amateur offerings weekend

I hope nobody’s experiencing any lasting psychological effects from Weird Scripts Week. I know I’ve been unaffected by it. The pet monkey I purchased yesterday has been working out splendidly. Still learning how to deal with the beating of the chest and the feces throwing. But other than that, I think this was a wonderful decision. Still trying to figure out how I came up with the idea. You guys have 47 days left til the Scriptshadow 250 Screenwriting Contest deadline, so keep writing. In the meantime, here are five juicy distractions.

Title: Triumph and Disaster
Genre: Dark Comedy
Logline: A man with frontal lobe damage teams up with a sex addicted widow and a porn-obsessed autistic teenager to race to Las Vegas to meet Lynda Carter, aka Wonder Woman, in an attempt to get the man’s restraining order lifted — all while their respective loved ones do everything they can to stop them.
Why you should read: I know there’s been some opposition to scribes getting reviewed more than once, but my script NERVE AND SINEW got a ‘worth the read’ last year, and I think this one is at that level (or even hopefully beyond it). It’s a low budget, simple story with memorable, complex characters. And sex. A pretty good amount of it. Also, this script takes the opportunity to honor Lynda Carter before she gives way to Gal Gadot.

Title: A Harry Dick Apocalypse
Genre: Horror-Comedy
Logline: A cynical poker player who must become America’s ace in the hole when he bluffs his way into the president’s secret bunker during a global cataclysm.
Why you should read: I’ve been writing for much of my adult life but exclusively screenplays for the past eleven years. One of the best compliments I’ve received about the script is that the reader didn’t have to read the character slug-lines to know who was speaking. The best compliment I’ve had is that it’s a funny story. My inspiration was “Dawn of the Dead” (I know you hate zombies but they are just garnish on the plate) and “Dr. Strangelove,” with a dash of Woody Allen’s “Banana’s.” I tried to make the characters as neurotic as those on the TV series, “The Office.”

**********************************

Random Submission E-mail found in Carson’s Inbox:

HI, there,

I understand from the web that you are looking to have a movie script reviewed.

Please feel free to Google me (Ab Vegvarry) and if you are still interested get in touch, and you won’t be disappointed.

regards,
Abb Vegvary
(no script attached)

**********************************

Title: Chickin Lickin
Genre: Drama/Coming of Age
Logline: A tentative young woman gains confidence after the rescue of a baby chicken brings her under the tutelage of a Miyagi-style mentor who trains roosters for cock-fighting.
Why you should read: Cock-fighting is outlawed in the continental U.S. but still legal in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’ve been living in St. Thomas for the past 20 years and wanted to utilize an unusual dynamic which might feasibly only exist there, in order to write a different sort of coming of age story. Hope it works! Thanks for checking it out.

Title: Every Good Intention
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Logline: In the wake of their mother’s death, estranged brothers Darren and Reed Holt find themselves at odds with one another after “the perfect robbery” goes horribly wrong, threatening both of their lives.
Why you should read: EVERY GOOD INTENTION is set among the backdrop of Cleveland, Ohio, where the lifestyles of its citizens can be as harsh as the ever-changing seasons. If you love a great character-driven story, you will appreciate this tale of complicated relationships, wasted pasts and foolish pride. If you prefer the intensity of an action-driven script, then you will certainly enjoy the dramatic consequences and fallout that arise from a robbery gone awry. To sum it all up, think OUT OF THE FURNACE meets A SIMPLE PLAN. This is a script that reads like a 90 minute gritty Bruce Springsteen ballad. I realize it can be a challenge to pull off a satisfying character story these days that lacks all the CGI and big-budget effects, however, sometimes real life can be pretty interesting. I wanted to write a story that someone could read and say, “I know a guy like this, and could see that happening…”

Title: Death of the Party
Genre: Thriller/Slasher
Logline: A privileged teen is terrorized by a Snapchat serial killer, while her party guests fall prey at her secluded mansion.
Why you should read: When writing this script, our main goals were to always keep the reader guessing, always keep the reader entertained, and to write a movie we would want to see on opening night. — DOTP is lean. It’s fast-paced. It’s a suspenseful, genre-bending tale, written to maximize mystery, tension, and fear. But most importantly, it’s FUN! — We are graduates of The Second City Chicago (commonly referred to as the Harvard of Comedy). Although this isn’t a comedic script, SC gave us the tools to know how to concoct a story that gets to the point quickly, has no fat, and packs a wallop. In sketch format, there’s no time for unnecessary frills. You have to hook them quickly, and keep them riveted, or die a horrible, horrible death in front of an unforgiving crowd that’s not afraid to boo you right off the Windy City stage.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Bold choice of formatting.

    • Steex

      Hopefully Bold isn’t a synonym of Bad.
      We went back and forth on whether or not to do the Wham! Bang! Pow!
      But with the Batman references, we decided to just roll with it.

      • IgorWasTaken

        TV-type Batman references in a Thriller/Slasher? That’s the tone you want?

        • Steex

          We just wanted to make it a fun read. I know lots of readers have to slug their way through scripts. So even if you don’t like the end product, we hope everyone at least has a good time reading it.

          • IgorWasTaken

            For fun, you could also just put in pictures of good-looking naked people, but if that’s not the tone of your story, seems like a bad idea to me.

          • Steex

            True true. It was never meant to be a gimmick or anything like that. And I know it won’t take you from hating it to loving it.
            It’s just our personality on the page. We put in things we would think are interesting if we were to see them in other scripts. All the personal feedback we got was split down the middle. In the end, we just said, what the hell, why not?
            It’s kids at a party, so we wanted to keep the vibe a little fun and cool. If we were to write a script along the lines of The Conjuring, Insidious, etc., it would definitely be way out of place.

            p.s.
            Now that LeBron’s junk is going around the internet, I just might put a pic of it smack-dab in the middle of the title page. :)

      • Gregory Mandarano

        If I meant bad, id say bad. Personally I think it works, (its better than using someone elses art in your script) but it begs the question which came first – the fight or the batman comment.

        • Steex

          Fight first. Batman comment second. Removal of Batman comment third. Batman comment put back in fourth. Wham! Bang! Pow! fifth. :)

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    I googled “Ab Vegvarry.” I was not disappointed.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      If you google ab vegvarry script, you get a wiki on Merovingian Manuscripts of the 8th century.

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        He had my curiosity, now he has my attention.

      • klmn

        Maybe Carson should review one of them?

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Triumph and disaster -some funny scenes and good writing, but you take way too long to get to the hook. In a movie like this the lead shouldnt be buried. Theres also no conflict at all in the first 25 pages. Everything is too easy for Gene. You need more drama!

    • Steex

      Thanks for the second place vote, Gregory Mandarano!
      I appreciate you giving our script a read.

    • IgorWasTaken

      but it takes way too long to get to the hook

      Agreed.

      • Steex

        Hey, Igor! Have you had a chance to read any of Death of the Party? I’m interested to see what you think. :)

  • Paul Clarke

    My Vote goes to CHICKEN LICKIN

    I think the weekly AOW loglines show us how difficult it is to find the balance between being fresh and original, while still making sense.

    We have one extreme – Triumph and Disaster – WTF
    Versus cliché city – Death at a Party (even the title!) – Come on, you can do better than that.

    • Steex

      Hey, Paul, thanks for taking a look at our script!

      The first scene of Death of the Party is definitely a bit of a cliche. It was a risk as the first scene, but we wanted to show the contrast between the actions of the intro girl, and our survivor girl. I promise there are far less cliches once you get to her.

    • Stephjones

      Thanks, Paul! Means a lot!

  • Steex

    Hey, guys!
    Death of the Party writer here.
    I really can’t believe our script was chosen. I want to thank Carson. I also want to thank everyone that cracks open the pdf, not matter how far into the script you get.
    All feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    I just want to say how honored we are to make it this far. We’ve been big fans of the site for years, and can’t wait to see how far our script makes it.
    Hopefully you all enjoy it!
    Thanks!

    -James

  • Randy Williams

    DEATH OF THE PARTY

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I was one of the few who actually went to see “Unfriended” the highly contained (the whole movie happens on someone’s desktop computer screen) teenage slasher film based on a type of social media…and I liked it.

    So, sensing something similar, I started with this one.

    Fast read of what I read. Playful. I liked the bold injections, the creative use of font and space.

    p.2. First trip-up for me. “The figure pops around the corner. She’s gone” Who? Perhaps use Emmy’s name here. Emmy’s gone or Emmy’s scooted to make it clear.
    Got notes once on my script to not kill a family pet. For the somewhat lighthearted tone, this is a shock here.

    p.3. In the shower, maybe use “A” figure instead of “the” figure because it was unclear to
    me if the hooded figure was in there with him or it was someone else. Or maybe just use “some other poor fuck” is in there with her.
    Maybe have her really shred that shower curtain in getting away and as she goes up the stairs, a small portion hangs from her ankle and the shower rings clang against the stairs giving away her position. Always make it as difficult as possible for your characters has been Carson’s mantra.
    Gavin’s description seems at odds. A girl’s wet dream and a guy mom’s love?

    p.4. “rabbit foot” to me seems a dated reference. What do kids these days use either as a relic or an action to signify good luck? While I’m on the subject of “dated”. I also think the title is.

    p.6. Typo. Missing word. “as SHE moves through the nearly vacant lot”

    p.9. Another dated reference for me with the American Express jingle. “What’s in YOUR
    wallet”? is less so.

    p.12. Best page so far in my view. Lots of conflict. Back story conveyed in a few words. Later July plucking the wedding ring is a nice touch.

    p.17. I’m cutting loose here. With the introduction of Rich and Tickie Staxx.

    “Unfriended” really poured on the character development at the beginning until we really knew these people and how they related to each other and what the mini-conflicts were within those relationships. Except for page 12, here, I only felt a got a smattering of that and with so many character introductions that never established those characters past a few lines and actions if at all, it was very thin.

    Tension should come from those mini-conflicts until the killer really racks it up? Again, only page 12 conveyed that mini-tension for me.
    The introduction of many characters seem to be there to give us possible suspects. The only one and the most obvious was the most interesting, Deckard. Yet, I didn’t really know any of these people getting killed, so why should I care who the suspect is?

    Personally, I’d start the whole thing with page 12 and move from there. Limit the characters, and let us get to know them. You already have the hook, the snap chat, make that interesting enough, along with the characters to string us along until you get to the killings.

    I like the energy here a lot. That is the only thing that may make me go back and finish. Looking forward to others who have done so to share how the party ends.

    • Steex

      Wow, thanks for the great feedback! I can definitely agree with everything you said.
      We took a lot of chances with this script. Hopefully some of them pay off. ;)
      We tried to keep it moving, as we have a lot of characters. Once you get to about page 25, July starts to get really interesting. We wanted to start her off “normal”, and a bit mysterious before we layed the heavy stuff on the reader.
      I hope at least ONE person makes it to the end. If you’re a fan of slashers, I don’t think it will disappoint. If you’re not a fan of slashers… well that’s a different story.
      Thanks again!

      p.s.
      I think the moms probably like Gavin because he sparks their wet dreams as well. :)

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

        I couldn’t stop thinking of the opening for Scream while reading yours… it felt too similar to me, even though it didn’t have the witty back and forth Scream did, which made Scream more fun. I liked the playful aspect of it.

        Personally, I’d think about maybe changing your opening scene and making it a little more fun, but also something that we haven’t seen before.

        You said you took a lot of chances with your script, take a chance here, too. Go for something that isn’t a run of the mill opening, because since it started like a watered down scene from Scream, I was already losing interest.

        Nothing was surprising. I was expecting her to find Trip dead. I was expecting her to die. Etc, etc, etc. If I know what’s coming, I’m already bored.

        I could be the only one who thinks that though, so take it with a grain of salt ;)

        • Steex

          You’re probably right.
          We’ve already begun the process.
          Thanks for the feedback, Rick!

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

            Maybe when reading over your scenes, try and think, “Have we seen this before? Or something similar?”

            If it reminds you of something, you might want to change it. Or tweak it just enough that it doesn’t feel like a similar scene.

            It’s hard to come up with something original that’s not derivative of other movies, especially slasher/horror movies. Even subconsciously.

            Some genres have to be worked extra hard to create original material.

            I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

  • IgorWasTaken

    I’ve read first 20 of “Triumph and Disaster”. Competently written, but way too much set-up. We can get into things much later.

    For example, it could open with the scene that’s now on page 17, at Gene’s apartment –

    Gene runs into his bedroom, fiddles with some electronics.
    Lisa stumbles through the apartment, visibly intoxicated.

    As to how they hooked up? We learn that on the next page –

    LISA
    Gene. You met me at a sex addiction
    seminar.

    Done. OK, maybe insert/adapt some dialogue that’s now on pp 15 and 16 –

    GENE
    Your addiction intrigues me. I can
    relate to it. Increased sexual
    desire is one of the by-products of
    injuries to the frontal lobe.

    She stares drunkenly at a jagged scar peeking out from his hairline,

    but then at his sparkling eyes.

    LISA
    Hey, are you one of these guys

    that stalks groups like mine, ya

    know, just to get laid?

    Then the next scene: Gene signs his name on a “Waiver” form – as he agrees to start doing the lectures; or to be a subject/whatever. We see he’s in a doctor’s office. The doc says how great this will be for his study on “frontal-lobe injuries and impulse control”.

    IOW, we don’t need to see him doing the lectures. With just that bedroom scene with Lisa and this short scene with the doctor, you’ve established his impulse-control problem, his sexual appetite, and his clinical brain injury (though maybe that last one isn’t really necessary, if we’ve seen Gene’s scar and he’s mentioned his frontal-lobe.)

    As for the library scene, too much coincidence with the comic-book ad for the Wonder Woman/Comic con in Vegas, and then the ad for adult entertainment expo in Vegas that same weekend. How about if, when Gene sees the adult expo ad, he grabs his wallet and pulls out a folded-up ad for the Vegas Comic con? And we see on his face, “Wow, the same weekend!” and he says, “Perfect.”

