amateur offerings weekend

This is your chance to discuss the week’s amateur scripts, offered originally in the Scriptshadow newsletter. The primary goal for this discussion is to find out which script(s) is the best candidate for a future Amateur Friday review. The secondary goal is to keep things positive in the comments with constructive criticism.

Below are the scripts up for review, along with the download links. Want to receive the scripts early? Head over to the Contact page, e-mail us, and “Opt In” to the newsletter.

Happy reading!

TITLE: Soulless
GENRE: Action/Thriller
LOGLINE: A young mercenary on a mission to exact revenge on his mother’s murderers, must partner with his clone – a black ops agent working for the secret intelligence organization responsible.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): “Where I’m from, nobody gives a damn about the art of screenwriting. I never used to either, until I stumbled upon a Pulp Fiction script online about seven years ago. Being the artistically inclined person I am, I thought it’d be a cakewalk and ended up with a buncha shitty scripts. On my journey to mastering this bch, I discovered Scriptshadow. Since then, everything’s been better defined in my mind and Soulless is my second screenplay written with the sole purpose of applying all that I’ve learnt from you.

TITLE: The Ineligibles
LOGLINE: In a utopian future where all communication is telepathic, a stranded Ancient Studies student must venture the wilderness to save her society from a telepathy-inadequate genius who has caused a worldwide communication blackout.
GENRE:Sci-fi, Action/Adventure
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): “I’m submitting my script to you Mr. Reeves because I’m a nobody. To clarify, I’m an unknown screenwriter swirling with the thousands of fellow unknowns in the murky tidal pool of LA. I’ve written several features, placed in the semifinals of the Nicholl, sent out countless queries (with zero responses of course), but I’m still stuck on the outside. So what’s in it for you to read a nobody’s script? I completely believe in the originality of my story and feel you’ll find enjoyment in it if nothing else. And if the stars align, maybe it could lead to more exposure for ScriptShadow and a break-in for me. Oh, and I’ll also send you some bomb-ass cupcakes if you do.”
(Psst… Miss SS is liking the sound of that)

TITLE: Second Place Hero
GENRE: Action Comedy
LOGLINE: A biploar theater geek heads to school and gets cast in a role he never expected to play: a real-life hero who must battle a band of goons to stop them from kidnapping a fellow classmate.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): “The script is a 2013 Nicholl Quarterfinalist, and it’s got a tone all its own. (Big talk, I know, but how else can I get you to read it?) if I were to pitch this is in one second, it would be: “Imagine if John Hughes wrote Die Hard.'”

TITLE: The Killing of Apollo
GENRE: Action-Thriller
LOGLINE: When a godlike superhero begins serving vicious, indiscriminate justice, a PTSD-suffering tactical operative must join a special ops mission to bring him down before the entire world becomes collateral damage.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): “Here’s something interesting about myself: when I was just out of high school I saw an HBO promo with Matt Damon (in his Talented Mr. Ripley afterglow period) and Ben Affleck (in his post-Armageddon apology tour) asking aspiring filmmakers to submit a screenplay to their new show, Project Greenlight. Since I wasn’t looking forward to college, I decided I was going to become a filmmaker instead. Obviously, I did not think this through.

Three months later I had a 57-page screenplay about a group of teens that were the youngest people on earth due to an inexplicable infertility pandemic. Other than beating Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men to the punch by 6 years, the result was horrible; I remember writing a description that started with, “She oozes cool from every pore.” Yeah, I know.

I was so disappointed with my screenplay that I did not even bother submitting it. But I caught the bug, and I kept writing. Thirteen years later I am finally submitting a work that I am proud of. I would love to get some feedback from you and the Scriptshadow community.”

TITLE: The Tiger And The Fig Tree
GENRE: Comedy
LOGLINE: In a last ditch effort to save his crumbling life, Peter travels to the Amazon to plead with the native tribe who cursed his family, and is sent home with the village’s witch doctor, in training, to help defeat the curse.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): Why? Because I want my characters to live, I want to find an audience, I want some feedback, and I want a chance.

  • Jorge Osvaldo

    Hi. I’m Jorge, the writer of The Killing of Apollo. I’m excited for the opportunity to have my work critiqued by everyone in the ScriptShadow community. In light of the debate that broke out in yesterday’s post, I’m hoping not to fall under the category of writers submitting premature drafts. I’ve had a few critical eyes read my screenplay, but now I’m interested in fellow writers’ opinion of the work.

    • jaehkim

      welcome Jorge and thanks for submitting your work. I for one enjoyed it. The first scene with the tank was pretty cool.

      • Jorge Osvaldo

        Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the tank scene. My hope was that it would come as a surprise to the reader.

    • Andrew Orillion

      The Killing of Apollo – I read this one because the log line
      sounded really cool. The script is hit and miss. What I liked – It starts out
      with a great sequence involving a tank and pissed off veteran. There is also a
      great action set piece where Apollo destroys a court house. I also liked the
      last set piece with Apollo at home and the missiles being launched.

      I also liked the way the action was written; short, sweet
      and to the point. I was never confused about what was happening.

      What I Didn’t Like – No one really had a strong motivation.
      The death of Apollo’s father was good, but I don’t get how that one thing sent
      him over the edge unless he was already close to it. There needed to be more of
      a build up to this. It also would have been nice to see more of Apollo in
      action before he goes crazy. Maybe have Derek and Wes talk about him during the

      Derek’s sister being killed by Apollo was completely
      forgotten two seconds after it happened. This should have weighed heavily on
      Derek and been a large part of his motivation to find Apollo and bring him to

      I like this idea and I think it has a lot of potential, but
      the script feels kind of thin. Raise the stakes, increase the motivation and I
      think this could really be something cool.

      • Jorge Osvaldo

        Great feedback, Andrew. I’ll work on raising the stakes in the next draft. I also appreciate your suggestion to have Derek’s sister’s death have a stronger presence throughout the story.

        • mpsfx

          Hi Jorge, I’m thirty pages into Apollo and will keep reading. I’m really enjoying it so far. I have to agree with Andrew, the main thing for me was the switch from Apollo being the good guy to bad superman. I feel like I just needed to know a bit more about him first, maybe see the character flaw that leads to him going over the edge. Great work, looking forward to finishing it!

          • Jorge Osvaldo

            Thank you for the feedback. I’m hard at work on a new draft that gives Apollo a more conflicted path towards villainy. I hope this new version gets a better reception. I’m certainly happy with everyone’s willingness to help me improve my screenplay.

  • rsuddhi

    I haven’t read Second Place Hero, but I did read another Nicholl QF script from the writer (Broken), Will Hare. Of the many writers whose works I’ve read, Will is one of the few (if not the only) who I personally feel has what it takes and deserves to write professionally in the film industry full time. Whether or not his script gets picked, I know he has a career ahead of him.

    • John B

      I read and reviewed Second Place Hero on another site and I agree with everything you said about Will. This is one of my favorite amature scripts I’ve ever read. Whether or not this script gets picked, he will go on to be a professional writer.

    • Joe Marino

      I’ve read both and TOTALLY agree, Suddhi!!

  • SeekingSolace

    “The Killing of Apollo” by Jorge Osvaldo is a quick read at 99 pages and is my choice for which script should be read.

    It’s the only one that I was able to read all the way through without being reduced to complete boredom. I found it impossible to focus while reading the others for various reasons.

    “Soulless” by Gbolahan Akitunde is 133 pages long!!!! When it got to the part about the kid growling one out in the bathroom while his mother is being assassinated in the living-room, I was out.

    “The Ineligibles” by Austin Hart is 123 pages long!!! While not as off-putting as 133 pages, 123 pages is still not exactly an awesome page count to be greeted with upon opening a screenplay.

    I found it hard to get into the premise. No one would want others to be able to hear what they’re thinking, that’s like letting a stranger read all of your texts or emails without questions. These devices would never be accepted in any industrialized nation in the world.

    The set up is ok, but the “US vs. THEM” theme is too familiar. The hook is unique and would probably lend itself better to something like Sci-fi, Horror, some sort of virus causes people to go bat guano or something of this nature.

    This type of script would cost a fortune to film. Something not many production companies are in a position to do. So rewriting it as with a small budget in mind would force more creative juices out you. Maybe two people who can’t stand each other get are forced to work together to save others while dealing with hearing each others vitriolic thoughts.

    “Second Place Hero” by Will Hare is supposed to be an Action, Comedy, but it reads like a serious action movie with very little comedy. There is the bit about Billy talking to his father using his sock puppet, and later allowing himself to be used as a life-sized puppet, but these are visual things. On paper they don’t seem funny, but if one were to see them on screen they might laugh. I was looking for SET-UPS and PUNCHLINES and there weren’t any, so I checked out at around the point where Billy witnesses the principle get shot.

    “The Tiger and the Fig Tree” by Edmund Woods. The title is so ambiguous that I would never be able to imagine what the story could be about. It’s not much of a problem to me, but as we found out during the article about script readers, there is a completely different person sifting through query letters.

    A title this ambiguous might turn query readers. Also, the file is not labeled “The Tiger and the Fig Tree,” it’s labeled as “TTAFT.” It takes forever to write a decent screenplay, but only a second to make sure the file is labeled correctly.

    I tuned at page 46.

    It’s not my kind of humor. I’m fine with someone dropping a racial/religious slur into a comedy, *IF* it is a part of a funny SET-UP and PUNCHLINE combo, the joke that repelled me from the script did not meet this criteria. I wish Edmund Woods and all of the other writers the best.

  • kristenirene

    So, I have to admit that for this 80s loving girl, Second Place Hero had me at: “Imagine if John Hughes wrote Die Hard.” At that point, I had to read it and find out if it were a true statement. Then, I get to the script and read this: Imagine a painting of Lenin as a mermaid. Ha! I’d LOVE to see this image!
    I continued reading and just kept wanting to read more. The writing is very good and the dialogue doesn’t lag. I agree with rocksuddhi. Mr. Hare definitely has a career ahead of him in writing, and I hope his script is chosen.

  • Matty

    Read the first fifteen of all of them. Don’t really have time to read all of them in their entirety unfortunately.

    But based on the first fifteen, Second Place Hero gets my vote. The writing is terse, easy and quick to read. Dialogue isn’t on-the-nose, and the characters seem dynamic so far. Wish I could read the entire thing.

    Anyway, that gets my vote. At the very least I can tell it’ll be a competent script.

  • klmn

    From the description of The Ineligibles, “Oh, and I’ll also send you some bomb-ass cupcakes if you do.”
    (Psst… Miss SS is liking the sound of that)

    Bomb-ass cupcakes sounds like they’re made with ExLax.

    • Matty

      The ExLax is omitted upon posting a positive review

      • klmn

        I believe Sveta is Carson’s official food taster.

  • Joe Marino

    As a huge fan of Will Hare’s previous work, I was happy with “Second Place Hero.” The other script I love of his (“Broken”) is a super dark drama with truly disturbing thematic elements. And here, we have a Hughes-esque high school action comedy. WHAT???? I’ve been curious since day #1 on how a master in dark drama would do in this genre as, typically, we don’t see too many writers genuinely excel in multiple genres. And, boy, did he pulled it off! I’m rather amazed, to be honest. It’s a fun popcorn flick with John Hughes vibes, solid characters and a couple great twists. It was well worth reading. A strong effort, indeed.

    I’m fiercely envious of the effortless readability and style that Hare conveys in this script. It has an incredible flow that never lost me as a reader and kept me guessing. Succinct. Clear. I really like the relationship stuff he establishes with each and every character. I can tell I’m in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing in scenes like this – they hit exactly the right spot. I especially like how he makes these teens process this whole thing – it feels very raw and real.

    Okay, now regarding the comedy. While I wasn’t in love with ALL the teen dialogue, more than enough of it had genuine humor to get thumbs up from me. I think, if I compared the action elements to the comedy elements, I liked the action more. The points where tension reigned were WOW-worthy. Hare has a real knack for the action genre that’s close to his perfection of the drama genre.

    His description style is just as lush, snappy, and awesome as I remember from “Broken.” LOVE it. This is such a fast, inherently flowing read where I don’t get bogged down by the specifics and I can enjoy the ride without getting taken out of the story at ALL. This blends in with the grammar and overall writing style – impeccable.

    The characters are pretty awesome. A lot of that has to do with the dialogue, which made sure everyone had a unique voice (or at least a unique perspective). The character I loved the most, of course, was Pink Suit. A FANTASTIC villain, through and through. I can see Hare was trying to do a postmodern Hans Gruber, and I think the pink element – along with the at-times flamboyant nature of the character – does wonders. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this guy match wits with these teens. The absurdity of it isn’t lost on him – and I think that’s why he’s so funny. He genuinely can’t believe these kids are even a NUISANCE, let alone a full problem. Billy, Persimmon, Vinnie, Christoph, Chief, Miki… all great! Billy proved to be a worthy protagonist. I love how he blended the stereotypical action hero with a Hughes protagonist. Made for quite the story.

    The structure is sweeeeeet. I could follow all the story beats, they all feel effectively cinematic, and sequences themselves move fast. As the story unfolds, I found I could ‘see’ it with perfect clarity and vision. It pops. Lots of chances to go overboard, but he pulled it all off really nicely.

    Overall, this is a superior action screenplay, filled with intelligence, wit, and imagination. Hare’s premise is awesome and he pulls it off. It’s a read that’s readily enjoyable and easily marketable. A pleasure as always, Will. :)

    • datruth

      “I only had the time to read one script of the selection this week and I picked “Second Place hero.”

      Is it a case of you only having time to to read Will’s script, or you making the conscious decision to ONLY read his script and ignore the rest? Because from the looks of his twitter account, you two are buddy/buddy. You may be a regular here, but this is a clear case of helping out a friend.

