amateur-offerings-weekend
We just found a worth the read script on Friday.  Let’s find some more!  Remember the rules.  Whatever you open, read til you get bored, whether that be page 1 or the end of the script.  If you quit early, let the writer know what page you stopped at and why.  On top of looking for good scripts, we’re trying to help writers understand what’s working and what isn’t.  I can already hear some of the pipers piping up from the rafters.  A “Juvenalian Satire?” What does that even mean??  Let me just tell you guys, 7 out of 10 scripts submitted to me either a) contain a bare minimum grasp of the English language or b) sound incredibly boring.  Even the writers of the boring scripts seem to concede how boring they sound.  Screenwriting 101.  If you want someone to read your script, write a script that people are going to want to read! Also, I’m limited by time.  If I had time to vet a hundred scripts for every Amateur Offerings, I’d do it.  But I just don’t. I do what I can!

TITLE: Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons
GENRE: Crime-Comedy
LOGLINE: A crew of gangsters take a road trip to deliver millions of dollars in stolen casino money to their flamboyant mob boss, along the way getting into misadventures involving drugs and sex, and fighting off rival mob crews.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: There are quite a few reasons why you should read my script Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons. It is funny, it is edgy, it has colorful characters, and it has new interpretations of the types of characters often seen in the gangster genre. Another reason why you should read it is because I have been reading the scripts you have been putting out there for amateur offerings, and quite frankly I haven’t been too impressed by what I’ve been seeing. My script is better.

TITLE: Space Invaders
GENRE: Sci-fi Action Comedy
LOGLINE: The invasion came. Humanity lost. The processing of billions of corpses into bio-fuels begins.
By avoiding human interaction, a loner computer gamer survived the alien plague. But the only way she’ll survive the alien harvest is by joining in with a close-knit militant family journeying to humanity’s final fortress, NORAD.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Awhile ago, Carson reposted a comment I made about the choice between writing something personal and writing something commercial. I figured I may as well leverage that post into a review. So I’m throwing-down with a good ol’ alien-invasion script.


TITLE
: Let Us Touch The Sun
GENRE: Euro Horror
LOGLINE: A Transylvanian Countess struggles to conceal her dark inheritance from two investigators when she finds herself drawn to a bereaved English girl. A love letter to European vampire cinema of the 1970s.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Because I’m NOT writing for the US market! As much as I love ScriptShadow, my influences primarily come by way of the European imagination. As such, LET US TOUCH THE SUN is drenched in the climate of its mysterious female antagonist, unerring sense of place, and all-pervasive sensuality. Indeed, my Black List reviewer commented: “The sensuality of vampires is a long-standing obsession for filmmakers, but this stands out even in that canon as being an exceptionally hot-under-the-collar version of the classic tale.”

TITLE: 50 High Street
GENRE: Juvenalian Satire
LOGLINE: A secret room in the cellar of an old New England mansion may hold the key for a stay-at-home dad fighting for custody of his children.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I recently asked a friend who sold his spec how many drafts he wrote. He said a hundred. Well that’s about where I’m at with 50 High Street. I certainly could have never brought it this far without all the notes from all the people who took the time to read it. I wrote a Juvenalian satire because those are the kind of films I enjoy the most, Fight Club, V For Vendetta, the films of Billy Wilder. In that tradition 50 High Street is a thoroughly researched, scathing indictment of the no-fault divorce industry. I hope Carson chooses it because I can’t recall any Juvenalian satires ever having been reviewed on AF. And I think the feedback could be interesting.

TITLE: Liar. Coward. Judge.
GENRE: Horror/Survival
LOGLINE – Deep winter in Civil War Era Missouri – A Union Deserter, a Priest and an Assassin must fight for survival when they are stranded in the wilderness and hunted by a terrible Sasquatch.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Liar. Coward. Judge is a script that has been written out of frustration as much as ambition. As a conscious reply to those horror scripts that turn a blind eye to character, theme and subtext it is a pitch black descent into madness that treats the Sasquatch myth with rare seriousness. It is a savage horror with a truly unique setting that is driven not by the relentless movement from jump scare to gore gross-out but by the development of characters.

Most of all though you should read Liar. Coward. Judge because it doesn’t just ask that cliché question; “who will survive?” but wants you to ask yourself; “does anyone deserve to?”

  • Scott Crawford

    Too many genres (and too many capital letters). In my view:

    TITLE: Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons
    GENRE: Crime-Comedy

    TITLE: Space Invaders
    GENRE: Sci-fi Action comedy

    TITLE: Let Us Touch The Sun
    GENRE: Euro Horror or Horror comedy

    TITLE: 50 High Street
    GENRE: Juvenalian Satire Comedy

    TITLE: Liar. Coward. Judge.
    GENRE: Horror/Survival

    Best of luck to everyone!

    • Malibo Jackk

      May the games begin.
      (Quote from the Hunger Games.)

      • Scott Crawford

        There’s a couple more promising entries this week than in previous weeks. Not sure I’m all that struck by any of them.

      • BSBurton

        LOVE IT!

    • Randy Williams

      Carson recently commented on this practice and suggested not to do it and every one of these genres are bastardized.

      • BSBurton

        Randy, top of the mornin’ to ya~!

      • Scott Crawford

        I understand why people do, in the same way I understand why people flood their WYSR with lots of details on how well their script has done in competitions or on other websites. But let the title and the logline speak for themselves.

        We know it’s a crime story. If it’s funny, it’s a comedy.
        Sci-fi (as opposed to science fiction) suggests action, as does the logline.
        Not many people know what a “Euro Horror” is nor a “Juvenalian Satire”, so you risk coming off as pretentious.
        Horror/Survival isn’t rotten but Survival is not as much of a genre as horror is, so stick with horror.

        For what it’s worth, I would say these are the main genres in Hollywood (please add any I miss). Note that only the first letter is capitalized, and only if it is the start of a sentence:

        Action
        Action adventure
        Action comedy
        Action thriller
        Adventure
        Animation
        Comedy
        Comedy drama
        Comedy thriller
        Contained thriller*
        Drama
        Fantasy
        Fantasy comedy
        Horror
        Horror comedy
        Musical
        Musical comedy
        Musical drama
        Psychological drama
        Psychological thriller
        Romance
        Romantic comedy
        Science fiction
        Science fiction thriller
        Sci-fi action
        Sci-fi comedy
        Spoof
        Thriller
        Western

        I’m sure I’ve missed a couple out.

        * I would just call it a thriller.

    • BSBurton

      Wow, you are up early and fast bud! What’s your email, Scott?

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s 14:30 in London! Why do you want my e-mail?

        • BSBurton

          To get a direct link to this knowledge train, why else? Are you loaded up on your # of friends?

        • BSBurton

          Was that a good enough reason?

    • davejc

      Juvenalian satire isn’t Comedy. But it can be. Horatian satire is comedy.

  • Randy Williams

    The “Juvenalian Satire” I’ve seen on the this site before, read most of the first act and commented on it. I remember specific comments I made about it.

    AOW repeat or the writer once offered a link to the script, looking for notes? I’d like to know before I begin anew.

    • Scott Crawford

      Is the writer Davejc?

      • Randy Williams

        Yes

        • Scott Crawford

          I just opened it and, yes, it’s right there on the first page!

      • davejc

        Hi Scott! Hope we can get some interesting dialogue going on structure and outlines because I’m interested and recently a writer told me I have a fascinating process for defining structure. How well It actually works, well, I’ll let you be the judge.

        Current draft(Faster read):

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    • Linkthis83

      It was a link – Dave’s been trying to get this script into AOW for years. Glad to see it’s here!

      • Randy Williams

        Great! Looking forward to it, then!

      • BSBurton

        No shit, Sherlock, it’s long overdue

        • davejc

          Byron! Thanks so much on helping me put this baby to bed!!

      • davejc

        Link! You know I’m your biggest fan! Can’t wait to get your note Which are somewhat overdue :). this is the current draft:

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

        • Linkthis83

          Oh man, my notes are waaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy overdue. I’m so sorry about that. And then I went and read the opening pages of the link Carson provided and not the one you just posted.

          So I leave it up to you – is the link that you’ve provided for a script that might get adjusted after the notes you receive this weekend, or is this the one that isn’t getting updated and it is what it is?

          If you plan on changing it possibly after this weekend, I will make yours the first one I read when it’s ready. Otherwise, I will read the link you’ve provided and try to get you something within the next week.

          The choice is yours. Also, your logline is so different than what we kicked around the other weekend, how did you change it so much? I thought it was good, just surprised to see it this way!

          • davejc

            Definitely read the current draft. And i pray that’s the version Carson reads, six pages cut from the first act. I know I’ll be incorporating notes but may not submit another draft before friday. Kirk gave some notes and alot of his suggestions are already in this current draft.

            https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

            But yeah I keep a draft open and make changes whenever it occurs to me or whenever I get notes.

    • walker

      Great to see Dave get his shot. Based on reading the opening pages of each script, it looks like one of the most promising this week.

      • klmn

        It’s my first choice.

      • davejc

        Hey Walker Thanks for the look!! Here’s the most recent draft!

    • davejc

      Hey Randy! this is the most recent draft (Faster read):

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      BTW you notice I incorporated the great notes you gave m :)

  • Malibo Jackk

    Started reading Saul Roth’s BOMF.
    Found myself looking for missing periods.

    • Scott Crawford

      You’re pregnant!

      • klmn

        Good one.

        • Scott Crawford

          Just teasing.

  • Stephjones

    Well, golly gee, Carson. What was last weekend about if not for peeps to select AOW? So now we have another five scripts written by another five guys.
    What happened to Brittany’s PET? I know she’s just a “girl” but her screenwriting peers seemed to dig it.
    Take a page from your readers , man. They seem to appreciate women screenwriters.

    • Scott Crawford

      Liar. Coward. Judge. was from last weekend. 50 High Street is from a long-term Scriptshadower. Aside from that, Carson has to make the final decision on what scripts make AOW.

      And AOW is not a feminist issue.

      • BSBurton

        50 High street is fun so far, really respect the writer so I’m looking forward to finishing

      • brittany

        I don’t think it’s a feminist issue myself, but I think it’s because we were expecting to see a few of the other top picks from last week like Henchman, Corridor of Freaks, Silver Arrows, Tinseltown, and even her script Chicken Lickin made it on many SS’rs AOW lists. But you’re right, Carson does make the final decision, so whatcha gonna do, right?

        • walker

          Those scripts from last week are almost certain to be included in a future AOW. There is always a time lag of at least a week. Plus Carson mentioned he was going to do an entire week of dialogue scenes, so that pushes it out further. Honestly you people lose your perspective and your aplomb when your own scripts are involved.

          • Stephjones

            Brittany didn’t lose perspective, I might have. “You people” need to get your facts straight.

          • walker

            Actually I think my facts are pretty straight. How’s your aplomb?

          • Stephjones

            Not great. Too early for this. Backing down. A waste of time.

          • walker

            Actually Steph, I was speaking more generally. I think that quite a few people on SS lose their perspective where their own scripts are involved. And perhaps that is to be expected. Witness one of today’s writers flatly asserting the superiority of his script to other AOW entries, and then utterly failing to back it up in the pdf. It is too bad that there are relatively fewer scripts written by women in AOWs, but I think both PET and Chickin Lickin will probably be included in the near future, based on their premises and the comments from last weekend.

          • Stephjones

            Thanks, Walker. I got riled up cause I checked the last 10 AOW’s, going back to 5/24, and out of a total of 50 scripts picked in those weeks, only 2 of them were written by women.
            Pet and Chickin Lickin recieved such great support from the SS peeps, last weekend, so I expected to see them. As noted, it might just be too soon but those AOW numbers suck, IMO.

          • BSBurton

            Look at the female SS population. If 5% of the posters are women, that’s seems proportionate to me.

          • Altius

            One of the Barabbas writers is female, so that might make it 3…?

          • walker

            I think both you and Brittany are going to get your shot, probably over the next few weeks. Happily the numbers in the real world– to the extent that Hollywood can be called that– are less one-sided than here on SS, there is somewhat more gender balance.

          • Stephjones

            Thanks, again. I’ll drink a toast to you at sunset. ;)

          • walker

            How admirably restrained of you to wait until sunset.

          • walker

            I am quite likely to already be toasted by then.

          • Stephjones

            Okay. I lied. More like an hour from now.
            Gonna bob on a noodle…er…I mean float in the water, drink a beer and contemplate the mountains of Puerto Rico.

        • Scott Crawford

          MY feeling about last weekend was that it was a chance for some people who – for various reasons – had missed out on AOW to put their case for inclusion and maybe – perhaps – fix their broken loglines or not-so-great titles. I think there were maybe a dozen pitches last weekend that we could see on AOW in the next few weeks, but they will have to compete in the normal way. STILL too many people expecting us to read their screenplays even if we don’t like their logline.

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

      You should know by now he’s been a week behind in his AF reviews for some time now. Sometimes two weeks. Heck, there’s been times he was three weeks behind!

      I also feel some comments to Carson should be emailed privately, instead of an attack out in the open for everyone to see.

      And I’m sure if she won the AOW battle, she’ll get her review ;) I doubt there’s a conspiracy going on here against women writers, as we all know they can be just as good as any dude lol

      • Stephjones

        lol from a grown man? Really? I just feel bad for you…dude.

        • BSBurton

          Leave Rick alone, he’s just trying to do right by the writers and Carson.

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

          Lol I feel just as bad for you ;)

          • BSBurton

            there ya go!

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

            I just don’t like people jumping to conclusions, or using the excuse because “she’s a woman” that they didn’t get picked. Unless it’s actually a true statement.

            Have women ever been passed up for something because they’re a woman even though they were clearly the better choice? Of course. Is it acceptable? No.

            Women had to fight for their right to be on equal footing with men. Should they have had to fight? Nope. Common sense says that we should be judged on our merit as a person, not our sex or our color or our religion or anything else stupid.

            But to use that excuse here, especially when it’s Lauren that usually picks the five scripts for AOW, is just reading into things that aren’t there. And it’s an issue that should have bee dealt with privately. I think. If I’m wrong, I apologize.

            And for the record, I know lots of great women writers.

            But I don’t like making the distinction, I’d rather think of everyone as an equal and not have to say, “Oh that’s a wonderful woman writer. Oh, that’s a wonderful man writer. Oh, that’s a wonderful black writer. Oh, that’s a wonderful gay writer. Oh, that’s a wonderful woman, black, gay writer.” lol I’m being dumb now, but you get my point.

            I probably should have just left it alone! Hehe oh well, hitting send anyway ;)

      • BSBurton

        Good post, rick. Totally agree about the private emailing

    • Midnight Luck

      Carson is typically about 2 weeks out. So it isn’t surprising to me that these were posted this week. I would bet he is calculating or still deciding which of those chosen will be posted for next weekend, or even the following. Or he may take an entire week I’d bet and post (with coverage) each of those top five chosen scripts.

      I just think it is a little early to be worried.

    • Nicholas J

      Jump to conclusions much? I guarantee you Pet will get an AF review sooner rather than later.

    • klmn

      I think you’re being too hard on Carson. His mention of Guardians of the Galaxy being adapted by a girl was not a put down, just informal language.

      I think you’re just too sensitive.

  • andyjaxfl

    SAUL ROTH

    Page 1- “All around the office there are objects showing off great wealth.” Show, don’t tell.

    I got to page 12 and stopped. I like the overall setup, and I’m curious to know what was on that piece of paper that Will handed to Saul. I imagine it’s something pretty damning, otherwise there’s no way a crime king like Saul would ever let a novice criminal on a $50 million job. The dialogue was a little too exposition heavy and I didn’t have a grasp on any of the characters. Saul is rich. Timmy is a spoiled brat. Will is a blank slate. Milos likes to read. David appears to be the worst criminal ever since he’s been imprisoned seven times.

    I’d recommend that the writer take a look at Carson’s article on power words, which I think will help immerse the reader in these characters. Everyone “walked”, “looks”, “smiles”, “enters” and “opens.” Sure, there are a few smirks and plops sprinkled in, but they are far and few between.

    Pass. But I’m interested in reading it again a few drafts down the line…

    Here is the link to Carson’s article, which is worth printing out and tacking on the wall. http://scriptshadow.net/screenwriting-article-power-words-and-how-they-can-immediately-make-you-a-better-writer/

  • Altius

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS: could barely get 10 pages into this. Your punctuation is probably the worst I’ve ever seen in a script. Frustrating and prohibitively distracting. If you want people to read your stuff, be courteous enough to use proper punctuation. It will really help. Also, your first chunk of dialogue is an exposition blast trying to not look like exposition, but it still does. Try burying those details within the exchanges between Saul and Will. Unravel your exposition; don’t dump it.

    SPACE INVADERS: Read 18 pages, and would easily read more. Entertaining, unexpected bright spots of humor, and engaging characters. A clean, smooth read. Feels a bit Zombieland in tone.

    LET US TOUCH THE SUN: Read 22 pages. Very moody and sensual. It drew me in and intrigued me. Teeters on excessive with descriptions of what characters are wearing in every scene, but I see what you’re trying to do in evoking very clear visuals.
    “…headdress of Black Sea origin” doesn’t bring to mind any clear image. Leaves me puzzling over what that looks like.
    “ZDF melodrama” …?

    50 HIGH STREET: Read 25 pages. Very striking opening scene. The drama and tension between the parents’ impending separation is a good backdrop for the spooky stuff. The clueless therapist was an amusing touch. Not too much in the way of a scary or ominous mood, so that could be a spot for caution. Would like to get a little more of that by the 25th page, but it’s very heavy on the divorce drama to this point.

    LIAR COWARD JUDGE: Read 21 pages so far, and I’m definitely going to finish this one. Well written. Creeping dread and stark cold seem to pervade the script. I’m hooked. A few notes…the Priest’s motivations for leaving his parish to go after Jefferson seem thin. Perhaps Jefferson could extend some favor or gesture to the Priest that helps warrants this? Jefferson hanging himself was a good twist to kick things off. Didn’t expect that.
    pg. 19 – “sent” should be “scent”

    Vote: Liar Coward Judge
    Runner-up: Space Invaders

    • websters

      Thanks for the notes, glad your enjoying, keep them coming!

    • davejc

      Thank you Altius for your thoughts and the read! The current draft cuts 6 pgs out of the first 25:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      I would love it if you had the time to take a look. If not I still owe you a beer! Don’t let me forget :)

      And once again Thank you!!

    • Levres de Sang

      Many thanks for taking a look at LET US TOUCH THE SUN. I’m pleased that you found it intriguing…!

  • Nate

    I really fucking hate it when a writer trashes other scripts and then says theirs is better. There’s nothing that puts me off more. It could be one of the greatest scripts in the world, but I won’t even open it, because the writer doesn’t have an ounce of humility.

    • walker

      Don’t worry about it being one of the greatest scripts in the world.

    • Scott Crawford

      There’s confidence, there’s humility, and there’s…. being a dick, I guess.

      In the last few weeks we’ve had “My scripts better than Zombieland.” and “My script’s better than Ted.” Wow, better than two of the most successful and popular movies of recent years, with a TV series and sequel on the way!

      They weren’t.

  • websters

    So happy to be on this week’s amateur offerings! Hope you all enjoy Liar. Coward. Judge. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated

    • BSBurton

      Congrats man, I dig it so far. It’s always good to get some positive vibes early, so keep up the good work -peace!

  • BSBurton

    Looks like asking for Scott’s Email shut him up. Hmm, all I wanted was some extra off-site conversation. I guess if it’s not in the lime light, I can’t get his attention. :(

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

      lol leave the kid alone, he’s just trying to help and grow as a writer like the rest of us ;)

      • Scott Crawford

        Actually, I’ve been giving out my e-mail all week for people who want scripts. But I don’t know these guys and they’re coming on a bit strong.

        • BSBurton

          If you’ve been giving it out, anyone could dig through old posts. I’m just too lazy. And I come on strong to grab attention. Been a dry spell for me, Had an AF review ages ago, then went offline to write like crazy. I just heard about you recently from my SS friends and decided to jump back on and say hi

          • Scott Crawford

            OK. Hi.

          • BSBurton

            That’s a bit brief, considering your copious number of posts and what not. What can I do to extend the hand of friendship? I hope this comes of sincere.

          • Scott Crawford

            I gave you an up-vote. We’ll take it from there!

          • BSBurton

            You’re too kind. Best comment so far lol. I’ve been on here quite a bit over the past year and a half, scott. Finding time to write along with my three jobs makes it hard to be on S.S. I had given it up for a while, but You caused quite a storm so I decided to get on an introduce myself. I made the top 15 in the Writer’s Store Sheldon Turner industry insider contest. Not enough to move on, but still a nice surprise in May. Been to busy to submit to the new logline contest, but I may throw something together before the deadline. What about you? I’ve been informed of your family situation, I feel for ya. I’ve been spending a lot of time helping my grandmother who has Parkinson’s along with dementia. So it’s definitely taxing. Hope all is well, sir.

          • Scott Crawford

            I’ve got a LOT of spare time on my hand, since looking after my Dad doesn’t take up too much time. I’ve probably spent a bit TOO much time on Scriptshadow lately, and I’ve been trying to cut back a bit.

            Congratulations on the Sheldon Turner contest; of course, that’s how Tyler got going with The Disciple Program.

            Don’t worry about the logline “contest”. It wasn’t really a contest, more of a free-for-all pitch fest. Kind of shows the problems a pitch fest faces, really. I’d just finish your latest script and submit to Carson for AOW consideration. That’s what I’m doing… even though many people want me to fail.

            All the best, and I’m sure we’ll argue over something later!

          • BSBurton

            You won’t fail. You’ll either nail it or come up short. No failing! And I don’t argue, I state facts and then walk away haha. Too busy to argue. Good luck on your new script. If I ever get your email, maybe I could send some log lines past you. You could reach out to me at my yahoo account b r o n b u r t o n at y a h o o . c o m

          • Scott Crawford

            mr.scottcrawford@hotmail.com. If you want something. I prefer to chat here, on Disqus.

          • walker

            Sorry to hear about the Parkinson’s, it killed my little brother.

          • BSBurton

            Thanks for the empathy bud. It’s a rough go of it.

    • Cuesta

      You need to buy him a drink first. That’s the proper social convention.

      • Scott Crawford

        I LIVE IN LONDON!

        Send me a teabag.

        • BSBurton

          how about a coldplay album? I’m having buyer’s remorse over Mylo Xyloto. Don’t even get me started on GHost STories :/

        • Nicholas J

          I, for one, would love to teabag you, Scott.

          • BSBurton

            Is that a joke or a come on?

          • Scott Crawford

            I’m VERY touched, Nicholas. VERY.

            Have a great weekend!

          • Nicholas J

            I’m just messing with you. Have a great weekend yourself. Enjoy the weather while it lasts.

          • klmn

  • Jake T

    Saul Roth: Five pages. The other commenters are right, the occasional grammar mistake can be ignored. But when it’s almost every line, it’s impossible to get into the story.

