Welcome to Amateur Offerings Weekend!

This is your chance to discuss the week’s amateur scripts, offered originally in the Scriptshadow newsletter. The goal for this discussion is to find out which script(s) is the best candidate for a future Amateur Friday review.

Below are the script loglines and links so you can read them for yourself in order to join in on the festivities! Want to receive the scripts early? Head over to the Contact page, e-mail us, and “Opt In” to the newsletter.

Happy reading!

TITLE: GIDEON
LOGLINE: In the Mid-Twentieth Century a mysterious boy with Christ-like healing powers must bring together a racially charged town before the vindictive Mayor’s son murders him.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): It just won the $25,000.00 GRAND PRIZE at KairosPrize Screenplay Competition sponsored by www.movieguide.org.

TITLE: Fool
GENRE: Comedy
LOGLINE: Showbusiness today might be a snake-pit of jealousy and backstabbing, but once upon a time, it wasn’t even that nice.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ (from writer): “I’m an WGA Award-winning comedy writer. You should read my script because you recently said: ‘Ahhhhh! Why aren’t there any good comedy specs anymore!’ Obviously I’m not the most reliable source to decide if my own script is funny or not, but it won ‘Screenplay Of The Month’ at Talentville.com, so it must have something going for it.”

TITLE: 0/1 (”Hyper Zero, Super One”)
GENRE: science-fiction
LOGLINE: While refining his relationship with a groundbreaking home-made A.I. prototype, a reclusive young hacker falls in love with an inquisitive girl next door.

TITLE: FRAGMENT
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
LOGLINE: A high-school senior tries to solve his sister’s murder aided by the apparition of a ten-year-old boy.

TITLE : Super Robbers
GENRE: Action Adventure, Family Drama
LOGLINE: A returning war veteran struggles to make peace with
his family—who happen to be a group of super-powered thieves.

  • On FOOL

    Had to bail after 10. The whole period angle with this character definitely wasn’t for me–I was annoyed at every word coming out of his mouth. So there were no laughs. A more objective note, the opening was the definition of expected (performer bombs at a show) with nothing unique to the execution. There’s nothing exciting about this failure, it’s awkward and mundane. The audience reaction isn’t very creative. “Kill him.” “Let’s burn him alive!” Feels like a first draft response. Same with throwing him out the window. Then I saw potential as I read on, but every line Rasmussen ended with an exclamation point made me grind me teeth. I envision this high-pitched voice over emphasizing every line like I’m watching a live, overacted stage play instead of a film. Is the tone supposed to be in the PG family comedy realm? Because that’s what I was feeling, and I’m not the best judge on that kind of material anyway.

    • DimitriMendeleev

      Surprised it got into the offerings, to be honest. It doesn’t even have a proper logline. Only read it after seeing your quick review, and like you, bailed after 10.

    • GoIrish

      I made it all the way through Fool. While I wasn’t necessarily able to predict every step in the script, the choices didn’t really surprise me, either. So, I’d suggest a few more twists and turns. There were two primary forms of humor on display: slapstick (falls, being thrown through windows, hammer slipping out of hand hitting would-be attacker) and puns. Slapstick humor isn’t really for me, and I think it may tend to be more of a visual humor than written. The puns aren’t really a laugh-out-loud type of humor…and the character had to explain to the audience why they were puns. I realize the failed-puns was supposed to be part of the humor, but I think there may have been too much reliance on that. Some additional picking-of-nit: we are never told how old anybody is. For example, the king was getting married, which gave me the impression that he was in his 20s, but we later learned (through a visual description) that he was old. Also, the main character shovels manure for a living, which he doesn’t enjoy. His mother-in-law seemed to get him a job as a blacksmith fairly easily. Why wouldn’t he have switched occupations years earlier?

      • carsonreeves1

        Wow, read the whole script. That’s cool and not easy to do when you’re not enjoying something. But in the end, it should be educational. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Golrish. :)

      • cjob3

        I loved how he explained every punchline. I thought that was hilarious. But I dabbled in the stand-up world, so maybe I have a different appreciation. I didn’t assume the king was young though, so I had no problem there.

  • Xarkoprime

    I was really disappointed in the fact that Carson pretty much offered all of us opportunities one day and had us send in resumes to be script readers, only to have the whole thing turn out to be a volunteer effort with no credible experience to benefit from. I love everything Carson has done for the community, and I still love his website and I read almost everyday, but this sucked for me. It’s the only reason I can’t get into reading these amateur scripts for learning purposes. Part of me really thinks that if he didn’t grant us such an opportunity, I’d be way more open to reading these and giving my opinions. I realize that I can benefit as a writer by reading these, but considering my income, I can’t. I wish I could. I wish I had the time. I feel like a puppy who was offered a cookie & realized that cookie never existed. Shitty metaphor. But true. Anyone feel the same way?

    • scribbler

      are you really moaning over having done something which you didn’t have to do? and, yes, your metaphor was craptastic. but you knew that before you wrote that shit.

      • Xarkoprime

        I haven’t done anything, I don’t have the time to. I wasn’t moaning either, I was stating an opinion as to why I was bummed out.

        Thanks for mentioning something I already stated though. Drunk on a Saturday I wasn’t really in the right thought process. I shouldn’t have posted what I did.

        • scribbler

          i like you, xarkoprime. you’re level-headed.

    • carsonreeves1

      I see this as a way to discuss Amateur work and maybe find something cool. Nobody has to participate if they don’t want to.

      • Xarkoprime

        Yeah I do get the point of it and I think it’s a great idea. I’m not knocking you and I’m not a “hater” lol. I love this website and all it does for writers. I was just stating a personal opinion, but I realize that it was probably wrong to do so because I don’t want to take away from the writers who’s scripts are being reviewed. Wish I had more time and considering this is volunteer I can’t afford to put that much effort into it. That’s why I was bummed out.

  • Tor Dollhouse

    0/1 (“Hyper Zero, Super One”)

    As much as I tried to get into it, the illustrated dialogue just continually made it difficult to keep going after the 8th page. Geek talk heavy from the get go also didn’t make the protagonist easily accessible. Having the same slug line for 9 pages felt flat, What I would love to have seen was memorable variety. What if the protagonist and computer (could be a laptop) started on public transport and the battery was dying in the middle of peak hour? This opens up an infinite amount of possibilities and would add the needed kick to move the story forward. Hope this helps :D

    • RK

      Not quite :)

  • jimbo

    Gideon:

    Stopped by page 44. The introduction of Josey and the kids is where it lost me. Felt a drop off in quality. Everything up until then though was a pleasure to read: Characters were trickled in one by one, no sense of overwhelm, never forgot anybody or got confused.

    The preacher and Ed were my favourite characters. They felt rather distinct. The only character I didn’t care for was Josey. His uh, kick the cat moment seemed kinda weak as did the accompanying dialogue. The writer is excellent in all other regards though.

    If I was in a different mood I might have been able to push through. If anyone is having trouble deciding which to read, give Gideon a shot.

  • ripleyy

    I would love to read Hyper Zero Super One but the numbers on the page is driving me crazy so that’s a dud. It could have won me over but no. The lesson here is that don’t be stupid and gimmicky.

    That said, thus far, Fragment is good.

    • RK

      ”love”… ”crazy”… ”stupid”… There’s a cool title, somewhere in there :)

  • MrTibbsLive

    Read the first 10 pages of All: My Thoughts

    Gideon – There’s some intrigue here. The writer does a great job of pulling you into the setting with his acute description. But the story is being told in flashback, which is a slight turn off. I’m sure if one reads on it would somehow tie into the story’s present time, but 118 pages makes it tough.

    Fool – Not sure where this was going, it’s a period piece comedy. But I did like Rasmussen’s optimism. When reading I did envision “A Knight’s Tale” vibe, which is a good thing, but the dialogue here was a little tricky.

    0/1 (Hyper Zero, Super One) – All right, so… Was Hyper Zero, Super One any good? I don’t know. Because I really didn’t understand what I read. I know there’s a guy talking/corresponding with his computer or something like that, but I recommend making this script a lot easier to follow. I’m aware that reading takes patience, but I just don’t know why a writer would insist on making reading difficult.

    Fragment – Good stuff here. Good opening scene, good intrigue, seems like a good story is coming from reading the first 10 pages. MY FIRST PLACE PICK for next week’s AF.

    Super Robbers – A family full of thieves…this could be fun. Definitely has potential. The first 10 pages weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either. SECOND PLACE PICK for AF.

    • RK

      re: “Hyper Zero / Super One”. There’s a girl, coming up on page 11 — you should check her out, she’s worth it :) Overall, think Aronofsky’s “Pi”, but in color, the computer is HAL’s nephew (and quite chatty), and the girl next door doesn’t just bring a bowl of soup…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

    First some notes on one of the scripts, then a comment, prompted by other comments, on this new format.

