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: LOWLIFE
GENRE: CRIME THRILLER
LOGLINE: With a newborn in a coma, a small-time enforcer is pushed deeper into a world of violence and deceit when he finds himself indebted to the dirtiest cop on the street.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I have spent way too much time polishing this thing to just let it go. It placed in the quarter-finals of the Nicholl’s last year and the semi-finals of the Screencraft Fellowship earlier this year, but the real goal here is to have it posted on AOW. I have submitted it before with no results, but this draft is not only the latest, not only the greatest, but the last. I’m moving on to other projects and putting this in my arsenal for now, but not without trying to get it out to my fellow SS commentators one more time.

TITLE: A Cinematic End
GENRE: Contained Thriller/ Dark Comedy
LOGLINE: A man retreats to his secluded cabin to commit suicide. His plans are delayed when movie characters start showing up.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Because the logline grabbed your attention. I also whipped up this poster to get some additional interest going: http://imgur.com/LW8xcSq

TITLE: Knit Wits.pdf)
GENRE: Comedy
LOGLINE: After the passing of their mother, three estranged brothers must reunite and take over the family knitting business.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “Knit Wits” is a cross between “Horrible Bosses” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” It’s an edgy comedy with a lot of heart that focuses on three men running a knitting business. Now, I tried to learn how to knit in order to do some research before writing the script, but it was a total nightmare. Much of that frustration is showcased in this spec. Knitting is not for me. However, writing about it in a comedic way is much more my style and a hell of a lot more fun!

TITLE: Simple Acts
GENRE: Dramedy
LOGLINE: A cynical self-destructive film critic finds a new perspective on life through a close-knit benevolent family.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Having read hundreds of amateur screenplays on my job and only finding about 2% of them to be competent, I completely empathize with you when so many of the scripts you read get a ‘wasn’t for me’. I feel the pain dawg! I thought I should give you a script which charms and entertains you enough so that the time and efforts you spend on reading it is rewarded with at least a few chuckles and smiles.

TITLE: The Devil’s Hammer
GENRE: Horror
LOGLINE: When an outlaw biker, and soon to be father, attempts to leave the sins of his old life behind, he is pushed by a vengeful Sheriff into the arms of an ancient cult of disease worshiping sadists.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I possess a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Harvard University and have written published columns for multiple notable financial sites such as; Seeking Alpha, Morning Star and Yahoo Finance. On-top of all this, I am a kid from the streets, who grew up in squats, and gang life. This screenplay hits home for me.

  • Caroline

    Based on the loglines I choose “A Cinematic End”.

    I also like the poster. It’s mysterious, the arrow has me intrigued.

    • m_v_s

      I thought that too and gave up after a few pages. I had to check I was reading the right script. What have any of those opening pages got to do with the conceit? Stop teasing, get down to it!

  • Poe_Serling

    My AOW pick: THE DEVIL’S HAMMER

    Another week… another solid horror script. This time it’s Hells Angels vs. the creepy residents of Silent Hill-like town.

    >>Title – Eye-catching. It piqued my interest right away. And like any good title, it has more than just one meaning in the context of the story… hey, you gotta read the whole thing to find out why.

    >>In terms of format/style – A super quick read at 97 pages. I zoomed through it in less than an hour and some change.

    The character intros and descriptive lines gave me a Scott “Bad Moon Rising” Rosenberg vibe – and that’s a big plus in my book.

    The writer has a real flair for writing over-the-top, blood-soaked action.

    >>Plot-wise – Although there were some familiar elements in regard to the motorcycle gang/evil cult, I still felt the overall story did a nice job in stranding us in the middle of a living nightmare with its unexpected and truly dark twists and turns.

    Quite a few memorable and downright savage scenes in this one (a Carson must for success). The pack of wild kids and what they collect in a Mason jar is just one example of a scene I won’t soon forget.

    Also, I enjoyed the setups and payoffs with the sheriff and his missing brother, Davie and Emma, and so on.

    If you’re hungry for some bloody carnage, the ending of this project is a five course meal.

    >>Characters
    – Jimmy is the classic conflicted guy who wants to make a change for
    the better in his life. I found the majority of the other players
    compelling and easy enough to remember, especially the force of
    malevolence known as Abraxis.

    >>Dialogue – Had the ring of believability to it.. even
    though I must admit my time around motorcycle gangs and demon cults is
    somewhat limited. ;-)

    >>Extra Touch – The motif of
    the goat. I appreciated the way the writer played around with this
    sometimes devilish image throughout course of the story.

    To all the horror hounds on the site, check it out if you get the opportunity.

    *Thanks, Craig, the gory mash-up of biker and cult flicks.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      You’ve already highlighted this script’s qualities so I’ll just chime in and hope for THE DEVIL’S HAMMER to come crashing down on a friday in the near future :)

  • MaliboJackk

    Got to go with RON “DA BOMB” on this one.

  • PoohBear

    Lowlife – I got to page 13. The opening wasn’t for me. The girl at the beginning I guess is a hooker as we’re given no detail on the first page. I was a bit confused about the alley scene. He gets out of his car, he gets back in. Why? Why are they there? Shoots the guy numerous times without any ear damage. Doesn’t clean up what I would think would leave a mess in his car and drives off. The hospital scene was too short and didn’t reveal anything. I get withholding information but 13 pages in and I’m not at all sure where this is going. Some of the dialogue I liked, the part about the blonde to redhead and the door’s coming down were nice.

    • PoohBear

      Knit Wits, got to page 24. What started out with a great opening which was quite funny turned into a few moments of simple amusing situations. I personally like the man child (in this case children) who grows up movies so there might be some potential here. I like Sam being the main pro tag, I like Grayson, I kinda like the vineyard brother. The big thing that’s lacking is there’s nothing solid motivating them to keep their mother’s business going. So to me it sounds like this needs another pass to fix some stuff and another pass to really punch up the funny.

      Some off the cuff recommendations, show the mom instead of the lawyer. She can put her last will on youtube or something. Have Sam fired before he leaves Japan as that would give him a stronger agenda going in, too late in the story seemed too much like a coincidence.

    • PoohBear

      A Cinematic End, got to page 21. I was more interested in the Ron story in the blacksplotation film playing on TV, although it didn’t really feel blacksplotation… not one ‘jive turkey’ or ‘sucka’. You take a really long time to basically have the main character start his day. I think you can get the cabin so much sooner. The soldier character lost me quickly as their big chunks of dialogue had me skimming, not a good sign. I like the premise and I can see Ron visiting later. You can write, it’s just extremely slow and bloated to get where we need to be.

    • PoohBear

      The Devil’s Hammer, got to page 30. The opening biker couple, it needs to be clear that they are either DHMC of not. If they are then have the guy wear his colors, if they are not, I’d suggest not having them on a motorcycle, it’s confusing. Otherwise, I like how this sets up and where it’s going. You hide the exposition and background well. Good writing here. What does a ‘fuck you’ nod look like?

    • PoohBear

      Simple Acts, I got to page 33, went further than I wanted and gave it chance. It starts fine and some of the dialogue is rather snappy from the main character, however, he’s just not likable at all. When we get to the house that’s where I had to check out. Why did they not call the police or an ambulance. And it just seems to gloss over the fact that it’s okay to have some stranger stay with them.

    • PoohBear

      Lowlife – I got to page 13. The opening wasn’t for me. The girl at the beginning I guess is a hooker as we’re given no detail on the first page. I was a bit confused about the alley scene. He gets out of his car, he gets back in. Why? Why are they there? Shoots the guy numerous times without any ear damage. Doesn’t clean up what I would think would leave a mess in his car and drives off. The hospital scene was too short and didn’t reveal anything. I get withholding information but 13 pages in and I’m not at all sure where this is going. Some of the dialogue I liked, the part about the blonde to redhead and the door’s coming down were nice.

  • pmlove

    My vote – A CINEMATIC END or DEVIL’S HAMMER.

    Read first 10 or so of each.

    LOWLIFE:

    p1 – First line – I’d avoid ‘lightning lights’ feels like repetition (even though it isn’t).

    p3 – Dialogue is becoming exposition-related.

    p4
    – Not sure the kill stacks up. Why would Ritchie wait for all this chat
    if he’s only there to kill him? Just check the surroundings and then
    bang, do it and get on. Here they seem to wait for ages.

    After 10 –
    Not feeling it. We spend a lot of time with Sammy, then he bites it and
    it doesn’t tell me who Ritchie is. I’d start with him doing the
    enforcing, it would be clearer to know what the character was doing.
    After ten, I’m still not really sure of the point of the Sammy killing
    etc.

    A CINEMATIC END:

    p4 – Man/Ron s.b. just Ron

    p6 – six pages feels a long time to spend on a false intro – let’s see where this goes. I like the segue though, especially when you’re thinking ‘this feels too forced’ in the intro.

    p7 – Not sure why a friend feels the need to explain their financial situation to Paul.

    p7 – Glass penetrates glass. The bottle goes through the window frame. The second sentence here jars massively, just explaining what you’ve already said.

    p8 – slipped into the passive voice here a little (‘table is removed; bowl is taken out)

    p8 – Paul, wiggles – don’t need the comma

    p9 – it’s ‘giallo’

    p9 – eyes wander? More passive voice.

    After
    10 – It’s got a nice feel to it. I think it will suffer in the rankings
    here because people like me will only read the first few pages, the
    majority of which here are disposable for the story. In the fullness of
    the script, it’s less of a problem. I’m keen to see where it goes
    though.

    KNIT WITS

    p1 – I don’t like Sam from the off as he seems a lazy teacher, validated in page 2 when he says ‘ you’ve exceeded your limit’ to a bunch of Japanese sixth graders and questions why they don’t understand him.

    p3 – I’m already tired of the faux-foreign Japanese English. Slightly clumsy exposition mainly from Nico thus far.

    p4
    – OK Nico is literally just saying things that are happening on screen.
    It’s like the Shinigami character from Death Note who just keeps
    telling you what is happening.

    OK – not for me this one. Not my type of humour. Sorry.

    SIMPLE ACTS

    p3 – characters feel distinctive

    p7 – Beth’s rant feels a little generic at this point – ‘We don’t even go out anymore’

    p10
    – Quick read. Joe feels like a complete asshole in a non redeeming
    manner, so I worry that I’m not going to care much beyond this point. He
    seems to have some character inconsistencies – ie I don’t think he
    would even bother trying to reconcile with Beth in that scene as he took
    so few steps to avoid being caught. The call girl could still have been
    there for all he knew.

    Started with some promise but not for me.

    DEVIL’S HAMMER

    First up, the WYSR – first one I’ve seen that reads like a CV. Feels weird and unrelated.

    p3
    – Intro is good, albeit filled with the standard horror tropes but
    damn, Tim is trigger happy. Just straight into shooting people without a
    second thought.

    p8 – fast read. Nice to see the light touch approach to the drug use.

    p10 – Fast to this point. Clear, concise, no browbeating exposition. Only worry is that the effort put into the other characters make Jimmy slightly bland to this point. Would read on.

    • Ange Neale

      LOWLIFE: I got stuck on p. 1 right up the front with Ritchie looking at the woman’s “moonlit curves.” There’s a thunderstorm going on, rain on the windows, etc. Lightning might illuminate her curves, but probably not moonlight.
      A few mssing ‘NIGHT’s from sluglines on pp. 1, 2, 4. Especially the EXT. DARK ALLEY.
      Got to page 12. Was okay, but didn’t grab me.

