Genre: Comedy
Premise: A group of moms, sick of having to be perfect, throw the Mom Rulebook out the window and embrace an exciting reckless lifestyle.
About: This one comes from Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who will be making this their directing debut. It will star Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.
Writers: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Details: 112 pages – June 9, 2015

mila

Okay, it’s official. There’s a new secret drug in Los Angeles and just one pill elevates your screenwriting skills to Limitless-like levels, and all of this week’s screenwriters know where to find it. It’s the only explanation for the consistently awesome writing this week.

Either that or I’m in a really good mood and like everything I read right now. Kind of like when you’re dabbling around Itunes and you like every song you hear so you buy all of them and then a week later you launch that “Kickass New Music!” playlist you made only to wonder why the hell do you have a song by Ariana Grande and Phillip Phillips?

Amy Mitchell isn’t the perfect mom. But it’s not through lack of trying. She does everything in her power to keep her daughter, 16 year-old over-achiever Jane, and son, 10 year-old lazy-ass Dylan, productive and happy as clams. But as is the plight of the American mother, neither appreciates anything she does.

But the far worse thing about being a mom in this day and age is the way that every other mom judges you. And the queen bee of the judgers is Gwendolyn James, head of the PTA and all-around mom-tator. You either play by Gwendolyn’s rules (3 hour bake sale meetings) or pay the price (your kid mysteriously doesn’t make the basketball team that year).

Amy’s got bigger fish to fry though, such as her husband, who she finds out has been Skype-masturbating with some weird-looking woman for the past 10 months. Then there’s her boss at the trendy organic gluten-free everybody-has-something-to-offer coffee company run by people 10 years younger than her who always seem to be playing ping pong instead of working. Amy’s boss always overworks Amy because she’s from that older generation that actually does shit, refusing to pay her extra because, like, life is free and so are our feelings.

And then one day, Amy is done. She’s tired of trying to be the perfect mom. I mean why should she be? Nobody seems to notice. So she teams up with the already reckless single mom, Carla Dunkler, and the weirdo stay-at-home mom who’s got no friends, Kiki. Her new mantra is: Do Us. And that’s what they do. They start getting drunk, stop going to work, and skip daily errands to watch Channing Tatum matinees.

But when Amy’s newfound recklessness starts bleeding into Gwendolyn’s tight run ship (how dare Amy bring store-bought donut holes to her #1 nationally ranked PTA Bake Sale), Gwendolyn vows to make an example of her. But Amy pushes back, wanting moms to know that being a Gwendolyn clone isn’t realistic. That real moms are imperfect, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we moms can start being real people again.

Bad Moms may not be reinventing the tire. But it sure added some kick-ass rims. What you realize when you read Bad Moms is how well these two know the craft. They hit all the major story beats (inciting incident, first act turn, lowest point) and yet you don’t notice because the story is so smooth, so natural. That’s one of the signs of a good screenwriter, someone who can hide structure.

Of course, while reading Bad Moms, I couldn’t stop thinking about The Hangover, and how different the two scripts were. That’s something writers don’t talk about enough. Each time you start a new script, you’re embarking on a new unique set of challenges.

Sure, there will be things that are the same (inciting incident, first act turn, lowest point), but the guts of the story will be different from what you’ve done before, and if you don’t know how to navigate those differences (or aren’t patient enough to figure them out), you’re going to be one pissed off over-caffeinated screenwriter.

With The Hangover, there was a goal, and that goal created movement (find Doug – which requires running around Vegas). Bad Moms doesn’t have that. It takes place in a suburb. Nobody has to find anybody. So where does the narrative thrust come from? That’s the first problem you have to solve when you write a movie like this. And that will always be harder. When you have that clear goal, like in The Hangover, the story will pull you along with it. Cause you always know where you have to end up.

Here, you have to manufacture thrust, and Moore and Lucas do it in a non-traditional way, sort of piece-mealing a bunch of engine fragments together. The first section of the script establishes our main character’s life. This section doesn’t necessarily have to have a goal, since there’s interest in getting to know a compelling character (or in this case, characters). We’ll stick with a directionless narrative for 20 pages if people are funny or weird or compelling, and their lives are interesting in some way.

Then, we have the breaking point (the inciting incident). Amy has a particularly horrible mom day and has had enough. This leads us to the fun and games section of the script. This is another section where we don’t necessarily need a goal. Amy and her friends are being bad and stupid and funny – which is the whole reason we paid for the film, to see these scenes. So again, we’ll go with it for awhile.

This is when the first goal arrives (around page 40 or 45 I think?). Amy wants to get laid. Her marriage has been dead for awhile, her husband’s now out of the picture. It fits perfectly with the concept (a bad mom!). This sequence goes for about 12-15 pages.

That’s when Lucas and Moore realize they need something bigger to drive the rest of the story or we’re going to lose interest. So they create this collision of titans – Amy vs. Gwendolyn – that results in Amy running against Gwendolyn for PTA president. I should note that this isn’t the main focus for the rest of the script (Lucas and Moore are still jumping around dealing with Amy’s various unresolved relationships), but it’s enough to frame the second half with some kind of purpose.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think these goals were amazing. Do we really care if Amy gets laid? Do we really care if she wins PTA president? No. But the engine fragments give the story direction and a destination respectively.

Also, we can’t discount the x-factor here, that Lucas and Moore have an ace in their pocket. They’re funny. Like really funny. And the rule is, as long as the reader is consistently laughing, the plot doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s like being a hot girl. Your looks cover up a lot of your flaws. And the hotter you are, the more crazy or bitchy you can be (Hot Girl: “I really think dolphins are stupid and should be mass-slaughtered.” Environmentalist Guy: “Yeah, totally. They’re like the rats of the sea.”)

With that said, my theory is to always assume you’re not as funny as you think you are and make the story/plot awesome as well. That way, if the jokes are landing fast and furiously, you still have your audience caring about what happens next.

