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: The Sleeper
GENRE: Political Thriller
LOGLINE: When a lobbyist’s daughter is kidnapped by a rogue group of protesters attempting to get a bill passed his clients vehemently detest, he must find those responsible before his life spirals out of control.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Something interesting? I’ll leave you with a quote from a reader on The Blacklist who recently read this: “THE SLEEPER features a taut, propelling pace that makes for a page-turning thriller, and its political themes ground the proceedings in a prescient sense of reality that prevents the story from becoming rote spectacle. Nicholas is an intriguingly flawed protagonist whose dueling desires to both rescue Alison and protect his own career create a fantastic moral quandary that makes him both endearing and morally questionable.”

TITLE: The Fearless Advocacy of the Truth
GENRE: Real life thriller
LOGLINE: The true story of a provincial lawyer seeking to uncover the truth that will ultimately bring down Britain’s biggest newspaper.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: “If you do have a high BOI [burden of investment], you better have one whopper of a story” – Carson Reeves

Maybe I shouldn’t have chosen the man who owns 21st Century Fox as the villain for my first screenplay, but I think this is a story that deserves to be told. I think this is a whopper of a story.

During the summer of 2011, News International was engulfed in a fire-storm thanks to the phone hacking revelations. I became fascinated by the series of barely believable discoveries, and the actions of one man in particular – lawyer Mark Lewis. This is a script that has a burden of investment, but one which I hope ultimately makes the chain of events that lead to the revelations all the more rewarding. And if not, it also features Prince William rapping to Jay Z.

TITLE: Vampire Rabbits
GENRE: Elevated B-movie Horror
LOGLINE: A whole year after a research rabbit, genetically engineered with the DNA of a vampire bat, escapes from a secluded laboratory-facility, it returns with its spawn, looking for blood.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Because I’ve taken this premise and elevated the shit out of it… this is not your average ‘creature feature’, this is a greater work of art, taking all the genre conventions associated with ‘B’ movie horror and illuminating it into something special, something that soars, while also challenging perceptions of this maligned genre with its deeper questions, and profound execution, capturing the spirit of what horror once was, and could still be, it’s so much more about great ideas, and fantastic imagination, than the bleak human suffering we’re served up today in horror. This script is also very topical in its nature, exploring important themes of scientific responsibility, as well as our attitudes to animal welfare and what we’re willing to accept in the pursuit of this science. But of course at its heart this is a horror script, and it’s spooky as hell, imaginative at a level savant, and getting never ending mileage from its brilliant premise. It also features an exciting, volatile, chemistry from its great cast of characters, all with their own conflicting agendas and clashing personalities, this driving the story to an explosive never seen before climax. This is a script of the greatest potential, something that’s worth taking the time to read through and experience for yourself.
P.S. Here’s a cool graphic to go with the script!

TITLE: Black Autumn
GENRE: Found Footage Horror
LOGLINE: A WikiLeaks-type website reveals classified footage of a Marine unit’s horrific encounter with a vampire in the wilds of 1971 Vietnam.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ: They say found footage is dead. I’m hoping the rumors of its demise are slightly exaggerated. This is my first crack at the ff genre, and I found the format to be quite challenging. I tried my best to avoid the common pitfalls of found footage scripts, and write a story with a good mix of action and horror.

TITLE: Firewake
GENRE: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Animation
LOGLINE: An uptight detective unicorn and his rookie partner must fight corrupt bosses and deadly minions when their loved ones are kidnapped by a psychotic mastermind on a quest for world domination.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I miss the heydays of the action cartoon, and the non-superhero action movie. It’s my dream to create something full of kick-butt action, or at least help others to do so. This is an attempt at doing just that (and I’ve got others down as well, including an unrelated animated pilot that scored a 7 on the Black List).

Yes, it’s a movie about talking unicorns. Wait, don’t go just yet! It’s a movie about talking unicorns that fight a psychotic and godlike villain – and his numerous minions – while rescuing loved ones. In the course of the rescue, not only do they use awesome spells, but also laser guns and flying cars. The weakest of the minions are robot wolves, to boot.

Ambitious? Yes. Maybe a little too much. But it’s a script I absolutely loved working on, and a script I loved revising. I learned quite a bit while writing this, and hope to learn even more from you and Scriptshadow commenters.

  • Citizen M


    Garbled logline is not a good sign.

    Read 25 pages. I needed to concentrate to figure out the story. It doesn’t flow smoothly. Okay, so Nicholas is a high-powered Republican lobbyist for banks who want to defeat a housing bill which will bring relief to middle-class Americans underwater with their housing loans. Activists and demonstrators want the bill to go through. Nicholas’s daughter is kidnapped from school and will be killed if the bill passes. Nicholas wants to keep the kidnapping a secret, so he gets an undercover group working on it. In a side plot, his ex-wife is sleeping with the Democratic majority whip.

    The big problem for me is Nicholas’s motivation in not going to the cops about the kidnapping. It seems crazy. Also the whole undercover thing seemed to come out of nowhere. I would expect a scene where he gathers a team and gives everyone their duties. Also, why do they watch the school and the staff? The bird has flown. What could they hope to learn? There needs to be some clue that leads them to suspect watching the school will pay off.

    Couple of detail points:

    p. 2 – “And, not a soul could foresee…” Who is saying this? It’s hard to understand what he’s getting at.

    p. 3 – How do we know the professions of the interviewees?

    p. 4 – “She holds down in one area of the jacket pockets for a second,” What is going on here?

    p. 11 – The way it is written, we meet Nicholas at a party, he talks to Jack in the park, he visits Tom in the congressional building, gets home to be told his daughter is missing, and phones his ex-wife who is in bed with Jack who he talked to in the park, all in the same night. Seems a bit much for one night.

    p. 13 – Did no one visit his ex-wife to check if his daughter was with her?

    • Citizen M


      Clunky title. People will be afraid of mispronouncing it. “Advocate of the Truth” maybe.

      Read 25 pages. A bit hard to follow. It starts with a long flashback, then “18 months later” on page 15. I think that’s too long, particularly since it’s not actually clear what the issues are. The protagonist, lawyer Mark Lewis, gets a news story about a football administrator and a woman squashed, but no costs or damages. It’s not obvious that they are pursuing the claim, nor on what grounds, so when it comes up again 18 months later it’s not organically tied to the flashback.

      We have already had about 25 characters, and flipping through there are a lot more to come. Character count is always a problem with biopics. You have to be pretty ruthless in sticking to the core of the story, and maybe combining some characters.

      Some of the scenes were effective, like Murdoch kicking the old editor out, and the new editor putting pressure on reporters. (BTW he’s married to Wendi Deng, not Dang.) Some of the local colour, like Ant and Dec and ex-Sex Pistols in a reality show, um, I don’t know…

      It’s promising. It’s a story worth telling but it needs smoothing out. I don’t know about the legal side. These are powerful people not made to look good. There could be repercussions :o(

      It doesn’t say “Based on XXXX”. is this your own research?

    • Citizen M


      What is “elevated” horror? With this title it could only be comedy horror.
      Logline should have the human element. “A woman investigates illegal research in a laboratory which gets overrun by the vampire rabbits it created.”
      Start on Page 1. Title page doesn’t count.

      Read 26 pages. Getting the B-movie vibe, but this definitely needs a quality injection. Spoofs have to be just as good as the thing they’re spoofing. This suffers from lack of character motivation, believability, clarity etc.

      Some of the descriptions are overblown. “He’s overtly creepy. A gremlin of a man. Weeping a sickly cold sweat.” “A teeth-gritting Forty-two year old.” Not even sure what these mean.

      We need a scene where Dr Banner is demoted and Dr Oaxley encouraged to continue. It’s too much to accept when next we meet banner and he’s been demoted to janitor. Also, we’d realize there’s something suspicious going on which would be what Beatrix is looking for. (I think. haven’t read it all.)

      On page 9, not sure that Oaxley’s racism and Houston not knowing Oaxley’s name are justified. Tonally they are wrong. I’d leave them out.

      Why does Oaxley seem to have an old DOS computer and old VHS tapes? We assume they must be significant because they are so different, which I don’t think they are. Unless they are essential to the story, have him use modern equipment.

      I have a problem with imagining the laboratory. Give us some idea of its size and layout, and how many people work there. I imagine it as quite small, only a handful of people, but that doesn’t jibe with the convoy of cars leaving in the evening.

      Would Beatrix sleep on the premises? Otherwise she should be concerned about getting away at night. She doesn’t mention it to Houston.

      Niggles: brakes/brakes; blearing/blaring; desk draw/drawer; plods/plonks; hoard/horde of rabbits; struggles in futile/struggles futilely.

      • Citizen M

        Here’s a cool graphic to go with the review.

        • BSBurton

          Good reviews, you put a lot of effort into those scripts! The authors should be appreciative.

      • cjob3

        Hmmm.. Dr. Banner is the Hulk and I think Dr Oaxley was in from Indiana Jones. Do I win a No-Prize?

      • Casper Chris

        Your first niggle (brakes/brakes)…

        • MaliboJackk

          You do realize
          you’re niggling a niggle?

          • Mike.H

            I get the subtext. closet subtext.

    • Citizen M


      Read 25 pages. Very well written. An easy read. Found footage element very believable. Would like a bit more tension and scariness, but so far, pretty good.

      p. 9 – honies = honeys?

    • Citizen M


      Had to download with Chrome. Firefox would download only part of the file from Mediafire.

      Read to page 27. Wondering who the audience is for this. It’s too dark for children, but not really adult fare.

      I can’t figure out the plot. Not enough has happened because of too much time with inconsequential chit-chat. There’s Sable Nox who wants world domination. It’s not clear how he plans this, nor what is stopping him. His henchman’s raid on the bar with four automatons seems unmotivated. Why the Stang Bar? Why that night? What were they hoping to achieve? Did they want Zaffa because she’s important, or because she’s an attractive young filly to breed with? Firewake and Cordia should be freaking out at their niece being captured and taken off somewhere. They are far too calm about it.