  • Paul Clarke

    Bit short on time this week, so some were given a very brief opportunity:


    -133 pages, ouch.

    – I read that opening line three times and I have no idea what you’re describing. How does a pathway snake up a doorstep? What the hell is a hilly white structure? What type of structure, is it a house? An enclosed premises, enclosed in what? I thought we were outside? Not a professional impression.

    – The second sentence is possibly worse. “… an orphan’s dream mother, not literally…” What? Too many comma’s. Break it up. If the blue eyes are so important, reveal them last. We meet a black kid, maybe we don’t see his face till half way down the page. Boom – blue eyes.

    – “Her heart in her lung.” I think you mean stomach. Unless that’s just a saying I’m not familiar with. Simplify the descriptions. “… she rushes off her seat and around the island to see what she’s done.” – She couldn’t exactly rush around while still sitting on her seat. No need to write that. “She rushes round the island.” Done, simple and clear.

    – Page 3: Perfect example of unnatural for the audience dialogue: “We’ve known each other approximately twenty-five years now, Shandra.” Cut it.

    – Sorry, I have a bit of a hangover, and this isn’t helping. Moving on.

    The Ineligibles:

    – Telepathic communication wouldn’t prevent confrontation. If you’re basing your central premise on such an idea you really need to explain it or skip it. Two people wanting one item would cause confrontation. Telepathy wouldn’t change that. I want the last piece of pizza, so do you, confrontation.

    – Page 2: I’d mention the age of the students. I assumed they were children until we are told one is 25.

    – Page 4: Serenity Weekend: Not sure if this is a nod to the movie, but the first thing I thought (and probably why I imagined children) was the opening of Serenity. Same thing,
    kids in a futuristic class discussing what will become the theme of the movie. Not a bad movie to copy, one of my personal favourites.

    – Page 9: “…an hole on the side.” Probably the first mistake. Good professional feel to the writing.

    – Read through to page 15. Only moving on because of lack of time this weekend. I like it and would definitely read on. I recommend you read the script for Serenity (if you haven’t already). So similar, but with a better flow. It starts with an informative scene which sets the world and the tone, but it’s a dream-sequence which flows into the escape sequence, which flows into the Operative watching it. Seamless.

    Second Place Hero:

    – The logline refers to the protagonist as bipolar, I find that already a little off-putting. I guess it could work in a comedy. A person with bipolar is probably just going to be medicated and a little out of it most of the time.

    – “The dim club holds them…” – descriptions already confusing. Keep it simple and clear. As I read on, is the Dead-eyed Russian not one of the men? Only one is described. But there are two in the booth, then Dead-eyed Russian walks toward the booth carrying a can? What? He gestures around – Around what? The first page should be perfect. First impressions count.

    – Page 5: Did you just use the close the mirrored medicine cabinet to see someone standing there-shot? The world’s most clichéd over used shot. There must be a more interesting way to introduce his dad.

    – Talking sock-puppet and I’m out. Just not my thing. But hey, someone made The Beaver. Even though it was a flop, it got made. I’d prefer to spend the time reading more of The Ineligibles.

    The Killing of Apollo:

    – No description of Martinez or Ricker. Not even age, and because they’re last names we don’t even know their gender. Give us something.

    – Would the police really be stupid enough to shoot their handguns at a tank?

    – I feel you’re missing a big opportunity with your opening. I like the scene with the tank, but it gave too much emphasis to characters that don’t matter (well don’t appear to so far). Also, I wouldn’t name them if they don’t come back. It just seems that with a veteran going on a rampage in a tank, then later another different unrelated soldier with PTSD. Somehow you can surely combine these two. Introduce Apollo and Derek in a more related fashion. The openings are good, but they’d be better as one. It’s a jarring transition to go from Apollo and his parents to Derek and his brother. Maybe even
    intertwine those stories to show two people reacting differently to the same traumatic event. Otherwise Derek is introduced too late in the story.

    – If Thomas can fly at supersonic speed, why did it take him so long to get back to his parents? It would takes hours to do a crime scene investigation and get the body back to the morgue.

    – A nice story. I do like it, but it’s too disjointed. The idea’s there, I could see this being a film. But you’re wasting valuable real estate by not having it all integrated. Maybe Derek could be one of the cops at the beginning? He can try talking the guy down, saying he understands because he’s in the same boat. He could spell out his back-story in a plausible way. Boom, two scenes for the price of one. Maybe Derek follows him, and Apollo accidentally kills the vet in the tank by blocking the barrel so the tank blows
    itself up. Derek doesn’t like it because he understands the stress of being a vet. It foreshadows the battle between himself and Apollo. It flows together as one big story.

    The Tiger and the Fig Tree:

    – Your logline is original, albeit a little confusing. I’d write trainee witchdoctor, instead of witchdoctor, in training. Also, name your file better. You know which one it is, we don’t.

    – “about eight years old” – for some reason the addition of that one extra word straight away gives me the impression the writer doubts himself. Why can’t he say for sure how old he is? Does he not know his characters?

    – Would an eight year old use the word ‘boast’? I’d think it’d be more like ‘show-off’ or something.

    – “she tramp!” –love it.

    – The writing is fine, the story is fine. But just no x factor. Nothing we haven’t seen so many times before.

    My vote: The Ineligibles (but change the title) – professional writing, an interesting marketable story.

    Runner up: The Killing of Apollo. Another marketable idea that is professionally written. Just needs to be really sewn together. Is probably better once it gets going.

  • Kieran ODea

    My vote goes to Second Place Hero. I read the first 25 and thought it was quite good except that the tone seemed to bounce around a little bit. (SPOILERS) You have this very innocent and happy school setting yet you have the villain blowing principle’s brains out. I do like that the villain is dressed in a pink suit with a pink gun to bring levity to the situation BUT his actions certainly say something different. PS I like his opening line. Thought that was a funny little scene. Would love to see this one get picked. Good writing. Ok rant over. Good luck writers

  • Linkthis83

    I vote for either The Killing of Apollo or Second Place Hero (I’m betting this one wins the overall vote). None of the scripts this week really engaged me, so I defaulted to which story I felt was written the best. I read up to page 25 on all entries.

    Thank you to the authors for their submissions and a big congrats on being picked for a shot at Amateur Friday!!!

    The Killing of Apollo: Overall I feel that this was the best written story. I thought the dream on page 14 was an intense scene and conveyed well. I liked that we were given a rare, classy female character introduction. I’m not sure I agree with the choice that Thomas would DRIVE to the Sheriff’s office given his state of mind (page 16). I felt the dialogue in this one could be improved. It wasn’t awful, just feels like it could use a little more character personality.

    Second Place Hero: If based solely on subject matter, this one would be tough for me to
    give my vote. The concept of kids being held hostage in a school just doesn’t feel right. Especially not with the designation of Action/Comedy. Even looking back at two
    films I liked as a kid, Red Dawn and Toy Soldiers, I still feel that in this day and age it would be tough to pull this concept off. From a story stand point it was hard for me
    to buy in. Nothing about kids being held hostage seems comedic.

    With that being said, I like the writing. I really do. I like the majority of the characters.
    I really enjoyed the quick conversation about Jean between Billy and Persimmon (page 10). I laughed. I really DISLIKE the stealing/copying of scenes directly from Die Hard. I dislike the actual violence being displayed. For me, I think to get away with this in this story you’re going to need to succeed on the threat of violence, as opposed to the implementation of it.

    It really didn’t make sense to me why the principle needed to die (if this plays our later in the script then my apologies). To me, once the school is on lockdown all the
    bad guys need to do is go from room to room searching for the student. That’s it.
    I skimmed on until I reached the announcement that the guys intended to do just that. Then what have they been dicking around for up until this point? They are on the clock. There’s no time to be casual. This is where the story logistics/character motivations seem inconsistent to me. I really do like the writing though. Maybe I should check out Will’s other script.

    The Ineligibles: I truly don’t have anything to say negatively about this script. If this was a movie, I’d watch it based on its premise. I wasn’t engrossed by the first 25 pages, but nothing happened that turned me off either. It sounds like it could be complete joy to
    see visually. I also don’t care about what type of budget it may require. On this site, I don’t think that should ever be considered a negative, as long as it’s a good story.

    The Tiger and the Fig Tree: For a comedy, I didn’t laugh much. I know the first critique about reading comedy scripts is that most people don’t really laugh out loud a lot. Okay, I wasn’t really amused all that much. I don’t think the writing was bad or subpar. In this particular case, the story just didn’t peak my interest. Maybe if there were a couple more scenes displaying the curse other than just referencing that it exists. That might help.

    Soulless: Just wasn’t my thing. The writing felt like it was trying to be as slick as the character of Yaakov. I won’t downgrade a script on grammatical errors, but I found more than a few that I noted in the first 18 pages. I would suggest not having a character who is
    African-American named Uncle Tom (unless it fits in with the story). For me it was distracting. The kid dropping a deuce = there’s a better story choice to make here. There were things in here logistically that I would challenge. There were plenty of things that felt like you knew what you were talking about and that I just couldn’t keep up. Maybe I’m just too dense to get some of them. Overall, it feels like a Jason Statham style movie/script. Yaakov’s too-cool-for-school assassin style in the car scene rang false for me too. But that’s my issue. Story accountability. I couldn’t envision a hit that is so bold that it wouldn’t have repercussions for Yaakov. It’s hard for me to suspend the disbelief that this style of his wouldn’t catch up with him (and maybe it does later on in the story).

    • Jorge Osvaldo

      Thank you for your comments. I specially appreciate your suggestion to include more character personality in my dialogue. I will consciously tackle this issue in my next draft.

      • Linkthis83

        You’re welcome. I appreciate you submitting your work for others to read and comment. I felt your story seemed the most seasoned out of all of them. I posted my thoughts before all the Second Place Hero hooplah emerged. I felt that one might win based on it’s concept.

        Your concept wasn’t one I was crazy about, but while reading it, felt it was the most complete (based off of the first 25). I think another poster likened it to Hancock which is something I felt too. And that works against you because I wasn’t a fan of Hancock. I think you’ve created a good premise though to tell an interesting story. I initially thought Cole was going to be somebody more important. Also, on a couple of occasions you used “loose/looses” where it should be “lose/loses.”

        Thanks again and good luck!!

    • drifting in space

      Link, you rock. If only every review was like this. This is a shining example of how the AmFri process should take place.

      • Linkthis83

        Thanks, man. I have no idea how what I did was any different than the rest of the crew who do the same thing. I appreciate the props though. I want to be critical in a helpful way and try to do right by the writers. This. Shit. Is. Hard.

        • drifting in space

          Yeah, I went through and voted up for the other similar reviews. I just know the care you take into your reviews and it shows through your posts. Others like Paul and Citizen M contribute greatly as well.

          • Linkthis83

            I do the same thing in regards to voting the others up. It just makes sense to me that those who have notes on all the scripts should be closer to the top for the others to see/read.

            You must’ve been busy being productive this weekend while the rest of us ran from our work to come here and be critical of others. Lol.

          • drifting in space

            Haha, I had Final Draft, a copy of my outline, twitter and SS open on my laptop this weekend. I probably would’ve finished 40-50 pages but only got up to page 25 instead.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Haven’t read “Second Place Here” yet.
    But the premise brought this film not-so masterful to mind…

    Perhaps more Hans Gruber and less Captain Picard will be the difference maker.

    • GoIrish

      Given the attention it has been getting, I thought I’d check out Second Place Hero. I made it to p. 17. I haven’t seen Masterminds, but it seemed like this was shaping up similar to Toy Soldiers (which I believe has been described as a Die Hard derivative):

      The writing style was decent enough, but I’m not sure I’d describe it as a comedy – at least in a laugh-out-loud sense (perhaps the humor becomes more apparent later in the script). I usually go for more pure comedic material, so I’m not sure I’ll finish this one.

  • Colenicks83

    I read parts of Killing of Apollo, Inelligibles and Second Place Hero. I didn’t love the story of Second Place Hero but it was really well written. So that gets my vote.

  • Warren Hately

    I’ve been looking forward to 2nd Place Hero getting up on Scriptshadow for some time. Will’s a consumate pro, his stuff consistently rates high on the Black List and he’s one of the few “amateurs” on track to a career. I’d also be really interested on Carson’s take on the script, but given he likes to promote stuff as “found on Scriptshadow” I’m confident he won’t pass up this chance to throw some eyeballs on 2nd Place Hero before someone else comes along and sweeps it away. It’s really solid.

  • SinclareRose

    I was able to read the first ten to fifteen pages of all of the submissions today and my vote goes for ttatft (The Tiger and the Fig Tree).

    It was the only one I feel I want to go back and read more of to find out about the curse, etc. Unless the writer continues to Deja Vu certain scenes throughout the rest of the script. I would think the walk to work between pages three and five could be combined. But now I’m curious if that has anything to do with the story. I guess I like the anti-hero, because I don’t really like the main character yet, but I definitely feel sorry enough for him that I want to see if he gets out of his slump.

    I was thinking of voting for The Ineligibles, (maybe the writer could read my mind! Ha! I know that was bad) but as much as I could see the scenes in my head, I couldn’t help but think it would be better as a novel. I felt that the writer had much more to tell than what he was putting on the page. I really like the concept and I thought the story sounded great – as much as I read, but telepathy doesn’t work very well on screen. Eek, or maybe it was just the examples I was thinking of: the wolves in the Twilight series, and the two personalities in one person in The Host. The way those were portrayed were cringe worthy. Huh, both Stephanie Meyer novels, and both better as novels. After realizing that, getting a better director attached would probably make a hell of a difference.