    That aside, you need to look for a way to make these characters unique. The image in my head is very generic, because all I really have of them is dialogue. No quirks or anything to separate them from the hundreds of other mobsters we all know. Also, have faith in your parentheticals. If someone ‘sighs’, or speaks ‘into intercom’, you don’t need to say it in your action paragraph and then again in brackets. Causes too much starting and stopping.

    50 High Street: Eight pages (but will read more). This was an intriguing beginning. By the bottom of the second page, you’d already set up two mysteries.

    Unfortunately when you got to the law offices (could do with some scene numbers), the momentum was stopped dead. It’s fine to have a breather and take things down a notch, but two things broke the movie spell here. 1) 6 months earlier. We’ve already had the 1680s stuff, then the ‘present’ explosion scene. Going back 6 months is jarring. Unless it’s completely necessary for it to be so long before, I’d try to get this to a week or less. It’d give more immediacy to the plot. 2) We’ve landed in a completely static place. Give these two something to do. ‘Jim Monk counsels a client on the uphill battle in front of her, emphasizing each hurdle that must be cleared’ isn’t action. It’s telling us the conversation that’s about to follow. Instead, use these moments to build character. Eg. ‘Jim Monk plays ‘eenie meenie’ with his cologne collection, choosing the perfect scent.’ May be a tacky example, but it gives a snippet of who his is before he talks. And if this snippet can heighten what is just another divorce meeting, then all the better.

    These are fixable things, and I’m keen to go back and read more tonight.

  • Linkthis83

    (still have 3 scripts to go, but wanted to put some stuff up here now – will update this when I finish – all notes will be in this post)

    Congrats to all writers who made it into this round of AOW (Especially DaveJC – it’s been a long time coming :)

    **I check out title and genre only – then I read – then I read your WYSR**

    MY VOTE = ??????

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS (crime-comedy)

    -Missing quite a few periods. There also seems to be some random, unnecessary extra spaces at times

    -I don’t get high and mighty about this stuff so I will continue to read, but it does need to be fixed before you submit to anyone else.

    -You might want to have an establishing shot of the house so we can truly understand how wealthy Saul MIGHT be. Just stating that there is expensive looking stuff in the home office won’t quite cut it.

    p5 = The prison gates opens = gates open or gate opens

    p9 = I liked the New Jersey joke

    p13 = don’t care for the name Acid Dropping Dave — really liked “My Bastard Brother”

    p14 = Instead of Crazy Jose being committed to an asylum, how about his name being No Way Jose and Timmy responds, “He said no way.”

    p15 = I just want you to know that when I read the license plate I thought “He better be a Swedish pimp!”

    p19 = stopped – and it was because of the conversation between Ingmar and Saul

    SUMMARY = You got me to page 19 based on a couple interesting things; 1) the note Will gave Saul and 2) the premise that they could pull this off with no risk. However, I gave you a lot more room than others will and I look at AOW differently than some. This feels like you have an idea for a story, but that you haven’t really gone through it enough to really make it stand out. You are making a bold promise with your premise, but the other aspects of script creation aren’t enhancing it, thus, credibility takes a nose-dive. I like the fun aspect of what you are trying to do but then I come to your WYSR: if you want people to spend time on your work, don’t discount theirs. You should never do that, but especially not here. This site is built on writers helping writers. You did yourself a major diservice by claiming that theirs lacked quality and that yours was superior. That’s not a way to ingratiate yourself to the very people you need to get you to where you want to go. If you think you don’t need us, that’s okay too. You are allowed to think that. I’m just an amateur myself, so what do I know…really :) Good luck with this. You need at least one reliable person to help you clear up your first pages, and you yourself need to really get this story to standout early.

    Oh yeah, in regards to how you described the office by stating that there’s just expensive stuff in the office; I was going to highlight this and state that you need to be specific about the items to show that they are indeed indicators of wealth, but then also that you don’t have to – not here, unless it’s relevant to the moment/story…and it is. And I don’t think you have to list items that show wealth, but simply state that there are things the show wealth but specifically mention the Picasso. Because it does come up again.

    SPACE INVADERS (sci-fi/action/comedy)

    (I’m now inspired to writer my western/horror/thriller/mystery/noir GALAGA — just having a little fun)

    p2 = 12,000 and 14,000 years = 12,000 to 14,000 years

    p3 = I’m digging the VO and the SUPERs so far –> “Among non-Koreans” = nice!

    p7 = “These aren’t desperate times yet.” = great!

    p9 = I love Sarah saying her screenname while lying on the ground after getting knocked on her ass by the kick of the gun. If I may, I’d suggest:

    SARAH
    (rolling on ground)

    Slayerqueen…(groan)…113

    p10 = “Are you getting harvested again?” = fantastic!

    p12 = stopped

    SUMMARY = Damn, Tom. This is great so far. Just my type of characters and interactions. You feel in control of the story and it’s entertaining. I have a feeling one of those Amateur Top Ten spots might already be in trouble – It’s also nice when I can read a script where all I’m focused on is STORY – Thank you for that.

    • davejc

      Hey Link! I posted a worksheet that I use to break down structure. I think it would make for a fascinating discussion on how people solve that issue in their own scripts. Have a look if you get a chance. And thanks for the notes. You know I take your notes like gospel. So I hope you get a chance to read the current draft:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      I wish this version was the one that was posted. Oh well I only submitted it yesterday so maybe they choose AOW entries earlier than that.

      • andyjaxfl

        hi Dave, can you repost the worksheet that you use to break down structure? I’d love to take a look. Thanks!

        • davejc

          Here it is. I added a link to Propp’s Narratemes at the bottom for anybody whose not familiar with them and Of course a link to the current draft of my script :)

          PROP’S MORPHOLOGY OF THE FOLKTALE AND PIXAR’S FOURTH RULE OF STORYTELLING

          The structure in it’s most basic form is the same simple structure I use
          in all my scripts(courtesy of Blake Snyder). Basically the “A”
          Story unfolds in the first act. The “B” Story begins to unfold at
          the midpoint. And in the third act the “B” Story resolves the “A”
          Story as seen in both story spines below:

          “A “ STORY SPINE:

          Once upon a time…

          there was a family who lived in a grand old house

          Every day…

          The father stayed home to take care of the children while the mother was
          away on business trips.

          0. initial situation

          (entering The First Sphere)

          But, one day…

          The mother went to see a divorce lawyer.

          1. absentation (a member of the family leaves the security of the home
          environment)

          4. reconnaissance

          5. delivery of reconnaissance

          Because of that…

          The Mother announced the parents separation to the children.

          (inciting incident)

          Because of that…

          The Father agreed to see a therapist.

          7. complicity

          Because of that…

          The Father agreed to take a daughter to to the desert for health reasons.

          7. complicity

          1. absentation (another member of the family leaves the security of the
          home environment)

          Because,of that…

          The Father was served. A hearing in his absence was requested to block
          him from returning to his home.

          6. trickery

          Because, of that…

          He rushed back, hired a lawyer and blocked the hearing —

          (reversal) –and despite his lawyer warning —

          2. interdiction — he chose the high road(accommodation)

          3. violation of interdiction

          7. complicity

          Because, of that…

          The antagonists resorted to plan B and a G.A.L. was brought in to
          interview the children.

          Reversal — ***BREAK INTO TWO*** Page 24 (pace)

          Observations: there are seven beats in the first act (where
          each beat is a direct result of the preceding one) which
          corresponds to the seven narratemes that occur in the first sphere
          found in storytelling. In the best case scenario, the narratemes
          would occur in their proper order. Here they do except for 2 and 3
          (interdiction and violation of interdiction) which both occur towards
          the end of act one and in the same sentence on the page. In
          the second act the sequence of narratemes is not as important, so
          long as each beat is a result of the previous beat (all those
          “Because of that…”).

          (The Second Sphere)

          Because, of that (G.A.L. interview)…

          A smear campaign was entered in record against the father.

          12. Testing

          13. Reaction

          Because, of that…

          The father’s lawyer hung him out to dry.

          28. Exposure

          Because, of that…

          The mother is able to take the children to Seattle.

          8. Villainy and lack

          Because, of that…

          The mother side stepped the jurisdictional barriers that would have
          prevented her from taking the children to Russia.

          9. Mediation

          Because, of that…

          The father confronted the lawyers

          28. Exposure

          Because, of that…

          He realized it was up to him alone to keep his children from leaving the
          country.

          10. Counteraction

          Because, of that…

          Father left home for Seattle to try and stop the mother before it was too
          late.

          11. Departure

          ***MIDPOINT***
          Page 50 (pacing)

          “B” STORY SPINE:

          Once upon a time…

          There was a girl who discovered an old student’s journal in the attic of
          her home.

          Every day…

          She read from the journal.

          0. Initial Situation

          But, one day… (page 50 midpoint)

          She crossed paths with the imaginary friend from the journal, who was a
          ghost in the cellar.

          Inciting Incident

          Because, of that…

          She set out to discover the secret of the house.

          11. Departure

          Because of that…

          She met the old woman who wrote the journal and the demon who was still
          in the house.

          12. Testing

          Because of that…

          She recognized the key that would unlock the mysterious door.

          14. Acquisition

          2. Interdiction

          Because of that…

          She entered the sealed off room in the cellar.

          3. Violation of Interdiction

          Because of that…

          She let loose the demon imprisoned there

          7. Complicity

          Because of that…

          Her father used the demon in an effort to get his children back.

          26. Solution

          Because of that…

          The demon used her father to kill lawyers, therapists and realtors

          16. Struggle

          18. Victory

          Because of that…

          Her father was no longer sane.

          17. Branding

          Because of that…

          The demon took an interest in the girl.

          21 Pursuit

          Because of that…

          She had to save her sister and get out of the house

          22 Rescue

          25. Task

          Until finally…

          She escaped and the house burned to the ground.

          23. Arrival

          26. Solution

          ***FINAL IMAGE*** Page 100 (pacing)

          The girl was reunited with all her sisters.

          19. Resolution

          Propp’s Narratemes link:

          http://changingminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/plots/propp/propp.htm

          current draft of 50 High Street:

          https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

          • andyjaxfl

            Thanks for the share. The link is pretty fascinating and I’m going to read it tomorrow morning at work (errr, I mean after work…)

        • davejc

          I should add that there is an optional fourth sphere in Propp’s Morphology, the post climax, and an optional final step in the Story Spine method(And every day since that day…) that is not included here because 50 High St ends abruptly with the climax (old school)

      • Linkthis83

        I’ve started reading your most current draft and it is way better. I can understand why you’d want this one to be the one for people to read.

    • Levres de Sang

      Hi Link… I honestly feel a little guilty that LET US TOUCH THE SUN went over your head. As I said in my introductory post, it’s been a difficult transition from writing prose fiction and I guess dialling back my literary inclination is something that still needs work. Many thanks for looking, though!

      • Linkthis83

        There’s no need for feeling guilty. I feel it comes down to making your script/story accessible. But you are also allowed to write a story however you want. If you find your script is turning readers off, then it’s something you need to address. I can’t imagine how hard the transition is for you. If I was writing fiction, it would look and sound a lot like my posts here :)

        If you’re interested in being a writer/director, you can write this however you like. Or, see if you if you can locate scripts for films that are similar to your intention. See how they did it. Although, it’s also unlikely they were spec scripts turned into movies. (if you need help locating scripts, just put out requests here in the comments section)

        On my first read, I went back and read again. On that second read, I felt I was able to keep up, but then the ESP scenario happened and then I was uncertain if I was keeping up. Also, you must keep in mind, I just haven’t read enough writing like yours to immediately get the visuals, intention, and story.

        You did get me to locate the Port Sunlight song by Esther Ofarim and listen to it. I liked it. I could see why you’d want that song at that moment.

        I really hope someone gives you some truly valuable feedback. My apologies that I could not.

        • Levres de Sang

          I appreciate your taking the time to go back for a second read (and to locate the song!) Your dedication to learning the craft/storytelling always shines through and is highly admirable.

    • davejc

      “It’s like a stream of consciousness that I’m not invested in at all, but it’s having this weird affect on me.”

      Yeah. There’s a strong theme of dreams vs. reality that runs through 50HS. And then we have the protagonists “decent into madness” angle of the story to deal with. If it works for the story, if not I’ll fix it.

  • Kirk Diggler

    50 High Street –

    “Catherine takes Ed’s hand and places a friendship bracelet in his palm. The bead of rifles laser sight scans the room.” ——–The 2nd sentence confused me. Maybe it needs it’s own line and a little more clarity, even thought the next action line clears it up.

    pg 3 – “JIM MUNK, Italian suit & comb over, counsels a client on the uphill battle in front of her, emphasizing each hurdle that must be cleared.” —— Seem clunky and unnecessary.

    pg 5 – halfway down – Jim Munk’s character name is missing.

    pg 5 – “Marie exits an office building, turns the corner, walks two blocks, turns another corner then crosses the street to where a 1966 Dodge Dart is parked.” ——- Think about this, do you want this to happen in real time? I highly doubt it.

    How about………. “Marie crosses the street to where a 1966 Dodge Dart is parked.”

    Pg 8 – EXT. SONORAN DESERT – SHADOW RIDGE RV RESORT – DAY (MOS)———–

    I know what MOS means in film terms, I have no idea what it means here or what it’s doing in a slugline.

    pg 11 – backfire should be one word.

    pg 12 – “Below brilliant foliage of stately maples TRICK-OR-TREATERS hurry along uneven sidewalks. The atmosphere is electric.” ——– Is it really? I would avoid including these sort of proclamations in your action prose. And there is a comma missing in there as well.

    pg 13 – INT. 50 HIGH ST – SEVERAL ROOMS – CONTINUOUS—— use mini-slugs if your character is walking from room to room.

    pg 14 – missing a question mark for Marie’s dialogue. Ed’s dialogue is missing the word “to”. Are you sure you are close to a hundred drafts? Niggling little things like this wouldn’t be here.

    pg 17 – “The girl is LOUISE 12, a quiet fragile tiny china doll.” ——- excuse me? What dos this mean? Is she their child?

    The underlined dialogue is unnecessary.

    Pg 23 – Marie rates her overall marriage a 7 but is insisting on a divorce. Is this the satire part?

    Stopped at pg 26 when Dwayne Dunn shows up. Not much is working for me, sorry. There are two disparate elements at work, a divorce drama coupled with the ‘ghost eyes’ business behind the ‘built-in’ that you foreshadowed in the cold open. Right now, the ‘horror’ part is losing badly. And the satire isn’t coming through all that much.

    My recommend: Lose the first 8 1/2 pages. They add zero to your story. The cold open, the gas explosion???, the lawyer talk, Ed’s broken leg scene(silly), the emergency room scene which was just weird, the brief scene in Arizona, the montage coming back to Maine, it’s just treading water and none of the scenes form any cohesion.

    Starting with Ed’s lawyer seems all the set up you need. Then the house stuff on Halloween. That would improve the start and offer more clarity. Then get to whatever your hook is, i assume it has something to do with apparition in the house.

    Also, all your page numbers are off by one, since the title page starts at one, the first page of the script is listed as 2. Good luck with it,

  • hickeyyy

    MY VOTE: LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE.

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS

    Read 0 pages.

    Logline Interest: N/A

    Review: First of all, if you want the nice people of SS to review your work, don’t insult them by coming in and claiming you’re “not impressed” with their work. If you’re so unimpressed by us, why do you want our opinion? Sorry, but if you’re going to be a dick about it, I’m not doing you any favors and reading your stuff.

    SPACE INVADERS.

    Read 12 pages.

    Logline Interest: High. I am a sucker for anything with aliens.

    Review: This feels like Zombieland with aliens which is definitely a good thing. I think you have good characters so far and it’s well-written. It’s just hard for me to take the gamer-lingo seriously. I hate the word “PR0N” so every time I read it I got a little frustrated. That’s not your fault though. You definitely know what you’re doing here. You’re dialed into the demographic. It just feels like it belongs on the screen. It’s fun, funny, and action-packed. You’re onto a great start. Congrats.

    LET US TOUCH THE SUN.

    Read 2.5 pages.

    Logline Interest: Medium.

    Review: This is really, really overwritten. The entire first page is description of things. One page is supposed to be very roughly one minute of screen time. Are we really spending a full minute looking at stuff in a room? Seems like a very inefficient use of space here. I finished the second page, and nothing has happened other than a record player and someone “contemplating a garden”. I think I’m checking out here. I don’t have the confidence that this will relent and start to reveal a thrilling story.

    50 HIGH STREET

    Read 8 pages.

    Logline Interest: Low. “Juvenilian Satire”? So… Comedy then?

    Review: There is some grammatical issues here that need to be addressed. What is happening with Ed and the Paramedic Interns? There isn’t any description that tells me. They could just as easily be sawing off his leg as they could having sex with him and I’d have no clue. You need to be clear about what I am seeing. I’m sure you know exactly what is happening, but I don’t. Set it down for a week (long enough to no longer be stoked about finishing but not so long you lose interest) and then read through it. Hopefully these issues of clarity will reveal themselves to you. Good luck.

    LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE.

    Read 20 pages.

    Logline Interest: Very high. This sounds very different and could be very exciting.

    Review: This is my favorite of the bunch. The dialog pops. The story is intriguing. The characters are interesting. You have done a good job with this. My only concern is 20 pages in there is no Sasquatch as of yet. There have been hints by Jefferson going mad. And on page 20 the Deserter hears noises in the bushes. I suggest possibly some more clues that this is coming because right now it just feels like a story of these men. Without bigger hints, the sasquatch appearing could turn some people off. I truly hope you win this AOW weekend as I think you’ve got quite the story here. Good luck!

    • websters

      Thanks for the vote, I take your point, we wanted to get the characters right and an interesting dynamic so I’m glad that part has worked! Thanks again

      • hickeyyy

        It definitely has. Hope to see you get it.

    • Scott Crawford

      I have to say, this is one of the best sum-ups I’ve seen on AOW. Concise, clear and fair. Well done, hickeyy!

      • hickeyyy

        Thanks. I’m relatively busy so it feels good when I can chime in and give some support. I really appreciated it when I was on AOW.

        • BSBurton

          NICE WORK. (DR. EVIL IN AUSTIN POWERS #2)

    • davejc

      Thank you Hickeyyy! For both the notes and the time you took. The paramedics and broken leg are gone in the current draft:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      But I loved your note on that :).thank you again sir. If wasn’t for such notes I’d still be on draft one.

      • hickeyyy

        Glad to be able to help!

  • walker

    Hey Nick La Torre, no it’s not.

  • Nicholas J

    Read 11 pages of Space Invaders. The dialogue’s not so great in spots, the use of internet slang sounds like an out-of-touch parent trying to sound cool to their kid like Phil in Modern Family, I’m pretty sure there’s a similar movie already coming out, I’m not sure the budget is low enough for this to get made….

    …but damn this is a fun one. Can’t wait to read more later. Hilarious and clever and unique. Well done.

    SPACE INVADERS all the way.

  • Scott Crawford

    I’ll go with post-apocalyptic ____ as a genre, though it may be an overworked genre. Also, don’t say it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller and then start the logline “In a post-apocalyptic New York City…”

    Redundant.

  • Scott Crawford

    SPACE INVADERS seems the most fun of all today’s loglines. Logline is too long, may like a logparagraph!

    The invasion came. Humanity lost. The processing of billions of corpses into bio-fuels begins. By avoiding human interaction, a loner computer gamer survived the alien plague. But the only way she’ll survive the alien harvest is by joining in with a close-knit militant family journeying to humanity’s final fortress, NORAD.

    How about:

    An anti-social video gamer is one of the few survivors of an alien invasion and the subsequent humanity-destroying plague, and must join his fellow survivors in a danger-fraught journey to humanity’s final fortress at NORAD.

    That leaves out a bunch of stuff that we can discover when we read the script (I haven’t read the script) but keeps the central hook, the irony of an anti-social video gamer being one of the survivors of the apocalypse.

    Don’t worry TOO much about character at this point. If the writer can hold people’s attention – and he seems to have done so far – character is stuff you can do in the rewrite, if necessary.

  • klmn

    Saul Roth’s Band Of Merry Felons. I read two pages. The writer doesn’t bother to end his sentences with periods. Needs editing.

    As far as I’m concerned, this writer has blown his SS shot. And this is a prime example of why loglines alone are not a good way to select scripts.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yes, but most producers, agents, managers, etc. would select which scripts to read based on title, logline, and (possibly) the WYSR, but NOT reading the first ten pages. Or even the first two. Especially now it’s all electronic.

      I agree that people shouldn’t post scripts on SS they know are not ready to be seen in public.

      • klmn

        They might select which scripts to read that way, but would they continue to read the scripts beyond the first few pages?

        • Scott Crawford

          No, not at all. In the past, they would fling the script at the wall, like in The Producers.

          Now they can just press delete.

          But it’s still an effort, if you have HUNDREDS of scripts to get through, downloading the script, reading a page, deleting it. Better to think, how can I get someone’s attention, make then WANT to read my script.

      • BSBurton

        good post, I agree

      • walker

        Scott, one problem with your logline fixation is that even though it’s true that producers and managers rely heavily on them, they are not correct to do so. It is one of the factors that leads to the dreadful quality of HW product. The lazy ass producers that can’t be bothered to read more than the logline deserve to lose their shirts, and they often do. And, btw, agents don’t read scripts from unknown writers without a personal referral from someone they trust, so the quality of the logline is less important in that scenario.

        • Scott Crawford

          Actually, most Scriptshadowers will know my fixation is OUTLINES not LOGLINES. But for the rest…

          … imagine you’re Carson and your’e getting hundreds of people (probably) pitching you their script and you have to pick five.

          YOU CAN’T READ THE FIRST FEW PAGES OF A HUNDRED SCRIPTS.

          You can’t.

          So you look at the title, the genre, the logline, and then (maybe) the Why You Should Read. And if you get this:

          A man moves to a remote house that hold the secret to his nightmare visions.

          Too ordinary. Or this:

          Special agent man moves to Us where he finds ciA men trying to kill him and only ex-wife can tell him where the secret jewels are kept.

          Eh? Or this:

          A history student at Oxford discovers Jonathan Harker’s diary and realizes that Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is a true story, but a secret society of vampires don’t want their secret being discovered.

          Much more likely to post that on AOW, right. And I just made that up in the last few minutes.

          • BSBurton

            Very good point, I need some Dr. Log Line help hahaha.

          • Nicholas J

            So you’re saying that a good title/genre/logline is needed to get your script on AOW, but every AOW you complain about how bad the titles/genres/loglines are in the scripts that are chosen. Seems to me they don’t matter much after all.

  • klmn

    Space Invaders. I read 5 pages. 5 pages of voice overs and supers. Too painful to read more.

    • BSBurton

      way to be honest, don’t lie to the masses. However, another reader loved that script. I guess I’ll have to be the deciding vote lol

      • Scott Crawford

        As I suspected, SPACE INVADERS is only 16,154 words long, when a good screenplay should be closer to 24,000 words (I’ll accept any contradictions to that from professional screenplays, but it’s what I’ve found).

        Too much dialogue, too LITTLE description.