    Now, this still leaves out the stuff you need to set up his mother’s story, but seems to me this takes out boring fat from the opening.

    I have read scripts that do work with the sort of opening that this script has, but what we learn about the characters in those scripts, what happens in the scenes, their dialogue are really interesting. But here, bluntly, I didn’t get that.

    Problem with my suggestion: The script is only 93 pages. With my suggestion, it would be down to maybe 83 pages. I haven’t read past page 20, so I don’t know what the deal is – what might be added/developed there to make this feature-length – but regardless, the current opening pages just did not grab me.

  • hackofalltrade

    I’ve read a few pages of each, my vote is still pending. But I have to vent, just for a second. I WANT TO READ A GOOD THRILLER! Carson is always talking about how marketable this genre is, but I have to say it’s been a while since I’ve really enjoyed a good, unproduced thriller. I’ve gone back to working on my thriller, and I need some inspiration so I started with Every Good Intention. I want to like it, but on page 6 or 7, this VO happens. Darren–It’s your brother. Reed.
    Mom’s sick and not doing too well. You need to come home.

    Ok. So maybe this brother identifying himself as “your brother. Reed” is meant to signify their “distance” from each other, but I doubt it. Honestly this line made me feel like the writer never had anyone read this before I read it. And that’s frustrating–I want to help!! But I really don’t want to be the very first person to read a script unless MY BROTHER wrote it. And if he calls me to read a script, I don’t think he’ll need to identify himself.

    I’m sorry if this is a little harsh, but I’m just disappointed because I liked your premise!

    • Steex

      Thanks for reading a few pages of DOTP. Not sure if it’s the type of thriller you’re looking for, but the second act and beyond is non-stop thrills.
      Cheers!

    • Randy Williams

      You dismiss an entire script for that? My family members all say their relationship to me in leaving messages. Randy, this is your sister, etc. That means, listen up fool.

    • Malibo Jackk

      (Could have been his other brother, Darrell.)

  • Buddy

    My vote goes to : EVERY GOOD INTENTION !

  • http://screenwritingbae.tumblr.com tyrabanksy

    I’ll read Death of the Party and A Harry Dick Apocalypse.

    • Steex

      Thanks for your interest in DOTP!
      Hope you like it.

  • Paul Clarke

    CARSON – Can we get an idea on how many SS250 places have been locked up, and how many are still up for grabs?

    I’m guessing you’re going to be bombarded right before the deadline!

    • klmn

      As he should be.

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

      And do the writer’s get notified if they’re one of the 250?

      • klmn

        Supposedly Carson sends something to the writers that they have to sign.

        If he doesn’t send it, I think you’re out.

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

          Makes sense.

  • scriptfeels

    read first ten of ‘death of a party’. here’s some thoughts. There wasn’t any horror description, so the tone of the script feels light hearted to me. for example. it reminded me of the opening scene from scream. kind of tongue in cheek, but also entertaining watching a young girl alone in a home.

    The cut from Emmy disappearing to her home to her falling on dog blood at school felt a bit too sudden. Not sure how much time has passed or if we are back in time? oh i figured it out, it was just int. hallway so its still in her home, so its just continued in real time. got confused there for a second.

    pg.2
    “She pulls the curtain closed. Turns. Her cell illumes the
    FIGURE! Guts spewing out, TRIP hangs from his own entrails.

    What does a trip hanging from entails look like on screen?

    “She flees upstairs, because they always go upstairs. Looks
    back — the Stalker remains in the doorway.”

    Same comment earlier about tone, is this tongue in cheek, is this comedy?

    When the killer throws Emmy out the window, we’re still in the bedroom…

    funny description of Mars Burrish and Gavin McCain, the tone of the script is very lighthearted/tongue in cheek so far.

    ps. pg.4 isis joke. i don’t really watch the news myself, but is isis the meme of the year or something?

    pg.7’s snapchat is delivering the premise to me, that is good! We have a few pages of setting up the characters beforehand with the band, so i was feeling sidetracked until now, but I’m happy with the description and the snapchat…

    pg.9 what does nbd stand for? no big deal? I haven’t seen the use of acronyms in scripts like this before.

    pg.10 just realizing the band with mars and gavin is tickie staxx, funny band name.
    who is Bebe?

    Overall, so far its fun reading it. tongue in cheek light hearted ‘Slasher’ flick with stereotypical high school characters. I was surprised by the dead dog, but some small details in the writing made me confused at times. Overall, I didn’t read the wysr, but just the title and logline and the first 10 pages. I like the concept of a snapchat slasher flick and the script so far is delivering on the premise so I’m somewhere in the middle of pleased and unimpressed. I think this would be great to do low budget and market towards tweens. Best of luck on Amateur Friday!

    • Steex

      Thank you so much for taking the time to flip through the script!
      The day has barely started, and I’m already in the best mood I’ve in in years!

      Yeah, it’s supposed to be fun/light/tongue in cheek. It’s definitely not a “horror” script. We tried to make it a little more realistic, in the sense that, it starts off fun/light, gets a little more serious, then around the midpoint, begins a shift toward horror. We didn’t want to do a script where every character was aware of the murders the whole script.
      We really like the feel of the original Halloween (who doesn’t?!), so we wanted July to be oblivious to the horror for as long as possible, then it hits her like a semi, and it never slows down.

    • Steex

      So, did DOTP get your vote? :)

  • charliesb

    Read the first few pages of EVERY GOOD INTENTION and DEATH OF THE PARTY.

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION

    Read to page 5, but couldn’t “get into” it. I loved OUT OF THE FURNACE though so I’ll give it another try, when there are no frigging pavement washers outside my window threatening my sanity with their ridiculously loud equipment.

    DEATH OF THE PARTY

    I read up to page 6. Change your opening scene. I mean don’t rework it, delete it and start again. I would have stopped immediately, but your WYSR had me believing that there would be a punch line, or some sign that you were aware how over done and basic this opening was, but it never came. You can do better. Especially since SCREAM QUEENS and SCREAM the tv series are going to be taking on this subject matter and deconstructing it and trying to make it fresh again.

    I stopped reading at the end of page 6 because the conversation between KENDALL and JULY felt inauthentic. These people felt like caricatures instead of real people.

    “You’re my favorite rich bitch. I’ll take your secret to the grave.”
    There’s got to be a less cloying way to say this. It doesn’t sound like how people talk.

    “Shit. I’m late for my date.”
    Again, rhyming aside, it’s clunky. “Shit, I’m late.” is enough.

    JULY
    Date? Is that what you call it?

    KENDALL
    Brad says he plays better if I suck his dick the night before a game. Jocks are so superstitious.

    JULY
    You could just buy him a rabbit’s foot or something, ya know.

    My first issue with this exchange is that you’re graduates from Second City and you took a scene that should be visual and funny and you made it into two talking heads.

    July could be making the international symbol for dick sucking as she says her line. Then Kendall doesn’t have to give “us” the explanation and can just say.

    KENDALL
    He says it makes him play better. He’s surprisingly superstitious. Along with dreamy.

    JULY
    Maybe he should try a playoff beard?

    KENDALL
    Eww nooo. They itch.

    Kendall lets loose her killer smile, and softly pats her inner thigh.

    KENDALL
    And my thighs are sensitive.

    Ok, ok, maybe that’s a weak joke, but you’re the comedians. The best slasher/horror films have great humour in them. And it’s the easiest way to make your characters likeable (memorable).

    I may come back to this later. I’m not impressed (yet) by the writing. But I like Steex’s enthusiasm in the comments.

    Good luck with it!

    • Steex

      Thanks again. I know the opening scene is very cliched, but honestly we tried to make it that way. In retrospect, possibly a bad choice.
      Basically, July is a different type of character than you would expect in a slasher. You can’t tell by page 6, but she gets crazier as the script moves forward.
      We wanted to show how the stereotypical girl would react in a “horror” scene, so when you get to July (the main character), and her similar scenes, you can see how differently she handles them.
      I guess it doesn’t make sense at the beginning though.
      I appreciate the feedback! It will definitely help to make this script as good as it can be.

      p.s.
      Around page 40 or so, it really starts to amp up. I truly believe, that if you’re a fan of the genre, if you make it to the end of the script, you’ll really enjoy it.

      • IgorWasTaken

        OK, versus the TV-Batman stuff, here is a place where it seems justified, if not compelling, for you to go “off-script”.

        A basic notion for starting a story is to reveal the world as it is, setting us up to see the big change that occurs. And it’s always been a puzzle for me how to do that when the initial world is boring or trite – and yet keep the reader from tuning out before the new stuff happens on page 14.

        If I understand you, you’re saying you intentionally made the opening scene a stock scene for this genre. If so, then maybe somehow tell the reader that this is on purpose. Not verbatim, but essentially: “And we open with a stock-type horror-movie scene…”

        Yes, it’s a cheat. But it seems worth any downside, versus the downside of someone closing your script on page 6.

        • Steex

          That’s a good idea.
          In all honesty, we weren’t quite sure how to handle that scene.
          To be selected for AOW is a blessing of sorts, as I’m sure we will get tons of ideas thrown at us. Even if it’s mostly negative feedback, it will help us figure out where the script is lacking and how to spruce it up.
          It’s awesome that you’re taking the time to think about the scene, and toss out some options on how to fix it!

    • walker

      Your complaint about the pavement washers reminds me of similar frustrations expressed by world-class curmudgeon Arthur Schopenhauer.

      • klmn

        Dude, you’re too smart for this room.

        • walker

          Wait a second, I’ve heard this one before. You’re breaking up with me?

  • Garrett

    I would guess that when Carson saw that email from the Abb Vegvary, he thought maybe he was still coming down from his hallucinatory state. Carson, you should definitely fulfill his request just to see how bad it really is!

  • Randy Williams

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read the whole thing. Solid work, especially in the structure department.
    Involving characters from a family perspective. And that perspective dominates so
    it makes it a bit more suitable for TV, in my view.
    A mystery box, twists and turns, again, an easy read wrapped up in a tight structure.

    Don’t have many suggestions. I was into the read so wasn’t nickpicking.

    Pages 26-29 were a bit of a dead zone for me. I understand the need to establish the
    “love interest” here, but they cover the same “life is difficult making ends meet” that
    is repeated over and over throughout. I think the script would gain by tightening these pages up, get to the meet of what draws them to each other and get to the heist sooner.

    The necklace plays a part in this story. Perhaps a cool visual that could be a metaphor for the story would be that after the car accident, instead of Darren just looking over and seeing the necklace outside of the box, he is drawn to a pool of glass shards from their vehicles glittering in the sunlight, and reaches down and lifts the diamond necklace, undistinguishable from the shards before, from that pool?

    Good work. May be a contender.

  • brittany

    MY VOTE: CHICKIN LICKIN — It’s different and refreshing. Love the setting and tone. Steph is a hell of a writer.

    I read up to page 15 of DEATH OF THE PARTY. While I think the writing is technically pretty good, it tends to be too cute at times for my taste. And I know that’s because of the campy tone that I think you’re going for, but some of the descriptions are a bit over the top. I liked some of them like the girls about to get X-rated and the resting bitch face. But others like “This dude treats weed like American Express: He never leaves home without it”. It’s tongue in cheek and witty, but I just don’t think it’s really necessary. The guy is wearing a pot leaf shirt. I think that is enough, imo.

    That aside, this seems like it will be really fun and it also moves super fast. Even with the unconventional fonts, which btw didn’t bother me. One of the reasons I stopped reading was because there were SO MANY characters being introduced. My eyes started glazing over after the football game. Just seemed like too much. I understand it’s based in high school, but will all these people really be an important part of the story? If so, I fear that it will be hard to to continue reading as I won’t be able to keep the multiple characters wrangled.

    One last thing, you should work on your character descriptions as well because some of them, while nicely described, don’t end up matching the actual character. Kendall is accurate to her description, so you got that right. But, your main chick July, you have that she’s “innocent” but when she’s in the room with Gavin she offers to “make him a REAL man”. Just doesn’t gel. Also, the very last thing that REALLY made me bail was when July’s dad threatened Gavin to never touch her again. And in the next scene Gavin walks in with a knife and says that July’s dad gave it to him to make him a real man. Why would he give a knife to a boy that he KNOWS is abusing his daughter? That one did it in for me. But good luck with this. It’s obviously decently written with a fun tone, but some inconsistencies that need cleaning up. Good luck with this and congrats on making it AOW. :)

    • Steex

      Thanks a ton for checking out the script! 15 is further than I figured most people would get.
      As far as the knife is concerned, we thought it made Gavin look suspicious because of two things. 1) July says it’s her dad’s knife, and Gavin has it. 2) We know that Mr. Matthews did NOT give Gavin the knife in their scene. We thought people would realize he stole the knife. Guess that’s unclear. :(
      There are a lot of characters, that’s for sure. And we rack up an insane body count.
      If your glazed over eyes can make it to 2b, you won’t regret it.
      At the midpoint, the party breaks up, and we really focus on July. It starts to lose a spot of campiness in favor of a more serious thriller tone. It’s not a harsh tonal change, but once she’s alone, it’s more Death, less Party. :)

      • brittany

        I guess if you wanted to make it clear that he stole the knife, you could show a hand grabbing a knife off of a counter or display within the house. Then next scene you see Gavin has it, so we’re suspicious of him. It might be just me that didn’t get it though, so take that with a salt shaker.

        I actually am reading on some more because you mentioned the tone shift. I’m on page 30 now and I kind of see what you’re doing with July. She’s not what she seems and that is pretty interesting. I’ll probably read to the end since you mention in another comment that it’s a fun ride. I’ll be honest though, as I read, my eyes can’t help but skim over some of the extraneous characters. The dialogue is fun, but for some reason I think there is too much of it, especially with the side characters.

        One thing I Iiked was Emmy and the fish-hooks. Have not seen that before, I don’t think. Have you seen Lucky Mckee’s “All Cheerleaders Die”? It’s a totally different story, but the tone is really similar and what I think you’re going for here.

