amateur offerings weekend

Well, the debate’s been raging for the past couple of years, and with big names like Halle Berry jumping into the TV world, one enormous question keeps coming up: Is TV surpassing film as the ‘better’ entertainment medium? In order to find out, we’ve included a knock-down drag-out battle between the two. This week’s Amateur Offerings gives us BOTH pilots and features. May the best type of entertainment win!

TITLE: No Guts No Glory
GENRE: Zom-Com
LOGLINE: When an experimental steroid turns a team of supreme athletes into super-zombies, mankind’s only hope of avoiding a zombie apocalypse is a ragtag group of fat campers.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Not another zombie script, right? Actually, this one subverts the genre in an interesting and fun way. If you give it a chance I think you’ll like it. I’d love to develop this script with a manager/producer/director and turn what I believe is a great concept into a great script.

GENRE: Strip-com
LOGLINE: Dodd and Ollie think they’ve hit the jackpot when they inherit a strip club, but they soon find out it just might be the worst place on Earth.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I notice you’ve been doing more TV stuff lately. Tina Fey’s sitcom and then the AOW of TV dramas. Maybe it’s time for an Sitcom amateur Friday? How can you resist? It’s one fourth the work of reading a screenplay!

Now that you’re completely sold on the idea, here’s why you should select my sitcom pilot. It’s an R-rated workplace comedy designed for pay-cable or the internet. My idea was to take the typical big, dumb network sitcom and give it a cable edge. Imagine something like “Cheers” with drugs and nudity. It’s in the vein of some of my influences: Peep Show, Eastbound and Down, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

GENRE: Action/Adventure
LOGLINE: A search and rescue ranger leads a mission to rescue his daughter when the group of archaeologists she’s working with are trapped by a dangerous wildfire.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Given that we’re in the season of big budget blockbuster releases, I thought this would be a great time to try my luck with Amateur Friday. Wildfire 3D is a script I’ve been working on for a few years now. I was able recently to send it in to WME and Zero Gravity. I love writing movies. I feel bad for people who don’t write movies. It’s an amazingly challenging process, so anyone who tries it is someone I admire. And Scriptshadow? What can I say, I wish I had discovered this blog years ago. Reading Carson’s work here is just fun.

TITLE (TV PILOT): Marble Falls
GENRE: Mystery/Thriller
LOGLINE: Two young boys are brought together and controlled, one through fear and the other through deceit, to assist in the wicked biddings of a mysterious entity that manipulates the citizens of a small Texas town during the early 1950s.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Pick up any pilot right now and I’ll bet the lead character is an adult, usually male, occasionally female. Not Marble Falls. Here it’s the kids who take center stage, something that is rarely the case (minus the laugh track shit on Disney and Nickolodean.) Think Goonies, but with a Twin Peaks vibe.

Marble Falls delves into the sins of a small Texas community and a mysterious entity, the “invisible hand”, who uses the weakness of kids to help him manipulate and wreak havoc. It’s homage to who I consider the master of storytelling, Stephen King.

But the best reason for reading Marble Falls is: you have two boys who you sympathize with, who you care for, who you fall in love with, who will murder people.

GENRE: Drama/Foreign
LOGLINE: After a mysterious foreigner appears in her life, a dedicated Japanese housewife finds her world changing as her means turn to goals and vice versa.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: So you’re big in Hollywood. But then again, so is your neighbour, and your neighbour’s neighbour. Now, if you’re wondering where you could possibly go from here, ask yourself: are you BIG IN JAPAN?

Delicately crafted to both appeal to Japanese traditions and sensibilities and to accomodate for western themes and values, “Momo” is an opportunity to rise to ocean-spanning acclaim as well as distinguish yourself amongst peers and neighbours alike.

The elevator pitch: “The Piano” meets “Brasil”…IN JAPAN

  • Linkthis83

    Okay soooo…Script Swirl Sunday?

    I’m pretty sure my vote will be voided today, but I vote nonetheless. I don’t read/breakdown pilots so that eliminates two scripts for me right away. Of the remaining three, Gazrow has written one of them and I am a fan of Gazrow.

    (*note: I only know the genre/title before reading. I do loglines/WYSRs after)

    I’ve read the early pages of these three movie scripts and I swear my vote is for the
    script I think has the best combination of story + writing + concept. We shall see what the others think. With all my disclaimers out of the way…

    My vote: NO GUTS NO GLORY (shocking, right?)

    P5 = “He’s not fat. He’s just big boned.” = I know this is a set up to Bobby Joe’s joke, but it bothers me because it’s a direct line from South Park. That doesn’t mean
    nobody else can ever say these words again in a movie/show, but it trips me up
    for that reason.

    Like in the movie trailer for HERCULES, we see Dwayne standing on the front lines before a battle and he asks if he’s going to die and the man replies “My time’s not come
    yet, not sure about yours.” Hmmm…where does that sound familiar? Oh yeah,
    BRAVEHEART. (And after paying much more attention to the HERCULES trailer this time the story is BRAVEHEART – Hercules just wants a “home and a family.” And
    then those are killed (I’m guessing) and he must get revenge. But then he’s fighting to free people. And big battles ensue. I wonder if someone he trusts will betray
    him. Hmm…anyway, back on task.)

    P18 = “They’re the last place…” = “They’re in the last place…”?

    SUMMARY: Okay, no bullshit. Out of the three scripts I read, this one is the one that reads like it’s got a real handle on its intention and story. Am I invested in this story? To a certain degree. I didn’t have to know what happened next, but I’m curious. Especially after having read the logline. I’m all in on this “concept”, that’s for sure. Feels like there could be some real fun in these pages. And I don’t mind scripts that try to have fun (TUESDAY’S GONE).

    Things that I usually have issues with are “logistics.” For example, when we cut to the scene of Robbie arriving at camp in a taxi, I think “Why is he in a taxi?” There’s no explanation. Nope, none at all. This feels off to me.

    Then I realize “How on earth did he go to fat camp when the previous scene his mom
    thought he was going to Frightfest?” This feels like your logistical solution to your own story set up problem. Just skip it :) Just skip over the challenging part. Which sometimes is the answer.

    Since I like to give writer’s the benefit of the doubt, and I’ve read your previous work so
    I know what you are capable of, I knew you addressed this somehow. So I searched the document to find the answer…ON PAGE 83. This might be my issue alone, but I feel you’re asking a lot to have us completely skip over the fact that a son would be going away to camp and the mom has no idea. Thinking he’s going to Frightfest. The other reason I didn’t buy it is because I didn’t know that Frightfest was an event that he would go away to for seven days. Also, who lets their sixteen year old kid just receive one ticket and send them to a place for 7 days all on their own?

    It was the taxi scene that brought all this stuff to the surface (even though I should’ve
    realized the 7 days at fat camp/frightfest problem without it). I mean, this
    implies that from the moment the mom went to work, they never had another
    conversation again until that phone call on page 83. I don’t buy it.

    I think it’s completely okay to have the mom on board with sending her kid to fat camp. I know the motivation comes from the stepdad, and you can still have him driving that motivation. The mom’s reluctant, but easily influenced by Bobby Joe. Plus it creates a better dynamic between Robbie and his mother. Especially if she thinks it’s a win/win scenario. Robbie gets a week of being healthy, and she and Bobby Joe get time to make their relationship better (even though Bobby Joe just wants a week of getting some ass).
    Everybody has their selfish motivations. And Robbie relents on the promise of Frightfest if he goes and he does it for his mother, and what she wants.

    And you can still have him arrive by taxi if you want, it just seems off. They don’t seem like a family with lots of money to spend so I immediately think a taxi is expensive. It’s also
    insincere. I would think that a kid going away, to anywhere for seven days, has a “goodbye” scene before he leaves.

    So if they are in a scenario where they don’t have a working vehicle to take Robbie to fat
    camp, have Bobby Joe say he has a cousin that’s got to do a delivery out that
    way and Robbie can hitch a ride. Cut to Robbie riding in the back of a truck with hogs arriving at camp. I don’t know!

    Good luck, Gaz.

    (While searching for the next time mom appears in the story, I did find that on page
    76 you had a character named MOM speaking, and I think it should be WOMAN
    (V.O.), based on the dialogue around it. Could be wrong.)


    P6 = “…this years state…” = “…this year’s state…”

    P7 = “…lost in woods?” = “…lost in the woods?”

    P11 = Is there a reason you didn’t give us the ages of MIKE and MRS. LOWELL (and why no first name for her?)?

    P22 = stopped

    SUMMARY: So I’m twenty two pages in, and I’m not invested. I think the main reason for
    this is that you have THREE opening scenes/situations occur in these first 22 pages.

    1 – We meet Will when he is young working with his father and “AVALANCHE!!!!!”

    2 – Then we meet Will as an adult missing his daughter’s science fair win because HE WAS SAVING A LIFE – which annoys the hell out of his wife – so much that she wants
    a divorce – apparently he’s saving lives so much that he’s missing things with
    his own family (it occurs to me that he could be lying about saving lives and could be having an affair – but I didn’t sense that. If this is true, my apologies for not picking up on it)

    3 – Then we meet MIKE and his wife MRS LOWELL – Six months after the previous scene – who end up in a situation where their lives are at stake – stuck in a river – and
    who should be introduced again…Will. He comes to save lives again. Man, I bet
    his ex-wife is pissed ;)

    The writing isn’t bad, but the story isn’t cohesive. In fact, I don’t even know where the story is going. In the logline you state that this is going to be about Will saving his daughter.
    You’ve definitely shown us that Will saves people, even if it hurts his own personal relationships. And this probably comes from not being able to save his dad in the opening situation (this is an assumption on my part based on what you’ve given thus far – could
    be completely wrong).

    I think the solution is to focus on ONE of those two opening scenes and then sprinkle the
    other one in throughout the rest of the story. Leaving some mystery to why Will does what he does is okay. Plus, with you knowing his backstory, it’ll come through the pages via his actions and dialogue. But especially his actions.

    Hopefully others will chime in with more useful feedback regarding your pages. I also felt like the SUV into the river/Rescue scene was too long. Could be trimmed.

    Congrats on the AOW and good luck.


    P3 = …nice grey and businesslike suit and tie. = grey, businesslike suit OR grey business

    P3 = enthousiasm = enthusiasm

    P4 = hight = height

    P5 = latin girl = Latin girl

    P7 = …starts rigth away = starts right away (honestly, you don’t need this sentence – we
    expect the car to start)

    P10 = unconductive = unproductive

    P10 = splurts out = blurts out

    P11 = stopped

    SUMMARY: I’m not really feeling these pages or this story. I did appreciate the opening dance dream sequence. Also, the story did get really interesting when she threw the soil onto the floor. I was intrigued by that. Sincerely. The rest, however, just isn’t hooking me. Congrats on making it into AOW and good luck.

    • IgorWasTaken

      LT83 wrote: “P5 = ‘He’s not fat. He’s just big boned.’ = I know this is a set up to Bobby Joe’s joke, but it bothers me because it’s a direct line from South Park. That doesn’t mean nobody else can ever say these words again in a movie/show, but it trips me up for that reason.

      IIRC, that line was also used in Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor” (1996) – in the dinner-table scene.

      I also vaguely recall reading that Mrs. Taft referred that way to her son William Howard when he was running for President in 1908.

      And I also think that, years earlier, Mrs. Dumpty said that about her son Humpty – though, as we know, he tragically suffered from osteoporosis.

      IOW = “He’s not fat. He’s just big boned.” predated South Park.

      So when Trey Parker and/or Matt Stone wrote that line, they were already saying it “again”.

      • Linkthis83

        “IOW = “He’s not fat. He’s just big boned.” predated South Park.”

        I wasn’t stating that South Park owns this phrase or are the originators of it. This phrase being a set up to another joke tripped me up because of South Park. It’s been a running gag on that show for years. It’s their popularization of that particular phrase that made me highlight it. I wasn’t condemning Gaz because of his usage of it.

        • Ange Neale

          Garfield the cat claimed he wasn’t overweight, just undertall.

          • BSBurton

            Good one ange! how ya been??

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, there’s too few hours in the day at the moment, Byron! I need me a clone. Or two would be perfect — one for domestic duties; one to work on my literature review, and I can kick back and catch up on some script reading.

            And you? Fighting fit, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I hope?

