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: Harmony
GENRE: Thriller
LOGLINE: When Harmony, an American woman’s adopted Mexican child, is mysteriously kidnapped by the cartel, she must go to Mexico to confront a dangerous drug lord, and find out the truth behind his disappearance.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Harmony is the most perfected script I have ever written. Before that, I thought that the stories I had imagined wasn’t worth the extra effort, the notes orders, and the 3-o’clock-in-the-goddamm-morning rewrites.
I believe this story does worth all the pain, due to its emotional, easy to relate drama, simple GSU, marketability. Had Scriptshadow’s Rich and Lauren analyze and nitpick my script and recently got a “consider” from another scriptwriting service.
Thanks to them, I think the story is where it needs to be. Anyway I’m now broke and out of ideas, so it would be helpful to have free feedback from you and the script shadow world.
ps: I’m a writer from Paris, maybe it would be an opportunity to do your first french writer’s review? And hopefully I can prove that we don’t all suck miserably :)

TITLE: Marlowe
GENRE: Noir/Historical
LOGLINE: P.I. Sam Marlowe shows novice writer Raymond Chandler the realities of detective work, juggling gangsters, corrupt politicians and movie star Jean Harlow to find out who’s burning farms on the Arroyo Seco Canyon.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: This is the real life story from the files of Detective Samuel B. Marlowe.

GENRE: Dramatic Thriller
LOGLINE: Watch from a struggling father’s perspective – listen to his troubled thoughts, experience his beloved memories and vivid imagination – as he faces two daunting challenges: repaying a debt to his ruthless drug dealer and regaining his estranged family’s trust… in one afternoon.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Although my script is not written in first-person, it is written from a first-person perspective throughout and the above sentence basically describes what I am going for. I believe this approach provides a novel and more personal opportunity for the audience to empathize with the protagonist. I also believe this is a totally original story that is almost certainly unlike anything else you’ve ever read and that you would enjoy reading it.

TITLE: Perpetual
GENRE: Sci-fi
LOGLINE: In a future, where it’s impossible for people to die, a police officer needs to team up with a former serial killer when he investigates the disappearance of a scientist.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Being a silent reader of the site, Perpetual has influences coming from the ScriptShadow University. There’s irony alert (a serial killer in a world where no-one can die), conflict (a police officer needs to work with this killer) and a GSU that comes from the ‘what I learned’ of The Giver; the story builds with changing goals and stakes getting higher. After months of crafting and re-writing, my project is ready for the eyes (and feedback) of my fellow writers.

TITLE: Cubicle Farm
GENRE: Comedy/Horror
LOGLINE: Two office screw-ups clash with their boss, after discovering that their soul-sucking job is run by blood-sucking vampires.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: For years, years I tell you, I have sat at this desk. Forced to toil on meaningless projects. Projects that add nothing of value to this world.

Dante was wrong. Advertising is hell.

Daily, I have dreamed of a life that meant more. Nay. I have longed for one. I have longed for a life of purpose and excitement with every fiber of my being.

To no avail.

My coworkers? Sycophants. My clients? Mongoloids. My bosses? Evil.

Which is where I got the idea for this script.

It’s not autobiographical because I’ve never had a close friend at work. Possibly because I keep telling them about my screenplay about two guys who work in an office and find out that it’s run by vampires so they get a group of people together and–

But, I digress.

It’s more of an account of my dreams. Which is sad because no one gets laid. And almost everyone dies.

So, with all of that said, why should you read this script? Because it’s a lot of fun? No. Because it offers catharsis, for those people stuck in offices they hate, surrounded by people who make them miserable, in a way that no other film has, or could? No. You should read this script because writing it has been the equivalent of masturbating at my desk in lieu of actually earning my paycheck. And that is a damn fine way to make a living.

  • Poe_Serling

    My pick this week: MARLOWE

    thought all the recognizable elements of film noir were on display
    here: the urban setting, the hard-boiled private detective, the use of
    VO, fatalistic tone, crime/vice/shady back door deals, run-down locales,
    gangsters, seductive women, corrupt cops/politicians, etc. Even the
    common narrative device of opening the action with the main character at
    the end of his life and then jumping back into the past worked for me
    with this particular story.

    terms of style and format: A fairly quick read from start to finish.
    Solid character intros and descriptive lines that fit quite well with
    the unique language/visual cues often associated with noir.

    Players: Like I mentioned above, all the usual suspects were here in
    one form or another. Marlowe was definitely from the Bogart School of
    Hard Knocks. He had the right amount of swagger to carry the story
    through the somewhat bleak cityscape of the late ’30s.

    I appreciated how the writer creatively incorporated Jean Harlow,
    Raymond Chandler, Eddie Mannix, Bugsy Siegel, a young Tom Bradley, and
    other famous faces into the plot.

    More high marks. Nice job in visually evoking that time period. You
    could tell right away the writer knows the ins and outs of living in Los
    Angeles. Great use of locations such as Arroyo Seco Canyon, Roosevelt
    Hotel, MGM Studios, Central Avenue district, and so many more. Loved the
    lines about living or being seen “North of Wilshire,” which is still
    batted around in some circles.

    A bit heavy in some spots. But overall I found the tough guy/femme
    fatale banter really captured the spirit and flow of similar classic
    films of this ilk… enjoyed a lot of Marlowe’s sarcastic humor in the
    voiceovers and in other exchanges.

    Though the whole scheme of acquiring real estate for more lucrative
    purposes has been done many times over in other films, I still felt it
    was an entertaining ride in the context of the story being told here.

    L.M. for sharing your work. The effort/research in crafting this script
    shows on every page, especially in regard to the use of Los Angeles as
    the backdrop of your story.

  • SarahKraatz

    Even the common narrative device of opening the action with the main character at the end of his life and then jumping back into the past worked for me with this particular story.

  • ASAbrams

    Um…the first thing I’d like to do is address the loglines.


    “When Harmony, an American woman’s adopted Mexican child, is mysteriously kidnapped by the cartel, she must go to Mexico to confront a dangerous drug lord, and find out the truth behind his disappearance.”

    -the dependent clause introduces Harmony, the daughter, but the main clause tells us about the actions of the mother who adopted Harmony. At least I think this is what is happening. My suggestion is to put the focus back on the mother in the introductory phrase. So maybe, “When her adopted Mexican child is mysteriously kidnapped by a cartel…”

    -this brings me to my second point: “the cartel.” There are many drug cartels so I was confused by the use of “the” in front of the word “cartel.” This is the first time the cartel is being referenced. Also, since it’s one of many, this would just be a general cartel.

    -I’m not sure that “mysteriously” is necessary.

    -it wasn’t clear that the kidnapped child was brought to Mexico.

    -the woman wants to confront a drug lord, but he has disappeared? And she’s trying to find out about his disappearance rather than get her daughter back? Is this story about a kidnapped daughter or a disappeared drug dealer?

    -why is the woman responsible for doing all of this? As opposed to the police?

    The questions I have are about the contradictions in the premise, and not ones that lead me deeper into the story. I should be anticipating what happens at the climax, not stumbling of the beginning.

    • Casper Chris

      I believe Harmony is the adopted son, not daughter.

    • ASAbrams


      “Watch from a struggling father’s perspective – listen to his troubled thoughts, experience his beloved memories and vivid imagination – as he faces two daunting challenges: repaying a debt to his ruthless drug dealer and regaining his estranged family’s trust… in one afternoon.”

      -I think the real logline starts midway with “as he faces”–the introduction doesn’t tell me much about the character or the story or the conflict. It’s all vague.

      -I would just say, “A struggling father faces two daunting challenges:…” The rest is fine as is, I think.

      -why is there a time limit on regaining his family’s trust? I guess that’s a story question to be revealed by the script.

      This seems like a decent story, but the way it’s presented is off-putting.

    • ASAbrams


      “In a future, where it’s impossible for people to die, a police officer needs to team up with a former serial killer when he investigates the disappearance of a scientist.”

      -the comma after “future” is not needed.

      This is easy enough to read, and I think I get what this will be about. However, I don’t know how a serial killer will be of help to finding a scientist. What is the connection? Also, how will stakes be raised in this story if no one can die? Where is the conflict coming from?

    • ASAbrams

      Cubicle Farm:

      “Two office screw-ups clash with their boss, after discovering that their soul-sucking job is run by blood-sucking vampires.”

      -I don’t think the comma is needed.

      This one feels very familiar, though I don’t think I’ve read or seen a story about this particular plot. I don’t know what this will be about after they find out who their boss really is. Will the screw ups try to take him down? Or will they just demand respect? What kind of story is this?

      • brent

        All valid points. Loglines are not my strong suit.

        • ASAbrams

          Nor mine, truth be told. I liked this one best and will read it first, if that’s any consolation.

          • brent

            Can’t ask for more than that. I hope you enjoy it!

          • ASAbrams

            Okay…I read it (Cubicle Farm).

            My overall feeling is that there isn’t enough story here. It’s well after page 60 where the characters jump into concrete action, something besides asking each other questions and speculating and eavesdropping. By the way, that investigation could have happened much sooner, too. Because for them to bicker over workplace problems for this long when I’m expecting vampire stuff made the pacing feel slow.

            I got the feeling that this was an indie vampire workplace story (because of the pacing), with random action at the end. I say “random” because there was no build up to it. The first half of the story didn’t give me the sense that this would be resolved with action. The beginning was battles won and lost with words, so I would think that the end would be that, too.

            I did not like the fourth-wall breaking near the end. Why? Because it only happened once. It was another “random” thing that I couldn’t connect and therefore couldn’t anticipate or engage in, which I feel jokes this jarring requires–a building up so I can participate in the moment.

            I really didn’t like Emma. She was useless. I may have misread but she was responsible for getting Andy in trouble with the shredder incident. And no one called her out on that. And she kept saying she could take care of herself–but she couldn’t. She totally couldn’t.

            The friends. They were only there to be killed. I guess that was a part of the humor, but Andy and his friend seemed psychopathic in the way they hardly missed a step when each of them died.

            Andy’s boss wasn’t very intimidating. She seemed kind of reasonable until the end.

            Everyone spoke in the exact same way. Whether they were older, younger, female, male, educated, slob–they all sounded alike.

            For me, the vampire stuff seemed weaker than the comedy/workplace stuff. Maybe I just have a bias against vampires, but I think this could work better as a satire in which we find out the bosses are vampires but Andy and his gang don’t. More time in the workplace… I think the workplace stuff worked.

            Andy never seemed to have real trouble after they decided to go after the vampires. I didn’t feel he was any real danger. I guess that’s because it all felt more and more summarized the closer I got to the end. It stopped feeling like it was in real time. The tension of the moment wasn’t there like it was in the beginning.

            Congrats on getting your script picked to be potentially reviewed on Scriptshadow. Congrats on just finishing and polishing a feature-length screenplay. I hope it does well.