        A point: If your first line of dialogue in your script is longer (albeit by only three words) than the first lines of stage direction, that’s a danger sign (for me). People are too quick to get into the dialogue, and not enough time setting the atmosphere, allowing people to settle in.

        • Nicholas J

          I thought great scripts should have 22,350 words plus or minus 237 words. 24,000 words seems a little high, I mean, that’s 1,413 words over the maximum recommended amount of words! Whenever I open a script, if it has more than 22,587 words I immediately throw it in the trash.

          • Scott Crawford

            One of the reasons I like 24,000 is it’s easily divisible! I still think in terms of 120 pages, even though it should be shorter, ’cause it’s easily divisible. Five pages a day = 1,000 words a day = script in 24 days.

            But, my point is, 16,000 words – too short. And it’s not the only one. Dare I say the word… padding? All dialogue and no story. Difficult to judge, and people seem to like the script who’ve read it.

            I wouldn’t throw away a script based on word count. If I WANT to read a script, length doesn’t count. For me.

          • walker

            Most of the scripts I read only use a couple of hundred words. Over and over, and frequently incorrectly.

          • klmn

            Splunge.

        • Cuesta

          You gotta start to review scripts with this word count of yours man.
          I’m positive you’ll create a new trend among script readers. I mean, imagine their reaction- Calling a script garbage without reading a single page of it? Sold.

          • Scott Crawford

            16,000 words is not a script. It’s a scriptment.

            And I haven’t called the script “garbage”. I’ve said the script is short, thin, padded out. I’m not a pedant but I don’t like being falsely accused anymore than Dr. Richard Kimble did.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Robert Evans used to fan through a script.
            If he saw too much dialogue, he would toss it out.
            (His reasoning — movies are meant to be visual.)

  • klmn

    Let Us Touch The Sun. I read 11 pages. It’s well-written but slow to get started. It may be the best of the lot. Still have two more to check out.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    If you read Carson’s preface to this AOW it’s very telling. I get a sense he’s throwing up his hands at the level of quality submitted. How many times has he pointed to his own review of a AF submission to say how infrequently he gives amateurs a [x]worth the read. I don’t think this batch of AOW submissions was random. I think he selected these purposely to see if the forum can detect a pattern. I also believe scene week will further push back AF.

    Last but not least I think Carson will try to write articles that will bring the community out of hibernation. This has been a great month as far as the volume of comments. Now quality is another factor.

    • Scott Crawford

      I think Mr. Reeves has been threatening an article on What Makes a Good Idea; I think after the past few weeks, that article may be long overdue.

      I also know the hostility that article will face in some quarters.

  • brittany

    SPACE INVADERS: I was only able to read 11 pages. Not because I didn’t want to read more, but I have to get on to work in a minute here. But I really got into this and I’d love to
    continue reading sometime soon. The writing is good overall and the characters are distinct and colorful. I look forward to seeing how things end up with the alien/zombie invasion situation. I think you might overdo it with the supers a bit, especially in the beginning, but the script is lots of fun so far. Good job! I will try and get to another script later today or tomorrow, time permitting, but congrats to all who made it this week! :)

    Pg. 1 – LOL’d at the “They’re coming to pwn us” line. The first page reads clear and I can visualize everything without struggling, which is appreciated in a sci-fi script. The super is a fun touch as well.

    Pg. 3 – I like Sarah’s description. The “among non-Koreans” line got a chuckle out of me. But all the supers have the potential to get really annoying. So, while I appreciate what you’re trying to do here, you may want to consider cutting back maybe?

    You also set up the sympathy of the character really fast by presenting the stuff with the dad. And it shows that she’s gone sort of downhill since her dad since her only real motivation in life right now is to be a video game star.

    Pg. 6 – Clever mind control with the porn. Hell, that’ll get lots of people, I’m sure!

    Pg. 7 – “These aren’t desperate times yet” is funny, though seems like you could word it better or not use it at all. Maybe she can’t find the honey nut so she savages her cabinets. Also, this is just a random thought, but it might be funny as well if she was looking for Pop Tarts and could only find the kind without frosting, which is a tragedy in itself, ha. Then this could lead to her going to the grocery store without having to use any dialogue. Though, I guess if you really wanted to, after she can’t find her honey nut maybe she’s says something like “Desperate times call for desperate measures” or some such. And if you could get her cocking a shotgun at the same time, that would be funny. Just my .02

    Pg. 8 – Matt pretending to be a pron-zom is pretty funny. Though I think pinning porn watchers to fat, middle aged pervos is a bit of a stereotype. I find it funny that Matt brings
    that up, so maybe it’s the whole point.

    Also, I’m kind of trying to understand something… So, everyone that is a zombie has been brainwashed through the porn they were watching? I guess there must be a lot of survivors as well. This isn’t really a complaint as much as just something I was wondering about. I only have time right now for a couple more pages because I have to go to work, but I am inclined to keep reading.

    Pg. 10 – This has a sort of a Zombieland vibe when the little tomboy joins in, but it feels different enough with the alien aspect to stand apart.

    Pg. 11 – Might be funnier if Ariel calls Matt a pussy instead of a wussy.

    Pg. 12- I’ve read as far as Barstow, who I think will be a fun character. The whole group in general I think will make for some wacky/awesome situations. Good setup so far. I have to put it down now, but I will try and return with more notes. I hope some of these help a little.

    • Linkthis83

      Wow, Brit, you and I highlighted the same moments of dialogue. That’s pretty funny.

      • klmn

        How would you pronounce the “they’re coming to pwn us” line? That’s a joke that’s written to be read, not to be spoken. How would that come across on screen?

        Same thing for the pron-zombies.

        • Linkthis83

          It’s like “own” with a P – that demo will get it and love it. And I think that’s why the supers enhance this and don’t work against it. They are fun and educational for story enhancement. For me they are.

          After learning about the pron, I’d probably change their names to Porn Zombies in the script. I think that’s funnier. Otherwise, I’d say it as PRON – like TRON

          • klmn

            It’s still telling, not showing.

          • Linkthis83

            Well, in the script this stuff will show on the screen, and when the dialogue is said, you will hear it. The demo this written for will totally get it. I got it but that’s because I used to play Call of Duty a lot.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Space Invaders –

    Pg 6 – “More PRON-ZOMBIES come, all with empty expressions, all carrying dead bodies. Some stumble, their pants at their ankles. A few are even free-ballin’ it.” ——– LoL.

    10 year old Ariel reeks of Hit Girl. At least she isn’t calling everyone ‘c*unts’. And her father Jim has that off-kilter personality right out of the Nick Cage playbook.

    pg 12 – the kids singing “Stranger Song”…. funny

    This seems like “Tremors” with aliens thrown in the mix.

    pg 26 – SARAH: Are you going to eat my brain?
    CROATOAN: Would you like me to? ———- chuckle

    Read 32 pages. It’s breezy with a few laughs. The set up and goals are simple and clearly established. I could read on or could not. I’m not dying to so I probably won’t. We’ll see how it measures up with the others before I do.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    OFF TOPIC

    I know a lot of members complain about the lack of diversity at the cinema (myself included). I read an article on indiewire concerning the same conclusion. What they found out was in comparison to the output of spandex movies Hollywood actually produced far more westerns in the same period of inception, peak, and decline of the genre. I think we’re close to the summit of spandex movies. The reason there appears to be a glut is because of the global box office returns and the number of screens a tentpole movie monopolizes. The success of Guardians of the Galaxy proves the spandex movie will be on the long term slate of prodcos.

    I just came across this article. I think this movie has the right amount of weirdness and creativity to succeed. It might be the new Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/michole-briana-white-stars-in-fantastical-the-strange-eyes-of-dr-myes-watch-first-trailer-20140912

    • Scott Crawford

      I don’t know ho

  • klmn

    50 High Street. I read 5 pages, won’t mind reading more. It’s well written and looks fun. I don’t know what a Juvenalian satire is, but I won’t let that stop me.

    Possible AOW winner. Still have one more to go.

    • walker

      It is satire in the manner and style of the Roman writer Juvenal, distinguished by a dark tone and harsh and direct ridicule of that which is being satirized.

      • Scott Crawford

        Just what every Hollywood producer is looking for.

    • davejc

      Hi K! This is the most recent draft(faster read);

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      And keep us updated on any traction you get from last week (300 downloads)

  • klmn

    Liar. Coward. Judge. I read 5 pages. It’s well-written but it didn’t grab me.

    My pick is 50 High Street.

    2’nd choice is Let Us Touch The Sun.

    • Levres de Sang

      Thanks for taking a look. I realise Let Us Touch The Sun is fairly niche, so I genuinely appreciate the 2nd place!

  • Logline_Villain

    “Another reason why you should read it is because I have been reading the scripts you have been putting out there for amateur offerings, and quite frankly I haven’t been too impressed by what I’ve been seeing. MY SCRIPT IS BETTER.”

    #1 EXAMPLE IN SS HISTORY OF WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR WYSR

    IN FAIRNESS, AT LEAST THE WRITER UNDERSTANDS THE ALL-IMPORTANT CONCEPT OF IRONY – ALMOST NO ONE WANTS TO READ HIS SCRIPT SOLELY BECAUSE OF HIS WYSR

    AND THEN YOU ACTUALLY OPEN THE SCRIPT TO SEE WHAT “BETTER” LOOKS LIKE AND IT’S SO READER-UNFRIENDLY THAT YOU’RE LEFT TO CONCLUDE THIS SUBMISSION HAS TO BE A JOKE OR PRANK OF SOME SORT

    • Scott Crawford

      Most WYSR content is unnecessary. It’s more for people who have trouble loglining their story, for whatever reason. I’m glad to see that many just skip them now.

      Could you imagine some people putting this stuff into QUERY LETTERS?

  • Randy Williams

    Can someone please email me the pdf’s of the remaining scripts? I’m reading these on my phone and the only one, for whatever reason that opens up, is 50 High Street.
    touchthermo at g mail dot com

    50 HIGH STREET

    Congrats on making it on AOW!

    p. 3- returning a friendship bracelet to her dad? Gave me pause. She doesn’t react to rifle sights before her comment there also a pauser.
    p.7- room more janitorial…wasn’t paid off…what was the point of mentioning that? Interns that are balding. Why point that out? An intern is usually young.
    p.8- Capitalize STATE TROOPERS, “crippling state of PTSD”? Where did that come from?
    p.9- three different law offices, it’s getting a bit confusing.
    p.12- Ed has a line of dialogue but no visual introduction.
    p.17- I’m not feeling the satire. We’ve had several meetings with lawyers and I would have thought they would have laid in on thick, of all people.
    p.24- Cora’s theme? Don’t know it.
    p.26- This Dwayne character is creepy. Well done.
    p.34- “I am nine year old girl” Was that intentional?
    p.35- This turns into a missing girl story and I’m immediately thinking Dwayne but then it’s not paid off, just a diversion to get to the cemetary? Valuable real estate squandered, I believe, we need to get to the meat of this story sooner, I’m losing interest.
    p.40- Bluetooth is one word or two?
    p.45- tension well done here, I’m on the edge of my seat on these pages.
    p.61- Gramma, or the old wise person fills in the audience on the back story. This really bogs down the read in my opinion and I’m not a fan of the wise person coming to the rescue with all we need to know device. It seems first choice and again a lengthy back story would be better served in bits and pieces from the beginning in my view and better discovered through work of the protagonist.

    I’m stopping here. I like this writer’s voice. It has intensity, heart, keen observation. I’d read anything he wrote. I feel this particular tale, in the pages I made it through, however, is unfocused. Too much on the divorce and Arizona this and Arizona that which doesn’t parallel to the colonists story, does it? Lots of blind alleys from minor details like balding interns in janitorial patient rooms to kidnapping scares. Perhaps focus on a few parallel story ideas. One of the children is sick and needs to go to Arizona for her health which parallels the influenza on the tombstone. Dwayne is the evil gov type which parallels an evil colonist of the past. Mine your backstory for present day reflections. I didn’t see the satire. It read like a thriller. Was that genre choice just a gimmick to get noticed? If so, well done!

    • Linkthis83

      sent.

      • Randy Williams

        Thanks for the quick email, Link, got ‘em!

        • Linkthis83

          I was in the neighborhood :)

    • davejc

      Those are very good points all. And a tremendous thank you for taking the time out of your day. I’ve always valued your opinion here on SS and made some great suggestions in the past that helped me see the light of day. If it wasn’t for notes I’ve received I’d still be on draft one. I’d hate to ask any more of your time, no I won’t do it yes I will :) if you have the time to take a look at the current draft(hich I wish Carson had posted, just the first act, which I feel is more focused:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      I also posted here the worksheet I used which charts the structure. I feel it may make for interesting discussion about how people structure their own stories.

      Thanks again Randy!

    • davejc

      Oh, Randy, sorry about the headache :)

  • davejc

    Wow! This is such an incredible opportunity. Thank you Carson! Look forward to everybod”s note’s good or bad. BTW the following is the most recent draft of 50 HIGH STREET:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    • klmn

      Got it.

      I noticed the dropbox download is darker than the other one. My eyes thank you.

      I may have to start using dropbox too.

      • davejc

        It’s a pretty huge difference in the two drafts. Six pages cut in the first act. I hope people read the current draft instead.

    • BSBurton

      GOOD WORK, DAVE! HOPE THINGS ARE WELL!!

      • davejc

        Thank you Byron!! Things are looking up. That’s for sure!

        • BSBurton

          Good, glad to hear it. Been running around super busy myself. Glad to finally log onto SS and see you on AOW!

  • For The Lulz

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS.

    ”Another reason why you should read it is because I have been reading the
    scripts you have been putting out there for amateur offerings, and quite frankly I haven’t been too impressed by what I’ve been seeing. My script is better.”

    OH, MAN!!! THAT WAS NOT A SMART MOVE. You’ve pi**ed off most of SS before they’ve read a single page.

    And the fact is you talked the talk. You didn’t walk the walk.

    The script seems to rely heavily on dialogue to carry the story, and yet so much of it is dull and boring. I kept thinking ‘Get to the point’…and the point was always a letdown. So far I’m just seeing generic heist movie dialogue and conventions. Nothing original. Nothing said to make me care what the characters are talking about.

    This is a ‘Crime-Comedy’ Yet 20 pages in, only cliche elements (Prison pick-up. Folders to brief everyone on the caper, seriously? The guy who lost a father/father figure on the job. Hitting a casino). There’s nothing original here and for a comedy, I haven’t laughed once.

    There’s nothing unique or distinctive about any character. If Saul is the protagonist (can’t see any other contenders), he’s not charismatic or interesting enough.

    On Pg 10, you don’t have to wait for a character to say David. You mentioned it in the action line, so instead of using MAN, Just use DAVID. And that was a FIVE PAGE SCENE, and 3.5 pages of it was just David refusing to take the job. Cut it down a little! In fact there’s quite a few long scenes with with drawn out dialogue and little to no tension/action/emotional investment. You need to trim them down, or better yet cut them, and find a better way to hit your beats.

    I’m not sure why you did the intro bit and the ‘chapters’ unless this is revealed later as someone reading the story. Otherwise, it adds nothing and comes off as a little gimmicky.

    And I can’t ever see a movie called ”Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons” in the cinemas. Find a better title.

    Do I want to read on? No. I’m not usually this one-sided in my reviews, but it’s hard to find anything positive here. It’s just bland. Very bland.

    • For The Lulz

      SPACE INVADERS

      I really enjoyed reading the first 20 of this. The opening with the Neanderthal was a great and funny opening. The aliens reason for harvesting humans is credible (within the world of the script), and 12,000 -14,000 years for a paperwork to come through? Dayum!

      Some good character’s here. Sarah’s a good protagonist, with some funny moments – the bit with the shotgun recoil, etc. Areal comes off as a little ‘hit-girl’, don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it serves the script well. Likewise I was getting a Woody Harrelson in Zombieland vibe from Jim, but again he serves the script well, so why not?

      A nice early action scene with the flying saucer chase. Don’t really get how Sarah knows so much about the aliens and their tactics, but maybe it’s explained later on.

      The dialogue, and the script in general, is tight and funny. No filler. No boring pages. A light comedic tone, and an easy read. Most importantly, I can see the movie. This is a strong contender for sure. Well done.

      Would I read on? Sure. It’s an easy read, and it’s quite funny.

      • For The Lulz

        50 HIGH STREET.

        I know this is from a SS regular, and I really wanted to like this. But I’m struggling here. I read the first 10 of the older draft and then the first 20 of the newer draft. It tightened things up a little.

        It’s definitely a professionally written script. I’m just not getting pulled into the story. There’s a lot of characters introduced, especially in the family with four daughters (I assume there’s a good reason that they’re has to be FOUR daughters), it got a little confusing as they were being introduced, for a while I thought Louise was just some random trick-or-treater who wandered in off the street when the door blew open. Though maybe it’s just me being a little tired when reading this.

        When is the script set? Why is Steph still playing on a PS2?

        Not much has happened in 20 pages to draw me in to be honest. Still, the family dynamics/impending divorce/secret place in the house, does offer some interest, and I’m curious to know how Ed gets himself into a situation that someone’s aiming a gun at his head, so the opening was quite effective…unless I read that opening very, very wrong, lol.

        Would I read on? Yeah, probably. The opening 20 didn’t grab in any spectacular way, but there’s enough curiosity created that I’d want to know more.

        • For The Lulz

          That’s me done for the day. I skipped some to review the regular SS contributor. If I find time tomorrow, I’ll read the last two. But if I don’t then my vote goes to SPACE INVADERS, with 50 HIGH STREET as runner up.

        • davejc

          Thanks FTL for the notes and especially the time you took out of your day to do this. I owe you and to answer your question, it’s because all the best games were on PS2 :)

          She’s playing Okami

  • Randy Williams

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS

    Congrats on making it on AOW!

    Others have commented on the punctuation issues. Your saving grace, I think, is that this is a comedy, and a scatter brained one at that, so it wasn’t completely annoying for me, personally. I will mention, however, that you might want to avoid description like…”The camera starts to turn slowly…”

    I actually felt entertained. A bit disappointed, expecting a heist film at the beginning and it turned more into a road pic, but the characters were interesting and often very funny.
    There are tons of lines that I’ll remember long after I’ve read other things here so kudos to you for that.
    The whole thing with the asian girl, you know what I mean, has to go.

    You might think about getting a writing partner. This script displays for me a lack of discipline, an unfocused and hyper mind. A grounded partner with a disciplined and focused approach might elevate this and other ideas of yours. Good luck!

  • Montana Gillis

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS — The first paragraph of description stopped me from going any further. “SAUL ROTH, is sitting behind his desk puffing on a cigar.” This isn’t even in an active voice… EX: “SAUL ROTH, 40’s, flabby butt parked behind his desk, a penis size cigar in his mouth.” Try to make it interesting… Couldn’t read any more. There are a lot of great books on screenwriting out there…

    • Scott Crawford

      I wanted to bring this up, Montana; are people still reading screenwriting books? I read them. In this internet age, I think people don’t feel the need and… they’re making so many formatting errors, as well as passive voice, uncut action, and other basic stuff.

      • Linkthis83

        I use The Screenwriter’s Bible when I have formatting questions. I’ve read Wired for Story – I’ve looked at Save the Cat sometimes when I looking for a suggestion of what to create at a certain point – I have McKee’s STORY which I’ve read some of, but not all – very dense stuff for me at times.

        I like reading Why Your Screenplay Sucks – just to see how I feel about it.

        I think these books should be utilized for POSSIBLE ways to approach things, not DEFINITIVE. That’s my approach to them anyway.

        • Scott Crawford

          I think we had this discussion a while back, and I’m not saying YAY!, screenwriting books. But some of these mistakes are basic.

          I think it’s a good idea for people to look at McKee, but you’re right, it’s dense. Maybe one day I’ll post a breakdown of some of his ideas I did some time back.

          I would also highly recommend Ben Garant and Tom Lennon’s “Writing Movies for fun and Profit”, which is really funny and has a great bit about the important (but unsexy) role of outlining (and they include three of their outlines – including an unmade RENO 911 sequel – in their book to show what they mean).

          • Linkthis83

            Oh no, I didn’t mean to imply that you were stating that these books are definitive. When I’m posting certain things, I try to keep in mind what it was like for me when I first showed up to SS and how I took some of the things people stated. So I wanted to make sure that if any green-newbies are here, that they understand my stance on the books. Because I was so impressionable when I first started this, I try to cautious of that when I post now. I got hooked by so many of the amateur myths early.

            I might have to check that one out. I like just getting different perspectives on this stuff and then determining how I feel about them and what I want to incorporate or discard (at this time – knowing I might need to be more open to certain things down the line, or with different scripts/stories).

            I also want to read Joseph Campbell and even Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey at some point.

          • Scott Crawford

            Better than Campbell or Vogler, this guy’s f—ing awesome:
            http://www.moongadget.com/origins/index.html

            There’s a whole book there, and it’s free online.

          • Linkthis83

            That’s a bold statement, but thanks for the link. :)

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s the most comprehensive guide I’ve found. How much of it you want to use is up to you, but it’s FASCINATING and goes way deeper than many books.

          • walker

            Hey Link, since you are willing to look beyond screenwriting books, I would recommend the two best cinema books I have ever read: Hitchcock: The Murderous Gaze by William Rothman, and Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky.

          • Linkthis83

            Thanks, Walker.

          • walker

            And I guess implied in those recommendations is the fact that I consider both Hitchcock and Tarkovsky to be among the greatest of directors.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            I just started “Sculpting in Time” and Wow ! Interesting, fascinating and highly helpful in the way it opens up the reader’s creative channels.

      • Montana Gillis

        In addition to reading scripts and blogs, screenwriting books can and do educate those that have the good sense to try to learn from experts who have chronicled their knowledge in books. In addition to his “E-Book”, Carson has a proof reading service on this site. Well worth it. Yeah, I believe in books and frequently refer to my “library” of over 30 books on writing for film. I’ve even “made” my own book filled with screenwriting tips from blogs such as SS.

  • Scott Crawford

    After a suggestion from Cuestra, here are the word counts for all five scripts:

    SAUL ROTH BAND OF MERRY FELONS: 18,076 words.
    SPACE INVADERS: 16,154 words.
    LET US TOUCH THE SUN: 17,510 words.
    50 HIGH STREET: 19,408 words.
    LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE.: 19,977 words.

    For comparison:

    BERLINER (F. Scott Frazier): 24,427 words.
    THE EQUALIZER: 18,319 words.
    THE DISCIPLE PROGRAM: 25,785 words.

    • davejc

      The word count for the current draft of 50 High Street is 18,191. This is the link:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      • Scott Crawford

        Sure, and it’s not a dig. I’m concerned about some scripts – I’m looking particularly at SPACE INVADERS – being a little short, particularly given the subject matter and genre. Too much dialogue and not enough stage direction, scene setting atmosphere, etc. As you can see, it varies from script to script, but I think 16,000 words is too low.

        • klmn

          I don’t think you can judge a script based on word count. You actually have to read it.

          • Scott Crawford

            I don’t HAVE to read anything. It’s not Nazi Germany or Mao’s China!

            I made a comment about SPACE INVADERS being too thin, so I wanted to be fair and compare it to the others.

