amateur offerings weekend

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

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

Happy reading!

TITLE: AESOP THE COURAGEOUS
GENRE: Adventure
LOGLINE: When his mother is kidnapped and sold into slavery, the legendary fableist must overcome being a short, ugly mute and outmatch Greek philosophers and bloodthirsty kings to rescue her and save the kingdom.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: If I have to sit through another movie starring a chisel chinned, barrel chested, cooler-than-christ anti-hero, I’m gonna start drinking. And when I drink, I get all existential. And when I get all existential, I go searching for myself. And when I go searching for myself, I take trips to exotic countries. And when I take trips to exotic countries, my planes mysteriously disappear. And when my planes mysteriously disappear, I end up on Lost island. As cool as that would be for about a week, please don’t let me end up on Lost island, Carson! For a change, let’s give the short and uglies of the world a chance at being heroic. And you can start right here with this inspired, true-ish tale.

I’ve always been intrigued by ancient Greek culture and stumbled upon this story in college. It is tailor-made for the big screen, but very few people know about the man behind the fables. A cute, straight forward fantasy adventure this is not. Think more along the lines of the dark and dirty original versions of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. The Zemeckis’, Burtons, and Depps of the world would have a field day with this.

TITLE: The Disappearance of Flight 229
GENRE: Drama / Thriller
LOGLINE: A grieving father will stop at nothing to uncover the truth when his family goes missing in an airline disappearance.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I’ve placed in just about every competition out there and am looking to take it to the next level. I first wrote this script a few years back and it has recently become a timely topic in the world today, so I thought I’d throw it out there again.

TITLE: Eve
GENRE: Sci-fi/Comedy
LOGLINE: In a future where the government chooses your spouse for you, a group of married friends rebel by starting an underground sex club.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Imagine a world without war or racism, without adultery or hurt feelings, depression or diseases… oh yeah, and no sex, either. Your Friends (the people in power) choose your job and spouse for you. When they think the time is right, they deliver a baby to you via drone. Everyone takes a vitamin each morning that helps them remain perfectly content. Eve fits right into this world… but one day she stops taking her vitamin and discovers everything that she never knew she was missing.

TITLE: From the Wild.pdf)
GENRE: Mystery/Drama
LOGLINE: After a massive wildfire, a small Oregon town starts to experience strange occurrences that could end up altering modern science forever.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ: This script was the first time I’ve ever really written from my heart, and it’s inspired by the Spielberg films I love. I entered it in the most recent script contest on trackingb.com but it didn’t place anything. I wasn’t expecting much. It was the first time I’ve submitted anything to anywhere. Still, I like the script and hope to get some great feedback from the vast amounts of screenwriting knowledge that frequent Scriptshadow. Tear it apart!

TITLE: Doggone
GENRE: Dramedy
LOGLINE: A suicidal man’s plan to off himself is thwarted by a stray dog.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I’ve been writing two years, and well, I’m probably the most unlikely to succeed in this business, but I love writing(maybe I’m somewhat masochistic)! This is a buddy-dog story. Coverage readers have given it a consider. It found me an agent the first year I began writing(yes, I recklessly sent out old fashioned queries before the script was ready). My cowriter/best friend, could’ve killed me for doing such! Anyway, it’s been optioned(once) and the first-time director recently backed out, so I’d love to give it some sort of shot in the dark. I figure if anyone could give it a shot… Carson could! :) So why not? Hell, it’s got a damn DOG in it!

  • Andrew Orillion

    Notes on Disappearance of Flight 229

    I really wanted to like this script, I love a good mystery like Guggenheim’s similarly themed Black
    Box, but this script just had too many problems.

    First, is all the fluff. There is a lot of between dialog action that isn’t really action, just characters reacting to stuff and the writer telling us what the character is thinking. It’s unnecessary, adds to the page length and breaks up the flow of the dialog.

    In addition to the between dialog fluff, the script is packed with slug lines we don’t need. Page 59 is a perfect example:

    ——-
    EXT. RIO DE JANEIRO – DAWN

    The blazing sun sits on the horizon illuminating the city and casting
    deep shadows. All sits quiet for a second…

    EXT. DOWNTOWN RIO – DAY

    The city is out in full-force. Cars weave through the traffic.
    PEDESTRIANS move through the streets. HORNS BLOW.

    There’s a grace to the motion, before…

    EXT. DOWNTOWN RIO – DAY

    NATHAN’S SHOES POUND THE PAVEMENT. Nathan runs across the sidewalk,
    dodging the PEOPLE around him as though his life depends on it.

    INT. POLICIA FEDERAL HEADQUARTERS – DAY

    A press conference has just started. Agent Revez stands at the
    podium, flanked by his TEAM. Cameras everywhere and
    REPORTERS galore.

    EXT. DOWNTOWN RIO – DAY

    Nathan continues to run.

    AGENT REVEZ (V.O.)
    Thank you all for coming.

    He darts across the street and in-between the cars stuck in dense traffic.
    ——–

    Other writers may disagree but I don’t think any of this is necessary. Just have Nathan already there at the press conference. Remember, start late and finish early. There is a lot of this in the script, slug lines of sunrises, sunsets, looking over documents, looking at computer screens. It’s
    just padding that gets in the way of the story.

    But, the biggest problem is the lack of urgency. There was no ticking clock or deadline for the investigation. Toward the end, it’s mentioned that the ‘black box’ will stopping sending out a sonar signal in 36 hours, but it never comes into play. As a result, the investigation feels like it takes a lot longer than it does and the script just kind of lies there.

    To top it all off, the ultimate reveal of the mystery felt way too Deus Ex. A reporter who has been helping out the main character just shows up on the beach in the last ten pages and explains everything. It feels like it just sort of ends.

    That said, I liked the fact that the story took place in foreign country. I liked that lead was an ordinary guy. I really liked some the mystery beats; the Web page that disappears, the email address that can’t be replied to, the three mysterious passengers. I also liked the writer’s style.
    Even the script was packed with fluff it read really fast which is always a plus. There is the core of a really good idea here, but it needs a lot of work.

    • walker

      Those extraneous slugs are directing on the page, giving us establishing shots and then moving in close. It definitely bloats the page count, and directors will disregard it anyway.

  • Matthew Garry

    My vote for this week: The Disappearance of Flight 229

    As for each screenplay seperately:

    EVE

    I read up to page 39.

    The main problem throughout was a lack of tension. Tension in a screenplay is generally generated by conflict, mystery or urgency. As far as I read it the plot presented itself without any of these three driving it.

    No matter how creative the world building or how clever the plot, without tension the story will always have a lacklustre quality to it.

    This is also reflected in how easy everything is for the protagonist. Her husband doesn’t put up a fight, maybe forcing her to find another man to share her newfound freedom with whilst keeping it a secret. “Our Friends” aren’t really presented as ominous dystopian overlords, but send baby-spam instead. It’s all
    very easy up to a point it makes me wonder how she is the first one in this society to have discovered the effects of not taking the vitamins, and if everything hinges on taking the vitamins, how can the doctor prescribe a treatment that requires her to lay off the vitamins so easily?

    Comedies, just like sci-fi thrillers, still need goals, stakes and urgency to propel the story forward.

    The highlight for me was this bit of dialogue:

    EVE:

    William, do you trust me?

    WILLIAM:

    I trust everyone.

    which neatly and succinctly captures the problem in their society, the rift in between Eve and William, and is funny to boot. That’s good dialogue, doing a lot with very little.

    In short: more tension. Add more tension. Heaps and tons of tension. Tension until “tension” doesn’t actually look like a word anymore…Tension.

    Details:

    p1. “SOMEWHERE IN THE FUTURE” doesn’t convey anything useful.

    THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 229

    I think most writers can take a good high-concept idea and whip up at least an interesting first act before the story starts to stray. But to willfully pick a relatively low-concept idea and be able to execute that succesfully over an entire 103 pages, that’s quite impressive.

    There wasn’t really any high-tension edge-of-your-seat stuff in “Flight 229″, but there was enough mystery and drama to keep me going from page to page.

    Technically, in the end, aircraft manufacturers don’t really try and cover up technical defects, and even if they would, they would not be able to do so at that large a scale. So it was a bit of a let down to find that at the heart of the conspiracy. But that doesn’t really detract from the quality of the storytelling.

    Overall it was a solid read, even if nothing spectacular. Seeing how “Flight 229″ is already a few years old, it genuinely made me wonder “What else you got?”

    Details:

    p36. parenthetical before pagebreak
    p69. “for all intense and purposes”
    And that’s it

    FROM THE WILD

    I read the first 30.

    It’s a bit straighforward in it’s approach. There’s very little build-up of mystery or doubts of where the various players stand. Ray, who I think is the protagonist, appears very late.