Finally, what Lucas and Moore bring to the table that elevates them above the average comedy screenwriter, is that they realize it isn’t just about laughs. Bad Moms is a stellar character piece. These two really get into the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to be a mom, how that affects your relationships at home, how you’re held to this impossible standard, how you’re being judged on a daily basis by other mothers who think you’re not parenting your kids correctly. I left this script having a better sense of what it’s like to be a mom. And if this was written by an amateur, I’m sure the most I would’ve taken away about moms is several wacky set pieces where moms smoke pot or something.

I’m REALLY worried about this cast. It feels like the B-Team to me. But if we’re only going on the screenplay, these two hit this one out of the park.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: In a screenplay, names are faces. I want to stress this cause it’s important. Readers can’t see faces. Therefore, they associate each character with their name. Therefore, the name is the face. Which is why you want to give your character a name that visually personifies what that character looks like. Lucas and Moore did a spectacular job with this.

Kiki – the weird mom
Gwendolyn – the queen bee mom
Amy Mitchell – the all-American mom
Carla Dunkler – The wild mom

To sell my point here, imagine if we changed Gwendolyn’s name to “Norma.” I’m guessing her face and how she looks in general just shifted in your mind, right? That’s the power of a name.

  • Dan B

    This sounds good — if anyone has it, please e-mail to dblixbreen at gmail.com

    The Hangover is sort of like the “Taken” of comedies. There’s this one goal, and everyone has to keep their eye on the prize. Then as the audience, we just kick back and enjoy the ride. But, not every story needs the goal to drive the story, sometimes the character’s journey is that ride. Based on this review, I feel like this is going to have some similar story beats as Brad Cutter and Daddy’s Home. Both of those have follow a specific formula, they give you plenty of what the premise offers, and both stories are more about the protagonist’s growth rather than the “goal.” I haven’t read Bad Moms yet, but I assume there’s some point where life comes crumbling down and she realizes something… Yeah, this seems formulaic, but if it’s a fun journey than nobody will give any fucks.

  • ripleyy

    I think most people forget comedies are stories as well. I recently watched Trainwreck and while it was laugh-out-loud funny, I was far more impressed with the characters. Amy bailed at every tiny chance she got to get rid of Aaron (played by Bill Harder) and her character flaw heightened the story.

    Looking forward to see how this turns out but it sounds pretty good!

    • brenkilco

      While there are comedies with strong stories where the humor comes out of carefully written characters some of the funniest movies of all time have barely enough story to let us know when the thing is over: i.e. Duck Soup, It’s a Gift, Animal House, Monty Python and the Holy Grail(the greatest fuck the story ending in movie history), most early Woody Allen, etc. etc. etc. In the quest for funny, story can actually be a hindrance. These let’s get touching Judd Apatow type third acts make me want to retch.

      • Magga

        That or a comedy turning into a whacky chase scene for thirty minutes. (Unless that’s funny too, like that WC Fields one from whichever movie that was)

        • brenkilco

          The Bank Dick. Another classic not exactly a model of construction.

          • Magga

            Do you remember the one where he walks into the Black Pussycat bar and asks the bar man something like “did I come in here yesterday and spend 10$ on alcohol?” and responds to an affirmative answer “thank goodness, I thought I lost them!”? I get his movies confused because I binge watched a few of them with a friend who’s a big fan. I think that movie has a third act that seems entirely irrelevant to the story. It’s been about him being offered the chance to direct a big Hollywood movie while being wasted in a bar, and ends with a golf tournament for no reason

          • brenkilco

            I thought the bar and the movie director stuff was in The Bank Dick. But Fields’ stuff is so episodic it is tough to be sure. If the bartender in question is Shemp Howard, pre three stooges, then I’m pretty sure it was Bank Dick.

          • klmn

            This is my favorite WC Fields sequence.

      • Felip Serra

        That’s a good point… But there’s obviously still something THERE, as far as story goes, otherwise I don’t think a lot of the classics would remain classics and stand the test of time so to speak. “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” works (for me at least) because I’m following the character of King Arthur to a natural (and simple) resolution of his story: Find the Grail. But this is also why “Meaning of Life” doesn’t work for me because, in part, there is no character to follow and so story to be told (plus I don’t find it that funny; heresy, I know…)

        I can’t put my finger on it but maybe that’s what’s key in comedy: Simplicity. I was thinking over your examples (excellent BTW) and would personally add films like M. Hulot’s Holiday or Airplane. But in every single one there’s complex intricacies with set-up/punchline or with dialogue. But plot, not so much. But it doesn’t matter! It’s strange when you think about it.

        • brenkilco

          I agree that Meaning of Life is not that funny. But is it because it’s basically a series of disconnected sketches or because the sketches- the exploding glutton aside- are mostly kind of flat? And I should have mentioned Tati’s stuff. Especially Playtime, which is held together, barely, by a location and a slight situation. And ironically is one of the very few comedies to routinely make lists of the 100 greatest films.

          And I agree most comedies have fairly simple plots. But there are a few successful, farce type comedies that generate laughs by making things insanely complicated with a dozen characters running around at cross purposes. The Wrong Box, Funny Thing Happened on The Way To The Forum etc.

      • ripleyy

        I agree. Airplane!, to me, is the greatest comedy out there and there’s barely a thread of plot! It’s difficult to say what exactly works in comedy because it never plays with the rules.

      • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

        Christ, I didn’t reach your post until after I wrote mine above, you nailed it.

      • Kirk Diggler

        “(the greatest fuck the story ending in movie history)”

        Damn, as a kid I was disappointed, I really wanted to see them storm that castle!

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      It’s funny–Trainwreck, like many comedies of this millennium, usually entertain me for the first 45 minutes or so. But the minute they reach the midpoint and start servicing the plot and the characters, I’m done. Apatow’s movies, Trainwreck, even Superbad all start pooping the bed when they feel compelled to serve up a tidy story.

      I’m more a “This is the End” guy who favors comedies that don’t neatly coalesce in the final reel, or at least do so in a way that’s just as chaotic and silly in the first two acts (see, e.g., Animal House and Caddyshack).

