amateur offerings weekend

Guess whaaaaaat? There’s a super-sneaky surprise in these offerings. I’m not going to tell you what it is until I review the winning script. But it’s going to be a doozy! — Read the following amateur scripts and voice your opinions and constructive criticisms in the comments section of Saturday’s Amateur Offerings Weekend post! Good luck to all the writers!

TITLE: Fuse
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Thriller
LOGLINE: A cop in the near future hunts a killer who murders victims for their enhanced body-parts so he can utilize them himself.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “I’ve been trying to get work as a screenwriter for a couple years now. By that I mean I’ve been trying to actually get paid, a common conundrum I know. It can be hard to get material read, so I’ve submitted a number of projects to various contests and I’ve been a finalist in the Austin Film Fest and Scriptapalooza, which is exciting but hasn’t meant much so far.”

TITLE: Terror in the Year 3000!
GENRE: Post-Apocalyptic Comedy
LOGLINE: An immature, belligerent survivalist and his on-again/off-again girlfriend fight for their lives after discovering and subsequently enraging a horde of flesh-eating mutants.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “Howdy! I’m a recent grad from SUNY Purchase (with a BFA in Screenwriting) and, as of a month ago, an L.A. transplant. I’ve been reading scripts and writing non-stop since I got here in between job searching, and I can definitely see my work improve with each script and draft that I write. “Terror” comes from my recent binge on all the apocalyptic fare that came out this past year; I wanted to combine the usually very serious high-stakes story of survival in a nuclear wasteland and put my own comedic spin on it. The action is frantic and serves the story, and there’s more to the jokes than just gross-out junk. Hopefully it’s up your alley, enjoy!”

TITLE: Vindication
GENRE: Thriller
LOGLINE: An archeologist searches for a Viking ship buried in Washington State, while seeking justice for the murder of a friend.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “Writing is who I am and what I do. It’s been said by writing professionals that I have a good handle on the craft of writing, and for that I’m proud and very humble. I’m heavy into characterization and the multi-faceted motives that drive my characters. My plots are always completely original and of interest to both adult males and females. I’d like to mention that my dialogue is crisp and often times caustic. Regarding pace, it’s usually tight and right. If you decide to read my script, I know you’ll recognize and see that I’ve learned a thing, or three from you also.

Aside from my publishing credits, I’ve completed a screenplay adapted from my fourth mystery/thriller novel entitled, VINDICATION. The logline for this script garnered first place in a recent logline competition.”

TITLE: In the Flesh
GENRE: Contained Horror Thriller
LOGLINE: A woman fights to escape an isolated home controlled by an Incubus, a demonic force that feeds on sexual energy. A task made more difficult by her co-hostages, who are content to remain under the creatures spell.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “Something interesting about me: Watch the pilot episode of “The Wire” and you will see my elementary school in the background behind the young Barksdale dealers. I went from playing marbles to shooting craps on the same corners where many of the show’s stories were ripped. I’ve loved movies and writing since childhood. They provided a 90 minute respite from an oft times less than ideal environment. I’ve had many people tell me that a career as a writer was a dream beyond my reach. Admittedly, I believed them. But even without the hope of making a dime let alone a living, I kept writing, reading scripts, and consuming all I could to learn about the craft from sites like Scriptshadow. I can’t stop writing. I’ve tried. It is a part of me. A part I want to make better. A goal I work on daily. “In the Flesh” is a sample of that effort. I believe a good one. One that people will one day read and enjoy. If I’m wrong, I’ll write something better tomorrow.”

TITLE: Tall, Dark and Handsome.pdf)
GENRE: Thriller
LOGLINE: A Manhattan trophy wife’s attempts to retrace the missteps of her romantic past lead to the doorstep of a mysterious doctor and down a rabbithole of hatred.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “I wrote it.”

  • Paul Clarke

    Two very strong entries this week. IN THE FLESH and TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME – Both have similarities to their stories with strong female main characters thrown into mysterious worlds. We experience it as they do. Their proactive behaviour makes us like them and want to know what happens to them. And the mystery of what is happening to them intrigues us to read further. Not to mention both have a professional polish to them. I could see either as a movie. Nicely done.

    FUSE:

    That’s a huge opening super. Sure seems like a good way to put the audience off. Worse thing is it’s a super cinematic idea. Why not show it? I mean the first scene does show the mods. Isn’t that enough? His mod could break and a medic could explain about how they can’t afford to replace or fix it, etc. Let the movie introduce the story world without the jarring info dump.

    The action on the first few pages plays out well. I like it. It explains all that text from the beginning in a more natural way. I’d just cut the super text altogether.

    Not sure we need descriptions like “Spartan apartment” and “Morning sun spills it’s toxic yolk…” – sounds a little pretentious.

    It’s getting confusing with Sleepwalkers 1 & 2, Crooked Cops 1 & 2, Hacktivists 1 – 4. Could we cut down on the character count, or give them more descriptive names?

    P11: Kiran – misspelled ‘Kirin’. Also, ‘skulks’ seems like an emotive description, but these guys don’t show emotion. And Gardener doesn’t get a description? I thought we only met him on the radio.

    The conversation/interrogation seemed too on the nose. They questioned her without the lawyer just so we could hear the information. It made no sense from their point of view. So I stopped on page 15. An interesting premise. A little close to Robocop maybe. Would consider coming back to it, depends on the strength of the others.

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000!:

    Really don’t like the exclamation point in the title. It does set the tone. But it’s one of real slapstick humour. Plus the logline wasn’t specific enough. What’s different about these mutants that we haven’t seen a million times before? What makes your story stand out?

    Well the tone of the story certainly suits the exclamation point. Kind of MARS ATTACKS if Apatow got hold of it.

    I’m aware it’s not a factually accurate story, but after 1000 years there would be very little left. I don’t see how they could be looting a Walmart. Wouldn’t that have been done 999 years ago?

    Made it to page 15. It has its own style, which is nice. Just not really my thing really. David could possible be the straight guy surrounded by the whack-jobs. That usually works better for comedy. Because he’s a bit of a dick I just didn’t care enough to read on. I can see the humour but it just wasn’t for me. Moving on.

    VINDICATION:

    The logline is two unrelated events. They must combine somehow (preferably ironically). Does he prove his friend innocent by finding the Viking ship? What will happen to the friend otherwise (stakes)? – and what makes this task difficult for this archeologist? Or what makes him care for this particular friend? We just need a little more detail to envisage the story concept.

    So, looks like amateur hour. We have no title page. Title and author on the first page. Page numbers in the middle (and first page numbered). Bold character names. Characters not capitalized on introduction. First and last names on the character names. LATE NIGHT on the slugline. No indication that the WEATHERMAN is (V.O) — I know these things don’t affect the story, but it makes me think the writer hasn’t read other scripts before.

    Very on the nose dialogue right from the first page.

    The novel writer is coming through on the second page: “…lips drawn together like layers of blue steel.” “Overhead, lightning sizzles, thunder screams, and rain pours down as the violent sky is at war with the earth.” – Not sure I’ve ever seen lightning sizzle, or heard thunder scream. No wonder it’s 119 pages (without title page)

    Sorry, the dialogue on page 3 is too much for me. I’m stopping here.

    IN THE FLESH:

    I like the title. I don’t normally like supernatural stories, but your logline has me intrigued. I can see some interesting possibilities. I would like to know more about the woman though. What makes her interesting? What makes the situation more interesting because of her? Is she a nun, a hooker?

    Better description than the previous script – P2: “Piercing eyes unashamedly rover over Alison.” – That gives me a clear visualization of what’s going on in very few words. Nicely done. I also like the interaction between Cole and Alison, I find them both interesting by the start of page 3. You can’t do much better than that.

    Second script this week with a Spartan bedroom. Funny the little things that pop up.

    P5: Creepy stuff. So mysterious.

    You’ve done a perfect job of making Alison a portal for the audience. We learn and experience the story as she does. That way, we feel what she feels. We don’t really know anything about her to begin with and that seems to help. Only tell us what we need to know. (I guess that’s why the logline is that way)

    I really like Alison because she does what a real person would do in that situation. She takes just long enough before realizing something is wrong, then takes the logical, reasonable steps to solve the problem of being locked in. Therefore we understand and empathize with her easier. Plus, because the other character is an idiot we feel for her plight. Very nicely done.

    Flew through to page 30. Very well setup. Not sure if there’s enough meat to fill out an entire story, but I’m intrigued enough to find out.

    TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME:

    Wonderful flowing dialogue between Dean and Veronica.

    And again between Veronica and Eric. Their personalities come through in their voices. They feel like real people.

    Similar to the previous script. A strong female protagonist in a mysterious situation. We want to read on to find out what exactly is happening. Very professional writing. Nicely done.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey Paul-

      Thanks for doing the heavy lifting again this week… I didn’t have the opportunity to give this week’s AOW selections a whole lot of time. Based on your reviews, I did take a quick peek at In The Flesh… and I’ll probably check out Tall, Dark and Handsome sometime tomorrow.

      In The Flesh

      High marks in terms of style and format. The writer wastes no time in kick-starting the story into high gear. Solid dialogue. The descriptive lines painted vivid images in my mind. Etc.

      All good stuff so far.

      One minor quibble: CREAK… not CREEK.

      INT. DAVENPORT’S ROOM – NIGHT

      A CREEK from outside the door.

      Alison gasps awake. Covers her mouth realizing, that IT is standing right outside the door.

      Her heart pounds in her chest as she tries in vain to quiet her panicked breathing.At the door. CREEK, CREEK, CREEK. It steps closer.

    • Panos Tsapanidis

      Based solely on Paul’s comment, I vote for “Tall, Dark and Handsome.” I dig the title and the Why you should read is the best one I’ve seen.

      • NajlaAnn

        :) “WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “I wrote it.””

    • Citizen M

      Fuse: I thought the opening super, as you call it, was an explanation of the world to the reader and could go on a separate page before the first page. In any case, I agree with you it’s not needed. We can pick up the information from clues in the script.

      • Paul Clarke

        It says TITLE before hand.

        At first I thought that meant they were supposed to write the title of the script there, but then I realized that’s another term for a SUPER.

        • John Bradley

          Yeah the formatting of that threw me off for a minute too.

    • Andrew Orillion

      The plot for “In The Flesh” is a little thin, but that’s why it’s only 92 pages. The characters could use a little more meat on their bones.

      • John Bradley

        Is that a joke about the skinny characters? Not cool, weight is a sensitive subject.

        • Andrew Orillion

          “Meat on their bones” as in, “The characters are thin”, as in they are underdeveloped. We never really learn much about the characters, especially the lead.

          • John Bradley

            I know I was just messing with you=)

    • Eddie Panta

      That way, we feel what she feels. We don’t really know anything about her to begin with and that seems to help. Only tell us what we need to know.

      I thought most of your thoughts here were spot on, except for not knowing anything about Alison, prior to the incident, which dare I say starts too fast.

      I think the character and the situation would be more realistic if I knew that Alison had a purpose, a place in the world that existed outside the events of the script.
      So, that everything didn’t feel like it was too convenient. Too ready, set, go…

    • Dyland55

      Agreed whole heartedly on this. In The Flesh is my choice.

  • John Bradley

    My pick this week is In the Flesh, I thought that was really well written and deserving of an AF Review. Tall, Dark and Handsome comes in a close 2nd for my vote. Anyway, I read the first 10 of all five and here are my thoughts of each….

    Fuse (AF) First Ten Pages Review

    Logline: “A cop in the near future hunts a killer who murders victims for their enhanced body-parts so he can utilize them himself.” This is certainly high concept. The obvious trick to this is how the “world building” integrates with the story. I believe that is what will make or break this script.

