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.
GENRE: Contained Sci-Fi Thriller
LOGLINE: When an elite team of Allied forces assault a top secret research facility, they become trapped underground with a sadistic Nazi Colonel and a mysterious Machine which allows him to switch bodies, turning the team against one another as they desperately try to survive.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “Echovault is a contained thriller with a strong hook, interesting characters ,and edge of your seat twists: the perfect low budget script to get two blokes from Australia noticed. We are a writing partnership from downunder and believe being featured on Scriptshadow would be great exposure, as well as a means to get extra notes from the Scriptshadow community. Please don’t hold back; we’ve been bred tough, boxing kangaroos and wrestling crocodiles, so go ahead and throw us to the Scriptshadow wolves.”
TITLE: THE SUPERNATURAL
GENRE: Mystery Suspense
LOGLINE: When a group of reality show ghost hunters films their latest episode on a haunted ship, they’ll find more than they bargained for and now must uncover the ship’s checkered past to find a way for all to get out alive.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “After placing in high percentages in all of the competitions known to man (including as a finalist – top 8 scripts – in a fairly well known competition) the one comment I’d receive over and over and over again was, “this is great writing, but it’s just not commercial writing.” With all of the conversation on internet writing forums about “what to write” or “do you write what you love or what will sell” or “can you be discovered writing something that isn’t commercial” I set out to do something completely different than anything else I’d written in the past, focusing mainly on the commercial aspect of the script (because essentially my experience had taught me, a great script that isn’t commercial is likely to get you less along the path than a not so great script that is). Of course, that was just my experience and obviously a topic of great debate among many. A topic, not likely to be settled any time soon.
Thus, I set out to do something simplistic with “mass appeal” on a light PG-13 basis, shot in just about a singular location, with mystery, suspense, and a little fright built in (an obvious focal point on the trailer). Given the interest in “ghost-themed” reality shows (and the obvious success of Paranormal Activity), I thought this would be a good place to start, but of course, I don’t believe in this stuff, so I thought what a great protag to have leading this “show”. Someone who doesn’t believe in what he’s doing, is doing it for a specific reason that has nothing to do with ghosts and ultimately must face down what he doesn’t believe in order to survive and save the day.
I’m interested in people’s reactions to something like this, where a writer chooses to cognitively go after the commercial aspect of a topic, and build it from the ground up with all of the aforementioned in mind, rather than just “writing what I love.”
LOGLINE: An Allied World War II squad travels back in time to Ancient Egypt, where they must help the pharaoh defeat a supernatural army that threatens to destroy his kingdom.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “AFTERWORLD made the rounds at Paramount in 2011 but was rejected because they were working on a similar idea. It made the Semifinals in the 2013 Bluecat Screenplay Competition and has been described by a Blacklist reviewer as, “a well-written and well-conceived story/script that is plenty commercial.” The full script and first ten pages are attached.”
TITLE: Against Time
LOGLINE: To land the job of his dreams, a low-level security guard joins a ragtag team in an attempt to rescue a kidnapped scientist. But to do so, they must take an experimental drug that reverses time.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “A couple of months ago, you wrote an article about PDA (Producer, Director, Actor), and I believe that Against Time is a great project for all of them. Its action sequences happen in a backward world, making it incredibly visual — a director’s wet dream. It only takes two seconds in a trailer to stun the audience, and the story is both compelling and simple, making it very easy to market. Also, it has “franchise” written all over it, which is something every producer is looking for. And for the actor we have a main character who goes from a good-natured low-level security guard to “chosen one” — a little like The Matrix, but with some twists.”
TITLE: Coldwater Canyon
GENRE: Modern Film Noir
LOGLINE: A hard drinking, divorced homicide detective investigates the murder of the son of his older brother, who hasn’t spoken to him in years, and ends up learning some shattering truths.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “I think you should review my script because a modern film noir seems like something you don’t normally review on amateur Friday. And…it’s got HARD BOILED DETECTIVES! GUNS! DOUBLE CROSSING DAMES! DIRTY COPS! STRIPPERS! and MORE!
Also, I’ve sent this out to people I know and have gotten good feedback, but I feel like people are being too nice. From personal experience, I know it can be tough to be completely honest and critical about a friend’s work, and I know that you won’t hold back and will tear my screenplay apart, which is what I need.”