Read and vote for your favorite script in the comments.  I’m really excited about this week.  A long time reader, D, has submitted his script “The Brothers Ternion.”  I’ve exchanged e-mails with D for a long time and know he’s a huge student of the craft.  So to finally see a script from him is awesome.  Excited about the other entries as well.  Axiom of Evil, in particular, caught my eye.   We even have a script from the past coming back for another look.  But this isn’t about me.  It’s about you.  So get to reading and let me know what you think!

Title: The Brothers Ternion
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Three brothers, long estranged from one another, are reunited by chance in the small town of Mumford.
Who I am: Long time reader, first time submitter
Why you should read: “. . . funny, touching and extremely well written . . . I’ve never read a script in this competition that felt so complete, so much like a movie that was ready to be filmed tomorrow. I can’t say enough good things about this script. It was just a fully realized and brilliant piece of work.” – Nicholl Contest script reader for The Brothers Ternion. This quote was also featured on Nicholl’s Facebook page in May as their daily reader quote. I just found this out now, since they e-mailed reader comments to all current quarterfinalists (like myself) this week.
Why you SHOULD NOT read it: It’s NOT a GSU script (the other Nicholl reader described it as “If Wes Anderson had written Stepbrothers II”).

​Title: The Berzerkers
Genre: Action/Thriller/Comedy
Log​line: A team of disabled vets reluctantly reunite when their former commander drops a bombshell on them: the terrorist who caused their disabilities is in America to pull off a devastating attack, and they’re the only ones who can stop it.
Why You Should Read It: It’s a 2014 Page Awards Semifialist, a 2014 Creative World Awards Quarterfinalist, and it made the top 15% of 2014 Nicholl fellowships. There’s a wide array of reactions to the script, and I’m really curious at to what the SS readers (and you) will say. As for the script? Action galore, fast-paced, complex female characters, wild twists, dark humor, and a strong theme. Oh, yeah, GSU up the wazoo.

Title: Axiom of Evil
Genre: Horror
Logline: A womanizing psychologist trying to disprove the existence of evil must confront his beliefs when he sleeps with his much younger patient, who may be possessed by a demon.
Why You Should Read: Axiom of Evil differs from typical demonic possession films in that it delves deep into the cerebral aspects of this phenomenon that other films usually neglect. It explores the reasons why possession occurs and illuminates the mind of both the possessed and the demonic. It is a story that seeks to be as intellectually engaging and arousing as it is scary. I have put over a year of research into the subject matter and I am confident that this is a unique and original approach to the exorcism sub-genre.
Length: 112 pages

AXIOM poster2

Title: Misamerica
Logline: Beverly Hills bad girl Abbey Lopez reluctantly rises to teen pop music stardom, while her one hit wonder Mother tries “making it” in the neighborhood by throwing her a million dollar Sweet Sixteen.
Pitch: “Mean Girls” meets “Pitch Perfect” in a musical teen comedy about fame, fortune, and family dysfunction.
Why You Should Read: Like the rest of them I moved to LA with not much more than a script in my back pocket… Three years and nine drafts later I eventually found myself working for a Producer and so broke that my next career move was going to be sleeping in my car. Defeated, I quit the biz and took a job at a local beauty supply store… Selling makeup… Again. — After a year of cleaning off lipsticks (and not writing), I one day found myself helping the mother of the starlet who I had written my screenplay for. I pitched it, she said to email it. A week later I got an call from that starlet’s agent at CAA. — Thanks to that fateful day my script has found her way into the stacks of some great desks, but she needs to keep going… — Carson, my baby’s name is “Misamerica”, I would love for you to meet her.


Title: Sunny Side of Hell
Genre: Action/late era Western
Logline: 1932, Texas – When a farmer’s wife is kidnapped, he races across the dustbowl-ravaged panhandle to save her from being murdered. Up against corrupt cops, the mob, and worst of all, the elements, the only man he can turn to for help is the best friend he betrayed and left for dead ten years prior. Midnight Run by way of Unforgiven.
Why You Should Read: This is the Scriptshadow trifecta right here! Original writer John Eidson had a draft reviewed on Amateur Friday close to a year ago. And the general consensus at that time was: Dude is a helluva writer, now needs to work on becoming a helluva screenwriter… Since then, he has brought on fellow Scriptshadow-ite Patrick Bonner to work in tandem, completely revamping this thing. We have utilized Carson’s original AF review, the Scriptshadow community’s feedback, and then had Carson look at the script independently, to completely tear this thing down and rebuild it as a lean, mean, GSU machine. And it’s really fucking good.

  • Alo

    Just read 30 pages of the Berzekers and I couldn’t figure what was going on.. Just too many characters on the page and with nicknames: pops, fenton, coldbeer, sanjuro, ben, irika. Way too many to sort out who is who, who’s after what, who’s doing what, plus not much was going on, the writer talked about GSU? There’s a recurring trait I’ve noted in many amateur scripts especially since Alex Felix’s script and Carson’ s advice on creating characters that leap off the page, writers are coming with characters way too quirky. It’s good to have memorable characters but you gotta remain credible. You can still be memorable yet simple, relatable. No need to go on a “tasmanian devil”contest to quote a writer’s line… I’m waiting for a script that will feature a transexual latino midget with PTSD and alzheimer’s pursued by the FBI who take him for a top terrorist and a mexican cartel who take him for a rival drug baron…

    • carsonreeves1

      Characters need to stand out. But they can’t do so at the expense of the story. Like you’re saying, if a character is ridiculously outrageous, he’ll feel artificial/manufactured, and the suspension of disbelief is broken. So I guess the lesson is, make a character stand out if and only if it’s organic to the story.

  • Scott Crawford

    The Beserkers: Starting a screenplay with “9/11 was an inside job”? Even if it’s a character’s opinion, bad idea.

    Too bad, it was the only logline that really stood out for me.

    • carsonreeves1

      Hey Scott. I’m not a 9/11 conspiracy guy by any stretch. But out of curiosity, what do you not like about that starting line? Conspiracy theories are the seeds for a lot of movies.

      • Scott Crawford

        It just puts me right off. He mentions Capricorn One and the Moon hoax, and I get that, that’s fine, but 9/11 conspiracies are a whole other thing. I HOPE that the writer isn’t a “truther”, probably he isn’t, but I wouldn’t have put something like that as the first line.

      • Gregory Mandarano

        I think that unless the purpose of a screenplay is to incite political discussion, it is risky to include any political topics that invoke strong, and often diametrically opposed, emotionally heated viewpoints.

        • Scott Crawford

          Not everyone will take offence at everything, but as you said, Gregory, your script COULD end up being read by a wide number of people. If you were writing a sample script for Girls, then controversy is mandatory. Wouldn’t expect anything less. And it’s not the case that your R-rated comedy is going to be sold to the guys at Walmart, but…

          Not everyone in Hollywood is an atheist, and not everyone will appreciate you mocking Christians (hey, you’re stuck on a hill being made to convert your religion or die. Hilarious.).

          Not everyone in Hollywood votes Democratic, and not all them will appreciate your Republican bashing (it has been said, by Lorne Michaels for one, that Conservatives are a little more thick-skinned than others, but still, the relentless conservative-bashing in some quarters).

          And many other examples that can alienate, divide.

    • IgorWasTaken

      I’ve never had a character of mine say that, but I have been hit with similar objections over stuff my characters do say. And it always bothers me. It seems plain wrong. And since your comment is not about MY script, my objection to your objection can’t be ascribed to me not wanting to accept criticism.

      For one script, I got feedback about misogyny – because one of my male characters in a comedy was a pig. The reader decided that my script was misogynistic because one character was that way. That character BTW was given grief by other characters whenever he acted piggish. And he paid for those times. But, one pig spoils the basket, it seems. Sometimes.

      Scott, you read that line as a line of a character’s dialogue in a script. It’s not an op-ed piece. Plus – not that I think this is the case with The Beserkers – maybe he changes his mind by the end. After all, how can characters arc to THERE if they don’t start out HERE?

      Hey, we all have our buttons. And maybe you have reason to be especially concerned about this thing. But you might want to reconsider. OTOH, if someone’s getting raped and sliced up in an opening scene, I probably won’t keep reading. And maybe that’s the same sort of thing.

      Anyway, I disagree with your POV in this case. I do agree that those theories are crazy, but they don’t bother me in a script.

      • Scott Crawford

        I agree with entirely about separating a character from the person writing that character, obviously. What I’m really getting at – and I think you picked up on it, thank you – is the danger of putting that stuff on PAGE ONE. Not even just page one, but the FIRST LINE OF DIALOGUE. Any Hollywood power player reading that script would immediately SUSPECT the writer of being a truther, in the same way that if the lead of a story is an anti-gay activist (who then saves a gay man from being attacked by a mob, becomes friends, and by the end of the movie joins a campaign for gay rights), starting the script with “I hate f—s.” is a bad idea.

        • IgorWasTaken

          First, I want to thank you for the replies you’ve posted about this. In major ways we disagree, but I think you make reasonable, reasoned arguments (in a debating, not angry tone), and that’s not often the case on the Internet.

          (Digression: To the credit of Carson, and many people at SS, the civility level here is been maintained at a very high level over the years. I don’t know how this is done, but this place is a pleasant afternoon tea compared to almost any other site I’ve ever visited where reader comments can be posted. Ken Levine’s site is about the only one on a par with this one.)

          About “conspiracy people”. I actually had jobs over the years where I had to deal with them. And for some reason, while sometimes I want to runaway when I encounter them these days, they’ve never pushed my buttons.

          Did that line of dialogue on page 1 in The Berzerkers grab me? Yes. Did I do an eye roll? Yes.

          But here’s what really got me: This character Gurps is a volunteer. He volunteered to join the Army at a time of war, presumably knowing he’d likely be put in harms way in Afghanistan (or Iraq, which was at least in part a bootstrap from 9/11), and yet the predicate of the US being in Afghanistan is 9/11. Sure, maybe Gurps volunteered because he needed a job. Still, he did volunteer.

          So this script opens with a group of US soldiers in Afghanistan with one soldier saying 9/11 was an inside job. To me, that made Gurps interesting. I didn’t like him for that, but a guy who joins the Army to fight in a war entirely based on 9/11 when he thinks was an inside job…?

          But I think it’s noteworthy that Gurps is not the first to speak. The first is Pops, who says, “How in the hell can you believe that
          9/11 was an inside job, Gurps?” Gurps replies, “Two words, sir: controlled fuckin’ demolition. You a college boy, Pops,
          and you don’t see that shit?”

          The writer could have started with Gurps dialogue. I don’t know why he chose to start with Pops. Putting the details of the subject aside, and now that I look at it, I think starting with Gurps dialogue would be better dramatically. Even with the subject being 9/11, it might make sense. But from a “calibration” standpoint, starting with Pops seems the best choice.

          You mention the KKK. Yes, that will put people off. But a script that’s about some major leader of the KKK in the 1960s for example could well start on page 1 with two racists having a casual conversation about “these stupid people…” After all, page 1 is supposed to set story and tone. And, just off the top of my head, what if this story is about a guy who was some KKK leader and then 30 years later realizes how wrong he was? Maybe he even confesses to murder for having helped lynch a black man in the 60s, and this is his story.

          As for JFK, find someone who was born in the 1940s or 50s, and so was alive and aware in 1963 when JFK was shot. Ask them if they saw “JFK” and what they thought about it. Some will still tell you it was wrong; very wrong; Stone is insane. OTOH, for anyone born in the 1960s or later, “JFK” is simply a movie. And it’s not 9/11 still being raw because it was only 13 years ago. I betcha you will be turned off by a 9/11 “truther” forever.

          • Scott Crawford

            Firstly, one of the main reasons I post here is because I enjoy it. It takes me away from the other problems in my life. You’re right, on any other website I would be getting harassed by people redirecting me to Global Research and Info Wars to “learn the truth”. “The truth”: 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11th; a whole religion of one billion people tarnished with the same brush; two wars, maybe more.

            Anyway, screenwriters, on the whole, are thoroughly decent people, much more so than actors I would think. Actors will stab each other in the back to get a role. I can’t think of screenwriters doing the same thing. Look at how many screenwriters, professional ones and all, take time out to help young, struggling screenwriters.

            Some people will say that should read the whole of a script before judging it. There are five scripts here; each one takes over an hour to read. You’re talking six or seven hours of my life! And I’m a full-time carer for my Dad! And I have my own script to write!

