amateur offerings weekend

TITLE: Lost Continent
GENRE: Action/Adventure
LOGLINE: A treasure hunter is in a race against the man who murdered his father to find the lost kingdom of Atlantis and the incredible power that it harbors.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I’m actually shocked there haven’t been as many movies made about Atlantis as there have been about the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.  It’s freakin’ Atlantis!  There’s so much story there and it’s ripe for a proper adaptation.  I’ve been reading the site for years (awesome work by the way) and tweaked and improved this script using much of the great advice that’s been doled out.  Recent rewrites have focused on deepening characters and creating people to care about throughout this globe trekking adventure.  This is one of the few scripts of mine that has escaped the dark and deep hole I’ve dug in my backyard where dreams go to die.  If it sucks, please don’t take it as an indictment to the excellence of Scriptshadow.

TITLE: The Tallest, Darkest Leading Man in Hollywood
GENRE: Based-on-a-true story
LOGLINE: The never-been-told, hard-to-believe but nevertheless true story of the making of the original King Kong and the maverick filmmaker who made Hollywood’s first blockbuster.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Just the other week, Legendary Pictures announced a King Kong prequel at Comicon. I’ve written a script about the making of the original King Kong and thought it would be a good time to try to shop it around.

TITLE: The Cargo
GENRE: Action, Thriller
LOGLINE: Wrongfully accused of treason, a disgraced soldier earns a shot to clear his name. His task? Protect a passenger train and its mysterious cargo from anarchist terrorists.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I wasn’t alive when the first “blockbusters” came out in the late 70s and early 80s, but to me, they represent the filmmaking ideal: crowd-pleasing genre pieces that boast edgy, cerebral themes. “The Cargo,” my first feature script, is me emulating that format. It’s a topical, politically astute action story that weaves recent cybersecurity controversies into its set pieces. It’s also my first time opening my work to public judgment, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to improve as a writer.

TITLE: Swedish Lesbian Vampire Wonderland
GENRE: Comedy
LOGLINE: To save his scandal-plagued career, a sex-addicted footy star enters an experimental Swedish rehab facility that is actually a castle of machismo-draining vampires.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: You’ve read the title, right?

TITLE: CODE BLACK
GENRE: Action/Thriller
LOGLINE: When a vicious crime boss seizes a hospital to secure a heart transplant for his dying father, an aging firefighter must leap into action to save the chosen donor — his daughter.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I have an interesting problem for someone who loves to write — I’m dreadfully bored by about 85% of the amateur screenplays I delve into. They’re usually top-heavy and don’t muster much in the way of forward momentum. CODE BLACK is intentionally lean, barreling forward as much as possible. If a psychotic JOHN Q was the villain in DIE HARD I think it’d look a little something like this, and I hope your readers enjoy it.

  • carsonreeves1

    Let the fun begin!

    • walker

      And Amateur Offerings Weekend too.

  • Rachel Woolley

    Not that lesbians or vampires will ever go out of style…but it’s only been five years since the last Lesbian Vampire flick…

    • Scott Crawford

      Yes, and one of the stars is now taking over from Craig Ferguson. Nobody talks about the other guy…

  • Scott Crawford

    Wow. People sure talk a lot in these screenplays.

    No need to put CONTINUED at the top and bottom of a scene.

    Did David O. Selznick really refer to himself as David O. Selznick? The “O” stood for nothing, so I’m just wondering.

    This batch seems more entertaining than many previous batches. Some actual commercial ideas. Though I would think there have been plenty of Atlantis scripts submitted to Hollywood over the years. Don’t quite know what the two action scripts are about without reading them. Not a big vampires fan. Don’t know how focused the King Kong script is Willis O’Brien or Faye Wraye or Edgar Wallace. Beginning is all about Selznick and RKO which I think might be better for a script about Gone With the Wind or Duel In the Sun.

    I haven’t read any of them all the way through. Just some quick observations from scanning the first and last pages.

  • Nate

    The Cargo. Read the first couple of pages, noticed a few things that made me pause. Slightly nitpicky and I’m not exactly a stickler for detail, but….

    1. Sergeant Commander. There’s no such rank in any military, but I’ll give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume he gave the protagonist one rank, changed his mind, gave him a different rank and forgot all about it.

    2. Unless Admiral Andrews is in command of JSOC, she wouldn’t be the commanding officer of a Delta Force operator. I’m gonna assume she’s his CO, there’s a bit of familiarity between them to suggest she is.
    3. I think the writer has shown his hand too early by having Mallory reveal why he’s no longer with the military and a drunken wreck. Not to mention, the liquor store scene wasn’t exactly subtle either. If you wanna let us know he’s a drunk, drip feed it to us, not smash us over the head with a bottle of baileys. I did like how he asked if he could take the basket and then take it anyway, saying he’d back later on.
    I also think 81 pages is a bit too short for a script like this. 100 pages sounds about right.
    I will read the rest of it later on, but I’m not really filled with confidence here. I think it pays to do some research. If you’re writing an action film, it pays to know your shit. This kind of script is in my wheelhouse so I always get a little disappointed when I read one that hasn’t made an effort to at least try to be authentic.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yeah, I read a bit trying to see what the story was. Nothing grabbed me. I’m sure if I read the whole script I’d know what it was all about, but so far… sorry, scripts like this are a dime-a-dozen. (Harsh, I know, but these are the conditions I have to wrote my action specs under – has to be original).

    • Eli Greenwitz

      Thanks for the read and the feedback! Sorry you didn’t make it further.

  • Malibo Jackk

    The Poles are once again at work.
    Early returns are favoring King Kong vs lesbian vampires.

    (Sounds like a movie.)

  • Kirk Diggler

    Reading Lesbian Vampires. The writing is strong. The drop kick on Nigel was funny. The story is okay. Dave-O and his union subplot isn’t that interesting. Besides, if he lives in Australia how can he go fight for worker’s rights in Sweden?

    Blake Steele, not exactly a guy you can root for. Read 33 pages. The opening 15 pages were funnier than what followed. Kinda went off the rails for me at the castle. Not connecting to anything that’s happening. Again, solid writer, story isn’t my thing. YMMV.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Hey Kirk, thanks for reading and offering comments. Yeah, Blake isn’t the most likeable of blokes. Thanks for persisting through to 33 pages. Cheers

  • Craig Mack

    I have dug in yet — but wasn’t there a Denzel Washington movie about him taking over a hospital to force a transplant for his child?

    • Midnight Luck

      Yes. I believe that is what the author is referring to when he says “If a psychotic JOHN Q was the villain in DIE HARD”.

      The movie was John Q.

      • Craig Mack

        Thanks, didn’t get that far into the ‘why I should read’…

        • Scott Crawford

          It’s reminiscent of Desperate Measures too.

  • ThomasBrownen

    I took a look at the openings to Lost Continent and The Cargo, but they both seemed a bit too confusing and disjointed to pull me in. Code Black opened with an attention-grabbing scene, but I’m a bit concerned that the story got to the plot too fast, and the characters will end up being rather thin. But those are just my initial impressions — I hope to read more!

