    My Vote: A tie between… LIGHTS ON THE LAKE and WEST CARVER HIGH

    Not so much time this weekend so just my impressions of the opening pages… although I did notice a tendency towards excessive chatter in several of these.

    LIGHTS ON THE LAKE [Read: 24 pages]

    As already mentioned I love the title, logline and WYSR on this one. However, the writing is overly simplistic and therefore does not fully evoke the atmosphere I would want from this kind of film. Nevertheless, aside from a few errors already noted by other commenters, I’m enjoying the mystery of the lights. This is the one I’d want to watch, although the script is not quite as well written as WEST CARVER HIGH.

    WEST CARVER HIGH [Read: 10 pages]

    I’m not much of a fan when it comes to teenagers/high school movies, but the easy almost relaxed style of this impressed me. The characters are nicely drawn and there’s just enough intrigue with the occult book and the vaguely menacing figure of Sam’s father. Good job!

    WARS OF ETERNAL SPRING [Read: 12 pages]

    This feels very authentic in its characters and dialogue and reads easily enough, but the Confucian couplet for every occasion promises to become a little tiring. I also feel the writing should take its time a little more at the beginning to evoke a greater sense of atmosphere. More imagery and less chatter. It’s similar to the criticism I had for CONDEMNED so maybe my own preferences are coming through too much…?

    CONDEMNED [Read: 7 pages]

    All the chatter across these opening pages is distracting me from what could be a very atmospheric opening. I get that a lot of Hollywood films open this way, but maybe focus more on the gargoyle and abandoned building. I also think it would be more effective just to have disembodied voices filtered over radios etc. while the team silently go about their work — although keep the bit where the woman mentions the cats and dogs!

    NEW COKE [Read: 6 pages]

    Sorry, but I just can’t get into this one. N.B. Please bear in mind that unless you’re Woody Allen or Billy Wilder then most comedies will get a “Wasn’t for me” from me. (I did like the “Mostly…” on the title page, though!)

    • Poe_Serling

      CONDEMNED

      I like your idea about taking more time in the initial pages to focus on the condemned building and making it a living, breathing entity all its own.

      NEW COKE

      You must be talking about the Billy Wilder film One, Two, Three..

      “A comedy about Coca-Cola’s man in West Berlin, who may be fired if he
      can’t keep his American boss’s daughter from marrying a Communist.”

      • Linkthis83

        Totally agree about CONDEMNED. The best part of the pages I read is when the little girl says “Welcome to the Haverford.”

        That’s why I stated in my notes that’s what I felt these opening pages should be doing…welcoming the audience to the Haverford.

        • Poe_Serling

          Even though I mentioned in my comments yesterday how I liked the “jumping right into the action of preparing for the demolition,” I could easily see this story benefiting from an opening scene showing the building during its heyday and maybe a hint of some horrific tragedy that led to its current condition of being razed.

          • Gregory Mandarano

            I had a sudden vision of Boyhood, except it’s the life of a hotel, instead of a child.

      • Levres de Sang

        Actually, I must confess to not having seen One, Two, Three but your brief synopsis certainly makes me want to see it! (I also believe brenkilco mentioned it yesterday.)

    • MaliboJackk

      Re; CONDEMNED
      “I also think it would be more effective just to have disembodied voices filtered over radios…”
      Love this idea. Used in movies all the time.
      Do we really need to be introduced to all the characters in the first few pages?

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Thanks for the read and the comments!

  • Gregory Mandarano

    This has been going through my head all weekend.

    No fries, chips. No coke, pepsi.

  • MichaelAQ

    I ended up reading the first 15 pages of New Coke and West Carver High.

    New Coke
    I wish this script started on page 5. Sergio and Brian are hilarious. They seem to be the driving force of the story. Why not jump right into the good stuff? The imagery of them in the conference room, with the chart that has Coke’s arrow pointing down provides a simple set up that lets the reader know what needs to happen. Also, stakes are implied (assuming their jobs are on the line).

    What didn’t work for me in this script was some of the action lines. The writer has a tendency to tell instead of showing. Page 7… “imagine a big chemistry set.” Page 9: “If you can’t tell it’s the CEO’s office…” This type of description took me out of the script in certain places.

    West Carver High
    This starts off very intriguing. Even though I’m not 100% sure why Sam is working with custodians, I’m along for the ride. The school feels creepy and the raccoon meeting its demise in the library are great setups. By the logline, I thought I was going to read some contained horror, but this seems to be something with a little more mystery and adventure.