        Anyways, I will read on to the end and let you know my thoughts. It’s not often the writer engages with the commenters like you are doing today, so I think it would be worth it to read to the end so maybe I can offer some helpful feedback.

        • Steex

          Thank you so much for taking the time to read as far as you have!!!
          We’ve had a fair deal of positive and negative feedback about the amount of characters. Believe it or not, we actually cut out two unnecessary characters from the initial draft.

          I haven’t seen that movie, but I’ll definitely check it out.

          It was also a risk to make a lead like July. She’s not exactly likable. We instead opted to make her conflicted, and interesting. Hopefully the gamble pays off. She really goes off the deep end.

          I don’t comment often on SS, but I’ve been an avid reader for years. I never understand why writers don’t want to interact with the people reviewing their scripts. And if they do, they often sign up the day of, comment for a week, then disappear.
          I am overly excited, and extremely happy about even the smallest amount of feedback. This is honestly shaping up to be the best day of my year so far. Even if we don’t get selected, it’s gonna be a hell of a ride!
          Thanks again.

          • brittany

            Okay, so I just finished the script. It did indeed get better near the end. Moved at a breakneck speed. My favorite thing was probably the KILLER’S POV surprise around the middle of the script. That’s the first time I actually laughed out loud. The second time was the sex scene with Bebe — Something about her putting her “stank on his hang down”. I think I laughed at that mostly because it took me a second to think about it for some reason, lol. Also thought the gargoyle/Manwich description was pretty hilarious.

            One thing that kept me reading was wanting to know who the killer was. You have lots of “suspects”. I think Crenshaw is my favorite. I figured anybody could be the killer and I just wanted to keep reading to find out who it was. Though, I suspected the real killer a lot earlier. I won’t put the spoilers here, but based on the main killer’s background and everything, I figured that’s where it was headed.

            It’s hard to really make any suggestions for this script because it’s just so balls out crazy with a ton of twists. It was definitely entertaining. Nobody can fault you on that aspect. But, the problem I had while reading was that I was completely disengaged with the characters. I didn’t care who died, not even July. Not even Gavin. Yes, July was interesting and conflicted, but since you play it like she might be the killer as well, I could never really get on board with her emotionally. So, the ending left me feeling numb in regard to her character.

            I think in a story full of disposable morons, you need at least one guiding light. July should be that, but unfortunately she’s not. So, I end up not being on her side most of the time. But I know you’re obviously not going for that, so feel free to disregard my comments. One thing I think might help to make her more likable, just a little bit, is if she had someone to protect throughout the story. Like, what if she had a little brother or sister that she’s trying keep safe from the killer? That might be too much, but I think you know what I mean.

            Also, I think you could do with less of the cops. They’re scenes with Gavin dragged quite a bit. I would just have them hit the deer and that’s how Gavin escapes all bloodied and beaten. The convo between the cops just goes on for too long and is really not necessary, imo.

            Anyways, hope some of this helps. Good job and good luck!

          • Steex

            It’s so awesome that you finished the entire script! I can’t thank you enough. I’m glad you liked it.
            Our main problem was always making July more likable. I really like the angle of having someone for her to protect. That’s really interesting.
            Also glad you liked some of the comedic moments and twists.
            We really put a lot into this script. Even if we don’t get picked, I’ll be happy if a few people enjoyed the read.

            Thanks a million!

          • Levres de Sang

            Must say that you’re doing an amazing job of interacting with all the comments! (I tried my best on AF recently, but was still typing replies on the Monday evening…)

            ** Will try to take a proper look at your script as it was the premise that stood out for me; although admittedly I’m not mad on high school stereotypes.

          • Steex

            Since there are stereotypes aplenty that come with the territory, we made a bold choice with our main character, July. She may not be all that likable, but no once can say she’s boring. ;)
            We gave her a few interesting character traits/choices.

  • klmn

    My vote: Chicken Lickin’.

    Triumph and Disaster. Opens on an obnoxious character. Wonder Woman fixation. “Other symptoms of frontal lobe damage include obsession with sex.” Don’t lobotomies remove or damage the frontal lobe? Not buying the premise. Pass.

    A Harry Dick Apocalypse. That title is incredibly juvenile. Not optimistic, but I opened it. Big mistake. “Pearl E. Gates Poker Tournament.” Looked at the logline. Same old save-the-world stuff. Not for me but Carson might love it. Pass.

    Random Submission from Carson’s Inbox. No script, so no reason to add or subtract points. Pass.

    Chicken Lickin’. A script about cockfighting is wonderfully politically incorrect. I’m intrigued. Well written, the characters seem real. Funny conversation about a second hand chair. Good sense of place. Will read more.

    Every Good Intention. Read five pages. It skips around a lot, jumps 10 years. I’m not feeling it. Pass.

    • Steex

      I see you mentioned all but one script. Did you have a chance to take a look at Death of the Party? If so, I’d love to hear what you think!

    • Stephjones

      Thanks for your vote and kind words! I’m never quite sure what kind of response I’ll get to the chair. :)

  • jaehkim

    I also got that email from Abb Vegvary. I really hope he likes my script!

    • klmn

      Maybe he could review Carson’s llama-man script.

  • thewildkingdom

    My vote is for Triumph and Disaster. By far the easiest and most entertaining story of todays bunch. Two great main characters that you want to see succeed in their stories. It has all you want in a script: A clear purpose and goal, likable characters, great dialogue, and a road trip. The last one may be my own requirement.
    Describing Gene as Unfairly handsome, is how I would describe most people in Southern California.

    A Dick Harry Apocalypse – p10
    Liked the opening scene outside the bar. We got to see the character’s personality very quickly, but it could have been extended just to see the length he would go to calls someone’s bluff.
    The bar woman Suzie likes to reaffirm Dick as a great poker several times, and is used as a human exposition.
    I liked how the action started very quickly, but to read on and see how Dick ends up where he does, seems like it needs the attention span I clearly do not posses.

    Chickin Lickin – p10
    The script with the most unlikeable premise is a nicer surprise as you read the opening pages. They fly by fast, with a writer, I think has an original voice. The flow was great, I just wasn’t finding this story that interesting. And when the main characters best friend brings some heavy handed ‘you need to come out of your shell’ to the main character in a coming of age story’ I checked out.
    Still, I would read other stuff this writer does, because I think she has a voice.

    Death to the Party – p10
    I can appreciate you guys for capitalizing on the horror’s use of social media to bring about a new way of creating fear in our lives. Thanks a lot! So I knew that the logistics of this app would be a tough one to make into a story. SO kudos for attempting it. (you should watch Unfriended).
    The scripts premise yells ‘I’m relevent’ yet it held staples of teen scream films of yore. More Scream than anything. Its plus points were that It did make me hate these self involved teens and the that I found myself hating the main girls decision making. But have I seen this film many times before? Only now it has a huge product placement inserted where Neve Cambel should rightfully be.

    Every good intention – p10
    When I read the premise I thought about Before the devil knows your dead (which I am kind of obsessed with at the moment). But this did not meet that expectation, which I don’t know is unfair to you, or for me. The first ten pages were riddled with cliche’s, which tends to gnaw at the reader, who thinks ‘should I quit or should I carry on?’ Because there are good lines like this:
    He storms out, looking more pissed about missing the chance to punch out his boss, than about loosing his job.
    But then there is a line of dialogue that reads like this –
    Sorry to hear about things.

    A bit generic to get my vote today. But I do love crime, heist, movies.

    • Steex

      Not sure whether you like DOTP or not…
      Either way, thanks for the read! Hope you enjoyed the first 10.
      No one could ever replace Neve. :)

      • Dan B

        I took a quick look at DOTP, and I’ll do some more reading later — festival season in Chicago is now open, and the wife aint letting me read scripts all day when its 70 out. From the first few pages though, it’s a quick read with an entertaining voice.

        When did you guys graduate from Second City? I took classes there as well, and am now at iO.

        • Steex

          Awesome. Thanks.
          We graduated in 2012.
          Moved out to LA last year. 70 in Chicago is glorious. 70 in California is normal. I miss it. Have some fun over there for me!

      • thewildkingdom

        It was a contender. I read some other comments mentioning Unfriended, and the new tv show based off of Scream. This seems like the market for DOTP is viable. Its not bloated as say the Zombie genre. So all I can say, is that if its sharp and entertaining, there will be interest. How much of this pie you can get, is anyones guess. Did you see a movie about two years ago called +1? It was a teen sci-fi film, and it was amazing, yet got lost in all the dross and content of netflix and other streaming places. It made me really think. I need to be the best I can be at writing. Not just to get it bought, but also to get it seen. Good luck Steex.

        • Steex

          Yeah, I saw it on Netflix. If I’m not mistaken, it was the follow-up for the director of Last House on the Left. Which I also enjoyed.
          Honestly, ours isn’t really a thinkers script. It’s more of a popcorn movie. It DOES have interesting character stuff going on, but it’s no American Beauty.
          Thanks for the kind words. I hope people give it a shot. It would be amazing to make it to Amateur Friday. Kind of a dream come true.

    • Stephjones

      I guess my original comment was lost so back again to say thanks so much for checking out Chickin Lickin and for your very kind words about my writing style. Made my month! I got a little heavy handed with my protag’s flaw, I’ll admit. Will try to address in next version.
      All the best to you!

      • thewildkingdom

        if you want, I can send you a script I wrote that’s a unique coming of age story too. See what you think.

        • Stephjones

          Sure! Kalikalot at hotmail dot com
          I’d love to see what you’ve done! Send it today as I’m traveling and Internet is not a sure thing in the coming weeks.

    • IgorWasTaken

      My vote is for Triumph and Disaster. By far the easiest and most entertaining story of todays bunch. Two great main characters that you want to see succeed in their stories. It has all you want in a script: A clear purpose and goal, likable characters, great dialogue, and a road trip.

      OK, but I don’t get that. I read to page 20 and didn’t see the goal – that is, except that I’d read it in the logline and then I saw clues to the goal as I read.

      thewildkingdom, could you say where you saw the goal?

      • Randy Williams

        I didn’t see a goal either but I felt the writing had a confidence that I’d get there at some point and not have to worry, but the second time Gene goes into a classroom and another professor gets to hog so much screen time, I got frustrated and dropped out. I’m going to go back and read some more since it got so many votes.

        • IgorWasTaken

          In a post earlier today, I suggested maybe both classroom scenes could be dropped – especially since it seems neither professor appears again.

      • thewildkingdom

        You know what Igor, I think I allowed the logline/premise description into my sub-consciousness while reading the script. You’re right, there isn’t a clear goal defined by page 20. But I was enjoying the story and characters enough to be entertained by the script. Sometimes we have to just let a story be a story with out letting the rules do all the talking.

        • IgorWasTaken

          Thanks. BTW, it’s not that I am a rules guy. But a couple of things.

          One, I think pro readers often don’t know the logline. And that’s definitely true in contests. So that’s a practical thing for any amateur writer to keep in mind.

          Second, apart from not really providing the overall goal by page 20, the writer doesn’t provide much in the way of mini-goals. So I never got to, “I wonder how Gene is going to solve this problem.” Of course, you can still get the reader to turn pages if the characters are engaging, or the story is engaging, but then the entire burden is on those two factors.

          OTOH, if you let the reader know the goal or a mini-goal, then even if the reader’s interest in the character or story dips in one scene, he/she might still might keep going because of a desire to see how/if the goal is achieved.

  • Randy Williams

    CHICKIN LICKIN

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read 30 pages. I’d like to read more if time allows. Quick read of course, the description is kept at its bare minimum but effective, evocative. A wee bit more atmosphere I would have liked. We are in an exotic locale so there’s plenty of room to do that.

    p.1. Typo. “CARRIES an umbrella”

    p.3. I was settling into a lighthearted tone, family friendly and then this ball chair joke
    knocked me off my seat. Why?

    p. 8-10. Think some surfing jokes are left on the table here. You have a chick on a surfboard with a baby chicken on her chest. Cross a ham on a surfboard with a chicken, what do you have? Cordon Bleu. Okay, that was dumb, but I think that scene begs for
    jokes. Did you know “Clucked” is a surfing term for being afraid of a wave?

    p.17. Still don’t understand why Ernesto was blowing into the rooster’s mouth even with his explanation.

    I’m liking this because it’s something different, it’s easy to read, the setting is interesting, but as a coming of age story, I desire my protagonist to be boiling in hot water before the chicken does. Emily seems pretty settled into life, not at all unsure as she should be, no overwhelming secret that burdens her, no identity problems to work out, or maybe I’m not seeing them or it’s too soon.

    Good stuff, just needs the things I mentioned addressed to have me really on board.

  • Stephjones

    Writer of Chickin Lickin here. First, thanks a bunch, Carson! Very nice surprise! I’m traveling and have sketchy Internet but intend to respond as best I can. Thanks to everyone who takes a look, appreciate any and all thoughts on ways to improve the story.
    Special thanks to Brit, Paul and Ken for the votes, kind words and thoughts. Always appreciate notes from Randy! The ball chair was my way of giving Emily some ” pluck” ;) I doubt this would ever make it as a family film with the cock fighting angle, despite the fact that I cut away from most of it, although it gets a bit heavy in the back half. I loved learning that ” clucked” means afraid of a wave. You can bet I’ll incorporate that somehow!
    Ernesto was blowing into the rooster’s beak to inflate his lungs. That’s apparently a real thing. I’ll try to make it more obvious. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts! Great stuff!

  • http://antixpress.com/ kidbaron

    My favorite logline was for A Harry Dick Apocalypse. And that title. Oh boy. I’ll give that a read. To be honest, all these loglines need work. Every Good Intention’s lacks focus. It starts off with a mother’s death then sidetracks with a perfect robbery. Are these two events, which could be the center for two different films, connected? Death of Party doesn’t hint at anything new for a genre that only works nowadays when there’s fresh take on it. What’s the fresh take? It reads a straight up slasher. With A Harry Dick Apocalypse, why are you making life difficult for marketing already? That title will never happen so why handicap yourself from the start so you can be cute for a few moments. I know raunchy titles are all the rage, but have any of those scripts become movies yet? Why set up roadblocks for your material. Remember you want to avoid providing the raw material for folks to say “no” to all your hard work.