  • gazrow

    “I’m REALLY worried about this cast. It feels like the B-Team to me.”

    Carson take another look at the stunning photo you included with this review then tell me Mila Kunis is “B-Team!” She’s A-Team all the way!! :)

    • Malibo Jackk

      Obviously photo-shopped.
      Take a look at that picture. She missing either a thumb or finger.

    • Stephjones

      I agree Mila Kunis is A team. Also think Kathryn Hahn, who is the PTA mom, is awesome. She will kill in that role.. Never been a fan of Kristen Bell but if Christina apple gate is the weird mom, she could pull it off. jada Pickett smith is cast as a friend of the weird mom. She could make things more interesting.
      Would love to read although I’m in an opposite frame of mind to Carson’s ” everything’s groovy” . I’m not relating to many stories lately. Including my own.

      • Paul Schellens

        “Including my own.”
        Ouch. What’s happening?

        • Stephjones

          The little engine that could seems to be rolling back downhill. Hopefully it’s just a temporary slump but thanks for asking.

          • Paul Schellens

            Yeah, just a temporary thing. You’ve got the clutch in so that you can switch to a higher gear.

          • Stephjones

            Hah. I like that!

          • klmn

            If you’re rolling back downhill, you do not want to shift to a higher gear.

          • Paul Schellens

            Ha. Yeah. Trying to stick with the analogy…

            The point is that there’s thresholds as you develop a skill. It’s a thrill to reach a new threshold, but if you’re there too long, it becomes unsatisfying and ‘feels’ like you’re going backwards even though you’re not. That frustration is what usually leads to the extra effort required to jump to the next level.

      • Altius

        “Never been a fan of Kristen Bell”

        *GASP*

        (Who aaaaare you?!)

        • Stephjones

          Hah. I won’t share my issue. It might ruin her for you.

    • GoIrish

      I think the (potentially) bigger concern is Mila playing the mother of a 16 year old. Even if there’s some script modification, I’d have trouble seeing her with any kid over 4.

      • gazrow

        Good point.

  • Myster82

    I would also like a copy of the script if anyone has it.

    Mystergeneral@yahoo.co.uk

    Thanks!

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!

  • carsonreeves1

    There’s another project called Mean Moms. But I haven’t reviewed it.

  • Greg

    Anybody see The People vs OJ Simpson last night?

    It ended with a cover of I Shall Be Released. :-D

    • Scott Crawford

      Really?! Any chance of a video?

    • BMCHB

      John Travolta’s eyebrows have been approved for SAG membership.

  • Scott Crawford

    Bloody buggering hell. Bleeding sod it. ANOTHER impressive script.

    e-mail me at mr.scottcrawford@hotmail.com if you really, really want to read it (I’m still going through the backlog from yesterday).

    • Stevetmp

      How can we ever thank you, Scott?! Churning through these scripts is proving to be invaluable education… and you and Carson are the facilitators. THANK YOU!

      • Scott Crawford

        For anyone who was placing bets, the number of “Ozarks” I sent was about 367.

        • Stephjones

          Wow. You are wonderful!

        • The Soul of Gary Collins

          That’s a whole big buncha Ozarks right there.

        • Wijnand Krabman

          Can you. please sent me ozark wijnand@densbornerwassermuehle.de?

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!

        • JakeBarnes12

          Seriously, man. I hope you have a back room deal with Carson to get free notes in perpetuity.

          • Scott Crawford

            No, Carson owes me nothing, NOBODY owes me anything. I’m just stuck indoors a lot and I’ve got time (my father is sleeping now) to send some scripts out. And get some writing done myself.

          • Frankie Hollywood

            You should include a Paypal Donation button as a signature to your email. Probably be driving a Lamborghini in to time.

          • JakeBarnes12

            Yup.

            That’s what I’d say too if I had a back room deal.

            kidding, kidding.

        • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

          Are you serious, Scott? There’s got to be a way to get you something in return for all that work, that’s amazing.

        • Brooke

          Wow! 367 is a lot. I’m one of them and would love to have this one as well! As a female writer, I’m always drawn to a script that does a great job with female protagonists. b.buffington44@gmail.com.

          Thanks Scott for being the conduit for these scripts.

        • Kirk Diggler

      • Felip Serra

        Perhaps we could all chip in for a new set of hands, as it’s clear his old ones will eventually fall off from sending us all these damn scripts. What say you, Scott? More of the same or something a little more Anakin Skywalker…

        • Scott Crawford

          I think I’m going to get a mouse. I’m fed up of using the trackpad on my laptop it’s useless.

          I’m sorry to anyone who sent me a personal, heartfelt message and I just sent them the script with no words. I had so many to send out it was just INSERT FILE and SEND, INSERT FILE and SEND.

          But it’s amazing to know there are so many people from ALL OVER THE WORLD who read Scriptshadow. And that people want to improve their writing by reading the best scripts.

          • shewrites

            Hey Scott, no need for niceties from you. We know you da man!

          • Citizen M

            If you’re using Gmail, the easiest is go to the Sent folder and forward one you’ve already sent, I’ve found. Saves the time of uploading the pdf to the internet.

  • GYAD

    So there’s this teacher…but she’s bad
    So there’s this grandpa…but he’s bad
    So there’s this judge…but she’s bad
    So there are these moms…but they’re bad

    Hahaha. So transgressive and fresh Hollywood!

    (I’m sure it’s perfectly fine as a script and it’s a genre that sells but still…)

    • GoIrish

      So there’s this Santa…

      • Randy Williams

        How about bad Elves?
        I saw this log line the other day on the Blacklist site that I thought looked fun. Wish I could read it.

        “A gang of criminals are hired by a government agent to hijack a train
        filled with Santa’s presents – a mission made even more dangerous by the
        fact that it’s guarded by a vicious team of Warrior Elves, who swear
        vengeance after the job’s completion.”
        It’s called “The Taking Of North Pole 1-2-3″

        • Greg

          Wow I love that title.

        • Scott Crawford

          Bad Dwarves with Richard Dinklage, Warwick Davis, and whoever’s playing R2-D2 these days.

