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: Echovault
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.”

TITLE: Afterworld
GENRE: Action/sci-fi
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
GENRE: Action/Sci-Fi
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.”

  • Poe_Serling

    ScriptShadow is firing on all cylinders this weekend – a tip of my hat to Carson and company (I’m pretty sure that Ms. SS puts together the newsletter).

    What a great batch of loglines… not only eye-catching but all right in my wheelhouse.

    >>>Echovault – Nazis on the loose again and this time with a mysterious Machine in
    tow. I must say it sort of reminds me of one of my favorite AF projects from earlier this year: The Still.

    **Here’s a recent article on why Nazis continue to be the cinema’s top villains:

    http://www.studiosystemnews.com/choosing-the-safest-villain-for-your-film-nazis/

    >>>The Supernatural – Of course, I love all those paranormal reality shows. This one
    features a ghost hunting team doing their thing on a ‘Queen Mary’-like ship. Color my scared already.

    >>>Afterworld – The Mummy meets The Final Countdown. Plus, there’s the time travel
    element. Gotta wonder who had to twist Carson’s arm to get this script added to the AOW list. ;-)

    >>>Against Time – written by longtime SS commenter Rafael Silva e Souza. It’s nice to see him get a shot at his own AF spotlight with such an intriguing project.

    >>>Coldwater Canyon – a big, big fan of film noir. And as the writer points out, ‘…because a modern film noir seems like something you don’t normally review on amateur Friday.”
    Enough said.

    So, after reading the first ten pages of each…

    My pick: THE SUPERNATURAL.

    For me, there’s just something oddly appealing about exploring a haunted ship named Lost At Sea.

    And, oh, just one other quick thought: With the TV show Supernatural still airing new episodes, perhaps Lost at Sea might be a better title for the script at this moment.

    • klmn

      News flash for Poe. The Nazis lost. WWII is over. Done. Stick a fork in it.

      • Poe_Serling

        lol. Don’t tell those poor Confederates still fighting The Battle of the Wilderness in The Still.

    • GeneralChaos

      Yes Poe, we know you have a link for anything and everything that gets talked about here.

      • gazrow

        I for one, enjoy Poe’s “links” and his obvious love of film and all things related to screenwriting. I’m also guessing by the large number of up votes he consistently gets, that I’m not the only one who appreciates him and his efforts!

        Perhaps if you weren’t so negative all the time, you might get the occasional up vote instead of the frequent down votes that you so richly deserve!

        • GeneralChaos

          I’ll strive to richly earn more upvotes.
          Speaking of rich, here’s a link to some calcium-rich foods! Yum!

          http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-calcium-rich-foods

          • gazrow

            Thanks for the link! Good job I’m not lactose intolerant! In fact, it’s generally only mean-minded folks and idiots that I’m intolerant of!

  • Matthew Garry

    ECHOVAULT

    Here we are, all trying to analyse scripts, reading articles, day after day trying to figure out what makes a script tick. And now, it turns out, all that was really needed to write a good script is boxing kangaroos and wrestling crocodiles.

    “Echovault” was written by a writing partnership. I’d venture to say that whenever one was writing, the other one was proofreading, spellchecking, and generally critically questioning what’s going on in the plot. And it shows in the result that double effort went in to creating it.

    Something is always happening, and stakes get refreshed and upped throughout. There’s always action or suspense, and sometimes both, so there’s really no time to get bored or question the scientific validity of some plot devices.

    The only things that felt bland when compared to the screenplay are the logline and the title. I really couldn’t find the term “echovault” resonate anywhere. And “a mysterious Machine which allows him to switch bodies” made me think of 50s sci-fi, with nothing else in the logline really grabbing my interest.

    Some general notes:

    -I found the first scenes until they get on the elevator a little complicated. A lot of characters are introduced (some up to three times, as FIGURES, PATROLMEN and by name), and I had to read it over a few times to figure out who was who, and what they were doing where during the action. The writing’s unambiguous, but maybe a light brush-up can make things clearer while keeping the scenes intact.

    -Schneider’s plan for trapping the remaining Allies in the A room right before the midpoint felt a bit ad-hoc. Maybe there is another way to get the Allies in that position that doesn’t feel as random.

    -Jonesy’s and Fish’s conversation on page 21 could be clearer. It wasn’t until I got to the pay off about Jonesy’s wife that I understood what Jonesy had meant by “It wouldn’t be the same.”

    Some details:

    Page 6. “The team switch back on” I couldn’t make out what that meant.

    Page 35. SCHNEIDER/WEBSTER changes to just WEBSTER within a conversation. When reading dialogue, a reader sometimes switches to pattern-recognition (instead of reading the name) for the cue lines to follow along (that’s why writers are advised to use visually distinctive names). Changing the name mid conversation can take someone out of the dialogue, even if it’s clear who’s speaking.

    Page 62. Anna walks out of the room, but responds as if she’s still in the room.

    Page 87. “The SOUNDS of the NAZI_S_”

    Overall, considering the aimed-for budget, I can see why a producer might be inclined to think “Why not?”, instead of the default “Why ?”

    • Matthew Garry

      COLDWATER CANYON

      A nice example of noir, that didn’t just incorporate some of the more popular hallmarks, but had the whole plot work towards the genre as well.

      The two main things that negatively stood out to me were:
      -Vera wasn’t “dame” enough for me. It would have worked better for me if she’d been a little older. That would also provide for a more natural match-up with Howard later on. But irrespective of her age her character wasn’t quite mature enough to be a match for Howard’s; a dame shouldn’t be just a mystery box with nice legs. She should present a well of unknown dangers and mysteries, one of which the detective has an interest in, another one which he takes an interest in, and the rest of them he wants to stay far away from, but gets to deal with anyway.

      -The pacing is slow. While at times that works, the lack of urgency only grows worse as the plot progresses. Take for example Tommy’s death: he tails someone and gets shot, and the story moves on. It’s almost as if that scene is inserted only to progress the plot (which is true for most scenes, but it shouldn’t come across as if that’s the only purpose).
      I use Tommy’s death as an example because I feel it easily could have had some urgency added, with, say, Howard desperately trying to catch up with Tommy because he feels it’s going to end badly. We see Howard, we see Tommy, we’re participating in a race to see if Howard can get to Tommy before whatever Howard’s afraid of will happen. And _then_ Howard’s too late and finds a dead Tommy lying in the rain instead of Howard having to look Tommy up in a morgue after the fact. Try to get the main protagonist involved in all the main plot points if possible, even if the outcome is the same.

      Some things I’m not sure about:
      -The flashbacks were a bit of a hit and miss affair. I thought there were too many of them, and not a lot of them added information that was needed. I think they contributed to the slow pacing as well.

      -Howard’s in-character penchant for classical noir, and the many references to it were a bit too much and distracting at times.

      -A lot of very elaborate parentheticals. It shouldn’t be too hard to give those their own action line.

      One scene I particularly liked was the dinner with his ex-wife. A lot about Howard was told without being said. That one worked very well for me.

      I also enjoyed the happy-tragic ending with the message that nothing ever changes, so if you’re going to drink yourself to death, you might as well do it in a sunny place where the booze is cheap.

      Details:
      p53,69,79, page break after parenthetical.

      Overall I enjoyed it as a genuine Noir movie, but with the slow pace and the limited action I imagine it’s going to have a hard time finding traction.

    • Matthew Garry

      My vote for this week goes to ECHOVAULT

      For the remaining three screenplays:

      “The Supernatural”
      Very well written, but it took me a few pages to catch on the target audience was children. Once I got in the right mindset, it was nicely suspenseful and exciting, a pleasant read. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as fun as it could have been.

      Trent was fleshed out well, but the rest of the SPLIT team wasn’t particularly quirky and likable, and didn’t provide for comic relief. Maybe that was the intention, but I believe any movie with children as a target audience should aim to be fun first, even if there are scares and suspense throughout.

      “Afterworld”
      I read up to page 55. It was well-written and evokative, so that left me wondering why it was so strangely structured. It’s only on page 29 that the heroes sort of haphazardly walk into the sandstorm that is the inciting incident? Or the first plot point ? I couldn’t tell, but it made me wonder about the whole elaborate setting up of the state of the war in Africa. What did that to contribute to the story, apart from providing nice visuals ?

      After the heroes arrive in ancient Egypt, they are taken captive without any plans of escaping, leaving them without goal, stakes or urgency. They were still captive on page 55.

      Some details:
      p.17,25 parenthetical before page break
      p.21 “BECKENABUER”

      “Against Time”
      I read up to page 64. As promised, the high concept premise has plenty of spectacular action visuals. The first act felt clumsy and rushed, as if to get the exposition out of the way and get to the action as quickly as possible. And then when the action happens, it isn’t very well framed inside the plot.

      ‘The Matrix’ wasn’t about Kung-Fu and bullet-time. Those were great in and by themselves, but they didn’t make the movie; they enhanced the existing narrative. I’d think about reframing the backwards time action inside a more compelling narrative.

      • RafaelSilvaeSouza

        Hey! Thank you for reading so much of Against Time. Well, it actually isn’t only about the action scenes… it has something to say, but if you are not engrossed in the story, then it’s my fault. I’ll keep that in mind in future rewrites.

        One lesson I learned: NEVER mention The Matrix — or any other successful movie — in the “About” section of an Amateur Friday submission. People will compare EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. to the entire movie you mentioned — even when your screenplay is trying something very different from the movie you mentioned.

  • Paul Clarke

    My pick for the week – ECHOVAULT. Very well written, never boring, never stale. Something that’s easy to visualize as a movie.

    AFTER TIME has some potential, but I just can’t get past the flawed premise.

    The piece of advice I find myself giving out each week here is that the opening act of your movie can’t just be all setup. It needs to setup your world, the characters, and the tone/mood – but you absolutely must do that in a dramatic, emotionally engaging fashion. The audience isn’t going to give you a free pass to wait 20 odd minutes for the story to begin. ECHOVAULT is a perfect example of how to do that. It has more story in the opening 25 pages than some entire scripts that get entered. And while there is a lot of action, it’s not just about the chasing and the shooting. It’s about creating short story beats that become building blocks to make an entire story. Break down each beat, and make sure they all have a setup and payoff. Some sort of goal, mystery, broken relationship – these story engines don’t just apply to the overall story.

    Congrats to all writers and good luck. Reading notes as follows:

    ECHOVAULT:

    First up, some Australian’s to pick on. Good stuff. I like the title (stands out against the others), and the idea is interesting. A nazi version of ‘The Thing’.

