amateur offerings weekend

Michael Voyer’s killer script that I reviewed yesterday, “The Young Hollywood Party Massacre” (which better end up on the Black List or I’m going to tickle Franklin Leonard to death), has reinvigorated me, given me hope that there is undiscovered talent out there just waiting for an opportunity. And hence, we begin another weekend of Amateur Offerings, scripts from real life screenwriters like yourselves, offered together in a Battle Royale winner-takes-all weekend tournament. Read the scripts, vote in the comments for your winner, top vote-getter gets a review next Friday.

To submit your script for a future Amateur Offerings, all you have to do is send me a PDF of your script, along with the title, genre, logline, and finally, why your script deserves a shot, to: Carsonreeves3@gmail.com. Remember that your script will be posted. If you’re nervous about the ramifications of a bad review, feel free to use an alias name and/or script title. It’s a good idea to resubmit every few weeks so your submission stays near the top.

Good luck. And may hope seep into the crevices of your heart!

Title: Gene X
Genre: super hero/sci-fi/action/thriller
Logline: Two men take an illegal drug which gives them temporary super powers and are pitted against each other by the company who make the same drug.
Why You Should Read: What’s original about this screenplay is that both heroes switch roles half way through. The hero becomes evil and the villain becomes good. I don’t see that in many films about super heroes. You were saying writers need to find a different spin on the over crowded super hero movies, so I think I’ve done that. What’s also good about my script is that it flows pretty well and there’s always something happening. Most of the characters are active, have goals and have motivation. I’m always trying to improve my writing, so that’s why I’ve submitted this. I’ve worked on 10 drafts for over two years now, so it’s ready to be criticized. I hope you like it.

Title: MATT AND BEN BURY A BODY
Genre: Comedy
Logline: After a sexual encounter goes terribly awry, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck find themselves on a collision course with a host of unsavory Austinites during their descent into the heart of darkness.
Why You Should Read: (nothing submitted)

Title: The Operative
Genre: Action/Thriller
Logline: When a young CIA trainee, working low-level assignments in Europe, is framed as a traitor, he discovers he holds the key to preventing global warfare and must outwit both ‘The Agency’, and the terrorist cell that hunts him, before they can incite World War 3.
Why You Should Read: I don’t have much to say in this section. I would rather the logline and the script speak for itself rather than trying to sell it to you. I will say my tastes are very commercial in nature as are all my stories. I love action, suspense and excitement, and always try to imbue that in the read. I hope it’s something you like. Thanks to everyone for checking it out.

Title: RUBBER TANK SQUAD
Genre: Action/drama (“Monuments Men” meets “Fury”)
Logline: During World War II a battle-hardened officer is demoted and assigned to protect a squad of “Special Troops”: painters, sound men, actors and costumers on a mission to hold back German forces with inflatable tanks and other decoy props. Based in part on a real WWII army unit.
Why You Should Read: The script was a finalist in several screenplay contests. A producer offered fifty bucks for a two year option. I declined. Now Bradley Cooper’s company has a competing project called “The Ghost Army,” based on a documentary about the subject.

Title: Work Of Art
Genre: Drama
Logline: A talented inner-city artist gets a shot at stardom when a renowned gallerist offers to mentor him, but when she persuades him to do increasingly heinous deeds in the name of art, he must decide how far he’ll go to achieve greatness.
Why You Should Read: With this story I saw an opportunity to do an urban take on movies like Whiplash and Black Swan, but instead of drumming or ballet this focuses on art, particularly painting. Although this story has a lot of my own experiences in it, it has something to say about the world that I hope will resonate with readers, and if not, will inform what my next step with this project should be.

  • Poe_Serling

    Wow! Carson wasn’t kidding… AOW is back with a bang. ;-)

    • Levres de Sang

      Absolutely agree on the title’s tonal mismatch. My first thought was that it sounds like a goofy comedy!

    • Scott Crawford

      I quite like the title but I see the problem. I think the problem is RUBBER makes people think of balloons, elastic bands and condoms. Wood also makes some people think of condoms but may be a better way to go. Or plastic. Or the word FAKE.

      The Fake Army
      Plastic Platoon
      Wooden Warriors

      Problem is, I just looked it up and it was the Ghost Army, which would be a great title for a feature film but there’s already a documentary of the same name. Rights issues.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Army

      It’s one reason to write about things hardly anyone’s heard of.