      The rules of the world are puzzling. It had holograms and cellphones. Unicorns can levitate small objects, up to table size. They can exert psychic domination over each other but it’s banned. Nox has one artificial eye and apparently is partly controlled by a dead uncle.

      The kids are in school in a city called Addax. The world has continents. Are their other cities? What will Nox achieve by world domination? Is opium-smoking (?) Mistress Fancyber a goodie or a baddie? Are the electronic butterflies important plot elements? There’s a ship. Is it an ocean-going ship or an airship or a spaceship?

      Unicorns gain rank from Iotas to Betas as they grow older. They come in many colors but the colors don’t seem to be significant. There are police, so presumably criminals. In any ways it is like Earth. Normally unicorns are portrayed as the picture of perfection, so they are playing against type in this movie. A lot of little girls are going to have their dreams shattered if they see this.

    • kenglo

      Guess I don’t have to peruse this one…..:)

    • Ange Neale

      P. 4 – I worked out later that she’s switched his phone off, though how she’d do it if it was a smartphone without visual cues was beyond me.

      • Citizen M

        Ah, I get it.

        For the benefit of those of us on the short bus, I’d prefer it if she takes the cellphone out of his hand and says as she kisses him, “That’s enough. Now let’s get down to the real business.” and slips it into his pocket after switching it off behind his back WHERE WE CAN ALL SEE IT.

        Not much point putting a plot point in and half the audience doesn’t get it.

        • Ange Neale

          Agreed — I didn’t get it at first, either. I only worked it out because he seemed surprised later that his phone was switched off when he got it out of his pocket.
          Thought to myself, “Ooh, the saucy minx — I know what she’s done…”

  • pmlove

    The Sleeper:

    From the first 15 or so – this is fine but lacks a certain oomph. It’s difficult to write about politics as it is inherently paper pushing at its core. This script, whilst it functions
    fine, didn’t have the requisite fizz of excitement with respect to the dialogue between Nick and Jack. Nick is set-up as a wonder whizz kid type but he never says anything particularly out of the ordinary in his set-up. The best thing you could to do bolster the
    start would be to really hone in the Nick/Jack exchange as it is at this point where we will decide if we are truly on board or otherwise.

    Few other thoughts below:

    Page one and the opening

    A note on statistics. They need context, or they
    are meaningless. 2011 lobbying spend figures alone have no context. If I
    want to dispute them I just say that in % terms the rise is broadly comparable (32% v 40%).
    So, what? Why tell me about this change –
    things seem no different in 2011 than they were before, comparatively

    At worst, it is misleading. But there might be something of value to learn. It just isn’t what’s presented.

    On pre-text in general: this is most effectively
    used, I believe, as a context not only to the whole film but also to the
    opening scenes. By placing the two together, you’re implying a link.
    Here, I don’t think that’s the case. Are people
    rioting due to lobbying costs? Have the two committed suicide as a
    result of lobbying? By no means a hard and fast rule (of course, there
    are no rules..) but something to consider.


    The Past/Present is confusing – I’d take it out of the slug lines as it doesn’t make any difference to the scene.

    Again, you’ll read it plenty of times and plenty of
    times it is relevant – this is an inherently visual medium. You’ve set
    up the context and that ended with the suicide scene. Breaking the black
    with a gunshot implies a call to arms –
    I’m pre-conditioned to think one of two things a) we’re entering an
    action scene or b) it is some form of flashback / reminiscing scene (you
    know, the wake up from a nightmare scene). The interviews break up that
    momentum and, crucially, do nothing to advance
    the plot (we know the context from the opening) or develop character
    (they are all one offs). You could argue it’s establishing the reporter
    but I don’t think this is the best way to do that.

    Going back to the above, if you move from the riots
    in the opening straight to the party, you’re already implying a link
    that the audience can fill in.


    Some of the dialogue is a little on the nose. Take for example:

    The crowd here is tenacious, Sam.

    They know this housing bill is

    coming up for a vote and they

    intend to do whatever they can to

    influence the outcome.

    Let’s change the situation. Let’s say that the
    reporter was reporting on a sports team manager trying to buy a player.
    Revising your wording, it might go something like this:

    The manager knows that he wants to buy a player, so
    he’s offering as much cash as he thinks is necessary to tempt the club
    to sell.

    Sounds implausible. Plus, try adding the implied
    dialogue around it – there must have a been a cut-to the reporter
    beforehand by the anchor and that would have provided any relevant
    context – you’ll probably find that this reporter is repeating
    the theme of the anchor.

    As another example Jack – ‘That man will never be
    President’. The laughs from the previous scene already tell us this,
    Jack must already know, so he is only saying it here either a) to make
    it clear to the audience or b) to set-up Nick
    saying he has the Hispanic vote (again, which is probably
    self-evident). Either way, it doesn’t feel like an authentic line.

    Some is good – ‘Pandora’s box doesn’t have a lid’.

    The Nick/Jack exchange lacks some of the finesse
    I’d hope for. Part of this is Jack stating fairly middle of the road
    thoughts about banks and wealth creation – we really need these guys to
    be brilliant, not just opinion page tabloid.


    The opening is structured around a housing bill but
    it isn’t clear what this about. Here’s where a bit of on-the-nose
    dialogue would actually help as this needs to be understood to be
    credible. Are they suggesting paying off mortgage debts
    to the banks from central government? Probably not as I can’t see why
    the banks would care and it would be a terrible policy. Whatever the
    Bill is, we need to want it to pass (presumably) but as it’s unclear
    what it actually is, I can’t be sure I’m on board.

    Even the 3-month suggestion I don’t truly follow (it seems like short termism to me), so I don’t want that either.

  • pmlove


    And straight after the 37th Dimension review, we get a script devoted to Unicorns with levitating powers and a strict hierarchal society. I’m in.

    I love anything that truly uses its imagination – it’s clear you’ve gone hell for leather. That said, my main critique at the start is that if you create rules, you should abide by them.

    First thing is – why the hell are these unicorns living in normal houses, driving cars, using mobile phones? They’re unicorns! Birds build nests in trees, rabbits burrow into the ground, unicorns… build regular human houses? Use phones they can’t touch. I think you can do more here if you abide by the rules you have set yourself.

    The other application is that you start with a descriptive song about a very rigid segregated caste system – this is just left unreferenced for the next 15 pages. Character intros don’t tell us ‘Bill is a Theta’ for example and it doesn’t impact on the (initial) drama, story. This might be something that resolves itself later, so not sure how pervasive this is.

    That said, I did definitely enjoy reading it.

    • pmlove

      I’m going to have to go to my chess book to understand the subtext of the Pawn conversation.

    • cjob3

      There’s a lot to love in the phrase “an uptight detective unicorn.”

  • pmlove


    Let’s get this out the way first – not sure why you would choose a different font, especially one that makes it MORE difficult to read. If I’m the only one to comment on this I’ll…. be surprised.

    Second big hit: You need to show the time shift, flag it somehow. I missed the jump from the 60s to present and then got very confused when Prince William was involved.

    Third: If you’re going to include marquee characters such as Prince William, you better be damn sure they are interesting. And William wasn’t doing it for me here. The banter sequence was a little light. Eton-level banter must be more exciting than this.

    I think you’ve also got a big challenge from the outset as the stakes are essentially privacy rights (I’m assuming this is going down a phone tapping angle). But Hugh Grant getting upset that someone knows his personal affairs, whilst extraordinarily valid in real life, is going to be difficult to get upset about on screen. Not saying it’s impossible, just difficult.

  • Dan J Caslaw

    The Sleeper (impressions from the first 20 pages or so):

    First page given over to a quote re: lobbying financial factoids – not sure how necessary this is.
    Next two pages, with the riots in various cities (not sure how you’d tell the cities apart given that all we’re really seeing is protests), juxtaposed with the empty house, and voiceover man (who seems like a rambling nut), are intended as a credits sequence I’m guessing? Unfortunately they really drag, and don’t seem all that necessary what with the next scene, with the protest in DC and the vox pops.

    (They’ll slaughter you)
    They’re willing to talk.
    — This isn’t the best use of a parenthetical. How would an actor say ‘They’re willing to talk’ and imply ‘like hell they are’?
    The kidnapper seems very polite and passive in his ransom phone call.

    Nick doesn’t seem that bright, to be honest – he gets a photo of his daughter all trussed up, and he still thinks she might turn up at school the next day???

  • cjob3

    I saw vampire rabbits in the headline and thought it was gonna be Bunnicula. Anyone remember Bunnicula? A series of childrens books about a vampire rabbit who sucked the juice out of carrots. One of the books was called The Celery Stalks At Midnight.

    • cjob3

      Hm, I’m guessing the author is familiar because when I did an image search for Bunnicula I found the same image the author attached above.

      • Ange Neale

        Carson may appreciate this. His killer rabbit the other week while he and Miss SS were out running… They’re popping up everywhere. Clearly breeding like, well, rabbits.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes. They’ve got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. And what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway? Bunnies! Bunnies! It must be bunniiieeessss!

    • John Bradley

      I do! My Granpa read that to me as a kid and I even named my pet rabbit that, good reference I have not thought of in years!

  • MaliboJackk

    The idea of vampire rabbits sounds interesting and
    creates a number of possible mental images.

    The “cool graphic,” on the other hand, makes me less
    inclined to read the script.
    (Could be just me.)

  • Poe_Serling


    Why? Simple. It’s a camp classic ready to happen. This project is tailor-made for the SyFy channel or the Chiller Network.

    And I’m pretty sure this was written by Carson and LaurJeff after their near fatal encounter with their own ravenous rabbit (check out the old newsletter for more of the gory details). Instead of enduring years of intense therapy, the two of them cobbled together this script last weekend to help deal with their own leporiphobia.

    If not from the demented minds of CR and LJ, then the writer Edmund Woods (perhaps a distant relative of legendary filmmaker Ed Wood) is some kind of mad genius… at least marketing himself/herself and this project.

    From the “Why You Should Read” Section:

    “… this is not your average ‘creature feature’, this is a greater work of art.”

    “… it’s spooky as hell, imaginative at a level savant, and getting never ending mileage from its brilliant premise.”