    On page thirty all the things shown so far haven’t been made relevant to the plot or tied together, so it still lacks a narrative drive to make the audience curious about what’s going to happen; there’s still no goal, stakes, or urgency that we can follow along with and look forward to.

    Overal it really needs to be sped up. Maybe it’s possible to swap some things around so the story can get moving. The first act should leave an audience prepared for the journey ahead. It shouldn’t leave them still wondering how all the
    things they’ve seen so far are connected.

    Details:

    title page. “Copyright 2013″ shouldn’t be there. To quote the inimitable Phill Barron:

    “Copyright symbols. Don’t put them on. Ever. You know why? Do you know what the copyright symbol means?

    It means “I’M FUCKING MENTAL”.

    It suggests you’re the kind of writer who’s going to sue anyone who reads your zombie script and makes a different zombie film in the future. Seriously, don’t do it, you look crazy.”

    p1. -“Burke” and “Hicks”? It shouldn’t matter, but your unseen creatures are already fighting a battle they can’t win.
    -The dialogue is a bit straightforward (“A wendigo? I don’t even know what that is.”)
    -The “(CONTINUED)” and “CONTINUED:” aren’t really necessary.
    p5. -“nob” should be knob, but should preferably be replaced by “switch” or “dial”.
    -“conformation” -> “confirmation”
    p6. “standing around anxiously.” It’s hard to picture the act of standing around, but anxiously. Maybe have them pacing or describe the persons as being anxious (“TWO FIREMEN and a POLICE OFFICER stand around, anxious”)
    p7. “intimating” -> “intimidating”
    p9. First degree burns are the mild ones; third degree burns are the serious ones (unless that works differently for the creatures)
    p11. “TITLE CARD” doesn’t indicate the place where the title appears in the movie, and the place where the title appears shouldn’t really be in a spec script.
    p13,14. CONTINUED + (CONT’D) + (cont’d) right at the top. A bit of continuation overkill.
    p18,19 Ray and Jamie’s scene is very slow. We’re coming in very early before anything of interest happens.
    p23. -“forth” -> “fourth”
    – The Bully versus Sean is a tad sudden and melodramatic
    p30. The montage tells us things that can’t be translated to the screen. For example, how would we know the man is very religious, or what he’s even talking about with no dialogue ?

    DOGGONE

    had some nice character work and was decently structured. What worked against it for me was that a lot of plot elements were presented on a silver platter, served up by the clearly visible hand of the writer.

    Charlie needs a love interest? Smart, somewhat edgy, sympathetic Iris falls from the sky: the perfect girl for Charlie. Charlie needs to lose Iris? His ex-girlfriend leaves her current boyfriend on a whim to run off with him again. A lot of the introduced plot elements came across as ham-fisted; characters end up in situations because they absolutely needed to be there in spite of there not being logical progress in that direction. That made it feel like a sequence of comical situations instead of an organic movie.

    Overall I really liked the idea and some of the situations it put the protagonist in, but the execution wasn’t convincing.

    AESOP THE COURAGEOUS

    was a cute story, but I could only ever picture it as something animated when reading. All characters except for Aesop were a little one-dimensional. They served one purpose only and were brought in when the plot called for that purpose and then discarted again afterwards (like his mother, who’s even in the logline). That left very little room for dynamic interaction, leaving Aesop basically reacting to pre-dispositioned characters instead of interacting with them.

    Overal, I think Aesop would benefit by infusing it with some modern-day drama instead of fatefully reproducing a step-by-step journey where the hero confronts an unchanging obstacle every step of the way.

  • Linkthis83

    My vote: Aesop The Courageous

    This week I decided to take a different approach to reading these scripts. I know some people really benefit from their scripts being torn into and I usually try to do that. However, I then get discouraged sooner and I don’t get to read as much of a script. Also, it’s more time consuming for me to dive into stories that deep. So I took the following approach:

    A) Note the title and the genre
    B) Don’t read the logline or WYSR until after I’ve read/noted
    C) Don’t tear into a script. Read more and get more story.
    D) Don’t nitpick. Only note what I feel is really important or trips me up.

    With that being said, my notes (rankings):

    1) Aesop The Courageous (adventure)

    p27 = stopped

    Summary: Wow. This is just fantastic. This is a story. I didn’t need my pen and paper. I got to sit back and read. The only complaint I have is that there might be a bit too many “Zeuses” early. Other than that, I’m in. I want to see this movie as of right now. I was curious if the “ancient” nature of this story was going to make it a chore to read. Not at all. Not one bit. It’s an easy read with really effective story choices and description lines. I think it does a wonderful job of making me feel exactly what I need to and doesn’t unnecessarily dramatize it or over indulge in it. I appreciate the hell out of that. Thank you. I hope it maintains and exceeds what it accomplished from pages 1-27. This is well done. I’m impressed.

    I’d rather see more stories surfacing about characters like this than the movies that have only “bland souls.” When you say in the WYSR section that you “stumbled upon this story,” what is the source material for it?

    2) From The Wild (mystery/drama)

    p1 = I’m assuming “LEGEND” is another way of saying “SUPER”? (It appears so after it happens again later in the script)

    OPENING SCENE: Kind of campy. A bit on the nose. Not very thoughtful. But it did just enough to lay the groundwork for the story.

    Sterrit at the Community College: I really enjoyed this scene with Dr. Sterrit talking about the slides. The way in which this character informs the class (audience) is done really well (this felt thoughtful).

    p15 = I like this reveal that Dr. Sterrit isn’t the professor of this class. It’s a nice and impactful moment. An effective reveal for what we need to know about this character

    p17 = And now I think you’ve compromised the effectiveness of the previous scene with this one. You took it one “dwelling moment” too far. Why can’t you just have him giving the lecture in this particular class because it was an opportunity for him to make money? Why does he need to forget which class this presentation is for? The answer is because you wanted to show a disheartening moment FOR THE CHARACTER. The truth is though, that the audience already had that moment when we learn he isn’t the professor. I don’t think you can, or should, do both here. It’s okay for him to just be doing the presentation for any class on any chapter at any given time. It’s a subject HE is passionate about. Plus, he needs the money.

    If you feel you NEED the demoralizing impact/moment; instead of the guy asking how much weed he smokes, have him ask a half sincere/half smartass question about how he ended up showing Bigfoot presentations to community college classes.

    p23 = forth = fourth

    p25 = stopped

    Summary: Well, there are already a couple things story-wise that bother me that I’ve already mentioned, however, I’m interested. So far I’m curious and I like how you’ve connected Bigfoot to Sterrit to Sean to Ray. Very cool. I think the most important question now is: If I kept reading, would the story deliver? Based on what I’ve read so far, I feel
    it could, but not confident it will. In the case of Aesop The Courageous, that writer has made me feel confident that the story will deliver. It may not be to my liking, but however it is done, I feel like he can do it.

    After reading your WYSR comment, I want you to know that I actually noted a Spielberg vibe when Sean (Astin maybe?) encountered the bullies. I also find the pacific northwest to be a great setting for certain stories. You state that this is the first time you’ve written from your heart = to me, it feels like there is heart in this. Congratulations on making it into AOW. I’m interested in this story.

    3) EVE (sci-fi/comedy)

    p1 = DOCTOR: “Happens all the time.” = Real, out loud laughter from me. Very funny. Excellent.

    p4 = …neat haircuts cuts and… = neat haircuts and

    p5 = I’m getting a sort of Demolition Man utopia-like vibe

    p6 = William says “Our Friends” — I’m assuming the “Your”/”Our” is going to be interchangeable based on the context of the situation, but why not always make it “Your”? It sounds better/funnier to me

    WILLIAM: “But Your Friends want us to take our vitamin…”

    It’s like mimicking peer pressure. Which is what is also happening with the use of “Our”, I just think “Your” works better.

    p14 = I’m completely convinced now it should always be “Your Friends”. Please go through and read it this way. It’s funnier to me anyway. Lol.

    p32 = stopped reading on a laugh = “William. Eve. You look different.”

    Summary: This is simply good, if not great so far. I like the writing and almost everything was interesting to me. I’m impressed at how much “world building/establishing” you accomplished and how few lines of space you needed to do it. You deserve credit for that.

    In most movies/stories, I don’t think sex scenes really have a story purpose. However, in the case of the world you set up, the one in here is needed and done really well, considering how detailed you have to be in order to cover it. It was also funny and entertaining and I think you did an excellent job of setting it up and following it through. Based on the impact of this moment I thought “Well, these characters are literally screwed now, because this is all they are going to want to do.” And keep in mind, I hadn’t read the logline or anything about this story yet. All I had was the title and the genre.

    So, if I like it this much then why did it end up 3rd? Well, because I read the logline and realized that I was right and I didn’t really care. Truth is, with writing this entertaining, I might enjoy the rest of the story. There’s real truth in that. And it could be really funny because it had been up to the point that I stopped reading. However, seeing characters in a Utopian society creating a sex club doesn’t intrigue me. The compliment to take away from this is; based on your skill and this story, I am interested and if I had the time I’d probably read it all the way through to find out.