    • Steex

      Thanks for the feedback on the longline. We’ll definitely take a look at revising it.
      We were hoping to mix old-school Slasher with new-school technology. Our angle is the use of Snapchat (which we don’t believe has been used yet). We feel it’s something that the entire generation knows and understands, but has yet to be utilized. I guess that could use some clarity in the logline.

      • http://antixpress.com/ kidbaron

        I’ve heard of Snapchat but that’s it. But did SCREAM need Snapchat? Instead of just mentioning some tech that might be out of style by the time the movie is made think of what that brings to the movie? How does it change of the chase sequences? That’s what you have to get across. How are things fresh and different in the movie because of this tech or lack of tech? Most stories try to eliminate tech. So you go in a different direction with embracing tech. Halloween is basically an updated Hitchcock film. Friday the 13th had intense make-up FX kills. Scream was very aware of the genre it was in.

        • Steex

          We feel that Snapchat enhances the story and the script, but it’s not a crutch that it relies on. It’s not a fancy gimmick to hide the problems.
          We originally had it being text messages, but with the surge in Snapchat usage, we opted to make a change. The fact that the pics/videos delete themselves, and that the characters believe July is making it all up, seemed like a match made in heaven.
          What makes our script unique isn’t Snapchat, it’s the main character. She isn’t exactly likable, instead we made her conflicted, jealous, scared, confused, and possibly certifiably crazy. It’s a huge risk, but we think it makes the story that much better.
          Thanks for taking the time to write back. I really appreciate it! :)

  • fragglewriter

    I’ve partially read two scripts.

    Every Good Intention – read until page 22. I liked that it was a small page count but then number of characters being introduced by this page was a little overbearing. Reed’s situation was too forthcoming and his relationship with his wife was too on-the-nose. There might be a payoff later in the story, but I lose interest due to knowing the results of Reed’s previous behavior but not showing me who he is.

    Death of the Party – read until page 15. I loved the writing, the slug lines, the incorporation of current events, but when July started spilling her guts about her ex, I just got pulled away from the story. I understand that it’s a mystery/slasher scripts, but there was a ton of characters being introduced and too many mystery boxes.

    • Steex

      Hey, fragglewriter! Thanks for taking a chance on the script. You’re one of the people I was hoping would take a look at it. I always enjoy reading your opinions.
      It’s definitely riddled with Mystery Boxes. Maybe we went a little crazy. You can blame Carson for that. j/k.
      It’s a huge compliment to hear you loved the writing. That’s one of the most important things to us.
      Let me know if you read any more of the script, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

      • fragglewriter

        Yeah, I also blame Carson for adding mystery boxes LOL.

        I’m in the process of writing a Psychological Thriller, so I read your script for pointers on what to add, how to create suspense, mystery and intrigue. Have you written any other scripts?

        I attended a comedy class in 2013, as I love comedy. It’s the hardest to get right, so I decided to try my hand at Thrillers/Dramas until I make progression as a writer. I’ve watched A SIMPLE PLAN, but not OOTF as it looked predictably boring. I watched NIGHTCRAWLER last night. Such a waste. Not one thrill.

        My scripts have a tendency for lack of clarity so I’m going to pattern my Thriller after MISERY, EL MARIACHI and BLOOD SIMPLE.

        • Steex

          Yeah, this is our fifth script together, and we each have two that we wrote on our own. Our scripts have sort of run the gamete, genre-wise. We have this one, and also by genre: Comedy, Action/Comedy, Horror/Comedy, SciFi/Thriller, Sports/Thriller, Dark Thriller. The rest were from when we didn’t know much, so we don’t really count them.

          If you’re looking for thrills, in DOTP, around the midpoint, July is basically home alone, and we really brings the thriller scenes one after another. Acts 2b and 3 are non-stop. It’s a race to the finish line.
          Even if you don’t read the whole script, it might be worth your while to just take a peek at a few of the scenes. We tried to keep the tension and suspense high.

          Thanks!

          • fragglewriter

            I have my second cup of coffee so I’ll continue to read it now.

          • fragglewriter

            dead bodies – where are the dead bodies? Is the killer stashing them somewhere? Maybe I’m just use to either police or someone finding out about the killings and alerting someone. Also, the killings do not affect me as much as there’s no connection. I think it’s best to limit your character count to no more than 10. If the count needs to go up, make sure it doesn’t exceed 15, and make these secondary, not contrived, characters. I think it’s best to zone in on at least 6 characters so that we get to know them. I couldn’t even remember Deckard.

            page 36 – why is it shown that Arturo has a gun now? I think we should introduce this earlier. Play it up to his image.

            page 43 – where did July get a pregnancy test from at that time of hour in her condition? I think less characters would get an organic story and someone July can confide in, or perhaps, take advantage of in a situation.

            Svetlanda, Pfeffeir and Kendall are unnecessary characters. Let’s get rid of them.

            page 77 – why didn’t the Stalker see Brad pull July Gavin down? How can Brad view the Stalker but not vice-versa?

            reveal of the Stalker – it’s too much like Scream. Also, why do killers need to talk when they get to their last victim? I don’t get it.

            page 104 – why is Deckard wearing a vest?

            Got to the end. Summary: Character count really needs to come down and also I couldn’t understand what all of the killings were about in this script. I don’t like random killings as their is always a reason for killings. Kendall being poor is not an excuse. It should be about the emotional or physical toll that being poor has done to her or what being rich has done to July.

          • Steex

            The dead bodies are in the boathouse. :)
            It’s in the scene where they find Crenshaw.

          • fragglewriter

            I remember July mentioning about her mother and father wishing things back to the way it use to be. Is it possible to incorporate more of the boathouse into the script?

          • Nicholas J

            I find it odd that two graduates of Second City write in genres other than comedy. For one, I’d think the comedy genre would be what you are best at, and two, I’d think it’d be what you are most interested in.

            So why are you writing horrors and thrillers, and posting them to SS, rather than a comedy? I’d be more interested in reading a comedy from you.

            I’m not criticizing, hopefully it doesn’t come off that way. I’m just generally curious, being a comedy writer myself.

          • cicada

            Not a all. It’s a good question. We’re influenced by 80s and 90s thrillers/horror, action and sci fi.
            That said, comedy is likely our strength. We have some fun and unique comedy ideas that we’re excited about.

  • http://antixpress.com/ kidbaron

    A Harry Dick Apocalypse is a pass. I only go to page 5. The action and dialogue lacked any kind of flow. Very disjunctive.

  • Randy Williams

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Read 30 pages. I must be honest, for me, this is not a script where I can leave half my brain at the door, I had to give it my full attention because it’s working on many levels at once and asks of me to digest a lot with each bite.

    I’m not particularly a fan of zombie stories, but if I do watch one, it’s most probably one where things are taken seriously and absurdity can only be applied to the special effects.
    So, this isn’t a story I’d go out of my way to see but I like the concept itself, whether zombies were involved or not. Dialogue here seemed to reign , plot is secondary it seems. Characters are up to speed very fast. This is unnerving for someone like me who is always the last one to get something.

    When characters are introduced like Harry at the very beginning, the writer will describe a person and give their age and then later in another paragraph, give their name. I found this confusing especially at the beginning.

    As the characters spoke, I could see some people commenting that they don’t sound like 20 something year-olds. But, for me, they FELT like 20 somethings. Good job there.

    I like the flashback with the capsized canoe, maybe use that in the very beginning before all the mayhem begins. Set us on that tranquil lake first? I don’t think the flashbacks worked after that, they really didn’t convey much and stopped the action.

    Finally, as I was reading, I thought the writing style would match nicely a sci-fi script with an absurd bent.

    Interested in seeing how others reacted and how it develops once we’re in the compound.

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to TRIUMPH AND DISASTER. A possible [x] impressive if the early promise is maintained.

    TRIUMPH AND DISASTER

    Read to page 33. Really enjoying it, only stopping to read the other entries. Well written and plotted. From the logline you’d expect a slapstick romp, but it’s actually intelligent humor with more laughs than the average AF comedy. Can’t think of any negative comments except the bland title. I want to read more.

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE

    Read to page 5. Written in a clipped, elliptical style I can’t get used to. I’m note even sure what’s going on. Not for me.

    Niggle: waved/waived

    CHICKIN LICKIN

    Read to page 32. Definite potential, but not there yet. I’d suggest more about the fighting cocks and their psychology, which is the interesting part, and compress the parts showing Emily’s meekness to fewer pages. I think we get it — she’s a wimp and everyone walks all over her.

    I found the format with plentiful subheadings spoiled the read. I would prefer longer paragraphs with character names within the sentence not on their own line. Maybe that’s just me. Also call the file by the full title, not just CL SS.

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION

    Read to page 27. Still basically setting up. Taking too long to get to the point. Long conversations with not much sparkle. There’s nothing wrong with the script, it just needs to move up a gear.

    DEATH OF THE PARTY

    Read to page 9. Too sketchy for me. Was the first scene of the slasher in the dark house a bad dream or a spoof or meant to be taken seriously? I would prefer more foreplay before getting to the main action.

    • Steex

      Hey, Citizen M, thanks for looking at the first few pages of DOTP. It’s supposed to be kind of tongue in cheek. The opening scene was meant to be cliche compared to what happens to the actual characters. Not our best idea, seeing as a lot of people don’t get far enough in to see the contrast.
      We decided to just jump right in, because we know a lot of people quit after a few pages, and don’t get to the meat. I, too, enjoy some good foreplay. :) So maybe we should switch the first and second scenes around.
      Sorry you didn’t like it, but we still appreciate the read!

    • Stephjones

      Thanks for checking out Chickin Lickin, Citizen M. I agree I might have pounded that meekness nail a bit too much. Always appreciate your feedback!

      • Citizen M

        I finished it. It’s a sweet story. It’s getting late here, so I’ll give more notes tomorrow.

        • Stephjones

          Thanks so much for taking the time! Look forward to your notes!

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

      Felt the same way about the opening scene… that’s what the opening of Scream did well, which is what this reminds me of… without the fun of foreplay.

    • Bill Anthony Lawrence

      Hey Citizen M – I really appreciate the vote and the nice words. If you get around to finishing Triumph and Disaster, I’d really appreciate any notes you might have!

      • Citizen M

        I would have emailed you but couldn’t find an email address. See my review of your script on Chicken Lickin AF review.

        • Bill Anthony Lawrence

          Thanks for the full read and notes, Citizen M. Too bad the rest of it didn’t connect with you, but I’m always very grateful when someone takes the time to provide a full read and notes. Cheers!

  • Poe_Serling

    My pick this week: DEATH OF THE PARTY

    Even though I’m a die-hard horror guy, the slasher subgenre has never really been my cup of tea.

    So, my main reason for choosing this project…

    >>The creative swagger of the writers. I find their wildly inventive style/format choices quite appealing. Kinda like adding an exotic spice to perk up an old dish.

    Plus, I’m sensing the entire story has a definite tongue-in-cheek undertone to it.

    Like others have already mentioned, I think there’s a better title out there for this script. Perhaps ‘Snapchat’… or come up another similar video messaging application name.

    I’ll finish the rest of the script later and add more notes/suggestions.

    Thanks to Steve and James for sharing your work.

    • Steex

      Can’t say how much I appreciate the comment, and the vote of confidence.
      We tried to make something we thought people would enjoy. I hope other people see the things in it that you see, and give it a chance.

      Thanks, Poe!

    • Steex

      Just saw you edited after finishing the script.
      All I can say is wow.
      That is one heck of a review! Thanks a ton, Poe.
      Those were some of the kindest words ever written about the script.
      Wish more people thought as highly of the script as you. ;)

      • Poe_Serling

        Oh, I have a few quick ideas regarding the title. Since Snapchat allows you to send pics that vanish after several seconds once they are viewed by the receiver’s phone, why not play around with that in a somewhat horror-inspired context:

        There And Gone, Dare U to Look… and so on. There are probably a ton of ominous-sounding apps that you could come up with to fit your story.

        or

        You could just go old school with something like: Killer Party. I think one of the characters in your script has a line with that phrase in it.

        • IgorWasTaken

          “Snapdeath”?

          • BellBlaq

            Snapsplat?

        • Steex

          Haha awesome!
          Dare U to Look…
          Can’t tell if I hate it or love it. But it sounds like something that could exist. I’m going to really think about that one!
          Thanks again, Poe.
          I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about the script.

  • hickeyyy

    I’ll be checking some of these out tomorrow, as I have a wedding to attend today. That said…

    OT: Anyone else see Jurassic World? I’m anticipating a review on Monday from Carson, but damn; I loved it. I was impressed with all the subtle nods to the first film while also making this its own beast. It was a great sequel.

    • Paul Clarke

      I thought it was great fun too. Still, felt a little more convoluted than the original. I don’t think we needed the war angle. One too many characters and subplots. And there was no need for a truly evil human being. That made it comic-book cheesy. The original was based on good people with good intentions, that turn out horribly. Like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. For me the premise rested on the plausible reason why they would create a hybrid super-dinosaur, and they didn’t quite get it right.

      Plus – Why they hell didn’t that god damn annoying woman take her heels off! It bugged me throughout, especially after Chris Pratt points it out.

      • hickeyyy

        I definitely agree with the war-angle and the overload of characters. I really disliked Vincent Donofrio’s character, but not in the way they wanted me to dislike him. I agree with you 100% on the whole mustache-twirling villain situation.

        I did appreciate the fact they threw in the line that justified the genetically modified dinosaur premise, in that ALL of the dinosaurs were genetically modified already.

        I think a large reason I enjoyed it so much is I went in expecting it to be awful. I was really wrong about the film based on the trailers, and I’m happy to admit it.