    – Top of page 2: Lightening – should be Lightning.

    – I love the way you started us in the thick of the action, then slowly dripped us the story. However, I thought Somerset’s outburst was a little too on the nose. And kind of stupid given they were talking in code a moment earlier. Would he really just blurt out all the details of the mission over the air?

    Flew through to page 25. Would definitely like to come back to this one. Only moving on to give the others a fair go. So far it’s been non-stop action. Can’t believe that much story fits in 25 pages. Great stuff. Never a dull moment. A great setup. I would call it a mid-low budget movie. The set, costumes, guns, and effects would really require some serious attention. But I can definitely see this as a movie. The addition of Anna is a great twist. All sorts of interesting situations spring to mind. I feel I see where it’s going, but now how it’s going to happen, which is pretty much perfect. Nice work.

    THE SUPERNATURAL:

    Terrible title. And the logline sounds very similar to the entry a few weeks back with the ghosts in the hotel and the supernatural cable TV show.

    – ‘Half an Olympic sized swimming pool sits…” – How can there be half a pool? Is the boat damaged? Or is it half the size of an Olympic swimming pool, something very different. And if it is half the size, why compare it at all? It’s just a 25m pool.

    – WET FOOTSTEPS – do you mean wet footprints? Footsteps would be to get in and out of the half swimming pool. Or the sound made from walking. (It’s footprints in the next paragraph).

    – Not sure we need all the ‘we see’ and ‘moves into frame’ directions.

    Read through to page 15. It’s nice enough, but it all feels like setup for setup’s sake. We all know you have to establish the story world, the characters in it, and their situation – but that doesn’t mean you can just bore us for 25-20 pages while you do so. Audiences aren’t that patient. See the first entry, Echovault, does the setting up while being exciting and full of drama. On top of that Echovault has a larger cast and I still felt I had a very good understanding of them all in a short time. In your team there is Trent the asshole, and everyone else. Moving on.

    AFTERWORLD:

    Another terrible title. So generic. How would that poster stand out in the cinema lobby?

    An interesting world (well two actually), but I feel too much like a passenger, watching from afar. Not part of the action, and therefore not feeling anything. Just watching. I would prefer a solid POV, rather than an omnipotent one. Choose a lead, make it clear. Tell us the tale from his POV. Also, cut back on the 5 or more line action blocks. Most of which contain several shots.

    AFTER TIME:

    What’s with these titles? At least this one raises some questions. How can you have anything after time. Still, very bland. On the other hand, I do like the concept. Let’s see if you can pull it off.

    – Might just be me, but I found the following sentence very confusing “Before it stands a man with his back to us. We’re in –“ I thought the steel door was going to stand. Then the ‘we’re’ in’ just twisted matters further. Not really necessary, just format it simply.

    – P2: An unprovoked discussion of their life beliefs. A touch on the nose.

    – P14: If O’Conner has an entourage you really need to mention that in his intro not his exit.

    – The TIMELESS sluglines are beginning to bug me. Are they really necessary. That part isn’t about the time, it’s about the lighting. I’d have it once at the beginning, then cut it.

    You had me, until the backwards punches. How does that work? A punch is the extension of the arm, then pulling it back in. It’s symmetrical. Forward or back, a punch is a punch.

    – P18: Suddenly this lab becomes the Colosseum. You might want to describe that more thoroughly. We’re actually transported there? It’s a holograph?

    I really started to like it. Then it explained itself. I’m afraid that concept really doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. Sure it allows you to create a Matrix like movie, but that concept was air-tight. (except maybe the idea that we’re a good source of electricity) But the world run as a simulation by computers, perfect. The idea that a drug can make time run backwards by using your brain. Your brain can’t change time any more than it can change space. Your own example proved you wrong. It makes sense to say the soldiers go on a mission, find the info, then rewind their way back out. It doesn’t make sense to have two people fighting while one is moving backwards. Otherwise, well written. Maybe just work on locking down that concept. I did like the characters, especially the dynamic between John and Anna.

    COLDWATER CANYON:

    A title more befitting of a movie, that’s a good start. We don’t get many film noir’s here on Scriptshadow. It sound very CHINATOWN. Let’s see if it can execute as well.

    – It’s a super unfilmable to say he’s the guys nephew. If the audience needs to know then tell us some other way, otherwise leave it out. I don’t mind unfilmables on character intros and the like, but that one just doesn’t work. The rest of the first page follows suit. You can’t just tell us, the reader, about the family. You have to show the audience. Photo frames on the mantel piece are clichéd to begin with, but in this case there is no way they could possible convey the information you require. The best you could do is show the boxer on the TV (unnamed) then cut straight to the same guy in his boxing gear in a picture on the mantel. That way we know it’s the same guy.

    – Page 3 flashback – here we go. BTW the slugline is enough, the italics are overkill.

    – The family relationships have come through in the story. Cut them from the beginning.

    – P3: Howard dryly talks, then dryly smiles. Maybe use a different adjective.

    – Not sure if Noir can be pulled off in a modern setting. Things like the cell phones and the Escalade just seem wrong.

    – Surely you can come up with more descriptive names than Thug 1 and Thug 2.

    – Peter gets shot in the leg, then gets up and charges at them? Then he gets shot in the chest, but still attacks them? I thought this was a noir film not superhero film.

    – I didn’t expect the hard-nosed cop to vomit and cry. Hard to say what kind of character he is, but I thought it would work better if he bottled it all up for some sort of explosion later.

    Nothing bad, but nothing to catch my interest. Same old story we’ve seen before – A burnt out cop on a revenge mission. I feel like we know too much too soon for it to be a great mystery. Given the choices, I’d be more inclined to read on with the others.

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Thank you for your notes on Against Time, Paul!

      • Paul Clarke

        No worries. Sorry I got the title wrong!

        (although that could be an indication that it’s not memorable)

    • Cuesta

      I’ll be a little picky but “Your brain can’t change time ” isn’t actually correct.

      How fast time moves for you is literally all in your head. But you know that, you’ve been in the waiting room at the dentist, or similar. Seconds become hours.

      Something similar happens during moments of frantic mayhem, but for different reasons. That’s because human brain has two modes of experiencing the world, rational and experiential. The first one is what you’re probably in now, calm and able to think things through. But if a bomb goes off on the other side of the room, you’ll suddenly be in the experiential mode.

      Your brain goes into a kind of overdrive, bypassing all sorts of analytical and rational thinking processes in favor of hair trigger decision-making. Most normal thinking processes are scrapped, and suddenly you’re operating on instinct (or in the case of a cop or soldier, your training). And because you’re thinking faster, the world moves slower.

      The basal ganglia located deep within the base of the brain, and the parietal lobe located on the surface of the right side of the brain, are the areas for this time-keeping system.

      • Paul Clarke

        Yes but that’s only your perception of time. It doesn’t allow you move quicker in comparison to others (maybe react a little quicker), let alone backward in time.

        I think what you’re describing would make a better premise, although it has been kind of done before. Someone who can perceive the near future. Time freezes while the survey the situation and see the possible outcomes of their actions. Then they choose what to do. A drug that allows this, combined with training. A mix of LIMITLESS and PREMIUM RUSH maybe.

        • Paul Clarke

          Actually I’m going to clarify further, because I think Rafael deserves it.

          I think you can break the laws of physics in a movie, in fact I would almost recommend it (a long discussion, let’s not get into it) – But by comparison Inception, The Matrix, Minority Report, and even Back to the Future make more sense. They would feel REAL to the audience.

          Here’s how I see it. Your brain only controls the perception of time. Maybe come up with another way to control time? As in, even if you could go backward through time, so would the universe go backward with you. So, if you decide in you story world that you brain can in fact make just you go backwards – How is that any real help? If a guy going backwards fights a guy going forwards, the guy who’s going backwards knows how the fight ends, but not how it begins. So the first punch from the guy going forward would hit him right in the face. The guy going forward wins, and on top of that his form and technique is better because he’s moving in the correct direction.

          Anyway, maybe this is just a sign that it needs to be setup differently. Like Rafael said someone on the Blacklist loved it, you just need the same reaction from a big time producer.

        • Cuesta

          Time is personal experience, not a matter of fact.
          Every person perceives time different, and it varies of the life, it speeds up with age. As an example when you’re 100 years old a minute will seem 6 seconds long compared to a minute when you were 10.
          So imagine immortality would be a blur of life, a perpetual eternity in front of your eyes.

          And you do move and perceive faster, not like a cartoon superhero but really impressive. Take a look at this:

          A real life superhero.

          • BSBurton

            Cuesta, That’s a bunch of horse shit pal. A old person’s minute feels like 6 seconds ? Hello!!! Sounds more like someone is too engrossed in their idea and/ or really really doesn’t want to do a re-write.

            Take a step back and listen to Paul. You can do it your way but don’t expect a sale. And if you just want to do it your way and feel accomplished then you don’t have to change a word :)

            But regardless, your time theory needs more time.

          • BSBurton

            Maybe you’re not the author, but the reasoning you stated previously isn’t accurate. In children I think the level of maturity plays a big role in how slow or fast time feels them rather than age.

        • BSBurton

          Completely agree, great points.

    • Mike.H

      To Paul Clarke: Due to your continued detailed notes, how long will we see you as one of Carson’s Notes-consultants? Any plans in motion or desire? Thanks.

  • klmn

    I notice a preponderance of time travel and supernatural stuff. None of these really appeal to me.

    Echovault is dated 11/11/13 and labeled first draft. I prefer reading scripts that the ink is dry on, so I’ll pass.

    Afterworld and Against Time. Time travel again. I know it’s Carson’s thing, but it’s not mine. Double pass.

    The Supernatural. p1. A ship known as the Lost At Sea? You’ve already lost me. Pass.

    Coldwater Canyon. Film noir is a genre of the 40s and 50s when people were willing to invest more time and effort in a story. Still, I opened it and read a few pages and am willing to give it a chance. This one gets my vote.

    • Abdul Fataki

      It’s because of posts like these that I’m against the current form of voting.

      • Abdul Fataki

        What’s up with the thumbs down? He passed on Echovault because it’s the first draft? I say read ten pages of all the scripts and then decide OR just read the loglines and say which one piques your interest based on that.

        • gazrow

          You certainly have a point! That said, putting “first draft” on a script is a huge red flag and writer’s, particularly amateurs, ought to be discouraged from doing so.

