amateur-offerings-weekend

Read the latest amateur scripts below and vote for the best while offering constructive criticism! Want to receive the scripts in advance? Opt in to get the newsletter!

TITLE: Big Brother
GENRE: Drama
LOGLINE: When a busy executive travels to a small village to investigate his brother’s disappearance, the locals and the atmosphere have an unsettling and lasting effect on him.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: This script made the top 15% in the Nicholl and the second round in the Austin. It is largely free of spelling errors.

TITLE: Blood of the Butcher
GENRE: Crime Thriller
LOGLINE: Diagnosed with terminal leukemia, a corrupt desk-jockey FBI agent enlists the help of an aging hit-man to hunt down the savage serial killer that she let loose.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: After reviewing so many amateur scripts here on Scriptshadow I thought it was time the masses got their opportunity at payback. The script was written as part of the Industry Insider competition, so my only hope is that it upholds the high standard set by previous finalists who have had favourable reviews on SS. Thanks.

TITLE: The Shrike
GENRE: Horror
LOGLINE: A young girl struggles to understand her connection to an ancient monster that impales its victims in the trees.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Because this is horror with heart. It is also the cleanest, tightest, and most original amateur script of the year. Enjoy.

TITLE: REBEL CITY
GENRE: Crime thriller
LOGLINE: Over the course of one night a reformed father must step back into his murky past to find his criminal brother who is the only suitable donor for his dying son…
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I think it was Tarantino that said he’d been staring through the window at the industry for so long prior to Reservoir Dogs’ success that it felt normal for him to be on the outside now. At times I very much feel the same. I’ve had the agents, the managers, the lawyers and done the water bottle tour too. I’ve had scripts go out to all the major studios and prod cos and placed highly or won most of the major contests worth entering. I’ve written/directed my own award winning short films that allowed me to go around the world to various festivals and meet audiences first hand, and I’ve had pilots go into networks and yet I’m still here bashing away, whilst staring through that looking glass and working as a bartender. So, I decided to take stock, go away and write something that I’d want to see at the cinema. A movie me and my buddies would find cool. It’s taken me 13 feature scripts and 4 pilots to “find my voice” and I’m keen to show it to a script writing community that’s as passionate about writing great stories as I am. This is REBEL CITY – with echoes of Michael Mann’s Thief and The Friends of Eddie Doyle – it’s a neo noir crime flick… Hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

TITLE: The Greenhouse
GENRE: Psychological drama
LOGLINE: Seven-year-old Blaire knows nothing of life outside an environmentalist cult led by her mother — but will her grandparents’ fight for custody succeed in time for her to have a chance at a normal childhood?
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I’m a 22-year-old, recent college graduate with approximately zero screenwriting experience and a devout love for the collaborative environment of this site. My first screenplay, The Greenhouse, was inspired by my relationship with my mother, Ingrid in White Oleander, and a curiosity of the ways subcultures evolve as mainstream culture does. A slightly-less-edited version of this screenplay placed in the top 10% of the Nicholl Fellowships competition, but it’s in need of additional eyes – and opinions on the controversial ending – to help me take it to the next level!

  • Paul Clarke

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity Carson.

    It’s a somewhat terrifying experience being on the other side of the reviews. I look forward to everyone’s knowledgeable feedback. Thanks in advance.

    Time to check out the competition…

    • Casper Chris

      ohmigod, ohmigod! A Paul Clarke script!!! *fangirling*

    • Linkthis83

      I’m pretty sure we could make a case for you to get a review based on your extensive contributions to SS and the infinite number of amateur scripts you’ve read/noted. Congrats on having a script in AOW!!!!

    • Paul Clarke

      Wow guys, this is crazy. I’ve just compiled all the notes and it comes to 11,500 words! That’s more like a small book. Can’t say thank you enough. The entire experience has been humbling and motivating at the same time.

      Keep up the good work team SS.

      • mulesandmud

        Seems like this weekend was about as big of a win for you as AOW can be. The notes you’ve gotten are some of the most thoughtful and comprehensive I’ve ever seen on this site. Great feedback to point you toward the next draft.

        If you don’t mind my saying, it might be in your best interests to take the thoughts you’ve gotten and run with them for now; save Carson’s eyes for another draft. I’m not sure what the politics are of stepping out of the running like that, but you’ve certain got enough support here to secure yourself a read when the time comes.

        And since I missed all the fireworks this weekend, would be happy to put fresh eyes on a rewrite, if you’d like. Regardless, best of luck with it.

  • Malibo Jackk

    #4
    It’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

    • brenkilco

      The Friends of Eddie Coyle was quite a literary phenom when it was published back at the beginning of the seventies. Well before Mamet and twenty years before Tarantino author Higgins was celebrated for his realistic criminal dialogue. In fact I recall the book as being mostly dialogue. The movie is a faithful adaptation. Not quite the classic some say and very, very low key for what is ostensibly a thriller but definitely worthwhile. Mitchum isn’t quite right in the lead. but he’s still impressive. And Friends isn’t that far outside the zeitigeist. Killing Me Softly from a couple of years back was a higgins adaptation. And things like Prisoners aren’t that far removed.

      • Malibo Jackk

        TFOEC was original back in the 70s.
        KMS didn’t do that well. Not sure I would mention it.
        Prisoners was different. High concept.

        (Just an opinion. Maybe the script kicks ass.)

  • Jonas E.

    Great loglines this week.

  • GYAD

    Righto, one by one, here’s my thoughts.

    BIG BROTHER
    p.1 “Mists” — I don’t think mist can be plural.
    p.10 “angular electronica” — Angular how?
    p.10 Please God, not an evil Blackwater clone again.
    p.16 Military contractors don’t really wear uniforms. Baseball caps or a t-shirt maybe.

    I read up to page 20. The old small town mystery is always good and there’s lots of set up with all kinds of mystery people doing mystery things and watching other people. However it seems that it’s going to go down the old evil Blackwater clone route here. We’ve all seen that too often and it makes the script feel like it was written in 2006. Maybe I’m being unfair and it’ll have a big twist but I feel like I’ve seen this movie already. The writing is pretty good but the dialogue is a bit too straightforward, with the hero simply asking and getting information without any conflict (or anything else). Also, the logline seriously undermines the script: it’s hard to be excited about the ‘locals and atmosphere having an unsettling and lasting’ effect on the hero. That makes it sound really weedy.

    • GYAD

      BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER
      p.7 The hooligan’s dialogue isn’t very hooligan-ish.
      p.8 Nice reversal of hooligan/Tony.
      p.10 Perhaps Tony should finish with a flourish by demanding his money back, with interest: “You changed the deal.”
      p.12 Leukemia as well. Perhaps too much. Or maybe alter it up, with a physically strong woman/good shooter who is getting thinner/weaker as the disease progresses. Gives more urgency: her body is a ticking time bomb.
      p.25 This does seem like a lot of evidence for the FBI to have missed.

      Hey, Paul wrote a script. That makes it a definite read based on the consistent quality of his comments here. I read up to p.25 but I’d read on. There’s a definite “Silence of the Lambs” feeling – a young, physically small but intelligent woman taking on a serial killer – but teaming up with a hitman adds a new edge. At times it does feel a little like they’ve wandered in from different films but it’s quite fun. About my only criticism is that the serial killer is so ‘off-page’ that he doesn’t feel like much of a goal yet.

      • GYAD

        THE SHRIKE
        p.2 Amerindians is an interesting choice.
        p.6 Six pages of (legend) exposition seems a lot. Maybe the kids should be doing more whilst Nana tells the tale.
        p.16 Twelve exclamation marks on one page is far too many.

        I read up to page 20. An Amerindian horror film is an interesting alternate take on the genre. Also, everyone likes to root for kids who get bullied. However there’s almost no actual horror so far – one “unknown POV” apart – and the result is a fairly middling social drama. It’s not enough to set up the characters and conflicts, there has to be rising horror/tension/suspense too.

        • GYAD

          REBEL CITY
          p.2 Not sure you need the dialogue in the corridor. Opening on Jonjo putting down his phone would be enough and avoids repetition.
          p.8 There seems to be a missing line where Bogdan, having punched Jonjo to the carpet, grabs him. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense for Jonjo to tell him to “taking his hands off” or for the headbutt to work.
          p.11 Too many f-bombs, not enough “fecks” for an Irishman.
          p.24 Good old Irish black humour.

          I read up to p.25 and I’d read on. What with Jack Taylor and all, Irish noir is doing very well right now and I thought this was a very fun little number with the prodigal son returning to town and leaving havoc in his wake. Strong GSU and good dialogue, albeit that some of the longer chats wander on a bit too much at the end.

          This would be my pick.

          • GYAD

            THE GREENHOUSE
            p.1 Explicit camera directions in ALLCAPS is a definite no-no.
            p.2 Oof. An eleven-line paragraph.

            I read up to page 20. As someone who has a family tree full of loopy environmentalists this sounded very interesting…and maybe it is. The evocation of the group is good but the description is absurdly long and over-detailed whilst the dialogue is too stiff. It’s a good effort but it definitely needs a re-write.

        • scriptfeels

          i just read your notes after writing mine, pretty much had the same thoughts. I agree on the no actual horror part and really wanted to see some bodies pinned to some trees….

    • cjob3

      There was The Mists of Avalon though.

      • GYAD

        Eh? I’m afraid I don’t understand. That’s Arthurian isn’t it?

        • cjob3

          I just meant as far as “Mists” being plural. It was a book and TV movie but it’s possible they were taking liberties.

          • GYAD

            Aha, I was being dense. I suppose it could be plural then, in the right circumstances.

  • davejc

    My Vote: Blood of The Butcher

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    Just by the logline, Rebel City gets my vote. And after reading its WYSR, I’d say Carson, this is the one you should review.

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

    Blood of the Butcher, and then Rebel City.

    Couldn’t get into the other three. Though I got further into Big Brother than the other two.

  • Trent11

    The guy that wrote The Shrike really nailed his “why you should read this” section. A master’s class in how to answer that question.

  • Randy Williams

    THE GREENHOUSE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I’m starting with this script first because my writing partner and I are writing something with a seven-year-old child in it as well, and we have only had two disagreements on our story so far; one, that he wants an important structure to be in a storefront among a row of storefronts and I disagree, most thrillers use detached structures. For me they imply “isolation and helplessness” and are easier to be iconic. The second disagreement is that I want the boy in our thriller to be seven and he thinks it’s too young for the dialogue we want him to manage. So, I’m interested, apart from hoping to enjoy a great story, is how you handled her dialogue.

    p.1- Maybe give the girl’s mother’s age here? A teenage mother would certainly be a different “dynamic” than an older mother?
    Directing from the page…”the camera pans….”

    p.4- No visuals in this scene, just a collection of places where action is taking place in the long description. Here we NEED to know what the camera is doing.

    p.5- “Offscreen Blaire opens the door to her room” Offscreen we could hear something, but we can’t see it.

    p.6- I think “Day” is more appropriate for a slugline than “Daytime”.

    p.17- I think you should get to the parents consulting an attorney much sooner. Maybe by page ten.

    p.21- typo…”What is is?”

    p. 52- I’m thinking here, this has the feel of one of those Lifetime women’s movies that I’ve often enjoyed. But, Emery needs a love interest by now.

    p.60- There is something missing for me with this courtroom scene. I think the tension could be raked up if Blaire had something happen to her that if the court would find out would really set things against her mother. Maybe in reality it was all innocent but would look bad. Perhaps they didn’t dunk her in the bath to reduce her fever in her pajamas but undressed and her mother left her with one of the commune’s males alone in the bath. Something to bring an edge to the scene. Again, I think this could be a great Lifetime movie if a love interest was there to support the mother but be a source of conflict as well.

    p.67- I’m going to stop here. There is not enough to really make me keep reading. Not enough loose ends to see closure with. I really don’t have a problem with the girl staying with the parents because they are not that bad and the girl really was never shown to have such a tie to that commune, she seemed pretty flexible to me as most kids are. Again, I wanted those Lifetime props that I love but I can see it’s not far off from getting there.

    As for her dialogue. In our thriller, our seven-year-old is a normal kid, not super bright. Blaire here seems overly formal here. I imagine the super smart daughter of a British aristocrat and not the daughter of a commune leader. Some of her lines…

    “I can’t imagine you skiing!” This implies advanced cognitive reasoning to me. LOL. Just making that up.

    “I don’t know. The thought of food makes me feel..”

    “Do you mind if I have a bit of time alone?”

    By all means, young lady, please do.

    • BSBurton

      Good post Randy. How was writing been for your this week?

      • Randy Williams

        Thanks! Same as last week. My co-writer and I have a routine. 2 1/2 hours twice a week. After 3 months we are now 20 pages or so from finishing a first draft.

        • BSBurton

          that’s awesome, congrats! Be sure to keep me posted. Do you take turns typing or how does it work? I’d love to know your process

  • Jeff

    Carson, I think it would be great to have a post about 2 things – 1. the opening scene and how it draws the reader in and then 2. how that opening scene then sets the tone for the remaining first 10. Obviously different genres dictate different openings, but what I find here is that many of these scripts have a dramatic / thriller element to them, but none of them have that attention grabbing opening and their first 10 sort of follow suit.

  • https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com/ Jim

    Returning the favor to Paul as he’s read one of mine, twice – which means twice the notes! Strap yourself in!

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER

    I’m in about 25 pages and like where it’s going, but see some opportunities for improvement so please keep that in mind with what you’re about to read as I tend to give copious notes and don’t want them to be misperceived as being overtly critical by any means.

    There’s a lot of telling vs showing early on (though to be fair, you mix it up some). For example, you’re telling me she’s frustrated, rather than conveying it via an action. Does she huff? Slump her shoulders? Frown? Likewise, “She’s learning to shoot by reading a manual” is an unnecessary telling as you just showed us.

    Some of the dialogue is a bit stilted. For example, Pg 2, Alice: “He must be stopped,” followed by Pg 3, Michaels rambling train of thought: “Look, you’re not a field agent, you work a desk. And you’re one of the best I have. I just don’t know what’s happened to you lately. You’re distracted… Consumed.” This last part feels expository and doesn’t feel organic – like there needs to be a beat in there, or perhaps written with the last part first like “What’s gotten into you lately? You’re not a field agent…but you are one of my best (whatever).”

    I’m not up on all the FBI protocols, but I question how realistic it would be for Alice to simply walk into the homicide department and do what she’s doing. I’ve worked on a LARGE government project and security was fairly rigid, not to mention people in the same local tend to know one another (though you set Alice up as a bit of a loner.) There’s just too many things, particular technology now, from badges, proximity cards, scanners, etc., to have, in all places, the FBI, one person breech status that easily. In other words, what’s happening appears to be happening because the plot requires it, but not necessarily because it’s logical or based in reality. It does provide a bit of irony considering she works in the Fraud division, though. :)

    Pg. 6 – and don’t worry, I’m not going to point all these out as I’ll settle down and focus on the story shortly, but the end of the second paragraph you have “She approaches the central hive of activity with trepidation,” then you start the third paragraph with “She swallows hard.” That’s redundant and I would scratch the telling part “trepidation” with “swallowing hard” for something like this “She swallows hard as she approaches the central hive of activity.” Swallowing hard connotes trepidation, so trust your reader and go with the physiological reaction!

    The scene with the Hooligans on page 7: I wonder if it might play better with less dialogue on their part. They’re big. Imposing. Silence is golden here on their part, at least by the time they say “You won’t be getting anywhere near her lips.” A simple crack of the knuckles conveys everything.