    Things start to feel clunky for me when the book is introduced. Why is this thing I don’t even know being destroyed? Like someone else mentioned, I wish I got to see the discovery of the book right away. I felt like this important thing was introduced, but I had no context for it. I’m sure things will get more interesting as the teachers disappear, but I didn’t have the intrigue to get to the part.

    My pick: New Coke

  • HRV

    As usual, the AOW comments are spirited. I frequently read a number of them before I sample any of the weekend fare and rather than just read the first few pages I will take the time to read complete screenplays as I have the type of job that allows me the time to do so.
    By nature I’m not as long winded on the keyboard as some here, except for when it comes to actual screenwriting. I definitely practice my craft and have a number of screenplays written and a few I’d like to submit.

    That said: I do find there’s a lot of negativity thrown around at times — I think it’s human nature to criticize more than to compliment — which makes one leery of throwing their babies to the wolves, only to have them devoured and shat out. I don’t know what connections fellow forumers have to the industry, so sometimes one wonders to what degree criticism should be doled out. Do amateurs have the right to criticize amateurs?
    Many complaints have been made about the quality of the loglines and WYSR comments. Because of that I’m sure some will hesitate to submit, thinking: Is it good enough or am I in for a reaming?
    I do agree with Carson that we should try to present in as professional a manner as possible, then of course, even professional screenplays have mistakes.
    I also agree that one who wishes to submit might be hesitant of the revenge factor for making negative comments to other submiters.

  • GoIrish

    I read all of New Coke. First of all, it seems like multiple commenters were intrigued by the idea of a movie dealing with New Coke/Coke Classic. So good job in identifying an interesting concept. I don’t know if I really knew what kind of story I was expecting, but (unfortunately) I don’t feel like I got at least a version of the one I was hoping for. I think I would have preferred a predominantly corporate version. Maybe the Coke-version of Margin Call. We see heads on the chopping block and people scrambling to find their chair when the music stops.

    I think one of the bigger issues I encountered was something that you touched upon in one of your comments – when “truth” doesn’t seem believable. As mentioned elsewhere, the grandma bit seemed more like slapstick comedy rather than a true story. Also, I had a little bit of a tough time believing that someone was unaware that cocaine was initially used in Coke – and that they’d then try to recreate the formula with cocaine. I also questioned whether a father and son would attempt to reconnect over a Coke Classic. All of those events may have, in fact, happened – but when they don’t “feel” believable, it obviously makes the read a little more challenging.

    • MaliboJackk

      Obviously, a Pepsi drinker.

  • Acarl

    This^^^^^

  • leitskev

    This guy sounds like fun to work with. And ebola sounds like a fun disease.

  • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

    You know, with all the talk of what scripts get chosen for AF, I’ve wanted to comment about basic loglines this week, but held back since I have a script in consideration. This post gives me an opportunity to break something down, so here goes:

    Keep in mind, your script may be awesome, but your logline feels unfocused:

    “A middle class couple moves into a suburban Mumbai apartment, and no sooner after the husband receives a call from his estranged brother, whom he hasn’t spoken to in eighteen years, the couple find themselves being tormented by a malevolent spirit.”

    I’ve commented in the past my starter formula for a logline:

    When INCITING INCIDENT, a SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST must GOAL or else STAKES.

    When you do a version of this formula, most people can quickly catch on to the movie you want to make. But when you stray, you sap the reader’s confidence.

    Looking at your logline, I first of all see a reboot of inciting incidents. First, we move into a home. Then an estranged brother calls.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Change —
      “…and no sooner after the husband receives a call from his estranged brother, whom he hasn’t spoken to in eighteen years…”
      To —
      “…and no sooner after the husband receives a call from his dead brother…”
      And you have a logline.

      • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

        Well, my guess is you now have the third act reveal of the actual script, or else why try to put the brother in the logline?

        • Malibo Jackk

          The phone call becomes the inciting incident.
          Now you have a story to tell.

  • scriptfeels

    I’ve started reading Condemned, but have been too busy with work to post yet, I do plan on opening all of the scripts, but worked on Sunday and today and haven’t had time to yet D:

  • Poe_Serling

    My pick this week: WEST CARVER HIGH.*

    **It was pretty much a coin toss between this and Condemned. Both scripts held my interest and had a lot of compelling elements. Each project would benefit from an AF review and feedback from the SS community.