  • Kirk Diggler

    CODE BLACK – wasn’t Nora unconscious when Graham found her? How does she know who he is, especially since he would have had firefighting gear on?

    I think this moves fairly well and the stakes are high and the goals are clearly established. But, there’s a lot of buts.

    Graham is established as the hero in a kind of ‘only in the movies’ kind of way. The fire that led to his heroics was spread like a California wildfire. I know an accelerant was used but all modern buildings have sprinkler systems these days, hard to believe the building would be engulfed so quickly and literally falling apart all around Graham. The high rise dive into a dumpster was pretty darn unbelievable.

    Cabot seems like your typical movie psychopath willing to kill anyone at a moment’s notice. I question the professionalism of Dr Lambert, how quickly she is willing to sacrifice someone else’s daughter to save her own. Yet the scene is strangely effective from the point of building tension.

    Thought it might have been overly intuitive of Nora to pick up on what was happening so quickly. Poor girl got in the wrong elevator.

    I found it strange that Lincoln is showing remorse in front of his son for what is about to happen. If he really feels this way why is he so willing to be apart of this in the first place? If Cabot is so ruthless, why not let his father die and take over?

    I think the big plot hole is Graham’s daughter Mackenzie. She just happens to be the only donor that has a heart that will work in Cabot’s father, so on short notice, they have goons steal a dump truck and then manage to track down Graham and Mackenzie while they are driving in a car and then ram them with the truck. Of course this leads to both of them being taken to the same hospital that this forced transplant will take place. This is a bit of a doozy I must say. Total movie logic. Surely there was a simpler way to kidnap Mackenzie. Like, just , kidnap her without riding a dumptruck into her?

    Which isn’t to say that this isn’t enjoyable, because it sort of is. It’s just not grounded in reality from what I can see. Case in point, the sex scene between Celine and Brandt. The psycho Cabot seems awful forgiving about it even thought they just left his primary hostage unguarded to have a bathroom stall quickie.

    And i gotta say, when Justin utters his “I never bring my cellphone to work” line, it’s becoming a little too forced to make this plot happen. Surely there would be, I don’t know, hundreds of others in the hospital who do have a cellphone on them that could be used to call in a swat team?

    Another plot contrivance is Cabot going down to the morgue to check out what happened to Fallon, instead of sending one of his underlings. This happens at the moment where Mackenzie is about to have her heart ripped out to be put in Cabot’s father. Why would he leave at the key moment? So Graham can burst in and save the day. It doesn’t make sense form a character perspective. Cabot is so hellbent on saving his father but somehow he leaves to check on one of his thugs? Makes no sense. And this is where I check out, despite being a fun read, I’m just not buying much of what’s happening.

    • lysdexicuss

      You saved me from writing a review, Kirk. A fun read, but with too many plot-holes & non-believables. I do think, however, this is exactly where any Writer can benefit from the Scriptshadow community (or from truthful Friends & Family). These problems are not unfixable; they just need to be pointed out first. The Dumpster dive lost me early but I kept reading because it is well written despite its faults.

  • walker

    Cool, I have totally been looking for something by a writer who is dreadfully bored by 85% of the amateur screenplays he delves into.

    • Mike.H

      you two perhaps are the real life characters of UNBREAKABLE? Which of you is Bruce and who’s Samuel L? #paintcanlifting. :)

    • Scott Crawford

      Sorry, walker, do you want to name that person so I can keep up with the rest of you.

      • Casper Chris

        Read the WYSR of Code Black.

        • Scott Crawford

          Sorry, I must have missed that bit. Don’t always read the WYSR. Wow, that’s… brazen. I wouldn’t “big up” my own screenplay by dissing everyone else’s. There’s confidence and… you, know it’s a fine line.

  • Randy Williams

    CODE BLACK

    Congrats for making it on AOW! (If I had known this was going to be “action” week, I’d have submitted my “action thriller” instead of just my “thriller”)

    Code Black, I thought, definitely fills an action slot from start to finish. The thriller part, I found lacking, but first…

    Some thoughts as I read.

    p. 3. Why didn’t the parents call out to their child who is in a closet in the same room just to make sure she was still alive?

    p.4. Loved the line about the “breadwinner”

    p.5. I see a shift in tone. It started off as a straight action film, similar to “Taken” and now it’s action comedy wisecracking, I thought, with the introduction of Celene and Brandt.

    p.10. Landing in the garbage bin with such a force that the lid comes down on them? I suppose that’s possible. Almost seems comical the way it’s described?

    p. 32. Audrey’s response to “Thanks” by saying “Any time” This again puts this in wisecracking territory which I’m more than willing to accept. I just didn’t get that tone from the opening pages.

    P. 36. Why are they not calling the police here? Did I miss something? I’m also thinking it sure is a coincidence that the hero just happens to be the fireman that responds to the fire that the bad guy set up to kidnap the best surgeon in town and the fireman’s daughter is the only one within the country it seems whose heart matches up with the bad guy’s father. But, to your credit, I’m accepting it and running with it because it’s turned into a brainless action flick for me and I’m enjoying it in that way.

    P. 45. The father rescues his daughter! Wow. This is only page 45. I would have expected that at the end. Now, you really have me hooked. What is on the remaining 60 pages? If you can pull this off, you definitely have my vote.

    The remaining 60 pages is a hostage tale, interspersed with some back story and quips. There is lots of action, enough to keep an action lover happy. You kept your promise by “barreling forward”. Particularly loved the action description on page 73.

    Several characters, it seemed to me were vying for Saturday Night Live skits, however. Some were funny, I grant you. The daughter for instance after being injured in all this mayhem quips while being nursed, “Adrenalin and pain killers. This is turning into my kind of party” Most quips seemed to gasp for air. The attempts at romantic pairing in all this carnage seemed jolting.

    Just not enough twists and turns for me to qualify as a thriller. Or I was just too busy dodging bullets, bedpans and explosions to notice.

  • klmn

    I read the first 10 of The Tallest Darkest Leading Man In Hollywood. It seems too “inside” for me, a story for film history buffs, not a general audience.

  • Randy Williams

    SWEDISH LESBIAN VAMPIRE WONDERLAND

    (Do they get off on each others’ Volvo?)

    I liked the beginning, dialogue was biting and fun but when he gets to “Wonderland”, it all became a bit too much “Alice in” for me.

    Maybe, just not my thing. Good luck with it.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Randy, thanks for persisting through until the castle. Strong beginning followed by a sagging seems to be an emerging theme…

  • klmn

    Lost Continent. 5 pages of VO to start, then an Egyptian temple, booby trapped – according to the dialogue. Then moving a conch shell reveals hidden treasure.

    Didn’t read further. Seems like this is going to be a weaker version of Indiana Jones

  • klmn

    THE CARGO. Well written. Started out good, then went flashback crazy. Read about 9 pages. Possible Amateur Friday pick.

