amateur offerings weekend
Keep those Scriptshadow 250 entries coming. In the meantime, here’s another batch of scripts to check out. The amount of horror scripts sent in this week outranked all other genres 4 to 1. You guys really like horror! I was able to slip in a few non-horror scripts though, for those who don’t want to get their scare on. Make sure to give the writers feedback in the comments section!

Title: Vampires in Sunland
Genre: Horror
Logline: A young girl coming into adulthood must battle a motley group of vampires who have taken her boyfriend hostage.
Why you should read: I wanted to try my hand at something more commercial, for my scripts usually are not, and so “Vampires in Sunland” (Sunland, California) was the result. As a fan of the film Lost Boys, I wanted to bring a little of that flavor back into the vampire genre, but not without adding my own dash of spices. In this case a demonic element. I also wanted to play with gender roles, in this the female is the heroic action star and the male is the “mansel” in distress she must save. As well as a main villain who can change genders whenever it wants to best suit its victims.

Title: Ghostlight
Genre: Horror
Logline: When a series of strange murders occur during rehearsals for the school play, an awkward drama geek must find out who or what is behind the killings- or there will be no opening night!
Why You Should Read: I’ve been a drama teacher for the past ten years, and been in the theatre for over twenty- I know theatre, it’s superstitions and mystery. I also know teen agers, what they like and how the speak. I have had my students read the script, and across the board they love it and are begging me to get it made. Think “Cabin in the Woods” meets “Glee.”

Title: Inspired
Genre: Crime/Drama
Logline: During the hedonism of 90s Hollywood, a desperate writer’s career unexpectedly blows up when he starts writing about the crimes he’s committing, putting his Hollywood success on a collision course with the law.
Why you should read: My previous submission (Devil in You, Oct ’14) was relatively well received, “the minimum level of quality required to get made” is basically how it was described. So not outstanding, but still readable. — I believe I’ve progressed with this script. Hopefully I’ve been able to take on board some of the notes from yourself and the SS community about issues in my previous script in order to take ‘Inspired’ to the next level. — 1990s Hollywood was a crazy time, the town’s wealth was reflected in the insane ‘spec wars’, huge actors salaries, and notorious parties. I hope all of that and more is reflected in the script.

Title: The Big Decay
Genre: Film Noir/Horror
Logline: A private detective finds himself embroiled in a scandal that involves junkies with zombie-like behavior.
Why you should read: Some of my favorite films are classic film noirs such as Out Of The Past, Double Indemnity, and The Asphalt Jungle. My other favorite genre is horror movies. I thought to myself, “What if I combined these to create something unique?” With that as my basis, The Big Decay was born. I’m not sure if I’m considered a professional, or amateur. I’ve written and produced a straight to DVD horror film, and I’ve produced other feature films. Technically, I guess I’m a professional. However, I have no industry contacts, and no agent.

Title: Universal Love
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Logline: A female writer suffering from writer’s block develops a romantic bond with a man who she thinks is perfect, unaware that he is the alien from her story.
Why You Should Read: I am Kristopher M. Newcome. I enjoy writing and reading screenplays. The film’s logline took second in the Ultimate Logline contest. It won in March under the title, “Space, Time, and Beyond.” The category was female protagonists. I get to attend Scriptfest at the end of May. I get to listen to several speakers including Diablo Cody, and pitch my script to Twenty executives. I think it is really amazing what you do, and I hope you enjoy the script if you pick Universal Love to review.

  • Randy Williams

    UNIVERSAL LOVE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I started with this one first. I can see why the log line appealed tp contest judges and won its category. It grabbed me the most.

    First the good (after reading 20 pages)
    It has an endearing quality which for me is a must for me to enjoy a romantic comedy.
    There is instant conflict between the prospective love mates. Veronica is also conflicted. Does she entertain this character in her head who may have the key to unlocking her writer’s block or ignore him and potentially wallow in writer’s block forever.
    The creation of the chaperone is a great device. Allows her to ignore her feelings and at the same time create conflict.

    What prevents me from reading more.
    Most of the time I had no idea what I was seeing. Isn’t the job of the screenwriter to inspire a set designer to kill to work on this project? I had no idea what “Veronica’s place” looked like. Dingy, cat filled? Highrise Manhattan? What am I seeing? Once we’re in her head, again, no description in the space ship besides an alarm (sound) and a “screen”.
    What does the “googolplex look like?

    The ensuing telephone conversations again made it impossible to visualize what I was supposed to see. Where is the camera? Are we seeing these conversations cut back and forth? Only hearing the person on the other end?

    Then, the odd definition of asexual as not having an interest in sex. I thought it was not engaging in sex or identified as one gender? And daydreaming defined as not being able to sleep?

    Overall, it was the grammatical errors throughout those pages which led me to stop and I usually gloss over those things in favor of plot and character, but this was too much…
    “Of course, we can this my dream.” “I have never been interest in one before”
    Those among many grammatical and spelling errors can be remedied by someone with the least of proofreading skills going over this for you.

    At least do that before your big Scriptfest experience. Have fun!

    • Eric

      Glanced through this. It appears English is a second language, so there are definite problems. But I did want to point out, that definition of asexuality is accurate.

      According to Wikipedia it affects 1% of the British population, though I would assume it occurs in other countries as well :)

      • Randy Williams

        I thought the writer’s name sounded like he spoke English. Maybe it’s a pen name.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Most of the time I had no idea what I was seeing.

      I’d say that’s a problem with >half of the AOW scripts. I can ignore that on page 7 or 15, but one pages 1-5, I can’t.

  • tyrabanksy

    NoOoOooOooOooooOOoo. I hate romantic comedies — unless they’re from the 80s. “Universal Love” has a total 80s vibe to its concept… I’m going to have to read it.

    Going to read “Vampires in Sunland” and “The Big Decay,” too. There goes my Saturday!

    • tyrabanksy

      Read to page 25 of THE BIG DECAY. The world didn’t feel clearly enough defined – especially the thing with the “Crazies.” They’re just mad people with bleeding eyes? And Johnny can kill them with an axe in public and no one bats an eye, but when Elizabeth kills her husband they have to hide it? Couldn’t they just say he’s a “Crazy?” As someone who’s not that familiar with noir, it seemed like there were a lot of noir cliches in scene and dialogue. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be that way, for comedy, or if it was supposed to be serious. Anyway, those are my two cents. Hopefully that’s helpful.

    • tyrabanksy

      Read to page 18 of VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND. I don’t know if I’m just PMS-ing really hard this weekend, but I gave up reading this one in frustration too. Lots of spelling/grammatical errors. Again, don’t know if it was a language barrier or a failure to proofread. The subject matter interests me, as a big Buffy fan, but I had to throw in the towel.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    Just based on loglines, Inspired caught my eye.

    • Dan B

      It’s the log line that I thought “Nightcrawler” was going to become.

      • Lucid Walk

        It definitely reminded me of Nightcrawler

  • pmlove

    Universal Love appears to be a second language script. At the very least, I’d recommend working through it with a native speaker and then bringing it back.

    • pmlove

      My VOTE: INSPIRED.

      A quick ‘why’ on the others which, frankly, weren’t up to much.

      The Big Decay: I wanted to like this but the dialogue was so stilted it was hard to get past. The opening scene was a dull retread of something I’ve seen executed far better many times before. I’d recommend taking a look at the script without the ‘noir’-infused dialogue – does it work as a straight piece?

      Ghostlight: I think the character interactions feel real but the opening feels far more suited to your background in the theatre. 9 characters are introduced on page one and then they proceed to chat for 5+ pages, with a lot of exposition and theatre in-jokes. Try to tighten it up by focusing on your characters one at a time and making the experience far more visual.

      Vampires in Sunland: Lots of spelling mistakes on page one. Clunky lines like “Something that is a shadow, it’s the SHADOW MAN.” with no explanation as to what the shadow man is or looks like. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another second language script as much of the phrasing feels unnatural.

      As for Inspired: I’ve already given Ned notes on this. It needs a lot of tightening but is an otherwise enjoyable Mr Ripley-esque descent into desperation.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Vote: Pending

    (This post will take a while to put together)

    Vampires in Sunland:

    Give Margot more of a character description. She needs one.
    Don’t call it a roach – call it a joint. It’s a confusing word that will throw readers off and you don’t want that.

    • hickeyyy

      Great reviews. Nice work, Gregory.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    OT:

    Has anyone here gotten any success with Virtual Pitch Fest? I sent some pitches out for my biopic yesterday and got a few requests. Since it was the top of the month my script ended up sitting at #1 on their hotlist. Hopefully that will garner some additional exposure and requests for reads. Has anyone used their service before?

    • bl2d

      Yeah it works pretty good, just be sure to research who you send it to first. Some of their agent and managers aren’t actively working anymore. Good luck.

  • Randy Williams

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Cool title. Gives one a contrast that is intriguing. Logline is cool so this is the second one I picked up.

    Not often do I get so into a script here on AOW that I forget I’m supposed to be taking notes. I got into this one but do have some notes. I read to page 25 and I’d like to read more. I think this is a contender.

    p.1- I’m not visualizing the “shadowman” in the beginning. Are we seeing a human shadow? Maybe fill in some description that gives us an idea. For example, “HANDS tear at her clothing” A HEAD rocks back with ecstasy”.

    p.3- Maybe a bit more to keep me reading. Since it’s a farewell scene, especially. Why don’t I just get on the bus with the kid and stop reading? Maybe a promise by Jess? Some hint at how she might deal with the controlling Richard? I need one line to keep me turning pages to see what she has in mind.

    p.4- After the creepy out of the ordinary beginning, I need more settling into the routine. I think this long dream sequence comes too early if it’s needed at all. For me it was a distraction and after a breezy start, felt too weighty. The scenes that follow, I thought were brilliant and I’d dump the dream and get to them sooner.

    The workroom scene was nicely drawn, unexpected with what her hobby is, full of tension. Well done. The following range scene as well, with a great line there from Jess.

    p. 15- loving the character of Mandy. A strong character that forces one to turn pages to see where she might fit into all this and to get to that scene where she might have to fight for her life with all that grit. (If this ever happens at all in your story).

    p.21 – Want a bit more of this back room. Describe it. What are the guys doing in there? Something dirty perhaps? Push the mystery box here.

    p.23- Nice mystery box with the locker key and it’s given to her as she’s leaving the town where it’s in.

    I’m stopping here, just to get to other scripts.

  • ripleyy

    OT: I was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading a Pilot I’ve written?

    TITLE: 17th City of Edan

    GENRE: Science-Fiction / Action

    TELEPLAY LOGLINE:
    Separated, a mother and daughter must overcome impossible odds to reach one another while their Eastern European country is being exterminated from within.

    INFO (A SORT OF “WHY YOU SHOULD READ”):
    As many of you maybe know, I’ve been apart of the Scriptshadow community for a pretty long time, but I’ve never really submitted a script of mine to the site or in the comment section, like I’m doing right now.

    Which is why there’s a first time for everything.

    “17th CITY OF EDAN” is a story I’ve cherished for a very long time, and it has changed in dramatic and massive ways since I’ve first conceived it, which is great except I’ve finally hit that dreaded wall every writer seems to face: I can’t move on because I don’t know how.

    Some may like it, some might not, but all I’m hoping for is enough information so I can see what needs to be changed so I can FINALLY – for the first time ever – take this script out into the world and submit it into competitions (something I’ve never done, but plan to do). However, I can’t do that until I know what needs to be fixed and I can’t rely on one person’s opinion – I need a few.

    So if you’d be really kind by having a quick peek at the Pilot, even three pages, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve submitted the teleplay below in a Sendspace link, but if you don’t like Sendspace – and that’s fine, not many do – I am more than happy to send you the script via e-mail if you want to read it (email is ellisrhsunday(at)gmail(dot)com).