    4) The Disappearance Of Flight 229 (drama/thriller)

    p25 = stopped

    Summary: It’s a bold and interesting premise. I don’t know enough about the protocols in these situations to know if your script is credible or not. Although, for me, I don’t really need it to be true/factual regarding protocols as much as I need whatever we follow has to make story sense and seem plausible (even if only somewhat).

    The main character’s choice to go to Rio tripped me up. The way it was set up didn’t make sense to me. But I’m also willing to admit that I don’t KNOW what anybody would do for sure in that situation. And that whatever choice they make may not really be all that logical. I know you included that he was told that Rio is the place things would be brought
    first if discovered, but to me that’s not a strong enough motivation. You could argue that’s all he had to go on. But I think what’s working against this motivation for me is that I perceived this guy to be highly intelligent. He’s also a Dr. who has to make decisions under highly stressful situations.

    I think a remedy for this (if it were to be needed), would be to have reports EMPHASIZING the belief that the plane went down near Rio. Not that it just lost communication near Rio. I know we’d assume that, but for some reason I don’t. Make the reports appear more certain so that going to Rio is a no brainer.

    Since I don’t know the whole story, it’s hard to feel justified in making these suggestions regarding this story element. On another note, I also felt like the father-daughter relationship was over dramatized. I feel I understand why and I think I get it. But it feels a bit too much too early (if that’s fair).

    5) Doggone (dramedy)

    p5 = I didn’t care for the best man/bride relationship reveal in the flashback. For me, it’s too blatant and too improbable: In the garden, on the wedding day, bride-in-gown with best man? If this is a dramedy, at least make the guy she’s making out with the priest :)

    p5 = does the start of the dog track scene bring us back to present? = YES. Could’ve been made a little clearer. Or, it could just be me.

    p6 = Porche = Porsche

    p25 = stopped reading

    Summary: So, like I mentioned in the beginning of this post I didn’t read the logline or the WYSR, and now that I have; I have to truly question if I have the ability and aptitude for this script stuff. Perhaps I shouldn’t be reading and giving feedback.

    I say that because in the first 25 of this script I just wasn’t invested. When I read I’m looking to see the things I connect with and I’m also looking for the potential in a script. Maybe this is one of those stories where I have to read/know the whole thing in order to be able to appreciate it or know its potential. But I also believe that if there was a story in here for me, I would’ve noticed it in these first 25 pages. And because I didn’t, and because of your
    WYSR section, it makes me feel like my lack of investment is more on me the reader than it is you the writers. I know that’s not 100% true and that there are people/professionals that have different preferences. I mostly want to know what the pros are seeing that I didn’t. I will look through the other notes to help me with this.

    Also, when I realized who the writers of this script were, I was really hoping to love it. Congrats for making it into AOW you guys and good luck with the script.

    • pale yellow

      Thank you for reading…the notes are extremely helpful Link.

      • Linkthis83

        You are welcome. Which one is yours?

        • pale yellow

          Doggone…. ;)

          • Linkthis83

            Oh. Alright then ;) Sorry I didn’t read the updated one. If I can get to it I will and will post them under your comment.

          • pale yellow

            You don’t have to do that… :)

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: The Disappearance of Flight 229

  • ximan

    Um WOOOOOW! This is an AOW for the ages! All, and I do mean ALL, of the scripts are well executed and professionally polished. This is going to be a tough decision. But CONGRATS to all the writers!! :)

    1st Choice – It’s a TIE folks! I just cannot bring myself to choose between AESOP and DISAPPEARANCE.

    AESOP – I completely agree with Link on this one. What a MASTERFUL approach to fantasy storytelling! I could read this script all day and twice on Sundays. Just wow, wow, wow.

    DISAPPEARANCE – “Matt Damon? Are you there? It’s Paul Greengrass and I have our next project lined up. I found it on SCRIPTSHADOW. Yes, that means it’s written by an amateur, by there’s no way in hell you’ll be able to tell. After all, aren’t you the guy who started Project Greenlight? Touché is right!” In all seriousness, this is a very well written mystery/drama that is practically DARING someone not to make it. Congratulations! :)

    But then there’s EVE. It’s sci-fi and subtle and filled with Phillip K. Dickensian goodies. And I’m a real sucker for science-fiction. Especially of this sort. Congrats to this writer as well! :)

    In the mood for a great throwback to 90s supernatural thrillers? Then WILD is the script for you! This was a total nostalgia piece for me. Everything from the mysterious setup to the character names from “Aliens”, Burke and Hicks. I read you loud and clear screenwriter ;)

    Not to be outbarked (see what I did there?) DOGGONE was also a welcomed return to a classic film setup, and I just LOVED the logline here! :) I haven’t finished the script yet, but I smiled at what I did read. My only quibble would be that out of the 5 scripts, so far, this one seems the most dated. Buti mean that in the best way possible–it’s easy to sell and market.

    Seriously, CONGRATS TO ALL!!

    Awesome choices C and Miss C! ;)

  • Paul Clarke

    It’s been a while, but I found some time in my schedule to have a quick squiz.

    Read the first 10 of all –

    Found them to be of a very high level. All professionally written. But if I had to continue reading one it would be AESOP THE COURAGEOUS. It was just the complete opening. It established a wonderful and interesting story world and main character. Very well done, congrats to all writers.

    Aesop the Courageous:

    Very nicely done. The tone was well established. The story world. The characters are clear and distinguishable. Aesop is flawed but uses his ingenuity to overcome adversity (he also has a save the tortoise moment). The writing suits the story, adding to it. There’s a clear voice. Really very professionally done. I would definitely read on.

    Doggone:

    As with the first entry, this is very professionally written. But lacks the same flow and originality. Opening with a failed suicide – seen it. Cheated on on his wedding day – seen it. Not to mention saving a dog is less original than a tortoise! And the opening scene, to the flashback, to the track. Doesn’t flow like one story. Scenes that don’t work together to make a sequence. The Aesop script also features a rather downtrodden underwhelming hero. But they manage to make him likable and interesting, rather than just a sad-sack failed comic book writer. Still, would consider reading on. No real red flags, just not as enticing as the first.

    Eve:

    A higher concept script with a spooky futuristic world. Plenty of potential in the setup. Always an interesting theme to explore the possibility of a super placid PC future. But I think Demolition Man did it in a more interesting fashion. It worked better putting someone used to our world into that world. Made for a lot of irony. Still, this could be good. It’s well written, the story ahead is clear. Again, would consider reading on, but not enthralled to do so.

    From the Wild:

    Writing is a little clunky compared to the others. Although it does seem to be a very high level on display this week. The opening has no clear main character. This goes on to cause several other story issues. After 10 pages we have no idea where it’s going, probably the reason for the high page count. Surely there could be a more interesting and ironic way to start the forest fire. Somebody tossing a cigarette seems like a lazy choice. Would anyone really do that? And every forest has fires, why is this one different? Why has it forced one of the creatures out. RIPD already redid the Men In Black idea and failed miserably. Moving on.

    The Disappearance of Flight 229:

    Feels a little overwritten, over described. The premise is obviously very topical. Should get you a long way to getting it in front of an agent or producer. It was very nice. But nice isn’t always a good thing. It feels like it needs something else. Anyway, I guess it all depends on the mystery. How it’s approached, how it’s solved. Again, it’s a story that’s clearly laid out. But I found the little girl more interesting than her father. Still, interested to see how it goes, would consider reading on.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Are we going to see a PC script?
      … Or are you working on the great New Zealand novel?

      • Paul Clarke

        No novel, but one day there might be a script.

        I’ve got one in the works that’s tailor made for Carson – A Sci-fi contained thriller overflowing with GSU.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all the chosen ones. Well done for burning through the competition and making it this far!

    I’ve already read “From The Wild” and given Jake some notes on it. Funny, that I wasn’t the only one that got a Spielberg vibe from it, but I thought,”Jaws”!

    Jake’s a cool guy, able to discuss freely and intelligently his writing choices and willing to work at improving, and I’m glad he’s getting some love here. He may get my vote but I’ll check the others first…starting with….

    I read the first 30 of “The Disappearance of Flight 229″ and not completely convinced I should continue.

    Easy, competent read I thought, grounded in reality, but there were some things that didn’t work for me.

    – the opening is depressing. I don’t see the need to show such misery unless this is a political thriller of some kind. Is this an attempt to make Nathan sympathetic or is there some connection to the refugee camp and the disappearance of the plane?

    -Page 7 gave me a “Flight Plan” vibe. Mother traveling alone with little girl, suspicious Middle Eastern passenger. I’m almost bailed there. By the way, I’m a huge aviation fan. I’ve seen Flight Plan probably six times since I saw it in the cinema so I want to love this script so bad.