  • klmn

    SWEDISH LESBIAN VAMPIRE WONDERLAND

    Started well, then went dialogue heavy. Read for 14 pages. Don’t know if it picks up.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Hey klmn. Thanks for reading and offering you comments. Cheers

  • Montana Gillis

    Tallest darkest leading man … Okay, the I concept is intriguing so I started reading. Then not only was I suddenly done, I was inspired! Loved the witty dialog peppered through this journey with GSU. This is a very good script. Couple three typos in there but a fun read. Enjoyed the love story woven in the background. Interest was kept high with all the famous people involved and the story rolled quickly from page to page. Thomas needs to get some professional notes for that last rewrite/polish and send this out. It’s cash in the bank. We’ll done!

  • klmn

    Code Black. Read 10 pages. A lot of action, but I’m not really feeling it. Nothing to make me identify with any of the characters, they all seem two dimensional.

    • Casper Chris

      Character development seems to get going on page 13.

  • Randy Williams

    THE CARGO

    Congrats for making it on AOW! Well done!

    I wasn’t aware of a passenger train between Vegas and Los Angeles. When did it start?

    This is an ambitious first feature script, I thought. Grand in scale and lots of characters.
    I think the writer pulled the action off, clear, varied and involving. There wasn’t much in the beginning that really pulled me in, however. It was actually very depressing, his life, the suicide. Needed some hope for an uplifting something somewhere in this. I only really sat up in my chair when the helicopters bypassed the passengers there in the desert. It was like, whoa! Hoping for more unexpected like that. The “cargo” reveal was a bit of a let down. It seems like an easy first choice.

    I felt dialogue could be cut down, this is an action script, after all. That monologue on page 39 was indicative of how people just talked and explained too much, I thought. I tuned out there. There is a bit of director speak, “We dolly out” for instance that might give you hell here.

    • Scott Crawford

      There’s going to be a mag-lev train between LA and Vegas. And I think there’s a script about that too. Can’t remember the name, but it was on The Tracking Board (TTB is good, but can be difficult to search).

      There was also a “Die Hard in a Hospital” script called Nine Lives.

      Reading through The Tracking Board can be both uplifting, when you see how many scripts get developed, and depressing, when see how many ideas are similar to ones you had.

    • Eli Greenwitz

      Thanks for the read, Randy!

  • Randy Williams

    THE TALLEST DARKEST LEADING MAN IN HOLLYWOOD

    Congrats on making it on AOW!

    Some thoughts as I read.

    Nice start. I’m in the time period. There’s a lilt to the dialogue, almost like a musical comedy. Very endearing.

    Move Cooper and Selznick’s chat against the backdrops and actions of the studios. They are sitting too long discussing things. I would grow tired from the lack of visuals. Maybe they actually run into Astaire, for instance, instead of just talking about him.

    Lots of name dropping, I’m getting a bit dizzy from it. Cooper is intriguing, I really like him and want him to succeed. Like the introduction of the new secretary. That scene when Cooper meets her is great!

    I’m around the 30 page mark and lacking some focus. Maybe I’m just not into Hollywood history. I love Cooper but I’d rather follow Obie, the animator, and maybe he hooks up with the new secretary. Checking out about here.

    Good stuff though! I can see this getting lots of votes.

  • Kirk Diggler

    The The Tallest, Darkest Leading Man in Hollywood might be well researched and nicely written, but it’s far too in love with the backstory. The Depression, the Hollywood players, RKO’s board members, celebrity cameos. And it’s very talky. We don’t even get a hint of King Kong until pg 41 when the director Cooper first expresses his idea. This scene should happen 20 pages sooner than it does, hell maybe 25 pages sooner. There is a lot of filler just to get to a hint of the premise. And while it may be interesting from a historical viewpoint, it offers very little drama. I imagine, if I kept reading, that the stakes will amp up. But specs need to grab the reader right away. I’m also not sure who I’m supposed to root for? Selznick? Cooper? Both? Then whence cometh the conflict? I think there is an interesting story here and the writing is good and professional looking. But structure and pacing need to be improved. It’s not quite there yet, but hopefully if the writer can get to the meat of his story sooner it could be quite good.

    • Andrew Parker

      I agree with your points, Kirk. It’s very competently written, but needs a compelling protagonist.

      Compare this with two Black List scripts from last year — “The Mayor of Shark City” and “The Shark is Not Working”. Those had a young, passionate lead in Steven Spielberg, who was given a compelling backstory and reasons you wanted him to succeed. Assuming Selznick is the lead here, it’s a little harder to care for a producer who was pretty much at the top of his game around the time “King Kong” came out.

      P.S. Carson/Lauren — wish you would have picked my AOW script “Misfire” to go head-to-head this week with “The Tallest, Darkest Leading Man in Hollywood”, since it goes inside baseball on a more modern movie. My effort is equally flawed, but provides a nice contrast. It’s never too late to toss it up there (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, emoticon with semicolon, emoticon with semicolon)

    • Scott Crawford

      There have been a number of these “Making Of” scripts in recent years, but only one got made – Hitchcock – and that was not successful (I liked it! but I’m less demanding than most modern audiences). I read the first few pages of Tallest, Darkest… and, I agree, it’s too talky.

      Research is a flick knife that can cut you as much as it cuts other people (a double-edged sword). You find out things you don’t know and you put it in your script, but then the script has NO SPINE. It’s just a series of events that happened.

      • sotiris5000

        You’ve forgotten Saving Mr Banks, which also got made.

        • Scott Crawford

          That’s true – I forgot and will punish myself accordingly! – and it was a Black List script too, but that wasn’t a huge success either. Maybe these scripts are more fun for Hollywood insiders or movie fans that the average popcorn-muncher.

          Even Argo seemed to downplay the Hollywood angle by the final cut.

          • sotiris5000

            It (Saving Mr Banks) certainly seemed to get passed over at all the awards ceremonies, which was a shame. I didn’t see the Hitchcock one, but I think it got luke warm reviews too, didn’t it? Have you read the two Jaws scripts on the blacklist? Are they worth a read? They seem like the kinds of things that never get made but act as writing samples instead.

          • Scott Crawford

            email me at mr.scottcrawford@google.com and I’ll me them to you.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Hitchcock was incredibly disappointing. Really wanted to like that one. Great cast too.

        • Scott Crawford

          I was in the mood for it. I thought Hopkins was great and it was nice to see Jessica Biel in something a bit more serious. See for its moments rather than the whole.

          • Kirk Diggler

            The only thing I ever enjoyed Biel in was The Illusionist. Thought her career might take off after that. Surprised it didn’t, but it just goes to show how there are a complete lack of good roles for women in there 20’s and she was probably losing out to Emily Blunt and Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly and others.

          • Scott Crawford

            All actresses are battling each other for those few parts that Nicole Kidman gets. Jessica Alba can’t act. Jessica Biel can (The Tall Man‘s a good film to see, if you like twisty-turny thrillers).

          • Malibo Jackk

            Why does Jessica Alba need to act?