    All I’m looking for is a sentence or a paragraph. I’ll even take smiley faces and frowny faces! I just need to know what has to go, what has to stay and the general feel for the script.

    I’m also happy to return the favour in any way I can (because that’s what e-friends are for, right?)

    SENDSPACE: https://www.sendspace.com/file/yxo3x0

    (let me know if the link doesn’t work for you)

    Thank you.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      Do you have a series bible yet? If not – why not?

      I will read this pilot this weekend. I’m certainly excited about it.

      • ripleyy

        I have not, just an extremely dense index talking about the mythology, but it’s more to do with the past than the present. I could submit that as well if people wanted it. A series bible will be coming.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Format it along the lines of what I did with mine for Dead Star. You’ll also want a Series Logline as well, secondary to the pilot logline.

          And make sure that you put a lot of thought into either the season 1 arc, or at least a fully formatted followup 2-3 episodes. From what I read of pilot evaluations, it’s what most people are looking for beyond a well written pilot episode.

          • ripleyy

            The logline above series as a series logline and a pilot logline. The index isn’t formatted at all like your great Dead Star bible, but I’ll get to work on it and hopefully have something set up soon :)

          • Gregory Mandarano

            Well on the blcklst, as an example, series logline is a required submission form apart from the pilot logline, so it’ll help to at least create one that describes the show as a whole, without just repeating the same thing as the one you have already.

          • ripleyy

            Okay, sure. That’s really useful. I was going to submit into Script Pipeline, but I’m far too late for the deadline and I’m not going to just submit something like “Edan” without knowing where faults lie.

            I’m also hoping to submit into sites like blcklst for evaluations or anywhere else that does them. I’m also toying with AOW.

    • ThomasBrownen

      Hey ripleyy,

      I checked out your script because I really liked your enthusiasm and I’ve been feeling like I need to start paying more attention to pilots lately.

      The logline and genre left me a bit confused. It’s supposedly sci-fi and action, but the logline seems to sound more like some lost-family-reconnecting drama…? Also, it’s sci-fi, so I would think it’s set somewhere future-ish, but it’s set in Eastern Europe… which makes me think of the Cold War and kind of in the past-ish.

      But I was curious so I read the first ten pages. And I think that there is a huge depth to the mythology of the script. It seems to be set in a futuristic Europe and I can sense that there is a lot of thought put into this world, and I like that. But I’m still not quite sure why it’s sci-fi, and the first ten pages were largely about a mother giving birth and the daughter (fifteen years later) going about her daily routine. (Also, minor typo I caught… “between YOU’RE sister and this man of hers”)

      I’m also a little concerned about how long this could last as a TV show. How many episodes can you keep the mother and daughter apart? And once they reconnect, will there be a show left? Or would the show have to take a radically different turn and be somewhat unrecognizable from the pilot?

      Anyhow… just my thoughts. I did sense that there’s a well thought out mythology/universe here, so good luck with it!

      • ripleyy

        You bring up really great points. To be honest I consider it “Rural Sci-Fi” simply because of what you mentioned: Science-fiction instantly means some flashy city. What I wanted was to take that genre and place it somewhere different. In terms of Science-Fiction, this is more along the lines of “Children of Men” than, say, “Minority Report”. But I’m glad you brought that up!

        The reason why I dedicated the first ten pages to this mother-daughter relationship is because Eva, the daughter, believes Lisah is actually her sister. This dynamic is what runs underneath the series, because it becomes the driving force behind Lisah’s journey – to eventually find her daughter and tell her the truth. The reason this means so much to her is because Lisah abandoned Eva, as you would find out later on, and it’s only now that she’s starting to accept being a mother – something she should have done from the moment she had her, but instead couldn’t cope with the responsibility and abandoned her. Also, thanks for pointing out the typo!

        The overall series is really long. Technically speaking, this is an adaptation of a novel, which in turn is an adaptation of a very long screenplay. The screenplay itself is three-hours long. In total, Lisah and Eva’s journey would be 20 episodes for Season 1 alone, and then any other seasons after that would be a completely different story – a story per season. The story itself goes to some pretty unpredictable places, so there is definitely a lot.

        As for your overall thoughts, I thank you a lot. :)

    • charliesb

      Hi Ripleyy,

      I read the first act of your pilot. I’m not sure if the story of a mother and daughter attempting to find each other is a strong enough hook for a series. I know you’re interested in a more character driven sci-fi piece like Children of Men, but that had a really strong and accessible premise driving it. I don’t know if Lisah’s ‘secret’ is enough on it’s own.

      I know below you said you this story has a very deep mythology. Is there something in this mythology that could act as a hook? Why is Lisah pretending to be Eva’s mom in the first place? Is there a world crisis or situation or doctrine that can be highlighted in your logline as the backdrop or driving force of your story?

      • ripleyy

        Thanks for taking the time to read some of the pilot. It means a lot!

        The only hook I can think of that would be a substitute is the fact the nation’s army – “The Providence” – are taking children and placing them into these so-called farms, which weeds the strong from the weak, and then cloning the ones deemed strong-enough, all in an attempt for them to repopulate the country after it’s later destroyed in a nuclear explosion.

        The cloned children would later populate this new country, with little memory – through cloning and memory alteration – of the past. That idea, inspired by the farms created in World War 2 by Hitler, is the only hook I could use, but it’s also a spoiler. Not like that matters. I’m more than happy to break as many eggs as possible to make the story work. :)

        Also, because of the later parallel storylines, Eva’s side is a lot more action-orientated whereas Lisah’s storyline is a lot softer. That conflict, I found, worked well, but I can see why a mother-daughter storyline might not inspire confidence. I’ll take this on board and see if I can make it work!

        Also, regarding your question on why Lisah is pretending to be Eva’s mother is that Lisah gave birth to Eva out of an affair she had with a married man in her teens, and out of both shame and her reluctance to accept responsibility to look after Eva (because it reminded her of the man), she abandoned her with her own parents who would look after Eva until Lisah came back later on in her life.

        This dynamic, where Eva believes Lisah is her sister, when in fact she is her mother, becomes something that simmers beneath the surface. Lisah is only going through this journey to find Eva because she is finally going to accept responsibility and be the mother she should have been to her since the beginning.

        • charliesb

          “The Providence” – are taking children and placing them into these so-called farms, which weeds the strong from the weak, and then cloning the ones deemed strong-enough, all in an attempt for them to repopulate the country.

          This is what I’m talking about. That’s the back drop with your hook. Why are they cloning people instead of just forcing people to have children? Is having children rare? Is this something that government has mandated and people just go along with it, or is it something that not many know about? Are those that are cloned different in any way than those who born normally?

          Now find a way to connect your Lisah/Eva story to the back drop and you have your logline.

          • ripleyy

            Well the reason they’re taking teenagers is because once they’re cloned, they’re forced to breed among themselves – again, same thing happened in the farms (I forget their names) in World War 2, except they weren’t cloned. In these farms, the Nazis got teenagers to breed into each other so it would create the “superior race”. Plus, people would be a lot more difficult to “control” which is why they’re taking teenagers. And the whole event is new to everyone. It’s started with the Pilot, so no one is aware of what is happening to them. It’s just, through the series, you end up piecing together everything and finding out why.

            Alternatively, there is apart of the mythology where there are these towers that were created to somehow suppress people’s moods in an attempt to control natural breeding, but that’s unrelated to the whole plot, it’s just apart of the mythology of the country. Again, government run. The dictator who is ruling the country is running it with an iron fist and is the sole reason why all of this is happening. It’s his idea.

            That said, I’m glad to finally get down to what I need to do now to make the logline much better. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than not having a good logline, so thanks for helping me understand what I need :)

  • BellBlaq

    The title VAMPIRE IN SUNLAND immediately reminds me of the title VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, a movie you definitely don’t want people thinking about when they’re reading your script.

    But maybe it’s just me.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      BLOOD IN THE SUN perhaps?

      • BellBlaq

        I like that a lot better. You’re just Superman all over the place this morning, Greg!

        • Gregory Mandarano

          It’s May 2nd. Scriptshadow Avenger would be more timely.

  • Randy Williams

    GHOSTLIGHT

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Not exactly the tone I’d expect for a script labeled “horror”. It’s more lighthearted and similar to a comedy in what I read.
    Read the first 30 pages, got there very quickly since this is a very breezy read. No typos or grammar puzzles to get through. Nicely written.

    Milton is a fun character and very appealing. The others were a bit lost in the mix with so many introduced at once.

    Liked the theater history aspect of it. Never knew about a ghostlight and I would hope it would be utilized here as much as possible since it is the title.

    Overall, what prevents me from reading besides any concerns I’ve listed is that a really horrible thing has occurred with these kids and for the first 30 pages, every one seems more concerned with insulting each other and replacing the dead girl’s role in the play than finding the killer or whatever is behind a high school girl being skinned alive!!
    Even the sheriff would prefer to spout one liners.

    That just bugged the freak out of me. (I see as a teacher you have no issue using the “f” word) You must be popular.

    • Kelly McAllister

      Thanks Randy- and I am quite popular, but I don’t think it’s due to swearing.

  • Caivu

    Logline thoughts.

    Vampires in Sunland
    “A young girl coming into adulthood must battle a motley group of vampires who have taken her boyfriend hostage.”

    I’m a bit confused by how old the girl is supposed to be. “Coming into adulthood” sounds like puberty, so around 10-13 years old… but she has a boyfriend? Not impossible I guess, but that seems pretty young. There could also maybe be a hint of why the boyfriend was taken.

    Ghostlight
    “When a series of strange murders occur during rehearsals for the school play, an awkward drama geek must find out who or what is behind the killings- or there will be no opening night!”

    This sounds more like dark comedy than horror. The stakes are weak. The killer must be stopped or they’ll be no opening night? Not “the killer must be stopped to keep more people from being murdered? And why is it up to a student to solve things? Where are the police? Very odd.

    Inspired
    “During the hedonism of 90s Hollywood, a desperate writer’s career unexpectedly blows up when he starts writing about the crimes he’s committing, putting his Hollywood success on a collision course with the law.”

    I’m 100% certain this is already a movie or a book. I just can’t remember the name(s).

    The Big Decay
    “A private detective finds himself embroiled in a scandal that involves junkies with zombie-like behavior.”

    Vague. What type of scandal? The kind that involves zombie junkies, sure, but is it an affair? Embezzlement? Assassination? What?

    Universal Love
    “A female writer suffering from writer’s block develops a romantic bond with a man who she thinks is perfect, unaware that he is the alien from her story.”

    So many questions. How did this character come to life? Why only this character? Why is he an alien? What does the writer’s block have to do with anything? Maybe it would be better if she has such a massive writing frenzy that her characters become real somehow?

    Onto the reading.

    • BellBlaq

      I’m 100% certain this is already a movie or a book. I just can’t remember the name(s).

      A MURDER OF CROWS immediately came to mind when I saw that logline.

  • Felip Serra

    INSPIRED:

    It’s the paradoxical nature of stories of ambition that the main character’s actions end in failure. This is the only way to tell such stories dramatically; if Macbeth had remained king or Charles Foster Kane been reacquainted with Rosebud we wouldn’t buy it. Moreover, without the tragic arch the story would be a bore.

    But ambition is a demon, something dark and primordial that we dredge up to summon unearthly powers. It give us the strength and cunning to make incredible strides but it comes at a price. Wrestling with this demon is an internal sport; the mind becomes a combat arena. We know the outcome but we stay for the fight.

    So — This is the story of Alex Lay (Double entendre? Do we know he’ll get “fucked” eventually?). Alex is already has ambition but we need to really see it in the beginning. His ascent and decline will not be believable if we do not already see the seeds.