  • Justin

    Always a great thing to hear. Busy with classes and quizzes this weekend, but good luck to all the scripts.

  • klmn

    I’ve started reading Matt And Ben Bury A Body. Not voting yet, but it’s fucking nuts. I’m enjoying it so far – hope it holds together as I read on.

    • Levres de Sang

      Not the sort of thing I’d usually go for, but the opening pages display an undoubted screenwriting skill — and that (IMHO) is what should be guiding our votes if we want AOW to continue.

  • BMCHB

    Wow! I like all five loglines. Looking forward to getting stuck into these.

    Interestingly, the 4 WYSRs submitted read as humble and instantly put me on the side of the writers.

    Good start, guys. Let’s get a great ending!

  • Scott Serradell

    The No-Bullshit Edition

    My Pick: RUBBER TANK SQUAD

    GENE-X

    Don’t put you draft # on your script.

    “That’s…good to know” is the response for “That car wash comes with hot wax!” and not a woman who just said her husband used to be alive.

    By the end of pg. 1 I’m thinking: This needs some set-up. I’m already getting lost.

    “Whatever the blonde injected herself with, it’s given her a SUPER POWER.” What’s the super power? Why is it super?

    Another syringe, energy blasts, someone deflects, bolts of energy…Jesus! So much PASSION! And we’re not even done with pg. 2 yet. AGAIN: Where am I? Who are these people?

    Pg. 3 and we’re already elsewhere? What did I just read then?! All that action and super-heroics to establish nothing?

    Done.

    WORK OF ART

    “…black, cocky geek” – Think about that for a second. Maybe phrase that differently?

    The writing immediately feels prose-y. A lot of words used correctly but not efficiently or visually; a death in screenwriting. For example: “Tires SCREECH as a car races away! Angelo carefully peaks out of the window, sees someone chasing the fleeing car, FIRING shots at it. Angelo slumps to the floor in breathless terror.” I mean, again, the words are fine, but they’re all clumped together, like it’s writing…

    But it’s NOT writing; it’s a SCENE. It needs to breath out. It needs emphasis. Needs PUNCH.

    The dialogue sucks. Sorry. It feels stilted, clichéd, dishonest. For example: OLIVIA: “Listen, this is your home now, OK? So, if you want, you can call me Mom, alright? Don’t be shy.” And anytime I see anyone address another person with “Hey!” I want to spit.

    I’m just seeing “blocks” here: Blocks of description and blocks of dialogue. The writer can write, yes, but, again, it’s prose writing. In other words the story needs to go THROUGH my mind and not sit in it. Otherwise you lose the urgency of your story and things get lazy.

    And this feels lazy.

    MATT AND BEN BURY A BODY

    I mean: It’s got a cute little swagger to it. Cheeky. But by pg. 2 we’re already arguing about pussy? Are we trying to be edgy here?

    Then we get into ‘The Terrence Howard Effect’ which, again, is kind of cute. It’s got a rhythm that you WANT to hear out. But your main characters are some of the biggest stars in the world…and, by pg. 5, you made them into retards. Because there’s NO FUCKING WAY that they would even DEBATE “touching” children.

    The beginning, as I’ve said, is CUTE. The writing’s not bad: Clear for the most part and to the point, with a bit of style thrown in. I think this sort of thing would have gone over better in the 1990’s. It’s got that kind of irreverence to it (I mean, we’re already talking wabi-sabi by pg. 7!)

    THE OPERATIVE

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I hate Military scripts. Don’t understand the protocol or jargon. And don’t care to.

    That said: The writing’s not bad here. It JUMPS from place to place with some precision, which makes for a “nice read”.

    That said: Right away I’m confused. Who, What, Where? This from the middle of page 1: “Soldier #3 and #4 slink in through a rear window — #4 goes down into the basement — #3 explores a back room area.” Huh? I realize you can’t NAME every soldier that’s in an operation but just numbering ain’t cutting it either.

    That said: Again, the writing was compelling enough to make me keep going, despite not knowing who the fuck was doing the fuck what. There was some polish to this, some effort. I’ll defer to others on this one, as I suspect it’ll have its champions. Maybe they’ll get it.

    RUBBER TANK SQUAD

    It’s a bit stiff but I like how this unfolds right off the bat…

    Then the dialogue happens. Oy vey! (“What happened to the last guy who served as a bodyguard for you and your band of merry men?”)