            So, at the risk of being the Simon Cowell of Scriptshadow, I think it’s OK if sometimes I point out the dangers of first pages.

            How much time will someone give your script? A page? Ten pages? If a person is not being PAID to read a script the answer is ZERO. There’s a joke in The Simpsons, an episode called “Judge Me Tender”, and Moe goes to Hollywood, and there’s a guy selling stuff out of the back of his car and the sign says: “Screenplays: $2”.

            Funny. Sad. True.

            There’s no second chances to make a first impression. Will Hare has an opportunity here on Scriptshadow that few writers will get in the “real world”; to answer back to criticism. He can justify his decisions and show how YOU are the one who’s wrong. In Hollywood, if a producer – even a minor one – doesn’t like the first page of your script, he can just throw it away and pick up another. He has a whole stack of them to read!

            There’s a story about Stanley Kubrick’s secretary sitting outside Stanley’s office hearing THUMP! then several more minutes and THUMP! then some more time and THUMP! And this went on for days. Then there was silence. It turned out that Stanley was reading books that people had suggested he might want to make into a movie, and every-time he read a book, as soon as he got fed up, he would throw it at the wall. THUMP! Then he read a book that caught his attention, and he didn’t throw it against the wall. He finished it.

            “The Shining”. By Stephen King.

            Igor, you’re probably the only person still reading this but… there are some people on this comments board who are a little… sensitive. Not sensitive like I was over 9/11, or someone else might be if someone made a not very politically correct joke. I mean sensitive as in, “I’m not gonna survive Hollywood” sensitive. I was criticized for suggesting that, when people write boring or incoherent scripts, it’s a pretty sure sign they haven’t written an outline – by which I mean that they haven’t given their story much thought. This was in relation to an article Carson had written on THE EXACT SAME SUBJECT. “Oh, you can’t accuse people of not writing an outline, you don’t know what they went through!” Cheese Whiz, we all go write screenplays, but some people put more effort into it than others AND YOU CAN TELL. One day I might like to submit a screenplay to Scriptshadow, but I’d be disappointed if it didn’t get at least a 3/5, “Worth the Read”.

            I made one joke the other day about 500 Day of Summer being 5,000,000 Days of Navel Gazing and you should have the seen the response. Well, you CAN see the responses, it’s still up there.

            Sorry for the long post, but one last thing. Here in England, when Dad’s Army – a comedy about blundering old people on the “Home Front” during WWII – first aired in 1968 they were complaints, not a huge number. Vietnam, Iraq, people feel that they can criticize those wars – not the people who fought in them, but some of the behind-the-scenes guys.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Thanks. As for the debate about “The 500 Days of Summer” you were in, I didn’t sense a tone problem there. But maybe I missed some of the later posts.

    • Sullivan

      The bigger problem with “9/11 was an inside job” is that it’s played out. Everyone’s heard it ad nauseam. Come up with a less known conspiracy to catch readers’ attentions.

  • walker

    Two questions: What’s up with the left margin of The Brothers Ternion? And what’s up with Building 7?

    • IgorWasTaken

      I noticed the margin, too, but the right margin also appears moved over, so they seem to net out.

      • walker

        Ok, I guess a writer that gets comments like that from the Nicholl can set their margins however they want. But Building 7 still seems a bit fishy.

    • carsonreeves1

      One of the things I’m finding is that certain computers/OS’s occasionally display PDFs with the wrong margins or the wrong fonts, through no fault of the writer. I opened up Brothers and it looked okay to me. I know PDFs are supposed to be standard documents that don’t change across systems, but it isn’t always the case.

      • Mike.H

        And why are some PDF’s so light? Any ideas?

        • walker

          Because they are comedies?

          • Mike.H

            Ralph Cramdon: Hardy har-har. One of these days, to the moon, Alice!

            to Walker’s reply.

        • IgorWasTaken

          Lots of possible reasons. Specific Courier font choice. And scripts printed on Windows sometimes come out lighter than on Macs.

        • Scott Crawford

          This was something I brought up a few weeks back. It’s odd. All these AOW scripts used to look SO professional, I mean really clean and BRIGHT. I blame the rise of DIY scripts made on Word or increasing use of non-Final Draft software. Yeah, let’s stick it to the man! But FD, Movie Magic Screenwriter, maybe Fade In, those are the ones to use.

          • Matthew Garry

            It might help conversation if you could generally tone down presenting personal opinion as fact or established consensus.

          • Scott Crawford


          • Scott Crawford

            Matthew, what do you think the film industry is like, I mean really like? Do you think it’s full of British nannies who looked at a boring, typo-fileld, poorly formatted script and say “Never mind, dear?”

            You may be in for a shock!

        • Scott Crawford

          For what it’s worth, I decided to do a test script, only took me a couple of hours. This is a PDF created by Final Draft 9 from an FDX file, and it looks pretty clean to me.

          You don’t have to read, it’s just a silly little thing. But, reading it off an Adobe reader on a $500 laptop, it looks pretty easy to read. Is everyone else doing it the same way?

          • IgorWasTaken

            Windows or Mac? As you may know, if you open up the Properties of a pdf you can often see what software was used to create it, and always tell if it’s a Windows or Mac. And for example a friend of mine has a Mac and his Final Draft pdfs are darker than mine, I use Final Draft on Windows, and we use the same font.

          • Scott Crawford

            My Mac broke down years ago. I use a PC, a cheap one, and I accept that most people in “Hollyweird” us these Apple thingies. But FD to PDF seemed to work well for me. But after giving Fade In a try, I’ve got my suspicions about some of these other (cheaper) software options.

          • IgorWasTaken

            What font did you use with Fade In? I don’t recall what they use for default. You can select fonts IIRC. I even think you can specify FD’s font. I’ve seen pdfs from Fade In and they looked fine to me, but I have no idea which font was used.

          • Scott Crawford

            This is my PDF created – as you will see – on an unregistered copy (demo) of Fade In:

            The font appears to be Courier New, so that may be a problem. I’ll try again.

        • carsonreeves1

          This can happen sometimes and I don’t know why. Could be some obscure OS/App combo.

      • Scott Crawford

        I’m imagining that a lot of Scriptshadowers are reading script on those fancy new “tablet” computers I’ve been hearing so much about. I have a PC – works every time.

  • jw

    C, now we need an article on premise originality. I think the writing itself is definitely much better this week, but most of the premises offered here are either cliché within the genre itself or are simply not as original as they need to be (to make any headway in the industry). Misamerica has a typo in the first 2 description blocks and that’s just unacceptable for any script, no matter who it’s coming from. Sunnyside sounded like a fairly decent premise, but the opening is just scattered and very, very unfocused. Good luck to all.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Nicholl likes well written scripts
      but they don’t harp on typos/minor mistakes.
      Some other contests do — and it’s the easiest thing to point out.

      Contests differ but many divide the script into parts – format, plot, character, dialogue, ect.
      Then they score each part. And add up the parts to come up with a total score.

      And here’s the interesting question:
      Does this mean it’s a movie you want to see?

      • Scott Crawford

        Typos are easy to spot and can, usually means that the writer hasn’t read his own script. A writer should re-read his own script after writing it and before presenting it to ANYONE whose judgment he seeks.

        • For The Lulz

          I had a script that made it to the Quarter-Finals of Page this year (but not semi-finals :(

          I read that script 3-4 times for typos before sending it. Yet just before the QF announcement I read the script again….and discovered six typos/mistakes.

          I was kicking myself for them. Somehow after reading the script so many times in succession, they just slipped by unnoticed. It wasn’t until I’d taken a few weeks away from it, that I could spot them.

          I think it’s unfair for you to judge writers as not having read and re-read their scripts if there are typos. Sometimes, despite your best efforts they just slip by you.

          Typos can be sneaky little f*****s.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Suggestion: Have your computer READ you the script as you read along. Not foolproof, but it can help.

            Another idea: If you have MS word, open a copy of the script in there and turn on both SPELLING and GRAMMAR checking. Then carefully check all of the red and blue lines under words and phrases.

          • Scott Crawford

            There, their, and they’re. Farce and force. Lose and loose. Viola and voilà.

            As you say, Igor, not all spellcheckers are the same, and a lot of words can go “un-red squiggled”. The reading aloud, Stephen Hawking voice thing on Final Draft is a good idea, or giving to a friend or a professional proofreader. You gotta re-read your own script, but sometime your a little too close to the material at that point.

            Terry Rossio also suggests PRINTING your final draft, because mistakes are easier to see on paper than on screen (yes, boys and girls, in the past we had to PRINT our scripts! I remember using a photocopier to make copies!).

          • IgorWasTaken

            I’ve had the problem of writing a character to say “And viola”, then getting a note for “the typo” – Ugh.

            And yes, I agree about reading it on paper. But even though I recycle, I still do hate the “waste” of that.

          • Scott Crawford

            Voilà – with the squiggly bit on the end – shows up on my Open Office software, but not on Final Draft. Final Draft is good for final drafts, but it isn’t full word-processing software. I’m using it less and less, except for the final draft.

          • For The Lulz

            Yeah, that’s a good idea. I never thought to have the computer speak to me! Now I won’t be so lonely….. oh, and I might spot some typos.

            Spell check can miss things, as stated by others. I think spacing out time between reads can make typos stand out a bit more.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Yeh, spell check can provide false sense of security. But if you do have MS Word, do you know about grammar check? IIRC, it will highlight “there” if it thinks you meant “their” or “they’re”; and “its” or “it’s”; thinks like that.

            I’ve not used it, but there is a free version of Word-like software from It also has a grammar-check feature.

          • Scott Crawford

            Careful, dude, that Final Draft voice can send you to sleep! But if you stay awake – or if you have a friend with you to help – it can point out some of those mistakes.

          • Scott Crawford

            What is this “unfair to writers” crud I keep getting lately? Seriously, do you think people are gonna give you a free pass because you tried your best?

            If you think your script is likely to have typos – because it can happen – spring $80 for a proofread:

            But this “you can’t judge writers ’cause you don’t know, boo-hoo-hoo” has gotta go, man. I’ve just unblocked a toilet with my bare hands because my 67 year-old father who has Alzheimer’s stuffed too much toilet paper down there. Will that affect how people view my screenplay if it’s crap?

            Oh, just another thing, completely different topic. It’s alright here, but I wouldn’t use the word f*****s. There are two nouns beginning with f and ending in s, and one of them IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN IN TODAY’S SOCIETY!!! That’s what they call a “head’s up”.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Cool. Product placement for SS proofreading services. Yes, feed our host.

          • Scott Crawford

            I tried it before and nobody cared!

            Some people have accused me of mischaracterizing or judging a writer based on mistakes they make, and look, I know some writers may have dyslexia or English isn’t their first language, and I DEFINITELY don’t want to discourage them from writing. So, sometimes a proofread is what you need. I mean, when your script is about to go out into the world.

            I’ve been harking on about it for weeks, but… Catherine the Great, “War is eminent”, on PAGE EIGHT. Proofread, man.

          • For The Lulz

            Damn! You mad bro?

            Seriously, looking at your other comments, you come off as a little sensitive (amongst other things). Chill out!!!

            You’re not saying anything we don’t already know. Obviously one strives not to have typos in their scripts. You stated that typos means a writer hasn’t read their work, as if it’s a fact, and I disagreed with you based on my own experience. I wasn’t moaning or making excuses. So no need for the over-the-top response, pal.

            And your f*****s comment was just pathetic. Seriously, which word do you (and others) think I was using? Looks like SS is a joke-free zone for some people.

            Oh, and by the way, make sure you washed your hands.

          • Scott Crawford

            I’m not mad, I just think that this whole “you don’t know what I did, bro” is getting a bit old. I can judge a script based on the final PDF, whether the font is right, there are typos, or any other aspect if the writer has submitted it for public approval.

            And f*****s comment was half joking, but what you wrote, with the number of asterisks, looks like a word that rhymes with “maggots”. And, believe, you can’t use that word, and I’m sure you didn’t, so I’m just telling you to be careful! That may be the worst word you can use these days.

          • For The Lulz

            We’ll agree to disagree. You might judge a script based on typos, but I don’t. Sure, if there are a lot of typos, I won’t be impressed. But I wouldn’t be too put out either, after all, story is supreme. Audiences don’t see typos on the screen.

            As for the whole f*****s thing. I’ve changed it to be clearer. Still, I think you saw what you wanted to see and blew it out of proportion. It’s obvious what I was saying. Who would use the word you are implying in that sentence? Still, though I’m a little offended at your wild accusation, you are generally right. So….