  • Logline_Villain

    First 25 pages: Encountered several issues – though note this is simply one person’s opinion…

    Small pet peeve: Handsome is first word used to describe Cliff… wife Louise is, of course, pretty…

    Holds cliff = Cliff (you must capitalize first letter of character name – little things like that will cost you big time with reader, especially when it comes on page 1 of script)

    Louise finds out she’s pregnant – and then proceeds to dive on the bed and falls onto the floor – not being all that careful now that she’s pregnant, huh?

    There’s a lot of “I LOVE YOU’s” on the first few pages… (IMHO – feels like you’re trying too hard to make us like couple)

    You capitalize first letter of words in wrylies, e.g., p. 2 (Laughs) = (laughs)… wrylies should be written in lower case…

    Page 3: Exchange about best architect and best unemployed interior decorator fell flat for me in an expository sense… and if he’s been any kind of a successful architect, would they really be living in an apartment?

    I know Louise just lost a baby… BUT you undid all the heavy-handed work to make us like her by turning her into the ultimate bitch overnight – emotionally, she’s either black OR white as a character; IMHO – she needs more gray…

    Page 7: Three month old baby – introduce him by name – and you don’t name Louise and Cliff’s parents… big note: 3 MONTHS IN and they’re FINALLY telling their parents about the adoption – that seems to make little sense!!!!

    Page 8: harmony = Harmony

    Page 8: What is a “CIVIL” dawn?

    Page 8: 5 years later should be SUPER: “5 Years Later”

    Page 9: 800 000 and 2000 should be written out as words in GUEST dialogue

    Page 16: (not leaving her eyes from her book) = too long for wrylie…

    Page 17: Buho – Capitalize character name when he is first introduced…

    Why would the idiot criminals attempt the kidnapping in a public park (chock full of witnesses) as opposed to something seemingly easier like the couple’s home? If the kidnapping was so important, why would crime boss entrust it to these bozos as a secondary aspect of garden-variety drug deals? I have no fear of these villain(s) because they have already made it readily evident how incompetent they are as a group!

    Page 24: How did policeman know Louise was the mother/wife as she didn’t introduce/identify herself upon arrival?

    The best sequence was when Harmony disappeared from tub – but even that could have been milked for more mileage (for instance, I suggest it would be more suspenseful if we DIDN’T see the child’s wet footprints)…

    All in all, I would have liked to see something more “original” to this point.

    Best of luck with script moving forward…

    • Ange Neale

      Reading the first few of ‘Harmony’, I thought the premise had promise but the story started ‘way too early. It should’ve started in the delivery room and her own baby being stillborn. It’d be a crushing disappointment for any couple, and an audience would relate to it on a gut level, hooking them in for the ride.

      I had trouble with the ‘handsome’ and ‘pretty’ character descriptions, too.

      • Logline_Villain

        Well-said Ange as to what seems like ideal starting point…

        • Ange Neale

          Thank you.

  • Cuesta

    Kids, this week newsletter was legend… wait for it.
    Sorry I have to do the joke.
    …dary! Legendary!

    Also I pick Perpetual, because I really like the premise.

    • Casper Chris

      I hated the premise of Perpetual. Everyone is invincible. No one can die. Eh, what? How? Oh, let’s see… a star exploded. You know, supernovas right? Yea, and some gamma rays hit us and made our bones strong. So now we jump from high-rise buildings for fun. Even though it hurts.

      At which point I checked out.

      • Cuesta

        What you just typed can’t be any more awesome. I’m so in.
        This is a movie, and not a contained boringness.

        • Casper Chris

          Get back to me when you’ve read it. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

      • MaliboJackk

        Wasn’t there a movie called Year of The Comet… or something?
        A comet flies past earth — the next day, the world is full of zombies.

        • Eddie Panta

          Yes Night of the Comet, Awesome 80’s, but it was a comedy.
          So it flies..

  • pmlove

    Cubicle Farm:

    Read to page 10. Not doing it for me thus far. I think it’s tricky to get the timing right on horror films – you need to give a bit of time to getting to know your characters but that inevitably feels like the plot is going nowhere.

    I think you either have to options – imply the threat is coming so whilst the characters do the day to day, there is a hint of threat OR give other goals to pursue.

    Problem with the first ten here is a) it isn’t scary enough (when it wants to be) and b) too much talking. Andy doesn’t appear to be struggling with anything and one too many cock jokes. The whole ‘it sounds like we’re having sex but we’re doing something mundane’ is overdone for me. Freshen it up a bit.

    If you look at something like Shaun of the Dead, the pre-zombie bit is filled with RomCom style antics. Shaun breaking up with his girlfriend – objective to get her back. The zombies are incidental.

    So what’s Andy’s goal – after ten pages, not so sure. He seems confident and put together (borderline asshole).

    Cut some of the dialogue and try and focus the jokes – cock stuff gets boring fast (for me…).

    • brent

      Newest draft is a few pages shorter. And I get where you’re coming from. Though I don’t think there’s such a thing as too many dick jokes. Probably says more about me than ‘d like to admit.

      Thanks for reading the first 10.

      • pmlove

        Haha – yeah obviously that’s just my tastes.

        Also, I feel the pain of critiquing the first 10 – struggling with my own horror that doesn’t get going action wise until about p20, and have played around with several different methods of trying to keep the interest. Not sure I’ve cracked it yet. So with that huge caveat, feel free to ignore me entirely.

        • brent

          I don’t ignore anyone. Just because we don’t agree, doesn’t mean your points are invalid or not worth considering.

          My wife said the same thing about the dick jokes. I told her she was stupid and removed one or two from the draft that came after this one. So, we’ll see.

          • MaliboJackk

            Find out what kind of movies your wife likes
            before taking her advice.

          • brent

            Decent ones. Usually.

            First Blood. Totoro. Princess Bride. She can be trusted.

          • Ange Neale

            Hey, Brent, be grateful your wife didn’t tell you to put more dick jokes in – think about that in terms of subtext.

          • brent

            Ok. I’m thinking about it. Now what? Am I supposed to be getting a hard-on? Because I think I’m supposed to be getting a hard-on but it just ain’t comin up.

          • Ange Neale

            In my limited experience, dick jokes are usually about mocking the male member (to put it delicately). If your wife wanted more dick jokes in your script, it could suggest that subconsciously (i.e. subtext-wise) she’s uninspired by your, um, marital interactions. Run it by her and see what she says.

          • brent

            Hell, if I was fucking me, I’d be uninspired. I don’t know how she puts up with it.

          • Ange Neale

            You got me there, Brent. Congrats on making AOW, btw.

          • brent

            Thank you!

          • Eddie Panta

            You told your wife she’s stupid! Then what happened?

            I don’t think you need the flashback to the Big Black Cock magazine.
            But if others like it and you want to keep it, just make sure you make it clear it’s a FLASHBACK in the slugline.

          • brent

            She hit me. She does that sometimes. It’s a tumultuous relationship. But, oh the spaghetti. She makes goddamn good spaghetti.

            The flashback pays off later. It isn’t, strictly, necessary. It’ll probably end up coming out. But, for now, it makes me chuckle.

          • Stephjones

            My husband queried me about all the blow job references in my last script. He wanted to know if I now thought blow jobs were meant to only be fictional.

          • brent


            That there? That was funny. Thank you. I needed the laugh.


  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to this week’s AOW candidates.
    May you all get a great notes to enhance your scripts.

    Before I crack them open, I want to review the LOGLINES.
    One of the worst crops I’ve seen in a while.

    “When Harmony, an American woman’s adopted Mexican child,
    is mysteriously kidnapped by the cartel, she must go to Mexico to
    confront a dangerous drug lord, and find out the truth behind his disappearance.”

    So, Harmony is kidnapped by the cartel and has to find out why she was taken?
    Pretty hard to do if you’re kidnapped in a box somewhere.
    And the disappearance is a male? Where did that character come from?
    Maybe you meant that Harmony’s adopted son is kidnapped by drug dealers?
    Did you run this logline past Scriptshadow’s Rich & Lauren when they gave you notes?
    Huge red flag. This makes me wary to open your script, author.
    And I’m sure you didn’t mean to hamstring your own hard work like that.

    *reads script* OK, so Harmony is used as a boy’s name here.
    A UNISEX NAME in a confusing logline is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
    This is why I NEVER use PROPER NAMES of characters in loglines.
    Unless they are a known public figure/mythology, etc.
    But the “she” must be changed to something like, “his adopted mother must go…”

    Watch from a struggling father’s perspective – listen to his troubled
    thoughts, experience his beloved memories and vivid imagination –
    as he faces two daunting challenges: repaying a debt to his ruthless
    drug dealer and regaining his estranged family’s trust… in one afternoon.”

    There’s far too much hyperbole about your protag’s inner thoughts.
    Does most of your script take place in the guy’s head?
    I don’t want to listen to troubled thoughts, I want to SEE a STORY.
    Don’t tell me he’s got lots of vivid memories. SHOW ME.
    Where’s the hook about why your story must be told?
    This is also one mother of a run-on sentence.
    Which tells me I’m likely in store for much more of it in your script.

    A good LOGLINE doesn’t guarantee you’ll get reads here in town.
    But a crap one always lands your script in the TRASH HEAP.
    Don’t subvert your script before anyone ever opens it. Refine your loglines, please.

    • pmlove

      Yep: “In a future, where it’s impossible for people to die, a police officer
      needs to team up with a former serial killer when he investigates the
      disappearance of a scientist.” definitely has one too many commas.

      • Mickey Mantel

        It’s not that. The writer has false perspective as his face is pressed against the screen of his computer. He needs to give it a few days, then like magic the commas will disappear. It sounds predictable: did the serial killer do it?

  • JWF

    I really hope Cubicle Farm is as good as its why you should read!

    • brent

      Me, too! It’s a slow burn. But I think it’s entertaining.

  • Eddie Panta


    I’m a huge Raymond Chandler fan, “The Long Goodbye” is one of my favorite films.
    So, I’m not going to be easy to please.

    I’ve read 30+ pages of Marlowe and I’m truly impressed. I won’t spoil the spin on the Marlowe character the story does, but it’s an interesting choice.

    Talk about writing what you know… The writer here has a firm grasp on both Chandler’s style and of 1930’s films. A lot of the script-lingo we use today originates from Chandler’s novels. Oh, and just to show how you how cool and relevant Chandler’s stories still are. He’s got a short story titled: “The King in Yellow”.

    This would be a really hard script to turn into a film, but it’s exactly the type of screenplay that will win competitions. The writer obviously has an awareness of film history and screenwriting that is both ironic and entertaining.

    The writing is crisp, clear, and emotional. I only had a few small problems with it.
    But I will review later, just wanted to tip my hat and suggest others read it.