    -Didn’t like that Nathan immediately sees the news on the tv that the plane disappeared. I would have preferred some build up. I loved when he asked “Why did you change the TV’s? But he had already seen the news when he said that. There is always denial when something like this happens, hopefulness, it was like Nathan immediately went into detective mode. All one note.

    – There were no other mystery boxes, just the disappearance of the plane and what that Turkish guy is doing in the bathroom, during turbulence by the way, shouldn’t he be back in his seat? Maybe there are more later on, but by page 30, I would have liked one or two more APART from what’s going on on the plane.

  • Randy Williams

    My review of “Aesop The Courageous”

    Aesop vomits the contents of his stomach at the feet of the angry woman

    and I’m out.

    Ok, just kidding. This is really not a genre I feel I can judge fairly. To be honest, I’d rather see a movie about the WRITER who wrote “Aesop The Courageous” than “Aesop The Courageous”

    Hope that writer chimes in–, the what, where, why, how, totally fascinates me.

    • Stephjones

      I agree with Randy. Writing ability on full display. I read to page 10. Might return to it because of the writer’s skill at putting words on a page rather than for the story itself.
      Others to read before I cast a vote but this could result in an interesting review from Carson.

  • Randy Williams

    “EVE”

    What a great concept..YET…

    It takes way too long to get to the underground sex club!

    Another thing, I’ve read scripts like this with characters in the future that are all alike, acting and speaking like auto-matrons. Everything is connected to the internet and their “friends” No one breaking the mold.

    Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that how most people live today?

    I wanted some character to break the mold here in the first 20 pages and it was all, staid, “Are you content?” I felt I was in Scandinavia.

    I laughed at loud in the first page though. Really loud, wonderful laugh there. Didn’t laugh after that, was too busy getting my bearings and almost hypnotized by the repetition.

  • Randy Williams

    Doggone

    Of all the scripts, I thought this read more like a movie. Got to about page 15. Nothing stood out as problematic in my opinion. Great character work, I thought. Feel good fare,no real laugh out loud moments, though.. All felt a bit old fashioned, however. Dog tracks,for instance,a dying sport.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read almost 20 pages of Doggone. Couldn’t see any discernible character goals for Charlie, other than trying to kill himself (which by itself is not interesting to me). This is a script that require a little patience, since it’s not going to be packed with GSU, and if it’s there it’s there in smaller doses.

    I felt the character of the dog wasn’t fully fleshed out. Seemed kind of one note. But seriously, the writing was competent, no red flags, just needed a stronger hook for me.
    No plans to read further, good luck with it.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Read about 27 pages of “From the Wild”. The story lacks focus. You’ve got several characters who could be the main protagonist, but it’s not really that obvious. I’d guess Ray, most likely, but I could be wrong. It could be Sterrit. Sterrit doesn’t speak until pg12, Ray appears on pg 18.

      Either way, the first 10-12 pages are not very efficient. I understand it’s the set up to the story, but it’s a set up that should be accomplished quicker since it doesn’t include the main characters (as far as I can tell)

      Sterrit comes across as a talking head. Which is essentially what he is doing, talking over a slide presentation about Big Foot. It’s a big fact dump and it tells us little about Sterrit himself. Since the legend of Sasquatch/Big Foot is fairly well known, much of it is extraneous. Find a way to cut this down to basic information.

      It was mentioned by Paul C about a cigarette starting a forest fire. Very clumsy. Loggers working in thick forest would/should know better. It’s all so casually done.

      The stuff with the Feds coming in feels a little played out. The one guy’s line about “Things are going to get interesting out there” is the definition of ‘on the nose’. A writer letting us know that, relax, everything you’ve seen so far is just set up and exposition, be patient, shit’s about to go down.” We can only hope.

      I feel there is a story here to be told that could very well be interesting, but i don’t feel it’s a well structured first act. Too much time prepping us with info about Big Foot instead of creating more of a mystery about who/what these creatures are. There’a an awful lot of tell mixed in with the show. The writing is competent but not very confident.

      But hopefully the writer(s) can get some helpful notes about how to pare things down to the barest elements, strip away the obvious and give us more tension and mystery. Thanks for sharing your work.

  • angrygizmo

    That looks like a strong crop of candidates. Wow.

  • andyjaxfl

    Read at least first 15 of each. I’ll repeat what others have said — strong weekend for AO.

    My 1A pick for the week is EVE with 1B coming to AESOP.

    DISAPPEARANCE has an interesting premise and I love conspiracy movies. I made it to page 24 on this one but I plan on going back to keep reading. A suggestion for Nathan — dirty him up a bit. His job is noble and he obviously wants to find his family, but that comes across as a little boring. How about he stays that extra night or two because he’s having an affair with a nurse? It dirties the character up a bit and gives him a flaw.

  • witwoud

    Read about 20 of each. My vote: FROM THE WILD, simply because it’s the film I’d most like to watch. The characters are well-established, the story is set up efficiently, and it feels like it’s going to be exciting. Also, the forest fire doesn’t contain smoking snakes, a big plus.

    As for the others:
    AESOP: this is fabulous stuff (geddit?) but I simply can’t see this as a film.
    FLIGHT 229: A good professional script. My no 2 choice.
    EVE: This future world was too thin to be of much interest.
    DOGGONE: Not bad, but needed more grounding in reality. I found Charlie about as plausible as Suicidal Syd in Viz (if you’ll pardon the Limey reference.)

    • Eddie Panta

      I like sizzling slithering snakes that smoke.

      • Citizen M

        Smoldering serpents slinking through soot… mmmm!

  • Poe_Serling

    With March Madness in full swing, my quick pick from this week’s bracket:

    Aesop the Courageous

    >>In terms of the writer’s style and format choices: Extremely readable.
    >>Storywise: It’s one of those fractured fairy tales come to life. A winning blend of both whismical and darker elements.
    >>Main Character: Building a story around Aesop as the protag/hero is such a clever and fun idea.
    >>Dialogue: By Zeus, it worked for me.
    >>The deal maker for me: I really appreciated the overall originality of the material.

    **Nice to see Paul Clarke back in action.

  • shewrites

    Great selection this week!
    From The Wild: interesting premise but the set up feels a bit all over the place. I understand this is high concept but the characters need to be more fleshed out. Also lots of on-the-nose dialogue.

    The Disappearance of Flight 229:
    (MSF: Medecins Sans Frontieres- you have two typos)
    Clearly, the perfect time to roll out this script. Job well done on showing the loving relationship between Nathan, his wife and daughter which makes us feel for him when the flight disappears. and want him to find out happened.
    I agree with other commenters that the descriptions are overwritten. I found the scene longer than they needed to be, and the dialogue with his daughter very wooden, in particular due to the repetition of her calling him Dad and of him referring to himself as Dad over and over again.
    In spite of it all, I am intrigued enough that I may finish the script.
    Eve: Beautifully done world set up. Lots of humor. I reminded me of the British 60’s series The Prisoner. Very clever dialogue, the discoveries of all things sex was very funny.
    Aesop: Cute. I love the dialogue. This has a strong Shrek vibe that makes me envision it as an animated piece.
    Doggone: I love, love the concept and applaud the writer for it as it’s not an easy one to implement what with a non speaking dog. Like someone else said, I didn’t care for the protag, very hard to empathize with him, more of a loser than anything else. I would definitely work harder of making him interesting. And, yes, don’t go the easy route to fit your writer’s wishes: his former fiancée going back to him because he beat up a guy felt incredibly false. But again, kudos for tackling that concept.
    Eve is my choice for Amateur Friday. With the recent success of “Her”, “Eve” fits in the apparent trend of movies dealing with love/relationships in the future.

  • ElectricDreamer

    The AOW candidacy is smoking again this week! The genre diversity is sweet.
    Good luck to all of the writers. I’ll crack open each script….

    AESOP THE COURAGEOUS —
    I dig your anthro critter reveal in the opener. Got me to pay attention.
    Also takes advantage of how sick of sword & sandal junk I am.

    P. 2 I’ll let you know when I’ve fallen in love with your character.
    If you specified “human eyes” that would ground me in the scene.
    As written, I had to go back over it a couple times.

    Glimpses of deception on page three are encouraging.
    So few amateur scripts bust out the trickster card.
    This is a GREEN FLAG for me. Rare I get to wave that one.

    P. 3 Don’t remind me of established epics in your fantasy spec.
    You’re drawing a comparison you can never win, author.

    P. 6 Cute scene. But make the vomit off-screen.
    “Orthia looks down at the warm mass.” Etc.

    P. 7 If Orthia wanted their heads, why run away?
    Makes more sense to drag the boys inside to the knives.

    P. 8 Is the Tortoise kicking butt or watching the butt kicking?
    Dad’s opening line is a mouthful. Refine.

    P. 10 Didn’t get that Tortoise is a pet. Make that clear.
    I’d cut most of Zeus’ complaining and go right to the desperate loins crack.
    Which is the best line of the script so far. Domestic strife for the win.

