Read as much as you can from each and let me know which script I should review!

Title: Midas
Genre: Science Fiction
Logline: A teen who seeks vengeance against his treasure obsessed father joins a rogue spaceship on its hunt for a legendary asteroid of solid gold.
Why You Should Read: “I was recently told that Hollywood only makes this kind of sci-fi if it’s based on existing IP. Ironically the expert that told me this cited Star Wars and Star Trek as examples, ignoring the point that both of those come from original stories developed for the screen. So this is a dead end script, unless someone reminds Hollywood that they used to take chances on scripts like this, and sometimes those chances paid off in a really big way.”

Title: Monster’s Holiday
Genre: Christmas Fantasy/Comedy
Logline: Terminally single Merrily Campbell, a female music executive, is a modern-day Scrooge. But life changes for her when she meets an overly optimistic orphan, his alter-ego (a devilish, seen-only-by-her angel), and a pompous, powerful businessman — all determined to help her renounce her holiday hating ways.
Why You Should Read: I saw your review for the Otis Kringle Hates Christmas script, and no offense to the writer, but I think I’ve written a better Christmas script! That’s right, I’m throwing down the Christmas script gauntlet. I grew up watching movies like this, and while they can be as corny as hell, in a world full of crazy, if done right, they can offer an enjoyable welcome respite. The truth is, I read your site every day, but don’t comment much, because I am so busy learning and taking in what others on the site have to say. I’d love to know what they have to say about my script, Monster’s Holiday. While I was a semi-finalist in a well-known Screenwriting Competition a few years ago and I was a semi-finalist (top 33/500) for a studio fellowship program last year, I can’t seem to break through. I feel I’m on the right track with my writing and storytelling, and I’m wondering will this script help me get my foot in the door, or will I end up with a broken foot when door after door gets slammed on it? I challenge the Script Shadow Nation to decide if this script could possibly be the one to help jumpstart my screenwriting career. I am super excited about discussing my script with them on your site.

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

Title: The Killing Man
Genre: Western/Thriller
Logline: A bounty hunter pursues an elusive serial killer through Gold Rush San Francisco, but the line between hunter and hunted starts to blur in the ultimate fight for survival and redemption.
Why You Should Read: THE KILLING MAN is a unique entry in the Western genre. It has a strong protagonist, the type of character most A-listers would love to play. It is not your typical shoot-em-up either. The supporting characters, the dialogue, and the tone of the script also leave a strong impression on everyone who reads it. THE KILLING MAN is a quick read with numerous historical references that don’t bog down the story, but instead give it a singular identity. I have written several screenplays, but I am most attached to THE KILLING MAN. I hope you will give it a read and find out why.
PAGES: 102

Title: Intelligent Design
Genre: Crime/Horror/Sci-fi
Logline: While investigating a gruesome vampire-like murder, an NYC Detective gets in way over his head when he discovers that his prime suspect has been dead for over twenty years.
Why You Should Read: Because you might like it.
About me: Been a writer/director for about 7 years. Done 3 shorts and a feature. Am about to have a sci-fi thriller optioned (lawyers and producers are ironing out the details). If all works out, it will have a low 7-figure budget. Fingers crossed.

  • Howie428

    It’s exciting to see one of my scripts listed here. I’m looking forward to finding out what people think of Midas, and I’ll definitely be taking a look at the others. Thanks.

    • Rachel Woolley

      I really enjoyed the opening. The seriousness of that moment explained Stow’s driving motivation to confront his father. Not to mention it earned your hero sympathy points right out of the starting gate :-) Nicely done.

    • romer6

      I read Midas and I´d like to talk about it a little bit. First of all, I LOVE pirate movies. I do, they are some of my favorites and it doesn´t take much to sell me one of those (I even liked Cutthroat Island!). Midas is, for me, a space pirate movie, I´m quite sure you aimed that way yourself and you were on point there. I liked the script, mainly because of this, Midas is still a pirate movie. But having said that I don´t see how this script would sell. I can´t see a trailer being made out of it. What would they show? Space ships shooting at each other? We´ve already seen that a lot. People fighting at zero gravity? Done. A giant asteroid made of gold floating in space? I don´t think it has been done… but would we care enough? Think about Guardians of the Galaxy. That is a franchise that very few people knew about. I am a comic fan myself and had only read one issue of those guys. But then they make a trailer where they show a talking racoon, a walking tree, a guy from Earth who is stuck in the 80´s, a girl with green skin, etc. And LOTS of humor. That´s it. They had a lot to show and they only teased the possibilities. We would have to go watch it to know what it was really about. Your characters are also well written but they seem so bland, I don´t see anything special about any of them, even the “villain” has not much going for him besides his obsession. Something that bothered me at first was the amount of characters you introduced in the first five pages: eight! And most of them are not that relevant to the story. You should concentrate in your main characters and make them REALLY special, really stand out, as Carson usually says, you must make them so an A List actor would want to play. Another thing that bothered me was that the main drive to the story is vengeance. I never quite got the appeal of vengeance as a story drive. I mean, of course, if we see the dog your dying wife left you being killed, I probably would like to see those guys getting killed as much as anyone. But this is a weak (and cheating) device. Think of “Unforgiven”. What puts the movie in motion is revenge. But not the main character revenge. The hookers want revenge against the men who cut one of the hooker´s face. So they offer a reward. William Munny is about to lose his farm and so he goes after the men who did it in order to keep his farm, he has a family to support. This is a great drive to a story. It is not until a LOT later that Will gets his revenge wish for what they did to his friend Ned. And at that point we are already invested enough on those characters stories that we don´t question his attitudes, on the other hand, we cheer that he kills every last one of those sons of bitches. That´s how a revenge movie is done right. In Midas, it´s all about the revenge. Later there is something about using the gold to help people on Earth, but it comes a lot later in the story, too late for most to care. Maybe you should go the other way around. Give some stakes to your character. What happens if he doesn´t get the gold? What will he lose? Concentrate on that. Than amidst this thread you include the revenge against his father. When we are already invested in his quest for the gold. I know my commentaries may sound a little rough, but as I said before I liked the script overall. But I am easily sold to pirate stories, would probably be in the theaters day one. And you should aim to please EVERYBODY, not only a small group of people of pirate loving S.O.B. There is something here, you should work around this idea, you should ask yourself what really works and what doesn´t. Hope my words were useful somehow. Keep on writing, you have it in you and you are in the write track, I feel it.

      • Trent11

        The “Why You Should Read” for Intelligent Design is priceless. Now there’s a man that gets it.

        The writer probably typed that out, threw his laptop right out the window, sat down on the floor, drank some Gentleman Jack, and yelled to his butler, “I’m finished!”

        • robert bradley

          Laughing at this hours later

      • Howie428

        Thanks for all your comments. Lots of good stuff to think about.

        I’m not too worried about the trailer for this one. Asteroid mining is a new cool thing to most people and my story opens with a couple of good micro stories. For me those are the key ingredient in a strong trailer, because you can spoil them without making people think they’ve seen the whole thing. Examples are Katniss volunteering, or Jake being recruited to take over his brother’s Avatar. In this case the trailers can cover the teaser betrayal and Stow journeying to the Asteroid Belt. End with a few hints of life on the Midas and the battles to come, and you’ve got a great trailer.

        The character objective in this is a fair point for discussion. I considered making it about getting the gold, but for me that seemed like the obvious choice. I went for an alternative by making it about a character going on a treasure hunt for revenge instead of treasure. In the early drafts the audience wasn’t directly told that Stow wasn’t after the gold, but ultimately the reveal of this didn’t justify keeping the audience in the dark.

        • Randy Williams

          Reading the comments on this script so far. No one including myself has mentioned the “romance” in the script. The young female who is a worthy role model and young Stow. The chemistry between the two is ripe on the page. Loved it.

          Valuable trailer material, that.

  • brenkilco

    Read the first two pages of The Killing Man. Then I reread them. Now they’re not badly written and it may seem silly to start criticizing before the story has even started. But when the first two pages confuse you and also contain one seemingly large, historical error the script isn’t setting the right tone. There is a lone horse rider and then there are four other riders in what we perceive to be the same general vicinity though we have no clue where the single guy is in relation to the four. Are they riding toward one another or away from one another or do they have nothing to do with one another? Are they within hailing distance or fifty miles apart? The single guy is loping along and the four riders are galloping like hell. That is they’re galloping for a while, then they stop galloping. Well, actually the script says they slow to a gallop. Not sure what you slow to a gallop from. More likely they slow to a cantor or walk. Since they don’t seem to need to be galloping in the first place, not sure why they were. So the lone rider spots some tracks. And then, instantly, he’s on top of these four guys. And despite the fact that the author describes the four as nearly supernaturally threatening the instant they see the one guy they take off. Why couldnt the script simply start with the protag studying tracks and sign so its clear what’s going on? And wouldn’t it make more sense if he were galloping and they were just moseying. What’s the point of the opening four horsemen of the apocalypse imagery? Just a nice image?

    A couple of points on wording. The horses hooves are throwing up parcels of earth. More likely clods, divots or chunks. If they’re throwing up parcels of land those are some big horses. The riders are wearing long coats. If they’re wearing long heavy coats those are greatcoats. However, if they’re ankle length canvas coats the preferred western term is duster. Already mentioned the slow to a gallop thing. And the coat flapping like a phantom’s cape. Don’t think ordinary phantoms have capes. Maybe Opera phantoms do.

    And the error. The protag pumps his shotgun. Not if this story is taking place before the turn of the century he isn’t. The first pump wasn’t even produced until the mid 1890’s. And why would a guy pursuing outlaws at a distance be using a sawed off shotgun as his prefered weapon?

    Will keep reading but first impressions are important.

    • klmn

      Yeah. The author refers to the shotgun (in different places) as both a double barrel and a pump.

    • Nicholas J

      we have no clue where the single guy is in relation to the four

      This tripped me up as well, which I found ironic, because one of the main benefits of using that writing style is added clarity, but here it just caused confusion.

  • klmn

    I read the first few pages of Intelligent Design. It’s a grabber. I still have three more scripts to check out, but this may get my vote.

    The gimmicky title page doesn’t help, though.

    • Craig Mack

      - a MAN in his early 40’s walks with his daughter, an
      adorable EIGHT-YEAR OLD GIRL through a crowed city street.

      Not that I’m big into this — but have to be careful on the FIRST page.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Love the first five of INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
    But appears to ruin the promised twist of the logline.

    (Screenwriting’s a bitch.)

  • Randy Williams

    Would someone be kind and send me the remaining scripts? Intelligent Design was the only one I could open up on my smart phone. Thanks, touchthermo at gmail


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    P.1, typo, “crowed” street. Beginning nicely creepy, full of dread. Subtext. I’m in. Nice! Like the style of writing, clipped but effective.

    The following crime scene scenes however lacked the spark of that first scene. Dialogue lacked subtext. The dialogue was dry, TV procedural, even lacked a sense of the grit of New Yorker speak. Could have been anywhere. Maybe that’s not important.

    p.17, “Hott” women typo. “He’s wanted in connection with a murder” Wouldn’t detectives be reluctant to show their cards so soon?

    p.20, “Tension mounts” I really didn’t feel that tension nor did I really feel it from the characters. It should be on the page in more than two words. Where was the threat? The two detectives are armed. As New York cops they must have had their fair share of all the oddities and gruesomeness that a big city offers. Tension mounting would be related to someone perhaps hitting them close to home. One of the suspects asks about their children, for instance. Chase is missing one. What about Fletcher? Does he have one? Do they go to school? Does he know what kind of friends they are hanging around with? Do you ever see any cuts and scrapes on them? How does he know they are not cutting themselves as one of the suspects cuts a pentagram into his bicep.

    p.21, “eyes of them” typo. “How palpable the evil in that room was” See above. Not earned in my opinion.

    The genre label includes horror and sci-fi but I’m not feeling it yet. Some glimpse of sci-fi but mostly in exposition, horror is absent so far.

    p. 40. The attack on them for following what I thought were sensible leads seems uncalled for.

    p. 41, “Fletcher gulps at the thought” Again, are they New York cops or boy scouts? Sorry if I missed that they are rookies.

    At this point I’m aching for some insight into who these guys are especially Chase. I’ve got glimpses of some life with a daughter who he’s lost somehow. No family life. No love life. He has a nervous tick but that’s about all. So, now there’s a bar scene and I’m hoping for something strong but it really goes nowhere but a cliche, puts down the drink and “how did you get this number” scene.

    Read a bit more with the scene with Julianna and her obscure explanations. I’m a bit lost about what is going on. What mystery boxes does the writer want me to be consumed with? The biggest one has already seemed to be opened.

    • Logline_Villain

      Sent, Randy…

  • Adam W. Parker

    Looks like a tasty week – The Theme-Monster is in for a treat.
    Currently Writing: Sunshine Pack, Comedy (Animated), Coming December!!



    Monster’s Holiday()

    Super Epic()

    The Killing Man()

    Intelligent Design()

    • Randy Williams

      In “Midas”, funny, I actually loved the sign thing. Besides showing he was a caring soul, the first images of Stow at home with friends like treasure hunters scavaging for that shiny “gold” aluminum foil and the authorities being fooled by it seemed to reflect on some themes the writer was going for and at the same time mirror his treasure hunting father.

      • Adam W. Parker

        Great points I just wished it connected more. None of the friends came along on the journey and I didn’t get a clear picture of the world. I didn’t feel the goal or any doubt they would succeed.

        Let me think of an example…

        Disney’s Aladdin, steals bread, at times we doubt he’ll make it – he succeeds then gives it to the children.
        Imagine if Aladdin set out to steal bread for the children. Different right? It’s somehow less heroic. 1+1=0??

        I needed Stow to make a tough decision.

        • Howie428

          Good point about the opening of Midas. I had tried to cover this with the sick kid, which implies that they are in trouble. I’ll take a look at playing that up some more.

    • carsonreeves1

      I love it. Promotion within the comment. Hey, screenwriters don’t have a lot of places to promote so this is a clever idea.

    • Howie428

      As you say, clarity is always going to be a challenge for a script like Midas. With world-building sci-fi you always have to balance describing the world and the technology against the need to get on with the story. My habit is to want to get on with stuff and leave the detail out, so you’re right that I need to take a look at this.

      • Adam W. Parker

        I struggle with details too.

    • crazedwritr

      I don’t know how I missed this offer…I would love additional notes on the full script. And thank you for the detailed notes you have already provided. Having more fun with DB is definitely on the list of must dos for the rewrite. Thanks again for your thoughtful input so far!

    • Crazedwritr

      You spent a lot of time looking at all the scripts and writing insightful notes, and as one if the writers I thank you. The notes you’ve already given me have been helpful, and can be applied to the whole script. I know you probably want to move on to new scripts, so I take back my request for full notes. Thanks for the offer!

      • Adam W. Parker

        Ok, you’re welcome. Best to you!

  • Tyler Givens

    Haven’t posted a comment in a looooong while, but I feel like I have to support Super Epic. I read this script a couple of months ago, so I’m not sure if it’s the same draft, but the one I read was pretty badass. The story is a lot of fun, it feels fresh, it takes many risks (which I think is a positive thing), but the main reason I’m recommending this script is that it has a soul. The writer sincerily cares about his characters.

    So my vote goes to SUPER EPIC.

    • carsonreeves1

      Super Epic is definitely the most clever logline I’ve read in awhile. Having to hide not just one identity, but two. Genius! Really hoping this one is good.