    Soulless seemed interesting, but a few things turned me off of it. The six-year-old boy was not talking like a six-year-old boy. He said things like, “I can’t discuss it.” and “You’re so pushy.” I’m not sure children speak that well at his age. Also, should there be Continued’s on the pages at all?

    The Killing of Apollo; for some reason this reminded me of a cross between Hancock and Superman. He’s living on the farm with his parents. He’s a superhero with problems. However it is action-packed and interesting. I especially like that the interpreter didn’t exactly interpret anything that was actually being said. This one also had a lot of unnecessary Continued’s.

    Second Place Hero seems alright. It definitely has some quirky characters. There are some major cliché ones in that high school though. Actually, I read to page thirteen and all of the high school students were cliché except Billy. He was too quirky to be cliché. I thought the ‘inseparable’ line was funny. I’ve been reading SS + comments for six or seven months and, now, maybe it’s just me, but there sure seemed to be a lot of new commenters on the site voting for SPH. One even cried when she read it – “the first time.” Hmmmm.

    Well, those were just a few comments I had. Take ‘em or leave ‘em. I wish sooo much luck to the five of you!!

    Wondering if anyone would hear me whine a little. I have been so pumped lately because I finally found my opening scene/sequence. After revising it seven times – this was the one. I mean I changed the characters I used, the places, the reasons. None of my revisions were grammar and spelling; they were full rewrites. I was so proud of this one. I didn’t have any of my usual doubts, and then Carson sent out his newsletter. (Darn you, Carson!) He said: “…you have just introduced me to two characters I’m still trying to get to know,
    and then you bust out a conversation about THREE PEOPLE (“her,” Federov, and
    Weinsten) who are not only not present, but who I haven’t even met yet! That’s
    basically FIVE people you’re throwing at me who I don’t know and you’re trying
    to convey extremely intricate plot details about them? This is unacceptable to
    me. I don’t care what kind of movie you’re writing. You have to introduce us to
    the world and the characters before you get all plot-crazy on us. Come on! I see
    this every once in awhile and it drives me batty. It just seems like common
    sense. Don’t confuse the shit out of your audience before your story begins.”

    I had never read this in any of my research, and I guess I have no common sense.

    Anyway, would anyone be willing to read my first four pages to let me know if it can stand on it’s own, or if I should scrap it and start again?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!!!!

    • Bronson

      I had a look at the scripts and only got to the end of the tiger fig tree, it blew me away by the end, the final act really effected me, reminded me of some of the shit I went through. Great characters too. I think scriptshadow should take a look at the scripts for himself and maybe have more to choose from next time as five isn’t very many

    • Eric Johnson

      I think your opening scene works as is (Victor changes to Vincent on page 4, which confused me briefly).

      I also got confused at the top of page 2 when you jump to the Sedan with Victor/Devon, so maybe the first line of your action (before introducing Victor) clarifies that this car is behind Greg/Ruth – I first thought he was in the same car with them, which is partially my fault since I skim headers.

      Still, nice start, no worries about having 4 characters introduced – them being in pairs helps.

      • SinclareRose

        Hey Eric! I am actually completely mortified that I didn’t notice the name mistake. WTF is wrong with me? It’s so weird, too. It was never Vincent; always Victor. Well anyway, that’s changed. Thanks for realizing my mistake!
        I revised to try to clarify the two different cars in an action instead of just the slug line. I hope I was able to make a difference with some of the other things I was trying to get across as well. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link: If you spot any other horrible mistakes don’t hesitate to let me know at sinclarerose at yahoo dot com.
        Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I really appreciate it.

    • Paul Clarke

      Greg Murphy is a kiwi race car driver.

      Devon gets a full description, yet I’m not sure if that’s a man or woman’s name? If you include his/her at some point just to be sure.

      Reminds me of the matrix. Not just that she escapes through a phone booth like thing, but that we start half way through a scene. Someone’s already chasing them. I think you’re alright with the dialogue as long as you don’t expect anybody to remember any of it. If it’s important information, then you’re going to need to show us some other way. I’d prefer just a husband and wife talking normal stuff, maybe a hint about what the cargo they’re carrying is, them boom, the crash. But I hate the single person accident. It’s just such a lame coincidental way for everything to begin. At least make the sedan following them or some or actual story element cause the accident, not a deer.

      It’s well written and I like the hook. But, like Carson said, the dialogue without anything to relate it to has little or no meaning to us. It could be a setup to a setup (if that makes sense). Like Ripley mentioning she works the loaders on the docks, then later she drives one to prove she’s not just a lame passenger, but all the while that’s just the setup to her using it to fight the Alien.

      • SinclareRose

        Hello Paul Clarke! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the pages I posted, and especially to comment on them. I understand now that it is confusing. It’s so easy to see it in my head, but the reader doesn’t. I have to consider that. I’ve made some small revisions because of the comments and I’m hoping the sequence has become more clear.
        You wrote, “Devon gets a full description, yet I’m not sure if that’s a man or a woman’s name?” Well Paul, that’s exactly what I was going for, so I was spot on with that one. Yay me! The first word I used to describe Devon was androgynous. This is part of a subplot, a ‘mystery box’ if you will, and will come out later in the script.
        As much as I love The Matrix, it actually kind of sucks that that’s what it reminds you of. I’d love for my scenes to stand on their own. Or maybe I can say that it’s my interpretation of ‘the same, but different.’
        I don’t expect anyone to remember the dialogue. I can never remember movie dialogue either. I know that sounds bad because I should want to be memorable, but what I do expect is for people to remember the reference to certain things that are being set up. Yes, there are set ups to set ups. You do make sense.
        It’s so funny that you think my crash is cliché with the deer because I thought it would be cliché if I did it any other way! Ha! But I did consider your advice, and I combined them. If you would like to check out the revisions, just click here: Again, thank you so much for reading and commenting. If you have any other comments, feel free to email me at sinclarerose at yahoo dot com. Thank you!!

    • Linkthis83

      So I read your scene and thought it was fine. Then I read the section of the newsletter you referenced. I again thought you were fine and was about to tell you so. Then I decided to go back to your scene and it turns out that I wasn’t as clear on your scene as I thought. Here’s a breakdown of the people:

      Greg Murphy (intro and in scene)
      Ruth Murphy-Chen (intro and in scene)
      Him that was lied to (referenced – is this the Deputy?)
      The Secretary of Transportation (referenced and sent his Deputy instead)
      The Deputy (referenced – is this Him that was lied to?)
      He was charming (who was charming? The Deputy?)
      His son understood us (Who’s son? The Deputy or the Secretary?)
      The other person who was strange (referenced to be there with the son)
      Victor Wellington (intro, in scene and is the son – I believe)
      Victor’s Dad the asshole (referenced – is the dad the Deputy or Secretary?)
      The Punk (referenced by Victor mimicking his Dad {the Deputy or Secretary})
      The driver (in the scene being looked at by Victor)
      Devon James (intro, in scene and is the punk as well as the driver and I also believe the other person who was strange
      A deer (while it gets no intro, does make an entrance)

      I may have taken this a bit too far, but I think it does illustrated a scene that may be hard to completely comprehend. We have no other frame of reference for these people. I think that’s the point that Carson is trying to emphasize. This thing just started and it’s overloaded with things we need to be aware of for later.

      Hopefully others will chime in as well. I wasn’t trying to be an a-hole by the way. Hope it didn’t come across that way. Once I realized how confusing it actually was I tried to have some fun with it.

      • Paul Clarke

        Exactly. We will remember the four characters we met, but forget all the characters talked about. If this is the opening scene of the movie, the last thing we need is a blast of plot info in the form of dialogue. I’d rather know about Ruth, what makes her tick, show her relation to her husband. Set up the characters we can see. Don’t worry about the others, I’d forgotten all about them by the time I read the action on page 4.

      • SinclareRose

        Hello Linkthis83, Thank you so much for taking the time to read my first four. After reading through your (and others) comments, it’s now my first almost five. ;)
        You said you read it twice and then went back to give me some notes on clarification. So, yeah, it was definitely confusing to the reader. Aaarrrgghhh (and talk like a pirate day isn’t until next month!).
        I actually wrote out an intro to Greg and Ruth and their whole meeting, but it was just too long. I was not even close to “get in late” with those scenes. So I just cut them. However, you were able to pin point who everyone was except that Devon wasn’t the punk. The Deputy’s son was. But there was some confusion between the Deputy/Secretary. Okay.
        Hey now! I thought my deer made a pretty good entrance.
        You definitely didn’t take it too far – what you did was help me out and I appreciate that. I do not think you were being an a-hole at all!
        I think you fixed a lot of the points you made, but the dialogue seems more on the nose now. I’m still not sure if I should scrap it or keep it. If you have the time, here’s the revision. So as not to take up any more SS property, if you do have a chance to read it, I’m at sinclarerose at yahoo dot com. Thank you, again, so much!!

    • James Inez

      “I’ve been reading SS + comments for six or seven months and, now, maybe
      it’s just me, but there sure seemed to be a lot of new commenters on the
      site voting for SPH. One even cried when she read it – “the first
      time.” Hmmmm.” Hilarious

    • MWire

      Your first 4 pages are a little confusing to me. It’s a good scene but I think you’re trying a bit too hard. It’s Amateur Offerings moment to shine so I won’t say any more. But if you’d like me to elaborate, leave an email address.

      • SinclareRose

        Hey MWire, Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I would love to hear more of your thoughts. sinclarerose at yahoo dot com.

  • Linkthis83

    As far as I’ve scene on here, there’s a chance for it to comeback. One way is if it’s a new and improved draft or a rewrite. Another way is if it had a good showing on its particular weekend, it could come back to go head-to-head with other AF submissions that were close to a win (a whole week was devoted to these not too long ago).

  • Nicholas J

    Very short amount of time to read these, so I’ll judge a book by its cover…

    SOULLESS — Mercenaries, clones, black ops agents — sounds like every amateur spec ever. In the “Why you should read” the writer talks about Scriptshadow and name drops someone no one’s ever heard of. Doesn’t say much for the actual script… so… not feeling much desire to read here. Which is the whole point of the “why you should read” section. First page: “An enclosed premises with an asphalted pathway snaking up the front doorstep of a hilly white structure in glowing yellow lights.” One of the most confusing descriptions I’ve read. Followed directly by: “DR. SHANDRA SHEPHERD, an orphan’s dream mother, not literally though…” What? PASS.

    THE INELIGIBLES — really confusing logline. Briskly reading the opening 10 and I’m lost. Way way too many elements at play here for a spec. I’m of the belief that if you’re gonna do a sci-fi spec, it’s gotta be simple and small scale. Primer or Alien, not Blade Runner or Inception. PASS.

    SECOND PLACE HERO — John Hughes meets Die Hard. What? That makes no sense. Reading the opening pages. This one’s just weird. First page: “Imagine a painting of Lenin as a merman…” Why? Is there a painting of Lenin as a merman on the wall? “The dim club holds them…” What? Cliched broken-English-speaking Russian villain. Mixed with high school theater. Not really a tone all its own, just a tone that’s all over the place. Back and forth between violent thriller and teen dramedy. Comes across as silly. What’s the audience here? People that love both Glee and Goodfellas? PASS.

    THE KILLING OF APOLLO — cool title, horrible “Why you should read.” Writer talks about how bad his first script was and Matt Damon’s career. Okay, so… why should I read this script again? Premise also seems tired. Opening pages… The casual description of a house full of military vehicles is kind of weird. The writer doesn’t seem to make a big deal out of the fact that this dude has a fighter plane in his yard. But then a tank bursts onto the page and I forgot about that. Pleasantly surprised here. Was going to be a PASS, but now I’m intrigued…

    THE TIGER AND THE FIG TREE — Finally, a short, simple premise and “why you should read.” Comedy… Opening pages… Not at all a comedy. Also the writer describes every single character reaction, which isn’t necessary. Script’s about witch doctors, yet seems to be going for something deep and poignant. I’m just confused here. PASS.

    Wasn’t all that impressed with any of these, but again, I’m judging a book by its cover here, which isn’t always fair to the writer. Didn’t read more than a few pages of any of these, part because I didn’t have time, but mostly because nothing jumped out at me. Oh well, just my 2 cents. Also, how come so many people don’t actually say anything about their script in the “Why you should read” section?

    My pick goes to THE KILLING OF APOLLO.

    • Jorge Osvaldo

      Thank you for your constructive criticism. After reading everyone’s comments, it seems that the tank scene has been saving my butt and distracting readers from some shortcomings. I will make an effort to minimize the flaws that may prevent readers from reaching that scene on page 3. As an amateur trying to break into the business, I understand I cannot afford to loose potential readers before they reach the hook. You were kind enough to read enough to like the story, but most industry people would not offer me that leniency.

  • James Inez

    Ten pages into Soulless. I’m liking it. I think I would continue the
    read. Something about it feels different, but I guess that kinda gives
    life to it. There’s a lot of mystery to the events that take place. I
    want to know why what happened did. Nice.

  • Somersby

    Is it just me, or does there seem to be a lot of unsubstantiated “padding” in favour of Second Place Hero going on here…?

    • GeneralChaos

      No, it’s not just you.

    • Paul Clarke

      Tell me about it. All lacking any constructive comment too.

      Just blind over the top love, and not from the regulars.

      • GeneralChaos

        Seriously. These transparent attempts to pad the vote are just sad.

      • gazrow

        Happens every week on AOW without fail. Not to this extent, but it still goes on. An unknown commenter will pop up and praise a certain script then never be heard of again.

        Sad but true.