          • Scott Crawford

            Well, she doesn’t. Not anymore. She just appears in magazine shoots. We screenwriters hate her for stupid comments that she made about writing her own dialogue.
            http://johnaugust.com/2010/oh-jessica

          • Kirk Diggler

            I saw Jessica in person a week and a half ago. Alba that is. Gorgeous woman. Taller than expected. Maybe she’ll have her Kim Basinger moment in the sun one day and be cast in that one role she’s perfect for. I think the main thing with her as an actress is that she lacks gravitas.

          • Scott Crawford

            I believe she was taught to act by Bill Macy and Felicity Huffman!

        • Scott Crawford

          I was in the mood for it. I thought Hopkins was great and it was nice to see Jessica Biel in something a bit more serious. See for its moments rather than the whole.

  • craktactor

    The Tallest, Darkest Leading Man in Hollywood

    Simply put, entertaining from page one. I do believe getting professional coverage done on this is a must, and soon. Very enjoyable read, and surprisingly quick for 125 pages. Good job, Thomas Powell.

  • Randy Williams

    LOST CONTINENT

    Congrats on making it on AOW.

    This is not my thing, yet it is. I’m fascinated by archeology, historical artifacts, old ruins. I’m more comfortable with people as ghosts. I just find these type of scripts difficult to get into unless the characters are severely flawed or they’re chasing after something extraordinary beyond imagination.
    Here, it opens, they’re all nice and prim and are fighting over a book.

    The writing is engaging. I actually cringed when I saw the voice-over at the beginning but as I read it coupled with the images, it was actually involving. What comes after it just seems a bit dry to me, however,,….choices we’ve seen a thousand times. Father’s dying turn, handing his son his life’s work with some admonition, by the book female archeologist. YThe word “shit” was used in the first few pages. That was odd. Toss some shit around instead, perhaps? Stink up the place. Stink up the characters.

  • brenkilco

    Read first twelve pages of Tall Dark. Interesting premise. Seems well researched but anachronisms still creep in. Nobody was using the term screwball comedy in 1932. It happened One Night, considered the first one, didnt come out till 34. Dont believe anyone was using the term feel good movies either. Nobody was talking about Astaire’s star potential. He was a supporting player in his first movie a couple of years later and his star appeal caught everyone by surprise. Worst is the line keep this on the low down. Down low is a twenty first century expression and in the thirties low down meant the bottom line truth about something so the line makes no sense. Anyway, will keep reading.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    Just catching up with this (6:30pm on Sunday here in OZ). Chuffed to have a horse in this race. Getting feedback on your script – even just reactions to it – is invaluable. As is seeing how it “ranks” against other offerings in the minds of a range of savvy readers who know what they’re looking for. Thanks for the opportunity, all.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    Thanks for the kind words, Matt. Congrats on the luv CODE BLACK is atrracting. Cheers.

  • carsonreeves1

    lol. I’m not big on mindless explosions either. But I know these kinds of scripts do well in the industry if they’re written well. They’re tailor made for the Black List. So I’d give it a shot if it was chosen.

    • Scott Crawford

      Favorite mindless explosion of all time: Passenger 57. A mobile walkway topples over when a plane takes off and then explodes like a PINTO… just so they could put an explosion in the trailer. Runner-up: Alien Nation.

      • pmlove

        Always bet on black.

  • Casper Chris

    LOL

    From Amateur Friday, March 21 (“Gripper”):
    http://scriptshadow.net/amateur-friday-gripper/

    “A shame we really have to deal with these types on SS – and to my private email:

    Justin Ward facetofaceisbest@gmail.com6:38 PM (2 hours ago)

    to me

    … but I had the experience of reading some of your screenplay and it SUCKS. Actually, the word pedantic comes to mind (instantly.) What sort of a writer writes the word ‘fuck’ as opening dialogue? What sort idiot does that? I hate your script so much, and believe me, by making you aware of this, I am doing you a favor. I don’t care what those asshole on SS say about your work, it sucks big time. I read in one of your SS posts you have been hashing this story out since ’08. Six years and you start your script with the word, ‘F**k’.

    You’re the sort of writer I’d like to beat the shit out of.

    All the best with your career–JW

    • ArabyChic

      Um, how is it possible that Justin Ward is still walking around on two good legs? I think a tire-iron brandishing welcome committee is in order. BTW, has anyone had the pleasure of reading one of JW’s scripts? Or is he as chickenshit as he sounds?

      • Scott Crawford

        On the whole, Scriptshadowers (sound like a group of superheroes – maybe we are!) are a nicer bunch than you’ll find on many on website comments board. Actually, screenwriters in general are a nicer bunch of people – we don’t tend to shaft each other to get ahead. There are a few dicks around – I had one insult me the other day – but hey, don’t feed the trolls. Starve ‘em to death.

  • Casper Chris

    Perhaps not. But if you look at his top 25 scripts over there on the right side of the screen, you’ll realize that his #1 favorite script of all time is a… period drama.

  • Scott Crawford

    How to Make a Monster… because it has the word MONSTER in the title. And people like monsters. And it’s clever because King Kong is a monster, but the movie was also a MONSTER success.

    • Bluedust

      How to Catch a Monster. No wait, that was Gosling’s. Just go with The Colossal Ape Beast Wonder.

      • Scott Crawford

        Lost River. Mmmmm… liked the original title better.

  • lesbiancannibal

    How harsh is it ok to be in this? Because I started reading The Cargo and man, if you did it with action figures as a sort of Team America type thing…

    It’s a total parody of itself. Drunken former Delta Force guy reading through letters from some lost love and having flashbacks, I mean, come on. Three pages of VO letter as Cole does Delta Force stuff and I’m out.

    There’s just no subtlety to it. Maybe in the 70s.

    I know it’s massively hard to finish a screenplay, it’s a mammoth task, so props for that. I actually quite liked the logline, disgraced solider, anarchist terrorists, but it’s all too obvious and tropy,

    I’d go back to it and try to make some more interesting decisions. Anything. Hell, make him this guy/girl.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/meet-retired-navy-seal-who-2112156#.U-c82vmSwdU

    I’d be interested to read that – transgender Navy Seal gets called up to fight anarchist terrorists.

    Here’s the pilot of Person of Interest for the writer to read… which begins in a similar situation to your screenplay.

    http://www.zen134237.zen.co.uk/Person_of_Interest_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf

    • Scott Crawford

      We (action thriller spec writers) all wish we could write something just like the early-to-mid nineties action movies – like Under Siege or Eraser – fun, not too serious movies full of high-tech weapons, and low-grade quips. And Erika Eleniak’s “threepenny bits”. But you can’t get away with it anymore.

      In the 90s, such an action script could have sold for at least $250,000, maybe $500,000 or more. Seriously. Everyone wanted to copy Die Hard. Then it was The Matrix. Then Bourne. Then Taken. And now… now I think you have to make it your own. People won’t buy a spec just because it has a lot of action, not if it doesn’t have twists and turns, nuance and theme, and lead characters who can attract top-grade actors.