    One final note regarding West Carver High:

    I still think a title change would give the project that little extra horror bump in the right direction for attracting attention to it. Perhaps the writer could tie the title to the wendigo angle of the story. Here’s a quick suggestion on my part…

    Near the end of the script, Memphis recites:

    MEMPHIS (V.O.)
    I know where all the demons hide,
    and I shall slay them where I find
    them…

    Why not connect it to something like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s early reference of the mystical creatures in his literary work The Song of Hiawatha:

    “Slay all monsters and magicians,/All the Wendigoes, the giants…”

    Possible new title: SLAY ALL MONSTERS.

  • davejc

    Hi Sarmad

    I’ll read yours if you read mine. It sounds like you and I share similar interests. My story is loosely based on an actual event that happened on my street a couple years ago, a custody battle that ended in tragedy. It made AOW a few months ago and caused quite a controversy. Based on the notes I received I restructured the entire script and changed the point of view. It is a horror thriller wuth a little bit of attitude:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/edzp0kh3hnp79md/50HighSt2015draft.pdf?dl=0

    Post a link to your script and I’ll give it a read.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Hey Dave-
      Get rid of the (Circa 1680’s) in the slug line and do this:

      EXT. MAINE WILDERNESS – DAY(
      Primitive forged bars pry the lid.
      Puritan men and women make quick work of the lid revealing the contents.

      SUPER: Circa 1680’s

      Do something similar for “Present Day”

      • davejc

        Thanks Malibo. Will correct in the next polish. BTW I credit you with that opening scene. You asked me if I really wanted to open on the lawyer and I realized it was a bad choice to do so.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Kill the brother.

    • klmn

      Jack, you’re a fratricidal maniac.

      But in a good way.

  • Malibo Jackk

    My suggestion —
    Kill the brother.

    • Linkthis83

      This is great.
      Simply great.

  • davejc

    Got it. Will take a look tonight after work :)

  • Poe_Serling

    West Carver High

    “I think it sounds just ever so slightly creepy.”

    I hear what you are saying. :-) Good luck with your project, and I hope you get a shot at the next AF.

    Thanks for sharing your work.

  • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

    Question: Even if the brother calls on page 12, is that the inciting incident for the story? Does it CAUSE you movie? The rest of the logline presents a malevolent spirit as the antagonist in the new house. The call doesn’t seem to INCITE the spirit–the move does. It’s really hard to imagine the call being the trigger for the movie. Maybe the brother moving in with them could trigger the spirit, but how does the call? Now if it does turn out that the brother’s call is the inciting incident, then you want to present it as such. Just riffing, I have no idea what the actual plot is:

    After a phone call from his long-estranged brother, a new homeowner must banish the malevolent spirit that has awakened in his home and demands that those living there can have no siblings.

    Now, I know: That does NOT sound very sensible as far as an idea for a movie. Why would a ghost have that demand? It’s contrived to the point of sounding random.

    I fear that if the call is truly the inciting incident of your movie, your plot may suffer similar contrivances.

    I suspect the call is not your true inciting incident, and you should look more closely at what the essence of your story is, and trim away fat accordingly.

    • Sarmad Khan

      Hey writerjoel,

      No disrespect, but it would be so much simpler if you just read the first twelve or so pages instead of speculating what the plot is. Here’s the sequence of events:

      1. A scene in an unknown location which will make sense later.
      2. Protag’s brother encounters something strange in the cane fields 400-something kilometers from Mumbai.
      3. In Mumbai, Protag and wife move in to their new apartment; Protag receives a call from his brother, he refuses to answer.
      4. First night, troubled sleep.
      5. The morning after; the weirdness begins.
      6. Wife at work.
      7. Protag at work, he receives a call, but again refuses to answer.
      8. Wife returns home, experiences weirdness.
      9. Protag and wife, an evening together at home.
      10. Protag and wife in bed, she tells him about what happened earlier in the day, he assures her it’s nothing.
      11. Later that night, Protag receives a call, this time he answers it, only we”re not privy to the conversation, all we know that it troubles him.
      12. Second night…

      • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

        Sarmad, I’m not giving you advice on your script. I’m giving you advice on your logline. By not reading your script, I keep myself unbiased, and better able to judge your logline for what it is, like the eventual producer who reads it without reading your script. By guessing what the story is, I’m revealing how loglines create stories in the heads of producers. I know you want someone to read your script and give you a million dollars for it–we all want that–but the logline skill is how you maybe get Carson to pick a script for Amateur Friday.

        From reading your outline, it seems my guesses were correct! The call is not an inciting incident. It seems the encounter in the unknown location is. The call is not CAUSAL. It doesn’t make things happen. Things happen due to the encounter. Hope this helps!