          • BSBurton

            Family reunion yesterday, writing today! Will have the ultimate draft of WIRE done in a few hours hahaha. It has changed a shit ton lol. Then on to 3 new project :)

            What kind of lit review are you working on?

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, of course — 4oJ long weekend for you guys. (Hope you’ve all had a great time!)

            3 new projects as well? Man, you must have clones of your own! When you get WIRE sorted, any chance of a read? neal0018 at gmail dot com — might be a while before I can get to it, though, but it’s fun reading, not heavy-duty.

            Lit review’s for my Ph.D. — it’s my first year. The draft’s due early September but I’m trying to get it done and dusted a few weeks early so I can move on to the research proposal itself and get Ethics Committee approvals under way.

          • BSBurton

            Good thinking, STARTING EARLY :)! Research proposal sounds like long tough hours lol.

            And sure, I’ll send Wire off once I finalize it. Should be 100 – 103 pages. I think the AOW draft was 112, so that’s good news!

          • Ange Neale

            Thanks for that, Byron!

          • bex01

            Oh no I’m so far behind in reading the draft you sent me Byron! Been so busy lately, my apologies, haven’t even had a weekend off over the last few weeks. Will try and get to it this week! Although it sounds like you’ve raced past that draft already anyway!

          • BSBurton

            I’ll send along the new 97 page draft! It’s much better :)

          • BSBurton

            Thanks again Bex!!

        • ArabyChic

          If it’s used so often and so much it doesn’t really matter who originated it. The point that should be taken is that it’s an old joke; you can do better.

          • Casper Chris

            If it’s a setup for a joke — like Link said — he’s fine.
            Moving on…

        • IgorWasTaken

          OK, fair enough. It’s just that in your post it struck me as a real note, rather than a heads-up (if that difference makes sense).

          • Linkthis83

            I was hoping the quote you pulled showed that I wasn’t faulting him for his usage. Otherwise, I would’ve told him to cut it or change it. I get you, though. It’s all good.

      • Magga

        It’s a normal thing to say. One might as well claim that no one can use “I’m off work at five” because it was already in another movie

      • BSBurton

        Good catch, Igor. I remembered the line but didn’t watch SOUTH PARK so I knew it had to be from something else!

    • cjob3

      You “don’t read/breakdown pilots?” Is that like, a religious thing? ;

      • Linkthis83

        Lol. No. I know you’ve got a script in this batch and for that I apologize.

        I’ve never gotten into pilot scripts. No interest in writing them so I haven’t been open to reading them. I felt that I wouldn’t have anything of value to offer since I’m not familiar with the craft of pilot writing (although it can also be argued that I add no value to movie scripts and that doesn’t stop me :)

        • Ange Neale

          I add negative value. Hmm. That doesn’t sound right.
          Subtract value. That’s better.
          Doesn’t stop me, either.

      • BSBurton

        which one is yours?

        • cjob3

          Hey- mine’s NSFW

          I actually sent Carson a slightly old version. This is the one I meant to send. Not hugely different, but if you’re going to read one- read this one. Thanks!

          • BSBurton

            Thanks for the link, I look forward to reading! Have you seen Californication? I’m curious as to your thoughts on that series.

          • BSBurton

            I LOVED THE POLICE JOKE… wouldn’t recommend keeping the beatin’ off to the angels.

      • brenkilco

        It is for me. I want answers to the ultimate questions.

    • Nick Morris

      Denis Leary used this in one of his stand-up shows too.
      “I’m not fat, I’m just big boned.”
      “DINOSAURS are big boned. You’re big assed!”

  • Randy Williams


    Like sitting by a Koi pond, quiet, meditative, most of what goes on is below the surface. Now and then a sudden splash.

    Exquisite evocation of the mental and physical landscape of a country.

    I read the whole thing and enjoyed it, mostly for those reasons.

    Beyond that, some things crossed my mind:

    Her outburst at him seemed to come out of nowhere. I might have missed a buildup to this, but that was my reaction. I’m close to a few Asian women. Those I know, throw their fragility at me like a porcelain vase, hoping I catch it and when I don’t and it shatters, the snakes come out and they’re mine to wrangle for quite some time. I guess I wanted her to throw her fragility at him a few times before erupting. Hope I was clear with my analogy. Yikes!

    Would have liked to have had something to laugh out loud at. The vacuum/throwing the dirt might do it visually, but on the page, it didn’t.

    Preconditioned, as I am, as a reader to always be searching out twists, I really
    thought I was going to be surprised that this was taking place during WW II and
    she was a victim of Hiroshima.

    And…the “coda” at the end with a “suggestion” for a trailer? I didn’t get it and found it “self-serving and distracting. It’s my time as a reader to sit back and digest everything I just experience. Stay away!!!

    • Casper Chris

      My reaction was very different from yours. Wonder if I missed something.

      I’m just going to re-post my comments from Friday June 27th:


      Hey Joshua

      I took a crack at this as I’m a sucker for all things Japanese (I believe the clinical term is ‘japanophile’).

      I gotta be honest with you (because anything else is doing you a disfavor), this feels very rough around the edges. And down the middle.

      You started off with a dream sequence. I actually quite liked this scene (the visuals) until I realized it was “just a dream”. Sure, starting with a dream is not necessarily a death sentence (it is the mark of an amateur though), but it did make me go “here we go… another dream opening” which is maybe not the reaction you want. Just keep that in mind.

      Obviously you’re using the dream to establish… her dream… her dream of becoming a dancer. I presume? So it’s not like it doesn’t serve a purpose. But maybe this could be conveyed in some other way? You’re certainly spending a lot of time hammering home this point elsewhere. Dancing with the plate (and yea, I get it… plate breaks = metaphor for her broken dreams). All those wistful glances cast on her little figurine dancer. To be honest, it’s a little too much. You don’t need to constantly beat us over the head with it. We get it… she wants to become a dancer.

      There are many scenes that feel superfluous or outstay their welcome. The sauna scene for instance. It’s almost a page and what’s the point of it? Her friends are talking (about stuff we don’t get) and she’s zoning out. The jogging scenes. What’s the point? I get the impression it’s improper for a Japanese housewife to jog about town (hence her nervousness), but if you’re trying to show the beginning of some sort of revolt (also with the throwing dirt on the floor earlier), it feels a bit tame. I think it’s one of these cases again where the writer is deep inside the head of the character and is trying to show some profound inner reversal based on tiny on-screen minutiae. However, it just flies over our heads. It’s too ambiguous visually. Too insignificant. And it just results in a very pedestrian experience.

      A lot of the dialogue feels stilted, but it might be because they’re Japanese. A cultural thing. Still, the dialogue scene at page 13 struck me as bizarre. Here’s the exchange between Momo and her husband (Toshi):

      Edward was very impressed with us.

      The foreigner?

      Not only did he place the order.He decided to stay here in Japan to oversee the execution. You might just be looking at the new assistent director of manufacturing.

      He decided to stay?

      Yes. He was intrigued by our culture and impressed by our efficiency.

      Our culture?

      Like your kimono. Our traditions, and also our vending machines. He even commended your tea.

      The tea?

      He spoke highly of your tea making ability.


      Why does Momo seem so incredibly dense all of a sudden? She keeps repeating Toshi. Are you trying to paint her as preoccupied with something else? It reads like she’s an old hearing-impaired lady. Very, very strange.

      Then there’s the dinner scene at page 20 which is even stranger. I had to do a double take as I thought I had accidentally scrolled back a few pages or something. But no, Toshi is reapeating himself almost word-for-word. This is some Groundhog Day shit. What’s going on? What’s the point of it? Speaking of Toshi, he seems like a caricature, something out of a slapstick comedy.

      Momo visits Aoki. They talk. About what I’m not sure. Again, what’s the point of this scene? What is it that Aoki needs fixed? How does it relate to the story? I don’t get it. Maybe I missed something earlier (sometimes readers miss shit), but I doubt it.

      Then there’s the whole breaking into the car dealer sequence. This could’ve been interesting if it wasn’t for the fact that her reason for doing it is so unbelievable. She wants to retrieve her little dancing figurine from her old car (which her husband has exchanged for a new one) because… she really likes that figurine. Okay, we get that it’s important to her (from all her wistful glances), but the thing is, we don’t care. It’s such an insignificant goal. What’s at stake here? What happens if she doesn’t get back her figurine? Can’t she just buy a new one? I don’t even care what the answer to that is. It’s not movie material.

      So this is where I tuned out.

      In addition to the aforementioned, there were some weird sentences, e.g.

      – “The house looks pristine and very very quiet.”
      – “The voice of her friends sinking away in the background.”
      – “She looks around if nobody has heard her.”

      I get that the house looks pristine, but how can it look quiet? She looks around if nobody has heard her? What does that mean? Do you mean to say ‘she looks around to see if anyone has heard her’ ? And I would probably write ‘the voices (plural) of her friends recede into the background’.

      There were also numerous spelling mistakes littered throughout, e.g.

      enthousiasm instead of enthusiasm
      doktor / doctor (repeatedly!)
      noone / no one
      rifles / riffles (as in ‘riffles through a book’)
      responsing / responding
      alltogether / altogether
      faillure / failure
      sneak peak / sneak peek

      I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing and good luck with it.

      • Breezy

        I took a crack at this as I’m a sucker for all things Japanese (I believe the clinical term is ‘japanophile’).

        Lol! Dude, get the fuck outta here… So am I!

        And I’ll leave it at that before this turns into something like Subway’s avocado commercial.

        If you thought the exchange between Momo and Toshi was bizarre the first time you must’ve went into the twilight zone when the exact conversation showed up yet again. That’s when I thought maybe I missed something. Momo says something to the effect of “yes, you told me that already” but other than that, it’s the same dialogue with an added bit at the end when toshi says “you’re a housewife and a married woman” or something. I already know they have a sort of mechanical marriage, so I don’t know what this reverberated dialogue is supposed to be establishing.

        All of Momo’s friends are some shallow ladies. In all the scenes with her friends, all they talk about are boobs, nails, blowin’ they man’s cash to prettify themselves. That’s their purpose.

        They usually get these things when their husbands get bonuses. Page six. Momo’s friend’s husband got promoted and what’s the first thing she does? Splurge on acrylic. Nail designs that is (Imma get my nails done, get my hair did).

        Momo, however, is the only one who isn’t preoccupied with these things. She has a dream. She’s different. How she can even stand being
        around these ladies I don’t know.

        I felt the scene with aiko and momo was kinda funny. That
        whole scene? They’re talking about BREASTS. Apparently her friends don’t know implants and things of that nature don’t concern Momo. Aiko’s implants weren’t done right and she’s in some kind of depression. She tells Momo she’s a poor thing because Momo apparently has small breasts too. Fin.

        • Casper Chris

          Then there’s the dinner scene at page 20 which is even stranger. I had to do a double take as I thought I had accidentally scrolled back a few pages or something. But no, Toshi is reapeating himself almost word-for-word. This is some Groundhog Day shit.

          Yea, exactly. I also touched on this in my comment:

          “Then there’s the dinner scene at page 20 which is even stranger. I had to do a double take as I thought I had accidentally scrolled back a few pages or something. But no, Toshi is reapeating himself almost word-for-word. This is some Groundhog Day shit.”

          Glad I wasn’t the only one who was confused by that.

  • Mike Caggiano

    My pick for the week, in a tough field – MARBLE FALLS.

    Both its strength and weakness lie in the mystery of what happened to Bodice, and it kept me reading til the end. The inciting incident on the bridge was a great. Two simple aspects elevate this scene. First, the urgency of traffic not being able to pass, and then, the arrival of a police cruiser brings more problems than help for Neal.

    It falls into the typical pilot problem – of having to set up multiple characters and story lines in a short amount of time. But the writing and plotting was confident, and I got the sense the writer knew where the story was going. I thought the Radioman was a nice touch, and utilized well to set the tone, pace and setting.

    My biggest suggestion would be to payoff what happened to Bodice at the end of the script. I really like the concept of identifying with children who will eventually become killers, but I think we need a clearer sense of this in the pilot. I was disappointed by the reveal that Neal did not know anything about the attack on Bodice, but then assumed that Toby would reveal his mental issues were a guise. Later, we’re introduced to George (an adult), and while the scene is well-written, I was hoping that it was a group of kids that was behind the mysteries of this town. Is it possible George could be a child, or at least in the form of a child?