          • klmn

            If you want to be fair, you actually do have to read, at least in part.

            Of course you don’t have to be fair either.

          • Scott Crawford

            I have read SOME of the scripts. I’m giving my OPINION on some of them. Back soon.

        • walker

          Scott how do you get these word counts? I am interested to gauge my own verbosity.

          • Scott Crawford

            I’m trying out whether I can open some of these PDFs in Final Draft without too many errors. I’m interested in the dialogue/action ratio on some of these scripts, also number of scenes, etc. All that stuff you get from Final Draft Statistics Report.

            So far, 50 High Street seems solid, no problems there.

          • walker

            Ok thanks I thought maybe there was some function in Adobe that I was missing.

          • Scott Crawford

            Well, for this I just copy and pasted to Word. But again, I’m not being mean; I wasn’t sure myself if there was a minimum word limit for a screenplay. Based on The Equalizer, I’d say less 18,000 is too little.

          • walker

            You’re not being mean, you’re being median.

          • Scott Crawford

            And I thought I was MODE. Yeah, right. I’m Standard Deviation!

          • For The Lulz

            These mathematics/statistics jokes don’t even make sense. But I can’t be bothered to challenge them so I’ll just say….haha.

          • walker

            Only a relative minority actually find them funny.

          • For The Lulz

            What minority?

            If I question the funny, I’ll sound like I’m square (root…of the variance to calculate the Standard Deviation).

            Crap, I just did it too. And funnily enough finding the median of SSrs by comments would be an interesting exercise…but likely impossible to do.

          • Kurt Osis

            The conditional probability of humor may be skewed by joint distribution.

          • klmn

            Your sample is too small to be of any value.

          • walker

            Ken, you are frying my brain with possible jokes.

          • klmn

            Spoken like a true statistician.

          • Scott Crawford

            Please add more. Don’t just bitch, PITCH!

          • klmn

            Have you tried Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey?

          • Scott Crawford

            That’s a tough one. I think I did try to put into Final Draft once! The one with all the split panel narration at the end.

            But modern scripts ARE shorter, defo. But I still think there should be a bottom limit. I was told nothing below 100 pages, too short, needs to fleshed out. I’d aim for a high word/page count then started editing, kind of like the rough cut of a movie.

          • Erica

            The Fifth Element comes in at 24,321 and 113 pages. That’s just using MS Word.

            Star Wars I – The Phantom Menace is 28,329 128 pages.

            Pirates of the Caribbean-Curse of the Black Pearl – 27,060 117 pages.

            The Usual Suspects – 25,150 – 125 pages

            Shakespeare in Love – 23,138 – 112 pages.

          • klmn

            I wonder what Little Shop of Horrors comes in at. I saw a script at 84 pages. I didn’t download as I would have to join the site to do it.

          • Erica

            This is what I get when I do a report on the script I’m currently working on. Now this is a TV Pilot so it’s only 64 pages and 2nd draft. Still lots of editing and re writing to do.

            GENERAL STATISTICS

            Number of words: 13,114
            Number of paragraphs: 1,455

            ELEMENT STATISTICS

            Element Number Percentage

            General 12 0%
            Scene Heading 74 3%
            Action 481 51%
            Character 282 2%
            Parenthetical 95 1%
            Dialogue 363 34%
            Transition 18 0%
            Shot 130 5%
            Cast List 0 0%

          • Scott Crawford

            Every script I’ve checked so far, professional and amateur it has to be said, is about 30-something % dialogue, and there’s a good word count, so those stats seem right!

            It’s a strange thing to discuss, but I think it’s important.

          • Erica

            I agree. I think you need some kind of reference to know if you’re in the right ball park. There is a reason you check the oil on a car.

            Now stats don’t make a good story, but you do need the right framework to hold up the story.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I have 20,533 word thru 98 pages of something i’m working on. Should come on in at 110 pages. Action makes up 49%, dialogue 41%.

      • Scott Crawford

        Sounds about right. Old scripts used to, like 28,000, 32,000 words! Things change. But not that much.

      • davejc

        That’s about right. I was told 18000 – 22000 for a script 90 – 120 pages(minutes)

    • Tom

      Well, this is an interesting discussion that I didn’t expect.

      I guess judging a script’s content based on its word count is no more arbitrary than judging based on its page count. It just takes a little more effort.

      My theory on screenwriting is, “Why use five words when I can use three?” I write lean. It’s what I do.

      If there’s something unclear about “A tribe of Neanderthals sit around their campfire” then that’s on me. If the script feels talky, like people are just standing around shooting the shit, then that’s on me. If the script feels like there was only enough story to fill an episode of South Park, then that’s on me.

      But if I told a complete, entertaining movie using 5000 less words than average, then FUCK YEAH, that’s on me! I’ll take it!

      • Scott Crawford

        The biggest problem – not here, but maybe with some producers, and probably directors – if the script is too thin, the director’s gonna have to pad it. Not a problem with an atmospheric psychological thriller, perhaps, but an action comedy, or a historical biopic.

        I was surprised when The Equalizer came up with a “low count”. And each writer is different. I worry about people trying – like you say – to reach 100 pages minimum and just stretching everything out with talking. We’ll see.

    • Casper Chris

      How did The Disciple Program cram almost 26,000 words into 113 pages?

      • Kirk Diggler

        WD-40

        • Casper Chris

          What’s that?

          EDIT: Probably a joke that my foreign ass didn’t get.

          • Kirk Diggler

            I assume you aren’t in the U.S.? WD-40 is one of those spray can lubricants used for just about anything. Squeaky doors and such.

          • Casper Chris

            Yea, I’m foreign.

          • Kirk Diggler

            No doubt you have something under a different brand name?

            Auntie Mum’s Squeak-Off or something like that.

          • Casper Chris

            Maybe. Never used it. But I get the joke now ;)

          • walker

            Or as Tyler Marceca might say, an admixture of aliphatic hydrocarbons and petroleum distillates used to effect the displacement of water.

          • Casper Chris

            Tylersaurus

          • klmn

            Kind of a piss-poor lubricant. Like Walker says, better suited for water displacement. Like for spraying on electrical wiring.

          • Scott Crawford

            I’m not sure if there is a true connection between word length and quality. If it takes 26,000 words and 113 pages to tell the story, fine. To me, 16,000 and 100 pages feels a little short for a sci-fi action movie. Even the Men In Black script was probably longer.

          • klmn

            They don’t sell it where you live? I would expect it to be sold worldwide.

        • walker

          That’s funny KD.

    • Cuesta

      See? The “word count analysis system for screenplays” was topic of the day. You’re welcome.

      Now you just have to improve it. I suggest a word spread based on genre. You know, like the point spread when you bet on NBA, but instead more or less words given the genre. Work on it.

      Btw, it’s Cuesta. Don’t make me work on a letter count system for comments.

  • jaehkim

    is there any way to get these scripts earlier in the week? I may be the only one here, but I’m fairly busy on sundays and don’t have time to read 5 scripts.

    • Scott Crawford

      I think the choice is made right at the last minute. It’s a surprise for the writers when they get on AOW!

      Read as much or as little as you like of the scripts, then post your comments as soon as possible. (You’re NOT expected to read ALL FIVE SCRIPTS, ALL THE WAY THROUGH.).

      • jaehkim

        even if i read 20 pages of each, that’s 100 pages. it’s a lot to ask for on a weekend. for me at least.

    • Linkthis83

      I’ve always wanted to get the scripts early too. So that way I’d have an entire week almost to read review (at least by Wednesday would be great). But I do get the sense that these are done at the last minute.

      The other issue with us getting them earlier is that if one stands out (or is polarizing in some way), it’ll spill into the article during the week.

  • BSBurton

    MY VOTE: 50 HIGH STREET. I have the advantage of having read this previously. I would love to see Dave get his SS day. He’s been a constant force of positive both on here and in private when I’ve emailed him for help.

    HUGH THUMBS UP for “Liar. Coward. Judge,” and “Space Invaders.” SPACE INVADERS IS SO MUCH FUN, IT MAY HAVE STOLEN MY VOTE IF I’D HAD TIME TO READ ON. Work picked up and I hope to finish it next week.

    Great work writers, I hope you all feel proud!!!

  • ASAbrams

    Hey-o.

    For now, I decline to vote for a script this week.

    Disclaimer: The problems I had with some of these scripts are probably my own limitations rather than the scripts’.

    Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons
    Read to: p 2
    This script doesn’t seem to be ready for feedback. The writing’s passive. The dialogue contains too much exposition. Basic technical errors.

    Space Invaders
    Read to: p 100
    I have to say, Sarah is a jerk. An incompetent jerk. (I started actively disliking her when she had her gun on Matt when he was trying to get food–why didn’t she just say hands off? And then it turns out she doesn’t even know how to use a gun.) Her advice never helps anyone. She gets caught 3 times. Sarah doesn’t become helpful until the end, but in such a small way. Matt is passive and useless. Ariel is Hit Girl lite (from the Kick Ass movies), and Jim feels like Hit Girl’s father at times. I liked Jim, for what it’s worth. No nonsense with a sentimental center.

    The tone is very bleak. At first that was fine and for me became a part of the humor of the tone. But towards the end, the things that were happening didn’t seem very humorous.

    The gamer jargon was a little much when the military jargon was added to it. I’d keep it to the gamer-speak. There were times that I was reminded of Zombieland. Lastly, I didn’t understand why Sarah narrated the story. She didn’t seem to supply any information that was needed to understand the story’s characters, world, or tone.

    Let Us Touch The Sun
    Read to: p 2
    I think this is just one of those script’s that I don’t (and won’t) get. Every story can’t be for everyone. The first page is mostly description of a room interior. Yet if you asked me to draw the room or describe it, I wouldn’t be able to. I hope that room is very important. I didn’t understand how Valerie used the recording for her ESP or why she needed to use her ESP. Maybe I’m not supposed to understand. But it’s not very engaging when I don’t get to ask any questions other than, “Huh?”

    50 High Street
    Read to: p 8
    This is very readable. I just didn’t understand what it all meant. I kept feeling like I was misreading what was going on. I didn’t know what the characters were doing or why they were doing it. Some people have opened a box storing frozen bodies. Years later… An incompetent man is in the midst of an accident; he blames some kids and kicks them out. A bit earlier… A woman wants a divorce but has to figure out a way to get full custody. She uses the services of a shady lawyer. The woman goes outside and we see she’s with that incompetent man from before–um, later. The man falls and breaks his leg. …I had trouble connecting the events.

    The jumping back in forth in time didn’t help.

    Liar. Coward. Judge.
    Read to: p 3
    I’m not sure that the conversation between the Captain and the Assassin is the best way to open this. I don’t care about the goals or the characters on these pages.

    • Scott Crawford

      A very fair analysis. Gonna be tricky this week, I think…

    • Levres de Sang

      Thanks for trying Let Us Touch The Sun. We return to Valerie’s hacienda at the midpoint, but you’re right in that “Every story can’t be for everyone”.

  • Frog

    My Choice : SPACE INVADERS

    Notes

    SAUL ROTHS BAND OF MERRY FELONS
    I don’t like the font, is it my PDF reader ?

    Missing lots of periods. It doesn’t bother me, but they might bother some people. Give the reader a reason to stop reading and he’ll stop reading.

    There’s too much dialogue that is saying little. For example the dialogue on page 7 /8
    between Saul and Milos. Really needs to be tightened.

    I bailed out at page 13 waiting for a joke.

    SPACE INVADERS
    Logline : “a loner computer gamer” sounds awkward. I thought at first it should have
    been “ a lone computer gamer” but I realize it’s “a computer gamer whose a loner”.

    “militant” Seems weird. Do you mean “military”..

    page 1: How do you pronounce “pwn” ?

    Page 10: This is good. I’m going to finish this later when I have some time.

    LET US TOUCH THE SON
    The title sounds pretentious

    Love the verb free sentences for the descriptions.

    This is way overwritten. You should think about writing a novel. But in a script
    I don’t want to notice the writing. I want to see the film.

    50 HIGH STREET
    Title : The film is about a divorce so why is the title about a house ?

    Script: Characters should be in capitals whenever they are introduced to the scene.

    Page 1 There is a lack of clarity. Are the “Puritan men and women” the same as the
    “Colonists”

    Page 5: “Marie exits an office building, turns the corner, walks two
    blocks, turns another corner then crosses the street to where a 1966 Dodge Dart is
    parked.”
    Do we follow her while she walks two blocks? How long would that take ? Or is this two
    scenes ?

    Page 7 : The scene with the State Troopers. I have no idea what’s happening.

    Are JIM MUNK and MARIE the state troopers ?
    Should (V.O.)be an (O.S) ?

    Why is Jim’s 1st line (V.O.), but not his second,?

    LIAR COWARD JUDGE
    Page 1. “uninformed ?”
    Why is the assassin uninformed and how can we see that on the screen ?

    Captain says “You will have to tell me again..” Why again ? The Assassin hasn’t told
    him at all.

    Page 2: “No, nothing of the sort. By all accounts he’s an accomplished officer, only two
    weeks last Wednesday he raped a woman and killed another.”

    This implies that raping a woman is what you’d expect from an accomplished officer.

    “Why do you offering …” ??

    Page 4 : “led justice”, should be “lead justice”.

    Too many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I’m out.

    • davejc

      Thank you Frog for the notes and your time. I really appreciate it. Feel free to have a look at the current draft. The first act is completely overhauled:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      Once again, thank you sir.

    • Levres de Sang

      Thanks for taking a look at LET US TOUCH THE SUN. My background is prose fiction and I have tried writing a novel or two, but unfortunately I never managed to complete one! :(

  • davejc

    Hey Link & Byron

    I thought you both might find this interesting as I know you are both
    currently working on scripts. I was talking to a friend last week in
    great detail about structure and pace. I tried to explain to him my
    process. But it wasn’t until I wrote it all down in an email that I
    finally nailed the big problems in the first act which as you know, the
    first act of 50 High St has always dogged me(I’ve written a hundred
    firsts). This is why I hope people read the current draft,

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    that has what I feel is the solution for the first act. The following is
    an excerpt from that email the and the solution for the Act 1, imho.

    (SPOILER WARNING FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NOT READ 50 HIGH STREET)

    I do not start out with outlines. Because for me I feel outlines can lead to
    formulaic plots, unoriginal choices and worse, filler. Nor do
    outlines enable me to spot problem areas in the script. I start out
    by writing scenes because if I can’t come up with a single great
    scene then I’m not going to be writing that script.

    This is the best way I can describe my process for structure and pace:

    PROP’S MORPHOLOGY OF THE FOLKTALE AND PIXAR’S FOURTH RULE OF STORYTELLING

    The structure in it’s most basic form is the same simple structure I use
    in all my scripts(courtesy of Blake Snyder). Basically the “A”
    Story unfolds in the first act. The “B” Story begins to unfold at
    the midpoint. And in the third act the “B” Story resolves the “A”
    Story as seen in both story spines below:

    “A “ STORY SPINE:

    Once upon a time…

    there was a family who lived in a grand old house

    Every day…

    The father stayed home to take care of the children while the mother was
    away on business trips.

    0. initial situation

    (entering The First Sphere)

    But, one day…

    The mother went to see a divorce lawyer.

    1. absentation (a member of the family leaves the security of the home
    environment)

    4. reconnaissance

    5. delivery of reconnaissance

    Because of that…

    The Mother announced the parents separation to the children.

    (inciting incident)

    Because of that…

    The Father agreed to see a therapist.

    7. complicity

    Because of that…

    The Father agreed to take a daughter to to the desert for health reasons.

    7. complicity

    1. absentation (another member of the family leaves the security of the
    home environment)

    Because,of that…

    The Father was served. A hearing in his absence was requested to block
    him from returning to his home.

    6. trickery

    Because, of that…

    He rushed back, hired a lawyer and blocked the hearing —

    (reversal) –and despite his lawyer warning —

    2. interdiction — he chose the high road(accommodation)

    3. violation of interdiction

    7. complicity

    Because, of that…

    The antagonists resorted to plan B and a G.A.L. was brought in to
    interview the children.

    Reversal — ***BREAK INTO TWO*** Page 24 (pace)

    Observations: there are seven beats in the first act (where
    each beat is a direct result of the preceding one) which
    corresponds to the seven narratemes that occur in the first sphere
    found in storytelling. In the best case scenario, the narratemes
    would occur in their proper order. Here they do except for 2 and 3
    (interdiction and violation of interdiction) which both occur towards
    the end of act one and in the same sentence on the page. In
    the second act the sequence of narratemes is not as important, so
    long as each beat is a result of the previous beat (all those
    “Because of that…”).

    (The Second Sphere)

    Because, of that (G.A.L. interview)…

    A smear campaign was entered in record against the father.

    12. Testing

    13. Reaction

    Because, of that…

    The father’s lawyer hung him out to dry.

    28. Exposure

    Because, of that…

    The mother is able to take the children to Seattle.

    8. Villainy and lack

    Because, of that…

    The mother side stepped the jurisdictional barriers that would have
    prevented her from taking the children to Russia.

    9. Mediation

    Because, of that…

    The father confronted the lawyers

    28. Exposure

    Because, of that…

    He realized it was up to him alone to keep his children from leaving the
    country.

    10. Counteraction

    Because, of that…

    Father left home for Seattle to try and stop the mother before it was too
    late.

    11. Departure

    ***MIDPOINT***
    Page 50 (pacing)

    “B” STORY SPINE:

    Once upon a time…

    There was a girl who discovered an old student’s journal in the attic of
    her home.

    Every day…

    She read from the journal.

    0. Initial Situation

    But, one day… (page 50 midpoint)

    She crossed paths with the imaginary friend from the journal, who was a
    ghost in the cellar.

    Inciting Incident

    Because, of that…

    She set out to discover the secret of the house.

    11. Departure

    Because of that…

    She met the old woman who wrote the journal and the demon who was still
    in the house.

    12. Testing

    Because of that…

    She recognized the key that would unlock the mysterious door.

    14. Acquisition

    2. Interdiction

    Because of that…

    She entered the sealed off room in the cellar.

    3. Violation of Interdiction

    Because of that…

    She let loose the demon imprisoned there

    7. Complicity

    Because of that…

    Her father used the demon in an effort to get his children back.

    26. Solution

    Because of that…

    The demon used her father to kill lawyers, therapists and realtors

    16. Struggle

    18. Victory

    Because of that…

    Her father was no longer sane.

    17. Branding

    Because of that…

    The demon took an interest in the girl.

    21 Pursuit

    Because of that…

    She had to save her sister and get out of the house

    22 Rescue

    25. Task

    Until finally…

    She escaped and the house burned to the ground.

    23. Arrival

    26. Solution

    ***FINAL IMAGE*** Page 100 (pacing)

    The girl was reunited with all her sisters.

    19. Resolution

    • Scott Crawford

      (SPOILER WARNING FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NOT READ 50 HIGH STREET)

      I do not start out with outlines. Because for me I feel outlines can lead to formulaic plots, unoriginal choices and worse, filler. Nor do outlines enable me to spot problem areas in the script. I start out by writing scenes because if I can’t come up with a single great scene then I’m not going to be writing that script.

      There was a family who lived in a grand old house
      The father stayed home to take care of the children while the mother was away on business trips.
      The mother went to see a divorce lawyer.
      The Mother announced the parents separation to the children.
      The Father agreed to see a therapist.
      The Father agreed to take a daughter to to the desert for health reasons.
      The Father was served. A hearing in his absence was requested to block him from returning to his home.
      He rushed back, hired a lawyer and blocked the hearing —
      The antagonists resorted to plan B and a G.A.L. was brought in to interview the children.
      Because, of that (G.A.L. interview)…
      A smear campaign was entered in record against the father.
      The father’s lawyer hung him out to dry.
      The mother is able to take the children to Seattle.
      The mother side stepped the jurisdictional barriers that would have
      prevented her from taking the children to Russia.
      The father confronted the lawyers
      He realized it was up to him alone to keep his children from leaving the country.
      Father left home for Seattle to try and stop the mother before it was too late.
      There was a girl who discovered an old student’s journal in the attic of her home.
      She read from the journal.
      She crossed paths with the imaginary friend from the journal, who was a ghost in the cellar.
      She set out to discover the secret of the house.
      She met the old woman who wrote the journal and the demon who was still in the house.
      She recognized the key that would unlock the mysterious door.
      She entered the sealed off room in the cellar.
      She let loose the demon imprisoned there
      Her father used the demon in an effort to get his children back.
      The demon used her father to kill lawyers, therapists and realtors
      Her father was no longer sane.
      The demon took an interest in the girl.
      She had to save her sister and get out of the house
      She escaped and the house burned to the ground.
      The girl was reunited with all her sisters.

      • davejc

        Please don’t do that. If you want to discuss something fine. But don’t cut and copy me and then delete all of the most critical information. What is the point in what you are doing?

        • Linkthis83

          He’s trying to passively point out that you have an outline – I think.

          What he’s missing is that this is your end result, not how you started.

          • Scott Crawford

            That’s what I wanted to show, that he DID have an outline and – in my view, if you like – that it DOES reveal the script’s shortcomings – chiefly, no ACT TWO.

            Unfortunately – and I can understand how this happens – the writer has intellectualized his decisions, so when you point out that the story is a fail, he justifies it with lots of jargon.

            The DOWNSIDE of spending so long on ONE script.

          • davejc

            Scott, you may want to tread lightly when criticizing how other people spend their time.

    • mulesandmud

      Really fantastic of you to post this, dave.

      Amazingly valuable for discussion and for comparison of how different writers work. Makes me eager to participate and compare notes. Hopefully I’ll get to crack open your script this weekend (yes, I grabbed the new version), and/or contribute some thoughts on structure and process.

      Thanks for putting yourself out there – most writers, pro or not, wouldn’t be too comfortable pulling back the curtain so far. Way to bring it and own it.

      Best of luck to you.

      • davejc

        Thanx. Actually I’ve been dying all week to post this on SS message boards because I don’t think we’ve ever discussed narratemes here before. And I’ve been fighting with the first act of this script for over a year. Once I put it on paper it became clear what I needed to do.

      • walker

        This is the comment of the weekend.

    • Linkthis83

      Thank you for posting this. Sincerely. And to be fair, a month ago I posted some of mine, so here it is:

      My process:

      1) I explore possibilities in my head before I generally even write anything down. I think about what I want to accomplish in a scene, or a moment, or something. Then I try and go through as many paths in my head. I explore the different perspectives and who wants what. While I’m writing it from a certain perspective, to each character, the story is theirs too.

      2) Once I start deciding on answers, this leads me to an outline…by default. So I create an outline based on the answers to questions of my story (this includes events, characters, emotions, intentions, purposes, goals, etc).

      3) Once I have an outline, whether it’s for the whole script, or just ACT I, then that’s when I start to write. The very first time I ever did this, I realized how hard it is.