  • Randy Williams

    TRIUMPH AND DISASTER

    Congrats for making it on AOW

    Read about 15 pages. Love the premise of this, sounds like fun but it was taking too
    long to get to the logline and spending too much time on professors.
    It’s a dark comedy and I like dark comedies to push the envelope. I think that genre
    gives you explicit permission to really take on everything. What I read didn’t quite
    do that enough.
    Gene is an interesting sort, although not particularly likeable. His interaction with the secretary at the university was very funny, loved that, but she’s a minor character. His interaction with the autistic boy was unmemorable. To me he didn’t even seem autistic. I know not every one behaves the same. There is an autistic child in my immediate family. Everything is approached by him with the seriousness of a dental appointment and how to avoid it causing any pain to him, hopefully by the pain being experienced by someone else, whose better equipped to handle it. Miguel here didn’t seem “manipulative” enough.

    If time allows, I’d read more. The premise again is fun. The writer has shown himself or herself to think outside the box.

  • Malibo Jackk

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE
    “I’ve been writing for most of my adult life…” and the inability to write a sentence (the logline) seem to be at odds.
    (Yeah, we all screw up sometimes.)

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION
    Logline confusion — the mother’s death seems to have little to do with the botched robbery.
    Can’t make the connection between the logline and the title.

    DEATH OF THE PARTY
    Title suggests a comedy, not a thriller.

    CHICKIN LICKIN
    Best title of the bunch.
    (I’m hungry already.)

    • Steex

      Giving this script the appropriate genre took a bit of thought for us.
      It’s a tongue in cheek slasher.
      But the main character doesn’t realize she’s in a slasher until about halfway through.
      To her, it’s more of a drama, since her GSU is to get back together with her estranged boyfriend. And secondarily it’s a thriller, since she’s being harassed by a unknown Snapchat sender. WE know the killer is chopping up teens, but it’s not until the main character is home alone that she stops and says, of fuck, I’m in a horror movie, aren’t I?…

  • Midnight Luck

    OT: Anyone else out there see LOVE & MERCY the biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys?

    I saw it yesterday. Very interesting. Paul Dano and John Cusack did an incredible job, but I think Elizabeth Banks may have outdone them all. Paul Giamatti did his typical extreme acting thing, which was ok, but not as great as the rest of them.

    I didn’t know much about Brian Wilson or the background of what went on with him or the Beach Boys, which allowed for the discovery of his life, without a filter.

  • brenkilco

    Have read to page 60 of Every Good Intention. My verdict so far. It’s OK. Fairly standard setup. Guy with money problems agrees to participate in a robbery. Characters fairly standard issue. The fancy talking Mafia chief, the hot tempered henchman, dim witted lowlife, long suffering wife, good time waitress etc. etc. The big problem to me is structural. The story is really just beginning and we’re two thirds of the way through the script. The family stuff and the money problems are just background. This doesn’t really become a story until somebody does something desperate. And it sure doesn’t become a thriller till that point. I’ll hold off final judgment until I finish the script but it sure seems like the robbery should have been the first act break and should have occurred back around page thirty.

  • Stephjones

    Hey Laura D,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to check out Chickin Lickin. Saving her grandmother was meant to be the goal but I see that’s not clear yet. Thanks for your feedback. Very helpful points to consider and I’m glad you like the concept!

  • brenkilco

    Finished Best Intentions. I suppose a reader’s ultimate response to the story will depend on how invested he or she is with the characters because the plot following the robbery is thin and by the numbers. The bad guys immediately tumble to who they’re looking for. The climax is the sort of scene we’ve watched a thousand times before. Nothing really new. All the late inning sentimentality wasn’t for me but might work for others.

    • Randy Williams

      It worked for me, but envisioned as I mentioned in my comments as TV fare.
      A bit of extra work on the romantic angle with the FBI undercover agent, a toning down of the strip club scenes, violence, and you have a more than satisfying diversion with characters I think the general public can invest in.

  • Howie428

    My vote is for CHICKIN LICKIN.

    Here are my notes from looking through ten pages or so of each of these…

    TRIUMPH AND DISASTER

    I’m on page six and while the opening scene was amusing and the character is fun, I guess his intro feels a bit staged and especially the lie detector thing didn’t seem like something the Doctor would agree to.

    I read 11 pages and much of what I saw works fine. The character is interesting, although I’m not sure I’m really that invested in what happens to him. I guess I’m not feeling especially hooked yet, which might be because events have been a bit flat.

    By the way, I don’t think you need worry about Lynda Carter being replaced by Gal Gadot, because I’ll be very surprised if the new Wonder Woman is sexualized in the way that she used to be.

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE

    For some reason that title makes me think this is going to be porn… Let’s see…

    I got a bit confused by the CAGEY LONER and HARRY DICK intro, since it seemed like that might be two people.

    On page 5, I like the introduction to the main character and the setting. I’ve found it a bit awkward to follow what’s happening in a few places.

    The zombie thing came as a surprise to me and I’m not sure I get their reaction to it.

    I got to page 10 and seen some fun stuff. However, I’m wondering if the different story elements are conflicting with each other. For example, I’m not sure why we’d be interested in his need to win a poker tournament in a far off city while there is a zombie outbreak going on.

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION

    I’m on page 3 and the teaser is fine, if a bit generic. It might make sense to tweak it so that we’re intro’d to Darren first since as it stands more character work has been done for Bill. I guess it’s also worth asking whether this accident belongs in the backstory, since a ten year jump this early on always raises that question.

    At page 6, I’m finding the scenes a bit generic. Darren being fired doesn’t bother me since I’m not engaged with him. Then you jump to Reed and get another cold open with him.

    I’m now on page 10 and with another new group of characters. I can see the potential in this for a solid gritty drama, but so far I’ve found the scenes to be a bit generic and the story to be jumpy.

    DEATH OF THE PARTY

    On page 3, the teaser has a fun horror aspect to it. It races along and has good scares and gore, even if it’s well-worn ground. The jump to another place without setting any context has me a bit worried because I’m left wondering if the teaser is an unrelated attention grabber that ultimately ends up being a gimmick.

    At page 11, I can see the potential of using snapchat as a basis for a horror story. Although, I guess it comes with the problem of having to include snap clips that’ll be tough to follow, especially on a page.

    So far though I’m finding it a bit hard to get grounded in this script since you’ve got multiple characters coming in and the story is jumping around quite a lot.

    CHICKIN LICKIN

    On page 4, I’m a bit puzzled. I thought she was going to Josh’s place. Also, she declared that she had to know why the guy kissed a chicken, which was a fun question, but then did nothing about it.

    At the end of page 5, I’m afraid I don’t buy the idea that someone would go and look for a chicken’s mother. How would she know which chicken it was?

    I’ve read page 10, and I’m enjoying the distinctive location, and the character of Emily is working fine. I guess I’m still not clear on how you’re going to get around the challenge of telling a story about a fairly nasty subject. It seems unlikely that audiences will want to see this cute little chick used for cock-fighting.

    Of course, I’d guess that you’re only going to tease that and that we’re not going to get chicken death matches in this story. If that’s the case then I’d suggest rewording your pitch to make it clearer that the script is opposed to cock-fighting. Indeed I’m wondering whether there is a different pitch hook you can use that takes advantage of the distinctive setting and character story.

    • Stephjones

      Hey Howie428!
      Thanks for the read, notes and vote! Really appreciate you taking some time with Chickin Lickin!
      Nice to know what confused during the read, will try to answer some of it:

      At first, Emily suggests her place, which Josh vetos because of the chair, :)
      She didn’t find out about why the guy was kissing the chicken because she’s a wimp. Which hopefully is made very clear later on.
      There are small flocks of chickens EVERYWHERE in St. Thomas. I know of a place downtown near the post office and vendors plaza which always has momma chickens with their babies. The scene in the story actually happened to a friend of mine. She rescued a chick and couldn’t find the mother so set it with another. It didn’t go well. I’ll admit it’s pretty unique to that world.
      I do have cock fights featured but cut away from the action. The main aspect I focus on is the training of the roosters. The miyagi character believes roosters are born to fight so trains them like athletes with programs and special diets. Roosters always try for dominance. That is the tie in with my character’s arc. By training roosters she learns how to assert herself and figures out some other stuff as well.
      Hope this helps!

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

    It’s great to see candidates active in the comments. Steex is working the room!
    Let’s find the next AF breakout script today.

    My Vote: CHICKIN LICKIN.
    Honorable Mention: DEATH OF THE PARTY.

    TRIUMPH AND DISASTER:
    Read to page 15.

    While I dug Nerve and Sinew, your logline here confounds me.
    Lots of adjectives, but I’m not feeling the irony or a strong goal.
    What happens to your protag if he fails?
    A restraining order remains active. Not much stakes there.

    Leading with a lecture is too common in university settings.
    Meeting a receptionist isn’t a dynamic start to your tale.
    Add some conflict to this talky opener. Maybe Gene is an hour early.
    Maybe the secretary is busy on the phone and Gene interjects a lot.
    She ignores him, because they have history we can learn from, etc.

    Use conflict to educate us about your protag. More fun than a static chat.
    Kinda surprised you didn’t tell us how Gene was injured at the school.

    Tech niggle: You need a LIE and a TRUTH to establish a polygraph baseline.
    If you’re going to use the lecture, set up more story with it.
    Give us a clearer GOAL. What does Gene want from Wonder Woman?

    I’d consider BLENDING the two lectures scenes in your front 15.
    For me, it was a drag to go to another lecture right after your prologue.
    Just as Gene’s about to be thrown out, Lisa arrives late. He’s hooked.
    Now Gene has to find a way stay on class and quiz Lisa.
    Use that CLEAR MINI-GOAL to better educate the reader about Gene.
    This reads pretty well, but I don’t feel a story starting yet.

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE:
    Read to page 10.

    Your logline would be more juicy if your protags helps the president.
    What if… He must help the president BLUFF his way through a crisis?
    Something like that would help me connect the dots in your logline.

    I don’t understand why the thugs would throw back the case.
    They already stole it and assaulted someone. Why give up the loot?
    Your thugs will be charged regardless of what they do next.
    More bizarre thugs using crowbars to enforce tips for windshield washers.
    Flat out robbery of passers-by would be a lot more profitable.

    First five reads like a laundry list of verbal backstory.
    The females are big time telegraphing our protag’s history quite often.
    Unfortunately, those literary devices churning distracts me from your tale.
    Find a way to refine that backstory into scene-relevant dialogue.

    The massive tonal shift into zombies is enough to send me packing.
    A tepid chat filled with backstory distances the reader from fun.
    It would be more funny if your guy was DESPERATE for the tourney.
    Him being ambivalent doesn’t get me invested in anything he does.

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION:
    Read to page 12.

    Leading with a wonky slug & grammatical error is not a good start.
    It says to readers that you don’t VALUE THEIR TIME.
    After a while that gets discouraging. And then I don’t want to help you.
    Nail down those tech niggles, it’ll make readers feel more welcome.

    Lure in the reader by foreshadowing the debris on the highway.
    Building up anticipation is a classic way to keep readers hooked.

    Darren should not be dumbfounded with the loan shark.
    It would be more interesting if they didn’t give up the ghost so fast.
    Like Harry Dick, this script frontloads the dialogue with exposition.
    Darren knows he owes this guy. There’s no reason to summarize so fast.
    Every time you do this, you’re ripping the reader out of your world.

    Character overload is wearing me down. Thirteen intros in a dozen pages is a lot.
    Refine your exposition skills. Say your dialogue out loud several times.
    Does it sound like something that a human being would say.
    With less story telegraphing, I think this script could pop.

    DEATH OF THE PARTY:
    Read to page 15.

    Your logline could use a dash of irony sauce.
    What makes this teen so special. Why them. Do they have to grow up.
    I like the Snapchat thing. But I don’t see the full movie yet.

    P. 6 There’s a preposition missing in your first sentence.
    The writer’s style keeps me bopping along. The characters, not so much.
    Sometimes the tongue-in-cheek is firmly in place.
    Help set the delicate tone by sparingly cheating with unfilmables.
    With suck a fine line you’re walking, it’s acceptable in small doses.
    “Just like in every other horror movie, she runs and stumbles.”

    Deckard. Macready. I get that you’re Blade Runner & The Thing fans.
    Writers have a fun voice, but it’s mostly used to set the scene.
    I don’t get that same vibe from the story choices or dialogue.
    Maybe you can inject more of that talent into a character’s voice.

    Honestly, I find the tone of this script bending towards comedic.
    The groundwork kinda screams a Scream ripoff style tale.
    Reminds me of that Ferdinand assassination script written by a teacher.
    It’s a super serious historical event told with Wes Andersonisms aplenty.

    Not sure it’s the best call to veer away from your comedic chops.
    They seem to be coming through your work anyway. Might as well nurture it.
    Also consider showing a bit more about how Snapchat works.
    You don’t want to alienate readers unfamiliar with the epic app.

    CHICKIN LICKIN:
    Read to page 15.

    You’ve teased the cockfighting world twice, but there’s no pay off.
    I’m surprised Emily didn’t engage the rooster owner on the ferry.
    TO be honest, that’s what I wanted to see happen. Make that connection.
    Was hoping we were going to dive into progressive narrative there.
    Darn, I thought for sure that chick would lead Emily to the cockfights.

    Josh kinda disappeared since the opener. Are he and Emily close.
    Emily passively drifts from scene to scene, little resistance.
    The staccato phrasing feels more appropriate for horror or a thriller.
    For me, the casual island vibe would play better with complete sentences.

    Carter is the first character that I actively like.
    He manipulates Emily through his disability, yay human behavior!
    And that behavior led to his GOAL in the scene, get Emily to attend.
    The PSYCHOLOGY he used to achieve his goal tells me about his character.

    This is the first scene that had a conflict and carried it out well.
    Use this abstract dynamic structure to enhance all your scenes.
    More please. How a passive Emily deals with direct conflict interests me.
    Consider giving Ernesto and Emily (two E names) a few lines on the boat.
    Find a way to GALVANIZE your themes right there. Pretty solid stuff here.