    I hope the writer chimes in and tells us how he decided on this approach…

    What I learned so far: We’re all told to write what we know, that doesn’t exclude movies and the craft of screenwriting, we’re all really writing about movies we love, you can’t separate it, so incorporate it into your style or story, showing an awareness of what came before you will put you above the fray.

    • mulesandmud

      Chandler really shouldn’t get credit for the pop culture cache of ‘The King in Yellow’. The title originally comes from a book of horror stories by Robert Chambers; Chandler is simply referencing that book, as is ‘True Detective’.

      No argument about Chandler’s relevance – the man is a titan, and both the novel and film versions of The Long Goodbye are personal favorites – just wanted to give Chambers his due and proper.

  • peisley

    Marlow looks interesting. Worried, though, about the barn burning. It’s doesn’t sound sexy enough.

  • HorationButIDon’tBlowHorns

    Cubicle Farm. Sounds like a win to me!

  • Eddie Panta

    This week’s AOW scripts are looking a lot better than the last batch…

    I’ve got high hopes for CUBICLE FARM, it’s got an interesting style. Looking forward to reading more.

    • brent

      Hope you enjoy it!

    • Mike.H

      I thought the very opposite. This week to me… bit of yawner. I will read some, tho. Thanks.

      • brent

        I hope reading Cubicle Farm gives you some hope.

  • Tailmonsterfriend

    Seems like I’m alone in liking HARMONY the best out of this bunch of scripts. Short and simple:

    MARLOWE: One very confused script. I don’t understand why anyone in this script does anything or what the significance of their actions is. Why are Marlowe and Chandler driving around in Marlowe’s car? What is Chandler to Marlowe? There’s something I’m not getting here.

    IGNOBLE: Movie logic. Things seem to happen because the script needs them to happen, without any discernible rhyme or reason. Also, the internal monologue was grating. Didn’t feel natural or organic. Our protagonist is an ex-con, ex-junkie with a heart of gold trying to straighten out his life? Needs to dig deeper to find something more original.

    PERPETUAL: I can’t get past the idea that a supernova somehow made everyone invincible. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but “an unknown type of gamma radiation” seems lazy somehow. Hard scifi is my favorite genre, so maybe that’s just me. I just always feel deflated when I crack open a scifi script and see fantasy instead.

    CUBICLE FARM: Like the idea. Everyone who’s ever worked in an office has probably fantasized about driving a stake through their boss’s heart at least once. Not sure I’m entirely convinced by the characters, but the premise is solid.

    HARMONY: Really, REALLY dug this one. The other scripts had me checked out by page 10, read Harmony to page 25 and had to force myself to stop reading. A very strong effort. The fact that the author is native French shows in the characters and story, not in the grammar; that’s a GOOD thing.

    These are my personal thoughts, so take it with a grain of salt; your mileage may vary. All I know is that Harmony is set up as a solid thriller. Steven obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this, and I think he deserves a review spot.

    • brent

      Anything in particular about the characters in Cubicle Farm that threw you off?

      • Tailmonsterfriend

        I think (and that’s purely my own personal, biased opinion) it’s that the setup relies on classic archetypes: Andy’s the Straight Man, Nick is the Funny Sidekick, Emma is the Love Interest, Wesley is the Obnoxious Guy… These archetypes exist because they work, and they’re at home in stories like yours. That said, I only read the first eleven, so maybe they become more standout later in the script.

        Let me reiterate: the setup is super solid. The characters could use a touch more color, but I’m being nitpicky here.

        • brent

          Nitpicky is ok. Doesn’t bother me at all. If it helps, Emmy isn’t a love interest. No one is. There’s no shoehorned in love story in Cubicle Farm.

    • Casper Chris

      Wasn’t there a script called MONSTER BOSSES with a premise similar to CUBICLE FARM? I believe it was reviewed here on SS. Or am I dreaming this up?

      • klmn

        There was one called INHUMAN RESOURCES.

        • Casper Chris

          Yes! That’s it.

          Not sure how it became “MONSTER BOSSES” in my head. Maybe because the logline reads:

          “A young man begins to suspect that his bosses are monsters – real monsters.”

          I guess that’s what stuck…

          • klmn

            The logline seemed familiar to me too, so I searched for your term, “monster bosses.” So you have a better memory than I do.

        • brent

          Mother. Fucker.

          Now I’ve gotta read that and see how similar they are.

        • Wes Mantooth

          Actually a film of the same name was made in 2012 with a similar theme, albeit a serial killer instead of a monster.

    • Eddie Panta

      Re: Marlowe, the something you’re not getting is that Raymond Chandler is the author that created Sam Marlowe in real life. Hence, this is sort of a re-imagining of how Chandler came up with Marlowe. It’s a twist on a historical character.

      • Mallet

        Raymond Chandler is the author that created Philip Marlowe, not Sam Marlowe.

        I haven’t read the script but I assume that character is supposed to be a cross between Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade.

        Dashiell Hammett was the author that created Sam Spade 10 years earlier.

        • Mallet

          Oh, and there was a comedy movie in the 70’s about a guy who looked a lot like Humphrey Bogart and became a L.A. Private Eye named Sam Marlowe, specifically because it combined the names of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and he was a big fan of the novels and movies.

        • Eddie Panta

          In the script he’s called “Sam”.

      • Tailmonsterfriend

        Ah, well that’d explain that. I’m probably the wrong guy to review noir stories, not at all my wheelhouse. At least now I’m more aware of my own blind spot.

        Thanks for the context! :)

      • MaliboJackk

        Google Samuel B. Marlowe
        — the first black private eye west of the Mississippoooo.

  • Casper Chris

    I read about 40 pages of Harmony.

    To be honest, it’s fairly well-written. The writer moves the story along well.

    My main crits after reading these pages:

    – You beat us over the head a lot with the “Louise wants a REAL daughter/son”, to the point where it felt a bit forced/annoying.

    – At page 28, Louise mourns the loss of her husband. The I’m a selfish idiot. I should be dead. Not you. Not you. line I can deal with. But then she proceeds to “join her hands in prayer” and talk “as if she is praying to him”: Cliff? Why did they take our son? Why? Tell me they’re gonna find him? Cliff? Tell me, tell me he’s alive… I’m so sorry….
    Please no. Don’t go there. Too much melodrama. Frustratingly, this came right after the doctor told her that her husband didn’t make it. Here you conveyed Louise’s reaction thusly, Louise is numbed by the pain. She barely reacts, DEADPAN. at which point I thought to myself, “great reaction, a lesser writer would’ve gone full-blown melodramatic here”. Sometimes less is more (obviously it depends on the situation/character/genre etc.).

    – At page 37: empties a full ROUND OF BULLETS. I believe a round is a single firearm discharge. Like a bullet. So “round of bullets” is a bit confusing. I think what you mean is “magazine” or “clip” (I’ll let the firearm experts chime in on this one).

    Overall, the writing is good and the script feels quite polished. There were some minor grammar stuff like “Mexico city” consistently instead of “Mexcio City”, but nothing major.

    The story/characters didn’t really click with me, but that might just be my personal tastes/preferences. I felt like I had seen a lot of the stuff before and I never got super invested in the characters even though they were drawn nicely for the most part. So yea, no huge criticisms, just “not my cup of tea”.

    And obviously I didn’t read enough to judge the story as a whole. Maybe I missed out!

  • S_P_1


    Congratulations to all BLUECAT finalists and winners!

    Will chime in my $.02 later on AOW.

    • MaliboJackk

      Did not enter the BLUECAT.
      (Went to the site anyway, to see if I had won.)

      • S_P_1

        I didn’t even place. I really thought I had a chance.

        • MaliboJackk

          Take a look at the winner
          and ask yourself if anybody writes those kinds of scripts.

          • S_P_1

            Reading some of the script titles irk me. Its like that one script on “Fucking Brad Pitt” or “Don’t Marry Him Fuck Me” are you serious? Maybe I’ll go for shock value just to get my name out there.

          • Stephjones


          • MaliboJackk


          • Stephjones

            Gotcha. I feel that way about Nicholls, but I entered anyway. Kinda like buying a lottery ticket. Which I also plan to do very soon.

    • Bifferspice

      got semi-finals :) was really happy with that, but still felt a bit gutted when the cordelia was announced – i thought i had more chance with that.

      • Stephjones

        Congrats, Bifferspice! I checked out 20 pages of your story on TS and thought it was great! Better luck elsewhere.

        • Bifferspice

          Ah thanks Steph! That is much appreciated :)

  • Matthew Garry

    My vote this week is for “Ignoble”


    Should really make a stronger effort to explain the first person view on the first page. It’s not clear if you haven’t read the logline/wysr.

    Well, the first person view is gimmicky, and not the first of its kind. Fortunately, Ignoble tells a solid story without solely relying on the gimmick to carry it.

    I believe, if so desired, it could be easily rewritten from a normal perspective and still be a compelling story. As it is, the view at moments really adds to the story (p56 “Remember this.” was a really nice moment that would have been hard to convey otherwise.)

    But either way, the story moves, every minute of every hour; there’s always something going on with urgency cranked up to maximum.

    It’s not without its problems with puppies being killed on-screen, and female probation officers turning vigilante with spurious motivation, but I found it a fast paced story that was added to by an interesting perspective.


    I read the first 95 pages.

    “Harmony” was looking good. One thing that I noticed was that the most interesting character, Frio, was sort of a tag along bad guy until he gets killed by one of the most uninteresting main characters, Hector.

    Emotionally it’s a bit of a hit and miss affair, which isn’t helped when the plot turns to spanish soap opera for inspiration later on.

    It has a very strong made for TV vibe to it, which is not a problem but might not be what you are aiming for.

    Overall I’d say try and tone down the melodrama and focus on the genuine moments. There’s plenty to be milked from Matilda, Louise, Rivera and his mother without having to resort to torture scenes or stereotypical bad guys.

    Some details:

    p1. “Open to:” was unfamiliar.
    p5. On-screen dead babies.
    p6. Substituting commas for periods and dropping personal pronouns is all the rage in the quest for “voice”, but “Louise perks up. Gives Cliff a look. Stands up and leaves [..]” Who is standing up an leaving here?
    p8. “5 YEARS LATER” How is that translated to the screen ?
    p72. “recently shot a couple of days ago” struck me as the same information twice.


    I read the first 61 pages.

    Perpetual is a decent effort at an early/first script and a lot of effort to incorporate the good advice you regularly hear on SS shines through, so well done. The story itself is a little straightforward with few surprises though, and couldn’t really capture my interest. There’s also a lot of tiny mistakes that a thorough proofreading could have caught.