    1. Page 1, Ah! A 10 line opening block of direction! Well it’s a title card and if Star Wars can do it, why not? This also at least set the foundation for the world building. There’s also some thing in it that are relevant to our political climate, so that part is not too much of a stretch.

    2. Page 1, Good opening image of a cage fight. I enjoyed your imagery and prose. That’s a good way to start fast. My only concern is there is no white space on this opening page, I hope the rest of the script is not this bloated.

    3. Page 1, Once you have announced once in parenthetical that the ANNOUNCER is speaking (over the P.A.) you don’t need to do it every time he speaks. See, I just freed up a little white space for you!

    4. Page 1, If it were me, instead of the Announcer doing play by play on the fight, which we the audience can see and do in our own heads, why not have the Announcer tell us a little bit about Marcus’ backstory? That would be a clever and seemless way to deliver some exposition. Just how I might handle it.

    5. Page 1, I would capitalize “The Fighter” instead of “the fighter”.

    6. Page 1, “Ing” verbs are a passive form of writing and if there are instances you can take them out I highly recommend it. Here is an example, “The crowd churns, people screaming and rising to their feet,” I would say, “The crowd churns, people scream and rise to their feet,”

    7. Page 2, It’s totally a style choice, but I don’t think you need (CONT’D) it fills up space and I’m seeing a lot of people just don’t use it anymore.

    8. Page 2, If the character is named “Russian Mobster” it seems a bit redundandt to mention he has a (Russian Accent). I would just eliminate that.

    9. Page 4, Adam appears to be a main character, so Marcus giving him money is okay. I do want to say that having one’s main character give a homeless person money in the first 10 pages as a Save the Cat moment is one of the biggest cliche’s in screenwriting to me. I wonder if there is possibly a more unique or original way to handle this interaction?

    10. Page 5, Okay, I stand slightly corrected. Adam took out Marcus. Good stuff with that. Slightly ignore #9.

    11. Page 5, Again, you mention the “Pundit” is on tv, so you don’t need to have (on tv) every time he speaks in parentheticals.

    12. Page 6, I really don’t like how much lines a random tv host and pundit are getting. It just felt a bit too forced in.

    13. Page 6, Like I metioned before the script has very little white space and I think things are overdescribed. Here is an example, “Morning sun spills it’s toxic yoke into the canyons of Los Angeles.” Firstly, the scene heading is INT. KIRAN’S APARTMENT – KITCHEN – MORNING, so how can we see the Canyon’s in Kiran’s kitchen? Secondly we know it’s morning so that flowery description doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know. While it is a beautifully written description, it fills up valuable white space and doesn’t move the story forward. To me, white space is much more valuable than needless flowery descriptions.

    14. Page 6, In dialogue it’s supposed to be “thirty” not “30” that’s a pretty firm rule.

    15. Page 9, Mariana had a cool character introduction.

    Conclusion: This script has a lot of potential and I hope the writers keep working on it. There where a lot of basic problems such as writing numbers in dialogue instead of spelling them, repeating things in parenthetical that don’t need to be there, using constant V.O. from unimportant characters to deliver exposition and constant over description in direction.

    The best advice I have is the more complicated your concept (which this is), the simpler your story and writing style should be. I would take a hard look at the direction and simplify it. Don’t talk about the sunrise over the mountains if it isn’t vital to the story. Instead of constant 3-4 lines of direction try to get it to 2-3.

    I really do believe these writers have potential but I don’t think this script is ready to be reviewed in such a public forum. I would like to see them run through a few more drafts and smooth things out. I’m saying that because this script could be so much better if it was fleshed out and I know as a fellow writer, I would want nothing less than my absolute best being reviewed and the script is not quite there yet.

    • John Bradley

      Terror in the Year 3000 (AF) First Ten Page Review

      Logline: “An immature, belligerent survivalist and his on-again/off-again girlfriend fight for their lives after discovering and subsequently enraging a horde of flesh-eating mutants.”…. The thing I like about this logline is we have a flawed protagonist with a lot of room for character arc and the relationship with the girlfriend sounds ripe with conflict. This is a well crafted logline in my opinion.

      1. Title Page, Like many people including Carson have said, I highly recommend NOT including a date on your screenplay. Maybe there is a good reason, but I have been told by so many people not to do it.

      2. Page 1, The empty beer bottles. This is going to be an absurdist comedy. I’m going to be honest these types of comedies are hit and miss for me. Opening with a 16 line block of dialogue complaining about DVD’s isn’t the strongest option to me.

      3. Page 1, “Mr. President, for your safety I suggest you stop drawing aside the curtains and exposing your genitals to the gate guard.” That line kinda made me laugh.

      4. Page 2, The exposing the gentials to him was also pretty funny. My hope is that the humor ends up revolving around the plot rather than a series of slapstick jokes in a loosly held together plot.

      5. Page 2, Okay, right here is a very very basic mistake that would keep most pro-readers from continuing. Parenthical direction gets it’s own line, it’s not mixed in with dialogue. Also, there are no capitals in it unless there is a proper noun. I have lost a lot of confidence in the writer’s understanding of proper screenwriting rules at this point. If this were sent to a production company it’s very unlikely a pro-reader would continue past this line.

      6. Page 3, Another really basic thing, if a voice is coming through speakers it is supposed to have (V.O.) in dialogue. There are books like The Hollywood Standard or the Screenwriter’s Bible that cover these basic rules.

      7. Page 3, The President accidently presses the nuclear button. This opening scene felt more like a skit than anything. I wish there were a bit of a better setup to him accidently pushing it.

      8. Page 4, On a positive note, your action lines are short and crisp. Overall well written.

      9. Page 6, In dialogue it’s supposed to be “one-thousand” not “1000”.

      10. Page 7, David’s V.O. dialogue along with the imagery was pretty well written with good pacing.

      11. Page 8, Nice conflict/back and forth between David and Wally.

      12. Page 10, The skunk skelitizing the bear adds some intrigue.

      Conclusion: This script has some strong suits like clear description, quick back and forth dialogue, and it made me laugh a couple times.

      However, there were some glaring and basic formatting mistakes very early in the script which gives me pause. If I were the writer, I would want these basic mistakes cleaned up before getting a review on SS.

      • ghost

        Great reviews.
        But don’t prodco readers read everything, regardless of early amateur errors?
        http://scriptshadow.net/screenwriting-article-thoughts-from-a-script-reader/
        I remember this article which mentions readers giving up on a script as a common misconception.

        • John Bradley

          That’s 100% true if you are getting paid to give coverage on a specific script there’s no way you wouldn’t. But if you have a stack of them and find a glaring mistake in the first two pages are you really going to keep reading?

          • ghost

            In the article, he wasn’t talking about paid coverage, he was talking about companies. That’s why I said prodco readers. That 1st line of readers your script has to go through before it goes anywhere. This isnt my opinion, I just remembered what this reader said in this article.

    • John Bradley

      Vindication (AF) First Ten Page Review

      Logline: “An archeologist searches for a Viking ship buried in Washington State, while seeking justice for the murder of a friend.” The good thing about this logline is that there is a clear goal. The tough thing is that I don’t see a character flaw in the protag and there are two goals, seemingly unconnected. I think the logline could use a bit of massaging.

       

      1. Page 1, I’m not sure if it is on the writer’s end or Carson’s, but the formatting is really off. I mean there are TONS of problems with it. If you can’t afford Final Draft 8, then get a program like Celtix. If it’s on the writer’s end I highly recommend a fix before sending it off to studious or agents.

      2. Page 1, If someone (Weatherman) is speaking over the radio, then he needs (V.O.) next to his dialogue. At this point 1/4 page in, most pro-readers would put down the script. Getting the technical stuff right wont get you a big sale, but getting it wrong could cost you one and this formatting is terribly wrong. (Writer, feel free to comment to me or other SS members if you would like resources and advice on formatting, there are plenty of people willing to help)

      3. Page 1, Shorter is always better in description. Here is an example, “There is a meaningful exchange of eye contact between the two men.” instead say “They maintain eye contact.” or something better than that. But the sentence as written reads a bit awkward.

      4. Page 2, You don’t need the title of the script in the upper left hand corner of every page. Also, page numbers are not centered, they are in the upper right hand corner.

      5. Page 2, I’m noticing a bit too much exposition and too little subtext in the dialogue.

      6. Page 2, One of the biggest mistakes I notice in Amature scripts is too much of the direction is focused on where our characters are looking at any given moment, “Todd stops cold and there is another exchange of dramatic eye contact.” Unless the eye contact is crucial to moving the story forward, eliminate it.

      7. Page 2, This is an example of novelistic writing, “Overhead, lightning sizzles, thunder screams, and rain pours down as the violent sky is at war with the earth.” It’s beautiful prose, but in my opinion a bit too much for a screenplay. Sell the story, not flowery descriptions of the setting.

      8. Page 3, It seems like Todd and Justin are just having a conversation. It’s the opening scene, I would like to see them active and with goals.

      9. Page 3, A whole page of Justin and Todd giving compliments of how much they love each other was a bit too much for me.

      10. Page 4, If you state in the scene heading that we are in a pickup truck “INT. PICKUP TRUCK” you don’t need the first line of direction to remind us that “Todd and Justin take refuge in a pickup truck” Try not to be redundant.

      11. Page 4, Also, instead of having large blocks of direction, it’s okay to break them up into two or three smaller blocks. I recommend seperating the big ones by camera shot as they would appear.

      12. Page 4, Instead of TELLING the story via Voice Over of an inconsucential weather man, why not SHOW us the bad weather? Show is always better than tell and right now there is a lot of telling.

      13. Page 4, Active writing is better than passive writing. Here is a great article that gives specific examples, http://yourscreenplaysucks.wordpress.com/7-deadly-sins-of-writing/. I am noticing a lot of passive writing.

      14. Page 5, Here there are good goals, stakes and urgency with the inclement weather. Good job with that.

      15. Page 6, Todd keeps saying Justin’s name in dialogue. That comes across as unnatural.

      16. Page 7, The action itself is pretty good and intriguing, but in my opinion is overwritten. Look for ways to cut the word count.

      17. Page 8, Here is a small example (of many I could find) “Justin now sees” You don’t need the word “now” if it is happening on the page then it is happening now.

      Conclusion: I don’t want this review to come off as harsh. I recommend getting screenwriting software, reading professional scripts, becoming active on sites like SS, Triggerstreet, Simply Scripts, etc…This story is far from polished. I hope the community is able to give you some good notes. If I can be any help please feel free to message me and I will steer you in the right direction for resources.

    • John Bradley

      Logline: “A woman fights to escape an isolated home controlled by an Incubus, a demonic force that feeds on sexual energy. A task made more difficult by her co-hostages, who are content to remain under the creatures spell.” I am invisioning a lot of nudity and sexual situations. I’m really not sure what to think based on the logline.

      1. Page 1, I like your description of Allison. The opening image and descriptions were well written.

      2. Page 1, The text messages create good subtext, back story and interest. Good stuff.

      3. Page 1, The writer has a really solid voice and command of the language in his story. Some people don’t like narration in direction, but when done well like this, I really don’t mind it.

      4. Page 2, I enjoyed Cole and Allison’s back and forth.

      5. Page 5, Usually I have more notes, but everything seems really well written to me. Solid pacing, interesting dialogue. I like the scene between Allison and Frail Girl a lot. Very Creepy.

      6. Page 8, Great character in Breeze. Every character I have read so far has an interesting/unique voice.

      Conclusion: Sorry I don’t have more notes but this was written at a very high level. Interesting/unique characters. Solid action lines, good vocabulary, good pacing, readable story. This has the feel of something that is ready for AF.

      • Poe_Serling

        “I took notes for all the Amateur Offerings in the newsletter but have no place to post them?”

        Hey, you weren’t kidding. lol. Nice job! Maybe Carson and Co. will take notice of your effort and give you one of the slots for your script in a future AOW.