      • Nate

        It’s difficult. I struggle to come up with original concepts for action specs, because they’ve all been done before. I would have loved to written something like Bourne, but even if I put a unique spin on my spy thriller script, it’s still gonna feel like a Bourne knock off.
        I think action is one of the easiest genres to write, but the concept is the hardest part about it. Whereas comedy is fairly hard to write because you have to be funny, but the concept is the easiest part about it.

        • Scott Crawford

          I don’t if it was the concepts of The Bourne Identity and Taken that made them successful, so much as their execution. The way Bourne checks the train timetable to make sure he arrives at exactly the right time – and the train is late (in Germany!). Brian Mills tough-as-nails dialogue – “The next punch drives a rib into your lungs!”, “I believe you. But that won’t save you.” – especially after how mild-mannered he is in the introduction,

    • Eli Greenwitz

      Shoot, I forgot to mention the whole thing is supposed to be done with puppets. Kidding, but thanks for the read and the feedback, and for the benefit of the doubt!

  • Casper Chris

    Tallest, Darkest

    I read about 25 pages or so. Competently written. The opening page was very dynamic. Unfortunately, it gets a little meandering. “Talky” if you will. I actually don’t mind dialogue-heavy scripts or talky scripts, but if you’re going to have a long, talky scene, at least make sure that A) what’s being talked about is inherently fascinating/unique, or B) that there’s a lot of conflict in the scene/exchange or C) it’s absolutely plot-vital. If it’s all three, great. But take the living room exchange on page 8 between Selznick and Cooper. At lot of that exchange is just fluff. It could’ve easily been cut in half.

    What this script could really use is a healthy dose of conflict. The writer is trying with the depression stuff and Cooper’s need to come up with a movie idea, but I want to see more conflict between the characters. Conflicting goals. Characters trying to undermine each other. SOMETHING. It’s too meandering as is.

    As a final note, Cooper having a conservation with himself on page 13 felt phony.

  • Stephjones

    Read Swedish Lesbian Vampire Wonderland on another site. I think it is something special. Gets my vote.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Thanks, Steph!

  • andyjaxfl

    My vote goes to LOST CONTINENT and here are my notes-

    LOST CONTINENT: anything about the search for Atlantis and I’m sucked in for the entire ride. With any archeological adventure film, the two ends of the spectrum are Indiana Jones
    and The Mummy series.

    Having played Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis some twenty years ago, I noticed a few surface similarities between the game and the script, including the use of orichalcum, Plato’s Hermocrates, and the search for a weapon on Atlantis that
    will turn a person into a god. But I think they are exactly that: surface similarities that are unavoidable when you’re writing about a mythological place with a very limited amount of
    available info.

    Indiana Jones comparisons aside, I think LOST CONTINENT has more in common with The Mummy series than the beloved Indy.

    While the dialogue is a little too cutesy and on-the-nose for my taste, it’s also loaded with
    exposition. Characters are always exchanging historical information or talking about their past, and they always know the most obscure information about every culture that ever existed, including being able to identify an obscure South American tribe within seconds
    of stumbling across them.

    DONNELLY: a likable lug cut from the same cloth as Indy and O’Connell. It’s hard to make a film of this genre without the comparisons. His banter with Ava aside, I liked him and was rooting for him to succeed, but I think he needs a clearly defined flaw and a goal beyond simple vengeance. I’m also unclear if he is a grave robber or an opportunist when he introduced as an adult. Maybe this could be threaded into his flaw.

    AVA: she’s a preservationist at heart and watching Donnelly engaging in fight after fight
    that destroys ancient buildings and relics crushes her. There’s an opportunity in her character to address what I think Monuments Men was largely unsuccessful in tackling, and that is: What is the length you are willing to go to preserve history? Is preserving a stone tablet, temple, or relic more important that a human life? Her constant nagging while
    Donnelly is fighting to save their lives is grating and makes her unlikeable. Maybe have a conversation between them about this and why it’s important, and have Donnelly make an effort not to destroy everything only to spectacularly fail.

    Overall, the action writing is strong. It’s simple, yet descriptive, and I could visualize what was happening without having to reread the prose. I struggle with that in my own writing, so kudos to the writer for really knocking those sequences out of the park.

    • Scott Crawford

      There’s a similar vibe in National Treasure with the character of Meredith Chase who, at the end of the film, risks her own life, and that of the hero, to save the Declaration of Independence. Incidentally, Diane Kruger – than a largely unknown actress, in the US anyway – got the part because she took the character SERIOUSLY, whereas every other actress they auditioned played the part for laughs.

  • Casper Chris

    My vote is for Code Black

    I feel it’s easily the strongest of the bunch. Based on what I read of each.

    • Casper Chris

      One question for writer of Code Black:

      What is this? Page 5….

      http://i724.photobucket.com/albums/ww248/src_scs/question.png

      • Cuesta

        That doesn’t happen to me. It says:
        “I’m gonna get all hot and bothered if she starts breaking out big words.”

        I use SumatraPDF.

        • IgorWasTaken

          Mine reads fine, too.

          Maybe Casper’s pdf reader has found the ghost.

          Or it’s gotten “all hot and bothered” at the prospect of some big words breaking out.

          • Casper Chris

            I read it directly in MediaFire’s viewer. Weird.

      • Scott Crawford

        Didn’t happen on my PDF. Not that I’m trying to floccinaucinihilipilificate anyone’s contributions.

      • klmn

        Since I upgraded my OS to OSX Mavericks I find the Safari browser sometimes does that. Firefox works better.

  • wrymartini

    First time I’ve actually had the time to read more than a few pages of all the Amateur Weekend scripts – congratulations and thanks to everyone who made the list this week.

    For my money it’s Code Black by a whisker.

    • Scott Crawford

      Code Black is very well written, but is it original enough? Not sure. Tallest, Darkest… has a lot of interest over the subject matter but needs tightening. I think those two are the front runners.

  • MaxNorm

    It’s me again! Shamelessly self-promoting this new short film I made on my own, and which Carson very kindly/generously/out-of-sheer-pity tweeted about. http://vimeo.com/102559146 check it out. It was posted on a couple of site, and I guess you could say it’s almost like the flavor of the week on vimeo.

    • Mike.H

      Kelly Clarkson’s an actress with red Karo syrup, I don’t believe~!

    • Matthew Garry

      Max, do you have an email address? If you don’t want to post it online, feel free to send it to matt at courier12 dot org

  • BoSoxBoy

    Read the first 10 of CODE BLACK, THE CARGO, and THE TALLEST DARKEST.
    I wanted to like Code Black, given the log, but thought it tried way too hard to shock.
    The Cargo was too cliché for me, and the format/rules problems were a little annoying (numbers stated instead of spelled out, “continued” at top and bottom of every page…).
    The Tallest was the best so far (haven’t read the other two yet). Easy read, solid descriptions, felt like a movie I’d watch. The subject isn’t my thing, but from what I read so far, that didn’t matter. It’s good enough to keep me reading.