    All the supporting characters should mirror his own antagonisms. Hunter is Alex’s invitation towards crime, his “permission” to wrestle his own ambitions. Rachel is a force pushing against this (his morality). Make her more so. Ask yourself if Jackson is really needed. He’s good as a “voice of reason” but could some of his function be transplanted into Rachel? I also question Murphy. What is he to Alex? Why is he here?

    I question the the break in the middle, the “three months later”. Things, for me started teetering at that point and never fully recovered (although Alex’s killing Hunter was both surprising and necessary.) It may serve the story better to tighten the timeline. To suddenly see us at Cannes was a little too grand of a leap.

    Placing the setting in the 90’s was interesting. Certainly a time of decadence. The little details, like the O.J. trial, were fine. But what else? I remember it as a time of real optimism: Independent films had a mass audience, Sundance had Cinderella stories abound… Anyone could literally make a small movie and hit. And all this was changing the studios. Just some details to consider, given the story’s background…

    Finally, and cautiously, who is this story for? The general public, by and large, doesn’t care for films ABOUT movie making and though this isn’t necessarily the crux of your story it certainly informs a good percentage of it. Images of Alex passionately writing are just that: Watching someone type. Is this a compelling image? Is this interesting? Is there a way to make it compelling or interesting??

    There’s some is fire to this, no doubt. Clearly the writer threw himself onto the page and it shows. But I would put Alex front and center. It’s his story. In dealing with the world of film-making perhaps take a page from “Driver”, a story about a Hollywood stuntman. But could anyone follow the story without knowing the intricacies of Hollywood politics? Yes. And that’s in part why it found a bigger audience.

    Good luck my friend.

  • Caivu

    Vampire in Sunland

    Pg. 1-10
    -Barred windows? Is this a prison?
    -“Something that is a shadow, it’s the SHADOW MAN.” This is a clunky sentence.
    -Psychiatric hospital, then? Put that in the scene heading. I initially thought this was Margot’s house.
    -Quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes in this first scene.
    -Jess and Charley’s scene is sort of “eh”. And Jess is 17, so you were meaning adult in terms of age. That makes sense.
    -“Jess responds with a smile, but no words” You don’t have to mention that there are no words. If there’s no ones has dialogue, there won’t be words.
    -“They hunch over the tub and scoop handfuls of strawberries, meshing them into their fanged pie-holes. The red juices smear and stain their mouths a crimson red.” This seems over-described. “Pie-holes” is a comical term and seems a really inappropriate descriptive word to use in a horror script. Consider something like “They hunch over the tub, scoop out handfuls of strawberries, and devour them. The juice stains their mouths crimson.”
    -Jess uses the term “Mother” and not “Mom”? Maybe, but seems odd. I’ve never heard a teenage girl call her mother “Mother”.
    -Maybe its just me, but I don’t think I know what a European-style bow is.
    -Second instance (at least) of the word “tears” being misspelled as “tares”.
    -“It’s a good sized work room, that doubles as an armory.” Well alrighty, then. I chuckled at how blunt that was.
    -“riffles” should be “rifles”. This needs some proofreading; I’m struggling to read this.
    -I’m getting bored right around Richard’s intro scene.
    -A .50 cal revolver is an awful lot of gun.
    -“Jess, in yellow tinted sunglasses and ear plugs, holds a Smith & Wesson .50-cal Magnum with both hands. She draws a bead, pulls the trigger. BANG? The gun recoils, Jess keeps her posture.” You don’t have to completely introduce the gun again; in fact, you should just say something like “holds the Smith and Wesson” to indicate it’s the same gun. And “BANG?”
    -“Richard (volume in his voice)” Or just (shouting)?
    -Okay, Jess is a competitive shooter. I can buy her being able to handle a .50 cal revolver.
    -I’m stopping at page 10. I’m not in the mood for all these typos today, sorry.

    Kevin, you really need to proofread this. You probably care a great deal about this script, but the fact that there are so many mistakes in it sends the message that you don’t. And if you don’t care about what you’ve written, why should I? I won’t stop reading a script because of an occasional typo or grammar hiccup, but there were too many here. It kept me from getting into the story or the characters.

  • Randy Williams

    INSPIRED

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read up to page 25. The writing is so winning, that it’s hard to move away from it. I’d like to read more of that. That’s the plus. What I lacked, however was what the logline promised. Los Angeles in the early 90’s, hedonism, the madness and optimism surrounding the movie industry and everyone hoping they don’t miss out on the gravy train.

    This could have taken place in any city. Los Angeles needs to be a character here. Really push the visuals, the ambiance, the street life and people he comes in contact with.

    Alex needs to be more optimistic he’s going to get on that gravy train and get him to the top of the mountain before taking him and knocking him down it.

    Where’s the hedonism? It was at the end of a period of massive deaths from AIDS that decimated circles of friendship, business. Complete devastation. Yet, the town as always screwed like rabbits everywhere. Optimistic that it can’t happen to me or we can take care of it, just like the business itself. Alex would have been in the midst of all that. And…as a young handsome man with “soulful eyes”, why would he ever have to consider working in landscaping? One minute on Santa Monica Blvd or at any bar and someone will give him spending money just by opening his mouth. Four Weddings and a Funeral came out in 94, the year of your script and everyone must have had a crush on English men.

  • Ninjaneer

    All of loglines for the horror scripts gave off a horror / comedy vibe or a kind of slight wackiness feel. That’s fine if intended but none of the genres indicated that. Just something to think about. Kind of confusing.

    The Big Decay: You had me at Noir/Horror BUT “…junkies with zombie-like behavior” starts to lose me. I’ll still give a try though later on.

  • Randy Williams

    THE BIG DECAY

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I’m not a big Film Noir fan. That’s why I left this for last.
    So, given that, I started reading and I was immersed so well into your scenes with your writing that my prejudice fell aside. This was also the first script today that made me laugh out loud. Page 6.

    But, I tell you, for me, I had the same problem with this that I had with Ghostlight.
    Something truly horrifying happens and we continue with no mention of it, no seemingly trauma on anyone because of it. It goes from whacking off a leg of someone to surveillance of a cheating husband without the blink of an eye. I was distracted from really eating up those delicious pages that followed that horror with thinking. Ummm..what’s with that woman and how come he just went and whacked her leg off with his machete?

    I think you could set it up with the opening. The dealer maybe aware of what she might become is upset she’s popped a pill while still in the state of undress and still in his apartment and she starts coughing up blood and he is kicking her out of his apartment, down the flight of steps and it’s still not getting through to her, she needs to leave, and he’s bashing her head in with a fire extinguisher and still no leaving and kicks her out to the curb and on her way, and THEN the private detective goes and whacks off her leg. THEN, i’m know something’s up and I can wait for it while I laugh and get into the detective’s surveillance game.

    Good stuff, but goes off the tracks early in my view.

  • S.C.

    OT, and quite old, but really very relevant to AOW.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1985-05-19/entertainment/ca-9154_1_eddie-murphy

    From 1985, screenwriters compete to have the next Eddie Murphy blockbuster.

  • Jack F.

    Congrats to everyone who made this AOW. My vote goes to: Ghostlight

    Vampires in Sunland – Read about 40 pages. As a fan of “Fright Night”, I really liked where the script was going. A nice dramatic hook with Charlie(Brewster – Roddy) McDowell going missing. I must admit when I started reading, I thought “Oh God, another rape scene.” But when I saw where the script was going I didn’t mind it so much, though it was not until the end of said scene that I realized it took place in a hospital room. I love the character of Bram, the Corey Feldmanesque vampire-hunting boy wonder. I frankly wish he was the main character. I like the frank eroticism of the vampires, but cave drawing of vampires with erections? Such gags make the rape scene come off in poor taste. I feel there is a promising start here, but things need to get going a bit faster.

    Inspired – Hollywood loves show-biz stories (“Birdman”), that’s for sure. I’m not sure why the script needs to take place in 1994. Alex should meet Hunter earlier. It seemed quite a coincidence that Hunter and Rachel are a couple. Maybe it pays off later in the script, but it threw me. I would lose the limp situation and just have the one accident with the scaffolding. Also, outside references to accent and the NHS aside, I think there has to be a more compelling reason for Alex to be British. I mean, if we had some sense of his life in England, it would help flesh him out a bit more. This reminded of “Stretch” meets “Drive” with a bit of “The Player” thrown. Also, I think it would stronger if he wrote a stinker before his criminal script, or we got more into his head, writing-wise, ala “Seven Psychopaths”.

    The Big Decay – There is so much potential here. Zombie noir. But I checked out when it did not live up to the uniqueness of the logline. Make the adulterous husband a cannibalistic drug addict, not just an adulterous husband (a film noir staple) with underworld connections. Add some humor. (“Your husband is cheating on you, though I’m not sure if it counts.” “Why not?” “He’s a cannibalistic murderer, for one.”) And either lose the VO or have more of it. I do love the machete. A lot.

    Universal Love – Lots of potential. A woman lost in her fantasy world. But I never got a visual sense of her imaginary world. And I wanted see more of a blend of her world and the real world. Got to about page 20. Maybe things come together a bit more.

    Ghostlight – I am not a theater geek. But I am a John Carpenter geek. And the opening reminded me of the beginning of “The Fog”. I like the hysteria of Milton and the murderous ghost. I am not sure the school would allow any play to go on after the flaying of the student, though. And such a flaw in the premise is a problem. But the writing on it is the strongest, so it gets my vote.

    • hickeyyy

      In regards to Inspired, I think the time period was a big boom for screenplay sales – everyone that was writing was getting big paychecks – which is why it was chosen as the setting.

      • Jack F.

        I just wish it was more emphasized. Don Simpson/Joel Silversesque producers. Tarantino clones. Maybe even a Shane Black type rival/casual acquaintance. According to him, he lost a lot of friends after the 4 million dollar “Long Kiss Goodnight” sale. I just felt it could easily, with a few tweaks, take place now. Unless the spec mania is played up a bit more.

  • S.C.

    Completely OT: Lots of scripts online, but not many treatments, so I’m always happy when I find one. Here’s a treatment for sequel to the 1998 GODZILLA by Tab Murphy. 3,762 words.

    https://makingofgodzilla.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/godzilla-2-script-treatment-by-tab-murphy/

  • Lucid Walk

    READ THE FIRST 10 PAGES OF EVERYTHING

    You want my vote? Give it to THE BIG DECAY
    Runner-up: INSPIRED

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND:
    -Opening scene hooked me right away; descriptions were perfectly sparse; the dream sequence was outstanding; couple grammar errors; dialogue needs work; it felt as though Charley was the hero at first; not sure what the plot was going to be

    GHOSTLIGHT:
    -A quick read; good query; the murder was well done; character bulking on the first page — bad idea; Milton gives way too much exposition with both Bloody Bones and the ghostlight; more emphasis on the sounds would make it scarier

    INSPIRED:
    -Alex is a very unique character; the story is almost self-reflexive, like everyone on SS is living the life Alex is living; good query; great logline; I was curious to know how it would end; there should be more things telling us we’re in the 90s because I felt like we were in modern time; couple description errors

    THE BIG DECAY:
    -Great title; perfect depiction of film noir, with zombie drugs giving it a fresh touch; I really wanted to keep reading, because the writer knows what they’re doing; the exchange between Johnny and Elizabeth felt off; if there’s a connection between the zombie drugs and Elizabeth’s husband, it should be revealed sooner

    UNIVERSAL LOVE:
    -The writer certainly has imagination; the Twitter part made me laugh; feels like a first draft; an abundance of grammar issues

    One last thing, and forgive me for being harsh…
    I don’t care how great your writing is. You could be the next Shakespeare, Woody Allen, J.D. Salinger or Billy Wilder. I DO NOT CARE! Because if your story sucks, it sucks. I’m reading way too many scripts where the writers put all their energy into prose. I’m not saying prose isn’t important (of course it’s important), but great writing will not save a bad story. Focus more on layering and plot development; prose improvement will come in time. Besides, I’ve learned it’s easier to come up with a great story. Putting it on paper, now that’s what makes us screenwriters. But seriously, storytelling > writing.