    • Steex

      A second place vote is all right by me.
      Thanks for great feedback!

    • Stephjones

      You is wunnerful! Thanks once again for taking the time to check out my script, for some solid, thought-provoking notes and greatly appreciate the vote! Best to you Electric Dreamer!

  • Steex

    Thanks, man. Glad you think it has potential.

  • walker

    My vote is for Chickin Lickin by Stephanie Jones. I like Steph’s sense of humor and her instincts for this kind of story.

    • Stephjones

      Thanks, Walker!

  • Randall Alexander

    My vote is for DOTP. Fast, enjoyable read. We talk on here about needing marketable scripts that have a chance to actually be made into a movie that will make money. Is it a marketable premise? Check. (Blumhouse cranks out micro budget screamers and the cash rains down.) Is it a good script written by people who know how to write? Check. Did it keep me interested? Check.
    Someone counseled against using Snapchat as a device when It could be out of style by the time the script gets made. I totally disagree with that. Why NOT use that as a device, especially since Snapchat is currently relevant? If the script sells and the movie gets made in 10 years when Snapchat is just a fart in the wind, they can insert whatever is popular at that time.
    Good job guys.

    • Steex

      Damn, that’s quite a endorsement!
      Glad you enjoyed it.
      Hopefully more people have similar feelings.
      We really do believe we have something that has potential to be made, although, we realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

      Thanks!

      • Gregory Mandarano

        Randall likes it: Check

  • Somersby

    I read anywhere from 10 to 20 pages of four of this week’s entries and finished Triumph and Disaster. It was the only one I wanted to see how things panned out.

    Other than its terrible title, T&D is competently and entertainingly written. Good characterizations, strong dialogue, and a nicely executed concept–though it does rush the ending and leave us feeling somewhat unsatisfied with some of its hasty conclusions.

    Still, it gets my vote for this week.

    Chickin Lickin shows promise too, but as even Steph points out in these comments, cockfighting at the center of a sweet coming-of-age story is just too… well, unsettling. Some really good writing here, but the concept is too much of a roadblock in my opinion.

    • Stephjones

      Hey Somersby,
      Thanks for taking a look and for your kind words about my writing. I’ll admit just the idea of cock fighting can be off-putting but my intention is not to condone it, I promise. I wanted some very different worlds to collide in order to offer up some interesting POV’s. I hope you decide to read further but completely understand if you’d rather not.

    • Bill Anthony Lawrence

      Thanks a ton for the full read, Somersby. I really appreciate it, as well as the vote and the notes.

  • Stephjones

    Sorry, I missed this! Many thanks Random Logline generator! Yes to St Thomas being unique. I love the place! Thanks for the vote!

  • Poe_Serling

    Since Snapchat is used throughout the script and so pivotal to the storyline itself, I think it would be a great idea to tie the mobile app (or something similar) into your title and get some extra mileage out of the hip factor often associated with these kind of new tech things.

    • cicada

      I think that could work.
      What do you think of the log line?

      • Poe_Serling

        The logline is okay, but I think it could be reworked a bit to try and capture some of the inherent edginess of your story and your unique style of writing/formatting.

        Also, it sounds very similar to the premise/logline of the film April’s Fools Day.

        “A group of college students staying at a friend’s remote island
        mansion begin to fall victim to an unseen murderer over the weekend.”

        That’s just my two cents.

  • cicada

    It’s not that the first act isn’t good, but it’s setup. The thrills don’t begin to get intense until you know the characters, and start to peel back the layers.
    It takes a good chunk of pages to achieve true suspense and thriller type scenes.

  • Marcos Vaz

    triumph and disaster… up to page 50.

    good dialogue.. clear goals… intelligent writer. i felt miguel is underdeveloped a bit. 10 pages go by without him saying a word since they met for the road trip. That would be fine if he was shy, but i got the impression that he is not from earlier scenes.. one thing that may work is just acknowledging him time to time.. for example, on the first lodge scene, after gene say all those stuff to the attendant and leave him dumbfounded.. miguel could say “please?”..

  • Bill Anthony Lawrence

    Thank you to everyone that checked out TRIUMPH AND DISASTER, particularly those that gave it a full read. Very much appreciated!

  • Cyarax

    I vote for Chicken Lickin.

    • Stephjones

      Thank You!

  • Citizen M

    CHICKIN LICKIN

    Having read to the end, I think this needs work but has a lot of potential. I don’t think the cock-fighting is a problem since it is never shown, and anyway the emphasis is on training the cocks, not on their fights.

    The unusual martial art and exotic location give this a charm and unique feel that should attract jaded viewers.

    That said, I would like to see more local color in the writing. Capture the feel of St Thomas.

    For starters, where the hell is it? I had to look on a map. It’s cliché, I know, but if you start with a map of Florida and move east past Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and finally a little speck called St Thomas, then zoom down onto the ferry crossing, we would know where we are.

    (Trivia: St Thomas is the only US territory where they drive on the left. Since the cars are all American left-hand-drive models it must make for some hairy moments :-O )

    The writing style unfortunately works against a more descriptive approach. It leads to a fast read, but IMO is more suited to an action movie. Normally I advise trimming pages, but in this case bulking up by ten or fifteen pages might be the way to go.

    The location is unfamiliar to most of us, I’m sure, so could do with some world building, just like a scifi script. In addition you could describe the inner lives of the characters more fully. How they’re feeling, their reactions, etc, which is the point of a coming of age story. A drama needs a bit more gravitas than this script has got.

    I wasn’t sure what the backstory was. Is she returning to the island with Josh after a period living in the States to care for Nana? That’s what’s implied by the ferry trip, but then I’d expect a sequence where she tries to get established with a job and place to stay. Maybe that part is skipped over, but I think it would be a useful intro to island life to see it.

    Frankly, Josh is a pain and I’d like to see him written out entirely. He serves little purpose other than to oppress her, and there are plenty of others doing the same thing. I’m presuming they met in the US. Were they living together? She should offer to show him St Thomas if she grew up there.

    Time passing is also a problem. I don’t know how long a chicken takes to grow, but I guess a few months, which is an awkward period for a script. Apart from Emily’s life, you have to pay attention to other things which are developing off-screen.

    Trying to read my handwritten notes, a few random thoughts:

    – I like Peck-peck better then Peck as a name. It’s easier to say.

    – Ernesto’s pit bulls are often mentioned but never play a significant part. Either use them or leave them out.

    – I thought cocks fought with their feet as well as their beaks. Don’t they tie razor blades to their spurs?

    – Peck’s diaper and papoose were nice touches. I’d like to see more made of them. Show how Emily is faced with the problems of Peck pooping and what to with him while surfing, and how she solves them. So we can see she has something going for her even though she’s a wimp at that stage.

    – Mrs. Wheatley was a great villain and drawn from life is my guess. But I’d like to see her more directly involved in Nana’s escape. The rotten hand railing played no part, and the missing screws were nothing Mrs. Wheatley was alerted about.

    – I loved the training sequences, particularly the tire treadmill. Would make a great visual.

    – Ernesto’s insights into fighting cock psychology were interesting and a bit of a highlight for me.

    – I think we need a brief scene of Nana’s funeral service, for closure. Let’s see who turns up.

    – I’d like a bit more on the proposed development and the issues. Progress vs conservation. Josh puts the case for progress, but since he’s an outsider, a local politician saying the same thing would be more effective. Could also threaten Emily. I think she needs more problems.

    – I’d like to see more clearly Emily choosing not to be involved in the Brass Island fight, then getting dragged in, and finally becoming a leader.

    – After Emily gets pecked her wounds seem to disappear. Surely they would still be visible at the end?

    Chicken Licken is a fast food chain here, so the title doesn’t work so well for me. But it’s hard to come up with alternatives. A Girl and Her Cock; A Chick Called Peck; Cocky Lessons; Fowl Play; The Girl Who Was Chicken; Roostered. Ugh.

    • IgorWasTaken

      OT. From 7000 miles away, it may seem there’s only St. Thomas, but it’s the entire US territory of the Virgin Islands.

      As to why they drive on the left? Here’s one (non-)explanation –

      Why do we drive on the left in the US Virgin Islands?
      We have no idea. The US Virgin Islands were owned by Denmark until 1917 so it is not a carry-over from the way they drive in, say, England as may be the reason behind driving on the left in the British Virgin Islands. One story is that it is because of the donkeys (we have lots of wild asses – tourists aside – residing on St. John), but that makes no sense to us. More likely it is the rum! In any case, not to worry, you cannot get going very fast on St. John so except for the forgetful tourist driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, driving on the left is nothing to be concerned about.

      • Stephjones

        True story: I’ve never driven a car in the 20 years I’ve been on St. Thomas. I do everything by boat, bike, walk or dollar bus. I do have a pretty good handle on which way to look when crossing the street but that’s about it.

        • IgorWasTaken

          I was tying to figure why the left-right thing hasn’t been changed. Best answer I have is: The fewer tourists who rent cars, the better from POV of the locals, and left-side driving discourages many tourists from renting cars.

          • Stephjones

            Are you in St John?

          • IgorWasTaken

            Nooo. I’ve been – St. Thomas, St. John. Even stayed on Hassel Island once. But not to the VI at all in many years. First alcohol I ever tasted, as a tike, was a banana daiquiri on St. Thomas.

            Weird thing for me: I know a Dane named von Scholten. Yes, that von Scholten.

          • Stephjones

            Where did you stay on Hassel island? There’s very few options.
            I’m afraid I don’t know any Danes…just fellow dirtbags. ;)

          • IgorWasTaken

            You don’t know about this von Scholten? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_von_Scholten

            This was years ago, I think before it was designated as a special site. We stayed in a small house, but there was an office, and a bar. And a donkey that would drink leftovers off the bar and that made it drunk.

    • Stephjones

      wow! Awesome notes! I agree the story needs beefing up but wasn’t sure where, exactly. So THANK YOU for helping out with that!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the rooster training. I’ve seen evidence of it here and there but my direct knowledge is from google. ( although last week I was in a bar in puerto Rico which had a wall with rooster trophies, unfortunately no one spoke English)
      My research online led me to a rooster named Phillip who played fetch, wore a diaper AND a cape! I don’t have the link but google Phillip the rooster. The video of him playing fetch is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen…ahem.
      I love your suggestions on where the story needs to be fleshed out. You’ve been a huge help!
      And especially glad that you think it has potential! All the best to you, Citizen M!!!

    • Gregory Mandarano

  • Nicholas J

    I’M PICKIN CHICKIN LICKIN

    Triumph and Disaster seems like a creative story, but it’s told to us and not shown, making for an unengaging read.

    Death of the Party probably has the best writing, but it’s something I’ve seen before, and seems like Scream lite.

    A Harry Dick Apocalypse has the best concept/logline, but in the first half-page I had no idea what was going on, which doesn’t give me hope for the rest of the script. The writer needs to learn to focus a scene.

    Every Good Intention started off well enough, though I’ve seen the parents killed in a car wreck opening more times than I can count. And the writer falls into the amateur trap of giving us an entertaining opening scene, then devolving into stale exposition scenes to setup the story.

    Chickin Lickin is, for some reason, written like an action sequence. And it, too, contains some unengaging exposition. But things seem to be in motion here, with an active story and protagonist that I am learning about through her actions. This script seems to have the best storytelling of the bunch.

    As a side note, I think we need an intervention about titles. I can’t take any of these titles seriously.

    HUSBAND: Hey, we should go see a movie this weekend!
    WIFE: Sure! Which one?
    HUSBAND: I really wanna see Chickin Lickin.

    HUSBAND: A Harry Dick Apocalypse?

    WIFE: I want a divorce.

    • IgorWasTaken

      As for titles, depends on what works best to inspire someone to open your script. That title may not be the best title to inspire someone to go see the movie.

      • Nicholas J

        I think we should be aiming to write scripts that can be made into a movie tomorrow. From the concept, to the scene execution, all the way down to the title.

        • IgorWasTaken

          On the title, I could not disagree more. The prospective customer for a script is not the same as the one for a movie. And it’s all about targeting your customer; marketing to your customer.

          For example, on title page of the script that became “American Pie” –

          “Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love”

          • Nicholas J

            When someone that could get my movie made looks at my script, I want them to see the movie in their head. That includes the trailer and marketing, and a good title really helps that cause. Do you really think the American Pie example is a good method to recommend to amateur writers?

            But while I still disagree, you do make a fair point.

            Unfortunately, all of this weekend’s titles don’t fit your criteria. None of these titles make me want to open the scripts.

            Death of the Party – Cringeworthy attempt to play on words.
            Chickin Lickin – Silly and gives me a weird visual.
            A Harry Dick Apocalypse – Doesn’t even make sense, also gives me a weird visual.
            Every Good Intention – Tells me nothing. The script could be about literally anything. Also bland, and would blend into the crowd.
            Triumph and Disaster – Ditto.

            Not only do these titles make me want to pass on the script, they don’t reflect the content of the script at all. Therefore, IMO, they are bad titles.

            Know what makes me want to open a script?

            A good title.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Do you really think the American Pie example is a good method to recommend to amateur writers?

            As to the lesson of that title (i.e., not its length) – Yes, I do.

            And if you noticed all the specs that sold a couple years ago with the word “Fuck” in the title… Those are other examples of the same approach – Get ‘em to open your script.

            ADD: I’m not saying that this week’s AOW titles are good. In fact, I don’t much like them.

            Know what makes me want to open a script?

            A good title.

            Agreed.

          • Nicholas J

            Where are you getting this American Pie (an example of a great title btw) info anyway? I had never heard of that, and when I look it up, it looks like it was originally titled East Falls Great High.

            And I’m all about the get ‘em to open your script approach as long as the title is still good. Fuck Buddies is a great example. Capitalized on that profane title craze, and was a good title that represented the material well. Had edge to it. Too bad it was renamed to No Strings Attached, though that title actually reflected what became the watered-down movie version well.