          Also, I think the main issue was the number of time travel scripts this week – Not everyone’s a fan of them – I know I’m not! :)

      • klmn

        And if you think I’m tough wait till you try legitimate producers and managers.

        • Abdul Fataki

          Yeah but this website isn’t like that or else we wouldn’t be here. Scriptshadow is different, and passing on a script because a ship’s name is cheesy is just plain retarded.

        • GeneralChaos

          No need to vote against something that you won’t even read.

          • klmn

            If it’s selected for Amateur Friday, I’ll read it and try to comment helpfully.

          • GeneralChaos

            Fair enough.

    • Mike.H

      That date may have been stated to reflect as NEWEST LATEST DRAFT. It never said first draft, right?

      • gazrow

        Um… Why not open the script and see for yourself?! You might be surprised! :)

  • klmn

    And- per the newsletter- a suggested scriptshadow mascot.

    Scroll down to the featured image.

    http://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=895&q=r.crumb+hamburger&oq=r.crumb+hamburger&gs_l=img.12…2115.10158.0.15926.17.5.0.12.12.0.10.37.5.5.0….0…1ac.1.31.img..9.8.47.7k1ZdpT0a7w#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=bb75b6vtquKU3M%3A%3B_L_ndaxT_pFICM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmedia.cleveland.com%252Fpdextra%252Fphoto%252Fwimpyjpg-ccaf63bf5b973236.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fblog.cleveland.com%252Fpdextra%252F2011%252F06%252Fmmm_the_life_and_times_of_an_a.ht

    • Citizen M

      Also by Crumb…

      • klmn

        You found a better image than I did.

        Btw, Terry Zwigoff’s documentary CRUMB is one of my favorite movies.

  • Andrew Orillion

    I’ve got nothing else to do before heading into work. I’ll give Echovault a read since it seems to be the favorite.

    I’ll keep everyone updated.

    • Andrew Orillion

      Jesus this script has a lot of characters. I’m only on page five and I’m already losing track.

      • Paul Clarke

        I felt the same thing, but just give it a moment, the main ones clear from the mist – so to speak.

        Plus, they start to die in quick succession so there’s not that many for long.

        • Andrew Orillion

          I’m on page 13 and it’s moving along nicely. It was just a bit overwhelming when every scene seems to introduce three new characters.

      • Eddie Panta

        Yes, it does… agreed. I’m surprised I didn’t hear the same thing in other comments. However, they are an army team so, they can’t go into the scenes alone.
        My concern about all the characters and keeping track came from the NAMES themselves. PUP and FISH? In the same sentence. Repetition of character name twice in the same line. Okay.. they are stand out names. But a bit silly I felt and they don’t make the sentences flow.

    • Andrew Orillion

      On page 19 Jonesy uses the phrase pop-smoke. I think this is an anachronism, pretty sure that wasn’t in common use until Vietnam.

  • Cuesta

    My pick Against Time because the guy makes an effort to think in the product, to think in sell the damn thing, converting it into a film. Which is the only point in a script.

    Enough with the contained boringness, no one cares about cheap, unmarketable, unsellable scripts. Even if the self proclaimed elite are trying to shove them for our throats week after week.

    Please stop ignoring big ideas that actually have a chance.

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Thank you for your vote. It’s my only vote! Yeah, I tried to do something similar but very different… people don’t seem to get it, though. Of course, if they don’t get it, it’s entirely my fault. Thank you anyway.

  • Andrew Orillion

    32 pages into Echovault and really like it. The killer is one the loose, the GI’s are snowed in and they’re about to let a female scientist out of the pantry. I have to get ready for work but I’m digging this one. I’ll come back to it later.

  • Kirk Diggler

    EchoVault –

    December 2, 1944… interesting they got into Germany prior to the Battle of the Bulge. I assume they must be paratroopers?

    A LOT of characters intro’s in first few pages. Too many to keep track of.

    Pg 4 – Englishman showing typical derision of ‘bloody yanks’

    pg 5 Regarding “Jackpot” — The U.S Army was segregated during WW2.

    Fish seems a little naive regarding the loss of colleagues. Was he expecting a cakewalk? Soldiers should be trained to expect anything… especially since they are in Nazi country.

    Pg 14 What does Fish’s “one fucking week” comment mean in regards to Treadstone’s death? That Treadstone was one week from being furloughed? If so it’s a bit cliche. Everybody dies one week from being released in these films.

    Pg 17 When SCHNEIDER scream “it hasn’t been tested!” (regarding the body switching machine) , he can’t be serious. Of course it’s been tested. It’s a hollow line. It’s been tested and tested and tested over and over again because that’s what scientists do.

    I’m trying to make sense why Somerset shot himself before the switch. Maybe I’m tired.

    Pg 26 When they start talking about being “picked up”… how is this supposed to happen exactly? Fly a chopper 60km into Germany on the eve of one of their biggest offenses in WW2? Not that any of this affects the story, doesn’t have to make much sense if the story grabs you. But this mission sounds like a one way trip not an extraction.

    I’m not blown away. Yeah there is some nice action, but I’m not a huge fan of anachronistic technology in WW2 movies. The whole Nazi’s had secret tech/occult angles have been played quite a few times over, most recently in the abysmal Captain America movie. It doesn’t ring true for me. The body switching is a plot device.

    Yes we have a German scientist in Somerset’s body with the real Somerset dead. ( I think that’s what happened at any rate) Now I guess soldiers will start dying. Or some big secret behind Somerset’s actions will be revealed. The main nag is, why is body switching tech important? Didn’t the AOW script “Switch” kind of have a similar hook? But where is the practicality from a military standpoint? Is the Pentagon hellbent on using body switching technology for some reason… because yknow, it’s so practical? Which again, does not mean the concept can’t work, but I don’t find it intriguing enough to read on.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Against Time – Anna Howell— Gorgeous and smart—– still waiting for one of those ugly and dumb women to feature in a script.

      My problem with this one is the concept. The notion that a person can be given a drug so that the way their brain perceives time not only slows down but GOES BACKWARD and will allow said person to travel back in time to do whatever needs to be done (kill bad guys? not get that really bad haircut?) is just a mind fuck.

      There is a moment on pg 19 where a fight is taking place between someone going forward in time (like we do every day) and another going backward in time. The backward guy is winning because as one key character observes, “There’s no surprise if the enemy is in reverse time. You have to think backwards.”

      What in blazes does that even mean? How would a person think backwards?

      Time cannot be separated from the three dimensions of space. The person who is on this ‘brain drug’ would perceive himself going back in time…. but their individual perception would not affect someone else’s. How would a person going back in time be able to share the same space as someone going forward? Because that is what happens in the fight on pg 19. The person going forward will always lose the fight because the person going backward is reacting to events that have already happened. At least this is what we are asked to believe.

      Yet it would be impossible to share the same space. Since the person going back in time starts from the present, they would or should immediately disappear into the ether, because they are going back while one person goes forward. You cannot have a present tense fight with two people moving in different directions. Just can’t.

      Now maybe the brain drug can work on some quantum level where it actually can send someone’s “soul” (for lack of a better word) back in time…. but once there they would always move forward. There is no ‘going backward’ while sharing space with people who go forward. It just takes some logical thought. Imagine some guy going backward in time challenges you to a fight (he’d have to leave you a message from the future BTW). How would you meet? The moment you meet is but a nano-second, then you’re headed in opposite directions.

      That said I like the attempt to do something different and it was a very easy read of the 25 or so I read. But it’s big concept violates violates Einstein’s theory of Relativity, which I heard is a big no-no.

      • RafaelSilvaeSouza

        Yeah… my goal was to write an action movie, not a thesis.
        You must be real picky choosing a movie to watch. I’m not comparing my small screenplay to any of these movies. I’m just imagining your reaction to them:
        “What? It’s impossible to clone a dinosaur! And even if they did, they would put them in a park?”
        “A radioactive spider would only give one thing to that guy: cancer”
        “What a flawed concept! No one was near him when he said ‘Rosebud’, how come the entire movie is based on that?”
        I’m just messing with you, Neil deGrassi Tyson…

        • Kirk Diggler

          I find it strange that you think my criticism is out of bounds. Cloning is an actual technology that exists, so I had no problem with Jurassic Park. And Superhero films tend to have their own rules, the laws of physics are frequently violated and you just accept it. I like speculative fiction, particularly some of the stuff Margaret Atwood has written in the Oryx and Crake books. If the idea is sound and there is a scientific foundation behind it, almost any extrapolation is possible.

          I appreciate your attempt. But this isn’t Nam. There are rules. And I find your premise flawed. Just because you say your goal was to write an action film does not mean it doesn’t need to make sense.

          I posted a script of mine on the Black List and paid for 2 professional evaluations. One of the reviewers called me out when one of my minor characters who I had established as a lab technician conjured a feat of engineering that he/she found incredulous. He/she didn’t think it was possible to do what my character did. It was a minor plot point in the third act but apparently this particular reviewer felt the need to mention it in the ‘weaknesses” column.

          I don’t believe I am the only one that has a problem with your backward time scenario. Paul Clarke mentioned something about one of your character’s “backward punching”, that a punch by definition can only go forward. How can a backward punch harm someone if the energy is moving away from the person?

          If you don’t think it matters I think you’re wrong. Inception worked (for me anyway) because the internal rules had been established so well. The technology itself was wisely glossed over. But I don’t believe there were any logical conundrums. Every action of your characters who move back in time is a conundrum. Sorry. And I’m not the only one who has noticed. Best of luck with it.

          • RafaelSilvaeSouza

            I wasn’t kidding when I said that I was kidding. Really. I do believe you and Paul had problems with the premise, and I’m okay with that. Some people don’t like it, some people love it. It’s not unlike that movie The Purge. Some people bought the premise and just had fun with it, and some people just couldn’t.

            Now, that’s the thing: this is the premise. That’s why you say things like “Superhero films tend to have their own rules.” — you are willing to take a leap of faith for those movies. Same thing with Inception. And the same thing applies to Against Time — yes, it does have its very own set of rules, but it asks you to take a leap of faith at the beginning. Just like almost every other movie. Just like Back to the Future asked you to believe they’ve built not only a time machine, but a time machine in a DeLorean. The thing is: if it doesn’t work FOR YOU, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work FOR EVERYONE.

            The Black List reader that reviewed an old draft of this screenplay wrote this: “AGAINST TIME has a blockbuster premise. The premise alone is compelling enough that the script has commercial prospects. The core idea may or may not make any sense, but its irrelevant, because its novel, fresh, unique, and ridiculously visual.”