    GIDEON– Two things got me to open this: the fact that it won a big contest, and the fact that it bears a distant resemblance to one of my scripts. I committed to giving it a 20 page read.

    The writing is solid and the opening scene intrigues to a degree. There are some issues I would like to address, though, and perhaps the writer could consider this in future work.

    Let’s begin with the log, which turns out to be a good starting place in identifying the problems. We have these elements in the log: “a mysterious boy with Christ-like healing powers”, a “racially charged town” and a “vindictive mayor’s son” who is trying to murder the boy.

    Through 20 pages, none of those things appear. We do get the baby, but not the healing powers yet. There is no sign of a racially charged town or the mayor’s son, let alone some plot to kill the boy, assuming we see him as a boy and not a baby.

    So is the log just not well formed, or is there a problem with the story? Many people struggle with logs, so sometimes it’s the former. But in this case, through 20 pages, I could not tell someone in any way what this story is about. There is no sign of anything miraculous at this point, so even the mystery is not very compelling yet. We have a baby taken home by the cleaning lady, who it turns out has a troubled and lonely life. That’s nice, but the more interesting stuff that is present in the log has not appeared yet in the story.

    Now, the story won a large contest, so I trust there are a great many good things to follow after page 20. So I believe the writer is very talented and has a promising future.

    What I would humbly advise is that in future work the question ‘what’s it about’ should be something that can clearly be answered in some way by page 20. There should be a miracle, there should be signs of racial division, and this mayor’s son should have been introduced as an antagonist.

    There are exceptions to the rule, such as(to a degree) Rocky, where the ‘what’s it about’ is not answered until around the 30 minute mark when Creed selects Rocky from a phone book of fighters. The first half hour focuses on Rock’s character and the story B with Adrianne.

    Gideon could be one of those exceptions. 25 K is a very encouraging reward, and should keep this writer happily crafting future scripts! My writing earnings consist of a coffee mug, so don’t feel compelled to follow my advice. But I think your work will benefit from tighter focus. Start by answering ‘what’s the story about’, and find a way to convey that much earlier to the audience. Don’t assume we know from the log. Good Luck!

    COMMENT ON FORMAT– I think people should keep in mind the following: 1) this blog/forum is free; 2) it has proven to be a vehicle for getting amateur scripts discovered by people that matter; and 3) there are a lot of scripts out there, most of them not worthy of production.

    It takes a tremendous about of work and manpower to sift through that sea of mediocrity. So the best way to go about that is a work in progress here. He is experimenting with different methods. Does it require volunteer labor? Well, go back to point (1)…this is free. The more people that are willing to help with the sifting, the greater likelihood of marketable scripts being discovered, which helps everyone who hopes to achieve that kind of screenplay. I think a little patience and tolerance of missteps is advisable. If there is another blog or service that offers this kind of opportunity for free, I am unaware of it.

    • scribbler

      thnx, man. we all could use a good keystrok lashing once daily by someone who’s not invested personally in the maintenance of the forum that he purports to steward. irascible often, dude?

      • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

        I’m not sure how you took my comments as being irascible. There is not one remotely angry word in them. I recommended patience and tolerance. There was no lashing of anyone either. If you interpreted “sea of mediocrity” as being negative, I am sure my scripts have added to that sea. It’s very hard to write a great script. I’m not stewarding anything. A forum needs contribution. I took care to try to make my comment constructive and positive, and I guess I missed the mark in your reading of it.

        • Frankie Hollywood

          Your comment was constructive and positive. Scribbler’s nothing but a negative cyberbully – more like a cyberpunk. He’s made 3 comments and so far has received 11 downs and ZERO ups. The people have voted, scribbler must leave the island.

          • scribbler

            great minds think alike, eh, frankie?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804792429 Craig Paulsen

            This isn’t Yahoo News, dude. People who come on here are passionate about scripts and writing. Take the negativity and go back to Yahoo News where you can be anonymous and thrive. It’s not that hard to be normal.

          • scribbler

            i’ve been led to believe that we’re each entitled to voice our individual opinions. similar to what you just did. am i wrong for having believed that to be true? if am i, then my apologies to everyone who was hurt or offended or otherwise put off by my opinion.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804792429 Craig Paulsen

            Apology accepted. There is a constructive and diplomatic way to give criticism without getting snarky. The internet offers everyone a voice. That’s what’s great about it. Why not find a way to be positive, keep moving forward and give back to the Scriptshadow community in a way that motivates others to be great at something we are all very passionate about – screenwriting. Peace.

          • scribbler

            “at the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference.” one of my favorite quotes from kierkegaard, and immediately apropos in this case. shalom.

          • scribbler

            hey, where’s your passion for screenwriting, dude? you commented on my comments, but not on one single screenplay. i just noticed that. lol. seriously? talk about negative. wow!

          • MrTibbsLive

            Lol. Your comment cracked me up. But I welcome guys like Scribbler, they’re good for a laugh and an argument. Oh, as of now, he’s at 16 downs and 1 up :)

          • scribbler

            another great mind, eh, virgil?

        • carsonreeves1

          Your comment was fine, Kevin. There was nothing wrong with it.

    • carsonreeves1

      I generally agree with this advice, Kevin (we should know that the story is about early) although, as you pointed out, there are cases where not doing so does work. I haven’t read Gideon yet but so far, no positive reactions, so I don’t know if I will. Hopefully, more people will check it out.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

        I only read to page 20, and there are signs this could be a ‘worth the read’. Certainly one of those signs is winning 25K! Part of Amateur Friday, it seems, is finding a good script that needs a little more work on, and which we can learn something from. I hope you still consider looking at the script.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kersonr Kerson L. Raymond

      Wow.. I would have begged to receive such great “constructive feedback” and for it to receive the appreciation it deserves totally backlashed. SCRIBBLER, sometimes we need to let our guards down and take the criticism for what it meant to be “Guidance”.. No need to be upset.. You should have thanked him and instead of losing your cool to even open the script to echo his feedback. You are a believer in what you wrote BUT different people will see what you believe in differently.. his feedback does’t mean you have to go and change your script but just an advice on how to become better…it just a mental note… Just be humble…Hollywood is much harsher than this…

      • scribbler

        what? an assumption. that’s not my script. i believe you need to redact your statement. see what assumptions make of those who make them?

  • scribbler

    thnx for sharing that. we all feel far more informed about your personal dislikes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Sarnecki/514088205 David Sarnecki

      Your snarky, crappy attitude is ironically even less useful, as indicated by your six down votes. Good job failure troll! You succeeded at failing.

      • scribbler

        are you the very same sarnecki david who, just ten days ago, was telling dudes to grow a pair of balls? lol. come on, man! it takes some to get some, davey boy. you’re so negative in your comments, but can’t take a little cajoling from someone else. what up wit dat, g?

  • scribbler

    it simply amazes my mind the amount of screenplay writing tips, hints and tricks that people here know yet they still write bad material. are you guys just repeating stuff from all of the critiques you’ve ever read or heard or been given? i’m trying to learn here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

      The world needs ditch diggers too. Maybe a keyboard is something you should shy away from, Scribbler.

      • scribbler

        i just laughed. then i sharted. oh happy day.

  • Saint Croix

    Fragment: First 10 pages. Okay, this is too dark for me, so I’m not really your audience. You start with a kidnapping of a young girl, and implicitly a rape and/or murder, and then you introduce us to your protag, who other people talk about like he’s a serial killer, and there’s a torture scene. And to top it all off, your protag doesn’t speak until page 9. It’s just a really dark opening. I feel like we need to like your protag, so that we want to be with him on this journey as he solves his sister’s murder.

    Things that bugged me: “Eight years later.” So now we have to start over with a new story on page 2?

    I got annoyed with the students talking about our protag. You are telling us instead of showing us. We should be forming our own opinions about the hero, not having other students tell us who or what he is.

    What is up with the goldfish? He carries a goldfish bowl into an art gallery? Weird.

    Is he a high school student or is he a guard at the art gallery?

    Who is the little boy?

    And then we have a torture scene, and we don’t know who is being tortured or why.

    Then we have a flashback to the kidnapped girl, and more torture.

    This is a very frustrating opening. When the kid talks with his neighbor, and she asks him why he moved, he talks like it was his decision. No Mom? No Dad?