          (Not “Bad MIDGETS”… Midgets is an insult, comparing little people to midges. Dwarves is passable.).

          • klmn

            So you can toss dwarves, but God help you if you pitch a midget?

    • walker

      So there’s this screenwriter…

    • Frankie Hollywood

      There’s also yesterday’s newest TV star’s movie: Bad Words
      Bad Boys
      Bad Johnson

      Funny(?) article about it: “Bad” Titles: The Latest in Hollywood Laziness
      http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/10/23/bad_grandpa_bad_santa_and_other_bad_titles_hollywood_getting_lazy_photos.html

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      haha, exactly. But in each case, “bad” means “completely normal but decides to act out 23%.”

      I want to see “Bad Moms” done “Bad Lieutenant” style.

    • The Soul of Gary Collins

      Or the spinoff genre: Good Santa, Good Teacher, Good Moms etc. Although may lack the requisite conflict.

  • lonestarr357

    Lucas/Moore actually made their directing debut with “21 and Over”. ‘Twas rather forgettable, so I can’t really fault you for not mentioning it.

    This sounds interesting, though.

  • brenkilco

    Honestly, not the sort of thing I would even watch for free on Netflix. Though I think Kunis, whose practical, down to earth personality is somewhat at odds with her looks, is perfect casting But as this review guarantees that the script is really, really funny I am curious. So if anyone who does read can provide some examples of the grade A comedy I would appreciate it.

    • Randy Williams

      Mom says, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow”
      Her friend responds. “You’d look good in a moo moo.”

      Just kidding. :) I haven’t read it yet.

    • klmn

      It doesn’t appeal to me. No matter how well done it is, there is some subject matter I’m just not into.

  • SinclareRose

    Morning. If anyone has this, I’d be really grateful if I could take a look at it. sinclarerose at yahoo dot com. Thank you!

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!!

  • garrett_h

    I wonder how much this “miracle drug” has to do with the Scriptshadow 250? As in, after binge reading so many bad scripts, anyone able to form a coherent scene seems like Shakespeare!

  • leitskev

    I read a script a few months back called Mean Moms. I wonder if this is a rewrite of that project? It’s so similar and yet not. In Mean Moms, the mom has a very good relationship with her lovable but somewhat out of the story husband. Meanwhile, it’s a similar story: PTA, queen bee super mom. I thought Mean Moms was funny, though the ending is really cheesy and rushed. In Mean Moms, the daughter just wants to be normal and accepted. What everything hinges on is the mother/daughter relationship, and what it’s really about is how the more things change in life the more they stay the same. The mom had been picked on in high school and desperate to prove herself. Now as a successful mother, she finds nothing has changed, there’s still “mean girls” that dominate the turf and make her feel insecure.

    • Scott Crawford

      Was Mean Moms PG-13? This one’s obviously R, so that’ll be a difference.

      • leitskev

        I looked it up after this comment. Definitely a different script, different writers. I’d say pg 13. Definitely. Seemed like a very similar idea. I thought Mean Moms was funny. Clever dialogue. But I’m guessing it’s the kind of film a family audience will like, but critics and script people will hate.

  • brenkilco

    OT: Reviews are starting to pop up for the new Coen Brothers movie Hail Caesar whose script Carson reviewed a while back and didn’t much like. Personally thought it was fun and charming, if a little too Coeny for mass consumption. But the January dump and last minute reviews don’t bode well. The very few critics who have chimed in, however, seem reasonably positive. Guess, we’ll see. Gotta be better than Jane Got A Gun.

    • klmn

      I’m going to see it next week. I’ll let you know what I think.

    • Kirk Diggler

      It’s at a more than respectable 80% on Rottentomatoes. It looks like a lot of fun if you ask me, a good direction to go after “Inside Llewyn Davis”, which I could not get through.

    • Midnight Luck

      I think it looks great. And I am not a fan of 90% coen’s work. Then again I really liked Burn After Reading and don’t know another soul who liked it, mostly because it wasn’t what they were used to from the Coen’s.
      I thought it was hilarious
      This looks to be as well.

  • Evangelos

    Does anybody have Free Fire by Ben Wheatley? Thanks if you do and are willing to share.

    e.carterbanks@gmail.com

  • cjob3

    If anyone has this script or this drug could you email me? cjob3 AT hotmail.com

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      I just sent a ounce of Molly to your door. The delivery guy will be wearing blue.

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!

  • Scott Strybos

    I haven’t read Bad Moms but the description of Gwendolyn—she feels like a great villain. The thought a person who messes with someone else’s kid (your kid mysteriously doesn’t make the basketball team that year), this got my blood boiling, and I am not even a father. I already want to see this asshole go down and go down hard.

  • jw

    FLASHBACK – TV PILOT TUESDAY – OZARK

    SPOILERS (if you haven’t read already)

    I finally got to read this and I think it’s time we collectively give Carson a crash-course on WHY certain television shows are hits and WHY Ozark won’t likely be one of them – at least to the degree in which he hyped it.

    So, Carson, this one’s for you (and every TV writer out there):

    1. PACING – Within the first 10 pages for Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Homeland, Orange is the new Black and the list goes on and on and on, we have our characters introduced and the plot is already moving. This plot doesn’t move for about 30 pages.

    Side note: Never, ever write 5 pages with VO throughout. It just isn’t viable. When this is shot it will likely include less than 2 minutes of what was written, meaning you just wasted 3 pages of your time and 3 minutes of the reader’s. Second, you don’t want your VO to sound “preachy”. Yes, I get it, he’s a financial “adviser” but it comes across as though he’s Bernie Sander’s son. Skip the income inequality lesson. We get it.

    2. MOTIVATION – Walter White had cancer. Frank Underwood didn’t get a promised political post. Carrie was told a US prisoner of war had been turned. What is the motivation for our main character here? So, his wife is fucking someone else. Big deal. Happens in TV and real life every day. The only motivation there has very little to do with our actual plot. So, his middle-class life hasn’t panned out. We need more.