    IMO, the toughest aspect of writing a pilot is making it stand on its own, while including enough mystery and open storylines to get an audience to tune in the following week. I would’ve like a little more explanation as to the supernatural forces at play and the mystery of Bo’s beating, but overall, this was a very strong script. Congrats.


    A very well-written script. The tone and writer’s voice is on display and consistent throughout. The question of what Momo would do with her marriage kept me reading til the end. I enjoyed how subtle the problems in her marriage were, as well as how understated her initial attraction to Edward was. But I felt as the story progressed, that both her internal and external conflicts should intensify. Her husband, Toshi, only really hits one note, so from an audience standpoint, leaving him is really a no-brainer. We should see a glimpse of the spark that brought them together in the first place.

    I’d also like to see more chemistry between Momo and Ed. An empty marriage is enough motivation to leave, but not enough to get the audience to root for her to end up with Edward.


    Got about twenty pages in. The writing was visual and fresh. The river rescue scene was intense – but two minor points. First, the oar felt too convenient. Second, we don’t know the Lowell family prior to the scene, so while no one in the audience wants to see a little kid swept down the river, we’re not as totally invested as we could be.

    But my reason for checking out was the opening structure. At 137 pgs it’ll have to be whittled down, and I don’t get the sense that the opening avalanche scene will be important enough to justify the time jump or the page count. Then, he has family issues when finding lost hikers takes priority over his daughter’s science fair. Is it possible to open with the river rescue and have that be the reason he misses his family commitment?

    If time allows, I’d like to read more of this. There’s a lot of detail that lends to the credibility of setting and characters.


    Got about twenty page in, and there were some laughs (especially the Uncle on video – about being in a better place, lol). I was hoping for something edgier, though. I was also hoping more of the humor would come from conflict and character, as opposed to rashes on strippers, and talking dirty about taking customer’s money.

    I’d work on your main character. Right now, he’s mildly conservation with a wacky friend that’s used to portray the hero as the straight man. But I’d make the hero more conservative, the polar opposite of the person who’d own a strip club. A woman? A minister? A 40-year old virgin? He inherits the club because he’s one of the few family members that didn’t write the uncle off, which makes perfect sense. But you need more conflict in your premise. It’s written that the uncle owned a chain of clubs, and that this one was his first. Maybe the hero did write off his uncle – Uncle left the chain of clubs and his fortune to others – but he leaves the original dumpy club to the hero as a lesson, disguised as a big fuck-you (think RAINMAN, Cruise’s father leaving him the rose bushes). Give the hero a financial motivation for having to keep the club. The comedy should come from this fish-out-of-water set up. Lots of potential here – good luck.


    Got about fifteen pages in. Nicely written, but nothing really jumped out at me. I enjoyed the four page VO about how the hero has always liked to be scared, but ten pages later, I couldn’t figure out what his love of fear had to do with the story up to that point.

    By just going off the first 15pgs – there’s two ideas battling with each other. His love of horror, and the fact that he’s fat (and gets sent to fat camp). I like how you tried to link them together, but it didn’t really work for me. Best of luck with it.

  • Randy Williams


    Read to page 19

    Fun, easy, cheery tone that instantly, for me, felt “movie”.

    Thoughts that passed my mind:
    Maybe put his yearning to go to “Frightfest” earlier. Perhaps he’s staring at a poster and girls nearby are avoiding him instead of going back to the school hallway again.

    p.12- give Miss Marshall an “entrance” Imagine someone takes this and makes a musical out of it. Would Miss Marshall just appear against the chorus without some “stage business”, a spotlight, a sweeping motif from the orchestra?

    p. 15- love this visual with Goliath and the twinkie. So many “trailer moments” already and I’m only on page 15.

    p.18- did not like this bingeing and purging bit in the least. Turned me off big time.

    p.19- Okay, I think I’ve been given a hint here of a plot point that honestly has disappointed me. I started off with ghouls and gore, a kid yearning for “Frightfest”, a Gothic mansion that screams creepy and I’m in for “missing athletes” and “super steroids”? Maybe I’m misreading something here. Still, I think this is dangerous here. Anyway, I felt, do I read on because this is good stuff, the kid is great, the visuals are great, there’s some stuff that I could see dropping like Hitler and purging, yeah, but do I go on? I decided, not to.

    • BSBurton

      I agree with what you liked and what turned you off. Good notes

  • Ange Neale

    Started on ‘Wildfire 3D’. Ditto Link’s comments, plus will add a few of my own (at p 23 so far but going back for more — I like sciencey stuff, so want to see where the archaeology angle takes us).

    P8 — Will: ‘This isn’t fare’ and Helen: ‘How isn’t that fare, Will?’ A ‘fare’ is what you pay the taxi driver. Replace with ‘fair’ — trust me on this; it’ll work better.

    P22 — ‘A KAYAK ORE’ and ‘He quickly grabs the ore…’ Ore is the metal-based minerals you dig out of the ground, export to China by the ship-load and they smelt it down, pay cheap labor to turn it into motor vehicles and beer cans and send it back at huge profit margins. An ‘oar’ is the thing you can use to propel a kayak or similar.

    Calling Mike Lowell ‘Mr. Lowell’ in the dialogue headers but ‘Mike’ when he’s referred to in the action / description lines gets confusing. Ditto Will calling the bartender ‘Jerry’ but he’s ‘Bartender’ in the dialogue header. Readers will thank you for consistency.

    Actually, I’d go further than Link has and question the need for the Lowell family and the whole bridge collapse / SUV in the river sequence for three reasons. Firstly, we already know Will’s job and we’ll apparently see him doing it during the wildfire. Second, mucking about with helicopters and a little kid stuck in raging whitewater with spruce logs and SUVs floating down it adds a/ a princely sum to the budget and b/ large elements of physical risk, especially where 10 year old actors stuck in whitewater adjacent to waterfalls are concerned. I expect a producer’s lawyers would take one look at it and shudder in horror. If the author really wants to stick with this whole family rescue sequence, get the adult Mike stuck in the river and let a grown-up stuntman do the hardest stuff. Hollywood’s going to be gun-shy about risking cast and crew after a death and injuries last year. Put a little kid in harm’s way and you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

    Sorry to be cynical, but there were a few things that seemed like fairly blatant product placements.

    Unless you’re hoping to direct it yourself (are you?), then all the camera angles and editing suggestions could be problematic. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I was under the impression spec scripts should try to avoid them at all costs because it annoys the hell out of potential directors and editors when writers to tell ‘em how to do their jobs.

    Diving back in now…

    • IgorWasTaken

      Ange Neale wrote:

      Calling Mike Lowell ‘Mr. Lowell’ in the dialogue headers but ‘Mike’ when he’s referred to in the action / description lines gets confusing. Ditto Will calling the bartender ‘Jerry’ but he’s ‘Bartender’ in the dialogue header. Readers will thank you for consistency.

      Great point. Same goes for objects and animals. If you intro “a black cat”, don’t change it to “the ebony feline pounces on a mouse.”

      • Ange Neale

        Thanks, Igor!
        And sluglines, too.

    • Randy Williams

      You never heard of CGI? They can put a herd of elephants in the water if they want.

      • Ange Neale

        Oh, bugger — I should know better than writing shit at 2 o’clock in the morning. Good point, Randy. My bad.

  • BSBurton

    Keep work on this story. I think it’s really unique. That’s half the battle in the biz :)

    • astranger2

      … there are no degrees of uniqueness… ; )

      • IgorWasTaken

        Well, yeh. A peeve of mine, too.

        And yet, “really” can mean “very” (which would be incorrect grammatically), but can also mean “truly” (which would be correct grammatically).

        • BSBurton

          Igor, you’re truly awesome!

        • astranger2

          I’m not sure. I’d have to dust off my Strunk and White, but either way wouldn’t it qualify as a modifier? … I guess it could be interpreted as not being “falsely” unique? … still.

          Words change and devolve, evolve, “irregardless.” Pejorative or semantic drift. As in the word, “hopefully.”

          I’m not even sure why it bothers me when people use “unique” incorrectly. Or when they use “better” when comparing three or more persons, teams, or whatever… ; )

          • IgorWasTaken

            I’d reply, but I’m too busy waiting for my local TV station to provide me with the very latest news.

      • BSBurton

        You’re even more unique lol

  • Randy Williams


    3D implies latest tech, visual spectacle. Stuff thrown at our heads right and left. Fun time!

    I read to page 40, nothing was thrown at me.

    Felt similar to a benign TV movie for a rainy day. Held my interest, but every working writer in Hollywood could probably whip one of these out if so assigned. What makes yours stand out?

    I really liked the bridge/water rescue pages. Really put me there, however as much as you “direct on the page” you don’t seem to use too many closeups and I yearned for those there. Those pages were thrilling but the opening, which should have been more thrilling were not for me. Imagine, instead, the dad knows the avalanche was coming. (by the way, the kid sounds too young for 12) so the dad does a “Taken” thing, starts giving his kid instructions, pulls all the heavy packs and stuff off his son and weighs his own self down with it, ties shit all over his son’s head to protect it, ties a long rope to himself and to his son, tells him when it’s over if you can hear your own breathing, start digging the opposite of where the rope is going. We see the smarts of his dad, his will to sacrifice himself for his son. What the kid will be faced with when all of this is over.

    Look at ways, perhaps, how movies spin a generic event, place it in your unique setting which you capture best.

  • Nicholas J

    My vote goes to MARBLE FALLS, followed closely by MOMO.

    I read 25 pages of this script and pretty much absolutely nothing happened… and I loved it! This script feels like drinking mint tea outside on a cool summer day. I think it really speaks to the power of simplicity. I like the main character, I like the atmosphere, I like the culture behind it, I like the visuals, and I like the anticipation of where things are going. I can tell there is something strange going on with this character of Momo, and that’s the main driving force behind this script. It is all pretty straightforward, yet entirely mysterious. I definitely plan on reading more. Though, with all that said, I’m not sure this is a suitable script for a review from Carson. This doesn’t really seem to be his kind of thing and I think that might affect the rating negatively. But sometimes he surprises me (Blue is the Warmest Color) so who knows.

    I love the inclusion of 3D in the title. I also like the premise of this. The drama of a father having to save his strained relationship with his daughter as well as her life could make for a good combo. However, I bailed after the first 12 pages. It read as slightly unrealistic and cliche. I don’t usually judge based on plot details, but the story beat of a father missing out on his kid’s school stuff because he has to work has been through the wringer so many times in film that you have to put a unique spin on it or else it’s just flat. And here, the father was literally saving a man’s life instead of being at his daughter’s science fair, and the wife says she’s going to lawyer up over it? That’s a little contrived. I get their relationship might already be boiling over, but still. Overall, I just feel that the writing isn’t there right now.

    I’ve read a previous draft of this script and gave gazrow notes on it. I’m a fan of gazrow and he seems like a good guy, so I feel bad not giving this one my vote, but I prefer to remain unbiased. I think he has a great writing style and some good comedic chops. (Page 36: “I can run the hundred in ten (minutes) flat.” Page 53: “What am I gonna tell my mom?!”) I think this is a fun and entertaining script. But the problems I have with it remain the same as the previous draft. Primarily, while it is funny I feel it is lacking in story depth which results in a “jokey” vibe, and secondly, I can’t see this as a film a large audience would watch. It’s aimed at young teens, but the content would probably give this an R rating. So if your target audience isn’t old enough to go see your movie, how can you expect to make any money?

    I definitely get the Steven King vibe from this. I can also tell the writer has spent a lot of time on this script. It feels very detailed and descriptive without being overwritten, which makes for a great read. Similar to Momo, I like the atmosphere and visuals here, though it is a very different setting. I like the horror/thriller feeling to it, and though I didn’t read the whole thing, there seems to be a unique concept at the core. It’s refreshing seeing things outside the typical vampire/zombie/haunted house range of horror. This could go down a very creepy Children of the Corn type road, which would make for a pretty unique show. It might be a little over-the-top when it comes to the racism aspect of this (the Sheriff threatens to beat up a little American Indian boy?) but I haven’t read enough to know. Overall, I like the direction this is going and it feels very unique and fresh.

