amateur-offerings-weekend

NOTE: The Scriptshadow Newsletter just went out and includes a review of that new Shark Spec that sold for almost a million bucks.  Check your SPAM and PROMOTIONS tabs if it isn’t in your Inbox.  If you didn’t receive the newsletter, let me know.  Also, if you want to sign up for the newsletter, head on over here and send me your e-mail.  Hope you guys enjoy it!

Now, on to this week’s Amateur Offerings.  Read as far as you can and tell us which script you liked best in the comments!

TITLE: The Followed
GENRE: Action Thriller
LOGLINE: An amnesiac security officer must solve the mystery of the night he and his daughter went missing in order to find her before the rogue network of sophisticated criminals tracking him.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: What I did here is set out to write a script that used the gothic surroundings of Prague as a noir character. While the thematic elements of both Bourne & Taken somewhat inspired what I did here, this is designed for an A-list actor to sink their teeth into because it’s largely the story of one man, who remains the focal point throughout, and his struggle to get his memory back and find his daughter. It’s not conventional in its approach and I’ve been told the ending is wickedly un-Hollywood. Because it’s not exactly conventional, I thought this may be a good discussion piece for the variety of writers on your site.

TITLE: The Log in Your Eye
GENRE: Dark Comedy
LOGLINE: When a pastor’s wife suspects her husband is having an affair she hires someone to follow him and find out if her suspicions are true…
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: This is a script I’ve been working on for almost five years. I have only shown it to a few friends/family so it’s hard to gauge how good (or bad) it really is. I’m hoping the ScriptShadow community can help me by giving me their expert opinion.

TITLE: Misfire
GENRE: Comedy
LOGLINE: A desperate neophyte screenwriter must do everything in his power to prevent the collapse of his first produced movie, an ill-fated Western titled “Janice Got a Gun”.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Do you like werewolves, zombies, aliens and found footage? Neither do I. That’s why I wrote a relatively grounded comedy that will never get made. But all of my effort won’t be in vain if you read this and enjoy some of it or even laugh once or twice. Are you an aspiring screenwriter? If you answered yes, this might just be the script for you

TITLE: Sins of The Father
GENRE: Crime/Drama
LOGLINE: An innocent assignment leads a young man on an investigation in which he ultimately discovers the awful truth of his father’s hidden past.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: Reminiscent of Mississippi Burning the story takes place in the deep South in the early sixties when social change was in the air. Except, in one small town controlled by a Wealthy Cotton Mill owner with an insidious past. Carl Henderson was not only a Bigot but a War Criminal serving in the German Army as an SS Commandant in a concentration camp. His son Todd, doing an innocent college assignment, unwittingly discovers this truth, but in doing so completely destroys his family.

TITLE: Judgement
GENRE: psychological thriller/drama
LOGLINE: A grief-stricken doctor must decide whether to seek the ultimate vengeance, and kill the man that murdered his family
WHY YOU SHOULD READ: I had just read a newspaper article about a home invasion, where two scumbags murdered just “for fun”, just to see what it felt like. My response to this was pretty visceral, so I wanted to get it down on paper. One of my favorite ways to tease/pitch the script is to pose this scenario: “Imagine the worst physical thing that could happen to a human…now imagine rooting for it to happen”.

  • Nicholas J

    Is there any reason Misfire needs to be about Brian Duffield other than to amuse other screenwriters? Couldn’t it just be about a fictional character? Feels like I’m being pandered to.

    • lonestarr357

      I thought that plot sounded familiar. smh

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Yeah, it smells a little fishy to me…
      Or it could be Duffield himself venting his frustrations ^^

      • Midnight Luck

        if it were Duffield, that would be great.

        • klmn

          And just on the infinitesimal chance that it is, my vote goes to Misfire.

    • Midnight Luck

      I think it is a very well known writer on here, trying to amuse us, written and made just for us, and thinking we will be very amused by it – will take the bait. Thinking it’s a good SS in-joke we will vote for them. Instead, to me, this thing (the Logline) feels old, grimy and smells terribly fishy (and I’m (terribly bored) not going to eat (smell) it.

      • pmlove

        I think this is unfair. The writer is humble, with little expectation. For me, it’s just a productive writer trying to craft a series of events into a script. I remember reading it all the way through when it was posted (a while ago, if I recall) and whilst it was by no means perfect, it was a quick read and largely enjoyable.

        Will it be made? Probably not. Was it the writer’s intention for it to be made? Not sure, but I don’t think so. In a way, it feels similar to the Star Wars scripts. Can you take some existing (to a degree) events and craft them into something serviceable? Can you write within some boundaries?

        Whether AP succeeded is a different matter but I don’t think it’s an attempt to hoodwink anyone. I enjoyed the read, despite its flaws. And I think the work ethic is admirable (as far as I perceive it, other opinions are available).

        • Midnight Luck

          Yeah, you are probably right. I was being cheeky and glib, didn’t mean anything by it. I don’t know who the writer is, didn’t recognize the name Andrew Parker. I don’t recall this being on SS before.

          The title and Logline are incredibly strange and it sounds fake, like it was written just for our (the SS) benefit, or is a joke.

          Maybe not, could be a real, slaved over piece. I hope it is great, and I wish the writer much success and luck.

  • brenkilco

    Some thoughts based on the loglines.

    The followed. Mix Bourne with Taken and stir. OK. That’s following the rules. Would like just a bit more. Could you give us some idea of why criminals are tracking him. The ending is un-hollywood. But is the audience going to find it clever, surprising, good? Most variations on the amnesia gimmick have been run. Including the hero finding out he’s actually a bad guy and vice versa. Hope there’s something new here. Also hope plot is not dependent on protag getting bits of his memory back at just the right times. That can be cheap.

    Misfire. Hustling screenwriter fighting to make sure his movie is completed. Could be funny if the dialogue is good. Though it seems a producer or director would have more ability to do this. The logline is a little confusing. Assume the movie is in production but not yet finished. And is it ill fated if the protag gets it finished? Anyway will check out

    Sins of the Fathers. Cliche title. Lose it. The logline should contain more. A student discover his father’s secret nazi past and what? What’s the story? Some accusatory conversations? Estrangement and divorce? Sounds like a slog. Does the past come back to threaten the guy and the family in some way?

    Log in your eye. Titles don’t have to convey much but this one is particularly meaningless. This setup has been used many times before. Logline should provide more. Why is this funny?

    Judgement Also a cliche title. And what the author is promising is torture porn plus. Why should i want to read this?

    • klmn

      The title “Sins of the Fathers” has been used a lot, both in print and in movies.

  • ericmahlon

    Well I hope naming the script “Judgement” instead of “Judgment” was intentional with meaning somewhere and not a spelling mistake in the title. Or the writer lives outside the U.S. where both spellings are used.

  • Poe_Serling

    Return of the Newsletter!

    [xx] Worth the read.

    • walker

      Yes the newsletter is always welcome. I like knowing the schedule for next week, the extra review, and the discussion of recent spec sales. Oh and the drawing too.

      • klmn

        So ya finally registered. Came out of the shadows and into the uh, Scriptshadow. Try not to step into any of the trollshit.

        • walker

          I have been receiving the newsletter for like three years. I can’t register on Disqus as walker because some imposter took it before me.

          • klmn

            That’s odd. A few minutes ago the name “walker” was showing up in red. Now
            it’s not.

            So that was a troll. I got to get a scorecard so I can tell the players.

          • walker

            Oh yeah I have noticed some odd glitches in Disqus since Carson switched to it, including one time when it seemed that I was able to post as SS regular Kenglo.

          • klmn

            So that was your comment?

    • klmn

      Also, another good drawing from Miss SS.

      • BigDeskPictures

        Agree. Great drawing from Miss SS. Did you notice the missing chunks in the front dorsal fin compared to the clean fins in the background? I haven’t read “In The Deep” yet but I bet the shark has some type of distinct mark on the dorsal fin to distinguish it from other sharks like the main killer whale in “Orca”.

        • klmn

          Yeah, I did notice that. I figured that Carson took a bite of shark before he fled up the buoy, and the sharks are looking for revenge.

    • NajlaAnn

      Ditto!

  • Randy Williams

    THE FOLLOWED

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I looked at this first because the logline intrigued me the most.

    The writing was well done, I thought, always clear, plowing forward, no glaring errors which have plagued AOW entries of late.

    Carson has written before about scripts that involve a kidnapping, suggesting that for sympathy’s sake, we might need to know the kidnap victim before we see their loved ones searching for them. “Taken” is a good example. Lots of set up before the kidnapping. We do get snatches of his daughter in flashbacks, so I thought that was fine….what I’m actually referring to here, is the protagonist himself!

    His identity has been kidnapped and he is searching for it, but I never felt sympathetic towards that “snatched identity” so I really didn’t care if he found himself or not. I thought you needed to let me see the value of the “snatched identity” first even if it’s a false portrayal. Jakub could have been used here much earlier and more effectively for that, showing how important the “snatched identity” was to the people in his life. Explore the depth of that “snatched” character in those flashbacks. Even again, if it’s all a false narrative, that’s fine. At least that’s what I yearned for.

    The use of “flat cap” is used repeatedly. I don’t know what kind of hat that is, and it stopped the read for me several times.

    By page 25, I’m wondering why he’s not taken active measures to find his daughter along with working out the other angles.

    I’m really liking the action writing, nicely done, but the sequences are so far all one note. Mostly disabling moves. Wanted some foot races, a car chase. Maybe they come later. A lack of thrills.

    I started skimming because I’m not totally invested in the protagonist The mystery boxes are great and keep me interested in finding out what they contain. How he just overhears in a conversation on how he has been set up was a disappointment. I’d rather see him connecting the dots himself. The reveal of where his daughter was all along is another disappointment. Nothing totally surprising there.

    The setting was evocative, description nicely done, but I didn’t think the city used qualified as another “character” as you state in your WYSR. (I always think of Prague as Pittsburgh with castles) For a city to be a character in a script for me, it must have decision and plot changing power or consistent theme reminders because of its qualities. I saw a bit of that here but not enough. For example, if this was in Amsterdam and he was constantly presented with his image in the canals, forced to take to water in a chase, recalls a flashback to a visit with his daughter to Anne Frank’s home and the parallel of her disappearing.

  • Craig Mack

    Anyone have deepwater? thecraigmack AT Gmail

    • Linkthis83

      The Marky Mark movie DEEPWATER HORIZON? If so, then I do NOT have it.

      • Guest

        You’ve been watching Maury?

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      IN THE DEEP ;) Actively looking as well. Will send on if I get my sweaty little mitts on it :)

  • Andrew Parker

    THE FOLLOWED – Nice propulsive writing. Good use of a specific location. Some nice mysteries to be solved (why does he have amnesia? where is his daughter? who wants the SEC guy killed?). I might have introduced the daughter missing angle a little earlier, but otherwise act one was very strong. The ending was an interesting choice — smart for a spec, though I’m not sure producers would want it for actual film. Overall, a very professional script that delivered on the premise.

    LOG IN YOUR EYES – I like the title. I have no idea what it means, but that just makes me like it more. Great opening scene. Really like the tone, reminds me of Butter or Cedar Rapids. Had no idea where the script was going, and that’s a good thing. Another bleak bold ending, good choice. Overall, a nice change of pace script, with some decent satire of the churchgoing world. Fun read.