  • klmn

    Here’s an article that you all should read.

    http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2012/04/screenwriting-article-secret-to-great.html

    Looking at some of the recent Amateur Friday offerings, maybe Carson should read it too.

    • klmn
      • Malibo Jackk

        If you can’t show your stuff in 1 to 10 pages,
        people will assume you have no stuff to show.

        • Scott Crawford

          I often read the last 10 pages too. If that’s rotten too, who cares what’s in between.

          • NajlaAnn

            Reading the last ten pages also is a good idea. Haven’t done so before, but will do so now.

    • Scott Crawford

      Most scripts have a weak beginning because they don’t have a lot of story to tell, so they just plunge straight in to what little story they have.

      The Godfather takes – I think – about half-an-hour before the main story (Sollazo’s assassintion attempt on Vito Corleone, with Barzini and the others supporting him) kicks off. Are we bored? No. Because we are fascinated by these characters, and the Hollywood subplot is so entertaining.

      Thin characters who don’t want much in life, lack of (meaningful) conflict, it’s all interconnected. A weak opening is the usual sign a writer has no story.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Can’t help but think we’re long overdo for some other version of a Twit-Pitch.
      AF is beginning to look like a dart board with only five players.
      Either some of the better scripts are being overlooked (as evident from the success of the long ago Twit-Pitch contest)
      or better scripts are not being sent in because it resembles more lottery than challenge.

      Keep hearing people talk about how a script is well written — this where the writing could be better. The King Kong script appears to have the writing talent, but where in the logline does it tell us why the story is ‘hard-to-believe’? Where is the twist? Would have loved it if it had something like Kubrick faking the moon landing, which was a great script.

      There’s an old saying in Hollywood — LIKED YOUR SCRIPT, DIDN’T LOVE IT.
      AF seems to be shooting for scripts that people like.

      And [x} “Not for me” is the norm.
      If Amateur Friday is about finding great scripts
      — it looks like we’ve decided to take the slow train.

      • klmn

        I hope I don’t have to join Twitter to compete.

      • klmn

        “Keep hearing people talk about how a script is well written — this where the writing could be better. The King Kong script appears to have the writing talent, but where in the logline does it tell us why the story is ‘hard-to-believe’? Where is the twist? Would have loved it if it had something like Kubrick faking the moon landing, which was a great script.”

        Maybe the twist could be that a giant gorilla really did terrify NYC and the movie was a government conspiracy to cover it up.

      • Casper Chris

        There is no fast train.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Twit-Pitch was a much faster train.
          Just look at the results.

          (And it’s not the only game in town.)

          • Casper Chris

            What were the results again? Can’t remember to be honest. I thought we concluded that log lines (and brief summaries) are rarely a good measuring stick after the logline contest.

          • Malibo Jackk

            PROVING GROUND
            GUEST
            FATTIES

          • Casper Chris

            I remember GUEST and FATTIES: Good stuff.

            I think it would be cool to something like that every once in a while. But I can’t imagine having to dig through 100 concepts/scripts a week. Logline contest showed that some of the best loglines had some of the worst scripts and vice versa.

    • jw

      I think it’s time for Carson to give up the reigns in choosing Amateur Friday and hand it over to a guest. Clearly he doesn’t have the time to carefully choose, but that’s pushing people away from the site.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Cool idea.
        Then would have someone else to yell at.

  • http://the-movie-nerd.com themovienerd

    I read Swedish Vampire Lesbians on another site. I loved it. Gets my vote for sure.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Thanks!

  • IgorWasTaken

    My vote: Swedish Lesbian Vampire Wonderland

    I read the first 14 pages, which others here also apparently like. And so, I didn’t venture into the parts where others say it… falls down.

    Regardless, I’d like to see this on AF because it has no pretensions for greatness – but at least, based on the opening pages, this could work commercially. Low budget, perhaps even straight-to-cable. But – That’s still a movie. That’s “a sold script” (if it happens).

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Hey Igor. Thanks for the vote. Yeah, it has no pretensions. It is what is! Cheers

  • ElectricDreamer

    We meet again, AOW candidates. Congrats to all candidates.
    Got my fingers crossed for a lot of standouts this week!

    AOW Winner: SWEDISH LESBIAN VAMPIRE WONDERLAND.

    LOST CONTINENT:
    I think Atlantis hasn’t been updated cuz there’s no toys to market.
    It’s expensive and you have to create your own mythos. Tough sell.
    However, I do adore old school adventure flicks. Yay nostalgia.

    P. 1 I’d make a bigger deal on the page of that man’s transformation scene.
    Use punctuation to highlight the specialness of your beat.
    As written, it just kinda blends in with the rest of the weather forecast.

    P. 3 THROWN should be THRONE. Twice on the same page.

    P. 4 I’d consider starting this prologue here.
    This is the critical info, the rest can be greatly condensed.

    P. 7 It makes no sense to have your young son in a dangerous pyramid!
    What decent father would do such a thing?
    And if this is the modern era, where’s all the high tech gear?
    Too reminiscent of Raiders opener. But with none of the rewarding action.

    There’s not a lick of set up, so no TENSION about Stavos’ intro.
    If you want your to generate SUSPENSE, you must tease the villain better.
    If the reader know the baddies are coming, the anticipation rises.
    And that keeps readers turning pages, not random surprise appearances.

    P. 8 Robert never even glares at Stavos. Where’s the emotion?
    You’d think the boy might be furious or STARE DAGGERS at Stavos.
    A declaration of revenge, some kind of reaction would be good.
    He just stares blankly as Stavos looks him in the eye. Not dramatic.
    You’re wasting an opportunity to POLARIZE these two characters.

    You’re also playing the “overly elaborate unsupervised hero death” card.
    Austin Powers made fun of that decades ago. It’s very old hat.
    Maybe if Stavos said something here, he recognizes a spark in the kid.
    Playing that device seriously dates your script right into the trash.

    P. 12 Everything up to now has felt like — BACKSTORY.
    A more intriguing start would he here. We’ve all heard stories of Atlantis.
    I like the idea of Robert sneaking into the expedition.
    Opening on Robert here immediately generates mystery.
    That’s stealing from Raiders in a way that’s entertaining to me.

    Whereas the joke with covering up the sounds, is lifted out of Last Crusade.
    That’s borrowing, when you copy a joke verbatim. Stick to stealing, please.
    When you borrow, all you do is remind the reader of a much better movie.
    But re-purposing the elements in a slightly different way is stealing.

    P. 13 He called her a doll? What exactly is the time period here?
    I wish you would just date the scene to help ground the reader.
    Another confusing point why did ROBERT become DONNELLY as an adult?

    P. 16 Too quippy and filled with overly snarky dialogue. I’m out.
    Not every adventure film needs to be filled with sarcastic twits.
    The mention of Stavos gets no reaction out of Robert, what gives?
    This is the man that murdered his father, right in front of him. That’s not right.
    Too much BACKSTORY and the human behavior doesn’t line up in this tale for me.

    PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      TALLEST DARKEST LEADING MAN:
      P. 4 The world you’re building has some visual snap.
      But Selznick comes off way too talky.
      All he had to say here was: Gentleman, we’re bleeding money.
      Everything else is exposition these board members already know.
      And for the record, Carole Lombard coined “screwball” in 1938.
      In 1933, the term applied only to an eccentric person or erratic baseball pitch.

      P. 12 Five pages of dialogue, and I’m not sure what any of it meant.
      Its all just business jargon. Where’s the human drama?
      We know how this story ends, with a legendary film being produced.
      You could’ve opened with Selznick visiting Cooper, nothing happened earlier.

      P. 14 The singing cowboy joke. I tend to cringe at these.
      Chunks of snark that only can exist because the writer knows the “future”.
      Reads like low hanging fruit on the page. A cheap throwaway laugh.

      P. 20 This isn’t compelling me to continue.
      Too many tepid story threads, nothing’s really happening on the page.
      Tons of talk about interesting productions, but we’re always in the office.
      Scenes meander, dialogue goes on for too long. And to what end?
      You don’t need pages dedicated to hiring Zoe. We know that’s going to happen.
      There’s a lot of detail on the page, but there’s no emotion driving it.
      Closing in on 20% of the script burned and no mention of apes.
      Find the human story and themes within the film’s legend to hook readers.

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      THE CARGO:
      P. 1 Tossing the cigarette right after lighting it made me chuckle.
      Is this an action spoof comedy? This very familiar beat kinda feels like it.

      P. 2 Banging the alcoholic drum pretty hard here right off the bat
      Starting with such overused melodrama doesn’t bode well for the characters.
      You don’t need to rent a proverbial billboard to tell us the guy likes booze.

      P. 3 Cole’s exposition here reads poor.
      Obviously his lawyer would know all these facts you’ve dumped here.
      This is a big red flag to readers. I’m guessing this is an early script.
      There’s one fundamental difference between good and bad exposition:
      Is there a reason IN THE STORY for the information to be exchanged?
      Bad example: Recounting your crimes to your lawyer.
      Good example: A specialist interprets data for a layman.
      Readers are looking for reasons to flag your script, don’t make it easy.

      P. 4 Why isn’t your drunk complaining protag find whoever framed him?
      This guy doesn’t care about anything, so why should the reader.
      Why have a passive whiner for a protag. How about an ACTIVE one.
      As in, your drunk hero is motivated to find who framed him.
      And his continued alcoholism gets in the way of that ongoing quest.
      Now that’s a guy I can get behind, not one that trash talks his lawyer.

      P. 5 Why didn’t we get to see Thomas die? That would’ve been dramatic.
      To hear this guys’ last words, that could start a MYSTERY.
      Getting the reader to ponder those kind of questions keeps them reading.

      P. 6 We’ve spent four pages with your protag denying the call to adventure.
      We know he has to say yes, or there is no script.
      And with such a short script, you don’t have four pages to waste on that.

      P. 9 The romantic interlude reads more funny that compelling.
      Tonally, you’re jumping around so much, I can’t tell what the genre is.
      You could start this script with your protag ON THE MISSION.
      This way the reader catches up as you dole out the story.
      That’s one way to avoid the backstory blues. Keep learning the craft.

      P. 10 You burned 1/8 of your script on useless denial and a Hallmark moment.
      Sorry, but that’s not good use of the sparse real estate here.
      That just won’t translate to film. You scenes must MULTITASK like crazy.
      And that skill develops as you write more and more scripts.

      PASS.

      • Eli Greenwitz

        Ah, now THIS is the kind of constructive criticism I can work with. Thanks for the read and feedback!

    • ElectricDreamer

      CODE BLACK:
      P. 3 If they don’t know the crime boss, why not clue in the reader here.
      You’ve actually set this up to deliver some warranted exposition.

      P. 4 Cabot sounds exactly like Raylen Givens in JUSTIFIED.
      Some of the phrasing is almost a dead ringer for the show.
      The smart play here is to differentiate your story from its inspirations.

      P. 4 Bill kinda deserves to get shot here. He’s an idiot for talking back.
      That’s not how unarmed men respond to armed men threatening their life.
      Not believable on any level. Maybe if he was piss drunk. But still.
      Since we’re relying solely on logical truth in the scene, it comes up short.
      When there’s no emotional truth happening, we readers nitpick logic.

      P. 5 Cabot is insanely incompetent here.
      Why not just THREATEN to kill daddy if the daughter doesn’t come out?
      You can enhance the drama by the father PLEADING with his daughter:

      Cabot’s got a gun to dad’s head. He’s trying to be strong for his kid…
      “Stay there, honey. Don’t listen to him.” Tears in all their eyes.
      That’s some EMOTIONAL STAKES the reader can sink their teeth into.
      I can feel the CONFLICT pouring out of that scenario.
      And in the heat of that conflict, your characters will reveal themselves.

      As written, it seems quips are more important than connective storytelling.
      Leave the Elmore Leonard elocution lessons to the experts on F/X.

      P. 10 The whole dumpster sequence comes off comedic and very dated.
      I think there’s a much more realistic solution here…
      Maybe another ladder truck arrives. Or they have to run for the roof.
      Then once the flames have chased them up there, you have more options.
      But using the dumpster here says: I’m relying on old cliches to impress you.
      And that’s not the message you want readers to be receiving in your opener.

      P. 13 But it *IS* Graham’s fault if visitation is restricted.
      He’s the one not showing up, reads like he’s lying to his daughter here.

      P. 15 Why is Sophia just hanging out at work?
      Isn’t Cabot holding her HOSTAGE until Lambert finds a donor?
      Why aren’t the COPS asking the doctor about her MURDERED HUSBAND?
      No questions about the arson as well, the police in this town suck.
      Too many things don’t make sense and everyone’s far too quippy.
      Trade in the one-liners for some genuine menace and conflict.

      PASS.

    • ElectricDreamer

      SWEDISH LESBIAN VAMPIRE WONDERLAND:
      P. 1 I got tripped up by the cutesy description of the posters.
      If you had just told me she uses the posters like bed post notches…
      Your point would’ve come across, instead of confusing me in your opener.

      Why doesn’t Blake say anything to her about the posters?
      His ego getting in the way of sexual pleasure would be funny.
      He stops enjoying the orgasm because his ego is challenged.
      That guy already has me laughing. He can’t let the blow to his ego rest.
      Look to HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY to capitalize on your opener.

      P. 5 Are the girls under aged? Hot young women is a vague descriptor here.
      Some appear/referred to in their 20s. But then as teenagers later.
      I’m confused, has Blake committed a crime here or not.

      P. 9 I’m not seeing much of a problem here, the protag’s a sex addict.
      Who cares so long as it’s all legal. I don’t see why everyone’s upset.