        • John Bradley

          There are a lot of worthy writers. Really, there are. I just want to write the best scripts I can and let the chips fall where they may. AF would be amazing though.

    • John Bradley

      Tall, Dark and Handsome (AF) First Ten Pages Review

      Logline: “A Manhattan trophy wife’s attempts to retrace the missteps of her romantic past lead to the doorstep of a mysterious doctor and down a rabbithole of hatred.” Thriller is probably my favorite genre and this is an interesting premise, so I’m on board.

      1. Page 1, First thing I notice is that there is very little white space on the page.

      2. Page 1, Everything from character descriptions to dialogue is proficiently written.

      3. Page 3, I don’t really see any conflict, goals, urgency, etc… Nothing badly written, but I hope some of these elements enter soon.

      4. Page 4, I feel like there is a bit too much exposition. They are going through Dean’s entire backstory in dialogue with little subtext. The convo isn’t bad, but I feel like this scene exits so that Veronica can give us a blueprint on Dean through expositional dialogue.

      5. Page 4, “It was stupid. Trying to die like one of the greats when I only lived as one of the many goods.” I really liked this line. It gives me a good sense of his character.

      6. Page 6, A normal scene lasts 3 pages or 3 minutes, this opening scene is 5 and half page back and forth conversation. I suggest shortening it or making the characters more active as it happens.

      7. Page7, The dialogue is pithy and has good back and forth. But I’m not sure what’s going on in this scene. I feel like I’m listening to a normal/casual conversation between a married couple. No problems. Nop conflict.

      8. Page 8, No the red hair and accusations come. Good stuff, good conflict. I enjoyed it.

      Conclusion: Technically this is a well written 10 pages, well editted, zippy dialogue. My one major critique is that it takes too much time to get into the meat. I’d like to see the script move to the conflict faster. Overall, nice piece of writing.

      • IgorWasTaken

        John Bradley wrote: “1. Page 1, First thing I notice is that there is very little white space on the page.

        Even if “white space” were a thing for me, page 1 of this script looks fine. (see image, below)

        There are many good scripts with little white space, especially scripts that open with dialogue-less action; there are many bad scripts with lots of white space.

        Apart from that, if “lack of white space” is your comment, especially your opening comment, then from the get-go it undercuts the perceived value of any of your other comments.

        • John Bradley

          That was just my first observation as I was reading. If you look at my second comment on that first page it was “Everything from character to dialogue is proficiently written.” But if my comments are diminished in value thank you for letting me know

          • IgorWasTaken

            Cool.

  • Alex Palmer

    I like the way Tall, Dark and Handsome keeps the “why you should read” succinct.

  • Kay Bryen

    To the writer of *In The Flesh*: take a bow, good sir. Now this is how you write!

    I originally intended to check out the first 10 pages, but just couldn’t stop! Incubi / saccubi is a subject matter I’ve always wanted to explore, especially since vampires, mermaids etc are always portrayed as dangerously seductive.

    I’ll do a full analysis after reading the other scripts, but I can’t imagine that they can top *In The Flesh*!

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “I wrote it.”

    Epic.

    • John Bradley

      Haha yeah I really dug that, he let his work speak for itself unlike some people who have tried too hard to sell themselves.

      • Nate

        I dislike the WYSR section for that reason alone. The writers try too hard at selling themselves. Whilst I’m impressed you placed 3rd in a screenwriting contest I don’t particularly care. That probably sounds mean and don’t get me wrong I know why people ”big” themselves up like that. It’s so they get noticed but personally I think the best way to get noticed is by the script itself.

        • John Bradley

          My WYSR will say, “Because you have a void in your heart only my script can fill.”

        • Wes Mantooth

          I agree, the WYSR is getting too cheeky for its own good. Give me a well written logline any day over some quippy sales pitch.

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    FUSE
    Read to page 22. Couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this movie before… thousands of times. It’s nice.

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000!
    Struggled to get to page 11. I don’t see why we need the opening in the Oval Office, but maybe it’s important later on? Unfortunately, not my kind of humor.

    VINDICATION
    Couldn’t get past page 6. There’s so much I didn’t like here. By the dialogue in the first pages, I thought this was a comedy. A bad comedy.

    IN THE FLESH
    I’m not a fan of contained thrillers, but this one is pretty good. Read to page 21.

    TALL DARK AND HANDSOME
    First off, the best “Why You Should Read” ever. Second, this is right up my alley. Different and very visual. Read to page 35, and it keeps getting better.

    My vote: TALL DARK AND HANDSOME

  • gazrow

    In the Flesh – Sorry if this sounds like nitpicking? But I was super excited when I cracked this open after reading the strong endorsements from folks I respect such as: Paul, Poe, Kay and John!

    Maybe it’s me? But these sentences took me out of the read straight away:

    ” What is important is that even looking at his back, Alison can see… this is a sexy motherfucker.”

    Um… How? Has Alison got X-Ray vision or something?!

    And this:

    “Alison exchanges WTF glances with Cole’s back.”

    Again, how? How can a person’s back, glance back at you?! Someone needs to explain this to me, because I just don’t get it!

    Apologies to the writer if this sounds harsh. Just giving my opinion. :)

    • Kay Bryen

      You make a valid point Gaz. While I totally understood what the writer meant, those lines did strike me as trying too hard. But it does get better, pinkie promise :-)

    • Citizen M

      All women have x-ray vision for designer labels.

      • gazrow

        LOl! :)

    • Eddie Panta

      “Alison exchanges WTF glances with Cole’s back.”
      How can a person’s back, glance back at you?! Someone needs to explain this to me, because I just don’t get it!

      Alison can see… this is a sexy motherfucker.”

      Is this what Carson was talking about in his post about “having a voice”?

      Do these quibs constituent having a voice, in a screenplay?
      or
      Is it style?
      or
      just, juicy hard-boiled lingo.

      Not sure…

      • gazrow

        “Is this what Carson was talking about in his post about “having a voice”?”

        Having a “voice” is great, provided you speak the same language as the rest of us! I still maintain it’s impossible to know if someone is sexy simply by staring at their back!

        That said, kudos to the writer for coming up with an interesting premise and for what is mostly, a well written script! (my few niggles aside lol) :)

        • Eddie Panta

          J. Lo. = Sexy from the back.
          Also, Justin Timberlake sang out bringing sexy to the back… or something like that.

    • John Bradley

      The shape of a man, his attire, and how he carries himself can all be sexy to a woman. At least that’s what Cosmo tells me.

      • gazrow

        True story – A few years back my girlfriend (at the time) and I, were watching the BBC program ‘A Question of Sport.’ Part of the show includes a ‘mystery guest’ where the viewers get to see glimpses of a famous sports celebrity (though not their face of course).

        Anyway, my girlfriend admitted that she had no idea who the ‘mystery guest’ was, but he nevertheless had a “great bum!”

        You can imagine her embarrassment and my laughter when the ‘mystery guest’ was revealed as a famous FEMALE athlete!! :)

        • John Bradley

          Haha that’s priceless!

    • Midnight Luck

      It’s saying:
      Women are strange.
      Especially what they find sexy.

      • gazrow

        “Women are strange.”

        I couldn’t agree more!! :)

  • ximan

    TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME (*MY VOTE!!*)
    First impressions: Wow, what an amazing writer of DIALOGUE! Wow, wow, wow! And what a FAST read they wrote!! But the surrealistic storyline and ambiguous logline made this a tough, hard sell for me. As I started the script, the very first page confused me (which is NEVER a good sign). I didn’t understand why we see this woman at a jukebox and a man behind her, then we just switched to Veronica and Dean. It really confused me and was off-putting. As I got into the meat of the script and recognized how surreal this trip would be, I kinda forgave it. But the more I think about it, I would have just started with Veronica and Dean.

    Speaking of characters, um, wow! These characters POPPED. They are very vivid and very different, and I could easily see an actress/actor wanting to play them. I don’t know if it’s because I just saw Frances Ha a few weeks back or what, but I could TOTALLY hear Greta Gerwig acting Veronica’s lines.

    But ultimately, the script lost me on page 34, because I can only go on a ride of this kind for about half an hour before I start to feel like I’m just being led down rabbit-holes for rabbit-holes’ sake. I need a refreshing return to reality sprinkled in there to keep things grounded. I would have preferred to see Roni snap back to some form of “reality” (maybe back to her apartment with her husband) once things got too intense for her with the drowning in black and white liquid. After all, that’s what our minds do when we’re overwhelmed with something. It returns to a place of comfort, albeit arbitrarily, and often resulting in a state of mental/psychological arrest. Plus, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Veronica and her husband. Then maybe she’s so freaked out about the episode, that she goes back to the doctor’s apartment, just to make sure it actually happened — and goes down another rabbit-hole?? Just my two cents, but the dialogue is so well written and naturalistic that I would prefer a return to the natural — at least in the beginning.

    I really enjoyed the sense of uneasiness when Roni enters the doctor’s apartment building. The tension, the descriptions of the setting, the Creep in the elevator, the SOUNDS! There was a very textural approach to the writing, which I really enjoyed. After she enters and we’re introduced to this idea that she’s under hypnosis, I’m still strongly on-board and I really enjoyed the scientific(?) mumbo-jumbo about consciousness energy streams and what-have-you. Like I said, the writer only loses me when Roni keeps descending further and further into the rabbit-hole (namely: the beach and the strange fellow there). Like Roni as she drowned, I needed to come up for air for a bit :) But I imagine, if this were a film, I might be game to go along.

    Either way, I really like the writing here (especially the dialogue!) and I wanted to read further, but I needed a little more realism to keep me grounded. Best of luck to the writer!! (BTW: I read your script first because I admire the cojones it took in your “Why Should We Read” to just say “I wrote it.” HAHAHAHA! Hilarious! :)

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000! (*2ND CHOICE!*)
    I could totally see this as one of those funny, R-rated comedies, ala “This Is The End.” Jay Baruchel as David would be a natural, hilarious fit. The setups are funny and believable and the characters are all unique. The writer loses me at page 34, which is when my threshold for all of the back-and-forth-banter is crossed, but even then the suspense was building as the green-men were enclosing on them. So at the very least, the writer has a very STRONG command of structure! The script kinda reminded me of Brian Duffield’s “Monster Problems” — in a good way, but nowhere NEAR his level.

    Having said that, I do think you have to go all-in with a script like this. This should be a hard-R film from go. But even if it were to remain as-is, there’s still a market for material like this. So best of luck to the writer!! This is OBVIOUSLY the most commercial, high-concept script in the bunch, so I only reluctantly chose “Tall Dark and Handsome” (due to its dialogue) but I think this script is a super-close second!

    IN THE FLESH
    Okay. The first scene is basically two strangers meeting in a bar who are later going to f*ck. My problem is that THE WAY in which they reach this ultimate stage of intimacy is completely unbelievable. You’ve got Alison, a cast-iron bitch, and you’ve got Cole, a….”sexy motherfucker.” (BTW, *show* me he’s a sexy motherfucker, don’t TELL me.) The alchemy of these two coming together should be explosive, and very very entertaining. What we have instead is a silly scene in a bar where they both act completely outside of their character descriptions. They BOTH give it up too easily. What I’m trying to say is the bar scene needs to be longer with a more intelligently sexy exchange of flirtatious dialogue between the two characters, or your readers are gonna call bullshit. If Cole is the seducer you describe him as, SHOW IT! Also, avoid cheese at all costs! In the next scene when Alison wakes up, looks down at her vagina and says, “Bad kitty” — I rolled my eyes so hard I had to pick them up off the floor. To avoid being trite, stay away from on-the-nose statements like that. Try irony instead.