      • Tyler Givens

        It is! Really smart take on the superhero genre.

      • Illimani Ferreira

        Hi Carson, thanks A LOT for your kind comment and for picking Super Epic for this edition of Amateur Friday.

  • Dan B

    Started on the Killing Man – agree with BrenKilco’s comments on the first few pages, there are also later scenes which open with “He” instead of the character’s name. I figure it out later in the scene, but it isn’t exactly clear who this “he” is.

    Other suggestion; the four horseman, perhaps give them all their own title, they don’t need to be named; John, William, etc. Perhaps some word that describes them (RED BEARD, EYE PATCH). This way you don’t have to write, and the reader doesn’t have to read “the (insert number) horseman” every time we see one.

    Will continue to read, at page 20 now, and am intrigued by why this man is killing so, that’s good.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read to page 38. I would like to read the entire script but in the meantime, although I’m not big on these young adult science fiction stories, (well, that’s what it seemed like to me) I’m really, really liking this.

    The voiceover at the beginning was interesting. Especially liked the dialogue that began with “Captain Baha believed in it…”

    Visuals and the characters’ plans were imaginative, but a bit confusing at times. Maybe a bit more settling us into things, break down the visuals into larger and then smaller elements. During the action scenes, use more white space. The scene with the plasma shield inching up to Stow as he makes his way into the pod, for instance was too dense… give us time to bite our nails. Loved all that.

    Phactaba’s dialogue was a bit confusing. I wasn’t sure exactly what his agenda there was. Maybe give him a bit more to say.

    Loved how the flashbacks are incorporated. Everything seems to be grounded, purposeful. There is always something happening.

    Most of all, this has heart. I care about these characters. I care about this story. I feel it has bearing on humanity. Reminded me of Dickens.

    Get thee hence to Hollywood, writer!

    • Rachel Woolley

      I agree. Science fiction isn’t my thing, but I found this charming. A little more clarity in the action sequences, and “settling us” into the visuals as Randy so aptly put it, would go a long way. The character work is well done though. This baby’s got soul :)

      • hickeyyy

        I’m glad I’m not the only one that found this to be the standout this week. You two are alright with me.

        • Randy Williams

          Well, you couldn’t have picked two more nicer people to be alright with. :)

    • Howie428

      Thanks for the support and for the useful notes.

  • brenkilco

    Finished Killing Man. Interesting background of early San Francisco. Reasonably good writing with occasional anachronisms. But the author’s penchant for cross cutting can get out of hand. There’s one sequence that seems to feature two dozen sluglines within two pages. The big problem? It’s essentially a murder mystery. And it’s not a very good one. For most of its length it’s a series of repetitive murders, chases and stalks. And while there are a lot of strange elements to the killings, there isn’t much in the way of detection. The hero isn’t much closer to the killer on page eighty than he was on page thirty. But at some point it’s time to end things so the hero gets lured to a location where the killer confronts him and reveals all. Not that there’s all that much to reveal since the killings are almost completely unmotivated. The character we least suspect, and who has appeared perfectly sane for the entire script, simply turns out to be a homicidal madman. There’s also a late inning red herring that doesn’t amount to much. In the end good action and background aren’t enough to overcome a very B movie plot. Wasn’t for me.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read 30 pages of Super Epic – a light hearted romp so far. It’s themes are very front and center, almost a little too broad for a spec script.

    the urinal joke is borrowed from Austin Powers

    The melting and freezing of the ice is a good visual

    Hannah watching Super Epic smash the ice was funny.

    Super Eric asking for the autograph was good

    I like that you didn’t name Mayor and Commissioner, Eric not freeing the other players was a funny beat

    all in all a nice 1st act set piece

    pg 17 – jack hammering boulders at a construction site? How silly.

    there’s a fair amount of visual humor with the boulder to pebbles gag.

    pg 18 – bellow (below)

    ‘Eric takes a big sip of his coffee’.

    ERIC (CONT’D) Okay, now I can try to follow.

    — the humor can be smart and dry.

    pg 23 – We had a tie between Mr. Douchester and Mr. Dorkester.


    The writing was smooth. Characters well established. A mix of visual gags and light banter. Not bad. Interesting bit with Butch and Eric where they both think they are talking about the same thing, but probably aren’t. Butch, I assume, knows Eric is gay and is going to come out to his parents, but it’s really about coming out as a super hero.

    Overall, nice job.

    • Illimani Ferreira

      Hi Kirk, thanks a lot for your input and I’m happy that you’ve been enjoying it so far. :) I’m not sure about the scene you mentioned from Austin Powers. Any similarity was accidental. Concerning the boulder scene, I got the inspiration (like the whole script) from the time I lived in Montreal. The news were reporting about the cold weather and they showed some construction workers having trouble breaking small boulders, so they had to heat them. Now, you might be right concerning the silliness: why the hell they just didn’t work with stones that were previously crushed instead of bringing boulders to the construction site? I sincerely have no answer to that, but it was based on facts! :)

      • Kirk Diggler

        Regarding Austin Powers, it wasn’t an exact duplicate, it just reminded me of a scene in that film with the ‘stream’ never being quite finished.

        I think my ‘silly’ comment was more directed at someone using a jackhammer to break up a boulder, rather than the boulder being there int eh first place. They work great on concrete and cement, but solid rock would be quite a long feat. Either way, the scene ended in a nice pay-off so it worked regardless.

  • Rachel Woolley

    To the writer of The Killing Man–congrats on your inclusion in AOW! I read your script first because I’m a sucker for cowboys, serial killers, and sparse writing. Even if the title does leave a lot to be desired ;-) But I really love your premise so I hope you’ll accept my feedback in the spirit of helpfulness in which it’s intended.

    Unfortunately I found this a little too sparse, even for me. I read to pg 50, so halfway through.

    To echo Brenkilco’s comments, I found the opening scene confusing. The opening line describing a “naked” landscape and the slugline (high plain) made me picture a vast open area, so I struggled to understand how Morrison could reasonably get within shooting distance of the four horsemen without them being aware of his presence. When we first meet them they’re riding at a full gallop (as we’d expect bank robbers being pursued to do) but they slow down, as though the coast is clear, when in actuality Morrison is riding up behind them at full gallop?

    The approaching storm is referenced a few times but I didn’t realize it had started raining until an action line describes Morrison squinting against it and scanning the trees. It seems like a nitpicky thing but it tripped me up. It forced me to re-read the previous section asking “What trees? When did it start raining? When he was shooting at them? Before?”

    All this is easily solved with a little added description. You could mention that the valley is ringed by trees so it isn’t jarring when one of the horsemen escapes to the treeline. Or perhaps it’d be better to just have Morrison pursuing them through a wooded area to begin with, so it’s more believable when he gets the jump on them.

    I did enjoy the detail about the coat of arms on Morrison’s lapel. It’s an unexpected thing to see on a cowboy, and tells us something about him (and perhaps his moral code?) without him saying a word. But aside from that fashion accessory, I never got any other clues to who this guy is. Even the flashbacks to before his pregnant wife’s murder offer no personality traits. The strong, silent cowboy is an alluring cliche, but a cliche nonetheless.

    Speaking of the wife’s murder, that scene was confusing too. The couple is in bed and she says “Don’t go.” Don’t go where? Was there a sound outside that alerted them to danger? Because he leaves her without taking the rifle with him (odd if he’s investigating a suspicious noise), and doesn’t get any further than the living room when three bandits crash through the front door. Does the third bandit get past him while he’s fighting the other two? Because he seems to dispatch them pretty quick, but the third bandit has already sliced up his wife. Another approach would be to have the bandits break in while BOTH of them are still in bed. Catch them totally offguard. And it’s just one bad guy too many for our hero to fight off.

    If Nora’s the romantic interest she deserves more description than “pretty with a limp.” That describes every woman that’s ever worn a pair of stilettos. Her introduction was hard to understand. Was she already in that scene? Or did she enter? What is she doing? The mention of the limp makes it sound like she’s in motion.

    It also took me a minute to realize that her last name was the same as Bill’s. Even then, her relationship to him isn’t defined until much later, on Pg 21. I was wondering if she was his wife, but she didn’t seem like a grieving widow. Then again she didn’t seem like a grieving sister either. She was remarkably composed for a woman who had her brother’s gutted body left on her front steps… She doesn’t even question Morrison at all when he’s released from jail. Her “coy” looks and flirtacious behavior read really odd. It might make sense for her to turn on the charm AFTER Morrison says no to hunting her brother’s killer, but before? Bill’s death didn’t have any noticeable affect on Morrison either. He opts not to go to the funeral and Nora’s response is basically **shrug**.

    In the scene where Morrison talks with Doc about the murders, he clams up at the mention of Chicago. Which is fine/intriguing. But then Doc starts offering up some really useful info about the killer’s m.o. and Morrison’s still anxious to take his leave? Then Doc receives word (o.s.) that a boy’s been stabbed and Morrison is suddenly all gung ho to tag along. In my opinion, it would be more dramatic and logical for us to see this messenger ourselves. He interrupts to tell the doc someone’s been slashed open (wording that hints this may be the work of our killer and Morrison and the Doc can just look at each other.) You could go straight into Morrison and Doc at the scene of the crime and we know damn well why Morrison wanted to come along without Doc spouting off exposition.

    The SUPER: Captain William Tecumseh Sherman caught me off guard. No other characters were introduced this way and the mayor immediately introduces him so it seems redundant.

    I’m confused about “the large man”. Morrison comes face to face with him when the man is buying cigars–the same kind Doc later tells him are being used to burn the victims–but Morrison’s first suspicions fall on Jack Walter? Does Morrison think Jack might have been the man in the shop? Was the large man’s face completely obscured? If so, wouldn’t a new guy in town wearing a full face mask be the obvious suspect? And stick out like a sore thumb?

    Ultimately there were too many set-ups that I struggled to visualize, making me less eager to read on to the payoffs. But I love me a good western and I wish you all the luck in the world with this!

    • brenkilco

      Also noted that Nora never seemed too cut up over her brother being so cut up. One thing I was going to hit the writer on I’m glad I didn’t. There’s a scene where Nora takes the protag up a hill and says “We call this Telegraph Hill.” Snicker, snicker. In 1849. Not likely. But it turns out Telegraph Hill wasn’t named after an actual telegraph but for a semaphore tower build to signal ships. And the tower was built in 1849. Now I’m guessing the name came considerably later. Still, it doesn’t pay to be too much of a wiseass.

  • Nicholas J

    I’m not voting this time, as none of these really stood out from the pack. But I’ll give quick feedback on them anyway. Good luck to all the writers and thanks for sharing your work.

    Hmm not really connecting with this one. Nothing is more played out to me than super heroes. This is a light hearted comedy, maybe aimed at teens? Not sure it brings anything new to the table other than the protagonist is gay and hiding his identity, which isn’t that exciting for me. It’s kind of clever, but not exciting enough to get me interested. As for the writing itself, I think the opening sequence was written alright, and I like the GSUish of it, but it wasn’t that entertaining. Why is this villain threatening hockey players anyway? And how come nobody seems to care? Is this a world where super heroes are every day occurrences? By page 12 I should know, but I really don’t. And why are the hockey players even in danger? They’re going to freeze to death? In a hockey rink? The ice in a hockey rink is super thin, like one inch. 5 seconds on Google will tell you that. Nothing much here to keep me reading after 12 pages.

    Zero interest in vampires, which may or may not be more played out than super heroes, but I gave this one a shot. I like some of the descriptions, but the way everything flows is a little clunky. As for the story, I hate to say it, but the opening is a bit cliched. Flashes of a dream, guy wakes up with injuries, using photos to show his family, woman character described mostly by her level of hotness, they bang (kind of), a cut to three days earlier (big pet peeve), now we’re in an AA meeting, etc. Seen all this before, many, many times. Hell, I’ve even written this opening before. You gotta open on something new, something we haven’t quite seen before, or I’m tuning out, because you haven’t promised me originality in future pages. Say what you will about yesterday’s Otis Kringle script, but you can’t say it wasn’t unique.

    A solid gold asteroid? Weird, but sounds interesting. I’m with you on page 1, but I can’t say the same for page 2. I have no idea what is going on. I get that the writer is throwing us immediately into conflict, but it’s confusing as hell. So the intentions are good, but the execution is not. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve read pages 2 and 3 like 3 times and don’t get it. Young Stow’s dad goes crazy and sends Young and his mother off in a space pod. That’s all I got. Then we cut to the future? Stow is now 18, but we never get a “12 years later” or anything. So I think this is the same Stow? Or is this a different Stow? This underground commune of kids could be cool, but again, this is confusing as hell. I get they stole some gold from a dumpster, but other than that I have no idea. Dialogue like “They’re gonna clock the gimpy foil” doesn’t help either. Sorry, completely lost with this one. Maybe I’m just tired, but I can’t follow 90% of this. The story could be awesome, but I won’t know, because the writer hasn’t thrown me a bone. Clarity should always be your #1 priority, because if I can’t tell what’s going on, I can’t properly judge the story, and I’m bailing early.

    Starts with a title page made in 1997. Interesting choice. And right off the bat we have a specific song. Everyone says don’t do that, but screw it, I’m putting the song on right now to get into the mood. It’s Saturday night, I’m getting crazy, sitting at my laptop reading scripts and now listening to the monster mash or whatever this is, look out life! Oh yeah, back to the script. We start out with Merrily (really?), a woman on a mission. Great! The contrast of her mood vs. the party perfectly sets up her character. Love it. Merrily also says one thing and does another. Nice. Okay, so after only 5 pages, I’m not really too interested in this story, but overall the writing is pretty good. The story and scenes are simple, the action lines are clear, and all that allows me to focus on my favorite (and, IMO, the most important) element of screenwriting — character! Merrily’s character is set up very well in a very short amount of time. In summary, the title page is horrible, but I don’t care because it got my attention, the opening’s not really my thing or is that exciting, but I don’t care because it was well-written and at least somewhat unique, and the dialogue is stilted, but I don’t care because it reveals character. So while it’s not the best opening in the world, it certainly wasn’t bad. Nice job, writer.

    Awkward title. Cool opening, but I hate the style it’s written in. It’s like a more annoying version of Nightcrawler. (Which I liked.) Otherwise very few notes on this one. I read more of this than the other 4 scripts, but that’s probably because there’s so much white space. I love westerns, but in the pages I read nothing really grabbed me here. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great enough to hook me. Mysterious handsome dude riding around shootin’ outlaws, short flashbacks to a troubled past cut short for no reason other than to intrigue us (seriously, can we all stop doing this?), more fightin’, typical campfire and saloon locations, etc. Yeah, it’s a western. It could completely break the mold on page 60, but I won’t know, because I didn’t see anything early on to promise me an exciting read.

    • Howie428

      Thanks for looking at Midas, even if it didn’t work for you.

      ” Young Stow’s dad goes crazy and sends Young and his mother off in a space pod. That’s all I got. Then we cut to the future?” – Even if you struggled with it you’ve summed up what happens pretty well!

    • crazedwritr

      Nicholas J — thank you for the kind words regarding the setup. It’s nice to see you didn’t get caught up in all the description, which in my opinion is needed to really help set up the character, scene and mood for the script!