            Peace out.

      • jw

        Malibo, what I would say to that is you’re jumping from script to screen and that’s a HUGE jump. As this person states, this script went to CAA and a potential A-list name and nothing came of it. Now, my first reaction to that was “we were about to find out”. Typos have NOTHING to do with story and I’m of the mindset that story reigns supreme over all, but what I take offense to is the lack of attention to detail. You can’t pretend you want to write while not sticking to the very basic tenet of understanding the craft. What a mistake early on like that tells me is that I’m likely about to read something that hasn’t been outlined, that hasn’t be combed over and something that is likely to be scatter-shot. Now, that may not be the case, but from the first few pages I read, it was, thus, I think the message here is, pay attention to the presentation of your script as well as the story. What tends to get lost in all of these “conversations” had on every online screenwriting community is that you don’t just need one aspect, YOU NEED THEM ALL. You need a well written, well formatted, well thought-out, well presented and so on and so forth. It’s not just one and then done…

        • Malibo Jackk

          “You need a well written, well formatted, well thought-out, well presented and so on and so forth.”
          Have to agree. Just take a look at what Terry Russo says are the requirements for working with him.

          BTW, recently heard Corey Mandell mention that he thought there might be a data base for coverage. For example, if one studio gets coverage on a script, it may go into a data base that other studios can look at. Thus, if you get one bad review — the script is dead around town.
          At any rate, sending a script to a contest and sending a script around town are two different things.

          I was talking about contests. What I was suggesting was this:
          Studios don’t decide what movies to make by dividing a script up into equal parts, giving each a score and adding up the total.

          • klmn

            “BTW, recently heard Corey Mandell mention that he thought there might be a data base for coverage”

            IIRC, Terry Rossio wrote something about this on his website, but damned if I’m going to dig through that place looking for it. I believe the term “tracking board” was used before commercial websites appropriated the term.

    • walker

      Yeah I noticed Misamerica had “bull shit” as two words. I thought everyone on Scriptshadow knew how to write bullshit.

      • klmn

        I’ve been accused of writing it for years.

        • IgorWasTaken

          Shirley, you jest.

          • klmn

            Wait for it…

          • walker

            Don’t call him, surely.

        • BSBurton


  • Kirk Diggler

    Reading The Brothers Ternion – thoughts as I read

    Was a better surname not available? Obviously, Bloom and Karamazov are already taken, but Ternion?

    Yet the early going is nice. A real page ternion. Figure I better make that joke before someone else doesn’t.

    The opening V.O. is well done, but at the end of page 3 it’s gets a little too ‘Lord, privy, seal’ for my taste;

    Lemford, Ozzie, Brendan, and Wallace are positioned. Everyone smiles, but Brendan gives Wallace a sour look.

    NARRATOR (V.O.) : “Ozzie was excited to have another brother. Brendan less so.”

    No reason to tell the audience something you’ve just shown us.

    This has a Wes Anderson feel to it.

    A full six pages to set up the adopted brother storyline. Then we jump to 17 years later. Hmmm, wonder if we will have further set up or is it story time?

    The three brothers are distinct in that archetypal sense. Nothing new but they’re are well drawn.

    Wallace turning off the alarm was a nice touch.

    There are a fair amount of humorous lines on display. This was a good one.

    OZZIE: Wallace, how do you feel about asbestos? Because depending on your
    answer, I might have a place for us.

    pg 28—- WALLACE: “Do you hate me Brendan?” (off Brendan’s look) “You’ve never seemed to like me very much.”

    This is a little on the nose and it makes Wallace seem a bit slow on the uptake. Is he really not sure? How many hints does he need?

    Read TO Pg 39. The three brother thing reminds me a little of The Darjeeling Express. My main issue is….I don’t know where this is headed. I can see Brendan has the only real character goal, looking for oil on the land he bought.
    Ozzie is the ne’er do well. He’s a fun movie character.
    Wallace is a cipher. So far he just lays there on the page not offering much to the proceedings. There could be more conflict between him and Brendan but it seems like even Brendan can’t bring himself to be too shitty towards him because he’s so non-halant about everything.

    I would consider reading on but I’m not dying to. The opening lured me in but so far it hasn’t delivered too may story beats. But the back and forth banter is solid that it kept me reading. So I’m not sure where I stand on this one.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Obviously, Bloom and Karamazov are already taken…

      I dunno if that’s fair, but it is funny.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Lemford, Ozzie, Brendan, and Wallace are positioned. Everyone smiles, but Brendan gives Wallace a sour look.

      NARRATOR (V.O.) : “Ozzie was excited to have another brother. Brendan less so.”

      No reason to tell the audience something you’ve just shown us.

      That’s a tough call. For example, maybe the V.O. happens as the camera pans across the four of them. And “Brendan less so” is said, then we see Brendan.

      Yes, normally you don’t have a character say what we also see. But with a V.O. narrator, I think it can work well.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Yes I suppose. It’s not a major thing. I guess it would depend how the narrator delivered the line. Might work in that highly ironic Wes Anderson style.

      • Scott Crawford

        Comic seems to be one of the few times that a screenwriter really needs to be directing the camera. The character is talking about things that are happening on screen, and the timing is everything.

    • d

      Hi Kirk, thanks for reading this far! I posted the reviews I got from the Nicholl readers over at GITS blackboard thread at the end of this response.. The first reader really loved it, and the second one liked it but didn’t love it, and ended with this “One needs to stick with this one, as it pays off at tale’s end. It’s funny and quite original, kinda like THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, with similar strengths and weaknesses.” I don’t want to spoil too much, but more and more is slowly revealed as you go along because the only way I could tell this kind of story is in this manner. I’m not saying you have to finish it (‘just read to the end’ reeks of amateurism), because you already read a good chunk, but I will say everything does pay off. Even the daffodils. Also, Ternion means a group of three, since three brothers. Thanks again for taking the time! The below feed I posted my Nicholl notes.

      • Somersby

        Hey d, congrats on getting selected for AOW.

        There’s a scene at the bottom of page 9 that has me totally flummoxed.


        Brendan comes in, locks the door, and pulls some rubber gloves from his jacket and puts them on.

        He flushes the toilet and turns on the faucet.

        He reaches into his coat and pulls out a lighter. He puts the flame underneath it and the flame ignites – whoosh!

        Brendan gets a big smile as he backs away from it…”

        It seems like it is meant to be a pivotal scene, yet after re-reading it several times, I still can’t figure out what Brendan is doing. “He puts the flame underneath it and the flame ignites” doesn’t make sense.

        He can’t be setting fire to the sink or faucet (can he?). Did he just burn down the old lady’s house?

        You have Brendan stopping at the elderly woman’s house to use her phone after slashing his own tire. A wealthy industrialist has a private plane but not a cell phone? I’m sure there’s a payoff somewhere later, but this whole set-up seems overly contrived and confusing.

        It didn’t hold me past page 20.

        I think you have the nugget of a good story here, but for me the characters too one-dimensional, the comedy too superficial. The story would benefit by creating scenes when Wallace is introduced to the family that have some real tension and character interplay. As is, I’m not drawn to any of the characters.

        Anyway, just my 2 cents. Good luck with it.

        • Casper Chris

          I didn’t get that scene either. Went back and re-read it. Still didn’t get it. Then soldiered on, thinking I probably missed something important.

          • d

            I understand if the script’s not for you, but I will add that just because something isn’t entirely clear on page 9, doesn’t mean it’s not cleared up at some point. This is more a character piece than a traditional GSU Scriptshadow piece, although I promise you a plot emerges with big goals. I posted a link to my Nicholl reader comments at the bottom of this post (I’m the second poster on the thread). The first reader loved the script, and the second one liked it but didn’t love it and wrote “One needs to stick with this one, as it pays off at tale’s end.”


          • Casper Chris

            Did you mean to reply to me, d? I liked what I read. I just think there’s a clarity issue with that one particular scene Sombersby pointed out. Maybe you can clear things up? I didn’t understand exactly what he was doing.

          • Rachel Woolley

            I thought he was using the lie about needing a phone as an excuse to get into the woman’s house and find out if the water was flammable. I figured it was a reference to fracking – a way for him to test if there was natural gas in the area. Although I always thought someone would already have to be drilling nearby in order for the water to be polluted like that??

          • Kirk Diggler

            Exactly. Fracking causes methane and other gases to leak into aquifers. The scene was a bit confusing character motivation-wise, because surely he wouldn’t need to check someone’s faucet to know fracking was going on in the area.

          • Somersby

            Problem is, it’s just not clear on page 9 what Brendan is DOING.

            He “puts the flame underneath it” and then “the flame ignites”. A flame doesn’t ignite. It’s already burning, already ignited. You can’t expect readers to find clarity further down the road if the initial premise doesn’t make sense.

            And this doesn’t make sense.

            Is Brendan burning down the house or not? If he is, we need to know that that is what’s happening. Leaving a reader in the lurch robs him/her of the ability to move on. Having a reader ask I’m confused. What just happened? is not the way to make them turn the page.

            Posting links to people who loved the script doesn’t solve the inherent problems of the script if readers don’t understand what is going on.

            Seems like you’re a bit defensive. That’s okay… we all are when are babies are being ripped. But, as I see it, this is a serious problem in understanding the action. It shouldn’t be.

            Hear what people are telling you and fix it.

            Best of luck.

  • GoIrish

    The Brothers Ternion – stopped at p. 33. Over all, cleanly written and moves fairly quickly. Can definitely see the Wes Anderson comparisons. The use of the narrator and the three children certainly had a Royal Tenenbaums’ feel to it (I won’t say it was too close, but the “question” of whether it was too close was going through my head a couple of times). More of an amusing than laugh-out loud type of comedy. You’ve got me intrigued, so I’ll probably keep on reading.

    Random notes while reading:
    p. 2 – “Upon teaching himself long division, he calculated his odds…” – long division and odds don’t really seem to go together. Not sure if he’s supposed to be a kid genius, but maybe he taught himself statistics.
    p. 4 – could be mistaken, but pretty sure “bifurcated” means you’re dividing in two – which is obviously not what you’re aiming for with three kids.
    p. 8 – “He puts the flame underneath it and the flame ignites…” what does “it” refer to?
    p. 16 – what’s “hunh”? is that short for “honey”? Is he dating the intern?
    p. 19 – I know they wind up hanging out together soon after, but seems kind of strange that Ozzie and Wallace didn’t hang out together at the restaurant a little longer (since there was no animosity between them growing up). Thought they might catch up a little bit.
    p. 21 – faze v. phase
    p. 26 – what’s with Brendan’s change of heart letting them stay? Is there an ulterior motive?
    p. 28 – “People also thought Columbus was nuts to go searching for America, and how did that turn out?” – pretty similar line was used in Old School

    • Casper Chris

      p. 4 – could be mistaken, but pretty sure “bifurcated” means you’re dividing in two – which is obviously not what you’re aiming for with three kids.

      Yea, caught that one too.

      Anyway, this is a comedy? Didn’t feel like a comedy to me… maybe I need to read further…

  • IgorWasTaken

    OK, this is very interesting.

    “The Brothers Ternion” got a RAVE review from one reader at Nicholl, which IMO is meaningful.

    “The Berzerkers” got some notice at Nicholl, and is a 2014 Page Awards Semifinalist, which I’m assuming means it is still in the running.

    And so, as we read those two, whether or not WE like them, we still must accept that they do have professional assessments that they are real scripts with real substance. People who make a living (at least at some level) in the industry have said, “Hey, you got something here.”

    If nothing else, that means we have an opportunity here to calibrate our own gauges for judging amateur scripts. We can say, “Huh. So this is what gets good notice at the ___ contest.”

    That might not change your or my opinion, but (for example) if we see a “mistake” with formatting or language that normally gets in our craw, we might consider that that apparently wasn’t a fatal error for those readers at those contests.

    • d

      Hey Igor, in my opinion I don’t think you should sweat typos. I’m not saying they’re not important, but I doubt it will make or break your script. I submitted my Nicholl entry for The Brothers Ternion on May 1st (deadline day) and I checked it like six times but still had multiple mistakes I caught later and I still advanced (the second Nicholl reviewer of my script dinged me for them, saying “has more than a few typos and other mistakes”, but ultimately they still gave my script a positive review. The draft you’re reading now is a much cleaner version than the one I submitted to Nicholl, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not 100% perfect.