    “… explosive never seen before climax. This is a script of the greatest potential, something that’s worth taking the time to read through and experience for yourself.”

    Hey, folks, that’s the way to promote yourself and your projects. No lack of confidence here.

    • kenglo

      Yeah, the ‘why you should’ read was nice, but did you read the script Poe? I saw so many newbie mistakes in the first five pages. I was taken out of it before I could even get started…..

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey kenglo-

        Yeah, I read the first 25. I just took the whole script/story as a tongue-in-cheek type of deal. Sort of a Night of the Lepus for a new generation.

        Even the writer’s name Edmund Woods seems to be a put on.

        Maybe the writer will chime in and let us know his true intentions – spoof or something else.

        • kenglo

          I should really learn to ‘push through’ more with these. I apologize if it takes me out of it in the first few pages. That is not a testament to ‘story’ or ‘great writing’. When I say “It needs work.” that means, to me, the writer needs to make it POP. It was not popping with me, thus, I could not go on……You, Poe, being the nostalgic connoisseur that you are, IMHO, find enjoyment in the art of the read. You are, old buddy, a rare breed!

    • Eddie Panta

      Hmmm… all good assessments. I was drawn in by the Why You Should Read too.
      But claims not your average “creature feature”. “This is a greater (elevated ) work of art”.
      I read 25 pages, I didn’t see what was promised in the WYSR in the script. I saw the a by the books plot: Austere lab, with flickering fluorescents, Mad Scientists in long white lab coats. A weary traveller with a fatalistic car break down on a secluded road, a secret comic book style experiment. All stereotypical B-MOVIE elements. We get the rabbit attack right on time on page 15, then LULL, Action, Lull, Action, Lull. There isn’t a sense of awareness in the story that we’ve seen this before ( BLACK SHEEP, 2006) or (Monty Python’s Holy Grail). The story/script didn’t seem to play with the cliches or “elevate” them.

      Beatrix as in Beatrix Potter was way too cute.
      A LAB COAT character name Dr. BANNER ( Bruce Banner)

      No doubt LauraJeff couldn’t turn this down after their run in with the discarded Easter Bunny that Grandpa let sip the punch.

      The writing was clear, concise, and at times poignant, but way too formulaic.
      I just saw BLOOD GLACIER, very similar premise, I couldn’t get through it.
      The characters were just to silly and dumb.

      I guess we’ll have to find out which came first the BUNNY or The Easter Egg.

      I recommend the Writer not the Story.

      • Poe_Serling

        If this was the first of April, I would say Carson and company were having some fun with us.

        Kinda interesting: Carson devotes a whole section of his newsletter to his close encounter with a ‘killer’ rabbit… then a killer rabbit script pops up on AOW.

        • Linkthis83

          Perhaps the “rabbit” in Carson’s story was this script. It was just resting there on the sidewalk and Carson thought if he got anywhere near it, it would kill him.

        • Midnight Luck

          yes. VERRRY suspect. ;)

    • Ange Neale

      Did you mean leporiphobia, Poe? Think you’re missing an ‘l’.

      • Poe_Serling

        Thanks. The ‘l’ is back.

        • Ange Neale

          Good on you, Poe! Where would the alphabet be without dear letter ‘l’?

          Aside from being an aphabet with ony 25 etters, that is.

          Oipops just woudn’t taste the same. Go to Africa to see the eopards, ions, eephants and gazees. And what if etters ‘K’ and ‘M’ didn’t ike each other very much and had to be separated?

          • Poe_Serling

            Also, the names Ange Neae and Poe Sering would miss out on that little extra oomph. ;-)

      • Citizen M

        God, that thing is scary. Looks like a rabbit mated with a piranha.

        • Ange Neale

          Or with grendl.

          On second thoughts, let’s not go there.

      • kenglo

        Awesome!!! LOL

  • James Inez

    The Sleeper. I was only gonna read 10 pages, but kept reading to 20, so that’s a good thing. It’s really interesting. I think it needs to show a little more concern from Nick about his daughter. I mean he gets a picture of her bound and gagged and for some reason, it seems he doesn’t believe it. He goes to her room and calls her name to see if she’s in there. If I had a daughter and I saw her bound and gagged. Flip shit crazy time. Then the kidnapper calls him a second time and he doesn’t even mention her. Doesn’t ask if she’s okay. Doesn’t seem to have very much concern. Those things should definitely be changed in my opinion. I know you’ve seen Taken.

    • James Inez

      The Fearless Advocacy of Truth. Read ten pages. It’s interesting. I ‘d like to know the story of what really happened so the premise is intriguing to me. So far I could see this as a tv movie, but as I stated I’m only ten pages in.

      • James Inez

        Vampire Rabbits. Read 10pgs. Not really my cup of tea. Favorite line from the first ten: “Not even an internet connection so a brother can check his email.”

        • James Inez

          Black Autumn. Ten pages. Seems like it would be a fun read. I like the cast of characters. Curiosity would keep me reading. What’s gonna happen? That’s a good feeling to have when reading or watching something.

          • James Inez

            Firewake. Started it. That’s it….
            I think if I was a brony I would love it. Not sure. Could be a really great script, but I just couldn’t do it. Nothing against the script. The writing seemed pretty good. Just not everyone has the same taste.

          • James Inez

            I’m going to have to say I wanted to continue reading, “The Sleeper” the most. Thank you. Good day.

  • shewrites

    The Sleeper: Read to p28

    Dang. This is a tough one. I love the premise and I thought the writer did a great job of describing the protagonist, a villain we love to hate and of setting up his dilemma: we get why he feels he cannot not get the bill passed.

    However, they were several points I have issues with:

    There’s a lot of unnecessary repetition regarding the protests

    I’d like to see him be a lot more worried about his daughter, and it would help if we’d had a glimpse of her with him before she disappears. Granted, we’ll always care about a child’s disappearance but Alison seems more of a trope than a real person. He doesn’t ask the caller to speak with her, or to have proof that she’s fine. Hard to believe he cares that much about her.

    Or perhaps Nick doesn’t take the threat seriously because he’s been threatened before and there were no consequences even though he didn’t give in so he thinks he just has to wait it out, convincing himself that Alison is in no real danger. That would make him even bigger of a jerk but it would make some sense.

    Nick’s way to go about finding his daughter seems strange like his talking to David. I understand that he thinks his daughter’s kidnapping is an inside job and considers school staff as possible suspects but not talking to the principal or his daughter’s teacher doesn’t
    make sense.

    David: I expect him to be an important player since he’s given a lot of attention. Why does Nick trust him? Or does he? Does he suspect him? If so why?

    I feel there should be a lot of tension about finding Alison but there’s more about getting the bill passed under the circumstances which makes me dislike Nick even more. And since I haven’t had a chance to “meet Alison, I don’t feel all that much invested.

    This actually brings up another element I have issue with: the scenes with protestors. I thought they were unnecessary since aftermath/consequences of the financial crisis on the middle class were effectively conveyed through the opening montage of the ghost neighborhoods, and the gripping murder suicide of the mother and her children. Since the
    element of people protesting the bill all over the country is important, it can be shown through a short news broadcast Nick could be barely glimpsing say when passing by a TV somewhere.

    The Fearless Advocacy of the Truth: Read to p19. Nothing ‘s grabbed me enough to care. Sorry.

    Vampires Rabbits: read to p24

    I love the idea of rabbits turning into vampires. However, I wasn’t hooked by these pages. I
    would have built up visually what threat the rabbits would become than just by Oaxley’s words: “The strain, it must be contained”.

    If that was the goal of the search by Beatrix and Banner, to show us the danger posed by the rabbits, it didn’t work for me as it is taking a long time to get there.

    I also have a question about the tone. Is it a spoof? If so, I would notch it up.

    The other two loglines were not for me. Sorry.

    My vote: The Sleeper.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: The Sleeper

  • kenglo

    BLACK AUTUMN – *disclaimer* Don’t know the writer, have no affiliation whatsoever…




    RIVETED from the get go. Great writing dude, hope you get the AF slot!

    • Poe_Serling

      It’s the same writer from last week’s AOW script Primal… it looks like someone is on a hot streak.

      • kenglo

        Really? Is Carson pushing for us to like a writer he believes in and wants us to justify his choice? Well, I only read the first five, and when I have time (lot of honeydew things today) I will read it through, but the way he writes it, I felt like I was watching the movie, forgot I was reading….a REALLY good read so far.

        • Poe_Serling

          Being a card-carrying member of the honeydew club is often a time-consuming job. ;-)

          • kenglo

            Man…I tell ya!

        • Midnight Luck

          I think it is Honey-Do

          …unless you have some melon related activities :)

      • Eddie Panta

        I saw the that too…
        But the writing style is completely different.

        • Poe_Serling

          The writer does seem just as elusive and mysterious as his/her projects.

          • Eddie Panta

            It’s the same writer. I posted a comment with the similarities in concepts and story elements.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Good to see some love for this – this gets my vote as well. And I don’t even like FF nor vampires that much so kudos to the writer for making me want to read the whole thing (which I did – I only planned to read 10-20ps but suddenly, I was on p47 so why stop there ?) :) It’s different, it’s tense, it’s an easy read. The only teensy advice I’d give the writer is to dig a little deeper into the characters – et least give them something that distinguishes them from each other. I admit I felt a little lost… Still, well done :)

  • kenglo

    And the Vampire Rabbits – sorry, but needs work…..

  • kenglo

    Love the world you have created with FIREWAKE – I didn’t actually read the ‘why you should read’ section, so it threw me off when I saw TEACHER UNICORN…..I’d change the title though…

  • pmlove

    I’m throwing in for Black Autumn.

    Seems like horror is taking over from contained thrillers around here.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all for making it on AOW. Well done!


    Am I mistaken or in some review by Scriptshadow , did he not comment that in a kidnap story if we never are introduced to the victim or witness the relationship between parent and victim, that we don’t truly become invested, even not care?

    Anyway, thought of that while reading this.