  • Bifferspice

    Not long finished my own noir/horror/revenge flick so intrigued by the big decay! Will try and give it a read in the next couple of days! :)

  • Caivu

    Ghostlight

    Pg. 1-13
    -The kids need ages. There are also a lot of them introduced very quickly.
    -Is Noel a boy or a girl?
    -“My ninja!” Huh?
    -This is reading like an 80s or 90s movie. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t buy modern-day teens acting this way. The flashlight under the face thing, the girls being scared of the dark… seen it. It’s made even odder by the kids drinking and swearing. Strange tone so far.
    -“I hate it when they call me duck!” Huh? Oh, it’s a nickname. But no one’s called him that yet, have they?
    -Milton is a cartoon character. This theater obsession of his can be toned way down. If Milton and the rest of the characters are supposed to be horror archetypes or something, I’m not getting that so far.
    -Dana’s a guy? If you use unisex names, specify the sex of the character. I thought both Noel and Dana were girls.
    -If I hadn’t read the logline, I don’t think I’d know why these kids are here. I could guess, but I don’t think I’d know for sure from anything I’d read.
    -I’m noticing grammar issues around pages 7-9.
    -Tell us Eve’s specific age.
    -I was under the impression that this was going to take place totally in the school. The logline seems to imply that.
    -Well fuck you too, Maggie. So what if your friend died? You’re lucky Will didn’t smack you.
    -This is all coming off pretty corny to me. Noel not being able to act appropriately during a funeral, even if he is the class clown? Milton giving the eulogy? His obsession with theater? I’m not feeling this.
    -Stopped at page 13.

    I thought this as going to be a contained story, with the kids rehearsing after-hours and getting interrupted by the killer. That might be a better choice due to how theater-focused the premise is.
    You could maybe hold off on the killings, especially if you’re going to intro so many characters at once. Let us get to know them a bit. Show some of the rehearsal before things go down, so when people start dying, we actually feel something.
    You mentioned knowing how teens talk in your WYSR, but no one makes a crack at Milton’s obsession by saying he has “theater autism”? Or just Asperger’s? I guarantee you that would get said based on the way Milton’s acting. It’s weird, quite frankly, and a group a teens would be a lot more vocal about shutting it down, no? Especially a group of unsupervised ones.
    I skimmed ahead and man, this gets straight-up crazy. Right now, though, I don’t feel compelled to properly find out what happens.

  • hickeyyy

    MY VOTE: Inspired.

    Vampires in Sunland

    Logline Interest: Iffy. I’m not huge into the vampire fad, but I have seen some vampire flicks I’ve loved (Let the Right One In), so I’m open!

    Read: 3 pages.

    Notes: Just on page one there is is some serious issues. This is distressing to me: “…something in the corner of the room, something in the shadows. Something that is a shadow, it’s the SHADOW MAN.” The way this is written is Charlie Kelly-esque. Then, the shadow man rapes her with a misspelling. This is followed by a sentence that just stops. ‘Her Milky White Eyeball -’. What about it?! I’m really confused here.

    In our next scene, we see a couple smoking weed and being melodramatic. Then a bus honks… what bus?! There wasn’t a bus before. A lot of your action lines aren’t even action at all but unfilmable descriptions of what your characters are thinking.

    Suggestion: I think you need to sit down, go page-by-page, rethink each line, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

    Ghostlight

    Logline Interest: Medium. Sounds like a marketable horror flick. Nice work.

    Read: 5 pages.

    Notes:Holy shit, character overload on Page 1. I’m never going to remember all these people. Especially since we get very minimal description to set them apart. I feel this scene would flow better if you started with a couple and more people slowly showed up. Another problem I am having is with the kids themselves. They seem like they are supposed to be like 16 or 17 but sometimes they feel like they are 12. Milton is such a cliche nerd name, and he says ‘I hate when they call me duck’ completely uninitiated. Of course, he’s called Duck shortly after. I feel like this reveal would be better AFTER he is called Duck. No one is talking about like this in high/middle school. Something about his just doesn’t feel genuine. Lots of exposition. I’m jumping out here.

    Suggestion: Rethink some of this dialog. Doesn’t feel genuine. Cut exposition. Consider a mystery-box opener to get us intrigued. I skimmed and found this one scene last 9 pages! Maybe consider making this a standard play instead of a screenplay?

    Inspired

    Logline Interest: Medium-High.

    Read:20 pages.

    Notes:I’m really digging what you have here, but I do have some concerns. Alex doesn’t feel like he is all that fleshed out as much as I’d like. He seems like a driven guy, but I don’t feel like I know much about him. I also didn’t like that we cut over Alex’s crime. He’s just a driver, that’s fine, but I’d like to see it. I don’t want to see a bunch of money piled on his car seat. This is a huge moment for your character and it’s being thrown under the rug here. I think it’s important that we see his delve into crime to support himself and pay these bills.

    Suggestion: Make Alex feel like a real person. Get more into the crime. Maybe speed up the development that he is going to start writing about his crimes. We don’t get a hint of that yet.

    The Big Decay

    Logline Interest: High. I like the idea of mixing noir with horror. Great idea.

    Read: 7 pages.

    Notes: Is there someone named Breezer in this screenplay? I think it’s used about 15 times in the first couple pages. The dialog here feels very stilted and unnatural. The entirety of it does, to be honest. It’s all very clinical feeling. There is no style to it at all. It’s just the facts. I’d love to see this get mixed up with a little more emotion to it. A little more flare. I don’t need a ton of purple prose or anything, but make it enjoyable. There is also an issue of over-describing everything. Example, on page 7, there is an entire page of what is sitting next to Johnny Silver on the floor. This could’ve been finished up in three sentences and we could’ve moved on.

    Suggestion: Spice it up. Make this feel less like an essay and more like an enjoyable read. Cut down on some description.

    Universal Love

    Logline Interest: Medium. I’ve seen a few iterations of this idea.

    Read: 3 pages.

    Notes:This truly needs to be hit with a spell and grammar check. Most of these sentences legitimately don’t make sense to the point it feels like it is possibly ESL. I’m sure other commenters have noticed, but I tend to write my reviews before reading anyone else’s so I don’t get my judgment blinded. Nevertheless, the amount of errors and issues have caused me to check out early.

    Suggestion: Spell check. Grammar check. If English isn’t your native tongue, I’d suggest getting someone else to proof this for you.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      The milky white eyeball line in Vampire threw me off for a second too. It’s meant to be a transition shot for a fade from that to the moon, but to work the eyeball line needs to be a complete sentence.

      • hickeyyy

        I think you’re right about the transition, actually. Didn’t really put it together. I thought the writer just forgot to finish the sentence.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          Your confusion and pointing it out serves as a good tip to try to FOCUS ON CLARITY.

          It’s an advanced skill in screenwriting to connect scenes together through visual cues without being too OVERT about them. The problem isn’t when it’s missed – it’s when it’s so subtle that it becomes confusing.

          And once again it comes down to incomplete sentences.

          Simple fix: The reflected light of the moon glistens in her milky white eyeball.

          FADE TO:

          The full moon, blah blah blah.

          • Guy Somebody

            Yes, you are correct, I should have clarity here. So people’s confusion is a great indicator as to where I need to be more clear. Although, the transition is not a dissolve it’s a straight cut, but in the end the idea is the same. Thanks for your input! This is why I’m here, to improve.

            Best,
            Keven

  • Malibo Jackk

    Best Title — GHOSTLIGHT
    Best Logline — UNIVERSAL LOVE
    Best Genre — VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND & GHOSTLIGHT
    Best WYSR — THE BIG DECAY
    Best Script — ?

    • S.C.

      I like that idea. I’d say logline most important, followed by title, WYSR and finally genre.

      So UNIVERSAL LOVE would win because no other script did better in the other catergories. Agree?

      • Malibo Jackk

        Not sure.

  • Caivu

    I was probably thinking this was going to be something along the lines of Let the Right One In, which had younger characters/actors; biological vs cultural adulthood, in other words.

  • Caivu

    OT, but kind of related…

    I’m thinking of starting an annual horror film marathon this year, and I’m just curious what everyone thinks of it (and maybe inspire others to do the same?). This might not be the most original thing, but it would work like this:

    -The marathon lasts from midnight, Oct. 1 to midnight Nov. 1
    -Each day I’ll watch 1 horror or psychological thriller film that I haven’t seen, except on Oct. 31, where I’ll watch as many as I can.
    -Except on Halloween, each film must be watched after sundown, in the dark.
    -The films must be from at least 5 different decades and cannot be from the current decade.
    -The films watched on Halloween must be from at least 3 different decades.
    -Consecutive films cannot be from the same decade.
    -No sequels unless I’ve already seen the previous films in the series.

    And with those rules in place, here’s what I’ve picked:

    Oct. 1: The Night Walker (1964)
    Oct. 2: The Invisible Man (1933)
    Oct. 3: Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
    Oct. 4: Funny Games (1997)
    Oct. 5: Jaws (1975)
    Oct. 6: Audtion (1999)
    Oct. 7: The Old Dark House (1932)
    Oct. 8: Ghostwatch (1992)
    Oct. 9: Psycho (1960)
    Oct. 10: The Wolf Man (1941)
    Oct. 11: Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
    Oct. 12: The Man They Couldn’t Hang (1939)
    Oct. 13: May (2002)
    Oct. 14: Don’t Look Now (1973)
    Oct. 15: Nightbeast (1982)
    Oct. 16: Hausu (1977)
    Oct. 17: The Birds (1963)
    Oct. 18: Cat People (1942)
    Oct. 19: Possession (1981)
    Oct. 20: Cat People (1942)
    Oct. 21: The Thing from Another World (1951)
    Oct. 22: Saw (2003)
    Oct. 23: The Mummy (1932)
    Oct. 24: At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964)
    Oct. 25: Dr. X (1932)
    Oct. 26: Deathdream (Dead of Night) (1975)
    Oct. 27: The Walking Dead (1936)
    Oct. 28: The Last Broadcast (1998)
    Oct. 29: An American Werewolf in London (1981)
    Oct. 30: Island of Lost Souls (1932)
    Oct. 31:
    Fiend Without a Face (1958)
    The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
    In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
    Deep Red (1975)
    One Hour Photo (2002)
    The Haunting (1963)
    The Uninvited (1944)
    The Thing (1982)
    Scream (1996)

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Recommendations for next year? I know this is really early for an October event, but I kind of want to track down physical copies of these in order to watch them properly, and I expect that to take some time. I also realize I’ve got a lot of classics missing from my personal “Seen it” list; that’s one of the reasons I’m doing this.

    • charliesb

      So wait you haven’t see Nightmare on Elm Street, Jaws, Scream or Psycho? Are you one of them ‘millennials’ I keep hearing about? ;)

      Sounds like fun. I actually just finished watching DON’T LOOK NOW for the first time like an hour ago. What a strange movie. I think I can see the appeal in remaking it.

      Interestingly enough, I wouldn’t have considered Funny Games or One Hour Photo as horrors, but I guess they kinda are. I approve of a lot of your list. I’m sure Poe will be able to give you a more definitive thumbs up or down.

      Not sure what to recommend since I’m not sure what you’ve seen, or what your tastes are, but if you haven’t seen ‘EL ORFANATO’ I highly recommend it.

      • Caivu

        Thanks for your input!
        As far as recommendations go, I guess I’m looking for anything obscure or foreign (you were right about me being a millennial; this hipster junk just confirms it); Suspiria is the most obscure horror movie I’ve seen, for reference; and some alternates for this year are Uzumaki and Manos: The Hands of Fate. I don’t mind gore, but it’s not my favorite, either.