    MISFIRE – The writer had good intentions, he’s a pretty nice guy, but the characters turn into broad caricatures and the second act meanders endlessly. The tile is apropos for this one.

    SINS OF THE FATHER – Logline reminds me a bit of Joe Eszterhas’ “Music Box”. Dialogue is very natural, strong. I wish I wouldn’t have read the “why you should read” because it does reveal something that I would have appreciated more organically. This is a nice understated piece of writing. I’m sure producers might say it needs more drama — even confrontations are fairly low key — but I think that’s just a testament to the naturalism of the piece. Might make a nice novel instead of a screenplay.

    JUDGMENT – I like the logline. I originally thought it said a grief stricken man was going to kill a doctor who accidentally killed a family member of his. That might be good too, since you would kinda feel for the doctor as he has to escape the deranged man. Back to the script…this a nice lean read. Definitely some interesting choices made… there’s no question who the killer is, the doctor will have to kill him in the prison. That heightens my interest since that’s a huge obstacle to overcome. Nice late reveal on the true meaning of those surgery scenes. Perhaps trim the flashbacks a little. This isn’t my favorite genre, but I think it hits all the right beats and feels like something that might get made.

    MY CHOICE(S): LOG IN YOUR EYES because it’s something we haven’t seen before and THE FOLLOWED because it is something we’ve seen before, but executed very well.

    • walker

      Hey don’t worry, I have found that in real life the characters turn into broad caricatures and the second act meanders endlessly.

      • Benni J

        Ha! That’s deep.

    • brenkilco

      I reached page two of The Followed and stopped. You say the plot is solid so I might keep reading but right now I have a huge problem. And I’m troubled that you’ve complimented the writing. Take just two sentences:

      “A nervous quality to a more than average all-American guy who should be anything but.” What does that mean? That he shouldn’t be more than average? That he should be less than average. That he’s all american but still ought to be foreign. I guess what the writer is tryhing is that the all american looks of this presently nervous guy belie certain truths about him. But it’s somewhere between awkward and garbled.

      “A variety of PASSENGERS in different states of the day.” The top of page two and I’m checking out. Just what are states of the day? It’s meaningless. Again, I’m assuming that what the writer is trying to say is that the passengers are dressed in various sorts of contemporary attire. But that’s not how it reads

      Look, before you can be evocative or exciting or poetic you’ve got to be clear and grammatical. And it would seem this script needs another pass for grammar and clarity.

      • Andrew Parker

        With action thrillers, I tend to give the writer the benefit of the doubt. Luc Besson isn’t winning any Pulitzers, but he’s good at pacing and cramming a lot of plot into his movies. Theatergoers like that. I do appreciate clear writing and proper grammar, but I’m not sure the people controlling the purse strings in Hollywood care too much.

        • brenkilco

          It is nitpicking. And proofreading and sentence construction are hardly sexy subjects. But as others have pointed out, creating confidence in the reader at the beginning is important. And if even one sentence in the early going makes the reader ask what the hell does that mean I think it’s harmful.

          As for Luc Besson, does he write scripts in English? If so I’d cut him all the slack in the world. I couldn’t write a thank you note in French.

          • Paul Clarke

            Not sexy subjects, but not to be ignored.

            Luc Besson doesn’t count. Not just because English is a second language, but because he directs and produces his own movie. A better comparison would be the shark script Carson reviewed. Possibly a little shallow in story, but beautifully written on the page. And it sold for a million.

    • Benni J

      Log in your eye is a reference to a teaching that Jesus gave to stop people judging other people before judging themselves.

  • Bacon Statham

    Wow, I must have ruffled your feathers. Get a grip, pal.

  • Randy Williams

    JUDGEMENT

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    p.1- The first line tells us what we “do not see”. I think it’s preferable to tell us what we do see. This is again repeated in the next description, “hidden”
    typo- the doctor pulls on pair of latex gloves.

    p.3- Isn’t it “towards” a house?
    I’m not clear on the position of the mother and daughter. It reads as though they are in bed together as the intruder enters. Clearer visual needed here.

    p. 13- Laughed at loud at “Oprah’s Book Club” The chemistry here between the two is very nicely conveyed. Maybe you should write romantic comedies.

    p.15- remember to cap all extras involved in a scene, reporters, photographers, the jury. I’ve noticed this a lot in AOW scripts. Is this not a requirement any longer?

    p.18- “We peek in on what seems to be a very comfortable-looking office” This sentence conveys what I’m feeling now about this script. It’s all very comfortable.

    p.20. I’m sitting up here. This is interesting. A doctor’s inclination is not to kill.
    p.21. The “Tartarus” is also an interesting addition. These two pages have finally made me take notice but I’m afraid it’s too late.

    Maybe start off with this therapy session, and interweave it with the flashback of the crime instead of the surgery preparation?

    Nicely written, although care needs to be made with the visuals. Still, needs more bite, I need to feel that brutality, feel his anguish. Made to stick around earlier.

  • Not telling

    leave an email and I’ll send it ya.

    • jgrey

      Could I get a copy of the shark spec too? Would love to read it.
      jgrey888 [at] yahoo [dot] com

      Thanks!

    • Bluedust

      Could you send a copy my way? Thanks. risingseeker@yahoo.com

    • craze9

      Please send to me too! Thank you!

      craze9 AT hotmail.com

    • BigDeskPictures

      For me as well?
      paul at bigdeskpictures dot com
      Many thanks in advance.

    • LiberalSkewer_SCPatriot

      Please send copy to madisonavetvshow @ gmail.com. Thanks in advance…

    • Mike.H

      please send to MAY1MSG at gmail dot com. Thanks!

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Would you, please ? Thank you :)
      nielsen dot marija at gmail

  • walker

    Note to Log in the Eye writer Rory Pope: on page 6 you have a woman strapping on a brazier. A brazier is a brass worker, or a pan for holding hot coals. It would be logistically challenging or extremely painful to strap one on. You also misspell “smoky” in a slugline but oddly enough that didn’t bother me quite as much.

    • brenkilco

      A scene where the character wears nothing but a brazier sounds smokin hot.

      • klmn

        She could grill your burger while she brings you a beer.

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

    Yay for the newsletter! Kudos to another group of AOW hopefuls.
    Loglines aren’t setting me on fire this week.
    Too many of them playing verbal footsie with their premise.
    Dry language to veil the guts of your plot will not entice me.
    A rogue network of criminals, aren’t they already outlaws?

    AOW Winner: JUDGEMENT.

    THE FOLLOWED:
    Opening your script with a fancy weather report underwhelms me.
    Impress me with your storytelling skill set, not your vocabulary.
    Save that for your blog or novel. Screenplays are blueprints.

    P. 3 Second slug already that starts with “yellow lamp light”.
    Use some of your vocab skills here to change things up.

    P. 5 I’m not a fan of leading most of your action description with verbs.
    Try mixing it up more with traditional grammar to improve flow.
    Don’t have much else to say, we’ve been following the Turk the whole time.
    I wish you were using this precious real estate to set up SAM better.
    All this sightseeing and pursuit with nary a character beat in sight.

    Fifteen scene slugs in two pages. That’s a lot of directing on the page.
    Try using your prose to set the SCENE, not the STAGE.
    It’s not STORY CRITICAL that I know how Sam walks down the train’s aisle.
    All you want on the page are story critical elements, screenplays are blueprints only.

    How did Sam know that the Turk’s food would be publicly available for drugging?
    That cheeseburger could be going to another room, very implausible as written.
    All this time and we’ve learned zilch about Sam or the plot so far.
    This cat-and-mouse game reads like EMPTY CALORIES, start your story please.

    P. 10 How is The Turk lounging at the scene of a very recent murder.
    You just said the investigation is still under way, cops aplenty.
    So how is it that the scene of the crime is already being rented out?!?
    Sam isn’t the only one confused here, give me some bread crumbs to connect.
    An economic summit isn’t enough. Sam seems calm for an amnesiac.
    Doesn’t he have any family or friends he can rely on to reveal his identity to him.

    P. 11 Sam’s been working for Max for over a year with no memory progress?
    I think that’s a crap track record for recovery, time for Sam to move on from this douche.
    Perhaps legit medical doctors will have some answers for him. Seems logical at least.
    Intro sooner into the tale that Sam’s doing all this following to save someone.
    Knowing that may help me like Sam, as is he’s a total blank slate.

    Bowing out a dozen pages in, recommend being a little less cryptic with your mystery.
    You’re being so secretive that I have no idea what’s happening.
    Lay down a couple of big bread crumbs and let me do the math.
    Perhaps showing a flashback of a dramatic MURDER would get things moving.
    As written, I feel like we’re mired in backstory, nothing’s happening.

    PASS.

    THE LOG IN YOUR EYE:
    An actual log to the eyeball sounds pretty painful to me.

    P. 3 Keep hearing about the gift of gab. Let’s see it.
    So far, it’s only been the gift of voiceover.
    I could tell on page one of Wolf of Wall Street that Leo had the charm.
    But here, Elias just seems like a white collar criminal with some snark to spare.

    Andrew’s nonchalance at pumping out a kid with his wife reads a tad sociopathic.
    Would she really want to have a kid with this guy?

    P. 10 Elias’s big change of heart transition should be drawn out to involve the reader.
    If I see the moment a character changes their path, it tends to be dramatic.
    Other than taking a beating, now he’s just hustling for a job at a gym.
    If he’s so charming and free enterprising, why isn’t he starting a business.
    You kind of portray him as a slick can-do white collar guy, but now he’s a gym bum.

    P. 12 Elias stuck with the dad that slapped his mother around. Hmmm.
    This doesn’t endear me to your protag much. He sides with the wife beater.

    P. 13 Hella plot convenient that mobster showed up when he did.
    It’s like he was waiting there the whole time, reads implausible.

    I’m closing the script on p. 15. Where’s the story in your logline.
    The staccato scenes keep the pace brisk, but we’re still stuck in backstory.
    I can learn all this stuff as your actual investigation naturally unfolds on the page.
    You must craft your scenes to MULTITASK. Get that tale moving sooner.
    I don’t even see why anyone would hire Elias to be a detective.

    If you want to keep readers turning pages, create scenes where things HAPPEN.
    Not a single word of what I’ve read has anything to do with your plot.
    I wasn’t getting the dark comedy vibe at all, even w/ a charming protag.
    It seems your premise is obfuscated by glib chatter, start your story please.

    PASS.

    MISFIRE:
    Seen Mister Parker blasted his own script, why should I read it then? :-P
    I wonder if this is some kind of pisstake, chock full of meta-snark.
    A treatise bemoaning all the non-artistic crap burdening Hollywood writers.

    P. 2 Weird that a NM rube pegged this wild-eyed unkempt dude for Hollywood.
    That’s some powerful insight there. Ben looks like a bum, not an a-hole.
    If Ben was super-slick with a wardrobe to match and a Porsche, I’d buy the quip more.

    P. 3 The Balloon ieista is in Albuquerque, not Santa Fe.
    SF is an artist’s town, loaded with galleries and fine dining.
    But ALBQ has the open ladnscape that balloonists need.

    P. 6 I like cutting to the NO. Cute stuff, but the follow up chat is not as fun.
    Logan sounds like every other Hollywood agent I’ve seen in meta-movies.
    The Chinatown gag super-clunked for me. Garden variety sitcom style racism.

    Crying at a stop light reads more female, than male. Also a sitcom trope.
    You never see a guy bawling while he’s urinating, that would be different.
    He’s so upset he can’t stop crying long enough to take a piss.
    Talk about an awkward time at the public urinals for all!