    Some details:
    p1. “explodes on a spectacular way” should probably be “explodes in a spectacular way”
    p2.-“TWO WELL SUITED MAN” -> “MEN”
    -“Sitting [..] thirties” misses a verb.
    p4.”protests ineffective” -> “protests ineffectively”
    p7.-“There are things that doesn’t make sense”->”don’t make sense”
    -“It trick us” -> “tricks us”
    p8.”If you think logical” -> “If you think about it logically”
    p13. “An attempt to attack Max what’s useless” -> “an attempt that’s useless”


    sports strong characters and strong dialogue. I found the lack of articles extremely grating to read through though, and I wasn’t too fond of the literal accents written out in the dialogue.

    Technically what confused me was the hopscotch approach to the plot. What should have been “Aha!” moments turned out to be “Uhm, okay?” moments.

    There was just too much going on with too many characters to effectively build up suspense. That still worked for ‘The Big Sleep’, but I’m not sure if modern audiences are that forgiving.

    Overall, I thought it was a good concept with strong writing to keep my interest even when the plot wasn’t doing that.


    to be read

  • witwoud

    My vote: HARMONY. As the writer promises, it has good, strong GSU plus an intriguing mystery and so kept me reading. Simple as that, really.

    MARLOWE: this is an intelligent, literate script, but I felt it was written by a Chandler fan for other Chandler fans and, frankly, I couldn’t quite see the point of it.

    IGNOBLE: All rather on-the-nose and unconvincing.

    PERPETUAL: “In a future, where it’s impossible for people to die” … Pass!

    CUBICLE: I liked the first scene, in which a nebbish office worker disappears without a trace. Unfortunately the next twenty pages contained too much ‘blah’ and not enough comedy or horror.

    • Eddie Panta

      Re: Perpetual, the concept of the last mortal man was in the film Mr. Nobody.

    • brent

      Sorry you didn’t like the first 20 of Cubicle Farm. Glad you enjoyed the first scene though.

      Tips for improvement?

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all the chosen ones, well done!
    Going to try to get through as many of these as time permits.
    First, “Harmony”
    Quick, easy read, gets into the story quickly, sympathetic characters, some suspenseful moments in what I read.
    Some page notes:
    p.12 – when a character is on the phone with banal chit chat, the visuals, I like to see should be giving me something other than just the character talking. They can be looking out a window at something intriguing happening outside, something is on the edge of a table nearby and about to fall which would cause a stir, someone stands nearby with a message we know will rock their world. Here it’s just banal chat.
    p.18 – the subject of divorce just comes out of the blue it seemed. Needs some buildup.
    p.27 – Is it the police “is” or the police “are”? I always hear “are”
    p.31 – Women are rarely referred to as “Madam” in the U.S or in Mexico.
    p.39 – I might have missed it. Is it correct to state that foreign languages will be subtitled continually throughout a script or does that need to be stated each time it’s done. I noticed it when the news broadcast was in Spanish.
    p.41- Hector’s use of the word “stubborn” seems unrealistic for someone whose primary language is Spanish.
    p.48 – That whole “Be that child again” conversation rang untrue and sickening sweet for me. It really was a moment I wanted to bail out of this script but I kept reading till page 60.
    My suggestion would be to watch as many Lifetime Movie Network movies as you can. Many involve a family woman who must gird her loins and go to battle. Your script reads to me like one of those. I would, however, concentrate on her. Make the story from her point of view. We don’t see any of the cartel scenes that don’t involve her. It’s all her perspective, all mysterious at first and then as she takes actions, things become clear for her. Too many characters kept being added and it became confusing. I mixed Hector and Miguel up and then Chino, and well…
    I don’t think you should kill off the husband. I’d incapacitate him and make him a hostage ally of the grandmother. Concentrate more on the family angle in all this. Cut back and forth, maybe the grandmother is doing some detective work on her own and discovered the adoption agency wasn’t legit and so Louise can come home and forget about Harmony. Throw everything at Louise. Maybe you do, I haven’t gotten that far. Again, I didn’t like the cartel drama. I only want to see how Louise makes her way into it. All Louise, all the time.
    And, last, no matter how many times I read “Harmony”, I pictured a little girl.

  • Matthew Garry

    > But that’s just me.

    I think it’s safe to assume that goes for all five writers; I’ve never seen a writer pitch in to vote for another screenplay. So it’s safest to assume they’d all vote for their own scripts and thus cancel one another.

    • brent

      Fair point.

  • Andrew Orillion

    Gave “Perpetual” a try because I love me some sci-fi and the premise sounded interesting. I gave up around page 14. There were too many typos, the sentence structure was awkward for the action lines and too much of the dialog was either exposition or on the nose. I suspect that this is either an unpolished first draft or English may not be the writer’s first language.

    Here is an example of the weird sentences that permeate the screenplay:

    FOOTSTEPS. The sound is the first proof there’s someone on the rooftop.

    There is also a lot of passive voice which really bugs me. Try again, Patrick. You have a cool idea but it needs a lot of work.

  • Ange Neale

    The ‘Perpetual’ logline and genre piqued my interest first.

    I think the biggest problem for you, Patrick, unless I miss my guess, is that English is not your first language. Some of your sentences seem as if they’ve been constructed in another language, translated into Klingon and then into English using one of those awful literal translation computer programs, not a real, live human being who actually grasps both the finer points of English and what you’re trying to say.

    This makes some of your words seem inappropriately used, and sometimes whole sentences come across as clumsy, or they don’t make sense and require re-reading to get the gist of them, or they’re accidentally funny.

    For instance, on p.2, you have Prof Ziegler, “wisdom written on his face”. Smart-arse me laughed and thought, ‘Did he use a sharpie, or is he a traditionalist armed with a fountain pen?’ And it turns out Ziegler isn’t at all wise. He’s either stupendously naive for an older man, or he’s an arrogant fool, and he should’ve taken a flashlight and a good book with him to stave off boredom.

    Just below that line, “TWO WELL-SUITED MAN welcome Ziegler without saying a word and guide him to the front of the yacht.” I think you mean ‘TWO WELL-DRESSED MEN”. To have them “welcome Ziegler without saying a word” implies they’re doing it telepathically (which is unfilmable). Since it turns out they’re thug-bodyguard types, it’d have a much greater visual impact if you wrote something like, “Two well-dressed men silently frisk Ziegler then escort him” etc. Or better still, if they each take one of Ziegler’s elbows and frog-march him to see Shaw. Let Ziegler sweat a bit.

    And on p. 4, “He’s athletic what helps him to avoid the PEOPLE as fast as possible.” If an agency gate-keeper had stuck with it this far, at this point, your script would go in the bin.

    I can see you’ve put a lot of thought into imagining this altered Earth, Patrick, but a few other things didn’t work for me. There’s some obvious exposition and on-the-nose dialogue still to iron out. You’ll get valuable feedback about that here, but your next draft will be better for it.

    Transparent tablets for instance — I’m in my fifties and I don’t always remember where I put things down these days. If you gave me an iPad that was virtually invisible, I’d be forever turning the house upside down looking for it. No — feeling about for it. At least make the tablet translucent or semi-opaque.

    Shaw ordered one of his thugs to dispose of the speedboat. What about its driver? He stayed aboard. Since people can’t be killed in your world, what about him? Surely it’ll be easier if you make him Shaw’s man, too, and the speedboat’s Shaw’s. In other words, don’t dispose of it.

    I also didn’t understand why Maxx went from catching a crook to issuing parking tickets to investigating a missing person. You could easily cut out the whole parking ticket scene and have Maxx talk to Kyan while he’s still at the zoo. It’s almost as if you put it in so you could showcase parking meter technology of the future or so Maxx could argue with the obese vehicle owner. That sort of artificially-induced conflict always feels forced.

    My advice to you is this: find a supportive writers’ group with a native English speaker or two who can help you iron out the kinks in your English. Once you have that nailed down, start addressing the other issues.

    Good luck, and congrats on AOW!

    • Casper Chris

      In Danish we use the expression “skrevet i hans ansigt” (literally: “written in his face”) to describe a facial expression that convey a certain emotion.

      I wonder if Patrick is Danish? Maybe Scandinavian?

      • Patrick Wijsman

        Very close: Dutch. Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have a similar language and use probably some of the same expressions as well.

        • Casper Chris

          Ah, yes. Your surname does sound more Dutch/German than Danish.

        • Citizen M

          Afrikaans too. You can see the similarity to “geskryf op sy aangesig” (written on his appearance).

  • Randy Williams

    Like the writing, LOVED the first page, but I’m confused by this one. Is this partly from his perspective, like we’re looking out his eyes at times? Did I miss something.? It almost seems like that stops on page 10. There are places where I have no idea what I’m supposed to be seeing or where I’m at. Like page 9, for example.
    I only got to page 10, but my suggestion, make sure you give us exactly what we’re seeing as the characters move about. My preference if dialogue continues on the next page in a location is to be reminded at the top of next page somehow about where I’m at and what I’m seeing.

    I’m a firm believer in the first few pages conveying to the reader if they are in for a unique way of story telling. You could do this with visuals but better, I think, in your case, would be with his first few lines of voiceover. “Good news….” is like seeing the world from blah blah blah…something like that.

    • lesbiancannibal

      “LOVED the first page” – really?? Apologies to Brian the writer but I thought it was awful – this guy wakes up (a cell phone replacing the alarm clock trope) and is offered a job as a financial assistant – this rocks your world? Truly stunned. What did you like about it? The first-person perspective is fresh – check out Brit comedy Peepshow for this done to excellent comic effect, but I couldn’t read past the seen-this-a-billion-times drug dealer conversation on p3. Sorry Brian.

      • Randy Williams

        Beyond that it was clean and simple, understandable, I liked that he was given good news instead of being told his daughter had been kidnapped or something and the news came with a twist, that the former employee had upped and left without notice. I even found the woman on the phone’s tone rather pleasing. I wanted to work there!
        Instead of the usual empty pizza boxes and clothes strewn about, we’re given a pristine doll house he obviously created, a guy!
        What’s not to love?

        • lesbiancannibal

          Ok, fair enough – here’s the first page of Point Break, considered to be a fairly pulpy action thriller.

          This is the competition. Got to do better than waking up, answering the phone and being offered a job at a bank.

          Obviously, I understand it’s a probably a different genre – it’s the quality of the writing I’m commenting on.

          FADE IN:

          We are in the belly of a wave.

          Light refracts in a constant collision of water.

          SLOW MOTION, the hallucinatory prisms, like liquid

          diamonds taking flight, dreamlike…

          EXT. OCEAN – DUSK

          Backlit against a flaming sun a solitary SURFER glides

          across the green glassy peak. TIME IS STRETCHED until his

          movements gain a grace and fluidity not of this world.

          Total Zen concentration. Body weight centered, eyes

          forward and on the next section.


          SLOW MOTION ON a black sedan.

          Creeping along store fronts. Past a Winchell’s.

          PEOPLE splash steps down rain-washed sidewalks in DREAM

          MOTION. The sedan turns past the FIRST VIRGINIA BANK and

          into an alley.