      • gazrow

        I particularly like the phrase: “Long time lurker, first time poster”! Though sadly, that seems to be a tad cliche now and so appears to have fallen out of favor! :)

    • Linkthis83

      You’re talking crazy. We always utilize the FIVE STAR rating system around here.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to the writers chosen for this weekend! Best of luck to all.
    Read the first ten of each.
    Soulless — Despite description that often floundered in uncoupled words and silliness, I liked this. I could see every thing clearly in my head. The characters were immediately and clearly drawn, conflict was clear right off the bat. I’d read more.
    Ineligibles — Hope someone with very clear enunciation speaks all that voiceover. Me, I wish there were less of it. Is this the year 2055? Are people still being buried “in graves”? Despite an interesting premise, (I thought you missed an opportunity to really hook me with a scene at the beginning wrapped up in that premise) I felt no push to read more.
    Second Place Hero — Ummm, gays and Russians, not a popular match these days. Didn’t find much that grabbed me in the first ten. It seems it’s getting a lot of love here, so I guess it gets better. Would keep reading just because of that.
    The Killing At Apollo — Don’t like this title, I immediately think it’s about a murder at the Apollo Theatre. But, I really liked the first ten. Smooth, quick read, entertaining. I’d read more.
    The Tiger And The Fig Tree — Another smooth read, felt I was in able hands, but the beginning was weak to me. Father and son walking in the museum? explanations, a trembling hand? For the big screen, it should be a trembling body. How about conflict? Action? I’d read more because it gave me a National Treasure Vibe and I liked those movies.

    Vote goes for Soulless.

  • carsonreeves1

    I always put more stock into long-time commenters than drive-bys. Second Place Hero is getting a strange mix of both. It seems to be between that script and Apollo. If you’re a writer of either, keep friends from coming in here and padding. It’s typically obvious (“This is the most amazing script I’ve ever read!”), always drives the commenting community here nuts and can work against you. Be good! :)

    • Jorge Osvaldo

      Haha. I have to be honest Carson, I was thinking about getting my friends to participate to even the odds. I’ll be good, though.

    • John Bradley

      I am a sporadic commenter under John B, but a daily reader. I will use my full name and have a profile so that it is more apparent that I’m a real person. I have an account on Triggerstreet under the profile johnnyb2124 where I read Second Place Hero. I understand that my vote is less important than the normal daily commenters, but I really did read it and like it. I am not friends with the writer. Anyway, I will try to be more active and hope my positive comments wont be used against the writer. That’s all.

    • FilmingEJ

      Second Place Hero is definitely getting a ton of obvious padded praise, I don’t think I’ve seen it to this extent before.

    • JakeBarnes12


      There appears to be HEAVY padding for “Second Place Hero.”

      Yes, there are some enthusiastic reviews from people we know (Joe Marino and Warren Hately, for example) concerning “Second Place Hero,” but there are also quite a few gushing new sign-ups and guest posts; they’re all distinguished by the fact they offer no detailed critique, only praise.


      “kristenirene” makes her first ever post saying “Imagine a painting of Lenin as a mermaid.”Okay, she’s nuts. We’ll ignore that one. But Jeanne Keaton, who has just registered with Disqus and who made TWO comments, enthuses “2nd Place Hero is my vote, all the way” in one post and “I have heard an awesome reading of 2nd Place Hero and it is truly a wonderful script!!! Will should be writing professionally in the film industry full time for REAL!” in her other post. Sounds like she’s never actually read the script herself.

      Among the anonymous “guest” posts we have MikeJK writing “Second Place Hero is one of my favorite amateur scripts ever. Feels weird calling it amateur.” And Julie gushes “Love! Love! Love! Second Place Hero! Unique script, reat story and a lot of heart. Can’t wait to see this on the big screen. FIVE STARS!” And five stars to you, Julie, for that review. Emily admits that she “actually cried the first time I read it” and suggests that the writer “is essentially inventing a new genre with the script.” Excuse me while I get Emily some Kleenex.

      Finally in response to the suspicions raised on this thread, the writer himself admits that he “TOLD” my writer’s group and my screenwriting class about this, and I Tweeted about it.”


      This is a form of cheating called “sandbagging” where in online contests based on numbers of responses (happens a lot in photography challenges and is widely condemned there) you tell people you know that your work is up for appraisal. Of course the cheater always claims that he or she just “told” friends and acquaintances, but the implication is clear; vote for me.

      The problem in asking your friends and acquaintances to take part in a voting process they don’t normally partake in, even if that involves giving their honest opinion of your work, (it’s irrelevant if the script is great or not) is that it skewers the numbers and creates a false impression of popularity.

      Worse, it shows a complete lack of respect for the other writers who don’t resort to such tactics. These other writers have decided to let their loglines and scripts speak for themselves, for them to be commented on and evaluated by the regular readers of this site.


      The only way to stop writers bussing in their friends to praise their script and inflate their numbers is to DISQUALIFY scripts where this has happened. You don’t do that, it’s like doping in sports. You’ll have increasing numbers of people trying to rig the system based on the excuse that everyone is doing it. At that point, the entire process ceases to work well.


      Bringing in people you know to give their opinion of your work is cheating because it falsely swells the numbers in your favor.

      That shows contempt for your fellow writers who are trying to compete solely on the strength of their material.

      If your script is really so great, have the balls to let the majority of regular ScriptShadow commenters, people who would be here doing this anyway, decide.

      • Alex Palmer

        I like the manifesto. This kind of behaviour is just passive aggressive. The notion that screenwriting is a difficult industry to break into does not make other aspiring amateurs “opponents”. Treating amateur Fridays like a corrupt Soviet election (mermaid Lenin LOL) shows no respect for an entire community in the same position.

        I’m a fairly new commenter, and I only discovered this site less than a year ago. How many comments do I have to post to be “legit”? Would I just be a part of the propaganda if I read Second Place Hero if I read it, liked it and endorsed it? (That’s why I’m not reading it)

        A side effect of drive-by gushing might be elitism. The great thing about scriptshadow is that it lacks the politics, occasional nepotism of the industry. Its just writers reading, reviewing and learning. What Carson has created is too darn awesome for some spammers to ruin.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Alex I think you should still read a bit of each script before voting, regardless of whether the other scripts were slammed or endorsed.

      • SinclareRose

        Hey JakeBarnes12, Just wanted to clarify that kristenirene was quoting a line from the script when she wrote about Lenin and the mermaid. It’s the second sentence in – “Then imagine a painting of Lenin as a merman.” It did actually paint an interesting picture in my mind.
        But you’re right on with the other posters.

        • JakeBarnes12

          Thanks for the clarification, Sinclair.

          She’s not nuts. She’s just a plant.

      • Paul Clarke

        Agreed. But I’m sure Carson’s seen this plenty of times before. It’s very easy to spot a comment that doesn’t give any COMPARATIVE reason why one script is better than the other four.

        Of course if reviewers were open about why they’re voting that would help too. I have read and given notes on Crossfire, so when it came up a couple of weeks ago I felt obliged to point this out. And the bias that it added.

        • AJ

          It’s tough to put stock into a comment without any detailed reason of why they liked a script. People want to just say, “I don’t know what, but something about this script just works for me”. To my knowledge, the only industry wide exception to this where it was agreed upon and accepted was with American Beauty.

      • gazrow

        Hey Jake –

        Have to say you summed up what I was thinking, perfectly! It is a form of cheating, plain and simple. Regardless of how good the script may be or how talented the writer is.

        Unfortunately, I’m not sure your ‘solution’ would work. What would stop an unscrupulous writer/competitor making multiple posts under different names praising a rival script – knowing full well that it would lead to its disqualification?

        • Guest

          Carson can see I.P. addresses via Disqus.

      • Nicholas J

        Eh, I think disqualification might be a little harsh. If the writer tells a couple friends about it, and said friends offer glowing praise, you don’t really know if the writer encouraged them to do it or not. Plus, it could very well be simply a few new commenters liking the script. Since it’s hard to really judge, I think disqualifying the script is a little overboard.

        I think Carson can simply take a look at both the suspected padded script, in this case SECOND PLACE HERO, and the other script with some votes, in this case KILLING OF APOLLO, and decide for himself which is worthy of a review. It’s his site, after all. I think that’d work just fine. Unless both scripts were padded…. in which case… uh… panic button…

      • James Inez

        The problem that’s going on in here is just an extension of what’s going on in the entire country, (not singling this Friday out, as it happens every week). Everyone wants to beat the system. Game the system. From the Stock Markets, Wall Street, to the housing market, to corporate taxes, to studios creative financing, to Scriptshadow, no one can play fair anymore. They always have to find a way to cheat. And the bad thing is, they get away with it. There is no more honor in values. No more honor in honesty, truth, integrity. The only way to get ahead, is to do what everyone else is doing. Because if you don’t, then the other person will, and you will lose out. It’s a sad state of affairs. (Old man voice) Back in my day, people were honest. Okay, maybe not. I guess what it comes down to is what you believe. Personally, I feel that I’m hurting myself if I don’t play fair. I’m not saying I’m the most honest guy ever, but I try, I really do. I don’t feel good about myself if I do something less than honest. And I feel that dishonesty will lead me down a road that I don’t want to travel on. It will slowly change my personality to a guy that I don’t want to be. As my old friend He-Man once told me; “Cheaters never win, and WINNERS never cheat!”

        • James Inez

          Now that I think about it, cartoons used to teach kids to be good. Now they seem to encourage bad behavior. Saying the most obnoxious, vulgar, foul things and acting the same way. Where’s the reset button? Somewhere we took a wrong turn.

          • Susan Murray

            Er, Tom and Jerry?

          • James Inez

            If you really want to compare the vulgarity and obscene nature of today’s cartoons vs. with Tom and Jerry, go ahead. Tom and Jerry didn’t talk, and are like angels compared to today’s fare. But yeah, there was some over the top, slap stick style violence in those cartoons. Roadrunner vs. Coyote, Popeye, Bugs Bunny, etc, etc.

          • Susan Murray

            I was just being glib really, but at the risk of veering wildly into the thorny desert of off topic, where will I find examples of this sick degeneration in children’s programming from the glorious heyday of the eighties to the ugly excesses of the naughty noughties? Will I see it in Scooby Doo, My Little Pony, Ninja Turtles – hang on, wait, something wrong there. And I didn’t know there was obscenity in Legend of Korra and Adventure Time. Somebody better tell Nickolodeon.

          • James Inez

            No, that’s my fault. I probably made it sound like I feel that all cartoons these days are contributing to the degradation of today’s youth. There are certain programs that I don’t think kids should be exposed to. And before you say that falls on the responsibility of the parents, let me first say that parents usually both have to be working to survive and sometimes it’s just one parent, and they can’t be with their kids 24/7. That means that the kids are with others or by themselves the majority of time. And that doesn’t mean that I think that all parents are exemplary in their child raising abilities, it just means that I think it takes a village to raise a child. To think otherwise I would say would be very individualistic and selfish. This is my opinion, I hope I’m still entitled to it. Now if I was a kid, and all these, in my opinion, bad shows for kids were on, would I watch them? Heck yeah. Because I don’t know any better. Even if I was told not to, I probably would still find a way to do it. So in my opinion, I think that we, as a society, should do a better job at protecting our and other people’s children. Because what hurts one, hurts all.

        • thedudespeaketh

          Have no illusions, the universe is as it should be.

      • John Bradley

        I have been reading Scriptshadow and the newsletter for nearly a year. I’m a huge fan and owe so much of where I am at to this website. I don’t comment regularly because I am busy but also because I am just hitting my second year in screenwriting and am intimidated by the many great minds on this site. I read the newsletter every week. This week, for the first time, I saw an amature script that I had read and really liked. I was jazzed and decided to comment on it. I had seen a few others I had read on other sites, but this was the first one I read and really liked. I want to offer the Scriptshadow community my apologies and will not comment in the amature offerings unless I am able to give every script a thorough read thru.

        I think Second Place Hero is a clever adaptation of Die Hard that shows Goals, Stakes and Urgency, a unique protagonist who has mental health problems, well written dialogue and short-crisp action lines.

        It does have its flaws like some commenters have mentioned. My biggest problem with it is the amount of violence that takes place among teenagers in a high school setting. In all likelihood it would be tough to imagine the script ever getting made.

        With that said, I can tell by the anger of many of the posts, that Second Place Hero will not get picked. I get it, writing is life and death for people. It certainly is for me. I have dedicated two years working full time hours to get where I am in my screenwriting career and getting a review from Carson literally makes or breaks some writers careers. I dream of one day getting a review from Carson myself, it would mean the world to me. So I get why others are getting pissed that new people are recommending one script. I’m just sad now that it is being automatically disqualified, because I thought it showed a lot of talent.

        • kenglo

          Dude, if Carson reads it and likes it, then it’s all mute, is it not? If it is the best sctript of the week, then it’s the best script of the week. For someone to read it ‘clean’ and ignoring all the other comments, is good for you!

    • ghost

      here it is.
      SS101: Intro to Scriptshadow Community Culture

    • Linkthis83

      It’s good that you addressed this. Otherwise, it may have spiraled into size 10 chaos.

    • leitskev

      This kind of thing can also happen unplanned by the writer(I don’t know any of the writers this week). Earlier in the year, when the amateur scripts were only posted in the newsletter, one of my scripts was listed. I had not told anyone about it, but someone in a writer’s forum where I am known noticed my script in the newsletter. So he mentioned it in the forum, and suddenly a lot of people knew.

      Well, with the best of intentions, some of these forum writers sent in positive reviews on my script…back when these had to be emailed to Carson. I never asked anyone to do this, and I was very uncomfortable with it, even though their hearts were in the right place.

      So I sent Carson an email asking that he ignore any reviews unless he recognized them as from regulars. But with all the emails he gets, odds are he never saw it. If there was a way to withdraw my script, I would have. Fortunately it didn’t turn out to matter as he didn’t choose it. I just thought it was worth pointing out that, while the system here can be manipulated, it’s also possible the writer is innocent of that, and these things could have happened without his/her knowledge.