      Good luck, though!
      Good luck to all 5, in fact!

  • Wheatman

    I just read/skimmed through all of SIMPLE ACTS. It’s a quick read, and I enjoyed the first 20-30 pages. I think Dennis should warn Joe after his transgressions in the first sequence. I think this will help the pacing out later so it doesn’t go:
    1. “Don’t do this or you’re fired!”
    followed immediately by
    2. “You did it. Now you’re fired!”

    Joe is a fun character, at least in the beginning. I could see Robert Downey, Jr. playing him, or he could’ve ten years ago anyways. The problem is that I didn’t buy his transformation. It seemed like it would take a lot more than people just being nice to him for him to have such a drastic growth in personality and character.

    Also, this guy just wrecked his car from DRUNK DRIVING like two days ago and the mother trusts her son to be driven to school with this guy? WHAT? Once this family saw all of the beer cans and stuff in the car, I feel like they would’ve had nothing to do with him.

    I made it to page 60 or so before I wasn’t buying it anymore. I felt like I’d seen several of the scenes before. The asshole meets a kind family and over the course of a couple days becomes like another member. Kind of a Dickie Roberts vibe to your second and third acts.

    Other thoughts;
    -Too many names starting with J. You’ve got Joe and John. They joke about misremembering each other’s names as Jim and Jake. And then later you’ve got a Jeff. Not only too many with J, but they’re all generic names.
    -I skimmed from 60-90, but bringing back the soldier boyfriend was an interesting choice. While overseas, him finding out that he’s gay could’ve been funny, but it seems to clash with all of the stuff going on here. His outing read sitcom-y to me. Also, the confusion over who was in love with who, etc. seemed Shakespearean to me. I mean that in a good way, for the most part.
    -He’s a film critic, so I think more things involving film should be in the screenplay. Maybe Hannah works at a movie theater and not a grocery store? This could allow him to show his expertise and get his groove back, since it seemed like he’d been hating on every film for a while now. Maybe the kids are watching a terrible movie and he could introduce them to a better one? Maybe he has to explain why/how he became a critic? It is very much viewed as a negative/pessimistic job, but I feel like most start out because they love film.

    Overall, i think you have a good opening. You hooked me enough to keep reading, but you lost me with the Hannah romance angle and the family’s willingness to help him.

    Thank you for the Saturday afternoon entertainment.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: A Cinematic End

  • Eddie Panta

    THE DEVIL’S HAMMER –

    The story of three families told in the grotesque and ultra detailed gore of a 80’s
    grindhouse. The Sheriff’s family, the biker family, and an Occult Family that
    lurks at the end of the road, behind a gate, within a hidden town lost in time.

    This is a gory tale with a lot of puss-popping, blister splitting, blood running moments.

    It looks like this was a 2014 Horrorfest screenplay winner
    It also seems a like a double WORTH THE READ.

    The story uses a very large cast of characters, something you don’t see a lot of here on AOW. And it’s also something that we’re too often told to avoid.

    The writer manages to keep all the characters in motion, and we know who each one is.

    It’s clear that the writer really understands the genre, playing with traditional plot devices as well as subverting expectations in other suspenseful moments.

    I was surprised and disappointed to find a ALARM CLOCK SLAPPING scene here on page 4., especially since a lead character is a BIKER.

    But the script abruptly redeems itself on the bottom of page 4 with a long description of the the leads motorcycle club jacket. The writer routes out the decal on the back of the jacket as it if were a landscape pulling us through it with visual direction:

    (paraphrased)
    On the back… Red letters, white background. the top rocker reads, Devil’s Hammer, Bottom rocker reads Phoenix… In the center… the DHMC logo: A huge screaming SKULL…

    It’s a 6 line description of a the back of a jacket that most amateur writers would massacre and pro writers would avoid at all cost. Here, the writer takes it on, makes a moment out of it. Well done.

    I’m not going to do a full review now, just wanted to recommend it as a read.

    But I do want to point out that on pg 54 it says: “Mike stairs out the window” instead of stares — I catch myself doing this all the time. :)

  • shewrites

    Good selection, Carson! Kudos to all the writers selected.

    LOWLIFE:

    First the logline feels disjointed. I see no correlation between
    his baby being in a coma and the fact that he is pushed into a world of
    violence.

    The logline does not reflect the story or it takes too long
    to do so. I stopped reading at page 45 and so far, no sight of the dirtiest cop, beside Sammy’s mention of a crooked cop in a very early scene on p3 .

    However, on the plus side, I found your writing very competent, Kosta. The pages read fast. The description are efficient, often clever. The actions are clear.

    On the down side:

    I don’t get the scene at the beginning with Sammy. Since you make it clear that the window took a bullet when Ritchie shot Sammy and in that it is intact the next time we are in the car, I imagine that next scene is a dream or a flash forward. Whatever it is needs to be clarified in the slugline in my opinion.

    Even though you show that Ritchie cares for his wife/girlfriend (the beautiful blonde in the bed) and his sick baby, I need to see him interact with them. His tucking in the woman and inquiring whether his baby is fighting and buying him a teddy bear doesn’t cut it for me. It’s all too abstract.

    So far, I don’t care about Ritchie that much. When I find out that he deals drugs and works as a hired thug, I care even less. I actually dislike him. The fact that he needs money doesn’t justify his “work” choices. Everyone needs money.

    Nikki: unless I missed something, the relationship I see between them is that he’s her dealer. If he cares about her, I need to know why. On a side note, when Nikki tries to entice him into killing Gwen’s husband with the fifty thousand dollars, she calls that money his retirement fund. It barely qualifies as such unless he plans to move to Somalia with it.

    Gwen wanting her husband killed: If said husband beats her up on a regular basis and she has access to a gun in her house, why doesn’t she kill him the next time he lays a finger on her? It would be self-defense. She’d get the money as his survivor. This plot point feels contrived.

    Was it my impression or did a ton of protagonists get introduced in act 1. Several mysteries are set up that makes me frustrated by page 45 because none of them is answered and we are almost half through the script. I don’t get much of a feeling of who Ritchie really is. Everything we see about him scratches the surface but never digs deeper. In a world, he doesn’t feel real so it’s very hard for me to care what happens to him.

    I would flesh out the relationships that matter to him a lot more. I would explain why he chose his line of work. Is he blackmailed into it? Maybe that comes later. At this point, it’s too late for me to care.

    A CINEMATIC END:

    Opening: too long of a talky scene. Some of the dialogue was clever but the length worked against it, a clear overkill. Ron enjoys hearing himself talk and I got the feeling that you, Vladimir, enjoy reading your words.

    Also, I got confused when Wesley asked Ron what he was doing there. To me, it meant that he knew him. Then I realized that he didn’t.

    Why would Ron spare Eddie? Eddie saw him kill two people let alone cut off one of his ball. Shouldn’t Ron at least threaten Eddie with retribution if he rats him out?

    I could be wrong but I get the feeling that you went for “Pulp Fiction” tone here. That’s certainly not a wrong movie to emulate, in particular the scene where Vincent and Jules off the boys. But yours is overwritten and too slow.

    The next few scenes show Paul in a state. I’d be more interested to find out why he is so down than see him pack u/wrap up his life.

    Neighbors worrying: should they have called the police after or the super/bellman when Paul failed to answer them?

    Perhaps there’s a hint to that answer when Paul cautions the Girl about believing everything that is on the internet. By the way, that line feels inorganic there.

    I checked out at p22. Too many talky scenes. The exchange between Paul and William feels overwritten and overthought.

    I have a question/concern: why doesn’t Paul just kill himself in his apartment or in the city? I’m hoping the reason is that dying in the cabin has a special meaning. If it doesn’t and the reason he goes there is just to have movie characters show up.

    By the way, the logline really appealed to me. I was very much looking forward to the movie characters showing up. I really love that idea. So as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I stopped reading too early. Could William be the first movie character that shows up? He sounds like he came straight from a Western to my non-expert ear. So I go back where I left off. I scroll down and I see that the talking scene goes on and on. I’m out, sorry.

    My suggestion: get to the meat of the story sooner. Cut down the verbose scenes. Give us an idea of who Paul is. I’m on page 25 and I have no idea what Paul does for a living, I don’t know what his connection is to Ron. I am guessing that he is in the movie business and nostalgic for the 70’s era. I don’t know why he wants to end his life.

    Since some of my notes for this script are similar to the ones for Lowlife, it could be that I’m not giving either writers a fair read or that I am being too impatient. Any comment on that?

    KNIT WITS: Great title, Bobby!

    And I love the logline. Talk about fish out of water!

    Okay, I read up to p25.
    The writing is barely okay, lots of on the nose dialogue. I’m not crazy about any of the characters. Sam feels more like an unfunny wacko than anything else.

    Clearly, once the brothers take over the family business, we will get a lot of comedy. But I didn’t laugh while reading act one so I don’t have much faith in the writer’s ability to deliver great comedic moments. I realize I may sound harsh but that’s how I feel. If I read positive comments from people who read more, I will give the script a second shot.

    My main problem with act one, besides the writing, is that I don’t see why the brothers would grant their mother her wish. If you had shown us how much they loved her, or tell us that she raised them on her own, how much she sacrificed for them, then I would buy it.

    My suggestion would be to have their mother be in very bad health, knowing that her days are counted. She knows her sons are estranged from one another and her regret in life is that she failed to have them be close to each other. Perhaps she focused more on her having a close relationship with each of them at the detriment of forming a family unit. In that case, most likely, there’s a rivalry between the brothers for their mother’s affection (source of conflict).

    So the mother calls them to her side and asks to run the business until she recovers (she doesn’t tell them that she is fatally ill). She tells them she only needs one of them to help her counting on exactly what happens: they all want to be the one. She tells them
    that in that case she can’t pick one and asks them all to work together (her
    goal from the start) hoping that will make them be close.

    I feel this way would be a lot more organic way to get the brothers to take the business over. Just an idea.

    In any case, I do love the concept.

    SIMPLE ACTS:

    Read to p15:

    Sorry, Bunny, but I hate Joe. I get that he’s supposed to be an asshole so he can reform himself, but there’s nothing interesting, funny or unusual about him. A lot of his meanness is predictable. We have seen a million Joes before. You need to give us something to want to read about him. Think Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets. I realize it’s not easy to do. Good luck with it.

    THE DEVIL’S HAMMER:
    I’m not a horror fan. Nothing personal. Sorry Craig.

    My vote: KNIT WITS because of the concept.
    To all, best of luck with your rewrites.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all the entries!
    Well done on making it to AOW.
    A CINEMATIC END
    Easy,quick read, this writer has a talent for involving dialogue, however, not sure in a visual medium, directors would be excited about shooting actors just standing for 5 pages at a door talking to the sound of pouring rain? (pages 20 -25)
    I was disappointed in the reveal, (if it is truly what is happening with William, I didn’t read the whole script)
    I felt the writer was raking up the tension very well with the arrival of these strangers and Williams paranoia. I started biting my nails, a good thing, although honestly there was only one question on my mind instead of several, who are these people? and then it all deflated rapidly. Didn’t stick around for the stakes to rise, I guess.
    It got cartoonish with Yoshi’s arrival and I bailed at page 68.
    Nice writing sample, in my opinion, in what I read, just not a movie.