          INT. BLACK SEDAN

          TWO MEN and ONE WOMAN in SUSPENDED TIME put on overcoats

          and hats. Under their hats strips of Scotch tape stretch

          taut from the base of their nose to their forehead,

          hideously distorting their features. Makes them look like

          human PIGS.

          EXT. OCEAN

          SILVERY in this light, almost metallic, as if from some

          future-scape. The lone surfer SHREDS a long, endless

          right wall.

          ACCELERATING INTO REAL TIME — as he stares into the pit,

          digs in, drops into the sweet spot on the wave, hunkers


          His moves becoming aggressive, frenzied–

          INT. BLACK SEDAN

          An M-16 clip is SMACKED into place and cocked with a

          CACHACK! Ammo clips are SNICK-SNICKED into handgun butts

          and a long clip is SSSNICKED into an UZI.

          Watches are checked. The PIG NOSE people nod to each


          EXT. BANK

          Pig Nose #1, steals into position near the glass doors,

          slams his back to the wall, weapon to cheek, breath fast.

          EXT. OCEAN

          FAST NOW — the surfboard rips a brutal gash in the face

          • Citizen M

            Using “clips’ instead of “magazines”.

          • Steve

            I hate the writing in Point Break.

  • Randy Williams

    For me, it was like watching an opera in a different language. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but the costumes are gorgeous, the music tickles my ears and everybody sitting next to me smells good.
    Loved the visuals, creative and complete. Loved the (O.S)’s. Wish other writers on here used them more. Loved every time they talked about geography. Loved all the black people.
    Not a movie I’d go see. But if this writer did a book for a Broadway show in this period, I would feel reassured it would be something most bright and bubbly, wicked and wonderful.

  • S_P_1


    Read to page 10 will not read further.

    Right from the opening voice over.

    p2 …a dying star explodes on a spectacular way

    a degenerate star explodes in spectacular fashion

    p2 storey is only acceptable if you’re from the U.K (story for U.S)
    and yes I’m aware you’re referring to the living levels of a house.


    Unusual looking cars (welcome to the future) are parked at

    the side of the street and in front of the building.

    are parked on..
    So unusual looking cars are an indication of the future. That’s a very weak description. Literally anyone on this board could post a pic of an unusual vehicle and it wouldn’t be anything more than (the present).

    p2 second voice over
    Technically we weren’t outside the danger zone of the blast. The magnetosphere of the Earth failed to protect us from an unknown type of gamma radiation. I’ll buy that some unknown radiation poisoned the entire Earth’s atmosphere. I should have stopped reading here. A supernova, gamma radiation, frequency of observation of an actual supernova represents HARD SCIENTIFIC FACTS. Unless you deftly permute known quantities even a casual reader suspension of disbelief will be greatly challenged.

    p2….start to cheer and clap their hands
    I guess as opposed to clapping with their feet. Lose obvious detail.

    p3 third voice over
    The entire passage was awkwardly written. Then within the boundaries of your own universe you committed an serious oversight. If humans no longer need their lungs how are people able to speak. I guess you had to include that to explain Ziegler not drowning.

    Another reason for me not to continue reading. At this point it’s not even science fantasy. Its a set of arbitrary rules you set with no regards to reality. Hard science and soft explanations don’t mix.

    p3 skippers to a yacht
    What does that mean? Even if that is a proper nautical term I don’t trust you as a writer not to question you.

    Its obvious to me you really didn’t give your script the once over. Literally you lucked upon being included in AOW. I’m not anal retentive, but I’m working harder just in these few pages to either ignore or document every instance I’m thrown out of story.

    p3 You could have simply put. Shaw’s average stature belies his intimidating demeanor.

    p5 While Ziegler protests ineffective.
    Read that again and tell yourself what’s wrong.

    Opening description of the zoo. Read it again out loud. If it sounds right in your ear leave it be.

    You broke the FIFTH WALL. Now that should be some cause for celebration. You referenced the voice over as part of a character introduction, and included the action beats to the scene as part of the character introduction. That has to be some kind of first something.

    From the start of the scene description to the first time Maxx speaks. Reads completely awkward. Starting with the genetic mutation of the FURRY BABY WOLVES awww that’s so cute. KANT LET THE BAD OLE KROOK CAVE ROCK THE WOLVES. That reads just slightly better than what you actually wrote. Maybe not, who cares?

    Completely awkward or grammatically incorrect.

    CURIOUS PEOPLE watches how Maxx escorts the crook into the
    back of a truck that belongs to the police department.

    After closing the door, Maxx shakes the hand of a POLICE
    OFFICER who drives the vehicle.

    The police officer makes some notes at a transparent tablet.

    Maxx shakes his head while he looks at the vehicle that
    drives away. When it turns around the corner, he walks the
    other direction.

    A soulless area’s filled with parked cars. Maxx passes them
    by while his eyes focuses on the front windows.

    Instead of parking valets, there are time countdowns at the
    windows that shows how long the car can be parked there
    before time’s up.

    Kyan isn’t lying. At the background, AGENTS walk hurried
    through the room. Phones are RINGING, there are
    UNINTELLIGIBLE CONVERSATIONS and an agent drops his coffee.

    Maxx continues checking the cars while Kyan walks next to
    him. So now and then, a glitch appears through Kyan to
    remember he’s a projection. ——Who needs to remember Kyan, Maxx, or the reader?

    A burger appears in Kyan’s hand when he grabs it from a desk
    in the police apartment.
    For example, why am I eating this?
    I won’t starve to death so why am I
    still hungry?
    It’s our brains. Because of the
    Leptin hormone, it make us believe
    we’re hungry. But we won’t die if
    we keep that feeling unsatisfied.
    It trick us so to speak.
    The look at Kyan’s face goes from impressed to confused.

    Yeah I agree with Kyan I’m confused too.

    It’s like pain. If you think
    logical, we shouldn’t feel it
    because can’t get hurt. But the
    brain ignores that fact and warns
    us. Like it wants to say “hey, this
    is something painful” and gives us
    a signal that does make us feel
    that way.

    Why even bother explaining, seriously.

    Maxx and Kyan walk away from the car while the obese man is
    still making COMPLAINING SOUNDS.
    You know you’ll never make friends
    this way, right?
    I thought you are my friend.

    Awesome joke potential I’ll let somebody else exploit it.

    • S_P_1

      After reading other board members critique I’m starting to wonder is ENGLISH your first language? Or did you write a first draft and use this board to correct your script.

      • Ange Neale

        No, Patrick’s first language isn’t English so don’t go too tough on him, SP1. If he had access to a writer’s group with a native English speaker or two, most of what we noted would’ve been scrubbed clean. He emailed me earlier — he’s a nice bloke and he’s very appreciative of the feedback he got here.

        • S_P_1


  • Randy Williams


    Men, who learned English from reading signs on the boat they came over on, created this wonderful industry in Hollywood that changes lives, changes the world. I owed it to them to try to read this because it is tough going in the beginning. As much as you want to get past the pages, the broken and odd choices of English language are like mine fields.

    And then, inexplicably, those first pages in that vein suddenly disappear and it reads very smoothly. How odd!

    I got to page 34. I’ll probably go back. I liked it. It’s comic book. The demographics would love this. There is always something happening. Bryce is a memorable character. Loved him.

    Needs lots of work. But spine is good, I thought.

  • Randy Williams

    Cubicle Farm

    Got to page ten on this one.

    Biggest laugh for me was in the description, the “off brand cream cheese” Somehow that killed me. The rest was comical but not enough to really make me sit up and say this is some funny sh*t.

    Characters were to me, sitcom, because there were so many of them getting good lines. When I think feature, I think one character usually gets all the good lines.

    By page ten, I wanted a question asked by someone. Like what happened to the guy that got eaten?

    • brent

      That question is one page 11 in this draft, if I remember correctly. Maybe 14. Been a while since I’ve read this one.

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more.

  • katerlula

    My pick is Cubicle Farm.

    These characters simultaneously function as a group and as individuals. I find that impressive. How many movies have I seen where a “group of individuals” feels like the same person with various skins? More times than I care to acknowledge.

    And, let me applaud the lack of a love story. It is refreshing to see a strong female character that’s not purely a device to get dude’s dicks hard, or to be some insignificant placeholder for sex, or worse yet, some god awful love story that just ruins a good bit of asskicking. How many badass movies have been ruined by jovial jaunts down lover’s lane? Again, more than I care to acknowledge.

    Plus, there’s humor for everyone. This is a story that anyone can relate to, in some way, and there are plenty of people to root for. Which appeals to me because who wants to invest time in a story filled with completely vile people?

    This script is just fun and makes you feel good. It is a story of friendship and bravery and asskickery.

    • brent

      …Did you read the whole thing? It sounds like you read the whole thing. If you did, I love you.

      Of course, you also sound like my wife… Whom I already love…

      • katerlula

        Why, yes! I did read the whole thing. And I think other readers could benefit from reading more than 10 pages.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read ten pages of Cubicle Farm

    Cubicle Farm –

    You have MASTER in your opening slugline?

    Am I supposed to know what Cognatulae means?

    Pg 1 – over described action lines

    “The whole of the floor is barely visible, there are no windows. But we don’t need a lot of light to know where we are. There are rows upon rows of cubicles – drab and boring.”

    Only the last sentence is needed here. Just add “A windowless room with rows and rows of drab cubicles” That’s it. ……….. Cubicles are not boring. Boring is not a description of something. You can be bored by looking at a cubicle, but that is your fault, not the cubicle’s fault.

    Pg 3 – This action line “Andy slides to a stop next to a group of people waiting for a lift. Among them – WESLEY (20s). Wesley is not the devil. The devil would never wear a suit that cheap. He’s just bloody annoying.”

    Not a fan of this cute stuff. Wesley is not the devil? Uh, ok. Why not give us a description? If he only needs to be annoying in a cheap suit, then just say that.

    Pg 4 – “EMMY (20s) – is adorable, she’s everything you could want in a coworker. Except that she takes things too literally. But she’s upbeat. You gotta give her that.”

    What does this even mean? She’s adorable? Why? What has she done? Babies are adorable. They don’t have to do anything. They can just sit there. But you are telling us what your character is instead of showing us. She takes things too literally? Are you afraid we won’t get the joke when she literally takes things too literally? So Emmy is adorable and upbeat….and everything you could want in a co-worker. Which means you’re being redundant for people who specifically want adorable and upbeat co-workers. What if I just want competence? So for me, the description is, EMMY (20’s) is adorable, upbeat and competent. I’ll give her that.

    End Pg 4 -pg 5 – I’ve stumbled onto the old “Mr. Furley is over-hearing Jack Tripper say something that sounds really sexual but is in fact innocent” gag.


    “It’s even in here. Wesley proffers a fresh cup of coffee to TRISHA (30s), who appears royally pissed.”