    Great title and concept. I can envision a lot of future episodes with this concept. The pitch of a more adult version of Cheers is a good one. However, the execution of the pilot left a lot to be desired. We are just thrown into the strip club world without any buildup. I like hitting the ground running, but this is too much too fast. But at the same time, there isn’t much story here. It’s a lot of raunchy jokes with not enough substance. There is a fair amount of comedy in here, but feels sort of jokey. Also, the main characters Dodd and Ollie are basically a retooled Mark and Jeremy from Peep Show, which the writer states they were influenced by. It makes for a good contrast, but isn’t the most original setup. So, an entertaining read, but not quite there for me yet.

  • Randy Williams


    I honestly couldn’t get past page one.

    I think it’s because I’m just suddenly, without warning, dropped into this discussion about
    jerking off and I couldn’t swallow it. Maybe some visuals first to get our bearings, some
    indication of the “irreverence” of this funeral. Visuals on attendees in revealing attire, the coffin draped by a push up bra and daisies? Something… and then smack us with the dialogue?

    Leaving this for others to chew on.

    • Nicholas J

      I liked this joke. At first we think, wow, what an off-putting thing to say at someone’s funeral. But then as the punchline we see the crowd and their reaction and realize it’s rather fitting. Not sure the writer intended the joke to work that way, but that’s how I took it.

    • cjob3

      You couldn’t swallow the jerking off? :D

    • Rick McGovern

      I could’t get past page one either. I personally couldn’t get on board with “He was jacking off to me jacking off, so of course, we became good friends…” huh?

      So, what, you have a casual conversation after you catch someone guy jacking off to you? Or is the casual conversation during the act of jacking off. lol don’t buy it.

      • Randy Williams

        Thank you. Has everyone forgotten the men at the urinal scandal on AOW?

        Someone DARED to write a script where men were actually TALKING to each other at urinals and the writer was beaten and left for dead outside of Carson’s door.

        All of a sudden it’s okay for men to talk to each other while jacking off?

        What double standards here.

        • Rick McGovern

          Men at the urinal scandal? lol I don’t remember that.

          At least they weren’t jerking each other off while talking about last nights World Cup.

        • Midnight Luck

          so far, the consensus is:
          it still isn’t o.k. for men to be talking at the urinal. It is one step away from, feeling up your sister on Easter with the Grandparents around.

          and I am not dead, just passed out after drinking heavily, & praying at the porcelain altar.

          That scene caused such a ruckus. I should have taken it up a notch.
          I like the scene. I stand behind it.
          Everyone else hates (has serious problems with) it.
          Oh the drama.

          • astranger2

            Men do talk with one another at the urinals on occasion…

            On Roseanne, on one Halloween, she went into the local bar, bearded and dressed as a man. Despite Jackie’s protests, she went into the men’s room and standing at a urinal, proceeded in trying to make glib conversation.

            Men came in and out. No one answered her. She finally said, aloud, “Oh, I get it. It’s like being in an elevator.”

            It can happen. It’s just not normal protocol. It’s a “privacy” thing. And I don’t think a man has ever put a urine-soiled hand on my shoulder… at a urinal…

            … just sayin’… ; V )

          • Rick McGovern

            Let’s just hope having conversations while jerking off doesn’t become the norm ;)

          • astranger2

            Yeah, hope that doesn’t out of hand… ; )

          • Midnight Luck

            Well, as I have said numerous times on here,
            If them’s the “rules”, the rules are different in the movies. I have been noting as I see this happen in things I am watching and now have seen well over 50 (I forget the numbers now, could be over 100 by this time, I have it written down here somewhere) instances in movies and TV I have watched where men talk to each other in the bathroom. It happens in women’s rooms, men’s rooms a lot. Yes much of it happens for laughs, but not always. Sometimes it is in a drama as well.
            So in movies it is ok, but in “real life” no? never happens? I still disagree.
            They should install Urinals in Elevators.

          • astranger2

            It’s not about “rules,” it’s about insecurities and protocol.

            Personally, I will glibly talk about the weather, or the viability of the Oakland Raiders chances of making the Superbowl at ANY opportunity to be mindlessly verbose…

            I usually receive blank stares. So it’s a conditioned response… like elevators.

            I remember, while at a “corporate” urinal, talking to a new associate at a firm about a client — he responded, quite vociferously: “Don’t talk to me while I’m pissing!? I can’t piss when you’re talking!”

            He seemed quite shaken… this was only ten years ago… sooooo…

            But — no one, NO ONE would place their hands on someone’s shoulders while at the urnials… soiled or not… that would be basically saying: “Let’s GO!!!”

      • cjob3

        Hey, I totally get and respect why you and Randy bailed after the church scene. I wanted to throw down the gauntlet early with that scene, showing that this is depraved world of perverts and straight-laced Dodd is a stranger in a strange, sticky land. The fact that Chester and this biker became friends from this ‘meet (not) cute’ is of course, ridiculous. (As is the fact the biker thinks that its “Needless to say.”) but that, to me, is half the joke. FWIW, another reader told me he ALMOST bailed after the eulogy but was “glad he stuck with it.” True story. Thanks for the thoughts either way.

  • Nicholas J

    “What the fuck’s a washing machine doing in a pub? Jesus, I need a drink.”

    • cjob3

      The line I always quote is when he shoplifts a candy bar. “The secret ingredient is crime.”

  • peisley

    From the loglines only, I pick No Guts No Glory or Not Safe For Work. Not sure if the latter is the best title, but the concept fits the sitcom setup. No Guts has a very good title that ties in to the concept and it sounds potentially funny. The others could be interesting, too, but need more punch in the logline before I’d consider reading them. Momo sounds very cerebral. That can be hard to sell in a logline and it may need more of a visceral hook.

    • IgorWasTaken

      I agree with you about the NSFW title being not so good. (And I have read the script.)

      • cjob3

        It was originally called “The Grind.” Other candidates include “Strut” and “Sex You Up.” My friend likes the meta-title “Strip-Com.” People have suggested calling it Skanks, but I think that would alienate a lot of people. (The script is probably off-putting enough.) I tried to pay off the title with the last line- but I guess you know that already. Anyway, Joe Johnson’s next film is about a killer in an office building called “Not Safe For Work” so I am considering a title change. I’m open to suggestions. Thanks for the read!

        • Randy Williams

          How about that movie classic, “Inherit The Sin” ?

  • Randy Williams


    I can see this one getting lots of love. Writing is fluid, evocative, authentic, leaving no stone unturned in the teaser and first act that I read.

    However, somehow I was left cold. I’m not sure if that’s the intentional chilly vibe of a mystery thriller that left me that way or some element that was missing for me. Maybe I didn’t read far enough, just wasn’t hooked. Now that I’m finished looking at all the scripts, I’m really anxious to read what others are saying about this one. That’s a plus, I guess, too.

  • Citizen M

    Read three scripts. So far, NOT SAFE FOR WORK gets my vote. Will read on.

    Read to page 30. Well written and a fast read, but college humor is not really my thing. I belong to the “slow zombie” camp. It’s hard for me to accept zombies with super-powers. The script started okay. The scenes of Robbie at home were quite funny and believable. But once we got to Fat Camp it became too zany or anarchic for me. I also felt the story needed another layer. I couldn’t see in what direction it was going to develop. There didn’t seem to be a theme or central problem for the protagonist to overcome, apart from, presumably, survival.

    Read the whole script. It had some genuinely funny moments. “Skanks! Home of the Homely Hoe!” is a cool title and a promising concept and one can see how it might play out over several episodes with a rotating cast of customers. One would like to see a typical teleplay format with Teaser, Act 1 etc, and at 35 pages it seems light for a pilot. Presumably it’s for a half-hour episode. The writer seems to have a feel for comedy but might benefit from a collaborator for story and structure.

    Read to page 23. An exciting river rescue spoiled by too many camera directions. The script is more about how to shoot the scene rather than what’s going on in the scene. Also, I feel a 23-minute prologue is too much, assuming a minute a page. All we’ve established is Will is a man of derring-do with a teenage daughter and a disaffected wife. It’s all setup. The story proper hasn’t started yet. It needs to develop faster.
    Niggles: That isn’t fare/fair; kayak ore/oar

    • astranger2

      The “slow zombie” camp? LOL.

    • Citizen M

      Read to page 17. Heavy going. Period piece, 1951. Why? It pushes up the cost. There’s an Indian boy, a handicapped boy who sorta befriends him and refers to “George”, presumably the mysterious entity who will protect them against the bullies and the nasty sheriff. The deputy is riding out near the dam looking for… what? If its the missing boy why is he there? Searches are done in a coordinated manner. It should be part of a plan that he’s out there. Caroline and her daughter Grace hear a scream. They are in their house. It is not stated where the house is. Is it out in the country, or in the town? I’m having a hard time visualizing the scene. The scream is mentioned in the same scene as the deputy, yet he doesn’t seem to hear it. I give up.
      Niggles: daid my peace/piece; hands his reigns over/reins; Hester and Bodice/boys named after girls or girls’ clothing.

      Read to page 48. I’m really enjoying it. A very delicate story about how tiny little missteps can lead presumably to a big disaster. Momo is an engaging character, cautious yet daring, conformist yet a rebel. Would not attract a big audience but could be made cheaply and might be worth a punt if the right cast could be found.
      Niggles: Noone/No one; cursive is Japanese/italics are; doktor/doctor; rediculous/ridiculous
      Suggestion: Give the Japanes businessman on page 9 a name. I kept mixing him up with Toshi who is also a Japanese businessman.

  • Randy Williams

    My vote goes to BREAKING THE CHAIN

    Just kidding. I’m just torn. This is a difficult vote this week. Carson has pitted pilots against features and “may the best type of entertainment win” I’m not up to the challenge.

    I work in a job where I get cuts to my skin on a routine basis. Most of the time I don’t notice them until the blood is dried. I needed to let what I read today simmer in my brain for awhile before I came to a decision. Doing that has made it clear which has stayed with me the most.

    Surprisingly, my vote goes to WILDFIRE 3D!

    • Linkthis83

      “My vote goes to BREAKING THE CHAIN”

      Classic. Well done, sir.

    • Ange Neale

      Ouch! Sounds like you need a suit of chain mail, Randy!

    • Rick McGovern

      I couldn’t passed the dialogue on Wildfire. Think I stopped on page 6? Never felt natural.

  • andyjaxfl

    My vote goes to NO GUTS NO GLORY.

  • astranger2

    Not Safe For Work

    I know it’s a sitcom, but some elements like the name of the strip club, Skanks, are a little over the top even for an edgy piece. I think the concept is great though, and a raunchy
    Cheers with a leering Norm, and other assorted comic miscreants could be a gold mine of humor. Based on the concept alone, I would definitely give it a few shots to develop.

    (I agree with others on the title. I’d find something better. Skanks is actually better – short, and snappy, and tells you everything you need to know… although I think you would have to use that as the “nickname” for the club, which later the proprietor regrets after meeting the “kind-hearted” strippers, or whatever…)


    Nice action visuals, and the script has a professional look and read. I liked the opening avalanche, and subsequent family tension. In the first fifteen pages I read, however, none of the characters popped for me… and I appreciate more character-driven pieces. Good
    work though.

    Marble Falls

    “Think Goonies, but with a Twin Peaks vibe.” — Intriguing enough tagline to entice one into your world.

    Another good job in writing. I enjoyed your characters and found the dialogue rich, and colorful. In the pages I read, I think your story and protagonists live up to the promise of your logline. As with Not Safe for Work, something I would tune into for at least a few


    I’ve probably watched more Japanese cinema than 95% of the board. Usually, regardless of subject matter, or time period, I am drawn immediately into Japan’s mysterious culture. Even in Departures, about a young mortician who prepares people for their “journey,” I was immediately immersed into that world.

    Many Japanese films have exotically, bizarre endings – at least to Western sensibilities. It is said if “westerners” can appreciate a Japanese film, it is not truly Japanese.

    It’s also one of the reasons Kurosawa’s films, which I love, are criticized as not reflecting the true Japanese ideology… he was too popular and “understood” in the West.

    (For those Kurosawa fans that have never seen it, Dodes Ka Den IS a masterpiece.)

    I only read ten pages in, and I agree with others it is extremely well-written. Others seem to be enraptured by it, so perhaps it develops more powerfully later… Nicely ambitious, regardless.

    No Guts No Glory

    Zom-coms are almost at the polar opposite of genre types I enjoy. So when I read No Guts No Glory, I was pleasantly surprised. I think good writing surpasses genre, and the lively
    humor and unique concept drew me in immediately.