    3. CHARACTER CHOICES – FYI ladies and gents, try your ass off NOT to write CHILDREN into your script. They’re boring as fuck and they serve 2 different functions – the first, to agitate the characters around them, and two, to give your characters a sense of humanity. I know, completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but all too true. And, no one, and I mean no one, wants to see them as main characters in the actual plot, especially when your plot involves drug money and a cartel. Every single time a series starts to focus on children within the main plot it tanks.

    4. CHARACTER CHOICES II – We spend a majority of the pilot seeing the differences between Marty and Bruce, only to see Bruce killed later on. Ummm… WTF? Your pilot is supposed to build the characters in your story, NOT kill them off. The two characters here with the most dynamic relationship to our main character, Bruce and Gary, die, leaving me wondering why the hell they were given that much screen time to begin with. Characters can die, but not in the way that was done here.

    5. CHARACTER CHOICES III – When choosing your main character, choose someone we can root for, but not a pansy. Choose someone who you know an audience wants to get behind to see succeed. If there’s one flaw with Bateman, it’s that he can tend to play the same character over and over again. He plays the mid-life crisis dad who is passive and can’t seem to find his way in life. The character itself is okay to play, but you have to really change the dynamic of who he is once his friends are killed. He can’t be the same guy who was secretly laundering money for a cartel, but be scared shitless and never want to take any risks.

    6. CHARACTER CHOICES IV – Don’t introduce new characters after page 50. Period. So, the whole time they were in the Chicago office they were being listened to. Okay, great. But, if the Feds tracking Bateman down are going to be even remotely involved in this story, why are we meeting them at the very end? Don’t do this – please.

    7. CHARACTERS CHOICES V – Look at your cast of characters and make sure they aren’t cliche. Here’s what we have with Ozark – a middle-class family going to a new city, a member of the drug cartel who could probably show up in an instant, and the Feds (and this isn’t a comedy). I mean, what about that strikes you as original? Your cast of characters needs to be diverse and forward-thinking.

    8. STORY – Which inevitably brings us to what is happening here. First off, your shit has to make sense. This is a numbers guy (okay), but the writer wants us to believe that he’s the sort of guy who has spent a shit ton of time laundering money for a cartel, but never been exposed to their violence (hmmm… does anyone smell that?)? Of course, you want characters that have juxtaposition to their situation. You want the high school teacher creating a meth scheme. But, it works because of the story that has been created. He has cancer is forced to do the last thing he would ever do in life, but very, very early on he makes a commitment to do just that. Here, we have a dude who is crying at the end of the pilot, instead of grabbing his nutsack and saying, “nobody fucks with my family.”

    Without some major rewrites, this is going to struggle. Bateman will be a huge draw, in my opinion, and they’ll likely be able to get a cool trailer out of some of this, but this won’t come anywhere near Breaking Bad without a complete overhaul.

    • Andrew Parker

      I know it’s early, but this is my nominee for ScriptShadow Post of the Year.

      • jw

        Thank you, Andrew.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      Oh shit, it’s mutiny on the SS!!

      • jw

        No mutiny. Just difference of opinion.

    • pmlove

      I agree, but I’ll add this:

      At the start of the Ozark pilot he’s a money launderer. At the end of the pilot, he’s still a money launderer.

      At the start of the Breaking Bad pilot he’s a chemistry teacher. But at the end of the pilot, he’s a budding drug lord.

      • jw

        WORD!

    • garrett_h

      100% spot on. Hit a lot of the points I had a problem with.

      ESPECIALLY #4. The main sources of conflict in his life (other than the Cartel, of course) were from Bruce and the guy his wife was cheating with. Bruce was probably the most dynamic character in the script up until Del showed up. He and Marty had fundamental differences in philosophy about life and how to run their business. And now he’s dead…

      Then with his wife and the affair. Is an affair new? No, of course not. But it’s something he has to deal with. It’s the main thing he’s having trouble with throughout the first act before the Cartel shows up. To make matters worse, the guy is a lawyer with connections wants to “help” Marty’s wife get out of it. That further complicates things for Marty, his wife, and everyone involved. But, he’s dead now, and Marty didn’t even kill him. Del did…

      So now we have two of the main antagonizers of the protagonist dead after the first episode. So in the second episode, you’ll have to write all new roles with all new complications, then find a whole new cast to portray these characters. How is this series going to survive? I don’t see it yet. Which is why it’s more of a movie to me, not a series.

    • kent

      Genius post. Love your insights. If you want to swap pilots to review let me know.

  • G.S.

    Why is no one discussing the “What I Learned”? The power of names is not only a great observation of a real phenomenon, but implies an uncomfortable underlying idea – that we writers often have to navigate stereotypes simply as a matter of doing business.

    We’ve often talked about manipulating audience expectations as part of overall storytelling, either playing it straight or using it against them to create a surprise. But we do the same with character. We use not only names, but other superficial traits like clothing, speech patterns and home environments to draw on audience expectations of deeper characteristics. Sometimes we flip it, but I’d dare say that most of the time, we hit audience stereotypes (i.e. our own stereotypes) right on the head.

    Kind of makes you feel icky, doesn’t it?

    • Scott Crawford

      I know what you mean, but I take Carson’s point that some names just sound more like they belong to certain characters. And just giving a character a random name isn’t always going to work.

      When I have to come up with a bunch of names, and if I’m going to write a screenplay I’m going to have to come up with a bunch of names, I usually use the babynaming websites for the first names and sites which list surnames for the surnames, like these:

      http://www.babble.com/baby-names/girl-names-that-start-with-a/

      http://surname.sofeminine.co.uk/w/surnames/begining-with-a/most-common-surnames.html

      Also the credits on films and TV shows, etc. And I try and make each name start with a different letter.

      But when it comes to very important characters, like the villain (the heavy) for example, Brian Steadman just won’t do. It has to be Adrian Locke or Victor Slaughter, I don’t know.

      There’s no science to it. It just feels more right.

      • G.S.