    P. 16 Was there any mention of conflict with other tribes?
    The scene works, but read left fieldish without a set up.

    P. 17 Reads strange that Aesop didn’t search more for mom.

    P. 19 A ton of stage direction in the mud pit scene. I was lost.
    He just looked around the hut and shuffled off.

    P. 20 The girl’s grammar is off putting. Sounds overly cultured. Scale it back a tad.

    P. 22 Aesop gets over his speech issue very easily. Too easy, author.
    Makes me wonder why he isn’t just written as shy instead of a mute.

    P. 25 Aesop’s ploy would make more sense if he *KNEW* his mother was on the ship.
    Let the bullies do him a solid and share that fact, only to be left in chains. For now.

    I’m stopping here, so I can read the other candidates.
    But I’m very interested in continuing the read.

    Some fine tuning is needed and I wish Aesop had a goal before page 25.
    Father is a carbon copy of Gerard Butler in How to Train Your Dragon.
    But overall, this is one of the most compelling scripts I’ve read in a while.
    Feel like I’m in the hands of a storyteller that put time into their narrative structure.
    Saw the story in my mind as an ANIMATED FEATURE the whole time, btw.
    Not sure what you had in mind, but it worked great for me.

    STRONG CONSIDER

    • ElectricDreamer

      DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 229 —

      P. 4 Nathan’s got some seriously clunky dialogue here. Refine the words.
      And I’m not sure we needed three pages of medical drama.

      P. 6 Again the dialogue feels overly wordy.
      And the melodrama is cranked up a bit much for my taste.

      P. 9 Don’t care for playing the man with a briefcase card. Reads TV movie.
      Red herring or not. I think knowing NOTHING about the disappearance is better.
      Our imagination can fill in the blanks until the plot advances.

      P. 12 Why doesn’t Nathan just use the internet to check for news?
      Reads very 90s that he keeps heckling the airport staff.
      He’s got a cell phone in an Int’l airport with WiFi. Use it.

      P. 15
      Let Nathan grill the Airline Official with questions.
      Let him ask about the fuel and corner the guy into an answer.
      Reads fake that the guy would give up that fact to the public.
      These airline staff are trained much better than that.

      Check out movies like Fearless (1993) to see those types in action.
      And I feel like this scene should be around page ten. Not Fifteen.
      The pacing’s off, but overall the scene choices are pretty good.

      P. 15 Nathan is in a modern airport. He can buy a cell phone.
      It’s tech oversights like this that make me think the script’s very old.

      P. 18 I don’t buy Nathan flying to Rio. At all.
      Makes zero sense to go there because that’s the last reported sighting.
      So what? The plane was over the ocean.
      If it crashed in Rio or there was some clue there, then I buy the trip.

      I’m bowing out at page 25.
      The script’s competently put together. But the characters aren’t engaging me.
      I don’t know much about Nathan’s personality. At all. That’s kinda huge.
      Sure, he’s got a clear goal. But there’s little urgency on the page.
      Everything feels about a third too slow.
      Bigger problem, I’ve read all these scenes in many other scripts.
      Find a way to distinguish your story from similar films.

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      EVE —
      I dig the opener, even though I’ve seen these tropes before.
      Muted colors and bland wadrobe and decor.
      But the way the characters behave is what makes it work.
      The subtle “inhuman” reactions to certain data stand out.

      P. 8 The dialogue reads well, but I’m waiting for the story to start.
      The world-building works. Still waiting for something new though.
      What is going to set Eve apart from other dystopian tales?

      P. 11 Your dystopian syntax could use some fancy terms.
      The Vitamin. Friend Connect. Not very slick monikers.
      Still waiting for the story to take off with Eve.

      P. 16 The dialogue seems in a bit of a rut.
      I get the “lifestyle” of this world. But too much repetition.
      The reader shouldn’t feel stuck in that rut as your characters.

      Stopping at page 20.
      The writer has talent, but this script is slow. I didn’t laugh or smile once.
      Twenty pages of Mr. and Mrs. Bland is too much.
      And I want to feel Eve’s dissent from the program.
      More so than just the job and running. Personalize it more.
      The biggest problem here: I’ve seen all this before.
      What is it about Eve that makes her tale worth telling?

      Just read the logline, I didn’t even know these folks could have sex.
      Let alone an underground sex club. get that plot going, author.
      I like the sound of your plot in the logline, but where is it in Act One?

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      FROM THE WILD —
      The debate over public urination doesn’t read well.
      Two pages of that. Only to have the non-reliever discover the huts.

      P. 4 No way those employees would bulldoze anthropological finds.
      Not going to happen in the modern United States. This is Oregon.
      They’d stop and report any such thing to their superiors.
      Strict guidelines are in place by the gov’t for such events.

      The old discarded cigarette = forest fire trick is very old.
      Maybe if they were amazed by the find and forgot his cigarette. Sure.
      But the worst employees ever kickstarting your forest fire reads weak.

      P. 4 Action descriptions like this inhibit the…
      “In a quiet fire station, a group of STRONG FIREMEN sit
      around doing various things.”
      Tell me what your characters are doing, author. Don’t make me guess.

      P. 6 You’ve got action descriptions repeating your slug lines.
      Ditch that formatting error, makes the writer look amateurish.

      P. 7 Makes zero sense the firefighters wouldn’t look under the sheet.
      It’s their job to protect lives. Trained public servants would check.
      It might be a dying human under there.
      And if it was a bear. What kind? A couple of guys ain’t lifting a Grizzly.
      If someone carried it into the truck, they’d look. Simple human nature.

      Doctors don’t wear lab coats in the field. They wear them in the lab.
      And “doctor-type” is a poor descriptive for a medical professional.
      Your prose could use refinement. More concise sentences would help the read.

      P. 11 Yetis being driven into civilization by a forest fire.
      That feels like an Irwin Allen movie. His later ones.
      Like, “The Swarm”. Which was a tad floptastic, I believe.
      It’s hard for me to take that concept too seriously. But I do love disaster flicks.
      Wish I knew something about the characters. Lotta intros. Not much else.

      P. 15 Kids amped up about Bigfoot. This reads like a TV movie.
      Students are so much more savvy in the 21st century.

      P. 16 Like the idea of the class being about pop culture.
      But the kids should be asking him questions in that vein.
      Then your anthropology expert would have a conflicting debate.
      Why turn it into a SyFy Channel punchline? The forgetful expert.

      P. 20 I’m bowing out right here.
      After the elderly dad in rest home melodrama and alarm clock smacking.
      There isn’t a single thing here I haven’t seen in other movies.
      Still introducing characters with very little plot momentum since the opener.
      Find a more dramatic, modern and urgent way into your story.

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      DOGGONE —
      Opening sentence typo. Should read: mid-sized.

      P. 6 Best friend infidelity at a wedding is very overdone. And cartoonish.
      And Charlie has nothing to say to his best friend? Missed opportunity for conflict.
      The prose reads well. But the story choices aren’t as good.

      P. 10 Loan sharks at the track is another worn out trope.
      I wish the storytellers had made a fresher choice here too.
      Seen that angle played out in many films.

      P. 15 Charlie stinks for not remembering his mom’s allergy.
      I guess that’s what it is, hard for me to tell from the dialogue.
      The only decent thing he’s done so far is for the dog.

      P. 21 Too much scatological humor for me.
      Between that and the lukewarm story choices, I’m bowing out.
      Other than his desire for suicide, I don’t know much about Charlie.
      More to the point, I’m not invested in his quest for suicide.
      And we’ve got no indicator of his comic book career yet.
      I feel like this talented writing team can make fresher story choices.

      PASS.

  • hickeyyy

    Strong entries again this week! Way to go, gang! Super duper! I had a blast being nominated last week, so I’m sure you’re furiously refreshing the page like I was then.

    MY VOTE: Aesop the Courageous with Eve a close second.

    AESOP THE COURAGEOUS. Read 20 pages. Will read on.

    Bold sluglines! Hurray! This is one of my favorite AOW scripts I’ve read yet. because I think it’s funny, tense, and exciting at the same time. The writing is professional level. You’ve completely set up your world. Your hero is great as is your description of him. You’ve got a great thing going here: this is really excellent stuff.I plan on finishing this after I get through the others. Congrats!

    THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 229. Read about 16 pages. Would read on.