    Ok, let’s break this scene down a bit. I see what you’re going for – there’s a twist to it, and I’ve read these a lot in scripts and made comments that you can’t have a twist for the sake of a twist/unexpected reversal in a scene because ultimately it has to make sense. What’s the goal of the scene? Tony’s after the girl, but the hooligans are in his way. In reality, I get the feeling – at least from the following scene – Tony’s trying to stay out of trouble for ulterior motives once they enter the fray…but we don’t know this. So he makes the minimal attempt by buying them off. This however doesn’t work as his flashing the cash only begets the hooligans following him to the restroom, wanting more. Now, from the writer’s perspective, I’m guessing the whole point of this scene is to set Tony up as a badass, very well capable of handling his own. It succeeds in that, but not knowing his situation and what’s personally at stake if he draws attention to himself deflates the scene of suspense – and I’m guessing this based on only reading the following scene with his stating “after all this…,” that essentially he’s not one to engage in unnecessary confrontation.

    So the question becomes, why didn’t he just flash the gun in the first place? Because we don’t know anything personal about Tony, the event unfolds the way it does without an real understanding of his character, but I wonder if it might work a bit better if we had the following scene with his lawyer first – the lawyer informing him there’s a warrant or something out for his arrest, pleading with him to enjoy one last night and turn himself in. Tony then finds himself in the bar on the low down, trying to enjoy what may be his last moments of freedom and then the confrontation plays out with us knowing what’s at stake and his actions are driven by motivations we understand as a result. The reversal is ok because it reveals some of his characteristics, but within the context of the sequence I think you want to aim to make it all a bit more dynamic. Something, the fight itself, could trigger Tony to call Gregory (the hooligans could conjure images for Tony to think of what life might be like in prison). Right now you’re holding back a lot of information that provides motivation which is key to understanding characters, their beliefs and ultimately their actions within the context of the plot and not just for the sake of it (for instance, by page 13, I’m still not sure why Alice is compelled by the case and doing what she’s doing despite the leukemia revelation.) What we want is to understand behavior, particularly through motivation – whether it’s benefits or consequences, which is what drives stakes. As is, the scene’s driven by the threat of physical violence, but I think, again, you’re missing an opportunity to add layers to it and make it more dynamic.

    Ok, by page 20 or so the story is picking up a bit – the pieces locking into place with her motivation finally revealed. At this point it’s an unlikely pairing of two trying to solve a case. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out, but would love to see some kind of complications such as a ticking clock with Alice’s health vs. Tony being on the run. Not sure how that would/could work within the constraints of how you’ve set up his backstory, but obviously if he were wanted for something it would continually put him and jeopardy, thus letting him showcase his smarts while also raising the stakes for Alice to get what she wants. That’s pressure and could conceivably cause all sorts of complications.

    In short, I like where’s it going, I just wonder, per what I’ve already written, if it could be set up a little bit tighter so we’re not keeping both Alice’s and Tony’s motivations hidden. Cueing us into that helps us understand them and subsequently what’s going on better. It’s ok to withhold some information to create that sense of mystery, but I think in this case, I would go with giving us more of Tony’s upfront – but certainly not both; twenty pages is a lot to have characters doing things without us really understanding why.

    I’ll press on – more later, just wanted to post these thoughts now so you’re not reading a book.

    • BSBurton

      Glad to see so much thought and effort on here!! Nice work

    • https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com/ Jim

      Small note that may be surprising: I don’t read loglines. Personally, I think they’re WAYYYYYYYY overrated and would much prefer a short query-type synopsis. The reason I don’t is exemplified by this: by page 27, everything about Tony was so vague that when Alice calls him out as a hit man, I said to myself “Huh?”.

      So I actually read the logline and saw him described as such, but here’s the thing: the way he describes himself could be any number of things, but a professional assassin isn’t what came to my mind – despite his handling of the hooligans. I just saw him as some type of heavy – and keep in mind it’s not like we’re actively seeing him “in the line of duty” so to speak, so it might be something to consider putting right in the descriptive when we first meet him. His dialogue “Sweetie, hunting down people who don’t want to be found is what I do. I found you didn’t I?” and “cleaning up messes” can mean a number of things, a hit man not even being something that I considered within the context of THIS story. Sure, his skills make sense knowing this, but it’s like medicine and diagnosing symptoms and how they overlap any number of diseases. The character traits you’re building Tony with are applicable across various professions, so it’s best to be specific – even up front, to give all his verbiage, actions, etc. that specific context.

      The importance here, for me personally at least and why I choose not to read them is that I want the story and the writing to speak for itself without one’s telling me what it’s about. This, in turn, speaks to those gaps between what you may have in your head vs its actual telling on the page and its subsequent reception by a reader.

    • Paul Clarke

      Thanks Jim! Plenty of food for thought.

      I totally hear what you’re saying about knowing the character’s motivations. In fact Alice’s motivations were a big reveal later but none of it made sense without knowing why she was so obsessed so it was moved to the first act. I agree that I could do something similar with Tony. No reason why we can’t have him talk to the lawyer first, then still ring Gregory later. Thanks for the tip.

      As for his battle. That scene changed many times. The idea was to make him different to other movie tough guys and show his problem/confrontation solving technique as 1) Talk it out 2) if that fails, try non-violent means 3) resort to violence. But I totally forgot about that when I put the gun in there. I was just thinking how could I end the scene with them having a reason to back down and leave and make him a bad-ass. Nice spotting. (In the original he kills them, but I thought that was too much). Then the biggest twist is supposed to be that he doesn’t get the girl. He supposed to think he’s James Bond, but it’s kind of sad that he’s not.

      I hear what you’re saying about the POV. Another tricky one. I do have a personal preference to sticking very tightly to the story’s POV, but like you say it should still involve the other side of the coin. Especially as the conflict between the two leads doesn’t seem as strong as I would have liked. I think I was obsessing about page counts, instead of just going with it. I think in the next draft I will approach it more from a bad-guy POV (although that does become complicated later in the script).

      Thanks again, glad I could be of help in the past. Which script was yours Jim?

      • https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com/ Jim

        Hey Paul, just finished. I actually remember this contest logline now. Once all the pieces come together, I can see the structure and some of the motivations for it a bit more clearly – I just think you might be sacrificing too much audience involvement for the sake of a surprise (or two) at the end. That’s probably the biggest issue I had was there were times, particularly in the second half, where it felt unfocused with a detour to Big Bobby – mostly because we don’t know his specific relation to the plot at this point. We don’t have that objective view of the story and that’s where you risk losing some readers because it doesn’t feel like it fits or we’re in the dark (particularly with goals and motivations from that particular perspective.)

        You read Far End of the Black, the first and third drafts, I believe (such a mixed reaction to that script: some people have reacted very strongly to it in a positive way, others kind of say “zombies? Meh,” and won’t touch it with a stick, failing to see they’re merely a symbolization of suffering and the story’s theme is about faith. I eventually removed the word altogether from the script and tada! It’s no longer about “zombies,” lol.)

    • Michael

      Stellar analysis Jim, first class notes.

      • https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com/ Jim

        Thanks, Michael! Used to do this a lot more often on here…

  • Linkthis83

    Congrats to all the writers who made it into this round’s AOW! The scripts this weekend were all very good in their own ways. Normally there’s a couple that are painful to read. Not true for this weekend, making the competition tough. I like when it comes down to STORY and not how the script is written.

    ***I only read the title/genre, then I read the script, then I read the logline/WYSR***

    I have work to do today (I’m on the road in Texas!), so I only gave each script 10 pages.

    MY VOTE = BLOOD OF THE BUTHER

    I can’t vote unbiasedly. Paul has been such a huge contributor to SS and the writers here that I would vote for him to get an AF review even if his was the shittiest script ever. Plus I got to read/note an early draft of this script. I’ve not read the finalized one he submitted to the IISC. Regardless, BOTB gets my biased vote. By the way, can you change this to BLOOD OF OUR BUTCHER, just so I can write BOOB every time I reference this script?

    MY VOTE (if BOTB wasn’t in this round) = REBEL CITY

    ———————————————————————————

    BIG BROTHER (drama)

    p2 = pauses at professional drafting… = pauses at a

    p2 = oversize = oversized

    SUMMARY: With as many cuts that take place in these early pages, it feels more like a thriller than a drama. Especially adding in the guys in paramilitary gear. It’s not a knock, just highlighting it because it hasn’t felt like a drama so far.

    Your first 10 accomplish what I prefer when it comes to amateur scripts. You give us people in situations that yield results/conquences. They influence the very next scenes and actions by the characters. You’re giving us mysteries in a manner we can invest.

    I’m not all that invested though. Curious, maybe, but not invested. I think what helps get people invested in these moments is making some sort of declaration, or providing some sort of interesting piece of information, that makes us want to find out. Cole’s invested in this search because it’s his brother. I think the audience needs a thing to make us want to go with him – and it can be true, a half-truth, or a lie. Like if he’s done this before, how bad was it and where did he end up? Some sort of thing to make us lean in just a little other than he’s separated, drinking and quit work. Those are all mysterious events, but not with enough detail for me to care. Perhaps HOW he quit. Was that interesting? Did he come in acting strange? Does he know about Sloane and his wife (this is a guess ;) Did he act a fool? Lol.

    I know the following are minor, but I think details that help a little:

    1) Instead of having him pull into the park, have him already there. That way, when we see the sign that says no overnight parking, we are clued in that something’s not right because he’s obviously parked there overnight. It’s subtle, but I think it works. And you might say “but how can I illuminate the sign?” – well…it’s dawn, have the morning sunrise illuminate the sign.

    2) For some dumb reason, I think I’d like it if Cole callled into work to say that he’s not going to be in, as opposed to him calling in because he’s already late. The already late bit I think is to show that he’s truly invested in this scenario, but since I’m not familiar with Cole or his job or his schedule, I didn’t know he was late to anything. I didn’t know he was putting this matter before others. If I knew that, then that lets me know this is important. That’s why I think he should call to inform them he’s not going to be there. Then he’s making a proactive choice.

    THE SHRIKE (horror)

    p2 = NANA (V.O. = NANA (V.O.)

    p5 = Holy cry = I’m not familiar with this expression

    p5 = “Hmm. Nobody knows. Not too often.”

    p7 = boy’s bikes = boys’ bikes

    SUMMARY: I loved this opening story by Nana. Do you read that somewhere else, or did you make it up? Very cool. If I was in the theater, I would be all in. As I peeked at the scene with Bobo’s van, I’m fearful these characters will kill the momentum, but I hope I’m wrong and would read on if I had time. Again, totally digging the opening.

    I hate your WYSR. I like confident and bold writing. I even like confident and bold writers. However, I don’t like when those writers make bold statements about their own script. That’s up to the readers/viewers. You can tell us that you tried to writer a truly original script, or that you tried to make it clean and tight. But don’t tell us that you succeeded. We’ll decide that. Instead, tell us how much you love your story and why. Put some of that heart from your story into your WYSR. Had I read that first, I probably would’ve skipped your script.

    REBEL CITY (crime thriller)

    SUMMARY: Ummm…I like this so far. And you did the thing I typically want from scripts; you added the detail the audience needs to be invested = Seamus has the organ Jonjo’s kid needs. Thank you.

    (well…had I read the logline first, I would’ve known that info…ha!)

    THE GREENHOUSE (psychological drama)

    SUMMARY: This is competently written, and the concept seems intriguing, but the first 10 didn’t do anything for me. In fact, the opening scene with Blaire on the stand was the first thing to turn me off this story. It has to do with the fact that she’s being forced to show something on her body. And her being reminded she’s under oath. To me, taking an oath doesn’t require you to follow directions. Especially not for a child. They would’ve taken a photo of the tattoo on Blaire’s neck and enlarged the photo to show the court.

    This did force me to look up the process for putting kids on the stand. I also now understand why Andrea makes the aside comment. However, this still doesn’t work…for me. It could probably fly and would be more cinematic if the 6 year old girl has to show her tattoo on the stand, but I don’t like it. The part about her being reminded of the oath she took made me laugh. It made me wonder what they’d do to her if she lied. Sentence her to TIMEOUT for 5-10…minutes. :)

    • pmlove

      Hi Link. You seem to love Shrike – appreciate you’re busy, just wondering why it didn’t feature higher in your rankings (Shrike’s WYSR & the Paul Clarke effect aside).

      No link to the writer, just curious.

      • Linkthis83

        Oh…the way I listed them isn’t a ranking. If I was ranking them, minus Paul’s script, it would be:

        1) Rebel City
        2) The Shrike
        3) Big Brother
        4) The Greenhouse

        While I loved the opening story of THE SHRIKE, I didn’t get to the actual story. I have no idea where it’s going. I’m in the story by page 10 of REBEL CITY.

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

      Good note on the tattoo. You’re right, they would have taken a picture.

      I’m also wondering if they would have put her on the stand and make her relive whatever she went through, as fragile as she appears on page. Most of the time they tend to not put children on the stand who have went through some horrendous crime. I think they usually talk to a psychiatrist who then testifies on her behalf?

  • pmlove

    GREENHOUSE

    Read to p29. I think the story is going to be confused in Act Two, just based on the logline. The protagonist is Emery, the cult leader but the logline is structured to be about Blaire’s rescue and from the grandparent’s perspective.

    Note: apologies for formatting, cut and paste

    FORMATTING & STYLE

    There’s some unorthodox formatting here (eg ‘Afternoon Snacktime’). I don’t really want to go into this but worth a look at other scripts/style guides.

    You have a habit of starting each scene with a passive verb – try to change these to active verbs. You could trim some of the actions, especially the laughing. Some of it is distracting and unnecessary (it will also trim your page count).

    STORY

    I’ve been watching Rectify recently, so I’m growing sympathetic to the slow
    burn. This is too slow though. A lot of the opening scenes are slow
    and/or conflict-free. I think, given the subject matter, there is an
    argument for a little of this as it contradicts what we assume about
    cults (that they are repressive, harsh environments). It will also add
    to the impact of any violence/repression to come (if, indeed, it does).
    However, you need to beef things up more. I’d really consider moving
    Blaire getting ill earlier on and maybe have her get progressively worse
    through Act One (and throw in some other issues). You could almost introduce child services cold.

    You’re playing with perceptions, which is great. I love the idea of a kind and
    loving community/cult, where there’s really nothing wrong with how they
    live.

    I haven’t read the rest of the script but I’d like to throw in an idea here (I’m guessing it doesn’t go this way by the logline). Just a suggestion. First, remove the powder in the tea (or make it so that it’s harmless later – again, playing with our prejudices. I hope this is what happens, but who knows).

    Then I suggest adding another scenario which could be perceived as child abuse
    but which we know is just circumstance. We see Emery being kind and
    loving. She’s then hit with the child protection agency as a result of
    the ‘right minded thinking’ of her grandparents. Then when Allison
    arrives (I think you have made Allison far too civil – you could really
    up the ante by making her a bulldog. ‘Justice’ at all costs) Emery has
    to fight for her child and against the prejudiced ideas of what her
    community is.

    Probably a full rewrite but that’s the film I want to see at the end of your Act One.

    Right now, Act One just needs to move faster.

    DIALOGUE

    A lot of it is good but a lot of it is extremely exposition-heavy,
    examples being most of the ‘parent’ scenes. Get rid of as much as
    possible (all?). They really bog down the pace.

    page by page:

    p2
    – big paragraphs, character overload. May want a rethink, plus their
    introduction is somewhat sexist (Dave and his nice wife, Troy and his
    mousy wife etc)
    p4 – try using ‘intercut’ here.
    p4 –
    We’ll get the idea of the brainwashing from the scenes in the house. If
    you’ve had a conversation before, you tend to be a lot snappier in your
    responses – the long explanatory paragraphs therefore seem to be for our
    benefit. I don’t think the scene adds much to the narrative.
    p9 – I think Emery should be Blaire at the top of the dialogue (line 2- cake)?
    p9 – personal preference but the ‘everyone laughs’ lines detract somehow.
    p12 – typo – can you can
    p13
    – I’d remove the ‘they can’t have more kids’ from Blaire and the ‘she’s
    lucky she wasn’t dumb enough’. I really like the implied threat from
    Emery but I think between the ‘that can’t be right’ and the ‘I’ll take
    care of it’ it’s good.
    p13 – love triangle, think this could be better shown
    p17 – sp breach
    p19 typo – we you’ll miss
    p21 – what is is
    p28 – Why is she taken aback? She rang the doorbell and someone answered?