    I read to page 24 and I thought the script was pretty OK. I could totally see this as being one of those direct-to-DVD movies or even VOD, or even something limited in release, like “You’re Next.” Despite the dash of corny dialogue here and there, I think most of the dialogue is believable. But where the story really loses me is after that great scene in the kitchen, where Cole reappears as a demon, the girls run into their room and lock themselves in. Then suddenly, they are back in the kitchen the next day?? That’s a huge leap in logic, even if they believed they would only be attacked at night. There should at least be a scene where they slowly emerge from their rooms with caution — only to find that everything is ok in the daylight.

    Either way, congrats to the writer. This is top-notch B-movie material. Which may not be what you’re looking for, but if it is, you’re well on your way. And why not aim for that market? There’s plenty of money to be made there, I’m sure.

    FUSE
    First off, the writer needs a lot more WHITE SPACE in his action! Each “shot” should start a new paragraph. This both gives the script a cleaner, neater look and allows for a more smooth read.

    Second, cliches killed the cat (or something like that). A boxing match we’ve seen before that doesn’t really highlight the mods, an anticlimactic victory, a Russian mobster in the boxer’s dressing room — and all of this within the first 3 pages! Sci-fi should (MUST) avoid cliche at all costs, or else it will read like something from the SyFy channel.

    When we meet Kiran, curiously, none of his mech/modifications are mentioned. When the alarm tells him he must sleep in 8 hours, I was a bit confused. He even showers, so we know he’s naked, and still no description of his mods.

    I’ll stop reading here, because I don’t think this story is for me. Although, I must admit that the writing is confident and the writer(s) seem to know their world pretty well. There’s just something off about it. Something very SyFy channel. Which isn’t bad! But it doesn’t read like a screenplay/feature film to me.

    On a side note: I think the title should be “Sleepwalkers” instead.

    Anyway, good luck to the writers!! That’s just my two cents.

    VINDICATION
    Oh boy. First strike against this one is the logline itself. It is completely BORING! NO hint of conflict or irony or…anything really. And the two elements of the logline (the Viking ship and the friend) are completely unrelated.

    “An archeologist searches for a Viking ship buried in Washington State, while seeking justice for the murder of a friend.”

    WHAT DO THESE THINGS HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?? What’s significant about Washington state?? Why was the ship buried?? Is it ancient?? Was the archeologist’s friend on the ship?? If we know where the ship is buried, why the need to search for it?? If the writer is that confused about his logline and subjects, the script will most likely follow suit.

    In spite of this, I opened the script anyway, only to find that the formatting is BONKERS. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t even get past the first page on this one. The premise bored me and the execution confused me.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh. I don’t want to be harsh, but this script/logline needs a LOT of work. Good luck to the writer either way!! After all, what the hell do I know? :)

  • ximan

    I liked the exclamation point! Actually, I loved it. It’s a small gesture that really gives a big dose of character to the title, and preps the reader for what they are about to experience.

    Go with your gut.

    • hickeyyy

      I agree here. Keep the excalamation point. If your story is silly and wacky and fun, that adds to it.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: In The Flesh

  • Citizen M

    IN THE FLESH was the standout title this week. It’s the only one I wanted to read further. FUSE might clean up well but is not ready for prime time yet.

    FUSE 99p by Brady Nelson

    After 25 pages: In a dystopian future where very advanced prosthetics are available to the wealthy and some disabled vets who become crime fighters known as sleepwalkers, sleepwalker Kiran Lao arrests a female hacker. Mariana Cuaran has family ties to the Embrex corporation which manufactures prosthetics. She was with two crooked policemen. (Much of the police force was fired for corruption after an incident known as Cordoba.) Later, a champion cage fighter is discovered in a back alley with his Russian mob-financed prosthetic arms ripped off. Kiran IDs him. He used to be in the same Special Forces unit as Kiran. They served three tours together. We know, but Kiran does not, that another disabled vet called Adam Lasko stole the arms for himself. Sleepwalkers are emotionless and awake day and night, except for a two-day compulsory sleep cycle. Kiran reprts for his sleep cycle, but bribes the technician to fake it. That gives him two days off grid, for reasons we do not know.

    There are some interesting ideas here. A new twist on a Blade Runner type world. There’s enough of a setup that I might read further to know what happens next. The big problem is the writing. It is one or two passes short of a first draft. It doesn’t read smoothly enough. There are too many careless errors and typos. Some of the dialogue is too obscure. There were long stretches I had no idea what they were talking about. And I don’t see why the title is Fuse.

    Police should be introduced with their ranks. I gather Cortez and Salena are police, but without their rank I can’t be sure. I’m still not 100% sure that Kiran is a sleepwalker. It’s never made explicit. Maybe you could identify the sleepwalkers as SW_KIRAN, SW_GARDNER in the cues.

    p. 7 – Make clear it’s Kiran’s radio crackling.

    p. 8 – Where did Sleepwalker 2 suddenly come from?

    p. 10 – Hacktivist 3 should be Hactivist 1 or 2. There were only two.

    p. 10 – “1 is down outside” Who is “1”? Numerals should be spelled out in dailogue, anyway.

    Niggles: yoke/yolk; tenemant/tenement; Kirin/Kiran; embrex/Embrex.

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000! 90p by Dylan Cheely

    After 25 pages: In a prologue, we see how drunken President Buck starts a nuclear war by accident. 1,000 years later, primitive humans known as savages scavenge in the cities, and mutated animals live in the wilds. In a laboratory in the woods prof Eiderstein researches the mutants with his assistants. David does the dirty work in the contaminated areas while Meg and Wally do lab work (I think). Meg had a one-night stand with David once and regrets it. She’s afraid his sperm is mutated. She believes Wally is a better genetic bet as a father, although he’s a wuss and probably gay. The Prof notes that animals are fleeing in one direction and asks David to identify what they are running from. Meg goes with him. They find radioactive poop deposited by a vicious green mutated human. At a gas station he discovers a savage has eaten his stash of Twinkies and polluted his porn mags. The savage tells them his tribe in the city is hunted by fierce Green-men. David climbs on a Harley he has restored and hidden, and he and Meg head for the city. The savages fight David but he proves himself by out-pissing the savage leader, Ja Puk. Thereafter, they accept him, tell him about the Green-men, and lead him and Meg to the ruined City Hall…

    This is an easy read with a light and pleasant tone. It is mildly amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny. For me, it departs too far from reality. By the year 3,000 there won’t be anything left to scavenge. Metal would be rust. Plant life and dust would have taken over cities. This is year 2,200 at most. Post-Fukushima, radiation is no joke. You need to respect it by having David and Meg take precautions. In any case, I thought Meg was afraid of radiation. How come she goes into the irradiated areas without any objections? The main thing is, this wasn’t funny enough for a comedy. It’s not bad, but the banter needs to be lifted up a notch. Also, there’s no plot to speak of. No GSU. What happens if they fail in their mission? Nothing. Back to the lab, that’s all.

    Niggles: vice/vise; say I/say Aye; papar/paper

    VINDICATION 119p by Louetta Jensen

    Rookie mistakes: Uninformative logline, no title page, page numbers centered, title and author repeated on every page, characters not in CAPS when introduced, using “/” instead of “and”, on the nose dialogue, Vikings in PNW, …

    After one page: Obviously this is Carson’s screenplay which he slipped in under another name. Don’t be sneaky, Carson. You gotta pay me $500 for a review.

    IN THE FLESH 91p by Ken Alston

    After 25 pages: Night. Alison sits alone at a bar. She looks ripped like an MMA fighter. A handsome and very sexy stranger, Cole, drives up in a sports car and enters. It’s not long before Alison is smitten and she ends up having wild sex with him in his mansion. Next morning, she wakes. Her clothes are gone. A note written in lipstick on the mirror says, “Get comfy, see you soon!” She showers and explores, draped in a towel. The door has heavy bolts but is not locked. The corridor is lined with similar bedroom doors. A Fragile Girl seems terrified to see her and retreats to her room. There’s someone in another room, no idea who. In the foyer, the front door has no inside handle. There seems to be no way out. A hippie chick, Breeze, tells her she arrived last night after meeting an awesome girl. Her clothes are also gone but there are new ones in her closet Alison can wear. They are too girly for Alison but she wears them anyway. Breeze’s mirror has the same note as Alison’s, written in the same lipstick. Back in Alison’s room they find new jeans and tops in the closet that fit Alison. Breeze is happy to stay in the house and watch cartoons. Alison wants to leave. Furniture is bolted to the floor. The windows are barred. She smashes a window but electrocutes herself on the security bars. She comes to at night to find Breeze getting worried. There’s a man, Doyal, in the kitchen. He’s been here a while. He tells them to stick together, be obedient, and lock themselves up at night. Alison beats him with a can of veggies to make him let them out. He says he can’t; he’s also a prisoner. An animalistic shriek and the others head for their rooms. Another shriek, and in walks Cole looking very sexy. Alison melts. She can’t resist his charisma. He leans in for a kiss when Breeze shrieks a warning and she and Alison run for the bedroom and lock themselves in. Later a woman calls through the door for Breeze. Alison is suspicious and won’t let the woman in. The woman gets jealous and angry. Next morning Alison and Breeze meet Doyal in the kitchen. All the cans have been taken out of the pantry. All the knives and plates are plastic.

    Very well written and totally intriguing. I’m hooked. I definitely want to read on. My only comment is it needs a better, more sophisticated, title based on what I have read so far.

    TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME 117p by Charles Bascombe

    After 25 pages: In a deserted Manhattan cafe, Veronica Fall chats to artist Dean Haller. They were formerly in a relationship when he suffered a six-year blockage. He’s now married with a child and has an upcoming show at the Met. He syas a Dr Michael Saeghardt straightened him out, but his techniques are unorthodox and not suitable for Veronica. Back at her snazzy apartment she argues with her husband Eric, a Wall Street type. She found a red hair stuck in his zipper. He won’t admit to being unfaithful. She’s unhappy and wants to see Dr Michael. She takes a cab to a brownstone in a bad part of town. She meets a creepy janitor in the old-style open lift. Dr Michael doesn’t open his door when she knocks. The door is unlocked. She goes inside to find herself in a book-lined hallway. At the end is a mounted gold lion’s head. Dr Michael speaks through the head and says he hypnotized her four hours ago and she must give him the safe word before moving on to the next level. She’s confused. She remembers nothing. A bookcase turns to reveal a seat. She sits, and picks up a globe covered in lines. Dr Michael explains he’s a physicist, not a psychiatrist. The lines on the globe represent the flow of energy, specifically mental energy.

    Slow and talky, and not very comprehensible. There’s an abrupt change of tone from New York hipster to gothic horror on page 18 which is quite jarring. Start as you mean to continue, please. I have no sympathy for Veronica. She sounds like a spoiled rich wife witha poor-me attitude. Dr Michael’s theories sound like complete mumbo-jumbo. I have no wish to read further.

    • Citizen M

      I thought Vindication was the super-sneaky surprise Carson promised us. A script specially written to illustrate beginner mistakes. If it is a genuine attempt at writing a script, I’m afraid the writer still has a long way to go. Read how-to books, and read plenty of scripts. Chronicle is a good example of a modern script by a prolific screenwriter. He uses bold where others would use underlining, but he is admirably economical with words, and doesn’t bother telling us what we can figure out for ourselves.

  • HelTek

    My vote goes to “In the Flesh”.

    I read the whole thing, rather quickly, and thought is was really good. It still needs some work, but its definitely got a huge amount of potential.

    One question I had: What’s with all the CUT TO’s on pages 52 to 54? They’re barely, if ever, used in the rest of the script (which is good), so I wondered if there was some reason that I didn’t pick up on.

  • andyjaxfl

    I’m guessing the super sneaky surprise is that one of these scripts was written by a professional screenwriter, and it’s placement in AOW is a test of sorts. It have been been one of the writer’s “First Eight” scripts, or maybe it’s a really early/kitchen sink draft of what they are working on now.