    The upshot for me is that it was easy to quit reading. And you’re not a bad writer at all, in particular the first page has an almost literary quality. But you need to figure out a way to get us to like your highly introverted and menacing hero. Maybe we should see the younger version of him? Maybe he should be on the scene when his sister is kidnapped? Or he’s a witness? We have to like him. And you have to do a way better job on your scene transitions, taking us from one scene to the next. The flashforwards and flashbacks and cuts to torture scenes involving people we haven’t met, tortured by people we don’t know, takes us out of the story. And the weirdness of your hero (no family? doesn’t speak? high school student and museum security guard? carries a goldfish bowl with him?) is off-putting. I really like the museum scenes, and the goldfish, and the conflict with the little boy. But it doesn’t match up well with the scenes at the high school. Or the scene with the neighbor. And none of this matches up well with the torture scenes.

  • Midnight Luck

    Breakdown from Here:

    Super Robbers: (Got to Page 1!)

    Please don’t adjust your margins. It took me right out of the read immediately. It made it difficult to read as everything felt squished tight and even the spaces between sentences seemed tight. This makes it feel like a slog to get through for the reader. Not what you want to do. If you are trying to make your story shorter, Cut, Cut, Cut (stole that from The Rainmaker with Will Hunting, er Matt Damon). I am sure the story deserves more than a 1 page read, but I doubt any Pro Readers or Producers would even read the first page.

    Hyper Zero Super One : (got to Page 7!)

    I like the title 0/1. Not sure about the Hyper Zero Super One, as, well, no one knows what that is referring to. Unless you are a programmer or techie. Got all the way to page 7! My brother is a Top computer science specialist and programmer. He might have made sense of it, but me? An artist / writer, I would have rather studied the Periodic table. While you may have been trying to make a movie / screenplay completely out of programming code, well, it doesn’t quite work. The reader, regardless of how quirky the writing is, still has to be able to understand it, and enjoy it. 7 pages in, and he is still talking and directing his computer, without anything happening that I can tell. When you are almost ten minutes into a movie and all we have is one guy talking code to his computer, and typing to his computer, and the computer responds with 1 or 0, not exactly thrilling. Writing about a writer sitting in front of his desk is very difficult to make interesting, even more so when it is a computer programmer and a topic most people don’t get. Most people understand writing overall. Programmers, tech stuff, not so much. It worked in Tron, with Bit, because there was an entire story going on, and tons of action, and it was funny that Bit was Jeff Bridges’ helper as he tried to navigate his way to safety and all he could say was, YES or NO, on or off. But he was a “bit” part and funny. Find the humanity in your story first. Then build the quirk around it.

    Fool: (Got to page 5!)

    I don’t know what to say here. Read more scripts. Talk with more writers. Read a ton of books. One of the best is: “How NOT to Write a Screenplay”. Don’t go for obvious choices. Please think WAY outside the box. Try new story, and another, and another, keep at it.

    Fragment: (on Page 8)

    Still reading. Not intrigued yet, but writing style is pretty good. I could see the story might be good also. Will continue reading. Two things stick out already. 1st: A lot of Parker this, and Parker that. Mix it up a bit so there aren’t long lines of Parker says, Parker does, Parker is….2nd: word choices sometimes take me right out of the story. Like “Pallor of Moonlight”. This has already happened quite a few times in 8 pages. Don’t try to impress people with your dictionary and knowledge of words. It can seem forced and trying. Not sure if you just write this way and those are words that felt right, or if there is some part of you that wants to impress the reader. If it is the latter, please don’t, it stops the flow of reading. If it is the former, maybe find more fitting words that don’t break the reading up. So far though, enjoying reading.

    Gideon: (on page 10)

    So far, nice. It is super easy to read and follow. Good intro, though not sure about the telling of the story in Flashback, it has been done so many times, but can’t say my true feelings about it until I am done with the script. Also, the people in the church that are “waiting” for him, seem a little on the nose speech wise. Maybe find a bit different way to portray them or Swanson’s entry into the church. Overall nice writing though.

    Thanks to all for the chance to read and comment on the stories. Hope this system works out for everyone as time goes on.

    • IgorWasTaken

      ML, I see what you mean about the margins. It was distracting, and I am not a real stickler for that in scripts.

      But… in the writer’s defense, it seems he didn’t actually “adjust” the margins. I looked at the pdf creation info and it seems he wrote the script using Libre Office, a free alternative to Microsoft Office. IOW, he set his own margins – badly.

      If the writer, Kyle Brooks, reads this: Look around the Internet for a screenplay template that will open in Libre Office – IOW, any screenplay template that works in MS Office, etc. The way you have things set now, it is distracting; not because it’s not according to the norm, but simply because it’s aesthetically off-putting, IMO.

      • Midnight Luck

        Thanks for letting me know Igor- I thought there might be a reason for this. But after page count being harped on so much on SS I thought, maybe he was trying to get it into the sweet spot length.

        When everyone treats scripts under 90 pages as emaciated, 100 + pages as perfect, and over 110 as just plain Obese, I wouldn’t fault the writer for trying to get into that sweet spot so people might read it. I however have troubles with things that cause a claustrophobic feeling, and that one did it pretty badly for me. I know that is my issue, but out in Hollywoodland, it would be an issue also. I would love to read his script, it just was really tough for me.

        I apologize if Kyle reads what I wrote and it came across wrong. I was trying to be helpful about what the reader will do when reading his script.

        I can say my very first script was written in Quark, since I could do everything I needed to do to set styles and make it into my own version of Final Draft, which I couldn’t afford and didn’t own. It was far enough back that there was no free script software out there. My teacher and everyone reading it flipped out. My script was like 150 pgs long and because of our deadline, i didn’t have time to go through it all, so I adjusted margins and tightened kerning etc…..to get the page count down to 120. It was a mess. I was guilty also, and that is why I wanted to point it out. I have never done it since I was called out in front of 35 people in our class. Though, at the time, my first class, first script, I didn’t have a clue it was that big of a deal to adjust things, and to not use the right font. Quick lesson learned.

        So, Kyle, take or leave advice as you wish. But if you get a chance to adjust it, I would love to read the reformatted version. (though, I will give this one another try I am sure anyhow).

        • IgorWasTaken

          BTW, not that it bothered me – it actually gave me a chuckle – it seems that Neil MacLennan “cheated” the margins on “Fool” to make the script longer. It’s barely 90 pages, as is. It looks like he narrowed the dialogue blocks (i.e., made the margins bigger).

          (Also on his title page, his name is spelled spelt 2 different ways. Neil MacLennan and Neil Maclennan. The second way is with his copyright notice. Maybe the Copyright Office doesn’t allow uppercase letters except for the first letter in each name…?)

          • Midnight Luck

            I don’t normally look, catch or care about things like cheating the margins. Unless it is really obvious. Then like I said, it really gets to me. Mainly because it makes the reading experience, either claustrophobic, or tedious.

            Super Robbers was just so extreme it drove me crazy. I didn’t notice that Fool had different margins, so it must have been altered only slightly. Again, I know people do it to try to beef up or slim down their story to fit a certain length. I would just hope that, instead of going that route, these authors work their stories and figure out if the story needs more to make it work, or needs to be stripped down (which is more often the case).

            I don’t know that copyright office cares much how you put it on your script, except that you keep it the way you originally did when you got the copyright. Consistency is most likely important. Hope he figures out which way he wants it to actually read :).

    • RK

      @Midnight Luck, re: Hyper Zero / Super One. The guy is not “typing”/”writing” (because you’re absolutely right, that would be “not exactly thrilling”), he’s pretty much just talking with an A.I. Think HAL, growing up in your living room ;)

      • Midnight Luck

        No I get it.

        And maybe the words I used didn’t describe it well enough.
        The point I was making is still the same though.

        First, if it is confusing enough to not exactly know what is being talked about, or what is happening, you might have a problem.

        Second, it is still basically two guys sitting in a room talking, only less than talking, since one of them isn’t talking but only spitting out a 1 or 0. It could be very hard to keep the viewers attention. At 7 pages in, I get that the Young Man is having a conversation with his creation, but nothing is happening. Almost Ten Minutes into a movie and no idea where it might be going or what is the goal, or what do any of the characters want, and then confusing or unknown language. Well, it just keeps the reader far away from becoming part of the story.

        I hope this makes sense.

        • RK

          It does. No harm done :)

  • scribbler

    i have advice for each writer on scriptshadow. write more instead of reading so many bad scripts. read whole oscar winning scripts, not just amateur ones. how will you learn from amateur scripts that all have the same problems? at some point, don’t you need to focus your attention on what works, versus what won’t ever make it to the top of the heap? repeating staid critiques and sniping at others for giving their opinions isn’t going to change a thing. it may inflate your paltry ego, but what is that worth when your next line of description or dialogue still doesn’t measure up? it means you just wasted your time on being a commentator when you could have channeled that energy into something much more useful. honing your craft.
    many of you writers here could benefit from a site called simplyscripts. there, the site’s administrator has compiled a virtual library of thousands upon thousands of produced and unproduced scripts. there’s an active discussion board for each script, and there are hundreds of threads for topics related to screenplay writing that remain active each and every day. there, you can learn to write as a beginner. scriptshadow offers advanced lessons in screenwriting.
    you won’t ever get up to speed of you always misstep from the start. this isn’t a slight to anyone. just some constructive advice from a guy who wishes you all the best. oh yeah, for those who like to engage in internet disputation, there are plenty of those types over there as well. so, go check it out, see what it’s about and enjoy the journey. as a bonus, there’s a sort of in-house, real-life hollywood agent who is the most helpful insider you’ll ever find anywhere. she regularly, if not daily, offers tips and other advice to the fledgling screenwriters on that site. she’ll do the same for you. in fact, she’s the one who advised me to leave simplyscripts and come over to scriptshadow.
    all the luck to you. and let the good times roll!