    • Midnight Luck

      Should mine be picked for AF,or AW, feel comfort in the fact that, well, I have no friends (I’m a screenwriter!). So no padding will occur; should it fall into that terrible mixed bag response zone.

      • drifting in space

        Same. I’m overly introverted. My friends are the characters I write. (lame)

        • Midnight Luck

          I don’t even think my characters like me.

          • Midnight Luck

            those bastards.

          • Charlestoaster

            Maybe they know you might kill them. O.o

          • kenglo

            Yeah but you and Kay Bryen have the hottest pics here…hope ur not a dude….

          • drifting in space

            I’m willing to be they’re all dudes.

          • Linkthis83

            Thus the burden of being the creator ;)

        • MaliboJackk

          Max Landis has said that his idea of a great Friday night
          — is staying at home and interacting with his characters.
          (He’s written over 70 scripts.)

        • Linkthis83

          I would’ve never pegged you for an introvert.

          • drifting in space

            It’s pretty ridiculous. Totally functioning but if given the tiniest inkling of a chance, I will break all pre-conceived plans with people and watch a movie or write instead. This happens 99.99% of the time.

    • Gbolahan Akitunde

      Carson, hi. It’s Gbolahan. Writer of ‘Soulless’ from Nigeria. I just really want to Thank You for giving my script the opportunity to shine for a bit on AOW. Sorry if I came off as a name-dropper, I never fathomed that even after that bold-ass query, I’d get selected. I only just found out yesterday when I logged on to Scriptshadow, immediately after waking up in the morning.

      The reasons I didn’t check the site this last weekend are because I’m sorta used to the old Scriptshadow system where you never put up any articles on the weekends, so I tend to forget, and also because I love reading your stuff, I always want it to pile up so I can have more to feast on during the week.

      I’ve always respected and trusted your judgment regarding scripts and movies, save for the one on Prometheus. Lol. But outside that, we pretty much have the same views, especially on Dark Knight Rises and Looper. As a result, I’m confident all of us AOW qualifiers are in great, competent hands and May the Best Story win. Thanks again, sir!!!

      Hope you see this :D

  • GeneralChaos

    Hey, Jean! Nice to see you and Jeanne voting for this script! Can’t wait to hear from Gene and Geanne!

  • craktactor

    As much as I HATE doing this to anyone, especially fellow writers, I feel I must.

    Not one of these grabbed me. Not a single one of these had a worthy first page let alone first ten.

    Here’s a hint: If you claim it’s a comedy, make it funny. Same with thriller. Make it thrilling and suspenseful and at least dramatic. You only have a few pages to pique my interest. It wasn’t piqued today.

    One thing I CAN say; they were all formatted properly. For the most part. I can’t remember which one it was, but, really? You didn’t want to use the standard Courier font? Okay. I guess that’s what would be considered a “style” choice. *shrug*

    So there’s that. Sorry if I bruised any egos or whatnot. Thick skin kiddies, it’s needed. I mean, you DO want honesty, right?

  • GeneralChaos

    My vote is Apollo. Good luck, Jorge.

    • Jorge Osvaldo

      Short and sweet. Thank you.

  • James Inez

    12 pgs into the Ineligibles and I think I am hooked. I still have three to read, but I’m feeling like this might be my pick. But ya never know. I think it would be cool to see people using the telepathic devices, talking to each other by thinking. That would be something new. I mean, it may have already been done, but not that I’ve seen.

  • James Inez

    12 pgs into Second Class Hero, and it’s okay, but not really my thing. The tone just seems a little too cartoon like for my taste. Not saying it’s bad, because it is pretty interesting so far, just not my cup of tea. And that’s just what it feels like for me and it is very subjective so don’t take it the wrong way.

  • Jorge Osvaldo

    Eric, thank you for all the great things you had to say about my screenplay. I hope you don’t think I’m being petty for asking you a question about the one complaint you had, but the curiosity is killing me. What did you mean when you wrote “tighten up the title”? Do you find the title cumbersome? Should it be shorter? Should it be something different all together? I’m always looking for feedback, and I’d be grateful for any of it.

  • James Inez

    10 pgs of The Killing of Apollo don’t really stand out for me. It just feels like it’s been done before. Sorry, but it didn’t really grab my attention. But hey, it’s all subjective, so my opinion doesn’t mean a thing.

  • James Inez

    I read 15 pgs of the Tiger and the Fig Tree. It’s okay. The characters are depressed and that’s how the story reads. It’s kind of down. I guess that’s what the tone is supposed to be like? But if that’s the case, I think it should be down, but intriguing at the same time. Though I was a little intrigued, it wasn’t enough to keep me interested.

  • James Inez

    My vote is for The Ineligibles.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Marketability – second place hero does NOT have it. The tone is all wrong and in my opinion it needs to be changed.

    Solution – have it take place in a middle school, where billy is a freshman. He should be younger than most supporting roles other than his immediate friends. Billy needs to be established very early on as a big theatrical kid / world class liar. Big fish in elementary and struggling to make a mark, like competing vs seniors for the school play. There needs to be a lot more work done on creating a solid love interest for billy. Most of the dialogue between kids early on is bad and unimportant. These scenes should all be reworked with more focus on building billys likability through action or even purposeful inaction. The opening has to go. It is the wrong tone. Make the antagonists even more over the top, make their motivations absolutely crystal clear, and lose the guns. Try to come up with a more clever way that they take over.the school.

    Ultimately I feel this story should be a kids movie and it should be more towards that tone. I know I’m suggesting a page one rewrite. As it is it takes 40 pages to get the story going, and it should really be as early as page 20.

    As my for vote, I’m on the fence and will post it separately soon.

    • Joe Marino

      Your suggestions would turn it into a carbon copy of “Masterminds” starring Patrick Stewart (as well as erasing one of the strongest elements – the John Hughes character vibes).

      • Gregory Mandarano

        So what your’e saying, is that the idea I just spitballed is so ‘marketable’ it already happened. Killing people in schools with guns isn’t going to help the chances of a film being made, especially in our current political climate, and I’ve heard a million times over on SS – know your audience. I’m not sure what audience a John Hughes vibe / die hard in a school film has. Instead of worrying about being a copy of a copy, maybe the writer could just focus on trying to make better film with a similar concept.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    I vote for the ineligibles.

    In my opinion, hero needs a rewrite before it can be something people would want to watch. Apollo’s dialogue is very weak and it killed the read for me. Soulless and Tiger just don’t do it for me. I’m sorry I don’t have the time or energy to write a lot of explanations, but I gave each script 40-50 pages.

    The ineligibles is the strongest script of the bunch, but I don’t think any of the five will illicit a worth the read from Carson.

    Given the choice between only apollo and hero, I’d go with hero just to see carson review it and examine a way to make a movie about school shooting violence marketable.

  • gazrow

    Okay, technically it’s not padding. Still, by asking your writing buddies to get involved, you appear to be attempting to stack the odds in your favor and that’s just plain wrong imo.

    Your script should stand or fall on its own merits.

    On a sidenote, I noticed your pitch included: “Imagine if John Hughes wrote Die Hard.’”

    He did! It was called “Home Alone”!

    Good luck with Second Place Hero! :)

  • andyjaxfl

    Killing of Apollo wins for me.

  • Paul Clarke

    Fair enough, but the problem is they aren’t commenting on any of the other scripts. How can they say it’s the best of the five options.

    And most don’t have any real comment to back up their undying love. Just vague generalizations.

    Anyway, congrats on being one of the 5 options. Will be interesting to see who’s selected.

  • m_v_s

    Was no-one else naughty and decided to read grendl’s script in advance instead?

  • SinclareRose

    Hey Will, Didn’t mean to say that your writing and story isn’t heartfelt and great enough to make a person emotional. Just that she wrote, “The first time.” Which led me to believe that she had read it somewhere else before. From reading other posts from people who seem to be genuine fans of yours, SPH has never been posted anywhere else before. This led me to believe that she knew you and voted for you because of this. Along with many other votes for your script. Others who have never been on SS before.
    It’s sooo great that you have a ton of support and fans of your work, but did they really give the other scripts a chance as well? Did any of them actually read part or all of any of the others before voting?
    Just wanting it to be fair.
    Best of luck to you! <— I truly mean that.

  • Somersby

    Sorry, not buying it, Will.

    If your friends from the writing group and the screenwriting class commented on your script by making valid points about your script, referencing specific moments or examples, telling us why they feel your script is so outstanding, that would be fine. But they don’t. They should be embarrassed—and you should be embarrassed for them—for their inability to offer anything other than effusive praise. They’re all budding writers, after all. Developing an ability to critique and/or defend other people’s material is all part of learning to be a good writer. They should know that.

    Instead, they offer only feedback that is so overblown it’s cringe-worthy:
    “This is one of my favorite amature (sic) scripts I’ve ever read.”
    ”Whether or not this script gets picked, he will go on to be a professional writer.”
    “Will should be writing professionally in the film industry full time for REAL!” (…Please, Mom. Stop!!)
    “Second Place Hero is one of my favorite amateur scripts ever. Feels weird calling it amateur.”
    And my favourite: “Will is essentially inventing a new genre with the script…”!!

    Not one of these contributors referenced anything in your script. So yes, Will. This is padding. I’m not saying you encouraged it—but your clearly defended it. Methinks you need to reign in your friends. If they believe as much in your work as you say they do, ask them to do you—and us—a favour by telling us why.

    Otherwise, as Carson says, their efforts might just end up working against you.

  • Citizen M

    My vote goes to THE KILLING OF APOLLO. If the rest is as good as the first 25 pages, it’s a candidate for top 25 scripts.

    SOULLESS 132p by Gbolahan Akitunde

    After 33 pages: (Read further because of the page count. Still not sure what’s happening.) U Kim is Wesley, a black boy with blue eyes brought up in Korea after his mother was shot for involvement in a mystery project. He is now a driver and martial artist trying to contact his mother via Claudia, a Texas medium. Meanwhile his lookalike is Yaakov, a Mossad agent at a secret and very brutal training facility in Texas who is screwing his colleague’s girl. I think.

    I wanted to like this, but it’s too confusing and all over the place. There is too much unnecessary business and no clear storyline developing. Absolutely no idea why it’s titled “Soulless”. First thing to do: cut 40 pages. Then you have to think what’s important and what not. Do we need to know young Wesley takes a dump and the toilet is blocked with toilet paper? No. Cut. Do we need the interrogator’s philosophical ramblings? No. Cut. Do we need to paint a picture of Wesley’s mom? No. We kill her in the first eight pages. She’s not important. Your main characters should dominate the time on screen. Like, they should get 80% of the time.

    Some minor points. Give ages of characters, always. Say MOSSAD FACILITY, not PLANO, TEXAS – INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION REGIONAL OFFICE. Describe it in the first paragraph. “The facility looks like an anonymous office building in Plano, Texas.” water gun water pistol; glass cup glass; her heart in her lung mouth. Transitions: one minute yaakov is in Abu Dhabi, the next in Texas; one minute Halevy is tailing a car, the next he’s inside. It’s confusing, and do we even need the scenes? Descriptions should be condensed to essentials. “An enclosed premises with an asphalted pathway snaking up…” TMI. “A double-storey house in a wealthy suburb.”

    THE INELIGIBLES 122p by Austin Hart

    After 30 pages: (Read further because world-building pushes up the page count.) In a world where communication is telepathic, talking is mastered by only a few, like Luna. She is green-eyed where everyone else is brown-eyed, and able to shut off her mind. She and her friend Madeline land in the forest when remnants of the talking humans sabotage the central telepathic device and their plane crashes. They meet two cute non-telepath country boys.

    I’m not entirely sure who the good guys are here. Luna, obviously. But are we rooting for the telepaths or the rogues in the forest who are non-telepathic, just like us, but also basically committing genocide on the telepaths? From the script, I’m pro-non telepath, but from the logline I should be pro-telepath. So far, some interesting glimpses of telepathic society and dating practices. I liked the futuristic city, although some of the stuff with glass cubes was hard to follow. But we’ve ended up in familiar territory with guns and knives and panthers in the snowy wilderness. There’s no GSU, only a series of incidents. I’m not impelled to find out what happened.

    SECOND PLACE HERO 110p by Will Hare

    After 25 pages: Billy is a drama-mad schoolkid who never gets the lead. He introduces new girl Persimmon to his drama class in a shed in the school grounds. Meanwhile Russian mobsters take over the main school, looking for Persimmon. Billy goes to the main school, learns their plan, and must flee.

    This was written in an impressionist style I found hard to follow. Some of the conversations whooshed over my head. I didn’t know what they were talking about. The school seems to be built like a prison with steel doors that come down at the flick of a switch. That doesn’t seem realistic. If you’re in the right zany mood you might find this entertaining but it wasn’t for me.

    THE KILLING OF APOLLO 98p by Jorge Osvaldo

    After 25 pages: Apollo wants to give up the superhero game, but has to stop an army tank driven by Winston, a vet trying to take down the bank that foreclosed on him. While he’s away a junkie kills Apollo’s aged father. In a rage, he takes revenge on the junkie and the meth lab. Meanwhile, another vet-turned-lawyer, Derek, is Winston’s attorney. While briefing him, Apollo arrives at the courthouse looking for Winsto, and nothing’s gonna stop him…

    I didn’t want to stop. This is a well written, fast-paced, superhero action movie with a bit of a twist. No more characters than necessary, good dialogue, clear and concise action paragraphs. Pick of the bunch so far.