  • ASAbrams

    The Greenhouse

    Read to page 2. First thing I noticed was the odd formatting in some places…

    Why I didn’t read more…I was confused by what was happening on the first page. Is this the custody hearing that the logline is talking about? I wouldn’t think so because that wouldn’t involve a jury. The little girl also wouldn’t be forced to show that tattoo with her mother in the room. And where are the grandparents?

    After this scene, the description paragraphs become huge. Then we’re thrown so many names that I just gave up. How am I supposed to keep them all straight? I’d introduce them by family first (a couple with two small children, for example), give each family a personality as a whole, and then introduce each person in the family and individualize them bit by bit.

    About the logline: How long are they expecting this fight for custody to be? I feel like that part is giving this false urgency. I’d reveal the physical or psychological consequences that the grandmother wants to avoid. Then I’d know exactly the dangers this cult poses and why this custody battle is so important. Also, I’d know what kind of story this is.

  • brenkilco

    Blood of The Butcher is my choice. Partly because the author is a thoughtful commenter but mostly because if you’re gonna dish it out you ought to have to take it too. On page twelve. Solid so far, though the setup, at least up to the illness reveal, seems a little standard.

    Some points on polishing.

    Doctors don’t reveal details of a patient’s condition to non relatives ever. The Federal Hippa law is extremely strict. The patient has to authorize disclosure in writing.

    The FBI doesn’t have a homicide division. Homicide isn’t a federal crime. They have the labs of course and the behavioral science dept. that consults with local police on serial killer cases. But so far as I know they wouldn’t be having large numbers of agents investigating murders. So right off this doesn’t sound quite right. And a line like we have a monster to catch should set off a warning bell in a writer’s head.

    The dialogue between the two agents is kind of flat. The sort of dialogue that’s designed for the benefit of the audience. The director wouldn’t be summarizing the situation. The two men already know the situation and would be talking in a shorthand the audience might have to struggle to get.

    The gee coach, put me in scene is cliche. And the fact that all the protag has to do is walk next door and she’s instantly on the team is tough to buy too. How about if she’s legitimately put on the investigation, to check bank records of suspects or something, and gradually finds her way out into the field. Plotwise there doesnt seem much need for her to be at that initial crime scene.

    Even the most anti obamacare partisan would concede that health care for fed employees is pretty darn good. Can’t imagine what kind of cancer treatment the protag is being denied.

    Not sure where we’re going yet but I’m curious enough to read on.

    • Linkthis83

      “The FBI doesn’t have a homicide division. Homicide isn’t a federal crime.”

      When I started checking out Paul’s script today, this occurred to me. I thought “Why is the FBI investigating a serial killer? That’s not a federal crime…is it?”

      Which lead me to this:

      http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/september/serial-killers-part-1-the-fbis-role-takes-shape/serial-killers-part-1-the-fbis-role-takes-shape

      Where I learned this:

      “The FBI may investigate only when requested to do so by an appropriate law enforcement agency.”

      • klmn

        I didn’t buy the premise of an FBI agent having to teach herself to shoot. Even Wikipedia level research would have knocked that out.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI_Academy

        “…The extensive firearms training provided to all FBI/DEA and other law enforcement officers is conducted at the indoor firing range, the eight outdoor firing ranges, four skeet ranges, or the 200-yard rifle range.”

        • Linkthis83

          It was one of my notes from the early draft I read. I have no idea if you can be a shitty shot and still become an FBI agent.

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

          Yeah, I gave him the same note as well. FBI training, Police training, they all require extensive gun training. My military training didn’t though lol of course, I was a corpsman.

          • klmn

            You did the high risk stuff.

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

            Well, we did have to be more fit than the marines we were with, or supposed to be anyway.

            And we weren’t technically allowed to carry weapons as we’re supposed to be protected lol yeah, uh-huh… so of course we had weapons on us at all times anyway.

        • BSBurton

          good post ken

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

        I thought if the serial killer doesn’t stay in one spot, but moves around and kills all over the place, then they get involved. Much easier than having twenty different police stations trying to hunt down the same guy. And the FBI has profilers, too, don’t they?

        It does seem to that most movies involving serial killers involve the FBI, though. But I could be wrong.

        • ArabyChic

          Silence of the Lambs, Frailty, Suspect Zero. It’s pretty common, movie wise. And yes, if it cross state lines, and or is high profile enough the FBI will step in or aid the local police in the manhunt, many times for political reasons.

      • Erica

        If you watch the serries “Bones” It’s about the FBI working with a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian Institute to solve crimes by identifying human remains that are too far gone for standard FBI forensic investigations. Most of the time this happens when the “crime” takes place on Federal property. Of course this is a tv show and not real life, but still cool and believable.

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

          And based on the real person.

    • BSBurton

      “Doctors don’t reveal details of a patient’s condition to non relatives
      ever. The Federal Hippa law is extremely strict. The patient has to
      authorize disclosure in writing.”

      TOTALLY AGREE. Still, I enjoyed it a lot. Will be casting my vote soon.

    • Paul Clarke

      Thanks Brenkilco. Much appreciated.

      To be honest, my knowledge of the FBI’s workings has all been acquired from film and television. Silence of the Lambs being a strong source of inspiration. The logline from the competition was about a “corrupt detective” and I wanted to stand out so I made her a woman and an FBI agent. I might have to do some more research into the different law enforcement agencies. The idea was to make her a non-field agent who wants to help but lacks the skills. The shooting range was just her practicing, not learning (it’s implied later that she was taught, just not very good at it).

      And you’re dead right about the Hippa. The idea was that the patient told her doctor that her work knew (but lied), so the doctor assumes her boss does. She makes a mistake, human error. It was shown better but the scene was too long so it was cut back for brevity and seems to have hurt the setup a little.

      Thanks again.

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

        Good thing you’re not bound by the contest logline anymore, you can do whatever the @#$% (translation, “bleep”) you want with it ;)

  • Randy Williams

    THE SHRIKE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Really, really loved the beginning with the story telling. A visual feast with a compelling voice over and a nice introduction to the indian family.
    I felt it had a “To Kill A Mockingbird” feel to it and then for me….

    things became very muddled.

    Your logline seems to make it seem this is from a young girl’s point of view, or at least focusing on her, but it’s not at all. First we have the Indian family, then Junior as the dominating personality that consumes the rest of the family and we follow him to the bar, then the Indian family disappears for a long stretch and it’s Mark’s story. Then all the characters introduced and I’m lost. Go back to your logline, how is this working?

    The sequences around 45 were really great, milking suspense, I was there, but the “trailer visual” of the shish kebob deer was never given unless I missed something. The genre is identified as “horror” but the visuals are really really tame or nonexistent for that genre in what I read.

    page 54. This conversation completely nailed it for me that I was long past my “Mockingbird” hopes. What I hoped for in moodiness and intensity turned into caricature and Vlad the Impaler.

    page 57. Typo, “What did he said?”

    Page 68. A horror movie and all the visual we get on the monster is a “flying shape”? No mention of how large either and the response of someone is “f*ck demon”.

    I bailed there, really disappointed at what I thought started out as a classic.

  • Jeff

    Very true, but when you look at the overall landscape that exists for “no-name” writers today, it’s very hard to apply this to them. One of the interesting things here is what I call the “applicability factor”. We, as writers, take an instance and we use it to justify why it is we’re doing something even though it could exist primarily as the anomaly. Writers say all the time, “well, Christopher Nolan did it,” and it just isn’t applicable. The same way it’s not applicable to apply what happens on the Blacklist to someone who is an amateur and doesn’t have representation or is three scripts away from landing anywhere near it. It’s been expressed here that finding the “diamond in the rough” is not the purpose of AOW and that’s cool, so if the purpose of AOW is to learn, what I would say is that expressed feedback should travel that road, and using the “applicability factor” for writers only allows them to take everything that has happened in the past and give them a reason not to push harder. I was simply stating I’d like to see a little more push.

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    That last one sounds a biiitttt like “A Rose in the Darkness,” so, y’know, no pressure. lol.

  • Film_Shark

    I just reviewed ‘Gone Girl’ and the film and Rosmund Pike’s performance blew me away. Why did it work? It doesn’t hurt to have the screenplay penned by the actual author Gillian Flynn but it goes deeper. It’s how David Fincher handled the tone of the film. ‘Gone Girl’ moves from mystery to thriller to satire and never crosses the line into parody. It’s a brilliant thriller that is not afraid to take risks. Sure, there have been memorable erotic thrillers in cinema with ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’ but what separates ‘Gone Girl’ is looking at a marriage gone toxic from the husband and wife’s perspective. If you want your writing to snap, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel but you better show us that wheel from a new and exciting angle.

    • Meta5

      I’m assuming Carson will have a review of Gone Girl on Monday so I’ll save my comments until then except to say I really, really enjoyed it. I agree, the tone was spot on.

  • Deaf Ears

    “It is largely free of spelling errors.”

    The WYSR line of the year.

  • pmlove

    My vote: Rebel City.

  • scriptfeels

    I’m really digging the log lines to Big Brother, The Shrike, and The Greenhouse!

  • Levres de Sang

    My Vote: The Greenhouse

    Read: 43 pages

    For me, this premise offers the most in terms of fascination / something fresh. I’ve also been trying (without much success) to crack a cult story myself, so was interested to see how this author had approached the subject. And I have to say that I fairly breezed through to page 43. Yes, I’m kind of waiting for something more sinister to emerge (and maybe it will with the greenhouse itself), but then again maybe this is more of a custody battle story? Either way, I’m intrigued…

    I think you can trim some of the scene description paragraphs, although they do kind of suit the material. The dialogue is very naturalistic. Reads really well, in fact; but you can start earlier / finish later in several scenes (Andrea Scharf’s office, pages 15 to 18 being a case in point). One major problem for me, however, is that Emery seems so unlikable. She’s uptight / defensive most of the time? While it does go against expectation (cult members often start out ultra content) I suspect you’ve tried to portray her increasing paranoia? If so, then something’s not quite popping. I do also think Blaire should be a little older than 7, but then again I’m no child development expert!

    Anyway, mightily impressed that this author is only 22-years-old!

    • Randy Williams

      Yes, I was impressed that the writer was only 22-years-old, too, after I read it and read the WYSR. I’m wondering if the ending was a “shock” ending that a younger person might feel is something to use to rise above the competition? When, I felt this writer’s strength was that naturalism you mention and no “shock” was needed.

      • Levres de Sang

        Haven’t reached the ‘shock’ ending yet, but hopefully I will get the chance to do so… As for a possible correlative tendency between youth and ‘shock’, then all I can say is that it was something I fell prey to in my short stories…

  • BSBurton

    MY VOTE: BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER

    I read half of the Butcher and fifteen pages of the others. Since I came close to the top 10 of the Sheldon Industry Insider contest, I wanted to see what Paul’s final draft looked like. I was very impressed. It gets my vote.

    The other two contenders, although I liked them for different reasons, were Rebel City and Big Brother. Congrats to all, none of them blew :) THat’s the biggest thing

  • Randy Williams

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    This didn’t feel like a feature film to me at all. None of the “grittiness” I associate with a feature crime thriller. It felt like a cozy, almost overly polite slow paced crime TV series that focused on the relationship between the aging hit man and a feeble female cop and the particular crimes of that week were secondary.

    Not to say, I didn’t like what I read. I did, really liking the reversal of roles here. The hit man seeking answers from a cop on pages 19-20. It was all very comfortable like some old shoes and I’d watch it. I especially like the “adventure” plot, where the characters by accident discover a clue and pursue it to another one and so on. However, I don’t recall too many movies that do this.

    Lots of the dialogue for me seemed “first choice”…”…how they got Capone” “Look, these could be your last days, spend them wisely”

    I stopped at page 41 with the hitman’s “The act of mutilating and display has meaning”

    I’m content to watch this with a bowl of ice cream in my lap, but popcorn demands much more.

    • BSBurton

      I’m content to watch this with a bowl of ice cream in my lap, but popcorn demands much more.. A good quote. Do you mind if I use that when I become a professional critic ? :)

      • Randy Williams

        A request from the writer of a true popcorn, buttered smothered and all script, “Down to the Wire”?

        Of course!

        • BSBurton

          You’re too kind! This definitely put a smile on my face :) Time to ride this high into a few more pages lol

  • BSBurton

    Fuck anyone who posts Gone Girl spoilers on here ( I know I know, it was a book ages ago.) I’m going tomorrow, so be nice folks

  • ArabyChic

    Oh boy, Shrike, you are just asking for a world o’ hurt.

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

      Why’s that?

      Oh, probably b/c of his “why you should read”? Yeah, that’s calling your shot pretty hard. Better be a good piece o’ writing.

  • ArabyChic

    Question to the author of Rebel City: this is marked as “in pre-production” on IMDB, are you still taking rewrite notes in pre-pro, or is it really in more of a development stage?

    • Chris Ryden

      Hey Arabychic, I’m ALWAYS taking notes. It’s a constant :)

      Just wanna say a HUGE thanks to everybody who’s taken the time to look at RC. It’s truly humbling to know that fellow writers are here, willing to put aside their own material to help others in making their work better. I can’t wait to go back into the script and fine tune it. There’s been some really great notes already. This is an amazing community and I feel privileged to have my work on here.

      As for pre-prod, it’s a loose term! I’ve storyboarded sequences. Brought in a casting director and am currently editing together a pitch video to launch a kickstarter campaign. If you recall Carson’s article a few weeks back when he listed ways to break in #1 was to go out there and try and make a movie yourself. So… Thought I’d try and follow that advice!

      • Jake T

        Wow, I’m impressed. I was enjoying Rebel City a lot (my impressions are awaiting validation). The pages I read were really well written.
        And hey, I just moved to London, so if you need some additional local and experienced eyes/hands, let me know :p

        • Chris Ryden

          Always, thanks Jake. My contact details are on IMDB — so feel free to reach out whenever suits. Best, C

  • Nicholas J

    MY VOTE: ????

    I’ll be updating this as I read, hopefully having time to crack open every script.

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER
    Read 20 pages. I like this. And I’m not just saying that because Paul is a regular commenter, not sure I’ve ever even talked to him. This is just well-written, and has a very professional feel to it. There’s not a lot of style on the page, which allows the story to do the talking. Speaking of story, I’m intrigued. In a time where every female protagonist is a superhero, it’s good to see one that is human. She’s an FBI agent that can’t shoot, passes out when she sees a corpse, and she can’t even do cocaine right. She’s a dysfunctional Clarice Starling. Which makes me really want to see what happens when she comes face to face with The Butcher. Might have to pick this one back up later after I give the others a look.

    • Paul Clarke

      Thanks for the read Nicholas. I’m sure we will interact more in the future. I like that you enjoy the lack of style. That is something I’m always consciously aware of when writing. Same with the female, non super-hero hero. Dysfunctional Clarice is exactly what I was aiming for.

  • Jake T

    Read a little of all, and Blood of the Butcher is my choice by a close margin. Here’s my first impressions of each script:

    Big Brother
    Read: 9 pages.
    Logline: Good except for your protagonist. Following a ‘busy executive’ through 100 pages doesn’t sound so fun. Need to bring out some excitement!
    Impressions: Really well written. Great pace, reads well, and looks just how a screenplay should. HOWEVER, it’s much too static. Too many short scenes beginning with ‘He sits’ or ‘He stands’, and by the end of the scene, he’s still sitting or standing. Show him DOING some things and it will be much more dynamic, and depending what he does, we’ll also get to know this guy. The dialogue needs work as well. They’re speaking what should be subtext. Eg. ‘This is just too weird.’ could be said with as little as a frown.
    With a solid edit this could be really strong.