  • GoIrish

    I made it to p. 19 of Monster’s Holiday. I read the logline and the
    first part of the WYSR (the challenge to Otis Kringle) and thought I was
    going to get a female-version of Scrooged (the Bill Murray movie).
    Probably should have finished reading the WYSR before jumping into the
    script. This was much more in line with a corny holiday movie than a
    Scrooged/Otis Kringle holiday movie. No harm in that – just not what I was expecting, and unfortunately, not my type of movie. Some quick notes while reading:

    p. 1 – it doesn’t necessarily bother me, but some people may jump on you for including specific songs in your script (suggests you’ve secured the rights). Just raising as an FYI.

    p.1 – I know people like to get prepped for Christmas earlier and earlier
    each year, but during a Halloween party seemed a little odd.

    p. 1 – Merrily has several descriptions about her attitude/demeanor in the first four paragraphs (“perma-scowl,” “walking dark cloud,” “frown,” “full blown Scrooge mode,” “non-festive demeanor”) – not the biggest deal, but you might be able to pare that down a bit and still convey the same message.

    p. 2 – felt a little redundant to say “Dozens of squealing young women” and then in the next paragraph “the crowd goes wild, particularly the young women” (note spelling: squealing/squeeling)

    p. 5 – “globe-shaped, naturally spherical” – it’s descriptive, just never heard a person described like that. I sort of focused on that language probably longer than I should have.

    p. 6 – Faith’s explanation for why she works for Merrily fell into the corny territory (which seems like what you were trying to go for)

    p. 7 – some of the dialogue feels a little on the nose. For instance, “I’m paying tons of money to get this CD finished by Thanksgiving, in a few days.” Presumably everyone in the room would know Thanksgiving is in a few days.

    p. 7 – we’ve gone from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in just 7 pages. I’m wondering if you would be able to skip the Halloween and Thanksgiving elements if this is supposed to be a Christmas movie.

    p. 7 – I really wasn’t getting the impression that Merrily would be the type to participate in Secret Santa – even if she’s giving office supplies. In Scrooged, for example, Bill Murray’s character has his secretary get gifts for everyone. If Merrily decides to give gifts, I thought she would do something similar.

    p. 8 – “Guess! Barry!” – was she asking Faith to guess? Not sure how I was supposed to be reading that line.

    p. 9 – feels a little on the nose – “All the radio stations have been playing their first single in heavy rotation ever since their CD came out around Thanksgiving.”

    p. 9 – feels a little on the nose – “Why? Oh, I know why. I heard all about it from some other reporters when I started here last month. She broke up with you around last Christmas. Right?” Also, if Paul was dating Merrily, that doesn’t seem to match the logline description of “terminally single” (to me, that sounds like she never dates).

    p. 10 – the VJ announces the CD came out on Thanksgiving – we’ve heard this piece of information a couple of times previously. May want to consider striking here (or elsewhere).

    p. 11 – Holly’s dialogue feels a little on the nose. For instance, I don’t think someone would say “It’s your sister, Holly. I just got in from my volunteer work at the shelter.” For a sister, I could see her saying, “Hey, it’s Hol” (maybe even, “Hey, it’s me.”). As for the work, maybe she’d say “just got back from the shelter” (although that possibly still feels a little on the nose).

    p. 11 – the contrast b/w home and office (clean/dirty) is a little curious. You probably want to make sure there’s some explanation for this somewhere.

    p. 11 – half-charred remains of plastic Santa – it seems like she’s been a Scrooge-type character for some time. Why would she even have a Christmas decoration? And it’s presumably been there since at least last year, which is a little curious.

    p. 14 – “Upset the only person here at work who can halfway stand you.” This seems to contrast with her logline and early-scene descriptions. I could be getting this wrong, but I don’t think there were hints of caring/spirit of Christmas with Scrooge before the ghosts came. If we know Merrily cares already, is there really that much transformation?

    p. 16 – “her reflection” – just so there’s no confusion, may want to add “in the mirror” (assuming that’s what we’re looking at).

    p. 16 – “she’s like a radar detector; a stealth bomber.” May want to choose just one comparison – the radar detector and stealth bomber don’t seem that logically connected.

    p. 17 – the initial exchange with DB didn’t feel natural; you may be able to get away with it for a corny-type of holiday movie, but just mentioning it as something you may want to review again.

    • crazedwritr

      Golrish — thank you for the detailed notes to page 17. I appreciate the feedback, and I’m sorry that the description: “globe-shaped, naturally spherical” through you off course. Thought it was a much more interesting description than just saying round. LOL

      I love Scrooged, and would love this to be more on that caliber! Maybe it will be with the next go-round.

  • Midnight Luck

    OT (On Topic and Off Topic)


    OK, I’ve read 5-15 pages of each entry so far.

    I read this article on the LA Screenwriter blog (originally posted by No Bullscript Consulting that I found really interesting.
    I feel like it might be valuable here.
    I think if people read through this list of 50 things that are dead giveaways someone’s an Amateur, then reflect on their own work, many, many hiccups could be avoided.
    Many of these are so pertinent.

    VERY important ones for me are #43: –Your first scene and first 10 pages don’t grab me.– AND #19: –Story is missing the meat–
    I struggle with this often. After reading as many Amateur scripts as I have, it is very hard to continue reading after 5 pages up to page 10, if the first scene, and consequently the first 10 pages do nothing for me. Every time I push myself to read further I end up being kind of disappointed. Sometimes it feels like the writer wasn’t checking their script for errors, never found the essence of the story they wanted to tell, yet just kept going with it anyhow.

    Click on the link and check out the list, or scroll down and I’ll list them all. Sorry for the ultra long post, but I think these simple, straight forward points are so valuable for everyone.

    —The following is in NO particular order and covers a broad range of script issues.

    1.Writing CUT TOs, FADE TOs, FADE OUTs, or any other Transition between every scene.
    2.Telling us instead of Showing us.
    3.Description is in past tense instead of present tense and does not use the active form of the verb. For example, John drives – not John is driving. Danny stands – not is standing. No -ING verbs.
    4.Not using pronouns or articles in your sentences. THE room, HIS dog, HER chair. You don’t walk into room – you walk into THE room or A room.
    5.Having wordy description paragraphs longer than 4 lines on a page without a line break.
    6.Not CAPITALIZING your characters names the first time we meet them in your description. Or capitalizing characters names every time they’re seen or mentioned.
    7.Capitalizing every noun and/or verb in your description.
    8.Not having a new scene heading for every new location or writing things in your scene heading other than the location, time of day and relation to the previous scene
    9.Your description tells us exactly what your characters are thinking or are about to discuss in dialogue, or tells us backstory the audience cannot see.
    10.The script is written in Microsoft Word, Notepad or Celtx.
    11.Not knowing the difference between a Montage and a Series of Shots. A Montage condenses numerous scenes, locations and the passage of time while progressing the plot and character arcs. A series of shots is a visual style to show many different actions or specific visuals all from one scene or a short time span.
    12.Having Camera Direction in your description (“we see”, “shot of”, “camera pans” etc)
    13.Writing parentheses before dialogue on every page explaining the emotion or how the line should be said.
    14.You are not using “Intercut With” when going back and forth between two scenes instead of restating the scene heading each time.
    15.Lengthy location descriptions or too much production design – we don’t care what color the couch is.
    16.Using Voice Over to express and tell things you could express though action and dialogue.
    17.All conversations start with “hello” or “how are you” and scenes end with “goodbye, goodnight or talk to you later.” Or if dialogue is full of conversational niceties – thank you, please, your welcome, etc.
    18.The scenes lack dynamics – no conflict or tension.
    **19.Story is missing the meat – has planning and reflection scenes instead of execution scenes.
    20.Subplots are not tracked or seen for more than 15 pages.
    21.A kitchen sink script where everything is thrown in to make it seem more commercial and original.
    22.Scenes have no emotional goal.
    23.There is a lack of emotional/reflective reactions and moments for characters.
    24.Introducing more than 3 characters in 1 paragraph – each should preferably have their own paragraph.
    25.Using incorrect margins on the page – having too much or too little white space around the edges. Also, incorrect font, spacing, or type set.
    26.You use dreams and flashbacks interchangeably. A flashback actually happened, a dream is a subconscious thought had while sleeping.
    27.Not giving us your main character’s last names and ages when introducing them.
    28.Using music – specific songs and artists – in your scenes or writing a scene to a specific song. What do Beatles, Bowie, Beach Boys, Bon Jovi and Bon Iver all have in common? Their songs will add MILLIONS to your budget.
    29.Your main character feels like they were born on page 1.
    30.There’s nothing on the line – no STAKES – in the first scene.
    31.It isn’t clear where and when your story takes place.
    32.Your only antagonist is an emotion or a personal demon.
    33.The most commercial moments are not exploited and the dialogue, SFX and VFX don’t POP on the page.
    34.There is no time clock of any kind in your story.
    35.Your subplots and B stories are not resolved or connect to your main storyline.
    36.You are lacking in Set Up, Execution, or Payoff.
    37.Your scenes do not evoke any emotion from the reader.
    38.You don’t know how to use dialogue, actions, settings or set ups to create smooth transitions between scenes.
    39.Your scene goes on 1-2 lines too long and doesn’t end on the most powerful or interesting moment or dialogue.
    40.You don’t know the difference between VO, OS, and OC or when to use each one.
    41.The dialogue is slight, Q&A, isn’t genuine to the characters or lacks subtext and is all very on the nose.
    42.You think a theme and a message is the same thing.
    **43.Your first scene and first 10 pages don’t grab me.
    44.Your protag is passive and/or isn’t present in your climax.
    45.You write a comedic scene just to hit one joke or one visual gag.
    46.You think when you finish your 3rd draft, you’re done and it’s ready to be submitted to agents, producers, actors or contests. It’s not.
    47.Your story is not driven by conflict and doesn’t contain an internal, external, mental, physical and emotional conflict.
    48.You think the only difference between you and an A-list screenwriter is an agent.
    49.The first words out of your mouth when you meet someone is “I’ve written this script…”
    50.You think you can break all of these aforementioned rules and mistakes and people will still want to read your script and you’ll still be able to break in because Tarantino did it.

    see how many of these issues pop up with any of the scripts.
    It makes for an interesting test.

    • Illimani Ferreira

      I stopped reading this laundry list at rule #1. Transitions between scenes are necessary sometimes, like when we have two subsequent scenes at the same place but separated by an interval of time.

      • Nicholas J

        It says between EVERY scene.

        • Midnight Luck

          I read a script like that once.
          It was rough.
          After EVERY SINGLE scene, or even line, it would do a SMASH CUT: or CUT TO: or FADE TO BLACK or some such thing.
          It was brutal to read.
          And if you cut out all the 99% of unnecessary ones, the script would have only been like 55 pages long.
          So, there’s that as well.

          • Nicholas J

            That’s nothing. I once read a script where they used all (yes, all) commas instead of periods and they misspelled the word ‘and’…

            …in the title.

          • Midnight Luck

            I remember that script

        • Illimani Ferreira

          Oops, misread that. My apologies, it’s late here.

      • Sullivan

        Why would a transition be needed then? Just have the same slug as the previous scene with something like LATER or NEXT DAY. It’s the director’s job to choose the actual transition in the film.

    • Nicholas J

      After reading as many Amateur scripts as I have, it is very hard to continue reading after 5 pages up to page 10, if the first scene, and consequently the first 10 pages do nothing for me.

      Oh my god yes Midnight. I always feel a little bad when I can’t get to a page number as low as 10, or even 5, in an amateur script. But it’s so hard when it reads like every other script I’ve read.

      And I always see people say “you can’t tell if a script is going to be good or not in the first few pages” but yes, you absolutely can. And many of the reasons why are listed in your comment above. (And no, that’s not to say I don’t fall prey to them, because I know I do too, and so does everyone. Nobody’s perfect. You just have to hope your positives far outweigh your negatives.)

      • Midnight Luck

        everyone falls prey to all kinds of mistakes, issues and such.

        I think the real problems begin when you start adding up each issue, and the more problems that get piled on the more it becomes obvious how Amateur the writer is.

        A misspelling here or there, a mistake here or there, no big deal. But if you begin to tick of 10 or 20 items listed of these 50, I think many readers will have given up long ago on reading your script.

        I agree. I absolutely believe you can tell how well written a script is by the end of the first page, sometimes even the first paragraph. Yes occasionally a script can surprise, and the worst of the writing is in the first 10 pages. But if that happens to be the case, I feel bad for the writer. To stack the deck against yourself so badly, when you want the first 10 to be what draws the reader in and doesn’t let them go. Instead the writer is saying, “well, if you just get through these first ten, then the story REALLY takes off!”, is about as backward as writing a script can be. And yes, people will flap about saying, – but it is a “slow burn”, it is meant to take its time and I’m pacing the story- yet all that tells me is, the writer doesn’t have much interesting to say, doesn’t have a very intriguing story to tell, so bores us into submission, and thinks that filling the script with purple prose and tons of description, atmosphere and possibly dialogue, will fill that space for us. Make us forget that nothing is happening, or sadly, that the whole thing has bored us to tears.

      • Kirk Diggler

        I don’t recognize you anymore. It’s disturbing. Please change back.

        • Nicholas J

          Ha, because my picture or the things I say?

          • Kirk Diggler

            What happened to the bald guy with the orange peel? Bring him back!

          • Nicholas J

            Smoke monster got him. There was nothing I could do.

          • hickeyyy

            Poor Jeremy Bentham!

          • hackofalltrade

            I laughed out loud when I read this. Like a real laugh out loud, not one of those fake LOL’s the kids use.

    • lonestarr357

      #10. ‘You write using Celtx’. Well, excuse the Christ out of me, Nelson Rockefeller, if we can’t all afford that fancy-schmancy Final Draft.

      What a douche-canoe. (The author, not you, Midnight.)

      • Midnight Luck

        yeah, that one seems a bit odd. not everyone has the $99-$150 to spend on Final Draft, especially when they are starting out.

        I think the point is though, that it has a lot of quirks, isn’t as automatic or streamlined as Final Draft, and that if you don’t get it set up or dialed in correctly, it glaringly shows errors in formatting of your script, and therefore shows the signs of an Amateur at work. (i’ve never used it, so I cannot say for sure how well it is made, or how easy it is to set up or write with)

        • carsonreeves1

          I think the point is, you don’t send someone a draft written in Celtx. You turn it into a PDF. You can use any software you want obviously as long as you end up in PDF. Likewise, never send a draft in Word. Surefire amateur move.

          • Midnight Luck

            Yeah, you may be right, maybe that is what was being referenced: what kind of file you send out.
            I hope people don’t send out Final Draft files to contests, producers, readers, etc?
            I like hard copies. Like real paper.
            Is that a terrible flag saying, what? This person lives in 1920? or doesn’t own a computer? (neither of which is true, but impression is everything)
            Is the impression that the writer just isn’t with it if they send an actual paper script? (I’m not doing that, but I sure want to)

      • Randy Williams

        I refuse to use anything that has the word, “Final” in it.
        That word terrified me throughout my education.

        now back to writing on my cheap ass Celtx.

      • Shawn Davis

        Another good writing software that’s free…

        • hickeyyy

          I want to give a shout out to I use it exclusively, and it allows you to export your file as FD, CeltX, or any other type. You can give your writing partner (if you have one) a link and you can both edit the document.

    • Bluedust

      #18 is a biggie. “The scenes lack dynamics – no conflict or tension.” Packing conflict into every scene seems to be the one constantly recurring lesson from pros when they discuss screenwriting.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Somehow these points are undermined
      by being jumbled in no specific order or importance.
      Some are formatting issues. Some broken by professionals.
      The more critical ones are execution issues dealing with descriptions, character and plot.