      For the IISC competition, I had my pages outlined. I knew the moments I wanted to happen, when they should happen, and where they were going to take place. I sat down to start typing and then went “Shit! Now I have to add the specific details to accomplish all this. Shit!” — It was hard. It’s like I had a canvas before me and I knew there was going to be a tree, a creek and bear. But now I had to decide if the creek was quiet and calm or a raging river. What type of tree. What time of year is it to reflect how the tree should look. What’s the mood of the bear. What are the details I have to fill in to reflect the overall intention of this moment…and not only that, but also be cognizant of how it affects the OVERALL intention and is it cohesive with that. — so many things to be responsible for.

      These scripts/stories are complex organisms. Every choice has an effect. You can’t make arbitrary choices because they will feel arbitrary. Everything must be purposeful to be effective.

      Some have highlighted how important thinking is. I tend to go with the word “thoughtfulness” — Effective stories have a great deal of thoughtfulness (and I can even qualify that by stating that stories I enjoy have a lot of thoughtfulness — this may not be true for everyone).

      • davejc

        “While I’m writing it from a certain perspective, to each character, the story is theirs too.”

        Once you get too familiar with your characters, they turn the tables and start telling you what to write! I’m not crazy LOL! But I no longer am quite sure how much of my scripts are mine, and much of the scripts belong to them.

        I’ve never had any luck with an traditional outline so I’m curious how you set yours up and what benefits you glean from it.

      • Scott Crawford

        That’s a pretty good system. David Hewson, the crime writer who wrote a book about how to write novels on Scrivener (really!), just outlines Act One because he says all Act Ones are the same – setting up the story. He has a pretty good idea of what the rest of the story is, but doesn’t write down every scene.

        But my arguments on outlines are not so much about process as result. If the screenplay is great, doesn’t matter if the writer just made it all up as he wrote it. But if the screenplay isn’t any good, and the story is to blame, maybe the writer’s process needs to be examined.

        • Linkthis83

          I’m never against you and your support of outlines. It’s when it comes across as “outlining is the answer.” People create differently. I believe outlining is a great OPTION to explore when it comes to a person’s script/story. Someone who read my pages complimented me on the quality of my structure. I attributed that to my outline because I hadn’t written enough yet to even know if I’m good or bad at it.

          And also, my actual outlines are a hybrid. When I’m typing them up, if I know how I actually want a scene to go, then I will type it up in script format. So I will have general statement mixed with actual scenes.

        • davejc

          “David Hewson, the crime writer who wrote a book about how to write novels on Scrivener (really!), just outlines Act One because he says all Act Ones are the same”

          That’s an interesting point, Scott. I wouldn’t mind seeing more constructive contributions like this one from you.

  • Randy Williams

    SPACE INVADERS

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    These kind of scripts are not my thing, so I’ll leave it in more able hands to dissect this.
    I was inclined, however, to read 30 pages of it and enjoyed it.
    This made me feel like a kid again, honestly. I read it with a big smile on my face. However, who is the audience? I can see a whole family digging this, yet there is raunchy parts and profanity. I’d go either clean or all out. This middle ground at playing adult doesn’t work for me.

  • ASAbrams

    Off topic: Does anyone else have any problems with this site eating up memory? Is it just my computer acting up? Other sites (not even YouTube) don’t use up as much physical memory (1 GB out of 4 GB of RAM) as this one.

    • Scott Crawford

      Not memory. I have problems with Disqus a lot.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I’ve had the individual page itself crash, then I just reload it. Doesn’t effect whatever other webpages i have open. Happened today once so far.

      • ASAbrams

        Oh… I find that if I keep this site tab open, my browser slows down. Weird.

        • Erica

          The site seems to be working fine on my end. I’m using firefox. I have 26 tabs open, final draft and 3 word docs with 2 note pads open.

          5 of the tabs are youtube.

          • Kirk Diggler

            You little multi-tasker you!

          • ASAbrams

            It seems we have similar workflows (or in my case, procrastination flow). I have 27 tabs (with Scriptshadow) open in Chrome, 3 Wordpad windows, 1 Excel Spreadsheet window, and 1 OneNote Window. 2 Tabs on YouTube, 1 on GooglePlay. 50% of RAM usage if I don’t have ScriptShadow open.

            I don’t have the logging out problems. Or at least, I don’t think. I’m logged out once a week.

            I don’t want to use FireFox instead of Chrome, but I may have to.

        • pmlove

          You might want to try running noscript as it’s usually some random script running in the background that slows things down.

          • ASAbrams

            Maybe that’s it.

  • davejc

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read. If it wasn’t for all the great notes I’ve gotten I’d still be on draft one. Thank you! Here is the current draft of 50 High St:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

  • davejc

    Thank you Patrick! Those are great notes and I really appreciate the time people take to have a look. This is the current draft which I really wish Carson had posted because the first act went through an overhaul:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    It’s a PS2 because she’s playing Okami :)

    Thank you again

  • davejc

    Thank you Patrick! Those are great notes and I really appreciate the time you took to have a look. This is the current draft which I really wish Carson had posted because the first act went through an overhaul:

    Thank you Patrick! Those are great notes and I really appreciate the time people take to have a look. This is the current draft which I really wish Carson had posted because the first act went through an overhaul:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    It’s a PS2 because she’s playing Okami :)

  • Scott Crawford

    50 HIGH STREET

    Pages read: None, didn’t have to. Davejc very kindly posted the synopsis of the story to save me the bother, something I’ve been suggesting people do for some time.

    Here’s the story. I’ll put a ***SPOILER*** warning on it, but don’t worry too much.

    Father loses custody of his kids. Kids (eventually) move into old house, find a key to a mystery door. There’s a demon in there. The demon controlled the father’s actions. House burns down.

    ***END OF SPOILER***

    That’s not a movie story. That’s not even an episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s barely the set-up to a movie. Barely. Way, way too thin.

    Writer must be leaning VERY heavily on his writing to get this through, but it won’t work. What producer would want to buy this script, spend money to film THIS story? Harsh, but true. From what I have heard, the writer seems to have put a lot of time into this script, but all he had to do was show someone he trusts the story and they could have told him:

    Dude, this ISN’T a movie. It’s a mood piece.

    My recommendation, tough though it is, is for the writer to find a new idea and start again, and this time maybe not be so quick to knock the power of a strong OUTLINE.

    • davejc

      Scott I never know if you’re trying to have a discussion or an argument. But what you posted is a straw man. What you posted is not what I posted. Nor does that have anything to do with the story of 50 High St. I never posted a synopsis. What you wrote is not a synopsis of my script. It’s even not a synopsis any way or form.

      I posted was a worksheet on structure. And the reason I posted it was to discuss

      structure, pace, PROP’S MORPHOLOGY OF THE FOLKTALE and PIXAR’S FOURTH RULE OF STORYTELLING.

      If you want to have an intelligent discussion on those things I would welcome that. But it would have to be an intelligent on what I actually wrote about structure. This is what I posted:

      The structure in it’s most basic form is the same simple structure I used
      in all my scripts(courtesy of Blake Snyder). Basically the “A”
      Story unfolds in the first act. The “B” Story begins to unfold at
      the midpoint. And in the third act the “B” Story resolves the “A”
      Story as seen in both story spines below:

      “A “ STORY SPINE:

      Once upon a time…

      there was a family who lived in a grand old house

      Every day…

      The father stayed home to take care of the children while the mother was
      away on business trips.

      0. initial situation

      (entering The First Sphere)

      But, one day…

      The mother went to see a divorce lawyer.

      1. absentation (a member of the family leaves the security of the home
      environment)

      4. reconnaissance

      5. delivery of reconnaissance

      Because of that…

      The Mother announced the parents separation to the children.

      (inciting incident)

      Because of that…

      The Father agreed to see a therapist.

      7. complicity

      Because of that…

      The Father agreed to take a daughter to to the desert for health reasons.

      7. complicity

      1. absentation (another member of the family leaves the security of the
      home environment)

      Because,of that…

      The Father was served. A hearing in his absence was requested to block
      him from returning to his home.

      6. trickery

      Because, of that…

      He rushed back, hired a lawyer and blocked the hearing —

      (reversal) –and despite his lawyer warning —

      2. interdiction — he chose the high road(accommodation)

      3. violation of interdiction

      7. complicity

      Because, of that…

      The antagonists resorted to plan B and a G.A.L. was brought in to
      interview the children.

      Reversal — ***BREAK INTO TWO*** Page 24 (pace)

      Observations: there are seven beats in the first act (where
      each beat is a direct result of the preceding one) which
      corresponds to the seven narratemes that occur in the first sphere
      found in storytelling. In the best case scenario, the narratemes
      would occur in their proper order. Here they do except for 2 and 3
      (interdiction and violation of interdiction) which both occur towards
      the end of act one and in the same sentence on the page. In
      the second act the sequence of narratemes is not as important, so
      long as each beat is a result of the previous beat (all those
      “Because of that…”).

      (The Second Sphere)

      Because, of that (G.A.L. interview)…

      A smear campaign was entered in record against the father.

      12. Testing

      13. Reaction

      Because, of that…

      The father’s lawyer hung him out to dry.

      28. Exposure

      Because, of that…

      The mother is able to take the children to Seattle.

      8. Villainy and lack

      Because, of that…

      The mother side stepped the jurisdictional barriers that would have
      prevented her from taking the children to Russia.

      9. Mediation

      Because, of that…

      The father confronted the lawyers

      28. Exposure

      Because, of that…

      He realized it was up to him alone to keep his children from leaving the
      country.

      10. Counteraction

      Because, of that…

      Father left home for Seattle to try and stop the mother before it was too
      late.

      11. Departure

      ***MIDPOINT***
      Page 50 (pacing)

      “B” STORY SPINE:

      Once upon a time…

      There was a girl who discovered an old student’s journal in the attic of
      her home.

      Every day…

      She read from the journal.

      0. Initial Situation

      But, one day… (page 50 midpoint)

      She crossed paths with the imaginary friend from the journal, who was a
      ghost in the cellar.

      Inciting Incident

      Because, of that…

      She set out to discover the secret of the house.

      11. Departure

      Because of that…

      She met the old woman who wrote the journal and the demon who was still
      in the house.

      12. Testing

      Because of that…

      She recognized the key that would unlock the mysterious door.

      14. Acquisition

      2. Interdiction

      Because of that…

      She entered the sealed off room in the cellar.

      3. Violation of Interdiction

      Because of that…

      She let loose the demon imprisoned there

      7. Complicity

      Because of that…

      Her father used the demon in an effort to get his children back.

      26. Solution

      Because of that…

      The demon used her father to kill lawyers, therapists and realtors

      16. Struggle

      18. Victory

      Because of that…

      Her father was no longer sane.

      17. Branding

      Because of that…

      The demon took an interest in the girl.

      21 Pursuit

      Because of that…

      She had to save her sister and get out of the house

      22 Rescue

      25. Task

      Until finally…

      She escaped and the house burned to the ground.

      23. Arrival

      26. Solution

      ***FINAL IMAGE*** Page 100 (pacing)

      The girl was reunited with all her sisters.

      19. Resolution

      • Malibo Jackk

        What is the relationship between the A story — the divorce proceedings
        and the B story — more of a folktale involving a demon spirit? How do they connect? (One seems domestic realism; the other supernatural.)

        Are we being shown the real situation (A story) and then the satire (B story)?

        • davejc

          Hi M.J.

          In
          the script Bael the demon spells it out rather eloquently. But
          basically here’s the way I see it. The story starts out in the
          tradition of classic Gothic horror where the supernatural element
          (harmless ghost) becomes more of a fixture in the home as the trauma
          of the household increases. At the same time the Father is losing his
          hold on reality due to the suffocating stress of an international
          custody battle. The audience is never sure whether the demon
          (trickster as in Arabian Knights, not possessor of William Peter
          Blatty fame) is real or part of the Father’s psychosis. The ghost
          girl is supposedly the original conjurer of that demon and she plays
          into that whole theme of mysterious New England that Lovecraft and
          Stephen King like to play off of. She also plays into the lore of
          her contemporary Cotton Mather, who btw was a big influence on
          William Peter Blatty.

          To
          simplify the house, or home is symbolic of family. The ghost is
          emblematic of the breakdown of that family. And the demon is to a
          certain degree the product of the father’s losing touch with reality
          as a result of the breakdown of his family. And the whole idea is
          done in the spirit of Gabriel Garcia Marquez who writes stories in a
          journalistic fashion, all the while invoking the supernatural.

          • Malibo Jackk

            I’m reminded a little of Stephen Kings’ tv production of
            BAG OF BONES which might be worth watching.
            (I might check the local library’s DVD collection to watch it again.)
            But I think what you have in mind is more complex.

            (Not as familiar with some of the other references.)

      • Citizen M

        Having read your worksheet, I feel your logline is misleading. There is no mention of a demon in it, but it seems a demon plays a major part in the story (haven’t read the whole script).

        My take: “A father fighting unscrupulous lawyers for custody of his children turns for help to a murderous demon discovered living in his historic house, but becomes its servant.”

        It’s hard to see the satire here, unless the demon plays the part that machine guns play in Lindsay Anderson’s “If”. But maybe it would be simpler for the father to obtain machine guns somehow. Mashing together a custody battle and demonic possession and turning it into a satire is a tough ask.

        • davejc

          If is an good example.

          For loglines I usually limit the elements to only those things that appear in the first act. It’s never really clear that there is a demon or a state of mind.

          Genre: It could be Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Gothic Horror, Slasher, Dark Comedy. But Satire is intent and all those other genres are the vehicle that carries that intent.

    • Linkthis83

      Scott, this is quite out of line. In fact, it’s damned irresponsible.

      This is neither constructive nor objective. It’s not even useful.

      This isn’t career advice. This isn’t you doing Dave a favor. Reducing someone’s creative efforts and then discounting them to a level that this writer should move on isn’t even applicable here.

      Not everyone wants the same thing from a script that you do. Not everyone is in it for a commercial angle. Anybody that truly invests in reading a script has to be willing to make themselves somewhat vulnerable – the writer has made themselves completely vulnerable by writing, creating, and sharing.

      What is your investment? None. You don’t even accurately portray what Dave actually posted. That is irresponsible. And for what? That post isn’t about helping Dave. That post is about you.

      You and I have had our disagreements. Those stem from your presumptions that you portray as “knowledge” and/or “experience” — And most of the time, those experiences aren’t yours, but someone else’s you’ve heard about. And as we experienced here and now, you tend to craft those to fit a point you’d like to make.

      I’ve been patient with you because at times you make bold posts – I like bold posts. They get conversations going. I used to do this a lot. But I was honest about why I was doing it and I never pretended to know more than anybody else. I state very clearly that it’s always my perspective. Your presentation comes off as fact, and if you get challenged about it as boldly as you post, then you think you are being attacked.

      Because of your current situation, I don’t jump at some of your posts. I try to exercise some empathy and understanding. SS is a great place to socialize, exchange ideas, and have conversations about a common passion. But be responsible with your so called “expertise.” In fact, be more professional when it comes to this stuff.

      You said to me once “Writing scripts isn’t that hard, thousands of people do it every year.” It’s statements like that tell us you haven’t walked the walk. Hell, even I haven’t walked it completely, but I don’t go around telling everybody what they need to do with their personal creations. Their personal investments. I don’t present my perspective in a manner that says “you’re an idiot” for doing what you’ve done.

      Even your spoiler warning is bullshit. There’s a smugness and a level of false superiority that is irksome. “Hey guys…spoiler alert…but I mean, not really…cuz there’s nothing to spoil…there’s nothing even here.”

      You’re going to tell other people what to do and how they should be and you don’t even exhibit these qualities yourself in times like this. It’s unfortunate.

      You get to choose how you are going to be here. You think some of the grief you’ve gotten isn’t warranted. To the degree some of it has happened, you don’t. But you can’t go around telling a bunch of amateurs what’s best for them and their scripts when you are in the same boat they are.

      In an ocean of possibilities, don’t tell someone the direction they’re headed is wrong. Grab an oar, row like a viking, and share your own stories of the lands you’ve visited and how close you came to treasure. That…we will listen to.

      • Malibo Jackk

        It’s an opinion.
        From one individual.
        Haven’t read the script, so I can’t judge
        but we’re already looking at a script with 100 rewrites.

        The pros will tell you that at some point you have to consider moving on.
        Unfortunately, on SS that seems to be taboo.

        • davejc

          No it’s not an opinion. When someone claims to have an opinion on something they know nothing about. You can bet they’re wrong. But when someone deliberately fabricates the facts they claim to base their opinion on, then they know they’re wrong.

          This is not Scotts opinion. It’s something entirely different.

          • Malibo Jackk

            I don’t claim to read Scott’s mind.
            I do know everyone every day makes mistakes or judgements based on limited information. Seen it happen many times.
            (Not trying to lecture. Just saying.)

            You do have my vote (for what it’s worth). I like that you have chosen
            what looks like a difficult challenge. It sounds complex. It may work or need to be trimmed down. Interested to hear what Carson has to say.

          • davejc

            Thanks Malibo, and I kinda agree with Scott about synopsis and would like to hear more of his opinions on that and traditional outlines. I posted this workflo because it was a incredibly helpful map for me. By going back to the roots of storytelling and folklore I found the solution to the problem that had been dogging me for a long time. I wanted to share it with other writers and learn about their workflo.

          • Scott Crawford

            You have no Act Two, davejc. NO ACT TWO. The first half of your script is Act One at most; the rest maybe Act Three. That leaves 55 pages worth of story missing from your script.

            The first half of your script – family drama.
            The second half of your script – weird non-scary horror derivative.

            Has no one pointed this out to you yet?

            Start again. Pick a genre: comedy or horror or psychological thriller. Up to you, but pick ONE.

            Find a MARKETABLE concept, something you can hang a campaign on. Study the market, especially what scripts are selling. If you need any scripts, ask for them.

            Then develop a PROPER story. Forget Propp or whatever it is your following. Write an outline with:

            Cause and effect.
            Setup and payoff.
            Tough character decisions – two irreconcilable goods or the lesser of two evils.
            No extraneous scenes.
            Three acts – setup, build, resolve.

            And think of the people who will read your script before you write. NOBODY wants to read about family court and then have a demon hiding in the cellar.

            I’ve seen people, heard them slugging away for years on a script where the logline is unappealing and the story thin. They think they can get by on the writing. Not true. Heed these words. I don’t need to sell a script this year – I’m quite happy where I am.

            Is that true for you?

          • davejc

            “You have no Act Two”

            And your basing this what?

          • Scott Crawford

            First of all, simple questions:

            Who is the main character?
            What is the main character’s goal?

            Once you know that, you can eliminate any scenes that don’t involve the main character’s goal, or that aren’t strictly needed.

            This is your story.

            Father loses custody of the kids, they move into a new house, daughter finds a book. That’s Act One.

            Daughter finds demon in the cellar, turns out to be the same demon that possessed Anthony Hopkins at the end of The Rite, and is controlled by the father. House burns down. That’s Act Three.

            What takes the daughter (the hero of both acts) from Act One to Act Three? Nothing. She makes no decisions, faces no dilemma.

            Maybe in Act Two (a) strange things happen and in Act Two (b) people turn up dead. Maybe throughout Act Two she seeks the advice of another character who knows all about demons. That would help build tension. Maybe.

            To be honest – does it seem like I’m not being honest – this is an inferior version of Drag Me to Hell. That at least had scary setpieces. What have you got? Stretched out courtroom scenes.

            You COULD rewrite this script (again), but the amount of work you would have to do to get it up to Drag Me levels (let alone Juvenalian satire or whatever you intended) is better spent coming up with more marketable concept, a better logline, and a much better story. The competition out there is FIERCE.

            Drop the intellectual stance, start thinking “What do people REALLY want to read” and write that.

            But I can tell from your tone that you may be beyond saving. Prove me wrong.

          • davejc

            “This is your story.”

            No. that’s not my story. That’s not even close to my story. Did you do that on purpose? Or is it because you never read my story?

            Until you’ve read my story I have no interest in what you may imagine or pretend to imagine my story to be. Until then let’s just stick to discussing outlines and structure in general. That’s fair. Is it not?

          • Scott Crawford

            Dave, the story inside your head is not the story everyone’s reading. You think you’ve written a great story. You haven’t. You’ve written half Kramer Vs. Kramer and half The Amityville Horror then called it a “satire”.

            Please, please, you are SMART guy. I’ve been down this road myself, years ago. You spend too long on one script, you can’t bear the idea of abandoning it. But you have to, you have to let go so you move on to your next script.

            P.S. Please tell me who is telling you this is good stuff. I’d like a list so I can avoid those people.

          • davejc

            The violent reaction you have toward a screenplay you never opened is bizarre, and in a strange way fascinating.

          • davejc

            “Has no one pointed this out to you yet?”

            Your instincts are right. No one has pointed that out to me.

        • Linkthis83

          It’s not taboo. If a pro tells him that, then I think he should listen.

          This particular writer has been trying for about two years to have this day – how about we give him the entire weekend to get feedback before telling him to do anything.

          Sometimes I think you tend to lean towards a clean cut, logical approach. I think that’s why we differ on these things sometimes.

          Plus it’s irksome for this reason – amateurs on here get hammered for not putting in enough time, effort or drafts. We finally have a writer who says he has done this and now the advice is – “oh…you’ve spent too much time on this – move on.”

          I don’t subscribe to it. Nobody knows what the RIGHT thing to do is. Maybe he should move on, or maybe because he hasn’t moved on, he’s finally gotten an AOW. If someone told him weeks ago to give up in the comments section and he had, would that have been the right move? Who knows. All we know now is that he wouldn’t have had an AOW – did this help him or hurt him professionally? Right now, we have no idea – and whatever does happen, when looking back, he might say he should’ve never done it or that he’s glad he did – but the truth is he don’t know what the path would’ve been with the opposite outcome – all he will know is what did happen. People tend to forget that a lot. Hindsight isn’t 20/20. So maybe he should, or maybe he shouldn’t. All I know, is I don’t know for certain and I’m in no position to tell what he should do. If he asks, I will discuss it with him. Crawford has the luxury of being dismissive because of zero investment.

          Sorry – just started typing and couldn’t stop.

          • Erica

            I don’t think anyone should really give up on a script. Put it a way for a while maybe (talking in general). I pulled out a script I wrote 18 years ago. Who knows it might work now.

            Sometimes is just a matter of timing. What works today, doesn’t work tomorrow but may work later on. Just like a business is all about location, scripts are all about timing.

            “I love the smell of scripts in the morning…
            (beat)
            …Smells like…
            (beat)
            …I’ve been up all night again”.

          • Scott Crawford

            He doesn’t have to burn his script, but the amount of rewriting needed to turn this into a proper, three-act, sixty-scene (with no extraneous scenes) script would involve many months of work. And the logline/pitch isn’t that great to begin with.

            Better to start a new script. Then you have two.

        • Scott Crawford

          Last weekend I saw dozens of scripts that I could tell – just from the WYSRs – had been around the block. If the logline is poor, and the story is worse, it doesn’t matter how many times you polish that dialogue.

          Tip: never polish an Oscar statuette. It’s gold on the surface, but lead underneath.