    P. 8 There’s only so much whining I’ll take from six-figure writers.
    Ben seems to be the only problem in his life right now.
    And there’s the soap box for Hollywood writers that I was expecting to see.
    Followed by forgetfulness-filled relationship insecurities.
    I can’t tell if this is a broad comedy or some kind of sitcomy satire.

    P. 10 The laugh track style jokes are piling up.
    Ben whines a lot for someone that’s got a worry-free life. I don’t like him.
    If the town’s getting cold on Ben, then he’s made some big deals.
    He doesn’t strike me as the new insecure fish on the water bottle tour.

    P. 15 I’m folding up shop here. The movie refs are crowding the page.
    Not even a hint of the juicy chaotic production promised in the logline. Boo.
    I want to see the fireworks on the set that caused Ben to flee in terror.
    That sounds dramatic… Ego-driven directors, crazy actors and sly producers!
    Why aren’t I getting to see all that fun that your prologue suggested?
    Flashy personalities aplenty there, but what I’m reading is sideways sitcom fluff.

    PASS.

    SINS OF THE FATHER:
    MUSIC BOX is a film that’s fairly close to your idea. Check it out.
    Your logline could really pop if you drop the NAZI BOMB in it…
    Imagine being a student and finding out your father is a Nazi war criminal.
    Talk about parental oppression meets teen rebellion fantasies.
    I think every kid believes at least once that their parents are truly Nazis.

    But a BIGOT is a boring choice to be the Nazi. That would be expected, author.
    Make that racist — the town HERO or PRIEST. Make the guy a local SAINT!!!
    Now that super nice guy being exposed as a Nazi is way more interesting to me.
    I ask myself… “Is he a victim or a calculating monster?” Yummy mystery.

    There’s some punctuation and spelling mistakes in the opening pages.
    The comma and semicolon are your friend if your sentences tend to run long.
    Make sure your character intros are typed in ALL CAPS to help orient the reader.

    P. 3 Big heaping helping of small talk in your opener.
    Not an effective way of pulling me into the narrative.
    Please don’t be coy with the goods, start seducing me the good stuff on page one.

    P. 4 Why doesn’t the butler just tell the kid what happened.
    You’re already struggling with accepted grammar.
    Don’t compound the issue with awkward slang on the page.
    Combining these two just alienates me even more from your script.

    P. 5 Flashing back into a storm as he tells his tale feels very worn out.
    That’s a LOW-HANGING FRUIT idea that should be cast aside.
    We’ve seen that device in so many stories, not a good way to start.
    Sends the wrong message to the reader, show me how you INNOVATE, not stagnate.
    The lack of technical skills and scene choices indicate a novice writer.
    Learn some fundamental craft, then re-crack this story if you truly love it.

    PASS.

    JUDGEMENT:
    P. 2 Best prologue so far, there was plenty HAPPENING in there.
    Though ending with just the slicing of the family in the home felt flat.
    I’d like to see the incisions the doctor makes as well. Take this further…
    Your protag is going to be all about REVENGE, put him in the blood too.
    I could see him losing a bloody patient while his family is murdered.
    Something like that reads very cinematic with some tasty themes.

    P. 3 The Michaelangelo line reads a bit strange. And a bit rude.
    He knows the guy’s mourning his family, right? Awkward priest is awkward.
    Reads very odd that Dan has no family or friends comforting him there.
    No one says a word when Dan scurries away from the funeral. Surreal.

    P. 4 Wait, if the detective is the best friend, why isn’t he at the funeral?
    The cop that swears in hushed tones at the funeral, he’ll find out who do this.
    Introducing that relationship via an unfilmable is the wrong way to go here.

    P. 5 Brian’s impassioned speech reads too melodramatic and expository.
    Also, if he’s the best friend, his superiors would distance him.
    But establish that Brian tricked is way in there somehow, then I’m on board.
    A partner can show up to restrain Brian, cops cover for each other like that.

    P. 6 Why do they need to rattle Kane, didn’t he already confess?
    Brian would lose his badge for that old school beatdown.
    I like the briskness of your tale, but the tone needs fine tuning.

    P. 8 Too bromance angsty for an aborted suicide attempt scene.
    It reads borderline comic on the page. Tone deaf as written.

    P. 10 Dan’s dialogue feels too verbose here.
    Find a way to put his overwritten sentences on a DIET.
    Your MEET CUTE should be enhanced by the dialogue, not weighed down.
    After that tough start, the exchange with the woman is fairly cute.

    P. 13 Lot of incidental dialogue in a very short script.
    “No problem. Thanks. I’ll text you. Yeah sure. Cool.” All padding on the page.
    Replace those empty calories with some character-revealing talk.
    First meetings take a lot of revision to nail and pull a reader in.

    P. 19 No need for the backpeddling exposition with Seaver.
    Just ask the question now: Do you fantasize about killing Kane?
    Stopping on page 20. Despite some tone deaf scenes, this works.
    The emotional through-line of grief and revenge pulls me through the pages.
    Honestly, I’d rather see a FEMALE DOCTOR take revenge though.

    CONSIDER.

    • scriptfeels

      In regards to The Following.

      Although I felt I didn’t know Sam’s goal at times, I knew what was going on at a certain point in the script which was from page 11 onwards. I felt Sam felt calm for an amnesiac, but I accepted that he was has a calm personality based off of his actions in the script. Although I agree that the “cat-and-mouse game reads like EMPTY CALORIES” I thought it was entertaining and moved the story quicker than the first ten pages had. It had suspense, action, and a character whom I wanted to solve mystery boxers and solve his goal.

      I completely agree with your page 10 criticism, had the same constructive feedback in my response to this script as well. I didn’t believe that The Turk would continue hotel resorting after being drugged/passed out on his hotel room floor. The back story of the murder scene in the same hotel room wasn’t clear to me and I didn’t comprehend the meaning of the back story in relation to the events at hand.

      Although the author is being secretive, that’s also part of the enjoyment, although I can see how a producer would see very differently. I believe being clear to the reader is important, but setting up mysteries and unresolved conflicts can urge the reader and audience to gain interest and help the development of the story. Overall, I was consumed in the story at a certain point and with fixes towards the grammatical errors and log line could interest people based upon the story alone once the protagonist is established with his GSU (goals, stakes, urgency).

      • scriptfeels

        Sins of the Father Notes:

        pg. 3
        – “concern on Todd’s face as he steers car closer.” change to “concern on Todd’s face as his car steers closer.”
        – “Todd acknowledges patting him on arm.” add ‘his’ before arm.
        -Another grammar error in the description under the study slugline, add ‘a’ in between “… on couch,…”
        -I’m giving up on pointing out the grammar errors for this script… there another one at the last sentence on the page.

        I didn’t realize this was a period piece until I was part way through it.

        I think this script needs more work. There were too many characters to keep track of, not sure where this script is leading, but I think it revolves around the boys investigating the murder of the german for their school project. I’d be interested in reading what other people have for constructive feedback in regards to this script.

        I read up to page 23.

  • Randy Williams

    SINS OF THE FATHER

    Congrats on making it on AOW!

    This was an easy read but only got to around page 30. I would have read more but it’s not “adult” enough for me. To me, it reads like a Hardy Boys mystery with a young audience its demographic.

    The nonchalance within the family after their father kills a man, even though in
    “self defense” was a bit mind boggling but otherwise it was pretty involving.

    I’m also not a big fan of lumping the German army with Nazi’s, however. My own reading and many conversations with European family members (other than German) living in that time has given me great respect for those men as I do for any well trained and respectful force under the control of incompetent or mad men.

    There are typos here, but especially the often capitilization of words that shouldn’t be like “lunch” and “son”. “Your” should be “You’re” most of the time.

    Again, needed more gravitas for the subject or cleaned up to make it appropriate for young audiences.

  • ASAbrams

    I hope this time I’ll have time to actually post my comments for the scripts I’ve read. But for now these are my thoughts on the loglines:

    The Followed
    LOGLINE: An amnesiac security officer must solve the mystery of the night he and his daughter went missing in order to find her before the rogue network of sophisticated criminals tracking him.

    All right. I was confused about what this story will be about. Ideally, I think the questions a person asks should be about what will happen next deeper into the story. Yet with this logline, my questions don’t get past the premise. Is the amnesia because of the mysterious night, or is this a chronic condition he’s always had? He went missing, too? How does he know that he was missing, especially since it was only for a night? “Rogue” network? Would criminals be anything other than this? Does the security officer know who’s tracking him? Why are criminals looking for his daughter?

    If the setup to this story was clearer, then I’d be able to understand the conflicts and what kind of story this is. That means I’d look forward to what will be happening in the script.
    ————————————-

    The Log in Your Eye
    LOGLINE: When a pastor’s wife suspects her husband is having an affair she hires someone to follow him and find out if her suspicions are true…

    The first thing I noticed is that the obstacles she’s facing aren’t mentioned. Instead there is a redundant “and find out if her suspicions are true…” I got that when I read that she hired someone to follow her husband. I’d take out that last part and raise the stakes (usually by making a personal matter public or by involving more people) and reveal the one big thing she has to overcome in finding out what she wants to know. Also, I’m not getting a sense of “comedy” or darkness here. I think the specific conflicts she’s dealing with would reveal that more.
    ————————————-

    Misfire
    LOGLINE: A desperate neophyte screenwriter must do everything in his power to prevent the collapse of his first produced movie, an ill-fated Western titled “Janice Got a Gun”.

    This reminded me of what happened with Natalie Portman’s movie… If the screenwriter’s a “neophyte” (and I’m not sure throwing that word in the logline is the best thing), then wouldn’t that automatically mean that this movie is his “first produced”? So…if he doesn’t get this movie made, then what? How does this change his life for the worse? All I see is a disappointment in his future, but what’s stopping him from writing another script and using his contacts to make another? I think it’s important that the stakes are present in this particular logline.
    ————————————-

    Sins of The Father
    LOGLINE: An innocent assignment leads a young man on an investigation in which he ultimately discovers the awful truth of his father’s hidden past.

    I wasn’t sure what “innocent” means here. I noticed that in the Why You Should Read that the deep south is mentioned. Is that the setting for this story? Because I don’t see anything about the era or setting here. I assumed that the story takes place in the present in some generic city.

    I don’t know if this person is a journalist or detective or what. The problem for me here is that this logline is very vague.
    ————————————-

    Judgement
    LOGLINE: A grief-stricken doctor must decide whether to seek the ultimate vengeance, and kill the man that murdered his family

    Is that spelling of the title on purpose? The comma is unneeded and there is no period at the end of that sentence. This leads me to believe that I’d have to fight through a script riddled with mechanical errors. Not a good first impression, unfortunately.

    Will the fact that this character is a doctor have something to do with the plot? I don’t know if his occupation will help him, hinder him, or not matter at all. I’d like to see some sort of conflict here–external conflict would probably be best for a logline since they are usually plot oriented. I’m getting the sense that the big climax is the decision, which makes me wonder what will be happening in the second act. Will this script be all pondering?

  • walker

    What are you talking about? Brenkilco is one of the top commenters on Scriptshadow.

  • Linkthis83

    Normally I don’t like to comment on days designated for amateurs that might shift the focus. Today, however, I am going to post something that might do that, but it is in support of amateurs that I do this.