    THE TIGER AND THE FIG TREE 107p by Edmund Woods

    After 25 pages: Office drone Peter is the grandson of explorer William Aldrige who was cursed by an Amazon tribe for shtupping the chief’s daughter. The son and grandson are also affected. It brings weakness and bad luck. Peter meets Aldridge’s old assistant, who suggests he go back to the tribe and ask for the curse to be lifted. In the jungle, Peter eats berries and passes out after diarhhoea, waking amongst young tribesmen…

    The writing is okay, but it’s not funny enough. The curse needs to be harder-hitting. ATM Peter just seems to be a little depressed and unlucky, not cursed. There is no romance, unless it will be with Bianca the assistant’s daughte, but there’s no spark there. The assistant changed too suddenly from avoiding Peter because of the curse to helping him. Peter didn’t earn the change. There are no stakes. If Peter fails, he simply goes back to his grey, unfortunate life.

  • shewrites

    For me it’s a toss between The Killing of Apollo (i’d love to hear Carson’s take on it) and the Uneligibles for its very original concept. I found Second Place Hero too goofy for my taste.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Since 2nd Place Hero was getting a lot of love, I cracked it open.
    PAGE ONE was a serious EYESORE for me.

    Your character slugs are screwed up.
    As if the typist just centered the cursor and entered the names.
    “Dead-Eyed Russian” is completely skewed to the right of the page.
    Why, author? It makes your critical opening page look hack.

    It wouldn’t be a big deal, but…
    You follow it up with — six drop-downs!
    So the skewed slugs multiply their way down your first page.

    There’s also starting TEN lines of prose in a row with, “He”. (pages 1 – 2)
    So now there’s a bunch of “He’s” running down the cock-eyed slug page.
    Looks pretty un-pro as well. Show diversity in your word choices.
    Signal to the reader that your prose will be an asset to your tale.

    In addition, the booth at Club Mermaid confused me.
    Your second line says that two heads poke up from the booth’s divider.
    But then — Mr. Pink shows up to join Dead-Eye, who’s sitting alone.
    So, were there two guys in the booth or just one before Pink showed?

    Flowery prose aside, this opener has a bucket of mechanical niggles.
    And all those niggles send too many red flags to readers with tight schedules.

    I’m sure you worked very hard on other aspects of your story.
    But do yourself a huge kindness and fix the proverbial barn door before you paint it up.
    Remove as many red flags as you can to keep us reading.
    Make us forget that we’re looking for reasons to deep-six your script.

    I dig your concept. Good luck, Will.

  • Andrew Mullen

    Here’s the thing Will.

    That is the very definition of padding.

    You told people who do not post here that your script was in the running for review. Only you phrased it in the form of a contest. So they came. With the sole intention of voting for you.

    You stuffed the ballot box for a contest in which the prize is that WE have to take out time we could be doing other things and read your script and review it. Not that you get a contract, but that you get notes.

    Would those people who praised your script stay here and read and give notes on Killing of Apollo or The Tiger and the Fig Tree if you lost? Or would they go, “Hey Man. That’s bullshit that you lost. We all voted for you.” and then never post here again?

    There are 4 other scripts and none of those writers’ mothers are on here talking about how their kid’s script invents new genres. You don’t see the dude from Soulless on here having people say his script gives the blind sight and helps the lame walk. And that dude’s from Nigeria. He could get a dozen of those exiled Princes to write an emails for him. (jokes)

    I’ve read a few pages of your script. It’s not horrible. And that’s with me being extra critical. But what you did wasn’t fair to the other writers who put their scripts up for review and you know it.

    • Joe Marino

      Hey, Andrew! I see what you’re saying but I think this is quite unfair. What you’re saying is essentially we’re not allowed to tell any one of our peers that we got the awesome opportunity of an SS review. Why is that? Why CAN’T we get excited and tell other people what’s happened? Look, Will told me he had gotten on the AF weekend list. I was super excited for him. He didn’t tell me to go on the site. He didn’t say anything other than “look what happened.” It was my prerogative to come here and make a post about it. How is it “padding” to tell other people who love screenwriting as much as you do what’s going on? I know I sure as hell would be going “YEAHHHHHH” all over Zoetrope, Twitter and Facebook. Not because I’m trying to get people to vote, but because I want to celebrate! This idea of what is and isn’t padding is woefully misguided and UTTERLY unfair to Will. There’s no such thing as a gag order when it comes to SS.

      • drifting in space

        I think you’re missing the point (sorry, late to the party). We aren’t saying he can’t celebrate it or post it everywhere. That’s totally cool. But when people come to the site and post things that are heavily favored towards his script WITHOUT having read the others, that defeats the purpose of AmFri which = padding the score. The whole point of this thing is to read all 5 and say which is the best. It isn’t to know the writer and tell us all he’s great. If he IS great, then the script will stand out against the others. In this case, I didn’t think it did. BUT, it was a well-written story and if he keeps at it, dude’s gunna have a bright future.

        • Joe Marino

          I agree, but what’s unfair here is how a few members are A) blaming Will for this, B) saying Will has cheated/manipulated the system (which he hasn’t) and C) trying to get the script disqualified.

          • drifting in space

            I agree on those fronts, for sure. I don’t think he should get any of the blame OR disqualified. As long as the voting takes place based on the merits of each script, it’s all good. I think the problem everyone is having is simply the votes for him with no opinion on the others. But I definitely think his script is worthy of the AmFri praise, even if I didn’t dig it.

  • RO

    I vote for Killing of Apollo. I couldn’t get into it (honestly I found it difficult for any of the scripts main stories to really start before the 15 page mark this week, but that’s just me), but I like the log line and regardless of my failure to stay interested by page 15, I still found the writing to be good.

  • Citizen M

    It’s nice that your fellow writers support you, but I think they should identify in their comments that they are writing as supporters not as critics.

    • drifting in space

      I agree with this. If there is a bias based on “supporting” rather than reading each one and offering an opinion, it should be noted. I know this starts to add rules and regulations to AmFri, but everyone should get a shot at being read. If 1000 people hop on here and say that one script is amazing but didn’t read the others, that’s just fanboys padding the score. Not to entirely say that here as SPH is well-written, it just tilts the game to one side unfairly.

  • MrTibbsLive

    Read Some of Four:

    SOULLESS: Thought this one had the best logline of the bunch and was really curious to take a look. Slightly confused by the first 5 pages, not really sure why the mom is killed and how the boy survived. I’m guessing the organization wanted to raise the boy to become a killer/agent like in the movie Hanna? Some clarification would help this script and the dialogue needs work. But the premise seems interesting.

    THE INELIGIBLES: Read the logline and wanted no parts of this one. But was surprised how engaged I was when I started reading the script. For a script that’s heavy on everything, dialogue, action lines, and page count, things play out pretty interesting. Enjoyed the imagination the writer displayed, then I started to visualize this on screen… I’m not sure watching Muted people on screen will go-over well, considering the high Voice Over element. Also, not sure we need to know every characters eye color (it creeps me out).

    THE KILLING OF APOLLO: The logline is a bit of a stretch for my taste, but on to the script. Thought the opening was nicely done, things are happening and easy to follow along. A tank in one’s backyard is definitely different (lol). Bravo. The writing is very professional, has just the right amount of everything. Would keep reading.

    THE TIGER AND THE FIG TREE: This one reads like a breeze. SO EASY to follow along. Read 10 pages and not once did I have to read a single word twice, that’s never happened before. Also, I really liked the way the writer described the characters, made it easy to picture them in my head. On the comedy side: it’s very delicate comedy (so far), the kind of comedy that doesn’t offend anyone, that could work for or against you. Would most definitely keep reading, but please, change the title.


  • tipofthenose


    Sadly I must say that what this script was missing most of all was soul. SORRY but the title just screamed for it. I am a screenwriter after all.
    I think it is sad with a lot of amateur scripts that most of the time that‘s the biggest weakness. Cause people learn to write action and they learn how to write dialog and both were fine. I never had any problems with the writing. Sure it can be crisper or this or that but hey I got what was going on and that is the important bit. It‘s better then having super cool lyrical lines you have to read five times to get the story.
    But until page 25 I never had the feeling that something surprising would turn the corner. The characters were a little flat to begin with. I think kids are super complicated to get right. The six year old Wesley was almost a bit to smart from time to time. Six years is really young.
    And hey, I am not against people taking a shit in a movie but the placement felt very odd. It was a bit to comical for my taste during that scene. It broke the atmosphere for me. I think you have to be very careful not to sabotage the mood your were setting up. I didn‘t know if it was supposed to be funny or dark.
    Then we follow with a few very generic scenes like a dark Kung Fu figure, turns out it‘s Wesley.
Then this fast and the furious car chase through Dubai. Wesley‘s twin is bad ass? For me this doesn‘t work. Cars crashing and cool stunts don‘t build a character or suspense.
It felt like those were purely writen cause the writer likes that kind of visuals and you can sense that as a writer.
    Then we get the secret Mossad facility. I was out! It was just like an 80ies Bond movie. The shooting range and the strange peptalk from the instructor. The crying agent also felt comical. The characters just never came across as real.
    So what I am trying to say is, you have to decide on the style and mood of your film. Here it felt like every scene was from a different film.
    Also the logline says that they revenge the mother. We only get to see the mother in two scenes and we learn almost nothing about her. If we don‘t care for her, why would we want to revenge her.

    The Ineligibles:

    I started reading, stopped on page 6 and started reading again. So much exposition and so many confusing things packed into VO and talking heads. I never really understood who was living in the forest and if they are still there or not (of course they are! I know that without reading the whole screenplay). Some, like Luna are allowed in the city, some live outside or are extinct????
    I couldn‘t get into the story, it was just too much gimmicks and logic errors. No character or plot. Yes of course we need to get to know the world but subtle, not on the nose.
    It felt like every scene during the first 20 pages was writen to explain someting and that isn‘t fluent storytelling.
    For example: The scene in the bar was there only to show us that some people are mean to her kind. But hey you could have put that in two sentence during the lecture. Like Carson says, combine scenes.
    Then it showed the same problems that „Soulless“ had. We see this guy Rohen in a bad ass mask, in a cool room with swords, on a cool bike and with a cool helmet but that isn‘t character, it is just visuals. I knew right away that the writer loves this and that kills a script. Sure you can have smashing visuals but they have to be woven into the story, they have to support the plot.
    Also I had no idea what this world is like. There was everything! Flying buses, hovering cars, samurai swords, liquid swords, tele-pads, robot helmets, drones and and and… It was just a very weird world and I couldn‘t get my head around it. Future worlds are always to a certain extent made up worlds, but there has to be logic within.

    The script sadly was full of the unmerciful logic erros:

    -Telepathy only works when you see someone or why do they have the tele-pad? Isn‘t it the thing with telepathy that you can just communicated wherever you are??
    -How can you WHISPER in telepathy????
    -The guys in the bar are mean to Luna but it said in the beginnig that there is no more spite in the world. (By the way: To write at the beginning of your script that everything is utopia, kind of kills your script. What should happen in utopia?)
    -Why does everyone have weapons and fights in a peaceful utopia? (The rogues are extinct)
    -Jaiden can‘t help but notice her amazing body?? They clearly have done this a lot before, so he knows her body.
    -Why don‘t they go out in the beautiful nature anymore??? Why is this super high advanced society scared of some rogues who have died out centuries ago??

    These were just a few and I AM NOT WRITING THEM DOWN TO BE MEAN!!!!! It is just that you can‘t have those in your script or the reader is OUT!

    Yes maybe some of this is answered later on but it also has to make sense then and there.

    I also want to address a major missed opportunity. They idea with the telepathy is COOL and if done right can be effective on the big screen. Gives the actors a lot to do!!! I mean it! But now everyone is just talking as if they were talking. When you are constantly in the mind of someone else you can make up a whole new amazing way of talking/communicating that has never been seen before. They KNOW AND FEEL EVERYTHING everybody thinks or feels, that must have changed the way people think and live immensely. You can do so much with that!!!!!!!!

    Second Place Hero:

    24 pages in and there is no action and SORRY no comedy. Just a bunch of totaly unrealistic characters. They all act and talk like I have never heard or seen. It took me a long time to understand what age or which school they are in. Is it a special school for little nerds or for specials?? The russians were just stereotype and the bad guy (pink suit) was bad like a nickelodeon vilain. Yes he shots the principal but hey who cares about the boring principal.
    I don‘t really know where to start because this screenplay was all over the place. Who are we rooting for?? I don‘t really care for or like this Billy. He was so strange and most of the time felt like an 8 year old. I know he was supposed to be the underdog but I thought to myself, HELL yeah he is, he is just an annoying geek.
    And then there were three or four girls, who could be potential love interests. A mean father whom he has to call chief and a Bong smoking teacher??? I wasn‘t laughing but trying to get it all into my head.
    Okay first of all it could be that this is just not my cup of tea BUT I think there was also a lot wrong with structure and character and tone.
    Sadly FOR ME it all started on page 1 and ended when I stopped reading on page 24.

    We have stereotype russian but a quite dark and dangerous set up. This could go seriously wrong if they don‘t make it in 24 hours. Starts good.
    But right after that we jump into a strange school drama rehersal! I had no idea what that scene was about. I couldn‘t connect it to the first one. Also the protagonists were so different. Then it was all about the play and a new movie started.
    At home everything changed again. It was a drama about this boy who had lost his mom and him and his father couldn‘t cope with it. The puppet was so out of place.
    And then this whole hostage situation in the school starts (question: Do you think someone will produce a COMEDY about people getting shot in school?)
    Logic errors started piling up.
Most of all this whole „our school is a fortress“ thing just didn‘t work at all. Is this a real fact. If yes you need to point that out more, that is some unbelievable shit. If not then this is so over the top I just can‘t buy into it. And they have the buttons for that open for everyone to touch.
    And I thought the school is on lock down after the bad guys storm in, but then Billy just sneaks into the school. Wasn‘t he in this other building?
    But before all this he saw the helicopters. He looks straight at them. Yells to his firends, turns back and they are gone????? How fast are these helicopters.
    And I didn‘t buy the overall idea behind this. Why did they need a freaking army of bad guys to find one girl with a tattoo. Just wait until gym class and when they run around look who has a tattoo!!!!!!
    And there was more, so much more that just didn‘t add up.
    An action comedy has to make sense as well. No matter what genre you write or how quirky or how futuristic, your plot has to make sense.