      • Midnight Luck

        yeah, it would’ve been nice had the writer taken them from #1 most egregious to #50 least. Or grouped them together by theme, or something.
        It is jumbled, and does detract from the effectiveness a bit.
        Yet it also makes you read every-single-one to see what is said, rather than letting you scan and breeze through them quickly.
        So, who knows, maybe it is effective in its own unusual way.

    • Trent11

      Thank you for sharing this. I just tweeted it To Tarantino. Along with a picture of two female feet.

    • brenkilco

      The first ten pages. Frightening and fascinating. Commenters here frequently check out after ten pages. Professional readers may finish a script but whose to say they don’t mentally place it in the discard pile after ten. Just exactly what is it that a writer is supposed to accomplish in that first ten pages? William Goldman has said that in the first ten pages the writer is given the luxury to set up his world. That advice may be way out of date at this point. And yet starting a script with an unexplained blast of action can be as tedious as a lengthy introductory dialogue scene. We want an emotional investment in the characters but doesn’t that take time? Cramming in to much story may not be the answer either. If the first act essentially concludes on page ten you’ve probably got a thin, inadequate script. So what would people pick as the movie with the most perfect first ten minutes? Something that they just knew was going to be good. And how did they know it?

      • Malibo Jackk

        There has to be something in the first 10 to catch the readers attention.
        (Should be the first page as well.) Otherwise the reader has dozens of other scripts sitting, waiting to be read.
        Doesn’t have to be action. But if it is, it can’t be the same old same old.
        Do you have to cram the story? Introduce the protag? Introduce the villain? State the theme? All within the first ten?
        Too many people get hung up on the mechanics. (My opinion.)
        Too often scenes are offered to satisfy the mechanics. Not to entertain.
        It may not be about emotionally investing the character in the first ten. It might be about emotionally investing the script.

        Some stories may have a need to be told. But not a need to be read.
        That’s the world we live in.

        So where to begin? How do you emotionally invest the reader in your script?
        Great writing can help. But that doesn’t always show up on the screen.

        In a world full of boring scripts
        — try investing the reader in a great concept.

        • klmn

          “In a world full of boring scripts
          — try investing the reader in a great concept.”

          And/or try investing the reader in a great character.

      • klmn

        “William Goldman has said that in the first ten pages the writer is given the luxury to set up his world.

        I think you have to distinguish professional writers on assignment from amateur writers. On an assignment, the producer has an investment in the script and wants it to be good. An amateur writer doesn’t have that luxury, he has to grab the reader immediately, like Malibo Jack says below.

      • Midnight Luck

        It is scary.
        My question is: What is it everyone thinks we are doing here?

        Just trying to write something mediocre that “slips by”?

        Are we trying to write the absolute best and most effective story we can?
        Or are we trying to write something that is “good enough”?

        Things are getting more and more difficult out there. As the market gets ever slimmer for buying and picking up work that has no attachment to previously known properties, and the Amateur is left out in the wind.

        I think every single writer (especially the Amateur) needs to stop fooling themselves that merely putting words on paper is enough.
        –That they saw “X” movie and it was terrible and boring, so they should be able to get the script they wrote yesterday bought for a Million bucks.
        –That Stallone wrote a script in 3 days a hundred years ago that won an Oscar, and changed history, means:
        The first script they ever wrote (while suffering in a caffeine induced frenzy), based on a weekend with their friends before Prom, while in high school, where they wrecked Mom’s car, and lost their friend on the back streets of Farson, Wyoming (population 313), is The Hangover meets The Exorcist (minus someone being possessed), only with teenagers, and all while stoned out of their minds! is destined to have every single Agent bidding millions for it, and without a single rewrite, because they read a story about someone who did exactly that and became a Rock Star writer overnight!

        So, back to reality.

        I just think that everyone needs to read an article like this, really pay attention to what is said on a site like Scriptshadow, understand what they are REALLY up against, reflect honestly about what they are writing, have written, and make sure it truly brings the absolute BEST they can bring.

        BEFORE sending it out to be judged by ANYBODY.

        Too many scripts feel like a first choice, a first script, a last minute thought, something that doesn’t matter too much.
        Honestly, we may get a paycheck for shoddy work at our job, we may be allowed to raise children without knowing a damn thing about kids, we may be able to buy a puppy online and then drop it off at the pound when we realize we actually have to take care of it.
        What we don’t get to do is just put some words on paper and sell it without putting some serious work and hard ass reflection into it.
        No matter what is said out there on the World Wide Web,
        No one.
        So what you write has to have them PANTING to see what comes next.
        Not just, “oh, well it’s a bit slow here, but no one will notice, because I have a funny joke on the next page, so whatever”.
        The SECOND you lose someones attention, the second someone is bored, the second they have to GO BACK and reread something because they are confused, you are losing them.

        It is an all out battle out there.
        And the writer HAS to bring the goods.
        No. Matter. What.

        • Chris Ryden

          I think the term amateur is a polite way of saying not very good. For me the real question here is “when is a script defined as professional?” — most material doesn’t sell when it goes out and more often than not, doesn’t generate any income for the writer. Meaning they usually earn their income doing another job. So… If you’re not earning money as a writer are you a professional or an amateur?

    • Citizen M


      There’s an Ebola joke there somewhere.

      I’d add another one, from Bill Martell. What your main character is going through has to be the most important and life-changing thing going on in their life right now.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    You know you can’t have a character at a urinal and speaking with anyone! We’ve been through this before and that taboo is to remain as long as Carson Pendegraft or Christopher Reeves or whomever the hell is running this site, keeps it online.

    I read to page 40. Hard to get a grasp of what this is, or who the audience for this is. At page 40 I was just getting an inkling of what the logline promised.

    I laughed out loud several times. THANKS for the laughs. I don’t know why but the combine harvester really killed me among other things. Alternated between really charmed with a smile on my face to spitting up my food, to where the hell is this going?

    The characters were immediately endearing. Loved the hockey players in ice business, the laser beams. Loved the boulder scene. Liked the hot TUBE? scene. But that seemed like a different more adult movie there. Then we get to a kid’s beauty pageant and I was reminded of “Bad Grandpa”. Not a good thing to be reminded of another movie, I guess.

    This alternated for me from silly to kick ass funny to biting social commentary for hipsters. Certainly, I feel the writer has talent and should be writing for some show. I feel what I read works more as a showcase for that talent, however, and less as a feature maybe?

    • Illimani Ferreira

      Thanks for your input, Randy. I didn’t watch Bad Grandpa but I must admit that I had Little Miss Sunshine in mind when I wrote the kid’s beauty pageant bit.

      I really hope that the social commentary I built isn’t only for hipsters. I tried to write a comedy that would appeal and entertain a mainstream audience hoping that a producer willing to take risks could embrace it. :)

  • Shawn Davis

    Interesting mixed group of scripts today. I should have my picks up tomorrow sometime in the afternoon. I can say that Super Epic has my interest up front.


  • Illimani Ferreira

    Hi there, I’m the writer of Super Epic. It’s almost 4am here where I live, so time to go to bed, but I’d like to thank everybody who took/is taking the time to assess my script and also the supportive notes. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that I’m actually making at least some of you laugh. That’s the only thing that a comedy writer can wish.

    • Joe Marino

      Good luck, Illi!

  • Nicholas J

    Yeah, maybe. Something about it was off though, couldn’t quite figure it out. Those are the hardest to critique, where there’s nothing really wrong with it, and the writing is decent, but it just doesn’t click with me for whatever reason.

    • crazedwritr

      Nicholas J — sorry this didn’t click with you, but I appreciate the time you spent looking at it.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    This is a diamond in the rough, but boy, is it rough.

    Easy concept to get on board with. I love these Scrooge movies and I would probably watch this one if it was made. Was this written with a black actress as the protagonist in mind and mostly black actors? That was my impression.

    When I opened it, the sudden picture on the title page actually startled me. That gave me a laugh which was a good way to begin.

    My advice is to blend a traditional Scrooge tale with the romantic plotline here and keep it focused on that.
    Use the music business for set pieces. Why didn’t she take the little drummer boy to the studios and try to distract him away from her by plopping him down in front of some awesome set of drums, for instance?

    Focus on the relationship between Merrily and Faith as though Faith is her Cratchit. I really loved much of Faith’s dialogue. It really sparkled. Great character work.

    The whole back half with the detailed explanation of the car accident. Whew, what a downer. The coincidence of who Christopher is. Just felt too burdensome to me for a Christmas tale with a funny bone.

    Finally, I’ve never seen a brand name with the trademark symbol above it in a script before. That’s a definite first for me. Perhaps a distraction you may not want, along with camera directions in the script.

    Scrooge, set pieces, romance. I feel Christmas already.

    • crazedwritr

      Randy, thanks for the great advice. I love the idea of playing up Faith more as Merrily’s Cratchit. The two women couldn’t be more different. Faith was a fun one to write. I do marketing copywriting as my day job, and not having a trademark will ruin you, guess that was a carryover into the script. Didn’t even catch it. Thanks. And for the record, no it wasn’t written with a black cast in mind, just a good cast that could have fun with this!

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    This was a fast read of course. Nicely spare but so was the west.

    Thought it might have benefited from more atmosphere. Really lay on the fog here, the sense of isolation, blindness.

    I figured out the killer long before the end. That person was the only person for me that held enough gravitas to make the reveal reverberate against many facets and themes. There just wasn’t anyone else.

    It’s a well done, tight little period mystery. Maybe too little?

  • peisley

    Monster’s Holiday caught my eye because, well, tis the season and all. There’s a cute concept and I think it would find some interest with actresses, but, it needs to be bitchier. From page one, it’s played too safe. If she’s a Scrooge, then the first words out of her mouth should be Scrooge-y. There’s enough upheaval going on in the music industry to set her up with some choice moments. Let her fire the crap out of the place on Christmas eve, harass some Taylor Swift-type… like, you’ve got to start wearing meat dresses, babe, etc. You can balance her attitude somewhat with our understanding how precarious the industry is now.

    • crazedwritr

      Thanks Peisley, this is great advice. Bitchier it is! And I love the Taylor Swift-type harassment idea!

      • peisley

        That’s great. Good luck on the rewrite. Use the Taylor Swift idea by all means. Be fearless. Writers hold back too much, too often.

  • Rachel Woolley

    I’m only about 15 pages in to Super Epic but I’m enjoying it so far. As far as the tone, the best comparison I can make is to the TV show The Tick (the live action version from the early 2000’s). To use that executive producer’s words, “It’s a world in which the characters being superheroes is almost a secondary consideration, so that the characters are more important than their costumes.”

    There are fantastical elements to the characters in Super Epic but they’re grounded in a kind of bumbling reality that makes them multi-dimensional and endearing.

    It’s probably because of that comparison–and I hope the writer won’t take any offense–but I can more easily picture this as a TV series (whether live action or budget-friendly animation) finding a big audience somewhere like Adult Swim. Or FX, who’s already had some similar success lambasting stereotypes with the show Chozen, which is about a white, gay rapper.

    • Illimani Ferreira

      Thanks a lot for your input, Rachel! No offense taken, although I’m not a fan of Chozen (watched only the first 4 episodes, and it left me with that feeling of a liberal straight man take on homosexuality that not even bothered to have a gay man in the writers room). But I hear you about The Tick, I’m a HUGE fan of this show and even if comparisons between a feature script and a TV show usually aren’t meant to be flattering, I don’t have problems admitting that The Tick influenced me a lot. The fact is that we are living right now the Golden Age of TV and writers who pitch their feature script as “Breaking Bad meets Homeland” won’t have to deal with an uptight reaction from the producers (some years ago that would be totally different). Unfortunately when it’s up to comedies there’s still some deal of prejudice, but I’m quite confident that despite the fact that Super Epic pays tribute to comedic TV shows, the kind of character development and storyline I created belongs to the film world and I’m sure that it would do well among an mainstream audience. I just need to find a producer willing to take risks.

  • hickeyyy

    My vote is for MIDAS, with INTELLIGENT DESIGN as the runner up.


    Logline Interest: Very, very high. The idea of setting the gold rush in space is brilliant. Great job with your premise.

    Read: 31 pages

    Review: I’m really impressed with your work, honestly. This feels like you KNOW your world. You know your characters. It is completely immersive and an awesome story. All your characters have motivation. Everything is there for a reason. A tight pace. Characters all have their own cadence and slang and they feel like people. I love everything about this. Great job!

    Suggestions: The only bothersome saying to me was “That’s bingo”. Reminds me too much of Inglorious Basterds line “That’s a bingo!” for some reason.

    Suggestions: I don’t really know much about Stow yet. I know he wants to kill his dad and that he is smart with technology. I’d like you to insert more personality into him.


    Logline Interest: Low. Sounds like a Hallmark Christmas movie.

    Read: 6 pages.

    Review: It’s hard for me to review this, but maybe because this just isn’t my thing or style. It feels relatively obvious what happens here, just like the Lifetime movies. You see the introduction of this cold bitch, she meets a dude that loves Christmas, he shows her that Christmas is super badass, then they fall in love and have candy cane sheets and shit. There is a good chance this is on equal footing with those, but it’s just not something I understand the appeal of. Good luck!

    Suggestions: Christmas movies come in 2 yupes: super iconic (Elf, Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation) or in the Hallmark/Lifetime channel originals. If you want to be the first, you have to bring more than just an icy woman learning to love the holiday, because that is absolutely the plot for the 2nd type.


    Logline Interest: Medium. Seems like you can pack some interesting stuff in this twist, even if I’m sick of superheroes and superhero knock off films.

    Read: 6 pages

    Review: Something about this irked me. Based on your logline I was expecting quite a bit more than fanny pack jokes. Does he wear a fanny pack because he’s gay? Is that the implication or am I reading too far into it? Is he offended by the singing woman’s sexuality because he’s gay or because he is a patriot? I don’t know. Then out comes the Feminazi and I’m just out. I’m not sure these characters seem like true people. You have sexy woman and butch lesbian jokes. Based on your WYSR it seems you intend on going against stereotypes, so maybe I’m just cutting out early, but I didn’t like this one bit.

    Suggestions: If you’re going to ‘curb stereotypes’, please don’t start with a bunch of stereotypes.


    Logline Interest: High. Sounds like a good premise, and I happen to be about 70 pages into a Western as well so it will be nice to see what else is out there.

    Read: 18 pages

    Review: Not bad! I enjoyed what I read, even if it felt like a lot of other Westerns. Serial killer chase mixed with the Western genre is the draw and we get it early, so that’s smart. My concern is the action lines seem a little vague. Hard to picture exactly what’s going on. I also don’t like that this scarred dude is going to try to murder Morrison in this general store but hesitates when children are around. Seems like if he has no problem gutting people and hanging them, he should have no problem scarring a couple kids for life. Inconsistent characterization there, in my opinion, although it’s hard to say considering we’ve barely met the guy.

    Suggestions: Focus on clarity with your action lines.


    Logline Interest: Medium. Crime, horror, and sci-fi are a lot of things to mix together. Might be difficult to implement all of this in one piece. Let’s see how it goes.

    Read: 13 pages.

