This week expect a spec sale classic to make its way onto Scriptshadow. Also, another script creeps into my top 25. This one has been blowing people away around town in addition to being compared to a certain Oscar Winner (which will remain nameless). It’s tightly guarded enough that I may not even be able to a post a script link. :( Then we have a mega-budgeted science-fiction flick that’s one of the worst action scripts I’ve ever read. No surprise then that it’s being made into a film. Also, since it’s the end of March, I’ll be posting my “Script of The Month”. If you’ve been following along, you probably already know what it is. Other than that, we’ll see what pops up. Once again, if you have any requests, leave them in the comments section or e-mail me. Enjoy your weekend!
So every once in awhile I’m going to post what I call a “4-Pack”. What happens is that sometimes I’ll start a script and I can’t finish it. Maybe it’s terrible, maybe I can’t get into it, maybe I’m not in the mood for that particular genre. Whatever the reason, I can’t go on, and the script isn’t compelling enough for me to try again later. This doesn’t mean that the script is bad, it just means that at that particular time it just wasn’t happening for me. I’m posting these because you guys might feel differently. So if it sounds like something that might interest you, download it and decide for yourself.
I think people are going to be surprised by this one because by all accounts, everyone’s really liked it. It’s about a gypsy, a zulu, a shaolin monk, a viking, a samurai, an arab and a knight, having to break out of prison back in the medieval times. It sold for 800k against 1.6m. Ouch. I just thought the set-up was kinda obvious, and the flashbacks to why characters was in prison were all very predictable and, quite frankly, boring. Cool concept though. Lots of people dig this so if you’re even mildly curious, I’d check it out.
script link: Medieval
Very hard for me to get into anything with fairies and dragons and gnorfs and so I got all of 2/3 of a page into this one before I gave up. Haha. That might be a record! But hey, just
Genre: Police Drama/Thriller
Synopsis: (from the trades) When a disgraced young cop is assigned a routine civilian ride along, he quickly learns that his passenger is not what he seems and that he has just entered into a brutal battle with a killer who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.
About: This script is developing a lot of heat and is out to buyers. David Greathouse Productions (David Greathouse & Geoff Alexander) attached to produce.
Writer: Chris Billet
Training Day was one of those movies that just came out of nowhere and knocked you in the face. Right from the get-go it established a tone and an atmosphere that was unlike any cop movie I had ever seen. I think what resonated with me the most was Denzel’s character. He reminded me of one of those guys we all cross paths with at some point in our lives. The ones that’ll smile at you one second and punch you in the face the next. That’s what makes the character so terrifying. Is you don’t know when they’re going to stop laughing and start punching.
So Gideon’s Law had a tall order. Cause any time you base your movie around two people in a cop car, I’m going to compare you to Training Day. That said, Gideon’s Law is structurally quite different from that film. Where as that movie didn’t reveal its cards until late in the second act, Gideon lets you know 30 minutes in who your bad guy is.
The script is about a young cop named Shane Gideon who’s forced to do a “ride-along” with a local author, RICHARD, who’s doing research for his next book. But when Richard deftly saves Gideon’s life, we begin to suspect there’s something more going on with him. As it turns out, there is. Richard is actually holding Gideon’s girlfriend hostage at another location. He doesn’t get her back until he’s helped him retrieve a piece of evidence that could possibly incriminate him. What follows for the next 90 minutes is the ride-along from hell.
The script is frantic and a bit out of control at times, but fun. Unfortunately it violates a key Scriptshadow Law that I’ve pointed out before. If the point of your movie is to have your main character try and rescue someone, make sure we the audience know and love the person they’re trying to rescue. Cause if we don’t know or care about that person, then we have no interest in the outcome of the story. But Gideon’s Law is no Rockaway. Billet is a good writer and at least makes the choice for a reason. Instead of introducing us to Gideon’s wife in the beginning, he uses her identity as a twist later on when we realize that a random female character who was kidnapped was actually Gideon’s wife. I understand that choice but would have rather known her better.
My other problem with the script is that it needed more twists in Richard’s storyline. This script was prime real estate for twist fever yet Richard’s whole story and motivation were pretty straight forward. In future drafts, I would like to see that change.
I think Gideon’s Law is a concept with a lot of potential and if it addresses these issues it could be great. It’s not quite ready for primetime though. But you know who is ready for primetime? Our first ever Guest mini-reviewer! Biohazard’s taken a bite out of Gideon and he’s here to spit it out…
I enjoyed it. It’s not a perfect script by any means, but it’s quick, reads well, and most importantly, has a pretty good hook. It’s Collateral, but with a police ride-along instead of a taxi. Yeah, it has its faults. Some minor (I wanted to get to know the girl a bit so I’d have a reason to fear for her safety), others major (the third act is a mess). The important thing to realize is that all these problems can be fixed since there is a good concept at it’s core that bears the possibility of a strong, cinematic story. It’ll take some rewriting, but I can see this flawed script becoming a good film.
So Bio and I agree I think. With a little more creativity behind Richard’s storyline, the messy third act can be solved. I wish these guys the best. They have a great concept here.