        • Sarmad Khan

          “I know you want someone to read your script and give you a million dollars for it…”

          Ha ha. I seriously doubt it’s worth that much. I’m in India. Making the whole movie would cost less than that here.

          “… but the logline skill is how you maybe get Carson to pick a script for Amateur Friday.”

          I seriously doubt that, too. I’ve seen some pretty shitty loglines on AF.

          But I really appreciate your suggestions. It made me think. The thing is, the Protag’s flaw is his refusal to face his past. His refusing to speak to his brother is part of that. They haven’t seen or spoken to each other in ages. At the end of act 1 when the Protag finally answers the call, the weirdness escalates, becomes serious, gradually building until the midpoint. It’s this refusal to face his past that he will need to overcome before the end.

          Thanks Writerjoel.

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            I don’t think the logline has room for the flaw, only for wants, obstacles and stakes. Neo in the Matrix must lead a rebellion. His flaw of not believing in himself is left for discovery in the actual story. What must your protagonist do, and what are the stakes for failure?

          • Sarmad Khan

            “I don’t think the logline has room for the flaw, only for wants, obstacles and stakes.” I know what you mean. You’re probably right, too, especially when it comes to high concept plots. But I’m still not a 100% convinced that every single logline needs to comply to these rules. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

  • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

    More logline fun! This one suggests to me a Usual Suspects kind of set up, where you reveal the story through flashback, yes? If that’s the case, the story is not the protagonist’s recounting things in a room. That’s not active. The story is the protagonist’s earlier actions, the bizarre series of events. So what are they? That’s your real logline.

    On the other hand, if your protagonist escapes, and you create the mystery that he’s either trying to prove his innocence or finish his murders, then you have a proper active protagnonist, and the recounting isn’t relevant.

    • Sarmad Khan

      Ah, I see your point. Thanks Writerjoel.

      Here’s the premise:
      When Vijay Saxena, dutiful husband and caring father, finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of a respected husband and wife doctor couple, he must convince the shrewd Inspector Jaspal Rana of his innocence by recounting the previous night’s bizarre — and at times unbelievable — series of events. Vijay claims that doctors Paras and Shivani Choudhry were the victims of a home invasion perpetrated by sadistic ex-con Bhuwan Tiwari, with whom the Choudhrys shared a history, and that his own presence at the crime scene was merely a bad coincidence. As Vijay’s story unravels, so do long-buried secrets in this sinuous tale of greed, lust, and revenge.

      • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

        I’m guessing this is structured similarly to Slumdog Millionaire? Check out a logline I found:

        Slumdog Millionaire log line “An orphan from the slums of India uses his life experiences as a resource to help win him the highest price in a game show.”

        Notice how the interrogation doesn’t enter the logline? The interrogation is a device, not the story. How would you describe your story if it took place without the flashback/interrogation structure? That’s probably the real logline. Your protagonist will experience an inciting incident which will thrust him into a new world, where he will have an important goal with huge stakes for failure. What’s that movie?

        • Sarmad Khan

          Hmm. I see your point. “The interrogation is a device, not the story.” I like that. Well, the script’s done and delivered, but I will give the logline another go. Maybe it’ll help the producer. Who knows? Gracias, Writerjoel.

        • Sarmad Khan

          Totally off topic, but I just watched “Jeremiah Johnson” and I loved it! Just had to tell someone. :-)

        • Sarmad Khan

          I just remembered something. The interrogation isn’t really just a framing device. The story is more along the lines of “Usual Suspects” so basically what’s happening in the present is just as important as what’s happened in the past. Plus the protag’s flashback ends ten or so pages into act 3. The remaining twenty pages are in the present.

          • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

            I would still commit to the exercise of loglining the flashback story. You may discover that it sells the movie better.

          • Sarmad Khan

            First thing tomorrow morning for sure. It’s 1:47 AM here in Mumbai and my contact lenses are killing me!

  • Matthew Garry

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I quite enjoyed your “Wars of Eternal Spring.” Thank you for posting it. It was definitely something different than the fare we’re normally presented with.

    As for feedback on polishing it, I’d suggest try and keep a tighter reign on the passage of time. There were a lot of stop and go moments, interspersed with time jumps.

    For classical drama, unity of time, space and action is very important. Although these constraints aren’t as tight for screenplays, they’re not free of it. This isn’t just a formal rule, it’s practical too. The progress of time should be obvious from the action, and if it isn’t it should be clearly indicated in a visual manner. Simply writing down “two months later” or “the next day” is impossible to show, and there’s a lot of this stop-and-resume time-jumping in your story. I’d really try and see if it’s possible to turn it into a more continuous story (with maybe the odd training montage for when you really have to jump ahead in time).