    On Thursday I posted a comment that contained way more text than I thought it would. That post is a representation of what I’ve learned, and progress I’ve made, in my first 19 months since I decided to attempt being a screenwriter. That post got a lot of support and one interesting reply:

    This is why you haven’t finished a script.

    In this isolated moment, this statement is just noise. It’s also uninformed and most likely somebody taking a shot because they can. For me, that’s okay, but it is an indicator of “noise” that we’ll all experience at some point in time.

    So here is the purpose of this post…Yesterday I was listening to the director commentary to THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION by Frank Darabont. It’s a wonderful resource. I learned that the opening scene in the film was written as two separate scenes, but because of circumstances, they ended up editing them together (the courtroom and the lovers scene). I learned that it was Tim Robbins who suggested that Andy turn the music up when the warden was instructing him to turn it off. I didn’t realize this was Frank’s first feature film (he chose to direct a TV movie before this just to gain some experience beforehand). The most important thing though came at the one hour thirty five minute mark and what I wanted to share with the community (I couldn’t find a transcript of the commentary so I did it myself):

    Let me digress now and pause for a little inspirational message to folks who want to be in this business. I’ve done a lot of college appearances, film school appearances through the years.

    And done Q & A’s with the classes and I’ve gotten letters from folks and very consistently people want to know how does one get started, how does one get a career in film, how does one become a writer, become a director and whatnot. The answer to that question is, I think possibly a little vague and a little frustrating because there is no one path, there is no one size fits all method to follow. It’s not like becoming a dentist, going to dental school for x amount of years, and then going into that line of work.

    The movie business is based on a lot of intangible things like instinct, and talent, and effort, and persistence and a belief in yourself. So the real answer is, you know, what worked for me, I promise you is not gonna work for you. What worked for the other guy isn’t going to work for you either. You have to find your own path to follow. You have to create your own path to follow. Which is why it’s so scary for people and why they are so uncertain about approaching a career.

    A film career is not necessarily something you earn with your diploma at film school. A career is built on an endless chain of floopy circumstances generated by your efforts and your persistence. Luck has a lot to do with it but you manufacture your own luck by working your ass off for it. So my message to those folks, really the one thing that I want them to hear the most when I answer that question is…

    …you know I can’t give you how to get there in three easy lessons, such a thing doesn’t exist, but you can get there. That’s the possibility that I want to convey. You can get there. In my case, it took me nine years of struggling to be a writer before I started earning a living at it. That was nine years of effort that I was willing to put in that a lot of other people aren’t. But that’s really what got me there. If you believe in it, even though people will try to talk you out of it, they’ll try to convince you it’s not possible, I am here to tell you that it absolutely is possible. It just depends on how hard you’re willing to believe in it, how much you are willing to work for it and what you’re willing to invest in it, in
    terms of your effort, your belief and your time.

    Keep this in mind the next time somebody tries to tell you that what you are doing isn’t the right way to get into the business. There isn’t one path. There isn’t a right way in. There’s just you and the effort you put in and…luck.

    (*If you hate Darabont, then just listen to the message, and leave the messenger out of it ;)

    Good luck to those in AOW today – My apologies for breaking my own rule.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Define luck:
      His friendship with Steven King.
      King liked what he did with Shawshank & trusted him with Mist.
      That opens doors.

      (he’s also a great guy.)

      • Linkthis83

        His relationship with King began by writing/directing a short of one of King’s stories. At least according to him on the commentary.

        He also wrote the screenplay for The Green Mile which is by King. I think he already had the rights to The Mist before Shawshank.

        Love Bill Murray.

        • Casper Chris

          Love Bill Murray.

          Bill Murray?

      • Linkthis83

        After learning more about this, it turns out that because King was making big money on his stories being turned into features, he offered the rights to some of his short stories for $1 to film students. This is how Frank Darabont got the opportunity to make THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM.

        http://stephenking.com/dollarbabies.php

    • andyjaxfl

      There’s been a few anonymous trolls of late.

    • Chris Ryden

      Morgan Freeman was mid 40s when success came his way. When asked about this and what kept him in the game so long he said “you gotta keep on dancing…”

      Who cares if you haven’t finished a script. You’ll get there when you’re ready. And when you do? You’ll get back on that horse and start writing the next one, ‘cos that’s what we do. I don’t know you but i believe in you. Why? You’re here. You’re stepping onto that stage and daring to fail. That in itself is a step many folks aren’t willing to take. Good luck Link. And remember this, there’s always doubters, commentators and those that know better. And we need them or who the hell can we prove wrong?!

      • Randy Williams

        Reminds me of that commercial with the soloist ballerina from one of the big dance companies. In voiceover as she performs, the words of a letter she received denying her entrance into a ballet school.

        “You’re thirteen-years-old and you have the wrong body type”.

        It’s never too late, too little or too much.

    • MichaelWhatling

      While I agree with you that it doesn’t matter how you prepare to be a screenwriter, it misses the most important point: you have to write. Anything less is just spinning wheels. It’s like calling yourself a marathoner (and writing is very much like running a marathon with the occasional sprint), yet only having bought books and magazines on marathons, went to running shoe stores, bought the shorts, etc. You are not a marathon runner unless you run in a marathon. You’re not even a runner unless you run. Likewise, you aren’t a screenwriter unless you have completed a screenplay. It doesn’t have to be good, but it has to be done. At that point, you’ve already bypassed the 99.999% of people who want to be a screenwriter, may have even begun writing “something,” but never completed anything.

      My fellow Canadian Malcolm Gladwell posits in his book, “Outliers,” the “10,000-Hour Rule” where the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

      To be a writer, you must write. Anything else is noise, no matter how productive it is or you think it is. You must write. And write. And write some more.

      Anything else seems like justification as to why you’re not writing.

      • Linkthis83

        I’m not advocating towards not writing. I’m doing this in tandem with writing/developing. All this other stuff I talk about is how I’m trying to progress along with writing.

        If I just sit around and write, I’m not developing as fast, in my opinion. I’ve just assumed that me writing was a given.

        I got called out on not having completed a script, but that person has no idea what I’m doing in my own time. They only know what I put here. Which is one 15 page contest entry and my posts. They have no idea that I have outlines to two features, but circumstances of life have altered my approaches to them for those life reasons. It has nothing to do with not writing.

        It is my belief that because I haven’t been writing for years that JUST writing a script and finishing it isn’t enough EFFORT.

        Sorry for the confusion. Writing is definitely a must. I would NEVER advocate that you can do everything except write.

        You had to feel like you were pointing out the painstakingly obvious when writing that post. Lol. Again, my apologies for the confusion. I just didn’t feel like I had to justify my position of my script status to the noise that I don’t care about :)

  • Randy Williams

    MISFIRE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read about 30 pages. The protagonist was very endearing. I have no trouble following him for 90 plus pages. The comedy, however, though putting a smile on my face many times was never laugh at loud funny for me. Well-worn “Hollywood” standards for the most part (esoteric, distracted agent, wedding blinded girlfriend, play on “formally known as” ) didn’t surprise me with laughter. So, a few passes on joke upgrading would be in store for me.

    P.6 The visual would be him parking into the Century City Mall parking lot, maybe a sign. The viewer would assume he is going to the mall there and not associate him parking there because he’s too cheap to pay for the parking at the nearby office building of his agent. We can’t read his mind. Sometimes it’s better to have a character explain things.

  • brenkilco

    Thanks for the explanation. The title was lost on me.

  • Tony

    Congratulations!

    This was a tough call. None of these stories stand out in any way.
    They all failed to light the fire.
    And that came down to either the subject matter, or how they were structured in these opening pages.

    First Place Honors:

    JUDGEMENT

    This is rife with so much potential, it’s very frustrating that the story needs so much work.
    And that’s why it’s made the cut.

    POTENTIAL!!!!!

    A doctor deciding on whether or not he should take a life? Even if that life is a murderer, and scum of the earth. This goes against everything a doctor stands for, and offers the writer some serious opportunity and possibility when it comes to creating a story. This
    needs loads of work. But with the right feedback, useful suggestions, ideas and input, this has the potential to make an entertaining and interesting read.

    Second Place Honors:

    N/A

    Structure, and subject matter.

    The others need lots of work in regard to the above.

    All the Best!!

    Notes based on first twenty-five pages.

    THE FOLLOWED – action/thriller

    Page five, the format seems fine. No problems.

    Page ten, slightly confused as to where we are. Are we back in the present? Were the previous scenes all a flashback?

    Page fifteen, still confused, unfortunately, it may be due to how the story is being conveyed on the page. Flashbacks, phone-booths.

    Found the way the story’s been structured in these opening pages too confusing. Apologies. Having a character constantly talking on a phone, coupled with flashbacks etc, left this reader dazed and confused. Perhaps a more linear way of conveying the information would be better. See what others say in respect to how the story progresses. All the best!

    LIES or THE LOG IN YOUR EYE – dark comedy

    Not sure what’s going on with the title.
    And why’s it in a silly font?

    Opening page, a few spelling errors.

    Page five, reading reasonably quickly.

    Comedy is a very subjective thing. Nothing is jumping off the page at the moment.

    Page fifteen, not getting a feel for who we should be following. It could be anyone at this stage. Sarah doesn’t appear to be taking charge of the story.

    At twenty-five pages in, we really have no idea who we should be following, as no one is taking charge of the story. It could either be Sarah, Andrew, or Elias at this point. And the story of a woman suspecting her spouse of having extra curricular activities isn’t all
    that original either. Why not have her suspect him of doing something completely off the wall. Something that she’s forbidden him of doing, but he does it anyway, and she finds out about it and hires someone to follow him to make sure before she starts throwing around accusations? All the best!

    MISFIRE – Comedy

    A story about a screenwriter – Interesting!

    Page seven, it’s reading quickly, but there’s been quite a bit of talking up to this point. Not to mention it now seems to be a story told through a flashback.

    Page fourteen, going against the grain can be good on occasions, but going with the flow more often than not, does work. From this reader’s point of view, they are yet to see any kind of story emerge. Apart from writing this screenplay, what does Ben want? What doe he need?

    Page twenty, eight months earlier on page four, now seven months later?

    Page twenty-five, okay, putting aside the subject matter which isn’t all that interesting or entertaining. There was nothing here that felt like a story that a reader could get invested in. Apologies. But there needs to be far more to Ben’s character, than this screenplay. His character needs more meat on the bones, and more development. All the best!

    SINS OF THE FATHER – crime/drama

    118 pages seems a little long.

    Page three, sentences seem to be missing words, like ‘the’, and ‘a’. Why?

    Page five, comparing a story to anything is probably a bad idea. And suggesting that this is reminiscent of Mississippi Burning (1988), on this occasion is not a good idea. Has the writer seen that movie? The opening scenes in that set up the tone, and genre of the
    story straight away. Not only that, that story, is one heck of a story, with a stellar cast.

    Page twelve, the wrong use of your, and you’re is getting a little irritating.

    Page fifteen, at this stage, we should have a rough idea as to who we should be following. But with all these new characters being introduced is making that very difficult. Who is the main character in this story? What are they trying to achieve through the course of this story?

    How many named characters have been introduced so far? Fourteen plus!! Seems a little too many. That’s almost one a page. Which means there’s been no clear focus on the main character.