      • Scott Crawford

        Typos – the obvious ones – are a pretty sure sign the writer hasn’t read or re-read their script before submitting it. Even if it’s an early draft, even to amateur judges like us, it just looks… amateur.

      • IgorWasTaken

        BTW, around here I often object when other people condemn some
        formatting, or font, or using “AFTERNOON” instead of “DAY” – when they
        complain that “it pulls me out of the story” or “that is death to any

        I wrote that comment here as “we” because maybe some
        things that I object are things that others here think is nitpicking.
        IOW, maybe I’m guilty in my own ways with this stuff.

        But overall, as long as I understand what’s going on as I read what’s on the page, I’m fine.

        Even when the action says “He’s laying on the ground”!!!

    • Will Hare

      The script I sent to the Page Awards (yes, it is still in the running) used six or seven different fonts, different margins, etc. None of that counted against me… yet. Though I am allowed to turn in a new draft tomorrow. The next round of readers are managers/executives, so I’ve cleaned up the fonts and some of the margins. But, at least in my experience, the “little” things will not count against you as long as the script is good (to them).

      I had another script reviewed on this site. It was roundly trashed, but it got an 8 on the Black List (got some meetings) and made the 2013 Nicholl Semifinals (which got me a lot of meetings). Who can say what people will or will not like?

      • Malibo Jackk

        Have always thought this is a crazy business.
        (But then again, I might be crazy.)

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Lucy was in comic sans? It’s 2014. Anything goes. All you need is a great screenplay.

          • Scott Crawford

            Luc Besson used to be married to Milla Jovovich. Luc Besson owns a helicopter.

            Luc Besson can do whatever he wants in a script.

            Please, oh plese, write your script in Courier 12 point (or some Courier 12 point variant)!

      • For The Lulz

        Wow. You got meetings off the Black List!!!

        I started to think it was a lame duck that didn’t do anything for writers. I got two 8’s for one action script, and a 9 for another action script. Got a lot a views, a few downloads, an email from a producer that ultimately went nowhere, but for the most part I got a whole lotta NOTHING.

        Still, I’m glad to see that some writers get something off the Black List. Might give it another go now.

      • IgorWasTaken

        BTW, around here I often object when other people condemn some formatting, or font, or using “AFTERNOON” instead of “DAY” – when they complain that “it pulls me out of the story” or “that is death to any script…”

        I wrote that comment here as “we” because maybe some things that I object are things that others here think is nitpicking. IOW, maybe I’m guilty in my own ways with this stuff.

        But overall, as long as I understand what’s going on as I read what’s on the page, I’m fine.

        Even when the action says “He’s laying on the ground”!!!

        • Scott Crawford

          General observation: If you’re going to show your script PUBLICLY – as opposed to just a handful of friends or professionals – it shouldn’t be a rough draft, it should be as perfect a creation as you believe you can possibly do BEFORE getting feedback. That means fixing the typos, getting the format right, checking the pages are numbered right (I didn’t, earlier).

          It’s called Amateur Offerings, but you’ve don’t wanna look like a rookie.

  • Craig Mack

    Just finished The Berzerkers. Yes, finished. Usually when I start something on here I read it until the end — unless something really glaring jumps out at me.

    Overall, good story, with crisp, clear writing. It did read like a ‘MINI-QUEST’ format, start to finish. Nothing wrong with that.

    Nice setups, nice payoffs.

    Like others, I did feel a few of the characters were ‘forced’… No need to go OVERBOARD… I couldn’t figure out if this was the ‘comedy’ or ‘development’… That’s not where you want the reader to be.

    I really liked the AMLEG scene… great speech and tie in with the title.

    I liked the ‘twist’ but kind of felt cheated by it. I didn’t really care about Hank, Kenny or the Doctor…. Wanted to see an actual terrorist showdown — not be told about it by the news anchors.

    Overall, a efficient genre piece. Thanks for sharing.

  • walker

    They are giving partial notes to the scripts that got three reads this year.

  • IgorWasTaken

    But there are real people who believe the 9/11 inside-job crap. And some of those nuts end up as characters in screenplays.

    Yeh, Stone took Jim Garrison’s POV. This writer includes A character with the 9/11-stuff POV. “JFK” was released 28 years after JFK was killed. If “The Berzerkers” went into production tomorrow, it’d be released 14 years after 9/11.

    Of course, to some people who were alive in 1963, “JFK” was distasteful – even after 28 years.

    • Scott Crawford

      That’s true; JFK assassination conspiracy features in the opening credits of Watchmen. But 9/11 is still raw for many people – I was not personally affected, apart from what all of us felt.

      OK, some people will call me a dick – or worse – for rejecting a script based on the opening dialogue – but, sorry, it does happen. Early impressions – in interviews, auditions, first dates – are important. In my view, putting 9/11 conspiracy in the first line is POTENTIALLY dividing readers.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I made it to around page 35. The writer mentions he put in a year of research into the subject and I think that was the problem for me. It often read more like a thesis for the consumption of those familiar with this subject than a story with involving characters for layman like myself.

    I didn’t care much about Uriah. It wasn’t that he was womanizing, it was that I didn’t feel he had anything to lose at the beginning. He didn’t care if he alienated his brother, for example, whom, by the way, seemed to always be explaining things for the reader instead of having a realistic conversation. So, he couldn’t lose that relationship, there was none to begin with. I thought his relationship and accessment of Catlyn went too fast. He’s jumping to early childhood abuse without a thought. I would have liked to have seen it slowed down and that relationship explored. I used to have a roommate whom I discovered had multiple personalities. I’d hear him in the bathroom speaking in different voices, including that of a little girl. His facial features completely changed as well. At one point, he attacked his girlfriend and bite a policeman in the process and was arrested. I talked to the prosecution and got a state psychologist to get him examined. But that was all after a year of knowing him and trying to figure him out and wrestling with how it was affecting me. Yeah, I’m not a college professor but the college professor here is dealing with people he knows, not subjects.

    Other than that, I loved the crazed guy stealing Uriah’s premature baby from the incubator and the exorcism subject balancing on one finger. Yet, the first was just explained through dialogue and the second, we caught glimpses of on a video and mostly explained through dialogue. Dramatizing them would have been better, I thought.

    I’d say, step back from the research and draw us into these people and their relationships. Spend more time with the characters trying to understand each other instead of labeling each other.

    • Mike.H

      Dear Conner, the writer. The opening was quite effective then the next 35-40 pages were sorta meh. College girls talking & talking. I’m aware their dialogues were part of the build up but the script to that point was pretty flat, few readers have that sort of patience. Your script might be a base hit but think triple or home run. Try harder, Connor.

      • Mike.H

        That’s what re-writes are for. My current script beat me to a tizzy with multiple drafts in evolution. But it’s now concentrated & not watered down. [ subtext there, read into it.]

    • Malibo Jackk

      Curious about your roommate.
      The little girl personality — did he sound like a little girl? Or sound like a guy trying to sound like a little girl?
      Were his other personalities convincing?
      Did his other personalities exhibit skills that he did not have?

      • Randy Williams

        His voice was naturally deep, an attempt at a falsetto would be challenging. Definitely a little girl’s voice. But I only heard the different voices when he was behind a closed door. In front of people he was mostly brooding and silent and it was only the muscles on his face, his concentration on particular things and changes in his walk that for me exhibited a shift. I don’t want to take away from the discussion on the scripts here. I’ll answer any questions by email if you want.

    • BSBurton

      Good notes Randy, good to see you on here!

  • Craig Mack

    Yeah, I realize I read it… just felt ‘cheap’ in some ways. You didn’t get the emotional buy in for your antagonist. It worked, honestly, just wanted to point out where I felt it could have packed more punch.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I didn’t think this would be my thing. Started reading it, a bit confused at the opening, like, what’s a loogie? Lots of old fashioned terms. Someone named French starts talking before he’s introduced. (shouldn’t that be (O.S)? and I said to myself, who’s that? There’s a line that reads ” He nods to a door which French kicks it in…” that doesn’t sound correct, does it? Lots of characters introduced. What have I gotten myself into?

    but, I kept reading, and kept reading.

    The writing just drew me into another time and place.

    Sam was immediately sympathetic and I was willing to follow him anywhere. I liked the flashbacks, Intrigued by the bird lady, although I thought her second entrance was a bit underwhelming.

    Imaginative choices. The flame thrower! Oh, my! the fight in the dust storm, whoa!

    A dying dog licks a tear from its owner’s cheek. Okay, that was corny. But it worked because everything here is wrapped in authenticity and heart

    and lots of Texas panhandle dust.

    • Mike.H

      In Rob Schneider’s voice… ” RANDY! “. Thanks for the read and good post. :)

    • klmn

      “…what’s a loogie?” Sometimes called a lunger, a bit of phlegm coughed up from deep in the lungs.

  • klmn

    I read the first 10 of each and my choice is The Brothers Ternion, although an eight foot coral snake would be a new world’s record.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I read around 30 pages. The writer certainly has a voice. You can pick it out a mile away. Slathered with rich speak, bite and observation. However, this abruptly stops around page 24 and that “voice” disappeared. Does it come back later? I looked for it in the next dozen pages, didn’t see it. There was a flashback to the seventies so I understood the shift there although it was abrupt, but then we’re back in the present and everything is so dry. I thought it was so so odd. Maybe I’m off about this.

    I laughed out loud with the big, black, gay “Sonoma” store clerk. That was funny. Many lines of description were fun as was lots of the dialogue, again the writer’s voice is evident, just didn’t produce any laughs for this reader. Part of the problem is, I think, I wasn’t anchored in character and situation. It was moving so fast and furious, with so many characters and sly observations on everything from music to fashion and everything in between.

    The ants got into the sugar.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I read about 30 pages. I wasn’t exactly blown away by the opening although I did like the mystery box of Afsoon, but then she was quickly explained. I thought it would be better to open with the agoraphobic one and the UPS man attack, which I loved and the back story could be filled in as we meet all these veterans. It was a little over the top, but again I loved the guy drinking through the guinea pig bottle, LOL, and “she’s not gonna walk it off” LOL. Lots of laughs in those 30 pages for me, but there was just too much to process to really enjoy them.
    And, Tony Robbins seemed borrowed from another movie.

    If the script continues with this much energy required to digest it, I can’t see myself enjoying it as much, as say, if I was just watching it. Does that make sense?

  • Paul Clarke

    Had a quick look. Blasted through the first 10 of each. Some very strong writing here. Certainly no amateur bunnies. Still room for improvement. I wouldn’t mind Brother Ternion, Berzerkers, or Axiom getting picked as each is well written but could be improved with Carson’s notes. If I had to read on with one, it would probably be AXIOM OF EVIL. It beats the others out in my books by having a clear main character, and a strong point of view. I think it could come down to tastes this week.


    P1 – “A little pudgy”, “a bit of an edge about him” – could just be me but I would prefer more confidence in the writing. The words “little” and “a bit” makes it sound like you’re second guessing yourself. Wouldn’t it sound stronger without these words?

    P2 – (AGE 8) in the slugline – is that supposed to be a super?

    P2 – “Upon teaching himself long divison…” – great line. Hilarious.

    Read 10 pages. The story’s very well setup. The writing sets the correct tone for this style of story. It certainly has a distinctive style that would help it stand out at competitions. A strong contender, will see how the others stack up.


    Not sure about introducing characters with names and nicknames. If you’re just going to
    use the nicknames maybe don’t capitalize the full names. 6 characters in 2 pages can be overwhelming, but it’s worse when they have 11 names.

    The opening four pages are well done, perhaps a little telegraphed. Another twist of some
    sort would be nice. But they get the job done.

    The interaction with the UPS guy wasn’t the clearest. It could be made more dramatic. At least give us the chance to realize something’s wrong before having Fenton come to
    the rescue.

    P8 – “As of now, every day is Tuesday” – great line.

    Read through to page 10, another well written entry. The scenario isn’t breaking new
    ground, but the characters might just be interesting enough to keep going. My advice would be to pick a lead character (seems to either be Pops, or Fenton) – and make that initial four page scenario from their POV. Tell us who’s story it is. Make it personal. Introduce the others in relation to your lead. We’ll latch on to the story better. And if you can contrast how your main character was before the attack, to the man they have become, it will greatly improve the depth of character. Irony is your friend here.


    Love the initial description. Allows effortless visualization of the room and people in it.

    Introducing the psychology early, establishing the tone.