    Very early you get us rooting for Nathan. We know he’s saving lives and he’s willing to sacrifice his personal life to do so. I was distracted by the large number of parentheticals. I can infer what everyone means and how they mean it without them. I think you have what COULD be a very interesting mystery box. We see a guy walking on the plane with a briefcase. It infers that he is responsible or a suspect even if it’s not the case. I would like this so much better if we never see him. Then we have literally 0 ideas as to who or what is responsible when Nathan finds out the plane went completely missing. Your reader’s mind starts to race with possibilities. Natural? Supernatural? Terrorism? However, showing the guy immediately puts an expectation there. Your reader says “it’s probably that guy that smiled at his daughter”. The mystery is no longer a selling point and goes on the backburner. Keep the mystery on the forefront and you’ll have a stronger read.

    EVE. Read 28 pages. Will read on.

    Excellent job setting up the world. I get a very 1984 vibe from this. I’m enjoying the robotic people you have that are confused by “wondering”. Great stuff. I loved the line “William, do you trust me?” and his response being “I trust everyone”. The sex scene is hilarious and is very important to the story, which is rare with sex scenes. This is a such a good read and, shockingly, another one of my favorite AOW reads yet (despite just saying that after checking out Aesop). Great job and I intend on finishing this later.

    FROM THE WILD. Read 10 pages. Checking out.

    This isn’t poorly written in the least, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s an intriguing premise. I have nothing to back me up here, but I just found myself not super interested. I think the two guys starting a wildfire with a cigarette is cheesy, which maybe it’s supposed to be. I feel like the smooth unofficial governmental agency sliding in and taking over is also cheesy. Again, based on your logline, maybe it’s supposed to be. I guess I just hate to say it just didn’t hook me even though I thought it sounded exciting. This could be good for you though meaning it might just not my style. Others might feel different!

    DOGGONE. Read 11 pages. Checking out.

    Another dog script! They are showing up in droves! Glad to see you followed me instead of the other way around :) Anyway, I am checking out on this one. Too cliche for me. A failure of a man that gambles and owes a bookie money is too much for me.

    • walker

      I strongly feel that when there are multiple decent entries for AF that Carson should consider reviewing more than one. He has done it before. The goal is to look at good scripts. Some weeks are strong some less so. In this regard I think your script Monty should get a review.

      • hickeyyy

        I would love it if Carson did 2 reviews on strong weeks! I wouldn’t mind getting the review. Benny deserved it though.

        In this case, I would definitely like to see Aesop and Eve both get reviewed as well.

    • hickeyyy

      Got through page 83 of AESOP now.

      I have to say I am upset that you gave Aesop a voice 20-some-odd pages in. I think this whole thing would’ve been much more fun and challenging if he was stuck voiceless the entire time. That said, the dialog you do give him is excellently written so it’t not an issue with your writing. I was just very much enjoying a silent protagonist.

      Pg 55 – XANTHUS dialog: “Orion. You are no longer by top pupil.” Should be MY pupil.

      Page 6- “Aesop tries to stay calm in the face of this manic sumbitch.” I think using sumbitch would normally be fine, but not in the way that you’ve written this so far. It’s been elegant, and using sumbitch just took me out of the moment.

      • hickeyyy

        Just finished AESOP. Great job. I really enjoyed every page. I don’t really have much to say other than if I saw this movie was coming out, I would put money down for a ticket.

        Page 101 – Thrown should be throne.

    • hickeyyy

      Continued with EVE. I am going to check out at page 55.

      I am still interested in where the story is going, however I feel as though this has turned into a very well-written porn movie. Some of the things that are happening, there are no way you can show on a screen, such as William ejaculating on his wife, and ever expect to see in a cinema.

      Good luck!

  • Citizen M

    AESOP THE COURAGEOUS

    Starts off very professionally, then started losing me and I stopped reading on page 25.

    The first few pages were excellent. We see Aesop imagining a grasshopper and an ant as soldiers, we see how the other kids take advantage of him, how his mother is supportive and tells stories, and his father ashamed of him, and their conflict because of it. He pulls a smart if revolting move in proving he didn’t steal the figs.

    I couldn’t quite figure out the attitude towards Aesop. His mother is supportive and tries to inspire him, okay. His father is sometimes protective and other times a bit mocking. He doesn’t willingly teach Aesop guy stuff. So is he supportive or hostile? The two teens Davos and Gathopous I couldn’t work out if they were out and out bullies, or if he’s a member of their little gang, tolerated on condition he acts as the fall guy.

    When the pet tortoise started looking around and getting emotional I didn’t know if it was supposed to be an actual sentient tortoise or Aesop’s imagination projected onto the tortoise. Later when the tortoise starts talking the confusion gets worse. What sort of world are we in here? It’s clear from the early ant and grasshopper fight and the ant and chrysalis story that they are imaginary, so we expect all non-real stuff to be imaginary. The trouble is, it’s not written that way. Later with the warthogs and the mud pit things have become quite fantastical, then we are brought back to earth with the slave traders. At the mud pit Aesop finds his voice, but I couldn’t figure out what shocks him into speaking. I feel that the rules of the world are not set early nor adhered to throughout.

    typos: 7. due/do; 11. waives/waves; 17. fire light/firelight; 18. along side/alongside; 22. in deed/indeed.

    • Breezy

      I think Rhodope the priestess is what makes him get his voice. When Aesop falls asleep, she stands with her hands clasped praying to Isis as we fade away to the next morning. But not even she knew it would work because later in the story, when he speaks to her, she calls him a deceiver and felt he was only pretending not to talk when he first met her. He replies to her and says her connection to Isis is stronger than she knows, implying she was the one who made speaking happen for him.

      Also, all aesop’s stories are told with dot animation, like the ant and the chrysallis — it’s only one his fables. The beginning scene with the ant and grasshopper fighting is his imagination, but the ant and grasshopper on the log with giant eyes watching them are real, and its stated so. Later on, he actually sees a fox trying to reach grapes.

    • Citizen M

      THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 229

      Read to page 30 where dream sequence started. Bit slow and repetitive. Needs polishing and pruning.

      – “lies in bed on her cell.” Slightly clumsy wording. I’d call it a cellphone. At first I thought her bed was in a cell.
      – “It sounds very unrealistic dad” Too adult for a 7-yr-old. “D-a-a-a-d!” is more like it.
      – “The fasten seat belt lights will be illuminated” The pilot’s announcement is a bit clunky. From memory, they are smoother and more reassuring about it.
      – “Nathan burns rubber through the desert along a bumpy dirt road,” Actually the road to Zimbabwe is tarred and runs through bushveld. Google Maps will confirm.
      – O.R. Tambo airport: he’d be in the concourse for the payphone, standing in line etc.
      – My feeling is the officials being evasive about the flight is too drawn out. I’m assuming there’s no conspiracy on the part of the airline, so the delay is just filler. Nathan’s reaction is the story, not the officials’ actions.
      – Let’s see: Joburg-Rio, 10 hours flying time; Joburg-Harare, 14 hours by road. Surely the flight would be missing before he gets to the airport?
      – It’s unclear why he would fly to Rio where he doesn’t even speak the language. He would be just as well informed in Johannesburg. We get CNN, BBC, Sky News, RT, Al Jazeera, Euro News, RAI, CCTV, etc etc on satellite channels, in addition to several local news channels.
      – In Rio he spends a lot of time getting nowhere. Again I feel the officials’ actions are bogging down the story. Plus, we don’t know what Nathan’s plan is. The story has lost forward momentum.

      • Eddie Panta

        Actually the road to Zimbabwe is paved with donkey dung and good intentions.

    • Citizen M

      Read to page 32. Light and entertaining, but perhaps not enough plot.

      Interesting take on Stepford Wives kind of world. I totally bought into they were chemical zombies controlled by the Friends. The “Are you content?” greeting got really creepy after a while, in a good way. The way they discovered sex was a great scene. My reservations are I think Eve needs to make a bigger effort to convince William not to take his vitamins. I think the fact she is a bit of a rebel should be established before she gets to the doctor. I was thinking they do exercises each morning and she pulls crazy moves which upset William. Also she looks really sexy and he doesn’t seem to notice, at first anyway. Just an idea.

      My biggest reservation is, where is this all leading to? Typically they would uncover a conspiracy or something affecting their vital interests that gives the story GSU. At the moment it’s very light and inconsequential.

      • Eddie Panta

        You need to get to Page 39 when the couples are watching Eve and Will having sex.

    • Citizen M

      FROM THE WILD

      Read to page 30. No major problems, but felt it could be tightened up. Lose a few pages, pick up the pace. The biggest problem — cliche. Mysterious government types etc.

      The opening scene baffled me. Bulldozers don’t buzz and shred trees. They push them over. It must be some other machine. Anyway, what are they doing? Clearing the forest for a road or something, or harvesting timber?

    • Citizen M

      DOGGONE

      Read to page 33. Not bad. Could maybe have more of a story.

      I had no notes, because there are no real problems with this script. Like most comedies, could benefit from more jokes and more plot and quirkier characters, but it’s already pretty good as it stands.

      My vote goes to any of AESOP, EVE, or DOGGONE.