    I have always hated zombie movies, and despite pleading by friends, have never watched Walking Dead. I mean, who can’t out-run a zombie!? How scary is that?? Werewolves, vampires, Hydra-headed aliens – those are some scary creatures! Zombies? … not so much… A grandmother on a walker could outrun them.

    So the high concept of Olympian Super Zombies caught my attention. And I’m glad it did, because for me, it’s a real comic read. The characters are funny, and unique.

    Initially, it would seem there is “characters overload.” But they have such colorful names, and character-unique dialogue, it’s a non-issue.

    You have TANK, SLIM, BRAINS, BEAST, MEAT and an array of others, each with their own detailed personalities.

    Some really good scripts this week, but the laughs in this zom-com make it an smile-infested page turner. ; V )


    • Nicholas J

      One zombie is not really scary as they are an easy opponent. But the real strength of zombies lies in their persistence and numbers. A zombie will easily beat you in an endurance race. And if you encounter a horde of zombies, well you better hope that you are surrounded by miles of open land. If you’re in the city, a dense forest, or worse, indoors, good luck!

      • astranger2

        I apologize. I seem to be shockingly ignorant in my zombie awareness. I will henceforth treat them with the respect they deserve. ; )

        • Nicholas J

          As the saying goes: Don’t speak ill of the (un)dead!

  • Nate

    Not Safe For Work. I like the concept and it was pretty funny (if you like raunchy jokes), but I think it would be better as a feature length script. I’m not sure how much you can get out of a 23 episode, half-hour comedy based on the premise.
    I think giving Dodd some sort of financial trouble would be a good way of upping the stakes (someone already mentioned this earlier). If the strip club isn’t successful, he gets further and further into debt.
    I have a feeling that Griff’s debt is being set up as a problem Dodd and Ollie will need to resolve later on, but it would be better if we get a handle on the problem straight away. Perhaps show the gangster Dodd owes the money to, storm into the club after he skips out and threaten the young guys. As far as the gangster is concerned, Griff’s debt is now their debt and if they don’t pay up, he starts breaking fingers.
    So not only does Dodd have to sort out his own personal money problems, he has to pay off Griff’s debt too. For example Dodd has the chance to receive a huge monetary bonus that would allow him to send his parents on holiday for their anniversary by meeting with a high profile client for his company. Except the gangster wants him and Ollie to help one of his men buy drugs from a big time dealer at the strip club the same time as the meeting.
    So Dodd and Ollie put their heads together and come up with a solution. They show the client a good time at the club before the drug deal takes place. However another problem arises when the gangster’s right hand man becomes sick so Dodd and Ollie use the client (who is hammered) to pose as the buyer.
    But then, the cops show up and arrest everyone, so Dodd and Ollie must use the money to bail themselves out. Eventually the situation is resolved when the client, who tells the guys they gave him the best night of his life, signs on with Dodd’s company (earning him the bonus which he uses to repay the gangster) and offers to fly his parents out to his own private island for their anniversary. Everyone’s a winner. Until the next time.
    That’s how I’d do it. A mini-story (Dodd meets client) told within an overall story (Dodd must pay back the gangster and run the club).

    • cjob3

      Thanks for the thoughts, Nate! Good stuff.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to all the AOW candidates on this holiday weekend!
    In between grilling marathons, I’ll do my patriotic analytical duty.

    Honorable Mention: MOMO

    Always super stoked to read for one of our regular contributors!

    P. 4 I’d buy more into the leg break if there was some build up.
    For that beat to ring true, I need to know WHY girls squick him bad.
    As a “just cuz” exposition, it clunks for me.
    This is a good opportunity to show us more of Robbie’s flaws.

    P. 6 Strange that stepdad gets a name, but your protag’s mom doesn’t.

    P. 7 Too many sitcom tropes for the redneck family unit. Very overdone.
    Seen this kind of family dozens of times.
    I skimmed the section after the litany of cliches on display.

    P. 8 The fish period joke made me laugh.

    P. 11 Random hatred from strangers reads off putting.
    How is that funny that a cab driver berates children?
    Why would Robbie even be in a cab? Don’t his parents own vehicles?
    I can’t figure out why this scene needs to be in the script.

    P. 12 I feel like you could’ve started the script here.
    The first dozen read like BACKSTORY. There’s not much HAPPENING.
    I’d rather start here, AFTER a zombie-teasing COLD OPEN at Camp Fat.
    Then I’d consider going right to the parents dropping off Robbie.
    Hell, you can start in the car on the way there…

    We meet Robbie. He’s SUPER EXCITED. He’s going to FRIGHTFEST!
    Robbie gushes in the car about it to his unenthusiastic family.
    But we wouldn’t suspect a double cross. They’re just not into horror.
    So, that’s how we learn about his love of movies and zombies.
    The family plays along until the reveal — FAT CAMP.
    Robbie’s dressed for a horror con, even the fat kids make fun of him!
    Instant sympathy for this kid. We don’t need girl cooties and traction gags.

    And it’s the same place we saw a TEASER earlier of potential zombie mayhem.
    This trajectory clearly sets up Robbie as a sympathetic protag.
    While begging to not be dropped off to his parents, we learn more about him.
    We sympathize with him even more. You see where I’m going with this.
    You can accomplish all of that in a handful of pages with this set up.
    This feels more real than a joke about going to fat camp for your birthday.

    In general, there’s not much conflict on the page.
    The plot forces things on Robbie, but no one’s directly butting heads.
    And when there’s no opposing forces driving scenes, they tend to read flat.

    Stopped reading around page 20. No zombies yet. So, I skimmed ahead.
    The first real zombie in the script isn’t until page 30.
    That’s a big burden of investment plus a passive protag with no clear GOAL.

    The script also reads pretty close to an upcoming studio project…
    Scouts vs. Zombies:

    Reconsider how you open this tale. Make things happen sooner.
    Give us short scenes that are long on informing the reader.
    I know Gaz has what it takes to refine his script.


    • ElectricDreamer

      WILDFIRE 3D —
      P. 1 Is Will kidding about having frostbite? Hope so. Dad laughed it off.

      P. 1 Will’s great outdoors line sounds like something a FATHER would say.

      P. 1 Seems odd his son looks up to him so much, but is clueless about the job.
      Why not have Will be knowledgeable as he’s TESTED by his father?
      Then the reader gets all the exposition they need in a clever package.
      Which also tells us that James is an attentive dad, a positive role model.

      P. 2 Mr. Paxton is quick to blow off potential danger with stilted dialogue.
      These kinds of scenes die when the supposed “experts” act like idiots.

      P. 3 Sons do not question their panicking fathers when they say RUN.
      Just have the kid be paralyzed with fear after he’s told it’s an avalanche.
      That makes much more emotional sense than what’s written.

      P. 3 There was nothing in your opener to suggest it took place in the PAST.
      So your PRESENT DAY action line reads jarring.

      P. 4 What’s an FJ CRUISER? Something special about this kind of vehicle?

      P. 5 This scenario is super old hat. It never works for me.
      Especially when the road conditions are terrible.
      This women is condemning him, basically saying…
      Risk your life by driving recklessly in bad weather. Doesn’t make sense.

      P. 6 I think the scene would play better if we see Jenna win.
      She’s onstage. Everyone’s clapping. She tries to put on a happy face.
      If you’re going to use this stale set up, fill it with HUMAN EMOTION.
      I don’t care about the ranty mom, but that girl would get my sympathy.

      P. 7 Helen is a MEGA SHREW with a side of sociopath here.
      She berates her husband for saving lives at his job.
      She wants him to drive unsafe to be at an event that happens every year.
      There’s nothing about her behavior that rings true.

      P. 8 And we go right into the lawyer. I’m done here.
      The manufactured scenarios read false. The human behavior makes no sense.

      Be more dramatic following up your big avalanche opener…
      Cut to another dramatic situation, a kid in trouble maybe.
      We see him from a distance, maybe even assume it’s little Will until…
      You REVEAL it’s adult WILL helping a kid out, just like he needed long ago.
      Who isn’t going to empathize with him taking on that noble job?
      Show us these important characters beats and humanize the wife, please.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 2 It’s obvious parents would be worried sick with their kid missing.

      P. 9 Four pages of bullying reads way too long.
      Pilots are all about getting the story data out there fast.
      This scene drags and doesn’t tell me much considering how long it is.

      P. 10 We need more bits of weirdness like the sheriff and Bodice.
      That’s only one mysterious thing other than an off-screen murder in ten pages.
      That’s not enough for a show about a weird place. The read bogs down for me.

      P. 15 Caroline and Grace feel like a slice of Carrie White and her mom.
      And again, I’ve seen this trope played out a bunch in these kinds of tales.

      P. 17 Finished Act One. I’m not getting invested in the story or characters.
      I feel like all I’m reading is plot related events.
      I couldn’t tell you Neal’s favorite sport or anything about any one kid.
      There’s a bully and some dumb racists. A child murder and a weird billboard.

      Also struggling to figure out who’s the main character is here.
      No one character dominates screen time here, even a little.
      Someone’s always at the head of these kinds of stories. Mikey in The Goonies.
      Whether it’s someone prominent in the town or a new outsider.

      P. 20 Raj’s proactive line reads pretty anachronistic here.
      Not something that sounds like a family from the 1950s.

      P. 22 When did Bodice go missing? Did I miss that in the script?
      Why didn’t the reader get a TEASE of what happened to Bodice.
      Now would be a good time to BREAD CRUMB out more juicy plot details.
      If Bodice was the boy in danger, wouldn’t we recognize his voice at Grace’s?

      P. 22 It’s not “sweet iced-tea” here in the colonies, just sweet tea.

      P. 23 Now I’m even more confused. They suspected it was Bodice at the door.
      And Grace is dating Bodice but didn’t recognize his voice.
      Why wouldn’t she let her own boyfriend in?
      Did she intentionally ignore her boyfriend. None of this adds up for me.

      P. 26 Three pages on that pack of cigarettes scene and I’m done here.
      Far too much plot with very little character development so far.
      Both of these need to be developed simultaneously in a pilot.
      Too much burden of investment without much entertainment.

      Check out the pilot for UNDER THE DOME, it sets itself up much faster.
      We get a sense who’s the core of the town and plenty of wacky plot in a hurry.


      • K__David

        Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment Electric. All really good points. Last half of the script puts the focus mainly
        on Neal and Toby. But then again, it was
        my job to get you there. It’s always good
        to know where a reader stops.

    • ElectricDreamer

      MOMO —
      P. 2 I think you mean ITALICS words are spoken in Japanese.

      P. 3 “a pan THAT sizzles”

      P. 4 Don’t want to keep pointing them out, but you’ve got a lot of typos here.
      One more thing: try to avoid word repetition within the same sentence.

      P. 5 I like the dirt throwing beat, helped me get closer to your protag.

      P. 7 Ok, I’m getting into your downtrodden protag more and more.
      You got me to sympathize with her when the “friends” dig at her.

      P. 7 More excessive word repetition. Consider using a thesaurus.
      There’s lots of words in the English language you can use to describe a car.

      P. 9 I’ll assume that FUCHS is pronounced like “dukes”.
      Is this an intentional aside to the reader? If not, lose the confusing name.

      P. 15 Momo has an almost stupefying response to potential sexuality.
      Is that what you were going for in this scene with Toshi?

      P. 17 Might be more intriguing if Edward comes by Momo’s house.
      But he spots her heading out to jog and he FOLLOWS her.
      The idea of someone watching Momo appeals to me here.

      P. 18 Yeah, the two to tango line reads better after him watching her.
      He seems to like her. Ed watches, then maybe he gets a call from home/work.

      P. 19 Just occurred to me that Momo saying Fuchs a lot might come off comical.
      This joke was also used in one of the Austin Powers sequels.
      So, I’m not sure why you have it wedged into a delicate tale like this one.

      P. 26 I’d like to see more of what supposedly drives Momo, dancing.
      Where’s the magic realism tone you promised in your opener?
      Been a while since that magical promise you made at the start.