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

      Scribbler, the problem is not that you disagree with people. Disagreement is healthy. The issue is all these snide, immature remarks you keep making. I don’t know if you wrote Gideon. If you did, congrats on the cash prize, that’s a great achievement. I mean it. And as I said, there is plenty of talent on display in the writing. When I gave you my honest remarks, I stated upfront that I am no authority. It’s my best opinion, it it doesn’t help you, no harm done, ignore it.

      But grow up. No one is attacking you for your opinion. People are just annoyed with your attacking other opinions with immature and frankly uninteresting comments. Seriously, grow up.

      • scribbler

        you should have saved your keystrokes, my man. i’m not changing. if they’re so uninteresting, then why bother? yeah…

      • scribbler

        i’d never write something so bad as gideon either. are you kidding me?

      • scribbler

        people need to grow a thicker skin, especially if they’re not personally involved in the conversation. do you see my point? grow thicker skin.

      • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

        Hello….I wrote Gideon and I appreciated your thoughts and you reading it….I just wanted to say thank you to you and everyone else that took the time to look at it….

        • scribbler

          thank you for clearing that up, r.w.. and you’re welcome. i did try to read your work. for what’s it’s worth, i emailed carson about it on thursday, the night that he released the newsletter. keep writing, it gets better if you work hard at it.

          • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

            Hi Scribbler…I love writing and telling stories…and I agree….the more we write and seek to be the best we can be..with our own voice…the better we will get….best to you

          • scribbler

            good for you, friend. lift your voice and sing it onto those pages. you can do it!

          • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

            Thank you Scribbler…and you do the same….

          • scribbler

            i would that more work doesn’t necessitate improvement. you have to be honest and austere with yourself when learning to write for film. so, simply working at it won’t get you the results you might want. ever hear of the lion that starved in the wild? no. b/c, though it may not catch its prey every time out, it never stops learning from its mistakes. its persistence, patience and confidence pays off far more often than not. it doesn’t simply go running at the herd. it stalks, it predates, it waits for openings and then it springs into action! but it never will take a day off from the hunt.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

          R.H. you can send me work any time. Your future is bright, I wish you the best. Seriously,anytime you want to exchange reads, just get in touch.

          • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

            Thank you Kevin I will…

          • Frankie Hollywood

            Hey Randall, congratulations on the win.

            What are your thoughts on Tallentville?

            I read in this article http://www.talentville.com/talentvillenews/?p=331 “To all of you who reviewed the script over the past few months, helping Randall improve the story…” You’re obviously grateful to Ben (you invited him to the Awards show), but is that quote a bit of PR for Talentville or do you also feel the other readers really did help with your script? Or did you get a bunch of take/leave advice and pretty much all the writing and ideas are yours?

            Coming from someone who’s looking into joining Talentville.

          • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

            Hi Frankie…Thank you for the Congrats….

            I think Talentville is a great place to park your script, read and review other writers and get some great feedback…The reviews I received were very helpful to me…They helped me see what was working and what needed clearing up, or focusing….However, like any review or notes you take the meat and throw away the bone….because ultimately you have to decide what you want your story to do, and how you want it to go about doing it.

            I found the writers who reviewed Gideon to be honest, and extremely insightful. I didn’t always incorporate what they suggested but for the most part each review had something I could come away with and apply, even if it was a misspelled word…

            I got to know Ben as I reviewed other scripts and he did a review of Gideon for me…He has a heart for the writers and their projects and has provided a wonderful forum for us…As with anything…you get out what you put in….but I would recommend it to everyone who has a script and would like to get a bunch of eyeballs on it.

            Gideon, the story, has never changed…However, Gideon the script has evolved as I continued to rewrite it. The suggestions on how to make it tighter, and help focus the story, or an idea to do such and such with a certain character has helped make it that much better and clearer without ever losing the power of the story itself.

            Not only that, but I have met some really wonderful writers on there that have become friends of mine. We have been able to help and encourage each other, which I wouldn’t have had just sitting in a Starbucks pecking away at my keys and not joining in Talentville’s writing community…

          • Frankie Hollywood

            Thanks for the reply, R.H. Glad to hear it’s a helpful place. I’m gonna give it a shot as soon as I finish my monster — 8-9 more pages.
            Thanks again.

          • cjob3

            I’m on T’Ville alot. In fact, I reviewed Fool there and recommended it to Carson because I liked it so much.

            I see RW there a lot too. seems like a genuinely great guy but I havent had a chance to look at Gideon yet.

          • Joe Marino

            Same here, R.W.

          • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

            Ok Joe…thank You

  • Midnight Luck

    What happened to Poe?

    He is always on, and hasn’t shown himself once on this post.

    Maybe Scribbler is Poe’s devious Hyde side.
    While Poe is away, Mr. Hyde comes out to play….

    • scribbler

      no, luck…i don’t disperse widely known facts gathered from multiple online sources as if it’s my jobby job. i’m a different guy altogether. big ups to edgar, tho! nevermore.

      • gazrow

        Poe is a great guy. His passion for Film and Screenwriting is second to none. Unlike you, he is a well respected member of the Scriptshadow community.

        Scribbler, you said you were here to learn – well LEARN THIS. In all the time Poe has been part of the Scriptshadow community, he has NEVER EVER posted a snide remark!

        • scribbler

          so?

  • hem

    This Scribbler troll tried to hijack a thread a few weeks back with links to his own “writing.”

    He knows so little about what he’s doing he didn’t provide a title or logline(!), just promised shootouts and car chases. LOL.

    Now that nobody commented on his “writing,” he’s on here trying to be disruptive.

    We can all do without losers like this; ban the bastid.

    • scribbler

      dude, get a life. “bastid”?

      • walker

        Great point scribbler. He can’t even spell “asshole”.

        • scribbler

          i guess, if someone calls you one for long enough, then you become an expert at spelling it, walker.

          • walker

            That’s what you’ve got? “I know you are but what am I?” Get off your mom’s computer dude.

          • scribbler

            well, i usually reword someone else’s insult, but today’s sort of slow…

  • http://twitter.com/andyjaxfl andyjaxfl

    I read the first 15 pages of Hyper Zero Super One but stopped because of the illustrated dialogue and not getting any sense of the story from what I’ve read. I’m guessing that the Young Man (or Daniel as he’s known after page 6) is teaching “Victor” the first lessons it needs to be self-aware, and those questions will become important later in the story… but like I said, I’m not so sure.

    The Matrix and the Transcendence (aka Untitled Wally Pfister) use more user friendly ways of depicting computer or A.I. dialogue that the writer might want to check out.

    I’m curious enough about the story to pick it up and start reading again.

    • RK

      …or just keep reading, from page 15 on ;)

  • scribbler

    so why’d you wade in on this one? b/c you felt compelled to do so? b/c you wanted to? your prerogative? look, you people have spent more time on me than you have on the screenplays. what’s that say? you guys…and your “passion” for screenwriting. right…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Sarnecki/514088205 David Sarnecki

      Funny, looking through this page you’ve literally littered it with useless posts, and 90 percent of them are down voted about 4 times. Warren and I aren’t the problem here.

  • scribbler

    out of 73 comments posted at this point, how did i wind up even one directed at me when the purpose of this experiment is to raise discourse on amateur screenplays and provide carson with some advice as to which ones deserve his notice? you guys aren’t about screenplay writing. it’s too tough for you. you’d rather engage in arguments (such as the guy who mentioned ‘this ain’t yahoo!). what does that mean? that was my point yesterday, and look got spun up? lol @ you dudes. way to show what you’re more interested in. point proven. and don’t worry, i won’t be submitting anymore scripts to carson so that he can in turn provide them to you guys for your review. no thanks, you guys have not picked a winner since i’ve been here, s why would i even subject my work to the likes of folks such as yourselves? answer: i won’t. i’ll get coverage instead. all the luck homies. you guys need it. time management is my parting advice to you dudes. learn what it really means, and then learn what it would mean to your lives and finally, use it to your own benefit. right now, according to what i’ve seen, you folks have no idea how to manage your time either efficiently or effectively. shalom in your home.