      • Poe_Serling

        I’ve had the opportunity to see most of the films on the above list. I think it’s a solid lineup of old and new horror.

        You can’t wrong with these classics – The Invisible Man, Psycho, The Wolf Man, Cat People, The Thing From Another World, The Haunting, and The Uninvited – in my opinion.

        • Kirk Diggler

          What did you think of The Others?

          • Poe_Serling

            I really enjoyed it – sort of a creative twist on the novella The Turn of the Screw/the film The Innocents.

      • davejc

        Coincidence! I just watched Bad Timing the film Roeg made after Dont Look Now

    • davejc

      It’s great to see Possession 1981, The Old Dark House (1932) and Dr. X (1932) on your list. Cat people 1942 is mentioned twice. Maybe you meant the 80’s remake w Bowie.

      Are you going for scary or iconic?

      For scary you should really have more Eastern Asia films: A Tale of Two Sisters is about as scary as it gets.

      For iconic, definitely Nosferatu. Cat and the Canary 1924?. And Try to find a copy of Mr Dracula (China). There is certainly something very creepy about hopping vampires.

      • Caivu

        D’oh! Thanks for catching that. Replaced one of them with A Tale of Two Sisters; I think I’m prioritizing scares, at least for now.
        I’ve seen Nosferatu, but the other two are now alternates for this year, and will be added to next year’s list if they’re not used. Thanks!

    • brenkilco

      For obscure but worthwhile thirties movies you might consider Ulmer’s The Black Cat. Really bizarre. Karloff vs. Lugosi, and Lugosi, while a bit insane, is actually the good guy. And if you can track down a decent video of Old Dark House you’ve done well. Only seems to exist in barely watchable tenth generation dupes. The original Mummy btw is extremely boring. And the actual mummy is really only in it for about thirty seconds.

      • davejc

        Yeah. You’re biggest challenge is finding the best restoration/version of these films. Brenkilo is right, the original mummy is boring. But the remake is great.

    • Poe_Serling

      Just a few of my recommendations…

      1930s
      >>Murders in the Zoo
      >>Bride of Frankenstein
      >>The Black Cat – I agree with brenkilco… obscure but worth the effort to find and watch.

      1940s
      >>The Seventh Victim
      >>I Walked With A Zombie
      >>Dead of Night – a must-see horror anthology from Ealing Studios.

      1950s
      >>Invasion of the Body Snatchers
      >>Night of the Demon
      >>Les Diaboliques

      1960s
      >>Black Sunday – a Mario Bava film…. and supposedly Tim Burton’s favorite horror film.
      >>The Innocents – another must-see film in my book. Based James’s The Turn of the Screw.
      >>Burn, Witch, Burn aka Night of the Eagle

      1970s
      >>Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
      >>Burnt Offerings – a guilty pleasure on my part.
      >>The Wicker Man

      1980s
      >>The Fly
      >>The Beast Within – a slice of Southern Fried Lovecraft.
      >>The Monster Squad – some horror comedy from the writing duo of Shane Black & Fred Dekker.

      • Caivu

        Great list! I haven’t seen any of these (never even heard of some of them). The Beast Within sounds especially interesting; I like me some Lovecraft.

      • Levres de Sang

        A terrific list, Poe. I rewatched The Seventh Victim only last weekend and found myself making two pages of notes afterwards. And that sequence where Jacqueline sits before the poisoned drink remains one of my all time faves.

        I was going to recommend Suspiria, but see that Caivu mentions it further down the thread. So how about:

        Isle of the Dead (1945)
        The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)
        Les Yeux sans Visage (1959)
        Valerie and her Week of Wonders (1970)
        Traitement de Choc (1972)
        Tenebrae (1983)
        Ringu (1998)

        This is a fantastic endeavor on Caivu’s part. I hope he updates us with his final list come October.

        • brenkilco

          Eyes without a face is genuinely unique. Creepy, weirdly poetic. What’s with the birds? Modern audience would demand that she take that mask off at some point. Personally I’m glad she didn’t.

          • Levres de Sang

            Absolutely! Edith Scob’s character is even rendered strangely beautiful by the mask. As for the doves, I suspect they fulfill multiple functions: a Cocteauesque symbol of freedom for both her and the animals; with their whiteness satisfying visually being that it’s a nocturnal scene.

          • brenkilco

            Sans mask she appears in Franju’s Judex and is as might be expected quite lovely. For his leading man in that movie he chose American magician Channing Pollack whose specialty was, you guessed it, conjuring doves out of thin air.(He gets to do a bit of his act in the movie). Maybe doves were just Franju’s thing.

          • Levres de Sang

            I’ve only seen some of Judex, but do recall its glistening b&w camera work… Although it seems to me that Franju became the forgotten man of French cinema being that so few horror films were being made there during the nouvelle vague.

        • brenkilco

          As I dimly recall Beast With Five Fingers is sort of dopey and inept. But ya gotta love the concept. And Peter Lorre. I believe the villain had a supporting part in The Addams Family TV show, then faded into obscurity.

        • Poe_Serling

          The Seventh Victim is an effective chiller.. worth watching for its eerie atmosphere and knowing Noir touches alone.

          Per Caivu:

          “As far as recommendations go, I guess I’m looking for anything obscure or foreign …”

          I had a pretty good hunch that you would serve up some first-rate scary foreign fare.

          If you enjoyed Baby Jane, I highly recommend Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

          “A wealthy southern spinster fights to keep her family’s secrets hidden.”

          Once again, reteaming star Bette Davis and director Robert Aldrich from their earlier scarefest What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.

          • klmn

            And, since you brought it up…

        • Caivu

          At the risk of getting too ahead of myself, I’ll absolutely give a final list when the time comes, but I only expect it to change if I can’t get a hold of some of the films from the initial list. I already have more than enough recommendations for next year! That’s awesome.
          I was also planning on doing short, immediate-reaction-style reviews after I finish each film.
          Thanks for your recommendations! Ringu was one I was looking at for this year, but I dropped it because I’ve seen The Ring and I’m not convinced the two are substantially different. I’m not opposed to seeing Ringu, just not necessarily for this.

          • Levres de Sang

            “I was also planning on doing short, immediate-reaction-style reviews after I finish each film…”

            Excellent! I was hoping you would as there’s a fair few on your list I’m not familiar with myself. It also seems like a great exercise in screenwriting terms to watch so many flicks in the same genre over a concentrated period.

            Best of luck in tracking them all down!

      • brenkilco

        I’d throw in a vote for The Uninvited, maybe a bit light for a horror movie but contains maybe the best plot in any scare picture. Recently saw for the first time since I was a kid an obscure Karloff picture called The Devil Commands. A mad scientist swipes some corpses, arrange em around s table like a seance and juices em with electricity all so he can communicate with his dead wife. Not making this up. Made no sense to me as a kid. And, surprise, makes even less sense to me now. Pretty wild all the same.

        • Poe_Serling

          The Devil Commands… I’ll have to check it out for sure.

          The two things that I always found appealing about Karloff were 1) he appeared to tackle each role with great relish and 2) he had such a mischievous twinkle in his eye when doing so.

          • Levres de Sang

            And there’s also his wonderfully inviting enunciation — like the finest silk. I guess it’s a speaking style that came to be viewed as overly theatrical or even camp; but now that we’ve spent more time with the opposite it feels oddly refreshing.

          • Poe_Serling

            It’s almost hard to imagine the Grinch cartoon without Karloff’s terrific voice work.

          • klmn

            For the same type of classically trained voice, check out William Marshall in Blacula (1972).

          • brenkilco

            Like James Earl Jones with a slight Caribbean lilt after a lot of years doing Shakespeare. In another time he would have merited more than camp horror and a guest shot on Star Trek.

    • klmn

      I think you have to include Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. (1974)

      Joe Bob Briggs said about it, “There are a lot of movies about maniacs, but this is the first one I saw that looks like it was directed by one” or something to that effect.

      Another one you should add is Cannibal Holocaust (1980), which Carson should love because it’s a found footage film

      • Caivu

        Two more classics I’ve not seen yet. They’re both in the mix for next year now. Thanks!

      • brenkilco

        Don’t think Existenz is exactly horror, but it’s still an extremely underrated picture. I’ll tell you what would be scary. Spending time with people who would actually enjoy playing the drab, gross, paranoid game the main character has invented.

        • klmn

          I’ve heard eXistenZ and some other Cronenberg films called “body horror.”

          So, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

          • brenkilco

            Yeah, it’s nowhere near Rabid or Videodrome territory but it does have it’s creepy bio moments.

    • Caivu

      Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!

    • hickeyyy

      I’d include 2007’s Trick R Treat. A great Halloween Anthology that will get you in the spirit.

    • pmlove

      If you’re allowing horror TV, I’d suggest a quick look at the British series ‘Hammer House of Horror’. Camp but fun and almost always bleak.

      Try ‘The House That Bled’.

      I’d also recommend, ‘The Brood’ (more Cronenberg) and ‘The Orphanage’.

    • brenkilco

      The original Night Stalker from the early seventies is a lot of fun. Has a fair claim to the title of best made for TV movie ever.

      • davejc

        Yes! The underrated Dan Curtis(Dark Shadows, Burnt Offerings) was a genius.

        As far as TV movies go IMO the 1973 version of Frankenstein with James Mason and Michael Sarrazin(penned by Christopher Isherwood) would give Night Stalker a run for the money. It certainly is the best Frankenstein narrative.

        • davejc

          Spoiler Alert.

        • Poe_Serling

          As a kid, I remember enjoying the supernatural thriller The Reincarnation of Peter Proud starring Michael Sarrazin – it
          used to be a staple of late-night TV.

        • brenkilco

          Surprising that something this literate, tony and well cast was never a theatrical feature but from the start was a lengthy made for TV movie. Believe Sarrazin whose career vanished with his youth just died recently.

    • tyrabanksy

      Personally, I think no horror-thon is complete without SLEEPAWAY CAMP, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.

      I know you said “none from this decade” but FATHER’S DAY (Astron 6/Troma) is fucking over the top ridiculous and worth saving for your last night.

      • Poe_Serling

        Return of the Living Dead is just a whole of fun – filled with a lot of witty and campy dialogue.

        • tyrabanksy

          It has its scare moments, too. Tar Man is terrifying. Also, good soundtrack.

          • Poe_Serling

            Don’t get me wrong – I think Return of the Living Dead is an excellent choice for a horror movie marathon. You’re right – Living Dead has its share of scary moments, a memorable soundtrack, and Tarman is one of the film’s highlights.

            When I said it was silly fun, I meant in tone compared to the dead seriousness of the original Night of the Living Dead.

          • tyrabanksy

            Yeah, I didn’t take offense :) All three of those movies are silly fun. Night of the Demons 2 is actually more my favorite than 1. It has a totally disgusting/amazing scene with an enchanted lipstick. Worth watching if you just want to shut your brain off and watch a bunch of wtf movies.

    • witwoud

      Title: THE HORRATHON.
      Genre: Horror/Comedy
      Logline: Emerging from a month-long horror movie marathon, a man discovers the world has been overrun by monsters and must use his newly-acquired knowledge of the genre to survive.

      • pmlove

        Doesn’t sound dissimilar to that Space Invaders script.

    • Scott Reed

      Very cool. One of my favorite genres.

      Five more:

      — Night of the Living Dead
      — Mothman Prophecies
      — Jeepers Creepers
      — The Omen
      — The Forth Kind

      • Caivu

        Can’t believe I forgot about The Omen! That’s in the mix now for next year. Same for Jeepers and Mothman. I liked NotLD quite a bit. The Forth Kind… not so much.
        Thank you!

  • Randy Williams

    Technically, Ambrose’s first line of dialogue is “Don’t be frighten by them”
    That alone may be a sign he doesn’t belong in the script at all. :)

    Seriously, though. For me, I thought the lure of this story was how the logline is fulfilled. If she’s reaching adulthood then so are these misfits that Charley has hooked up with. She’s in it with them whether she likes it or not because they’re going through the same thing, and whatever fight she is going to mount to save Charley is against her own peers.