    Page twenty, some questions the writer might want to ask when it comes to future drafts. Why is Todd here? Apart from doing this investigation,what’s the real reason Todd’s doing this investigation? Is it because there’s some past history between him and his father that he’s trying to sort out? Is he trying to make amends, and build his relationship up with his father? Did he ditch the family business to go to college, and his father didn’t like this, or agree with his choice?

    As for the story, nothing has happened to Todd yet. Nothing has pushed him out of his comfort zone.

    Page twenty-one, what’s the difference between site, and sight?

    Page twenty-five, referencing Mississippi Burning, puts this story on a pedestal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the comparison. Todd’s character, and his motivations for going home to see his father etc, need to be explored more. He needs some concrete
    reasons. What’s he trying to achieve? Externally and internally? He needs more development, and more focus as the main character. There are too many characters taking up valuable screen-time. All the best!

    JUDGEMENT – psychological thriller/drama

    Page one, forget the quote. Doesn’t add anything.

    Page three, we have no idea what his relationship was like with his wife and child. Even in Godzilla (2014), we got a brief glimpse of Bryan Cranston interacting with his wife. While short, we knew how they felt about each other. Why should we feel empathy for his situation if we know nothing about him, or them?

    Page four, this writer appears to be using the words ‘a’ and ‘the’ in the sentences. YIPPEE!

    Page seven, Brian turning up just at that moment is cliché. There’s nothing wrong with having a cliché per se, but it’s not working here. Why not have him find something silly that reminds him of his wife or daughter? Something that reminds him of the good days.
    Something that we might see in an opening scene with him interacting with his family. When he’s slumped on the bed or on the floor, about to pull the trigger, he sees something that sparks a memory? Which makes him change his mind.

    Page thirteen, a flashback? Why? This is all wrong. Far better to introduce us to this family in the opening scenes.

    Page nineteen, this is very frustrating to write, but Dan isn’t taking charge of this story with his choices and actions. At this point, he should be contemplating what he’s going to do about Kane, because Kane has either escaped, or been set free. Will he avenge the
    death of his family, and seek out Kane, or will he not bother, and move on with his life?

    There’s a lot of potential here for a good story.

    It takes years of training to become a doctor. Doctors save lives, that’s why most of them get into it. To help people. And now a doctor, Dan, finds himself in a difficult situation, which means he’d be taking a life. Something he is completely against, due to what he
    is, and what his profession stands for. Even if he absolutely hates Kane, this offers some real conflict for Dan. But the writer isn’t capitalizing on this.

    Page twenty-five, this flashback isn’t needed. We already know what happened. Who was responsible for their deaths. It’s already been established and conveyed to the reader. At this point in the story, especially at this page length, Dan should be close to making up his mind as to what he’s going to do. Take revenge, or let it go and get on with his life? Lots of potential here. But it’s lost in a badly structured opening twenty-five.

    All the best!

  • Randy Williams

    THE LOG IN YOUR EYE

    EDIT: None of the scripts really grabbed me. “The Followed” manage to do quite well, I thought, with an ambitious concept, but the script that never let me relax, where anything could happen….

    THE LOG IN YOUR EYE gets my VOTE!

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I read 40 pages of this. I’d read more, just busy today. This is adult, fresh, surprising. Just wished for a bit more comedy, biting humor that works on many levels, but the conflict is there to give it birth. Well done.

  • Linkthis83

    This is my effort. My way of learning. Didn’t you understand the post? ;)

    • Montana Gillis

      This is one of those revelations along the path of screenwriting. After reading/witnessing/listening to 30 or so interviews with working screenwriters — you can come to this conclusion on your own but Darabont’s quote nails it. Thanks for sharing.

    • ArabyChic

      I think you raise good points and it’s a nice pick-me-up to read Darabont’s words. Though, in my opinion — and this isn’t a criticism of your learning experience so far, just an acknowledgement of the devil’s advocates — there is no learning experience like finishing a feature script. Then, rewriting that script. Then rewriting THAT version of that script. And finally, saying, this script is no longer worth my attention, I’m moving on to another script that will be SO much better because of all that I learned writing the first feature.

      • Linkthis83

        I have no doubt that I have more to learn and more to experience. I assume that will always be the case.

        If I wanted to, I could sit down and pound out a script and get it finished. And then go back and make the revisions and whatnot. I know I’ve got lots of future problems/issues/experiences to go through.

        I’m trying to get as many other experiences I can that are also necessary. I don’t want to sit down and work on one script to completion just so I can finish it – especially if I don’t truly understand the components that make up that finished piece.

        No wonder people talk about how awful their first scripts were. If people want to use my lack of a completed script as a way to judge me, then that’s okay. I judge their completed ones.

        The most important thing to me is STORY. So I want to make sure I’ve got a decent enough story to tell, before I put anything down in script format. As of right now, this is my style. And like a script, my style will go through many evolutions and changes.

        I know how hard it was for me to create the entry of the IISC contest – I did learn that I don’t mind going back in and tweaking and revising. For me, I find it more valuable to approach this stuff this way, as opposed to just churning out pages because others say that’s way – whichever way somebody chooses to go about this process is a possible route to success. This is just where I am as of right now. Only time and effort accomplish the rest.

        • Jaco

          I found your posts interesting – almost as if my past writer self was making them. I’ve got a drawer full of unrealized outlines and unfinished scripts from that time period in my writing life where I thought a lot like you.

          However, if I could go back and had a chance to give only one message to my early writer self, you know what it would be?

          Finish your first script.

          Just giving my perspective – not looking to change your mind. I just know how much of a difference in my writing journey finishing that first script meant. It propelled me on to writing my second. Finishing that got me writing my third. My third moved me onto my fourth. Etc., etc., etc.

          I eventually wrote a script that got me a manager (since split – that’s a whole ‘nother story). The script after that? It’s making its rounds as I type this . . . into prodcos and reps. While I wait to hear what comes of those reads – you got it – I’m writing my next one.

          I wish you luck – do it how you want for sure. Just don’t tread water for too long. Eventually you’ll sink. ;)

          • Linkthis83

            Thanks, Jaco. What I thought might have value was sharing my experiences along the way, that were relevant…not just sharing for the sake of sharing. Since I was so fresh when I first found SS. That’s who I’m always trying to keep in mind when I post – or reply to someone else’s.

            What I learned this weekend about my post is that I should’ve only included the Darabont transcript.

            I’m writing. I’m developing. I’m researching. I’ll will be more ashamed of an incomplete story than a script that doesn’t fit the format. Format can be fixed.

            My first project had a co-writer issue and one other major realization — as I learned more about the craft, I learned I wasn’t ready for that first story/script. I need to get one out of the way and then hopefully I’ll be in a better position to tell that story more effectively.

            I appreciate your post.

          • Andrew Parker

            I agree with Jaco. I used to only write tv pilots because writing a feature gave me a lot of time/pages for self doubt. It’s better to just suck early and often, because you learn where your blind spots are (for me, it’s keeping second act momentum and making less obvious choices that will surprise the reader).

        • Malibo Jackk

          There are lots of practicing psychiatrists in LA.
          They’ve never cured anyone.

          Don’t worry about them.
          You’ll be fine.

      • Linkthis83

        The devil’s advocates will always exits. When I finish my first, it will be, well have you done the rewrites. How many drafts? Then it will be that I’ve only completed one. And so and and so on until I have 3 or 4. Then it will be…are they any good? Then it will be…have you sold any? Then it will be…maybe you aren’t good enough. Then it will be..(insert the next devil’s advocate reply here).

        That’s why I made this post. Because that stuff will always exist. All I can say is “yeah, I haven’t finished one yet. But I’m working on it.” That’s all I got :)

        And I can’t wait for the day that somebody reads it and says “this sucks.” Then I can say “Yeah, it’s my first. Sorry.”

        • Howie428

          I’ll make an additional point that might give you a sense of why some people get annoyed by your approach to this… I’m currently in LA and when I tell people I’m a writer, a few people are interested, the polite peoples’ eyes do that twitchy trying not to roll thing, and everyone else rolls their eyes!

          In discussing this, the biggest reason I’ve heard is that so many people call themselves writers without having written anything.

          I was in line for a screening the other day and got talking to a pair of “writers”, one of whom had been in town for two years, and I asked if they had anything written. They were both “working on a pilot.” One of them said he had industry people waiting to read his work. I can find hardly a person in this city who will read anything of mine, and here’s a guy who has a door open and waiting for him, but he hasn’t written it yet…

          These guys are by no means unusual. Indeed, I’d estimate that of all the “writers” I’ve met here, about half of them are FADE OUT virgins.

          As long as you remain in that category, I’m afraid that for all your good intentions and active participation, you are one of the people who gives writers a bad name.

          It’s fair enough that you’re relatively new to this craft and that you wish to learn your way into it, but you can’t learn to swim if you don’t get in the water.

          Writing a feature script is tough, and is not just about pounding out words. There are psychological barriers and dark days. You won’t know if you can do it or not until you get it done. I’m sure you’ll be fine with it, but don’t wait too long to find out.

          • Linkthis83

            Appreciate the reply. I honestly try not to refer to myself as a writer.

            I wanted my original post to be about Darabont’s message and not me. I screwed that up by relating it to something personal. That’s on me.

            You’re right though, credibility is key. I don’t like you placing me in the category of pretender though. I don’t misrepresent my reality. What gets lost in this is the overwhelmingly unquantifiable nature of any of this:

            When I complete my first script – what do I get with that?

            If my first script isn’t very good – then should I infer that all my effort has been wasted?

            If my first script is decent – is it because I finished it or because I did all this other effort while writing a script?

            At what point is it acceptable for me to refer to myself as a writer?

            At what point am I directly influencing a good impact on the title of “writer?”

            More importantly, who is the authority which governs over all this stuff allowing me the permission to do one thing, or say another?

            What if my first script isn’t any good? Does that mean I should stop trying to help others with theirs?

            Who am I supposed to turn to for these answers?

            I always believed there was some value to me sharing some of my experiences along the way. Also, I do it because my posts sometimes make others speak up and I love getting as many perspectives as I can. I love learning about things I know nothing about regarding other people’s experiences, such as your own. There is so much value there.

            I don’t misrepresent myself, so it’s up to the readers to decide. They can agree, disagree or ignore me.

            So if I feel there is something I want to share, I will share it. In all sincerity, it truly does suck if I’m giving you a bad name based on my posts. I don’t want to do that. As far as I’m concerned, everybody has the biggest head start and I’m piling on as much as I can handle…to catch up (while writing).

            Hoping to be a credible contributor in 2015.

          • Howie428

            When I complete my first script – what do I get with that?
            — A fuzzy feeling that lasts say ten minutes.

            If my first script isn’t very good – then should I infer that all my effort has been wasted?
            — Your script will be good in the same way that peoples’ babies are beautiful.

            If my first script is decent – is it because I finished it or because I did all this other effort while writing a script?
            — If your first script is decent a pig may fly over your house, and if that happens you will be free to attribute it to anything you feel like.

            At what point is it acceptable for me to refer to myself as a writer?
            — I’m happy with after you’ve written something.

            At what point am I directly influencing a good impact on the title of “writer?”
            — As long as you stop having a negative impact that’ll work.

            More importantly, who is the authority which governs over all this stuff allowing me the permission to do one thing, or say another?
            — You and the First Amendment.

            Can one ONLY understand how to make a script better by writing one?
            — By definition you can only begin the process of understanding how to make your script better when you have a “your” script.