            Of course, it’s a lot easier to take a leap of faith watching a movie trailer from a big name director, an A-list actor, shattering sound and some very cool special effects, than, say reading a screenplay by an ESL amateur screenwriter. I’m aware of that. And that’s okay. I just need ONE person to believe in the screenplay. And like General Zod likes to say: “I WILL FIND HIM!” — or her…

            There’s only one point where I don’t agree with you: You bring up one of your screenplays that was reviewed by a Black List reader. Your “leap of faith” is something that happens on the third act. That’s not a leap of faith. That’s a Deus Ex Machina.

          • Kirk Diggler

            It would be a Deus ex Machina if it was presented as one, which it wasn’t. It was a relatively minor plot point that did not effect the outcome directly. And Black List evaluations are often contradictory from one to another, one evaluation liked my movie within a movie and one did not. It’s a mixed bag.

            But like I said, good luck with it. You are 100% right, if someone with power got behind your idea they could make it fly with a few tweaks here and there.

            Regarding the Purge, I liked the concept but absolutely hated the execution of it, thought it was mindless boring violence.

          • RafaelSilvaeSouza

            Thanks! I’ll fight for this one. I still think it’s a good idea.

            And so you know… I never watched The Purge. Didn’t care for the concept.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all the chosen ones.Well done! I read the first ten of each.

    Echovault – I originally read Balaclavas (don’t know what they are) as that sweet mid eastern dessert. “Gale” gave me a bump too, never heard it use that way, usually gale force or gales. And all those capitalizations in the description. It became annoying to me. Then all those guns mentioned like you’re showing off your gun knowledge. Maybe you should be writing for Guns and Ammo, instead. LOL. Ok, you wanted tough. Still, this was a rollicking good read. Lots to chew on. Creative visuals, tight dialogue and what the other scripts were sorely lacking, ACTION.

    The Supernatural – Has a charming feel to it like a good mystery book that doesn’t involve too many brain cells but nothing really happens and when it does, the mysterious parts, you don’t milk them, (they should be constructed like a mini movie, themselves) but no, it’s on to more chit chat. Potential lost, I thought, in first ten.

    Afterworld – I can see why the writer got some attention, writing is good, but again, nothing happens. We’re told about a lot of cool things, tragic things, horrible things happening but don’t see any of it. I was on the edge of my seat hoping when the men were putting the lid back on the sarcophagus that a rope would break and mortals would be smashed like pancakes. Nope, I just scooted back on the seat,

    Against Time – I feel the writer has the ability to make creative choices. A lot of the description is totally involving but it’s not what we see on screen. It’s all “Look who’s here!” Chit chat like this should come after an opening action sequence that has us breathless. This after all is described as an action movie. Felt I couldn’t give this my all. Hope others can review it.

    Coldwater Canyon – The one that read most like a screenplay for me. Writer is in the right media. Liked this. Easy read, entertaining. Characters seem real.

    Tie between Echovault and Coldwater Canyon. If pressed, I’d have to go with the Nazi’s.

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Thank you for your comments on Against Time! People shredded an earlier draft because it had too much action in the beginning — it took about 15 pages of action to finally stop and build the world. It’s fun to see that now people are complaining that’s “too slow.” As with everything in life, it’s all about balance. And I’m still trying to find the balance in this screenplay.

  • lonestarr357

    ECHOVAULT – When I read the synopsis, I got so angry. I thought to myself, ‘don’t let this end the way I think it will’. While I was upset with the conclusion, the journey to it was well-done.

  • Citizen M

    My picks this week are COLDWATER CANYON or AFTERWORLD, two very different scripts but both well written and strong genre pieces.

    ECHOVAULT 96p Andrew Macdonald and Jacques Joubert

    Never mind wrestling your wimpy kangaroos and crocodiles. Try and beat the springboks.[/snark]

    After 25 pages: A group of Americans infiltrate a German underground research facility by pretending to be Nazis bringing in POWs. There is an explosion and a firefight which alerts their target, SS Col Wilhelm Schneider. He orders his fellow scientists shot. One of them, Anna Blumenstein, escapes and hides. Schneider tries to escape via a secondary vault door to the outside where he is captured. Lt-Col Somerset, the Brit in charge of the operation, is a bit of a shady character. He takes charge of Schneider, shakes off his American guard, and takes Schneider to the research area. It consists of two identical mirrored chambers with a control panel in each. Somerset puts Schneider in one chamber, himself in another, shoots himself in the knee, and pushes a button. Lights flash and the Americans rush in. They see the wounded Somerset so they shoot Schneider dead and bandage Somerset then go off to organize extraction (I think the exits are blocked). Somerset asks an American to put the dead Schneider in the other chamber, then speaks German.

    I don’t have much to say about this. It’s reasonably well done. Perhaps too many characters too soon, but one soon gets used to them all. On page 5, I wasn’t sure if the vault door was in the same complex or perhaps some totally different operation. Maybe have the Captain radio them, then cut to the door. Obviously the research chambers swap bodies, but we need to know what the rules of the transformation are. I don’t yet see how this body swapping is going to endanger the squad, so the tension is not as high as it could be.

    THE SUPERNATURAL 96p by JW

    After 25 pages: (In a prologue we see spooky wet footprints manifest on a ship’s deck.) Trent leads a reality TV group called SPLIT for Supernatural Investigative Team, but he would rather be a Hollywood actor. After a dud session at an Old Colonial mansion, they go to a refurbished slave ship, the Lost at Sea, run by Susan and Gorge Powell as a holiday cruise ship. It is supposed to be haunted. The team rig their equipment and set sail on foggy Long Island Sound with the Powells in the Captain’s quarters. Night, and Trent and his sidekick, nerdy Jacob, can record no sign of ghosts. Trent starts tossing glasses from the mini bar in frustration. Meanwhile in the other team Karen tries to provoke a ghost called Angry Man into showing himself. Nothing. She tries to lure a child ghost with a lollipop. Nothing. By 10:47 PM their equipment has recorded nothing. Karen and Sara go to the Captain’s quarters to speak to the Powells. They aren’t there. The door slams by itself. Worried, they continue looking for the Powells.

    This is set up like a comedy, only there’s no humor. The night vision camera footage suggests Paranormal Activity, only so far there’s no activity. If I’m supposed to be scared or anxious, I’m not. Maybe with fog and the sound of creaking rigging etc the setting could be made scary, but I’m not experiencing it. Maybe this is for aficionados of the genre only.

    AFTERWORLD 122p by Stephen Kopernik

    After 25 pages: Memphis, 2589 BC. In a prologue, ailing Pharoah Soris asks General Venharis to support his son Khufu. He refers to seven somethings in a dungeon. Soris dies. Venharis verbally spars with High Priest Setsun, then stares out over night-time Memphis, Sten gun in hand. El Alamein, 1944. The Germans await Montgomery’s attack. Among them is Maj Ernst Beckenbauer, a rocket scientist. The Germans are overrun and Beckenbauer captured. A British civilian, Archibald Parnham, has a particular interest in Beckenbauer. SAS Col. Hughes and a small squad are detailed to take Beckenbauer and Parnham by foot across the desert to mysterious Station Fourteen, a former colonial spy base. A German fighter-bomber attacks them. It seems the Germans don’t want Beckenbauer in Allied hands.

    This is a real old-fashioned epic war movie in the mold of Where Eagles Dare, Guns of Navarone, etc. It’s got plenty of action, exciting battle scenes, and the requisite joshing between the characters. There are too many named characters. Some of them are unimportant and could be AIDE or ORDERLY instead of named. But I’m really enjoying it so far and would like to read on. I only hope it maintains this standard for Act 2.

    AGAINST TIME 108p by Rafael Silva e Souza

    After 25 pages: John is a burly security guard on the entrance to a secret project. He doesn’t know what it i, but he wants to be part of it. And today’s the day! Younger guard Paul will relieve him, he thinks, but Paul is invited in by military man Kemp. John barges into the facility and finds Paul being tested with a helmet covered in LEDs. Then it’s John’s turn. His scientist buddy Anna injects him with a drug and puts the helmet on. All goes well, then he screams. It’s painful! He rips the helmet off. Anna says it’s because he’s unusually responsive to the drug and he can continue. John and Paul meet test subject Freeman at the heart of the facility. Freeman is a soldier in “reverse time” and they are invited to fight him. They fail. Freeman anticipates their movements and beats them, although he is fighting in reverse. Then “real time” Freeman appears, shocks himself out of phase, and melds with reverse time Freeman. John decides he can’t cope and is ejected. He asks for a second chance and Kemp gives him another chance, but he must first undergo special training. There is also a side plot where Kemp representing the military will take over the project against the objections of O’Connor, a uniformed project leader, and Anna and her scientist uncle Charles Howell.

    Color me confused. It doesn’t help that I kept getting John and Paul mixed up. The names are too similar. Also, I couldn’t figure out who was who. O’Connor appears to be the project leader and objects to the military take over. But he himself wears a black uniform. Who does he represent? Kemp appears to be military although he wears civilian clothes. Paul referred to him as an ex-master sergeant. From the way he carries on I would expect him to be a Colonel at least. Paul is the son of someone who is apparently wealthy and well-connected, so it is surprising that Paul is only a security guard. Also, Paul and John both go in, leaving the door to the facility unguarded. How is this allowed? And how is it that subjects seem to be chosen by personal preference, not by some agreed-on protocol? I understand that John always wanted to be in the project, but I don’t understand if he is now in or out by page 25. Is this “extra training” a method for Kemp to get him out of the way? Is Kemp for him or against him? Who is the real power on the project, Kemp or O’Connor? Not to mention, I couldn’t figure out how the “reverse time” state would work in practice. There were too many questions for me to enjoy this.

    COLDWATER CANYON 114p by Jose Guerrero

    After 25 pages: Howard’s a boozy police detective in his 40s. His older brother Ray is in a wheelchair, crippled by thugs years ago presumably for something Howard was involved in. Ray’s son Peter is a good boxer who refuses to take a dive for promoter Jay Kelly. Kelly arranges for Peter to get beaten up as punishment, but the thugs go too far and kill him. Howard’s superior doesn’t want him on the case, but Howard insists that it’s his job. He has a partner Tommy, same age, married with a wife trying to fix Howard up since he split from his ex-wife.