    Ambrose seems like an adult cult leader. He’s been there and done that. Is his age mentioned? I don’t remember it. He’s also presented as androgynous, which for me muddles the coming of age theme. His first dialogue, besides the error was bordering on spoof for me. Just didn’t work.

    He then disappears for a long stretch. I haven’t read the whole thing but I glanced through pages and don’t see him. So those few creeping around appearances and then some odd conversation with Jess at the party was wasted real estate in my opinion.

    • Guy Somebody

      Ah, I see. Yes, opening line about the wolves aside, Ambrose does play a larger part later on and essential to Jess’ character development and history. So to remove him would mean practically a page one rewrite. Which is not the end of the world, but that’s why I was curious.

  • lonestarr357

    Reading the first 25 pages of each…

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND – Spelling mistakes galore (‘tares at her clothing’, ‘barley can grow a beard’, ‘a little cheese’, ‘expos a symbol’, ‘the fake sediment’) and probably could do without the toilet scene, but not too bad so far. Some good dialogue, esp. from Mandy. Also, a vampire movie with a character named Charley McDowell? No way that’s an accident.

    • Guy Somebody

      Thanks for the read. Yes, unfortunately I’m one of those annoying writers who have a hard time with spelling and grammar (an affliction of mine and something I’m not too proud of). It is very easy for me not to catch these damn errors because in my head I know what I’m saying, and I just write full steam ahead not conscious of these mistakes. Anyways, good news is the more I write the better I’ve become at catching them. This version of the script especially the beginning was written a few years back, and that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. ;) Don’t know about you, but that was suppose to be a Fright Night reference in the name.

      Best,
      Keven

  • bl2d

    My vote: Inspired.
    I’ve already given Ned notes on this awhile ago. It was pretty good back then, and after the first twenty pages, it looks to have gotten even better.

  • Shawn Davis

    MY VOTE–

    THE BIG DECAY

    Seems well put together. Good luck and CONGRATS on making the AOW.

    Shawn…..><

  • Kristopher M. Newcome

    Thanks I really appreciate the feedback. I will send it to my friend he is really good at grammar.

  • http://davescullion.blogspot.co.uk/ David Scullion

    My vote: INSPIRED

    It’s a bold (or insane) move to write about writers (unless you’re Stephen King, seemingly) so I wandered into this script with a severe amount of trepidation… and was very happily surprised!

    I personally love a story about AMBITION that drives a person into a slowly (or rapidly) descent into madness, darkness or criminality. This script had touches of Whiplash and Nightcrawler for me, with Alex’s blinkered vision both frustrating blind but oddly inspiring.

    Sharp writing style and character work – gets my vote.

    SECOND PLACE?

    Really damn strong selection this week, but my SECOND PLACE choice has to go to:

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND

    Great title, great concept, decent writing style (and a genre I enjoy).

    Good luck everyone!

    • Guy Somebody

      Thanks David for the read, and the shout-out. I’ll take second place any day of the week.

      Best,
      Keven

  • Mihailo

    I forgot to label my previous review, it was for Inspired.

    Now reading through The Big Decay.

    Page 2: “Breezer say’s”.
    Don’t leave this mistak on 2nd page, or anywhere in the script. You should write “Breezer says”.

    Page 3: “She puts it in her mouth and smiles.”
    Leave this sentence out. We don’t need it, we know what’s happening with the pills or maybe it’ better that we don’t explicitely see it? The follow-up with her being on the ground caughing up blood is descriptive enough. At least lost the smile from the sentence, it sounds amateurish.

    Pages 6&7 seem too rushed, conversation between the two seems childish and somehow it got my “amateur” alarm ON.

    But I’m still reading since the pace is good and I like your style up to now excluding a few things mentioned.

    Page 16&17: Elyzabeth and Silver dialogue made me stop reading. Seen this course of things one time too many to keep on reading. Sorry.

    Overall, your script was good so far, the pace is OK, dialogues are steady, understandable. What I would sugest though, is create more suspense with Crazies, make them harder to defeat, yes SIlver is macho but don’t lose suspense, we need to fear when we see these Crazies, and not know in advance they’ll be slayed in a few seconds like they were crippled Crazies. Two of them, please don’t make them easy meat, and a horde of Crazies should be a mission impossible with only a one man machete macho.

    I did sneak peak into pages 18 & 19 to see if I predicted what’s going to happen, and I did.

    So I’ll add one more attribute to your screenplay – predictive, across all the 19 pages I saw. Don’t have that, you have to keep the brain interested and anticipating for every scene to resolve.

    Nothing new in these 19 pages I read.

    It is solid work, but needs a lot more sweat on it…

  • Mihailo

    A mix of sci-fi with comedy is done a few times, and to me the quite superior contestant is “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”.
    It is good to have a take at the genre mix, but for this I figure you have to be a master to pull off.

  • brenkilco

    Read all of The Big Decay. Seemed like potentially fun idea. And it was enjoyable but there are problems. The dialogue is never great( Film Noir was fueled by great dialogue) and when it comes to voiceover or attempts at cool PI banter, it’s downright lousy. Doesn’t read like a work by someone who loves Out of the Past but by someone who’s seen Sin City too many times. And for me once is too many times.

    The plot is meh. Again Film Noir is revered for it’s labyrinthine plots but what’s going on here is not particularly complicated and would be simpler still if we had one bad guy chasing the mcguffin instead of a half dozen. The script contains exactly one surprize. It occurs midway and those familiar with this kind of stuff will see it coming from a long way off. It doesn’t even really work on its own terms. See, if in framing somebody you also implicate yourself, it’s not a good frame.

    The story has other problems. There are sufficient numbers of insane cannibal killers roaming the streets that the hero has already become practiced with a machete and killing barely bothers him but the police seem only mildly concerned. Shouldn’t there be cops and national guard on every street corner with orders to shoot to kill? The crazies seem to exist only to pop up whenever things get slow and serve more to slow down the story than to advance it.

    Plot elements that should have been introduced early on get tossed in very late. Though zombieness in this script is chemically induced the condition can apparently be transmitted from one person to another. But we only learn this when Cinammon gets bitten. Wouldn’t this be one more reason for general public panic? And maybe the best idea in the script doesn’t come into play until the third act. The story turns into a reworking of DOA. But instead of the hero slowly dying from poison he’s slowly transforming into a zombie. However, since unlike poor Edmund OBrian, he already basically knows the why and who, and doesn’t seem all that interested in revenge, the rush to the climax is less urgent than it could be.

    There is something here but a lot of work has to be done. One suggestion. Get your hero infected a lot earlier. Before he knows much of anything. You’ll up Carson’s precious GSU immeasurably.

  • thewildkingdom

    My pick: inspired… By a loooong shot. Despite the uninspired title I found a genuine character with a real voice. Out of everything I read today. Witty, philosophical, and a mouth that is clearly trying to catch up with his thoughts! A great opening, great dialogue, looking forward to finishing it. But there was more than enough in the first ten pages to want more!

    Vampires in the sun: 12. With bits of info seemingly missing it was hard to navigate through a series of opening scenes. I could only dread a full 129 page count. I stopped reading at the words; magical cock. Neither do it for me.

    Ghost light : 10p. A missing word in the first sentence is never a good sign. By the second page I was introduced to over 10 people that all sounded the same! Yikes! Milton does not like being called Duck before he is actually called duck. Horror strikes suddenly with no warning on p6. Reading this was the equivalent on running into a poorly planned maze.

    The big decay. 10p. Writing a noir and mixing zombies may get thumbs up for some, but it’s lost on me. Not interested based on taste alone.

    Universal love.10p. A cross between Gentleman Broncos and Stranger than fiction sounds great to me, but boy was this brutal. Hear me right: 11 grammatical errors on the first page!!! If I am counting those I’m counting the story out.

    I’ve learned today that if I’m not enjoying the story I’m counting characters and errors, which coincidently would not happen if I were reading a well written screenplay.

  • Randy Williams

    I encourage everyone to read the whole thing. By stopping on page 25, I missed the really cool and memorable handcuffed to the steering wheel business and all the fun industry types, and as I mentioned above, more good writing.

    The ending is really stunning in its way and a clever poke at Hollywood.

    • Kilg

      Thanks, Randy. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • jonsanhueza

    My vote goes to Inspired.

    After reading the first few pages of each, it feels the most polished and professional, but also it was the only one that was easy on the eyes. I thought I’d read one or two pages, but when I looked up and saw I was on page 5 I was pleasantly stunned. I got a sense of character right away, and the prose is charged and witty without going overboard. Well done!

    Vampires In Sunland – I was lost in the very first scene because the setting wasn’t described enough. We were just in “a room”, and all of a sudden Doctors and Orderlies come out of nowhere. Before then, I had no idea whether we were in a hospital, asylum, whatever.

    Ghostlight – the log line threw me for a loop, simply because if kids are getting murdered, does anyone really care if a high school play goes on? And why would the student be responsible for finding the killer(s), isn’t that the job of the police? I read for a few pages, but I just couldn’t get into the dialog. It didn’t feel authentic. And then when the drunk janitor wakes, it felt a little too over the top and I could no longer take it seriously. It’s like in the Scary Movie movies, does anyone really care if anyone lives or dies?

    The Big Decay – the first scene was a little awkward. I thought there was going to be some sort of twist and when the junkie girl turned out to just be a junkie girl, I was disappointed. Without knowing what was set up, it felt a little underwhelming as far as opening scenes go. I just think an introduction into the world of drugs you set up could be more unique and exciting.

    Universal Love – also a script that was somewhat awkward and confusing from the start, because Veronica’s place isn’t set up with any detail, and then we’re in a half-fantasy, where I guess Veronica is talking to herself, while tying– or not typing, because we find out later that she wrote down nothing… It seemed a little too complicated logistically for a character introduction. And then when her mother suggests that she find a man to fix her problem of writer’s block??? I just heard every female writer collectively moan. Which is probably not good if your primary audience for this kind of story is adult females.

    Congrats to all on making the AOW! I hope some of my notes were useful.

    -J

    • Gregory Mandarano

      The only man she needs to cure her writers block is Bucky Barnes.

  • Guy Somebody

    Unfortunately getting someone to just read my script all the way through, let alone then as them to proofread for me is not as easily done as said. No, this is something I have to be more diligent about it seems.

    • Bluedust

      There are professional services that will proofread them for you. The prices I’ve seen seem reasonable.

      • Guy Somebody

        Yes. Definitely something to consider. Thank you!

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to THE BIG DECAY.

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND

    Read to page 27. This story is taking forever to get going, no wonder it’s 128 pages long (i.e. far too long). Just when we get used to the people in Jess’s home town, there’s a switch to L.A. and a whole new crew to get to know. The story is going backwards.

    Maybe it’s a personal pet peeve and others don’t mind, but all the fake scares, the people who turned out to be figments of imagination, the bad dreams etc, just pissed me off. As far as I’m concerned, it’s crying “Wolf!” so when the real scares start we don’t feel them as we should.

    Hitchcock liked to start with a light and humorous tone so the scares had more impact when they finally arrived. A good model to follow. Anyway, we should get to know the characters before some scare involving them. We know nothing about Jess’s mother, we know almost nothing about Jess before seeing her dream of the bathtub, even Tammy is caught in a bloody vision before we meet her as Mandy’s sister. We don’t care about scares to people we don’t know.

    A note on the title: “Vampires in Sunland” imply that it’s about vampires whose main problem is they live in a sunny area, but I don’t think that’s the story.

    Niggles: tares/tears; pie-holes (inappropriate slang); riffles/rifles; resembling/re-assembling; BANG? (how can a gun ask a question?)