      • Scott Crawford

        This writer tried to pass off half a story as a script. And the reason for my tone was that he claimed to be superior to people who use outlines; you know, all those stupid professionals. And I know the amount of effort he’s put into this script; he tried to get me to read it a few months back. And now he needs to move on. IT’S NOT A THREE-ACT STORY AND IT WON’T DO HIM ANY GOOD.

        • Linkthis83

          “This writer tried to pass off half a story as a script. And the reason for my tone was that he claimed to be superior to people who use outlines;”

          This is why you aren’t making the impression here you think you might be. Your presumptions as facts.

          1) This writer didn’t try to pass off anything. That’s a presumption and a discounting assessment made by you, but stated as fact.

          2) His tone did not claim he was above outlines. He clearly stated that based on his EXPERIENCE thus far as a CREATOR he has found that they work against his creativity.

          3) He didn’t post a synopsis of his story either – which is exactly why the actual WRITERS here don’t advocate for a synopsis to be turned in or an outline to get a shot at AOW – because they get it!

          Because people who are unwilling to invest, and think they have the ability to infer a whole story from tidbits of info without actually EXPERIENCING the creation itself, will do what you have done. You assess quality and value without one ounce of effort given.

          A person’s value to this site is based on their willingness to BE the experience and then provide feedback.

          When you throw out these loglines and solutions and follow with “…and I just made that up,” it’s because it is easy to create loglines out of thins air. Because you haven’t invested anything into a story. When you create a story, you’ve created an intention. You now have a narrative with depth and a creation that is personal to you. And then when it comes time to sum that all up in to one sentence that perfectly, and succinctly, captures your intention without sacrificing it’s overall impact IS. FUCKING. HARD.

          Your loglines from the hip AREN’T stories, and yet you say “See, anybody can do it.”

          The reason you don’t get more support is because, like I said before, the real writers already know that you are spitting false truths as fact. And they are smart enough not to engage you.

          Some of the ones that do engage you do so because they know the terrible affect your posts can have on individuals who are trying to create stories and scripts. They know that the writing game is outnumbered by those CAN’T do it, but won’t hesitate to tell everybody else what they should do with their creative entities.

          I don’t want to posts these types of posts. I don’t want to act like I represent the board when I state my perspective on this issue. I want to just discuss this stuff.

          The fact is that YOU DON’T KNOW what could have value. Does HW want Dave’s script as is? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that it’s possible ONE person will want it. And that’s all we need in this business. I know it’s possible somebody might read his script and say “You know what, this needs some work, but I love what it’s trying to do.” Or they might say they like his writing and want him to take a shot a something else.

          You act like a script here is a finished product. It isn’t. Any spec script that gets bought is going to get changed. It might be by the original writer or someone who is brought in. There are so many variable is this freaking endeavor and you don’t speak on behalf of all of them.

          I know you think you are just increasing somebody’s odds with your feedback and observations. But you can’t actually know that. It’s unquantifiable.

          And here’s something I know to be true about this site: If you actually put in the effort. Read some stories, breakdown some scripts, that will earn you some respect. As long as you say things like “I think” and “I believe” you’ll be fine.

          When you write a script and post it here, sure there will be some that will come at you directly to challenge you. And you will submit KNOWING that you script won’t have a fair shot because of personal biases – AND YOU WILL BE DEAD FUCKING WRONG – just like HW, we just want great fucking scripts and stories. If you bring that to SS, no one will care about all this other bullshit. And if you don’t bring a script that’s worthy of all the expertise you preach, yeah, you might get some grief, but what you will get most of all – FEEDBACK on your script. How people felt about it and what they THINK will help you get it to where you want it to be.

          THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE.

          • Scott Crawford

            I know how hard it is to create good stories. And I know how easy it is for people to just skip the process and write a bad script and expect everyone else to read it and say how they like the writing.

            THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE.

          • Linkthis83

            Well, then you’re the smartest man in the room. Except for all your contradictory advice.

            You slam scripts you don’t read and fix loglines for stories you know nothing about. You assess their value based on nothing tangible and proceed to dispense advice from nowhere credible.

            How can a script meet your standard if you don’t read them?

            How can you postulate the effort a writer has put forth if you don’t break them down?

            You don’t put forth any effort towards these writers and then are critical of their effort. What a luxurious place to critique from. And cloaking from the position of “tough love” doesn’t fly either.

            I’ve spent too much energy on this this weekend. You give nothing and expect others to heed your words. That’s a really poor deal for those who listen.

      • Citizen M

        What did Scott do wrong? He posted dave’s worksheet without the bun and pickles, just the meat. I thought it was helpful and not at all a slur on dave.

        • Linkthis83

          It wasn’t the worksheet that was the issue. And it was a combination of this post with his other ones regarding Dave’s script.

          -Scott does a script analysis on a script he doesn’t read.
          -Based that on a “synopsis” posted by Dave – only Dave didn’t post a synopsis. (In fact, Scott even tried to call it an outline earlier – which it wasn’t)
          -So Scott has inferred and analyzed a story from the worksheet and then concluded that there was no story.
          -Even though every time he’s talked about the story Dave has told him that what Scott is saying isn’t his story
          -To prove a point, Scott posts the post I replied to – and he did it in a smug, dismissive way. Giving him career advice while not actually putting any effort in. Oh, and he had his little “spoiler not a spoiler” fun. I felt it was uncalled for so I called him out.

    • Nicholas J

      KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Guy gets divorced. Guy almost loses custody of his son. The end.

      Man, what an empty movie that was.

      • Scott Crawford

        What would have livened up that (wonderful) movie was finding the demon Bael in a basement at the end!

        KRAMER VS. KRAMER is an EXTREMELY well-written story. This isn’t. And yes, I based this on reading a synopsis of the whole story rather than reading the first 20 pages and getting bored like everyone else.

        • Casper Chris

          That makes no sense, Scott.

          I don’t know what you’re trying to do here. If you’re trying to drum up curiosity for your own screenplay, I guess it’s working. You sure talk the talk.

          It would be nice if you could be a bit more respectful toward the work of others, though. You go from being blabbering to being occasionally insightful to being downright condescending and back again. It’s like watching a train wreck at times.

  • brenkilco

    Am on page ten. Most of this is very well done, albeit a little crazy. The level of detail is extreme for a screenplay. The first page is almost like the description of a stage set if stage descriptions had closeups. I was waiting for a line like upstage left french doors open onto a flagged terrace. But you certainly do succeed in recreating that Jean Rollin, daughters of darkness, hot sapphic, everything shot through silk curtains or glittering chandelier lozenges, decadent seventies euro thing. Right down to the use of voiceover to minimize the anticipated bad dubbing.

    What don’t I like so far? Well the deliberate wooziness can get confusing. Ten pages in and I’ve lost count of the number of restaurant terraces we’ve been on and all the young women, past and present, innocent and otherwise that we’re supposed to keep track of. And your obscure pop culture references are off the chart. I’ll give you Francis Lai. Tom Conway? Well, classic horror buffs might know him, though why not reference his equally debonair and far more well known brother? But Esther Ofarim and that soccer player and the German tv channel. C’mon. And your dialogue and description can get a little purple. Eyes with forensic lustre. Okay. Anyway, extremely stylish and exhibiting lots of talent but if you want to base a script on mood more than plot, think you’re paddling upstream.

    • Levres de Sang

      Hi brenkilco… Thank you for these notes. I’m really pleased you picked up on the aesthetic! I imagined the opening page as a languid, 70s-style credits sequence; but it’s clear I went overboard with the detail. I also hadn’t spotted just how many (relatively obscure) pop-cultural references I’d made in those first 12 pages. Definitely something I will add to my list of “personal ticks to watch out for”…

      It’s funny, having worked on this for two years over a three-year period, it always felt like I was gradually excising a whole load of descriptive baggage, so maybe the excessive detail goes all the way back to my initial strategy which was more visual/cinematic than story-centric. Indeed, I think Truby says something about first drafts having this tendency to remain set in concrete despite what we think to the contrary.

      • brenkilco

        Yes, you can tell yourself the first draft is just for fun and that you’ll change everything around later. But once the shape of the thing hardens it gets tough.

  • Randy Williams

    LET US TOUCH THE SUN

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I’m enjoying this. I’d like to finish it. So much today on my plate and college football to distract me too.

    I think many may find this difficult to swallow. It is at first but gets easier to digest as you go along. I think it’s our mindset that prevents us from getting into this. We have in our heads on how movies we’re accustomed to, roll out on screen. The blaring Dolby stereo soundtrack may not be in the script we are reading but it is in our minds, I think.

    So, my remedy, for what it’s worth, for making this more accessible is to use sound. Ease us into this world with the quiet beating of a ceiling fan. Milk that scratchy LP playing sound. Open up scenes with the murmur of a cafe crowd. The sound of a scooter buzzing down an empty cobblestone street. These sounds make us slow down, feel this “European” style and we become more conducive to your presentation?

    • Levres de Sang

      Hi Randy… I’m so pleased you’re enjoying this and wanted to thank you for taking the time to provide such insightful notes. I especially like your idea for subtly incorporating sound (I do actually throw in a ceiling fan around the 60-page mark!) and hope you do have time to get to the end.

  • brenkilco

    On page 10 of Liars. Nice setup, though the author should know that the Civil War had been over five years in 1870. Biggest problem the dialogue. B

  • Brainiac138

    Liar. Coward. Judge is interesting insomuch that I have read a lot of Civil War era bigfoot scripts in the last six months or so. Something must be in the air and our collective conscious.

    • Erica

      I think it’s because we are celebrating the bicentennial of the 1812 War. There have been lots of events including re enactments, plus a lot of media attention. I know, I’ve covered a few of he battles myself. Been a blast…pun intended.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    Just wrapped up my full notes on BLOOD AND SINEW, posted on the AF thread.
    Guess I’ll dive right into this fresh crop of hopefuls.
    Let’s see if the old AOW format feels fresh after a week off.

    AOW Winner: SPACE INVADERS.

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS:
    Your WSYR & complete lack of common courtesy makes this easy for me.
    I have a 60 hr./week job plus I donate 5-8 hours a week here.

    Learn basic punctuation and ditch all the PASSIVE VOICE to start.
    A whole paragraph of passive verbs to set up a routine setting, reads flat.

    Your second line of dialogue is: “Lemme get this straight…”
    That’s another big red flag for poorly written exposition.

    You’re summing up for the reader’s benefit, not the character.
    That all too common mistake yanks the reader right out of your story.
    A trio of Screenwriting 101 bobbles right from the start.
    Page one is all you’re going to get out of me today.

    PASS.

    LET US TOUCH THE SUN:
    Your title sounds more like an uplifting drama, than a horror.
    I wonder what Euro-horror influenced you. Murnau? Argento? Oni-Baba?
    Might help sell your very niche pitch a little better.

    Your vocab is expensive, but the perfumed prose is getting a bit much.
    Think I’ve read the read autumnal three times in two pages.
    Is this really the message you want your reader to have about your story.
    You’re opening impressions read more like an impeccably written catalog.

    I suppose the success of ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE plays in your favor.
    But the wardrobe diatribes are wearing a little thin by page six.

    I’m afraid many of the novelistic flourishes won’t translate to screen.
    They’re well written for sure, but I’d prefer more character, less catalog.
    Is it actual WOLVES nipping at the horses, or just howls. Hard to tell.

    Fifteen pages in and it’s glossy people and their backstory. No narrative thrust.
    I know this is European horror, but they’re stuff was visceral too at times.
    This feels pastel, when I feel like there should be some passion.
    Characters that are above it all are far too removed to be fun for me.

    No need to waste several pages on the flashback to the victim strategy.
    Just a short MONTAGE would be better use of your precious real estate.
    And too many different ways to describe a sunset are sapping my resolve.
    You can turn a phrase, but I wish your story would’ve started by page 20.

    PASS.

    50 HIGH STREET (new draft):
    Do you really need three time jumps already, that’s one a page.
    Maybe you can ditch the violent conclusion flash forward-type deal.
    Give me something to ground me in your story, too fragmented as written.
    Parts of the house intro when way over my simple head.

    Nine characters spread out over three time periods in five pages.
    I can’t reckon all that. The burden of investment is piling up fast.
    How much more of this do I need to pile on before the fun plot begins.
    “the bulit-in is built into the wall” could use a word change.

    Ten pages in, this feels much more Spielbergian than satirical.
    I loathe the “why are you doing this to me” knee-jerk reaction of the child.
    Usually kids get a little upset before all the selfishness kicks in.

    Fifteen pages in and it seems like Ed is the PROTAG we’re focused on.
    I’m not sure. We jump around a lot, so many kids. Lot of girls.
    Guessing there’s some ghostly connection but I can’t link anything together.

    The astrology lawyer feels peeled from a 70s sitcom.
    Doing an absurdist Goonies-style ghost story isn’t landing with me.
    Unsure if any of the girls stand out, no leads I can see there.
    And another barrage of new characters on p. 18 are going to send me packing.
    I think you know this story better than I’m able to figure out from the page.

    PASS.

    LIAR COWARD JUDGE:
    The unarmed kid has buku mega-balls. Extorting an armed man. Wow.
    He’s a character worthy of a movie of his own.
    I tend to agree with the Priest, this scene does feel needless.
    You can turn a phrase, the prose is pretty smooth.

    This moral debate is not advancing the story.
    Can we have some fun before the philosophical debates kick in.
    Jefferson is telling us all this cool stuff, why isn’t that your opener.
    Instead, you’re just telling me about all this cool stuff I can’t enjoy.
    The morning breaks and this feels more like Waiting for Godot than a movie.

    You spend almost all of page 12 debating the impending arrival of someone.
    Why not have the rider just show up. That dialogue is EMPTY CALORIES.
    The back and forth arguments are already piling up for me.

    Fifteen pages in, the Assassin isn’t subtle. A gun on a priest.
    The coincidence of double deserters smashes into Assassin’s convenient arrival.
    If you FORESHADOW his arrival while Jefferson is around, TENSION would ensue.
    Jefferson seems to be the interesting character, but we’re not with him.
    You may want to reconsider of this largely backstory-filled first act.
    Sasquatch sightings/refs in the first fifteen pages: ZERO.

    You caught me off guard with Jefferson’s plight on p. 17
    That bought you a few more pages. But where’s the creature.
    Had I not read the logline, I’d have zero clue about your actual plot.
    A high paid assassin can’t afford a horse? He’s not formidable at all.

    The dopey circumstances that brings the trio together reads indie quirk.
    Not feeling any horror vibes in the front twenty of your tale.
    I’m bowing out on page 24, the bickering is too much for me.
    Lose the contrarian dialogue and make things HAPPEN on the page.
    As written, too many of the scene reads like talking heads, but no horror.

    PASS.

    SPACE INVADERS:
    You nailed down the tone pretty well in the opening five.
    But it all just feels like a slightly redressed opener of ZOMBIELAND.
    Yours is aliens so far, that’s different, but the comparisons are deep.
    Oh, it’s zombies too. Double mumbo-jumbo tends to muck up the “magic rules”.

    A bit jarring to slam into the month later part. I wanted more.
    I’d probably learn about Sarah if I saw more of how she adjusted to all this.
    Something like that could give me insight into her character as well.
    Seems after a month of harvesting, the easy pickings would be gone.
    Retirement homes would go down early, not a month later.

    At least you waited nine pages before the movie refs started flying.
    You run the risk of the reader dreaming about cool movies during your tale.
    Supermarkets are hotbeds of apocalyptic activity.
    Doesn’t seem like a realistic place a “nice kid” would survive a month.
    Seems to me Sarah would be quick to point that out in a snarky way.

    The Pron-Zombies aren’t instilling fear, just played for laughs.
    Not sure people want to see a comedic take on FALLING SKIES.
    I’m starting to see this more as a CARTOON than a live action feature.
    And then Ariel the 10 year-old Navy SEAL hits the page, OK cartoon it is. That works.

    Stopping at page 15. This feels like an episode of GRAVITY FALLS.
    I mean that in the good way, check it out. Big Mouse House got it right.
    Your cavalier tone keeps the narrative lively. I’d read on.
    But nothing’s grabbing me, demanding that I continue. Still…
    I’m curious to see if you can structure an act as well as a scene.

    CONSIDER.

    • Linkthis83

      Wow. Ummm…circle gets the square!

      • walker

        Electric Dreamer’s notes are consistently excellent.

        • Linkthis83

          He’s got this ability not only to critique, but deliver it in an effective way — I think I’m good at honing in on things, but not expressing them well enough or effectively to maximize the benefit to the writer.

          • walker

            You have in common with ED that you always remain respectful of the writer which is probably the most important quality of effective notes.

    • davejc

      Thank you Electric for Cracking 50 High St. and taking time to post notes. I sincerely appreciate it and you’ve given me a lot of useful suggestions.

    • websters

      Thanks for taking the time to read, it is a fairly common comment that the sasquatch doesn’t show up soon enough, we were aiming to build a world and tone, taking a queue from some of our favourite horrors such as alien which also takes its time but we see now we may have taken this too far and for shadowing may be needed.

      Thanks again

    • Levres de Sang

      Many thanks for taking a look! I wanted my Countess Kristeva to be as stylish as Delphine Seyrig in DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, but I’m hearing the wardrobe note. I’d not heard of ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, but it does sound intriguing… I really like the Argento films I’ve seen (especially TENEBRAE and SUSPIRIA), but my influences for this script were primarily Jean Rollin’s LIPS OF BLOOD, Jess Franco’s VAMPYROS LESBOS and Harry Kumel’s above-mentioned DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.

  • Randy Williams

    LIAR COWARD JUDGE

    Congrats on making it on AOW!

    “Every time we discover Mr. Jefferson his disposition worsens”

    LOL, the best line of the day!

    I liked this. Read the whole thing. It grabs you and the characterization and dialogue is just so rich. The injured soldier and the horse episode is gripping as hell

    It is, however, a poor man’s version of Liam Neeson’s, “The Grey” especially with the ending.
    That’s a big minus, I think. Please share more of your writing you guys.

  • Montana Gillis

    SPACE INVADERS gets a Vote Up! This is smart – fun and written like a pro. Great Effort!

    • klmn

      Where there enough words for you?

      • Montana Gillis

        Sorry, I’m missing the joke here. Brewing some more coffee – maybe I’ll get it later. I liked the main character Sarah. the fact that she doesn’t spend a lot of time mourning her family and her VO, sets a comedic tone that plays out nicely. I’ve only read to page 37 so far. I’m looking forward to where Tom takes takes this story. At 99 pages, it’s the expected length for this genre — So, yeah, i guess there are enough words… (still missing the point).

        • Linkthis83

          There’s a discussion in this thread about total word count for scripts and how the compare to one another.

          • Montana Gillis

            Thanks Link, lucky for me this isn’t the first time I’ve felt stupid! Going to go find that discussion and hopefully learn something.

          • klmn

            You can find the discussion but I doubt you’ll learn anything, at least anything of value.

          • Montana Gillis

            Finally, I got it! Thanks klmn!

        • Scott Crawford

          99 pages is a bit short, but OK, for a comedy. But this is also a sc-fi script with expectation of big-budget effects. And the script is about 2,000 – 3,000 words shorter than most (and maybe a third less than some).

          If the writer is allowing room for fleshing out the story, OK, I guess, but that’s what people in the industry seeing this script might say: bit short.

        • klmn

          It’s a reference to some comments another person made. If you haven’t read those comments, then the joke will make no sense.

  • ChadStuart

    Any man who quotes “Bull Durham” is a friend of mine.

  • davejc

    I want to once again sincerely thank everyone who took the time to open 50 High St. This is all pretty exciting for me. And I would like to congratulate all the writers who were chosen today and wish them the very best of luck.

    • walker

      Good luck to you Dave. Yours was the script I read the most of, and it is the one I would most like to see Carson review for a number of reasons.

      • davejc

        Thank you Walker. Thanks so much. Today has been an incredible rush for me.

  • pmlove

    My vote to Space Invaders: nippy, lean and entertaining from what I read at least – as ever, sustaining it is the real challenge.

  • astranger2

    “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.”
    — Mark Twain

    “Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning and the first thing that I sawwwww…”

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismulligan/lunch-meat?ref=live Chris Mulligan

    My vote – Space Invaders.

    It’s the only one that moves, and makes it easy on the reader. Solid concept & execution.

    2nd Choice – Liar, Coward, Judge.

    Some problems with grammar and dialogue are keeping me from fully committing.

    Let Us Touch the Sun –

    This is prose. Pretty prose, but it’s a novel I can’t commit to.

    Saul Roth –

    What software are you using? The punctuation, grammar, and formatting are way off. This reads like a first draft of the writer’s first script. Good luck, get better, come back.

    50 High –

    Thanks for teaching me a new genre! Had to google it. Not my thing, but there’s solid craft there.

    • websters

      Thanks for the feedback, will work on that! Any more feedback is greatly appreciated

      • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismulligan/lunch-meat?ref=live Chris Mulligan

        Hi Websters! I don’t know which project is yours so it’s tough to provide more feedback. Let me know & I’ll do a few more notes for you.

        • websters

          Liar. Coward. Judge. Is written by us, thanks for taking the time to read

    • Levres de Sang

      Thanks for checking out Let Us Touch The Sun… I’m hearing the prose/novel note loud & clear this weekend!

  • Kirk Diggler

    Let Us Touch The Sun –

    Title sounds like a long lost song by The Doors.

    This run of action lines – “Modelling a chic white blazer, matching flared trousers and tortoiseshell Foster Grants.”

    Silken, autumnal hair.

    Blood-red, rouge-painted mouth.

    Framing glacial, ancient lineage.

    A chiffon scarf catches the light as Valerie aligns the tonearm of her Sansui record player”––

    Lots of directing on the page. And unnecessary details. Like this.

    “An elderly, white-gloved GARDENER tends a summer lawn. In front of a well-appointed 1930s residence with freshly painted windowsills.”

    I can almost smell the paint from here.

    More prose- ” The failing light exposes a shimmer of cosmetics across her cheekbone… and the insect allure of her eyelashes.”

    When a writer tells us what the light is doing, it’s a bit of a curse, because the writer sees the scene very clearly in his/her head and wants to convey a certain feel or tone. Problem is that it doesn’t equal story-telling. It equals, ‘this is how it would look if i directed this project’. But it can’t be made in to a film until the screenplay impresses at least one person who has access to a lot of money who’s also willing to make him/her a first time director, so the scene can be directed in exactly the way the writer envisioned.

    Unlikely. So why not keep it simple? Good luck with it.

    • klmn

      While I think a lot of the language is unnecessary, it went down pretty easily with me. (Maybe it should be in a separate note to the production designer?)

      I think the camera could take it all in and it would come across to the audience on screen. I think there might be a good story behind all the language.

      • Levres de Sang

        Many thanks for the positive vibes! Vampyros Lesbos is a mesmerising film with an unforgettable opening sequence. I’m also a big fan of Franco’s much-maligned zoom work!

    • astranger2

      LOL… I thought the same thing… Waiting for the Sun combined with Touch Me. (This is not a commentary on the work, which is well-written.)