    Very good noir atmosphere. One is looking at the seamier, more unfortunate side of life. The characters are well drawn. They feel familiar, and manage to crack the odd joke despite the circumstances, something real people would do. It is well written and a fast read. If I have a problem, it is I would expect Howard to have his first lead by page 25. So far he has done nothing. But I very definitely want to read on.

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Again, balance. It’s real hard to write without being too on the nose and at the same time making the reader understand what’s going on. By your notes on Against Time, I see there are things that I must make clearer… but I’m also very happy. The questions you ask in the end are the questions I wanted the reader to be asking him/herself at the end of the first act… so hooray! Or maybe not hooray… as it seems the questions are not the ones you wanted to see answered.
      Anyway, thank you for your notes on Against Time!

  • GYAD

    Being a big WWII buff, I plumped for AFTERWORLD and ECHOVAULT. As ever I read up to page 25. If I have more time later on then I’ll try to read the rest.

    AFTERWORLD –

    p.1 Starts strong – OK, “The King is dying” is blatant exposition but it works because it gets the story moving. Unfortunately second scene is a ’round-the-bed’ one where we’re introduced to lots of not very interesting characters and more blatant exposition.

    Don’t be afraid to build up characters – Setsun the antagonist enters like so: “a figure emerges from the shadows”. OK but not that dramatic. Build mood (gust of wind, weird noise, scorpion scuttles across floor) or reaction (if Venharis stepped back, made the sign to ward off the evil eye etc.)

    p.4 Good mystery reveal w/ the Sten gun – alters otherwise dull costume drama.

    p.5 If the Germans are “beaten” then why take a heavy, pointless object like the sarcophagus? Germans aren’t very interesting either – essentially a soldier and an intellectual but nothing to mark them apart (even simple things like giving Beckenauer a habit of fiddling with his Knight’s Cross, or Stillinger having a satchel full of books). Also, “Stillinger” and “Beckenbauer” are a bit of a mouthful.

    p.5 What’s a “panzer tank”? Panzer just means tank. Small details like this make me lose faith in the writing. It doesn’t take long to search wikipedia and make it a Panzer II or a captured British Valentine or whatever. These things are small but have a cumulative effect. (Edit: this gets much better later on).

    p.5 we’re told the Germans are defeated but we don’t see it dramatically — what if a soldier marching to the rear was dumping non-essential gear (like his helmet) and Stillinger confronted him and told him to take it with him? Dramatic and gets the point across.

    p.7 Some 30,000 dead at 2nd Alamein? More like 30,000 casualties — killed, wounded or captured.

    p.7 Loads of researched but unnecessarily detail about troop movements. Conversation could be condensed to half its length easily.

    p.10 Had to flick back several pages to find out who Weyer was. Captain Weyer, General Burkel and Lieutenant Osterberg aren’t important enough to warrant names — call them “General”, “Adjutant” and “Captain” as it’s easier to remember who they are and what they do that way.

    At this point worth noting that this is currently very expensive — tanks, trenches, planes and artillery, as well as bombing raids and tank battles etc. Could probably get away with a lot less; it might even emphasise the battered plight of the Germans.

    Lots of over writing w/ 4+ line paragraphs which could and should be cut down. I re-wrote this based on the top paragraph of p.12: “Stillinger races down the trench. A German slumps dead ahead of him. Three British infantrymen appear. He cuts them down with an MP40 burst. Keeps running. Ahead, Weyer is shooting.” My version is three lines long, yours is five. Over the entire script, this will add up, making it easier and shorter to read.

    p.13 No such thing as an SAS uniform in 1942 (it’s just the standard uniform worn in unorthodox style, with privately purchased additions). Might be worth explaining who the SAS are, for the benefit of those who don’t know.

    p.15 Why would a rocket scientist from Peenemunde be fighting with the German army in North Africa? Makes no sense and feels shoehorned in. You need an excuse — like the weather being particularly good for rocketry there.

    p.12 Presumably Hughes is the protagonist — so why the late entry and the dull introduction (simply riding a jeep)?

    p.18 Yet another dead wife in a script, awkwardly crow-barred into the conversation.

    p.19 Holy Moly, another 5 named characters. Far, far too many.

    p.21 Why are Hughes and his men marching their prisoner home…surely they’d use a vehicle?

    p.23 “We have the Eiffel Tower” – I laughed. Beckenbauer’s comebacks are the best bit so far.

    p.25 The obvious turning point – ending up in Egypt – hasn’t happened and won’t until p.31.

    I’m afraid, despite liking the concept, that I’d give this a a pass as the script is far too slow and disjointed. The Egyptian section consists of pretty much exposition but is at least quick and to the point, with an intriguing mystery. However the WWII material is totally unintegrated, with the German and British stories taking place in isolation of each other until the 20 mpage mark. Both suffer from largely irrelevant exposition and the introduction of characters who disappear shortly afterwards. The British characters also have very boring introductions, with the SAS troopers being introduced en masse and only revealing personalities several pages later on.

    I’d suggest that the two parts of the story should be brought together, with the SAS trying to kidnap Beckenauer during the battle. That way at least they’re doing something! You could even explain away the soldiers walking across the desert by having their jeep hit by a round, disabling it. I’d suggest playing up the ‘cool’ factor of the SAS and cutting back on the stereotypes (no cheeky Cockneys). I’d also question the marketability — you’d need an American budget to make this and I think they’d want an American lead. Perhaps the SAS take along an American who joined the (Free) French Foreign Legion in 1940, whilst America was still neutral, in order to fight the Nazis; as a Legionnaire who patrolled the desert he might be the only one who knows the route to where Beckenauer is hiding.

    ECHOVAULT –

    p.0 Having “First Draft” on your script will lead people to automatically assume you haven’t put enough work into the script, even if that isn’t true.

    p.3 Five names in three pages is a lot — it’s always difficult managing the number of character numbers with military stories. More evocative names would help.

    p.3 “The Communications Pack” — the radio?

    p.4 An uptight Brit to add to the tough American and his gruff boss…Stock characters.

    p.5 A black guy in the combat arms during WWII is anachronistic; the US Army was segregated until the Korean War.

    p.5 Another two soldiers? Remember that “Aliens” got around the big character count by (a) very sensibly having them banter among themselves in order to reveal different personalities and (b) killing off most of the cast quickly.

    p.20 One last mission? Another cliche.

    p.22 Somerset looking at his image in the hexagonal mirrors is a good image and a nice visual metaphor.

    p.25 Fair enough, half the cast has been killed, making it slightly easier to keep the characters straight. They’re still not very characterful or fresh though.

    This is well written, easy to read, and cinematic. It benefits enormously from leaping straight into the action and keeping the pace up throughout. The action scenes are exciting and dynamic, if cartoonish. However, it suffers from being derivative of the many other ‘soldiers vs. monsters’ films out there. The characters are all boring stock characters. Personally I don’t like all the swearing and the heads being turned into pink mist but I understand others do.

    The problem with this script isn’t the writing but how cliched it is. There needs to be a fresh take on the subject in order to mark the script out (perhaps rather than soldiers it is prisoners — from PoW, concentration, labour or death camps — who find themselves trapped withe the monster?) or a really memorable character (like Snake Plissken). It reminds me of what Carson said about “You’re Next” — it’s well executed but there’s nothing to make it stand out from the crowd. This would be my pick for AF though because I think it is commercial and the writers have worked hard on it.

  • Montana Gillis

    My vote goes to Afterworld: This is so good of a story that I’m going to the theater right now and wait in line to buy my ticket. Period. (I think I’ll read it again because it was such a fun ride) — I love Saturday Afternoon Adventure Movies – this one didn’t disappoint.

    Gave the rest up to twenty pages each.
    “WE see this or WE see that – pulls me out of the story..
    Alcohol drinking made for tough guys in the 40’s & 50’s. Write a character hooked on the bottle today and all I feel for them is disgust and pity. Noir is not my genre.
    It may be called “Amateur Friday” but that was a few years ago when this site was getting started. Now it should be called “Your best effort after you learn what you’re doing Friday”, so no first drafts and don’t submit until your 4th screenplay.
    Clarity is KING!
    Switching bodies has been done to death – Freaky Friday came to mind when Schnieder morphed into the English Prick and I checked out at that moment.
    There was some good writing and talent on display but Afterword was the only one that compelled me to read to the end.
    Thanks to all who submitted. Keep crafting your stories!

  • pitchblack70

    Amateur Friday Submissions: The first ten to fifteen (11/16/13.)

    Hmmm. This week was a bit difficult. Most of these scripts have one or two things to recommend them. For me, it’s almost a tie between Afterworld and the Supernatural. Afterworld wins by a teeny tiny hair: specifically because of the quality of its writing. And Supernatural takes second…only because it’s a set-up I’ve seen tons of times before. That aside, it looks promising.

    For details, here we go, from the top.

    Echovault – There are a lot of small things that gave me pause. The title page: First
    Draft? Never a good idea to publicize that, even if it is the truth. Nazis – talk about a generic bad guy! Frankly, I don’t even think Inglorious Basterds pulled that off well, despite the fanfare it received. A few typos (“teams” vs. team’s), and CAPS in places they don’t belong. And having to look up the term “baklava” on the first page…? That pulled me out of the story, too. I admit, by page 5 or so the flow of the writing had smoothed – and there were a few gems in the dialog. (for instance, ‘excuses don’t stop bullets’. Nice.) But piled up against the other things? I can’t place this one at the top of the heap.

    The Supernatural

    Definitely one of the top two, IMO. No offense, but terrible title – far too bland! And there are lots of reasons to *not* like this. Cliché characters and idea (have you ever seen Grave Encounters I, probably the best found footage horror I’ve ever seen? Exact same concept, but set in an abandoned mental institution. And yet… this script still had things to recommend it. Smooth writing. I liked where it was going, and actually still wanted to see where the story went, despite having snoozed through films like this one thousand times before…

    Afterworld

    Wowzers, this guy can write! I’m not surprised that it got considered by Paramount.
    Definitely the best writing of the bunch, and on my short list of AF scripts I’ve read on SS, in general…at least in terms of pure writing style. I’m not a fan of Nazi flicks, or Egyptian history – yet the writing still had me curious. And I definitely got a Raider’s vibe off the first act. This is the other one in my top two. My only hesitation: by page 22 (or so), we were still with the modern army… and I found myself impatient as to when these two worlds were going to finally tie together. Don’t leave me hangin’ that long, bro…!