      P. 12 The old times sake beat doesn’t work for me here.
      It seems to me Blake’s only real problem is his attitude.
      Which makes this moment come off more SOCIOPATHIC than sincere.
      He should at least charmingly admit that he was a sex addict.
      Then maybe I could see why some women would want anything to do with him.
      But deferring to degrading slobbery for characterization isn’t much fun.

      P. 15 Louise’s choices in men leaves a lot to be desired.
      The new guy sounds just like the old guy. Guess she didn’t learn much.

      P. 25 This feels like it should be happening ten pages sooner.
      I’m bowing out here, I just don’t care about what’s happening.
      It’s not funny that Blake is a jerk to everyone, not at all.
      You go very far out of your way to make the protag repulsive.
      That puts a huge burden of investment on the reader before we can have fun.
      No juicy vampire genre love yet, just a pupil gag in the first act. Needs more.
      But the writer can turn a phrase or three, maybe Carson has the answer.

      WEAK CONSIDER.

      • Scott Chamberlain

        Hey Ed. Thanks for taking the time to read SLVW and to post these details notes. This page-by-page reaction format really helps suss out weak spots. i greatly appreciate it – (and your vote!) Cheers

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    The Swedish Lesbian Vampire flick has the best reason to read I’ve ever seen.

  • Midnight Luck

    Just in case the writer of CODE BLACK is interested, there is a movie that opened this week (well here at least) also called CODE BLACK. It is a Documentary about Doctors in training at the busiest Emergency Room in America: the LA County Hospital.

    Thought you might like to know. Not sure it means or changes anything, but it might.

  • Casper Chris

    You should put your vote at the top of your post or in a new post so whoever’s “counting” the votes doesn’t have to read a long comment in order to find it.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    Patrick. Thanks for taking the time to read SLVW and post your comments. I really appreciate it. Cheers

  • Matthew Garry

    Having read all except for one, my vote goes to:
    THE TALLEST, DARKEST, HANDSOMEST LEADING MAN IN HOLLYWOOD

    No contest for me. Dialogue is fast and witty, and fast, like back in the days when writers had to rely on words to entertain, because there was precious little else available.

    The protag Cooper is the most likable jerk I’ve seen in a long time, and him together with quick-witted Zoe and later the stubborn Dorothy makes for some wonderful old-school chemistry.

    It’s not without its faults with being too long, having some repetitive beats, and trying to tie in too many subplots, but it’s up there with both “Making of Jaws” scripts that made it onto the Blacklist.

    p68. It’s “ZOE”, not “COOPER” who says, “He deserves to know.”
    p105. COOPER: “You see. You already _know_ the story.”

    Good competition was delivered by:
    CODE BLACK, or “Die Hard in a Hospital”, which makes good on its somewhat boisterous claim of never losing momentum, even if some sequences were a little over the top and some didn’t make all that much sense.

    and LOST CONTINENT, which is a pleasant adventure with a bickering male and female lead, and paints a visually pleasing journey towards Atlantis, but didn’t really break any new ground.

    THE CARGO was a bit too disjointed and lacked the momentum of “Code Black” to rollercoast over all the inconsistencies that action movies inevitably fall prey to.

    SLVM I only read up to page 9. Sex isn’t inherently funny to me, so just piling it up doesn’t automatically make something hilarious. Sex was used to good effect in “Not Safe for Work” a few weeks back, because it was used as a springboard for jokes and comical situations, but here it wasn’t used in that capacity. Also: screenwriting is visual writing as much as screenplay reading is visual reading.

    Right on page one I’m staring at an actual scrotum *on the screen*. That severely lessened my appetite for reading on.

    • Eli Greenwitz

      “Cargo” guy here. Thanks for the read!

  • SinclareRose

    Please excuse my late vote. It’s a hard choice between Tallest, Darkest Leading Man and Lost Continent. I like a good adventure though, so my vote goes to Lost Continent.

  • Dan B

    Read all of The Lost Continent – I’m not nearly as experienced as some of the folks who normally contribute on this site, but regardless I wanted to give you some input.

    Overall – I was entertained enough to read the entire thing. I liked some of the call backs from Donnelly’s first scene with his dad, the “Nothing Stays Lost Forever” and “There’s always an exit”. The latter especially is a great opportunity for a payoff, and you did it. I thought there was some great quippy dialogue between Donnelly and Ava as well.

    The other good thing – As Carson recently wrote about “Embedded Goals” in his Guardians review, you had those. One step led to the other, and that’s key for an adventure story, I liked being on that adventure. There were a lot of good things here, enough that I kept reading rather than doing my day job, diddling with spreadsheets and so on.

    What I would like to see changed – Some earlier posters mentioned the opening scene, and the scene and the first encounter with Stavos, and I agree with them. I think maybe skipping the expositional beginning, and going straight to the dig would be cool. You can probably describe the story of Atlantis throughout the first act without showing that “flash back scene with the Gods.” Also, I think it would build tension if the reader could see that Stavos and his men were arriving, before Francis knew they were coming. It provides that “Oh NO! Run DUDE!” feeling for the audience. Throughout the script – Stavos seemed to have a habit of always just showing up at the most inconvenient time for the protagonist.

    The other critique, while I liked Ava and Donnelly’s dialogue, it seemed like sometimes throughout the script they weren’t the same characters. Donnelly is likable throughout the whole script, but he starts like and “Indy” character, using old time phrases “Princess, Doll, Sweetheart”, then later in the script he sounds like Indy morphed with a Judd Apatow character. Also, I wish Ava had transitioned from being too bitchy and whiny earlier. She changes by the end of the movie, but I’d like her to start “believing” earlier. Also, there some lines from her later in the script that seemed unlike her personality – such as the “premature joke” that she shared with Stavos in the third act.

    Last thing – some of the puzzle solving seemed borrowed. Hasn’t the Staff with Sun and beams shooting been used before in these adventure stories? I mean, I get it, it’s not like BC era people had much choice in hiding their important items – but I’d try to find something more original as a puzzle – it’s a time to shine for the whole script.

    Okay – this is the last thing – I felt like after killing a guy who had turned into a God, Ava and Donnelly didn’t seem as relieved or surprised. I mean, they went on quipping away. I feel like some other emotions would be going crazy then.

    Overall – As said before I really enjoyed reading it. I think the end sets up for an awesome fight. Dude has to kill a friggin God for Chrissakes! Great for a fight scene, and puts the protagonist in a “almost cant win scenario.”

    PS – I’m pretty green in the screenwriting world. Not sure what your status is, but if you ever want to trade reads let me know. I liked your style, and thought this script was cool. It was DEF better than that Librarian shit that plays on USA.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Was a little confused by the question.
    Did not mean to suggest AF overlooks the best of AOW but
    rather that AOW may be overlooking better scripts from those sent Carson. (I improperly referred to the whole process as AF when I should have been saying AOW. )

    But yes, there were a few scripts. Most I don’t remember the titles.
    Loved the opening of SOUL CATCHER but the script veered off in the wrong direction, IMO.