          • IgorWasTaken

            The American Pie story is lore. It is mentioned at imdb – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163651/trivia

            When submitting his script to studios, screenwriter Adam Herz titled it, “Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love”. It was later changed to “East Great Falls High”, then “Great Falls”, and finally, “American Pie”.

            And I vaguely recall the writer telling this story in an interview. But yes, it may be apocryphal and maybe the writer threw that out as a joke.

          • Steex

            I agree on with your opinion, but disagree on the titles of the scripts offered here. I don’t thin they’re that bad. But that’s just my opinion.
            I can only really speak for myself, seeing as I only wrote one of the titles.
            I’m aware that Death of the Party is NOT a great title by any means,
            but for a Slasher, where people are being killed at a party, I believe it conveys the idea of the story. It’s a tongue-in-cheek 80’s influenced good time. I feel that the title tells you that the script isn’t going to take itself completely serious. But again, that’s just me.

    • Stephjones

      Thanks, Nicholas J. I really appreciate the vote and nice words about my story telling! I’m completely open to a new title. Chickin Lickin has always tickled me because I have a sophomoric sense of humor. Chickens getting lickings? Get it? Heh. Heh.
      Wait…why am I the only one laughing?
      ( thanks again)

      • Nicholas J

        I just can’t get past the image of a dude licking a chicken. I didn’t even make the fighting connection.

      • klmn

        I’ll throw out a few titles. Maybe some others can do the same.

        Cock.
        Cocked.
        Emily And The Cocksman.

        With that last one, I’ll just quit.

        • Nicholas J

          You really should’ve just done a mic drop after Cock.

        • Stephjones

          Heh.
          How about: Tough Chick? It has irony because Emily is a wimp?

          • IgorWasTaken

            I like that. But I do see a practical problem: The reader may expect when they meet the protag that she is already tough. And as they read her opening scenes, there will be this disconnect between that and the message of your title. IOW, open a script named “Tough Chick” and one might expect the first image is her fist hitting some guy’s face.

            And so maybe for the script: “How Emily Became a Tough Chick”

            Of course, all that is my speculation.

          • Stephjones

            I think you’re right.
            How about ” Get Tough”
            Or a completely different direction ” Island Girl”

          • IgorWasTaken

            I like “Get Tough” a lot. Plus, I think it’ll set up an expectation – in a helpful way to you – that the protag is a guy, which then is quickly reversed when the reader meets Emily.

          • klmn

            A Cock And Chick Story.

          • Midnight Luck

            A Chick’n Cock Tale

          • klmn

            Or just Cock Tale.

            It could star Tom Cruise as the chicken. He’s the right size, and for once in his life, he wouldn’t have to stand on a box.

          • Midnight Luck

            A Cock Tale does actually work really well!

            I think Tom Cruise might have trouble pulling it off. His time is a bit passed. I think Collateral was his last big hurrah.

          • BellBlaq

            I disagree. Even if a reader expects Emily to be tough chick in question, when they see she’s not, they’ll keep looking for her. And then there’s the actual chick. And then Emily evolves. I think this works the best of the options presented thus far.

            TOUGH CHICK!

          • IgorWasTaken

            You may well be right. And I bet you are right as to many readers. But my sense is that the big initial question for any reader is: What is this story about? And if the title presents a presumptive answer, many readers will go with that.

            Now if the title is “Big Dick on Campus” and then on page 1 it’s clear the protag is a tough female and the title is a metaphor (a pun on the idiom), then fine.

            In my admittedly limited experience, it is hard to displace images once they are set at all in a reader’s mind.

          • Nicholas J

            EMILY’S COCK

          • Stephjones

            I kinda like that, actually. Or: Emily and her Cock
            Or: The Island Girl and the Rooster Guy.

          • IgorWasTaken
          • IgorWasTaken

            Emily’s Cock in the Time of A Harry Dick Apocalypse

            or

            Emily’s Acockalypse

        • IgorWasTaken

          What a Cock Wrangler Taught Me on a Virgin Island

        • Steex

          Not sure if it’s been said, but how about

          Peck.

          • Stephjones

            Hah! So great! Thanks, Steex!

      • IgorWasTaken

        I think that title can work. But then I looked and found you don’t use that expression anywhere in the script. No sign, no dialogue. I know some people mock films in which a character says the title, and that can be campy, but it also can work. Anyway, what if you changed it to “Chicken Lickin’ Good”? Then it’s a play on the “finger” expression, so at least it seems kinda familiar. Just some thoughts.

      • Midnight Luck

        Go Cocks (oh wait, i believe that is a bumper sticker for a S. Carolina team)
        The Cock in the Virgins (islands, maybe that is too vulgar or suggestive)
        The St. Thomas Cock (ok, that just sounds wrong)
        Peck the Cock (again, sounds a bit creepy, but I kind of like it)
        My Pet Cock (eww, even creepier, but I like it even more)
        Battle Cock (hmmm)

        A title without the word Cock in it?

        I think to come up with a really good title that isn’t using shock value or the word Cock, I need to have a better understanding of what the central THEME is of the story. What it REALLY is about at the core. Then good titles begin to bubble to the surface. Right now I am just reaching, and most of the other titles people are throwing out are just “Shock” titles (much like mine above).

      • Kirk Diggler

        The Poultry Pugilist.

        Okay, maybe not.

  • Dan B

    Death of the Party

    (SPOILERS BELOW)

    Finished this script this morning. The strongest part of the script is the writers’ voice in my opinion. It makes for an entertaining read, and most of the comedy seems to come from it rather than the actions/dialogue. Tons of other movie references. MacReady and Deckard. Trip McNeally was the boyfriend from SCREAM 2 I think?

    There’s a huge diversity in the characters. The protag isn’t your run of the mill horror story victim, she seems to have her own demons and I’m never convinced that she isn’t the killer until the reveal. We’ve got drug dealers, football players, creepy groundskeeper guy, and the assortment of girls at the party. These characters may not exist together in the real world, but it makes for a fun slasher movie.

    The killer motivations were good as well

    I’d like to see more of Deckard, and would like to know more about his relationship with July. He seems attached to her, but I didn’t understand why. Since he’s a prominent character at the end, I would have liked to spend more time with him throughout the story.

    Maybe he’s the one investigates who the SNAP CHATS are coming from, rather than Mars.

    You guys have the comedy chops, I’d like to see even more in the script. You mentioned that there may have been more funny stuff in an earlier draft, and I would keep more of that. A comedy would be a more unique angle to the slasher genre.

    • Steex

      Thanks for the great review, Dan!
      You caught some of the references. :)
      Trip McNealy is actually Jerry O’Connell’s extremely minor character in Can’t Hardly Wait, one of the movies we used for inspiration. (He also played the bf in Scream 2, so that’s probably why you were thinking that).

      We used to have more of Deckard, but oddly, a few people said to cut it down. We always kinda thought we’d like to see more of him, so I’m glad you said it.

      Glad you enjoyed the read and our “voice”!

  • charliesb

    My vote is for CHICKEN LICKIN.

    • Stephjones

      Thank you, Charliesb!

      • charliesb

        You’re welcome. Trying to get a bunch of writing done before Game of Thrones finale tonight, so I don’t have time to give you feedback today. Fingers crossed you’re chosen and we can all talk about it on Friday. :)

        I will say I really liked your “voice”. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

        • Stephjones

          Thanks for the “voice” comment. It means a lot! Good luck with your writing today! Hope it goes well.

  • cicada

    What do you guys think of “shade”? Has some bite, no?

    It’s not snapchat related but the killer hides in snap chat. July tries to hide the past.
    We hide the suspects and motivations.

    • cicada

      Never mind. It was a title in 2004.

  • Howie428

    COUNT… As per the suggestion to tally the votes in a transparent way, here is a count. I’m sure I’ve got it wrong in some way, so feel free to correct me. I’ve given half votes to second place picks (2nd) and loglines (L). I wasn’t sure if scriptfeels and Dan B voted, but I’ve included half votes for them.

    TRIUMPH AND DISASTER (5)
    Citizen M, thewildkingdom, Gregory Mandarano, Laura D., Somersby

    A HARRY DICK APOCALYPSE (0.5)
    kidbaron(L)

    UNTITLED BY ABB VEGVARY (-1)
    Point lost for spelling his own name wrong!

    CHICKIN LICKIN (10.5)
    klmn, brittany, Paul Clarke, Malibo Jackk(L), Howie428, ElectricDreamer, walker, Cyarax, Nicholas J, charliesb, Random Logline Generator

    EVERY GOOD INTENTION (2)
    Buddy, Randy Williams

    DEATH OF THE PARTY (4)
    Gregory Mandarano(2nd), Poe_Serling, ElectricDreamer (2nd), Randall Alexander, scriptfeels???, Dan B???

    NONE OF THE ABOVE (0)

    • Steex

      I wrote one of the scripts, so my vote doesn’t count, I think A Harry Dick Apocalypse deserves more than 0.5 votes.
      If it DOES count, add that bitch!

      • Howie428

        I’ve added that vote. Although, I’ve got no problem with someone voting for themself. After all, you’re allowed to vote for yourself in most other contexts.

        • Stephjones

          Howie428,
          Thanks for taking the time to put that together!

  • HRV

    Read the first ten of each. Chicken Lickin was the easiest/fastest read, followed by T. and D. I’d be most inclined to read them in their entirety. My vote goes accordingly. Congrats to all chosen this week.

    • Stephjones

      thanks for checking out the first 10 of Chickin Lickin. Appreciate any thoughts you might have!

  • Eric

    Hey Steex and cicada,

    I never really have a lot of time on the weekend, but I read the first ten of Death of the Party and I’m in the camp that felt the intro was awfully generic. I’ve also seen that it was an intentional choice. I have to disagree with the “holding back” strategy, but I’ll point out some nitpicks to the scene as is.

    First off, I’m not entirely against the cute font, but when you use it to introduce Trip, you obscure his introduction. Normally you’d have ‘TRIP (age) physical description, innate character trait and yada yada’. With the fancy font I’ve got nothing. Trip isn’t a normal name either so I don’t know if this person is male or female.

    Speaking of the dog, I know you’re going for a quick brutal sequence, but you need to set up the elements a little better. Not seeing the dog until it’s already dead makes its death ineffective. Something as simple as starting with the dog jumping from the foot of Emmy’s bed to the floor and trotting out the door helps set the scene better.

    I also worry that a viewing audience wouldn’t get that the person in the Snap Chat photo is the same person that’s missing from her bed. There’s a general disconnect between me and this Trip guy and once again, I think it’s because we don’t really see him until he’s dead. You need to tie them together a bit more. A photo of them both on her nightstand, or her phone’s background is a picture of them on vacation, or maybe we actually see them interact before he walks off. The scene starts too late to really grasp what’s going on and with no set-up established it’s tough to build any tension in the scene. To compare it to SCREAM’s opening, it’d be like Casey seeing her boyfriend gutted without ever establishing for the audience that she had a boyfriend. This would lessen the impact of the “game” the killer plays with her, because the consequences can’t feel real until we’ve seen her boyfriend tied up outside.

    But the biggest problem with the intro is that the concept is barely there when it should be front and center. The tease is when you tell your audience what this movie is about, what you’ll be bringing to the table that’s new and different. In Scream, it’s all right there. The killer taunts a victim over the phone, quizzes her on horror movies and chides her for not “knowing the rules”. Ten minutes into the movie and we know everything about the way this killer operates. Everything that follows is just a twist on the established pattern. The first call to Sidney actually acheives what you indicated you wanted to achieve in your intro. It shows how Sidney reacts differently to this killer than Casey does. Sidney’s refusal to play the game and rejection of horror movies marks her as someone very different and at the end of the sequence, she’s survived. Later in the climax, Sidney turns the tables by calling the killers as she stalks them through the house, but the game is never as elaborate as it is in that first scene.

    The problem with your intro is its holding back on the concept. All we would expect from an intentionally generic intro is a generic movie to follow. The concept here appears to be a Snap Chat serial killer. It may be wise to expand that to cover ALL social media. It gives you more options for creativity, imo. I’d think of everything you like about this concept, everything that made you choose it, and construct an intro the utilizes at least 50-60% of what you can think of. Trust yourself to twist it later. The opening is where the concept should be. Everything that follows is a variation and an intensifying of that opening theme.

    If the concept is a Snap Chat serial killer, give us a opening of an extended stalking sequence with killer taunting his victim with the Snap Chat, giving her (misleading) glimpses of where he is in the house. Or have Emmy watch Trip being stalked and killed through Snap Chat, helpless to stop it. Something that tells us right up front what exactly your concept is and that it’s worth spending another hundred or so pages watching you explore it deeper. But don’t be intentionally generic, it’s impossible to distinguish from unintentionally generic.

    • cicada

      Eric,

      Wow. That’s a lot to think about, thanks.

      We are reworking the entire opening, going off some of the comments here. We’ve also cut out some minor characters.

      The opening scene has been around since the first draft, and we added in the Snapchat angle a few drafts later. But if the opening is hindering people from reading more, that’s a problem.

      However, we do think we utilize snap chat well the rest of the script. There are some changes as the story goes on. It can always be better though.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Would not be surprised if producers called these guys.
    DEATH OF THE PARTY
    Read pages 77 to end, based on Poe’s comments.
    Can’t speak for the whole script. First pages likely need a rewrite like Eric suggests.
    Better title would help. And there may be tone issues in the first part of the script — don’t know, didn’t read that part.

    Just reading pages 77 to the end — tells me there is a movie here.

    • cicada

      Malibo,

      Thanks for reading the last thirty.
      We thought it was exciting to write, and we’re glad people are enjoying the craziness. We just wanted a real bad ass finish. How much can we throw at the audience?
      Scream had a insane last 25 minutes or so, and I think we were inspired by that.
      If DOTP were ever made, it should be fun to watch just for pure entertainment value.

    • Steex

      I hope producers dig deep into the SS comment section. Lol
      We definitely always tried to write things that are visual and would look great on screen.
      We have hopes of getting it produced (who doesn’t).
      Thanks for the kind words!