    Against Time

    This one?
    Interesting. The writing feels distinctly choppy – as if the writer is relatively new (or that it’s just an early draft.) And there are cliché bits in this that take away (the dialog about ‘rich people with secret agendas’ made me groan out loud.) But there are a few diamonds in the rough in it, still. Things like “He would be a terrifying dude, if he could shake the warm
    smile permanently etched on his face.” Little asides like that, which don’t take away from the story or flow – but add a touch of character. There are a few other nice traits about this one, too. The immediate mystery of what’s behind the door, and the instant conflict between Paul and John. And that’s done in a micro-limited setting – always a plus in an industry that’s currently in love with contained scripts. And I *did* find myself
    curious about what’s behind that door… But with the competition, I’d probably vote this option #3.

    Coldwater Canyon

    I will give the script this: it feels traditionally hard-boiled/noir. Both with
    Howard’s character and the scenario. Hopefully, as the script progresses, the characters break out into their own. In other words, it’s not enough to nail an atmosphere for a genre.
    You’ve got to provide something new and special to it, too. At least if you want the script to
    stand out in a crowd. Now, I don’t know if Coldwater Canyon did that, since I only read to page 10. Thing is, the writing did feel rough to me. I’ll give a quick example,
    from page 5 (when Peter’s assaulted and killed):

    Thug 1 backs out as Thug 2 comes charging in, hitting Peter in the stomach with his pipe, causing Peter to double over. Thug 2 quickly follows up by delivering a blow to Peter’s
    back, causing Peter to crumple to the ground.

    First, naming characters by number is never best. Give them something distinct and
    colorful. Say, Thug with a Limp. Thug with Big Shoulders. #1 and 2? Too generic! And both paragraphs end in a similar fashion: “causing Peter to”. With scripts, you have to mix it up…otherwise readers phase out. Scriptwriting is a tricky craft. You’ve got to be terse. Varied. And eloquent, all at the same time. It’s not easy – but it’s an essential skill. So thumb’s up for the noir on this. But it didn’t make my top slot.

    • ghost

      “We were still with the modern army… and I found myself impatient as to when these two worlds were going to finally tie together. Don’t leave me hangin’ that long, bro…!”

      Exactly how I felt.

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Thank you for the kind (and also the harsh) words on Against Time. It’s very cool that you took the time to read some of it. I’m not a new writer, nor is this an early draft… it’s just that the English language keeps kicking me in the ass. But I’m working on it, getting better everyday. Thanks! But don’t let the beginning fool you… this isn’t contained at all…

      • pitchblack70

        Hi Rafael –

        Thanks for touching base. As I mentioned, there *were* gems and dialogue lines that made me smile in ‘Against Time’ (the portion I read). And FWIW: I have a few screenwriter friends for whom English is their second language. And what they’ve attempted and accomplished awes me. I can’t even imagine tackling a screenplay in a different language! :) Cheers, –Janet (Pitch)

  • ghost

    Afterworld and Echovault both had interesting loglines.
    I prefer Afterworld, personal taste. some good writing in both though, talk about painting pictures. I really want to see Afterworld get reviewed though.

  • Jonas E.

    Started readin echovault meaning to read the the first ten but it kept me hooked until the end. Liked it but I really felt that the scene where they try to find Schneider using their comon memory of their first mission needs to come earlier in the script because it’s the obvious thing to do and as a reader I was frustrated that i took so long for somone to come up with the idea.

  • Citizen M

    Words of encouragement from William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator, Les Miserables, and many more):

    Everything you write will be ripped to pieces by other people who are not fools. It would be easy if they were fools, you could despise them, but they’re not. They’re smart people. Every time they rip your script apart you think, ‘Why didn’t I see that, it’s so obvious?’ You feel like you are nothing at the end of every session with notes and you’ve somehow got to drag yourself up again and go back to work.

    You have to do that repeatedly, and after you’ve done it, draft after draft, in comes a director who seems to think that the script is an early sketch that he can do what he likes with. And then along come actors who say, ‘Oh, I think we’ll do something different.’

    http://guru.bafta.org/william-nicholson-screenwriters-lecture-video

  • Michael

    I read all of Echovault. I only intended to read the first 10 to 15 pages, but kept reading because I had to know why Somerset took the actions that allowed Schneider to gain the upper hand, a plot point that needs to happen in order to drive the core of the plot forward. It’s a great plot twist if it pays off.

    Unfortunately, when the explanation for Somerset’s actions is finally revealed, it makes no sense. The Somerset mystery is the incentive that keeps one reading and requires a big payoff. Instead, we get a dose of “movie logic” where Somerset ensures that he will be killed by the next person to see him, which is the exact opposite of what Somerset intended. I know I’m being cryptic in an attempt not to reveal “spoilers,” but trust me, after reading to the end I’m still scratching my head.

    Another example of movie logic would be when the team blows up the elevator shaft. There is no motivation for it other than the writers want the team trapped in the vault to create a contained thriller. Yet, at the end of the story, the hero Fish is able to climb up the shaft to freedom with no explanation.

    There are many pivotal points in the plot, where actions are only taken because the writers need them to happen, not because they logically evolve out of the plot or make sense under any conditions. This is a huge mistake that many amateur writers make.

    The writer’s logic has to be ahead of the reader. It has to out smart us, it can’t lag behind or we will get bored. Echovault has the same pivotal moment in it as The Thing, where MacReady has everyone in a room and no one is leaving until the Thing is revealed. Well, Fish has that same moment with the “group transference,” Fish knows it, we the reader know it, but the writers allow the characters to split up for 20 more pages of nonsense before we have that same moment again. The writers put their spin on that moment, but it should have happened 20 pages earlier. Nothing pisses readers off more than a poor set-up or a good set-up that is poorly paid off.

    There are 50 other things I could nitpick (please, please, please get rid of all those caps), but I wanted to address how the “movie logic” made this script a pass for me. I’m hoping there is something better in the other four scripts, I’ll try and find some time for them.

    • Eddie Panta

      This was a great summary. Still it seems many of the other readers seem to like it. I think the concepts in EchoVault is well worth exploring. Yes, there are many similarities with The Thing.
      I was scratching my head by page 27. I was a bit lost trying to keep up with all the characters. THe “movie logic” as you describe wouldn’t bother me as much if the characters had some plan or intention. ( beyond survival). We never really know why they are going down into the bunker in the first place or what they’re goal is. What was they’re original plan?

    • A Tribe Called Guest

      Great feedback, dude, and very well written.

  • Eddie Panta

    I read Echovault . There is a lot of similarity here with two scripts I have worked on. One with a underground lab compound. The other with the idea of “transference”. ( an evil one, not mechanical). The concepts are very different, but the challenges faced with a underground science lab are eerily similar.

    Hoping these tips will help the writer.

    THE INTERIOR
    IF one corridor is west. Then every other corridor should have a similar designation. Perhaps the corridors could have names or colors. Don’t overlook the use of signs here. Even if they are in German. Is there a corridor that connects East and West?

    -Decide what shape this underground compound. Is it T, or a U shaped , etc…
    – IF it the word CORRIDOR in the scene heading you don’t need it in the action description. On pg 84 a “T” junction is described, with a Left or Right turn decision…
    Which ever way the character goes, you could be sure the reader has no idea where he is either.
    – The CHAMBERS should not be simply: “A” or “B”. Think of a cool name for them.

    THE NAMES:
    PUP and FISH are cute names, definitely need names that stand out. But no one could yell “PUP”! in a seriously dramatic way. Also, “Damnit Fish” sounds clunky.
    .
    Word Repetition:
    The names Schneider and Somerset used 3 times in 3 lines makes for a ruff read.
    IF position and placement is key. Then start sentences with the “where are they?” instead of the character names. Coming around the corner… At the corner, Pup…
    Instead of always starting with names you could use location first…
    For Example

    INT. MESS HALL
    At one end of a long steel table, Fish is exhausted. Jonesy, Mahler, and Jackpot sit in silence. Shell-shocked.
    At the other end, Anna sits with hands cuffed on her lap.
    Especially when its the first line after the Scene Heading.

    Corridor, Door, Vault, white lab coats, and Mess Hall are all over used. Most times redundant after the scene heading

    IF it is a CORRIDOR then don’t use Hallway in the action. ( i did this in my script on the first draft). Fish MARCHES down the hallway. Could just be: Fish marches on…
    I’d stay away from using ROOM or HALLWAY, these descriptions are too domestic for an industrial underground, secret lab.
    INT. VAULT DOOR
    Fish runs in… (without room).
    Runs into the room and Burst into the Room are overused.

    Other than that, I don’t think the script is overwritten. With a complicated plots twist here, it is important to keep the read super clear and simple.

    Reading the log-line I was looking forward to something more like Michael Mann’s The Keep. Instead it was a bit too much like The Thing. But that’s just my taste.

    I would consider not having the characters constantly moving around as much as they are. Also, perhaps summing the names up by using The trio or the duo. Instead of full names.

  • klmn

    Good on ya. If it’s selected for amateur Friday I’ll read it and try to say something helpful.

  • Paul Clarke

    Now I want to vote for you guys twice.

    Also, at least I knew what a balaclava was. I believe the others are more familiar with the term ‘ski mask’. I’ve actually run into the problem before with readers.

  • Crcbonjour

    Congrats to all the writers for the opportunity to be reviewed this AOW!

    I read first 25-30 of all five (disclaimer, HUGE WWII film/doc buff)

    My vote is for “Afterworld” Interesting concept that when reading the logline, I didn’t believe would work but indeed it does. I agree with another reviewer and could see why Paramount had interest. Great writing, to “see” and believe in the story. Military films often have many characters; had no trouble keeping track as they were all well defined. The Egyptian characters, likewise. My only question was about when the sarcophagus was opened, only the mummy was inside, no things to have with him in the afterworld, unless I missed it or there is a reveal later. He was the King, right? If the balance is right and there’s a unifying thread/theme….well I’m in.

    I started with “Coldwater Canyon” because I also love classic film so I was excited about a new take on the genre. Nicely written but I felt like it was following form; an early twist/shocker to update noir, you’d have me. Maybe it’s something a key character knows that we don’t….shake me up quick! Then I’m on edge, keep me there.

    “Against Time” not really my genre but I’m committed to trying everything and appreciate the writing/story. I got into this at the start, liked the characters but as the story progressed questions started to arise; p. 13 Dr. Charles….does it matter where the money comes from?
    P. 30 what happened while John slept?
    Minor detail:,” sedan door moans to open” an inanimate object cannot moan though it can sound like a moan….
    Once it started going backwards, so was I. Think it out, maybe map it out; there may be a way to rework the concept/purpose.