    Flew through to page 10. Another strong example. A like psychology but not a huge
    horror fan, so I’m stuck between. I found it odd that the scientist believed in God. And wasn’t sure that was the correct choice for the story. Wouldn’t it work better if he didn’t believe in anything supernatural? He doesn’t necessarily seem to treat the young woman poorly, which would be a stronger setup if we were to then see him say there is no evil. We understand that’s his justification for being as asshole. Regardless, I am somewhat compelled to read on.


    Not one of my preferred genres, so that doesn’t help. 115 pages seems high for the genre and subject matter.

    Opens with an asshole, but he’s not funny. A comedy needs to open with a strong gag. Set the tone.

    Got to page 5 – simply not my thing. Moving on.


    Can vaguely remember reading this one. Will see how it’s improved.

    The character descriptions are interesting. Not sure about four characters on the first page with somewhat similar names. Could be a chance to simplify and clarify. If you
    referred to the Sheriff as SHERIFF FITZHUGH for the dialogue names it might help make him more memorable. That and getting them to do something interesting that defines them. Then on page 3 we meet another Joe. There’s a million names out there, may as well keep them varied. Why not just introduce him as MURPH and stick with that.

    8 characters (all with full names) by page 5. That’s a lot of characters and not a whole lot going on. Plus I have no idea who the lead is. Who’s story this is.

    Read through to page 10. More characters, some stuff going on. But I want the first 10 to
    establish the main character and their problem (along with a whole lot of other things). Then give us some indication of what the story is about. I just couldn’t see it. Felt a little too messy. Too much going on. Can’t see the forest for the trees type of thing. Very well written, the character descriptions are very strong. But don’t rely on them. Establish your characters by putting them in a situation and having us watch their reaction. Their behavior defines them, not the physical description.

    • BSBurton

      Great stuff, Paul. I agree, those three are incredibly strong. Still considering my vote.

  • Randy Williams


    I read about 30 pages. Simple, effective writing that conveyed a potent family bond that other writers most often fail to even get close to. Writing family is difficult.

    This was probably just me, however, there just seemed to be a feminine cadence, a tentativeness to their back and forth that stuck in my mind so I was constantly hearing female voices, particularly old movie actresses like Eve Arden, for example. Ok, I’m nuts.

    Nothing really more to add. Perfect for what it is.

  • Scott Crawford

    I put down that it was probably a character’s opinion. But, presumably – and I have to presume because I was so put off I didn’t WANT to read the rest of the screenplay – this is a character the writer is hoping I will follow and care about for some part of the movie AND THE GODDAMN GUY’S A TRUTHER.

    What if the opening line was about how Obama was a Muslim born in Kenya? Or a character saying how Robin Williams is going to hell because he like f–s? First impressions count.

  • Scott Crawford

    I’ve been reading some Robert Ludlum lately as I’m writing a spy thriller, and Ludlum (a “limousine liberal” in his own words) often has characters who have committed atrocities in Vietnam.

    On the other hand, it was many, many years before you saw movies about the allies doing bad things in World War Two. Different conflict.

    I suppose one has to be careful; you can’t please EVERYONE, but you can’t risk alienating too many people either. In your script, I don’t see the problem and I’d just ignore those people.

  • Scott Crawford

    But you’re asking us to follow and care about your characters, and one character is a total idiot. And a “truther” too. I can’t tell you what to write but I CAN tell you what puts me (and other people) off.

    There will be some people who seek to dismiss my opinion, diminish me, but you’re asking me, you’re asking some Hollywood power player, actor, director, etc. to spend over an hour of their time reading a screenplay. Anything that’s likely to make them throw the script at the wall is a bad idea. In my view, yes, if you want to put it that way.

  • Linkthis83

    Congrats to all the writers who made it into this round of AOW — I was hoping that I’d have time this weekend to dive in and provide some amateur feedback — no such luck.

    I was only able to check out one and figured I would still include my notes just in case they are useful to the writers. This is not a vote, just some opinions on one script:


    p2 = …to a door…which French KICKS it in = delet which — French KICKS it in

    p3 = They aren’t going to inform Carol why they are here and what they are doing? Why not? Why the mystery? — To me this, this is a chance to give your audience/reader something to invest in. Even if it’s a lie. You could have Fitzhugh lie about what the goal is — if we don’t have any knowledge of the stakes, we’re not sure about the impact of the outcome. — Just a suggestion though — if this fits what you are going for, stick with it

    p4 = Fitzhugh, Carol, French, Tweets, Lester, two dogs, Murphy, looking for Arthur, guy in the car (Louis was it), 3 guys with Rucksacks, two people having sex…lots of people :)

    p5 = 11:52 means nothing to me — we can assume that when Murphy says he’s early, NOON was the ETA, but he could be early by 3 hours and we wouldn’t know. I think when Murphy states he knows where Arthur will be, it should be that he knows where he’ll be at noon tomorrow —

    p5 = and now we’ve gone from an opening scene with no real outcome to a stakeout day – the passage of time felt a little off to me – but that could just be me – I’m not settled in this world enough yet to just relax and invest in this next scene – I still don’t know what’s going on – Why Arthur? Who are these guys? What’s the hopeful outcome for any of these parties? — This is also where I think having Fitzhugh give Carol some basic instructions would be warranted and helpful – like if we see Arthur, don’t kill him – or blast his head off — or something.

    p5 = Enter new character Billy Zionn

    p8 = Enter new character Sam Detrig…followed by his wife Hannah Detrig (lots o’characters)

    p13 = stopped – I think Arthur talks way too much in this scene – so far, he’s the only thing I’m kind of interested in – depending on his purpose in the rest of the story, scale him back – keep him intriguing — it feels like this is the moment you’ve chosen to clue the audience in

    For me, it hasn’t worked – I still don’t know what makes this outcome interesting enough for me to be invested – This stems from all the mystery in the previous pages – I get that there is some money owed and somebody to collect and somebody to see Arthur, but that’s all I feel I got.

    TONE: I thought the tone was excellent. Based on the scenes up to the point I stopped, I think this was done wonderfully. It was consistent. And I think that’s what you guys were trying to do by keeping some info held back to help with the tone/intention. If so, I feel it robbed me of story to care about, but it was consistent.

    I wondered if would be good to have Carol fire his gun when they are stunned by Murphy. Just to show he’s green, he’s on edge and to show how terrible of a shot he really is. Plus, it would add some conflict and heighten this just a tad bit. I felt it all a little too mellow and uninteresting.

    Anyway, just some hurried thoughts from a nobody trying to become somebody. Good luck with this script – I didn’t check it out the first time it was on SS so I can’t compare it from before until now.

  • Somersby

    Sunny Side of Hell: Strong dialogue, smooth descriptions and action lines — and a pretty solid story (that does tend to drift into the over-the-top Rambo-esque type action sequences, however.)

    I did have some trouble with the flashbacks.I’m just not sure if they are the most interesting or the most creative ways to show Arthur and Sam’s backstory. In fact, I’m unsure whether knowing so much about their relationship as boys is even necessary. Sometimes less is more. Giving us so much information about their past has a way of diluting the story that’s happening in the present. That’s what I feel happens here.

    But maybe that’s just me. Be interested to hear what others think.

    That said, congrats to the writers. Nicely done.

  • brenkilco

    I was reading the first page of Sunny Side. The logline suggests a lot of effort has been put into the script. But the first page triggered the pedant in me. The terms professional and amateur are thrown around a lot on this site. To me amateur suggests a certain awkwardness in wording and presentation. Sometimes subtle. But something that can set up an unconscious resistance in the reader. The first page of Sunny Side struck me that way.

    The dust antiques the buildings. Antique in the sense of lending them an appearance of an earlier age. Not a typical usage, but OK. But how does dusty make a building look a lot older. Just makes it look duller. Doesn’t change the architecture.

    The sun smothers signs of life. No idea what this means. A bright sun would reveal all signs of life. Does it mean the heat has dried everything up? I notice this in a lot of scripts. Creative sentences that lack clarity.

    Sullied men. Technically correct but a bit jarring since sullied is virtually always used to indicate something figuratively tainted not literally soiled. Smacks of somebody hitting the thesaurus a little too hard. Not every simple, descriptive line has to be different.

    The character descriptions. One guy is birdlike. Another is froglike. And a third is a caricature of a Texan. The caricature is a big hulk. My caricature of a texan would be a tall, lean cowboy type. So that phrase tells me nothing. And are these shorthand animal descriptions going to plague the script since we’ve gotten two on the first page? Is the villain going to look like a wildebeest? And just what kind of bird does the sheriff look like, a scrawny jay or an eagle with piercing eyes and an aquiline nose? And what exactly is froglike about the deputy. Bulging eyes, wattled neck, fat stumpy body? Not getting a picture of these people. And did the writer really intend the birdlike features to perch?

    “Testing the limits of the uniform.” That could mean the extent of the officer’s authority. When what is meant is the strength of the fabric. Again, understandable but just a little off.

    “Storm’s scarin folks” The initial dialogue exchange isn’t bad but is still an example of the kind of dialogue that sort of says amateur. Everybody in the car knows about the storm. Everybody knows why these guys are trudging along the road. Good characters don’t tell each other what they already know. Even if they’re not too bright Texans. Writers have them tell each other what they already know for the benefit of the audience. And they need to find another way to get the info across.

    OK am I being ridiculously picky? Sure. But cumulatively this kind of stuff sends a message. You may have a great story here. You’ve put in a lot of time. Maybe take one more pass

    • IgorWasTaken

      Those issues with words, and writers’ attempts to be poetic with descriptions – they get to me, too.

      Here’s why: They inspire me to not trust the writer. Plus, that kind of stuff can make reading a slog.

      If a writer uses the wrong word for a gun clip, I can accept that. But when it’s a wrong poetic-like word, that tells me the writer reached for a “more colorful” word… and missed.

      IMO, if you don’t know a word, don’t use it. Sure, use a thesaurus, but use it in combination with at least one dictionary.

      (“Any sign of life smothered by the sun”…? Instead, how about “chased away by”? Or “absent under the hellish sun”?)

  • hickeyyy

    My vote for the first time ever is a tie. I was equally entertained by Brothers Ternion and Axiom of Evil. Whichever is chosen between the 2 (or both if there is a future AF slot not being used) would make me happy. They both deserve the slot.

    THE BROTHERS TERNION. Read 27 pages.

    Logline Interest: Relatively low. I don’t really know what the story is about.

    Review: I think you need to work on your logline, because the writing is crisp, fun, and very interesting. I definitely get the Wes Anderson vibe from this. I would legitimately go watch this film if it were in theaters. This is by far the strongest candidate. Great work but again, the logline needs to be revamped to gain more interest.

    THE BERZERKERS. Read 5 pages. Cutting out.

    Logline Interest: Medium-High. I picture Expendables with a bunch of guys in wheelchairs, which is bordering on what Expendables will be in a few years. Could be very good.

    Review: I think the problem is the severe multitude of characters. I started skimming and then losing patience and managed to lose interest. Not that the writing is bad. There was just so much I needed to remember off the get-go. I think you could easily fix this by just telling us about ONE of the humvees of people. You can then introduce more characters later on that will be a part of their team. I don’t need to know all these people at once. Good luck!

    AXIOM OF EVIL. Read 20 pages.

    Logline Interest: Medium. This changes to high when reading the WYSR because you explain it to be more involved in the why its happening. No one usually cares about that. Everyone else jumps to the scares.

    Review: I love the personality test Uriah is giving out to these girls. It’s great because it tells you a ton about the girls as well as him. I ended up looking up the test to determine exactly what it meant. Love it. Great stuff. I’m really intrigued by this so far. I may finish it if I get the time. Although I didn’t find out where we were going with all these characters until the 20th page. Might want to push that sooner if possible. Great work!

    MISAMERICA. Read 4 pages. Cutting out.

    Logline Interest: Low. Not your fault, could be well-written, this just isn’t my thing.

    Review: Again, not that this is poorly written, this just isn’t my thing. Good luck!


    Logline Interest: High. Sounds fun and awesome.

    I’m sorry to be lame here, but you already received a AF review once before. If you had been in the AOW and didn’t get a AF review, I’d have no trouble with this. But seeing as you already received one (and on this particular script even), I’m going to run with the people that haven’t had the opportunity. Good luck mate!

  • For The Lulz

    Read the first 42 pages of The Berzerkers.

    Agree with some of the other posters here. The first 2-3 pages introduce a lot of characters. Listing names and nicknames did crowd things initially. Once you get further into the script it’s not so much of an issue as the characters stand apart, but someone reading the first 5-10 may judge on this.