    Anyways, my vote go to Tall, Dark, and Handsome for #1 and In The Flesh for #1A.

    • Randy Williams

      I took Scriptshadow’s introduction as a Christmas surprise going to the writer chosen for review. Something like free notes, a free book, free lunch even. Maybe even a massage.

      • andyjaxfl

        I like your guess better

  • Randy Williams

    Ummmm…why are the comments in such light font or is that just me? Anyway, congrats to the chosen ones. Well done!. I read the first ten of each. My brief comments follow.
    Fuse – the logline doesn’t do the cool concept service. Way too much black. Distill, distill, distill. Otherwise, very captivating for me until the Pundit’s broadcast which kind of put me out of it. Would keep reading.

    Terror In The Year 3000 – Enjoyed this, had some laugh out loud moments. Sight gags early on, good. Missed opportunities for laughs, like when he calls for “At least one hundred more cats” That could have been a punch line instead about where those cats might come from. Thought you should get to David and wally and them much sooner. I’d read more and probably will to laugh more.

    Vindication- Easy read but heavy on the exposition, boring start. I recommend beginning with EXT. ARCHEOLOGISTS WORK SITE… and the two men wading through swirling waters. “It’s like wading through quicksand reinforced with gallons of glue” THERE, you’ve hooked me. Needs some rewriting, concentrating on conflict between characters and providing action instead of explaining conflict.

    In The Flesh – loved the first line, sounds like a lyric to a song. A little overboard on the asides, poetry, metaphor, all that. Doesn’t match the import of the scenes and got tiring for me. Use sparingly. You definitely got me hooked once in “captivity” Would read more.

    Tall Dark & Handsome – Quick, competent read but stuffy. Needed a touch more humor to lighten things up. Intrigued enough with the therapist to continue.

    Vote goes to IN THE FLESH.

  • Andrew Orillion

    My vote is also for “In the Flesh”. Well written, good use of white space, fast paced, a fun premise, effectively creepy and keeps you guessing. Sex scenes were well done, too. They’re girl-on-girl but didn’t come off as pervy.

    It could use some more character work, everyone feels a little underdeveloped,especially the lead. But, definitely recommend it.

    I also tried to read “Vindication” but stopped after only a few pages. There’s no nice way to say this so I’m going to blunt, this script put the amateur in Amateur Weekend.

    1) No title page.
    2) Incorrect formatting; page numbers in the middle, the character names shouldn’t be in bold text and you don’t need to use full names all the time it just takes up space. Any studio reader would have tossed this in the reject pile before finishing the first page. Formatting doesn’t matter much in book writing, but it matters a great deal in screenwriting.
    3) There’s way too much description, i.e. wall of text.
    4) There’s too much blocking and stage direction which breaks up the flow of the dialog.
    5) The dialog is too on the nose.

    You may have a good handle on the craft of writing, but screenwriting is not novel writing. You don’t need to tell me every little detail about every little thing. There is an economy of words when writing a screenplay, check out this week’s “In the Flesh” to see a good example brevity in screenwriting. My big advice to the author of “Vindication” is to read more screenplays, lots more, tons more. And get a good a screenwriting program and a book on formatting. Also, try to be a little more humble in your “Why You Should Read This” section. No ones plots are completely original.

  • Nate

    Only read Fuse and I liked it but it reminded too much of The Terminator with a bit of Cyber Tracker (very old Don ”The Dragon” Wilson movie) and Deus Ex: Human Revolution thrown in for good measure.
    There’s even a few scenes that not so subtly rips off The Terminator. The police station shootout and the chop shop at the end. I can’t shake the feeling that the writers had a sci-fi marathon one weekend and handpicked a load of scenes and situations and fused (had to do it) them together.

  • Kay Bryen

    As for the special Christmas surprise, my guess is that one of the “amateur” scripts was written by none other than Carson himself. Dead giveaway if it’s a contained thriller set
    in an In ‘n Out Burger…

    And hey wouldn’t it be hilarious if SS commenters tore Carson’s script a new one for not having enough GSU :-)

    • klmn

      Or maybe one is written by LaurJeff?

      I noticed that Vindication has no contact info, and is attributed to a “Louetta Jensen.”

      • John Bradley

        Lol oh God, I should have been nicer reviewing it! Where is the edit button?

        • klmn

          Hey, that’s just a wild guess on my part. But the lack of contact information makes me make that’s the script he’s talking about.

          • John Bradley

            Haha I’m going to get blackballed! Jk, now I’m interested to hear what the surprise is? It sounds like the writer of Vindication is a pro in the book world so the reveal will be interesting.

          • Jaco
      • Poe_Serling

        You guys are getting close… there’s a Carson angle… and a LaurJeff angle… and some have hinted that it might just form a ‘triangle’ of sorts.

        And one of the titles hints at the reason why.

        • klmn

          Well then, my vote goes for Vindication, just on general principles. Carson should definitely review this one.

          • Poe_Serling

            Think late summer… and one of LaurJeff’s more infamous newsletter drawings.

          • gazrow

            Don’t spoil the surprise!!! :)

          • Poe_Serling

            lol. My lips are sealed. ;-)

          • Jaco

            Yes, but would the “surprise” do the same? ;)

          • klmn

            Now I’m sorry I deleted all the old newsletters.

          • klmn

            Is it the one with the pic of Carson, LaurJeff, and Grendl?

          • klmn

            Now I’m thinking it’s a script that Grendl wrote.

            Carson and his damned mystery box.

        • Citizen M

          Is there a Grendl angle?

          • John Bradley

            There is always a Grendl angle!

          • Poe_Serling

            (^_-)

      • Midnight Luck

        ok, seems everyone gets this but me.
        Who is LaurJeff?

      • Midnight Luck

        ok, so I think I have filled in the ________.
        Seems she is the SS sometime-guest reviewer, the Cartoonist, the Paris Partner explorer, the Proofreader, and with a tad bit of Googling- a V / B / logger that possibly many of you follow.

        I don’t Twit, and I have a feeling many here follow her or the SS / Carson twits and know a bit more about her than I.

        Apologize for my idiocy, but then again, I am 1700 years old, have other priorities, and keeping up with the children and technology of today isn’t my top priority, unless it benefits my other recreational activities.

        • Trek

          Lauren is Miss Scriptshadow. Nuff said. :) But she does also co-run the site, in part, which includes many of the things you mentioned (plus, she hosts most of the amateur scripts on her MediaFire account).

          If you ever decide to hop on the Twitters, you can follow here: https://twitter.com/laurjeff

  • AJ

    Based on loglines alone, my vote is for TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME. It strikes me as the most interesting read. The other loglines left me with too many questions (not in a good way) or seemed boring and generic (they probably didn’t do their stories justice).

  • Eddie Panta

    VINDICATION

    Lost me on page 2.

    Too much description revolves around eye-contact.
    Dialogue unloads a boat full of exposition.
    Plus, more exposition via a news report.
    First paragraph, too dense. New character = New line.
    Physical descriptions too similar, serve little purpose here.
    And where are we exactly? First scene heading should let us know that it’s not fairy tale land.

  • Guest

    When he mentions the “surprise” it’s like that 80’s commercial

    “pretty sneaky, sis”

  • Kieran ODea

    My vote goes to Terror in the Year 3000! Needs a new title, at the very least get rid of the exclamation point. Also anything with the year 3000 reminds me of Mr. 3000 that terrible baseball movie.

    Tall Dark and Handsome
    I put down Tall Dark and Handsome after the first few pages. The opening scene is with two people sitting at a table talking. You, the writer, may know this is set up to something bigger and more interesting but to me, it’s boring.

    In the Flesh
    I’m from baltimore as well so I felt compelled to give this one a read. After the first 10 pages I thought you did a nice job of setting up some mystery but I felt that a lot of your descriptions were redundant. You use a lot of short one or two word sentences which isn’t bad but a lot of the time I felt the same message could be conveyed more smoothly.

    Terror in the Year 3000!
    This one was absurd, but in a good way. I really liked the world you set up. The binge drinking president, the savages trying to make a car sled with cats, and then the radioactive acid shooting skunk. I mean that stuff was funny. But I wasn’t a huge fan of the dialogue between the main characters. If it gets picked I’ll read some more to see how Carson feels about it. All in all I liked this one the most.

    Fuse
    Despite sharing the same name with the main character, I didn’t like this one. . Although the opening scene grabbed my attention like none other this week you spent a lot of time talking about your world via the pundits on TV and not enough description went into the look and feel of the world or the characters. I wasn’t able to picture any of them. For example you describe the HACKTIVIST Marian as late 20’s and intelligent. That’s not much to go off.

    • pmlove

      “The opening scene is with two people sitting at a table talking. You,
      the writer, may know this is set up to something bigger and more
      interesting but to me, it’s boring.”

      There are plenty of great films that open with two people talking – it’s all execution. Pulp Fiction. Social Network. It’s more fun to start with action etc but in the same way that Dan Brown is more fun to read than David Foster Wallace.

      • Kieran ODea

        The two movies you reference are written by arguably the best dialogue and long scene writers in history. So yes if you are the best you can get away with anything. But for amateurs who are trying to get noticed it’s better to start with a flurry and end with a bang.

  • Eddie Panta

    Tall, Dark and Handsome

    I assume the writer has obtained the rights to the song “me and mr. jones”?

    Not sure when I last saw a coin jukebox in the West Village. What year are we in? The 60’s?

    You don’t have a “show” at the Met, you have an exhibit in a museum. Shows are for galleries.

    American Contemporary artist, still alive, have exhibits at the Whitney or the Guggenheim. Not the MET. Even if it were possible, the Whitney would be amazing enough.
    MET is mentioned five times in two pages. Wait, but why is he described as a commercial artist? Very confused.

    Dean the brooding artist,sits across from our female lead, Veronica, in a West Village cafe with a jukebox and checkered table tops. Steam rises off coffee.

    Veronica proceeds to tell us, spot on, everything we need to know about Dean.
    Tragically, she is walking around with a painting of her, he did. He unravels it at the cafe. She wants it to be in the “show”. He is over her, she is not over him.

    Veronica is straight out telling us who the character, Dean is. We are not discovering it via a conversation. His entire bio is splayed out here.

    What proceeds to page 12 is a lot of dialogue. Some fun stuff. Some parts are tight. But the bulk the first 12 is soap opera dialogue.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    I thought the newsletter was supposed to come out on Friday…

    • klmn

      Carson is into time travel.

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

        He’s time traveling the wrong direction.

  • Matthew Garry

    FUSE

    sets up a story within a compelling world that suits it well.

    I did feel however that the story dragged, in my opinion because of two reasons:

    The story doesn’t set up clearly defined beats. Try and give each section its own goal, stakes and urgency. As it is, it’s a long string of sequences that more or less have to do with Kiran, but there’s no clear direction for him to go in. It’s like you’ve mixed the slower pace of a detective with the action of “The Terminator.” Formulaic pacing is a little controversial, but there’s no reason not to use it when a situation or setup naturally calls for it.

    The characters weren’t particularly engaging. Most of them remained brooding for far too long. Two brooding characters interacting aren’t fun to watch. Imagine
    the actors performing your scenes; imagine if they would find it challenging.
    Both Kiran and Mariana stay uninterested in each other for far too long. There’s tons of missed potential for creating tension there. They don’t have to fall for each other right away, but their interpersonal conflict should have ups and downs, not stay at roughly the same level of distrust/dislike throughout. Steer clear of
    “Batman vs Batman” dialogue; there’s a reason all of his antagonists are quircky and extravagant.