    The prose is mostly okay, but at times really drifts into novel writing (e.g. page 80). A very coarse but workable rule is to see every paragraph as one shot. Only write what you can impart with a single image, then start a new paragraph. If you look at the huge paragraph on page 80, you’ll see that way too many things happen to be captured in a single take.

    Looking ahead, whenever you find yourself with the opportunity to pitch or talk about your screenplay, I’d make sure to mention it is based on an existing legend/true story. By accident I happened to know this one, but I wouldn’t have known from your description. It’s also not a bad idea to stress the female protagonist here, especially in the combination with an existing legend: it’s not just catering to the current wave of writing female protagonists, it’s actually been that way forever, long before you decided to dramatise this story for the silver screen.

    Lastly: more kung-fu. We’re witnessing the birth of a new school of kung-fu here, specifically one that is more suitable for women. That has to be milked to the max. I particularly felt this shortcoming during the end-fight, where Ng Mui bluntly skewers Ganbaatar from behind with a sword. That really was a WTF moment for me. Why did she not save Chen by disarming Ganbataar and then kicking the crap out of him. That’s what the whole movie has been leading up to, to show off the elegance and efficiency of Wing Chun against the brute force and dirty fighting of people like Ganbataar!

    But throughout the whole story Wing Chun and its development could use some more screentime. Taken strictly, “Wars of Eternal Spring” is a coming-of-age story, and this should occur both for Wing Chun the character and Wing Chun the style.

    Anyway, great job and congratulations on your admirable persistence and your first finished screenplay. Keep up the good work.

  • scriptfeels

    condemned

    pg.1
    Man and Woman are vague descriptions in my opinion, but since its a brief view, we aren’t able to see anything aside from the two character’s gender and that they are working at a beam. I’m not sure what two people working on a beam means. Are they hammering nails, Are they decorating it? Also, the quip about ‘We’ll come back to them soon.” I would suggest dropping. It tells the reader that this is something thats going to come back, but if its going to come back, why not just show the reader instead and have them connect the dots.

    The only description of Charlie is (60),

    pg.3 Who is Marvin? I couldn’t find an introduction anywhere for him…
    pg.4 you introduce Marvin on page 4, but have him talking on page 3, I’d suggest introducing him to the reader before he speaks, or changing his name to something else until you introduce him.
    Also, awkward wording on his introduction “MARVIN HAVERFORD (20s) paces by the table on his cell phone in attire that makes him far too rich to be this angry.”

    pg.5 spelling error? description of eva dreyfuss, ‘mars her saintly beauty’, not sure how planet mars is used as a verb so i’m assuming this is a spelling error.

    pg.7 why can’t they detonate? Who is Aaron? It feels like theres a new character introduced on each page so far, but it is the beginning so that’s to be expected? Another introduction afterwards, these are bothering me, maybe other readers prefer this though, I really have no idea.

    Why does Aaron care about the history of the hotel?

    pg.8 I like that Aaron has to because of his last name, although I don’t understand why, but the line ‘I don’t have a choice. I’m a Cafferty.’ feels on the nose to me.

    pg.13 Theres a lot of smiling portraits and moans, but I’m not scared.

    pg.16
    How does Dr.Zang know Aarons dead, also who’s Dr.Zang?

    Thus far, the only questions that have come up for me are, who is the hooded girl, why does she say welcome to the haverford, do the goth kids really have a dead married couple possess them, and are they going to blow up the building.

    I haven’t emotionally connected with any characters so far in the script.

    pg.17 I like Samantha’s introduction, we get a clear picture of her current expression based off of her description.

    Thoughts on the flashback. Although the ending with adult Aaron sitting there looking haunted is good, why do we need a flashback here? Does showing Samantha and Aaron as teenagers or kids push the story forward?

    pg.18 Samantha doesn’t pick up the phone, just sees that her dad is calling and somehow knows that her brother is dead? I’m assuming Aaron is her brother based off the flashback, but how does she tell that he’s dead without answering the phone and only looking at it and crying?

    pg.19 Why describe “she hasn’t told charlie yet she’s dropping out of medical school. How can she ever tell him now?” Instead of telling the reader this, show this through Samantha’s actions. If her refusing to see Aaron’s corpse isn’t action enough for the reader think of some different solutions. I think this action is fine for instigating the conversation, I would just clarify it on screen instead of addressing the reader directly.

    pg.20 Patt’s rant to Samantha is coming out of left field to me here. None of this has been addressed so far in the script and although it creates conflict in this scene, its not setup to have any weight to it. Also there’s so many characters in this scene. I can’t keep track of them all.

    pg.21 Why should we care about Samantha’s med school?

    pg.22 What is this company? A company that tears down old haunted hotels and has to search for people inside them? Why does Charlie need Aaron instead of Samantha? This wasn’t clear to me.

    pg.23 why is Samantha’s finals an issue? is doing this job really going to stop her from taking her Finals?