    The whole 9/11 comment has been blown out of proportion. It’s a CHARACTER’S OPINION. Still, I’m not sure if opening the script with this exchange is the best choice, unless it links into something later I haven’t read yet, or it is a reflection of the script’s theme. Also, thus far (42 pages in) there’s nothing in Gurps’ characterization that reflects in this belief (again unless i comes up later), so thus far it just seems like a one-off comment. Again, odd thing to open a script on.

    All the characters are different and interesting, both physically, personality wise, and in their present circumstances after Afghanistan. Well done! Hard to do with so many characters but you pulled it off.

    Then again, the high number of main characters means limited time to get to know them. The script’s scenes, descriptions and dialogue are short, sharp and fast. Which is generally a good thing and makes for a fast flowing read (something I’ve learned reading your script, think my action scripts have too many blocks of action). But on the flip side, it also makes the chunks of character information we get seem rushed and ‘force fed’. It’s a balancing act, and the jury’s still out on this one.

    Also, 42 pages in, I’m not sure who the protagonist is. I’m between thinking it’s thinking it’s Pops or Fenton. The protagonist needs to stand out more. Pops doesn’t seem active enough to be the protagonist, yet has great characterization. While Fenton, is very active, but seems hollow as a character. his back story thus far seems a bit cliche (he made a mistake that wiped out his squad, wants revenge etc). Also Afsoon seems to be a the main antagonist thus far, but we’ve only seen glimpses of her and a lot of talking. Almost half way in, and the main opposition the squad have faced are mental facility guards, MP’s, and Hank’s henchmen. Again maybe characters like Calliope, Kevin and Hank are explored/revealed more later on, but we’re half way in, and that’s too long without a major force attacking the squad. Maybe introduce a henchman of Afsoon? Someone hunting the squad like Karl Urban’s character in the Bourne Supremacy. The UPS guy’s attempt was a little tame.

    The dialogue is generally excellent, humorous on many occasions, and flows well (Pg 30 ‘Surprise, Motherfuckers!’ Lol. The exchanges between the squad come off as authentic and meaningful, no filler.

    The action is plentiful, but thus far has seemed a little tame, to be honest. Maybe it perks up later, but I think it could use a little more originality. Busting into a warehouse…breaking people out of institutions…getting past military checkpoints….seen it….so many times…

    That said, this is still a good script! It gets going from the start. It’s past-paced. Distinctive characters. Original premise. Plenty of action. It could use a little structural work to make the first half a little less like setting up/getting the band back together (this seems to drag on a little too long). Try introducing an urgent element to bring tension and close danger earlier in the story. We’ve seen hints of it in the UPS guy, the black vehicle following them, and in Kevin and Calliope’s exchanges, but it’s underwhelming thus far. Too subtle.

    Still, all in all, a quality product and some solid work. It’s easy to see why it progressed in PAGE. Maybe many of the issues I’ve listed are resolved in the second half of the script, but that might be too late for some readers/the audience. With some work to push up the urgency/danger earlier on in the script, this can be a damn good movie.

  • IgorWasTaken


    Caveat: Of the other scripts, I’ve only read the opening of THE BROTHERS TERNION. I think it’s also worthy. Otherwise, the other scripts are not my type. (True, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read them.)

    I stopped on page 28 of “The Berzerkers” (for now, anyway).

    Regarding SO MANY characters. I think it could help the reader if their real names in the opening pages were not capitalized. Just CAPS for the nicknames.

    Also, a bigger suggestion about their names:

    While this might not look good in practice, I’d suggest the writer try putting each character’s rank before his/her name before each block dialogue:


    That would offer us a structure, an org chart in a way. And it would help us understand, and focus on, the dynamic between them all. So I suggest trying that and seeing what it looks like on the page.

  • Scott Crawford

    OK, because the results of my experiments today were kinda lost in some long thread, I’ll put it here so some people might be able to see it.

    Please, everyone, use either Courier Final Draft, Courier MMS, or Courier Prime as the font in your screenplay. DON’T use Courier New. It doesn’t look good in PDF form.

    • klmn


    • IgorWasTaken

      Yes, that was my point in my reply before, when you posted a negative comment abut Fade In. I don’t think it’s a software problem; it’s a font issue. And even a font issue can be different depending if you’re on Windows/Mac/Linux.

      • Scott Crawford

        It IS the fonts, but some software needs to be fixed before you print. In my view, the negative comment about Fade In stands; as you can see, in some things I’m zero-tolerance, and one of them is that, if a software program I’ve paid $50 for doesn’t work the way I want it to work, and I have to reprogram it so it does things just as well as Final Draft, well that’s a negative. But anyway…

        The only script on today’s offerings that WASN’T written in Courier Final Draft, Courier MMS, or Courier Prime was “Axiom of Evil”, which was written in ordinary Courier, and which read fine to my, on my PC.

        So, I’m sorry, I think this problem may go on for some time! There are too many variations.

  • Andrew Parker

    Did anyone else who didn’t used to get moderated get added to that queue today? Was this punishment for me sending you an AOW script you didn’t like? If so, I understand.

    • Somersby

      Same thing happened to me yesterday. I checked with Carson and it seems my post had a word or two that may have had one of the keywords that the throws the comment into moderation.

      I can’t tell you what the keyword I used is because that would likely throw THIS comment into moderation.

      Good news is that yesterday’s comment finally cleared… after 22 hours.

      • Andrew Parker

        Thanks, Somersby. I bet it was cause I wrote “that was the worst screenplay I’ve ever read.” Guess everyone will have to wait 22 hours to see which screenplay I was talking about ;-)

  • Altius

    30 pages into AXIOM. I’m intrigued enough to keep going, but a couple things struck me like flat notes. Uriah’s casual mention of his dead daughter to his ex-wife seems flippant and on-the-nose. Does not seem genuine for ex-spouses who lost a child. And then the exposition dump in which Uriah explains to his brother in detail what happened/how she died. They’re brothers, and Henrik didn’t already know what happened? It felt like a plot contrivance for our benefit, rather than a real conversation between brothers referencing a grievous personal tragedy. But good stuff so far.

    • Altius

      After finishing, some odds & ends…
      – Fantastic moment when Scott and Caitlyn meet for the first time. Really excellent and chilling. That visual communicates something powerful.
      – p. 65 – flash of the demon in the corner that Uriah and Allison can’t see reminds me of one of the scariest parts in The Conjuring, when one of the girls wakes up at night and hysterically reacts to the dark corner behind the door. She describes what this thing is saying and doing, and we can’t see a thing. Terrifying.
      – props on the “pregnant and possessed” angle. Certainly ups the stakes for Uriah.
      – GROSS on the vomiting up the baby doll-head. But good :)
      – p. 77 – typo “you’re” should be “your”
      – I kind of think that in the first Caitlyn exorcism, Recluse would go HARD after the grief of Uriah and Allison. Would try to destroy them emotionally by spewing horrific and disgusting things about their dead child. Go full malicious.
      – Asmodeus preys on lust, right? I think Uriah’s tendency to sleep around should be characterized better as lustful, rather than straightforward hookups. I know this is a vague note, but perhaps steam up the writing. Have him struggle a bit against a constantly wandering eye. Make it a weakness to exploit, rather than just a habit.

      Solid read, though. Well done.

    • Rachel Woolley

      I agree about these two moments. One other minor thing – I found it strange that, when Uriah discovers Caitlyn is pregnant, he automatically assumes it must be his. Just saying – she’s the kind of girl who turns up naked in your apartment. There’s a good chance this isn’t her first demonic hookup ;) I think it would be more realistic if he ultimately acknowledged the possibility it might be his, but after some initial doubt/denial. All in all I’m loving the read. I especially like the exchange with Lucille. Very creepy. Congrats to Connor on a strong contender!

  • Casper Chris

    So far I’m most impressed with Axiom. Going to read some more…

  • Kirk Diggler

    ….happened to me too, the comment literally looked ghostly.

  • BSBurton

    Don’t worry about the haters. Top notch read so far.

  • BSBurton


    I took more time in jury deliberation than I did in reading the first 10 of all entries. That’s rare. I really think that whoever gets the review in 2 weeks will be a good choice.

    Where were these scripts when we had vampires, bats and bullshit last month??? LOL

  • Will Hare

    Thank you for taking the time to read some of my script!

  • walker

    Hey I have a couple of questions for Will Hare. Reading through these comments I see that you have been a Nicholl sf, PAGE sf, Black List 8, had a script reviewed on AF less than a year ago, “got a lot of meetings” and even have yet another script set up. That is an impressive track record, and represents an unusual amount of opportunity. Why are you hanging around Scriptshadow looking for another AF review? And secondly, have you ever made a comment on SS that wasn’t directly related to one of your scripts?

    • Mike.H

      Walker, it goes to show you how hard it is to break in and sell a script. Meetings result in having your script read or pitching your projects; not all of them are market ready nor commercial. That’s my take.

    • Will Hare

      Okay… I was hoping I wasn’t going to be taken to task for anything like I did last year. This is new. Normally, I do not like to defend myself, but here goes.

      The movie is an indie film. The money I have been paid is not extravagant, and it won’t be much until principal photography starts. And while things are moving forward, in this business, things fall apart in a single moment, so, yes, I have something set up, but I will not consider it a success until the film gets shot and I get paid,

      As to the other things, though my contest placements and BL, I have made a lot of contacts and made a lot of open doors for me, meaning that they’ll read my new script if I send it to them. Once again, you can’t live off of networking, but you can if the networking paid off.

      Scriptshadow is a place to get your work read. As you pointed out, I was read last year. I am not a writer making 6 figures a year writing screenplays, heck not even 5 figures a year doing it. For all intents and purposes, I am an “amateur,” and as such, I can request that my script get read. It so happens I was lucky enough to be chosen today, because I was finishing up a new Draft of The Berzerkers for the Page Awards semifinal round, so the comments alone (in particular whether to cap or not cap names) have been helpful. I may be on the line of being a “pro,” but “pros” wouldn’t consider me as such, I suspect.

      The opportunities are piling up for me yes, and I am taking advantage of them by creating friendships and colleagues. I am putting myself into a position for that ONE opportunity that will make me a consistent professional. And using Scriptshadow is yet another way to create a network (I follow Carson on Twitter, and a lot of people who read SS talk with me on Twitter, People from SS have emailed me, and I have virtual friends and contacts because of it,

      As to your last question, you know the answer, which is no, I have not made a comment not related to one of my scripts. I do read this site daily, and I read the articles. Most times, I have nothing to add to the article, or the reviews. I learn something from them, or don’t. I read the comments, too. I don’t think it’s necessary to comment publicly about something that I like or don’t like. Many times, I take to my blog, or my Twitter, to discuss my thoughts in a broader context.

      On AOW I can never read all the scripts, and, because of that, I don’t feel it’s right to comment on them. It may be a silly rule, but it’s my rule. In my opinion, you can’t fully judge a piece of writing unless you’ve read it all. A lot of people disagree with me here. That’s fine. But I feel I owe the writers my full attention. Like I said, it may be silly, but that’s my code.

      • walker

        Thank you for your lengthy response. I suppose I should admire your confidence and instinct for self promotion. About a month ago you and I both made the top 15% in the Nicholl. You are spinning it as a positive and I am still using it as an excuse to hit the sauce.

        • Will Hare

          We beat about 6,000 scripts. That says something. You have to stay positive and keep going. Congrats on the top 15%! It all comes down to who you get as a reader. The same script made the Page Semis. My other script missed the NIcholl quarterfinals this year by one point, but was a Nicholl semifinalist last year. The point is you should take away from the placement that you’re on the right track. It totally sucks to not make it. But it just spurs me on to make it that much more.

      • Sullivan

        Oscar Wilde was sent a manuscript by a woman who implored him to read it. She did the old trick of sticking two pages together to check if he really did read it. It was returned with a “not interested” note. Right away the woman looked and the two pages were still stuck together, so she sent it back and demanded he really read her work.

        Again the manuscript came back with a “not interested” note and the pages stuck together.

        The woman was furious. She sent Wilde a letter revealing her ploy with the two pages and calling him out on not having read all of her manuscript, thus not being able to truly judge her work.

        Wilde sent her this one line reply:

        “Madam. One does not have to eat the entire apple to know it is rotten.”

        • walker

          Wilde’s talent for aphorism would be so much more impressive if it were not the fullest expression of his talent.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Caught you video about Broken.
        Are you allowed to mention the amount of the budget?