  • Logline_Villain

    Having read at least the first 10 of each script, I see something in THE DEVIL’S HAMMER that I wish we saw more of here on AOW – a script that is NOT anything close to a first draft; I strongly suspect the writer has much respect for the axiom that “writing is rewriting” and accordingly put in the requisite hard work to get his script to this level of polish (he’s welcome to correct me if I’m wrong).

    Poe highlighted the script’s strengths; Eddie P rightly recommended it as a worthy read; and (probably in this instance) it’s a shame that shewrites is not a horror fan. :-)

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read about 19 pages of Knit Wits. A low brow type comedy with punchlines and such. I’ve noticed a thing about comedies, the jokes ARE NEVER enough. Make us care about your lead, give us something to identify with his struggle. I think the funeral and subsequent scenes in the conference room to read the will (wow that was quick, she ain’t even in the ground yet) drag a bit, introducing several different characters.

    I can already see where this is going. Sam is gonna try to win his ex back, but first he has to re-invent himself as the owner of a knitting business in order to show his ex that he can change. Naturally his ex has an uber obnoxious fiance who is ripe for laughs and derision. Combine that with the quirky behavior of his two brothers, and you’ve got comedy gold.

    But in the first 20, Sam, the protag, hasn’t done much to endear himself. As someone has pointed out, he was a bit unlikable with those Japanese students. And as also pointed out, what is his motivation for wanting to take up knitting, other than the fact that he was just fired from his job? I get it, he sees this as a chance to re-connect with his ex, the family business serves as an excuse to stay in town a while and see what happens. It’s not a terrible set up, but it’s not original either. Which means the comedy has to be top notch. I found it okay, cutesy in spots, rather broad. Comedy is tough. It’s the one thing that is PURELY SUBJECTIVE. Which means the dramatic beats need to be good in case the laughs aren’t there. I only read 19, so I may never know that answer. But I do not see Carson giving this one a Worth the Read. Plus this thing is 110 pages. Which tells me that scenes will continue to meander like the funeral and will reading. Thanx for sharing.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Reading Simple Acts. My first response is that it’s over written. Dialogue heavy. The requisite scene of bad Joe with a call girl, who complains she hasn’t been paid yet. You didn’t do your hooker research, most will ask for money up front before they provide services…. I uh… er…. read that somewhere. This of course leads to the requisite scene where he gets into a fight with his girlfriend (the usual complaints from her), and the requisite scene of him being tossed from the apartment.

      Do we really need a second scene of Joe and Bob doing movie reviews? Too many repetitive beats. A 2nd scene with Joe and Dennis in his office before he gets fired on page 15. This should happen sooner. Because your premise is waiting to happen but hasn’t even been hinted at yet or foreshadowed.

      Not sure how necessary the dialogue with the concierge is, because you’ve already well established that Joe is an asshole, so this is just another scene that repeats Joe’s bad behavior.

      Several more repetitive scenes this time Joe is looking for a job and trying to call in perceived favors, but he is still acting like a jerk. On page 20 now and still waiting for this thing to get to the next stage… which happens on page 21.

      So now it feels like the movie is beginning. After 20 pages. That’s almost an entire first act. Make those 20 pages 10-12 pages. Cut down those long swaths of dialogue. None of it so good that it can’t be cut. Brevity please. We know Joe is a dick, but you made your point rather quickly. It doesn’t need to be hammered home.

      Dialogue on page 23 more or less states the theme in a bit of a groan. I don’t think you should ever be so obvious about it and your characters so self aware.

      JOE
      I’m a critic. What do you expect?

      DAVID
      But are you not human?

      David might as well say, “Joe, you can’t stay at my house unless you are willing to become a better person over the next several weeks, and that includes having at least one touching moment with my fat son Luke, where you will indeed give him the present that he inquired about, a present that will make us all cry.”

      Pg 24 is an example of on the nose back and forth dialogue in which characters state exactly what they are thinking about the other or exactly what they are going through. Joe literally just summarized everything that happened to him over the course of the previous 20 something pages.

      And to my surprise, the movie doesn’t actually start until Pg 25-26, where Joe is suddenly transplanted with the family in the logline. The stuff with his step brother David and David’s fat son Luke was just a stalling tactic. Which makes me wonder why I had to read through the step-brother stuff, it only further delayed your plot moving out of the ‘set up’ stage and getting to the heart of the story.

      I can’t give this a recommend of any kind, for reasons stated above. There is just far too much that happens to Joe that seems repetitive, get to your story sooner. I see this all the time on AOW. And it’s oddly structured. It’s like he has already experienced his low point on pg 25. Is it all up from here or will things get worse by the end of the 2nd act? It doesn’t surprise me that the page count goes to 112.
      Carson would never give this a Worth the Read. Thanx for sharing your work

    • Kirk Diggler

      Took a stab at “A Cinematic End”. It lost me early and often. No clue what was going on. The logline sounded intriguing, but again, real heavy with the dialogue. Sorry.

    • Ange Neale

      ‘Kinky Boots’ is hard to top for a feature film about inheriting a business.

  • Randy Williams

    LOWLIFE
    The writer injects the writing with a palpable weight, of sadness, of history. The characters ring true, stand out each as individuals.
    Liked the twist on page 5.
    Bobby is a firecracker, Ritchie wasn’t quite there for me. Needed more interaction with people he cared about.
    The porno audition scene is great. I think it’s difficult to write a creepy character and not go cartoonish. Very fine work in that scene, I thought. (Laughed at the herpes line)
    Problem with it for me, overall, it’s too leisurely. A big hook is missing for me here, too.
    I bailed at page 30, not from any abrupt frustration or boredom, just need to time to read the others.

  • Randy Williams

    KNIT WITS
    Ok, I did laugh, a lot actually, but probably to what I shouldn’t have, that dimwitted broken English Japanese hooker. Other than that, the set ups and prat falls or punch lines I couldn’t find in a host of character introductions and general lack of tension. Tension, for me, is a prerequisite for Laughter 101.
    And where was the knitting? How can we be invested in them taking over something that we were never shown in the beginning?
    And then the tone plays more and more on the risque side, “Fuck my ass” rears its ugly head in a movie about knitting. I think you just lost the knitting crowd.
    Playful concept, needs a fresh yarn.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Total LMAO to this, “Fuck my ass” rears its ugly head in a movie about knitting.I think you just lost the knitting crowd.”

      • shewrites

        That was funny!

  • Randy Williams

    SIMPLE ACTS
    There’s a nice energy here in the writing. Like it very much. The story moves.
    Laughed at the “Rose Bowl flea market” line.
    Great character work with Joe. I can see an actor drawn to a role like this.
    I can see some of the fuss after Joe’s monologue but I think it’s pretty tame to be fired over it. Maybe have him knock over a few chairs, collapse the faux city backdrop to reveal a condom machine, slug the host by mistake. I don’t know. I’d like to see him go bonkers.
    I’m bailing at page 25. Joe’s whines again on this page. A little bit of whining is good but I need a counter to it. Think of that comedy classic, The Out Of Towners. Joe reminds me of Jack Lemmon in that movie, but you need his cheery wife to counter it. Maybe you have that coming up, but it’s too late for me.
    Are you British? The 25 pages, for me, had lots of droll but needed more LOL.

    • Ange Neale

      I got 30 or so into SIMPLE ACTS before passing. Some little shiny trinkets to pick up on the way, but Joe’s ‘way too much of a generic jerk and I didn’t really want to waste another hour of my life with him.

      I also wondered if Bunny (the author) was British, too. ‘Bollocks’ was a bit of a giveaway. It seemed oddly jarring for a script with the tone of ‘one dead dog short of a country song’ at that point.

      Pp. 1 & 11 — apparently some people object to using numbers in dialogue – spell ‘em out to be safe.
      Pp. 6 – 8 — the fight with Beth seems forced and lots of needless exposition. We already get that he’s a jerk.
      P. 11 — character line ‘JOE’ then a blank line then dialogue; was there supposed to be a parenthetical in there maybe?

      But it was p. 4 that really made me smirk, Bunny: ‘Mr. Carson’ – are you trying for teacher’s pet?

      • witwoud

        I think the teenaged son is affecting a British way of speaking, hence ‘bollocks’ etc. Like that girl in DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, but swearier.

  • witwoud

    LOWLIFE — not bad, not particularly good. It sets up the hero and his predicament efficiently, but the ‘baby in a coma’ is far too transparent a play for my sympathy. Everything about it feels generic, including the main character, the wise-guy dialogue and the title.

    A CINEMATIC END — This is pretty good. Kept me reading to page 60. As a rule I don’t care for suicidal-writer protagonists, but Paul was funny and entertaining enough to keep me reading. I liked the characters and I especially liked the dialogue, which is top-class. Unfortunately, it’s all rather slow. There are some loooong, static conversations, and it’s a credit to the writer that these are still quite entertaining; but even so. Also, perhaps it feels more like a stage play than a film? Definitely my second-choice, though. The writer has real talent.

    KNIT WITS — By way of contrast, a cheap and cheerful comedy which lays all its cards on the table at once. It’s okay, I laughed a couple of times, but it’s simply too plastic to hold much interest.

    SIMPLE ACTS — Couldn’t get along with this and bailed after 20 pages. One of those comedies in which everyone is an unlikeable jerk, including the concierge. This bears no relation to any reality I’ve ever encountered.

    THE DEVIL’S HAMMER — My vote, since the writer went to Harvard. Seriously, although the logline is underwhelming, the script itself is good. It feels like an actual MOVIE in a way that none of the others really do. It sticks like glue to the story, and conveys a lot of information with not many words. There’s not an unnecessary line of dialogue anywhere. Good mixture of action and character work. It actually made me care about these Hells Angel types, which is quite an achievement. Harking back to Thursday’s article, this is surely the sort of spec script that does stand a chance — I hope so, anyway.

  • Randy Williams

    Scriptshadow has felt down about screenwriting lately.

    Maybe a dose of bloody mayhem will keep him from stepping off the San Pedro cliffs.
    My VOTE goes to THE DEVIL’S HAMMER with honorable mention, Simple Acts.

  • Somersby

    Small note about scene headings in the first couple of pages of The Devil’s Hammer.

    The writer uses EXT. HARLEY DAVIDSON – NIGHT on the first page. That’s not a location. The location is a mountain road, so it should read EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD -NIGHT. The following action line can then include something like The Harley Davidson zigzags up and down slopes and inclines…

  • Caroline

    such a weird comment. It comes off like a writer is trying to promote his script under a different name. There are always comments like this. I like the one a few weeks back when someone asked if it was the writer’s mom commenting. Ha!

    • Craig Mack

      Definitely not me! I don’t know anyone here either.

      C

  • Nicholas J

    It took me just 3 pages to tell that DEVIL’S HAMMER gets my vote this week.

    Guy and girl on a motorcycle, oh no a goat!, swerve and avoid it, whew we’re all okay, girl has to pee alone in the woods, something moves, she yells, guy investigates, she’s pulling a prank on him, ahaha fun times, ooh look now it’s turning into sexy times, oh no someone’s there!, we have a struggle, stuff goes down, what’s happening!?

    Surprise, mystery, tension, dramatic irony, action, character, and I’m assuming plot, all in 3 pages. Not super original or terrifying, but duh, it’s only 3 pages. And it shows at the very least, a writer that’s put in the time.