    Honestly, I didn’t care. Did care for the writing, though. It was involving, I thought. I wouldn’t have gotten to page 35 otherwise. I bailed there because the speech about “the calmer the waters, the fewer the sharks” kind of was like a marshmallow thrown at my feeling that this was all too soft, just a tame kidnap story. I hope others read on and find something thrilling.

    I did love the stuttering teacher’s aide and wondered how the story might be better told from his point of view.

  • kenglo

    Fearless Advocacy – Nice writing, if it were a novel……One of those deep thinking scripts with a LOT of dialogue. I would have to sit down and read through it, reminds me a bit of Dragon Tattoo, which I liked, or Tinker Tailor, which I liked but have to be saturated with caffeine to watch……..Hmmmmm……

  • Randy Williams


    or FAOTT

    and that was my problem with it. Too much fat. My head was spinning trying to keep up.

    Read to page 15 when a flashback and more characters did me in.

    Did enjoy the writing. Laughed out loud at “You foul and dirty bugger. That was utterly, utterly cynical” Totally charmed by the family scene from the oboe to the skinny jeans. This is how you endear your characters to the reader. Loved the phone hacking.

    Worthy of another try, I just don’t have the energy for it now. And, oh, found one typo and a misspelling in those first 15. With the command of the English language that you blithely run with, that was utterly, utterly cynical.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to all the AOW candidates. Quite a crop of diverse loglines this week!

    AOW Winner: ?????

    P. 2 Feels more like a CREDIT SEQUENCE that an EDITOR would create in post.
    You can show all this stuff while forwarding your story.

    P. 4 You don’t need to know the details of all these nameless speakers.
    Can’t they just be PROTESTORS yelling at the camera?
    Don’t see the benefit of spreading all the way down a full page for this.

    P. 5 Let the Director micro-choreograph the sex scenes.
    Sift out superfluous details like the solid red tie. Is that plot critical?
    I’m sure the actors will have strong ideas about personal space too.

    P. 10 All montage and talk so far.
    And the most exciting thing happened off-screen, the kidnapping.
    Maybe if we knew Nicholas as a family man FIRST, I might care.
    As written, Nicholas is a rich lobbyist. He’s not suffering for anyone.
    I don’t know anything about his personality beyond his JOB.
    That’s a huge red flag for a protagonist.

    I strongly recommend SHOWING Nicholas being a father too.
    Give him some emotions and behavior that will invest the reader in him.
    So, when the kidnapping happens, we already feel for him and the kid.

    P. 13 Nicholas doesn’t even bother searching for his daughter?!?
    He chalks up her disappearance to some petty power play by his ex-wife?
    Her daughter’s been missing all day while she sleeps around Congress?
    What did Nicholas ever see in this psycho-slut to begin with?
    Your protag is a four-alarm jerk wad on top of that.

    P. 15 Nicholas just carries on with work.
    He doesn’t life ONE FINGER to look for his own daughter.
    I’m not on board with your protag at all. He behaves like a villain.

    Throw away those four pages wasted on MONTAGE.
    And use that valuable real estate to get us to care about your story.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 2 I’d only show the black eyes here. The other toothy reveal was meh.
      And made me think of a tired sub-genre that’s well on its way out.
      Didn’t read the logline until now, so I guess that means it’s vampires after all.

      P. 7 The writer keeps it simple, so I’m turning the pages…
      But vampires & found footage — two very tired genres smashed together.
      I wish your Black Autumn was another creature ENTIRELY.

      P. 10 Reads odd that a camera crew would be attached to green troops.
      That’s a recipe for a PR disaster. Superior officers know better.
      In the real news, they’re always paired up with COMBAT VETS.

      P. 12 I assumed the crew was brought in to see the experiments.
      But I guess they’re just an entrenched film crew on patrol.
      You might want to make that clearer. I’m a bit bummed now.
      I was expecting some lab stuff, but got standard war scenes instead.

      You may want to reconsider how you set up the film crew.
      Rework so that potential disappointment/confusion is eliminated.

      P. 13 “Wyrick ponders this as he NARROWS his eyes”

      P. 18 I was hoping Tran would give us a clue about the moany cave.
      Barefoot natives are usually good for old school backstory like that.

      P. 23 Why don’t we see a HINT of whatever took Diaz?
      Give us some ENTICEMENT to continue. Wring SUSPENSE out of the scene.

      No action, no horror and no creatures and the script is a QUARTER GONE.
      We get a bump in the cave on page fifteen, that’s it. I’m putting this one down.
      That’s not going to cut it for this genre hybrid. Teens won’t sit still for it.
      And I also doubt the tweenies would be down with going to Vietnam.

      A friend of mine wrote a Vamp/FF spec with a killer concept.
      She’s already gotten four low budget films produced.
      And no one in town would give that script the time of day last year.
      I wish you luck, you’ve got talent. The pages read pretty clear.
      But I fear in its current form, your story has an uphill battle in town.

      I prefer PRIMAL to this script. Congrats on already nailing that AF review!


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 4 I’m guessing there’s a FLASHBACK slug missing somewhere.
      Unless Prince William has a time machine we don’t know about.

      P. 9 The changing of the guard at the newspaper was a tight scene.
      But the rest jumps around and loses me jackrabbit fast.

      P. 12 Dig the scene with Sophie, THE SLEEPER needs this scene!
      But for the, the Burden of Investment (BOI) is getting thick.

      P. 15 That entire thing was a FLASHBACK essentially.
      All I really got out of it was the beginning of the end of journalism.
      And Mark and Sophie seem like decent folk that get along.
      I lost count after about twenty characters.

      P. 15 The kangaroo’s testicle is very chuckle worthy.

      P. 20 In addition to the BOI, there’s the wordy dialogue and prose.
      On average, you’ve got five lines of dialogue per character slug.
      I get that the UK always comes off more wordy, but it inflates the script.
      Which only serves to exacerbate the continuing BOI issue.

      I’m bowing out here. A rising BOI can work…
      But only if you give us something to connect even the simplest of dots.
      As written, I’m not sure where this is going or how any of it connects.

      The BOI is gargantuan without much human character beats to back it up.
      Super ambitious undertaking for a first script. Mature subject matter too.
      I congratulate the writer for tackling a big project. He’s got some talent.
      But after how badly THE FIFTH ESTATE bombed, not sure Hollywood still cares.
      I had a hard time keeping much of this straight, I think Carson would too.
      Methinks this might be a better novel or miniseries for the BBC.


      I’ll hit up the whack-a-doodle pair of scripts after a trip to the local dispensary. ;-)

    • ElectricDreamer

      FIREWAKE —
      P. 1 That must be a MASSIVE classroom for 20 horses to stand in a circle.
      Why would equines want to be inside human structures anyway?

      P. 3 With the color palette you’re spinning, I’m guessing MLP type deal?
      I hear that Friendship is Magic cartoon is quite popular… with straight men!

      P. 4 Magic pipe is cute. Have I seen that somewhere before?

      P. 5 I think a more broad intro to your world by the teacher would help.
      Don’t stop short there. Say, have a NEW STUDENT in the class.
      Use that device to orient the reader to your world through their eyes.

      P. 7 Can’t quite wrap my brain around equine hover cars.
      Those vehicles must be huge, do the unicorns sit in them?
      I think the readers deserve a better description of this scene.
      I’ll read all of your unicorn tale, if you can make me believe that world can exist.

      P. 9 Magic horses in apartments. I don’t know…
      If I was a magic horse, I don’t think I’d settle for a two bedroom walk up.

      P. 9 Cordia seem a little horse-whipped here. Sorry, had to be said. :-P

      P. 16 The kidnapping should help provide some needed CONFLICT in your tale.
      Conflict is the thing that keeps readers turning pages.
      And I don’t feel like there’s enough of it in the early pages.

      Find ways to play out conflict while world-building.
      Have a couple students that don’t get along, something spicy.
      Use that class time to set up your villain, colts learn about him, etc.
      Your character count is pretty high as well.
      I recommend refining that, or making the intros more memorable.

      I’m stopping here, this isn’t for me.
      But I think a CARTOON NOIR in the vein of MLP with unicorns sounds cool.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 3 Without a doubt, the most conflict-packed opener this week.
      The prose is pretty spiffy to boot.
      I see this as an animated project with those cartoonish character descriptions.

      P. 7 Your character intros are lively and memorable.
      Vivid names: Oaxley, Banner, Beatrix (lotta B’s in that pair) and Houston.

      P. 8 Obscenities. So it’s going to be that kind of cartoon, I see.

      P. 9 You “RUMMAGE” in two consecutive action descriptions.

      P. 10 “trying in FUTILITY”

      P. 13 Going to hit BANNER with a SPANNER. Cute UK wordplay there.

      P. 15 I was hoping for a much bigger LEAD IN to the kill.
      Milk that cutesy fluffy humor, let Percy get real close, even pick it up.
      Maybe he even wants to take it home for his little daughter…
      Only to see the glowing eyes and fangs too late!
      You must WRING THE SUSPENSE of of these fun moments.

      P. 16 Why can Banner only be a scientist at this facility?
      I’m sure he can work at another lab, anywhere in the world.
      If you want him to be a crusader here, that’s fine.
      But the “This is the only way I can be a scientist” card doesn’t play for me.

      P. 30 I’m going to put down the script here.
      This kind of horror spoof is hard to get made as a live action film.
      Your writing’s lively and easy to read.
      I’d like to see you apply that talent to a more engaging premise.
      Saturday the 14th isn’t popular enough to draw an audience for this.

      Didn’t get the feeling this script was a pisstake at all.
      Just written by someone with talent and a love of cheesetastic horror.
      I’d consider toning down the vulgarity and making this a cartoon.
      Or maybe even a WEB SERIES would be cooler, something in Flash. Good luck!


  • kenglo

    I admire all the folks here who give total analysis and break down these offerings with a fine tooth comb. Me personally, I read until I don’t ‘feel’ it, and I guess that’s bad. But in all honesty, and I get that we are practicing reading and analyzing scripts in order to improve our own writing, but really. I’ve had readers suggest different things on my writing too, and some ideas as far as story ‘choices’ go, are fine. Some are not. Why take the story in a totally different direction because someone says so, because it is not working for ‘them’? If you break it down and show that this is not working for me, here is why, and maybe you should try this, then yeah, that’s good critique.