    • Crcbonjour

      The program won’t let me finish with….

      “Echovault” heaven knows I loves me some Aussies ;) and war movies and I’m glad it’s getting a lot of feedback here! I had a bit more trouble connecting with this story; I did like the characters and flow. I think I couldn’t connect to details and while you cannot overwrite in your script, it felt a bit less authentic than I’m sure it will. That said it’s an ambitious undertaking to start so well done. I also made the note “first draft” so to be chosen for AOW on that, not bad.

      “Supernatural” I was hoping to get hooked into (love boats) a good thriller/mystery is a good ride but I wanted something to happen sooner to give us a an idea that we were indeed in for something inexplicable. The teaser that came to mind was Scatman Crothers character in “a The Shining” (tough standard, I know) but when he meets Danny and they “connect” right away we know SOMETHING is up. But not much. Aside from missing people and ghost hunters with experience, a lot of set up, the hunting begins and I was stuck. Spook me please! Yes, I’d rename the boat too; I’m sùre there’s something else ironic to think up to tie into the story.

      Good luck to all the writers! Please forgive any typos, at the moment I’m typing blind…the site is messing with me tonight!

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      Hi… I’ve read your comments on Against Time more than a dozen times, but I just can’t understand what you’re trying to say in the last sentence. Can you please elaborate? Thanks!

      • Crcbonjour

        Hi Rafael,
        Sorry if I was a bit abrupt on what a big part of your story line. I was essentially echoing what some others had said in that I couldn’t quite follow the action ( wasn’t so specifically concerned with backwards punches!) however as I think about it, seeing it on a page as opposed to viewing it on a screen where VFX are in play to help tell the story can bring that “ah hah” moment. For example I’ve read many feature scripts but not “The Matrix” though now I think I should.

        What I meant by mapping out the reverse sequences was to in a sense, story board, or just flow chart, to ensure the physical action is viable and ties in with your dialogue. You may have already done thís so maybe it’s just a matter of some edits.

        I do think it is a great theme. It just has to be “tight” so that the audience is immersed and everything flows seemlessly. That could mean just simplifying the action without losing the impact.

        But as I mentioned in the start of my review, the genre isn’t one of my “go-to” first genres but I do get into a smartly crafted futuristic film that keeps some realism and above all, great characters. Your pages did that; you got me in. However once the experiment started, there were scene elements that just had me confused but that’s me. I think you’ve got something though! Interesting characters, concept and WRITING!

        I hope this is a bit more helpful Rafael.

        • RafaelSilvaeSouza

          Yep. Now I get it. Thank you! I just don’t agree with the “scene elements that just had me confused but that’s me.” No. If you’re confused, it’s the writer’s fault. Mine. Yes, I’ve been mapping out the action sequences — you have no idea the diagrams I have at home –, but it’s quite difficult to write something that I’ve never read before. Specially in another language. The good news is that all the comments I got on this page are helping me shape it up. Some details about the backward time I’ve got for granted — specially now, in the nth draft — and it’s good to take a step back and rethink the way I’m describing them.

          • Crcbonjour

            I’m glad it helped Rafael. BTW, I’d never have known that you were not a native English speaker. You write better than a fair majority born speaking English. That said, it’s an incredibly difficult language to learn let alone write in. I know people who can speak it well but won’t read/write it.

            I’m glad the feedback is helping. I think what you are working on has immense potential and essentially your rewrites will essentially focus on creating a seemless, cohesive portal and visual movement so that the time transition is seemless, exciting and logical in the story. Your reasons for it are already there. I think it’s just a matter of fine tuning which may sound like torture but I’ve no doubt if you weave it tightly, it’ll be riveting.

            It might be a time to step away from it too, just to give yourself a break and maybe let the “breakthrough” come to you.

            Only because you mention the ESL, I’ll ask but do you have the “Elements of Style” book by Strunck & White? As I said, I really see no problems but it’s a great tool every writer can use because the things covered in that little book always matter. There isn’t always an English professor on hand when one is tired, over thinking, under thinking or having an internal grammatical debate!

            Good luck :)

          • RafaelSilvaeSouza

            This “Elements of Style” is going to be a great addition to my library. Thank you for the tip! And also for your kind words. You have no idea how much strength your comment gave me.

          • Crcbonjour

            I’m glad! That’s what we’re all here for and fortunate that Carson created this safe haven for screenwriters.
            “Elements of Style” was a most for many of us at some point and I believe, about as essential as a dictionary & thesaurus. It’s a short book but packed with almost everything a writer needs. As English is a second languages you’ve conquered, it’ll just fine tune things a bit more.
            Honestly, anyone who writes anything should keep a copy on hand!
            Can’t wait to see your next draft Rafael.
            Colleen

    • Crcbonjour

      I wrote another post re: the remaining scripts which I cannot see now….kind of concerns me because it WAS here….now it’s not. Don’t believe there was anything wrong with it except that I could not complete review in one post since the program stopped responding. I then just went onto a second post.

      That was where I wrote about “Echovault” & “Supernatural” but I need to revisit my notes….apologies to the writers! It was here!

      “I’ll be back”

  • gazrow

    Lol. :)

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    Thank you so much! I feel like this:

  • lonestarr357

    Having read the synopsis (and encountered my share of thrillers), I was able to put two and two together vis-a-vis the conclusion. I just find endings like that hackneyed.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to all of the AOW candidates!

    ECHOVAULT – Read the first dozen.

    I got lost with the character count and floor plans.
    Had a hard time visualizing the bunker.
    Schneider and Somerset. Fitz and Fish.
    The characters didn’t distinguish themselves with dialogue.
    Don’t know who’s really the lead PROTAG here.
    I’d rather start inside the facility.
    Tease the contents of the bunker more. Add mystery.
    And then cut to the soldiers outside.
    Tension ratchets up when we know what they’re up against.
    Show us the excess Nazis they don’t realize are there.
    That way, the reader worries for our troops more.

    Body-switching tech just reminds me of 80s comedies.
    And they were stale when they came out back then!
    Not sure that concept is really Nazi worthy.

    • ElectricDreamer

      THE SUPERNATURAL – Read the first ten.

      The title is beyond generic.
      Shouldn’t Sara know about the old man already?
      Bad exposition. The team should be informed of the mission.
      Just cut to Karan addressing Mr. Brevton.
      Show the temperature drop. Don’t tell.
      Why aren’t your characters shivering? Teeth chatttering?
      How about seeing their warm breath as they exhale?
      Be more visual on the page.
      SPLIT is a strange acronym. Three letters from Supernatural.
      Had to stop reading to figure out how you came up with that.

      Four location shoots in ten pages.
      Trent is a Hollywood phoney.
      The fat sidekick and mousey new girl don’t stand out.
      She’s always scared. He’s a wise-cracker.
      This reads much more like a COMEDY than SUSPENSE.

      • ElectricDreamer

        COLDWATER CANYON – Stopped at page five.

        Move Ray’s age to his actual character introduction.
        Overwritten photo description suffocates the data.
        Didn’t know it was Peter’s dad at first.
        Wait, why isn’t Peter’s FAMILY at the big fight?
        A proud dad — in front of a television?
        Not very cinematic. Put dad’s wheelchair ringside!

        The TRAINER can drop a tantalyzing hint here.
        Let him indirectly introduce the ANTAG.
        Give us a hint as to the stakes for Peter.
        Let the TRAINER’S reaction to the news give us that data.
        “But Jay…” is too vague.
        A lot of camera direction and intercutting in the prose.
        So much information, not enough character investment.
        If Howard was *ashamed* and didn’t watch the fight…
        I’d want to know why. The barkeep says…
        “Hey, isn’t that your nephew on TV?”
        Howard says no, but then we see with Ray he’s lying.
        Now that’s a MYSTERY.

        Peter wins a huge fight and goes home alone?
        No after party celebration? Reads strange.
        He’s not ready for repercussions from blowing the fix?
        No back up? Prize fighters always have entourages.
        Peter reads very dumb here.

        MY AOL Pick: AFTERWORLD.

        Best of luck to all the candidates!

    • ElectricDreamer

      AFTERWORLD – Read up to twenty-five.

      I’d make a bigger deal on the page with the reveal…
      Venharis stands resoulte — a WWII machine gun in hand!
      As written, it just blends in with the rest of the prose.

      Stillinger reads like a lead. A hero, in fact.
      He holds the line, rallies the troops.
      Until he’s dispatched on page 12.
      Perhaps Beckenbauer should open the scene.
      As written, I naturally want to follow Stillinger.

      Is Becknbauer here to see mummies or test weapons?
      I’m confused. Is this tech supposedly around the camp?
      If so, why didn’t they use these bombs against the enemy?
      So many soldiers with full names.
      Try: COLONEL HUGHES & PRIVATE KILLBY in the character slugs.
      Give us some ranks to help sort through all the names.

      Kept waiting for the story to get rolling.
      No trace of any sci-fi after the first time travel tease.
      Why are they here if not testing?
      Beckenbauer was just there to see the tomb?
      Suggest bread-crumbing the plot better from pages 3-30.
      The machine gun reveal in the prologue isn’t enough.

    • ElectricDreamer

      AGAINST TIME – Read the first ten.

      Paul’s line at the bottom of page one.
      Really bad expostion. I’m sure John knows all that data.
      Ripped me right out of your story.
      Just have Paul say to John…
      “You ever wonder what’s in there?”
      Now we know the facts and it isn’t an obvious info dump.

      If Anna owns the place, shouldn’t she know about John?
      Seems like she would be the first to know about him.
      Especially if she supposedly has feelings for John.
      Didn’t buy John’s impatience. Why blow it now?
      Need more motivation here for John to break the rules.

      No ones knows John shouldn’t be in there?
      Security around here stinks.
      He obviously doesn’t have clearance.
      Does anyone around here wear ID lanyards/badges?
      Why is no one pissed at John for trespassing?!?
      This almost reads like a satire. Not an action film.

      • RafaelSilvaeSouza

        …and here we have another example of the balance between just spelling things out to the reader and letting the reader read between the lines. First, he complains about being too on the nose, and then he just doesn’t get anything that comes after. See? Tricky.

        • ElectricDreamer

          I didn’t complain about about anything being “on the nose”.

          Where did you get that?
          But I did criticize your poor exposition on page one.

          Not all exposition is bad. It’s not all certainly on the nose, either.

          Things need to be explained to the reader.
          In fact, good exposition should be easy to understand.