    And apparently the characters didn’t happen either because by pg. 4 I’ve already forgot who’s who and the why-why. I did continue on to pg. 9 or so but truthfully everything felt dry. No juice, no love.

    BUT! I went a little further. Then I asked: Why the hell am I going further?

    Because I’m kind of curious what happens next.

    Bingo!

  • Levres de Sang

    Without opening a single page I can’t help wondering if Rubber Tank Squad will suffer from the exact same problem that Carson identified in his review of the Monuments Men script — namely, the vagueness of the goal. In Monuments Men the goal was to “save art”; here it’s to “protect a squad of ‘Special Troops'”. As well as this vagueness, the people being protected just don’t have the vulnerability with which we traditionally imbue those we wish to protect.

    As I say, I haven’t opened the actual script, but the logline (and title!) does give me pause.

  • Lucid Walk

    “…writers need to put a different spin on the overcrowded superhero market…

    I actually just came up with something a few days ago.

    What if there’s this Blade Runner-type department, and their job is to assassinate any superheroes who return to Earth? They’ve already saved the world, humanity no longer needs them, and thus they’re no longer welcomed. Plus, with no more villains to fight, people are scared the superheroes may use their powers to take Earth for themselves.

    So any of them who return are eliminated.

    And these assassins are also equipped with drugs that give them superpowers. I really like that idea; big fan of BioShock.

  • RBradley

    These were good: I’m going with The Operative.

    • Scott Crawford

      Any reason?

      “Votes with comments hold more weight.” – C. Reeves, Los Angeles, CA

  • Sal Ayala

    I lurked last AW. None of the submissions, loglines, grabbed me… that’s my excuse.

    But anyhow, I’ll try and be less selfish with my time this weekend.

    Haven’t read ‘em yet but some first impressions:
    (In order of interest)

    “The Operative”
    I want to like this but the logline…

    If the low level assignment is infiltrating the terrorist cell then specify it. As it stands it’s disconnected.

    Second. What must the operative do with the Key? Who must he turn to? I think those questions are probably gonna be the main source of intrugue, as we know that in all likelyhood the script isn’t building towards WWlll.

    “Gene X”

    The title is super generic. It reminds of the title of one of those failed FOX/Marvel pilot’s from the mid 90s.

    The logline is okay. Something about it is not gelling with me, but its to early to over think it.
    But it’s piqued my curiosity. Will read.

    “Work of Art”

    Solid all round. No strong impressions.

    “Rubber Tank Squad”

    The title conjurs an image… and it screams comedy. I’m not seeing Action/Drama.

    Besides, war comedies are notoriously difficult to pull off.

    The writer made a BIG mistake in mentioning the Bradley Cooper project in his or her wysr. It sounds more interesting than their project (Nevermind that it has Bradley Cooper attached).

    “Matt and Ben…”

    I’m sorry i just can’t.
    And I’m seriously burned out on both those guys anyway. But I’ll still give this a look-see.

  • Scott Crawford

    Wow! It looks like I wouldve had to get up at six AM GMT to get in the first comment. Still…

    Votes so far 04/08/17, 11:17 GMT: 1 vote

    Gene X: 0 votes (0%)

    Matt and Ben Bury a Body: 0 votes (0%)

    The Operative: 1 vote (100%)

    1. RBradley

    Rubber Tank Squad: 0 votes (0%)

    Work of Art: 0 votes (0%)

    Runner-up votes

  • Tatu

    Just skimmed through the scripts. Some good writing there.

    To the writer of the rubber tank project: You should work with more accuracy. Calling a German soldier Lieutnant Scheiss is ridiculous because it means SHIT in German. And I mean literally shit. He’s called Lt. Shit. Ironically you give the GI a name which could perfectly fit for Nazi soldiers: Alexander Eckhoff

    The jewish name Ted Ziglee sounds absurd as well. A double-e ending belongs to French names and vocabulary. But the beginning Zi would fit more to a Germanic name. It just feels made-up and in fact Google has nothing to offer for Ziglee.

    Otherwise, the theme is very interesting – unfortunately considering those little things alone, I have serious doubts that the writer invested enough to back up such a big event on all those other, more complicated, areas.

  • Brian

    I hope there are no similarities, but yesterday’s script reminds me of another movie that was recently released, called “Prevenge”. It’s about an unborn baby who tells her mother to kill: https://youtu.be/8bEPU_58akI