    Others that take the context out of everything a writer strives so hard to put on paper, I don’t think or feel that is needed. The old adage “If you don’t like the way I’m doing it, do it yourself”. But then, that being said, a critique(r) would have thought of the wonderful idea in the first place and write it himself. I dunno, some of the critique here, it sometimes just irks me, because the person who has successfully gotten a read, deserves good, constructive criticism. I know me saying “…but yeah, this needs work.” is not friggin’ constructive, but most of the guys here are in the same boat, and they are at certain stages in their writing. Most of the people here ‘get it’ as far as what we are supposed to see on the paper, so when someone says, “Why is your character doing this or that?” we as writers understand that to mean ‘needs CLARITY’. “Who talks like that?” means ‘your dialogue needs work’, and (the killer) “It doesn’t resonate with me” to mean, it’s BORING.

    There’s a guy out there, Chip Riggs, writes some awesome specs…..haven’t heard from him in a while, but the dude can write….he should get a shot.

    K, I have to go write some more!!!

    • mulesandmud

      Kenglo, could you be a bit more specific about what irks you about some of these critiques? Is it that people are being too vague about their notes? Or too specific and/or nitpicky? Is it that people are bailing out of scripts too early and then offering advice far beyond the context of what they’ve read? Is it that people are too liberal with suggesting new and different directions for a writer to take their material? Or is it something else entirely?

      Any one of these is worth pointing out, if that’s how you feel. I’m just not exactly sure what you’re pointing at. Help me out here.

      • Ange Neale

        It’d help me, too, kenglo. I’d love to make my notes more productive and helpful for writers but I’m still learning there.

        • Randy Williams

          Yeah, I’m often torn on how to approach this. I think I’m just down now to general reactions and why I stopped at a particular point in the script if that’s helpful at all. I’m so in awe and respect everyone that makes it on here. I know how much hard work goes into these things, just finishing one is like tearing down a brick wall with your hands.

          • astranger2

            And when you use a sledgehammer to aid the process everyone tells you how shoddy the work is… gloves and lotion help though…

      • kenglo

        I guess nit-picky…..I could care less about typos at this point, you got the read based on logline, premise, and the possibility of the thing getting pushed out there for management/production. If the typos are so bad that it takes us out of the story, then yeah, shame on the writer, but a few here and there is fine, to me. Most of the ones I read here are really great writers, it’s not like Zoetrope or Talentville where there is a total newbie with their first script and you have to explain it all to them – “Now that you’ve learned all of this stuff, this is what you’re doing wrong”. I mean, some of the worth the reads have stuff we all can learn from, and things we shouldn’t do. I guess my point is this – if the story engages you from page 1, because of the great writing/voice, and it keeps you reading and before you know it you’re on page 38, who cares you left out the word ‘the’ on page 57?

        Another thing, and I’m just saying – the writer generally goes into a story with a map (I hope) of what HE/SHE wants to do with the story. Then you get producer, director, actors, all chiming in on how they see it, here’s what (I) want to do with it. In the end, its a conglomeration (abomination?) of efforts/ideas to get the thing right. Sometimes they guess right, sometimes they guess wrong. Example – PACIFIC RIM, script and characters much better than the actual end product. SNITCH – A script that got read, people liked, totally page one rewrite, and the end product was awesome.

        Here, it seems some of us do the same thing – “Here’s how I would do it.” Or “what if they did this, or did that?” As a wannabe writer, I understand when you get to the point of pre production and all, this is to be expected. I feel that here, the main question is – does the story work for us ‘readers’? Would I ‘pass’ or ‘recommend’? Would I say to the writer, hey, man, you should really push this thing out there NOW! Or would I say, dude, needs some work, here’s what didn’t work for me (and if you get the same exact thing from others, then you know that’s the gospel, and go back to the drawing board).

        Those are the kinds of critiques that have been most helpful to me and my writing. If the consensus is ‘CLARITY’, then go back and clarify. If the consensus is ‘Why do I care?’, then go back and make people care, throw in a cute puppy or something. The first thing, based on logline and all, is to justify whether this is a movie or not. Would I go see it? VAMPIRE RABBITS, although I didn’t get through, something about the premise made me want to peek. Same with BLACK AUTUMN. Then we go from there.

        If the writer(s) here take all the ‘notes’ and run with it, how do they go about getting feedback after rewrites? Also, do they keep in touch with Carson after a review, and does he give them another read to see if it is ready? Ready for what. If it were me, and I thought the script is worth the effort to be ‘shopped’ and Carson, being the wannabe producer he wants to be, isn’t that what should be done? Followup, triple check if it’s ready. If it’s not, start over again?

        No script is perfect. And yet, as newbies, ‘they’ want us to get it as close to perfect as we can get. At what point do we say, dammit, it’s ready!

        I submitted a first draft of my third script to CWA back in 2011 and made the finals. Then got requests (after I rewrote some stuff from CWA notes). They were either straight up ‘pass’ or ‘Hm, can you rewrite this?’ or can you ‘add that’? Or, can you cut down on the FX (blood and bullets). I know that’s the ‘development’ stuff that goes on, but should that be done here, in this blog? I just feel it may be over kill. Just my opinion.

    • pmlove

      Hi Kenglo

      If I were to guess, I’d say I’m probably guilty of some/all of the above. The nitpicky bits and pieces. And, for the record I have no history of spec sales to validate my comments.

      So guide one is the upvote system. If the notes aren’t widely accepted, then they garner few votes. So, my notes only get one or so guest votes – potentially not that worthwhile. If Citizen M at the top is saying something with 12, well might be worth considering.

      The problem is that there isn’t necessarily time to read the whole script of each entry. So then what? You can go page by page, offer your thoughts as you read it. This is worth something, I’d hope, as you get the impression of the reader as they go. Even if it is p1 – this is stupid; p3 – no it isn’t good reversal. Etc.

      Or, you try and give some overarching comments on the successful or otherwise set-up, with the risk that some of the context is lost. I suppose these may be more valuable.

      An alternative approach may be to try and break down individual sequences to see why they do or don’t work. Now, you can agree or otherwise, mostly the comments are for structuring my own thoughts and to apply to my own writing, I’m not going to be offended. The downside is, they may be nitpicky.

      Now, if you have time to read the whole thing, then that gives the opportunity to comment on wider themes, issues etc as you see fit.

      But if you’ve only read a bit? You’re limited to that element. Without being able to offer broader advice on the overall structure and without wanting to limit the notes to ‘didn’t work for me’, then sometimes detailed/nitpicky comments are all that come to mind. Hopefully, they may still be of some use.

      But I know what you mean.

  • Wheatman


    The logline sucked me in. I grew up reading the Bunnicula books, so I wanted to
    see how you could turn that into “elevated B-movie horror.” I’m not entirely
    sure what that means, but you have me curious!

    My thoughts in chronological order:

    -I like your action descriptions. They’re
    crisp and precise, while also being fun to read.

    -p. 4 “He struggles in futile to free
    himself of the men.” Futile is used as an adjective. You could say, “He
    struggles in futility to free himself.” That’s a little too wordy/trying for
    me. It could just say, “He struggles to free himself of the men.”

    -Is the dialogue intentionally cheesy? I
    can’t tell. Is this just a spoof-like opening and we’ll enter reality soon? Or,
    is this the actual opening in the reality of the script?

    -p. 6 Beatrix talking to herself isn’t
    needed. The action would/should give us the impression she’s lost.

    -p. 7 I was trying
    to think of a way to make their initial exchange a bit more mysterious.

    car’s still in the woods. I was run off the road by another vehicle on my way

    HOUSTON For some reason, people are usually in a hurry to
    leave here.

    -p. 8 It’s weird that Houston says “wolves or something”
    and then in his next line he says there aren’t any wolves. Maybe he says,
    “Looks like wolves or—“ and Beatrix cuts him off saying, “I thought there
    weren’t any wolves.” Then he replies, “There aren’t.”

    -Beatrix Butterfield. Whew… Sounds like a Harry Potter
    character to me. Interesting choice.

    -p. 9 “The coffee pot drops

    -“I’m here to see what I came here for through to its
    end.” Ouch. Maybe make it more specific. Or just delete this line completely.
    Maybe she says, “I’m not like most people” and that’s enough?

    -p. 10 “She pulls the desk drawer…”

    -p. 10 Use of futile again.

    -p. 12 “The janitor’s room is a dingy.” Is a dingy what?
    Or is it just dingy?

    -p. 16 Banner once again (also on p.4) refers to Oaxley’s
    work as “crazy.” It comes off as funny both times.

    -p. 17 You lost me on this exchange:

    BANNER I was a scientist once. But I took

    a stand against insanity, and they didn’t like that. They
    couldn’t fire me, so they demoted me. They took away my periscope and gave me a
    string mop and a bucket.

    He plods the skull back on the bench and moves around it,
    rummaging through the draws underneath the bench, discarding its contents to
    the floor with indifference.

    BEATRIX Sounds like a pay decrease.

    Beatrix moves across the room, to the primitive computer.

    BANNER If I can find evidence to support

    my theories that he’s been engaging in ghastly research,
    far beyond the boundaries of sanity, and that of which the administration
    understand of him, then I will be able get my job back and be a scientist

    -I’m going to try to power through. The use of “come across” on p. 18 is
    repetitive. Also, this is awkward coming from one scientist talking about

    BANNER I’ve never come across anyone with such a random assortment of human
    bones before. I suppose if he wasn’t a man of science then that would be a
    little bit strange.

    -p. 20-21 Banner is coming off as a real idiot. “Concealed?
    As in hidden?” I thought this guy was also an intelligent scientist?

    -p. 21 Just making a prediction that she’s looking for her
    dad (female characters are always looking for their dads, right?), which is
    probably Banner.

    -p. 22 At this point, I’m going to stop being nitpicky and
    just finish. BUT, “His baseball bat just aching for some action” made me laugh
    out loud.