    Review: You are a great writer. You paint a vivid picture. Awesome so far. Really enjoying it. Great visuals. I do have a little bit of a concern though. So this, based on the first 13 pages anyhow, appears to be a “who killed this person, sucked their blood, and why”. The problem is your opening pages SHOW who did it. We know Fletcher dies. Hard to grow attached to a guy you know is going to get offed. You know that she is going to get Chase in bed just like this person was had. I know your writing is solid so I assume it’s going to good when Fletcher gets it and there will be some sort of twist coming, but right now, no suspense means I’m checking out.

    Suggestions: Chase Ransom is an over-the-top name. I’d consider changing it. While the opening scene is excellent, it kills all the suspense of the investigation scenes that follow. I’d consider nixing it or making it more mysterious.

    • Howie428

      Thanks for the comments on Midas.

      • hickeyyy

        No problem Howie. I really did enjoy what I read. You have a great start, and I’m rooting for you.

    • crazedwritr

      Hick, thanks for cracking my script open, even though it wasn’t your cup of tea. I’m a sap — a Christmas movie loving gal. Whether it’s one of the iconic Christmaas movies you mentioned or a Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas movie — I’m usually all in!

      • hickeyyy

        No problem at all! My girlfriend is also absolutely in love with these kinds of movies; there is absolutely an audience for them. Usually around the holidays our TV is glued to Hallmark and Lifetime.

  • Poe_Serling

    My pick this week: MONSTER’S HOLIDAY

    In a nutshell: The Devil Wears Prada meets Scrooged.

    Even though I watch very few comedies, I found the overall story to be quite enjoyable and heartfelt. The project was also well-written and breeze to read.

    Add this one to Carson’s growing Christmas list:

    -JoePudder72′s Merry eMas
    -Monster’s Holiday

    Soon he’ll have enough holiday-themed scripts to review for entire week.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Like the idea of saving for a Christmas week.

    • klmn

      I suspect he’ll be too full of Christmas cheer to review anything.

    • Levres de Sang

      Despite my having given MONSTER’S HOLIDAY some criticism, I do think it would make an interesting AF selection. Just feels very different from the crowd.

      • crazedwritr

        Thanks Lev!

    • crazedwritr

      Thanks Poe for the vote of confidence! It means a lot coming from you, someone who is so well respected and thoughtful.

  • ElectricDreamer

    May all the AOW candidates get great notes this week!
    Very tight group of scripts. All have good points to cover on an AF.

    My AOW Choice: MIDAS.
    Honorable Mention: SUPER EPIC.

    Read to page 25.

    Based on your logline, I’m not sure why this has to be a sci-fi tale.
    There’s nothing presented that requires a futuristic setting.
    Seems like a straightforward treasure hunt/revenge tale.
    It reads a bit arbitrary that the asteroid is replacing a treasure chest.
    Something to consider when revising the logline for future contacts.
    I’ve read Phil’s work before. The Halloween Carol was a fun read.

    See this a lot lately: Dead Parent Prologues. DPP’s we should call them.
    Didn’t like starting with a dead parent in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    I don’t care for it much here either. Baja’s kinda a selfish jerk.
    Didn’t get why I needed to see that to tell your protag’s story.

    You invoked STAR TREK, I felt Abrams did get the DPP right.
    Kirk’s dad SACRIFICED himself for the greater good.
    Sure it kicked off the plot in grand fashion, but it did more.
    That also told us a little about the POTENTIAL of his newborn son.

    A dozen pages in, and I haven’t felt the story really get started yet.
    Backstory with Baja. And then it’s been Lost Boys in the big city.
    I don’t have a clear vision of your future Earth.
    A few devices here and there, but I’m not VISUALLY rooted in your world.
    The pod plan is kinda lost on me. So the action goes over my head.

    No CONFLICT between the characters slows the read. The kids all get along.
    Even the security guard didn’t punish the kids for monkeying around.
    Seems that set up should have led to some kind of conflict.
    Conflict is the juice that keeps weary readers turning pages.

    Clemson’s exposition reads poor. Stow already knows his own plan.
    So, Clemson is repeating it solely for the benefit of the reader.
    No dramatic irony pulling my eyes down the page hurts too.
    Find ways to differentiate the kids through dialogue, they sounded alike.

    There’s some juice to your premise, but the story isn’t grabbing me yet.
    Find a way to dramatically introduce me to your world. Drop me into it with adventure.
    We need clear ambassadors into this strange world. Power up your conflict.
    Given all that, I still want to see young Stow succeed.

    Read to page 10.

    The logline reads a little too Hallmark for my tastes.
    Your WYSR. Denigrating someone else’s script to elevate yours is not good.
    Find a way you can SPIN the Dickens tale in your logline/elevator pitch.
    As written, the only twist is the gender bending angle. Give it more.
    I know you mean well, but the title page is bit of an eyesore.
    Don’t use cheap devices that belittle all the hard effort you put into your script.

    The action descriptions are overstuffed with loads of details.
    Try focusing on STORY CRITICAL elements only in your prose.
    I highly doubt your story falls apart without that Halloween costume list.
    Avoid over-staging the blocking of your characters.
    Use that space to tell us about your story, not how characters walk.

    Recording and packaging an album all in a few weeks.
    That seems a bit absurd, even for today’s music industry.
    I wish you were bread-crumbing character beats for your protag.
    All the shop talk keeps the reader distanced from Merrilly.
    Give us something to identify her other than being an office Grinch.
    Shouldn’t the entire office be making fun of her cheerful name a lot.

    Consider focusing on one holiday to refine your premise.
    So far we’ve had a Halloween party, Thanksgiving plans and Santa hats.
    They’re doing Secret Santa in the office BEFORE Thanksgiving. Odd.
    Paul is repeating exposition about the band we read earlier.
    There’s no real conflict between the characters. It’s all about the deal.
    Merrilly is the office Grinch with no homelife to speak of. Who is she outside the office.

    June’s exposition reads poor. She already knows these things.
    So the verbal wrap-up is for the reader, which “breaks the magic” for me.
    Your story hasn’t started yet, nothing’s actively happening on the page.
    Refine your prose and get the conflict that drives your story going sooner.

    Read to page 30.

    Logline has got some irony to it. Superheroes are ubiquitous these days.
    Two pages of fanny pack jokes, I’d rather we get to the superhero business.
    Almost four pages of small talk in the stadium before the puck is dropped.
    Not a very CINEMATIC way into a superhero tale of adventure.

    I’m not seeing the life threat to the hockey players.
    The ice isn’t that thick, why can’t the players just take off their skates.
    Do the laser cannons pop out of the Jumbotron, or did the villain bring them.
    A villain making announcements at the hockey game reads a bit flat.
    Why not have them make a dramatic entrance and play to the terrified crowd.
    Can they fly? Or maybe their minions take over the stadium. Something more.

    I know you mean a guy in a bathroom, but URINAL MAN is an odd descriptive.
    Paints a strange picture, that I’d like to scrub from my brain.
    I’d rather take a seat than stand in front of one of those.
    The potty humor is very sitcom. Seen these gags lots of times.

    Tossing a plastic helmet was all it took to destroy a killer laser cannon.
    They don’t make cannons the way they used to. Or helmets have gotten much tougher.
    Sixteen pages at the hockey game is too much real estate for an intro.
    I don’t feel like much was accomplished in all those pages. The big plot hasn’t started yet.
    Dorchester is cartoonishly mean. More character, less caricature would help.

    Very little sign of your logline’s irony here.
    The hero decides to out himself for no inciting reason, just it’s time.
    Not very cinematic. There should be a COMPELLING reason to do it now.
    Craft a DILEMMA for your protag that will endear the reader to him.

    I’d be more invested if Eric’s double life made him miserable.
    But he has fun with his friends and is popular with the city. Where’s the angst.
    We haven’t seen or heard anything about his family so far in Act One.
    I like your concept, but this reads more backstory than things happening.
    Really want to see more of your protag feeling the NEED to out himself.

    Read to page 25.

    Logline. Lines blurring doesn’t read all that exciting or ironic
    Replace that generic phrase with some stakes or complications.
    Perhaps there’s some connection between hero and villain you can tease.

    The sparse writing style makes the pages turn easier.
    But I’ve seen these tropes all over other examples of the genre.

    Ten pages in and I’m not sure if Morrison is officially on the case.
    Is this a personal thing or just another bounty for your protag.
    Associates like Bill Hunt should INFORM us about Morrison.
    The reader will consider them “experts” in your protag. We’ll trust them.
    Something like him is a more interesting device than a detached flashback.

    Fifteen pages in and the story hasn’t lost me or grabbed me yet.
    Seen the staggered flashbacks a lot in tales of moody revenge.
    No dramatic irony and the dialogue’s pretty much surface thoughts.
    Everyone says what they’re thinking. No one seems to be lying.

    There’s very little conflict between the characters on screen.
    All the cool violence has been off screen, why not show those cool scenes.
    Give us some CLUES about the plot or the villains here.
    Show us something the heroes don’t know to keep us reading.

    Nora seems to be taking the death of Bill well, Morrison too.
    If he was emotionally affected, I might think he has a conscience.
    Perhaps Nora should be furious with Morrison for bringing trouble to town.
    Something like that would give your tale some needed character conflict.
    We learn so much about people/characters by how they deal with ADVERSITY.

    Your barren writing style reads too much like empty calories on the page.
    The genre tropes are well represented, but the story’s not innovating.
    Nothing jumps off the page to keep me reading, characters sound the same.
    It’s well put together, but the parts aren’t adding up to a compelling read.

    Read to page 22.

    Logline. Some good elements, but not sensing the irony.
    Maybe there is a way you can get your protag’s personal plight in there.
    Injecting irony into the logline will attract readers.

    I dig the opener and your writing style.
    Know enough to know I want to know more.
    There’s enough ambiguity about the supernatural, is she a creature or nut.
    Good call on leaving that aspect out so far. It’s a mystery box.

    Is a face cover supposed to be a surgical mask, odd word choice.
    Seems weird they would interview a witness in the active crime scene.
    That would contaminate evidence. CSI doesn’t like that.
    Protag’s name reads a little too movieland. Or a soap opera name.
    Having one dual meaning moniker can work, but two seems overkill.
    The reader’s gonna be stuck with it hundreds of times, make it easy on us.

    First five pages are full of potential juicy script goodness.
    But the next seven pages seem to be stuck at the crime scene.
    Very little of the narrative thrust, when things were HAPPENING earlier.
    Feels like way too much time hovering over a body for clues.
    That’s roughly 5% of your entire screenplay in that scene, needs refining.

    Chase as the cigarette-stealing cop reads too melodramatic.
    Ditch those called shots in the staging, use the space for story/character.
    The best bits of your story won’t be found in the stage direction.
    Chase’s behavior as a cop seems HASTY at times, prone to dramatic flair.
    Not really the HARD-BOILED cop needed to solve a case like this.

    The investigation scenes read very basic. Point A to Point B stuff.
    Find a way to stick some of this in your OFF-SCREEN MOVIE.
    That’s when your scene triggers a VISUAL in the reader’s/viewer’s head.
    We don’t need to see every step, SHORTHAND your way through the fat.

    Palpable evil feels over the top for the scene. I didn’t read that much dread.
    It’s a chat in a night club, everyone’s chilling. Music’s playing.
    Didn’t care for the well-worn sweat-soaked nightmare of a dead loved one.
    There’s a few too many worn out devices like that after your cool opener.
    The writer can turn a phrase, but the story stagnates after a sweet start.
    It’s turned into an investigation despite that we already know the killer’s identity.
    That puts the reader way ahead of the characters, we know too much.

    • Howie428

      Thanks for the notes on Midas. Yeah the Dead Parent Prologue is definitely a common story element these days, and I also liked how it worked in Star Trek. The Star Trek example is also pretty dark, so gives me comfort on how dark my opening is.
      In my story I think I’m OK with the DPP, because it’s the driving moment of the story, rather than being a character backstory ingredient.

    • TomG

      Hi ElectricDreamer, love your reviews. Wondered if you’d like to trade script notes (in case no AF Weekend scripts). I’ve got a sci-fi action script that’s made contest semi-finals so looking for some expert feedback to get it to the next level. My email is tomgarf1 @ Thanks!

  • Levres de Sang


    Afraid I didn’t get too far into any of these. Let’s try and find out why…

    THE KILLING MAN (Read: 25 pages)

    This has all the genre elements you’d expect from a Clint Eastwood-style revenge western circa HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER; yet this proves to be both its strength and weakness because unless there’s a nice twist looming on that gold-dusted horizon, Carson will almost certainly be 30 pages ahead of the action here.

    The shopkeeper scene (p.18/19) is particularly well handled and I’d like more scenes/sequences to play out in similar style. As things stand, however, there are too many staccato-like scenes, whereas in a western we want to enjoy longer, slower takes that also utilise the kind of tension you have in the general store.

    Some of the scenes feel a little clunky (maybe it’s the dialogue trying to hit all those western beats?) but overall the serial killer angle seems unique and I’m interested to see how this unfolds.

    MONSTER’S HOLIDAY (Read: 9-ish pages)

    A real change of pace for AOW! It feels like some forgotten Bette Midler vehicle from 1985 in that its trying so hard to be sassy, but unfortunately not a great deal sticks to the wall.

    It’s also overwritten (although the blocky paragraphs in themselves read smoothly): Faith’s intro, for instance (p.4); but the real killer for me was the dialogue: It just seems filled with exposition. It also reads both clunky and repetitive (especially the PD3 release schedule!) Frankly, this is why I bailed on page 10. Although, skimming ahead I can see this problem doesn’t go away. It’s all very on-the-nose. No signs of any GSU in these first 10, either.

    I expected to like this (despite the confusing logline) but as things stand it needs some refinement.

    SUPER EPIC (Read: 13 pages)

    This is possibly the best written of the week — and there’s clearly a comic imagination on display (FEMINAZI, the GERMAN TOMBOY and URINAL MAN), but I’m afraid the logline didn’t set me on fire and while I’m sensing things could break out into full-on craziness (a la Otis Kringle), I have to confess that my interest level is rather low. I don’t think this is the author’s fault; and as I say it’s both well-written and clearly formatted… Sorry I can’t be a bit more lucid, but interested to see what others have to say about this one.

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN (Read: 11 pages)

    As per MONSTER’S HOLIDAY, I think this one needs more drafts as the writing just wasn’t gelling for me. Perhaps there were too many cliche first choices (i.e. alcoholic cop; crime scene chat). Names, too (CHASE RANSOME) felt too much like movie names. I did like the sexy Julianna and her mysterious tattoos, but overall this set-up felt a bit too familiar.

    MIDAS: (Read: 7 pages)

    Again, the writing itself wasn’t flowing for me. Here’s an example from page 6:

    “They heave their panel upright. After checking around, Stow
    waves them to lift it onto the building ledge.

    A couple of them lose their grip, but Stow jumps to help.

    With difficulty they slide their panel off the building and
    drop it onto a ledge behind the sign.

    Stow hurries to an electric panel near the sign, wires in a
    new cable. He glances at Clemson, and flips a switch.

    The sign fades. Clemson pushes his Ticker communicator.”

    Nothing obviously wrong here, but it feels flat… Maybe because the tone shifted so abruptly? We started in outer space and then suddenly we’re in a mid-70s BBC serial with ragged, post-apocalyptic kids foraging underground.

    Page 1 Notes:

    — Pretty sure Hollywood will love that Moby Dick analogy!
    — Should be “ecliptic”; not “elliptic”.

    — The word “nugget” sounds too smalltime — kind of like a chicken nugget! Probably not reason enough to kill a crew member before casting adrift your own wife and son into deep space.