    Blood of the Butcher
    Read: 12 pages
    Logline: Can’t help but think ‘another cancer story’. But the scenario has good conflict possibilities.
    Impressions: Well written, solid dialogue. Alice has that Clarice Starling moxy, but seems fresh. I particularly like her punching her own holes in the target sheet. This tells us something about her – she’s sneaky, a little deceptive, but also clever.
    Though after ten pages or so, it felt like I was reading three different scripts. The cop stuff, the (I’m assuming) assassin stuff, and the hospital stuff all had quite different tones. This could be interesting when it all comes together, but it made me a little wary. Though I can’t really judge that until I read more. Overall, so far, so great :)

    The Shrike
    Read: 12 pages
    Logline: Interesting – girls and monsters can be fun. Though I can’t see what the story is from this.
    Impressions: I really tried with this one. The writing was coherent, and the atmosphere in the beginning was cool, though familiar. It took me ten pages to tell why I couldn’t get into the script. Then I realised during some dialogue between the boys that I had no idea who these people were. We’ve met something like 8 characters, and all I have really have about them is that they’re ‘Native American’. When we meet the boys later on, you do tell us their age (twice) and how they’re dressed, but they’re all the same age and wearing the same clothes. We need more than this, or it’s pretty much impossible to read and understand.
    The story could be great here, but I didn’t reach it unfortunately.

    Rebel City
    Read: 10 pages
    Logline: Superb. Gives us a good taste of what to expect, and the fact that it’s over one night intensifies things.
    Impressions: I really liked this, and it was a close second. It felt very cinematic, and I can see someone like Guy Richie being interested/jealous. Though he writes and directs, so I’m wondering if that’s your plan with this?
    It was tough to choose between this and Butcher. I think I was just slightly more in line with the characters in the other script. But really, the only thing I wasn’t so sure on with Rebel City is why we spent over a page on black. Seems like we could have been looking at something, even if it was just the ‘rain splattered window.’ But you’re a good writer, so I respect the choice. And I plan to read more :)

    Greenhouse
    Read: 2 pages
    Logline: Not bad, some inherent conflict there. Though instead of asking me a question, I’d rather be left asking my own questions.
    Impressions: I’m sorry, Nile, I was already skimming. When page two looks like a novel, it’s not really a screenplay. I’m sure there was important information in those extended paragraphs, but at the very least, give us some CAPS to direct us to the necessary info. And if there’s NO necessary info, then it’s just…not necessary.
    This is another one that could turn into a great story, but the people that have the power to get it made are going to stop where I stopped.

    Overall, pretty impressed by the quality this week!

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

    Voting Blood of the Butcher.

    I’ve read a few versions. This is the tightest one yet. Characters pop, action moves. i dig it very much.

    Other notes:

    2nd Place:
    Rebel City: I like this. I really like the concept. The dialogue’s tough on me, some’s formal, some’s slang I don’t get. Also, descriptions can drag on here & there, but this is a movie.

    Green House:
    Awesome opening image & scene in the court room. After that we’re moving into absolute walls of text that need paring down. Good example: That scene heading at the bottom of page 6. That’s an incredible amount of info for me to process. Again on 12, again on 14. Exhausting. Just lean everything out on the next draft, maybe?

    Started the other two, but they didn’t bite.

  • Casper Chris

    Paul Clarke,

    You’ve been such an invaluable contributor to this site that I saw it as a my duty to sit down and read your script from front to back and provide some considered feedback.

    This is quite an ambitious story. A lot of story threads and plot intricacies. I can tell a lot of work went into it. The story starts out as a straight manhunt crime thriller, then turns into something altogether more complex. I love when a writer sets the bar really high for himself, and you certainly did. The question is if the complexity of the plot ended up hurting the story. There were a lot of “plot conveniences” that challenged my suspension of disbelief, and I could tell you were struggling a bit to keep the big boat afloat.

    At the beginning of the story, the FBI is investigating a string of murders committed by “The Butcher”, and the FBI director, under pressure to catch the killer, is allocating resources to the homicide department at the expense of the fraud department. FBI agent Alice Heatan, our protag, is in the fraud department longing for the thrills of homicide. If there was any doubt as to what is more important – fraud or homicide – all she has to do is open a newspaper (the press is all over the ongoing murder mystery). Needless to say, she feels a bit like a “fraud”.

    *SPOILER ALERT* There’s some interesting irony going on here as the blue-collar murderer turns out to be just a pawn in the game of a white-collar fraudster who’s using the murders to keep the focus of the FBI and the press off his billion dollar fraud crimes. I can imagine this is what initially attracted you to the story. The message of how the public is preoccupied with in-your-face small crime instead of behind-the-scenes big crime. Focusing on superficial problems or “symptoms” instead of root causes.

    The whole white-collar-blue-collar dialectic is also somewhat reflected in our odd pairing, pen-pusher Alice and our manhandling “cleaner” Tony. Alice constantly runs around with her nose in her iPad (as Tony remarks, “she has brought the desk with her”) while Tony is an old-schooler who monitors his surroudings the old-school way: With his eyes and ears. White-collar vs. blue-collar. Tony kicks ass with his gun, fists and leather belt. Alice is a girly girl at heart trying to be hardcore.

    So far so good. I can tell you put a lot of thought into things.

    Where the chain jumped for me was the constant influx of plot conveniences and lapses in logic. This started when Alice so easily snuck into the homicide deparment and BOOM, moments later, she was en route to her first homicide scene.

    Then we have the meeting between Alice and Tony at thenight club. Of course, this is not entirely coincidental as Tony is in trouble for tax evasion (I believe?) and is looking for Alice to help him out (her being a fraud agent and all), but the choice of location seems a bit odd. We have a save-the-cat moment where Tony saves Alice from a sleazy would-be rapist. This would be okay if it wasn’t for the fact that this exact story beat – Tony saving Alice from trouble – is rehashed two more times later. Whenever Alice is in big trouble, Tony shows up out of nowhere like a deus ex machina and saves the poor damsel in distress. Not only does this feel awfully convenient, it feels unimaginative. Plus we like active protagonists who take measures to save their own asses.

    The whole “Tony and the Hooligans” story thread feels disconnected from the rest of the story and ultimately superfluous. It’s too long for what it accomplishes and should, at the very least, be shortened or combined with something else. It’s main raison d’etre is to establish Tony as a reluctant badass. It paints Tony as man who’s in total control under pressure. Unfortunately, this is in stark contrast to the later Tony who takes his eyes off the bad guy during a pivotal showdown, steps toward a cooler and allows himself to be pushed inside and locked up – again, for the convenience of the plot.

    At page 39, why does Alice call the FBI to report the creep and his collection of dead animals? As you’ve clearly established, she’s compromising her professional integrity in doing so. So why doesn’t she simply do what any normal person would do and call the cops? Dead animals is hardly a federal matter anyway. Just tip the cops. Hell, do it anonymously. I understand her calling the FBI (where she works) sets up the scene at page 45 where she gets scolded by her boss (a way to create some suspense/conflict perhaps), but it doesn’t really make sense, does it?

    Later we have Alice and Tony waltzing into the “head quarters” of the bad guys and getting an inside scoop on their operation by presenting themselves as “investors” (on the spur of the moment), Tony getting access to an old woman’s appartment with the lure of blueberry muffins, Alice’s boss showing up conveniently to lock her into the server room, Tony abandoning their mission to save a minor character we don’t care about (Gregory) just so Alice can face The Butcher mano-a-mano etc. (well, at least you didn’t have Tony save her for a fourth time). Taken together, it’s just a little too much. Too easy. Too convenient.

    The story starts out as the story of a female FBI agent hunting a serial killer. That is the engine for much of the story, and so it’s hard not to draw parellels to the Silence of the Lambs. Compared to that movie, your serial killer feels tame. For starters, he’s named The Butcher. That’s as generic as it gets. What’s his M.O.? Well, he’s big and strong. When we finally see him in action, he lifts a guy off the ground and squeezes the life out of him. Compare that with Bufallo Bill. Now that’s a name. And instead of going for the obvious and making him big and strong, the writer made him an effiminate cross-dresser. What’s his M.O.? He lures a girl into the back of van on pretext of needing help with moving a piece of furniture (Ted Bundy had a similar M.O. so it rings true), then knocks her unconscious and checks the size of her clothes. Why? Oh, so he can skin her and wear her like a vest. Now That’s scary.

    When Alice saved James Muldoon from the clutches of The Butcher in the climax scene, it barely registered a hit on my emotional radar. The problem is that we don’t know James. He’s just a limp body. Compare that with the senator’s daughter in SOTL whose ordeals we get to co-experience. We get to suffer with her in that well. Granted, your climax scene might have been more about Alice saving herself, but for the life of me, I could not understand why she would make the decision to climb into an incinerator simply because The Butcher is bigger and blocking her gun. Then we get that rather cartoony sequence of The Butcher tossing the incinerator around while she’s inside somehow not getting blinded by all the ash (same ash she uses to blind The Butcher with moments later). You get points for thinking outside the box, certainly, but I think you can come up with something better. The Butcher arriving to the climax scene on horseback was also a little too on-the-nose / hamfisted for me. I understand you set this up earlier with the horse hairs and horse shoe, but it felt a bit silly.

    Minor crits:

    At several points in the story, someone talks about someone being ‘trespassed from somewhere’, e.g. on page 54 when Alice asks “Where was he trespassed from?” or on page 82 when Alice says “The first victim, he was trespassed from the cosmetics plant” (there’s another one on page 84). Does ‘trespass’ mean what you think it does? I’m not a native English speaker so I could be wrong, but don’t you mean ‘expelled’ or ‘evicted’ or something along those lines? In the context of things, it seems important to get right.

    p51: Alice says “Her. You brought an FBI agent into my place. Bobby will –” — Shouldn’t that be Gregory’s dialogue?

    p60: Alice says “Here you go, love. A free sample.” — Shouldn’t that be RICHIE’s dialogue?

    p61: “You feel it? Or you just want to feel it?” = feels out of place / out of character

    In Summary:

    I have more notes, but I think I better stop here. I want to finish off by saying that while I have chosen to focus on what I perceive as weaknesses here, I thought there was a lot to like about the story as well (a lot of thought and creativity). Like I said at the beginning, it’s very grand and ambitious, and the fact that you almost pulled it off is commendable. I hope some of this will help you make the script even better.

    Niggles:

    Here’s some niggles I caught along the way (to help you polish the script):

    twenty-something year old = twenty-something-year-old (p6)

    The straightens out his jacket = then or he (p9)

    Slams = slams (p10)

    tests it’s strength = tests its strength (p24)

    fellows patrons = patrons (p27)

    snaps it’s neck = snaps its neck (p29)

    The Lumberjack lower = The Lumberjack lowers (p30)

    a beat up old pickup = an old, beat-up pickup (p31)

    She closes the door peers back = She closes the door. Peers back. (p40)

    screws the card up = scrunches/crumples the card? (p44)

    He phone rings = Her phone rings (p44)

    art-works = artworks (p50)

    accolades = compliment? (p51)

    reminiscent = reminiscing (p63)

    no ones around = no one’s around (p64)

    see’s Bobby = sees Bobby (p68)

    coworkers = co-workers (p74/p103)

    • lesbiancannibal

      I don’t know how it works in the States but in New Zealand people can be served with a trespass notice forbidding them from being somewhere, and the police often say so-and-so was ‘trespassed from’ somewhere

  • Randy Williams

    REBEL CITY

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    A very effective example of vertical writing, I thought. Nothing gets lost, however, in the speed.

    I read to page 30. Since the goal is presented so soon, the pages I read were quick and pithy “slices of life” that packed several courses into one meal. There was hardly any breathing room and for me, I wanted some breath. I loved the crashing of the birthday party scene of all the servings. That was ripe with family drama and I was honestly choked up with emotion reading it. None of the other scripts have done that for me so far. Then the “gun” scene followed which was just as potent. Right back to the buffet we go with new characters and dialogue bouncing around like fireworks. Maybe a scene back at the hospital. A quiet moment with the doctor, the mother? A nurse making her rounds? Let things sink in. If we are the father throughout in his manic desperation, we’re gonna burn out quick.

    Well, I did.

  • CRAYONSEED

    I read the entirety of Rebel City. I really, really liked it, but with a few gripes. Some minor but a couple of major:

    -in the middle of his mission, which is the most important hing he’s likely to ever do; and after getting crucial information on where Seamus is, Jonjo decides to have a drink with Kenny’s junkie widow. I don’t care how guilty he feels about killing Kenny (ha!), I don’t think that character in that situation would do that. I get why that scene had to happen, but I think here should be a better reason to get him in that bar.

    -there were a LOT of characters and I did have a bit of trouble keeping them all straight at the end when the mystery of Jonjo’s past/Seamus’ crime is revealed.

    -Jonjo’s crime could have been a lot more scandalous or had a connection to a character that we cared about more. I get why the characters in the story hated what happened, but I had no connection to the guy he killed on the tape because he was just a name from the past to me.

    -how the hell is he going to explain to the hospital where he organs came from???

    Please don’t take this as me hating the script; quite the opposite: I remained invested throughout and felt the urgency of the mission at hand. The characters were clearly defined for me and I’d be curious to see more stories with the protagonist.

    • Chris Ryden

      Wow thank you so much for reading the whole script Crayonseed! Great feedback and I totally take on board your points. If it helps, there’s a trilogy mapped out… ;)

  • Randy Williams

    BIG BROTHER

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read 37 pages of this…just enough to find out what happened to his brother.

    The writing was very persuasive, gave me a “spy thriller” writer’s command even though
    it’s labeled a “drama”. Why a “drama”? I thought they don’t sell.

    Yeah, I read it until they found his brother and was surprised it happened so soon and in a “first choice” manner. Didn’t feel a need to continue after that. Where was the mystery after that or any hint that things would blow up big?

    Another thing is that Cole needed a flaw. He appeared as a mild mannered reporter. What were his fears? His secrets. Those things that were obstacles to finding his brother? What was he really looking for? Maybe it came along later but I didn’t see the hint of those things, either.

    Again, I thought the writing, the pacing, visuals, all well done. Stronger protagonist, (strong enough to attract an “A” lister) surprises, hints of big things to come is what I felt lacking.

  • Randy Williams

    I gave you my vote. Now, get to rewriting!

    • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

      Thanks so much!!! Already on it :)

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

      Shouldn’t he wait until all the notes are in? lol ;)

  • Raphael Howard

    Just read Shrike in Full. I like the idea of turning what appears to be a traditional horror tale into an ensemble drama, but there are a few flaws. First of these is the large number of characters. Wren was supposed to be the main protagonist, but she didn’t really get involved in the story until the Third Act. Her grandmother’s telepathic link with Shrike goes unexplained, and many interesting plot points (Such as Wren’s pregnancy) are under explained. However, I liked the characters, especially Junior and Mark, and the story was interesting and unique with a bittersweet tone that I found unusual and moving.

  • Film_Shark

    Film Review – ‘Gone Girl’ is a twisted psychological thriller.
    http://www.examiner.com/review/gone-girl-movie-review

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

    Another round of AOW hopefuls, great to see Paul’s work in there.
    Logline of the week: Rebel City. Butcher’s is pretty good too.
    But a reformed father with a dying son has more pop than a corrupt fed.

    AOW Winner: REBEL CITY.

    BIG BROTHER:
    Your logline underwhelms me. Public crappers have a disturbing atmosphere too.
    Please don’t play KEEP-AWAY with your story’s HOOK.
    There’s a big difference between showing a mystery and TEASING one.
    Find a way to ENTICE the reader with your logline, LURE us in.
    And your script’s very first sentence contains a spelling error. WYSR fail.

    MIST BLANKETS an area. The fogs don’t roll in, just the fog.
    The Mists of Avalon is a proper noun type-deal. I think. Anyway, it tripped me up.
    Way too much furniture fiddling to hook a reader in your opener.
    I don’t need to know the order in which Cole turns on lights.
    Unless he’s going to be that kind of OCD protag or something like that.