    It’s even in here? Royally pissed? Was she wearing a crown and holding a scepter?

    “Trisha is dressed stylishly and severely. She might be 80 or 29, depending on whether you look at her eyes or her figure.”

    Stylishly and severely? Poor poor phrasing.

    Pg 7 EMMY : “It sounded like the two of you were having homosexual intercourse.”

    This is the pay-off. Emmy thought Nick and Andy were butt fucking instead of forcing something into the shredder. She takes things literally, see how that worked? Foreshadowing.

    Pg 8-9-10 Lots of unfunny dialogue about bagels. ——–Don’t think I’ve ever written that sentence before.

    What is this about? Where is it going? Do I care after 10 pages? No, I do not.

    My advice. Use your action lines wisely. Stop trying to make jokes there. It doesn’t improve the read.

    Re-read all the dialogue in the first 10 pages and ask yourself “How much of it is even necessary to the story I’m telling? Dialogue is your most useful tool but you are wasting it on, well, dick jokes. Now I like a good dick joke. Yours are a little soft.

    Don’t start by killing the “non-descript” Jeff character, because who cares? He isn’t important to the story and everything that happens after that is completely removed from that opening page or two. All you have done is tip your audience that something is amiss in that building. Why not slowly build suspense with a character we actually care about? I choose Emmy. She is adorable and upbeat. And I also find her competent. Maybe others saw her differently. Good luck with the re-writes.

    • Kirk Diggler


      Pg 1 – Max (VO) “Although we were outside the danger zone of the blast, the supernova had a huge impact on our planet.”

      Any planet in the ‘goldilocks zone’ would in all likelihood be vaporized by a supernova. Sounds like whatever affected this planet, it wasn’t a supernova. Maybe change it to solar flares.

      Pg 2 – continuing the Maxx(VO) “Our aging process came to an end… Or became
      extreme slow. We’re still unsure about that. The fact is, it’s impossible for us to die.”

      Well, which is it? Contradictory statements.

      Pg 2 – A speedboat, or at least something that looks like one, skippers to a yacht that’s anchored in the middle of the ocean.

      What is it? A futuristic speedboat perhaps? Why do i have to figure this out?

      Yachts do not drop anchor in the middle of the ocean. You need relatively shallow depths to do that.

      Pg 2 – The SPEEDBOAT DRIVER stays on the vessel while ALFRED H. ZIEGLER, sixties, who has wisdom written on his face, boards the luxurious boat.

      Was it written with a sharpie?

      Okay okay, just kidding. I understand English is not your first language. My advice is to have someone who speaks fluent English proof-read your script. Otherwise, what is the point? I’m sure you put a lot of work into writing this. Why take a chance that the reader will stop solely based on grammatical reasons? There goes all your hard work down the drain. Getting the format, pacing, structure and characterization down is hard enough as it is, don’t give a reader an easy out because it reads strange. Which it does for me. Best of luck.

    • Kirk Diggler

      IGNOBLE – read 18-19 pages

      Pg 1
      – ALICIA DUKE (O.S.) “Yes, but unfortunately the person who previously held that position literally just walked out on us without giving us his two weeks notice…”

      An H.R. person would say “Can you start Monday?” not give information that is irrelevant to the person on the other end of the phone.

      Pg 3 – Flashback alert.

      *** NOTE: These FLASHBACKS are imperfect still photographs of Daniel’s memory (from his POV), which do not take us to the actual event; but are to be superimposed onto whatever he’s looking at (unless his eyes are closed). ***

      My head hurts from reading that.

      Pg 4 – JARVIS: “Right. Now, I don’t care about the fifty-four hundred you made in
      profit, but I do care about the three grand you owe me. Where is it?”

      I don’t buy Jarvis saying this. At all. If Jarvis is at the point that he is beating Daniel up (over 3000 dollars no less!), and has two goons there to back him up, then he DOES care about the alleged profit Daniel allegedly made on his drug sales, because a real tough guy drug dealer would take every last cent from Daniel for being delinquent in the first place.

      And just to show how tough a guy he is, Jarvis agrees to take 50 dollars (forcefully) as a down payment…. yeah right!

      Pg 4 – 5 – Jarvis leans in and gives Daniel a devilish grin.

      JARVIS (CON’T)
      “Don’t make me come looking for you.”

      ……..Because you’ve already made Jarvis do that once today, and clearly Jarvis has a reputation to protect, one in which he is a pushover. Well, okay, he did break the dollhouse.

      Pg 6 – Daniel stands and looks at his phone. He sees the time (2:16 PM), but he does not notice that his phone has only two bars of battery power remaining.

      How do we know Daniel does not notice the low battery power? He is going to tell us later when he looks at his phone a 2nd time, then say “Shit! When I looked at my phone earlier I didn’t know that I only had two power bars, if only I had noticed i could have take action to power it up!”

      Pg 7 – I wish my probation officer would give me a courtesy call 39 minutes prior to an appointment. It’s helpful in an exposition-y kinda way, if completely unrealistic.

      Pg 8 – So Daniel has exactly 4 contacts on his phone. 4 contacts. Has to be some kind of record for patheticness. One of his contacts is Patrick, a guy he last worked with “a couple years ago”. Who Daniel then calls up OUT OF THE BLUE in order to ask to borrow 3 thousand dollars. Let me ask the writer, how many people in your phone (hopefully you have more than 4 contacts) who you haven’t spoken to in several years, would you feel comfortable asking for that kind of money? Naturally Patrick refuses. Maybe Daniel can now remove that contact from his phone.

      Pg 9 – The trope of “flushing drugs down a toilet”…..

      After 7 pages of uninspiring dialogue involving Daniel’s brother Randy…. who years earlier had vomited onto Daniel’s daughter’s birthday cake, Daniel agrees to allow Randy to come to his daughter’s birthday party as long as………

      pg 16 – DANIEL : “Alright… You can come as long as you promise not to do anything stupid.”

      Oy vey. Daniel deserves everything he’s got coming to him. But it gets worse.

      Randy describes a party he went to at Jarvis’ house.

      pg 17 – RANDY
      “Yeah, so I came to like twenty minutes later and when I went to
      get up, I noticed the tile beneath my head was loose. So I removed
      the tile piece and there was this chest underneath it. The chest
      musta’ had at least fifteen grand in there – just stacks of hundred
      dollar bills.”

      “So what are you saying?”


      “I’m saying that I can call Jarvis to setup a deal to buy more weed
      and while I’m buying the bud from him, you can sneak in the back of
      his place, get the money, and sneak out without him ever knowing-”

      Hey Randy, I’m just curious. You clearly are a guy with no scruples, suggesting that your brother Daniel steal money from the drug dealer he owes money to. But hinging the plot on something that no-scruples Randy would have done in the first place but didn’t (i.e., stealing the money when he first found it!) doesn’t ring true. Randy just politely stared at the 15 grand and put the broken tile back where he found it. This is contrived to the max. And really, who hides a treasure chest under a bathroom tile anyway?

      RANDY “Hey Jarvis, I gotta take a dump, can I use the can?”

      JARVIS “ Yeah man, go ahead, but if you see any loose tiles in the bathroom, don’t you go sniffing around where you don’t belong you hear? Cuz there ain’t no chest full a fuckin money under them bathroom tiles!”

      There isn’t much to say about this one. The dialogue is just flat, sits there in big chunks of on the proboscis. There are scenes where characters deliberately talk around “that thing that happened”, or “before that thing with that guy” blah blah. I found it clumsy.

      I don’t care about Daniel either. Zero empathy for this guy. Thanks for sharing. No one said it was easy.

    • brent

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more.

      But, in answer to one of your questions, I didn’t try to build suspense with a character that anyone cares about, because this isn’t supposed to be that kind of film. I mean, the vampires don’t turn to dust here. They explode and send gallons of blood spraying everywhere.

      Which is just a longer way of saying that subtlety is not what I was going for.

      Some of your other points are definitely, spot on and have been addressed in a later draft. Thanks for taking the time to read!

  • fragglewriter

    I’ve read the first 6 pages of Marlowe and I’m impressed.

    I was going to stop reading after the first page when you described the nurse and doctor. But after reading the description of Marlowe, and good spin on a character, was a great idea. I’m currently writing a heist movie, and watched a few of the films that were turned into movies by Raymond Chandler. I also downloaded a few of his book from iTunes and when I get a chance, will read them.

    • Poe_Serling

      I really great heist flick that I like to recommend to others: The Silent Partner with Christopher Plummer and Elliot Gould. One of the writers was Curtis “L.A. Confidential” Hanson. The film just fires on all cylinders: an intelligent and original script with some nifty plot twists, solid acting, and so on.

      • fragglewriter

        Thanks for the heads up.

        I watched the clip on iTunes. I also want to see “The Long Goodbye,” hoping that TCM will finally show it, but I might have to bite the bullet and rent it on iTunes. I also liked the movie “Murder my Sweet.” I saw it for the first time a few months ago, and taped it again when it came on TCM a few weeks ago. I really like Dick Powell and Mike Mazurki. That movie gave me an idea for a neo-noir that I’m going to write, when I get done with my heist.

        • mulesandmud

          The Long Goodbye is still streaming on Netflix, if you roll that way. Check it! One of the best of the 70s, and that’s saying a lot.

        • Eddie Panta

          Check out: AFTER DARK MY SWEET 80’s film noir with Jason Patric from a Jim Thompson novel.

  • S_P_1


    WOW! Read from start to finish.


    Only a few things. Some of the period slang I had difficulty pronouncing. The fight at the end I was trying to figure out was it on trolleys, stationary passenger cars, moving cars I wasn’t sure. It seemed like one car was climbing a hill and passed the same passenger car twice. Going off of memory it seemed like Wagner spotted Marlowe, but got surprised when he jumped on the roof?!?

    I sorta guessed midway everything might have to do with some sort of imminent domain situation.
    Unless the laws back then didn’t permit a colored P.I owning a gun that seemed like a gross oversight. Marlowe either had to smooth talk his way out of being held at gun point or constantly fighting to wrestle a gun free.

    Chinatown + Devil in a Blue Dress + L.A. Confidential + Mulholland Drive = Marlowe

  • ElectricDreamer

    Kudos to our AOW candidates this week.
    I hope the scripts go a little smoother than those loglines…

    P. 1 How does Cliff come off as a good guy? You tell me, author.

    Reads odd that Cliff already wants to create more offspring.
    Pretty douchey for a “genuinely good guy” to say that.
    He’s not the one that’s carrying around that load for nine months.

    P. 3 If Cliff is the best architect in California, wouldn’t he already have a plan?
    I mean, if that’s his thing. He’d already have some designs ready.
    An architect that shirt-ripping psyched about child birth would do that.
    Seven months into the pregnancy and no renovations started? I don’t buy it.