    Compare that to KNIT WITS. (Sorry to pick on you.) We have a character intro on page 5, where it is setup that for some reason he loves his grapes. Okay, cool, sounds interesting. So how does the writer set this up? He has the character look at the grapes and verbally profess his love for them.

    Not exactly compelling.

    That’s not writing. That’s not a scene. It’s a dead fish. It just sits there on the page, not doing anything. It shows the writer isn’t being creative, doesn’t know how to dramatize, and it doesn’t allow the reader to use their head, which stops them from participating in the story.

    Lesson #1 of screenwriting that takes years and years to really understand/implement in your writing: Don’t tell us the story, SHOW IT!

    Let us figure out for ourselves that the character loves grapes.

    Maybe we see him reading a children’s story out loud. We assume he’s reading it to a son or niece or whoever. Eventually we see nope, he’s reading to his grapes. His wife exits the house, trips and falls, spilling the grapes. “Oh no, are you okay?!” he yells. The wife replies “I think I–” but then he interrupts, “Did she squish you?!” He checks his grapes, makes sure they aren’t damaged.

    Not the best scene, but it’s SOMETHING. You’ve established the man cares more about his grapes than his family, all without telling us. It’s dramatized (somewhat) so it’s entertaining!

    I think the writer has the potential in them, because the characters and story seem like it could be interesting, it just needs to be dramatized. And that takes time, skill, a ton of effort, and years of learning. Not sure what part of that equation the writer is missing right now, but they aren’t quite there yet.

    Some of the other scripts had decent scenes, but not enough, and they didn’t quite have that creative spark to them.

    I read 10+ of each except for DEVIL’S HAMMER, which I only read 4 pages of. But that’s all I needed to see that it was head and shoulders above the rest. That’s all a good writer needs. It’s definitely getting the AF slot, so we’ll see if it follows through.

    And unless I missed it, I didn’t see anyone drink scotch this week, although one dude drank whisky. But we have a lot of guns, hookers, pill popping, and talk about balls/testicles. First choices aren’t usually the most interesting, folks.

    • pmlove

      What, no Macallan?

    • Citizen M

      I grew up on a grape farm where we grew export-quality table grapes, not wine grapes. I can tell you each bunch needs a lot of care and attention. You have to snip out any undeveloped or split berries, and you have to thin it out so it looks nice and symmetrical, with the berries not bunched too closely together. You do this several times as the bunch ripens. So Bernard could be trimming his grapes and talking to the bunches, telling them they’re beautiful, without too much of a stretch.

  • Kosta K

    Just want to say thanks to anyone putting in the time and reading LOWLIFE. Double-thanks if you read it all the way through :

    I look forward to all your comments and feedback. Don’t hold back!

    I’m guessing it’s in bad taste to vote for yourself so my vote is a toss-up between CINEMATIC END and THE DEVIL’S HAMMER.

    Loved the dialogue in CINEMATIC END, but it started to weigh down on me after a while. Maybe it was the one location setting? It would’ve been cool if instead of the movie characters showing up, William would take Paul through his life in different movie genres. Kinda like a Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life meets you get the idea. Only got to page 45, but had a good time with it.

    The DEVIL’S HAMMER is the only one I finished. I really liked the opening, but started to tune out with all the cult stuff. Quick read, though + I’m a big Sons Of Anarchy fan so there might be a little bias in there. Loved the TWINS!

    Congrats to all the candidates! Have a great night and see you in the morning :)

    • Craig Mack

      Thanks man, I enjoyed LOWLIFE as well. Good luck!

      C

    • Logic Ninja

      Hey, Kosta! Just finished LOWLIFE–enjoyed it thoroughly! A few thoughts:
      1. Obviously, you’ve got a great ear for dialogue. Anybody reads this script, that’s the first thing that comes screaming off the page: this dude can write dialogue. That in itself made everything a pleasure to read (although check pg. 36; you may have caught this already, but I’m assuming the line: “RITCHIE: He doesn’t get through that door again” should be Bobbie’s).
      2. Description was, likewise, easy to understand and descriptive. No problems there.
      3. I had a couple of thoughts as regards your theme. The first time we feel there’s something going on beneath the surface of the plot seems to be pg. 51, when Nikkie asks “Do you believe in God?” There may be indications before that point, but if so, I missed them. Two thoughts: first, preferably we’d have the theme stated earlier (maybe in a conversation between Rikki and the hospital nurse?), and second, unfortunately, this conversation came across as VERY Tarantino-derivative (and I feel your pain–as a crime-fiction writer myself, I am SICK AND TIRED of people comparing my stuff to Tarantino’s as a negative). In this case, however, we have an accidental shooting, immediately followed by a discussion about God (just like Jules’s “miracle”–right before Marvin gets blown away in Pulp Fiction). I think by moving this God-discussion to an earlier part of the script, you’d get rid of the problem completely–and now I promise I won’t mention Tarantino again. Because you definitely have your own style here, and it’s great.
      4. Female characters. In a script that already suffers from a bit of character overload, we have four female characters who talk (that I can remember): Nikki, who dies; Heather, who’s a sex object; Talia, who felt like a sex object; and the unnamed “GIRLFRIEND.” Nikki’s your ace in the hole against the feminists of Hollywood; I’d spend some time letting us get to know her a bit more so we feel it harder when she passes.
      5. I think your last 20 pages could use some mild tinkering–first, Dmitri’s retiring to the bedroom for “the sex” felt a little contrived (woman + creepy Russian must = the sex). Second, once Ritchie’s free of his bonds, he takes everyone out with zero setbacks. We expect at least one or two reversals in the final battle; at least have him and Pete beat it out bareknuckle-style. Third–did he just take all that money from a priest?! I suspect this choice had something to do with the God-themed discussion earlier, but still. It’s a priest. MAYBE we could forgive Ritchie if he was taking the money for his dying kid, but now that the kid’s dead, we lost all that positive momentum from Ritchie’s arc. Fourth and finally, there’s no way the cops woulda let him go. They had nothing to lose by bringing him in, and probably a coupla medals and a bonus to gain.
      6. Bobbie & co. are dispatched with nary a tear nor drop of blood shed by our hero. Plus we lose all that delightful inner conflict when Ritchie no longer has to break allegiances with his former friend. And, we waste that delightful sex-party setpiece; I realize we see it as Pete describes it, but the audience never really experiences a location until an entry character experiences it and interprets it for us. Maybe have Ritchie about to off Bobbie when Dmitri and his goons come busting in?
      To conclude, great work on LOWLIFE! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it’s been a while since I read an AOW script to the finish, so congrats on that front alone. If you’d ever like to communicate further, shoot me an email at jaybird1092 at yahoo dot com.

      • Kosta K

        Thanks for the notes, John. Especially for the character mix-up on page 36 :

        This is the type of constructive feedback I respond to the most. I will definitely try to go back and see what I can implement from this list in the future.

        As I said in the “WHY YOU SHOULD READ”, I’m moving on to other projects for now, but I’ll be more than glad to bounce the latest project off you in an email soon. Seeing as you’re a crime-fiction writer, this shit should be straight up your alley :)

  • Somersby

    No, i/e Harley Davidson is not a LOCATION.

    INT. EXT needs to indicate a specific location, not a THING (such as a motorcyle). Readers will know what you mean, but the SCENE needs to be established before the action takes place. A Harley Davidson is not a scene.

    • MaliboJackk

      Not sure I totally agree (but could be wrong).
      When you film inside a car or a car moving — that’s a location

      You can start a scene with two people on a motorcycle
      just as you can start a scene with 2 people inside a moving car.

      • TonyH

        A car can be a confined area. It makes sense to have I/E. A bike isn’t. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not a big mistake. Who cares.

        • m_v_s

          I agree. As long as you can follow the action, things like that don’t really matter. I got the image straight away.

        • MaliboJackk

          Was referring to the reference of location.
          It’s not unusual to see something like —
          INT./EXT. CAMERO – MOVING – DAY
          Logic would seem to suggest that
          EXT. HARLEY DAVIDSON – MOVING – DAY
          would work as well.

          • Poe_Serling

            I’ve also seen this sort of scene heading over the years:

            EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – HARLEY DAVIDSON – NIGHT

            A leather-clad woman clings to the back of an outlaw biker.

  • klmn

    I think you’d need the EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD – NIGHT heading, then specify POV Motorcycle rider.

  • Citizen M

    Possibly your friend was referring to the absurdist Italian play “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Pirandello.

  • pmlove

    You’re fine – the writing speaks for itself.

  • astranger2

    Love the poster. Great Tagline. Nice job!

  • MaliboJackk

    Cool.
    What does “Official Selection” mean?
    And the golden pear symbol?
    What was the experience like after the contest?
    (Were you approached by agents and managers
    — or do you have to fend for yourself?)

    • Craig Mack

      “Official Selection” was an award for winning the “Best Unproduced Screenplay at the Hollywood Horrorfest. It was a great experience, had a bunch of great panels, screenings of the Afflicted, The Howling (with cast!) and Return of the Living Dead (with cast)… Additionally had a great session on taking a films from an idea to indie..

      The “pear” is actually a BLOODLIST logo… I’ve been speaking with Kailie regarding the script/representation but nothing definite.

      Finally, I have been using THE BLACKLIST for exposure to some success. I’ve been in the top 3-4 horror genre for the last few months. I’ve received three 7’s…. any one who uses the blacklist knows its a crap shoot. WIth a story THIS gruesome I’m pleased it’s doing so ‘well’…

      For a great ‘producer’ blast I would suggest Ashley Scott Myers t.. you ill get some responses, but you better have the goods.

      Thanks again.

      C

  • m_v_s

    It’s not immediately relevant though. Compare your opening to The Devil’s Hammer. The logline and opening scenes correlate. The reason I picked your script first was because of the concept, I just didn’t see where it was going quick enough. This is my own personal preference of course.

  • Casper Chris

    My vote is also for DEVIL’S HAMMER even though I’m not big on horror.

    Didn’t have time to read it all, but what I did read (30 pages) was very convincing. Kudos to the writer.

  • jw

    I guess I’m just curious about how Carson chooses these scripts. Yo C, is it just the email that’s sent, the logline, script genre & subject matter, and comments, or do you actually take a look at the first 5 or 10?

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats on making the rounds! Can you send me the latest revisions, please?
    I’d rather give you notes on a draft that’s not outdated. Thanks.

    soleil dot rouge13 at gmail dot com

    • Craig Mack

      Yup, will do. Appreciate it.

      • Mike.H

        hey Craig. I’m about to read your script but I’d rather read the latest draft. Please send to may1msg AT Gmail dot com. Thanks!

        • Mike.H

          both drafts received have exact same file size and no mention of draft #; I suspect not much was changed, CM?

      • CastorTroy16

        Would like an updated copy, as well ripple507 (at) aol (dot) com

  • ElectricDreamer

    Props to all the AOW candidates this week.
    There’s one recognized contributor here and a Simply Scripter in the mix!
    Not reading loglines first today. Feel like going cold.

    AOW WINNER: ???

    SIMPLE ACTS —
    P. 1 Your opening line needs some clarity.
    Call it a “live talk show in progress”. Those people should be crew.
    And say that Karen sits in the host’s chair.
    Designated spot sounds like someone unfamiliar with studios.
    Is there an audience in attendance?