    Opening three pages for a voicemail and forced marital backstory.
    The brother-in-law wanting to hang with the ex-wife reads odd.
    Wouldn’t he want to track down his brother’s friends first.
    She dumps her date to make this happen, why would she do that?
    They’re obviously not close at all. The motivation reads wonky.
    This guy’s lost track of his brother, but now gets all worked up. Weird.
    Doesn’t he even know where his brother works in town? Logic gaps aplenty.

    It’s almost exclusively plot on the page, and it comes way too easy to Cole.
    The big exposition dump by Hersh, your protag did nothing to earn that.
    I could see Cole getting STONEWALLED by the big boss. He gets upset, leaves.
    Then Hersh could catch up with him. That scenario has some sparks.
    It also adds the UNCERTAINTY of the plan going wrong that keeps up reading.
    There’s no conflict on the page, Cole easily goes from point A to point B.

    If I had an inkling of the DANGER that snatched up Alex, that would help.
    Teasing the villain here somehow could keep me reading. Done on p. 12.
    As written, your story lacks conflict and your baddies talk too much.

    PASS.

    THE GREENHOUSE:
    Your logline doesn’t give me a much of a story. Just a custody battle.
    Where’s the story outside of the courtroom? Does the cult need the girl for something?
    Courtroom wouldn’t likely humiliate a child like that. They’d show pictures of the ink.
    It’s cheap theatrics, forensic evidence would suffice for a jury.
    I know you’re going for shock, but there’s got to be a more plausible way.

    I skipped over the HALF PAGE of set design. Just say they’re off the grid.
    Show a little home schooling and you’re done. No wall of text needed.
    Guessing the writer is fairly new at the craft, lose all the staging.
    You’re wasting valuable real estate on each and every body movement.
    Try to focus on setting the SCENE, not setting the STAGE.
    Suggest an environment, details are for STORY CRITICAL elements only.

    There’s a lot of 5-7 lines of dialogue chunks on the page.
    Here’s my rule of thumb for dialogue…
    Keep pulling phrases/sentences out until the line looses its meaning.
    That way only the absolutely needed data stays on the page.

    Phone chat was a bit frustrating. Could’ve fit some cult details in there.
    I’d like to know what it is that Emery actually does believe in.
    Shed some light on the cult here to entice the reader.
    A heated face-to-face argument would be much more dramatic than phones.

    All the generic domestic small talk is not forwarding the story.
    I’m bowing out on P. 16. After the courtroom, everything felt like BACKSTORY.
    You can SHORTHAND all the cult domestic business with the lawyers.
    They can deliver needed exposition to cut down on all the flashbacks.
    Maybe the cult treats Blaire like a Chosen One, that would heighten the drama.
    But the cult’s inert w/o an agenda and the courtroom scenes are stagnant.

    PASS.

    THE SHRIKE:
    I wonder if your warrior monster should be a little more bird-like.
    Wren is an obvious avian reference, I figured there would be more.
    The six-page campfire tale reads fine for me, but it better go somewhere soon.
    I think I would’ve enjoyed seeing a little of the monster Nana describes though.

    Would be nice if someone JUMP-SCARED Jimmer here, Wren perhaps.
    She’s a sneaky bird-like critter, something like that would be more fun.
    Just the tree-rustling reads a little too serious for its own good.
    Break up that heavy-handed trope with a quick fun character beat.

    Mitchell’s dancing and eating pancakes at the same time. That’s just odd.
    Or is this an unfilmable and the music’s just in his head. Hmm.
    I feel Nana needs some sass here…
    “Just cuz you’re named after a bird, doesn’t mean you have to eat like one.”
    There’s a ton of kids in this script, feels more Spielbergian than scary.

    P. 11 Does Derrick mean to say: cray-cray? Quay is a nautical term.
    Jimmer’s predicament would generate some drama if it was set up better.
    Show the trouble-makers spot the kids from afar, then cut away.
    This increases the OFF-SCREEN MOVIE, we know those jerks will mess with kids.

    Cut to Wren doing her thing, then Jimmer interrupts her. Cue the conflict.
    Starting this way suggests a lot has happened the reader didn’t need to see.

    P. 15 Is the casino reference really needed, reads too redneck for me.
    The kid chatter reads more empty calories than character or story-centric.
    I’m bowing out here, the tone reads more Goonies & Goosebumps than adult horror.

    PASS.

    REBEL CITY:
    Your logline has all the GSU any story needs, let’s see how it plays out.
    BTW, I’m a fan of Eddie Coyle and own the Criterion remaster of Thief.
    After invoking those title, this better be good.

    How can we see “no reaction” over black?
    I’d prefer the opener show more of your world than two pages of black.
    The parents deliver poor exposition, they both know these facts already.

    But a DOCTOR would deliver good exposition to the uninformed parents…
    He asks if there’s family nearby. Jonjo says his brother’s two hours away.
    Doctor say that’s great, but Jonjo and Erin are like, “Not really.”
    Boom! You’ve set up Seamus in seconds without him even being in the room.
    And that way TEASES this great mystery about the donor for the reader.
    Find a better way to crack your opener and get things HAPPENING.

    Erin could provide a little data about Seamus by how she talks.
    She’s such a blank slate about her brother-in-law, utilize her better.
    Two full pages before the knock on the door is over-indulgent.
    Scale back the minutiae, you probably only need a fraction of it.

    The more I think about it, the more I like Seamus being ABSENT early on.
    Everyone talks about him, we learn bits and pieces, entice a mystery.
    If everyone we meet is after the same guy, your narrative stays LEAN.
    Then the reader will be primed to arrive at his flat, just like Jonjo.

    P. 11 Odd than Jonjo would rather complain about Bogdan than help his kid.
    Jonjo should rein in that rage at some point and focus on the GOAL.
    If he doesn’t, your protag comes off more than a tad self-centered.

    P. 13 Feels too soon to be dodging blacked-out baddies.
    I was hoping there would be a clue in the flat that sends Jonjo on a quest.
    The RED BOOTS feels very TV-movie to me. It’s a weak, obvious plot point.
    Bowing on out p. 17. Why wouldn’t Jonjo call Maureen before flying in?

    Tonally, this feels more like Danny Boyle, than Eddie Coyle to me.
    Your idea’s better than your scene choices, but I’m still intrigued.
    The writer certainly can pull my eyes down the page pretty well. Count me in.

    CONSIDER.

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER:
    Always a pleasure to crack open a script by a staunch contributor.
    P. 2 I’m not put out by an agent whose aim has gone shaky.
    It can be for a number of reasons, none to do with lack of training.
    But I want to know what FLAW causes her poor performance.

    The exposition being discussed sounds way more exciting than being in this office.
    Which begs the question, “Why am I in this office then?”
    Personally, I wouldn’t want to send that signal to a reader in my opener.
    I’m sure you don’t mean to, but the scene choice reads fairly toxic here.
    Find the juiciest slice of your juicy scenario and drop me in there.
    Put me far behind the narrative 8-ball and make me work for it, author.

    Place holder dialogue like, “He must be stopped”, has got to go.
    An eavesdropping wanna be do-gooder isn’t gonna land with today’s audiences.
    I think the lukewarm chatter and tepid character intro are red flags.
    Those flags indicate to me you’re starting your tale in the wrong scene.

    Seems like Michaels berating her initiative is the wrong tack to take.
    He’s a superior, he should be able to spin her better, a la Jack Crawford.
    Michaels throws Alice under the bus in the Supervisor’s office for no reason.
    Other than to drop an exposition bomb about Alice’s personal life.
    That’s not how superiors deal with their employee’s ambitions.
    I’d ditch the “what’s with you” portion of his dialogue. Reads kinda sexist too.

    What Homicide division from another law enforcement agency is this?
    The FBI does not have any such specified task force with in the agency.
    Google-Fu is your friend, use it and gain reader trust with your research skills.

    P. 5 Alice gets shot down by her boss, then randomly handed her prize. Huh?
    She didn’t even have to work for it, or TRICK anyone into letting her go.
    This feels like a very UNREWARDING ARC for the mini-quest you constructed.
    You’ve got the obstacle set up, but the pay off isn’t EARNED by your protag at all.

    P. 5 Because I don’t know what’s HAPPENED, Bald Agent’s exposition bogs down.
    Everything he says feels like Burden of Investment to me.
    I firmly believe there’s gotta be a juicier way into your world than this.
    The merry-go-round to the head suggests something more Wonderlandish for Alice.

    P. 7 More names and hooligans to remember. The BOI is piling up.
    But that’s only because I don’t know anything about the case you teased.
    I’m forced to assume EVERYONE is story critical until you indicate otherwise.
    Without a narrative anchor in your story, I’m adrift in your world.

    I’d rather meet your wishy-washy paper pusher at the crime scene.
    Show Alice being given a HARD TIME, like she doesn’t belong. Because she doesn’t.
    Let me find out LATER that she’s a bit pushy and sneaky, but driven too.
    If I see the driven/competitive side of her first, I’m more apt to invest in Alice.

    P. 10 Feels like a bunch of ancillary characters being slung at me.
    I’m not seeing how they connect to a murder case at all, no bread crumbs to add up.
    The whole opener feels muddled, I was promised a murder case to crack.

    There’s got be a better way to ground the reader in your narrative.
    So far it;s an agent that doesn’t belong on a case I know zilch about. Ack.
    Compounding that is an Al Capone-type with no visible link to the murder. Erf.
    And then we’ve got the disease reveal. Nothing about that mysterious murder tease.
    Far too much BOI chases me away from the script.
    I think Paul knows these seemingly disparate story threads much better than I do.

    A re-crack of the opener will get Paul’s script “Carson ready.”
    Full disclosure, I feel like a big douche not voting for Paul here.
    He deserves all the analysis he can handle. We’ve all benefited from him.
    So, instead of an AOW vote… I want to offer Paul a — private consult.
    Assuming he’d like to talk about his script with me sometime, I’d love to.

    PASS with CONSULT. (Yes, Paul gets his own rating. He’s that cool.)

    • Craig Mack

      Free CONSULT from Electric? That’s better than a lot of screenwriting comps prizes!

    • astranger2

      I’m not sure how you do it so consistently, ED, but each week you provide incredible insight to the AOW entries. Always sharply — but constructively — critical.

      And with such an obvious love for the craft of screenwriting.

      I know you must put a lot of time into your script analyses, but you make it seem so effortless. When I first came to SS your posts were always a must read — because of your diligent, impartial, and caring assessments on each entry.

      I must say, I admire this…

    • Paul Clarke

      Wow, I’ll take that any day of the week. Reading your notes I can see the effect of trying to bend the story to fit the competition’s logline. Now that it’s not longer part of that I’m free to change many of those details.

      paul dot clarke121 at bigpond dot com

      I would love to return the favour Electric.

    • BSBurton

      Good analysis! Great to see you online. You gonna catch any flicks this weekend?

  • astranger2

    My Vote: Blood of the Butcher

    Strong entries this week.

    Read first twenty or so of each. All written very well but I liked Blood of the Butcher the most as I’m a sucker for good banter, which the relationship dynamic between Alice and Tony provides successfully.

    Not to say the story itself isn’t taut, and suspenseful. But the interplay between the two are weaved into the plot seamlessly, and is an enjoyable backdrop against their clunky collaborative search for the killer.

    Big Brother would be my second choice. Another well-written script that shows signs of only gaining momentum on each turn of the page. Rebel City and The Shrike also didn’t necessarily disappoint the farther you progressed into the read. All are well-constructed.

    The Greenhouse had some intriguing moments — and I’m sure the writer is tired of hearing this, but those large blocks of description can be potentially mind-numbing… even if well-written. Still, I might’ve voted this up to number two, if you weeded the garden a bit… nice work.

    • astranger2

      (re-posted to ED’s comment. ; P)

    • BSBurton

      Good post A2, glad to see you online. Hope things are well

      • astranger2

        As Aristotle said, “it is what it is.” Hope you’re doing well yourself, LB.

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

    I saw you had an LA number. There are a couple good writing groups out here if you aren’t already in one.

    • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

      Ah, thanks for thinking of that — I actually JUST moved up to San Francisco a few weeks ago. If you know of anyone up here I would love to join something like that!

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

        No, I don’t. I only know a couple of people up there.

        The best place to find writing groups outside of the LA area is probably through Meetup.

        Though the university up there may have a screenwriting emphasis, and so you could probably find other writers and writing groups that way.

        • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

          Great advice, Rick! Will check both out.

  • NajlaAnn

    First choice: Rebel City [nifty dialogue]

    Second Choices: Big Brother, Blood of the Butcher [both seem equally interesting]

  • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

    Hi Adam — I am the writer of The Greenhouse and just wanted to say thank you so much for your input, especially on the use of exposition! I feel so humbled by everyone taking time to check out my first screenplay and really appreciate all the feedback!

  • Linkthis83

    I agree it should be on merit. And that’s what I meant about making a case to get him a review — separate from AOW.

    I want it to be based on merit, but it’s hard not to be biased because it is Paul.

    • Paul Clarke

      Indeed, I didn’t want to be so audacious as to ask. And I thought there’s not point reviewing it if it’s not worthy of an AOW victory. Joseph Campbell type threshold guardians kind of thing. Then again, maybe this is how it works in the business.

      Seems like a real blockbuster of a week though. Whatever happens I have received so many great notes, and feel reinvigorated to write more in general.

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

      Or if his doesn’t get chosen this round, he can just bring it back and maybe Carson can do as suggested with heavy commenters and contributors on the site. I do believe they deserve their time in the sun giving so much to the community. Much more than I do.

      It would also give Paul time to get the script even better for Carson’s hard to earn “worth a read” status. Or higher, which I’m sure we’re all hoping for him and everyone else who submits on the site to get.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Right.
    If I had known he was planning on filming it,
    I wouldn’t have said a word.

  • gazrow

    In a very tough week my vote is as follows:

    1st place = BIG BROTHER/BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER
    2nd place = REBEL CITY
    3rd place = THE SHRIKE
    4th place = THE GREENHOUSE

    Big Brother is well written but more importantly there is a lot more going on beneath the surface – the script is loaded with thematic subtext!

    Blood of the Butcher gets progressively darker – the scene in the barn where Alice crashes through the floorboards into a huge pile of rotting animal remains is gross but great!

    Rebel City is nice and lean and has some pretty good dialogue. However, it loses points as the concept is too similar to DESPERATE MEASURES in my view.

    The writer of The Shrike promised a tight script in his WYSR – however, the opening didn’t deliver on the promise and took up too much valuable space IMO.

    The opening of The Greenhouse was too novelistic for me. Also, the dialogue felt a little stilted and could do with a polish.

    • BSBurton

      Great post Gaz, subtext is key!! :)

  • Malibo Jackk

    Was worried it might be a slip of the tongue.
    Wouldn’t want you to tell a studio exec that you want to make
    a movie just like The Friends of Eddie Doyle.

    Sounds like you’re getting some good reviews.
    Good luck with the project.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Read the first 45 pages of Rebel City. Needless to say it’s pretty good from a writing perspective and has a plot right out of the GSU cookbook.

    I honestly don’t have a lot of notes because this writer knows what he’s doing.

    But there is one thing I would do. Even though there is a lot of conflict, (almost every scene) the pace could be ratcheted up. One of the reasons i read as much as I did because the conflict gives the impression a lot is happening even though some scenes drag on longer than necessary. An example would be the ‘surprise party’ scene at Jonjo’s sister’s house. It goes on for 6 pages even though you establish fairly quickly what needs to be said. But because there is so much conflict in the scene it disguises the fact that the scene runs long and gets repetitive towards the end.

    A 2nd example would be the scene set the Rising Sun pub. The scenes inside and out last a good 10 pages at least. The scene with Man 1 and Man 2 seems wholly unnecessary, especially in light of the information that Sheila the Shag provides at the end of the scene. Concentrate on the scenes with the father and Sheila the Shag (great name) and cut the superfluous fat. It will really help this move better. As it is I don’t have a lot to complain about as the thing keeps my interest throughout, I want to follow Jonjo until he finds his brother. That’s good writing.

