amateur offerings weekend

I saw myself some Wonder Woman yesterday. The theater was packed. The truth lassoes were out. Pineheads were oiling themselves up in Chris Pine oil. I may or may not have joined them. But you’ll have to wait until Monday to find out.

Right now, it’s time for some Amateur Offerings, with a TWIST! I’m adding some CARSON NOTES to the end of each entry. That’s right. You get a little extra insight into what I’m thinking when I look at these pitches. Speaking of, if you’re interested in getting a FULL SET OF NOTES from me, e-mail (carsonreeves1@gmail.com) me with the subject line, “50” and I’ll give you $50 off your purchase.

If you’re new to these weekends posts, the rule is: read as much of each script as possible then VOTE for your favorite in the comments section. Winner gets a review next Friday where, hopefully, I can help bring attention to the writer. This is also a wonderful opportunity to give writers feedback so they can get better. Let the writers know, constructively, where you had troubles with their scripts and why.

Title: Deathfest
Genre: Revenge Fantasy / Buddy Movie
Logline: At a raucous Death Valley music festival, a timid detective must embrace her inner beast to solve the festival’s first murder: that of a heartless billionaire.
Why You Should Read: Utopian festivals such as Burning Man preach love, peace and acceptance. They have also become a microcosm for inequality. Every year elaborate tents show the have-nots just how little they have and tensions run sky high. What if, in this perfect world, someone was murdered? What if they really, really deserved it? Deathfest is the catharsis we all need right now. I hope you agree.
Carson notes: Genres should be – Comedy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller, Fantasy, Western, Drama, Action and that’s it. Sometimes you will combine two of these. And there are a few sub-genres (Contained Horror). But I’d avoid making genres up. It screams “amateur.”

Title: Fighting Irish
Genre: Crime/Drama
Logline: Two gypsy fighters from Dublin have lived lives of violence since they were young. When one decides he wants out, what will he do when his father is released from prison and gets entangled in the criminal world of the other?
Why You Should Read: I’m a recently-graduated student from Northern Ireland who’s been studying screenwriting for the past five or so years, starting in my spare time and then at university. This script has had a couple of Black List reads between rewrites and has garnered a 7 out of 10 each time. I’m hoping to find out whether this latest draft could potentially crack that elusive 8 or above. I also hope to join our Irish contingent out in LA as I’ve heard Liam Neeson and Jamie Dornan are great craic on a night out!
Carson notes: This idea feels like it needs something extra. All I see is boxers, prison, and crime, which they’ve made lots of movies about already. Remember guys. Find your STRANGE ATTRACTOR – the unique thing that sets your idea apart from all the others out there.

Title: LIFE RIGHTS
Genre: Drama
Logline: After purchasing the life rights of a recently deceased man from his grieving daughter, a writer struggles to form a bestselling novel out of the man’s boring life.
Why You Should Read: I noticed a lot of people like books and movies that are biographical, and writing in that area might be a good way for a writer to climb to the top. But what if you painted yourself into writing about a subject who has nothing worth reading about? Is it wrong to make one up? Is the truth more important than an entertaining or meaningful story? I’d love any and all feedback on if I even came close to nailing these questions, let alone telling a good story. Enjoy :)
Carson notes: Not sure you need to include the grieving daughter in the logline. This sounds like it would work a lot better as a comedy but hopefully I’m wrong.

Title: Blowback
Genre: Action
Logline: A disillusioned CIA agent is brought out of retirement to hunt a vengeful billionaire, who seeks to annihilate the United States using a Soviet Cold War doomsday weapon.
Why You Should Read: Inspired by true events dating back to the Cold War, Blowback is a big budget action spec that takes a hard look at how the fallout from America’s foreign policy shapes the world today. Also, since I’m a big Tom Cruise fan, I wrote the main character with him in mind, incorporating the type of death-defying stunt work for which he’s renowned. I’d be beyond grateful if the Scriptshadow community could somehow get the script into his hands.
Carson notes: Reading this logline, my first thought is, “Where’s the fresh idea?” All of this feels like stuff we’ve seen before. Pitching Tom Cruise also dates the subject matter. Also, “disillusioned CIA agent” makes it sound like it could be a comedy.

Title: SLIFKO RULES!
Genre: Contained Comedy
Logline: An ex-serial prankster trapped at a Catholic High School is forced to repeat his senior year for a senior prank he was framed for, so he decides to pull off the biggest prank of all time.
Why You Should Read: Freddie Slifko is the 21st Century “Ferris Bueller.” It’s an 80’s style contained comedy with fantastic characters that push the edge of PG-13 with scatological humor, and high brow humor. It’s not your typical 85 page comedy spec that has three laughs in it. It’s got a strong backbone for the plot, and one of the best endings of a comedy EVER.
Carson Notes: This wins “Best Why You Should Read” Pitch for the year of 2017. This is how you sell your screenplay! Now let’s hope it delivers.

Title: Car God
Genre: Drama (Pilot)
Logline: A young ex-con, desperate for an honest life, takes a job at a local dealership, unknowingly entering the mob-run underworld of the car business. Based on actual events.
Why You Should Read: This story takes place behind all the headlines the came out a few years back involving Chrysler reporting thousands of ‘fake sales’ in order to inflate sales reports for investors. As an ex con, recently released from federal prison for marijuana trafficking, I took a job at the only place that would hire a felon and still be able to make a decent living. As I soon learned, being a criminal didn’t hurt my chances starting a new life with a career, it actually opened the doors to even bigger money-making opportunities, unfortunately still on the wrong side of the law. This pilot was also given an 8/10 on The BLACKLIST for CHARACTERS, and we all know how important that is on Scriptshadow… Thank you for any consideration!
Carson Notes: This is a great follow-up to the earlier entry of boxers and the criminal world. Notice how this idea has a strange attractor – the mob run underworld of the car business. That makes the idea unique, which gives it a better chance of standing out amongst busy readers. It being a true story from the writer’s point of view is also a great pitch.

  • PQOTD

    Whoo-hoo! AOW AND first comment.