        Don’t get me wrong. I know exactly the sentiment Carson was getting at, and it’s one I share. I do the baby name searches like I imagine a ton of other writers do. I’ve even been known to hit the online name generators to get inspiration for fantasy or alien characters. But what I was bringing up was the fact that we tend to dabble in stereotypes as a necessity of the job.

        The screenplay format is for a visual medium by nature and unforgiving to long-form descriptions, so we use visual shorthand in order to convey deeper ideas. It’s not just about the picture in our heads we get when told about 6′ 3″ Brock in his letterman jacket, but the characteristics we naturally assign to who Brock is. Yes, we can go on to play the character against type and make him a D&D geek who solves differential equations for fun. But notice that there was a type to begin.

        Maybe I’m just diving a little too deep in my examination of screenwriting as an exploration of human nature…

        • Scott Crawford

          Sorry, I think I may have got the wrong end of your point, so to speak.

          I always think of it as layers of characters, like primary, secondary, tertiary, and the primary characters should be the most complicated, almost contradictory, while the tertiary characters can be simple archetypes.

          But it’s the nature of things, sitcoms for instance, that you need that ONE thing that makes them different, then make them more complicated.

          Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

          Jake = childish, but also brilliant detective
          Holt = stonefaced, but was once a wisecracking detective
          Terry = superstrong, but supeconcerned for his kids
          Amy = ambitious but also insecure
          Charles = annoying but a good friend
          Rosa = scary but sensitive
          Gina = crazy but strangely often right

          In other words, a simple characteristic (the strong one, the scary one) gives way to a more complex character (see also Friends, Happy Days, lots of movies).

  • wlubake

    So do we know who’s who? IMDB doesn’t say. My guess:

    1. Amy – gotta be Mila, who’s the biggest star (though she seems like a better fit for Carla)
    2. Kiki – Feels like Kathryn Hahn
    3. Gwendolyn – See Christina Applegate is in the cast. Maybe her.
    4. Carla – Kristen Bell (though this may be flipped with Amy)

    Also, Jada Smith is in this. No idea who she plays.

    Didn’t they hear that you can’t make a female ensemble comedy without Melissa McCarthy?

  • Myster82

    O.T. Does anyone have a copy of “The Accountant” script by Bill Dubuque? I would love to read it.

    Mystergeneral@yahoo.co.uk

    Thanks

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent! It’s from the Black List 2011.

  • Andrew Parker

    I feel like Carson is now officially trolling us.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      Haha, this! I feel like everything he said here is the exact opposite of what I’ve heard him say about very similar scripts (yet I believed him both times). Shit, this post reads like an advertisement for Save the Cat (which, despite all the hate, really does seem to give away the exact formula that drives this sort of milquetoast movie).

      • Andrew Parker

        Yes!!! 1000x Yes!!! These writers seemed to have studied Save the Cat like it’s the Bible. When Judd Apatow originally agreed to produce this, I thought perhaps he was having a stroke or something. Not surprised he dropped out.

        Also I’m not sure many people know, but just about every good thing in The Hangover came from uncredited rewrites by Jeremy Garelick & Todd Phillips (WGA arbitration makes it very hard for directors & co-writers to get credit regardless of how much they add).

        I’m just going to put this out there… I think Carson met a new girl and she’s changed his view on the world. Like the scene in 500 Days of Summer where JGL is singing with the marching band and an animated bird lands on his shoulder.

        • Stephjones

          Hah. Hah. I wasn’t brave enough to suggest it.

        • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

          I thought he’d just finally finished reading all those goddamn contest entries and could finally release his anus.

  • Bfied

    These “been-there, done-that” concepts that we’ve proably seen in one form or another about a million times really get my blood boiling due to a lack of originality.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    But rather than just be angry about it, I’ve found I can use this anger that stems from ideas like these to inspire and really challenge myself to aspire to do something different.

    And by putting the target higher and trying to do something different, hopefully it can be better as well.

    Because the way I see it, if you’re not at least attempting to do something different, you’re really not risking any chance of failure.

    And I think you need to be willing to do that.

    Because if you play it safe and do something that you know has been done a million times before, you’re not necessarily risking failure, but I don’t think you’re going to be very successful in your mimicry, either.

    Now, when I say different, the idea doesn’t have to be different in the sense of some insane experimental idea that nobody’s going to want to watch, but I think it needs to at least make the effort to give us something fresh — in the form of a premise, characters, the setting, etc.

    And yes, you could argue that there are no original ideas and that everything’s been done before, so why even attempt to try anything new because unless you’re doing something like Boyhood, you’re going to fail.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

    Even if you can classify the idea after the fact, that doesn’t mean you still can’t make the attempt to do something different and succeed in doing so.

    Take “Being John Malkovich” for example. At face value, it was a weird but different way to do a body-swap movie. But what makes it great, execution aside, is that it took the idea of the traditional idea of people swapping bodies to a new level, where we don’t just have two characters who switch, but rather, the clashing of characters desires as they all fight to either be John Malkovich or be apart of his life.

    Basically, my point is that its greatness comes in that it set the bar higher by at least attempting to push the limits of an idea and our expectations of what that movie might be or might give us.

    It was in the TARGETING of a doing something different, something better, something unique that made it great. It required RISKS to be great.

    In conclusion: Aim high, take chances, and risk failure. If you don’t “succeed,” at least you can say you risked the chance of failure rather than playing it safe.

    And by playing it safe — such as in the case of “Bad Moms” — you may not risk failure, but then again, I’d say that’s probably a failure in itself.

  • Poe_Serling

    “What I learned: In a screenplay, names are faces. I want to stress this cause it’s important. Readers can’t see faces. Therefore, they associate each character with their name.Therefore, the name is the face.”

    Yeah, finding that right name(s) can add that little ‘extra something’ in defining your character(s) in the reader’s mind.

    Just a few examples off the top of my head, which I think really illustrates Carson’s point about ‘names are faces.’

    >>The Dirty Dozen

    Archie Maggot (Telly Savalas) – What a memorable movie name! For those out there who’ve seen the film… you know it fits that specific character to a T.