            What if my first one isn’t any good? Does that mean I should stop trying to help others with theirs?
            — No. I’d say all opinions have value, and all opinion givers have expertise in some specific area.

            Who am I supposed to turn to for these answers?
            — See above.

            It’s cool that you’re on a journey and that you’re sharing it with others. I wish I could be more active in the same way.

          • Linkthis83

            Howie, mad props. I love this reply. Thank you. And honestly, I get it.

          • scriptfeels

            I love what you said “Your script will be good in the same way that peoples’ babies are beautiful.” Great Analogy!

  • Abdul Fataki

    UHM, WHAT?

    TITLE: Misfire

    GENRE: Comedy

    LOGLINE: A desperate neophyte screenwriter must do everything in his
    power to prevent the collapse of his first produced movie, an ill-fated
    Western titled “Janice Got a Gun”.

    ————————————————————————————————————

    That’s such an asshole move, Brian Duffield (a writer) has a film coming out next year called Jane Got A Gun, it’s a western and his first script that will turn into a movie (I believe).

    Of course it could all be a coincidence….

  • Cuesta

    “Amnesiac security officer? Is this a necessary description?”

    But if the writer goes with “a man must solve the mistery…” I’m pretty sure someone would’ve said “it’s too vague. PAAAASS.”
    Motherfucker can’t win on this one.

    • ArabyChic

      I think he means the Security officer part

  • Levres de Sang

    MISFIRE

    Read: 73 pages

    I’m a fan of Andrew’s writing and recall being impressed by both the clarity and professionalism of RIGGED — as well as by the speed at which he writes. I believe Andrew wrote RIGGED in just over a fortnight, with MISFIRE appearing in the comments section within a matter of weeks! I therefore expected today’s offering to be a rewrite, but it doesn’t seem to be.

    Anyway, it’s an easy, entertaining read handled with a light touch. It’s certainly got the feel of a late (albeit minor) Woody Allen piece with a few nods to Billy Wilder thrown in for good measure:

    pp. 4-5: Exchange between Ben and Logan reminiscent of Sheldrake office scene in Sunset Boulevard.

    p.8: Like the scene with the Waiter, but “Actors don’t just come up with dialogue themselves…” is almost identical to a William Holden line in Sunset Boulevard.

    p.12: V.O. reminds me of the opening to Manhattan.

    p.22: I’m really enjoying this script, but even the juice bar scene reminds me of the “mashed yeast” in Annie Hall.

    In fact, almost every scene feels like a reference to something else. I’m probably only getting a fraction of them! I’m even starting to imagine references (p.59: Dean Friedman…? “Lydia! Lydia!”) Only very slowly, however, did I realise this was almost certainly your intention!

    Some other notes:

    p.3: Loved the anachronistic dissolve to the hard copy script. Just worked for me.

    pp.5-6: I laughed at the Chinatown joke.

    p.35: Great description: Ben looks around the room, which must have been a crime scene at some point.

    p.42: And also the italicised: Is this for some sort of hidden camera show?

    — Liked the ironic reveal of the hotel assistant (Denny) who “dabbled in screenwriting” being the Producer’s nephew and all set to replace Ben.

    — I didn’t like the Judah character at all. I realise he’s a stereotype, but he felt flat on the page. Having said that, I’m just not a fan of British characters in American comedy (look how some of those late episodes of FRASIER were ruined by Daphne’s mother and brother!)

    Ultimately, I’m not sure how a Carson review will help Andrew at this juncture. He clearly knows his way around a script, but says himself that MISFIRE will “never be made” — and I suspect that’s not his immediate intention. Rather, it feels like a selection from a wider portfolio. One that can’t be too far from cracking the Hollywood fortress.

    Anyway, I’ll try and get to the others and cast my vote…

  • craze9

    My thoughts, such as they are, on the loglines. If I’m nitpicking it’s because loglines are important — if you can’t write one good sentence, why should anyone believe you can write 100 good screenplay pages?

    TITLE: The Followed
    GENRE: Action Thriller
    LOGLINE: An amnesiac security officer must solve the mystery of the
    night he and his daughter went missing in order to find her before the
    rogue network of sophisticated criminals tracking him.

    I was confused. “The mystery of the night [xyz happened]” is awkward. The “mystery of his and his daughter’s kidnapping” is better, but even then, it’s confusing because both he and his daughter “went missing” (what does that mean?) but he is somehow in a position to look for her. The concept itself seems to be unclear, and also not anything particularly new or exciting — criminals kidnapped the guy’s daughter and he’s looking for her, is what I gather… without any sense of larger stakes / character journey — so I don’t get past the logline to the script.

    TITLE: The Log in Your Eye
    GENRE: Dark Comedy
    LOGLINE: When a pastor’s wife suspects her husband is having an affair
    she hires someone to follow him and find out if her suspicions are true…

    This isn’t even half a movie. A woman hires “someone” (who?) to follow her husband because she suspects infidelity? That’s one scene. You have to give a sense of the whole story, and what makes it interesting / different. Also, where is the comedy?

    TITLE: Misfire
    GENRE: Comedy
    LOGLINE: A desperate neophyte screenwriter must do everything in his
    power to prevent the collapse of his first produced movie, an ill-fated
    Western titled “Janice Got a Gun”.

    Solid logline, though some sense of what the movie is about and why it’s ill-fated could improve it. The concept itself isn’t going to get anyone too excited, but it was enough for me to read the first 5 pages. The writing is solid, but I only laughed once (a light chuckle at “Den of Iniquity Management”). When I realized the flashback was permanent, and the urgency of the opening disappeared, I bailed, in part because of the concept itself (neophyte screenwriter protag?), the lack of laughs, and scenes that while serviceable didn’t drive me to keep reading.

    TITLE: Sins of The Father
    GENRE: Crime/Drama
    LOGLINE: An innocent assignment leads a young man on an investigation in
    which he ultimately discovers the awful truth of his father’s hidden
    past.

    Not enough meat here, storywise. Need more specificity, stakes, and character details. What’s the innocent assignment? Who is the young man? Why should I care?

    TITLE: Judgement
    GENRE: psychological thriller/drama
    LOGLINE: A grief-stricken doctor must decide whether to seek the ultimate vengeance, and kill the man that murdered his family

    Again, not enough here in terms of story and concept. A guy’s family is murdered and he has to DECIDE whether to go after the guy? It’s a movie about a guy DECIDING whether to SEEK revenge? Movies — and loglines, especially — are about ACTIONS. There just isn’t anything close to enough here for me to imagine a whole movie, let alone a good one… it sound more like a 10-minute short. (Also, is just killing someone really “the ultimate vengeance”? Have you seen Oldboy?)

  • Andrew Parker

    I thought the ending was pretty bold & dark. Not the kind you’d necessarily see in a produced movie, but good in a spec to get people to remember it.

    I heard a podcast recently where the writer said the first ten pages are the most important for a screenplay, while the last ten pages are the most important for an actual film. I really liked the opening, so I think your future on other projects is bright. Good luck!

  • scriptfeels

    I learned a lot from reading last week’s amateur Friday entries and thought I’d have a go reading this weeks as well!

    Also interested in the upcoming Monday articles Carson mentioned about in his newsletter.

    This time I’m not going to read the log lines because last week I was disappointed when a script didn’t deliver on the log line, so I’m just going to read parts of the five scripts and give my feedback based on the writing alone!

    The Followed:
    page 1
    – do you need to mention that “He talks on the phone” when we just read him talking O.S.?
    Also, I thought the description was vague, is his base characteristic that he’s nervous? What does that look like on screen? We are looking at a back of a nervous man in a black coat and flat cap in a phone booth on the phone. If you want to show that he is nervous, I would do it through description, so maybe his face is buried into the phone mantle on the wall, or he’s grips and pulls at his coat while he’s on the phone. Showing his lips quiver was a good way to show this, good job!
    – I thought reverberate was a strange way to describe breathing, not sure what reverberated breathing looks like.

    page 2
    – I felt that I didn’t get an idea of what type of character Sam is aside that he’s dressed as a tourist, I would clarify any description here if it is important to your story though. For example, I’m not sure what his career is, but I would assume his body type would reflect his job in some way.
    – From what I understand Camera Direction shouldn’t be in a spec script if you’re not directing, wondering what other people think on the matter. Also, I was confused on who’s hand is grazing the position in this statement. Is it the Turk or Max’ hand?

    page 3
    – how did the audio transmitter get attached to the Turk’s jacket? Sam watches it attach to the Turk’s jacket, but thats the only description we get in regards to how the audio transmitter go onto his jacket. Did it have to do with the Turk brushing the back of the seat in front of him. I’m confused.
    – We cut from showing Sam to showing Sam staring at his phone in a studio apartment. Wasn’t sure how I felt about this transition. Although, it became more clear when you wrote “… looks through the window of his third story view as the light to the hotel room comes on.” I understand that this studio apartment is across from the hotel and that Sam was standing in front of both the studio apartment and the hotel when he watched form the darkness. I would clarify that the studio apartment is across the street from the hotel earlier.
    – I’m all for short descriptions, but I was confused on “Wood.” for the Studio Apartment, is this a wooden studio apartment? Also I noticed that the spacing was awkward in between the descriptions here in comparison to the normal spaces shown in the action right below it. I would delete the extra spaces.

    page 15
    – Is it okay to just type BEDROOM. Shouldn’t it be Int. Prague Apartment – Bedroom?

    Page 16
    – I like the police siren transition from the flashback to current time.

    page 18.
    – Moments later again? how big is this rooftop?
    – Haven’t seen (SERIES) before, could someone clarify what that means in regards to the slugline?

    Okay, I read to page 33. Here’s some of my feelings on the script thus far. I thought the beginning was hard to read and hard for me to get into because I got caught up in the tiny details and whenever something wasn’t clear to me I had to go back and try to figure out what was going on. For some reason, after page 10 this stopped happening and the story moved much quicker. I wanted to read up until Sam caught The Turk poisoning the Steven Walsh, but that hasn’t happened yet.

    Some things in the script that appeared out of place to me was Sam’s kaleidoscope vision on page 18. Why did this happen? Felt like this came out of no where. Another small detail that bothered me was how on page 11, the Turk is shown sitting on a couch. I was confused because Sam had poured the liquid into his food and had him pass out in his hotel room and now he’s back sitting on a couch. Not sure what the Turk’s reaction would be to waking up from the floor after eating, but I felt that he would react to being passed out in some way.

    I liked the rooftop scene and Sam’s relationship with Jakub. Jakub seemed like a very likable character and acted as Sam’s lead into his past, but Jakub’s character also raised questions about whether Sam could trust Jakub or not. I also liked the humor when Sam meets Jakub’s wife.
    Also, the allison subplot of Sam’s daughter gave me a reason to read more of the script because I wanted to find out what happened to her! Allison seems like a great mystery box for this type of story, especially with the flashback of her when Sam is in the street.

    Overall, the script was smooth for the most part page 11 on and it became more clear when we found out Sam was following the Turk to find out who he was going to kill and how, and then after he found that information to stop him.

    -I’m going to add to this post with criticism and advice towards the other scripts after I read parts of them.

    • scriptfeels

      The Log in your Eye Notes:

      pg.13 – Bottom of page 12, It says Elias is speaking, but it should be Clifford. Elias isn’t taking with Vince, Clifford is. “Elias: Eli has a lot of friends, doesn’t he?” Change Elias to Clifford.

      pg.29 – Wrong point of view, should be in third person instead of first. ”She would but she’s not going to let me know it.” should be “She would but she’s not going to let Elias know it.”

      pg. 31 – spelling error Elias: “I’m just saying’… if your husband is fuckin’ around it’s your God give right to get revenge.” change give to given.