    The Killing Of Apollo

    Oh yes! Here is to everyone who thinks I can only gripe about screenplays. I do like „The Killing Of Apollo“.
    Well I only read until page 38 but let‘s hope it doesn‘t go downhill after that. I can really see that as a very dark super-anit-hero movie. It mixes „superman“ and „Chronicles“ and I think that is something I haven‘t seen yet. Probably Carson has read some scripts like that already but HEY that man has read everything.
    Okay so I really liked the idea and the mood and the clean writing BUT (oh no) I think the whole set up was a wee bit to long.
    This story is about Apollo going bonkers but we have even two more people going bonkers before him. I thought it could be handled in a better way. This whole tank scene was cool and the killing of the father was a good reason for our anti-hero to turn angry but it felt forced.
    I think the reason for that is, that it came out of nowhere. I get why he takes revenge on the drug addict but why start a killing spree after that. He was just this nice guy choping wood. You should show us a little of this anger and madness inside of him before it explodes.
    And (keep in mind I stopped at page 38) why have two strange bad guys in the begining? It was a very long prelude towards the vital decision to take him down. Maybe give us a little more character and less action so that we understand where all this is coming from. PLUS it will create this cool situation in which we actually are rooting for both. That takes it to another level. I was feeling with Apolo when his dad was killed but then he just started killing random people and that made him more and more the asshole. But if you have this torn character it can be really cool. We want him stopped but we also feel with him.
    Just my humble thoughts.

    The Tiger And The Fig Tree

    Didn‘t read the logline of any of these scripts. But just from the title I was waiting for Chow Jun-Fat to jump out of a fig tree :-)
    Sadly the script could really need some Chow Jun-Fat. I only made it until page 10. It is sunday and I read four scripts and the sun is shining so yes TTATFT didn‘t have it easy. Still I really wanted to give it a shot but after ten pages of office talk and a depressed man in the rain, I got depressed myself. The only mystery was a shaking hand. SORRY that isn‘t enough. Yes the father left, but that felt just dickish. Really you leave your 8 year old son in a museum??????? Even if you want to protect him from something that is just an ass move. At least leave him to someone who will take care of him.
    Okay I am not commenting on the overall screenplay but the first 10 pages were not for me.

    • kenglo

      It’s Chow Yun Fat

      • tipofthenose

        Hey thanks! What a blooper! I even checked it on the internet (STUPID INTERNET) and must have gotten the only one entry where it was wrong!!! Well, I will leave it like it is to show my human imperfection :-)

  • klmn

    I opened them all and the only one that intrigues me is The Killing of Apollo. It gets my vote.

  • klmn

    One general comment. It looks like the writers are focused on their protagonist’s flaws this week. We’ve got telepathy inadequate, bipolar, and PTSD. And that’s just from the loglines.

  • drifting in space

    Okay, I read the first 10-15 for all of them. My vote is for The Killing of Apollo. I have to get back to my project and have already been distracted all morning with Animal Crossing (don’t judge LOL) but I jotted down some notes for each one.

    PRO TIP (from a total non-pro): A quick way to start your dialogue off on the right track is… Don’t have people that know each other use first names so much. If my wife and I are talking, we don’t say “Michael” and “Lisa” at the start of each line. A lot of amateurs do this. “Michael, you know I hate when you avoid doing the dishes”, “But Lisa, you know I hate washing the plates”. That isn’t how dialogue flows. It also eliminates any chance of subtext. I’m not chastising anyone; this was just a note I received on my work.

    Anyway, here are my quick reviews:

    Souless: Too many quirks in the first 10 pages brought me out of the story. Faulty character descriptions at the beginning. A page of dialogue to start, rest of the dialogue is very on the nose, EX: “We’ve known each other approx. 25 years now, Shandra”. People don’t talk like that. Action lines could use some work.

    The Ineligibles: Pretty good. Well written. A few typos but nothing distracting. Story and dialogue are a little clunky. Some mouth words, some don’t, some echo? I may be missing something but if it isn’t entirely clear to the reader it may get passed.

    The Killing of Apollo: I read to page 10 without really thinking about it. Liking the story, although it is similar to the death of Superman comic. With the title of “Killing of Apollo” I’m fearing that I can predict the plot, lol. Not a knock against the writer or story at all. I just so happened to have read that comic. Needless to say, it reads fast and I was intrigued. Since I’m only reading the first 10-15, I’m going to stop there but I want to keep reading.

    Second Place Hero: Overly but well written. Tough balance. Story is moving too slowly, but could lead to something. Dialogue seems okay, not terribly on the nose, moves fluidly enough for a good read. Action lines are succint and keep the story going, even if nothing really seems to be happening. Not exactly drawn in to keep reading.

    The Tiger and the Fig Tree: Something subliminal is distracting me during this read. I don’t know if it’s the overwhelming amount of dialogue in the beginning or the story itself. Might be a good read but I can’t get into it.

  • K.B. Houston

    Second Place Hero

    First of all, I think there should be a hyphen in the title between the first two words. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong…

    I liked the description. I liked the concept. But after reading the controversy below I had to check it out for myself.

    The writer clearly has talent. Great vocab (except for the overuse of the word “unctuous”) and understanding of grammar/punctuation. He obviously knows what he’s doing. So technically, all is well.

    My problems with the script:

    It claims to be a comedy yet I’m 25 pages in and have read only one semi-funny scene, which was the opener. There’s also a lot of cliches. However, my biggest problem is categorizing the main character as bi-polar. It just seems like a crutch to make Billy do “crazy” things that he normally wouldn’t. Does the writer really understand the effects of being bi-polar? Does the writer realize that the chances of someone being diagnosed as bi-polar in their mid teens is incredibly rare? Furthermore, does the writer realize just how difficult life would be as a bi-polar teen trying to navigate their way through high school while simultaneously trying to cope everything going through their head? (In what world would a whole class make fun of someone for being bi-polar, and how would anybody in high school even know about it?) Life as a bi-polar teen would in no way be comedic; it would be living hell. For these reasons, making an action/comedy where the main character is an already-diagnosed bi-polar teen just doesn’t compute.

    Again, this writer has tons of talent, tons of potential. If he can avoid cliches and stay away from crutches he might do well for himself down the road. But a bit of advice: Unless your film is entirely centered around mental illness, you’re better off staying away from it. Mental illness isn’t just some minor difficulty you mention from time to time; it’s your ENTIRE life. A film about it must be written the exact same way.

  • Midnight Luck

    Some thoughts on the Logline’s and their interest for getting a reader to move forward:

    The only logline working in this group is

    TTaTFT: The Tiger And The Fig Tree

    it has humor and interest.

    all the others are a mash of parts that do not work together, or make any sense.

    “partner with his Clone” – does this mean a ‘real’ clone? I thought this was a joke. So is this a serious script or a comedy? or sci-fi? so we have a Mercenary exacting revenge, a mothers multiple murderer’s, a black op’s agent, AND some secret intel op, AND throwing in that he has a clone? all within a logline? so what is it about?

    Not interested in reading based on this.

    The Ineligibles

    What is a Telepathy-inadequate Genius? and why must we be saved from this odd mixture of not-at-all-scary sounding hyphens? and how does being stranded come into this, and how does being an Ancient Studies work in this? A Utopian future? and why are they venturing into the wilderness, what does that have to do with any of it? and is a worldwide blackout a problem? when we can all talk without electricity?

    I don’t see what the problem is, or again, what the story is about. It is a mish-mash of a bunch of stuff thrown together, adding up to nothing. Not interested in reading based on this.

    Second Hand Hero

    So many parts of these Loglines are thrown in as if they should mean something so Amazing or Important, but they are confusing or mean nothing.

    How does being Bipolar affect anything in the rest of the log? is it Ironic? no. Is it detrimental? What does it have to do with being a theater geek? does the writer know what it means to be Bipolar? (Biploar? not sure if that is writer’s mistake or Carson’s). Battle a band of goons? That tells me nothing, who are they? why do they want to kidnap a classmate. Is it a comedy, or is it dangerous? How does being a Bipolar Theater Geek mean anything in this?

    Doesn’t interest me to read based on this.

    Killing of Apollo

    Ok, this one would be the only other one I might read. It has some interest, but, it still has some issues.

    If they are a superhero, why are they serving vicious justice? and does that mean to Good people or to bad? and if to bad, why does this person have to bring them down. And what does being PTSD suffering mean to this? Why are all these loglines just throwing in some “problem” in a generic way, that doesn’t really seem to mean anything to the logline? Sounds like it might be an important issue, but it really isn’t. Doesn’t add any issue that we can see that is obvious or problematic. And again, we have a Special Ops person, is everyone in Seal Team 6 or special ops or some other ultra specialized, military, jarhead type fighting group? and again, why are they fighting a hero?

    again, maybe i will take a chance, but so far doesn’t interest me.

    so, while the TTaTFT logline isn’t perfect, it sure is more succinct and interesting and better put together than the rest. makes me more intrigued to read it.

    The Tiger and The Fig Tree

    In a last ditch effort to save his crumbling life, Peter travels to the Amazon to plead with the native tribe who cursed his family, and is sent home with the village’s witch doctor, in training, to help defeat the curse.

  • TomG

    This week is kind of exciting. We have two genre-bending action scripts stretching our notions of what’s allowed (and what feels rewarding). Both are very well written. Screenplays that test these boundaries are often great fun to discuss but not often convincing. One that really made me uncomfortable (i.e. do I understand the market at all?) was ’21 Jump Street.’ I hated it (I think because I have trouble with movies that spoof genres but still expect me to care about the caricature cast). That movie was a HUGE success. I think both of the movies here care a great deal about their characters. Whether we do or not, I suspect, is much more subjective than it is for traditional genre films.

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    Ten pages of each. Again I haven’t read the loglines and genres and “why should you read.” Soulless and The Ineligibles didn’t grab my attention. Second Place Hero has a very confusing first page, but gets better after it. The Killing of Apollo has some good surprises in the first ten. The tank (it could’ve used more mystery in that scene, though) and the fact that I wasn’t expecting a superhero movie — loved the helicopter scene. The Tiger and the Fig Tree has some weird formatting. The dialogue column is way too wide, and it’s clocking at 108 pages? Imagine how long it would be with proper formatting. Still, it kept my interest.

    All in all, none screamed “READ ME NOW!” But that may be because I’m very tired. So if I had to pick one, I would go with The Killing of Apollo.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      It looks like Apollo is the choice. I had some serious reservations with the dialogue in the second half, and will try to go into detail and create a dialogue (pun intended) about it once everyone had a chance to read the whole thing. I think carson would highlight his usual concern of writers focusing on their first half edits more than the second half, because people tend to read / edit from the top down. Still it is a cool genre, I kind of liked hancock, but I had the unending desire for it to be so much more than it was. Fortunately the writer can easily handle a rewrite with the innumerable indights ss people provide. Writing is rewriting!

      • Gregory Mandarano

        On a side note, did anyone else have to change their pantaloons after breaking bad tonight?

      • Jorge Osvaldo

        I’d kill for notes from you Gregory. I’ve read your constructive criticisms on other scripts, and I know I would benefit from your suggestions. I would gladly hear anything you have to say on how to improve the dialogue, or any other shortcomings you have found in my work. Thanks again for taking the time to read my screenplay.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          It’s ok Jorge. You don’t have to be lured by the dark side to get some notes from me. I’ll reread your script to do an in depth analysis and email you later this week with notes and ideas. But just so you I’m making a minor change. Like instead of hancock being a big black guy he’s gonna be a small chinese man… ;)

          • Jorge Osvaldo

            Awesome. Thanks!

  • FilmingEJ

    Wow, that’s actually kind of pathetic.

  • lonestarr357

    SECOND PLACE HERO – Just finished it, so I’m still trying to process it. By now, people may have posted more eloquent thoughts, but, in short, Carson, review this. Do not think. Just do it.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Yeah and what did you think of the other entries pray tell?

      • lonestarr357

        Didn’t know we had to read all of them. Weird.

        Believe me or not, but I’ve never heard of Will Hare before this weekend. I just read the script that sounded most appealing to me.

        It’d be a shame if something like this got brushed aside because of suspected padding…and some piece of trash like REUNION or FATTIES gets a moment in the sun.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Yeahhhhh…. Fatties was a great script.

  • Jorge Osvaldo

    A friend also asked me if I was writing a reboot of Rocky IV. I said it no, but it’s just as awesome.

  • Jorge Osvaldo

    Awesome. Thanks for the pointers. And I’m always down to read my peers’ work. When you’re ready for notes send me a message.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Just to play devil’s advocate on this…

      I think a longer title can work for you. So many movies have generic, short titles. When a movie like “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” came along, my ears kind of perked up at the title alone, because it didn’t sound like every other movie in the theater. It was intriguing. It hits the ear differently than all the other titles it’s competing against.

      Now, sure, there’s something to be said for keeping it short and sweet, and for having a self-explanatory title (especially in comedy, where the title often contains the whole premise of the movie). And the title would probably get changed anyway once you sell the script and it’s out of your power. But if you think it’s a strong title and might help it stand out, that might be okay.