    GHOSTLIGHT

    Read to page 13. Clearly, this script requires a lot of work. Pity, because it was my favorite from reading the logline and WYSR.

    There were too many named characters in the first scene. Try to focus on a few and have the rest TEEN #1 or whatever. Also, in that first scene pay attention to who is where and the lighting. I imagined that they’d entered the auditorium, but next thing they were on stage. When did they climb up? And how dark is it when the lights are out? Sometimes they can see and sometimes not. Also pay attention to relationships and people interacting in character. Everyone seemed to be in their own private bubble, not conscious of the others.

    Not sure if “Bloody Bones” is a real character or not. Anyway, sufficiently obscure that he needs more of a build-up.

    Presumably the story is about getting the play performed. Whatever Milton’s goal, it should be made clear early on.

    p. 1 – Nine named characters on first page? Too much.

    p. 3 – “..call me duck” No one has called him duck yet. Why does he mention it?

    p. 3 – “Ray steps to the lamp.” When did they get onstage?

    p. 6 – Slow going. Too many people, all needing lines. The rebel and the clown should have climbed on stage and given a mock performance. e.g. “To pee or not to pee, that is the question.”

    p. 8 – “all hell breaks loose” This is a big dramatic moment and the first scare, but it is written in the same even tone as the more mundane action. Write it more dramatically.

    p. 8 – “and had blood all over him” Better: “He has blood all over him.”

    p. 9 – We never saw Trina go into the props room. And how do they recognize her with no skin? Give her a distinctive look, like long blond hair.

    p. 10 – Eve arrives and… nothing. What’s she doing there?

    p. 12 – Why is Milton giving the reading at the funeral. He’s not friend or family. (over page) Okay, he’s producing a play and she was the lead. This should have been set up earlier.

    INSPIRED

    Read to page 28. Well written and a quick read, but tonally it started almost like a comedy and got too quickly into crime and drama. I also didn’t get a feel for the hedonistic Hollywood of the logline. And I had difficulty understanding what was going on. It’s not straightforward this, then this, then this. Quite a few big moments seem to happen off screen.

    Just generally, the storyline needs to be clearer, and the emotional beats highlighted. For instance, Alex seems to become a burglar with no hesitation, fear, or attack of conscience. In reality the first couple of times he’d be shitting himself, wondering how he got into it.

    p. 2 – Was Alex’s pitch the script Crees is trying to sell, or another idea after he asked “What else have you got?” Maybe give us some sort of 90s logline.

    p. 4 – Be careful of jokes that rely on us knowing the future (i.e. cell phones).

    p. 4 – Need more scene setting e.g. Variety headlines. Don’t tell us it’s wild, show us.

    p. 9 – flumes/plumes

    p. 12 – “You pissed all over the winning lottery ticket.” Not sure how. Because he didn’t answer the phone? Maybe Crees should have a contract Alex didn’t come in and sign. Also, say there’s another script with Pharaohs vs Dinosaurs or whatever weird logline Alex’s script had.

    p. 20 – “wads of cash” Where did Alex get this money? At this point he’s done nothing.

    p. 22 – I would expect Alex to go through a bit of an apprenticeship before becoming a full-on burglar. Also, who did Hunter use as a side-kick before? Why is he not using him now? Or is Hunter also a beginner thief? He seems to be an old hand at it.

    p. 23 – “You’re trashing the place.” Yet another action that we never see, we are only told about. Anyway, I thought Alex was living in his car at this time.

    THE BIG DECAY

    Read to page 25. Enjoying it so far, and want to read further. My main criticism is it seems a little spare. Not enough detail to create the noir atmosphere. Also, miss the wisecracks PIs traditionally make.

    p. 5 – “cuts off her leg” This should come as a shock to the viewer. Write it more dramatically.

    p. 8 – How does the viewer know this is the woman’s home and/or husband?

    p. 9 – “couple gets into the car” Later it seems only Blake got into the car.

    p. 10 – Where are the zombies? Not a lot going on.

    p. 10 – Cinnamon again. Did she get in the car with Blake after all?

    UNIVERSAL LOVE

    Read to page 14. There are so many typos and grammatical errors I think the writer is ESL. Maybe he should get an editor to help him.

    The story is not really working for me. The fantasy SF portion is rather simplistic, and Veronica’s relationship problems seem unmotivated. Why doesn’t she want a relationship? How does she react with flesh and blood people. What are the stakes if she doesn’t hand in a novel on time?

    • Guy Somebody

      Thanks for the read Citizen M!

      How can a gun ask a question? That is a good question. Looking at the keyboard, I’m not even sure how I did that typo. Anyway, niggles aside, I get the impression it takes too long to get to L.A. and too many characters, yes? Originally the script was 140 pages. Perhaps a miniseries would be a more appropriate format for this story.

      Sunland is an area here in Los Angeles.

      As far as the “scares” they’re meant to be more eerie scenes than giving a quick scare. But, alas, I’m not Hitchcock.

      Thanks again!

      Best,
      Keven

  • fragglewriter

    I’ve only partly read three scripts as I’m not really a horror fan.

    Inspired – read until page 10. The underlined slug lines – I don’t thin they’re are really necessary unless you want to point out a time jump or something else of significance. I stopped reading as the accident took me out of the script. I guess I was thinking the script was going to be more like a deep down psycho coming out, which could be the case but I bailed.

    The Big Decay – read until page 3. While I have watched the film noirs you listed above, I really didn’t want to read the same lingo/dialogue in this script. I’ve written a script in that same manner before, but now that I’m reading someone else’s I get why it turned other readers off. Can you use more of your voice along with the film noir element?

    Universal Love – Good luck and share your experience at Scriptfest. read until page 5. The typos, the unrealistic dialogue, my confusion with Rion and just not knowing about the character’s traits/mannerism confused me.

  • Poe_Serling

    I just finished reading the first ten of each AOW… no clear cut winners this week for me. A few of my thoughts on the projects…

    >>Vampires in Sunland – the beginning with the dry humping teens gave me a ‘It Follows’ vibe, and that’s not necessarily a bag thing.

    The title Vampires in Sunland sounds like a comedy to me. I might just go with Sunland, which refers to the story’s location and a nice riff on vampires known aversion to daylight.

    >>Ghostlight – Like other posters have already mentioned, the opening has too many character intros and goes on for way too long.

    I love the idea of using a theater’s ghost light as a jumping off point for a horror film. Personally, I would open with a quick/scary scene highlighting the superstition – light off on stage/angry ghosts take revenge.

    >>Inspired – Not really my thing. But I’ll say this – I think Kilg is a helluva writer. He has style/voice to burn.

    >>Big Decay – I really dig the notion of combining Noir with horror, but it is really hard to pull off in my opinion.

    I suggest watching/studying Cat People and The Seventh Victim to see how it can be done successfully… then incorporating those elements into this project with the very clever notion of having zombie-like junkies roaming the dimly lit streets of the city.

    Universal Love – Again, not really my thing. So, I let the romcom people weigh in on this one.

    Thanks to all the writers for sharing their hard work.

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

    OT: May the Fourth Be With You, Always…

  • Midnight Luck

    How exactly to give supportive helpful criticism?

    I think about this a lot.

    I’m always working to be as open minded as I can. Yet struggle with so much I see, hear, and read.

    A lot of AoW work put up for us feels like a first time script, possibly even a first time writing anything at all, aside from something required in High School or College.

    So many of the scripts are just loaded with errors to a degree I cannot believe someone ever went through their own scripts a second time (or third or 30th).

    They just seem sloppy, lazy, and uninterested in even bothering to look over the work they are presenting to others. Those who give their time and effort to them for free.

    To me this is just disrespectful.

    It doesn’t matter that Amateur Weekend on ScriptShadow isn’t Disney or Paramount. There are real people here interested in giving your work a read, and then giving you unbelievable quality feedback. And they never ask for anything in return (except possibly giving them the same courtesy if they get a script posted).

    Outside of these things, it also seems absolutely idiotic to put your work out to the world (and that means ANYWHERE in the world) without going over it with a fine tooth comb. Without giving it to a few people you trust to read it, or even to your High School english teacher, or (gasp!!!) PAYING someone else to read it to catch english or spelling mistakes. Yes, if you aren’t strong with grammar or spelling, fork over a few bucks to have someone else do it.

    Even if your answer to that is “oh, but I am just shit-ass broke and can’t even afford to pay for Ramen”. Well, I am going to guess you still manage to get out to see the crap fest that is AVENGERS 2, or buy a beer (or ten) on a Friday night, or fill the car with gas to go to the mall.

    It is all about PRIORITIES.

    Get a second job. Do work on the side.

    Buy less, live simpler (I know, no one cares to hear it, but if you do, check out http://www.becomingminimalist.com (and no it isn’t my site, and no I have no connection to it, besides reading it), or one of the many other great sites about simplifying).

    If you ever intend for WRITING to be a real thing and to SUCCEED at it, well, you need to put something into it. You NEED to make sure you are putting your best impression out there.

    If some AGENT or even INTERN (they are the same thing to an Amateur who hasn’t really had success yet) comes on here and happens to pick up your script to see if maybe they can find an unknown but incredible script, and yours happens to have a first sentence like:

    “He’s grapping at gun with him fists, breaking arm and tumbles down floor. She gets and grabs his by the back of head.”

    Well, good luck getting anyone to read beyond that sentence.

    I really don’t understand why so many writers, particularly it seems those who decide to write scripts, think all this is of little consequence. Did the writer get a bunch of A+’s in school for shoddy writing? Was their High School so poor that even marginal effort was seen as amazing in comparison to everyone else’s? If so, they need to really consider getting a tutor or going back to school to take writing and english classes.

    Beyond that, many, many, many of the Story ideas on here end up being uninspired retreads of another show, movie or book the writer happens to love.

    Or the story and characters they choose seem to carry no interest for them, which leads me to ask “why exactly are you writing this?”.

    I absolutely know there are a ton of people on here who live for writing and work incredibly hard at it, and I applaud all of you. I am in your corner with you. Keep fighting.

    Yet so many of the entries just feel like something dashed off without care, or interest or love, or EFFORT. And once done, the excitement of finishing, leads the author to believe they are holding GOLD. That Stallone supposedly dashed off ROCKY over a 3 day weekend and it won an Oscar! So, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?

    Scriptwriting does end up seeming to be the land of opportunity full of unreadable dreck, heartless, lottery winning hopefuls who care little for quality or attention to detail, and more for a quick buck and fame.

    Where else is there a system in place to enable someone to scribble 100 pages of dialogue or something which is mostly white space, and then sell it for $80k or $3 million?

    Nowhere.

    So people just slam together anything and believe EFFORT is for when they have scored the contract for the Next project.

    When in fact it is couldn’t be further from the truth.

    So much effort has to be put into this before you even have that first ready-to-be-sent-out-to-the-world script. Hell, it might take 40 scripts fully written to get to your “First Script”. It might only take five, it might take 300, eventually you will know though.

    I’ve said this a million times, writers need to DIG DEEPER. Write Harder. Make sure what you are sending out to ANYONE is as perfect and polished as it can be.

    Will something slip by with an error or two, and still sell? of course. But don’t think that means errors are OK. Don’t think that means skimping on Story and Character and Dialogue is just fine.

    Writing is Painful.

    Good luck, and best wishes.

    • pmlove

      I think it’s partly to do with hierarchy (and, perhaps, self-perception).

      For the regulars here, there’s an expectation that the writing will be of a certain quality. Personally, I’ve never submitted to AOW because nothing I’ve written has made that grade. If you’re not a regular, or don’t care, then you might equate SS with say Trigger Street or Talentville, where a work in progress might be more acceptable.

      I do think that there needs to be some outlet for first drafts/ideas, especially as not everyone has a network of useful contacts from whom to get feedback. I just don’t believe it is here.