    P. 6 Do we really need the dead baby before they adopt the kid the script’s about?
    This melodrama can be handled through subtext later on.
    Heck, you can start it in the office when they’re asked why they want to adopt.
    They can hold each others’ hands and say they can’t have their own.
    I’m more sympathetic to that approach than this drawn out opener.

    P. 7 Weird that you shorthand the intro of Harmony, your script’s protag.
    But spend five pages on the stillborn that isn’t part of your story.

    P. 7 Since when do orphanges give backstories?
    Even in Mexico I’m sure they keep that data confidential.

    And more importanyly, how can Cliff’s mom spot a — MEXICAN BABY???
    Do Mexican babies look different from Spanish or Puerto Rican babies?
    Louise’s mom has some creepy baby-fu going on here.

    P. 8 What couple is banging in the bedroom?
    Just because it’s Cliff & Louise’s bed, doesn’t mean they’re the ones getting jiggy.

    I’m going to call it here on this one.
    Between the logline and the opener, I see a lot of red flags.
    I think the author has to find a more direct and engaging way into their story.


    • ElectricDreamer

      MARLOWE —
      P. 1 What’s with all the diversity hire medical staff?
      Is their ethnicity critical to the scene or your story?

      Can we dump Nurse Jive? Medical professionals don’t talk like that.
      I’m whiter than white and I find this more than a tad racist.

      P. 2 Is there an actual standardized uniform for monkey-owning organ grinders?
      I think you mean something like a “marching band style double-breasted jacket?
      Even a reference to the Sgt. Pepper album would’ve been less confusing.

      P. 2 Makes no sense the Manager would be grateful, THEN notice Marlowe’s color.
      I’m sure he can deduce Marlowe’s skin color by seeing his HANDS or NECK.
      Why not just have the Manager face Marlowe straight up?
      A better noir trope is: Marlowe and the Manager would know each other.
      Use their checkered past to spice up the scene.
      Besides, this is stage direction a Director would likely toss out anyway.
      Why make this elaborate set up for an inconsequential reveal?

      P. 5 Chandler brings some energy to the pages. Assuming he’s a drunk.
      Very chummy with a stranger and all. It works.
      Would be funny if Chandler toasts the cops with a bottle as they drive off.
      He deters them from being racist, they miss a public drunk.
      Something like that tells me Chandler’s a bit of a REBEL.
      Those kind of characters tend to keep readers turning pages.
      Because we always want to see someone who REBELS against the establishment.

      P. 7 Chandler to the rescue.
      Glad the script’s settled into some engaging storytelling.
      After that rocky opener, the pages develop a cadence.

      P. 9 I’m a little at odds with the stereotype dynamics here.
      You’re breaking stereotype with Sam Marlowe in a film noir setting.
      But you’re also surrounding him with stereotypes like Freddy & Nurse Jive.
      Is there a point to that? Not sure if that plays well.

      P. 13 Flashbacks WITHIN flashbacks already?
      Give that line to Marlowe, make it a SPEECH.
      That’s the noir way. Don’t dedicate a page to Velma’s backstory.
      Reveal something about MARLOWE by how he recounts her tale of woe.

      P. 15 I think showing Freddy meet his maker would be dramatically better.
      Shadowy glimpses of what Freddy overhears. Then they hear a hidden Freddy.
      Something along those lines teases mystery and heightens suspense.
      These are noir staples that your scene construction here could use.

      P. 18 I don’t think being a banker’s wife excuses homicide.
      Regardless of racial strife and social class stereotypes.
      This chat feels a bit long in the tooth.

      P. 25 I’m stopping here, but I’m intrigued enough to continue later.
      I have my issues with how social class and racial dynamics are handled.
      But the author has done some homework and Chandler is fun to read.


      • S_P_1

        The very beginning I was slightly thrown. But the story settles in quickly and definitively. The author did his research it plays out on every page. Freddy’s murder did seem cheap but seeing how that’s how his life had been to that point I understand the author’s choice. Also Marlowe admitted he didn’t care that deeply about Freddy and everything he was doing was a matter of principal and circumstance.

        The banker’s wife didn’t commit homicide. She was guilty of hit and run. I’m no LEO or lawyer, but I wonder how sophisticated laws were back then concerning vehicular injury especially concerning black victims. I’m guessing she realistically could drive off and not worry about any real consequences other than her conscious.

    • ElectricDreamer

      IGNOBLE —
      P. 1 Office staff doesn’t dig dirt to a stranger on why you got a job.
      That makes their company look bad. They’d just give you the happy news.

      P. 3 Flashbacks are superimposed over what Daniel sees?
      That kind of DOUBLE VISION will nauseate an audience pretty fast.
      On a medical and marketing level, this sounds like a bad idea.

      P. 3 Your slugs are wonky. DAY & CONTINUOUS on the same line.
      And right after a FLASHBACK. Are you suggesting we’re still in Flashback?
      If the Flashback is over, you have to let your reader know in a clear way.

      P. 3 When did Daniel grab the doll house? It’s not established in the scene.
      We just randomly see it smash. Did Daniel have it in hands?

      P. 4 Three months to sell some drugs? That’s a very long time.
      Jarvis is the most patient drug dealer, ever.
      Instead of Jarvis explaining to Daniel what he already knows…
      Find a less expository way of handling that information.
      Perhaps Daniel begs for more time…
      “I can sell the rest, I swear! Just give me more time. Please!”
      Something like that is a much more dramatic way of getting that data to the reader.

      P. 9 Daniel’s dialogue comes off stilted. He’s very verbose while upset.
      Typically, people get less coherent when they’re rattled.

      P. 10 Daniel’s reveal about dumping the drugs…
      I think that should be a FLASHBACK when Jarvis asks about the product.
      That would create SUBTEXT in your scene if the reader knows it then.
      It also create SYMPATHY for your protag. We’d want to see him get clean.

      P. 12 I’m digging Randy’s tangent. You’re showing us his PASSION.
      Which is a great way to open up a character to the reader.

      P. 12 Why not take the grand in silver? That’s one-third of his GOAL.
      Could be fun to watch him try to convert the silver to cash.
      That kind of organic narrative thread would add fun MINI-TASKS.
      String logic in your scenes like that tends to pull readers in.

      P. 14 Not sure if I’m on board with the TRIPLE mumbo-jumbo:
      You’ve got a job interview, loan shark deadline & kid’s birthday all at ONCE.
      Two things are much easier to swallow than three.

      P. 15 Why not go right to the b-day cake crack after Randy gets upset?
      No need to waste half a page on skirting the subject.
      Reads funnier if Daniel goes right to it. Like people who know each other would.

      P. 16 I think Randy would know specific strains of marijuana. Research that.

      P. 18 Do you think Jarvis wouldn’t put two and two together?
      If he gets ripped off and Daniel suddenly is flush.
      Unless you want your protag to come off a bit dim, change this.
      Or have Daniel express that concern and give Randy a good comeback.

      Pineapple Express is *NOT* the bomb, just in movie land.
      Which suggests your pot research began and ended with that movie.
      In reality, it’s a so-so strain. At best. Randy deserves more research.

      P. 19 The heroin den exposition clunks.
      Find a more natural way for that to be injected into a scene.

      P. 21 The back-and-forth is pretty good.
      But the dad exposition rings false. Cut Randy’s lead in.
      They’re brothers. The “job loss/drinking” line is an eye sore.
      Refine their dialogue into emotional SHORTHAND. It will flow better.

      P. 23 Again the exposition clunks. Do we need to know Jarvis was abandoned?
      Why are you drumming up SYMPATHY for your VILLAIN here?

      P. 25 Reads odd that Liz continues to lie when it’s obvious Daniel knows.
      The CONFLICT in the scene would escalate if she addressed it.
      Which would peak my interest in the scene.

      P. 27 Stopping here, but I want to continue later.
      The script’s strength are the brothers.
      However, the triple-threat convenience of the plot niggles me.
      And dialogue is the weak suit here. At times, it’s right on the money.
      But it gets too wordy when it should be quicker banter.
      And the POV novelty doesn’t work for me and appears to have abandoned.
      Still, I want to know what happens next in your story.


    • ElectricDreamer

      The author’s language barrier has already been addressed.
      Your V.O. & concept read more SyFy channel, than blockbuster.
      Gamma radiation is the hook for the Hulk.
      The Hulk is a durable creature, but he’s loaded with disadvantages.
      Whereas here, there’s no downside to the immortality effect.
      We don’t need air anymore either? Space exploration just got a lot cheaper.

      P. 2 Think you mean two men in nice suits.
      But as written, it implies the men are well-suited to something unsaid.

      P. 5 The supernova effect comes off too random.
      Mutates animals in silly ways but only gives human nothing but super-benefits.
      If you want me to believe in the phenomenon, it needs some simple rules.

      P. 6 Maxx comes off a bit stupid about the CROOK.
      He doesn’t understand massive overcrowding issues in the prison system?
      What kind of cop would be blind to such a huge issue?

      P. 7 What’s a ballister? Did you mean “bannister”?

      P. 7 Poor exposition here.
      Already stated in opener the supernova hit 20 years ago.
      So, why is Kyan bringing it up in an unnatural way?

      P. 8 If pain can drive people insane, why did the kid in the opener not feel anything?
      Shouldn’t he have been in agony after splatting on that car?
      That would be a disadvantage that might help your concept.

      P. 9 Kyan’s line about the scientist reads ridiculous.
      The captain doesn’t want to send someone out of the office for a case?
      Are they have an inter-agency slumber party?
      How does anything ever get done in that precinct?
      Missing persons cases must really pile up in this city.

      P. 9 The “Everyone’s busy, take the case you have history with” card is very old hat.
      If you’re going after a sci-fi high concept, it must be logically presented.

      P. 12 I’m bowing out here. I don’t buy the concept on any level. Sorry.
      If Bryce is a convicted felon, where did his records go?!?
      There would be prints on file unless the supernova wiped out record-keeping..
      It’s logic gaps like this that will subvert a high concept.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 3 Putting the setting in parenthesis in your slugs is confusing.
      You don’t have to use the proper name of the office in every slug.

      P. 6 A page plus for a off-screen sexual innuendo gag is too much.
      Your jokes have to be quicker and less repetition.

      P. 8 And the penis gags continue to pile up.
      But I don’t have any sense of the corporation these folks work for.
      What does the company do? Who’s the CEO?
      Are there any ghouls/middle management types around during the day?

      P. 13 Wesley the weasel is overblown and overdone in workplace comedies.
      The humor’s by and large sight gags and scat humor.

      P. 17 Is there a particular reason why Andy is so upset about Jeff?
      Was he supposed to be part of the meeting with Mr. JOhnson?

      P. 22 No way any boss would put up with Andy’s attitude.
      Stuff like this and sitcom-style yucks that put me off to the tale.