          But bad exposition is as follows…
          **A character saying something purely for the reader’s benefit.**

          As in —

          Paul and John already both know they’re locked in that room.
          They also both know they don’t have a clue about the door.
          So, why do they re-state something they both already know?

          It’s solely re-stated for the reader’s benefit.

          Bad exposition like that takes the reader out of your story.
          Readers around town smell bad exposition like a fart in a car.

          • RafaelSilvaeSouza

            If you don’t think “on the nose dialogue” also includes “bad exposition” — and I understand why you may not –, just replace “on the nose” on my comment to “bad exposition.”
            And your idea of the new line is great. I’ll be using it on the next rewrite. Thank you.

          • ElectricDreamer

            I’m glad I could help you out in even a small way.

            Us outsider types need all the support we can get.
            Good luck with your script!

  • gazrow

    AGAINST TIME – Read the first twenty five.

    Sci-Fi and time travel are not really my thing – that said, I think this script has a really great idea at its core – I’m just not fully convinced that a new experimental drug is the best way to fully realize its potential? But like I said, Sci-Fi is not my thing, so what do I know?

    I felt the writer made it a little too easy for the protagonist, John, in the first 25. Firstly, he’s going to get what he thinks is his dream job, simply because he’s spent years guarding the facility as a lowly security guard. We don’t get to see any special skills or aptitude that John possesses that would make us root for him and feel he earned his shot!

    What this does, is actually lessen the mystery and impact of the experiment and drug in question. I mean, if they’ll let a lowly, unskilled security guard test it – the drug can’t be that big a deal right?

    Worse still, John has also gained the affections of ‘hot’ doc, Anna! So John is not your typical underdog – and therefore someone not easy to root for!

    To be fair to the writer, he does try to get us to root for John by introducing us to Paul, the new security guard and thus John’s replacement. We get some nice conflict as the two trade barbs and we actually start to feel a little sorry for John when nepotism rears its ugly head. Turns out, Paul and one of the guys in charge, are ex army buddies, so Paul, who literally stepped through the door moments/hours ago is gonna get to try out the new drug rather than John.

    I get what the writer was trying to do here and bury the exposition amidst the conflict. However, I feel on screen, the opening scenes would appear a little flat and not dramatic enough!

    My suggestion to the writer (Rafael) would be – build up the mystery and impact of the drug, by having Paul not be a replacement security guard – He’s there, because he’s the very best the army has to offer – He and one other guy aced all the physical tests – aptitude tests – hand-to-hand combat simulation tests etc. None of the other candidates came even close to their scores.

    The other guy, is of course, John! He somehow sneaked his way onto the selection process. All of a sudden there is a sense of mystery about him “who the hell is this guy?!” John in turn, isn’t interested in the experiment or drug, he didn’t even know what was going on behind that door. All he is interested in, is getting close to Anna! She has been too focused on her work to even notice him – But know thanks to his test score, he’s suddenly on her radar.

    We will realize that John is easily the better candidate of the two, because he is of course “the one,” but thanks to Kemp and his nepotism, Paul is the guy chosen. So we immediately root for John!

    Not sure if any of this helps? Either way, I’m rooting for Rafael and Against Time as my choice for Amateur Friday!

    • RafaelSilvaeSouza

      You got it! You really got it! Thank you so much for not only reading, but also for providing such great notes. Oh, and for you vote also. It means a lot. Thanks!
      The only thing is: I need John to not see himself as the underdog at the beginning. And the audience has to believe he’s something else too. The whole story is about him having a reality check, and growing from that. I don’t know how it is in the U.S., but here lots of people feel entitled to things, just because. It’s what I call the “Matrix Complex.” Every movie now has someone who is the “chosen one.” And Against Time plays with that. The problem is, I think I’m trying lots of different things with this screenplay, and of course, not every bet is paying off.
      But I’m still trying to not go down the conventional route…

      • gazrow

        Glad you found my notes useful. Good luck! – Hope you get the AF slot! :)

  • Kieran ODea

    Inspired by the half_robot’s call to arms I’m going to respond.

    So I read the beginning of Echovault (awesome name) and Afterworld.

    Echovault: I could not get past the first five pages. Here’s why.

    I did not like the writing. Too many capitalized words. Almost every subject was capitalized and made it very hard to read. The descriptions were quite bare. You have a bunker… what about the bunker? How big is it? What does it look like? There are many types of bunkers and I had no feeling for what you imagined it to look like. From there it’s hard to follow the actions because I don’t have a proper foundation. Also a case of too many characters.

    Afterworld: So I’ve read a similar script about a spec ops team traveling back in time to fight a warlord in ancient Rome and I liked it so I thought I’d give this one a shot. After reading the first 10 pages, I’d say this one has my vote. The characters are a little too cliche but that is probably because I haven’t gotten to know them yet. Still the world you build is relatively easy to follow. I liked the image of the egyptian guy (forget his name) holding the german assault rifle in the opening scene. I thought that was a great set up and created a lot of mystery. If I could add one thing it would be that your description is a little lacking. You are showing us this egyptian city but you give it almost no description. I was just reading Killing on Carnival Row (a scriptshadow fan favorite) and the reason I think people like it is because Travis is so descriptive without being overbearing. He describes the bleak world of Burgue so well down to the weird drug dens. It allows the reader to live in the world. So think about adding a little more description in the opening.

  • A Tribe Called Guest

    Quick feedback for Echovault:

    – Spelling errors. Don’t do ‘em.

    – Keep the action descriptive, but don’t put too much detail in them unless they push the story forward.

    – This might be super subjective, but please don’t capitalize every object/action of significance. In the early pages, a guard WHISPERS to Schneider. Just have him ‘whisper’, unless it’s someone off in the background and only the audience is meant to see it. From the description, the whisper wasn’t a significant event. Fuckin’ whispers :)

    – Also, if this is a tight platoon, these guys should have some shared experiences they can test each other with when *spoiler* the body switch occurs. If this is already in the script, then apologies for missing it. I’m tired.

    – This might be weird feedback, but if you can, watch some Battlestar Galactica- the dialogue has some healthy mix of awesome paranoia and military speak. Run through the board game, too- you’ll create a situation where you and your friends will create some amazing dialogue based on the paranoia that game generates.

    – The thing with having characters analyze dialogue that’s just been said is that it gets tiring pretty quickly. P. 56, Jackpot: “You sound like you want him to die.”
    Or Mahler (off Jackpot telling him to put down the scalpel): “This scalpel? What, you scared I’m going to carve you up? Do experiments and shit?” Maybe do a quick fix where Mahler gives him a look, or reacts to what he’s saying with simply not putting the scalpel down, instead of replying.

    – Dope tag at the end.

  • Eddie Panta

    My vote goes to “The Supernatural”. Why?
    Well, for obvious reasons. It’s the only script out of the five that’s shootable. It’s the only
    one I finished. A breeze to read. I’d also ad that this is not at all my taste
    in terms of genre. I’m not into ghost hunting stories at all. It was my last pick in
    terms of logline. However, I know a great read one I see one.

    Every single page is well planned out. There are no technical
    flaws.

    All the shots, all the moments, are there. This is the type
    of script a line-producer would need in order to figure out: A. What’s going on?
    And B. How much is this film going to cost?

    “Supernatural” was by far the best written. I also read a
    lot of EchoVault, Coldwater, and Afterworld. All great story ideas but not as
    professionally written as The Supernatural.

    Interestingly enough, EchoVault, Afterworld, and Supernatutal
    have a lot more in common than you’d probably think.

    All three have either team members or troops that travel
    into the unknown and encounter supernatural circumstances. Echovault and
    Supernatural are both contained thrillers.

    In EchoVault and especially Afterworld, it’s too hard to keep
    up with all the characters. They’re
    introduced to us all at once or too quickly.

    Also, juggling a lot of characters is best done by splitting
    them up. As shown in “Supernatural”. You can also see how the characters, the team,
    is defined within the physical contained space they inhabit. The SHIP – Lost at
    Sea, has several floors, many rooms, and lots going on. But we still get the
    360, the feel that we know how this place works. We understand where everyone
    is.

    The strongest part of this ghost story on the ship is that we get the sense that all the events are occurring simultaneously even when the camera is on one story line. The reader never loses a frame of reference to the other characters.

    Other scripts including Afterworld, seem to be in a still frame while they unreel their characters.

    Yeah, “Lost at Sea” not a great name for the ship. The title
    has to go. SPLIT van is awkward. That’s all easily changeable. It might affect
    the read but in the end the story is there. I can’t say the same for the other
    scripts.

    I did think that Supernatural needs to hit a more specific
    story beat to nail the genre. I really wasn’t sure who this movie was for – age
    group wise. But because the story is designed so well, these attributes could
    still be added or punched up and without a ton of work.

    I would recommend going out on limb, take some more chances
    with the camera aesthetics, show the POV, and give me some spooky handheld
    shots. I would like to see a bit more flare with that.

    Well, I learned more from this crop of scripts more than any
    other previous AOW on the site.

    Thanks to all the brave writers for putting their work out
    there.

    -Eddie

  • Stevetmp

    I’m 40 pages into Echovault. I intended to read the first 10 and see how it was going and then didn’t stop, so gotta hand it to the writers for that. Good work!

    I’m enjoying the visuals for this script and most of the time I’m able to see the movie as I read. Congrats to the writers on achieving this without long, flowery description. There are one or two moments where I lost my geography but generally I was there with them. I thought it was paced really nicely too. Driving forward in just the right places with enough twists and turns to keep me engaged and reading quickly.

    I agree with the other comments on here referring to the character introductions. Too many, too quick for me and not enough time spent with our protagonist or from his POV in the opening scenes too. Granted, it would be a lot easier to keep track of the characters in the movie, seeing them in the flesh, but still might be worth looking at how to introduce them in different ways. Interesting challenge that, generally. Would be interested to hear if anyone has any good tips for introducing lots of characters quickly.

    Fish’s character feels a little cookie-cutter to me so far, I’m looking forward to getting to know him a little better and finding his flaws. That said, shouldn’t I know his flaws by page 40 if he’s going to overcome them during the course of this script?

    I’d be interested to hear why Andrew and Jacque chose to set this in 2nd World War time? Was it just for the bunker setting and language barrier? A period setting can create budget issues and casting constraints and I wonder what they’d lose by tweaking and setting this in present day? I’m sure they can justify, perhaps I’ll find out as I keep reading.

    Congrats guys, I’m gripped so far and looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!