      P. 28 I’m stopping here. My spectator sports addiction’s about to start.
      The technical errors are thick, you need to make it easy on the reader.
      I’d very much like to read this again once you get your prose refined.
      The narrative tug is there for me, I connect with Momo’s sense of sacrifice.
      She’s a quiet dreamer, but I wish she also had a GOAL I could connect with.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 2 I dig the tone so far, you’ve gotten some chuckles out of me.
      It’s the way these porn-related people casually talk. It works.
      It works because, they’re still human beings while saying these things.

      P. 2 Ollie’s dialogue needs a word: You WORK too hard…

      P. 4 That’s one heck of a deathbed video.
      Something that DeVito’s Lethal Weapon 5 villain would do.
      And the “No offense, baby” crack keeps the human truths real.
      I keep hearing RODNEY DANGERFIELD here. And that’s a good thing.

      P. 8 Ollie’s line: Am I predictable. That reads more like Dodd.
      Ollie sounds more like… “Fallujah, you know me so well.” Kinda vibe.

      P. 15 Some of the stripper gags went on a bit too long.
      I’d like a little more personal touches of the girls sprinkled in there.

      P. 18 The non-erection gag with Ollie didn’t gel for me.
      I see Ollie trying to whip one up so he can stay inside.
      Something more like that would be more appropriate for the script’s tone.
      I don’t see why Ollie would suddenly go all nebbish here.

      P. 23 Dodd’s sexual-laced speech… “please come ON me and my associate…”

      P. 26 Wondering why not much HOME LIFE intruding for Dodd yet.
      As written, it seems he arrived at the funeral as a BLANK SLATE.

      P. 27 Jasmine’s reveal plays better if she’s set up as a LOONY.
      Give us an inkling in her intro that she’s this kind of girl.
      This is the weakest sitcom-like beat in the tale.

      P. 27 The Bearded Man sits AT a table.

      Read all the way through to the end in one sitting.
      Lotta laughs for me here. Though I’d like more human development too.
      Dodd reads way too Walter Mitty to anchor a premium cable boobfest.
      And the children’s book author angle reads more like a three-act spec.
      That’s a ticking timb bomb for the second act of a movie.
      Not the formula for a ling running TV show.

      Californication just wrapped up, this pilot can fill that slot.
      Porn humor plays better when delivered in this irreverent blue collar style.


      • cjob3

        Thanks for reading E.D.! Great suggestions.

    • BSBurton

      Great notes as always, Electirc! Sometimes I just wanna write “ED” but then i remember how men cringe at those two letters hahaha

  • Bifferspice

    only two loglines to get my interest are the two pilots (especially marble falls. i loved stephen king books as a teenager, and think that sounds like it would have loads of weight for a series).

    i’m a sucker for all things japanese, but the writer of momo really needs to read up on loglines. the logline should tell you what you’re in for. i think you’ve gone for a tagline or something, that goes on a movie poster. a logline should answer questions, not pose them. that’s wishy washy and tells me absolutely nothing about the script, so doesn’t entice me in the slightest.

  • Bifferspice

    “The story of “Momo” (alt. “Tango no yume”) is firmly grounded in the magical realism genre.”

    Genre: “Drama/Foreign”

    huh? I like magical realism. in future, please put more of this in the initial “genre/why you should read” etc. you need information in there for people to pick your story to read. you can’t assume you can wait for people to dive in before hooking them.

    this post intrigues me, and i plan to look further into your script, but i feel the info posted in carson’s article is a wasted opportunity to say something about your script. you can read all of that and end up with no idea what it’s about. so what’s the incentive to read it? loglines are hard, i hate them (and am awful at them) but they’re necessary to get people to read your script. don’t mean to be harsh – just trying to help :)

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: MARBLE FALLS

  • Bifferspice

    if you section me, i’ll section you so fast so help me…

    • cjob3

      Damn I gotta go watch that episode now.

  • Poe_Serling


    I usually go for the slow burn horror films, so I really don’t consider myself much of an authority on the whole horror/comedy genre. But with that disclaimer out of the way – I still think ‘No Guts No Glory’ is a helluva fun ride.

    >>Title: Like the duality of it. Not only a common sports phrase, but also a playful nod to our undead friends with the ‘no guts’ reference.

    >>In terms of style/format: A quick read for me. No problem following the storyline.

    Effective, memorable descriptive lines + a nice balance of white space and mini sluglines = text that kept my eyes moving down the pages at a good clip.

    >>Characters: the names of the characters fit their personalities and physical attributes to a T. Easy to keep track of all the campers/victims/zombies… even in the moments of all-out bloody frenzy.

    >>Dialogue: Solid as usual – one of gazrow’s strengths in my opinion. I found the banter to be fast and witty… perfect for these type of horror comedies. A lot of great one-liners.

    Like this one right in the middle of all mayhem at the school:

    Hey, honey. How’s ‘Frightfest’?

    >>Storywise: Originality. Originality. Originality. I’ve seen more than my share of horror films with zombies and such, but this particular take on the subgenre is unique with the whole Fat Kids vs. Olympians angle.

    **Though I did see another commenter mention the upcoming Scouts vs. Zombies film. Just shows that you need to be quick on the draw with your spin on things.

    Pretty much nonstop action when the athletes turn to zombies. The big action scenes were clever and never felt cliche to me.

    And a slam BANG ending!!

    ****As always, thanks for sharing your work. You definitely have a real flair for these type of scripts – smart/funny dialogue with a large heaping of action to keep things jumping and lively.

  • cjob3

    Thanks, Sabastian! I really appreciate the kind words. And those are great edit suggestions.

  • cjob3

    Awesome! Thanks so much, Kimmo!

  • gonzorama

    Read the first 5 pages of all of them, and the one that calls out to me is: Momo.

    Good luck, everyone!

  • Midnight Luck

    From what i have read so far (10 pages of each) my vote: Marble Falls.

  • IgorWasTaken

    I vote for


    But with a reservation. I hope the writer will step back, punch up the “punchlines”, and then let us have at it.

    I think there are some other elements that should be reworked as well (pacing, making Dodd consistent; the ending), but seems to me it definitely needs more humor. Some of which is so almost already there.

    I wouldn’t have said the above except that I can tell the writer has it in him. The setup and the sex/estate tape are great. The nail salon scene on page 20 is great – the humor and the especially pacing.

    And, Griff’s scene-ending line on page 17 is great. The humor, the tone, the upended expectations of the reader. The rest of the script needs stuff as good as that.

    Take for example this from page 2 –

    Yes, he touched a lot of people.
    According to police.

    That punchline is obvious. It needs something better; maybe unexpected. Or – Maybe let the first line just hang there… And let Ollie do a take off of it, and then deliver his line: “So. How many strip clubs did he own?” IOW, be consistent with Dodd as the slow guy re sex; Ollie as the one one who hears a sexual innuendo in everything.

    Part of the problem may involve the writer’s apparent indecision or vagueness about who Dodd is. I mean, when he says, “According to police,” is he supposed to say that in a knowing way? A clueless way?

    And how clueless is he? At times he seems to have NO idea at all how a strip club works. On the other hand…

    [SPOILER] At the end, he so readily agrees to keep the place. That seems out of character.

    Also, it seems like a bad choice for the writer. Dodd shouldn’t decide to run it. He should be tricked. Or blackmailed. Or extorted.

    Don’t make it a condition of the will that he keep it as is. (OK, I liked that twist. But I think you need a better one; one that is driven by characters rather than the terms of the will.)

    Maybe he’s offered money by an apartment developer, but the criminals making money with the current arrangement (pimps, dealers in stolen booze and cigarettes) tell Dodd that they’ll kill him if he tries to sell out. But as it is now, that montage at the end seems almost like Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School”. “Let’s party!”

    Here’s Dodd on page 8:

    I prefer looking at them in the
    mirror. Feels more like the
    internet that way.

    OK, great concept. But that actual dialogue makes it seem like he’s done this before. If he’s so slow on the uptake on so many other things here, how is it that the mirror thing seems to come so naturally to him? Where his sense of being lost? Foundering? Also, consider if that line would read better if he said, “That way, it’s like — ya know – it feels like the Internet.”

    But again, is Dodd really the kind of guy who watches naked women on-line? And if he does, would he admit it so casually? Maybe so. But you have to make that consistent with the other choices we see him make. Now, I don’t see that consistency.

    One weird thing for me was that, as I started reading, it wasn’t all
    that funny. But then I remembered it’s supposed to be like “It’s Always
    Sunny”, and then it seemed a lot funnier.

    BUT, I don’t think
    that that’s earned. IOW, I think that needs to be on the page. Part in
    the description. Also, part of that could come from the punctuation of
    the dialogue.

    As for the tone of the script, I think the title is another indicator that the writer hasn’t really made the hard choices he needs to make. For example, how about calling it “SKANKS”? After all, if the characters on “It’s Always Sunny” were writing this show, would they call it NOT “SAFE FOR WORK”? Or “SKANKS”?

    You need to own the tone.

    One detail that confused me: If this is all happening in one day, how is it that (assuming I’ve got this right), Sizzlean is in her outfit; then out of it; and then back into it? Also, on page 9, it seemed a bit off that it would take Dodd so long to walk across the room.

    Page 7: Seems that a better reveal of the club’s name would be visual, not spoken.

    OK, a few places that seem already set for jokes (even if you can do better with the actual lines):

    Page 12:

    Roxbury. Born and raised reared.

    Page 13:

    (calling after him)
    What? Your cock too good for me?

    I’m sure it means no disrespect–

    Hotshot! With the stuck-up,
    stuck-down cock!

    Page 14:

    Did you
    come here to insult our staff?

    Your staff…? Wait, so you mean,
    these girls got dicks?

    Back to pacing. I think real attention needs to be paid to that. And in turn, if you keep your eye on pacing, that may help you find the punchlines. For example, when Ken Dollard leaves at the bottom of page 4, the rest of the scene with Dodd and Ollie should not last another 1 3/4 pages. Could you end it in 1/2 page?

    BTW, by “punchlines” I don’t necessarily mean dialogue lines. I mean something that’s funny. A comedy beat.

    OK, so that’s meandering. Anyway, those are my vote and my notes.

    • cjob3

      You make a good point about Dodd’s consistency. Others have said similar, but I didn’t fully understand what they meant until I read your example.
      I originally had Dodd decide to not keep the club, then inadvertently gets drunk and blows his meeting with the book publisher clients, then gets fired. But a Blacklist reviewer felt Dodd should make the conscious decision to keep the club. It makes him more of an active protagonist and gives him a stronger arch, rather than just reacting to events.
      I also originally had Jasmine get the text while trying on wedding dresses – then show up at the club as a sexy (pissed-off) bride. But the feedback was that Ollie breaking off a wedding in a text made him too unlikeable.
      “Own the tone.” I love that. Thanks for the notes and vote.

      • IgorWasTaken

        On the active/passive thing, I get that. But as “It’s Always Funny” shows, an active character can fail. Often.

        And while it’s quite a different show, consider John Cleese as the protag in “Fawlty Towers”. Active, fail, active, fail, more active, bigger fail. End of Episode.

        One could even argue that the way you have things now, Dodd’s “decision” isn’t a decision. IOW, it’s not truly active. It’s an, “Oh, what the hell.”

        Maybe you could end the episode with Dodd seeing that he’s boxed in by some bad guys’ demands. Maybe Ollie says, “But if you sell, you’ll die.” Then maybe Dodd says, “I just don’t believe that. There will be witnesses. They’ll be caught and sent to jail. So Ollie, give me one good reason for me to keep this place.” As Ollie ponders… Sizzlean walks in.

        Not that that’s the best way to do it. It’s just that: His decision to keep the club should not be simply that… he’s decided to keep the club.

        I suggest it’s better that he always wants to get rid of the club. (Which also let’s you call that back every so often in episodes.) But that he decides to keep it because, at each juncture, he finds some other reason to do so.

        Or again, as with “It’s Always Sunny”, keeping the club is the result of his effort to sell it and failing at it.

        • Nate

          I’d make Dodd a low-level associate at a top law firm. He inherits the strip club and wants to sell it because if his real employers found out he was running a shady strip club with ties to organised crime, he’d lose his job and possibly go to prison. But he’s forced to keep it because he’s got his own personal money problems AND he has to pay off Griff’s debt to a gangster.
          Perhaps the gangster hires him as his own personal lawyer. Dodd accepts because he could use the money. Whenever the gangster comes to him with an illegal problem, Dodd, Ollie and the staff try to come up with a way to fix the problem legally, without pissing off the gangster.