    I don’t have a grasp on time in this script. We go from Aarons death to a hospital where Samantha finds out, to a funeral, to the wake, back to the building, while on page 21 marvin gives Charlie the deadline of 48 hours to destroy the hotel without explaining why.

    pg.26 Why is Benny speaking what I assume to be Spanish?
    How can a character blush as Tay’s words when he hasn’t spoken yet?

    pg.31 Marvin grew up in this haunted hotel?

    pg.33 so the hotel is coming down because of a ghost?

    pg.34 why is Jack called ‘Jack the joker’ here?

    pg.34 awkward dialogue “You want some imbecilic trespasser falling down this stairwell in the dark so that lawyers can feast on your med school fund?” Over descriptive and wordy for me. This isn’t important to the story, edit it down.

    pg. 36 I’d recommend adding english subtitles for Benny’s dialogue. I understood what bruno meant, but other than that have no clue what he said.

    pg.38 although we saw the halloween prank earlier in the script, this felt incredibly random here. The tone of this script needs work. If this mansion is truly haunted, we should probably feel scared for the characters at this point in the script if this is a horror. The cat lady following them is eerie, but aside from that this feel pretty lighthearted. I’d suggest adding some descriptions of why the mansion is scary, or when we enter a new room what would be spooky either seen or heard.

    pg.39 Why does Jack prank everyone? Why does Tay assume its a stupid prank when he hears someone calling help from a laundry shute?

    pg.42 Although I like the idea of a young girl in a hello kitty sweatshirt killing people. I find the line “Hello _____. Welcome to the Haverford.” too on the nose that it comes off as corny/cheesy to me. Also the snakes coming out of the mouth is cool, but nothing supernatural has really taken place in this script so far, unless you count possessions, ghosts, and a creepy cat lady. I would suggest informing the reader that supernatural events can happen in your script by either hinting at it or clarifying it during the first act so that when something crazy like this does occur it doesn’t completely take me out of the script. If theres a horror film that you used as reference for over the top death scene like this, I would look at how they setup their monsters/ghosts and how the audience was prepared for it.

    I’m going to stop here. I feel that this script still needs some work before I can get a grasp on it. Theres random spooky people and deaths revolving a missing girl in a hello kitty sweatshirt and an emotional plot. I think we need more of a clear tone throughout the script to address that this is horror instead of drama at some parts.

    Suggestions: cut down your number of characters. Although there are some funny moments, some scenes had too many characters for me to keep track of.

    If Aaron’s death is so pivotal for the story, I would spend more time developing his character before he dies so that the reader/audience gains an emotional connection with him. Why should I care that Aaron died instead of any of the other characters?

    Although the goal of destroying the Haverford is clear, the character’s personal/external goals weren’t clear to me. What does each character want? I liked how Eva and Jack like each other, but have trouble expressing themselves. I think that would be a successful example in the script because it was clear to me how they felt and what they wanted, even if they were unsure of themselves.

    The stakes to the demolition and the ‘Company’ weren’t clear to me even though they are addressed directly. Why does the building have to be pulled down in 48 hours? What is this company and why is it so important to this story?

    I spent a longer time than usual reading to only 42 pages into a script. I felt reading this script was very time consuming, but I didn’t struggle to read it per say, just that I felt it took longer to read than other scripts I’ve read and I’m not sure why.

    Overall, this script has some interesting scenes, but the character’s need to gain my sympathy if Aaron’s death is a changing point for the script. I had sympathy for Samantha because her brother died and she has shaky hands so she can’t be a surgeon, and she can’t gather the courage to tell her father that she can’t become a surgeon, but aside from Samantha, the other characters need work.

    I picked this up because I’m working on a horror script and I wanted to read one for AOF. Hopefully my feedback and thoughts are helpful and I apologize to the other screenwriters because I haven’t had enough time to read their scripts. Best wishes!

    After reading the premise now, I can see how some of the overtop scenes could work if this had been setup that there are “deadly supernatural forces inside,” but that wasn’t the case for me. Also, they were never put into a fight for their lives to escape at this point in the script.