    Some details:

    p1. “TITLE” was confusing. “TITLE CARD:” with a “FADE IN:” would have made clear
    what was happening right away. I’m also not sure if the title card is needed. It looks
    like a last minute addition. A lot of what it fills in can be derived from the story and
    the world itself.
    p69. “freafully”
    p70. “light’s” should probably be “lights”

    Overall I liked the idea of a self-assembling Terminator, but I felt the story needed
    to move faster with more ups and downs.

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000!

    This might be just me, but I absolutely loved the writing. It’s clean, concise and descriptive. Nowhere was I lost or left wondering what was going on and formatting irregularities were few and in between.

    Unfortunately all jokes fell flat for me, and the story itself (without the jokes) wasn’t
    all that innovative.

    So this one just wasn’t for me, but still, I found the writing of such quality that I would pick up a non-comedy script by the same writer not just with no reservations, but with some expectations.

    VINDICATION

    The formatting is off.

    I read up to page 10. The dialogue is extremely on the nose and the action is often overwritten.

    Screenwriting isn’t Novelwriting Light. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other; you can’t just delete a lot of words from a novel, adjust the format and call it a screenplay. I would try reading some more screenplays and read up on screenwriting and what makes it different from other forms of writing.

    TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME

    started off intriguing and immediately drew me in.

    Veronica entering Saeghardt’s place was intense. But once her treatment gets going the plot loses a lot of its momentum.

    The original Alice had goals to pursue when in Wonderland, but Veronica doesn’t.
    She’s stuck in a series of dreams where other characters move the plot forward, and she gets taught about herself along the way and responds very passively.

    As a reader there was not a lot to look forward to. Maybe that was the intent, having sequences of (literal) streams of consciousness with recurring motifs binding everything together. It was certainly a pleasant and evokative trip, but it wasn’t the page-turner I was promised in the setup.

    Some details:
    p29 “Veronica #” misses the “2”
    p62 A parenthetical in dialogue is usually given its own line
    p75 “He looks in deep into”
    p94 “Lucy, I’ng home.”
    p111 “He waves to somone”

  • Midnight Luck

    From the looks of the Vindication doc, it reminds me of a screenplay that has been scanned in or comes from a different program and formatted differently, and then released to others. Meaning, usually it is from a Pro of some kind.
    Though, if it is a pro they don’t understand some of the basic rules of screenplay formatting. Like, when a new character is introduced their name is in all CAPS.

    So possibly some other kind of writer taking a stab at Screenwriting?

  • pmlove

    Can someone do a Tall Dark and Handsome vs Aliens review?

    • Eddie Panta

      ALIEN or ALIENS. Either way… great idea.

    • John Bradley

      Why does everything on this blog get compared to Alien(s)?

  • Poe_Serling

    My pick(s) this week:

    IN THE FLESH and TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME in a dead heat.

    With 2013 winding down, maybe Carson can get in the holiday spirit and find room on the upcoming SS schedule to feature both.

  • Citizen M

    The New Yorker knows how I feel.

  • jlugozjr

    I think Tall, Dark and Handsome was written by Grendle.

    The font he used for the title looks the same as the font for Real Monsters.

    And the story suffers from the same fate… boring the hell out of the reader.

    • Citizen M

      I think you’re on to something. Both use the Felix Titling font.

      • klmn

        I’m sure the mystery has been solved. But I’m still going to stick with my original pick, VINDICATION. I believe the author- a published novelist- could benefit more than the other writers from Carson’s review as she makes the jump to screenplay writing.

      • John Bradley

        That explains a lot! I thought Tall, Dark and Handsome was very competently written. I hope that’s the mystery solved!

      • Guest

        “I wrote it” sounds like grendl IMO

        • John Bradley

          Also “down a rabbithole of hatred.” seems like material I would imagine Grendl writing lol

    • jlugozjr

      Yeah, so I finished it and it’s definitely Grendle. Again, just like Real Monsters, it’s very well written but that’s not the problem. The #1 rule has been broken again… never bore the reader.

      This has a soap opera quality to it. Nothing cinematic. I trudged through it.

  • Eddie Panta

    I wish there were another option here besides another contained thriller.
    But it’s not looking good. I’m going to give TERROR in the YEAR 3000 a chance.
    I went to SUNY Purchase, so they have a leg up.

  • Eddie Panta

    That’s the right attitude. Great work.

  • kidbaron

    Something with Vikings, I’m there.

  • Montana Gillis

    I picked three based on titles…

    Vindication: page one, aren’t they called “Typhoons” in the Pacific? And the dialog on the very first page. “We need more time to hide the artifacts we found earlier today.” then – “Somehow we need to keep the Kendall brothers from finding out about these unique artifacts.” This is redundant, on the nose dialog and could be much better handled by showing.

    ex: Todd’s hands caress an ancient, rusty whateveritis. Todd: “Can’t let em steal this.” Justin: “Fucking Kendall brothers.” AND This is where I checked out.

    Tall dark and handsome: Well written and I read to page 109 until the Haberdasher’s constant diatribe finally kicked me out of the script, exhausted from wading through the psycho-babble muck spewing from that character. Really? All this is only about a handful of generic bad relationships and the games people played? You know, the ones the rest of us don’t even remember. I expected more from the outstanding setup. Lot of anger here without any breaks – wore me out.

    Terror in the year 3000: I read the first twenty pages. Comedy is subjective. Not for me.

    These three show different levels of mastery of the craft but they all show the guts and determination of the writers. Kudos to all of you!

  • Midnight Luck

    Two totally off topic points:

    1) Love the music in the Trailer for EDGE of TOMORROW. I thought it sounded like Radiohead possibly, but found out, it is in fact from a member of SNOW PATROL, one of my favorite bands! That is so awesome, it has a psychedelic sound to it, which I love.

    Here is a link to it:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-is-not-the-end-single/id780867132

    2) Amazon Studios is looking to move forward with some of the scripts their chosen writers. Two of the scripts were covered here: I THINK MY FACEBOOK FRIEND IS DEAD, and ORIGIN OF A SPECIES. They both have animations drawn of what the movie might look like, and you can vote on if you would see the movie. It is a bit odd, but interesting.

  • pmlove

    Tall, Dark and Handsome: I really like the first 30 pages but I just can’t shake the fact that it reminds me of The Matrix and Inception. Obviously those are both action and this is more like ‘The Tenant’ or something in tone but the slipstream, layers, buzzword / kick to the next layer, the cat… just a shade too close to those films.

    And then after that, I kinda lose it. I want it become a delusional fall into psychosis but it becomes, well, I’m not sure. I think the ultimate problem is I don’t know what it is.

    That said, it is refreshing to read a script that doesn’t give a damn and is well written, good dialogue and flight from traditional narrative is a choice. It’s too talky in the later stages – excellent and imaginative scenes (eg ‘Haberdasher’) are brought down ultimately by the fact it feels like watching a relative’s slideshow – telling it as a history means I simply don’t care as much. And I think that is the downfall here.

    This could be a film but it needs to of the writer/director auteur mold.

    In The Flesh: Lots of praise here but damn, this was a hard read on p1:

    A black SPORTS CAR grumbles into a parking spot. Headlights
    blast Alison with light. She shields her eyes. Irritated.
    The headlights dim. The car sits motionless. It seems
    focused on Alison. Can’t be sure. Tinted windows hide the
    driver. The driver-side door opens.

    I know there’s the desire for sparse phrasing and fragments but that was too much. Give some of Tall, Dark and Handsome’s six line paragraphs any day over that.

    Vote: Tall Dark and Handsome.

  • lonestarr357

    Trying something new and reading the first 20 or so pages of each one. Wish me luck.

    Terror in the Year 3000! – Let’s see, dumbshit nudist President hits ‘the button’ and screws us all. Cut to desolate wasteland with obnoxious protag and barely-sketched-out love interest. Jokes about urinating and stained nudie mags. According to the author, “…there’s more to the jokes than just gross-out junk.” Now, why couldn’t the first 20 pages be as funny as this line?

    • Andrew Orillion

      I don’t think the “Vindication” writer is trolling. I think it’s just a novel writer’s first attempt at writing a screenplay and he has no clue what he’s doing and we’re the first people to see it. There is no way he showed this to anyone familiar with screenwriting, if he did, then they’re the ones who are trolling us.

      • ghost

        “I think it’s just a novel writer’s first attempt at writing a screenplay… ”
        It’s really evident on page 119 where the writer uses the past tense:
        Justin smiled.
        Daniel nodded in agreement.

        • Andrew Orillion

          I don’t think that was the only place where he did that. I has kind of baffled by this script, truth be told.

  • D.C. Purk

    Pretty sure the “sneaky surprise” has something to do with Tall, Dark, and Handsome. I was hoping the surprise was that Carson wrote it and we get to haze him with the most ironic and vengeful sense of glory. Maybe even charge him $500 for it.

    :)

    • Malibo Jackk

      Carson and grendl are the same person
      (In a Jekyll & Hyde way.)
      So where’s the proof?
      (Only LJ knows for sure.)

      • Poe_Serling

        You might’ve just solved the mystery…

        From Dr. J & Mr. H: “No man could be as good as he looks.” = one of the possible themes of ‘Tall, Dark and Handsome.’

      • klmn

        I’m thinking Carson and Poe may be the same person. Poe definitely has inside information. Or perhaps Poe is a pseudonym for one of Scriptshadow’s other reviewers?

        I checked Poe’s comments for the last month and this is the only site he posted to (under that name).

        • Poe_Serling

          “I’m thinking Carson and Poe may be the same person.”

          lol. If that were the case, I’d probably still be in Paris with Laurjeff and blogging from there.

        • klmn

          I’m going to guess Poe’s real identity is the shadowy Scriptshadow reviewer known only as Ralphy. I’m making that guess based on his list of favorite movies and tv shows.

          • Poe_Serling

            Raphy is quite a handsome guy, but I’ve never seen the films Synecdoche, New York, Umberto D., L’Eclisse, Cries and
            Whispers, The Sacrifice… and the real deal-kller — Dancer in the Dark????

            C’mon, klmn, a film with Bjork as one of my favorites… that’s an utter impossibility unless she had a cameo in The Thing. ;-)

  • bluedenham

    Here is my take on the first ten pages of each:

    Fuse – where is this going? I’m on page 10 and I have no idea what this is about. It’s in love with its own idea, I’d say.

    Terror in the Year 3000! – this is supposed to be funny??

    Vindication – I actually thought the first couple of pages were a joke, they were so bad. That’s as far as I read.

    In the Flesh – At least it’s better than the first three. But the characters are completely
    cardboard. It actually jumps into the action way too fast – slam bam – and we don’t give a whit about the protagonist before she’s in trouble.

    Tall Dark and Handsome – ah, finally. Some good writing. This one definitely has promise. It needs to be edited down, and I suspect it may have some problems later on, but it definitely is the best of the bunch.

  • bluedenham

    Makes perfect sense. Well written, but with some inherent problems.

  • Stephjones

    Tall, dark and handsome gets my vote. This was intense, meson! I read to page 50. My only critcism is it’s a very densely written screenplay which requires a major reader commitment in order to follow. Is it worth the commitment? Possibly, but right now, it’s too close to night- night for old Stephie to be sure. Regardless, I thought the writing was very strong.

    In the flesh — I read the first 30 pages. Thought it had a pretty good set- up but stopped reading when I realized I didn’t care what happened to the characters. Allison’s selfishness and complete self absorption kept her pounding the same one note. I readily relinquished her to her possible fate as creature fodder.

    Vindication– didn’t get past the first page. The dialogue…sorry. Too expositional.

    Terror in the year 3000– I read the first 30, mostly with a smile on my face. I really liked the writer’s voice. the story didn’t grab me but the writer has a nice humorous touch with character and dialogue.

    Fuse– sorry man. Cops/future/murders and body parts in a Logline creates a throbbing pain behind my left eye.

    • John Bradley

      Good to see you make the trip over from Triggerstreet Steph!