    And if you haven’t seen the pic, watch it ASAP. It’s so much better than all of The Expendables flicks cobbled together (just in character development alone).

    >>Once Upon a Time in the West

    Harmonica (Charles Bronson) – Yes, a bit odd but it also creates a real air of mystery. Who is this guy? What does he want? Etc.

    Of course, the name ties in directly to the character’s driving motivation throughout the story.

    >>My Name is Nobody

    Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) – For me, that name instantly screams a gunslinger from the Old West.

    It’s another film that I highly recommend. Easily one of my Top Ten favorite Spaghetti Westerns of all-time.

    “A young, easygoing gunman worships and competes with an old gunfighter who only wants to retire.”

    Co-starring Terence Hill (from the Trinity Westerns).

    This horse opera has everything but the kitchen sink – slam-bang action, comedy, drama, and so on.

    • brenkilco

      On film, Terence Hill ne Mario Girotti(did he even speak English?) always looked a teensy bit insane to me. Something about the guy’s eyes.

      Harmonica was a great name. Cheyenne was a good name. But Frank? You name you super villain Frank? Well, maybe it didn’t matter so much with Leone. He never cast a forgettable face in his life.

  • Midnight Luck

    This was my point I was bringing up on AmWeekend.
    NAMES.
    they are so important, and carry a lot of weight in your script.
    When people write names that are confusing (Max for a Girl) so we have trouble picturing the person in our head, or the name doesn’t fit the kind of person you want us to believe they are (Lilly as the bad ass macho female drug running CIA survivalist), or too many names too similar to each other, well it can just do in you script for the reader. The worst is when an Amateur does ALL of these things in the same script.

    I also question some of the things about this script Carson highlights in the review.
    First is PTA really that big of a thing in school?
    Seems every single script that is making fun of Mom’s and Dad’s in todays world rely on all this central focus on the Head PTA Mom battling it out with our poor suffering rather clueless out of the times Mom(s). The do-gooders Mom battling the Superior PTA Moms.

    Sorry, but much of what is talked about in this review seems VERY Cliche’d to me.

    Maybe, since I don’t have kids, I am really out of the times myself, but is all this crap about PTA constantly being used a central conceit of these kinds of movies, really any kind of “truth”.
    I find they fall flat for humor in every single TV show where they use this (and it seems to be used ALL the time) as well as in movies.

    Another issue, this sounds like they are going for the BAD TEACHER vibe where they are going to surprise and shock us with the transformation, or the crazy things NO Mom/Teacher/Whatever would ever do. Yet, just like in that movie, it really ends up being rather lame and idiotic.
    Again, it isn’t centered in a “truth” about something.
    Humor is always based in honesty, flipped.

    Now I haven’t read it, if anyone wants to send it along I would be mucho appreciato,

    m ^^at^^ blackluck ==dot==com

    Again, I worry that this is going to come across too cliche’d by the time it gets to the screen.

    And by the way, THE HANGOVER didn’t have A List first rate actors in it at the time, but they knocked it out of the park. All of them were B level, yes even Bradley Cooper, that movie made him. So I don’t think the use of these women is a problem. And honestly, I think Mila Kunis has proven herself enough. She is the lock of the group.

    • Stephjones

      hey ML,
      Scott had it and I forwarded it to you. I’m thinking we are not the target audience because we don’t have kids and tend to not give too much cred to other folks telling us how we should live.

      • BoSoxBoy

        I’m just a dad, but from what I know, many moms may not dig a theme that white, suburban moms in a privileged environment think they have real problems because the PTA is judgy or their teenage kids are non-responsive and spoiled. Today’s moms have so many important real life issues to deal with (unemployment, the monthly mortgage, violence in schools, addictions, etc.), they may find this film grossly trivial, no matter how funny.

        • Stephjones

          Well. The privileged person with ” problems” aspect seems true of so many films with female leads. Especially comedies. It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give are two examples. They’re still watchable stories for me, but they are marred by the fact the women are rich and successful older women who are still unfulfilled/unhappy because they don’t have a man in their life.
          Bridesmaids got it right, IMO on so many levels.

          • Midnight Luck

            Bridesmaids is the absolute best of the “female driven” comedies so far.

        • Eric

          I think comedy is a little easier when the topics are of lesser importance. Feeling unfairly judged as a parent is something I suspect a lot of moms can identify with. Is it the most important thing in their life? Of course not. But the story is just poking fun at it. Is losing the groom during the bachelor party the worst thing that ever happened? No, but it’s not meant to be.

          On the other hand, it would take some real skill to turn drug addictions and school shootings into a Melissa McCarthy comedy vehicle.

        • brenkilco

          Shocked to think that Hollywood would make a grossly, trivial, unrealistic comedy about today’s women. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from movies it’s that most young women with entry level jobs in New York City live in million dollar Soho lofts, wear designer clothes, and date a guy who has one of what I understand are the only three jobs available to men in Manhatten: newspaper reporter, restauranteur or junior DA.

          • Midnight Luck

            Occasionally you get the Tattoo Artist by day, but super wanted Artist with pieces in MOMA or something by night guy

        • Midnight Luck

          Which is why SHAMELESS is so great. Over the top, but great, real (ish) life problems, without the PTA.

          • BoSoxBoy

            Yeah, ain’t no PTA in Shameless.

          • Midnight Luck

            nope. thankfully.

      • Midnight Luck

        Thanks so much for sending it along. Though now I’m not that inspired to read it after your and others’ thoughts on it. It sounds exactly like the crap (garbage-ish) stuff I was expecting it to be.
        Maybe I’ll give it 10 and reassess from there.
        But awesome of you to send it along appreciate it.

        Yeah, no one’s going to tell me how to live, and I am baffled why someone would give 2 shits about some bitchy women in the PTA and what they think.
        So many of these stories fail from the get go for me.

        Then again suburbia-ism baffles me and I don’t understand it or the keeping-up-with-the-joneses attitudes.