      -You may want to change Andrew’s last name from White to something else. Reminded me of breaking bad too much when he is meeting with Gabriel Gomez and he refers to Andrew as Mr.White on page 33.

      Overall, the writing is solid and Elias seems entertaining enough when he interacts with Sarah. I wasn’t sure what the story was about until he met Sarah and she asked him to pursue her husband to find out if he is cheating on her. This was interesting because Elias was trying to hook up with Sarah and it let to him tracking her husband instead, while that goal of his becomes his long term goal. I found it creepy how Elias approached the two teenage girls to photograph them and then transitioned to the mother when she caught him. In summary, the writing felt solid and the characters believable, but I’m not sure how invested I am in a church infidelity story.

      I couldn’t figure out what tone the story wanted to maintain along because it transitioned to comical scenes at church like when Sarah discusses sex at the girls group to Elias talking with his father and an old mobster tracking him down.

      I liked the writing and laughed at certain points of this script, but wasn’t sure what this script was about until Elias made his move on Sarah at the model shoot and she offered him the job to discover her husband cheating on her.

      My thoughts after I read the genre/logline:
      I felt the script had elements of a thriller from the subplot of Vince tracking Elias through talking with Elias’ father Clifford. It had comedic elements from Sarah’s scenes with her daughters. It had romantic comedy elements when Sarah and Elias were in the same scene together. I can also see how it could be labeled dark comedy because Andrew’s actions are dark in comparison to Elias’ gambling.

      For the log line, I think it matches the plot well and actually describes what I read, good job! You may want to change “someone” to something more descriptive of Elias though, I was led to believe Elias was our protagonist so he should be easily identifiable in the log line as well.

      In regards to the title, I have no idea what log in your eye means or how it relates to the story based off of reading up to page 33. I would have to finish reading the script to give a better criticism. Hopefully my notes are constructive, I liked the script and am unsure how I come across giving feedback on this site sometimes haha!

      • scriptfeels

        Misfire notes:

        page 3
        – bottom of page 3, “100 pages and 2 brads hit a glass table.” Who is brad, what is going on screen here, is Logan’s glass table being hit by 100 pages and two guys named Brad?

        Reminds me of Bowfinger and Adaptation. Like as if they were smashed together into an awkward comedy. Then it turns into a road trip movie on page 26.

        Ashkii seemed like a genuinely funny character. I really enjoyed him telling Ben to get as far away from the town as he can.

        This is a weird script, Ben’s character isn’t involved in the film’s production and he works to get there by driving and runs into hotel problems which he resolves. It doesn’t feel like Ben is driving the story forward, but that the film’s production is driving the story forward and Ben is there for the ride. Although Ben drove the story when he gave Natasha his script.

        I didn’t come across too many grammar problems, but I’m not enthralled with the script. I didn’t relate to a lot of the humor and Ashkii was the first character whose humor I connected with. I was happy to see that there were jokes on most of the pages, but a lot of them didn’t land on me. I read to page 35.

        pg1, is the armadillo crossing the road a reference to el mariachi, but with an armadillo instead of a turtle? Just curious.

        • Andrew Parker

          Thanks for reading. I’ve never seen El Mariachi. I was just setting the scene that it was in the desert.

        • scriptfeels

          Sins of the Father Notes:
          pg. 3
          – “concern on Todd’s face as he steers car closer.” change to “concern on Todd’s face as his car steers closer.”
          – “Todd acknowledges patting him on arm.” add ‘his’ before arm.
          -Another grammar error in the description under the study slugline, add ‘a’ in between “… on couch,…”
          -I’m giving up on pointing out the grammar errors for this script… there another one at the last sentence on the page.

          I didn’t realize this was a period piece until I was part way throughout reading it.

          I think this script needs more work. There were too many characters to keep track of, not sure where this script is leading, but I think it revolves around the boys investigating the murder of the german for their school project. I’d be interested in reading what other people have for constructive feedback in regards to this script.

          I read up to page 23.

          • scriptfeels

            Judgement Notes:

            I like the irony of a surgeon discussing a murder case. I also like how Dan is really good at being a surgeon. For example on page 23, he goes into detail while operating on a patients neck showing that he is an experienced surgeon.

            I’ve read up to page 35, really like the writing for this script. I’m not sure what Dan’s goal is, but I understood his character and felt sad for Dan because his wife and daughter died and there was no death penalty in the state. Overall, very solid writing and I enjoyed the way the scenes were told. For example, the murder scene being intercut with Dan going into a surgery room along with how in the courtroom scene we don’t see the images of his wife and daughter, only the reaction of the faces watching the scene. This script seemed well thought out and moved along quickly.

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: JUDGEMENT [The opening is captivating and different – good job.]

  • Randy Williams

    No,no, stick to dark comedy! You just need more of it.

    Look at your scene with Sarah in Luke’s apartment trying to see his female roommate and maybe shoot her and it turns into this hilarious turn. One of the best scenes I’ve ever read on here!

    I loved the slaughter at the end, I thought that was earned. Didn’t like the daughter involved. As for the pastor and his wife, I felt it should have been left open as to their judgement, with the hint that there’s a loose thread that will get him in the end.

    After reading the whole thing, I stand by my vote.

  • jw

    I have to say this is getting a bit ridiculous and I think someone needs to call it out. What is wrong with you people? I mean, I’m the first to call out AOW for not being that great, but THIS week? Solid stuff and one of these has one of the best amateur endings I’ve ever read here. But, you quacks want to find any reason whatsoever NOT to read scripts and you’ll literally make up anything under the sun to do it. “Well, I didn’t like the way he said the word ‘hello’ and therefore there’s no way this is worth my time.” Frankly, the people around here are the first to love Tarantino and talk about his genius level, and yet he is the KING of bad grammar, punctuation, crazy formatting, off-the-wall fonts and everything in between. Hypocrisy at its height? I’d say. Screenwriting is storytelling, period. And, the ONLY question one needs to answer is “can the writer tell a decent story”? I don’t care how he gets there, although basic screenplay formatting is nice, but there’s only one thing these writers should be being judged by and that is THEIR STORY. All you quacks who can’t read the first 5 or 10 of a script because you want to pick away a logline are lazy fucks who run away from work instead of getting your hands dirty and that says more about you than it does the writers. To all the writers this week, congrats on an above average AOW.
    Nolan, I like your writing. Send me your contact info to: jwright226 at hotmail

    • Kirk Diggler

      I agree that analyzing a script based purely on loglines is like buying a product with the best slogan. I do understand the importance of coming up with a decent logline, but I also think some stories (those without a ‘high’ concept) are difficult to sum up.

      The IMDB logline for Pulp Fiction, ““The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.”

      I”m not sure anyone would read this and say ‘oooh, intriguing’. Reading a script is always the surest way to assess it’s quality.

    • Malibo Jackk

      bitch, bitch, bitch
      (Still — it gets my vote for Comment Of The Day.)

    • Paul Clarke

      I don’t entirely disagree with your comments. But your statement shoots holes in your argument:

      “can the writer tell a decent story”?

      The key word being TELL. There is a craft at work besides storytelling. The choice of words on the page matters.

      Of course readers also shouldn’t be lazy. Then again, reading 5 feature length scripts in a weekend is a big task. No wonder people are looking for reasons to not have to read on.

    • Linkthis83

      On this subject, I’m right there with you. I used to rant A LOT about the things people would list as marks against the script. Now it seems that has carried over to loglines and WYSRs along with the script. I understand people have limited time and personal preferences, but man…some of the things that get counted against a script still make my head hurt. I just move past those views because, honestly, sometimes in that moment, they have value. But overall, I’m with you –
      STORY. STORY. STORY.

      Because of my preferences and goals, these approaches I disagree with helped shape my own approach. Which is why when I have the opportunity to read/note the AOW scripts, all I read is the Title and Genre first. That way the STORY is the focus for me and nothing else. If things in the actual script trip me up, I will note them and carry on. I care about the intention and the overall STORY — because if the STORY is the problem, then fixing the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter. And the flip side of that coin is – being able to access the STORY as it is written.

      I’m also in support of this because my posts of late have consisted of challenging readers and HOW they read/review. You’ve got my support here :)

  • klmn

    That script got a worth the read. I suspect Misfire might do the same.

  • klmn

    Most of the regulars here appreciate Link’s posts.

  • Eric

    My vote: THE LOG IN YOUR EYE

    with MISFIRE a close second

    THE FOLLOWED

    Pg 1 “… who should be anything but.” Anything but what? Average? Nervous? All-American?

    “a voice that screams seedy government official.” That’s not a specific vocal quality I’m aware of.

    Pg 2 “A variety of PASSENGERS in different states of the day.” Don’t know what that means. This isn’t time lapse is it?

    Pg 13 Is the Turk just walking around going about his business as if he wasn’t drugged the night before? Does he not know? Does he not care?

    At the very least I wish I knew what Sam THINKS he’s doing. Why is he going around drugging Turkish men in hotels? Why is this one of the many things being kept secret from me? Even with amnesia and confusion in the plot I should have a better sense of Sam’s goal than I do. With nothing concrete, it’s harder to feel involved with anything.

    THE LOG IN YOUR EYE

    Very good opening. Juxtaposing Elias’ voice over with his actual actions is an effective and amusing way to deliver his backstory.

    Doing the same thing with Sarah, I like less. First it breaks the audience’s POV. Is this her story or Elias? But more importantly, it’s too brief and doesn’t have near the same impact as Elias’ sequence. It actually diminishes the first sequence in retrospect, by failing to live up to it.

    Parents talking about the wonders of sex in front of their teenage daughters (and imploring them to pay closer attention) is exactly the opposite of what intense conservative Christians do. Maybe you can find a couple oddballs who act like this, but she’s leading an entire group as if it’s normal, and I don’t think it is.

    At page 30 and I think the first act could be tightened up, but I’m interested in continuing. Elias manages to be engaging and amusing despite being an utter creep, so credit on that. My biggest problem so far is it feels like I’m hearing the writer in too many of the characters. Andrew, Sarah and their daughters seem like the unlikeliest conservative Christian family ever. Jane making a crack about human clones in a robot voice seems more like the writer’s sense of humor than the character’s.

    MISFIRE

    Competantly done first 10, but I can’t say I’m engaged yet. Something needs to be punched up somewhere. There’s conflict in terms of his career going nowhere and his girlfriend being restless, but the stakes seem really low. Or at least unelaborated upon. Even in the teaser, where things are presumably at their worst, it seems like he’s maybe just freaking out a bit. He says his life’s imploding, but we have to take his word for it.

    Maybe make this his last shot, or something of the sort. His girlfriend will leave him, or he’ll have to accept a “normal” time consuming job that’ll pretty much kill his dream. Try to get all that into a smaller space too. There’s a few scenes with Ben and Annie that show us their relationship, but you can probably squeeze all that into one, much better scene.

    Also the jokes so far seem more humorous than laugh out loud funny. I don’t think I should be bawling on every page, but at least once every ten pages is a reasonable benchmark.

    SINS OF THE FATHER

    Writing’s got a decent amount of red flags. A heavy amount of telling instead of showing, characters not CAPPED at intro and many words just flat out missing. This could’ve used a proofread.