      • Stephjones

        Thanks, John. I’m liking it here.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read first 12 of Vindication:

    I hate to use the word “on the nose”, but right off the bat that’s what is sounds like.

    “lips drawn together like layers of blue steel”…. what?

    So far with the Kendall Bros it’s all “tell no show”

    weather reports usually don’t sound so melodramatic

    sluglines are clunky, action lines need to be more economical

    Justin’s dialogue is cring-worthy at times

    Over-using exclamation points. This is just not working on any level for me.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Terror in the Year 3000!

      Read about 25 pages but in hindsight I’m not sure why.

      This is a very BROAD comedy…. . extremely so.

      The opening with the dipshit President seems rather superfluous as it seems to add nothing to the story. Since the script doesn’t take itself seriously does it matter how the world became a wasteland? I’d say cut it but I don’t think it would matter much. This is the type of humor people either love or despise. Lots of poop jokes. The David/Meg pairing just seems like an excuse to add sperm jokes to the poops jokes.

      Comedies are tough, The Men’s Warehouse line made me chuckle….a tiny little bit. Overall, I just didn’t laugh enough.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Fuse – Read 34 pages. Really liked this. Well thought out.

      If William Gibson wrote Robocop, it might be something like this. Despite the attention to world building it still manages to be a smooth read. Will read more for sure. My favorite so far……BY FAR.

    • Kirk Diggler

      IN THE FLESH – Read to page 40 – very nicely written, grabs you right away.

      However, I think this gradually loses steam as it goes. I think it’s because there isn’t much to this story, it’s being drawn out slowly, bit by bit. The thing that kept me interested in the first 20 was the solid banter, but even that starts to wane. Maybe it is the caustic nature of Alison’s character. (I can see Gina Carano player her)

      Alison had some righteous indignation in the early going, but when she brutally clocked Doyal repeatedly with a canned good, well it became harder to sympathize with her plight. And one would think that Doyal would be A LOT worse for wear the following day after the beating he took. But he recovers rather quickly save for a bandaged head.

      I started to think this was closer to an hour long Twilight Zone ep rather than a full fledged feature.

      The scene with Mrs Davenport was pretty good so it kept me reading. But the story is still pretty conventional, a bunch of people trapped in a house with some weird beast out to get kill or eat them. Maybe there are some surprises ahead, maybe not. I’ll return to this one when i get a chance.

      typo on pg 13 “barley” should be ‘barely’

    • Kirk Diggler

      And finally read 40 pages of TALL DARK AND HANDSOME.

      This is not ‘first pass’ dialogue. Reads like something that has been worked over and over pretty darn good. All the exchanges make you feel like a fly on the wall.

      Not sure about the story but the writer could work in Hollywood fixing other people’s dialogue (Let’s start with Vindication!)

      Interesting similarity between this and In The Flesh. Both have female leads who end up somewhere that they wish to leave but are unable, right down to a door that has no handle.

      This is a tough choice for me. TALL DARK is trippy and surreal. The ‘ordinary’ conversations often made me chuckle (Tim the Cabbie made me laugh) If I have any complaint is that we don’t have any character goals (per se).

      Yes, you can claim that Veronica’s goal is to get better (from what I’m not sure), But her journey seems like some free-form lucid dream in place of actual plot mechanics. I did ask myself, “Where is this headed?” I think a few plot crumbs along the way would go far in keeping reader interest from straying. Unlike some, I have no complaints about the long dialogues between Veronica and Dean and then her and Eric because they felt so real. Too often I feel the AOW critics are too quick to admonish writers for not having an “inciting incident” in the opening pages. This writer definitely grabbed me with words instead of explosions.

      I felt FUSE was the most story-heavy, although early on too much of it was coming from television exposition. And the writing wasn’t quite as smooth as both IN THE FLESH and TALL DARK AND HANDSOME.

      In the Flesh was yet another contained thriller (seeing a lot of them around here these days), and there was a lot of good stuff in it. But I feel there are limits to the contained thriller, mainly that the story starts to be a little repetitive.

      So just from a dialogue perspective, I want to see Carson’s take on TALL DARK AND HANDSOME, to see if he thinks whether dialogue and character can overcome a script’s very loose plot. TD&H gets my vote.

      Overall, some solid entries this week.

  • Midnight Luck

    Ok, where I am at with all of the scripts so far:

    ***In the Flesh – Pg. 24
    This was a really easy read, and mostly enjoyable. Steady writing, but nothing jumped out as extraordinary. I am not a fan of Possession type movies, but for what this is, and being an Amateur script it was pretty good. I would focus on finding new ways to do old things. I knew almost scene by scene what was going to happen, and where it was going. A few things were intriguing, such as Doyal. But then he turned out to be a nothing. He could have been really interesting if left as a mystery. If we didn’t quite understand him or why he was there.

    Would read more.

    Fuse – Pg. 9
    Ok, this feels like a combination of 8-10 sic-fi films I have seen. Also, as we were talking about Voice this last week, this feels like the writer is pushing hard on what their “voice” is. Almost super proud of the words they are putting down, and the names they have come up with: “Hacktivist” and “Sleepwalkers”. I am 9 pages in and it is just a police procedural like so many other movies in the world. He’s running upstairs in an apartment complex, there are bums and hobos causing people and police problems. Don’t have a glimmer yet of where this is going. Not sure I am vested enough to find out though.

    Clocking out.

    Vindication – Pg. 2
    I feel bad saying this, but Reading this reminds me of the old 007 movies where James Bond is tied up by the bad guy and the world is going to explode, so the bad guy decides to Exposition Dump all his plans to him and explain every single detail of his operation, right before Bond gets free and saves the world. Or a humorous version of that like in Austin Powers or something. Exposition, exposition, exposition. Needs to work on dialogue.

    Honestly, if this is the writers first screenwriting attempt, I would say they need to a) read 20+ books on the screenwriting trade, on screenwriters, on format, anything and everything they can get their hands on and, b) read a ton of Pro and Amateur scripts. Just sink into as many as you can, then try again.

    Terror in the Year 3000! – Pg. 9
    Gotta say, way too corny for me. After the writer says there isn’t a ton of dumb gross out humor, it then begins with a President showing his junk to a security guard? come on. I didn’t crack a smile or laugh once in 9 pages. Maybe it isn’t my kind of humor, maybe it just isn’t funny. Don’t know. But the setup is ludicrous, the humor is juvenile, and I can’t go on…..

    Tall Dark and Handsome – Pg. 12
    Ok, 12 pages in and we have been in the middle of like an 8 page argument between a couple. The kind of argument that is boring quite honestly. The beginning of the story is a woman conversing about leaving the guy, so she is already pre-arguing. This kind of thing is like the writer is working out their own personal day to day problems and relationships, all for us to read. It has no story surrounding it, it has nothing else going on, so it ends up just being some bobbing heads blathering about whatever. It is not Interesting. You gotta give us something more. A Woman (or Man) talking with a friend about their significant other and their possible cheating, or a fight or whatever, does not make a story.
    I think Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis did that in Story of Us, and it was boring as hell and did no Box Office. War of the Roses tried it and didn’t fare much better. But if you put it in something like Romancing the Stone, it works. They are searching for a Gem, they are fighting and clawing at each other while bad guys chase them down, making them have to work together. There is an outer Story Donut keeping our focus on that, as we see them scratch and claw and we wonder if they are going to stay together or get together.
    In TDH the fight just bores us, no reason to care or be invested in anyone or the fight.

    And I am out.

    So, the winner is:
    In the Flesh***

  • ghost

    After reading the reviews, and a bit of all scripts, my vote is for Fuse. I agree it’s not there yet, but I like the world and concept so I wish the writer (story creators and revision person) the best of luck.
    Vindication has to be some sort of parody, right? A parody of screenwriting itself? Oh well, it was fun watching it in action. Only someone just now stepping into this would make these kinds of mistakes. Reading many more scripts and screenwriting articles should help.

  • Midnight Luck

    I really like Doug Liman as a Director. He makes such great choices when putting films together, including music and audio. If you look at Swingers, the (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) music was central to the movie and such a unique choice. And Go, such great stuff. And the Moby song used at the end of The Bourne Identity will forever be connected to that movie now. I hear it, and I think “Bourne was such a great movie”, I don’t think about Moby. So it doesn’t surprise me he has chosen something interesting and unique for Edge of Tomorrow. I thought the music was awesome too.

  • ericmahlon

    My guess for the surprise is that one of the scripts was written by Randy Steinberg, the author of the Scriptshadow guest post last week called Confessions of a Failed Screenwriter.

    • Eddie Panta

      That’s a good guess. But I hope not, for his sake.

    • Midnight Luck

      that is a very good guess.

    • Midnight Luck

      but it looks like it is heading more toward Grendl territory. again.

  • A Tribe Called Guest

    In The Flesh screams awesome straight-to-DVD (and I mean this in the best sense). Great work on it, Ken.

  • kidbaron

    I gave VINDICATION a try this weekend.

    First, is it even possible for a hurricane to reach the Pacific Northwest? In the west, they usually start near Central America and pretty much break up around Baja if they even get that far north. And the just the way the general wind currents move west to east…? Now maybe in the near future as humanity continues to fuck things up that will possible. But there’s no hint that that was the case as I read page 1 or even farther.

    Second, I noticed there was a whole lot of telling instead of showing.

    Example: JUSTIN CARREAU “We’ve already established the Kendall brothers have no moral compunction and no decent boundaries for their underhanded tactics, sadistic schemes and back stabbing strategies!”

    I should experience this not told it. And the clunky dialogue, too.

    I made it to page 12. There was just too much telling going on.

    Overall, the writing is very raw. My little suggestion to improve, would be to read as many CURRENT scripts you can get your paws on. Really study what the scripts find necessary to put down on paper and what they leave out. Also, really think about how does a character’s actions tell us he’s a complete bastard instead of someone telling us.

    Good luck.

  • John Bradley

    Advice received! Thanks a bunch!=)

  • Crcbonjour

    Like others, I’m caught between IN THE FLESH and TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME. My congratulations to all the writers for selection in this week’s AOW (wasn’t sure we’d have one!) well done. As for the surprise….I can’t fathom a theory, being fairly new to the site (Grendl..?) but it’ll be an interesting reveal.

    TALL seems as if it may have come from a novelist as the exposition is longer and vividly/eloquently descriptive….to great detail; “long nasty finger nails” which likely wouldn’t be noticed while the janitor was otherwise thoroughly described. While I did find quality there, there was over-reach and disconnect: p. 17 “light sizzles” then immediately is “flickering” ……elevator “CLAMMORS OPEN” / “ECHOES EMINATE” All very dramatic, I just don’t need that much now. It’s an old building….creeky. SFX come later.

    I was pretty well with the story until Roni “met” Michael and the physics chat started because I felt like I was in a different film. Obviously Dean was hiding something in their early conversation. Then a rather typical jealous fight w/husband. I just need something else to happen sooner….an unintentional giveaway in the Roni/Dean exchange OR a scene with Dean after they meet that will create tension…..perhaps he calls Michael; it seems like he may have. What does he tell him?

    The taxi thing with Tim? I don’t get….but I went to about 28 pgs, maybe it’s relevant later.

    There’s enough here for an intricate, engaging f

  • Acarl

    My vote goes to ‘TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME’. An expose of great dialogue. Some of the scenes early on are a bit long but the writer has such a gift with exchanges that it didn’t slow the read down for me. Nice work.