      P. 25 I’m putting down the script here.
      The humor didn’t land with me, it was mostly random slapstick.
      Save for a promotion sub-plot, none of the protags have any GOALS.
      I don’t know what they’re passionate about outside the office.
      And the dialogue doens’t advance the story much. Banter feels like padding.
      Nothing but sitcom shenanigans since the bloody opener.


      • brent

        thanks for the notes!

  • brent

    Well said. Pretend I said it first, please.

  • klmn

    OT. Fans of R. Crumb might like to know that the first two issues of his Hup Comics are back in print. I just ordered.

    Anyone not familiar with Crumb might want to check out Terry Zwigoff’s documentary CRUMB.

    • S_P_1

      Slow convert to his art style. Statuesque voluptuous women. He should’ve been the rated R version of MAD magazine.

      • klmn

        I think he’d be rated NC-17 or maybe XXX.

    • astranger2

      I saw CRUMB. Pretty bizarre family. Made him look normal.

      • klmn

        There’s another doc on Crumb that’s worth watching. This one doesn’t get into the horror of his life, but it makes a good companion piece to Zwigoff’s.

        You can see this one for free on YouTube.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: Harmony

  • Caleb Yeaton

    I’m gonna throw in my vote for Marlowe here. I love noir to begin with, and this captured the vibe perfectly. I’ve written a few noir-ish scripts, and the writer’s ability to nail tough-guy / femme-fatale banter is out of the park perfect. And you really nailed so many elements of the noir genre…vicious women, voice-over, characters without a lot of redeemable qualities who are still wildly magnetic, and a lead who reads like all the best Bogie characters. I could really tell the writer did his research and just all around loves the noir genre.

    Oh, and props for making Los Angeles a living, breathing character in the film.

    If I have one criticism, it’s that the villainous plot (which involves real estate) has been done and done again in this genre. Although, considering how much of a love letter to noir this was, I get the idea that was the point. I mean, it’s still something you could look at, I guess…but it does work for the genre you’re playing around in.

    I tried getting into Perpetual. Lots of typos. I dig the concept, but, for me, it runs into the Superman Problem. No matter what the characters go through, it’s hard to craft suspense around characters who are, essentially, invincible. Yeah, it’s a good idea and the characters leaping off buildings would be a cool visual – I just feel like it’s hard to create a whole lot of suspense in this world.

    • Casper Chris

      Good luck next week!

      btw. I watched Spring Breakers for the first time yesterday and MAN, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities with California Dream. Were you in any way inspired by this film?

      • Caleb Yeaton

        Thanks! Nah, I actually didn’t see Spring Breakers until long after I finished California Dream – one of the main reasons I watched it is because I’ve gotten that comparison before. It was more inspired by noir films, plus some of my own personal experiences (being a dumbass who did stupid crap because a girl said “Do this and I’ll have sex with you”.) thrown in. For the record, though, I’d love to see California Dream in Korine’s pastel style from Spring Breakers.

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    My vote goes to Perpetual. I’ve read the entire screenplay, and, yes, it does have problems: English, dialogue, some plot holes… But the writer knows how to craft a story. He kept me reading, and achieved what (I believe, and hope!) he set out to do: write a fun movie.

  • Logline_Villain

    You are welcome, Steven. Hope you get script polished to perfection!

  • T.R.Pendleton

    My Vote: Marlowe
    Second Choice: Ignoble

  • brent

    Yeesh. I must’ve really screwed the pooch then. Because I didn’t find my job fun at all. I was going more for mind-numbing and annoying.

  • Eddie Panta


    Page one and the Scene Headings

    PAGE ONE here is telling me that this is going to be a horror comedy. But after last week’s AOW Pepper and a few other AOW scripts I’ve read I can’t be sure of what I’m getting into on this site anymore…

    The point of page one is that it tells the reader the tone, style, and genre of the story. I think this gets lost on some ppl. You don’t have to give the premise away, you can be mysterious as this page one sequence is, but for christ sake, let the reader know what they’re getting into… I believe CUBICLE FARM has accomplished that, but the subsequent page length is hurting the suspense.

    My first impression of the page one was that it was too dense and contained too many screen headings. But I ended up enjoying the descriptions.

    We meet JEFF and there’s a quick sequence in which he is killed, late at night, outside his office bldg, by some unseen “monster”, This reminded me a bit of The Lost Boys, which s a good thing. Cubicle Farm sets up the “world” the story will take place in.

    Anyway,,, What I liked about this first sequence was that Jeff felt grounded, he was moving through a specific space that felt real. Further there was a tactile element to the events through the characters action. This is something you don’t see a lot in amateur scripts. The action is normally depicted much broader and there is no real sense of space or touch. The characters here actually handle things.

    The writer’s voice is in high gear, I don’t think it needs to be since the description are strong enough. I didn’t need the writer telling me “fuck — no more coffee”.

    Still, I think the author could’ve created some white space by eliminating full scene headings when JEFF simply leaves the BREAK ROOM and goes to the HALLWAY… This is a continuous event so it’s not really a new scene.

    Further in the script, the writer is blocking the characters a bit too much, but I think this could easily be taken back a few notches. At the party scene we get a ton of “body language” comedic gestures that are either redundant or just unnecessary. The actors will do what they do. We don’t need to know what their eyes and hands are doing all the time.
    Emmy needs to stop rolling her eyes. She shouldn’t shoot: “give me a break… looks”. She should have a line of dialogue. Then later, “Dennis give his best “what do you think look”… This is eyebrow acting, it’s killing the pacing of the story.

    Keep the parts, the actions that push the sequence, cut out the rest.

    You don’t need to have NIGHT on every slugline. These SCENE BREAKS continues for the rest of the screenplay, the “FARM” as its called, is a large office floor with CUBICLES, well if no one leaves the FARM and you don’t jump time. It could all be done with mini scene headings like. JEFF’S CUBICLE – or ANDY’S CUBICLE, These sluglines are lengthening the script. 110 pages is long for a horror comedy. Further it would remind of the character names.COGNATULATE should NOT start each scene heading. It’s an awful name – I say start with the character name…


    or just…


    That’s it!

    Then, after all these scene headings when we finally get to JEFF’S cube, there is no scene heading. It’s just says: They pass by Jeff’s cubicle. It is empty.

    JEFF’S CUBE should be the scene heading in this scene. it’s taken us too long to get the guy we saw in the opening sequence, I’ve almost forgotten about him.

    I’d like to know how other writers here would address these scene headings.

    Also the name of the company COGNAULATE not sure if there is a ironic joke here I’m missing like it’s supposed to be coagulate ( as in blood) but it’s really slowing down the script read. The name of the company should be ironic.

    Page 5- 7 an the INTERCOM GAY SEX joke…

    Again, scene headings are killing this sequence. This could all be INTERCUT.

    These bold scene heading are taking me out of the sequence. Especially is we’re going to a scene and there is only an O.S. dialogue line? Not sure how that would work?

    If you are telling me that the dialogue is heard over, or coming over INTERCOM
    than this is a VOICE OVER, not an Off Screen.. You can’t put me in someone’s cube then tell me they are OFF SCREEN… right? I’m I missing something here.

    Another thing I noticed in scene are starting with descriptions of things instead of action. At the top of PG 10. there is a set-up of The CONFERENCE ROOM for the B-DAY party scene.

    In this scene the first two lengthy paragraphs describe the room, it feels like it’s empty until we get to the third paragraph and we realize that the “party” is in full swing. Andy, Nick, and Emmy pass through the food line. ( this should start the scene, combine action w/ description) I’ve noticed this in a few other opening scenes as well.

    We didn’t need to be warned that a B-DAY party is going to happen… That dialogue set-up on the B-day could be taken out. We could just jump straight into that scene.

    Later, on page 34 when we finally get to a horror scene, the action again is sliced up with INT CAR and EXT. STREET The action here is really well written, I just think it needs a simpler way to cover the attack.

    At page 30ish this no longer seems to be the contained office thriller I thought it was. I hoping this gets better, I have a feeling it might.

    Despite my lengthy post, my advice shorten the script, I can see it easily shortened by 5 or 6 pages with scene heading adjustments. I’d take out the body language, and stick with the most important action.

    • brent

      Fair points all. Some already addressed in another draft, but I’m gonna copy the whole thing for my files, when I go through and do another draft. Thanks for reading!

      • Eddie Panta

        The Lost Boys is about peer pressure and coming of age… The Night of the Living Dead (1968) is about racism and people working together.

        What does the joke that circulates over the office intercoms have to do with the themes of your story? Why doesn’t the lengthy office hijinx land or climax with Jeff missing, i.e. his empty cubicle?

        I enjoyed your writing more than it may seem. It has movement and action combined with dialogue. A lot of scripts here on AOW have dialogue scenes that are static, just talking heads. I think you need to find the thread that ties all the elements of your story together. Have the horror aspect baked into the comedy.

        • brent

          Agreed. I like extended dick jokes (case-in-point) but I think I’ve got something that will work better here, with the theme of the story. I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  • Midnight Luck

    Vote: Marlowe
    solid writing. haven’t finished yet, but will.

    Read others, didn’t get far. Many issues with most of them, but won’t get into them. Most of what I would say has been said by others.

    Marlowe was definitely the best of the bunch.

  • hickeyyy

    Way behind the curve here, but I’m voting Marlowe based on logline!

  • Eddie Panta


    It’s a unique sophisticated script, definitely deserves the review.

    I had some problems with the Chandler character, he’s just literally laying there asleep during the inciting incident, this comes across as comedic. I had some other minor issues with the scenes that are borderline spoof, bringing the story too close to parody.
    I’d like to see it edgier, grittie, less troupes. I think it should steer clear of anything like Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. But being the homage to the detective story it’s hard not to fall into that trap.

    I also enjoyed CUBICLE FARM but I lost interest once we get to Vampire 1, Vampire 2, and Vampire 3 as the intro to the villain. With the amount of vampire horror, spoofs, and remakes out there you’re gonna need to dig deeper than this. Still, it’s off to a much better start than “Vamp U”.

    • brent

      Yeah, I cleaned up the Vampire 1, etc bit in a subsequent draft. Glad you enjoyed some of it!

  • steven C

    Thanks for the read diplo.

    South California as San diego, not LA, but maybe I could name the city. I didn’t want to name the city, but obviously the idea is that they are fairly close to the border.
    As for the adoption thing, i guess you’re right, the dialogue could imply more that they are there for a holiday and gave this orphanage a visit without expecting anything and found Harmony. This was the intent. Easy fix. TY

    • diplomatic corps

      I was assuming San Diego, and that drive would be nuts, especially alone. But maybe she has a fear of flying. Suerte.

  • Caroline

    I pick MARLOWE. On the basis it’s the only one I read :) The other loglines didn’t grab me.

    I don’t understand how some of you can read a script for 20 pages and have such opinions about scripts when you don’t know the whole story.