[ ] trash
[ ] barely readable
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned: Really simple. Don’t forget to add enough twists to your story. But not only that. Make sure they’re original. If they feel like something you’ve seen in other movies before, think deeper.
Hey guys, since yesterday’s news, a bunch of you e-mailed me with a ton of scripts which means I’m basically in love with all of you. Obviously, because I can only review a script a day, I want you to know that just because I don’t review your script right away doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. One of the great things about this blog is that the more successful it gets, the more people there are who want to help. If you really really want a review of something, leave your request in the comments section. Or e-mail me. I’ll try to get it up as soon as possible.
Genre: Spy Thriller
Synopsis: A CIA agent discovers there’s a Russian spy deep inside the organization.
About: This is that infamous project that Tom Cruise was attached to but then got booted off of. Since it’s disaster central for any profile-dropping A-Lister to get booted off a project, Tom’s robots did spin control and all of a sudden Tom hadn’t been let go from the project, he had dropped out of the project. To make matters even more bizarre, he was replaced by Angelina Jolie. Yes, cause that makes sense. There’s an old screenplay adage that goes: If you’re all out of ideas, change the gender of your protagonist. A new world of possibilities will open up. Let’s see what opens up when Angelina Jolie becomes Edwin A Salt.
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
I’m going to tell you to do something I’ve never told you to do before on Scriptshadow. Don’t read this review. Instead, scroll to the bottom, download the script, read it, then come back. Because as Randy Jackson would say, this script was off the hook. I don’t want the review to spoil anything for you. So go read it, come back, and we’ll talk.
Did you read it?
Okay good. We’re ready to have a discussion.
Wasn’t that awesome??? I love Salt. Before? I was just a bland tasteless meal. Then Salt came along and gave me flavor. Even though I’m not normally into spies and double crossing and undercover agents, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in this badass thriller. I’m an 80s child so the second you start saying things like Cold War and Soviet Union, I’m so right there. Cause I lived it man. I LIVED IT. You think it was easy waking up every day knowing you could get bombed at any second by the Ruskies? Yeah well that was my life.
Salt starts out introducing us to CIA officer Edwin A. Salt and his CIA best friend, Winter. Salt is planning a birthday party for his daughter and he wants it to be the best birthday party ever. Unfortunately, the two have to make a quick detour over to headquarters, and that’s when shit starts going bad. Salt’s CIA position isn’t exactly the top of the food chain. He’s been assigned to Russia, and these days the only Cold War going on is in Putin’s pants if you know what I’m talking about (no, I don’t know either). So normally Salt wouldn’t have much to do. However, a strange Russian man approaches the building and insists Salt hear his story. Salt’s pissed because he has his daughter’s birthday party but work is work and he brings the man in.
The Russian tells him of a secret Russian weapon created back during the Cold War. This weapon was a man – the creme de la creme of soviet espionage. Did you ever see Conan The Barbarian? When Conan has to turn that wheel for like 20 years of his life? Well this guy would’ve walked right over him and gone for another 20. They made this man the smartest, toughest, deadliest, coolest, most perfect spy in the world. His name was “Chekov”, and at age 17, they sent him to the United States to infiltrate the U.S. Government. After 20 years, he has embedded himself so deep inside the CIA, that he has access to every single document in the building. But he’s only looking for one. A document called KA-88. KA-88 is a trigger scenario the U.S. developed in anticipation of its enemies that shows the one weakness in our government/economy that would cause our country to crumble within weeks. Doomsday for America. Chekov has finally gotten clearence to obtain that document. Oh, and one more thing, the Russian says. “You are Chekov.”
Holy shit! DO I HAVE YOUR FUCKING ATTENTION?? I sure have my own. Winter is shocked. His best friend is now his worst enemy. Or is he? Salt swears he knows nothing about this. Yet Salt is in the CIA – he’s one of the best trained liars in the world. So is he lying to cover his lies? Or is he telling the truth? Salt realizes that this case isn’t going to trial. It’s likely going to be decided right here and now. And in the best case scenario, he’s going to be dead. So he flees the building. That, of course, is where the brilliance of the script lies. As Salt goes on the run, we not only don’t know if Salt’s lying to Winter. We don’t know if he’s lying to us. Who is Edwin A. Salt?
Every once in awhile a script comes along that reminds you that what you thought was good writing, was actually only mildly acceptable writing. You are immersed in this world from the get-go. You visualize the movie on each page. The only criticisms I have are that they forgo a lot of the mystery in the last 40 pages and go a little heavy on the action. Still, the ending highway plane take-off scene is going to be IN-SAYNE. This script is a badass recipient of Wimmer’s awesomeness. Loved it.
I don’t know what’s happening lately. All these scripts are making my Top 25. Salt slides into lucky number 21!
[ ] trash
[ ] barely readable
[ ] worth the read
[ ] genius
What I learned from Salt: The last two scripts, which both made it into my Top 25, had very similar structures. Both had one scene where you met the characters, then the very next scene the movie goes on a torrid pace and never lets up. There’s something to be said for scripts that start up fast and keep you on a quick pace the whole way through. Of course they have to be done well to work, but as a spec, I think they have a better chance of capturing someone’s interest than a script that takes its time.