    • scribbler

      hey, the academy will be awarding prizes tonight. perhaps you can all glean a little bit of inspiration for your perspiration away from that show. somehow i doubt you will though. you’ll most probably be on twitter (i don’t even have an account) talking crap with the rest of those who’d rather disparage and discourage rather than do something to prove they’re better. but hey, you can always crack a few brews with your best bud, get drunk and sing karaoke until you’re old and gray, right?

    • Frankie Hollywood

      You are 100 % right. We have picked on you and you should leave — goodbye.

      “We’ll all miss you, scribbler.” Said no one, ever!

      You truly are delusional and a massive hypocrite You started off with 3 very bitchy, snarky and condescending remarks that contributed absolutely nothing “to raise discourse on amateur screenplays and provide carson with some advice as to which ones deserve his notice.” HYPOCRITE!

      People called you out on your dumb ass remarks, yet you kept adding your stupidity and immaturity to the fire. But it’s “our fault” for calling you out as the douche bag you truly are.

      You’re nothing but a pathetic cyperbully/cyberbitch. Bottom line, you’re just SAD. Pissing people off with your bitchy remarks actually make you happy = Pitiful!

      Good riddance to bad rubbage.

      • scribbler

        it’s “rubbish”. dude, you can’t even write a tired old adage right, so how can you even think about writing a screenplay to snuff? your response is a great exegesis of exactly what my point was. you came back to read and respond to my “dumb ass remark” when you could have been doing anything productive. again, you’ve wasted your time on an inconsequential oaf who keeps riling you up. don’t you get it? if you feel slighted, that’s your fault. your opinions don’t move me to anger, dude. you’re entitled to them. big whoop. i only wish for you that at some point writing a screenplay gets you as motivated to write as i have. you seem to be mad, not me. caps and belligerence. i never cyberbullied anyone. you know who feels bullied? people with no heart. you have none. and calling me “bitch”, big deal. i’m a bitch, now your life is complete. so what have you learned from the screenplays offered this week? lol. that’s my point.

        • scribbler

          and, if you picked on me, then doesn’t that by definition make you the bully? man, you’re a hoot.

        • Frankie Hollywood

          Yeah, I got an old saying wrong, big whoop. That means I can’t write a screenplay?

          So if we’re responding to you, we’re not being productive? And that’s your point?

          Here’s MY point, FUCK OFF, dude.

  • Garrett Amerson

    I’m reading Gideon. Doing the same festival for this year.

    • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

      Great Garrett….Looking forward to hearing what you think…Thanks for taking the time to read it….

  • walker

    Scribbler sounds an awful lot like Rustin to me.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Good call. Mr. “The House That Death Built” couldn’t see his own reality either.

      • Jaco

        Back then, true – but, he turned it around. Trajent Future got him a call with Brooklyn Weaver- I think they are now working together, if I’m not mistaken. Congrats, Rustin – if you’re still checking in on SS.

        I’ve read some of scribbler’s comments – he’s more like the poor man’s version of the old Rustin. ;)

        • scribbler

          that’s more than i’ve read from you. by the by, how’s that script coming? well, i take it.

          • Jaco

            I just meant your comments weren’t filled with as much venom and vitriol – sometime’s it’s good to be the poor man’s version – you don’t hear Skeet Ulrich complain too much.

            Script is coming along great – hoping to go wide later this year.

          • paulm

            Guys, please try not to ruin this new screenwriting forum for everyone just because you wanna have a pissing contest. I don’t think any of us want this thing riddled with pointless comments, and have to sift through to find the helpful, constructive ones…

        • Hem

          You shouldn’t be so gullible, Jaco.

          Brooklyn Weaver offered to read Rustin’s stuff because Brooklyn offered RANDOM unrepped writers a chance at a read if they predicted the NFL — just a Twitter lottery, nothing to do with the quality of the work.

          Rustin’s BSing now as much as he did back in the Traject days about big deals going down.

          • Jaco

            Come on, man. Give me a little more credit – I’m not some johnny-come-lately douche canoe with a lollipop stuck up my ass. Sometimes I do know what I’m talking about.

          • Hem

            So you knew it was just a random pick based on Rustin predicting the NFL?

            That’s not what you communicated with “Trajent Future got him a call with BW – I think they are not working together…”

            Sounds like one more patsy buying Rustin’s BS to me.

          • Hem

            “not working together” should be “now working together.”

            Though NOT working together would be more accurate. :)

          • Jaco

            A patsy. Yes. That’s exactly what I am. Thanks.

            Let me ask you this – do you know what happened after his script was sent into Energy? Or is the extent of your knowledge just that he got lucky with an NFL pick?

          • Hem

            NOTHING is happening with the script. That clear enough for you? You have been lied to. Comprende?

            Jeeze, you presumably read Rustin’s Trajent Future responses and could see that he’s a huge hustler and yet you’re naive enough to come on here and repeat his BS.

            By the way, Jaco, I have big things on the horizon. BIG things. Lemme just mention the word “Spielberg.”

            Spread it around, kid.

          • Jaco

            That’s a lazy answer to my question. Though I don’t know why I expected anything else. Thanks for the intelligent discourse. Say hi to Stevie S.

        • walker

          Well Jaco, that is just another reason to be dubious about Brooklyn Weaver’s judgement.
          And scribbler is Rustin/the Haze/Trajent Future. Sometimes one is a poor man’s version of oneself.

          • Jaco

            Dubious about BW’s judgment? Did I just read that right?

            You have any idea what scripts he’s taken wide this year? Scripts sold? Do you have any idea what his track record is these past couple of years? Do you know who he reps?

            I suppose it doesn’t matter even if you knew the answers – seems your mind is probably made up.

          • walker

            I am aware that Energy sold the most specs last year. I know how he packages material, and that he has been very successful in moving those packages, if not so much in actually bringing them to the screen.

            Yes he is a major player. But his choices most certainly baffle me. I have read several of the scripts he currently has in development. Perhaps I should acknowledge that his business judgement is acute, but that is not the judgement to which I was referring.

          • Jaco

            Fair enough. I’m more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt I guess.

          • walker

            Now if what you’re saying is that it is not a great idea for my career to be questioning his judgement publicly, I think you may have a point.

            Anyway, I’ll see you and BW at the Chateau Marmont. Just try and leave me a decent tip.

          • Joe Marino

            If it is indeed true that Rustin is being repped by Brooklyn, consider two things: People can change and quality of writing can trump personality scruples.

      • carsonreeves1

        Wow, Frankie, going to the WAY BACK for that one. :)

        • Frankie Hollywood

          Loooooong time Scriptshadower.

    • scribbler

      you’re flailing.

      • walker

        Flailing and succeeding apparently.

        • scribbler

          have you learned anything new about screenwriting, or just about me?

          • Joe Marino

            Scribbler, I don’t think you’re benefiting to the prospect of learning anything new about screenwriting. Please take this advice to heart (and I’m not saying this in any way to bash or ridicule you): this is not how you make it in the business. I’m not going to pretend I’m anything special or that I know more than anyone else – I’m not and I don’t. But I do know this – Hollywood is an industry built on personal relationships. People need to LIKE you in order for you to get work. And this? What you’re doing? You might think this is a good way of coming across as a independent rogue who won’t toe the party line, but you’re burning bridges you haven’t even crossed yet. Even if you’re writing was on par with the greatest screenwriter of all time, no one will want to deal with you. It IS possible for quality of writing to trump having an unfortunately antagonistic personality, but it makes your journey far harder. Don’t make this harder for yourself than it needs to be. Writing is hard enough as it is. I want you to succeed, man. I can tell you’re passionate (you wouldn’t be on SS otherwise). But you’re going about it all wrong. Stop and try to salvage your image before it becomes irreversible.

  • scribbler

    hey, grendl, i saw your post on another site. it was quite…well, it wasn’t inclusive of everyone, shall we say? that’s enough out of you then.

  • scribbler

    cyber cupcakes and frappuccinos for all who have been bullied…i sowwwwwyyyy…okayyy…? and here, here’s a pat on the head, too. feel better, sport.

  • scribbler

    yeah, i’m up for the guy who got you to crawl out of his hole to comment on his comment instead of on a single screenplay this entire weekend. way to show your allegiance. ‘preciate ya, bro.

  • scribbler

    you dudes are way too easy. you invested the past two days of your lives to someone jerk off online. and you’re still going…in business, that’s what’s known as dissonance of decision. i’d explain it, but, just as screenwriting has, it would be lost on you. go write something and stop letting online guys get underneath your skin. lol. if you can…

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lenihan1 Kevin Lenihan

      Someone needs to google irony.