    -p. 23 “…struggles in futile…”

    -Also, “…get these gregarious creatures off me!” I spit my
    coffee. This is really funny but not really in a good way.

    I’m now thinking that you’re trolling all of us based on
    your WYSR. I tried to give you a shot, but now I’m just kind of frustrated that
    I wasted my time. This wasn’t an attempt to “elevate” the material from B-level
    status. This was at Sharknado quality.

    Good luck on your next venture!

    • Eddie Panta

      Yes, I felt cheated too, it’s a by the books, formulaic b-movie.
      Writer’s talents are misguided.

  • Randy Williams


    Wasn’t Beatrix Potter a bit of a scientist and experiment with fungus spores? I think a story from that angle of a sweet country writer creating a monster would be funny. Maybe she takes her creation to the town’s Easter Egg hunt and it proceeds to decimate the population as well as end up covered in chocolate.


    I read to page 20. Just couldn’t invest more in this.

    The spine is there, laughed a few times with this, Houston was funny, loved, loved some of the description and intend to still one actually. A few lines were stunning, loved the “old trees stretching” but overall in what I read, gave me a “let’s put on a skit” vibe.

  • Randy Williams



    I read until page 30 when I was jarred, that in a moment.

    Don’t let the found footage tag scare you. This ain’t your mother’s “Blair Witch Project”

    This is some literate found footage script that doesn’t let the camera carry the burden. Storytelling with a great big heart does. I was there, felt the sweat myself, endeared to every character, was led like a lamb to whatever slaughter the writer had in store for me.

    Only hiccup was the Puerto Rican saying “Cabron” Pretty sure , that’s typically a Mexican expression that became most active in the 80’s with those Mexican shoot ‘em up movies, long after your time period, I think.

    Ok, why on page 30 did I stop to comment? I honestly hated that sudden cliche scene of the old timer in their native tongue explaining that some mystical beast with some mystical hard to pronounce name, that everyone knows comes out of the forest at certain times is responsible for the death. Oh my, when’s the next airlift home?

    • Cuesta

      Cabron is a Spanish word, not a Mexican slang, although they use it frequently.
      My father, Spaniard, already used it when he was a boy so the word it’s definitely older than the 70’s.

  • Mike.H

    Grendl’s currently too busy chomping on coyotes, wolves, foxes. He eats innerds first for the vital nutrients. Jackal’s next. Don’t let your beloved pets roam freely.:p

  • Randy Williams


    Wasn’t easy, going from being submerged in the jungles of war-torn Vietnam to a classroom of metallic colored Unicorns but, hell, you hooked me!

    I liked this. Read to page 20, I’d read more. Big, big problem for me, however, was, who is the audience for this? There seems to be quite a few instances of adult references. Lecherous men at the Stang bar, massage parlors. I don’t get it.

    On page one, “the teacher lifts a leg” I cringed at that, visualizing an animal lifting its leg to pee.

    Such a fantastical world and you had me believing. Good work, I thought.

  • Eddie Panta

    Cool. I got to find mine, must be lost in spam.

  • Eddie Panta

    Wow! So it looks like the same writer could snag the AOW spot two weeks in a row. BLACK AUTUMN is from the same writer as PRIMAL. I’m very impressed.

    In terms of writing style I wouldn’t of guessed there was a connection. Black Autumn seems like a much more mature script and researched script.

    Content wise, both deal with classic monsters, a werewolf and a vampire. Also, in both scripts there is a character that owns a wikileaks style website, where sensational video footage is revealed online. In Primal, the bayou werewolf story, the yedi hunter/blogger releases video footage from an environmental habitat cam. The footage, although dark and murky, shows us the first glimpse of the hairy beast, suspected to be either a bear or a werewolf.

    In both scripts the exposition or the legend of the mythological beast is told via tale, by a old local. Here, in Black Autumn, Tran, a translator for an elder Naug, a native Vietnamese tribesmen, tells the legend of the vampire, and names it — jiangshi.

    In PRIMAL, the beast is name Loup, by the ole-time local, — Stagger ( i think ). After Tran explains the legend. Soldiers Catuso and Grace break into laughter in much the same why the two leads of Primal laughed off the story about LOUP – A Werewolf, of French origin.

    Both scripts are tight but have juicy descriptions. The CAMERA direction, in Black Autumn, which are necessary for the found footage genre doesn’t impede on the story or feel forced. By page. 30 a clear lead has not come out of the group yet, which is fine in my book, especially for a horror thriller. In fact, perhaps even a necessity. Also, on pg 30 we get the inciting incident, a bit late for the first kill, but not really problem because the video footage captured by the UPI camera crew is very cinematic.

    To me, Black Autumn works better than Primal because the characters are more extreme. BA, doesn’t have the father and son b-plot holding it back.

    I’m excited to keep reading.

  • Matthew Garry

    My vote this week: BLACK AUTUMN

    As for each script individually:

    Frankly, with found footage and vampires, I didn’t expect much. With Vietnam thrown in it started to sound like a stoner concept.

    The bookends, emphasising the FF concept, didn’t give me much hope. But once I got to the chopper, things really took off.

    The first half was pretty impressive. Even though there were a lot of characters,
    each was recognisable where it mattered, and all of them were kept on a tight

    Another thing that stood out positively was the Nung village. Not only did it reek of research, but that same village was used as a plot device for character development, plot motivation, and exposition, seamlessly.

    Unfortunately, the second half in the cave did nothing for me. People getting picked off in the dark with some scares. I really wish this would have been more interesting.

    In the end–the final standoff–things picked up again. Storywise it’s nothing special, but pyrotechnically it should be stunning and thrilling on the screen.

    Overall I would have liked it better if the creature hadn’t been given away right at the beginning and the second half would have had some more depth in its goal, stakes, and urgency than simply “get out of the cave, alive.” I felt the characters, as established, deserved more from the plot.


    I’m not sure if it’s even possible to sell pure camp on spec alone. But I imagine if
    it’s possible, it needs to be written as tight, dead-pan, and professional as possible
    to avoid giving the impression it was written in a few weekends on a lark. In that
    regard I think it’s easier to just write a serious script for public consumption.

    By itself, I thought it was a nice read with some good dialogue, some interesting
    characters, and some moments, but unfortunately it never grabbed me enough
    to make me feel it was something I would want to see on the screen.


    I read to page 24.

    I think one of the most important things in Sci-Fi or fantasy is motivating the choice of your world. It should take place in that world because some of the plot devices demand it, whether it be a piece of future technology or some sort of magic.

    There are (to some degree) exceptions like for example Star Wars, or Killing on Carnival Row, but in these the strange setting is motivated by opportunities to wow the audience visually.

    For me, neither of those motivations were applicable to Firewake. It was a pretty straight forward story, except it had unicorns for people. For me the characters being unicorns never added and always distracted from the story for no good reason I could discern.

    In short, motivating the choice of using a unicorn world, or any of the peculiarities of the particular setting, would have helped a lot to get me invested in the story and characters more quickly.


    I read to page 28

    This script puzzled me. There are a lot of scenes that work really well, but it’s very hard to follow along with the story. Every time I felt like I was starting to get back on track with the plot, the scene changed, another character was introduced, more plot elements were added, and I was back where I started.

    The story really needs to be tightened and streamlined so every scene makes sense in the context of the one preceding it and the one following it. For me it lacked contingency, and, as much as I liked some scenes, it made me lose interest in the story.


    suffered for lack of intrigue and an active protagonist. Political thrillers are almost always very talky by necessity, and without intrigue talking quickly becomes uninteresting.

    In the end, when the identity swap was revealed, my reaction was, “Oh? okay”, where it really should have been “No way! Then how….Oooooooooh!” which indicates there may not have been enough machinations working throughout the plot.

    I believe it would have benefitted a lot from adding more GSU (potentially to hide more of what’s really going on). The Goal was lukewarm as Nicholas never really seemed to care much for his daughter. The stakes were never really that high: some controversial bill would pass, and the kidnappers weren’t really radiating evil. The urgency was never really felt because Nicholas spent a lot of time orchestrating the achieving of the goals instead of getting involved personally.

    Also, from what I read on the Blacklist, political thrillers have some stiff competition. That combined with how few of them get produced, a political thriller can’t afford to make any mistakes at all or let up for even a second if it is to make a chance of getting picked up.

    • Casper Chris

      I think one of the most important things in Sci-Fi or fantasy is motivating the choice of your world. It should take place in that world because some of the plot devices demand it, whether it be a piece of future technology or some sort of magic.

      Agreed. I think that’s why I had a hard time getting truly invested in The 37th Dimension. Turtle Men and Little People in a comtemporary setting… I just kept thinking “why?!”.

    • Ange Neale

      ‘Back Autumn': the closing bunker scenes and the pyrotechnics reminded me a bit of the Do Lung bridge scenes from ‘Apocalypse Now’.

  • lesbiancannibal

    Anyone who writes about killer rabbits is going to have a really hard time getting this out of my mind

    • kenglo

      My first thought too!

  • Randy Williams

    Looks like Coverfield did you well.. I saw that movie in a cinema where the print or projector was damaged. Myself and the audience watched the entire film with a big thick line down the right side and no one said a thing. We thought it was part of the “found footage.I didn’t know until I rented it on ITunes that it wasn’t supposed to have that line.

  • lesbiancannibal

    so you’re ok with killer rabbits ripping people’s throats out but you draw the line at the word ‘fuck’?

    EDIT: Ah, no, just slightly past that word to one beginning with, omg, a ‘c’. I’d rather someone tell me I was a cunt than have a vampire rabbit feast on my oesophagus :)

    EDIT: This is presuming there are killer rabbit attacks in Vampire Rabbits. I should read it.

  • Midnight Luck

    Very interesting articles, especially for Writers, should anyone want to check them out:

    The Difference Between Professionals and Amateurs
    by James Clear


    10 Years of Silence:
    Lessons on Success and Deliberate Practice from Mozart, Picasso, and Kobe Bryant
    by James Clear

    Great articles on building a Habit, and what being a Pro means.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I think it’s interesting how the first article makes the writer/workout comparison. I can totally relate to that. You can’t improve at something unless you work at it every day, not just when you feel ‘inspired’.