  • hickeyyy

    My AOW choice this week: In The Flesh

    FUSE.
    Read 22 pages.
    I like this quite a bit. It is interesting so far. You have a very
    visually compelling story here and a good concept. I dig the sleep cycle, and
    the fact your hero should already be in his cycle but isn’t gives him a
    vulnerability you can exploit. Good work so far! Page 5, you introduce and discuss Kiran’s apartment and talk about “his TV”, but Kiran himself hasn’t been introduced yet. I had to jump to the next action line to find out who Kiran was, and jump back and reread. Not a huge deal, but may want to introduce Kiran immediately in that paragraph. Pages
    9-11, you use Hacktavist 1, Crooked Cop 1 and 2, and Sleepwalker 1. That’s a
    whole lot of unnamed characters that are indistinguishable and it comes off
    hard to follow. You may want to give them defining traits so they are more
    identifiable, even if they aren’t used again. You use the word “skulk”
    on page 12. This means “to stay out of sight with sinister or cowardly motive.”
    I’m not sure you want your hero doing this.

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000.
    Read 20 pages.
    This has some decently funny moments, but overall wasn’ the best. The beginning with the terrible president is not bad. I know a couple people are saying it’s not funny but I
    enjoyed the idiot president gag with the big red button. Placing his balls on
    the window wasn’t very funny however. I think you may have troubles with the
    protagonist being unlikeable. He lies about using a condom? He’s an asshole, he’s dumb, and he doesn’t respect women. You’re in bad shape if this story follows him the entire time. You need to make him more likeable. The only line I snickered at was Kragtar talking about Men’s Warehouse. Page 2: “guard” is spelled “guard”. Page 20: “no” should be not in Meg’s dialog.

    VINDICATION.
    Read 5 pages.
    This is pretty much ALL exposition. The dialog is in rough shape. This is really
    in a bad place. It needs to be seriously rewritten. The exchange of “I won’t always be alive” and “don’t talk crazy like that!” is pretty insane. Of course he’ll die. Everyone
    does. But Justin calls him crazy? “I could die of a heart attack!” with a
    response of “Not on my watch!”? You can’t stop someone from dying of a heart
    attack. This is rough. I’m sorry, but I can’t keep going. Technically speaking,
    the first thing of note is you should capitalize your character names when you
    first introduce them. Don’t bold-face your character names above the dialog. Don’t bold face the slug lines. Remove the header indicating who wrote it and
    the title – we saw the title page, we know this already. Don’t tell me eye
    contact is dramatic. Show me WHY it is. On page 4, you say “meaty tires”. I don’t
    think a tire has ever been described as meaty. I’m not sure what the hell that
    means. Finally, there are exclamation points everywhere. Get rid of them and use them more sparingly.

    IN THE FLESH.
    Read 25 pages.
    First of all, this logline drew me in immediately. Loved it. I really loved the opening scene. We get right to the action too, as we are in the house by page 3. It moves really quickly
    and is entertaining. You have something good going here, but I have a HUGE
    problem 10 pages in. Alison is a complete asshole. She’s totally unlikeable now
    but she was likeable in the beginning. I want Breeze and the others we’ve met
    to survive more than her. She can be strong and powerful and want to survive this without being a dick to everyone, and beating a man half to death over basically nothing. I understand she’s kidnapped and it’s a terrifying situation, but I feel like I’m following the
    character everyone hates that always dies because people WANT them to die, but
    she is clearly the protagonist here. It’s my humble opinion you need to make me
    care about her more, or I’m just going to want her to die. I think from page 10
    is when it starts. Page 9 – Breeze says “Absconded with your rags no less –
    truly odd”. I’m not sure this line works. Sounds weird when read aloud and very un-hippie-like. Page 24 – bared window should be barred.

    TALL, DARK, AND HANDSOME.
    Read 30 pages.
    The dialog in this is very, very sharp. The characters bounce off each other. They feel real. That said, about 18 pages in, this takes a wild turn. Creepy men, physics, slipstreams. I’m still not sure where this is even going or what the plot is. I feel
    like I have no idea what I’m even reading. It’s good and interesting, but I have
    no idea what’s happening right now. What is actually happen could slowly emerge
    but as of now, 30 pages in, I feel like I should know where I’m headed. One
    thing I will say is this is written great. The language, the formatting, everything screams of someone who knows what they are doing. I’m very impressed with this and may end up reading the rest just based on the quality of it. Page 29 – One of your characters is Veronica #2. You forgot the 2.

    Congrats to all the writers for getting featured. Was a tough choice this week for sure!

  • hickeyyy

    Congrats on getting featured in AOW. I think you did a good job! You were my second choice this week, personally. I will likely continue reading just out of curiosity of how you treat your “flesh-eating mutants” as my script I’m currently outlining now has mutants in it as well!

    • Dylan Cheely

      Thanks, I really appreciate it!

  • Crcbonjour

    After posting, then the thinking sets in: all the possibles of the “surprise” and I just entered a review as a relative newcomer (for once, choosing same scripts as most!) but given the speculations as to the surprise, despite my “newness” I could very well be done-for! This us not to say MY reviews are the “be all” (as if) but delayed reaction…..crap. Why did I write? Ah well, you can’t lose what you don’t put in…..

  • A Tribe Called Guest

    TERROR IN THE YEAR 3000!

    Butt jokes: Too many, including a main character with his name “Bum”.
    Mentions of the word ‘dick': 12
    Mentions of radioactive sperm: 3
    Mentions of the word ‘genitals': 2
    A literal pissing contest: 1

    It’s easy to be snarky about this one, so I won’t, and will instead focus on some brief feedback. I felt like the main character had too much of a writer’s voice in him. And Wally and David sound very similar to each other.

    Note: I mean italics when I put place a pair of *’s next to a word. Please don’t have your characters make fun of the dialogue *you yourself* have written. Case in point:

    P. 79.
    DAVID
    Meg, did you hear my joke?

    MEG
    Yeah, it wasn’t very good.

    So *write a good joke*, man. “That’s what she said” is hacked to death in *real life*, which is telling of how often it’s beaten to death in popular culture, so bringing it back is a mistake.

    As a sci-fi fan I will say the descriptions of the mutants in some cases were pretty cool (like the buck whose antlers act as projectiles). Also, this description is cool:
    David and Meg’s kingdom is pretty bitchin’.

    Congratulations #1: Dylan, you wrote a feature-length script. Good job, man, sincerely. As someone who’d like to write for television, I salute ya.
    Congratulations #2: You submitted this for feedback, which is dope and takes a ton of bravery to do, so this is good. If you believe in this script, take the feedback you’re given and work at improving it.

    In terms of reader comments, some feedback I’ve seen is good, and some is just negative. From my own perspective, if a new pilot or an existing spec weekend is held on this site, I would submit and fully hope people to tear into what I’ve written, so that I become a better writer. I hope this feedback helps you, man!

    Tribe

    • Dylan Cheely

      Awesome, thanks so much for taking the time, it really means a lot to me. Yeah, I kind of put my foot in my mouth with the “it’s not all gross jokes” comment. The front end is loaded with pretty juvenile stuff, and most people didn’t bother reading past that point, which I totally understand. I’m going to keep submitting stuff, the fact that my material is getting read at all is awesome.

      • Eddie Panta

        Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks had a goofy out of control President. But its a fine line to walk. You want to keep it theatrical, away from the SNL, broad comedy, and also, not as ridiculous as Family Guy.

        But comedy is hard, real hard, and comedy scripts don’t really get a fair shake on this site.

        Quick Note: In the first scene, when the Prez puts his feet up on the desk, this is the moment to write he is wearing flip-flops.

  • Lauren

    Hi SS folks :) Laurjeff/Lauren, here! Just wanted to clear up all the suspicion that I may have written one of the scripts as part of the ‘surprise’ – I did NOT write any of these. I just picked ‘em ;)

    • Eddie Panta

      I see.. Well,that means the surprise must be that FUSE is an old Carson Script from the 90’s.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Kind of curious. Do you pick them just from the logline? Or do you read the first 10 pages as well? Because one of the entries this weekend was not ready for primetime just from a formatting level.

      • Eddie Panta

        Yes, I would like an answer to this as well.

  • kenglo

    KUDOS to Alexander Felix for making the black list 2013 from Amateur Fridays!!

  • Kosta K

    My pick is IN THE FLESH – The tone is all over the place, but I still had fun with it. The beginning needs some work and Alison definitely needs a better intro, but my biggest suggestion is: turn it into a full-blown dark comedy!

    I was surprised by how funny the script was. It’s as if Ken was writing a comedy and every time he looked out his window and realized he was in Baltimore, the script would turn into a horror story.

  • Film_Shark

    I took a stab at ‘Tall, Dark and Handsome.’ While the scribe certainly has a good command of the English language, I found the main characters were speaking in cliches. The opening scene started out promising enough in a darkened cafe. It reminded me of Film Noir but here’s the mistake that turns off script readers. The conversation goes on too long between Veronica and Dean.

    The problem with many amateur scripts I see on here is that the writer falls in love with the scene. They describe too much in the dialogue. My suggestion is to edit down the exposition and let the action unfold the story. This will make the screenplay more of a page-turner.

    I just saw Alexander Payne’s latest film, ‘Nebraska’ starring legendary actor Bruce Dern over the weekend. It is brilliant because Payne (although the first script he didn’t write), knows how to tell a story without a lot of dialogue. The main character Woody Grant is a man of few words but when he goes on a road trip with his son to collect a $1 million dollar sweepstakes prize, they make a stop in the fictitious town of Hawthorne where Woody grew up. The reason why I bring it up is that you learn more about Woody from the people that his son David meets in the small town and that’s why Bob Nelson’s screenplay, ‘Nebraska’ is so masterful. You can turn the sound off on this film and still figure out what is going on in the story. Tell your story through action and not too many words. Screenwriters by nature are good with prose and that unfortunately is the nail in the coffin in many amateur scripts.

  • Eddie Panta

    Feel free to politely inform me if I breach etiquette….

    Your etiquette here is remarkable. You’ve actually read 4 scripts all the way through before posting comments. I would say others here, ( including myself ) have something to learn from you.

  • klmn

    Carson, if you’re looking for a good tennis movie you should check out SECOND SERVE.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091913/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt

    And should you wish to get back into tennis, you might want to follow the same strategy to improve your ranking. :)

  • Eddie Panta

    VOTE goes to IN THE FLESH…Yes, another contained thriller…

    .However, this one has a strong lead, which the last two: A Lot of Blood and EchoVault lacked. It goes to show how much more personal and suspenseful the story can be when you experience it through one set of eyes. Alison wasn’t lost amongst the other characters, clearly, she is the lead here. We had only her POV to reveal the story. What we learned about the house, we learned through her.

    In The Flesh did suffer from some of the same problems the other contained thrillers had. Once the cat’s out of the bag and the mystery of the evil entity is revealed, the script gets lost in action and chase scenes that are not as enjoyable as the first half of the script. I was hoping that In The Flesh would go more of the cerebral route. It didn’t.

    All three of these contained thrillers concentrated their efforts on a surprise twist or a shocking moment. I felt the concept here strong enough to go a different route.

    I did see the shocking – twist ending coming from about a half-mile away.

    I thought that both the house and the beast, the incubus needed to be more visually rendered.

    Now that I have read all the way through, I thought we needed to know more about who Alison was prior to her capture. Whether in the beginning or later in the script.
    This reveal of her past should happen naturally, as it would in real life.

    I think we have more to learn from a review of In The Flesh than any other script here.It was the most finished script out of the batch.

    FUSE comes close. I’m into the concept, just thought the writer missed some easy revisions. There were some obvious minor edits the pages needed, which would’ve made the script a lot clearer. The first ten get bogged down by the overuse of character names, some of which are generic like Russian Mobster, Trainer, and Doctor. In these scenes, I wasn’t sure who was driving the story. The lead seemed too passive. Also, ACTION VERB CAPITALIZATION needs to be eradicated from the script.

    Best of luck to all the writers…

  • ghost

    I bet the surprise is that “vindication” isn’t even an actual competitor. Just the first draft or very first script of some pro writer who probably penned some popular flick.