    • Howie428

      Thanks for taking a look at Midas, even if it wasn’t your thing. At least I resisted the temptation to name the ship Pequod!

      • Levres de Sang

        Sorry I didn’t read a bit further, but pleased to see that you’re getting some very positive comments. Just goes to show how subjective this all is… and I will definitely take another look at MIDAS if you do nab the AF spotlight. Actually, I’ve only just realised what a great title that is…!

  • klmn
  • Guest


  • Illimani Ferreira

    If you are referring to my script Super Epic, I never said that it was better than The Almighty Stud, just completely different.

  • klmn

    Didn’t comedians exhaust fanny pack jokes some years ago?

    And I’m tired of superheros. I wonder how many superhero scripts reach Carson’s desk?

  • Illimani Ferreira

    Hi Grendl, thanks for reading Super Epic and for your input so far. Although you seem to mean well I disagree with your point. IMO when you explain a joke you automatically ruin it, so instead of going into boring details about the butch identity and the fact that I’m not working with a set of gender roles based on the duality masculine/feminine, I will just share this pic of The Rock that summarizes my point:

    • Midnight Luck

      Dj Jazzy Rock – the Fresh Prince

      must be the ’80’s

      Which are cool again!

      • Rachel Woolley

        Ironically, when Dwayne Johnson posted this pic of himself on Twitter he actually added #BuffLesbian!

    • Shawn Davis

      With all respect to the writer, I have to agree with Grendl. If you read my comments, they reflect the same miss timed aspect of the setup and execution of the hockey joke. If the reader gets turned off by the very first big set up, all they can assume is that the rest are going to be missed jokes as well.

      A joke should NEVER have to be explained. It should just happen and stand on its own.

      Trust me, I write comedy and I know how tough timing is. If you rework it, I’m sure you will knock it out of the park.


  • susanrichards

    i get what you’re saying here, but i like how he did it better cos…well…fanny packs are…not cool. even tho i wear them. yeah.

  • susanrichards

    i don’t have a lot of time, so i chose the scripts i’d read today based on the WYSR. i chose to read THE KILLING MAN and SUPER EPIC.

    i’m not as skilled or qualified as some of the other readers/posters on here, but i’ll tell you what i liked and what i didn’t.

    i liked that it was a western. LOVE westerns.(anyone here watch LONGMIRE?) i liked the way it was written…sort of sparsely and to the point, maybe thru the eyes of a cowboy.

    i didn’t like the first scene, however. what i didn’t like was the fact that the good guy, the guy we are to bond with, came upon the bad guys from behind, and killed them that way. i would rather he confront them face to face. i want my protagonist to be a good guy with a flaw. he doesn’t have to be a boy scout, but i don’t want to be confused at the get go. isn’t there a code about not shooting anyone in the back?

    i think this could be REALLY GREAT, so take some of the helpful criticisms of people more skilled than i am and put them to good use :)

    loved it. i hope this makes it to the screen, i really do.

    what i liked about this is that our protagonist is hiding two identities. it’s quite clever.

    i can’t tell you what i don’t like, so my vote today is SUPER ERIC..i mean SUPER EPIC :)

    again, i’m sure that other comments will be more helpful.


    • rickhester

      I think there is a code about a protagonist shooting someone in the back. That’s a great note. And SUPER ERIC sounds like a great movie!

  • Matthew Garry

    “Intelligent Design”

    Why You Should Read: Because you might like it.

    And I did. But I shouldn’t have.

    Its prose is of the kind I don’t like, with plenty of grammatical shortcuts and plenty of unfilmables, not to mention the wacky title font and the incessant on the page directing.

    Then there’s vampires, which is cliche. But it’s not really *real* vampires, which is also cliche.

    Then there’s the ham-fisted everything: the protagonist’s flaw is hammered home in the most straightforward way repeatedly, the loss of his daughter is introduced in a dream sequence, and has frequent reminders.

    Oh, and the contrived situations and escalating violence: the protagonist gets in a melee fight with a bad guy, so he has to lose his gun. So the fight ends and a mob is approaching, so he finds his gun. He shoots around for a little, then leaves through the door and somehow loses his gun, again.

    So what gives?

    Carson sometimes speaks of ‘X’. ‘X’ is a supermagical ingredient that automatically makes scripts work. No one knows what ‘X’ exactly is, otherwise this whole script-writing thing would be easy. What I believe though, is that ‘X’ has to do with chemistry.

    That’s not very useful, replacing one vague unknowable with another, but maybe ‘chemistry’ is more approachable, since it’s commonly referred to talking about actors performing. What is usually meant by actors that have good chemistry, is that two or more actors on the screen in their interaction go beyond the call of duty to portrait their characters. There’s something intangible about the quality of their acting that takes a scene beyond what’s it’s meant to convey.

    I think this kind of chemistry, or something very close to it, can also exist on the page. If I had to put it into words, I’d say that whatever it is, the subtext *of the subtext* makes up a part of this.

    On the screen I think that this ‘subtext on the subtext’ means that everything an actor does or says, carries the whole of their character’s personality with it. Maybe not unlike a hologram, where each part carries the entire picture in itself.

    On the page it’s more or less the same. In “Intelligent Design” Chase’s whole character is present in things he says or does. The grief and self-reproach for the loss of his daughter always accompanies him, even when the subject is something completely different: it’s in the subtext of the subtext.

    As a reader this story this definitely “wasn’t for me”, but as a writer there were things going on that made me want to know and figure out how the writer had managed to get the results he did.

    ‘X’ marks the spot. Locate the spot; find the treasure.

  • MJ86

    MIDAS: I did and didn’t want to stop on page 14, and read to page 30.

    Page 3 – Baha seems evil for the sake of being evil. Can we see some of his desperation? Or some other humanizing thing that can also lead to his behavior/motivation?
    Page 16 – Nate seems a little too eager to help Stow. Even if he’s a super nice guy, I don’t know him yet to know that, and having him do something super nice without first establishing why he would do it, makes his behavior seem unrealistic to me.
    Page 23 – Even to this point I don’t feel like I know or understand Stow. That’d be fine if the story had more mystery, but since you seem to be going for transparency, I need to have a stronger sense of Stow’s character by now. He’s fueled by revenge, wouldn’t that normally make someone an angry, distrustful, chip-on-the-shoulder kind of guy? Stow seems kind of nice. He seems to have friends who would have/could have helped him get over his negative past. So, since he’s this determined, show us the kind of guy who’d be that way, in everything he says/does. I know you’ve done this, but do more. Show him brushing off his friends more harshly, that tough love, live-on-your-own, kinda thing. Have him snap at Nate more curtly, etc.

    I liked this story and I thought the writing’s good, but I had a hard time following what exactly was happening a lot of the time. Sci-Fi’s not my thing, so that may be it, but I wasn’t always sure what I was supposed to be seeing when I read. I had confidence that what you’d written made sense, I just couldn’t visualize it all, you know? You want to be as clear as possible. Leave no unintended question in your reader/audience’s mind. No one likes to feel like they missed something, and I felt that way a few times. If you had to pause while you were writing something, or if you paused while reading through it yourself, then assume something’s not clear and expand.

    Also, I think you take the continuity of your settings for granted. For example, on page 13, Stow goes from his pod to a maintenance bay. What does that mean, where exactly is he, and how did he get there?

    My Suggestion: I don’t think hinging the story on the strength of Stow’s need for revenge is the best play. I assume something terrible happened to Stow’s mom, but I still think the stakes are unbalanced. If he doesn’t find Baha (who may not even be alive) what will happen? And is that even a good enough reason for this quest? Skywalker didn’t rebel against the Empire b/c they killed his family, he did it to help change the world. I understand the appeal of a linear story and being straightforward, but did you consider not going that road? Idk for a fact cuz I didn’t read the rest, but this story seems pretty “what you see is what you get” to me, so I assume not. If this was my story, I’d run it with the intention of deception. I’d probably make Stow angrier and more unpleasant (or the complete opposite of that, not just kinda sorta). I’d make the audience think he’s greedy and trying to find the nugget to spite his father (or that he’s embraced the spirit of adventure he inherited from his mother). Then when he found it and Baha found him, I’d let the climax be Stow killing him without any previous hint that it was his objective all along. I’d maybe even throw in a flashback right then of him promising his dying mother to avenge her. Or something. Cuz right now (up to page 30, that is) I get the sense he’s going to go on this journey, be changed by the people he meets, find the nugget, get found by Baha and then decide to be the better man, abandoning his sad dad where he stands (and if that’s not what happens, it’s what your setup implies, so… you may wanna take that into general consideration on the next rewrite). And that’s all fine, but you don’t want fine do you?

    • Howie428

      Thanks for reading it, and thanks for the notes. You’ve given me lots of good things to think about.

  • rickhester

    My vote: MIDAS

    Based almost entirely on the level of imagination and conceptual creativity demonstrated in this script. All the way through I kept thinking that this was a story a young Terry Gilliam would have written.

    However, this was also the longest 105 pages I’ve ever read. I spent a lot of time rereading and rereading again lines and paragraphs. I’d strongly suggest another draft focused on the following areas:

    CLARITY: Both visual and story. While I could see the big picture world you were creating, I had a really hard time seeing smaller spaces and action. (And see Levres comments below)

    COINCIDENCES: By my count there were at least a million coincidences here. There just always seemed to be a too convenient tool handy or button to push for every complication.

    STORY: Does Captain Baha really need to be Stow’s father? Maybe he kills Stow’s parents early in the story? This would still send Stow on a quest for revenge. I just have a problem with a father/son death match. But, just my opinion.

    Finally the Economics Minor in me has to note that a moon-sized nugget of gold would dramatically reduce the value of gold. Basic supply and demand. But whatever.

    In my mind anyway, there’s no question Philip has both the creativity and imagination needed to be a great writer.

    So good luck.

    • Howie428

      Thanks for taking a look at it, and for the useful comments. You’re right about there being economics issues with this, but as you suggest it’s probably not worth getting too worried about them. If you double the amount of gold in the world you’d expect to half the value of it. But you’re still holding half of it that you didn’t have before!

      • ThomasBrownen

        Just before stopping by SS, I saw this article. You’re in the news (sorta)!

        • Howie428

          Asteroid mining is in many ways a bit of a no-brainer if we’re ever intending to construct things on a large scale in space. The stuff is sitting there in big lumps waiting for us to come pick it up.
          When I was working on this script a story came out about the Google founders and James Cameron making an investment in an asteroid mining venture. I’d love to find out if his company would be interested in my script, but of course it’s pretty much impossible to submit it to them.

    • Kirk Diggler

      “Finally the Economics Minor in me has to note that a moon-sized nugget of gold would dramatically reduce the value of gold. Basic supply and demand. But whatever.”


  • Howie428

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m the writer of MIDAS, so even though it’s not very sporting, I’m voting for myself!

    I looked at the other scripts and tried to pretend this is the same as when I don’t have a horse in the race, but let’s face it, my comments can’t really be counted on for neutrality…


    A picture on the title page, very roguish!

    I’m not sure that even in our holiday obsessed age the hotel staff would be putting up Christmas stuff on Halloween night. I’m also not sure that “festive” and “jovial” work as Halloween party descriptions.

    The first five pages has a pretty solid set up for a story. You’ve got your scrooge like figure immediately into action and pushing the new band along. For me though, there’s some heavy description in these pages, a couple of long phone call monologues, and a reliance on sight gags that are hard to make work on paper. Unfortunately these things slow the read down, and in a comedy of this kind that makes it harder for the reader to go along for the ride.

    Based on what I’ve seen I’d suggest thinning down the description and spicing up the story.


    There’s something a bit odd about opening with a labelled “FLASHBACK”. What’s it a flashback from?

    Is “expansive” a word for fat? And what’s a person’s “forefront”?

    The opening with the two boys works fine and I like how it leads in to the title. That being said, I wonder if the scene could be a bit more active, rather than them standing still talking.

    For me the off-screen joke about what Eric is wearing goes on a bit long for a relatively soft payoff. Another problem with doing it that way is that I’m not sure how we’d connect the two kids we’ve already met with two of these guys.

    I got to page 16, where the opening sequence ends, and things are rattling along. I’ll admit I had a bit of trouble taking things seriously, and at the same time the comedy was a bit patchy. I’d suggest either pushing the comedy harder, or being a bit more edgy on the action. As it is the script is feeling a bit thin, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the characters, or what is going to be at stake as the story plays out.

    After reading these pages and making these comments, I read your logline. I don’t know why I missed it earlier. As with others here, I really like the dual secret life thing, however from reading the opening I wouldn’t have known the story was going to cover that ground. I’d suggest getting those story ingredients front and center by setting them both up during the opening sequence.


    “like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” – While that’s a poetic description, it doesn’t put an image into my mind of what these things look like.

    The first three pages are some intense action. Unfortunately, I lost my bearings several times and for me the camera cut format gets in the way of me enjoying the scene.

    At ten pages into this, I’m liking the tone and some of the fun visuals. However, I’m finding it tough to follow along with the story. The writing style could perhaps use a bit more scene setting. The story overall feels like something we’ve joined in the middle and on which we’re being asked to play catch up. Sometimes that can work well, but I think you need to hand-hold the audience a bit more than you are here.


    The opening dream scene is cool, although I’m not sure what “FAST FORWARD” would mean, and for me you could leave out the stuff about the sound being “muffled”. Of course after opening in a dream you’re forced to do the clichéd wake up scene, but in this case it’s fresh enough to get around that.

    It’s a bit amusing that he notices all the detail of her tattoos, and even catches the blemishes underneath. It’s admirable concentration in the presence of a butt-naked sexy woman!

    I’ll admit that when I got to page 5 and saw “Three days earlier” my heart sank. I was curious and interested in the story that was playing out, even if it was a bit reliant on sexiness that’s unlikely to make it to the screen. The jump back in time has me expecting things to get dull for a while. I hope I’m wrong.

    I’m on page 16 and fortunately things didn’t become too dull. I would say though that the actual events of this story are feeling a bit rote, with the story relying on cool description to keep things interesting. Also, at this point I’m not sure I care much about either the characters or the case. The hinting at vampires thing is a well-worn story element, and the teaser has negated most of the mystery that might have surrounded that.

    The scene that ends on page 18 is a good summary of my frustration with some of this. It has really cool description, titillates, and has conflict. But ultimately it’s still the same scene we’ve seen in many stories where cops want to talk to someone, and in this case the tension resolves easily and now they’re going to talk.

    I just noticed a reason why I’m finding this a slow read. This is in the tight format, so you’re sneaking in extra pages. To be fair, it’s a spaced out read, but it’s still annoying when people do this.

    Page 25 included a fun reveal, even if it’s the one we’re told in the logline. At this point I’m finding that this is plodding along. Their progress is slow and they are repeating ground we already know. For me, this effect is exaggerated by the teaser, because I know where this is going so I’m impatient for progress in that direction or for some other hook that will engage me.

    I’m now up to page 40, and I’ll say that I had hoped that this would kick off in the second act, but unfortunately I’m still finding it hard to get excited about the investigation and the dialogue heavy scenes that are making it up.

    I scanned on ahead to see where Julianna and Chase come together. I caught a plot heavy chat between them and then got to the teaser opening. In reading that scene I’m afraid I’m disappointed, because I had figured on the opening scene energy coming back into the story. Unfortunately, this time around it felt like the plot of the story won out over the energy of the character connection.