  • Eddie Panta

    FROM THE WILD

    I have to admit it feels like a 70’s disaster TV movie, the kind starring Rock Hudson and a dozen other stars from the 50’s, including Ernest Borgnine thrown in for good measure.

    In those films, each supporting role gets their own background story. From the head honcho, to the chief of police, all the way down to the lowly janitor (played by scatman crothers) . Sure enough they all end up in the big crisis together, on the mountain, or in the nuclear power plant, or aboard the ship.

    The writer here really loves rendering characters and it shows. After a 30 odd page read, I think the main problem with the script is a lack of decision making. But is this a disaster movie, or yeti movie, or a drama? Should it be character driven or plot driven?

    The script is plagued by too many opening scenes. The script starts and then restarts, each time with a new character. But trust me, I’m the last guy to tell you to stick to one lead and one lead only. There are different narratives here to follow, that’s fine, I get it, just needs to be done better. Try a more unique story structure, one that doesn’t start in the beginning.

    Character background info should be written, but on a word doc, not on the script, include only essential elements, work them out for yourself and they’ll show in the script.

    The script is in set-up mode for far too long. I’m not sure what to focus on, Not sure what is important. Opening scenes should start with intercutting, show me how you are going to drive the story. If you are utilizing multiple narratives then start using them right away.

    If you don’t want to name characters in the first few pages, then keep it more as a cold open, have it start later and move much faster, stay in mystery mode, but this can’t go on for more than 5 or 6 pages at the most.

    Not sure why we need the bulldozers or the wildfire in the first place, why not come in on the aftermath? Especially since the news reporter in the small town is going to fill us in, essentially re-tell what the audience already knows. One or the other, perhaps neither. I don’t think a yeti movie is going to get the budget necessary for bulldozers taking down rows and rows of trees. The bulldozing crew characters aren’t necessary. How the fire started is silly, perhaps even unnecessary to explain.

    Start on the aftermath, the fire has been put out, intercut here with the 360 the other stories. But we don’t need to know about Steritt’s dad in the ole’ folks home. lets stick with your characters being involved with the plot.

    All you need in the incident, the witness, the firemen in
    the aftermath of the wildfire, the SUITS the government cover up guys could
    actually come later – a week later. You can cut back to that,

    SMACKING THE ALARM scene is a big no-no. An intro sequence where any character is waking up and yawning and hitting the alarm needs to go. This alone could kill your chances in a script contest. Dig deeper, come into the scene later. If the character’s are yawning so will the audience.

    Pg 22. Outside, Ray throws his toolbox in the back of the
    pick-up — If ray goes outside this is a new scene and needs a scene heading.

    Anyway, scenes of Ray coming and going scene, could
    be cut out all together.

    Either Sean or Sterrit should deliver the Big Foot
    exposition, not both. Cut out any scenes where characters make sandwiches or
    lunch.

    Steritt teaching should start with his lecture and we cut away before it ends, just see that the kids in the class are bored or exchange looks of disbelief and that’s it.
    Don’t need to see him getting paid, leaving, or getting into his car, and or arriving at the next place. You have too many other characters to deal with to give him that much time on the page.

    Cut out the mundane, Don’t turn it into a montage. Come in
    late to that scene. Sean is already in front of the computer looking at images
    of Big Foot, already has a sandwich, and the note is there too.

    Montage scenes can’t indicate dialogue occurring. It can’t
    be told to us that it did happen. The montage would need to include dialogue
    blurbs or have V.O.. Also the one single phone call would probably tell us all
    we need to know. Many great films have scenes if which something happens and we
    just know it’s the 100th time it’s happened to the character.

    A big foot movie will be made. I believe there is one coming
    out soon. Also, very popular in the 70’s. I think the writer’s why should you read shows a great attitude. There is a good story in there, just needs to be flushed out.

  • TomG

    I read most of Aesop and all of Flight 229. The writing is outstanding, I believe both should be reviewed. Aesop is great script for discussing the boundaries between animation and live-action. I believe this would have to be animated (and adjusted for a younger audience). Aside from a little too much philosophy in the middle, this seems to like the kind of script that should get an author an interview with Pixar. Flight 229 also reads like a professional script. I’ll try not to spoil the ending, but I think this works as a made for TV movie. I would like to see it reviewed to discuss “unflimables.” This script has many of them, and I think most of them belong, especially when they help to convey emotions that register as complex expressions.
    Congrats to both writers.

    • Andrew Orillion

      I had the opposite reaction to “Flight 229″. I thought the “unfilmables” bogged down the script and killed the momentum and urgency. Emotion should be conveyed through action and dialog, not descriptions of sunsets and facial expressions.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Eve – This is something I should be predisposed to like, being a fan dystopian literature. The bar is set rather high, with 1984, Brave New World and A Clockwork Orange. And set rather low with pedestrian fare like “The Island”.

    Pg 1: The line about “These tumors should kill you in about a week.” Really? So is Eve on death’s door in this scene? Because she would have to be. If she’s not, then it should read more like, “should kill you in a couple months”.

    Pg 7: It seems as if there is a deficit of emotion with the characters, which makes me wonder why everyone laughs at the “What are the chances?” joke. Characters emotions are dialed down then suddenly they all become self-aware of the ‘inside’ joke that is told, that everyone met their partner exactly the same way.

    Pg 12: William – “Huh. I suddenly feel a bit… empty.” This is incredibly on the nose. I know he may be feeling that, but most people don’t blurt out EXACTLY what they’re feeling. It’s comes across like a cue to the reader/audience.

    Pg 13: How did Eve come down with cancer if the vitamin she takes helps prevent cancer (and every other malady known to mankind)? The only reason she didn’t take her vitamin in this scene is because she read the digital label of what would happen if she didn’t take the vitamin. CANCER (potentially). But then she can’t take the vitamin because she had a SHOT that cures her cancer only the vitamin would interfere with the shot’s ability to cure her. Which is why the Doctor told her NOT to take her vitamin for a few days. Hmm. So maybe the makers of the vitamin are lying? But it appears that the vitamin does do everything it advertises, seeing how everyone look so perfect. So yeah…..

    Pg 16: “Most couples are tall and mixed race.” What exactly does this mean? That most couples are a male of one race and a female of another? Or that most people are hybrids of black/white/asian/hispanic etc?

    Which is what you imply on page 1. “Both she and the doctor are very attractive, mixed race.” I find this rather meaningless. How exactly are we, the audience, supposed to know this? There are many mixed raced couples who have mixed race children, one who might look more white, one might look more black. Or Hispanic. Or Asian. In this scenario, you seem to trying to say that almost everyone has a ‘blended’ look, but that’s not how genetics work. It’s a flawed statement. Halle Berry is mixed race. She might be the kind of actor who would be cast in this film. But she self identifies as black.

    The writer seems to be trying to ‘gray out’ the idea of ethnicity, and uses the Hispanic couple on pg 16 as an example of people who buck this trend. They LOOK Hispanic…. because they’re short. Well the word Hispanic is a broad term. There are people of every different shade who self identify as Hispanic. I understand what the writer is hinting at, probably going for the eugenics angle. It might make more sense to say that everyone has the same ‘body type’, i.e., tall and athletic. The same sculpted look. Describing people as ‘mixed race’ is ineffective because it doesn’t conjure up any specific images.

    Pg 17: What does an “ancient looking plastic storage unit” look like? Does plastic look different in the future? This was vague. It caught Eve’s eye. It must look really strange for her to ask about it out of the blue.

    “William walks into the home, not carrying anything.” I’ve never written that one of my characters DIDN’T have anything is his hands in an action line. Reads clumsy.

    Pg 21: In a society in which everyone takes their vitamins in order to keep their emotions and individualism in check, why does the word ‘excited’ exist and how would William know about this word and how it feels to be ‘excited’… if no one is ever excited?

    Pg 24: Okay, so William has never had an erection before? This is a really strange vitamin they are taking. It has the efficacy to control emotions and prevent regular biological functions (I guess it prevents morning wood too) in addition to preventing things like cancer and heart disease, weight gain…. menstruation! I would think women would have horrible side effects from such a thing. Maybe there is a pill for that too…. but back to my point……

    This vitamin sounds like a powerful drug. Yet Eve was already having feelings of individualism the same day she stopped taking the vitamin. Literally within hours she was feeling a little different, from NOT TAKING IT FOR LESS THEN A DAY! That’s a tiny little window to go from ‘feeling content’ to the way Eve was feeling at the party. A drug that powerful would stay in the system for quite some time (one would think). It’s an awful easy way to fall out from it’s spell. Literally forget to take it once and you could turn into a revolutionary by dusk.