  • Dane Purk

    So I just started reading Gideon. Admittedly, I’m only about 7 pages in, where the flashback begins (I assume the main character is going to tell the story of Gideon in past tense). However, my initial reaction is that I really have no immediate desire to keep reading.

    Nothing “grabbed” me in the introduction. It felt like a page and a half of story dragged out to be 7. The guy is a preacher, doesn’t want to be, and just needs gas, but these people won’t give him gas unless he tells a story. Not only is it a slow setup, but it feels kind of forced. It’s basically “Hey protagonist, tell us the story of the movie and you can fill up your tank.”

    I don’t know, I’m just not into this story so far. I know it’s unfair and harsh to judge since I haven’t read the whole thing, but one thing I’ve learned, even just giving my scripts to family and friends, is that they usually have a gut reaction within the first 2 pages, and it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you take it seriously. So I’m really trying to help you here.

    The whole introduction with the butterfly had way too much description and just felt flowery and unnecessary. Unless the butterfly has a huge payoff later, you need to start the story at the gas station. Maybe your opening image should be the “E” so we IMMEDIATELY see an obstacle (an empty tank of gas), then by the end of the FIRST PAGE you need to establish WHERE THIS GUY WANTS TO BE in the most visual and organic and LIKABLE way possible. This is conflict. Page one, someone we like wants to be somewhere else, but has an empty tank. Begin movie. This should not take 7 pages to establish. I’d say maximum 2. As it stands, I have no reason to follow this guy, because he hasn’t displayed much compassion or likability, and I’m not sure what he wants. As much as I hate to suggest the cliche “save the cat” moment, this script really needs one.

    It’s also worth pointing out, and I’ll try to be as tactful and honest as possible here, is upon researching this contest that your script won, I see that it specializes in “scripts that are spiritually uplifting” or “restore man’s love or faith in God.” I am very happy that you won some free cash (all aspiring writers need it, I know I do) and most importantly some validation for your abilities. However, you need to realize that this competition is very limited in its demographic, so don’t sit comfortable with your win. It even gives a disclaimer about submissions, saying that anything that is “non-judeo Christian spirituality” will be disqualified. So not only does it have to deal with spirituality, but a specific type of spirituality. It basically sounds like a church starting a production company. Now, this has nothing to do with anyone’s personal beliefs here. It’s just a simple fact that a competition that only takes specific “spiritual” scripts is:

    A) Not going to have that many entries
    B) Not going to have a wide variety of entries
    C) Not going to have entries that focus on STORY, but rather on God and spirituality.

    In other words, a limited competition will only give you limited help and feedback. Storytelling should be without limitations (other than genre and basic structure). So now that we got that out of the way:

    Despite some of the flowery language that killed the speed of your script and nothing “grabbing” me, I can tell you take yourself seriously. I can tell you have a talent and a desire to actually do this for a living, and it’s very respectable that I inferred this in only 7 pages. So please keep writing, and if I get the time to finish Gideon, I will definitely give you a final review. As of now, it’s not a “drop everything in my life and see how this story ends” type of script, and I think that’s a worthy lesson to learn in 7 pages.

    Good luck :)

    • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

      Hi Dane….thank you for taking the time to look it over…I know it is not for everybody and that’s okay….The style I use may not capture you but it has captured many and they have been touched by the story….And believe me Gideon IS about the story and it is character driven. Maybe if you read the whole script you will get what it is all about….if not…that’s fine too….again thank you for giving it a peep….

  • Howie428

    I’m coming late to this party, but let’s see how these scripts look… (These are my notes as I go through them)

    Super Robbers

    Pg 1 – Margins look funky, page number, I don’t know what a hovering night sky will look like, and night stars don’t illuminate things. Not a good first impression.

    The opening page has decent action, but nothing distinctive. It’s also over-described.

    Pg 4 – The story is okay, but I’ve seen typos and tense problems, and what there is here isn’t strong enough to make me keep reading through these things.

    Fool

    Pg 1 – “‘THE HOG’S BACK’” – I know where that is!

    The Tavern Owner speaks well for the owner of such a rough establishment.

    The bad magic show opening is alright, but the specifics of it feel like all the obvious choices.

    Pg 4 – I get that these performers are deliberately bad, but I think their badness is weighing down your story. Also, in spite of all these comedic set-ups I’ve yet to see something that strikes me as funny.

    Pg 6 – I like some of the snappiness of this, but I’m not seeing enough to keep me going.

    Fragment

    Pg 1 – Snazzy looking title page! No fade in.

    It’s a bit overwritten, but the opening page works fine. I’m a bit disappointed that the fishing girl ends up as a victim.

    Pg 2 – “EXT. SHORE — THAT MOMENT” – Why have a scene heading here? Also, for me it makes sense to get this opening all on page 1.

    I like that we fade back up on a fish. It tells me the writer is thinking about the details of this thing.

    Pg 3 – “Know what I also heard?” – This is a sign that the exposition is heavy handed.

    Just noticed this is a squeezed format. Scene headings are single spaced as well.

    Pg 5 – “Ground-sconces circumvent the exterior replete with dual
    stone turrets, and alight the entrance.” – This feels a bit like a computer translation.

    Pg 8 – At this point I’m still fishing for something to get excited about on this one. It’s okay, but I’m going to try the others and see if I feel the need to come back here.

    HYPER ZERO / SUPER ONE

    Pg 1 – The opening is interesting, but for me it would be better if it said:
    “GLASSY BLACK SCREEN
    A green “1” appears in the top corner.”
    Two short lines in place of 7-8.

    Why do the “(O.S.)”s when they are not needed having not been there when they were?

    They opening page has good intrigue, but that number format is a bit silly, especially since it makes each one take a line more space than it needs to.

    Pg 3 – “The Young Man plays another composition, a beginner’s crappy attempt at provoking Mozart. Sufficient ”musicality” to turn a piano-playing dog into a Youtube sensation. Since it’s not the case, hooray that it lasts only a few seconds.” – Or, “He plays Mozart badly.”

    By the end of this page I’m afraid I’m getting bored. He appears to have the world’s first living computer and he’s determined to bore it to death!

    Pg 7 – The 7 page opening scene feels over long and it feels like something that it would make sense to give us a build up to. Intro the guy and what he’s doing before giving us this exchange.

    Pg 10 – This has become interesting and I’m glad the story has moved along somewhat.

    Pg 12 – Vic joking him about is amusing, but it might also be taking things forward a bit quickly in terms of his development.

    Pg 19 – This is still puzzling, although I’m still curious. I’ve realized that to this point this is borderline theatrical; One location with extended dialogue driven scenes.

    Pg 28 – The thing about wacky stories is that they can often start off really wacky, but that’s okay if they ground themselves and then begin to play out in a way that becomes easier to follow. “Being John Malkovich” is one of these. For me your story is getting wackier and harder to follow. I’m afraid I’m becoming impatient with it because I’m getting lost and I’m not seeing the narrative thrust. You’ve got heavy static dialogue scenes that might struggle to keep us interested.

    You seriously should consider putting this on a stage. The onscreen stuff could be shown via a large monitor over the stage.

    I scrolled on through this to see where it would go and I see some interesting relationship stuff, but I also see that it continues to be dialogue heavy. I see there’s a love aspect to it, some down moments, and a poetic end.

    The idea of this is something to admire. The challenge of executing it is huge. For me what you have is a solid starting point, but there is a lot more work left to do.

    GIDEON

    This one has had its fair share of attention and opportunities, and since I’m out of time and my opinion won’t make much odds, I’m skipping it.

    So, my conclusion is… If Gideon is great then look at it, if not then “HYPER ZERO / SUPER ONE” is so bizarre/ambitious that it might be worth looking at and seeing if you can help get it through the considerable revision process that it needs.

    On this process, I have to say I’m hesitant about putting these notes out there publically. I don’t have time to do justice to the effort that I’m sure has gone into all of these, and so I’m left putting in comments that feel thin. I might have bailed early on something that would have worked for me.

    Having said that, a script of mine was on this list a few weeks back and I didn’t enjoy the lack of response. It and all the others that week disappeared without a trace, so I guess I’d have preferred to see what people had to say about it.

    • RK

      Re: Hyper Zero / Super One – Muchas gracias for the pointy notes. Highly & sincerely appreciated.