  • jaehkim

    it seems it’s between killing apollo and second place hero. I liked killing apollo the best, if not for its simple easy descriptions. I tried reading the other scripts but they didn’t catch my interest.

    killing of apollo (winner)

    cool concept. I liked the descriptions, they were easy to read and understand.
    why are there no ages given to any of the characters? I think the story starts off too
    slow and jumps around too much. maybe cut down on the characters and combine some scenes.
    a farm boy superhero feel bit too much like superman. the story needs something to distinguish itself, like hancock did with a drunk will smith in the city.
    once the story gets its footing with evil apollo and derek it gets smoother. I liked the action scenes and they were such a breeze to read. very nicely done.

    second place hero. (first 10 pages)

    I had to read the first page twice. I read kinda fast so I like clarity in character naming and descriptions. I had trouble discerning who was in the scene and who was doing the actions.

    characters and dialogue felt underdeveloped. it’s just my opinion so don’t take this to heart, but billy’s character didn’t feel like a first person’s perspective. he’s running into so many characters and billy doesn’t feel more developed than the others so it felt like I was looking at billy from different character’s perspectives. also, the dialogue felt unrealistic at times.
    Sorry, sir. Bad night.

    The audition.

    I should be the leading man.

    No shame in being second.

    this dialogue felt like one liners being read, not an actual conversation.

  • NajlaAnn

    The Killing of Apollo

    I read the first few pages and am impressed with the dialogue. I’ll go with this one.

  • peisley

    Well, I did the requisite ten page minimum read on each, but, honestly, I can’t get past the concepts to read any further. It’s not necessarily the writing quality. There’s an overriding sense the writers are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, in to get a rise out of the reader. Have you guys tried pitching these ideas out loud to people you know? I don’t mean agents or managers, just people you feel comfortable with? My guess is there’d be a lot of stumbling around trying to explain things. That said, I give you all credit for finishing them and being open to feedback. Soulless is the closest if I had to pick, which I’m reluctant to because it’s not for the story but because of the voice. There’s something there. Some interesting turn of phrase or whatever that kind of sticks with you. My advice, for what it’s worth, Gbolahan, is to write something more genuinely personal and simple. Good luck to all.

  • MaliboJackk

    I don’t think WH did anything wrong.
    Have to agree with Joe Marino. People are going to tell their friends.
    I would too — if Carson wasn’t so hung up against Nazi robots and clones of Adolph Hitler.
    Hey, I’m not trying to pick a fight with my good buddy JB12. Nor anyone else. Just an opinion.
    If some unknown pops up raving about a script — take it with a grain of salt.
    And if I say I vote for a script and I only read two pages — well hell, I’m lazy.

    But here’s what bothers me.
    All these people raving about a script they read.
    How did they miss the god-awful first page?
    A spelling mistake on the second line? Really? No one saw that? Two heads popup from behind a blue booth. What?? … carrying a can. What kind of can? Two characters doing bad impersonations of Russians. What’s with that… ?
    Every scene in a script is supposed to count. Even your first page.

    Ok. Everybody mad at me now?
    We’re good.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      Selling pitchforks and torches. Email for discounts.

    • Kirk Diggler

      It was an aqua booth….. which just made me think of water. The bad Russian accented villain who seems to be talking to himself or to no one in particular is a bit ridiculous. it all seems a bit cartoonish, particularly the pink suit guy. for me it started dragging a little around page 10 to 15. imagine if John Hughes directed Die Hard? why would I want to? it’s like saying imagine if Brett Ratner directed La Strada….. no thanks. as far as thevote stacking goes, is it cheating? perhaps not but it’s just plain unethical.

      • MaliboJackk

        Bred Ratner directing La Strada.
        I might go see that.

  • kenglo

    Here here…First saw and reviewed this script on Zoey. It’s definitely worth the read. If others are more enthusiastic about the work, then that’s them. I wouldn’t think Will would be one to goad others into building up Hype. Just my opinion.

  • rocksuddhi

    I have sort of a random question; if one of my scripts was an Amateur Offering before and wasn’t selected for a read, should I even bother trying to resubmit it?

    • klmn

      I’d like to know that too.

    • Lauren

      Yes, please resubmit! The best way to get the most out of a ‘second chance’ submission is to make sure your “why you should read” will convince the SS community (and me + Carson) to read it again (i.e. did you make major changes as suggested during the weekend your script was displayed previously? etc). It’s nice to have familiar material up once in a while because it makes for great discussion as to whether or not you as the writer have improved certain elements of the work, and how. That being said, make sure your new draft is up-to-date and shows you’ve worked to change it for the better, or else its ‘second chance’ will be moot.

      Good luck! :)

  • ElectricDreamer

    And here’s another piece to the Second Place Hero buzz puzzle…
    As of today, it’s a featured amateur script on The Black List.

    Congrats, Will.

    That may up your chances of getting on Carson’s radar.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Membership is required on The Black List.
    It showed up in the form of an e-mail notification.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Cracked open Apollo, since it seems the other likely candidate…

    First page — exponentially cleaner and and clearer than Hero’s opener.

    Two deputy sheriffs. Observant. Cautious. I believe they’re police officers.
    The demonstrate small town sympathy for the victim.
    No cop enjoys enforcing eviction notices. The dialogue doesn’t trip anything up.
    In other words — it all makes sense.

    I’d kill that “Empty.” on page three.
    Forgotten which room the old man was in.
    Something like… “Empty. No trace of the armed old man.”
    But still, this is just a small niggle.

    No age on main character?

    What’s the point of leaving that out?

    Thomas could be 15 – 50 years old for all I know.
    So, I stopped reading and went back to check. Nope. Zip.
    Now, instead of reading your story, I have to go back and fact check.
    I can’t fathom any reason that would be beneficial to leave this data out.

    I guess Bianca is oblivious to the news reports playing in the house?
    Seems needlessly dumb to keep her ignorant. Why doesn’t she see the TV reports?

    It would play better if she scolded her superhero son upon his return.
    And he gently accepts it and apologizes to his ailing mother.
    A filial son torn between loyalty and duty.

    We might actually develop feelings for folks that way. As in, get invested.
    If he’s superhero-strong but still takes static from his sick mom with a smile.

    He’s lovable. Period. Just a thought.

    Especially if you’re going to make her life miserable soon with a dead spouse.

    In The Dead Zone, the super-human’s actions causes his mom to have a stroke.

    The junkie angle feels so impersonal here.

    Whereas, in Dead Zone, the protag feels indirectly responsible for his mom’s death.
    That guy, has cause to go crazy.

    Random junkie doesn’t sell as well on the page. It’s random.

    Based on the first fifteen of this and 2nd Hero… I go with APOLLO.

    The script’s got very familiar ingredients — but blends them well.
    Putting on my Producer Hat, that’s where the biggest problem comes in though…

    Trying to launch a new superhero origin story is not smart marketing.
    Everyone in the industry relies on existing branding for such projects.
    It’s their accepted way of justifying the cost of such expensive tentpoles.
    I wish you the best, pehaps the “take down the hero” angle will suffice to be fresh.

    While I preferred Hero’s ingredients, the pages didn’t come together for me.

    John Hughes kids were normal and didn’t need plot breathing down their neck to emote.
    I don’t get that vibe from Will’s kids. They’re loaded with quirk and movie refs.

    And I think it’s a precarious sell — too close to “Masterminds” & “Toy Soldiers”.
    Doesn’t carry the emotional weight of “Taps” and its student-imposed lockdown either.

    Good luck to the candidates.

  • ChadStuart

    Well, I only got to one of these scripts, The Killing of Apollo. Overall I liked it. I think it’s a refreshing conceit to the Superhero genre. However, I think there’s still a few more drafts that need to be squeezed out of it before it’s ready for primetime.

    First, let me say that I don’t think that this will be an outright sale. Without an established Comic Book character, this isn’t something that studios will be willing to throw a marketing budget behind. But, I do think the writing here is strong enough that the writer can get some jobs off of it.

    I really enjoyed the writing style. It’s clean and clear. Less is always more when writing, and this adheres to it beautifully. The structure is also right on target, and I think the page count is beautiful (I don’t think scripts should be longer than 100 pages, myself). But here are some areas that need work in the next draft:

    Add Mystery to it. This could be accomplished by rearranging the timeline. We learn Apollo’s motives first, and then Derek’s team has to discover them. This puts the audience/reader in the unenviable position of always being ten steps ahead of the main characters. The reason Apollo goes nuts is great, but don’t give it away right up front. Just have him snap and no one knows why. Don’t let us know about his alter-ego until Derek knows about it. The audience should discover the backstory at the same time as Derek. (You might also want to make his parents be a little bit different than Superman’s, because then we’ll guess it too easily and be right back in front of the characters again.) Basically, you have it way too front loaded. By page 30, your story is told and the next 60 pages is just explosions. Throw in a red herring like at first they suspect that his arch nemesis did something to make him go bad, but then it turns out that it’s just because his dad was the victim of a random crime.

    Throw a couple of twists in there. The script is very straightforward. There are no twists nor surprises to it. In fact, you give the ending away in the title. As just mentioned, use red herrings to lead us off the scent before you get to the real reason Apollo took a nutty. The story right now is that a group of military operatives set out to kill a superhero, and that’s what they do. Stories should rarely wind up exactly where they say they’re going to go. Look at “The Godfather”. Michael starts out saying that he wants nothing to do with the family business, and doesn’t want to be like his father. But then every choice he makes leads him to being WORSE than his father (by the end of Part II). Fro instance, Derek never sees his sister die. What if Wesley was lying and using that as a ploy to get Derek to go along on this hunt? Or, more obviously, what if Apollo isn’t killed at the end?

    Hide motivations. Wesley’s turn is obvious and not very interesting. So, what if his actual motivaton was hidden? What if he really wants to capture Apollo for the government. What if they see this as their chance to grab a beloved superhero to dissect and discover his powers to try and make weapons out of them? I know that a cliche route, but if you follow that train of thought you will eventually reach a thought that’s original and unique. Each character needs another layer of complexity added to them, especially Avery who is just stock love interest.

    In fact, this could really spice up the scene where Wesley takes out Derek. There are two other characters involved, Ian and Avery, who only after the fact voice their concerns. Wouldn’t they get involved while it was happening? If they really objected to Wesley going the route he did (chain of command or not), wouldn’t they step it and stop him? Action reveals character, not words. You have them saying they object, but we need to see them do it.

    I think that’s a good start to give you some more food for thought. I think in one or two drafts you’ll have a stellar writing sample. Good luck!

    • Jorge Osvaldo

      Thank you for the great notes, Chad. An earlier draft of my story was structured as a mystery-thriller, but I got notes suggesting to reduce the flashbacks because they slowed the pace down.

      I arrived at the current structure out of my obsession and admiration of Breaking Bad. In case you’re not familiar with the show, their stories are linear, with all the cards on the table. It is a series of escalating events, with no deviations, that lead to an inevitable end. The mystery comes from the viewer asking, “How will it happen?” instead of, “What’s going to happen?”

      Nevertheless, I was very impressed with your suggestions. I think that I can write something that can maintain a relentless pace while adding some mystery. If I took the next draft in that direction, I don’t suppose I can get you to read it :)

      • ChadStuart

        Hi Jorge. No, I agree with whomever said flashbacks were bad. They are. I don’t want you to add flashbacks. I would just say don’t show Apollo’s secret identity, and what happens to his dad. Hide that. Have the team discover that. It’s okay to have that in dialogue later when they discover the man’s grave. It’s a case where you really can tell and not show.

        But, also, I think you should remember the words of Stephen King whenever you’re getting feedback. If only one person says something, feel free to ignore it. But if many people say it, then you should listen. That doesn’t mean that you should do exactly what they say to improve it, but figure out the underlying message to the criticism and invent your own way to solve that issue. In this case, I’d say going with a “how did it happen” approach is wrong. You should figure out a way to add mystery.

        • Jorge Osvaldo

          This is excellent advice. When a dozen fellow writers tell me to polish the dialogue, add more mystery, and include stronger motivations for my character’s actions, I know I better listen.

          I’m hard at work on a new draft that includes these suggestions. This experience has been invaluable in my education, and I know my writing will benefit greatly from it. Thanks again.

  • Linkthis83

    Honestly, I think it comes down to HOW you are trying to be different and making sure it fits story-wise. Yes, that is a bold/different way for a hit to take place, but is it too far? Will people be turned off by it or interested. It also probably comes down to who is reading the script. Obviously there are movies out there that utilize this style of boldness and don’t worry about repercussions. Like the Statham movies or Fast and Furious. If Yaakov is a bold character, then put him in a scenario where he can still assassinate in a bold fashion but still fits within the framework of the story.

    This also comes down to my preferences. I prefer more of the story-related style action scenes as opposed to the ones who take a scene and make it look cool. My interpretation of the scene goals are that you need a hit to take place and you want to convey this character’s style. Other than that, the rest feels like it’s being showy because you wanted to be showy. I’m just one opinion among many. I was impressed with other aspects of your story and your ability. I think you should figure out what your overall goal is for telling this story and try to always make each scene work towards that goal.

    Thanks for submitting it, letting me read and congrats on at least making it to the AF showdown. Good luck to you!!

    • Gbolahan Akitunde

      I understand your issue with that scene and I absolutely agree. I prefer story-related action sequences too. Even the crazy sex scene later on in the script was only included to drive the story forward. With that Yaakov scene, I totally lost my way and fell victim to the pull of The Cool. Lol. Hope it hasn’t ruined my chances of getting it reviewed by Carson though. In any case, Thank You again for the honest and considerate criticism, Linkthis. I really appreciate it :)

  • peisley

    There’s that famous quote, which I unfortunately did not write, “the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” Good luck on the next one. I hope to read it here soon.