    Pg 25-26-27-28 This ‘sex scene’ reminds me of 3rd graders playing Doctor. Awkward. The main question I get from this is…. does the vitamin also retard intelligence? Because this scene and Eve and William’s married life in general comes across like they are children playing house. Yet they are adults. If EVERYONE in this society is dull and un-inquisitive, how does society even function? They have cars that drive themselves and are surrounded by the highest tech imaginable. Yet they are dumb as dirt when the script calls for it. Even the ‘Officer” who shows up at their house to ask why William hasn’t been at work for three days is easily fooled by their lies. So if the people ENFORCING the idea behind this society aren’t that bright, how has the charade gone on a long as it has?

    It’s not very well thought out. World building in this type of story needs to be precise. It has to make sense, pass this smell test. This doesn’t. I’m not saying that this couldn’t be an amusing parody…. oh….(re-reading the genre and logline) ….okay. I get it.

    It’s a sci-fi comedy. Don’t I feel dumb now.

    Nevermind.

  • Ange Neale

    Congratulations to all for selection. I’m sure you’ll all get lots of helpful feedback!

    Got to page 25 of ‘From the Wild’. The logline grabbed me – kind-of ‘X-Files’ and phenomena that science can’t quite explain. Time constraints don’t permit a more advanced read right now.

    As others have noted, a logger throwing out a burning cigarette seems unusually reckless. Even stranger was tearing down the huts. They’re so unique, yet these guys just get on with the job. Odd decisions. A forest fire’s raging, yet there are firemen still in the firehouse when the government guys come in. Perhaps people aren’t very bright in this neck of the woods.

    The scene in the Community College with the students and the Big Foot lecture – a lot of exposition there, but some of it would certainly be interesting. I wondered about the wisdom of having 6 pages of it, and Sterrit mostly doing the talking in it. If you watch ‘Mona Lisa’s Smile’ (Julia Roberts plays an art history scholar), the lecture hall scenes work so well because it’s not just her being a talking head. First time, the students thoroughly intimidate her by dealing with a semester’s worth of lectures in a few minutes – they’ve all read the text from cover to cover. They throw down the gauntlet to her. Another time, she’s telling them off and showing them slides of inane advertisements for vacuum cleaners and bras – in other words, she’s challenging them, and there’s conflict and drama. There’s a lot more interaction with the students, so these scenes work.

    I’m also not sure you have Sterrit in the Community College in the right place. It starts half-way down page 11 and finishes a third down page 17. THEN we get to meet the guy who seems to be the protagonist — RAY. When the scene between he and Sean takes place, after Sean’s bullied, the book Sean’s reading is by Sterrit. I wondered why this wasn’t the natural introduction to Sterrit’s scene in the university. It would flow more naturally, you could start that lecture scene quite a bit later and dole out in smaller doses the remainder of the info you don’t use in the lecture. Have Sean go on the internet and research Big Foot a bit or something. Re-arranging the order of those scenes would also get your protag in the picture on page 11 instead of at the end of page 18.

    Others have picked up a couple of little typos here and there, so won’t rehash. Some I haven’t yet seen noted:

    P. 10: ‘About 35 miles’ and ‘About 3,000′ should be spelt out in dialogue. I.e. thirty-five and three thousand.
    P. 12: As above, 1951 and later in the same paragraph, 1920s – in dialogue should be nineteen-fifty-one and nineteen-twenties.
    P. 13: There’s a bunch of numbers in one paragraph – In 2008, 125,000 gorillas… less than 50,000… 19th century.
    P. 13: collecting his thoughts, not recollecting them.
    P. 15: Sterrit asks: ‘What question do you got?’ Maybe an academic who knows his class might throw that out, perhaps trying to be cool, but Sterrit doesn’t come across as cool (more middle-aged nerdy and fringe nerdy at that). It’s bad English. Surely he’d ask, ‘Do you have a question?’ or something like that.
    P. 17: 20th century in dialogue – I don’t need to mention those any more though. I’m sure you’ll find them all.
    P. 17: There’s no way a guy smart enough to be a professor – even at a community college – would be oblivious to delivering a put down that serious. In fact, it would border on academic misconduct not to tell Sterrit what class he’d be lecturing to.
    P. 17: Bit of a downer at the old folks home, just having them sitting around in their wheelchairs, as if they’re vegetables dribbling on their shirts. If this scene is a set-up for a later pay-off, could some of the older folk be doing something a bit more interesting, like taking a tai chi class or dancing or choir practice? If it’s not a set-up (i.e. if his Dad wasn’t a Big Foot scholar in his own right and their discovery will vindicate him), is this scene even necessary?
    P. 18: Find a way to wake Ray up without the hand on the snooze button of the alarm clock – really cliched. Have a rooster crow, or the telephone ring, or his cat get in a fight and yowl its head off – anything but an alarm clock.
    P. 20: Ray first answers his home phone ‘This is Ray’ – he’s running a business, after all. Second time, he just says ‘Josh?’ as if he’s suddenly developed ESP. Be consistent – he’d be professional. Hmm. Unless he’s got caller ID. But then he wouldn’t say Josh as a question.

    Good effort, Jake; and I’d be happy to have a crack at your re-draft.

  • Pooh Bear

    Aesop the Courageous – Read the first 15 pages. You had me… then you lost me. I was interested at the beginning in a very familiar ‘woe-is-me Smegal’ kind of way. The story started to dive into the realm of the confusing. Aesop’s silence and pin cushion ways began to wear on me. This did feal like an animated film from the get go so I hope that’s what you were going for. The dialogue was good and appropriate for the story-verse.

    • Pooh Bear

      …Flight 229, read to about page 23. I would keep reading just to find out what happened to the plane, so you’ve got an engaging premise. I thought the opening was rough, the dynamic with the 7 year old almost made me quit reading. Things pick up though.

    • Pooh Bear

      Eve, read to page 29. Who are the Friends?? That keeps me curious. I was reading, thinking this would be better if it was rewritten as a straight comedy and the funny was punched up, it seemed to take itself too serious. Then I reread the synopsis and it IS a comedy. It’s mildly amusing but not laugh out loud funny. That’s why you lost me.

    • Pooh Bear

      From the Wild, read to page 10. I think you’re missing slug lines in the bunk house scene with Vaughn and Lones. I became really confused and I had to check out early, sorry. I don’t believe you need that exposition at the beginning about wendigos, just leave it a mystery and let it unfold on its own, I think you were probably trying to foreshadow it but it’s not necessary.

    • Pooh Bear

      Doggone, read to page 15. Premise seems thin, there are amusing moments. Nice setups for potential situations to come… ex-fiance’, neighbor, uncle, loan shark. Need to punch up the comedy though.

    • Pooh Bear

      Aesop… crap, I lost the review when I was editing my overall thoughts. Sorry. Read to page 23, you had me then you lost me. Dialogue was good.

  • Eddie Panta

    I didn’t think anyone would read the comment that far :)

  • A Tribe Called Guest

    Aesop The Courageous just made my top 3 AOW submissions. This is a project that can and should be made.

    Phenomenal job, J.D!

  • J.D.

    Writer of Aesop here, and no pun intended, but I’m speechless. Thank you so much, Carson, for posting my screenplay. And by Zeus, thank you SS faithful for your kind words, spot-on critiques, and encouragement! I’m a firm believer that scripts always need work (even “shooting” scripts) and have copied all of your astute notes into a Word document so I can get started on rewriting.

    Very little is known about the real Aesop, outside the fact that he probably existed in Ancient Greece and was a slave that rose in social status due to his wit. Fact of the day: many historians aren’t even sure if he was racially White or Black (which, for some reason, I think is awesome). His story became a rather fantastical folk tale of that era. With this folk tale and his well-known fables as a base, I pieced together a feature film that I thought was fun, exciting, a bit tragic, and spoke to the simple adage of “never judge a book by its cover”. I sat on this idea for nearly a decade before finding the confidence, story angle, and, pardon my French, balls to just sit down a write the thing. I’m happy with the outcome but not yet satisfied.

    Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for each and every response! And apologies for checking AOW so late, but after failing to win Warren Buffet’s billion dollars this weekend, I was in no mood for more disappointment. GO BLUE!

  • Matthew Garry

    Probably (I haven’t seen the post). Sometimes such posts reappear, but for anything substantial it usually pays off to type it up in a text editor and then copy-paste it, just in case you need to do it again. You can always delete duplicate posts later should they reappear.

  • Matthew Garry

    Actually yes, I think posts disappear for the poster after a refresh when their moderation is pending.

    The person you reply to however, can see the pending message (but not reply directly to it), but not the rest of the visitors.

    As for being marked as spam, I’m fairly sure that isn’t a scriptshadow policy thing, but a rather undiscriminating global disqus filter.

    To maybe ease your mind: a lot of posters have trouble with disqus from time to time (I had a period of a week at some point where posts would be delayed for hours, making it impossible to participate in any discussion), so you’re not being singled out.

    • ASAbrams

      Eh…thanks. lol.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Casting my vote for FROM THE WILD.
    Liked the opening 10. Found the premise intriguing.