    I also want to mention that I really enjoyed the scene with Michael, Jonjo and the gun. It was a darkly comic moment handled with real aplomb.

    At the moment, this script will be hard to beat, but I will check out the others when I can.

    My goal would be to get this script down from 115 pgs to a lean mean 105. Given the rather simple nature of the plot, Jonjo needs to find his brother to save his son, I believe this is doable.

    Great work.

  • davejc

    It should be based on merit. that’s the ideal. But the way its set up makes that impossible. Almost all of the the votes on AOW are based on the first ten to twenty five pages.

    What does that tell us?

    It tells us the writer can hit the ground running. It tells us the writer knows the craft.

    That’s all.

    It doesn’t tell us if the writer has the ability to bring it all home in the third act, which is the true mark of a great screenplay.

    So unfortunately we are not voting for the best execution of a script. We are voting for the best execution of the first act. And we end up with strong first acts with the inability to bring it all home.

    I read the first ten of all entries. But that didn’t give me any indication of what, which script would make the best film.

    I voted for Paul because I’ve read two of his scripts. His stories are character driven which becomes more and more important to me as I learn the craft. And I have confidence in his writing.

    I will read the whole script and give him full notes on Friday, as he gave me really great notes in the past.

    But I also want to read all of Greenhouse, based on the WYSR. Because it would be refreshing to read something from a writer just starting out who hasn’t yet crippled his creativity with all the idiotic rules and white space, which the rest of us believe is essential to the quality of the final product the actual motion picture.

    But I also want to read all of Pet from yesterday first. So i’m playing catch up and there’s only so many hours in a day.

  • brenkilco

    Finished The Butcher. Generally enjoyable. But I had some problems. For most of its length the tone of the story was a lot closer to The Thin Man than it was to The Silence of the Lambs. A charming male criminal and cute but awkward female in uneasy alliance. He’s suave and tolerant. She’s spunky but a bit dizzy. They follow clues, creep around old dark houses, take pratfalls, encounter creepy characters. it worked for Loy and Powell in the thirties. It worked for Pierce Brosnan and whoever his costar was in Remington Steele in the seventies. But we’re mixing this with a psychopathic serial killer, a heretofore conscienceless hitman, and cancer. Not sure the mashup is quite working for me.

    The plotting is serviceable but having the key clue be provided by a super computer genius with access to forensic programs beyond anything the FBI has is sort of cheap. Too much time is spent on the Bobby subplot and on initial red herrings. Once our heroes get close to the bad guy it becomes mostly a matter of muddling on to the climax without much in the way of surprize except the final revelation about Bobby and the Butcher, which is fairly illogical and irritatingly contrived.

    And while I like a good Macguffin, I had no idea what these contracts were that Bobby wanted destroyed, why he wanted them destroyed, why government contracts would have been stored in FBI computers, why the computer genius he used couldnt have done this job without assistance. And not for nothing but even in 2014 physical contracts still get signed and hard copies filed. Likewise didn’t buy how blithely the heroine’s superiors blew off her criminal activities. You can bet Bobby’s criminal lawyers won’t be so quick to forget.

    Bottom line, the best thing about the script is the relationship between the protags. And to make one of them a mob assassin and the other terminally ill is just a buzzkill. Crime and Punishment this aint.

    A word about the writing. Liked it. But the author might give it another pass just for grammar. A couple of examples. For some reason he frequently uses the phrase trespass from instead of simply trespass or trespass on. He also likes to use the phrase indicate to instead of simply indicate. And I lost count of the number of times somebody stared daggers at somebody else.

  • Midnight Luck

    Screenwriters and their stories on breaking in:

    http://screenplayscripts.com/screenwriters-big-breaks/

    • Midnight Luck

      This is just great, hilarious sh*t. And goes to show, even successful writers have been through all of it.
      “In 1986, I was leaving college and I was a single mom, so anything with a dollar sign on it, I applied. I entered three screenwriting contests. The first one was the Nissan Focus Awards, which no longer exists. I failed miserably, apparently, because they sent me a rejection notice with a list of screenwriting books I might wanna read. I submitted to the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards and to the brand new contest that year, the Nicholl Fellowship. I won both. The Goldwyn had been around a long time, so there were journalists and agents waiting around to hear who’d won. The Nicholl Fellowship was new, so there wasn’t so much attention around that, but it was quite a juicy prize. At that time it was $20,000. Everybody wanted to read my script.”
      – ALLISON ANDERS, THINGS BEHIND THE SUN, GAS FOOD LODGING, MI VIDA LOCA

    • Midnight Luck

      I love this stuff….
      “I took a bargain basement flight to L.A. where I had an aunt who had a friend who happened to know a lawyer who had quit to become an agent.”
      -STEVEN DE SOUZA, DIE HARD, DIE HARD 2, THE RUNNING MAN, 48 HRS

  • GoIrish

    Blood of the Butcher
    I didn’t have too much time today (Notre Dame beat Stanford!). I read up to p. 24, so I’ll just offer some quick thoughts. There are some key differences, but with a female FBI agent chasing a serial killer, it obviously calls to mind Silence of the Lambs (which for me is the greatest crime thriller there is). One thing I like about Silence of the Lambs is how quickly they jump into the plot. Clarice is “working” with Dr. Lecter very early on (5 minutes in?). Here, it’s not until p. 21 that Tony and Alice agree to work together. I’d suggest seeing if you can get them on their journey a little earlier. The hooligan scene didn’t really work for me. So, maybe there’s someway to get them together then or in some other fashion. I also had a tough time figuring out who Tony was. He was wearing a tux in a bar; he’s clearly older than everyone else. Does he lack self-awareness or can he pull it off? The girl initially seems open to his advances but then laughs at him by the cab – this made me think he lacked self-awareness and really wasn’t “smooth.” And then his interaction with Alice seemed to be more “good guy” (admittedly, he does need something from her, but being nice is certainly not the only way to get something from someone). The writing is decent enough and the story moves fairly quickly. At this point, I would say I could continue reading without struggling to turn the page, but I would like for the urge to feel a little stronger.

    Notes while reading:
    p. 5 -“The Homicide Agent eyes her up.” Minor clarity point. Is he looking in the rear-view mirror? Or is he turning around? Not sure who’s driving.
    p. 5 – “Didn’t you say you worked in IT?” – the Bald Agent wasn’t present when that was initially said on p. 4.
    pp.7-9 – I’m so so on the exchange b/w the hooligans and Tony. I’m not sure I see him surrendering $500 when he knows he could easily take them. The “you don’t change the deal” line felt a little reminiscent of the Transporter.
    p. 11 – is “flighty” the word you want to describe the high-priced attorney?
    p. 11 – “preferably in fraud” – feels a little too convenient with the reader having already been introduced to an FBI agent in fraud (but I do recognize every script has convenient elements to it)
    p. 11 – not sure the doctor would disclose that she had leukemia
    p. 12 – “spend them wisely.” feels a little off
    p. 14 – missing comma – “careful there, sweetheart.”
    p. 19 – missing comma – “I found you, didn’t I?”
    p. 24 – “developed a taste. Now he can’t stop.” reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs

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

      Go Irish!

  • Bluedust

    Read the first twenty of The Shrike. Hmm, whenever a writer promises in WYSR that their script is better than than any other AOW script, it never seems to work out that way. And this is no exception. The opening folk tale drones on for six pages and packed no menace or foreboding. It gave me a rough idea of what a Shrike is, but no story was set in motion. The following fifteen pages are the rather tepid daily happenings of this American Indian family. A bunch of kids I couldn’t tell apart and their annoying parents.

    By page 20 I still have no clue what the point of the story is. In terms of GSU, this script is 0 for three. The only scene that had a hint of tension was the shrike snatching the deer on page 8. Maybe consider making that your opening scene, along with Nana’s V.O. But that shouldn’t last more than a couple pages before you get the ball rolling on the narrative.

  • Bluedust

    Blood of the Butcher. I thought this had the best logline. The idea of an FBI agent joining forces with a hitman to catch a serial killer…hey, why not? You do what you gotta do to get the job done. But right off the bat, I had some credibility problems with Alice. There’s no way the FBI would award a badge to someone who couldn’t even shoot a gun. Every agent needs to pass a basic firearm qualification course. There is no fraud division in the FBI, nor is there a homicide division. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence if the writer hasn’t done such basic research.

    The dialogue had some clunkers. Pg.2 “He must be stopped.” Well, yeah. Also, I didn’t buy that the director of the FBI would go to an agent outside the Behavioral Science unit to catch a serial killer. That’s like hiring an accountant to catch John Wayne Gacy.

    The obvious comparison with Alice here is Clarice Starling. But in “Lambs” Starling was a standout trainee who excelled in every field of her training. Alice, on the other hand, just can’t catch a break. She can’t shoot a gun, she’s a “dirty” agent and on top of that she has a fatal illness. She’s also the one who’s responsible for the Butcher being on the loose. There’s such a thing as making a protag too much of an underdog and I think that’s what happened here. You have to give us something to like about her.

    I enjoyed the character of Tony, but it was a very strange way to intro a hitman. Why not show him doing what he does best — killin’ fools. The fight scene in the bathroom is something we’ve all seen before many, many times. And I didn’t really understand the significance of the lawyer telling Tony about the fraud and tax evasion charges. What does a hitman care about tax evasion? Did he fail to list all the people he whacked on his W-2? I understand you wanted to build this co-dependence between Alice and Tony, but none of that seemed believable to me.

    I think you need a scene that shows, or at least hints at, the Butcher in action. In the first twenty, all we see is a hacked up body. What is it about the Butcher that makes him unique? The script is named after him, after all.

    I made it to pg. 22, then bailed. It felt like the writer was putting all the pieces in place, rather than an actual story unfolding. As I said, I think this is a clever concept for a thriller, but the execution needs reworking.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Never seen so many FBI experts on SS.
      What is the FBI doing surfing the web?

      Is Carson under some kind of investigation??

      • klmn

        “Is Carson under some kind of investigation??”

        Don’t you know grand jury proceedings are secret?

  • lesbiancannibal

    Blood of the Butcher.

    I respect your opinion Paul and what you contribute to the site but for me you simply can’t start any screenplay with a young female FBI agent at Quantico or wherever being drawn on to a serial killer case.

    You just can’t. It’s always going to invite comparison, and comparison with one of the best screenplays ever written.

    I’m reading the first 5 and I’m thinking how unsubtle it all is compared to SOTL and a little on the nose.

    It’s well written but it’s like me painting an awesome oil painting of my wife, one good enough to hang in a gallery, then sticking it in the Louvre next to the Mona Lisa and asking people ‘whadayathink?’

    Start it somewhere else, anywhere else.

    • Paul Clarke

      I know, right. Probably my all time favourite. It started as an inspiration but seems to have wandered too close.

  • lesbiancannibal

    https://www.bafta.org/film/news-and-events/2014-bafta-and-bfi-screenwriters-lecture-series-in-association-with-the-jj-charitable-trust,4298,BA.html

    New Bafta screenplay series – James Schamus (Crouching Tiger), Emma Thompson, and Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Thingsm Eastern Promises, Locke, Peaky Blinders = awesome)

    Also on iTunes

  • Casper Chris

    Shrike:
    A young girl struggles to understand her connection to an ancient monster that impales its victims in the trees.

    Am I alone in thinking the writer got this idea from the CONCEPT ARTISTS section of this site? First picture…

  • Michael

    There’s a little controversy with Paul’s script in the mix. I’ve said this before, Carson should save two or three AF Review slots a year for those who have made extraordinary contributions to this site, and Paul is certainly one of them.

    I haven’t been contributing to AOW because after the workweek I normally have, my wife would divorce me if I spent half my Saturday reviewing scripts. Luckily, my wife is out of town this weekend. So, with no disrespect to the other four writers, I’m going to give Paul the full Scriptshadow back alley mugging… ah, I mean… complement of notes he deserves:

    Craft wise, this script is just what we would expect from Paul. It’s a clean fast read. The action scenes are clear and beautifully described. The main characters could use better introductory descriptions for visualizing them, but they fully round out as the story develops. A dapper Michael Fassbender who can instantly turn into a Jason Statham would make a great Tony. A slightly younger Amy Adams, maybe Anna Kendrick, would be a good Alice.

    Paul has a strong story telling ability. That said, the final story falls short. Davejc made an insightful comment about how we conduct AOW, mainly judging scripts on the first act or first 10 pages. He concluded “It doesn’t tell us if the writer has the ability to bring it all home in the third act, which is the true mark of a great screenplay.” Well, that’s the biggest problem with this script. When the full story is finally revealed, the motivation for the serial killings, is a diversion of for Big Bobby’s criminal activities. This is the core point around which this story ends up revolving. Sorry, but it makes little sense, especially when the motivation is hidden for the entirety of the story and paired to a character who is not the main protagonist. Big Bobby is barely in the script and doesn’t make an appearance until late in the script.

    To be fare, this script was written for the Industry Insider Competition (the one The Disciple Program won?), which I believe is the one that gives you the logline and a time line in which to complete writing the script? So, you start writing from the beginning and come up with an ending as you go along. In my opinion, it is always better to start with the ending, knowing the story you want to tell and back engineer the story (the can of worms we call outlining). There is a lot of great stuff in this script. All the action scenes have a lot going for them.

    Alice is a very passive character. I get that that is part of her arc where she transforms from desk jockey to field agent, but she is thoroughly unlikable in my opinion, for reasons I state in my notes. Not even the cancer changes her likability. The cancer is a point of motivation for her character, but it is never present in the story. She never manifests the disease, so it never effects to action.

    Tony is a fabulous character who quickly eclipses Alice and becomes the main protagonist. The only problem with Tony’s character is that his true motivations (as it turns out vis-à-vis the Big Bobby storyline), are hidden. As others like Jim (I’m jealous of how good his notes are) have pointed out, way too much is hidden in this script. The very story points that should be out front pushing the goals and giving the goals stakes, are hidden for the entirety of the story as if they will become some great story reveal in the end. This often happens in bad loglines. You start out reading a western and discover your reading a vampire horror script. Here, we start out reading a serial killer script and end up with a criminal conspiracy drama. If this is meant to be a twist, it is not effectively executed.

    Now that the competition is over and you are free to rewrite this puppy, you should consider taking this script in a whole new direction. Lose the serial killer storyline all together. Lose Alice’s cancer. Make Tony the protagonist and reveal his problems up front. Big Bobby can still be the driving force of those problems. Maybe the opening scene has Tony doing a job for Big Bobby that goes south. In the current script we never see Tony being a cleaner or working directly for Big Bobby, that’s the main reason all the story points seem so disconnected. Tony can then ensnare a slightly corrupt Alice to help him out of his problems. You should establish the well oiled machine of our dapper Tony, through his working relationship with Big Bobby, Gregory and Alice, then at the end of Act 1, have Big Bobby betray him for his own needs, making Big Bobby a worthy antagonist from the opening of the script on.

    Well, I’m not a big advocate of telling a writer what to write, so here are my notes as I read the script and before I made the suggestions above:

    P1 In retrospect, the opening flashback seems unnecessary, consider losing it. Consider opening with a serial killing?

    P1 Alice teaching herself to shoot using a tablet? The FBI has one of the best firearms instruction programs in the world, so this comes off as very odd. After reading the script, the importance of the table as a story element is clear. You’re trying to kill two birds with one stone, show she’s not ready for fieldwork and established the tablet. The fact that she can’t shoot well is enough to establish that she is not ready for fieldwork and the tablet will establish itself soon enough. I would lose the tablet for this scene.

    P2 This scene should be played in the Directors office, after all, he’s in charge. Pulling resources from Fraud Division? The FBI is a huge organization, so the scene seems forced and doesn’t ring true. The FBI can walk and chew gum, investigate serial killings and fraud at the same time. You need to find a logical reason for this conflict, this is contrived. Also, very on the nose dialog.

    P2/3 First Alice/Michaels scene very on the nose dialog.

    P3 Targets are made of paper, not cardboard.

    P5 Greenhorn, sounds like a western.