  • pmlove

    I’ve only read DEATH OF THE PARTY, based largely on Malibo’s comment. Read the first fifteen and the last thirty.

    Definitely worthy of a look. Fast intros, clear characters and a shit ton of action. Most of the scripts here suffer from not having enough happen. Can’t say the same here.

    It’s not particularly new, but it wears its influences on its sleeve and it is damn fun.

    Apologies to the other scripts – I didn’t have time to crack them open.

    • Steex

      Really happy to hear you enjoyed what you read of DOTP!
      We really strived to make a fun script that’s easy to read.
      There’s nothing worse than reading a boring, laborious script.
      Hopefully we get a few more people to take a chance on this.

    • cicada

      Awesome, thanks for the comments.

  • Midnight Luck

    Choice: CHICKIN LICKIN

    Triumph & Disaster : Page 8
    Every Good Intention : Page 9
    A Harry Dick Apocalypse : Page 5
    Death of the Party : Page 15
    Chickin Lickin : Page 44 (and counting)

    Ok, so the writing on this was far and away the best of all of them. Very nice dialogue work, nice descriptions. An easy, fun, and sometimes quite funny read.

    The first thing I have to say is: Why, oh why are you doing this to me?
    Why does the story have to involve Cock Fighting? I know it is an (ugly, sad) reality in many parts of the world, but wow, it makes it almost impossible to read certain parts of the story. As an animal rights person, an animal lover, and a Vegan, there are so many things wrong with all this I struggle to keep on with it. I know you said you aren’t supporting Cock fighting or the massive animal cruelty that goes along with it, but everything about that part of the story makes me angry, want to gag, and also want to put down your script.

    Still, even with all of that, I can really appreciate your skill at writing and your voice. There is some great work being done in this script, and that part really impresses me.

    Aside from these things though, I do have some issues. There are a few mistakes throughout, but nothing of much consequence. However I am struggling a bit to understand what the focus is. What the drive of the story is. Somewhere around page 36 the idea comes up that Josh wants Emily to move with him to Atlanta. So by page 36 there hasn’t been a lot of direction for the script. Yes she finds a chick, and yes she seems to have self esteem, or drive issues, but nothing stands out as “what this story is about”. Nothing points to where it is going, or to any ticking time bomb or mystery, or even mystery box. Not that every story has to have any of these, but I think it would be a mistake to consider this script an Independent slice-of-life Feature where people just kind of bumble around, do odd things (raising chicks to fight to the death in Cock Fights), learn life lessons through strange mentors, and talk about nothing much but everyday issues.

    You really have some skill, and I think this story (or another one) should really utilize your talent by taking on something more substantial. As readers we NEED to have somewhere we are going, something we MUST have for your main character, be it LEARNING and changing, or acquiring something, or fixing something, or saving someone or something.

    So far, by page 44 she’s saved a helpless chick, only to turn around and prepare it to fight to the death. Maybe she changes her ways by the end, maybe the chick and her find their purpose or something, but it is hard to keep going if we don’t find out some sort of direction soon, and I fear we will only learn what this is about, or where we are going maybe 10 to 20 pages before it is over.

    Again, I just want to make it clear, that your writing STYLE and skill are exceptional. I really enjoy reading your script (I just wish part of it wasn’t about such a brutal despicable thing) and the breezy fun nature of it.

    Good luck, hope you get some helpful feedback.

    • Stephjones

      Wow, Midnight Luck! So happy you weighed in and greatly appreciate your POV about this script!
      Let me try to explain what I was trying for:
      Emily is a young woman who has yet to develop a strong moral, ethical code. Her mildness allows for all manner of violation against herself and others. Her journey is to learn when to draw her line in the sand, when to assert herself and say, “No.” Hence there is no one thing pushing at her…EVERyThING is.
      Believe it or not I also wanted to provoke some thought about our cruelty to animals in general and the hypocrisy behiind how we rationalize and condone some heinous things but not others. My character Ernesto rationalizes fighting Roosters because he believes they are born to fight. He is a good man who believes something which others find hard to accept and I could not cheapen his character by having him arc into someone he is not. I wanted to contrast his belief against our cruelty to the animals we raise for food…especially chickens. It is horrific and all chicken consumers show watch a video of a chicken processing plant.
      You’re not the first to lament Emily’s lack of a single goal. I intended for Emily’s need to stand up to the hospital admin in order to keep her Nana safe to be the spine of the story. I might need to beef that up. Also, just to be clear, Emily never intends to raise Peck to fight. Some really bad shit happens to her after the mid point which makes her look at EVERYTHING differently. She finally draws her line in the sand about the sort of person she is to be.

      • Stephjones

        Sorry, thing froze up.
        Okay. Where was I…oh. At one point in the story I have Em ask Ernesto how can he watch his roosters die. He tells her it is his believe they were born to fight but it doesn’t have to be hers. She should listen to her heart and do what it tells her. He also compares his “cruelty” to the cruelty of life as a chicken raised for food. Their death is guaranteed while his roosters have a 50/50 chance. I never intended to condone. Only to use an extreme example of how we justify.
        Hope this helps! Gotta get up and make some coffee. Would love more back and forth. Hope you read on and see if it makes better sense, but understand if you’d rather not.
        Thanks for your thoughts, Midnight Luck. I value your opinion!

        • Stephjones

          Also thanks so much for your kind words about my writing style. This experience has really given me a much needed boost to keep going with my writing. I was getting in a slump and your kindness, along with encouraging words from others, has been a real gift.

      • Midnight Luck

        I am fully understanding that my reaction to the Cock Fighting aspect is just MY personal reaction. I have no problem with people writing stories about whatever they want. We NEED that. Otherwise we wouldn’t have important pieces of art highlighting Rape and Abuse and Slavery, and everything else abhorrent.

        I was mostly joking when I made a big deal about my reaction. I mean, yes, I absolutely find all of it appalling, and cruel and just sick. Yet I can get behind a good story which includes it as an aspect of the tale being told.

        Your story reminds me a bit of the movie DESCENDANTS with Clooney. There is an Island fight going on over property and rights and such, and it is all a backdrop for the other parts of the movie. I think you adding in the part about them building a Pier and destroying Coral and such is much like that. Sadly, I found that aspect of Descendants to be the least interesting and kind of superfluous, even though it was the only Time bomb in the movie (along with the possibility of the wife dying).

        With your story, I think you should really find a way to inject Urgency into what is going on with Nana. To make it so the place she is staying is not only NOT CARING for her properly, but possibly hurting her, by not feeding her, or giving her her meds, or cleaning her correctly. A similar thing is happening to my Grandmother who is in a home and has late stage Dementia. We find that she has explosive diarrhea and her bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in weeks and is disgusting. She gets infections from not being clean and not getting out of bed for weeks at a time. They get paid $5k a month to give her “Top Notch” elder dementia care, and instead she is getting confinement Prisoner care.

        So, I think if you can really ratchet up the danger of something terrible happening to Nana, not only will it make it so Josh’s request to move to Atlanta that much more interesting, it also will put pressure on her to try to figure out what is “Right”.

        Now I am on page 58, so if many of these things happen, or are touched on, I am sorry for preemptively going on about them.

        I do really like your writing style, and you have the skill to make a good story, great characters, and really natural dialogue.

        However (sorry to add this), I feel that much of your writing feels “precious” if you will. For most of it I wondered if I felt this way because you are making Emily be so green and not worldly. But now I am not sure. I think it might be your writing style. If it is, I think you need to really go for the wall with some aspects.

        I will give you an example:

        “JOSH
        My place.
        (re: Emily’s thighs)
        Ice cream?

        Despite a near perfect body, Emily flushes, tugs her shorts
        down thigh.

        She puts the jeep in gear, drives off the ramp, careful not
        to jostle Josh.”

        So, at first I read this and didn’t understand the implications. Josh looks to her thighs and says “Ice Cream”?
        Then she is uncomfortable and tugs down. I read that as the shorts were creeping up on her and she smoothed them out, not that she pulled them off.
        Then it says “careful not to jostle Josh”, and I wondered why she wouldn’t jostle him. Was he suddenly sleeping?
        Then I understood what you meant.
        So, my point is, either it makes you uncomfortable to explain or verbalize or show this sex act so we can picture it, or there was a reason it was written this way which I just missed.
        Again, my point is, my take away was, that you were approaching this with tender kid gloves. Many parts of the script read this way.
        I would urge you to stretch yourself and be bold, vulgar, offensive, surprising when it comes to certain aspects of the story. If everything comes across as a pleasant tale, it might feel very uninteresting, or boring to many readers.
        Also, if you want to see a true change, I think you need to have more of a difference in her. More exaggerated.

        Not to worry, I am not one of those readers. I enjoy your writing and find it interesting and well written. I am just pointing out what I think other readers will take from it. If again you take Descendants, there is this ongoing mystery where Clooney’s character is trying to find out about the guy his wife was having an affair with, which he didn’t know about. As he learns about this guy, he gets a better understanding of himself, his two daughters, appreciates his wife more, and learns that it isn’t worth destroying this guys life over it. This guy has a wife and kids and he doesn’t want to send them all into pain and anguish, especially since his wife is most likely going to die anyways and it will all be closed. I think having that storyline was important. It helps us see and care about Clooney’s character more and want to know how it will all turn out.

        OK, so finished your script.
        Now I just want to let you know yours is the first I have finished in, well, forever.
        So, it is a nice story.
        My question to you is, do you want to have a nice story?
        Again, I really like your writing style. I like your voice. You have serious skill in all the things you need to have it to be a kick ass writer. So, don’t get me wrong. I am just being as honest and point blank as I can.

        I don’t know that a “nice” story is going to get you there, if your want is to break in.
        If your want is to write a nice story, and have accomplished finishing a script, well, I will sing your praises forever on out. Because that truly is a huge and amazing accomplishment, so well done. Very well done.

        I see more though. I think you can write something that also has teeth.
        You already have characterization down, storytelling ability, dialogue definitely, you just need to bring some teeth to the story.

        Maybe you have a vision and want to direct it yourself, and that would be grand. I could see this as an indie. But even there, I think St. Thomas is a great hook in and of itself. A great setting, definitely, though I do agree with another commenter who said I think it would help if you really give us flashes and a sense of the place. Give us more of a vibe about St. Thomas and help us “feel” the place like we are there. Now it is good, but I don’t really have any sense of what it is like to be there. I know what a beach is, and coral, and such, but that isn’t enough. This story screams to have us understand all the intricacies of the area and what life is like to live in such a unique place.

        I really do want to help and inspire you to find something to take your story from great to exceptional. It needs something to make people stand up and take notice. You have the skill. Now just dig a little bit deeper. Find that THING. That unique difference your story can show and tell. I know it is in there somewhere. This is your own unique world, so give it to us. Let us in on it and be 100% a part of it.
        I want to be there, and so does everyone else I would bet.

        Really, really great job.
        I think, based on numbers, you might get the Friday Night Lights spot shinning on you.
        I hope you are chosen.
        You deserve a whole day with everyone focused on you and your script.

        • Stephjones

          Really, really great feedback, Midnight Luck. I can see you truly want to help and I greatly appreciate it. Also want to say I am so sorry about what is happening to your Grandmother. In the past, I had a similar sort of circumstance with my Grandfather. In CL, the scene where Nana takes the screws out of the window, and escapes, which leads to her death is based loosely on that story. It’s heartbreaking.
          You are not the first person to say there are ” precious” aspects to this story, although they used the word “fluffy”. My reluctance to go darker has been pointed out to me and though I can appreciate the thought, I’m not sure I have it in me. This story is actually the only ” drama” I’ve ever written. I think I’m happiest writing comedy.
          But, this story is one of my favorites so I’d love to unlock how to elevate it. You’ve given me much to think about, a real gift to another writer. Would be happy to return the favor if you’d like.
          Just want to clarify what my intention was with the ice cream scene: when Josh looked at her thighs he was implying she was fat and ice cream was the last thing she should eat. She tugs the “cuff” of her shorts down to hide her thighs. It was sheer chagrin. Nothing sexual about it. I pay it off when Ty checks out her body at the end and says, ” not enough jelly” Em has to withstand his scrunity, and she does because she has more confidence. I will re word the ” tugs the shorts down thigh”. It has confused others so thanks for pointing that out.

          • Stephjones

            Thing froze up again.
            So, lost my train of thought. At any rate, you are wonderful for taking so much time with me. Hope I can return the favor. My email is kalikalot at hotmail dot com
            All the best to you, Midnight Luck!

          • Midnight Luck

            You have a good ear for comedy I can tell. The best Dramas always have a good balance of Comedy in them as well.

            I think if you keep working it, you will find a way to tease out some of the more intense drama, and possibly even find a bit more edge to it.

            I am happy to give my thoughts and help in any way I can. If you need anything let me know.

            I have strong feelings about story and voice and everything else, but am happy to give feedback if I can. I am not saying I know what or how it will work best, or what choices are best. I am only giving my gut reaction and instinct.

            Please take what helps and leave the rest if it doesn’t.

            Hoping for great things for you.

            m [at] blackluck [dott] com

  • Bill Anthony Lawrence

    Hey thanks for the kinds words. Glad you enjoyed the script! I certainly appreciate the full read as well as the notes.

  • Bill Anthony Lawrence

    Hey Laura D – thanks a ton for the vote, the read and the notes! If you get around to finishing the whole thing, I’d appreciate any additional notes you might have. Thanks again!

  • HRV

    Finished reading all of Triumph and Disaster and Death of the Party. Enjoyed the dialog and unique characters in the former. So many characters to keep track of in the latter. (Spoiler!) Lots of activity on the Killer’s parts, but little on the protag’s until the end. Basic slasher plot with most activity happening during the party. I did like the triple over the shoulder “Scream” reference scene. Strange coincidence that both scripts have a cop car running into a deer.

  • Bill Anthony Lawrence

    Thanks for the full read and the notes. Some really good stuff here. Much appreciated!

  • Adam Wax

    My vote goes to Death Of The Party based on the writing.