        Just realized that SS and SS have something in common.
        Were most you contacts (producers/directors) from Simply Scripts?

        Filming here? Or in France?

        Make sure to drop us a line when filming begins.

        • Will Hare

          I’under an NDA, so I can’t mention the budget. I can say that it will film in Detroit, likely in the spring.

          I’ve gotten one good contact from Simply, made some good friends from SS, and the others came from contests and the Black List, and from my friends introducing me to people who introduce me, etc.

          France? Ah, I think I mentioned some time ago that I was thinking of sending the script internationally.

  • Rachel Woolley

    Congratulations to all this week’s contenders – some great stuff on offer. Right now my vote goes to AXIOM because it was the one that I got the furthest into yesterday and it intrigued me enough to come back and finish it today.

    I was a little overwhelmed by both BERZERKERS and MISAMERICA. So many characters introduced so quickly. Especially in the case of Misamerica – I had trouble establishing how everyone related to each other which made it difficult to follow. Since Abby is the main focus, it might help if the opening scene belongs to her rather than Bobby?

    I liked the premise and tone for both BROTHERS TERNION and SUNNY SIDE. They just didn’t hold onto me for long enough.

  • Scott Crawford

    It’s the big, unanswered question: should you put a script onto a website like this one in a less than perfect condition? You probably wouldn’t want to pay for a proofread is you knew you were going to have to do a major rewrite. So…

    Let’s imagine that I wrote a script and on page two was the line “The dead body lies prostate on the floor.” There are two possibilities here: one is that I forgot to put the r in prostrate, and then didn’t check the script thoroughly; two, I’m an idiot who doesn’t know the difference between the tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system and lying face down on the ground.

    Because prostate and prostrate are both words, there are no red squiggles to indicate a misspelling. I misspell all the time; I have trouble typing sometimes. Probably I should get an ergonomic keyboard. But this mistake happened on PAGE TWO and prostate/prostrate is a known trouble word, like there/their/they’re. There’s only likely to be one use of prostrate in the script, so I should have checked it.

    Does this matter if the story is brilliant? Probably not. To me it’s all about story; screenplay is simply the presentation of that story. But when the story is average or worse, you’re gonna notice those mistakes and your going to judge a person on those mistakes. Make of that what you will.

    Interesting: the script online for “Spoils of War” by future Academy-Award winner John Ridley – the script that became Three Kings with Clooney and Wahlberg – is FULL of typing errors. Either Ridley the script in a hurry, or someone has done a bad job transcribing it from the original (I’ve read another Ridley script from the 90s, his rewrite of “Blades”, and it was typo-free).

    Another story people might know: Larry Kasdan wrote his early scripts longhand because he was a terrible typist. It’s only when he got a computer and spellcheck that he was able to type scripts himself (he uses Final Draft, FYI).

  • Scott Crawford

    Outline, outline, outline! Don’t send me your script! Send me your outline! Seriously, if the story isn’t working as an outline, why read it as a screenplay?

  • ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to all the AOW hopefuls this week!

    AOW Winner: AXIOM OF EVIL.

    Opening your script with two run-on sentences is an EYESORE.
    Also you used the world “through” three times in those two sentences.
    These grammatical snits send the message, that you’re an amateur.
    Get rid of these little jerks that make you look bad to folks.
    Not to mention a 115-page comedy immediately seems a bit long to me.

    P. 4 Egotistical agents and mouthy goths have been done to death.
    Starting your story with such worn out tropes is a red flag.

    P. 6 And now we’re piling lots of STEREOTYPES on top of that.
    Checking off the flamboyantly gay minority is stale even for sitcoms.
    Callous rich people that only care if their kid matches their couch.
    All topped off with racist slang and star-stalking dancers.
    The narrative choices here aren’t giving me hope for the next 110 pages.

    P. 7 Competing curbside businesses is another worn out device.
    Why do you need all these sitcom trappings to tell a story about a singer?
    You’re filling the script with EMPTY CALORIES, instead of nourishing character/story.

    P. 8 Why is the car wash that’s having a grand opening look so crappy.
    It’s brand new. But yet it looks like a dump compared to their neighbor.
    The owner is an idiot for opening his business in this location.
    Why would I ever care about that moron? There’s zero logic here.
    It seems the writer slapped together a bunch of gags without much thought.

    P. 10 Is this John trying to mold his daughter to be a spokesperson?
    All the people in your story are super self-absorbed.
    Which makes it nigh impossible for me to get invested in them.
    You’re also jumping around a lot, no one screams protag to me yet.
    It would be easier if there were narrative connectors between your scenes.
    The sooner you start helping me connect dots, the less likely I am to put down your script.

    P. 13 Why would a millionaire hire a cheap cat lady accountant?
    He has the money to hire a pro. She only exists for the cat lady joke.
    And none of your gags are really character-centric.
    All the gimmicks you’re loading them down with turns them into caricatures.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 3 The writer can turn a phrase and keep the page fairly blithe.
      But man, you lifted the Wes Anderson trademark tone wholesale for your story.
      You’re even skewing close to the timing of his smash cuts during narration.
      So much of your opener only serves to remind of well-regarded films.
      Which ultimately leads me to comparing your pages to those films.
      Guess which one will ALWAYS hold up better in the reader’s mind. Not you.

      And now we’re sliding right into MAGNOLIA territory with the coincidences.
      I get that you dig “the Andersons” a lot, but…
      Consider focusing on fresh elements that speak to your TALENT, not your TASTE.

      P. 4 The x3 Xmas gag got a laugh out of me.
      But the puppies should all be siblings too. ;-)

      P. 6 I wish some of this VOICEOVER told me about the man, not the kids.
      We hear everything from his perspective, but there’s little about him.
      Telling me more about the father, also informs me about the kids too.
      Readers instinctively know that traits gets passed down to kids, use that here.

      P. 8 This is the first interesting scene to me, it has SUBTEXT.
      That always gets the reader turnng pages, use it as often as you can.

      P. 9 Seems a bit odd that no one notices the frakked water on town.
      Especially in a town out of gas. You think someone would’ve noticed by now.
      As if the town’s supply was being RAILROADED somehow. Hmm.

      P. 11 Is FRED a man or a woman? Brendon call Fred, “baby.”
      In this case, Fred’s gender could say a lot about Brendan’s proclivities.
      Clarify this, it reads a tad confusing.

      P. 20 The twee backstory indulgences have gotten the better of me.
      Good writing kept me going, but I’m putting the script down here.
      Without all the Andersonisms, there’s not much to go on.
      I’d care less if your plot had kicked into gear, but it’s barely started.
      The cadence of all your influences drowns out the originality on the page.


      • walker

        Wow, ElectricDreamer, great notes on all these scripts.

        • walker

          Seriously I would like to get notes from you some time.

      • Casper Chris

        P. 11 Is FRED a man or a woman? Brendon call Fred, “baby.”In this case, Fred’s gender could say a lot about Brendan’s proclivities.
        Clarify this, it reads a tad confusing.

        Pretty sure Fred’s a man. Male name. Wears a tie. I don’t know if the ‘baby’ in “we’re in business baby” was meant as a term of endearment or just an exclamation of sorts. Guess I’ll find out. Still reading.

        • ElectricDreamer

          It’s always good housekeeping to write CLEAR character intros.
          Fundamental facts, like gender, shouldn’t be a mystery box.
          I see FRED stand in for Winifred more than Frederick these days.

          • Casper Chris

            It’s probably not my strongest suit either (character intros in general). I would never use the name Fred for a female character though. That’s a bloody crime.

    • ElectricDreamer

      Apparently, I did read the script October 2013, but I don’t recall any details.

      P. 3 Laying the Keystone Cops on a bit thick here.
      Is this supposed to be a spoof of Westerns?

      P 6 “black pit” is a lousy term for a dog.
      Sounds like a dark void came out and attacked a guy. Normal words are fine.

      P. 7 You’ve got a LETHAL COMBO making this opener a tough read.
      1) Yeah, the character intros, but those alone are OK to push through.
      2) Intense action choreography compounds the character count issue.
      Perhaps dialing back on #2 will help you AVOID this note in the future.

      P. 7 If you’re after someone, you keep their kid alive as LEVERAGE.
      Only incompetent villains would overlook such an obvious advantage.

      P. 8 Killing the son, then letting those witnesses live makes no sense.
      The cops just let a kid get straight up murdered.
      That leaves the cops vulnerable, character motivations here not adding up.

      P. 8 These two character intros are overwrought with grammatical flourishes.
      The perfume coming off your prose is suffocating at times.
      I’d prefer you dazzle me with your story, than your vocabulary.

      P. 10 Did we miss that part where Arthur KIDNAPPED Louis?
      That would’ve been a DRAMATIC turn of events to read on the page.

      P. 14 If last night went badly, why didn’t Fitzhugh tell him sooner.
      That’s what usually happens when goons fail to execute plans.
      Waiting until the next day is rock stupid. Like most of the villains so far.

      P. 16 There’s a great ONE-LINER waiting to be born here.
      Hannah really should have a witty answer to the “With a baby?” query.

      P. 20 Just when we get momentum with Judge and Sam, it’s flashback time.
      That scene felt like the first thing that was really HAPPENING.
      If you started here, with the mystery hanging in the air, I’d be more invested.
      I think your premise and setting are fine, just kill all the backstory.


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 1 The Capricorn One reference is pretty dated for a 21st century soldier.
      Why not answer that lunar ref with some rumors about STANLEY KUBRICK?
      His potential involvement was detailed in a recent documentary — ROOM 237.
      The writer that goes the Kubrick route reads much younger on the page.

      P. 2 A common way to combat character intro overload is SUPERS.
      Putting a nickname up there in BOLD might help your cause.

      P. 2 I think someone’s a big Kurosawa fan here.
      The writer’s love of the medium almost overtakes the scene.

      P. 4 I’d be feeling the peril more if you TEASED the baddies here.
      Sure, you got Dusty Woman #3, but I mean Mercs poised to strike the heroes.
      There’s missed opps here to build up some TENSION and SUSPENSE.
      Why not lets us see glimpses of Afsoon, bread crumb that mystery early.
      It’s those kinds of devices that keep readers turning pages.

      P. 7 Same issue here, I’m adrift in the action w/o the set up.
      If I knew that UPS guy had a WEAPON, that gives the scene DRAMATIC IRONY.
      Giving your reader that SECRET DATA gets them invested in your tale.

      P. 8 Military personnel don’t use 9/11 as hyperbole for threat assessment.
      They have far too much respect for the dead to talk like that.
      It’s throwaway lines like this that sink character credibility.

      P. 11 Way too much ball-aching slapstick here.
      Feels like you’re making a spoof of the Expendables or The A-Team.
      All this unrelated shark jumpy humor reads like EMPTY CALORIES on the page.
      You don’t need the battery-operated props to hammer character beats.

      P. 13 A Japanese guy running a Karaoke bar is PREDISPOSED WRITING.
      That’s what Carson calls it. To me, it reads like LOW HANGING FRUIT.
      Which means, this idea is way overripe, you should throw it away.

      Next time reach up a little higher on the idea tree, please.
      Actually, why does his occupation have to be a sitcom punchline at all.
      It doesn’t matter at all if the Seven Samurai-style recruitment works out here.

      P. 16 I wish more of your humor wasn’t so reliant on meta-movie quips.
      It reads much more spoofy than a typical action/comedic set up/pay off.

      P. 18 I’m stopping here. The writer can turn a phrase and has voice.
      But the meta-snark is cranked up so loud, I can’t hear much of a story.
      Also, conceptually spinning disabled soldiers for spoof material is risky.
      I’m not so sure America wants to laugh at their wounded defenders.
      But if this guy were in my office, I’d for sure ask him what else he’s written.


      • Will Hare

        Just to clarify. It’s a Japanese woman, and she doesn’t run the place, in fact, she despises working there. In the very beginning, she states, “Karaoke is beneath my talents.” Then– there she is, in the one place she doesn’t want to be, getting ready to play the one song she can’t hear wihout flying into a rage (which is also set up in the first 4). It’s me trying to take the stereotype and tweaking it a bit. (It’s one of the soldiers in the Humvee in Afghanistan). I could see why you would be mad if the scene were how you described it, but it’s not.