    Raymond’s dialogue is slowing me down. I prefer one to simply mention his accent rather than phonetically spell out every one of his slurs.

    “Carl nonchalantly puts them in his pocket. Todd notices and glances back at Lenny who also sees it.” Are Todd and Lenny supposed to be the only ones who saw Carl pocket key evidence?

    Unfortunately, by page ten the story and characters aren’t pulling me in enough to ignore the numerous mistakes in the writing.

    JUDGEMENT

    A lot is going on early, yet it’s effecting me very little. I think perhaps we’ve been launched into intense emotional scenes before we really know the characters inside them. The end result feels like melodrama because we haven’t been in this story long enough to match the character’s emotions. Could benefit from a look at the family before the murder and mourning.

    The medical jargon sounds convincing. Kudos on that, though you may benefit from my ignorance.

    The scenes here play out too directly for my liking. Dan and Jessica’s meeting goes on for much longer than it has to. I never really felt their connection, despite being assured in the action lines that it was there.

    There’s a neat little twist later on when Kane stabs his own lawyer in open court, but it may be too little too late for me. So far none of the characters are fleshed out enough to hold my interest. Nor has anything presented itself that truly complicates the situation.

  • Erica

    Congrats to all the AOW. Another week of solid scripts in my view.

    While I did find the logline a little confusing for THE FOLLOWED, I read most of the script including the ending. Overall I like the script and think it would translate well to screen, however the ending I didn’t really like. This is just my opinion but when I watch a movie, I want it to be all wrapped up at the ending. I feel like at the end I was left no further ahead then the start.

    I know there are many movies that do this, like “THE HOBBIT” which are meant to be a 3 part epics series. But with these movies I know there will be part 2 and part 3. With THE FOLLOWED I’m left wondering. Much like the movie SKYLINE, the movie didn’t end, it was like just the beginning. That was 2010 and I’m still waiting.

    I did enjoy the first few pages of all the scripts, if it was for this nasty cold this weekend I would have read more.

    Nice job all.

    • klmn

      Probably not a cold, just Ebola.

      So cheer up, it will all be over soon.

      • Erica

        hmmm, there could be a script in this…

        • klmn

          Write fast, you’ve got like 15 days…

          • Erica

            Okay, first thing to do is make this a sci-fi. Next I have to travel back in time to find out when I made contact with this viscous virus.

            Thinking to myself,
            ERICA (V.O.)
            could it have been the script DEVIL IN YOU, it takes place in Africa… No no, that’s too obvious and the readers will slam me for that.
            what else do I have?

  • Jake T

    Hey Rory, I ended up reading the whole script. Felt shorter than a hundred pages, read really fast, which is a good thing. I understand the title now, but yeah, still needs work :p

    There’s a good chance Carson will review the script in the coming weeks, so I won’t post a full summary of impressions here. Shoot me an email and I’ll tell you what works (quite a lot actually!) and what I think could be improved.

    jakethompsonfilm at gmail dot com

  • brenkilco

    I wish we were given more lead time to review these scripts. They all get posted on Saturday morning and on monday there’s a new post and we’re all on to something else. In any event I’ve read chunks of three.

    Misfire. Only made it to page twelve. Nicely written. I have only one criticism. It’s described as a comedy and it’s not funny. Lots of dialogue but I’m not laughing. Maybe this is more of a wry indie. But it’s been labeled a comedy and I think that means we’re entitled to a couple of big laughs and clever moments in the first ten minutes.

    Sins of the Father. Some other commenter said this seemed like a YA story. Not sure about that. But thirty pages in and I think it should be further along. And the sharp changes in tone are awfully jarring. Carl guns a man down and an hour later everybody is chowing down as if nothing’s happened. The next day the sheriff says the case is closed. I know Car is Big Daddy and all but wouldn’t you think they’d at least want to ID the victim. If only to safeguard Carl from visits from his friends and relatives. And the sheriff basically tossing away the one clue his identity is also hard to swallow. You’d think a killing in this sleepy burg would be all anyone would be talking about for weeks, but after it’s over nobody seems to care.
    Then there’s Lisa who goes from teasing deb, to defender of the disabled to suicidal nymphomaniac in the blink of an eye. One minute the brothers are embracing. A scene later Todd is calling Hank’s ex a whore and they’re beating the shit out of each other. And Carl not caring whether his mortally injured employee gets medical treatment doesn’t make him bigoted, it makes him monstrous. And is it believable that his sons would have reached their twenties without realizing this? Speaking of which they’re both awfully enlightened for rural, mississippi boys who came of age in the fifties. Maybe unbelievably so.
    By page thirty the protags have barely begun to research the dead pows. And we haven’t even a hint of how the conveniently coincidental killing ties in, though since this world is governed by movie logic we know it will. My suggestion for speeding it up. Get rid of Lenny. Make it all Todd’s story. Let him uncover the family skeletons. Evidence of Carl’s bigotry and the climate of the time is already plain enough. Thirty pages in we should have more to hold us than just the odd family dynamics and Carl’s nastiness. Also watch the anachronisms. Nobody said chill in the early sixties. And some word choices. Interdict and interrupt are not synonyms.

    The Following: I got grief for griping about the writing style so I felt the obligation to read at least the first act. It’s tense but… So a guy has amnesia. He’s been hospitalized or at least thinks he has. And somebody comes by and tells him he’s a spy and has to go on a mission even though he can’t remember his own name. This agency must have some manpower shortage. But the job isnt too tough. They already know who the bad guy is and in short order by surveillance and rifling his room.pretty much know he’s going to kill somebody. And they have the list of potential victims. So they do nothing. Because, they want to know exactly who he’s going to kill. Huh? Um, if they can only afford one agent to follow this guy isn’t that a little risky? Especially since early on the agent realizes that he’s wanted for questioning in connection with a prior killing,and it’s hard to be surreptitious when you have to constantly beat up and escape Czech policemen. By page thirty there’s a hint that he thinks he’s being duped but it’s still about as hazy as his memory. My suggestion. Don’t be fancy about the timeline. Start with the memory loss and the protag being convinced he’s a spy and that he’s the only man that can achieve the objective. As it is, I’m not buying the premise.

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week is a dead heat between MISFIRE and JUDGEMENT. I can’t choose between them. They are equally good.

    THE FOLLOWED

    Stopped on page 20. I really have no idea what is going on. There are so many flashbacks and flash-forwards that I am completely lost. I thought Sam killed a Turk in a grand Prague hotel where an international conference will take place. Later it seems it was an American who died and the Turk is an assassin. At some other time Sam knows the Turk will kill someone but he doesn’t know who. Jakub knows Sam but Sam doesn’t know Jakub. The cops are after Sam. Now a little girl enters the picture. Color me confused. I can’t sense where this is heading and all I anticipate is more confusion on my part. I have no desire to read further.

    Sam telephones his boss Max (so he remembers the phone number despite amnesia?) and tells him his condition. Max tells him to continue. What kind of boss is that? If your agent is incapable, you pull him out and make another plan. Max says “..he’s going to cripple the system” if Sam fails. What system? Who is “he”? Why should we care about it? Is Max a good guy or a bad guy? Give me stakes I can understand and care about. All I know is Sam is supposed to do something, I don’t know what, or something will happen, I don’t know what — and Sam doesn’t know either. That’s far too vague.

    THE LOG IN YOUR EYE/LIES

    Stopped on page 31. An easy read, but not much going on. Plot develops too slowly, characters are too one-dimensional, and almost no laughs.

    The only amusing part was the beginning where the VO contrasted with what we saw on the screen. Elias is a sleazeball but I wouldn’t say he’s got the gift of the gab. A smooth liar, maybe. Anyway, an unsympathetic character for a protagonist. If the writer was going for a ‘loveable rogue’ type, he missed the mark. Sarah seems curiously unemotional about her husband’s probable infidelity. The twins are sorta but not really sexy, the pastor is a cardboard cutout of a character. Without well defined characters, you can’t get good character-based comedy, and there are almost no gags or one-liners to speak of. This is more like a low-voltage drama than a dark comedy.

    The first place to cut is the dialogues. They go on way, way too long. If a line is not conveying information, emotion, or humor, cut it. Structurally, you need Elias meeting Sarah and the twins around page 12, and starting to investigate Andrew around page 25, and we need to have some idea what he’s after — Sarah, the twins, all three — and what the girls are after — him, someone else, no one, whatever — so we can anticipate how things might go. Then surprise us with the way they actually go.

    MISFIRE

    Stopped on page 35. Bright and breezy, and quite funny. I kept thinking Ben Elton. It’s that sort of humor. Not much I can say except I want to read on.

    SINS OF THE FATHER

    Stopped on page 28. Characters are not fleshed out. They’re going through the motions, but I’m not feeling the social stresses and emotional beats. The subject is unpleasant. It would only be worth watching for the emotions it evokes.

    Avoid writing in dialect. Leave it to the actor to assume an accent. The sheriff sounds like a Brooklyn retard to me, not a redneck, but then I’m not American.

    Todd and Lenny should have started their investigation by now, and we should have some idea of the stakes. What are the consequences if they discover dad was a Nazi?

    The script lacks polish. There are too many typos, grammar mistakes, CONTINUEDs, etc. I had no desire to read further.

    JUDGEMENT

    Stopped on page 28. Things developing nicely, with the outline of the plot clear, and a mystery box as to why the murderer is behaving in the puzzling way he is. I had some difficulty keeping track of who was who. Maybe call officials by their rank to distinguish them. And I thought a couple of scenes went on too long, or needed beefing up — the meet-cute between Dan and Jessica in the cafeteria, and the session with the shrink Dr Seaver. Otherwise, a good clean read and I want to read further.

  • Bifferspice

    i assumed that meant the security officer would have access to loads of close-circuit TV feeds and would be watching footage of himself, to work out what he did. which is quite a neat idea. i haven’t read the script, but that’s what i inferred. to me, that added more interest than just “a man with amnesia”.

  • scriptfeels

    Thanks for clearing that up, hadn’t heard that term for them before.

  • Raphael Howard

    I have read three of these scripts in full:

    Sins of the Father – Hard to read, with a number of spelling errors and convoluted descriptions that reveal too much. There are two major problems with the story, both concerning the antagonist (The titular father). It takes too long for his crimes to be revealed, but his racism is apparent from the beginning.If you want a story that becomes increasingly tense as it progresses, ensure that his racism is revealed gradually, emerging with each new reveal about him. However, the characters are interesting, and some descriptions are impressive. Overall, I would PASS on this script.

    A Log In Your Eye – The descriptions are strong and simple, and I liked some of the characters, particularly the protagonist, Elias. However, the story, whilst interesting, can be very hard to follow, due to the large amounts of characters and subplots. I would RECOMMEND this script for the main characters alone.

    Judgement – Even if it hadn’t said so in the comments, it would be clear that this script was written out of passion and anger.To say that the revenge genre is hit-and-miss is an understatement, but whilst this is no “Hamlet”, it’s not as awful as “Parting Shots” either. In fact, it’s pretty well-written. It handles its premise (A fundamentally good man comes up against pure evil) with intelligence and subtlety. The protagonist is relateable and complex, eventually taking his (Well-justified) revenge in a manner that is brutal, but not handled in a manner that would render it exploitative. It is foreshadowed well, even in minor comments, and is a satisfactory resolution to the protagonist’s dilemma. I would give it a RECOMMEND.