      I also believe exercise clears your mind of distractions. I can’t count the times I have been out for a jog or in a yoga class where my mind will focus on the screenplay I’m working on, usually resulting in something positive.

      • MaliboJackk

        Found the same thing about jogging.
        Used to carry a micro recorder on my runs.
        (Blood pumps faster through the brain?)

        For some reason, taking a shower also seems to work.
        Still have to force myself to concentrate. But hey…
        Aaron Sorkin says he takes 6 or 7 showers a day.

        (Figure once I reach the 6 or 7 day level
        — should be just as good.)

        • Midnight Luck

          Maybe all of us here should shoot for 6-7 showers a day. We could set up a system and chart our course. Starting now, then in a couple months see where everyone is at. Some will only be at 3 showers a day (lame) and the Rock Stars will be at 9 showers a day! (sweet)

          The SS Shower Challenge! (wait, that doesn’t sound right)

          • Stephjones

            Does it count if you only use a gallon of fresh water to bathe?

          • Midnight Luck

            I believe it does, if it still takes you to a happy place where your mind is able to let loose and you daydream incredible dreams.

      • mulesandmud

        I’ve been more out of shape recently than I have in years. Meanwhile, my writing schedule has been haphazard and the pages themselves have felt disorganized. Coincidence?

      • ElectricDreamer

        During my morning walk I listen to the playlist I created for what I’m writing.
        For instance, now I’m writing an action/thriller, so I’m listening to…

        The Bourne series OSTs.
        Captain America: The Winter Soldier
        Salt, Oblivion, Inception, etc.

        For me, listening to movie scores helps the brain percolate.
        And every scrap of an idea goes right into my iPhone while I walk.

        • Kirk Diggler

          I think the Inception soundtrack was brilliant, robbed of the Oscar if you ask me.

    • Ange Neale

      Thanks for these, ML. They’re right — no-one gets great at anything just by doing it now and then. You gotta work at it.

      Neuroscience is making huge leaps toward finding out how the brain works. Recent series on Australian Braodcasting Corporation might be of interest to readers. Called ‘Redesign my brain’, the first episode was called ‘Make me smarter’ — it’s at

      The second was ‘Make me creative’ —

      The third was ‘Mind over matter’ —

      Each about 57 minutes long, but well worth a look for interested parties — especiialy ep 2 on creativity.

      • astranger2

        Yeah, but… is it art, Ange?

        • astranger2

          Don’t fret… I’ll stop… ; v )

          • Ange Neale

            Hahaha, sweetie. Whatever gets our creative juices flowing…

      • Midnight Luck

        wow. these look really interesting. i will check them out. thanks for the links.

        • Ange Neale

          No worries, ML. Love this sort of stuff. Grist for the mill further down the scriptwriting track track, too, maybe.

      • Citizen M

        Seeing the guy in the first video playing blind rapid chess reminds me of when I was a schoolboy and fancied myself as a chess player. At a local carnival was a chess booth where you could play against a guy from the Chess Club who played twenty people at once. There were long tables with boards and chess men on and he walked up and down one side as the public sat on the other. As he got to your board, you made your move you had worked out before, he made his move, then he moved on and you waited till he came round again.

        The first time he beat me in a ridiculously small amount of moves. Five, or something. I couldn’t believe it, so I bought another round.

        This time I put more thought into it, and also got sneaky. I made my move before he got to the table, so he couldn’t react to what I was doing. This slowed him down a tad and I lasted maybe seven moves.

        I gave it some thought, and figured out that he had so much experience he had come across all the conventional positions before and knew what the best move was from memory. He wasn’t actually thinking them out. Therefore, I reasoned, the way to beat him was to play unconventional moves so he would be faced with situations he hadn’t come across before.

        I bought another round, using the last of my pocket money, and played some crazy moves, moving pieces more or less at random. When he came to my board he paused a few seconds longer than before, looking puzzled, before making his move. He still beat me in about seven moves.

        I’ve never been a fan of chess since.

    • Citizen M

      My rough and ready definition: the amateur stops when he feels he’s done enough; the professional stops when the job is finished.

      • Midnight Luck

        I took away from it:

        “Being a pro is about having the discipline to commit to what is important to you instead of merely saying something is important to you.”


        Once an Amateur is done with something, or stops working on something, they quit, with no discernible time frame on when they will get back to it, or start something new. The Pro is right back to work the next day, if not IMMEDIATELY after, on their next project.

        The Amateur works out of convenience, the Pro out of Discipline and knowing what is important to them, and Making it important.

        • Casper Chris

          I think creative work is a bit different.

          I actually do some of my best writing when I’m not writing. If that makes sense.

          So “sitting down immediately” to write after I finish a screenplay is not necessarily conducive to producing great work.

          It might be what the pros do. But they often do so out of necessity. Because they have a deadline looming and whatnot.

      • Ange Neale

        Or when she wakes up with her head on the desk and it’s three in the morning…

        Haven’t actually fallen asleep at my desk yet, but come close a couple of times. Kinda got into it, then glanced at the clock.

    • Somersby

      It’s funny, I found the story on Kobe Bryant a little disturbing, even irritating. To me, Kobe sounds as if he has serious OCD.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a solid work ethic. You need to practice your craft, you need to put in the hours, and maybe you need to be obsessive about it if you want to succeed at all costs.

      But these models for success need to be measured against the real costs that this sort of compulsive commitment demands. Kobe’s a great basketball player, but he’s certainly not a candidate for Husband of the Year.

      Trainer Robert seems immeasurably smitten with Kobe’s commitment, yet when Kobe calls him at 4:15 AM to ask for conditioning, wouldn’t any sane person point out to Kobe that 4:15 is NOT an appropriate time to make phone calls. Kobe clearly doesn’t understand that. But because he’s Kobe, the world relents.

      My point is, these kinds of stories encourage young, enthusiastic creative types to emulate models that are flawed and broken. One’s life isn’t simply lived as a writer. It’s lived as a father/mother, brother/sister, son/daughter, friend, lover, helper, volunteer, counselor, giver and receiver. As a writer, you NEED to live these things, not just write about them.

      There’s also the “luck factor” that can’t be measured or reported. Some people just happen to be at the right place at the right time and things happen for them. I am sure there are countless “Kobes” out there who do drills and 800 made jump shots but who still aren’t in the NBA. Why? Who knows?

      I’m all for focus and encouragement and trying your very best. But I hate it when the models for success are limited to success that can be valued only in the amount of money they make.

      • Midnight Luck

        I can agree on all parts actually. At some point peoples way of approaching things can be just plain Obsessive. Especially it seems in the exercise world. Though, it does seem a writer can be just as OCD.

        I was disturbed as well about the 4am phone call. I am not a fan of someone using their stature, fame, money, what have you, to make others feel they are “owed” special privilege. And it kind of felt that way here. Less like Kobe was such a great ball player and “look at his commitment” and more like, “wow, he can sure be an asshole”.

        Don’t get me wrong, he may be a good player, (I wouldn’t know, never seen him play) but what kind of human being is he?

  • Ange Neale

    Congrats to all! You’ll get lots and lots of valuable feedback.

    ‘Black Autumn’s my pick, too. Horror’s not usually my thing, but throw in the Vietnam War, and I’m in for the duration. Lots of characters but enough distinction between them to keep track of them all. A nice sense of foreboding throughout the jungle scenes; danger lurks at every turn. And well-written so typos and what-not didn’t interrupt — nicely done.
    **Spoiler alert** — the only thing that really irked me is the dormant vampires in the cave.
    Why is it characters always know what should be done (i.e. cook them with the flamethrower or behead them so there’s three less to fight) but they muck about, don’t do it and the hesitation comes back to haunt them? A bunch of tough Marines hesitate to do what’s necessary? I know doing it that way stacks the odds against the Marines, but I could see that coming a mile off.

    ‘Firewake’ — I found myself having to suspend far too much disbelief so didn’t make it past p. 7. Unicorns have hooves. How do they build steel skyscrapers? For that matter, how do they draw the blueprints for buildings? Mine the iron ore and forge the steel for
    construction? Or mill and weave textiles to design and manufacture into clothing? How does a unicorn put on a trenchcoat? WHY would a unicorn need a trenchcoat? Or a hovercar? How do they put together complex equipment with intricate parts like holographic projectors with their minds? Oh, yeah, they’re telekinetic.
    For humans, projectors are the result of centuries of thinking about light and understanding the electromagnetic spectrum a century of advancing electronics from the
    basic valve to the transistor to the silicon chip. While children wouldn’t think about that, I couldn’t help but puzzle at it from p. 1. Necessity has been the mother of both evolution and invention for humans. Why do unicorns need projectors?
    The only way around this problem for me (which the author may have dealt with further in than I got) is to write in some convenient human pals with our particularly useful dextrous digits, opposable thumbs and knack for invention.
    If I might make a suggestion to Devon, read one or two of Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series. In a nutshell, human colonists go to Pern and find the planet populated by telepathic flying, fire-breathing lizards which make terrific pets. In response to a threat from elsewhere in the solar system, they genetically mutate the lizards into flying dragons, which are impressed at their hatching with a teenage human,
    forming a psychic, symbiotic bond for life. Perhaps you could do something similar with your unicorns, pairing them with a human pal (or fairies or elves or some such) to explain the technologically-advanced civilization side of your storyworld? Or give your unicorns hooves that can unfurl into fingers. Then show us this early to explain the technology.