      (Re: excessive words – Some action lines are intentionally elongated/multiplied, in order to cover an appropriate “real” slice of screening time. Re: long opening scene – Beside setting the conversational texture, it should put the AI front and center — its perspective covers the whole story. Re: stage-play version – Already duly considered ;) But, cinematically speaking, there is some room to play in the “Moon” ballpark…)

      • Howie428

        No problem. I get what you mean about reflecting the screen time and it’s good that you’re thinking about it that way. For me it makes sense to use white space and a vertical layout as the first tricks to get this effect, rather than filling up the page.
        I like that it’s from the AI’s point of view. That being the case I’d suggest making things much harder on him. It feels like you could push the situation in several more extreme directions.
        Moon is a great film, and I see the comparison of him talking to a computer. However, Moon takes the guy’s situation and builds an externally driven plot around it, so I guess that makes me wonder if there is a way to have a broader plot story playing outside your room and have that produce twists and challenges for your AI inside the room.
        As an off the top of my head suggestion, you could establish the idea that this apartment shares a building with a Bank HQ. You’d imply that Daniel (or someone else) might be grooming Vic for the day when he will hook him up to the bank system and expect him to carry out a heist. Something like this gives you a whole extra layer of dynamics and possible plot points with which you can keep a general audience member happy while you pursue your sophisticated relationship elements. “Starman” for example, uses its chase movie plot line to keep everyone following along while really being about the grief and love issues of the characters.

        • RK

          Re: layout – I intend to direct this little-ugly-duck of a story, so the rows/second ratio is sort of more important for me in establishing the real-time visual rhythm (unfortunately, without making this script’s life easier in any reader’s mind).

          Re “Moon” – more inclined to reference the “apartment” set and the one-on-one dynamics.

          Your suggestion is cool ;)
          But pumping up the GSU and expanding the scale will only give me a shot at crafting an inappropriate star-vehicle for Denzel Washington… while I have a strong motivation to keep it all within a precisely-delimited thematic (and budgetary) perimeter.

          All in all, you gave me good food for thought to chew on ;)

    • gazrow

      “Having said that, a script of mine was on this list a few weeks back and
      I didn’t enjoy the lack of response. It and all the others that week
      disappeared without a trace, so I guess I’d have preferred to see what
      people had to say about it.”

      Which one was yours? Wouldn’t mind taking a look at it. See if I can give you some feedback.

      • Howie428

        Thanks. Mine was “A Halloween Carol”. It was in the week before the shorts week.

        • gazrow

          Didn’t get the newsletter that week for some reason – can you send me the script direct to gazrow at hotmail dot com – cheers

        • Crazdwrtr

          And what happened to my script RISE, Carson???? I think it was in that same newsletter????

  • Malibo Jackk

    Tough call.
    Had to choose between good and evil. Gideon and Fragment.
    Flipped a coin.
    It came up EVIL.

  • FD

    Find this method with several loglines up for selection nice, and it makes me feel better that a number of other people felt just as uninspired by them as I did. On the other hand it doesn’t make me feel better that Carson says my script won’t even make this list because the logline is too boring, and these ideas obviously beat it. woe.
    I’m also not so sure that someone who has won 25 grand with his script really classifies as an amateur. Why does he need to send it here if it is already such a huge success?

  • Mr. Thomas Ripley

    Read Gideon only. About 20 pages in. It’s clear, and the characters are distinct. However, I don’t know what genre this was intended. It started off as comedy and then turned drama.

    Also, having the preacher at the beginning didn’t capture me. Not knowing his relevancy to the baby, I say take him out. Keep this story about the baby.

    Either way, congrats on winning that competition. That was why I actually looked at this script. lol.

    Mr. Thomas Ripley

    • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

      Thank you Thomas for looking at it…the Preacher’s relevancy means everything to the story….sorry you didn’t read it all the way through….Thanks again though for your time on it…..

  • Steve

    Note how the Gideon writer doesn’t tell you this competition he won was open only to heavily Christian-themed scripts. Some might call that a lie of omission. :)

    So this script didn’t win against all the pool of amateur stories out there; it won against a very small subset of those stories that needed to be “uplifting scripts that result in a greater increase in either Man’s love or understanding of God.”

    Even the winners of major competitions are usually the best of a bad bunch; something to keep in mind when we’re being pitched a script from a no-name competition.

    By the way, at the bottom of the Kairos website is an ad for THE book Christians who want to make movies must read. Its title? “How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul.”

    Now THAT I wanna read.

    • http://twitter.com/OntPoli Ont Poli

      I think most writers are familiar with the Kairos prize. It doesn’t make it a lie because you’re unfamiliar with it,. In fact, writing under such constraints only proves what a good writer he is.

      • Steve

        No, Ont, writing a Christian script doesn’t prove you’re a good writer.

        And being supposedly the best Christian script doesn’t mean a lot in the vastly larger pool of amateur scripts which are not Christian-themed.

      • Steve

        I’m familiar with all the major screenwriting competitions.

        This competition which only accepts scripts pushing a particular religion’s agenda is not a major player and winning it gives little indication of how a script would do against a much broader range of scripts and writers.

  • Citizen M

    Two of the titles looked interesting. My take:

    HYPER ZERO/SUPER ONE 104 p by Roman Kaminsky

    Logline: A young man creates a self-aware computer in an apartment and they discuss obscure stuff using big words until an unspecified threat looms.

    Verdict: Wrong medium. This belongs in an AI discussion forum, not a script. Not for AF.

    Synopsis: In flashbacks we learn Daniel’s parents were computer whizzes who constructed “Vic”. Daniel completes their work and makes Vic self-aware and spends most of the script in his apartment discussing concepts with Vic. There is a girl next door who meets Vic and the two hit it off. Vic experiments with gender identity. A gofer brings equipment. Vic warns of a threat. That’s pretty much it.

    FOOL 90p by Neil MacLennan 2012

    Logline: In a bygone age, a failed comic sees his chance to win the King’s favour, but a jealous rival opposes him.

    Verdict: Fast and fun. Lightweight, lowbrow entertainment. Recommend for AF.

    Synopsis: Rasmussen the Rapier Wit is battling to support his pregant wife. The tavern crowd don’t appreciate his puns. His chance comes with auditions for the King’s wedding. The royal entertainer Hawksmoor instruct the Head Courtier Sleev to undermine him, but the King’s flirty niece Clara takes a shine to him and he gets his chance. All does not go well and Rasmussen is forced to change his act or end up shovelling shit forever.

    • RK

      Re: Hyper Zero / Super One – Nifty summary :)

      …but the verdict is too radical. Turning it into a book, possibly. A “forum” — no, this script’s tech-talk is not even “Primer”-league worthy. But the script has a 99% cinematically redemptive ”wow” moment (literally, on page 74) — this not being necessarily a reader’s/viewer’s reaction :)

      Otherwise, “Panic Room” is not cinema, either, since that house can be sliced open on a stage (sort of a “Noises Off” setting), and just get rid of the macro-shots…

      • Citizen M

        Agreed, your cinematic wow moment is pretty good. But taking the script as a whole, I have to ask myself, who is your audience?

        Given the rather chaste nature of the romance the audience is younger tech-aware people. I’m not young but I used to program databases for a living so my opinion has some relevance. Most of the dialogue is stuff that people are not interested in. When they sit down to watch a movie they want 99% entertainment and 1% something that makes them think. You’ve got it the other way around, which is why I say film is the wrong medium for this piece.

        Panic Room might take place in one place but there’s action and suspense and threat, and we can imagine ourselves in the same situation and experience the same emotions along with the actors. If Jodie Foster had spent the whole movie typing I doubt it would have got much of an audience.

        • RK

          You’re right, 101%. It was never intended for a broad audience…

          …for unconventional strategic reasons (as kooky as it may seem). And I have personal ones to hunt down a fast weird animal in a small forest ;)

          This script/movie wants to be the next “Pi”, get its money back (unlike “Moon”, hopefully…), grab cinephiles and some older viewers missing HAL, and sweet talk 10% of the audience that went to “The Social Network” not for the FB aspect of it and didn’t cry out afterwards for a (missing) love scene :)

  • Xarkoprime

    It’s always nice to compare pro-amateur scripts. You can really spot some differences. As for having access, I think for some that might be beneficial but it would go against all that Carson has been doing the past couple months.

  • http://twitter.com/OntPoli Ont Poli

    I’ve read all of Gideon and Fool.

    Here are my thoughts.

    Gideon is actually a pretty tight script. The Christian/God angle isn’t for everyone obviously.
    The story starts off a bit slow, but picks up some steam. The ending is very solid, and the writer puts in some very nice setups and payoffs to make it feel complete. The strongest part of it is the dialogue of the preacher. Just excellent.

    Fool is extremely well written, although the structure feels off to me. The stakes seem really low, and in fact, are made irrelevant by the end, as the protag does not get his goal, but doesn’t seem to miss a beat as a result. There’s some good humor in it, and I think it would translate well visually.

    • http://twitter.com/randallwhahn r.w. hahn

      Thank you very much Ont Poli…thank you first of all for reading it all the way through and thank you for your honest evaluation….I appreciate you and the time you spent on it….