        You said, “It doesn’t matter at all if the Seven Samurai-style recruitment works out here”.These people KNOW each other You met them at the top of the script. There is no Seven Samuari stuff going on here. (as an aside, neither Sanjuro nor Ikiru are in the Seven Samurai) Fenton needs to get his old team back, and Sanjuro, who has turned into a pathetic karaoke host with rage issues, needs to go with them. It matters a great deal. I don’t know how you could read the scene the way you described it.

        As to 9/11, I am a vet. I served overseas in combat zones. And NOTHING was off limits in our discussions. Nothing. You may not hear it on television, but a lot of the dialogue comes from people I’ve served with or myself. So mentioning 9/11 makes him credible, because I’ve heard it countless times. And I am not making fun of veterans. I am honoring them through humor, pathos, and silliness, things all of us experienced on patrol. We had respect for each other. Gallows humor. Even darker than dark gallows humor. These guys serve their country, then re-enlist to make sure they can be with their buddies. It becomes about who they’re fighting WITH, not what they’re fighting for.

        I do thank you for taking the time to read some of my work.

        • ElectricDreamer

          I think the take away for your karaoke set up, is this:

          Yes, it’s there on page two amid a sea of character intros and action.
          (I went back and checked after you mentioned it.)
          Which is likely why it barely registered as a set up as I read.
          It went right past me amid all the Humvees, etc.
          Without that data, your karaoke pay off just read a bit racist to me.
          Perhaps her set up dialogue on p. 2 should be framed better.

          I like what you’re saying soldiers and how they behave.
          But it wasn’t coming through on the page for me.
          That’s all I’ve got for you, I tried to be constructive.
          Good luck with your project. You’re a talented writer.

        • kenglo

          Wow, just saw this! CONGRATS WILL HARE for making the list. I recognize you from the Zoey days….good job!!

          I’m going to read the story, just because!!

          • Will Hare


    • ElectricDreamer

      P. 2 Put the scream that causes the wife to drop the phone, FIRST.
      It trips up your prose’s momentum getting fancypants with its placement.

      P. 5 I enjoyed the psychology games. The dialogue flowed well.
      Best written scene I’ve read today so far.

      P. 8 The brother reveal should come from a STUDENT.
      Preferably one that challenges Uriah because he knows this fact.
      As written, it’s kinda bad exposition. Let a dick student reveal the goodies.
      It shows the reader you’re adept at handling the usually awkward exposition.

      P. 9 It’s my experience that rumors about teachers tend to linger.
      And she just reminded everyone while in line for coffee. In public.
      This is a good example of bad exposition.
      Uriah already knows that data, so its presence is solely for the reader.
      When the readers feel that, they’re a step closer to putting your script down.

      P. 11 Allison is once again the bearer of bad exposition.
      Uriah doesn’t need to be told about the dead child.
      Cut her clumsy reveal, let the reader PONDER Sara’s importance.
      Just have Allison go cold and leave Uriah alone. TEASE the MYSTERY better.

      P. 13 Are these girls ten years old?
      This reads more like a stuck up slumber party than college dorm.
      I know girls can be immature, but this reads shark jumpy.
      There’s not creepiness here, just sitcom tropes.
      Not in line with the rest of the fluid read so far.

      P. 15 Another scene that feels like a Q&A, three so far.
      You’ve got a knack for them, but the repetition diminishes their overall value.

      P. 19 I can practically hear Caitlyn add something to her last line…
      “I already want to go to bed with you, no need for games.”
      That girl’s a little smarter and a much better rep for her gender.
      Let her sexuality be more assured on the page. Young girls are like that.
      And older men find it very attractive. Make Caitlyn more appealing here.
      Reading ahead, this actually plays in line with her behavior.

      P. 21 Massive plot convenience about the patient Uriah happens to need.

      P. 22 Stopping here, I have other scripts to read today. But I would continue.
      The brother relationship on top of exorcism seems a tall order.
      It’s so old hat to have the brothers diametrically opposed to each other.
      I have a half-brother and we’re a lot alike, actually.
      But the first dozen or so pages read great and I want to know what happens next.


    • Somersby

      Re: MISAMERICA. Yup, I agree about the opening. The very FIRST action line reads:

      “BOBBY CARROLLA, 50, 10k suit, giving us mogul realness rocking a low pony and all, grumbles in his boxer shorts as THREE NAIL TECHS file away through his executive mani-pedi.

      …So Bobby is wearing a ten thousand dollar suit AND he’s relaxing in his boxer shorts at the same time??

      Is it wise to confuse the reader from the get-go? Don’t think so.

      Also, I don’t want to have to look up what NAIL TECHS or MANI-PEIDs are before getting to the second action line on the first page.

      It’s fine to be hip and ultra-cool with the lingo… but if it reads as nothing more than Greek-to-me, I ain’t interested in reading more.

      …Mind you, I did go to page 11 before I checked out. Clearly, I’m not the target demo for this script. I did like the energy, but the dialogue seemed forced, trying too hard to be pop-culturish hip and ultra-cool.

      That said, I hated Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect and they did alright, so maybe the writer knows something I don’t.

      Not my cup of tea, but neither is Michael Bay. But, unlike me, he’s not struggling to pay his rent…so what do I know.

  • Stephjones

    Read at least 10 pages of The Brothers Ternion, MIsamerica and The Berzerkers.

    My vote: The Berzerkers

    Good luck with it, Will. I thought it was pretty entertaining and will probably go back and read more. I didn’t have any problem keeping track of your characters but simplifying intros wouldn’t hurt.
    Maybe more later. Sunday was my funday.

  • Craig Mack

    My vote goes to AXIOM OF EVIL..

  • cjob3

    OT does anyone know if the Guardians of the Galaxy script is available anywhere?

  • Casper Chris

    Finished The Brothers of Ternion

    I can see why it did it well at Nicholls. From what I understand, Nicholls loves these simple, feel-good character pieces that delivers a positive and universal message (often in a somewhat on-the-nose and hamfisted fashion). Everything ties up nicely at the end of The Brothers Ternion (some would probably say too nicely). And yes, the scene where Brendan puts the lighter under the faucet is explained later (writer still needs to make it clear that the ‘it’ in the sentence “puts it underneath it” refers to the faucet though).

    The writer is correct in saying this is not a GSU piece. That’s okay. My latest script is not a lean and mean GSU vehicle either. The main story engine in this story is the reader’s desire to see the arrogant brother Brendan get his comeuppance, or the underdog brothers beating him at his own game (success, defined as wealth). At one point, the story feels almost like a success race with Brendan’s oil adventure pitched against his underdog brothers’ sandwich restaurant/bar. The big twist of the story is that underdog brother (adoptive brother) Wallace has been a wealthy angel investor all along and in fact using his wealth to aid his brothers “from the clouds” (Hi, Bifferspice). In retrospect, the sandwich restaurant subplot is a red herring intended to throw us off, to set us up for the big reveal.

    The Nicholls reader who called The Brothers Ternian ‘brilliant’ is being overly complimentary. It’s a decent little story, but very safe and predictable. Even if the reader doesn’t anticipate the angel investor twist, it’s in the cards all along that at least one of the underdog brothers is going to come out on top and everything points, with flashing arrow signs, to the mysterious and gifted dark horse “brother”, Wallace.

    I thought the writer did a fairly good job bringing things full circle and planting some small setups for later payoffs. The payoffs were not particularly strong, but at least it shows that some thought was put into it.

    There were moments that rang a bit false. For instance Brendan accidentally (and very conveniently) revealing to brother Ozzie that he was broke on page 82, the coincidental meet between Wallace and Ozzie on page 18 (even if Wallace was looking for Ozzie (later PI reveal), it reads coincidental. If it was a set-up by Wallace, I don’t quite understand the logic behind it, him taking a waiter job and all), Brendan running into Ozzie at a bar Ozzie manages (second coincidental meet), Ozzie being mowed down by a car driven by — surprise — Brendan, Ozzie nailing a snake in the eye with a knife from 30 yards away (the writer tried to set this up with Ozzie displaying his dart skills earlier, but it still felt a bit silly).

    My main gripe with this script is that, while the writer does bring the story full circle, it’s not particularly entertaining along the way. The story hardly has a memorable scene and the funniest lines are amusing at best (it supposedly being a comedy and all). While the ending is perhaps more satisfying than Bifferspice’s Breaking The Chain (a similar, low-key story), Breaking The Chain had better scenes and more endearing characters. Brendan is the run-of-the-mill douchebag and his brothers are so passive in taking the abuse, you end up disliking them too. For most of the story we’re watching a douchebag and two losers (we don’t know better) and nothing really funny or exciting is happening. The ending is too little too late (and it hits the “money is not everything” note very hard… not a lot of finesse and subtlety in the delivering the message, but I realize a lot of people won’t care).

    All in all, though, this was a decent little script with a satisfying (albeit somewhat predictable) feel-good ending.

    A few niggles in a very clean script):
    bifurcate (wrong use)

    numbers are usually spelled out in dialogue

    On page 93 you write: “Brendan and Wallace come inside and go to the front desk”. This should be Brendan and Ozzie, not Brendan and Wallace.

    On page 96, you write that Ozzie’s arm is in a sling. Since when? Was this from Brendan hitting him with the car? I don’t recall you telling me that Ozzie’s arm was in a sling after that? Did I miss it?

    I don’t know if the watching audience will be able to connect the dots with the rocket in the safe. I like the idea though.

    • d

      Hey, thanks for reading. this is actually a really fair assessment of the script, so I won’t bother to try and defend the issues. A lot of the flaws come from the hasty manner this was written in (not outlined, or at least having any clue where I was going when I started it). I don’t typically write like this, nor do I plan on ever again writing a quirky character piece as this script was more for my own practice, and I never planned on actually showing this to people, but after that quote from Nicholl, I figured it’d be foolish to not use it to try and get few reads out of it. two things, it’s said earlier when Ozzie enters Brendan’s office he’s in a sling after he hurt himself rollerblading. and as far as numbers spelled out in dialogue, I always spell out zero thru nine, but if the choice is 177,000 or one hundred seventy-seven thousand, well I’m going with 177,000 for the same reason I use one space after a period instead of two. again, thanks for the read

      • Casper Chris

        it’s said earlier when Ozzie enters Brendan’s office he’s in a sling after he hurt himself rollerblading.

        Ah, yea, I see it now. It’s mentioned once prior, at the end of a scene. I figured I probably missed it. Sometimes reader miss shit. As frustrating as it is for us writers :)

        As for the numbers, you have numbers like 11 and 23 which would usually be spelled out for the actors. I believe your method is considered proper within the academia, journalism etc. Anyway, it’s not a big deal (I’m guilty of this too).

        • d

          personally, I do whatever I can to shorten my script as much as possible. in my experience, most readers won’t ding you too much for that (and the ones who do probably won’t give your script a fair shot anyway). but you have my e-mail since you have my script, so if you ever want a read, I owe you one. and don’t feel pressure to have to cash in on this right away if you don’t have anything

          • Casper Chris

            True. I don’t think most readers give a shit whether you spell out eleven or not. I hardly gave a shit myself. That’s why I put it at the end of my post, under “niggles” ;)

          • Matthew Garry

            It’s not very important, but spelling out numbers gives a reader (or actor) an overview of the number of syllables. Most languages have a natural rhythm, and spelling out numbers in dialogue makes it easier to assess the natural flow (and length) of dialogue.

  • Andrew Orillion

    A little late to the party, but my vote is for The Berserkers. There area a few rough patches in the second act but I liked the characters and the humor. The script feels like a nice throw back to the action comedies of the 80s and 90s.

    The nick names for the characters was a little weird but I got used to it. Names in military scripts are tough because everyone goes by rank and last name. I spent five years in the Army and never learned most people’s first names. I usually just called them by rank.

    I liked the ensemble nature of the cast, too, although Gurps felt like he got left out.

    As for the whole 9/11 thing, I meet all kinds in my five years. Everything from guys who thought the Holocaust was exaggerated to people who read Chomsky. My issue is that it doesn’t fit the character. He’s only into the whole conspiracy thing during the intro, after that he never brings it up again.

    • Will Hare

      Thank you for taking the time to read. I served four years myself. The nicknames in the script were the nicknames I gave my friends (actually, my friends called me Pops, after I handed out all the other nicknames). Oh, and I know about 2 guys’ first names. I only knew last names.

  • Gunnin

    The idea is that Asmodeus is still lurking around them somehow, not that any one person necessarily needs to be possessed at the end. I figured leaving it open like that allows you to interpret it in a few ways. It may be that the final scene needs to be clarified more. Something for me to consider at least.