    ‘The Sleeper’ — some nice opening images and setting up the anger and despair of economic ruin for so many in the middle classes. Very topical. Is the information on p. ii supposed to be superimposed so the audience will know it, too? I got the point of the protest marches, reporters’ monologues, etc, by p. 2, though; sticking with them until
    almost halfway through p. 4 seemed like hitting us over the head with a bat. I also wondered how you’re going to identify your ‘Retail Manager’ and ‘University Student'; superimpose names and jobs maybe, as if we’re seeing them on tv? (You’d need new sluglines.)
    I enjoy a good political yarn, especially one with a moral-of-the-story in it, but this didn’t much grab me, I’m afraid. You lost me at p. 14, with the cellphone conversation at 2.30a.m. when Nicholas beating around the bush with an unknown man. Would a take-no-prisoners Republican lobbyist not get straight to the point, or demand that the caller do? He’s getting up, pouring a Scotch… The last line reads: “That gets Nicholas’ attention…” It’s taken more than a page to get there. At that time of the morning, my first sentence would be, ‘This better be good.’

  • Ange Neale

    Although I didn’t read ‘Primal’, I got all the way through ‘Black Autumn’ and it absolutely deserves an AOW run and AF review, too, IMHO. Kudos to you, Bluedust!

  • HelTek

    Another vote for Black Autumn. A quick entertaining read.

    “84 Charlie MoPic” (Vietnam FF) meets “Afflicted” (Vampire FF).

  • McFly

    I read the first 20 pages of each script this week so I can only comment on the set up of each but I thought that everyone this week showed some great talent.

    My vote is for: The Fearless Advocacy of the Truth

    I have read many people questioning the technological inventions of this society of telekinetic unicorns, but I recognized it as just following the same rules as My Little Pony which does the same thing. However, MLP is a kids show and thus doesn’t need to be scrutinized in the same way as a show for adults. Unfortunately Firewake falls somewhere in between a kids movie an an adult movie and thus many want to scrutinize the realism of it. I think you either have to go one direction or the other. Your audience either needs to be children and the adult content removed (swearing, massage parlors) or the audience is adults and the evolution of a telekinetic society will have to be explained.

    Black Autumn
    Having only read the start I don’t see the necessity of the present set opening. I’m sure it is a bookend, but I still question the need for it. A film that is passed off as found footage from Vietnam will work fine without a blogger discussing it at the start. I also had trouble with the sheer number of characters introduced at the start, I quickly lost track of everyone’s names. The good news is the story has a quick pace with each scene trimmed to just want it needs to be before moving on. It was an enjoyable read.

    Vampire Rabbits
    I started to lose interest by the time I reached page 20 because I really didn’t know what Beatrix was doing in the story. She is an intern, but I don’t know what she is interining for or why. She eludes to being there “until the job is finished” but I don’t know what that job is. I also cannot figure out why Beatrix finds a file entitled “Secret Intern Project” and then says “I really don’t think any of it has anything to do with what I’m looking for.” The intern project defiantly seems like something that should interest her, but it seems she is interested in other things, but I still don’t know what they are.

    The Sleeper
    I think the set up of the effects of the financial crisis was effective, but I found myself a little confused on page 4 because I thought Kevin Sims was going to be the protagonist. He is the first politician shown and he was on the side of the people who had lost everything. I kept waiting for the story to go back to Kevin instead of following Nicolas. The trouble I had was that Nicolas was on the wrong side of the bill which made him more of an antagonist. I think what your script is missing is the “save the cat moment”. The audience feels for Nicolas because his daughter is kidnapped, but that could be more effective and Nicolas could be more humanized if he has an interaction with his daughter before that.

    The Fearless Advocacy of the Truth
    Very well written with some great dialogue. The trouble is it takes 9 pages to meet the protagonist. I would look over all the opening scenes and see if there are any that don’t push the story forward. I’m not sure you need the bit with Prince William just to set up the newspaper on page 13. Just seeing the newspaper establishes what is happening, I didn’t gain anything from actually seeing it happen. A scene with Hugh Grant wasn’t needed and I would say the same of Prince William.

    You are also missing the date in the slugline on page 4. It is obviously not still 1969, but the date is not written anywhere.

  • ElectricDreamer

    The early votes seem to indicate a two-peat for S.D.’s scripts in AOW Thunderdome.
    This should be the first — AF Creature Double Feature — EVER!

    Both the same genre, which opens up some fun cross-reference analysis for Carson.

    • Poe_Serling

      It would make for an awesome midnight marquee:

      (Vietnam Vampire)


      P R I M A L
      (Trailer Park Werewolf)

  • Mike.H

    doesn’t matter how you juggle the title, thumbs down, buddy.

  • Casper Chris

    I liked Black Autumn. Well written. Although I think two creature flicks in a row by the same writer is a bit much.

  • PoohBear

    Bit of hurry this weekend, only read the first 3 pages of each… except for one where I kept going until about page 7.

    My pick is Black Autumn. It had a clear, quick setup and I was intrigued to read more.

  • Eddie Panta

    My Vote goes to: BLACK AUTUMN.

    To be honest the competition wasn’t fierce. Although with the opening BLACK AUTUMN has it would be hard to beat most any weeks.

    My concern with Black Autumn is that it reads too much like a continuity script. The camera, at the time would be a BOLEX or a NIZO Super 8, although lightweight, it would continually run out of film. Also, it’s noisy, doesn’t record sound well without a separate MIC, IT’s almost impossible to shoot clearly in the dark if it’s handheld, even with high-speed film.

    A Super 8 hand-held would not be able to ZOOM – PAN an still obtain clear coverage the way the script suggests. That said, I have no doubt that this wouldn’t throw most those under the age of thirty who have little regard for non-digital mediums.

    The Super 8 plastic cartridge is fast and easy to load. However, I believe it would last about FOUR MINUTES — tops, depending how you were shooting.

    Audio would be recorded separately. Unless the film cartridges had a soundtrack along the edge of the film. But in newsreel footage of the vietnam war, camera and mic are separate. A lot of the SOUND you here on the History channel is fake.

    SOUND recording is as important as the visual recording.. There is no reason why sound can’t tell story on top of other visuals, even if they didn’t match dialogue.

    But the logic questions behind the film coverage is not really the main issue.

    The idea here would be to take advantage of the camera’s limitations and get creative with it.

    In a Found Footage story you have more room to play with the order of the scenes. The other thing that makes Found Footage movies attractive is that you can tell a high-concept story with a much smaller budget.

    But here in Black Autumn, it would appear that you would still need the budget of a Vietnam War movies. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see how a single camera man would be able to cover the shots the script suggests, especially during the actions sequences. Even if they could it would be hard to watch.

    “CAMERA fumbles awkwardly as Tony secures it to his stomach and begins to scale the shaft.”

    Is this continuity shot really necessary? I’m not even sure if the story would need to be shown with RAW FOOTAGE.

    “Sunlight hits the camera lens, glaring out the shot.”
    ( but at this point the camera man would simply remove his finger from the trigger)
    You’d have a lot more drop-outs.

    I didn’t really see the script take advantage of the FOUND FOOTAGE style. The story is told without missing pieces. The story structure is Beginning, Middle, and End, as with a traditional script.

    The viewer, the person who “found” the footage should only have access to pieces of the information, and not necessarily in chronological order. Perhaps something that would look like a highlight reel.

    Suspense should be derived from withholding information, the camera would be unreliable here for a complete visual sequence. In the script the camera comes off as omniscient.

    What We Don’t See, becomes as important as what We Do See, this allows for great mystery and the need for the audience or the character viewing the footage to participate in the mystery, to actually analyze the film footage.

    In Black Autumn it appears that all the information was caught on camera in full movie sequences. An character isn’t needed to go through and investigate the footage to piece together what really happened.

    In regards to budget, the script isn’t cheating shots in order to make the film cheaper to shoot. It appears you would still need to go to Vietnam to make this look real. A more narrow focus would allow you to tell the story through a SINGLE PERSON/PLAYER viewpoint. When the shit hit the fan the footage would scramble or cut out.
    The writing was clear and entertaining. I bought into the concept. I was really into the characters from the start and intrigued by a Vietnam Vampire.

    • Citizen M

      You made some interesting technical points. I like the idea of using gaps in the record due to film running out to heighten the tension and give the audience some work.

      • kenglo

        Excellent points actually. Technically speaking. But, in my mind, the premise and the story are what is going to keep it interesting. I don’t think today’s audience will realize 8mm had it’s limitations, as long as you keep the story taught and moving. Gosh, I remember doing fight scenes with 8mm, saving up lunch money to buy a couple of rolls of film…..ah, youth!

        • Randy Williams

          I’ve seen some of my family’s 8mm films shot on Kodachrome. That , type of film was characterized by deep, deep reds, a striking velvety intensity.
          Perfect for a vampire script.

        • Eddie Panta

          In a way your right, because it didn’t even occur to me until I finished reading the script. But it in the end it’s not really the found footage story structure.

    • Eddie Panta

      If I were a cameraman in Vietnam I wouldn’t want one of these for fear of being shot at. But this it what they looked like. It’s a BOLEX with a rifle mount and a trigger.
      Windup operated, no batteries. Very cool!

  • ASAbrams

    My vote goes to The Sleeper.

    I read 25 pages of each of the scripts, and then read all of the one that I thought was the most promising.

    The Sleeper – The characters aren’t memorable. Everyone seems to be just following along the plot just because. The story seems to be structured very well, however.

    The Fearless Advocacy of the Truth – I have no idea what this is about. Very talky. Not very engaging for me.

    Vampire Rabbits – I wanted this one to be good, but it didn’t have enough bang to be a feature. Very derivative and too schlock-y, even for a B-movie. I’d also get someone to proofread this for grammar.

    Black Autumn – Twenty-five pages in and there’s barely a hint that this is a horror film. Way too many characters that I couldn’t keep straight. Not enough tension.

    Firewake – I couldn’t wrap my head around the audience for this. It’s too cutsey for anyone but young girls, but young girls are definitely not whom this plot was written for. Anyway, I kept thinking “Kinda-Adult My Little Ponies.” The unicorns need personalities-bold ones. The only way to tell them apart is their colored markings and that isn’t enough.

  • Ange Neale

    Congrats on getting picked! I thought yours was technically well-written, but I really stumbled over the unicorns and technology side. If you’d written it as a children’s movie, I’d have not given that a second thought, but it’s far too dark for the littlies.
    Good luck with it!

  • Ange Neale

    Thanks for clarifications, JA. Good luck with it!