          His job at the law firm is the reason he wants to sell up. He loves it so much that he doesn’t wanna do anything to risk it. But obviously he’s got no choice but to keep it. So you’ve got GSU.

          Goal = find a way to sell the club without getting his knees broken. Stakes = if he doesn’t he could lose his job and go to jail. Urgency = each day someone comes close to discovering his secret.

    • Logline_Villain

      Great comments…

  • Nick Morris

    I vote for NO GUTS, NO GLORY.

    I wanted to like MOMO. I have friends in Japan and have spent a little time there, so kudos to the writer for capturing that enchanting, Japanese spirit. But ultimately, this story isn’t my thing.
    Congrats to all of this week’s AOW writers and good luck!

    • Randy Williams

      So the horror writer of The Harvester needed more blood, did he?

      Maybe Momo’s writer could have her scrape her knee breaking into the car dealership to retrieve her figurine. I mean a really bad scrape.

      • Nick Morris

        Yes! Just add blood.

    • Paul Clarke

      I concur – NO GUTS NO GLORY for me.

      Of course I always was partial to a good zombie story. But in a zombie saturated market it does well to stand out by making them super athletes. More a monster movie than a straight up zombie flick. It has the best combination of strong, clear writing and an interesting topic. The script I could most easily see being made. And of course the one that would benefit most from Carson’s sound advice.

      NOT SAFE FOR WORK is a great idea. But I just don’t agree with the execution. I think the setup would be perfect for more witty, ironic humor. Something to off-balance the crudeness of the story world. The jokes don’t offend me, buy they also don’t make me laugh. They feel like cheap jokes, when there’s plenty of potential for more. Maybe it was the pitch. If you’re going to compare yourself to Cheers then you better bring your A game. That had amazing cynical, sarcastic wit. This doesn’t feel at all like it went in that direction.

      WILDFIRE was well written. But so generic. You could swap out any of the details with other people and events. I wanted specifics. I wanted to know the people, and the place they live in. Plus, the opening pages are one giant back story dump (I’ve copyrighted the term). Start in the story, on recap us with backstory when it’s absolutely necessary to understanding the motivation of the character. Remember – a character should always be defined by their actions and attitudes, never their backstory. We don’t open with Clarice saving lambs, we open with her striving to become an FBI agent. Watching her drive is interesting without knowing why.

      MARBLE FALLS had a great character dynamic and an interesting story world, but then the supernatural angle comes along and for me it just didn’t feel like an organic part of the story. More of a distraction. I was already not 100% clear on what everyone was trying to achieve, and that only muddied the waters. Nicely done, but simple didn’t grab my attention enough to want to watch on.

      MOMO was also well written. But I’m afraid I read it last and was short on time. It simply didn’t capture my attention enough to push on. Could just be a personal preference. Will get back to it if I find the time.

      Congrats to all writers. A good quality of work on show this week. I personally don’t like mixing TV pilots and features. They’re simply too different. A TV show is instantly more appealing because of the low page count. And easier to get into because you don’t necessarily need a complete sewn up storyline throughout. Not that their easier to write (there’s so much a TV pilot needs to do), but they’re easier to read and more likely to get read because of it. My 2 cents anyway.

      • cjob3

        Yeah I knew I shouldn’t have picked Cheers. It was the first workplace comedy I thought of.

    • Rick McGovern

      Okie doke… short and sweet.

      My pick order:


      NOT SAFE FOR WORK – read page 1 – PASS
      (DISCLAIMER: raunchy comedy are also not my thing)

      As Randy, I couldn’t get passed page one. Just seems weird becoming friends with someone who is jerking off to you jerking off… and unless its a gay arcade or something, just would never happen. Still needs to be based on some kind of reality.

      WILDFIRE 3D – read to page 6 – like the concept, but PASS

      Don’t like all the directions… they confuse things and don’t give me as good of a visual as maybe you were hoping for. They’re also distracting, taking me out the story… a writer’s number one sin.

      But what took me out the most was the dialogue and that things felt forced. And the page count at 137 pages.

      Had some spelling errors.

      I think it should have passed a few eyes before submitting.

      In a comment I read, they said you had three set ups… probably just try for the prologue that seems to set his mindset as an adult, and then his family problems.

      I’d already have them separated. He misses another one of his daughters special moments, something he can never get back…. and this has been happening for a long time… he’s getting more and more obsessed with work or whatever, and is missing his daughters entire childhood. And his wife reiterates why she left him.

      MARBLE FALLS – read to page 12 – CONSIDER

      Grew up reading Stephen King. Currently re-reading Firestarter and The Stand, both which I haven’t read since high school. And still need to finish The Dark Tower series — which I’ll probably have to start from the beginning. So you have me curious to say the least.

      The commas after your SLUGLINES (HILL, VALLEY, CLOSE,) is bothering the shit out of me, but the writing is good so far.

      Thought the bridge scene lasted a tad too long… and didn’t like Toby singing at the end of the scene… just feels overdone. In movies anyway. Fallen comes to mind… and there was one other, the name escaping me at the moment. I’d try to find something more unique to the genre. Something a little more mysterious.

      I also kind of wish I could have seen some build up with everyone. It’s probably just me, but feels an abrupt way to meet everyone.

      But would probably read on.

      MOMO – read to page 11 – CONSIDER

      Not really much to comment on… a couple of misspellings and missed commas… a couple of descriptions that weren’t needed, and a couple that were too novelistic (though I guess were trying to set a kind of mood?), but overall, good writing.

      Seems to be a woman of dreams… tired of the life she’s living. The monotony. Probably saw herself living a different life as a child. Pretty good set up.

      I did feel she may have talked a little more than she probably should have when Edward came. Didn’t feel like it was her place in this society. But could be wrong.

      And not sure I understood why Edward left Toshi and came into the kitchen for 5 seconds just to ask if she needed help… felt off to me, but held my attention, so would probably read on.

      NO GUTS NO GLORY – read to page 14 – CONSIDER

      Was the fastest of the reads, so read the furthest. Some of it felt cliche, some cartoonish, but would read on. Nothing out loud funny as of yet, but I like the concept, and like Paul, I also feel would it benefit the most from Carson and the rest of the AOW crowds wonderful insight.


  • IgorWasTaken

    Title idea for NSFW: Maybe call it “SK NKS” – and when we see the sign, the “A” is out.

    Or “SKUNKS”. Backstory: The sign guy made it wrong, so Uncle Chester just punched out the sign guy and took it, as is, without paying.

  • Logline_Villain


    A commendable amount of comedic dialogue in your pilot – my caveat at this point would be that your main character – Dodd – is the one who needs the most work. He needs to be more fully fleshed out in order to mine the dichotomy between naïve and worldly. He seemingly has a forced arc in the pilot, and you have plenty of time to get there in a series – IMHO, he’s falling too quickly for Fake Bacon Girl, and too quickly becoming seduced by the (mis)fortune of now owning a strip club. Heck, we haven’t even seen him at his real job yet.

    See plenty of potential with the concept given the groundwork you have laid…

    Best wishes with your project.

    • BSBurton

      I will be rereading the new draft of it tonight. Glad to see it’s picking up steam

    • RonaldP66

      Totally agree. I’m voting for Not Safe for Work because I love the idea but there’s room for improvement. The pacing could definitely be slowed down a bit. It tries too much, too fast. IMO

  • K__David

    Marble Falls writer here.
    What an f’ing great surprise to head over to Scriptshadow and see that your
    script was put up for Amateur Offerings. It blows my mind. Thanks Carson! I’ve read
    through comments posted so far, and they’re all so good (well, positive and
    negative, but in a good constructive way.)

  • bex01

    For some reason my computer is refusing to download Not Safe For Work. Would someone mind sending it to babelfish79 at gmail dot com so I can see what all the talk is about? Thanks!

    • astranger2

      sent. ; )

  • astranger2

    I didn’t reach that point. And, I should’ve added that of the Japanese films I’ve watched — horror isn’t a genre I am normally drawn to. So while I’ve seen The Ring, and a handful of others, this isn’t something that normally captivates my interest.

    I remember one particularly grisly Japanese horror film that made Boxing Helena seem as if it were made by Pixar. About a young woman seeking vengeance on a man — for what I’m unsure…

    She kept him in her living room in a cage, committing unspeakable atrocities upon him… slicing off parts of his body, and feeding him vomit, or some such vile cuisine… I can’t remember the title… (Anyone out there know this film?)

    I’m not suggesting your work is anything of that nature. A lot of posters have rallied about the clarity and intelligence of your work. And, should you win the AOW honors, I will relish reading your entire script.

    For those of us that work full-time jobs, and try to put in our time punching the keys ourselves, it is difficult to give each and every AOW the full attention it deserves. So, I apologize if I didn’t give it a full read.

    As I said, it is well-written and deserving. If it garners the top spot, I will delight in giving it my full attention… although you might’ve spoiled the ending… j/k ; v )

    • witwoud

      That sounds like AUDITION. A widower holds auditions for a new bride, hoping to find a nice demure Japanese girl … and picks the wrong one.

      • astranger2

        Thank you, witwoud. That is one film I never ever want to accidentally trip across again. I believe in freedom of expression… but after seeing that particular film… well… as I’ve said, that film takes “poetic license” in an entirely different direction…

        • witwoud

          I enjoyed it when it first came out, before I’d developed a distaste for extreme violence. To be fair, it’s a pretty good movie, far superior to modern torture schlock. The director actually describes it as a romantic comedy rather than horror, though I think that’s going a bit far. Anyway, you’ll be delighted to learn there’s an English-language remake in the offing. ;)

          • astranger2

            A distaste for “extreme violence?” A romantic comedy? — in which sick, bizarro universe… really?

            Somehow I don’t classify my “one and only viewing” of Audition as one of “extreme violence.”

            Years ago, I was stunned when critics called A Clockwork Orange a glorification of violence. i thought Kubrick’s tone, and mix of Beethoven’s Ninth, and other surreal aspects, a psychological and askant romp in a futuristic world. Lithely, sublimely… violent…

            Nothing struck as graphically home to me as Audition… and while the first couple of Saw films struck raw nerves… they were still for me, just horror movies…

            Nothing could be more perversely Japanese as Audition.

            What sick, twisted mind could think of a young woman vomiting into a dish, only to serve it to a dismembered body, in a cage…
            to a man — eagerly lapping it up… begging for more… vomit…

            There is a grotesque genius at work here… it’s more than Twelve Faces of Death, snuff films, or PURE captivating depravity…

            … really, witwoud… although, as images go… another one I shall never forget…


          • astranger2

            … and here I thought… I knew you… ; P

  • Rick McGovern

    I think he’s a week or two behind. So this weeks offerings should be in two Fridays?

  • Rick McGovern

    Okie doke… short and sweet.

    NOT SAFE FOR WORK – read to page 1 – PASS

    As Randy, I couldn’t get passed page one. Just seems weird becoming friends with someone who is jerking off to you jerking off… and unless its a gay arcade or something, just would never happen. Still needs to be based on some kind of reality.

    WILDFIRE 3D – read to page 6 – PASS

    Don’t like all the directions… they confuse things and don’t give me as good of a visual as maybe you were hoping for. They’re also distracting, taking me from the story.

    But what took me out the most was the dialogue and that things felt forced. And the page count at 137 pages.

    I think it should have passed a few eyes before submitting.

    OOPS — my daughter is bashing me over the head… will have to return later with an edit ;)

    • cjob3

      “I couldn’t get passed page one. Just seems weird becoming friends with someone who is jerking off to you jerking off… ” What, you never heard of a “meet-cute?” ;

      • Rick McGovern

        Nope lol

  • cjob3

    Thanks so much! You’re right I probably went a little too cutesy with “hackneyed contrivance.” I never really liked that line. Though I do like the on-the-nose thing. Yes, it’s definitely a writer-ly phrase but it could also be ascribed to actors, which is essentially what strippers are.

    I really appreciate these compliments and corrections. Very helpful.

  • Chris Mulligan

    Really would have preferred see an all Pilot week, I know there were more submissions than this.

    Given the choices for this week — No Guts, No Glory.

    Then, give us an all-pilot week with 5 choices.

    • cjob3

      Yeah, I’m kinda surprised by the amount of people who said they automatically disqualified the two TV scripts because they weren’t screenplays.