    • Levres de Sang

      I loved your “title sounds like a long lost song by The Doors” comment! I’ve always been an admirer of Jim Morrison’s poetry so perhaps that was a subliminal element in my getting carried away with description… Anyway, thank you for your notes. You’ve highlighted what I’ve latterly realised is the ‘fantasy’ aspect of writing a first script – namely, the naive belief that somehow you will be able to direct it yourself.

  • Malibo Jackk

    My vote 50 HIGH STREET
    Read 20 pages.

    For me, a ghost story is more interesting than a story of divorce.
    That would mean, for me, pushing the divorce into the background
    and getting to the ghost story sooner.
    Do we care about this divorce? Is there a scene where the reason or need is explained?

    Had a few other comments but… First time — Mr. D stole them.
    (In the future I’m gonna post and edit so that all don’t get lost.)

  • bluescreen

    Congrats to all the writers that made this week’s AOW!
    Here are the vote totals so far:

    TITLE: Space Invaders (8)
    Montana Gillis
    ElectricDreamer
    Frog
    pmlove
    Nicholas J
    Linkthis83
    andyjaxfl
    Chris Mulligan

    TITLE: Liar. Coward. Judge. (7)
    Patrick Sawyer
    Bret Easton Willis
    Brainiac138
    MHellstrand
    hickeyyy
    websters
    Altius

    TITLE: 50 High Street (5)
    BSBurton
    davejc
    Randy Williams
    klmn
    Malibo Jackk

    TITLE: Let Us Touch The Sun (1)
    Levres de Sang

    TITLE: Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons (0)

    If an AOW author makes a post I automatically put it as a vote for their own script. If I missed a vote or got a vote wrong please reply to this post and I will correct it. Ties are listed alphabetically.

    • Erica

      Congrats to all the writers.

      I will give a vote to Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons. I like the logline and premise of the whole script. I think it’s something that would easily translate well commercially on the screen with the right actors and a good director, making it one of those fun comedies. That said the script needs work.

      I also like Space Invaders. Another one that I believe would work well commercially on the screen. Might have to secure the name though.

    • walker

      Hey guest/vote compiler, I voted for 50 High Street last night.

  • astranger2

    ped·ant (pĕdnt)
    Share: ped·ant
    n.
    1. One who ostentatiously exhibits academic knowledge or who pays undue attention to minor details or formal rules.
    2. Obsolete A schoolmaster.

    • astranger2

      I’ve always loved Carson’s glib, incisively-imformative off-the-cuff articles. Since discovering SS over six months ago, I’ve missed very few.

      He approaches the industry with a singular purpose and clarity — and manages to add much needed humor to the chum-infested waters of this large dorsal-finned business.

      I love the SS articles. And, for the most part, I have always enjoyed and learned so much from his posts.

      But what the eff is happening now??

      The SS board is discussing word count?? Word count? We’re now judging screenplays on total word count?! Wow, mom, wow…

      I really believe some of the discussions here on the value of Outlines and loglines are valuable, although somewhat rudimentary. I do think structure has a place — maybe a more important, and fundamental place than some here give it… including myself.

      I do believe IF you can’t compose a one sentence logline effectively describing your story, you don’t know your story. It’s not THAT COMPLEX — trust me. It isn’t. You just don’t know what it’s about –which is scary…

      I can see that side of the argument. But unless I missed the sarcasm… are we really talking “word count?” How vacuously insipid.

      Is Miss Universe writing these posts???

      If it was all tongue-in-cheek, like the late great Gilda Radner repeatedly said on SNL… “never mind…”

      • Malibo Jackk

        (This is why people hate me.)
        You’ve devoted 10 paragraphs and two posts to talk about word count.
        Let it pass.
        “Tomorrow is another day.”
        — ANNIE

        • astranger2

          As Alex the droog would say, “many apply polly loggies.”

          Especially on a writing forum, I thought there might be room for free expression…

          Next time I’ll pay more attention to the SS rules… lest I offend the ruling class sensibilities…

          Wow… all in about ten minutes of posting…

          • Malibo Jackk

            Not part of the ruling class.
            (More like minority report.)

            Something John Travolta said impressed me. He said it at a time.when no one would hire him. He talked about the good old days and said:
            “You know, I really wasn’t that good back then — and I’m really not that bad now.”

            Not sure anyone will get the context
            but I think a lot of people are like that.

          • astranger2

            In my short time on SS I’ve always thought your posts both clever (and sardonic) at times. And, I’ve enjoyed them for the most part.

            And I appreciate the quote, because it addresses the fickleness of mob mentality.

            Not sure if you follow sports, but upcoming NFL players always lament how they’re passed over the ProBowl in their early years when they deserve it… and understand in their declining years later they’ve been nominated when they don’t…

            I suppose I was upset because it was my initial comment about all the ruckus, but I think you misunderstood, unless I misunderstood — “I came to praise Caesar, not to bury him.”

            IF I’m getting your context, I found some very informative, well-intended comments in it all. And, since you don’t really know me — in the film Frankenstein, I hated the villagers with lit torches, and empathized more with the good doctor’s creation.

            After all, one of my favorite film moments of all time is when Lucas Jackson crawls back to his barracks, only to find all his chain-gang buddies, had abandoned him.

            “Where are you now???” Luke screams. “Where are you know that I need you???”

            Where, indeed?

            Unless I completely missed it, Malibo… and I’ve swung like Casey for the fences so many times and completely missed… I think I get it… If I did get it… you’re a good man, Jackk… my apologies again then… this time sincerely…

        • Scott Crawford

          I still maintain 16,000 words is too short for a proper screenplay. But I will concede there seems to be a great variation in word length between scripts.

          Isn’t “Tomorrow is another day” Gone with the Wind?

          • brenkilco

            Yeah, Tomorrow is another day to Scarlett and it’s always a day away to Annie.

          • Erica

            Great, now I have “the sun will come out, Tomorrow” stuck in my head…

          • brenkilco

            Sorry, wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

          • Malibo Jackk

            I’m pretty sure they share the same family tree.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Yes.
            I was joking.

      • Kirk Diggler

        One person brought up word count. I and another responded with word counts from our current works. I don’t think it matters one bit. I don’t think any rational writer who has done their homework about what makes a good screenplay does either.

        The person who brought it up may think it does, might even think it’s a legitimate avenue of critique, but that’s one person’s opinion. He also thinks he can review a screenplay without reading it. That leaves him in a vast minority of one.

        • Scott Crawford

          I didn’t need to read 50 HIGH STREET. The writer kindly posted the synopsis for me. And it wasn’t any good. If the logline is poor, and the story worse, no need to waste my time on the screenplay, don’t you agree?

          • Kirk Diggler

            I think you fail to understand the spirit in which AOW operates. I didn’t care for 50 High Street (at least the version Carson posted) either, but I read 26 pages and gave notes. Anyone can say a logline sucks. They often do. It’s lazy. Writers want feedback on their writing.

          • Scott Crawford

            This isn’t a poetry writing competition. If he wants to know his metaphors are sound and his commas are in the right place, then fine. But if the logline stinks, and the story is worse, I’m not wasting any time on the screenplay. Maybe that’s not the “spirit in which AOW operates”, but this writer, davejc, tried to get me to read this script three months ago. He’s had time to write more stuff. He hasn’t. He’s rewritten this 100 times over two years. Enough’s enough.

          • Kirk Diggler

            You spend a lot of time telling this writer he’s wasting his time. Why are you getting so emotional about this? Perhaps the writer should move on to his next story. Maybe his two competing genres will be impossible to meld into a cohesive whole. Either way, it’s his problem. Why do you care?

          • Scott Crawford

            That’s a very good question, and in truth I am going to take a break from SS for a while to concentrate on my own projects.

            I don’t want to post a comment, then get feedback, then look as if I’m ignoring them. Unfortunately, this leads to me posting LOADS of comments. And I do have other interests!

            On davejc, I have three problems:

            1). He mocked people who use outlines – you know, all those professional writers in film and TV who everyone around here seems to think make it up off the top of their head. He puts himself above them. Well, he’s mistaken.

            2). I went through something similar, many, many years ago, when I spent too long (about 4 years I think) on one script. Mother Ross it was called. Sent it Hollywood. Rejected. Sent it to the BBC. They read. Hated it. I kept rewriting it. Mistake. Move on.

            He doesn’t have to take MY advice, but…

            3). A lot of people are ENCOURAGING davejc, but not in a good way. He says that people have read and praised his screenplay. Who? I want the names of these people so I can avoid them. We’ve had this problem, screenwriters, for years. Some call them CHARLATANS. Whatever. Some people (particularly those who have spent too long hawking the same script) can’t take criticism on AOW. But what’s the point of AOW if you can’t point out a script’s flaws whereever you find them?

            So what is the point? Your right, Kirk, I shouldn’t care. I get excited when AOW appears, then quickly disappointed when I check out the entrants.

            I want someone to submit a script to AOW that people might actually WANT to read, not read out of some sense of compassion or whatnot. Free screenplay, free entertainment! But you’re right, I should do other things with my time.

            See you later.

          • Kirk Diggler

            —–“But what’s the point of AOW if you can’t point out a script’s flaws whereever you find them?”———–

            I think you did that. You focused on one script only. You made it a public flogging. That was your choice, to spend time on a script (not reading it though) that you felt was no good. Again, it’s your time, spend it as you wish.

            Why didn’t you give the others a shot? Or at least one other? Space Invaders is getting talked up pretty good. Why not check it out to see for yourself?

            There is a reason why this is called AOW and not POW.

            I’m sure you do have something to offer this site. Your offered a lot of help last week to people with their loglines. Most everyone seemed appreciative of what you had to say.

            But at the same time, no one likes a public evisceration. It happens. There are a lot of scripts that made AF that sometimes get destroyed in the comments section in a way far worse than anything Carson could do.

            And sometimes it’s deserving. But even the posters who lay waste to a script do so but once, then move on. Which is probably what you should have done.

            And there is something to be said for blunt honesty. Many writers are of the ‘tell me the truth as long as you like it’ variety. And I’ve seen too many comments from friends of the writer who will say something like, “I’m sure this script will benefit from Carson’s eye”. Yeah, no shit. We shouldn’t vote for scripts that aren’t ready because you like the writer.

            We should be saying, “Hey, I bet CARSON and the writers who show up here would benefit from reading this.”

            Of course, those scripts are rare. But let’s keep looking. I have little doubt, and I mean little doubt, that a regular on this site will sell a script (and I don’t mean option) I mean SELL a script for some life changing money.

            Why? Because even if I still suck as a writer, I know I’m a lot better than the sucky writer I was two years ago. So imagine how good the good writers have been getting reading Carson’s articles and interacting with some incredibly bright people.

            Anyway, rant over. Good luck Scott, don’ stay away too long. We’ve all got something to offer this site, just have to figure out how to offer it.

          • Linkthis83

            In Scott’s defense, when he saw the love SPACE INVADERS was getting, he did open it to get the word count – and then proceeded to say it was word light – and that was a possible indicator of story issues.

            The other glaringly obvious thing that Scott is missing is the fact that scripts that are at the level he desires, will most likely bypass us here. And the rarity of great scripts/stories in general is EVERYWHERE. This isn’t a Scriptshadow issue.

            It’s also unlikely that when writers do get some work towards a career in HW, they are going to be too busy being professionals to run their specs script by us here. In fact, they probably won’t be able to based on certain deals and contracts with agents.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Once posted a comment on the Nicholl boards quoting the odds of making it in Hollywood. It was straight forward, facts. No hype or sarcasm.
            Nicholl deleted it.
            They sanitized. Didn’t want real life.

            Scripts get rejected for all different reasons.
            An executive flips through a script. Doesn’t like the look of it.
            Doesn’t like the logline. Doesn’t like the structure or treatment.
            That’s real life. But not allowed on SS.

            One or two guys post harsh comments about a SCRIPT. A small minority. But it’s not tolerated. They get PERSONALLY attacked.
            One now hasn’t reviewed a script in over a year or two. Another is accused of not playing fair. And is going to take some time off.

            We don’t need a sanitized version of screenwriting.

            A number of good people have already left SS. You need some balance. Not just people who agree with you. Different opinions.
            And yes, right or wrong — some it will be harsh.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Who made personal attacks against Scott? Who said Scott wasn’t entitled to his opinion? I’m all for giving it to writers straight.

            He made post after post after post about how goddamn awful someone’s script was. There is a polite way to tell someone you don’t care for what they wrote. It’s called tact. Scott was lacking in this. At some point you have to move on and beat a different horse dead.

          • Malibo Jackk

            “Who made personal attacks against Scott?”

            “It’s called tact. Scott was lacking in this.”

          • astranger2

            I agree with you 100% that when pages are reviewed on SS, it should be in the harshest professional light. We do ourselves no favor by coddling one another. Nurture one another? Sure. But no good comes from the former.

            Should I ever have the good fortune to be selected on AOW, I hope to be throughly savaged in that critical light. And we should thank the reviewers for actually taking the time and effort to do so.

            I feel many fine reviewers, like ED, CitizenM, and others (not trying to compile a list here, so forgive me if I just rattle a few off the top) have been highly critical, yet in a “nurturing” constructive way.

            KD’s last line echoed my thoughts. “At some point you have to move on and beat a different horse dead.” He seemed to take criticism of his criticism, personally.

            I respect your feelings here Malibo — but aren’t you being overly sensitive about writers being… sensitive?

            (I do think I got your Travolta quote. Reading the board lately in some ways felt like watching the cage scene in Thunderdome, where Max unmasks the Blaster — not finding the monster he had thought lurked underneath.)

          • Kirk Diggler

            That’s a reach.

          • Somersby

            I think you’re right. You need to step away. You don’t seem to have the sensitivity to realize that maybe you just say TOO much. Like the guy at the party who just can’t stop talking.

            Scott, reel it in. There’s not need for you to feel you have to share every thought in your brain. People can think for themselves. They can appreciate your input–but you present yourself as a guru. This is how it’s done. And if you don’t do it this way, you’re doing it wrong.

            Last week I suggested to Carson in an email that he should ask you to reign it in. At least just a little. Creative types don’t appreciate being told how to create. Suggestions and guidelines are fine. Rules thrown down by someone without any cred, not so much.

            I’m not trying to be cruel, but you have a tendency to comment on everything. You show little grace, little sense that your ideas are something that may or may not benefit screenwriter. You come across as an English soccer thug. There’s no room for negotiation, no patience for hearing an opposing point of view.

            You like outlines. Fine. If it works for you, great. But it’s not the only way writers write.

            I’ve read every one of your comments. It’s clear you have passion, you have intelligent insights, and you appreciate screenwriting (though I’ve not seen a single evaluation of a script–just its logline and WYSR.)

            Good luck on your projects. Come back when you’re ready–and please don’t feel so compelled to force your ways on the rest of us.

          • astranger2

            Very nicely put.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Hey Scott
            Getting back to business —
            Drop me your email when you get a chance.
            Would like to keep it on file.
            Like what you do with loglines. Might need help sometime.
            Thanks.

            malibujackk at gmail dot com

          • davejc

            “He’s had time to write more stuff. He hasn’t.”

            I’ve written three plays, Scott. But you wouldn’t know that, how could you?

          • walker

            Scott that means you have an opinion on the logline and the synopsis, but not on the script. Because you decided it wasn’t worth your time, based on your assessment of the logline and the synopsis. I guess that is ok, but don’t pass it off as an opinion on the script itself. And I have to wonder about the time-wasting angle, because in the time it has taken to reflexively defend your controversial methodologies you could have actually read some of these scripts.

          • Scott Crawford

            I actually have flicked through some of these scripts in order to form an opinion. It’s a snap judgement, but there you go, in this business snap judgements are made. If people want a pat on the back and a “keep going”, then fine.

            Bad logline + Bad story = Bad script, no matter how many times it is rewritten.

        • astranger2

          For the most part I’ve always enjoyed the discussions here — whether about the craft or not, they’ve always been, for the most part, stimulating.

          I really wasn’t trying to point any one individual, but the bulk of conversations about “i” dotting and “t” crossing…

          … in the case of the first AOW entrant, I guess “period” placing WAS important… but for the most part posters here have bigger, more interesting fish to fry…

          • Kirk Diggler

            How art thou, thou globby bottle of cheap stinking chip-oil?

            No, I agree with you regarding all the pearl clutching that goes on regarding all the non-story minutiae. Yes, it’s wise to put periods at the end of your sentences. Have proper sluglines. But ultimately, story, structure and character deserves the most discussion.

          • astranger2

            I love that line of dialogue…

            People who have never seen Clockwork miss out on the rich, futuristic gang-speak and world created by Anthony Burgess in his novel…

            … it is as much about eloquence, as it is about violence. Clockwork made Malcolm McDowell — one of Kubrick’s finest…

          • Kirk Diggler

            The book is a lot of fun too. It’s like you’re learning a new language.

          • astranger2

            “And it was like for a moment, O my brothers, some great bird had flown into the milkbar and I felt all the malenky little hairs on my plott standing endwise and the shivers crawling up like slow malenky lizards and then down again. Because I knew what she sang. It was a bit from the glorious Ninth, by Ludwig van.”

            It was the first time I read a novel with a vocabulary glossary for a non-existent language. (Pre-Klingon era.)

            And talk about being flowery, and overly-novelistic. But it worked because the character uttered those words himself. Either in VO or to others. It wasn’t in the exposition.

            Before Clockwork I only listed to rock music. After the film I developed a deep interest in Classical music, particularly Beethoven and Rossini.

            Like The Exorcist, both the film and novel were superb. One huge difference though — in the book the droogs wore pure white outfits with black hats and boots.

            In the novel, Burgess chose all black — which works for New Zealand rugby teams. And while it probably would’ve still played well, the whites the droogies wore were in stark ironic contrast to the usual manner bad guys are portrayed.

          • walker

            Anthony Burgess was an unbelievably accomplished artist who produced novels, poetry, screenplays, essays, criticism, and also composed over 250 musical works.

          • walker

            me lovely droogs

          • Linkthis83

            Love the book – once I finally understood what they were saying. Do you viddy this? Do you slooshy that?

          • astranger2

            It took me a couple of reads… but the way the language flows is amazing… Droogie-speak is so much more eloquent than — Klingon… gluk glum…

          • klmn

            No time for the old in-out, luv. I’ve just come to read your meter.

            Upon reading this, Carson runs out for a cheeseburger.

          • klmn

            If a script isn’t written in more or less standard English, I’m not going to read it. Dialogue can be whatever dialect the writer chooses, but in description and action the writer should make an effort.

          • astranger2

            Actually, I’ve never read the screenplay for Clockwork. I wonder how it plays out… thanks for the idea.

          • klmn

            With Clockwork you have a great established director working with a great established novelist.

            I think an unknown spec writer might want to avoid that style of writing.

          • astranger2

            Right, right, right.

            IF, however, you could write like Burgess you might take the chance… IF… but that quality of craft is hard to come by…

          • klmn

            Thinking about it some more, I wonder if it just means that writer hasn’t been typing very long?

            For me – and probably most others – hitting the period and then the space bar is automatic. To not punctuate would require deliberate effort.

            Either way, it’s a red flag.

      • Scott Crawford

        16,000 word scripts are competing against 19,000 word scripts.

        16,000 words over 100 pages is too short for a screenplay.

        This is not vacuously insipid, it’s reality. If a script that short was submitted to the film industry, people would think it needed “fleshing out”.

        • astranger2

          Rules and guidelines are vital in any society or organization. It’s the reason we have speed bumps and out-of-bounds boundaries on our sports playing fields.

          Structure is important in all things and something as writers we should always address. “Does the scene adhere to the spine of the story?” But just as in nature, while most animals cannot function without a spine, a jellyfish is a beautiful creature and manages magnificently without one.

          But to imply you can’t occasionally color outside of the lines, and color well, is patently absurd, and rigid.

          I agree you should know the rules before you break them. And to paraphrase grendl’s previous post — when you do break them you should do it with “fear and arrogance.”

          Fear that despite all the blood you’ve poured onto your pages it’s an abysmal failure — and the arrogance to push it forward regardless — because you know you’ve left it all out there between FADE IN and FADE OUT, and are willing to endure the slings and arrows.

          But if artists, inventors, and writers didn’t break rules you wouldn’t have the wealth of culled creative beauty we experience in all our cultures today… the world would be an extremely flat and vanilla environment.

          And weren’t there a few forty-page plus scripts optioned recently? As the tired cliche goes, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…”

          • Scott Crawford

            Eh?

          • astranger2

            Eh…? Well, quoting Emily Litella once again… “never mind.”

          • klmn

            I know of no screenwriting rules that specify a minimum number of words.

            People might try to understand what Ludwig Mies van der Rohe meant when he said, “Less is more.”

            A lot of scripts are padded with unneeded qualifiers – adjectives and adverbs. Usually, these weaken the thought the sentence expresses.

            Fucking – used as an adjective – is an exception. It serves as an intensifier. You can probably look at all profanity and obscenity in the same way.

            But its use should be limited to the appropriate occasions. In only a few cases – where it is part of the culture portrayed – should it be used a lot. Examples include FULL METAL JACKET and GOODFELLAS.

  • ChadStuart

    One of the best movies ever, period. All three characters have perfect introductions. They’re brilliantly drawn from beginning to end. Even the supporting characters are brilliant. You’re right. It’s brilliant for every reason in the book.

  • andyjaxfl

    Ron Shelton’s commentary on the DVD is pretty enlightening about the writing and development of the movie. It’s worth checking out if you are interested and have the time.

    He speaks at length about avoiding the usual sports cliches (the big game as a climax as you mentioned) and the important of taking the audience somewhere they’ve never seen before (in a batter’s head during an at-bat, in a pitcher’s head, using a woman as the primary protagonist) — all of which he believes are of the utmost importance when writing a sports movie that is not based on a true story.

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

    Vote in no particular order: Space Invaders and Liar. Coward. Judge.
    (both deserve a shot from what I read in the first five pages of each)

    Couldn’t get into the other three…

    …nor did I like Nick’s “Why you should read my shit because all of yours sucks, even though I don’t like to punctuate, but that’s only because my work is just so superior to yours that I don’t need to”

    I guess we should all just quit screenwriting since we don’t know how to write, and bow down in awe to our new screenwriting god lol there is such a thing as humility while still having self-confidence in your work

    Don’t put down the people who could possibly make or break your career

    Not to mention the producers and directors or whoever else who reads this site that have the power to move your career forward, because right off the bat you segregate yourself from us “other, sucky writers” and make it seem like you’re not going to be an easy writer to work with. Who may start having a hissy fit when they bring in another writer to work of fixing the trouble spots on your screenplay because you don’t think they’re worthy

    We all know, people hire their friends in this business. People they can work with. People they can trust. Unless you’re a megastar who makes them a gazillion bucks at the box office

    Give them one reason not to hire you and they’ll take it. There’s too many other writers out there

    I must be on a rant-filled weekend lol I must have some steam to blow

    (and the lack of punctuation was on purpose)

  • Bill Anthony Lawrence

    Just wanted to drop in and say I’m really digging Space Invaders. Was planning to read only the first ten, but it sucked me in, and I have to stay for more. I like the humor, I like the style and I’m really seeing and believing the characters. Well done.
    With the exception of Saul Roth’s Band of Merry Felons (for reasons discussed at length already … unless of course the whole thing is just a joke. Hmmmm), the other entries have a lot going for them as well.