    P. 5 Prostitutes always get paid upfront. It’s pretty standard.
    She might take him for more later, since he’s passed out an all.

    P. 7 Beth is a SUPER SHREW. So weary of female stereotypes in amateur scripts.
    The moment she gets home it’s a bitch fest. Meh.

    Beth’s summation of the relationship woes is long in the tooth.
    Is all this BACKSTORY really needed for your script?

    P. 11 Joe is delusional if he thinks he’s more important than the HOST.
    It might help if I knew WHY Joe has been behaving this way.
    Why doesn’t Dennis tell him he’s just a guest spot in a bigger show?

    P. 14 Joe’s melodramatics are repelling me from the script.
    And this scene feels like a REPEAT of the earlier.

    P. 15 People snickering at Joe, adult professionals just don’t do that.
    Everyone (except Dennis) in the script acts like teenagers.

    All I know so far is that Joe is a drunk jerk that’s single and unemployed.
    You don’t need fifteen pages for that. Lots of cuts can be made.

    P. 16 What kind of hotel only has single occupancy rooms for staff?
    With blah pick-up lines like that, no wonder Joe pays hookers.

    P. 20 Four pages of Joe’s failed job interviews is way too much. Maybe montage at best.
    And when Joe says he’s checking out, I am as well. Sorry.

    Joe is an unlikable mystery to me. Why is he a jerk wad?
    The pacing’s all lax for me. There’s no debts chasing Joe or any CONFLICT.
    Lipstick collars and screaming shrews are way too sitcom-friendly for me.
    I want to see something a little less worn out in a spec script.

    Now, I’ll read the logline… Doesn’t read like a complete story.
    Where’s the “but” which typically preceeds the DRAMATIC IRONY?
    It’s that IRONIC TWIST that’s the crack for readers.

    At the very least, intro the nice family sooner.
    Maybe if they called Joe after seeing him explode on TV.
    Then I can see why Joe would want to exploit their kindness.
    Only then to finally learn something valuable about himself.

    PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      KNIT WITS —
      P. 2 Maybe you should use SUBTITLES for your “tire brush” joke.
      That way the viewer of the film can get the joke.

      P. 3 Why does Sam need a hooker to chat? He can go online and IM his life away.
      And this trope is right out of Rake, a Fox TV show with Greg Kinnear.
      This device is old hat, even for a half-baked remade procedural TV show.
      It’s about as old as the broken English-speaking hooker.

      P. 3 Why does Nico get mad at Sam?
      He said he didn’t want to talk about that subject anymore.
      But they can talk about anything else. So why does she get bitchy?
      The guy is PAYING for her time, what does she care?
      Your one-liner subverts the logical HUMAN BEHAVIOR.

      P. 4 Teresa should offer condolences FIRST.
      No decent human being drops a bomb like that without some cushion.

      P. 4 Nico just reads flat out racist to me. A detestable stereotype.

      P. 5 Bernard is immediately more interesting. At least he ENJOYS something.
      His very first line of dialogue tells me one of his PASSIONS.
      Sam would be less repellant if he had some likes while still in a rut.

      P. 6 Shrew alert! Gretchen and Nico should go bowling together.

      P. 6 The construction site double slug is confusing.
      Why do you need a new slug for “further down”? It’s the same site.

      P. 7 You spend an entire page setting up those guys getting smackced.
      And then nothing happens. Hold that call, PAY OFF what you SET UP.
      That’s how comedy works. Have the phone call INTERRUPT a FRACAS.
      Have a big dust pile of brawaling construction workers. Something lively.
      Show us that Franklin’s got a chip on his shoulder as well as muscles.
      You put a TON more into Sam’s intro than these other two. Not a good call.

      P. 7 TSA agents don’t freak out over beeping PDAs.
      You’ll have to set up something far more suspicious for that gag to work.
      And if you’re going there, why not go for the AWKWARD SEARCH?
      Those are in the news. It’s RELATABLE. That’s the best kind of comedy.

      This is the second SET-UP that isn’t PAID OFF in two consecutive pages.
      You must REWARD the reader for going through your set-ups.

      P. 9 Bernard has a lot of stuff in his pocket. 3 cups and a jar.
      A good wine must be served in GLASS. Not some plastic cup.
      Someone as detail-oriented as Bernard would know that.
      I feel like you don’t know your characters behavior at times.

      P. 10 Your brothers only relate to each other through your PLOT QUIRKS.
      But I don’t see nearly enough HUMAN BEHAVIOR being used.
      For instance, who’s the bully? Does the younger resent/admire the elder?
      There’s always a HIERARCHY amongst SIBLINGS. It’s human nature.

      It’s something that recent comedy, This is the End, hit out of the park.
      Seth likes Jay and L.A. Jay likes Seth but hates L.A.
      Jonah adores Jay. Jay dislikes Jonah, but doesn’t want to be a dick to him.
      James worships Seth. But Seth is oblivious. And they all hate Danny, the truth teller.

      Buckets of PERSONAL CONNECTIONS to mine for comedy gold.
      All that established in the opening minutes of the film.
      I suggest rethinking the foundation for your sibling relationships.
      Don’t base it in post-it note style plot devices and quirks.

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      A CINEMATIC END —
      P. 1 “Squealing steps” didn’t translate visually for me.
      Unless the literal stairs are somehow screaming.

      P. 4 Ron feels far too close to Jules in PULP FICTION.
      The dialogue and action has some distinct similarities.
      I guess this is part of the premise from your title coming through.
      But I haven’t read your logline, so this just comes off as derivative right now.
      With that title, I’m guessing this is meant to be more of a SATIRE?

      P. 6 I got more TARANTINO than SHAFT out of that.
      You can set the 70s decade by showing us the WARDROBE.
      Give us a few VISUAL CUES of the time period you’re after.

      P. 8 Your action description margins look wonky.
      Have they been expanded to drop your page count below 120?

      P. 9 A white Dodge Challenger. Methinks the writer is a Vanishing Point fan?
      Or at the very least, likes DEATH PROOF. More Tarantino on the page.

      P. 12 So, Paul is somehow drowning in a world of movie cliches?
      I haven’t read your logline, trying to figure it out cold.

      P. 12 No need to call a gas station a “simple architectural structure.”
      That’s a lot of fancy talk that just says the very same thing.
      Save your prose flourishes for when it ENHANCES what’s happening.

      P. 15 Six years back would make this a DEATH PROOF stunt car.
      The easter eggs are cool, but the story isn’t as rewarding.
      I feel like I’m sinking in a cinematic cocktail of vintage films.

      P. 15 Paul’s dialogue: of the highway/OFF the highway

      P. 17 Leaving the car to the guy. Giving a bum a fresh start.
      These do feel like ends to movies or character arcs. Maybe something more…
      Perhaps the logline will fill in the rest for me.

      P. 19 Hackney = hackneyed. Someone’s getting their wordplay fix.

      P. 19 WILLIAM is in ALL CAPS twice in a row.

      P. 24 The doorway chat’s length suggests SATIRE here.
      Six plus pages in a rainy doorway. That’s a lot of over-the-shoulder shots.

      P. 26 I’m going to stop here. Miles of scripts to go before I sleep.
      I’m more intrigued by your script that frustrated by it.
      Your talent keeps the pages moving. I’m an easter egg lover, damn you.
      Fairly skim-friendly with all the chatter.

      Just read the logline… I didn’t get the suicide angle. Though something was off.
      It makes some sense, your protag does give stuff away, etc.
      I think I’d be more invested if I knew more about his RITUALIZED SUICIDE.
      Why is he going through all these crazy motions before doing the dirty?

      Your tale seems to be a pastiche of cinematic tropes and vignettes.
      But I’m not grounded enough in the journey to get super invested.

      WEAK CONSIDER

    • ElectricDreamer

      LOWLIFE —
      P. 4 Sammy’s “And you?” question threw me.
      He was starting at Richie, why ask the question?

      P. 5 The window is intact. Hmm.
      Does that mean we just saw a flashback? A flash forward? A fantasy?
      Are you intentionally leaving this open ended?
      It confused me and derailed the flow.
      As written, the timeline’s in flux for me. Not sure that’s good.

      P. 6 I like the teddy bear losing to the smokes.
      You used HUMAN BEHAVIOR to describe your character. Me like.

      P. 7 Cuter beat with the clueless chick and the pizza knife.
      The real estate for that tidbit was well used.

      P. 8 GIRLFRIEND has too many lines to be NAMELESS.

      P. 10 The way Tommy’s intro started, I thought Ritchie was there for a girl.
      But then it seemed to be about the drugs.
      So, Ritchie sells the drugs to buy the teddy bear?
      He shook down a dealer to buy a toy for someone. I like that idea.
      But I think there’s a clearer way to get that across here.

      P. 10 No need for “reaches up” twice in a row.

      P. 11 Nikki’s scene has “inciting incident” written all over it.
      Have to say, the flow of your script has pulled me in.
      These slices of scenes demonstrate strong command of your narrative.
      It ain’t easy choosing the right slices unless you spend time with your tale.

      P. 14 Rework Talia’s line here. This sounds much stronger:
      “I stopped counting years ago. Rub some lotion on my back.”
      That’s an aggressive stance that CEMENTS her character.

      P. 21 I like seeing Ritchie’s code become more fleshed out.
      He’s not a cold blooded killer. EXCEPT in the cold opener.
      So, I guess you do go with a FLASH FORWARD.
      I think you should be much clearer about that.

      Stopping and P. 27. Just read the logline… Where’s the coma baby?
      I don’t get why you’d want to hide that from the reader in the early going?
      It would go a long way to help readers EMPATHIZE with your protag.
      I feel your story would be more compelling if you got this out there sooner.

      Overall, lots of narrative tug on the page for me.
      I feel like the writer spent time crafting this tale.
      He’s showing me the PRIME CUTS of his world.
      But a few too many characters slightly sour the read.
      The dialogue crackles and the action descriptions set the tone.

      CONSIDER with REVISIONS

      • Kosta K

        Thanks for the notes! I fucking hate writing loglines (something else to work on). Thinking I might leave the baby out of it in the future, leave it in the story as a reveal instead.

        I thought the “WINDOW IS INTACT” line was pretty clear, too, didn’t expect it to become such a speed bump :

        Let me know if you decide to go back and finish it. Thanks again.

        • ElectricDreamer

          Hey pal, I nominated your script to be reviewed by another blog.
          They have a pro script consultant do free coverage for you.
          I really liked this script. My old friend that runs the blog.
          I sent her LOWLIFE and she dug it a lot too.
          She’s trying to contact you to see if you’d be up for a review.
          We’d like your script to be our Screenplay of the Month. :-)

          Hit me up at: soleil [dot] rouge13 [at] gmail [dot] com

    • ElectricDreamer

      THE DEVIL’S HAMMER (reading v.11, not v.9 from newsletter) —
      First sentence. No need to repeat what your opening slug states.
      We already know it’s a mountain range.
      We also know it’s a “mountain road” from the slug.

      P. 2 Where did the goat go? Tim glares at it then, nothing?
      I’m surprised his squeeze didn’t say “Shoot that piece of shit goat!” instead.
      A memorable opening line for any character.
      I’m assuming the beast is still standing dumbly in the road?

      P. 3 Is there a reason why Tim seems so scared of a noise?
      Is he superstitious or is there a specific reason for the skittishness?
      Most folks that say they don’t want trouble are prey in these kinds of movies.