      • Chris Mulligan

        I didn’t auto-dq the pilots. They just weren’t my picks. Maybe pilots are hard & one would have survived against three others. As is, NG, NG was the only thing I could finish of this week’s submissions.

        • cjob3

          Sorry mate, wasn’t implying you did. A couple people point-blank said they don’t read TV scripts.

  • jeaux

    NSFW – When i saw Peepshow and Eastbound and Down I knew I had to read it. Glad I did. Liked it a lot. Funny stuff, a few laugh out loud lines – the break up text with the frowny face. haha. I haven’t read many TV pilots so not sure how much character dev can be established in one episode, but the lack of it as a few folks mentioned didn’t put me off. Good stuff man, and good luck. If you have any more episodes I’d love to read them.

    • cjob3

      Thanks, Jeaux! So glad you liked it. (and glad you caught the :( face.) I don’t have a second ep yet – though I have a lot of notes for one.

      In the meantime, here’s the project I was shopping just before this one. My personal favorite. It’s a straight-up spoof of any expert-based makeover show like Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, SuperNanny, Hotel Impossible, etc. It’s called “Beyond Help with Handy Andy.” And I do have a second episode for this.

  • august4

    All scripts have act breaks!!

    • cjob3

      Actually, I modeled this latest draft off the Eastbound & Down pilot script which is 35 pages, no act breaks. IIRC, Sex and the City had no act breaks too. I did have them though. First break was act Sizzlean abruptly stops the lap-dance and runs off- second was after Jasmine receives the break-up text. Personally, I liked having the act breaks but I was advised to keep it under 35 pages. The act breaks were adding to the length. Since I was aiming for cable anyway, just made sense to cut them.

  • IgorWasTaken

    Christie was that way long before he was elected anything. In any event, it seems my point wasn’t quite clear.

    A recent-year finalist at Nicholl opened his script with “FADE ON IN, MOTHERFUCKERS”. I don’t think I could make that work for me; but he made it work for him. And he wasn’t established.

    My point is: Some people can “sell” certain words and attitudes that others cannot sell. It’s like when you’re back in college. Everyone may have a fake ID, but there’s usually one guy who everyone knows is never going to be questioned about his ID. That’s the guy who can “sell” it.

  • Dan J Caslaw

    Casting a vote for MARBLE FALLS (i like the ‘American Gothic’-ness it seems to have)

  • Lennox Snow

    I know I’m a bit late, but I just read NOT SAFE FOR WORK and if I could throw my vote into the ring now, it’d be for that script.

    The script is consistently funny with interesting characters. While there is quite a large amount of “dick” and “boob” jokes, there is also a lot of conflict based humor that hits heavy. The main character has a mini-arc through the pilot and it’s easy to see where this strip-com could go. Overall, I can only say positive things and would like to see this project reviewed at a future AF.

  • Rick McGovern

    I think you’re allowed a little wiggle room in the first act, so you should be fine. And a couple people loved it, so that’s encouraging :) and I didn’t feel any monotony. The dance may have been on the verge, but you didn’t push it any further, so I didn’t personally have a problem with it. Even if it’s not chosen, hopefully there will be enough people reading it to give you some helpful feedback. And if it’s not, I’ll try to read it.

  • savethefrat

    Oh, I didn’t know that you had sent it to a specific agent — congratulations on both the good reviews as well as submitting. Did you send an initial query, then the script itself after the agent responded?

  • savethefrat

    That’s reassuring to hear — congratulations. Did you query the agents through e-mail, wait for their response, then submit the script after?

  • Jim

    Late to the party. Read the first ten of Wildfire 3D:


    First, why is 3D even in the title? It screams amateur.

    The narrative “It’s bitterly cold”. You’re telling us – why not show us. Think of what the characters can do to demonstrate/dramatize how cold it really is (Mr. Paxton pulls his parka hood closer, exposing as little of his ice-crusted eye lashes and beet red face as possible).

    The dialogue on the first page doesn’t ring true. We don’t know these characters yet, but for some reason a twelve year old schlepping along with his father in these conditions would hardly seem all this agreeable. Plus you’re missing opportunities for conflict right on page one.

    Moving down to the bottom of the page, you have Mr. Paxton ask his son a question which goes straight into a exposition dump. What you want to do is bring this info – if absolutely necessary – into the forefront via conflict. The kid should be hemming and hawing, complaining, “WHY THE HELL DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS?” – then his father shouldn’t be so on the nose about the answer, rather elude to some episode in the backstory which necessitates WHY they’re doing this. That provides motivation and purpose to the scene and gives it at least some semblance of a stake – as is, it’s flat, expository and not readily credible… and I’m not even off page one yet… and it doesn’t get any better turning to page two. A good way to spot exposition – and I mean blatant exposition – is to ask whether your dialogue is being written to inform/reveal something to whomever the character is speaking to, whether they should know this information, what difference does it make to the situation at hand, or if you’re merely doing it for the audience’s benefit. If it’s the latter, scrap it and find another way to convey the information… IF it’s even necessary at all.

    “As his father takes a reading and begins writing it down” – keep it active, losing phrases like begins to or starts to. They’re space killers and aren’t necessary – someone is either writing it down or they’re not.

    Again, but page three you’re merely telling the audience stuff – especially via dialogue. Will: Why…what’s happening? Mr. Paxton: IT’S AN AVALANCHE! RUN WILL! There are so many better ways to set this up – especially visually – that dialogue isn’t necessary. It just feels so… unrealistic. Would a twelve year old be that naive? Would a father, who’s a ranger, bring him along without giving him a briefing on the inherent dangers of what they’re doing?

    Your second scene: you fade into, but tell us it’s “PRESENT DAY” without having setup the previous shot. It’s assumed EVERY scene is “present” unless you notify us up front – plus it carries over to a line of its own while I’m sure it’s intended to be part of the slug. The only indicator you gave was in the materials being 1980’s, but the time needs to be reflected in the slug line.

    Again – get rid of all these “…being…beginning…starts to…” etc. They slow the read.

    There’s an overabundance of dialogue with emphasis placed on it (italicized) – if your’e going to do this, do it sparingly… and I mean SPARINGLY. Just as you’re told not to direct the director, you’re telling the actor how to act here and they’ll resent you for it.

    Page 7: We’re straight in the middle of conflict but it feels false and expository because these characters are essentially talking for the audience’s benefit, letting us know what their backstory is and that everything has come to a head. The dialogue is stilted and full of exposition without ever really being dramatic. In fact, it’s pretty cliched.

    HELEN: We can’t keep doing this. I’m getting a lawyer, Will.

    WILL: A LAWYER? You can’t be serious.

    HELEN: I AM serious.

    This is about as dull and uninspiring as dialogue can get. There’s no individualization here, no subtext to sink our teeth into… no personality. It’s just flat on the page. And furthermore, I’m now scratching my head because I’m not sure what any of this has to do with the first few pages.

    Stop at ten pages. Here’s the issues: exposition is one of the big problems with the dialogue. Too much dumping of information between these characters who should know each other well enough by now, know which buttons to push, have histories, etc. Another major issue is causality. You want to build a narrative spine where things happen because of something else before them. If (BLANK), then (BLANK) – and you want to keep us surprised and intrigued by throwing a curve in there If (BLANK), then (BLANK), but (BLANK) happens instead which forces (BLANK TO BLANK), etc.

    As is, there’s nothing really connecting events from the first few pages to the scenes afterward other than Will. It’s like you’re trying to get us to believe that something happened on that mountain when he was twelve – without ever mentioning to us exactly what (other than an avalanche) – then cut forward to some event years later that finally breaks the last straw for his wife… but it’s not really connected. They’re two scenes that play out and have no real context. Then we flash forward several months later and we’re in the aftermath of that calamity. It just doesn’t gel. I get a sense of something at stake with the marriage, but honestly, it doesn’t mean anything to the audience because it hasn’t been set up properly.

    There’s so much that NEEDS to be done in the first ten pages: establish your main character; establish the genre; establish what the story is about; establish some kind of goal for the main character; draw us in with empathy; do we know his likes and dislikes? His hopes and fears? Unfortunately I don’t think the script does any of these things.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read 27 pages of Momo. Enjoyed it more or less but felt it needed a bit more drama. Was intrigued where the relationship with Edward might be headed but at almost a 1/3 of the way through we should be a little deeper into where it’s going. Maybe that’s just my Western sensibilities.

    Read about half of Not Safe For Work. Thought it was okay, had a few laughs, but it should have done a better job establishing Dodd’s character. We keep meeting all these supporting characters in the strip club, but Dodd himself just comes across as a typical uptight white guy. Would prefer a slight glimpse into his life before we get to the club.

    Read 40 pages of No Guts no Glory. I felt the set up for this was pretty good, establishing Robbie as a unique lead character. The step-father was an evil douche and I would have liked to have seen more of him. The Fat Camp took away some of Robbie’s uniqueness, now he’s just one of a dozen or more fat kids. I would have preferred Robbie go to Fright Fest and have the zombies attack there. Would have been fun if super zombies attacked a bunch of kids at a horror convention. Just my opinion. Zombies aren’t really my thing. I do think there is potential for a good low budget horror film. Some of the visuals can be really funny, fat kids vs super zombies.

    No Guts gets my vote for its commercial potential.

  • cjob3

    Well, I certainly didn’t want to come off misogynistic. I ran it past two female writers I respect (both of whom I barely know) and point-blank asked if they found it offensive as women and each claimed they didn’t. But I understand why someone else might have a different opinion. Of course it’s tough not to come of misogynistic, as strip clubs are inherently misogynistic places. That’s why I wanted my main character to be against strip clubs. (They make him “uncomfortable” for that reason.) And naturally a run-down horrible strip club would contain run-down horrible strippers, but, to be fair, the male manager Griff is the biggest scumbag in the place, Sizzlean is going to night school to get her masters and it’s Jasmine who saves the day by thwarting the bad guy while the male ‘heroes’ look on helplessly. Yes, it’s a seedy place and the staff is shifty at best but that’s the hook. My ex was a stripper and she inspired a lot of the ideas, telling me stories about how totally out-of-control some of her co-workers were. She worked in a pretty high-end place too yet most of the girls were completely addicted to drugs and alcohol. That’s what I wanted to explore. Most times strip clubs are depicted in TV and movies as fun-filled fantasy-lands. I wanted to show the grim, depressing side of them for a change. I will definitely take your notes into consideration during my next pass. Sorry it wasn’t for you but I appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts.

  • cjob3

    Thanks for the STRONG vote and suggestions, Adam! From what I read, I liked the clear theme in NGNG about cheaters never win. I like how it applies to both athletes on steroids and dieters. Clever.

  • Kirk Diggler

    And there were hardly any comments for the tv pilot weekend. TV pilots don’t seem to resonate around here for some reason.

  • Adam W. Parker

    The writer can’t do anything BUT trust his/her instincts. It’s like the advice “Be Yourself”.

    My notes are to increase the writer’s awareness, not to get them to write what I want them to write. I have to write confidently so yes, it may sound off-putting, I apologize if it does.

    My posts are about theme – the heart of the story – and whether the writer addresses it early on. If he feels I need to read more to understand better I am open to anyone telling me that and I will oblige. Thanks.

  • Adam W. Parker

    I read more of “No Guts No Glory” and it turns out you DO give me more. Robbie chooses a zombie attack over kissing Vicky. GREAT! I still wish that was hinted at earlier tho, that’s the first real conflict between them and it’s page 50, the movies halfway over.

  • pitchblack70

    No Guts No Glory’s the pick for me. It’s about time we got a fresh take on the zombie genre… and mixing kids and zombies (with a bit of fun, silly humor) is something I haven’t seen yet onscreen. Forget the Walking Dead, bring on Dead Polevaulters! :P

  • Gilx

    I was able to read NSFW to the end. Lots of funny stuff in there. I’d tune in for the pilot. My main concern is…where can it go from here? Now that all the broader jokes that arise from your scenario have been spent, the series needs to keep cracking wise. You’ve set up a dynamic between Ollie and Dodd that can supply some of it, but perhaps the secondary characters could be a little more unique so that they can can provide character-specific laughs immediately in episode two? Just a thought. For instance, Jasmine seems to exist solely to win back Ollie. Maybe round her out a little more, so you have more places to go with future episodes. That’s all I got! Fun read, thanks!