    My impression of this story is that perhaps it needs an extra dimension. It feels like you’ve gone through the motions on the investigation so if the story had a big midpoint reveal you could speed things up to get to it, then spin off in an unexpected direction.

    • crazedwritr

      Howie, thanks for being respectful in your comment regarding Monster’s Holiday, even though I’m the competition. Congrats to you for getting a lot of love for MIDAS!

  • MJ86

    MONSTER’S HOLIDAY: I wanted to stop on page 7, but read (and skimmed) on to page 30.

    You do know that when you go out of your way to compare your own work to someone else’s (especially when you disparage theirs—however passive-aggressively), your shit damn sure better be on point, right, homie?

    Page 7 – The dialogue is not good. Not. Good. Half the time, it’s billboard exposition. The other half is just plain boring. There’s no creativity, spice, funk, spunk, or anything. Faith: What are you doing? Merrily: Minding my business. MJ86: What are y’all, teenagers?
    Page 12 – Really? Let’s save an orphanage? With a Make-A-Wish concert? Will that be the script’s closing scene, too?
    Page 16 – She looks in the toilet and medicine cabinet for the source of the drumming? Cuz she’s suddenly an idiot? Or cuz that’s supposed to be funny? Then she opens the pantry door, the drumming stops and she goes back to bed… what about any of that even makes sense?
    Page 18 – D.B. literally says, “I’m here to help you recapture the joy and spirit of Christmas.” *slow blink* For serious? And before you say I’m taking this too seriously, I’m not; you’ve got to do better than this, dude. Go read Scrooge (there are at least 5) and A Christmas Carol (there are at least 9), and if you aren’t embarrassed afterwards… you’re pursuing the wrong profession.

    I do think the script’s well structured, meaning the story’s well put together, easy to follow, and progresses at a good pace. I don’t think it’s interesting, though. There’s nothing new happening here. It’s a typical Christmas story, with the same characters as all the others, just in a different setting. Think harder. Why isn’t this story from the POV of the angel? Or the sister who’s in cahoots with the angel? Why not have Merrily love Christmas, but something about her inadvertently sabotages everything, so the angel is there to get her to stop interfering with other people’s happiness? Anything other than, “through a series of fantastical events, a Scrooge comes to realize that being a Scrooge is bad,” mm-kay?

    My Suggestion: Figure out who your audience is and then decide on your new angle for the story (cuz this one definitely ain’t it). As is, if this is a kid’s story, it’s boring. If it’s an adult story, it’s waaay too familiar. I didn’t care for Otis Kringle blah, blah Christmas, but at least it was hella different. Yours is nowhere near that, so you lose the gauntlet, boo-boo.

    • crazedwritr

      Wow MJ, don’t know where all the hostility is coming from. But I guess I asked for it. I have to take the good with the bad. For the record, I am not a dude and I don’t think I ever in life have been called boo-boo. That made me smile. Sorry I hurt your fragile sensibilities, but I see you’ve just been posting for about a month. If you had been coming to the site for years, as I have, you would know that at one time, Carson encouraged us to “throw down the gauntlet” if we thought we had a script worthy of comparing to another script. I’ve seen people do just that when it came to other amateur scripts, professional scripts and even movies. That said, I am not one who likes to disparage other writers, and I do regret taking that approach. Regardless of what you think, while I know this is not a perfect script, I am in no way embarrassed by it, (I’ve received Consider with Reservations coverage from a well-regarded script analyst). With all of this being said, I try to find something of use from all notes I receive, and I do believe there are useful nuggets in what you’ve written, I just have to dust the bile off.

      • MJ86

        lol, “dude,” “boo-boo” are terms of endearment, dearie. And I don’t think I had any hostility, per se, it just is what it is. If you buck up, you have to be better. Period. You came in the door sideways and it didn’t work out for you. That’s not on me, that’s on you :) Why write a story that’s literally been written 50 times and then write it the exact same way the other 50 writers did and then get upset that people aren’t falling over themselves praising your moderate efforts? I never said you’re not a good writer; I said this approach to this story is uninspired. And I’m right. And I’m glad you could glean something beneficial from my comments, that’s always the hope.

        p.s. I’ve written coverage professionally (totally different from what goes on here, obviously). “Consider with Reservations” means “the writing’s alright, and it’s based on a model that’s worked in the past, but a prodco will have to totally redevelop it.”

        p.s.s. I’ve read every Scriptshadow post since 2009. I know what The Gauntlet is and as far as I can recall, no one who’s actually done the throwing has ever won. There’s probably a reason for that.

        • crazedwritr

          I’m just fine with how things are working out for me. I wanted notes, and I am getting them. And I’m not the least bit upset about people not falling all over themselves praising my work — I didn’t expect that at all, boo-boo.

          • MJ86

            Aw, look at you! I hope you put some of that sass in your dialogue when you rewrite :) and you’re welcome.

  • Shawn Davis

    All of the scripts had some good strong points, but I wanted to also pick out a couple of the things that I noticed in each of the script first few pages that I think could use some improvement.


    The first 10 of the story reads pretty well but there is certain dialogue hic ups that make it very hard for me to get past. Such as when Clemson is discussing with Stow on page 7 about Stow going to the astroid belt Clemson says, you don’t have to go, do you? If were lucky the farm buys a year. They’ll detect it and Clear us out. Will need you, won’t we?

    To be honest I have no idea what this means.

    It’s usually a pretty good sign that dialogue like that really needs to be re-thought and tweet when you have to go back and reread it to were three or four times to try to get the meaning only to find out that you still can’t figure out what it is the writer is trying to say.

    Monsters Holiday

    This kind of felt like a Hallmark Channel type story. The two areas that I think straight out back and use improvements are the real large blocks of action that sometime extend to six or seven lines and the dialogue of merrily.
    Merrily’s dialogue is far too blocky and Long and way too on the nose. It’s a good effort, but I feel like this is more of a first draft worry everything is left in by the writer and it just hasn’t been trimmed down enough to feel like a final draft.

    Super Epic

    I got to page 6 on this one and stopped. To be perfectly honest with you I have no idea why the second scene in present-day was done the way It was done with all of the off screen placement of Eric. If the rider was attempting to set up the fact that Eric was wearing a fanny pack and that was the timing he was setting as a comedic elements, that didn’t work. The dialogue in the first scene with the two children didn’t sound very five or six-year-old either. Being a father of two boys it seems like there banter back-and-forth would’ve been more juvenile.

    The Killing Man

    This script could be cut down to about 85 pages if it was formatted correctly.

    Things like

    …puts the shotgun away…

    Is a page killer.

    Also, the four Horsemen need to have some sort of a difference between them. Black horseman wide horseman pink horseman blue horseman. There has to be some sort of a difference in them to differentiate them from one another.

    That being said, this one kept my interest through the first 10 pages.

    Intelligent Design

    Man, I have to admit the very first sentence from fade in completely lost me. And that’s never a very good sign.… To the swirl of fragmented images underpinned by strained, staggered breaths?

    And then in the next scene at the shoe box apartment the first action line is out the dream? Are you saying that the first scene was a dream sequence? If it was a dream sequence that it wasn’t set up correctly.

    Then to have Chase wake up terrified tied down holes punctured his neck looking around terrified of creepy woman comes out of the shower he doesn’t know pops up on top of them after talking for a little bit them in their eyes meet again. Danger in beauty and hers. Curiosity and Chase.

    For him to be tied down in tear waking up and having somebody come in who he doesn’t know and mound him I think in this case it just seemed a bit unbelievable especially then when Chase counters back to her with you drink people’s blood. You kill them and Juliana’s reply is that Chase replies with yeah that.

    Sorry I just can’t buy the dialogue and the opening scene was just so confusing without it being set up properly is a dream sequence I just didn’t get very far into this one.

    My pick this week, The Killing Man

    Good luck to all of this weeks entrants.


    • crazedwritr

      Shawn, is anything really a final draft? I think as writers, we always find something we want to change in a script! Thanks for the notes — this definitely is not a first draft, but it seems the consistent feedback is I need to shave this down. Will take a look at doing just that in the next draft.

      • Shawn Davis

        IMO, yes there is such a thing as a final draft. If by what we’re talking about is a script that is so polished, it shines. Every line scrutinized, read, re-read, written and rewritten until you know every nuance of every scene better than you know your own kids. That’s when I feel good enough about a script to send it to my producer. And you’re very welcome on the notes, my friend:)

        • crazedwritr

          I guess I’m different and think that no script is so perfect it can’t be approved upon — i think that is the whole reason behind hollywood’s development system.

          • Shawn Davis

            I didn’t say perfect, I said polished. IMO, that’s when you feel you’ve said everything you need to and presented it in as clean, professional and issue free format as you possibly can.

            Once in the hands of those who pay you for your work, that’s another story.


  • leitskev

    Had time to open Midas because I like sci fi. Seems highly competent, so will try to get back to Monday.

  • MJ86

    SUPER EPIC: I read to page 30 without wanting to stop.

    I think this premise is pretty brilliant. And I don’t think gay people will mind their struggle being likened to superhero-ness.

    Page 7 – I imagine this as an animated film (seems like it’d be too “bad” goofy in live-action). Is America ready for homosexuality in animation (which are typically kids movies)? Idk.
    Page 9 – Pause. Is Butterfly about to spew some real, feminist ideals? It gives me a, “wait, what? this is getting a little serious for a comedy,” kind of moment. I just wasn’t expecting that tonal shift.
    Page 22 – Ok… the subtext feels like it’s getting heavy-handed. It makes me laugh and roll my eyes at the same time; I can’t decide how I feel.
    Page 27 – “Kiss him!” “Nu-uh, that’s eww, yucky!” Come on. I’m not a dude, but I like dudes and would really prefer to think they aren’t this stupid. Even in a comedy.

    Real talk, I liked this for the most part. I think it’s different and has potential to be good, but I think you have to be clear about your objective. Like I said, I see this animated. You’re gonna have to tweak a lot if you go that road (but how often do we get an animation specifically for adults? nearly never. that’s always a good thing for a screenwriter). Conversely, if it’s live-action, the superhero aspect will either be really expensive (think Man of Steel) or look shitty (think Blankman with CGI).

    My Suggestion: You’ve got great characters here, but what’s the story? An analogous look at gays coming out of the closet? That’s micro, what’s your macro story? In most animated movies it’s “accept yourself and save the world,” is anything like that gonna come into play here?

    • Illimani Ferreira

      Hi there, I appreciate your input, particularly the ones related to budget. I believe Super Epic could be made with a budget between 30-50 millions. The hockey arena sure is expensive and I tried to write it having that aspect in mind (that’s why Eric toss a helmet instead of a zamboni against the jumbotron), but the rest of the film isn’t that expensive. There’s a helicopter chase later in the script that will require some CGI, but most of it will be with the actress that plays Hannah suspended before a green screen. I do believe in line production magic. :)

      • MJ86

        Hi Illimani! Yeah, I heard Rogan’s been trying to get that made for like a decade! idk. I like your story. I think it’s fun and fresh. I look forward to reading the rest.

      • Craig Mack

        I’ll chime in here… shooting for a film with a 30-50m budget is CRAZY. Shoot for 3-5m. The industry has CHANGED. Even if this screenplay is your ‘resume’ you NEED something people can believe they can SELL. Is SUPER EPIC that?

        • Illimani Ferreira

          I conceived Super Epic as a studio project, but I have other scripts that fit the budget range you are mentioning. I uploaded some of my scripts here in case anyone is curious:

          • Craig Mack

            Awesome, thanks. Will check it out.

          • Illimani Ferreira

            Thanks, I think the only one that fits the budget range you mentioned is Erinye. The others are above or bellow that.

      • Shane Anderson

        Hey Illimani , I’m just wondering if you’re aware of the book “Hero” by Perry Moore? There are a lot of protagonist similarities between it and yours and I thought it would be useful to bring to your attention if you didn’t know about it already.
        Your script takes a much lighter tone though (which is better, in my honest opinion, Moore’s book is a bit teen angst-y but it has a very loyal following nonetheless and plans to put it to the screen, I tend to find it useful to be aware of the competition.)

        • Illimani Ferreira

          Hi Shane, no I wasn’t aware and thanks for the heads up! Apparently it’s a YA novel without comedic elements, so I think Super Epic is safe. But Hero sounds like a really cool book and I want to read it now.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    Hm. I have two scripts in production that were both written with Celtx – I’m pretty sure that using a free program does not take anything away from a good story. I have since switched to FD (thank you, dear benehacktor…) but I have to admit that it doesn’t make me feel like a true pro ^^ Just kidding with that last sentence – my point is that Celtx does get the job done, plus it’s free.

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to INTELLIGENT DESIGN as the most professional script.

    MIDAS 104p by Philip Whitcroft

    Read to page 32. It’s a straightforward linear adventure story. There needs to be more of a plot. For instance, why does he choose to hunt for his father now? Why not a year ago, or when he’s older? What happened to his mother in the escape pod? How does she feel about his quest? Does he have any particular skills apart from dumpster diving and joining wires? What sort of obstacles does he expect to face?

    Unfortunately, the writing is not up to AF standard. The writer is still struggling to express his vision in good script language. Scenes need to be more fully described. A two-line paragraph isn’t enough. It’s okay to go 110-120 pages on a SF script because of the world-building needed. There is too much, “He did this, then he did this, then he did this, … etc.” Take a bit more time to build an emotional impact. Show how people react emotionally to an action. For instance, Stow leaving his urchin buddies should be a tear-jerker of a scene.

    A lot of the time I just couldn’t figure what was going on. When they connect something to an illuminated sign, not only could I not picture the action, I asked myself: did they really dig gold foil out of a dumpster? If gold is so cheap people can throw it away, why is it worth chasing gold asteroids? When stowing away on board the pod, you say Stow wore “magnetic boots”, I think you meant something more like a hoverboard. Magnetic boots sound static not dynamic. Generally, I can sort of see what the writer is trying to say, but he needs to be more proficient in expressing himself.

    Niggles: elliptic/ecliptic; one of it’s kind in billions/ “one of a kind” or “one in a billion”; peals back a layer/peels.

    MONSTER’S HOLIDAY 98p by L. Myelkin

    Read to page 33. I don’t see where this is going. Merrily has no real goal. She appears to be just reacting to events rather than overcoming the obstacles standing in her way. And she’s hardly the monster of the title. She’s just a stressed-out executive. Things are moving too slowly. She should have started the holiday already if this is about her holiday.

    Unlike the previous script, this one is over-described. I don’t see the significance of all the details like a messy but simple house filled with antiques, for instance. Why was Faith in a succession of Halloween costumes during working hours?

    p. 1 – Say there’s a party in progress.
    p. 2 – “Runaway” is a Del Shannon classic. Get another title.
    p. 3 – Explain Silver Bells is the name of the record company (I think).
    p. 3 – Regina: “The monster is alive!” WTF?! You can scream at work?
    p. 3 – Merrily needs to act much more evilly.
    p. 4 – MERRILY: “Fred, we’ve been…” Too expositional.
    p. 11 – “Merrily oozes raw vulnerability…” What is she vulnerable about? I don’t understand.
    p. 16 – Use brief subheadings in the montage. No need for full sluglines.
    p. 17 – Merrily recognizes Christopher too quickly. She’s seen his photo only briefly. And how did she come to have the Home’s number on her cell phone?
    p. 20 – This is a very long message to spell out in lawn food.
    p. 30 – D.B. praying. Is this a Christian-themed movie?