    P6 “Hooligan,” sounds more English than American.

    P6 “Dames,” sounds like film noir.

    P11 Leukemia reveal comes off as contrived.

    P11 Michaels character does a 180 from pissed off boss to caring friend, inconsistent character.

    P13 Should be: “Knocks back the rest of her drink.” The over specific description of the drink is unnecessary information slowing the read down. Then moments later she orders a drink, “And a shot. Something strong.” It seems strange, no one leaves it up to the bartender to bring whatever they feel like. Now be specific and have her order bourbon or something equally strong.

    P13 “Fuck off,” more English than American.

    P14 “Sweetheart” and “sugar,” more English than American.

    P21 “Expand” or expound?

    P21 “Bleeper” English for key fob? Do we need a description of the car unlocking, seems unnecessary?

    P24 “The thick steel railing is bent and twisted.” Where is this? Is it a hand railing going up a flight of stairs? Is it a railing around a balcony? I assume it’s fixed in place? There is no discussion of how they surmised it was utilized in the crime, only it would take strength to bend it and what that indicates about the killer? In the dialog of this entire scene, I can’t visualize or understand what they are talking about, especially how it relates as a clue in the crime. This is the first discussion of clues to the murderer and needs to be clear. Surely the FBI would have observed this as well and made note of it? How come they can walk up to the house and have obvious clues stare them in the face and all the previous investigators be oblivious to it? Feels like the writer leading us from clue to clue and not like the organic discovery of evidence. Throughout the whole script there is a lot of: “Oh look, there’s an important clue,” without the characters adequately explaining why, which comes off as the writer feeding us plot points and not the characters using ingenuity to solve the crime.

    P25 Mill workers work at a Saw Mill, lumberjacks work in a forest. Lumberjacks don’t start and end their day at a mill. They report straight to work in the forest and leave from there at the end of the day.

    P26 Again, “Expand” or expound? Maybe this is another English verses American expression? I keep seeing her having a thin mint and…

    What city does this take place in? You’ve got me doing a little investigating of my own. I’m Goggling FBI Field Offices to see where Alice could work, live and travel to the crime scene near lumberjacks, all in one day. I’m coming up with Anchorage, Seattle, Portland and possibly Sacramento? Maybe the slugline on page 2 should read: FBI SEATTLE FIELD OFFICE – FRAUD DIVISION.

    P 26 “Bikies” What are bikies, bikers? English verses American again?

    P27 Typo: Tony says: “I’m surprised that let…” it should be “they” or “that they.”

    P30 Drops her gun. Okay, this has been slowly building. I’ve been giving Alice the benefit of a doubt, but there is really nothing to make me like and root for her. She’s incompetent with her gun from when we first meet her. She betrays the sacred trust her job requires and commits a crime to help Big Bobby (a character who is referred to yet not met at this point in the story). She destroys evidence to a murder investigation while helping Big Bobby (which isn’t clear how or why). She gets drunk. She makes an alliance with another criminal, Tony. She has no sense of humor. She is all about herself. She loses her gun, yikes. I don’t like her. Why should I be pulling for her, because she is dying? Sorry, her sickness isn’t resonating at this point. You warned me in the logline, she was corrupt, so more work has to be done to get me on her side.

    Alright, in a 104 pages script, I feel we should be through Act 1 by now and not much has happened. This is a script about a serial killer and there isn’t a serial killer or killing in sight. I’m finding that problematic as far as the expectations this storyline creates.

    P30 Typo: The Lumberjack lower… should be “lowers”

    P30 Hatchet… axe… hatchet… Make them all the same. I vote axe, a hatchet will look small in the hand of a large lumberjack.

    P31 “They test our dogs…” The FBI tested the DNA of an obvious dog fighting operation and after the DNA didn’t match, they left the dog fighting operation alone?

    P31/P32 This scene of Alice questioning what just happened and what to do seems contrary to character. Her dialog doesn’t ring true of an FBI Agent with a mission. She might as well be a diner waitress Tony randomly picked up. Again, liking her way less. Alice is way too passive. Tony is officially the protagonist at this point, the only reason I’m still reading.

    P33 “I’d ring Gregory…” Who is Gregory, are we hearing his name and meeting this character for the first time? Or am I pulling a Carson and just forgetting? ;-) It turns out a little of both. I had to go back and see. Sure enough, Tony makes a call to a guy named Gregory, that’s it, very easy to miss. It is jarring for Tony to state Gregory’s name with such familiarity, like Alice (and the reader) should already know who that is, when we’ve never met this character and know nothing about him (Big Bobby is almost in this same category, character who is in the story but not). So, I’ve completely stopped reading to take time to clear this up. This is one of those invisible stop signs we place in our story without being aware of it.

    P34 Maybe we should see Tony email the case files to Gregory earlier in the script to help establish Gregory as a character? I think you should combine the Lawyer character and Gregory.

    P35 Is “scraping dead animals off the road” a fulltime job in and of itself? How about “road maintenance” and then work the “dead animals” line in so it sounds less like the writer’s handiwork.

    P39 We finally get a peak at the serial killer’s boots. This needs to happen sooner.

    P41 Are they breaking in a back door to Alice’s building? I assume she has a key to the front that is being watched by Big Bobby’s guys. It is not clear. And, what is Big Bobby’s interest in Alice? Big Bobby is too undefined and absent from the story to be driving story points. It feels like a distraction to the main plot, which hasn’t fully left the launch pad yet.

    P41 Tony: “They’ll have a man on your floor. Who lives above or below…” Awkward, can’t be on floor and above or below. It should be “…a man in your building…above or below…”

    P42 Seems too convenient that Tony’s carrying blueberry muffins, which are perfect for the scene at hand, when there is no previous scene acquiring the muffins to set this gag up. Poking holes in the target pays off beautifully on P44 because it was set up.

    P44 Typo: “once…” You need a comma after “once,” to make it read correctly.

    P47 I’m not sure what Tony is doing for safety?

    P47 Lose the “I think my gun is broke.” We’ve seen this exact scene too many times before.

    P48 Nice little where to shoot speech, but with someone who can barely hit a target he would instruct to shoot center mass. I feel you’re writing again and to be honest, this is one of those screens of death that kill a script Carson’s talks about. At this point, every scene should be pushing the plot forward and this scene stalls it.

    P51 Typo: Wrong character slug. “Her…” is ALICE, but should be GREGORY – CONTINUED.

    P53 “I’ve been up all night working on the phone.” It’s been so long since the evidence was discussed, you need to say “…working on the smashed cell phone.” or something like that. It is confusing, I thought Gregory was on the phone making calls all night, not working with the evidence. It becomes immediately clear in with the next line, but it breaks the read for a micro second. The whole scene seems contrived, the FBI world have the same technology to reconstruct the evidence (if this was possible) and the obvious conclusion seems conveniently derived. I don’t believe you could determine a horseshoe did the damage.

    P65 Why is it always so easy to knock away the heroes gun? Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine. It is forced action that seldom rings true. It would be better to have Tony take her gun away back in the car.

    P73 Alice leaves the INT. TOWN CAR and enters INT. FBI OFFICE. Change the slugline to INT. FBI OFFICE – INTERCUT, eliminating the need for (V.O.) after the characters and all the additional sluglines. Now it plays as one scene, which it is.

    P78 Small but nice twist having with Mr. Duct Tape break the tablet

    P83 Typo: INTERCUT TONY’S AUDI, should be INT. TONY’S AUDI – INTERCUT

    P86 Alice slams an innocent strangers head into the hood of a car. You really don’t want us to like her.

    P91 “The Butcher (aka Dr. Holston)…” Why call him “The Butcher” at this point? No more possible twists?

    P92 Again, INTERCUT goes at the end of the slugline, not the beginning.

    One final note, you need to work on the on-the-nose dialog.

    I hope these notes and suggestions are helpful. At the very least, they prove no good deed goes unpunished. Thank you Paul for everything you’ve contributed to this site, you have been overly generous.

    Good luck with the rewrites.

    • Paul Clarke

      Thanks so much Michael. Amazing notes.

      I’m forever battling with what to reveal and what to withhold. I actually have a piece of paper stuck to the wall above my laptop with the words “SPELL IT OUT” scrawled in large letters.

      I’m going to compile all these notes (there are so many!) and attack this thing fresh. Like you say, now that the competition isn’t pulling it in directions I didn’t like.

      Thanks again, let me know if you want the favour returned sometime.

      • Casper Chris

        Yea, it’s really tricky. I tend to err on the side of withholding too much information as well. And also being too subtle, resulting in lack of clarity. I’m deathly afraid of being too heavy-handed, but sometimes you need to hold the reader’s hand a little bit.

  • Chris Ryden

    Thanks Grendl — given your standing on here I’m honored!!!

  • scriptfeels

    Big Brother Notes
    page 11. What is ‘Angular Electronica’?

    page 15. What is ‘I/E’ Haven’t seen that before.

    I got lost on page 17. I reread the scene and it made sense to me though. Who is Quinlan? I think he’s a cop? it states he’s in a uniform on 17, but not sure who he is or what type of uniform so I’m assuming some type of cop.

    page 19, I liked how Mrs. B looks up at her husband, it implies something is going on or Mrs. B’s relationship with her husband. Either way I liked this detail at the end of the scene.

    page 25 – I liked the line by Ruth “Yea I can’t be with a guy whose hair is more beautiful than mine.”

    I’ll stop here for now, may come back to it later if I have time. Overall, I liked the pacing of the script thus far, we have Cole looking for his brother meeting interesting characters at the town’s popular bar discussing the events up to this point. There’s also the subplot of Orrin Carter being involved somehow and pulling up to Cole’s car in the parking lot. I like how fast the script is moving, the dialogue is short and i never felt bogged down reading this, this has been a fun read thus far and to me the characters hint at being more complex although I’m not sure how to explain this. Overall, I’m interested in the story and would like to come back to finish this.

    • Casper Chris

      I/E = Int./Ext. = Interior/Exterior

      • scriptfeels

        Thanks! I haven’t seen it abbreviated like that before so thanks for pointing it out.

  • Casper Chris

    My vote: Rebel City

  • scriptfeels

    The Shrike Notes:
    Before reading: I hope there’s lots of blood in this! :D

    For the title “The Shrike: An Original Screenplay” Is ‘An Original Screenplay’ necessary? I would shorten it to “The Shrike” unless ‘An Original Screenplay’ is relevant to the script’s story.

    page 1: are these ravens somehow related to the warrior’s challengers? Maybe I’m reading too much into this already.

    page 3. Not sure if I believe Nana would talk like this if she is 60 years old, but I’ll go along with it.

    page 4. Who is Wren?

    page 6 – I guess Wren was in the scene the whole time, I must have missed her somehow while reading.

    page 7. I wanted this block of actions to be shortened but I’m not sure how I would do it so I don’t know what to critique here. I know the action for the scene is that Jimmer takes out the garbage, hears a noise, pauses, then runs back into the house. So I’m not sure how important the weather is for this scene, but I think it helps set a dramatic tone for the short scene. (after reading to page 25, this was the one scene that I felt had a horror tone and I would focus your effort on other parts of the script)

    page 8. The monster reminds me of jeepers Creepers.

    page 13. The indian bully brigade reminds me of Jacob’s crew from twilight, but more hardcore because they drink 40 oz’s. I’m also interested in RJ because he stands out from his group by not bullying Jimmer and comes off as mysterious and hints at an interesting character because he is different from his friends. Has me asking myself questions about his character, in a good way.

    I also liked how Wren was in the middle of making a clay sculpture and slapped clay onto Jer’s face.

    page 14/15 – There are a lot of characters thus far in the script and I was getting lost keeping track of who is who. Jimmer, Nana, and Wren I can differentiate easily, but the rest of the characters I wasn’t clear on and had to double check when I started the dinner scene.

    Also I noticed that this dinner scene goes from page 15 to 20, it could probably be cut down from 5 to 3 pages.

    page 21. Junior’s dialogue at the bar to the bartender felt out of character. “…blah blah. Makes me Thirsty!” I would say this differently.

    Page 22. Who are these charter’s Junior is playing pool with? It seems like he’s met them before based on how he puts down his five dollars and Hank tells Mark to kick Junior’s ass, but I’m not really sure what this whole scene is about aside from Junior’s entrance into the bar and his conversation with the bartender about his marital problems.

    page 25. I’m glad that the pool scene escalated into a bar fight and that the wager’s for the pool game increased, but I don’t know how relevant this is to the script’s original log line or the story. To be honest I’m not sure why we are following Junior’s character for so many pages. I would like to see how this is related to the monster that impales its victims into trees. Also, I haven’t seen any connection between any young girls and the ancient monster up to this point in the script, and we are at page 25….

    I’m going to stop here. I think this script needs more structure and to focus on the core parts of the story. If this is a story about a distraught family with a dad who neglects his family by drinking at the bar focus make that the story, but based on the log line I thought this was going to be a story about a young girl and her connection to an ancient monster that impales its victims into trees and that wasn’t delivered up to this point in the script. I think that the writer did a competent job creating drama and conflict between characters, but the type of conflicts made this script feel more like a drama than a horror film aside from when Jimmer takes out the trash and we show the monster killing a deer. Overall I think the tone of this script needs a lot of work and that film’s concept needs to be developed in the first act. I hope this is constructive and I wasn’t too much of a critic. I was genuinely interested in the concept of the script before reading, but lost interest reading up to page 25.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Blood of the Butcher – first thing i’d do is get rid of Alice’s impending death. I understand that might have been part of the original logline but it takes all the verisimilitude out of the story. Tony and Alice make strange bedfellows as it is, her dying and also being the cause of the destroyed evidence that allows the Butcher to stay on the loose is a little too much. Although i do like the fact that she is a little crooked and that Tony can take advantage of that fact, but it needs to be something a little less heavy handed. (yeah, I know, logline)

    Tony needs to be better defined. He’s a little too movie magical for my tastes, who the heck is he? I need to know more about him, sooner, so that when he confronts Alice we know what she is up against. He can compromise FBI agents but not beat tax fraud? Is he a John Gotti like figure? A wall Street crook? Donald Trump on steroids?

    TONY: “So we’re looking for an evil genius, slash savage beast, who can bench press a Buick.”

    That made me laugh.

    I’d get this as far away from the logline as possible. I like the possibility of an FBI agent teaming up with a ‘cleaner’ to track down a serial killer. I just don’t like the way it’s arrived at.

    Alice is borderline incompetent as a field agent. Make her extremely good at her fraud job. Almost too good, which is why they won’t let her transfer to the division she prefers, the ‘homicide’ division, although others have pointed out there probably is no such thing.

    Rather than have Tony be the one to contact and use her, make it the other way around. Make Alice the one who sees Tony as an asset as she tries to do a little crossover investigation. If Alice is the one who nails Tony on taxes or fraud or whatever he’s guilty of, then she realizes that he can help her track down the killer because of the world Tony traverses in, that would give Alice a harder edge and make her much more proactive as your protagonist.

    Tony would be the one being used by this FBI agent that looks like a librarian, Conflict. He’s reluctant to help, but Alice can make his problems go away. If Alice can break the case even though she’s not even supposed to be on it in the first place, well it could lead all sorts of places. These are just random thoughts. I think the logline is holding this back from it’s full potential. I think you have a handle on the Tony character and there is a nice contrast between him and Alice. Could be fun, even room for dark humor. But as it stands now, the story isn’t working for me, seems too much a stretch at the moment.

    Whatever you decide to do with this, good luck, Paul.

  • pmlove

    Something’s going on. I wrote a comment ‘my vote: rebel city’. It has 9 votes from guests. It doesn’t really deserve any.

    Glancing down, all Rebel City voters have high volumes of guest votes.

    I’m sure Carson is wise to this sort of thing but it feels like something *MIGHT* be going on here.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I noticed my Rebel City comments have 13 upvotes, 10 from guests, which I admit is unusual. I hardly think it matters because it won’t affect vote count. It does seem down to the wire between Rebel and Butcher.