      P. 3 I can see why people think the cultists are bulletproof here.
      Perhaps you can say, “Tim spins, shoots wild. The cultists charge.”
      As written, it’s just a niggle, but it did hiccup the read for me.

      P. 4 No problems with the six-line CUT description here.
      I’m a fan of SAMCRO’s early seasons. I get wanting to NAIL that image.
      It’s a movie poster style beat you should hit out of the park.

      P. 4 What kind of drugs? Could be anything from heroin to Zanex bars.
      Be more specific. Bricks of weed or coke? Meth shards. Stolen Oxy maybe?

      P. 9 This club’s a disease. Cute dialogue. Tickles the writer in me.
      Stuff like this helps SOLIDIFY YOUR WORLD as I continue. Yay themes.

      P. 11 Lenny has a very CAROL-ANN like moment, a la POLTERGEIST.
      I don’t think that’s what the author intended though.
      All about the inflection, I guess. ;-)

      P. 13 Surprised we return to the bar.
      Your foreboding end to the previous scene was a solid beat.

      P. 15 I like Jimmy and Davie’s CONFLICT beat.
      But I think it can be folded into bar scene part one.
      Refine your party bits and end that shoving match with the THREAT.
      Then cut to the old fella narcing to Tim’s law enforcement clan.
      To me, that feels like a much stronger NARRATIVE TUG…

      Happy party to scrum. Heated words. Threats. Hard rain. All great stuff.
      Bitches hold their breath. The place about to erupt in violence.
      Then Davie LAUGHS IT ALL OFF. Even though we know he meant everything.
      Something like that is more fun than a private chat around a corner.
      Onto the foreboding phone call after veiled threats feels more VISCERAL.
      Don’t see enough amateur writers use REPRESSION to ratchet up the TENSION.
      You can give Davie a splash of JOE PESCI here.

      I’d strongly reconsider shuffling Act One’s mid-section.
      Might be worth re-visttiing since it seems you are the top candidate.

      P. 20 Is there supposed to be some compelling evidence the bikers killed Tim?
      Maybe that’s something the reader could get clued into at the Sheriff’s Office.
      I’d be more invested if the Sheriff Clan vented some well-executed exposition.

      P. 21 Yeah, the exposition AFTER the gun battle reads off to me.
      The slap and all is fine. But I feel a LEAD IN will build the TENSION.
      Don’t underestimate how tension-packed being forthright with the reader can be.
      You SET UP that hatred, the reader will want to see it PAY OFF.
      It’s that kind of REWARD SYSTEM that keeps readers flipping pages.

      P. 25 I dig the diseased hand REVEAL.
      But I feel this is a few pages too late.
      No horror tropes since the opener reads a bit weak to me.
      Unless you’re intentionally going all From Dusk til Dawn with your story.

      Maybe we catch up with the weird-ass goat down the road.
      He can clump his dopey way back to the CULTISTS.
      That way we can get some horror sugar in the middle of Act One.

      Other than the re-shuffle, just have a little more FUN in Act One.
      Set up more REPRESSED ANGER and GHASTLY CULTIST stuff.
      Maybe show us a glimpse of what happens to Tim’s girl?
      A quick touchstone beat should do the trick, to keep it all connected.
      Another script with some craft on display.

      CONSIDER with REVISIONS

  • Craig Mack

    Hey, thanks for the question…

    A couple things…

    When SURROUNDED by hooded cultists in the middle of the woods, you have to play your cards right… even with a gun you are severely outnumbered. I don’t think it’s being skittish.. it’s being cautious.You don’t puff out your chest when you are outnumbered 10-1… What if they had guns? What if there were 50 of them? As an outlaw– or a cop– don’t shoot unless you have to.

    It’s never stated that he doesn’t hit anyone…

    Finally, ‘he doesn’t want any trouble’ because it turns out he’s an undercover cop… This is revealed later in the screenplay.

    As for the ‘script shadow sieve’ please have at it. I respect all writers opinions– because we all have one.

    Thanks for the critique.

    C

    • astranger2

      I’ve re-read that scene a few times and my only question is what provoked Tim to fire? He’s surrounded by the four menacing cultists, but they’ve yet to even speak. So he fires arbitrarily into them? Especially curious if he’s a trained undercover cop? Recklessly endangering his girlfriend and potential innocents? At this point we don’t know they’re psychotic. Might just be Satanists out for an evening stroll and goat sacrifice…

      Other than that, would only be echoing others in complimenting the taut, clean writing. Some of the other offerings had some nice moments, but your’s is the complete package. Definitely a visual, character-rich, and well-structured story. Gets my vote.

      • Craig Mack

        Hey Astranger- thanks for the comment.

        TIm fires as they are surrounded by cultists in the woods… they are not responding to questions. And when EMMA turns to leave they block her path.

        “Might just be Satanists out for an evening stroll and goat sacrifice.”

        That made me chuckle. :).

        • astranger2

          So, Tim, a police officer, chooses deadly force because the cultists weren’t responding to questions and blocked his girl’s path? What is he — L.A.P.D.? From the George Zimmerman “stand your ground” school of appropriate responses to aggressive actions?

          Just kidding (and I have friends in LAPD, so it’s all in fun.) No one else seemed to have an issue with it, and it didn’t mar my appreciation for for the pacing of your script… so it obviously works.

          • Craig Mack

            Ha! I think it’s fair to say that undercovers FIRE FIRST when they SUSPECT their lives are in danger… they are actually taught to.

            I was just google ‘cops shoot unarmed’ and you should get the point.

            :).

          • Citizen M

            “Cop Kills Unarmed Man After Sarcastic Remark”

            Grendl better watch it.

  • Citizen M

    LOWLIFE

    Read 25 pages. Doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Far too much inconsequential chit-chat neither revealing character nor advancing the plot. It doesn’t flow smoothly. E.g. in one scene the enforcer is told to get money from a pornographer. We expect the next scene to involve the pornographer, but no, in the next scene the enforcer has coffee with a woman and gets a job offer. Only after that scene do we meet the pornographer.

    The individual scenes are too long for what they achieve. We already have eleven characters plus a mystery blond with little idea how they are all connected. Not to mention the main character is a nasty piece of work I have no interest in rooting for.

    • Citizen M

      A CINEMATIC END

      Read 25 pages. Starts by fooling the audience. We were watching a movie on TV, not the main movie. I hate that. In the main movie, Paul smashes his apartment, gives his cash away to a bum, pawns his expensive watch for more cash, buys a huge flat-screen TV (having smashed the one in his apartment), and goes to a cabin in the woods, contemplates suicide, and has a seven-page (!) conversation with a stranger at the door about whether to let him in out of a storm.

      I have no idea what the point of the story is. It’s just rambling on with no direction.

    • Citizen M

      KNIT WITS

      Read 25 pages. Most promising so far. At least there’s an actual story with a plot ‘n stuff, and some laughs. My main problem is I don’t have a good enough idea of the characters of the three brothers. All three seem fairly passive losers, Sam divorced, Bernard henpecked, Franklin gay (I think). The issues they have with each other and relationship to late mother are not clear. I want more fireworks and aggro from them.

      I wish I had a better idea of what they are up against. Consider having the opening scene the mother running the knitting business with all its problems and dropping dead from the strain, then the three brothers hearing about it.

    • Citizen M

      SIMPLE ACTS

      Read 25 pages. The setup has taken too long. Joe the alcoholic TV film critic has been fired, dumped, divorced, he has rejected his family, and he crashes his car, only to wake up in a strange household. The story is only now beginning, ten pages too late. Maybe it gets better later, but the slow pace is killing the drama. If there were more jokes in the first 25 pages it would be more tolerable. A dramedy needs a constant flow of drama or comedy. There is not enough of either.

    • Citizen M

      THE DEVIL’S HAMMER

      Read 25 pages. Needs to be condensed a bit. The bar scene lasted 13 pages total. that’s too much. Anyway, it was hard keeping track of all the people. I don’t know if it is necessary to know what each one did. Also, help us out by reminding us on page 12 that Tim Lehan is the person we saw in the first scene. I thought he was Sarah and Michael’s brother at first. Also, when we meet the iron gates on page 24, remind us we saw them in the first scene. Don’t call them “familiar” — that implies they are familiar to the bike riders, which is not the case.

      The problem here is we know nothing about the cultists. We know there’s a pustule-covered hand, but that doesn’t suggest there is a dire threat to anyone venturing there. So there’s not enough tension. Also, the idea of a sheriff blowing away a motorbike gang is too much to swallow. We assume he will act within the law unless we have been primed by seeing him do something bad that he is capable of such murderous action.

      Promising, but not there yet.

      • Casper Chris

        Good point about reminding us who Tim Lehan is.

        I was okay with the sheriff using extreme prejudice. This is low-brow horror after all. His motives were set up by the pictures on the wall and his actions anticipated by the line “Leave the badges… it ends tonight.”.

  • Craig Mack

    Patchy- Im familiar with 1% rules… and the 81 bylaws… there was a reason I chose the colors I did. But I kept it fictional.

    Good eye.

    Best,

    C

  • Shawn Davis

    While I liked The Devil’s Hammer, my vote swings over to A Cinematic End. I think the log line could use some work, but overall seemed to edge out the other screenplays.

  • Craig Mack

    Thanks.

    PG20 Even in my other work I tend to over use SCREAM. I will definitely give YELL a whirl.

    PG10 correct.

    PG14: This is kind of par for the course in this lifestyle… More like two brothers squabbling.

    I appreciate the read through.

    C

  • Wes Mantooth

    The Devil’s Hammer was the only logline that grabbed me. Sounded like something straight out of a grindhouse, and that’s pretty much what it delivered. The Hills Have Eyes meets Sons of Anarchy. What I liked most about this script, in addition to its full-on commitment to gore, was its simple, straight-ahead storytelling. No unnecessary flashbacks, no ponderous voice-overs. Just burn rubber forward.

    In the opening scene, I was wondering why the cultists seemed unaffected by Tim’s gunshots. Gave me the impression that they had superhuman power, which turned out not to be the case. Not sure if this is the most current draft, but I’d at least mention a couple cult members dropping from the bullets. They are described as “some sort of a satanic KKK”, which led me to believe these were Devil worshipers. Even after finishing the script, I had to consult the logline again, which informed me that the cult worshiped disease. Never grasped this concept. Why would they worship a dark deity that would cover them with pustules? I’m no expert on the occult, but I think people are drawn to it by promises of power, financial and otherwise. So, maybe consider exploring why these people worship Erobos.

    Some of the decisions of the bikers seemed kind of odd. If they’re standing outside an iron gate that reads “Home of the Afflicted”, they might want to rethink entering. They also seemed unusually relaxed when encountering a group of hooded, hissing weirdos. Would they really leave Maggot alone in a room with two of them?

    Interesting thing about this story is that there was absolutely no one likeable, with the possible exception of Sarah Lehan. In the Hill Have Eyes, you have a suburban family, innocent people you could identify with as they battle the freaks. Here we have the DHMC, a drug running biker gang. Despite the fact that Jimmy has a kid on the way, and he’s decided to leave the gang, I still didn’t really care whether he lived or died.

    But, it’s all about the ride in this script. Mutant children well-schooled in torture, Abraxis the hammer-wielding humanoid and buckets of exploding pus, blood and maggots. Someone get this script into Rob Zombie’s hands, stat.