    SUPER EPIC 103p by Illimani Ferreira

    Read to page 33. Competently written and a quick read, but not one laugh. From the logline Eric is the main character but it’s not apparent from the script, nor what his problem is or what he is trying to achieve. I can’t comment on what could be improved because I don’t even know what I’m supposed to find funny. None of the friends had any particular character, so there was no character-based humor or the usual joshing and one-upmanship one finds in such a group. The logline tells me Eric is a closeted gay, but I see no evidence of it in the script. How does being a closeted gay affect what he is trying to do in this life?

    THE KILLING MAN 102p by Thomas Jamieson

    Read to page 34. Well written and reasonable period feel, but I couldn’t discern just what the story was. Our hero Morrison has achieved his aim of hunting down the Wilkins gang. He seems unconcerned by his friend Bill’s death. Nora also shows no emotion at the death. Morrison does not comment on the obvious similarity of the deaths of Wilkins and Bill and the injuries to the Yong Man. I can’t imagine who might be doing the killing or who the guy stalking Morrison is or who Humble Jim who bailed him out is.

    Mystery is good, but too much mystery is simply confusing. You don’t have a logline in a movie theater. If you can’t discern the outlines of the story from the script, and what the main issues are that the hero is confronted with, you can’t get invested in it.

    p. 1 – Say Morrison is riding behind the four horsemen. It was unclear he was tracking them.
    p. 1 – “slow their horses to a gallop.” Gallop is top speed for a horse. Slow to a canter, trot, or walk maybe.
    p. 3 – “escapes around a bend.” A bend in the middle of the plains?
    p. 5 – How did Morrison find the last Wilkins? This is where you illustrate how clever and resourceful your hero is. Show him being good at his job.
    p. 9 – Why did Bill Hunt leave the bar to drink outside? It makes no sense for a bar owner to do this.
    p. 32 – Humble Jim should be CAPS. It’s the first time we meet

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN 111p by Brian Kazmarck 2014

    Read to page 34. Very intriguing setup and I want to read on to find out what the mystery is. My biggest problem is, I am not sure who the main character is. Given the opening sequence I naturally assumed it was Chase Ransome, but in the following investigation his partner Fletcher Barnes is getting equal or even better screen time. It’s surprising how unsettling this is.

    The story is strong enough that you don’t need the flashforward opening. Consider dropping it and telling the story linearly.

    Another problem was a tendency to cut scenes off a line or two too soon. So they’d ask where someone is, and without hearing the answer we would find ourselves at the next location, and have to mentally work out that was where the answer indicated. Rather leave this kind of fine-tuning to the editor. If they need to shave a second or two from a scene they can try various cuts and see what works. But give the editor enough material to work with.

    p. 7 – “face cover” = surgical mask?
    p. 7 – “Captain Perkins gapes around the hallway.” To gape is to stare open-mouthed. I think you mean “glares”.
    p. 9 – “she gapes back and forth” I think you mean “gazes”.
    p. 12 – CHASE: “Bad timing.” Not sure why he makes this comment. Also previous comment identifying body, I forgot the Captain identified it four pages previously. Maybe remind us. I thought the body was Ross Brandon the mail was addressed to.
    p. 12 – MELISSA: “These containers are empty.” Which containers? Indicate she is holding pill bottles or whatever.
    p. 15 – Fletcher is getting too much screen time for a non-lead.
    p. 16 – Several HOTT WOMEN … Both / Several … Two or Two … Both or Several … All or Many
    p. 18 – “peaking out at the bar.” Peeking.
    p. 18 – FLETCHER: “I understand you’re his girlfriend.” On what evidence?
    p. 21 – Strictly, the phone conversation is not a pre-lap unless we see one of the two talking before the conversation finishes. Maybe say it is heard over the scene.
    p. 31 – CHASE: “explain how her fingerprints…” From the context he is referring to the daughter’s fingerprints but Louis assumes they are the mother’s fingerprints. Clarify this exchange.

    • crazedwritr

      Citizen M, thanks for the notes on Monster’s Holiday. I’m a writer who has a tendency to over-describe. I realize I have to tone that down for screenplays. Still working on that. But, there was a method to some of the long-winded madness. Regarding some of your issues: the seemingly unneeded details like the messy house filled with antiques, was actually I thought, a good example of show don’t tell. I used that description in contrast to her clean office description to illustrate her work life was in order but her home life was a mess. Also, the antiques was a nod to her not being able to let go of the past (lost relatives). Regarding screaming at work, people do it all the time, especially in creative environments. I should know, I’m surrounded by screamers! Also, I think I will keep the Runaway song, since it is fitting for the fact Merrily is always running away from emotional connections. I won’t go down the list of your concerns, but I will take them into consideration for the next draft! Thanks.

  • hickeyyy

    I personally found it far easier to follow along with Midas.

  • crazedwritr

    Writer of Monster’s Holiday here…I want to thank Carson for including me in this week’s AOW selections and I want to let everyone who took the time to look at my script to know I appreciate the notes. I’m hopeful it will only make my script stronger.

  • hackofalltrade

    Intelligent Design (5 pages)

    I got to the 5th page and was super bummed when this
    interesting hot chick was a vampire. Now I see it’s in the WYSR, but I don’t
    read them ahead of time anymore because I like to be surprised. But not by
    vampires. Cool intro though.

    Killing Man (16 pages)

    Sorry, I am bailing. I’m confused and don’t know how to help.

    Super Epic

    I read it all the way through. I smiled a lot, but if it’s a
    true comedy, I’m not quite sure there are enough laugh out loud moments. The
    writing is really good, better than some professional scripts I’ve read. I
    found myself lost in the storytelling for a good 40 or 50 pages. I just can’t
    get past the fact that somehow, the story and laughs don’t feel as big as the
    concept. And for a pretty big budget movie, I think that’s tough.

    Monster’s Holiday(about halfway so far)

    I like the idea of having a Christmas script week. Cause I
    am fan of Christmas. I’m not the first person to say this, but the dialogue
    blocks seem excessive. The action blocks don’t bother me personally, but in a “hallmark-esque”
    concept, I think you want it to be pretty breezy. But the dialogue at the
    beginning is killer, and I almost stopped after 7 or 8 pages because of it. But
    the Scrooge thing kept me going and I am glad it did. I feel like both the
    writing and story get better after about 20 pages, which is probably why a
    couple people mentioned it felt like a first draft. I plan to finish this and
    it’s my second place vote.

    Midas- My vote

    This is why I don’t read the WYSR or logline anymore. I think
    there are some issues here…it took me a while to read it all. But man! I just flat
    out enjoyed reading it. I hope this wins, I’m curious to see if Carson can get
    past a few clarity issues that can surely be ironed out. If this writer gets
    some representation, and then maybe they can help with a few of those.

    • crazedwritr

      Hack, I’m glad you kept going with Monster’s Holiday! Thanks for the 2nd place vote!

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: Intelligent Design

    Captivating logline, seems well written and has a pretty good opening.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: The Killing Man. I almost always enjoy a good thriller and on occasion I enjoy a western.

  • MJ86

    THE KILLING MAN: I happily read to page 30 without wanting to stop.

    Page 10 – The overall mystery here is making this a fast read. Nice work.
    Page 15 – Nora’s pretty calm considering her brother was just brutally murdered. And why did they take Morrison to jail? Cuz he discovered the body? That seems strange.
    Page 24 – This quasi-interrogation scene reminds me of something Carson has pointed out several times about making these “boring” kinds of scenes fresh: make it a game. I get that Morrison doesn’t drink, but as I read him and Doc go back and forth with Doc taking shots, I feel like you have an opportunity to do something new and interesting with that scene. What exactly? Idk :)

    I have a soft spot for Westerns; they remind me of my grandpa. So far, I like this. I think there’s enough mystery to keep an audience interested. However, I think Morrison’s your only good character right now (well, him and Bill when he was alive). I think everyone else reads superficially. Granted, they don’t get much screen time, but I want to feel more from them. I guess I have to assume we get it in act 2 and I have to read on to find out (which I planned to do anyway).

    My Suggestion: Add character to the setting itself. I think you should make that town the setting of this series of crimes for a specific reason. Not just cuz someone’s chasing Morrison (I’m assuming), but because there’s something about that town, that place, that space. Think The Skeleton Key or 47 Ronin. Make it feel like this could have / should have only happened there to add even more oomph and intrigue, keeping every/anyone from saying “it’s just another Western.”

  • MJ86

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN: I wanted to stop on page 4, but read on to page 30.

    Page 4 – The emotional responses from Chase and Julianna remind me of Annalise from “How to Get Away with Murder” in that I can’t tell if it’s true emotion or deception. I can’t tell if I should be drawn in by the performance (appreciating the effort of the character’s manipulation—of both the audience and the other characters) or put off by the discombobulated characterization. Chase “isn’t afraid,” but he’s instantly undone by the mention of his daughter’s name? Julianna kills people, drinking their blood, but she feels bad that this dude’s daughter died? Is she even sure she didn’t kill the kid? That thought didn’t cross her mind? My point? I’m already questioning if your presentation is intentional or not. We’ll see.
    Page 7 – This feels like an episode of a tv show, not a movie, like this should all be wrapped up in 30 minutes.
    Page 11 – The “vamps” are goth kids? I hope not… It’s like a Latino gangbanger or black drug dealer.
    Page 15 – The dialogue’s clunky. Try saying it aloud yourself. Try asking a friend to act it out with you. Put yourself in a more live context to really hear it. It can be embarrassing, but whatever helps, right?
    Page 16 – You’re making things way too easy on your protag. So far, it’s very “ask, and you shall receive.” Where are the obstacles? And at what point will this become about something other than Chase just doing his job?

    My Suggestion: This script reads like an early effort. Nothing wrong with that, we’re all beginners til we’re not. So in the interest of transcendence from your now-ness, I say look at your outline. Really break it down. Think about what you want to accomplish with this story, think about how others have already tread similar paths, and think about how you can be more different-er. I think there’s an interesting story here somewhere. On page 25, when it’s implied Julianna may be Janice, that immediately piqued my interest (unless I have the wrong interpretation)… but it’s the only interesting/unique aspect of the story thus far, and you can’t have that. Brainstorm. Someone said it’s usually not until your 4th or 5th idea choice that you’ve even begun to be original. Take the time to be original.

    • MJ86

      lol, just read your WYSR… nevermind my suggestion then. You’re clearly not new to this afterall.

  • MJ86

    After reading on, my AF vote is for Super Epic.

  • bex01

    Wow I think it’s a great crop this week! Each script has something good going for it!

    My vote: Intelligent Design
    Second: The Killing Man

    OK so I read all of Intelligent Design. I agree with what others are saying, that it’s a little ‘been there, done that’ with the investigation. Needs a bit of spicing up in the first half when Fletcher and Chase are following leads. Try and give us something we haven’t seen before, or make something unpredictable happen in those opening scenes. Also I don’t like the name ‘Chase Ransome’. Just change the last name! But I kept reading cos I thought the writing was pretty good, and at about halfway I was hooked. I wanted to know what happened! There’s some interesting subject matter here. However I don’t think it’s a good idea to start the script off revealing who the killer is. To be honest, I was pretty bored up until we passed that moment later on in the script, because I could guess everything that would happen up until Julianna had Chase tied up in the apartment. There was no mystery as to whether Fletcher made it out of the club or not, because we already knew he died. We already knew Julianna was the bad guy. Don’t give so much away straight off the bat, it totally eliminates the mystery and tension IMO! Makes for an interesting opening, but find another way to achieve this, cos it really costs you later.

    Also I felt like the backstory of Chase helping his boss out with fabricating evidence or whatever he did came out of nowhere. There’s lots of lead up to an explanation for what happened to Chase’s daughter, but I felt I needed more hints that Chase had tampered with a case previously. Same for his boss being ‘in’ on the Julianna case – that seemed very sudden to me. And how did they figure it out? Because of something on his desk? I may have missed something… I pay less attention if I’m not totally hooked and the first half did kinda bore me a little… so apologies if it’s all there. But I wasn’t convinced.
    I like the reveal (spoiler) of Julianna being the first human clone, but I think maybe this could have been explored a little more? Not sure how. Just a suggestion.

    All in all I enjoyed it! Good job, and I’d love to see this reviewed by Carson!

    The Killing Man
    I haven’t finished this one yet, up to page 20 or so, but I think I’ll read it through to the end. Pretty interesting so far, and I really love the dialogue! However, the opening 5 or so pages were pretty confusing. Cutting back and forth between Morrison and the horsemen, these scenes seemed a bit over-descriptive and were just done in a confusing manner! Tighten this up a bit. Once we get to the town, the scenes start to flow really well. I’m intrigued to read on (and I don’t usually like reading westerns, so well done!)

    I read about 20 or so pages of this one, and I was confused. Action description isn’t very clear. I love the premise for this so will probably try and read on a bit later, but it didn’t grab me like the above two. The opening is pretty good, but once we get into Stowe being 18 I was bored! They were replacing a sign with gold foil so people couldn’t tell if the power went off? Is that what was happening? I guess this is fine… I don’t know. I just felt like, after the dramatic opening, doing something as uninteresting as covering a sign in foil just didn’t cut it. Is there something else the boys can do to try and steal power that would play out better on screen? But if others liked it, maybe it’s just me…
    And then Stowe is heading off to find his father to have revenge… this didn’t ring true to me. I love a good revenge story, but I think because Stowe’s life and actions do not seem to be fuelled by his hate for his father, I wasn’t on board. I don’t get a sense that it really affects him, except when he spells it out to us. Maybe there’s a way to SHOW this very clearly to the audience – that Stowe is emotionally ruined from what his father did. And what happened to his mother? I assume the writer is keeping that one as a bit of a mystery until later on, but I think we need to know so we are supporting Stowe on his mission of revenge. As it stands, I’m not bothered whether he achieves his goal or not.

    Super Epic
    Seems to be a lot of praise for this one! I read up to about page 20 (maybe less, I can’t remember…), but will go back and read more! Enjoyed the pages I read, but this isn’t really my thing. Do hope to see how it ends up though. One thing I will compliment is that the dialogue is not ridiculously exposition-y, which I’ve been finding in a lot of comedy scripts lately, so well done! It flows well. The fanny pack joke made me laugh, and I didn’t expect it to have a good pay-off, so well done for that too :) I like Eric’s character so far. Might post some more notes when I read further!

    Monster’s Holiday
    I love Christmas. Always up for the corny Xmas films. Got a soft spot for The Grinch, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street… don’t judge me. I just love Christmas. Hate that more and more people each year seem to be against the holiday!
    Anyway. I didn’t get too far into this. Really wanted to like it. Love A Christmas Carol and I’m up for reimaginings of the story (that’s what this is, right?) But my biggest problem with the script was all the blocky, expositional dialogue! I know others have commented on this. Show us all this stuff, don’t explain everything to us! But I may still read on later just because I love Christmas :) Unfortunately there’s some tough competition this week and this script didn’t measure up for me. Cut down the exposition and readers will love you for it!

    All in all, I usually don’t read more than one script all the way through to the end. But if I get time, I’m interested in reading all 5 of these, even if just for the concept. I think it’s a really good week, surprised at those who are saying none of them clicked. Maybe I’m just in a good mood! (Cos Christmas is coming.) I’m off to sing some carols

  • cxrx2

    I’ve used both. Been writing for the past 8 years. I prefer Celtx.