      • BellBlaq

        It’s definitely not here. Scriptshadow seems like a hell of a PR opportunity to waste by exposing a piece that isn’t ready. But then, if you’re just dickin’ around anyway Elle Woods (what, like it’s hard?) I suppose it really doesn’t matter.

      • Midnight Luck

        I don’t have a group of useful contacts at all to turn to. None.
        Yet if I really needed to I could come up with a number of people or options to go over my work.
        There are writing Meetup groups in just about every town as well.
        I used to live in a tiny town way out, and even that fleck of dust on the map had some writers who met at the library every week.

        I know I have extremely high expectation for things, and I assume that others do as well. I don’t quite understand the thought pattern of some that they write something, yet have little interest in getting it to the best it can be, before they send it out into a public forum such as this.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          You can turn to me if you need help with a draft Midnight! I might be slow about it but I like helping people out.

          • Midnight Luck

            Hey Gregory, thanks for that. I wasn’t fishing for it, I was only trying to point out that I agreed, many of us don’t have those contacts, but there are many ways to find them.
            But it was a kind thing to offer, appreciate it.

    • lonestarr357

      And people thought that that my spiel last weekend was hostile. How’s the humble pie, friends?

      Seriously, given some of this weekend’s entries, a post like this is as necessary as it is hurtful. Spot on.

      • Midnight Luck

        I am not at all hostile.
        Nor am I being hurtful.
        I am being realistic and honest.

        Sometimes people (writers) need to hear it.
        it can help.

    • andyjaxfl

      I think supportive criticism is a difficult task to pull off especially since every writer is extra sensitive of their work, myself included. Most of the folks submitting on AOW, especially the folks participating in the conversation day in and day out while making astute observations on the craft (or at least expressing an obvious interest in learning the craft), are writing because it’s something they love and want to do for a career, even if they are paid pennies. They care about putting their best foot forward and will take any constructive/supportive criticism that is offered. They know the game of screenwriting, and they know there are probably 9 or 10 people on the entire freaking planet that have this art form completely figured out. 9 or 10 out of tens of millions!

      When I see the sloppy writing with poor grammar, spelling, and no obvious pass on the script before submitting, I can’t help but someone who read the “Stallone wrote Rocky over a weekend” story, thinks it’s easy, and is now looking for some fast money by doing something they believe to be easy. I usually skip those scripts, or offer very little comments (though I sometimes do that in genres that I’m not familiar with). They aren’t going to listen to anything you say no matter what. Feedback is irrelevant to them because they have it all figured out. The answer to “why are you writing this script” for them is $$$$$ and so they can move to Hollywood and live like that donkey Vincent Chase from Entourage.

      Same for the scripts with a barely comprehensible logline. My mindset is that if you can’t take the time to craft a 140 word logline, you probably didn’t take the time to properly craft the character arcs, dialogue, and plots in your script. There has to be some correlation between the two, right? Or am I crazy?

      I hope when my script is ready, you will read until you get bored and be relentless with your criticism! Alright, off to write for the next ninety minutes…

    • tyrabanksy

      Well said.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      I echo your sentiments. Earlier today I was thinking about something Carson wrote, where he was saying that there are people out there (myself included) who obsess over every sentence, over every word in their script – making sure everything is perfect down to the last syllable. THESE are the people that us writers are in competition with. It beggars belief that people are willing to put out material they haven’t put the same meticulous effort into making sure is as good as possible before it’s presented to the world.

      There’s a BIG difference between doing the best you can and just not being READY yet, VS putting out stuff you could have tried harder on. It takes years and years to get anywhere in this craft. And it’s one thing to share material that represents your best effort at the level you’re currently writing at, but it’s another to share your work if you KNOW deep down in your heart, that you could have tried harder.

      And when it comes to the errors – look it’s OK to have some errors in your script. NO SCRIPT IS FLAWLESS. I have obsessed and gone over material endlessly before, and there’s ALWAYS another typo. Trust me, I know! But there’s a difference between the occasional typo, and material that clearly hasn’t been proofread ENOUGH.

      Ultimately this is a BUSINESS. And not a cheap business either. It costs a lot of money to make films. It takes an army. And the SCREENWRITER is producing the AMMUNITION. If it isn’t polished to near perfection, nobody in their right mind is gonna want to put it in their gun, and bring it to war, where they live or they die based on the quality of your gunpowder.

      • Citizen M

        Gregory reminding us howitzer necessity to polish that script till it shines ;o)

        • Gregory Mandarano

          FALL IN LINE SYLLABLES!

          I don’t know but it’s been said!
          Other scripts just won’t get read!
          I don’t know but I’ve been told!
          Scriptshadow scripts are made of gold!

    • Scott Reed

      Thank you for writing this.

      Everyone should take your post to heart.

      I do.

      I’ve been reading SS EVERY day since the first couple of days it changed to .net. Every Saturday I’m always more than excited to open the five Amateur scripts to see if there’s something really kick-ass to review.

      Lately, it seems, things have become much leaner.

      A comment from below touched on a very good point. I think if a writer was to be able to give a personal rating of where they feel their story is, that might really help give everyone more perspective on the draft. A simple one to five. “One,” for an early draft, they would like some developmental insight. “Five,” for a multi-draft, polished script they feel is ready to go to market.

      Just a thought.

      Please read. *** VERY IMPORTANT***

      It seems to me, by reading their scripts, that a majority of the writers have never read Pro scripts and / or studied them with any tenacity. Because, if they did study twenty, fifty, a hundred, “real” scripts, their formatting and structure would be glaringly different. (Note: Readable.)

      You can get caught up in all the “how to” books, articles, pod casts, net seminars, but as Carson has preached numerous times… Read scripts!

      I think a good exercise would be to break down the first five pages of your script, then the first five pages of a similar movie’s script. How it looks on the page compared to yours. How fast the beats flow compared to yours. And, so…

      It may be very eye opening.

      My parting shot…

      You may have the best high concept story ever, but if a reader can’t get through page one because of formatting and structural negligence, and lack of action, it’s only down hill from there.

      I’m still an amateur myself, just like the majority of you, striving for the pros. I regard this community as one of the best.

  • tyrabanksy

    My vote, without having read it, INSPIRED.
    (GHOSTLIGHT — while in my preferred genre, I’d commit suicide if I had to read anything that “meets Glee.”)

    I read parts of UNIVERSAL LOVE, THE BIG DECAY, and VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND — and had to bail on all of them.

    Started reading UNIVERSAL LOVE. Got about 4 grammatical/sp errors in — on the first page — and checked out. I don’t really know what to say. Is this a language barrier thing or did the writer just not care enough about their script to put the time into giving it a half-assed polish? Disappointed, because I usually hate rom-coms and I thought this one had potential to change my mind. I hope whoever wrote this can get it polished, because I would like to read it.

    Read to page 25 of THE BIG DECAY. The world didn’t feel clearly defined – especially the thing with the “Crazies.” They’re just mad people with bleeding eyes? And Johnny can kill them with a machete in public and no one bats an eye, but when Elizabeth kills her husband they have to hide it? Couldn’t they just say he’s a “Crazy?” As someone who’s not that familiar with noir, it seemed like there were a lot of noir cliches in scene and dialogue. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be that way for comedy, or if it was supposed to be serious. Anyway, my two cents.

    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND – I think this must be another ESL script. I read to page 18, felt guilty for writing off a second script for obvious language barrier issues (and a third script on the list), then read to page 90. When I realized I still had 40 pages to go, I quit.

    It felt as though characters and scenes were directly lifted from Buffy (the movie), Lost Boys, and a few other vampire films from the 80s/90s. Specifically the stuff with Ambrose (and his dialogue), the flashbacks, and the whole thing with the lineage – it felt like the slayer mythology from Buffy (the movie). The writer had a unique spin on it with the reveal (no spoilers), and I liked the thing with the mother, but it needs to be executed in a more original way.

    I enjoyed some of it, or I wouldn’t have read to page 90, but the script needs to be trimmed. Probably lose ten pages in the first half. I was curious to see how it ended, so jumped to the last couple of pages. The writer had, for the most part, figured out how to structure a story effectively. I think there’s something here that’s workable, but the writer would need someone with a strong command of English to proofread and he’d have to generate some more unique content.

    Some other things:
    – I think little things, like David calling girls “little sister” was a cute nod to Lost Boys – but only those kinds of things work, not lifting actual scenes/characters.
    – I liked that Jess went to L.A., making her a fish out of water added to the stakes.
    – Jess seemed too slow to the take of recognizing her bf/his friends were vampires (this also slowed down the script). I liked that she was worried she might be going crazy like her mom, but I think that needs to be shown more in order for it to justify her being in denial about the situation she’s in.
    – I really liked the Bram character – but he was too close to the Frog brothers from Lost Boys. Maybe ditch the comic book?

    • Guy Somebody

      Thank you tyrabanksy for reading, and for your feedback! All very good points to keep in mind when going into the next rewrite.

      All the best,
      Keven

      • tyrabanksy

        np

  • Midnight Luck

    My Vote: INSPIRED

    it comes with a caveat though.

    It seems just about everyone at some point (and many times their first script) writes a screenplay about a screenwriter and the film business.

    Now if you are Robert Altman, and you have already spent your life in Hollywood and working on TV and Film, you can probably get away with it. But the unknown writer? I think it is just asking for trouble. No one wants to make a movie about the business, especially from an amateur.

    Now once in a blue moon one of these kinds of things does go big and work (Swingers), but that is like winning a second lottery on top of winning the lottery. I believe Swingers did well, not only because of terrific casting, but because they found a very gifted Director. He was unknown, but he was phenomenally skilled.

    So, when it comes to the quality of the scripts this week, INSPIRED definitely has the best writing. Yet, I don’t think the subject matter is a smart choice. Just about everyone who hears a logline which includes the description: “A desperate writer” along with “Hollywood” instantly assume it will be boring, or navel gazing, or shallow, or long and dull, or just a bunch of talking heads pontificating about the universe and the unfairness of it all.

    Now I am not saying that is what this is about, or even that others will assume those same things. I do, however, believe there is a serious handicapping when someone decides to write about the “biz”, or writes about a writer writing.

    As for the other scripts?

    GHOSTLIGHT : got to Page 4
    VAMPIRES IN SUNLAND : to Page 5
    UNIVERSAL LOVE : got to Page 1. In page one we have this: “She is heavily involved with her fantasy world and it creates her to be very unorganized.” and this:
    “RION AXEL
    We can’t retreated, I am not a coward!.”
    THE BIG DECAY : to page 7.

    • Citizen M

      Remember Lizard who used to comment here? I wonder if he wrote Universal Love. It shows the same command of the language.

      • Midnight Luck

        I do remember Lizard. Everyone loved him, and I couldn’t make any sense out of anything he was saying.

  • ABHews

    My vote goes to, INSPIRED.

    I read all the scripts to point of the second act, but only INSPIRED caught my attention. I’m guessing it might have something to do with this script seemingly pulled directly from my dreams, less the murders and lack of Demi’s (1994) pressing desires for me.

    I’d like to applaud the writer for easy on the eyes read, all words seemed worthy. I like to see my scripts naked, as they are, free of makeup and overpriced garbs. Leave it to the director and actors add the sparkles.

    The script carried the right amount of characters too. The protag had a decent arch and enough layers peeled back on the onion to make this homeboy teary, as did Murphy. However, I really felt like nearly everyone else was stale, not to say they didn’t have wants but rather failed to be distinct, a bit run of the mill.

    Ah yes, 1994, it was a good year and the writer did a great job referencing the times but I never really felt like I time traveled back time, a couple of “oh snaps” and the like, in the dialogue would’ve sold it. Also, the songs written, while spot on, just didn’t need to be written in.

    The story pulled me though to the end, that says something.

    Good Job.