    • Craig Mack

      Hey man, all valid points. Thanks.

      They are ‘relaxed’ as they kind of have to be… they are stuck there no matter what. They don’t know how many are there- if they have a phone, etc.

      As for ‘dropping from bullets’… it established during the screen play that only MORTAL wounds such as taking someones head off stops the cultists.

      The disease allows them to live forever. Hence the cult.

      Left Maggot in a room, with a Doctor… and a gun. No reason to think these guys were going to be strong enough to ‘take down the gang’ yet.

      There’s a LOT of story to tell– I can build on in sequels if need be. Have to keep it 100 pages.

      Thanks again,

      C

      • Wes Mantooth

        Craig,
        Congrats on the script. I can tell you took your time and hammered this thing into shape. Regarding that gate scene, I just thought it was a missed opportunity to not have the bikers comment on the “Afflicted” sign. And with Maggot, I got the sense that he was fading fast from the bullet wound. So gun or not, it seemed like the bikers wouldn’t trust these robe wearing creeps to perform surgery on one of their brothers. But, that’s just IMO. Good luck with the screenplay and hopefully the sequels.

  • Craig Mack

    Grendl-

    No worries, we all have different takes on different scenes..

    Being in the woods… and having ‘people watching you’ can be an unnerving experience. While the biker might not have played out exactly how you wanted- it was still a valid response.

    And on a COLD OPEN there is no reason to establish his is an Undercover in the first 3 pages… IMHO. We need to jump into the First Act so we can hit the Inciting and Break into II on time.

    Finally, if you state where EVERY BULLET FIRED HIT… the screenplay would be 185 pages. I don’t think that is integral to the story.

    Really, I’m not trying to be contentious. I hope you are not taking it that way. Just defending the scene. I do appreciate you ‘poking holes’.

    I have a ton of respect for writers/readers on here. I follow a lot of posts, so I know how things work. I’m hoping for a lively discussion.

    One thing I always caution, lets not rip things apart for the sake of ripping things apart. Its all subjective, and nothing is perfect. Its easier to tear down than to create.

    Thanks again…. looking forward to discussing screenwriting with you in the future.

    Thanks,

    C

    • Casper Chris

      Yikes, It appears grendl’s teeth are bared.

      Its easier to tear down than to create.

      Very true.

      As for….

      And on a COLD OPEN there is no reason to establish his is an Undercover in the first 3 pages… IMHO. We need to jump into the First Act so we can hit the Inciting and Break into II on time.

      I think grendl may just be looking for a few “hints”, not anything that would take up significant space. If you could find a way to plant a few visual clues, it might be a good idea.

      As for his other point… I’ll have to read the opening again. I think I may have skimmed the first few pages as I got a bit distracted. He may have a point though.

  • Eddie Panta

    CM,
    Congrats on the win.

    The story is really non-stop action, it shows you have a great stamina for continuity and clarity. It’s not easy to work on all these characters without getting lost in it yourself.

    I’m curious if you worked out all these action sequences with an outline?

    Can you tell us if you approached this in a three act structure, or did you work on it sequence by sequence?

    • Craig Mack

      Eddie,

      I did beat it out in a THREE ACT. I wanted to have clean breaks– Inciting Incidents, MID Points, and GSU.

      After that, I did try and ‘sequence it out’ in eight parts…. and arc the characters at different times. (I use ARC loosely here :) ).

      It’s tough with an ensemble piece…. lots of moving parts. Tough to focus on ONE CLEAR PROTAG… but that really wasn’t my point. It was more a story of three separate families….

      C

      • John Bradley

        Read an older version on TS and remember really enjoying it. Glad to see you on here as well!

  • lonestarr357

    Is ‘Ink and Bone’ about that Stephen King-like author held prisoner by his creations?

    If so, I can only imagine the brick factory the script’s writer’s gonna shit when he hears about the summary of the GOOSEBUMPS movie.

  • HRV

    Finished reading The Devil’s Hammer. Pictured scenes from a number of other movies while I was reading it, but it was an easy, quick read. Even though they were bikers, you still root for them because the cultists are so nasty — lesser of two evils.
    Pg. 28 Thee = Three?
    Pg. 60 Should be; Pride doth come, or Pride cometh.

    • Craig Mack

      THEE LIGHTS…. derp. Just fixed that. It’s amazing what your eyes miss after reading things a million times. Thanks!

  • S_P_1

    But it hasn’t gone through the Script Shadow sieve.

    I hate to beat a dead horse but Marlowe slipping through the cracks represents a type of fundamental flaw. If either the majority are jaded or subconsciously cynical when does a script represent quality material?

    When a script doesn’t have technical errors (format, spelling, logic) and the biggest slight is it was based in the 1930’s I’m calling bullshit. I noticed members of longer standing backing Carson’s opinion.

    Some of those same members profess to be sports fans when the script/film review of Draft Day was up for debate.

    If those same members are into sports then the subject of instant replay isn’t a foreign concept. There wouldn’t be a need of instant replay if the decisions of referees and judges represented a paragon of parity and truth.

    But the reality is referees miss a lot of obvious plays. Decisions do get overturned because of an oversight or admitted mistake. Just because you make the right call 85% of the time leaves 15% chance you won’t. That’s a significant amount.

    The bottom line is the scriptshadow forum jury is ready to find fault than to recognize a truly competent piece of work. Ignoring one quality script just to get back to the norm of scrutinizing lesser quality scripts is wrong.

    It appears The Devil’s Hammer is posed to win AF. I’m reading various reviews the general consensus appears to be worth the read from the forum. But I also detect the hesitation to raise a script above the slush pile or circular file. The fact that this writer has placed well in various contests should be a ringer to do well.

    So the question I’m asking the board is if a writer comes with credentials and the material to back it up, and it only ranks [x]wasn’t for me will the board sheepishly follow suit?

    Because that isn’t a dangling carrot but a prize that never existed to begin with.

    • MaliboJackk

      It’s an industry wide problem.

      With some scripts you can tell it’s a pass from the very first pages.
      Others, it’s no so easy.
      With Marlow, I didn’t see enough happening to continue reading (and that’s important in a script, maybe less so while watching a movie).
      I didn’t comment because I didn’t want to piss on what others seemed to like.
      Maybe I was missing out on all the cool parts that came later.

      Have to say I’m really impressed by the exceptional dialogue skills and talent
      shown by the first 10 or so of
      Others treat it as a yawn.

      I think you have at least two scripts worth a look this week.

      • Casper Chris

        With Marlow, I didn’t see enough happening to continue reading (and that’s important in a script, maybe less so while watching a movie).

        I didn’t comment because I didn’t want to piss on what others seemed to like. Maybe I was missing out on all the cool parts that came later.

        Same. Had it been a movie, I would’ve turned it off too or changed the channel. I didn’t comment for the same reason.

        Don’t really understand what S_P_1 means by “slipping through the cracks” though. Marlowe was selected for AF and had its moment in the sun. That the sun was a bit lukewarm is another story…

  • Malc

    A Cinematic End reads best for me. It was interesting, intriguing and made me want to read more. I enjoy films or scripts that go against the grain and don’t just conform to boring Hollywood tropes – so this was a nice entry.
    Dare I say this was even original?

    The Devil’s Hammer – meh. Without being harsh, I don’t think you need to spend six lines describing the detail of a jacket. That’s a waste of space. Seriously, SIX LINES to describe what a jacket looks like?

    • Casper Chris

      Missing a goat on a motorbike is deemed scary or thrilling nowadays? “Fuck that goat”

      Because missing the goat is the thrill highlight of the script…

      /facepalm

      The Devil’s Hammer is the more polished of the two scripts. A Cinematic End starts with six page opening that equates to “it was all a dream”, in this case “all a movie” and then jumps into a trivial voice machine message that takes up half a page. So 7 pages have gone by and the story has hardly moved forward, if at all. By page 7 in The Devil’s Hammer, we’ve had a chopper ride, a near-collision, a scare in the woods, shots fired, a clan of creepy cultists, an abduction (that thankfully was NOT just a movie). We’ve also met the protagonist, who has a pregnant wife and is trying to leave the biker life behind, AND we’re being introduced to a gang of modern vikings (bikers). At this point only one of the writers have gained my trust, and I’m far more interested in going on a ride (pun intended) with these bikers than hanging around this pizza-eating couch potato who “lazily brushes the pizza off his chest and arduously attempts to get up…” .

      • witwoud

        “Because missing the goat is the thrill highlight of the script…”

        It is if you only read the first page, which is all this nitwit has done.

        • Mal

          Some producers only read one page.
          Nitwit.

      • VJCine

        Thanks for giving my script a shot.

        The first 5 pages aren’t “it was all a dream”, they are important to the story of the movie and they reconnect later on. As you can see the story is about movie characters coming to life (or do they), so you can assume that the opening 5-6 pages are going to play a role in what happens next. That character in them…. you can figure it out by reading the logline :)

        The phone message is also essential in what is going on with the main character. Again if you read the logline, you can try and figure it out. But I’ll explain it in the spoiler below.

        SPOILER:

        The main character is an investment banker that has lost a lot of his own and his friends money. He is full of guilt and can’t live with himself. That’s why he wants to commit suicide. He can’t live with himself. That’s why the phone message set him off. He also loves movies and kind of can’t let go of some thing. That’s why he was a answering machine and VCR.

        END SPOILER.

        You have to read to whole script to understand where it’s going on. I guess my script suffers here because people only read a few pages and I liked more of a mystery angle to the story. Things are hinted and you find them out as you go forward. I didn’t make the story straight forward. To be honest I don’t like those. That’s just my personal preference. You of find out the second sentence of the logline 50 pages in. I tried to tie everything together. So everything has a purpose. This is also explained in the script :)

        Thank you for reading the pages you read.

        All the best.

        • Casper Chris

          Hey VJCine

          Yea, that’s the harsh reality of screenwriting. You may only get a few pages to hook/impress/NOT REPEL the reader. Now at least you know that a reader might interpret your opening scene as a “Ha! It was just a movie (within the movie)!”-gotcha scene that, unfortunately, is very common in amateur screenplays (and often the really bad ones). I did read your logline by the way. I guess I just didn’t connect the dots.

          But you can take comfort in the fact that I only judged your script based on the 7 pages I read. Maybe your script is great. Maybe it’s awful. Maybe it’s somewhere in-between. I guess I’ll never know now. Once I close a script, I rarely re-open it.

          Good luck with it.

          • VJCine

            Cool.

            Thanks for the reply. The comments on here have really opened my eyes that people need to love the first 10-20 pages to keep reading. They also have to be very clear. But, that’s really not how I like to write stories. We all have our different tastes.

            On the adverb use – point taken. English is not my first language. I’m more or less, self taught. So these kinds of things sneak up on me.

            Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply.

          • Casper Chris

            English is not my first language either, and yea, I made those kind of “mistakes” too when I started out so it’s no biggie…

            If English is not your first language, you should be proud of the fact that quite a few people here (presumably native English speakers) really liked your dialogue. A lot foreigners struggle here. A LOT.

            I didn’t detect that English was not your first language during the read so that in itself is an accomplishment.

      • Mal

        Some people prefer a film fast paced and full in your face, some prefer to be told a story that will unwind throughout the running time.

        That said – whoever made the comment that the opening scene on a motorbike was scary or thrilling… I mean, really?