    • klmn

      You convinced me. My vote – Blood of The Butcher.M/b>

    • Chris Ryden

      I really hope that’s not the case. The AOW vote should go to the best script regardless of these ‘likes’.

      • pmlove

        I absolutely agree. You still have my vote.

    • Casper Chris

      10 now (and counting). I wrote the same comment and it has 8 upvotes. I suspect either the writer or acquaintances of his (or both) are responsible. Oh well, as long as they are just upvoting and not voting. Maybe the writer was so excited about being chosen for AOW, he shared the news with his friends on a social media platform.

  • hickeyyy

    MY VOTE: The Shrike. This week was seriously really tough. I love that Paul is here and think he deserves a shot, but I found Rebel City to be more polished and ready and the Shrike was awesome and intriguing off the bat. Toughest week I can remember. Good luck all!

    BIG BROTHER

    Logline Interest: Iffy. I wish you would tell me more here. Not sure what is in store for me.

    Review: Read 11 pages. This isn’t bad but you’re logline threw me for a loop. I expected something creepy or scary but it seems like this is a story about a man’s brother who is investigating a huge governmental agency. I think you really need to put in your logline what is in store or else some might be turned off when they pick it up. As someone who enjoys creepy, atmospheric tales: I was.

    I will say I really enjoyed the dialog line: “It’s a mistake It doesn’t matter if it’s honest.” Very cool line. Anyway, there seems to be some issues with the characters. Why do all these people know more about this guy than his own brother? I think him having to go through all of this to find where the brother is makes sense if they are estranged and this is the first phone call he’s received from him in years. That, to me, would make sense as to why he needs to go to the wife and the work and etc.

    Good luck!

    THE SHRIKE.

    Logline Interest: High.

    Review: Read 19 pages. Man, if the rest of this is as intriguing as Nana’s story, then this is an absolute treat. That story was excellent. If this is something you made up on your own, congrats, because that was the shit. I googled the Shrike to try to determine it and didn’t find anything, so I’m leaning towards you creating it. I also looked at the Shrike bird and found “Shrikes are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns, the spikes on barbed-wire fences or any available sharp point.” Holy shit. That’s badass for a bird/monster combo. You’ve got some serious franchise potential here.

    That said, and out of the way, I would take out the hunting deer scene. If I want to be scared of a beast that NEEDS to kill to “water the oak”, killing something that human beings hunt for sport every Fall doesn’t really do it for me. You need to off a human or cut that scene in general.

    The family dynamic feels intricate and interesting. All the characters are interesting and flawed. I’m really excited to see how this all turns out.

    REBEL CITY.

    Logline Interest: High.

    Review: Read 20 pages. This thing is fast and fun. We know exactly what we want and need within 5 pages. That’s awesome. No bullshit filler, we are just there and I love that. There is action at every turn. There are obstacles and family tension. There is NOTHING EASY for our protagonist. I honestly think that is often the problem in what we read in most AOW offerings. There are whole scenes where characters get what they want. Well not here. This is awesome.

    THE GREENHOUSE

    Logline Interest: Medium.

    Review: I have to be honest, I made it to the 2nd page and cut out. I saw multiple paragraphs of action lines. None of it broken up and thought to myself this thing is already overwritten and it hasn’t even started. I’m going to save myself some time here and say you should break up some of this action. Make it flow!

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER

    Logline Interest: Medium to High. High only because of the author being Paul Clarke.

    Review: Read 20 pages. Pretty solid stuff if unspectacular. Alice is an interesting protagonist. After reading some other comments some people find her deplorable and I don’t see that. To me, she seems like someone who wants to rectify her mistake by any means necessary. She’s willing to put herself in harms way to do it. I think she’s awesome and I wouldn’t try to make her more likeable, personally.

    You’re off to a good start Paul. Glad to see you on the other side of the keyboard!!

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to the excellent REBEL CITY, with high marks for BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER.

    BIG BROTHER 109p by [no name given]

    Logline comment: “An unsettling effect” is too vague. What happens to him that he has to deal with?

    Stopped on page 29. Well written but too detailed in the descriptions and too many characters. It’s moving too slowly. There’s no threat. Presumably Alex is in danger, but in danger of what? The Act 2 action should have started by now. Instead, we have one protag passed out and the other walked into the woods with his phone switched off. That’s not exciting. There’s nothing I would call an Inciting Incident. We still seem to be in the first half of Act 1, setting the scene.

    It’s billed as a drama, but the setting is wrong for a drama. The secretive security company and mysterious paramilitaries suggest “thriller” to me. If it’s not a thriller then presumably Cole will discover a conspiracy that shakes his faith in the government, but won’t take any action. Sounds boring. I’m out.

    BLOOD OF THE BUTCHER 103p by Paul Clarke

    Stopped on page 29. Well written, plenty of action, good pace. Good choice of characters in competent Tony and klutzy Alice, although giving her leukemia was an eye-rolling bid for sympathy. The fight in the toilet was good, and there are no flat spots so far. Perhaps a liiiitle too much coincidence, but I’m enjoying it and want to read on.

    THE SHRIKE 98p by Louis Fisk

    Stopped on page 25. So far, nothing to do with the logline “A young girl struggles to understand her connection to an ancient monster”. Apart from the legend, which was four pages of telling not showing, it’s just family bickering and a bit of fighting. Basically, still setting up. Not even the Inciting Incident yet, let alone start of Act 2. Needs to shed a lot of pages before it’s the “cleanest, tightest, … amateur script of the year.” So far, there’s nothing much original about it either. Pass.

    REBEL CITY 114p by Chris Ryden

    Stopped on page 30. Hard and gritty. I quite like Irish tough-guy stories with all the feckin’ bloody-mindedness, and this is up there with the best of them. Not much to say about it except I definitely want to read further.

    THE GREENHOUSE 110p by Nile Cappello

    Stopped on page 20. Too slow-moving and exposition-y. This could be cut down to ten pages with no loss. We get it — they’re preppers and the grandparents don’t like it. The grandparents should have made their move by now. Instead, they’re still discussing possibilities with a lawyer. Do we really need 17 named characters to tell this story? Cut the personnel count and it will improve. Not interested in reading further without drastic pruning. Cut to the emotional heart of the story. Brush lightly over the environmental stuff. This is a drama, not a documentary.

    Suggestion: Start with a situation. Assume kids get tattooed at six years old. FADE IN with a guy visiting the commune. Someone shows him around the settlement, explains their philosophy, and introduces him to the big cheese, Emery. He slaps a document in her hands. “You’ve been served.” It’s a court injunction, organized by the grandparents. Do not tattoo our granddaughter. Emery does it anyway. It could be an interesting scene to write. How do you tattoo a child? Do you have to hold her down, kicking and screaming? Or is it done lovingly with her willing cooperation. We see how the commune functions. It’s now page 12 or thereabouts and we await the next move from the grandparents. Tension. Something to look forward to.

  • scriptfeels

    The Greenhouse notes:
    page 6 – bottom of pg. 6. awkward phrasing of description “The picture currently showing full screen is of an Alaskan winter: glaciers, frozen water, polar bears, etc.” I would fix it to: ‘The iPad’s full 10 inch screen displays a picture summary of Alaska through iconic glaciers, frozen water, and polar bears.’

    page 9 – If Blaire is 7 years old, I think her dialogue should reflect that more. Here’s an example on page 10 I felt wouldn’t be said by a 7 year old
    “Well it’s not like I have a choice whether to grow up or not. Might as well be excited about it.”

    page 10 – If everyone walks into the green house, couldn’t you add a slug line with int. greenhouse instead of “Emery turns back towards the greenhouse and walks in, with everyone else following behind.” What type of scenes is it better to write that the characters walk into a location versus stating the slug line? Is this an intercut scene of int/ext?

    page 11 – “… and the parents drive/walk out on small roads in the backyard towards their respective homes.” Don’t use /’s where they aren’t necessary.

    page 12 – Blaire “Charlie, can you can Quinn stay for dinner?” You can delete the “can you” after Charlie here.

    page 13. When Charlie asks Blaire if things are weird between her and Scott. This line of dialogue felt forced and out of place because there was nothing leading up to this discussion. “ Because he’s never gotten over your mother – she was his one that got away. A real hometown love triangle.” I think the writer of this script should read the dialogue out loud with a different person for each character and analyze and reflect on if the character would say it in the context of the scene, if its believable, and if it sounds natural.

    Overall, I think the problems I ran into were formatting and punctual errors which distracted me from picking apart the opening story within the first 13 pages. After some polishing and editing I would be willing to give the script another chance because I like the log line and concept of the story.

    • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

      Hi scriptfeels! I am the writer of The Greenhouse and just wanted to say thank you for all the feedback. I’m super new to this craft so having page breakdowns of the formatting edits is incredibly helpful. Additionally, I have gotten a lot of feedback that Blaire’s dialogue is a bit beyond her years, so that’s something I’ll be editing quite a bit in the next rewrite! If you’d be interested in reading that version, please let me know nilecappello@gmail.com. Thanks again for your edits!

      • scriptfeels

        Here’s my general advice in regards to making your script read better. Of course with screenwriting all rules are made to be broken and a script can work in many different ways, below is a list of principles I try to follow with my writing that may be helpful to you.
        – Keep paragraphs of description under 4 lines. You can separate long blocks of description into multiple paragraphs or edit them down to only the necessary and relevant descriptions which are relevant to the scene and story.
        – Have scenes be under 3 pages. This keeps the story moving and decreases prolonging conflict that can be shown in that amount of time on screen.
        – Be clear what each character’s goal is for each scene and for each act of the story. Show the audience what the character’s goal is through their actions. Ask yourself, what does this character want?
        – Break down each scene by what changes from the beginning of the scene to the end of the scene and end each scene with a surprise whether its a plot twist, a reveal of information, a discovery, but something that should make the reader ask questions or want to continue reading.

        I still love the concept of creating a “simple story with complex characters” and would strive for that with your script. Your story’s concept is good imo because it sounds like a contained drama reminding me of Rose in the Darkness but its twist is the execution in the environmentalist cult aspect of the log line. I think that if you delve into creating a suspenseful drama centered on a seven year old girl being raised in an environmentalist cult it could be a captivating read. Here is my breakdown of what I would put into the story based off of the log line. A seven year old girl raised in an environmentalist cult realizes that her grandparents think she’s been deceived and attempt to rescue her. She begins to question what she believes to be true and has to decide for herself which reality she wants to live in resulting in her facing her parents and environmentalist community as an evil cult confiding her from the world or accepting her cult upbringing as her family and ignoring what she discovered in order to live the life she led before. That’s my take on your scripts concept. You should be proud of yourself for completing your first script and look for what inspires you to continue writing everyday and hone your craft! If you put in the hard work it will pay off!

        • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

          Wow, thank you SO much. This advice is really helpful and will absolutely be taken into consideration while I work on my next rewrite. I definitely agree that the concept is strong and am hoping that I will be able to hone my skills to make the execution do the story justice. Thanks so much again for this advice!

          • scriptfeels

            A writing exercise that may be helpful to you for this script would be to rewrite a couple of scenes from your script using no dialogue and only character action. Show don’t tell. I noticed skimming through your script that there are scenes where two characters talk for extended period of time going through a couple pages for example pages 40-43 and end of 43 to 49 appears to be mostly dialogue as well. I’d be interested in how you would show what your characters want through actions and think it would help you as a writer as well whether any of the scenes would make it into the final script or not.

          • http://yesliketheriver.com yesliketheriver

            love that idea! sounds like a great writing exercise. Thanks so much!

  • scriptfeels

    Blood of the Butcher Notes:
    page 1 – I hadn’t seen a pre-lap in a script before. So I googled it and screenwriting.io defined it as “A pre-lap is when the dialogue (or any sound) from the next scene starts before we cut away from the previous scene. They are a common and useful transition.”. So my understanding of the prelaw here is that a gunshot sound is played in the hospital scene but then shown that it’s taking place in the following scene, the shooting range. I like the concept of the prelap and I know I’ve seen it on screen in numerous films, but I haven’t read it in a script before so I’m curious what you guys think about implanting pre laps into your amateur scripts.

    page 2 – In the first description on the page it states that “She notices the frantic bustle.” Is the frantic bustle the “… hive of activity.” or Agents rushing about in a frenzy in the FBI Office? I would clarify what frantic bustle is, maybe other readers were more clear on this than I was. Either way I understand that she is walking into a storming FBI office and walking to the Fraud division.

    page 2/3 dialogue between Michaels and Alice. I enjoyed the quick banter between them and also how it established Alice’s position at the office through her relationship with her boss.

    page 3 – Would everyone really stop what they are doing because Alice makes a loud noise with her pen? And if they all notice and look at her, why would they just return back to work. I don’t know what an FBI office is like, but I think something is off here. Maybe simplify it down from the whole office looking at her to just one co-worker or showing her reaction when she thinks the whole office is looking at her when they ignore her and are struggling to get through their case files. Also this is the fraud division so how would everyone in that specific division react compared to other divisions of the FBI?

    page 6. Great character description of “Smooth” Tony Thompson! Maybe change thinks to acts like. I like seeing short clean direct actions for him as well here.

    page 9 – grammar error “In one fluid motion he rips the Hooligan’s belt free, wraps it round the his throat, yanks it tight.” get rid of ‘the’ after round here.

    I loved this fight scene! Great description of the violence and aftermath of the scene as well as witty dialogue referencing the interaction outside of the bathroom from “how about a new deal?”

    page 12 – Alice has leukemia! I like this development.

    Overall, The lean concise description of action, short scenes, and introduction to the homicide case are all reasons why this script feels like it has been well crafted and had a lot of effort and time put into it. I think Alice’s character is believable with her work relationship with Michaels and that this script is well put together. Tony’s scenes reminds me of In Brughes because there are funny moments within his scenes such as when the blonde closes the car door on him and he has a staredown with a chuckling bouncer while all of this was shown after he beat two guys to a pulp in a club bathroom without resorting to using his firearm. So far this script definitely shows promise and I’m interested in how this script develops. I think the scene development is really well done and I like the structure and pacing of showing Tony and Alice’s scenes so far in the script.

    • Casper Chris

      What I think about prelaps? They’re a tool. They have their use (they can add to the cinematic feel of a script when used well). Just don’t use them too much. Kinda like a SMASH CUT TO: transition. If you used that for every other scene transition, it would get old pretty darn fast. Same with prelap.

      • scriptfeels

        I think transitions can impress audiences when they are masterfully done such as using matte work to integrate elements of a scene into the following scene, or cutting from the edge of a wall inside of a building into an alley for example. Prelaps use a scene’s sound to foreshadow the next cut and can be effective to put focus onto an action or place the viewer into the context of a scene quicker than just cutting to the scene. All in all, I think prelaps are tools used to describe audio for transitions that can be specific in the script and be used to focus on certain sound aspects of a scene. I’m interested in learning of some examples where prelaps were used effectively to enhance the story, but can’t think of any at the top of my head unfortunately.

  • scriptfeels

    So I opened up Rebel City after reading parts of the other 4 scripts and I realized that I got to page 20 without taking a single note because I was so consumed in reading the script. So my vote for this week is REBEL CITY. I’m sure I could have written notes, but the script moved so quickly that I just kept on reading instead. My second pick would be Big Brother, third pick would be Blood of the Butcher, fourth would be The Shrike, and Fifth would be The Greenhouse. I enjoyed Rebel City and Big Brother because both of the scripts had exceptional atmosphere, tone, and characters. I think Blood of the Butcher’s writing was on the same level so if any of the three get picked I wouldn’t be surprised. Overall, I think I would have to finish reading each of the scripts to the end to have a more informed vote, but I think this was a great week for AOW and was especially impressed with the log lines this week as well!

  • Nocturne83

    None of these log lines really jump out at me but I think I’ll read through the rest of the comments here and see which one gets the most attention. Good job finishing your scripts guys! I’m just on page 40 of the first draft of my first feature film screenplay :p