    I do think the premise is interesting for a horror film though, and think its marketable as well. With some drafts and revisions this could turn into what the logline/premise promised.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, scriptfeels. One particular implication in your notes nags at me, so let me ask:

      Do you really interpret Cafferty Demolition to be a company that knocks down haunted buildings, instead of a company that knocks down old buildings, many of which will likely have a ghost story or two about them, being spooky old buildings, and stumbles upon one that is actually haunted? Because such an interpretation would truly gum up the works. Why decide to flee a building because of ghosts in act two if you genuinely believed it had ghosts on page one? I wonder if others have the same interpretation.

      mar |mär|verb ( mars, marring , marred ) [ with obj.]impair the appearance of; disfigure: no wrinklesmarred her face.• impair the quality of; spoil: violence marred a number of New Year celebrations.

      • scriptfeels

        gotcha, I just wrote down my thoughts while reading for the most part. i understand that its a demolition company, but I didn’t understand why they had to knock down this specific building or why it was important to do so.

        • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

          To be clear, I got the notion you thought the demolition company was hired to knock down the building BECAUSE IT WAS HAUNTED, not because it was old and decrepit. Is that so? I’m trying to determine if we should be on the nose about the fact that most old buildings have ghost stories that are disregarded as silly.

          As for why Marvin, the owner, wants to knock down the hotel, can you guess a reason at this point in the script? An explicit answer–money–does come on page 76. The land is worth more with nothing on it that could become protected as a historical landmark.

          You know what? This actually leads me to a bigger topic that maybe deserves its own post…

          • scriptfeels

            There was one scene where they discuss they are knocking it down because of the lady in the portrait, after Aaron dies and they are back in the building to get the people out so they can blow it up. Or that was my impression of it atleast from the scene.

            I didn’t understand Marvin’s reason for knocking it down, but interesting to know money has a role later on in the script. Not sure how important Marvin’s reason for knocking it down is to the story, A simple explanation would probably suffice.

            Best Wishes on the revisions!

  • HRV

    Thanks for that, notorious (based on other’s remarks) Mister grendl. Unlike you, I choose not to be offended by your comments. The question you attacked was not meant to be offensive. It was simply thrown out there for fellow forumers to ponder. I do not post in an attempt to rile anyone. By your reaction it is obvious you consider yourself an amateur, as do I. I realize there are all types of personalities on here, but let’s try to get along in a civilized manner.

  • Eddie Panta

    MY VOTE: CONDEMNED

    For have the best concept out of the five and also for putting up with everyone on this board, myself included.
    I just wished the story leaned my towards something like THE RAID, you know, 30 floors of chaos, in other words faster. Let’s get to it.

    2nd place: Wars of Eternal Spring

    NEW COKE is a strong concept but I’m not sure if this could ever fly without an option on a serious article or book on the subject.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thx for reading, Eddie! Any more notes? The first batch was helpful!

      • Eddie Panta

        My notes:
        First secure the location, then right the script. Just like B. Anderson did for Session 9. Find a building that is going to get imploded, any BLDG. preferably in a state with tax breaks for filming. Don’t worry about the gargoyles. Then approach the demolition company with your script. Tell them you want to make a movie about them. Then, go on kickstarter and tell the internet money givers that you’re going to blow-up a bldg for this movie, but need money.
        The Demo Co. should match funding. They can always attach the expense to the job. They instal video camera’s all over the floors anyway to clear the site. All the electric from municipal elect. co. i.e. the circuit boards are pulled way before the explosion. All the elect needed for demo is from a generator truck parked two blocks away. All the lights are bare hanging bulbs that will go down with the demo. No reason why anyone should be asking to turn on the lights.

        Also, start the script with a credit scroll montage of stock footage of bldgs. implodin, floors pancaking . This will elevate the lack of a money-shot on pg 7-10.

  • Elizabeth Barilleaux

    You are too funny! My sister and I had a great time thinking about casting this. I think it would work best if Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara et al. took it on after they’re done with Schitt’s Creek. :-)

  • HRV

    There are all kinds of things I could say in rebuttal, but I’m not going to waste my time. Your avatar reflects your disposition and there’s at least one of your type on every forum. I’m not here to deal with mean spirited, name callers. Good day.

  • HRV

    I read all of “Condemned” today. In fairness, I can’t choose it above the others as I haven’t read the other offerings in their entirety. As mentioned, it did start off a little slow, but once it got going… Here are some constructive notes:
    Pg. 2. Use Defecar
    Pg. 3. Should be, Muy bien
    Pg. 26. Use, Todo esta bien aqui.
    Pg. 35. Use, Tenemos
    Pg. 72. Eva(n)
    SPOILER ALERT!
    Question: What made it possible for Aaron to help them when no one else could?
    After all she/they went through, I was hoping to see Samantha succeed in the end, but yeah, one can go either way. American movie goers tend to prefer happy endings.

    • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

      Thanks for reading HRV, and for the notes! Fairness: Overrated.

      Yeah, as others have pointed out as well, our Spanish is rusty!

      SPOILERS:
      1. Our intent was that the psychic link between Samantha and Aaron enabled Samantha to reach Aaron, and restore his will. Did the psychic link come through, or did you get it but didn’t think it was sufficient?
      2. RE: the ending, remember that Samantha’s ultimate victory is only a sequel away!

      • HRV

        I got that there was a bit of a psychic link, just not that it could move beyond death. Given the other strange events…

        • http://joelthomaswrites.com writerjoel

          We tried to show the same psychic link was there even after death through the repetition of the psychic game, first in the flashback as children in act one, then repeated on the restaurant balcony at the midpoint. Also, Samantha had stated in the funeral that she felt as though Aaron wasn’t really dead–a thought her father dismissed as psychic jibber-jabber (pg 19). But these points can be missed in a read. Should we turn the “volume” higher?

          • HRV

            Yeah, make it a little more prominent.

  • davejc

    Sarmad I finished your story. Overall I was impressed, a solid execution and think it would get a positive reception from the community here. Let me know if you are looking for suggestions or impressions(sometimes writers are satisfied with where they are, other times they may be looking for suggestions for their next draft) and I will post those thoughts tomorrow night. Congratulations on a fine effort!

  • Elizabeth Barilleaux

    I like the title – I think the word “Carver” is what does it for me. Maybe just “West Carver” as the title? I have read all the way through this one and I’ll get my thoughts together for a coherent review shortly!

  • HRV

    Read W. C. H. today. I make my comments based on first impressions since an in depth analysis of each screenplay is not feasible. SPOILERS: My first thought was that I would have liked to see a little more back story regarding the book and its discovery. This helps to keep following events to keep from appearing random. I wondered how all the kids got outside, only to be spiked, when it was determined there was no way out. I also thought they should have spent more time trying to find a way out than to suddenly begin turning on each other.
    Here are some correction/suggestion notes I made while reading:
    Pg. 10. want (it) to
    Pg. 15. The line could be said as simply; Later, Memph.
    Pg. 22. You could combine the how and who lines.
    Pg. 33. That’s, should be plural .
    Pg. 79. an(d)
    Pg. 82. Antlers would have been seen from behind.
    Pg. 94. white beam(s)
    Pg. 99. Square to circle to pentagram?
    Pg. 100. rushes him to ground?
    You should be able to figure out what I’m referring to.
    Of the two I’ve read in their entirety, and both being horrors, I’d lean toward Condemned. It just seemed a little more… cohesive. Congrats to all who got their work posted. Keep writing.
    I don’t know when Carson makes his decision, but if I get a chance, I’ll read another one tomorrow and maybe the first ten or so pages of the other two.

  • Elizabeth Barilleaux

    Ha! Love it! Don’t forget “West Carver DMV”!

  • Matthew Garry

    Hi Elizabeth,

    in case you are missing it, there’s a little party going on in celebration of your script here:

    http://scriptshadow.net/amateur-friday-wars-of-eternal-spring-weve-got-a-winner-here/

    Congratulations!

  • davejc

    A few thoughts: this felt like a movie, the structure and pace were solid, the dialogue worked for this kind of project, far superior to PA, IMO. I think you could spend less real estate in Act one on the couple’s relationship, and use that space to begin developing the mysterious back story about the brother.

    I don’t now how things are in Bollywood, but here there is a certain taboo about killing infants and puppies on screen. I know that’s an important plot point to the story, you also run the risk of turning your audience against you if you don’t pull it off with just the right finesse. People go to movies to have their emotions manipulated, but don’t let them catch you doing it.

    One other thing I wanted to ask you about was the woman who lived in the cemetery. Here in the US people don’t live in cemeteries, but I recall reading Arabian Nights, that people lived in cemeteries. They were known as Ghouls and that’s where that term originated. So I was wondering if there were people in India who lived in cemeteries. I bring this up because these type of cultural differences are fascinating to audiences and you should mine them for all they’re worth.

  • Elizabeth Barilleaux

    Hi again! I sent my review to your e-mail address on your cover page. I wrote it up in Word and it went to 3 pages so I figured it would be easier to read as a document. Hope it’s helpful!