        • Casper Chris

          I love both. It just has to be done properly.

          • Malc

            Fair enough.
            Hopefully no hard feelings.

    • Craig Mack

      No offense taken man, we all have opinions.

      I am not a ‘regular’ on here so I don’t think the votes were for my charisma. As for the six lines on the jacket…. since the whole gang wheres them, I figured I would get it out of the way once and move on, rather than bring it up on every intro. For a biker, their patch is a very important thing.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments……

      C

      • Mal

        Hey Craig,

        Look, I’m sorry for the negative comments I made. I apologize to you and hope you can accept it. That’s all I can do.
        Regarding the script, I think it’s fine for what it is. I just don’t dig the jacket description ( a comment that it was described amazingly just tipped me over the edge) and I have nothing against the goat scene. It just seemed too comical, if you know what I mean? Various times I couldn’t take the script serious – and I’m gonna say no more, because I’ve obviously said enough.
        You’ve won awards, competitions…doubt you’re gonna care too much what I say.
        Every entry was good in it’s own way, I saw it more of a competition in how many votes decides the winner. I preferred CNE because it’s original in the sense I’ve never read something like this before, it’s interesting, could easily be produced – and on a low budget – and it’s engaging once you fall into the story.

        The problem I had with your script was it was predictable, I knew everything that was gonna happen, it just felt a bit lazy. I’ve seen this damn movie a million times.

    • m_v_s

      Are you sure you don’t know the writer of A Cinematic End? Because you sound oddly defensive for a neutral reader. I thought The Devil’s Hammer was brilliant, it gripped me and sucked me in. I really wish ACE had done the same. I was thinking of the script Home and hoping for something in the same ballpark. Unfortunately not.

      • VJCine

        I honesty do not know who that is. But thank you for giving my script a shot. All the best.

      • Mal

        No, I do not know him at all.
        Sorry I sounded defensive.

    • Logline_Villain

      I don’t know the writer of The Devil’s Hammer from Adam, so there goes your theory about positive reviews being biased… and I do know SOUR GRAPES when I see ‘em:

      That would be… Someone who wrote the following about his own script that was fortunate enough to make AOW, and then sees fit to deride another writer who submitted a clearly superior script – note, in YOUR OWN WORDS ABOUT YOUR OWN SCRIPT:

      “Albeit an early draft I make no excuses for some of the glaring mistakes I have made. Repetition is an obvious one, grammar issues in some cases and a couple of misplaced scene headings. Awkward phrasing. List goes on. Apologies.”

      So, it was perfectly okay for commenters to give their precious time to read your own self-dissed script, but if these same commenters actually like someone else’s script, the game must be rigged.

      Sad…

      • VJCine

        Just to make it clear. That’s not my post. I wrote “A Cinematic End”. I haven’t taken the time to read the other scripts posted here. So I wouldn’t know anything about them, nor would I dare to post something about something I haven’t read.

        I understand how you might think that might be a post of a person praising his own work and criticising the work of another but that’s not the case. Again it’s perfectly reasonable that you would come to that conclusion. But you called me sad :) and I’m actually in quite a good mood.

        I am also not a regular on here.

        All the best to everyone who posted their scripts.

        • Logline_Villain

          I realize that – my comment was solely in reply to “Malc” who had his own work posted on AOW – admitted to its faults – then saw fit to rip another writer for no apparent reason.

          Best wishes to you in your writing endeavors, VJ. :-)

          • VJCine

            Oh, sorry. I misunderstood your post. I just got out of bed :) Didn’t read it right. Sorry.

            I didn’t know Malc’s history here. Thanks for the best wishes I’m sending you some as well :-)

          • Mal

            My history here seems destined to be very short, thanks to my own stupidity.
            Good luck with the script, I thought it was a terrific read and something that could be easily produced. I think you have a fantastic future ahead of you.

          • VJCine

            Thank you for the compliment. It is the first script I’ve written. I’m glad you liked it.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        I don’t know the writer of The Devil’s Hammer from Adam, so there goes
        your theory about positive reviews being biased… and I do know SOUR
        GRAPES when I see ‘em:

        +10

        • Mal

          I have no connection whatsoever with the writer of A CINEMATIC END. I just liked it more than it’s competitor, had a few drinks, and spewed a load of crap on an internet forum.
          I apologize to you, too.

      • Mal

        Yes, I sent in a rough draft to test the waters.
        I had no idea it would be chosen to be read, I know very little about this site.

        I apologized because I didn’t expect anything to come from it. When it did, and people were spending time reviewing it, of course I felt bad. So I apologized.

        I should not have attacked the forum members’ integrity, that was a silly thing to suggest, but it’s not as if these things don’t ever happen.

    • Eddie Panta

      “Meh” “Without being harsh” “The script is a mess.”

      These comments were unnecessary. If it’s not your cup of tea, just politely say so.

      If I remember correctly, Plagued was supposed to a horror script.

      In Plagued the exposition is done by way of close up, on a stand-still shot of a newspaper, where the viewer is asked to READ over 6 lines of AD copy including names and addresses. It doesn’t matter how you space it, it is still a dead shot, taking up a quarter of a page of the script.

      Besides that, you don’t even have a character reading that newspaper AD. The camera just moves in on it, right at the time we need it to in order to explain why this guy Rob, the lead, is milling about the post office. Anyway, I thought Rob worked in the post office when I read that scene.

      The description of the jacket in DEVIL’S HAMMER is brilliant, it reads faster and clearer than most 3 line paragraphs I read on AOW.

      What you fail to understand is the writer’s ability to divide-and-conquer a complicated fight scene or a detailed physical object.

      I would politely suggest you have a lot to learn from this script.

      • Mal

        Plagued is another script, Eddie. Same genre, granted, but different tone altogether. Some horror films move slower than others.

        HOWEVER…
        You are correct in what you said regarding the comparison to the jacket and the newspaper. I believe both should be better, read more quickly.

        If you thought Rob worked in the post office, fair enough. A description of his attire before entering maybe would have dispelled that. But I would not take six lines to describe a suit. Personal choice.

        I’m always learning, no question about that. Sometimes I bark before I bite – or should that be bite before I bark? – and I apologize for that.
        Shall not happen again.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      Dare I say this was even original?

      Yes, how dare you claim this script is original.

      • Malc

        Compared to normal Hollywood shite, this was original.

  • hickeyyy

    MY VOTE: THE DEVIL’S HAMMER

    LOWLIFE. Read 10 pages. Not sure I’d read on.

    Ritchie, first of all, isn’t a bad name, but I’ve never seen it spelled that way ever. Drop the T. Make it Richie. It’s really distracting every time I read it. Sammy 2 Balls has the worst gangster name of all time. I’ve also seen 2 woman and one is just a sex object and one is a junkie. I’m not sure where any of this is going. While I think the child in the coma is just a play to make your bad guy protagonist likeable, I do enjoy the scene where he has to choose between the teddy bear and the cigarettes and chooses the smokes. It says a lot about his selfishness.

    A CINEMATIC END. Read 11 pages. Would continue.

    Bold sluglines! I always get so happy seeing them! I like the Blaxploitation flick at the beginning. Entertaining stuff. I’m hoping that Ron Da Bomb shows up later. I will say I’m not pleased with a man with cigarette butts, beer cans, and a pizza slice. That is the ultimate cliche of white sadness. I’m definitely intrigued. If it were to get the AF nod, I would finish reading.

    Note: Page 7 slugline should read Walk-In closet, not walking closet, unless Paul has some sort of futuristic wardrobe robot that follows him around the house.

    KNIT WITS. Read 7 pages. Wouldn’t continue.

    I was far more annoyed with your characters than I should’ve been. A guy teaching English to a class in Japan is only at the word there RIGHT before summer? A guy obsessed with grapes? The construction worker at least felt real. The fancy pants bit wasn’t super funny, but again, felt real. The others felt like caricatures and had nothing real to them at all. When the guy gets tackled for his beeping device in the airport, I checked out. Sorry.

    SIMPLE ACTS. Read 5 pages. Wouldn’t continue.

    We are 5 pages in and all I see is an over-the-top drunkard asshole. Guy hires a prostitute the night before his wife comes home? Lipstick on the collar of his wrinkled shirt? I’m not sure about this. If he’s supposed to be a hotshot he should have women all over him, he shouldn’t need a prostitute. I’m not sure where we are going but I’m not really interesting in continuing the trip. Sorry!

    THE DEVIL’S HAMMER. Read 10 pages. Would read on.

    This felt extremely polished. It was written by someone who understands the form. I’m quite impressed with the first 10. Though the ‘one last job before I retire’ bit is cliche, this is also a horror: you should definitely be playing with some tropes so I like it here. No errors I saw in the first 10. You’ve refined this. I can tell this has been rewritten many times. You aren’t just getting free editing by submitting; this is ready to be seen by the world. Great job. This is definitely the best of the week.

    • VJCine

      Writer of “A Cinematic End” here. Thanks for the note on the walking closet bit. I’ll look into it. English is not my first language, so that may have slipped past me. Thanks.

      • hickeyyy

        No problem at all. Glad I could help out!

  • Citizen M

    It’s far more than one location. You need a seedy stairwell and apartment for the blaxploitation movie, plus 70s New York streets, which you have to shoot yourself unless you get the rights to a movie or stock footage. Then there’s Paul’s city apartment, the elevator, the underground garage, the Charger in the street, the ATM, the pawnshop, Walmart, the gas station in the mountains, and finally your one location, the cabin in the mountains, for which we will need an interior and exterior. Plus any more movies as seen on TV, plus any montages, flashbacks etc. It all mounts up.

    • VJCine

      Yeah. I agree. You are right.
      But after about page 15-16 to about page 108-109, it all takes place in a living room. And the end takes place just outside the living room.
      There are no movies shown on TV (outside the opening). No montages. No flashbacks.
      It’s mostly sound effects with one CGI effect. A simple one. The rest can be done with simple practical effects.

  • Zadora

    Read the first few pages of all of them. My vote goes to A Cinematic End. It was the only one that made me want to read further, if I had the time.

  • jw

    No reply here either. I guess it’s an SS secret.

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

    Why didn’t you submit the most current version? Maybe attach it so people, especially Carson, can read the improvements ;)

  • S_P_1

    My reply wasn’t directed towards you in itself. If I remember correctly your biggest gripe was the revisionist take on writer character creation.

    I posted under your comment because of this one statement.
    But it hasn’t gone through the Script Shadow sieve.

    That leads to an implied expectation that AOW scripts will be substandard on some level.

    I discovered this site in 2012 so I haven’t read hundred of amateur scripts where I have the impression the quality isn’t there on a whole. Mainly because I pick and choose which scripts I read instead of reading a fraction of every script submitted.

    I’m not trying to turn this site into everybody is a winner in their own way. I’m saying when a script has a quality presentation some level of acknowledgement should be due.

    I’m not saying recognition from you personally. I was speaking to the forum as a whole.

    As far as I know Carson hasn’t changed his mind on a final evaluation on a script. I brought the topic up again because I see a similar situation occurring with The Devil’s Hammer.

    In no way am I saying give false praise to boost a writers ego. Any writer who breaks through on this site will boost everyone’s visibility. Just like the industry mines blcklst for talent. One success story from scriptshadow will do the same.

  • Mal

    In truth, I’ve heard worse.
    But then, I did write “PLAGUED”…