  • Midnight Luck

    This was a great weekend of talking about Scripts. Thanks. I do feel a bit bad for Emma though, wish there was a way not to distract from the Friday amateur script when they only get a day of focus, which many people don’t get to until the weekend. But by then everyone will be paying attention to these entries. Not sure how to remedy that, or if anyone else thinks it is something that should be looked into. Either way though, Can’t wait for next weekend.

    • Citizen M

      Good point about drawing attention away from the AF script.

  • romer6

    I read 0/1 and I really wanted to like it. I chose it because sci fi is my favorite gender. But I almost gave up when I got to page 30. I must say, nothing really happens up to that point. I know that sci fi movies need to take their time to stablish the world they are creating but what I read was 30 pages of technical stuff, a lot of boring conversation and nothing the logline promised me. There is no “falling in love” that I can think of. In fact, I must say that by page 60 I thought the script would really get strong with a hint that the A.I. would fall for the girl and girl fall for the A.I.. That would have been awesome! Then I was got by surprise by a gender change for the A.I. that “chose” to be a girl and that was an amazing choice altogether! But after the script ended I found out that they were only good ideas wasted on a pointless script. And I don’t want to be rude at all. I just can’t see a story in there. We have two major characters that talk for the most part of the script, a third one (Nicole) who shows up later but adds from very little to nothing to the “story”. We have the hackers that could be completly erased from the script and wouldn’t be missed. We have the “ones” (who are supposedly the enemies) but we never really find out what kind of threat they represent (or even if they really exist!). I guess the script took more of a poetic approach than a narrative one. And I’m alright with that, but it just doesn’t hit the right notes for me. If you want to tell a story it is a great advice (and Carson always is pointing that out here at the site) to create a goal. And then get more quickly to the point: we, the readers, and the audience, will want to know what this movie is about as soon as possible. And you should add some conflict. I would go toward the Daniel and Vic fighting over Nicole approach. The way the script is right now is too hermetic. There is so much technical talk that we, the “newbies”, will find arrogant at best. You need to make it simple. Just ask youself: what is my script really about? Is it about a friendship between a machine and its “caretaker”? Is it really a love story? If it is, who is in love with whom? I would definitely cut the flashbacks also, they add nothing to the story as I see them. I know they probably are there to state that the bond between Daniel and Vic comes from before he was born, but it doesn’t quite fullfill its purpose as much as it make the reader more confused. Well, I hope you don’t take my words as harsh, I really just want to help, and that’s why I read the whole script. I hope you forgive my english mistakes but I’m not a native english speaker and I’m doing my best. If you happen to write other drafts of this script I will be really interested in reading it. :) The best of luck for you and keep writing!

    • RK

      Not a harsh critique, at all :) This script, in its current form, simply wasn’t your cup of sci-fi tea. But your crisp feedback is welcome.

      Each question of yours was bold, crystal clear and essential.
      (There is an answer/analogy for absolutely every one of them, right in the script… but that makes for a longer and wilder conversation.)

      I’ll surely keep you updated with this script’s status, no question about that — you had the uber-polite stamina to read till the last page ;)

  • romer6

    Just finished “Fragment”. I thought the story to be too thin. I didn’t really like the characters, I guess to have a sister killed doesn’t automatically makes a character likable. I see how the “ghost plot” may give the script a different approach but I just couldn’t buy into the whole thing, it just seems like an easy device to solve plot points, it doesn’t quite enrichens the script in any special way. I found the resolution to be too artificial, the “villain” is someone we know pretty much nothing about except for what is told by the characters. By the way, there is too much exposition, people telling instead of things being shown. And, well, that’s something really personal, but I hate flashbacks, I really do. Except when they are organically inserted in the story. And here they weren’t, so it really put me off. I found the structure to be pretty solid, but storywise this needs a lot of work. But I congratulate you on the effort and thank you for sharing, it takes a lot of courage. Let’s keep writing!

  • Dane Purk

    Looks like someone needs a nap. Or a Xanax.

    All I said was that the script started off slow and that small competition wins shouldn’t be a reason to get comfortable and not keep challenging yourself to get better. Even with some of the bigger ones like Bluecat or Scriptapalooza or Page or even Nicholl, how many people can you name who won one of those competitions and actually went somewhere? A lot of those winners get comfortable taking meetings about their “winning” script and level off or disappear, or don’t get any meetings at all. I’m just trying to help the guy out, because he clearly has talent and I want him to keep working toward his potential, and not just flash one script around town that has a very bland first 7 pages.

    Let me know when you wake up from that nap, so you can teach me how to be as professional and modest as you.

  • http://twitter.com/cjGiltner C.J. Giltner

    Currently 50 pages into Gideon. Stopped not for a lack of interest, just a lack of time. Very interested to see what’s coming. At this point, it seems like there are a lot of different paths this script could take. Not knowing where this is headed, I feel like the kid almost gives off a Rainmaker/Looper vibe (though obviously he’s a little less destructive with his powers). Eager to see where it goes. Probably will finish the rest tomorrow or thursday.

  • cjob3

    FOOL! Please review Fool! I loved that script! I vote Fool!

    • europa

      I think there’s a reason no one has explored a comedy about a wannabe stand-up in the 18th century… it’s not funny today. To pull this off you’d actually have to be a great stand-up and research the hell out of the customs back then to poke fun at things, but even then NO ONE would get the humor unless they were a history buff (and those are few and far between) Sorry, but I couldn’t get past page 10 with “Fool”. Then I skipped around to see if there was anything warranting a comedy… I didn’t laugh once. You gave it a 10?? Really?? Are you the writer by chance? This writer says he has won comedy awards… I’d love to know which ones…

      • cjob3

        No, I’m not a liar. Therefore, I’m not the writer. I said I read the script, loved it and recommended it for review. I’m FAR from a history buff, but I was still able to enjoy the humor. Just like I was able to enjoy Black Adder with Rowan Akinson. But I’ve posted scripts on Talentville (where I discover this) and gotten in the top ten with 4 out of five scripts (#1 three times.) I don’t know what awards he’s won but the writer co-created a sitcom on the BBC with legendary comic actor Steve Coogan. So now that we’ve shared our comedy judging credentials, lets hear yours.

        • europa

          I asked if you were the writer because your review is WAY over the top bonkers about a script where 99% of the reviews I’ve read on here can’t get past page ten. And you give it a 10 out of 10?? Really?? You just sound too desperate to have this read. For this site to work people have to give critical and honest reviews… Like Carson said, having your friends read stuff and be “yes men” is a waste of your time. I honestly didn’t laugh once when I read it (and neither did any of the friends I sent it to…. exactly 8 of them), but somehow this is a 10 from you? I don’t mean to be a dick, but it just seems insincere. Btw… no produced writer who’s actually working posts scripts here for AMATEUR reviews! Wait, was that Scott Frank or William Goldman who sent one in last month? (The credits I saw for this writer are a DECADE old if it’s the same guy. Honestly, if you’re that good and you’re IN… you’re not on here) As for me, I’m a creative for an international ad agency with over a dozen national spots (comedy is my forte and it pays very well), but I’m also interested in writing for the screen. Are you a professional writer also? Concerning Talentville… have any of your #1 scripts sold from there? Which ones are yours… I’d love to read one. Lastly… if you could point out something from “Fool” (a page # would be great) that you think is funny, I’d be interested in your take.

          • cjob3

            I see. So because you didn’t find it funny, it’s impossible that I did.
            If it’s not your sense of humor, it couldn’t possibly be anyone else’s
            either. Got it.

            This was also #1 on Talentville with about 5
            glowing reviews, so it’s not just me. I like the script and would like
            to see the guy have success with it. I have no ulterior motive, strange
            as that may seem to you. I’m sincere about everything I said and I stand
            by it. I’m working with a manager at the moment and first chance I get,
            yes, I’ll recommend he read the script too. If you don’t think it’s
            funny. Fine. That’s you. Some people hate Mr. Bean. I happen to hate
            Family Guy. But I don’t go around saying everyone who loves it is wrong
            or insincere. Its subjective. It’s called comedy.

          • europa

            So, you have nothing funny to point out in this script or don’t want to say what script is yours at Talentville? Besides the obvious shortness and lack of any drama in “Fool”, one GLARING problem is that the supposed “jokes” Rasmussen and the others continuously tell don’t get laughs from the people IN THE SCRIPT… In fact, the punters, and rightly so, think the acts are boring… But somehow they’re supposed to make an actual audience laugh?? Huh? You don’t see a problem with that?? Btw, Talentville is kind of a joke… anyone can sign up with multiple email accounts and vote for themselves. Good luck with that manager!

          • cjob3

            Vote for themselves,eh?: You sure have a suspicious mind. My scripts are two It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia specs The Gang Catches Predators and Frank gets hit by a Bus, among others. My name is Colin O’Brien. Enjoy!