  • astranger2

    AOW

    I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t read AOW in quite a while, but this recent group of entrants seems really strong. I’ve only read twenty-plus pages of most, but a few are such enjoyable reads, I plan to finish them.

    SPACE INVADERS (My Vote)

    is my favorite, however. From Sarah’s opening V.O. and send-up of 2001, the script is funny, and visual. I would love to see this in film form. It is definitely an easy, breezy read. The dialogue and story is very fresh, imo.

    LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE. (Close Second)

    The dialogue and description are very well done. It starts extremely well, and has that classic old west feel. If Space Invaders didn’t make me laugh out loud, I probably would’ve picked this as I found it a compelling read in so many ways.

    These two stood out seamlessly for me, for whatever reason. Probably because I’m a dialogue freak, and loved the way the characters in these scripts bantered.

    50 High Street and Let Us Touch The Sun were also well-written, but didn’t draw me in as quickly and convincingly as Invaders and Liar. Still, of high-quality in all ways.

    • Levres de Sang

      Many thanks for reading 20 pages or so! I hope you might consider finishing Let Us Touch The Sun at some point…

  • walker

    It is beautifully described, but there are so many exquisite details and, crucially, no apparent hierarchy of detail, to help the reader/viewer focus that it quickly becomes an impediment to the read.

    • Levres de Sang

      Thank you for this, walker. Your “hierarchy of detail” is a fascinating thing to think about…

      • walker

        It is certainly understandable if you are coming from a prose fiction background, and your points of reference are literary, or even cinematic beyond Hollywood. I know because I am guilty of similar excesses myself. In addition to just exhausting your audience with beautiful information, or confusing them by not differentiating between important story information and atmospheric window-dressing, there is a separate, technical issue. If you overemphasize any of the three elements of a screenplay– action, dialogue, description– the resulting imbalance will skew the minute-per-page rule of thumb, and the script could end up playing too long or too short.

        • Levres de Sang

          “… the three elements of a screenplay–action, dialogue, description”. For me, this is an excellent observation. It may seem obvious, but I’ve genuinely learned something here as previously I’d not consciously differentiated between action and description… Rest assured that once the dust has settled I’ll be creating my own “What I Learned” document from all of these comments.

          • walker

            Unfortunately one of the things you will learn is to double check anything I tell you with someone qualified.

          • Panos Tsapanidis

            Hey, that’s a nice blog post idea!

            Every writer that was competing in the current week’s AOW writes a small “What I Learned” paragraph; or if he/she can be minimalistic enough, writes a tweet that Carson retweets.

          • Levres de Sang

            Agreed!

  • Casper Chris

    SPACE INVADERS

    Read the first 15 pages or so.
    The opening quite effective in drawing you in. Very breezy, yet deliberate and quite humorous.

    Nothing here that really makes me sit up and take notice, though. Solid enough for what it is (light, silly fare), but I’m going to try one of the other scripts.

    Niggles:

    Sarah eats Honeynut Cheerios with one hand, commanding a line of tanks with the other/

    Playing high-level Starcraft with one hand? Unlikely. I’m thinking the writer hasn’t played.
    lay dead = lie dead (p5)

    am I dude = am I a dude (p8)

  • Tom

    Big thanks to everyone who took a look at SPACE INVADERS!

    It’s an incredible experience to stand on this platform, naked and blind-folded, and unsure if those sounds I hear coming are gunshots or fireworks… or a combination of both. Thank you to everyone who read pages, and especially those who chimed in with their thoughts.

    I actually submitted this awhile ago, and thought that it had slipped through the cracks. Some things have happened in my career in the meantime, and I feel it would be appropriate to withdraw SPACE INVADERS from consideration. Sorry if this feels like I wasted your time, as I had no idea it was going to be posted this weekend.

    And now that I don’t have a horse in this race, I would like to address something…

    Trying to equate word count to script quality is the DUMBEST FUCKING THING I have ever read on this site. Granted, I’m not as frequent a contributor as some, so perhaps dumber things have been uttered, but I have yet to read such idiocies. And I’m only commenting on it because I feel concentrating on such meaningless metrics is dangerous for writers.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as self-defense because I really feel that I have nothing to defend. In fact, now that I know what my word count is, I’m very proud of the story that I told in ONLY 16,000 words.

    I don’t want any writers to read Scott’s posts and think, “Gee, I need more words.” Or “Hey, I’m on the low end. That means I can get away with more words!” It is the worst and dumbest way to quantify a script, and if you let such thinking get inside your head, you’ll be a worse writer because of it.

    Use as many words as are necessary to tell your story. Some scripts require intricate mood-setting prose. Some don’t. Some 25,000 word scripts are ineptly thin, and are stuffed with padding. The point is, I don’t want anyone to feel that it’s necessary to open with long-flowery descriptions because that’s what Scott Crawford says. No producer or agent runs word counts. No one cares. It’s all about the movie they see in their heads.

    It’s true that page count is another arbitrary gauge of a script’s focus. But page count is more macro by nature. If you have a 125 page comedy, then chances are you have scenes, sequences, or even characters that are unnecessary. I haven’t seen similar correlations drawn with word count. SPACE INVADERS is 37% dialogue and 51% action, proportions that I am content with. I honestly don’t know where the extra 5000 words went that Scott requires. But I don’t miss them.

    Ultimately, don’t focus on word count. Focus on flow and pace, as those are unquantifiable, but much more accurate determinants of a script’s quality.

    Anyway, thanks again for the reads and comments. Good luck to the other entrants!

    • andyjaxfl

      Hey Tom, I hope those things happening in your career involve SPACE INVADERS. I finished it this morning and loved it. Keep up the great work!

    • davejc

      The only metric to gauge the real quality of a script is to read it.

      • NajlaAnn

        No argument from me.

    • klmn

      Congrats on your apparent success. Please keep us posted on any developments.

    • astranger2

      “No producer or agent runs word counts. No one cares. It’s all about the movie they see in their heads.”

      A priceless line. I hope you’re withdrawing because there are some bigger things happening with Space Invaders — it truly is a festive and fun read.

      “…all about the movie they see in their heads.” Gold.

      • BSBurton

        hahaha, good one!

    • Linkthis83

      Hey Tom – this post is going to be a little contradictory, but I swear to you the TONE is fun.

      THE GOOD: Based on just a few posts of yours and your screenplay, it makes perfect sense that you might be on the verge of professional success. Congrats to you and thank you for sharing SPACE INVADERS with us.

      THE EXTREME: You effing asshat! You could’ve pulled your script yesterday. Why wait til this late today? That’s kind of a dick move. With that being said…I’m effing pissed at you right now. And it’s are all for selfish reasons. This is an extremely selfish reply by me right now. How dare you give me, yes I said ME, a script to read, that I enjoyed very much, a script that had me entertained and excited about the prospect that it would get an AF review and I’d get to read Carson’s response and then you freaking take it away. You selfish, arrogant tool. (remember this is all fun)

      Sincerely though, I’m sure you pulled this for good reasons. I wish you well and hope you show up from time to time to share some stories, experiences and advice :) Oh, and will you autograph my pdf of SPACE INVADERS?

      • Tom

        Ha! I’ll make it up to you, Link. I am going to comment the fuck out of one of your scripts!

    • Nicholas J

      Well there goes my vote. Best of luck to you and thanks for the fun read anyway.

    • davejc

      “Trying to equate word count to script quality is the DUMBEST FUCKING THING I have ever read on this site.”

      I love it!! And I bow down before Tom who would have won this competition hands down if he stayed. Congratulations Tom! I believe good things are coming your way.

    • BSBurton

      Glad that you’re getting some traction in the industry. People love this script and it sounds like you’re overdue for success

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

      I still think we should see a review.

      • klmn

        If Carson has already read and started a review, it would be unfair to expect him to throw away the work he’s done.

    • Erica

      And that’s how you “Pwn” a message board…

  • lysdexicuss

    LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE

    Love the concept will keep reading but as it stands it needs to tighten up.

    Quibbles, PAGE 1: The Captain says you’ll have to tell me again… which implies he’s already been told ONCE, so… how can the Assassin now keep his trade secret ? Makes no sense. Better to write: CAPTAIN: How’d you ride in here, unseen ? ASSASSIN: Normally, I keep trade secrets to myself, Hendricks… But your Men are pretty fuck’n drunk !

    PAGE 2: Halfway down, should read “Why do you offer an advance” or “Why are you offering”, not “Why do you offering”.

    Descriptive narrative too can be streamlined. Example: ‘There are only two men inside. They are sat separated by a ornate table, with a map spread across it.’ Why not simplify to ‘Two Men sit opposite an ornate table with a map spread across’ ? One line versus two, same meaning. I understand you’re going for a Civil War vibe but we Readers live in the 21st Century. Keep the dialog to time-period; narrative modern. Otherwise, good luck !

  • klmn

    I don’t think he’s referring to grendl.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read 28 pages of “Liar Coward Thief”.

    This reads like the writers power-watched all three seasons of Deadwood.

    Not a complaint or anything. The dialogue is heavily stylized in the David Milch way. They more or less pull it off, save for a words here and there that seem to have a modern British influence, like ‘fuck all’ and ‘being buggered’. One of the characters uses the phrase ‘technically’, which felt a little out of place.

    If I had a real complaint, it might along the lines of, ‘who is the protagonist?’ and ‘what are the goals?’ (beyond survival). There is no real urgency for these characters. The Assassin had his bounty dismembered. Why didn’t he just grab Jefferson’s head (if it was still there) and high tail it out of there instead of sticking with the priest and deserter? He had a horse no? Why bring two people along who will just slow him down? That seemed forced.

    Regardless, this is very well presented. A murderous Sasquatch story might not be my thing but the writing was solid so it kept me reading.

    If Space Invaders disqualifies from the AF review, this would get my vote. Good luck.

  • Levres de Sang

    Many thanks for giving LET US TOUCH THE SUN a go… and that’s a valuable note about important details getting lost in unimportant details.

  • Levres de Sang

    Many thanks for giving my script a go…!

  • BSBurton

    thanks man

  • BSBurton

    That movie blew hahaha. The continuity errors alone were astounding

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: 50 High Street

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

    Why are people too scared to use their real names?

    And how can an opinion about the greatest songwriter be wrong? Isn’t it all subjective? If he’s said Pee-Wee Herman, you may have a point.

    Now, a quote one of the greatest songwriters to ever live ;)

    “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be. But before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.” — Bob Marley

  • Kirk Diggler

    You never fail to amuse, I’ll give you that.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Try some Scotch.
    See if it helps.

  • Malibo Jackk

    You must have missed my other posts.

    And there’s this:
    “Unless they’re the opinions of people you don’t like on this board.”
    I don’t dislike anybody on this board.

  • Midnight Luck

    Choice:
    50 High Street

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to SPACE INVADERS, or LET US TOUCH THE SUN for something a bit different.
    &nbsp:

    SAUL ROTH’S BAND OF MERRY FELONS
    Read to page 23. No real objections. It was a quick read, but too light and fluffy. The humor seemed to evaporate from page 12 on. It was all just setting up the mechanics. There was no fizz, no pop, in the characters’ dialogue. I never got a feel for their separate natures except maybe Saul. So far no sign of a road trip. I’m assuming from the logline they rob the casino then have misadventures on the way back. Things are moving too slowly. We should be mid-robbery by now.

    BTW I quite liked the lack of periods. It gave the script a clean appearance. It was a simple convention: the last sentence in a paragraph doesn’t need a full stop — the blank line following makes clear we have reached the end of the sentence. Not applied consistently, though

    p. 10 – Spell out numerals in dialogue.

    p. 12 – Repetitive re getting caught. Not funny. Cut.

    p. 13 – INGMAR s/be TIMMY

    p. 14 – Timmy sounds competent. Based on when we first met him I thought he was the klutz of the group. Not sure what to make of him. Timmy is a weak name. Does that reflect his character?

    p. 15 – “…in the eye again that.” Cut “that”

    p. 16 – Ingmar doesn’t talk like any sort of pimp, let alone a Swedish one.

    p. 23 – “breathe of fresh air” s/be “breath of fresh air”
    &nbsp:

    SPACE INVADERS
    Read to page 23. Quite funny and lively. I like the family and Sarah, but Sarah’s trip to Las Vegas seems unmotivated and off the main story line. There’s nothing in her character to suggest she’d want to do it. Would like a better idea of what to expect at NORAD when she gets there.

    p. 1 – How do you say ‘pwn’ out loud?

    p. 2 – “12,000 to 14,000″

    p. 2 – Could make the aliens funnier. Show red stuff going into device and black stuff coming out. Aliens celebrate, give big high-fives.

    p. 3 – “among non-Koreans” Funny!

    p. 4 – Given Sarah’s diet and exercise regime, she’s fat and with acne, right?

    p. 5 – I thought ‘pr0n’ had numeral ‘0’. I’m not sure ‘pwn’ and ‘pr0n’ add anything to the script.

    p. 9 – Surely most pron-zombies would be horny teenage losers?

    p. 10 – Need more detail. How do fat middle-aged men manage to restrain young people in their 20s and carry them off?

    p. 13 – How does Sarah know about worker unit choice algorithm? Presumably from her computer game mad skillz, but it needs to be shown early on.

    p. 20 – Why would Sarah want to visit a casino? Slows story down and adds expense.
    &nbsp:

    LET US TOUCH THE SUN
    Read to page 28. The beginnings of a plot emerged on page 26. Before that, it was more like an extended advertisement for some up-market perfume — all surface, impressionistic, wealthy and decadent. I can see an art director and costumier having fun planning the shoot, but I fear it will be rather bum-numbing to watch. Actually, I rather enjoyed it so far, but I don’t foresee much happening except more of the same, so I stopped reading.

    I think you need a shot of the liner steaming into harbor and the passengers going ashore. I presume that’s what they do. I was never quite sure of the relationship between the terrace scenes and the ship scenes.
    &nbsp:

    50 HIGH STREET
    Read the old version to page 18 (which should actually be page 17). It’s written very confusingly. I find it hard to know what’s going on. Can I suggest you set the scene before starting any developments? Marie and Ed live in a big old house at 50 High Street in Maine with their four young daughters. Let us first see that, and see the current state of their marriage. Then start with the divorce stuff.

    What is their relationship that Marie can just command Ed to go to Arizona in a trailer. Is he with the kids? Why does he meekly go; doesn’t he have a job? Is his leg still broken in Arizona? How does he drive then?

    At what point in the story is it Halloween and they discover the secret passage in the house? Or are they imagining a secret passage? I had no idea what was going on with the built-in, whatever that was.

    Also at this point it seems Ed and Marie are talking about the divorce with three of their kids present, but the kids don’t realize they are talking about divorce. Impossible. Kids can pick that sort of stuff up.

    The first part, with the explosion in the kitchen, read almost like a comedy, but I don’t think that’s what the writer was going for. Before that, the corpses — were they in the crate under the hemlock, or did the crates contain only hemlock (as was stated) and the corpses were in the snow?

    Honestly, just write what happens, and leave the director and the editor to play with images and the sequence of events. The divorce industry is a strong enough subject to be told without a lot of story-telling tricks.
    &nbsp:

    LIAR. COWARD. JUDGE
    Read to page 19. The story was slow, the dialogue repetitive, there was too much profanity that didn’t sound of the period, and I didn’t believe that people would behave that way, anyway. It seems that the writer is trying to set a mood of grimness, tension, and menace. He has not succeeded. So far, no sign of the promised sasquatch. I suspect it is a thin story, padded out.

    p. 1 – What army is the Captain with?

    p. 1 – Is the Assassin uninformed, uniformed, or un-uniformed? Perhaps just say he is dressed in ragged civilian clothes (if that is the case).

    p. 2 – Let us know early he’s an assassin. Suggestion: When the Assassin says “I’ll keep my trade to myself” the Captain could say, “Then I suppose you won’t tell me how you killed him. No matter. …etc”

    p. 4 – ‘led justice’ s/be ‘lead justice’

    p. 5 – Too much swearing. Sounds too modern.

    “defend me what I’m hiding from” s/be “defend me from…”

    p. 12 “on select few” s/be “only select few”

    p. 12 – What happened to the horse that was standing outside the church? Was it the priest’s or Jefferson’s? If Jefferson took it, what happened to it after he hanged himself?

    p. 13 – Did the Assassin ride a horse? (I can’t imagine a guy like him on foot. What if his target is on horseback?)

    p. 13 – ‘bedclothes’ are sheets, pillows, blankets etc. The Deserter is in his underclothes

    p. 19 – ‘foul sent’ s/be ‘foul scent’

    • websters

      Hi Citizen M, thanks for your notes on Liar. Coward. Judge. sorry to hear it wasn’t your thing but we will work on the points you raised. By the looks of it we need to clarify a few things earlier and be a bit cleverer with our descriptions, but thanks again, this is all good stuff!

    • davejc

      Thank you CM! Those are all good points, especially this one: “The divorce industry is a strong enough subject to be told without a lot of story-telling tricks.

      Some issues are already addressed in the current draft.”

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

      The page count thing is the result of the word processor I use. There’s no option to either skip the title page or start at zero. Once again, thank you!

    • Levres de Sang

      Thank you for taking an extended look at LET US TOUCH THE SUN. I’m glad you enjoyed it! And I genuinely chuckled at your “extended advertisement for some up-market perfume” comment. :) I realise my script is a little slow for most people’s taste, but I CAN promise an exploding helicopter in Act 3…! By the way, those early ship scenes are a series of flashbacks: when the ship is later given clearance to continue its journey we do get a shot of it leaving harbour (p.34).

  • websters

    Hi Kev, thanks for these notes on Liar. Coward. Judge, looks like we have quite a bit of work on grammar and spelling mistakes to keep us busy tracking down.

    I believe “careers” is a verb that can be used in this way, maybe it is used more over here in England so we could look at swapping that out. This will help us a lot on our rewrites, glad you enjoyed what you read (even if it was bleak!). As for missing a point, I think it might need a bigger end goal, it is something we looked at in previous rewrites and did identify it as a weak point and dedicated some time to it, which by the sounds of it we need to revisit again.

    Thanks!

  • Poe_Serling

    As the dust finally settles over the ‘script word count’ controversy…

    My Pick This Week: LET US TOUCH THE SUN

    I took the opportunity to take a quick peek at all of this week’s AOW contenders. Just a few random thoughts:

    >>50 High Street… I’m pretty sure I’ve read this script before… perhaps under a different title? And I sorta remember commenting on it too. I’m hoping my imagination and reality aren’t starting to blur. ;-)

    >>Space Invaders… Since the writer has already pulled this one from the competition, I’ll just watch his success with it from the SS sidelines.

    >>Liar. Coward. Judge… This was a close second in my book. There were a lot of compelling story threads interwoven in this project.

    One minor suggestion. I think I would drop both the Bible verse and the location card at the beginning. Personally, I feel the journal entry by itself is a great mystery box to kickstart this script into action and you could still sneak in the story’s time frame. See below.

    TITLE CARD. WHITE ON A BLACK SCREEN

    … he took one step to my three and I knew we could not outrun him. And I knew we could not outthink him and when I saw him I knew we could not outfight him. That terrible

    ape… – Excerpt from journal. Dated 1865.

    Found Missouri 1993. Author unknown.

    >>Let Us Touch the Sun… I thought for sure Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon were going to pop up any second. The opening had all the right sequel ingredients for The Hunger 2.

    And yes, the prose is definitely a bit flowery , but any writer inspired by Rollin’s LIPS OF BLOOD, Franco’s VAMPYROS LESBOS and Kumel’s DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS deserves a shot at the AF crown in my book.

    • klmn

      I think the reason Let Us Touch The Sun reads easily is that it is written mostly in simple sentences and sentence fragments. Not many complex and compound-complex sentences (judging by what I’ve read).

      If Carson wants to take a different tack with his review, this might be a good one to look at from the standpoint of sentence structure.

      • Poe_Serling

        I could see Miss SS reviewing this one… then putting the bite on Carson. Soon Carson begins to have visions of a
        young woman dressed in white who is locked behind the doors of an In-and-Out.

        **You should check out Lips of Darkness (Levras de Sang) if you ever get the chance… I think it might be right down your alley. You can find the full-length movie on youtube.

        • klmn

          Thanks. I’ll do it.

    • davejc

      Hi Poe. 50 High St was posted in the comments section a few months back. So your memory is working properly :)

    • Levres de Sang

      Hi Poe… I’ve only just seen your AOW comment & vote! Thank you! I’d always secretly hoped LET US TOUCH THE SUN might be in your wheelhouse, but presumed that you weren’t around this last weekend. I always enjoy your posts (your knowledge of the horror and mystery genres seems encyclopaedic) so it’s a real honour to get your vote!

      Perhaps by way of enticement for you to read further I can divulge that my closing scene is stylistically influenced by the ending to DESIGNATED VICTIM — a fantastic 1970s Italian reworking of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

      Thanks, too, for the Lips of Darkness tip-off. I will check it out as I confess to not having heard of it, but it certainly sounds like a homage to Lips of Blood and Daughters of Darkness!

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey-

        Thanks for the kind words.

        If I get the opportunity, I’ll definitely try to finish the script. Hopefully we’ll see a full review from Carson in one of the upcoming AF slots. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

        ***There is no film Lips of Darkness… at least I don’t think there is. It was just an typing error on my part when I was recommending Lips of Blood to klmn. Sorry about the confusion.

        • Levres de Sang

          Thanks Poe, that’s much appreciated!

          ** I thought it strange I hadn’t heard of Lips of Darkness! :)

  • davejc

    Thank you Tony for taking time to read and give thoughtful notes. The current version is much more focused and 6 pages are cut from the first act:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlz52r0cgujdt5o/50HIGHST120914.pdf?dl=0

    Once again I thank you sir!

  • davejc

    Obviously he was kidding and his point was a lot of drafts and a lot of work.

  • Levres de Sang

    Thank you for your detailed notes on LET US TOUCH THE SUN. They are much appreciated. I have to admit the first 10 pages caused me a lot of problems – perhaps emanating from the fact that this turned out to be BOTH Valerie and Malika’s story. Indeed, I’m determined to play with less characters overall in my next project. The long sequence on the restaurant terrace was meant to bring the characters together in conjunction with Rollin’s investigation. Whereas the opening sequence (with the Scrabble tiles) is Valerie’s premonition of meeting her next victim, Malika. Hence the ONE MONTH LATER jump to the film’s present. Anyway, thanks again for reading!

  • davejc

    If anybody’s interested here is the most recent draft (significant changes: point of view structure and character) based on notes I received here @ AOW :)

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/edzp0kh3hnp79md/50HighSt2015draft.pdf?dl=0

  • davejc

    Thank you, Sir! I didn’t see your post before. And I confess I pictured Ed Norton when i was writing it. Here is the draft with revisions based on AOW:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/edzp0kh3hnp79md/50HighSt2015draft.pdf?dl=0