        I get the theory but call bullshit on most of it being anything close to reality.
        I could be wrong though.
        If it is reality, I feel scared for the world.

        • Stephjones

          Yes. I’m afraid my lack of identifying with some pretty normal lifestyle choices/ priorities has rendered an odd POV and tendency for story choices which seem irrelevant. Not that I’m some sort of maverick the world isn’t ready for, more that I’m not relatable.

          • Midnight Luck

            I think everyone else isn’t relatable.
            Then again, not sure I really want an entire world full of “me’s” either.
            Must be why I don’t have children.

            But yeah, I lack identifying with just about every “normal” life choice as well.

            Well, I say keep writing stories with oddball choices, you never know what might speak to a larger audience than you thought it might.

            I doubt Charlie Kauffman ever thought his work would Have as large an audience as it does.

    • G.S.

      I’m a suburban parent, and I’ve never lived in a community where the PTA was the all-important governing body of parental life as is often the case with these family adventures set in the burbs. However, I can see the appeal of its use. In order to bring together all of the varied personalities found among suburban parents, the writer needs some sort of unifying aspect of everyone’s lives that forces them into the same space.Pretty much everyone in the neighborhood sends their kids to the same school. So unless you’re centralizing your parental drama on a kid’s team of some sort (which limits the plot ideas), you end up with the PTA as the arena for all the conflict.

      • Eric

        I think the script is also tapping into a lot of judgmentalism that occurs in the media over what it is to be a good or bad mom, or good or bad parent in general. I mean you’ve got helicopter parents, free-range parents, Tiger Moms, Soccer Moms, Stage Moms and on and on. When you wake up in the morning to prepare your kid’s lunch, turn on some morning show and find yourself listening (at least once a week) to some “expert” prattle on about how your parenting choices are damaging your kids, it’s very easy to feel like you’re being vilified by people who don’t even know you.

        Problem is, the protagonist in a screenplay can’t just spend the whole movie yelling at their TV and smoking half a cigarette in the car on the way to work. You need to put all that judgmental nonsense into an antagonist, or group of antagonists, that can interact directly and personally effect the protagonist. You need to find a way to personify the viewpoints, and overbearing PTA mom is probably one of the more natural scenarios one could come up with.

      • Midnight Luck

        I guess this is where it confuses me, IS the PTA a “governing body”? Is it like a neighborhood association, or is it )I thought( a group of parents who oversee things going on in a school situation?

        See, i don’t see its use as being appealing. Namely because it has been used so much it has lost any sense of being pertinent, let alone funny. (to me)

        I liked the idea of the movie THE WATCH. Sadly, the movie looked really really bad, so i never saw it. Yet, what they did was take something that could’ve been a tired stereotype of things and threw something different into it. The lame out of touch, a bit too old dads of the neighborhood have to protect all the neighbors from an Alien invasion in the neighborhood.
        Not saying it was perfect, just saying it wasn’t the same old bitchy wives on the PTA having to fight or squabble with the leader “perfect one” PTA member.

        So, my argument is, if you try hard enough, you can come up with a totally unique, interesting, different storyline if you want to.
        If you can’t, then maybe the story shouldn’t be told.

        I am a bit worried this story shouldn’t have been told. Sounds way too cliche.

        • G.S.

          You’re right that the PTA just has to do with school-related activities. But if the plot is centered on being a Mom, the focal point is involvement with your kids. And the life of children is pretty well dominated by school and school-related activities.

          Now, I totally agree that the premise is cliche. And ultimately, that’s part of what I think forced the decision to use the PTA as the arena. I believe the plot and organization vehicle (for lack of a better term) are indelibly tied. If the plot involves a girl showing she can play baseball just as well as the boys, the Junior Baseball League is the organization vehicle. Suburbs under attack by aliens? Neighborhood Watch is your vehicle. Lost in the woods? Boyscouts. Moms tired of being held to impossible standard? Where else can this be hashed out but the PTA?

          • Midnight Luck

            You make some very good points about it.
            I can see how using it as a centering tool for the story, centering around an idea or a “thing” which affects everyone similarly yet in different ways, makes a lot of sense.

            I believe I may have been too focused on the whole PTA thing itself.
            I’ll have to give it a read and see what I think.
            Thanks.

    • Citizen M

      I would have thought this was right up your street. The theme is about the pressure to conform to Society’s view of what it means to be a “good mom” (symbolized by Queen Bee Gwendolyn and the PTA), and saying fuck it, it’s too hard, I’ll be a bad mom, and you know what? The kids will turn out all right, I’ll have a bit of fun, and the world won’t come to an end.

      • Midnight Luck

        Thanks for your perspective, I didn’t look at it, or think about it this way. You are right, it very well might be up my alley.
        If the focus is more on the conforming pressures of society and them learning that there are different ways to be, and that they can be themselves, go against the grain, learn something new and different, and yeah, the kids will be alright, without needing to helicopter/hoverboard around them, then absolutely this could be interesting.

        I may have had too much of a knee jerk reaction to what seemed like a “same old, same old” storyline focused around the PTA and Mom’s bitchy fighting other Mom’s at PTA meetings and while eating snooty biscuits at a Starbucks.

        I will give it a read, thanks for the thoughts and the perspective.

  • ScriptChick

    Anyone have this script? Please send to — botts100 AT gmail.com

    Been wanting to read more female-driven comedy for a while. :)

    • Stephjones

      Sent.

      • Dan B

        Hey Steph — could you forward to me as well? dblixbreen at gmail.com THANK!

        • Stephjones

          Sent!

          • smishsmosh22

            oh heyyyyy Steph, could you forward to me as well please? thealisonparker at gmail.com :)

  • Stephjones

    Read it. Thought it was an uninspired mish-mash of Mean Girls/I Don’t Know How She Does It/ and some other crap. Very definitely low hanging fruit humor-wise. The humor is too mean spirited, the women too unsympathetic. Amy’s supposed awesomeness cancelled out by her choice of dumbass husband who had absolutely no redeeming quality. Kiki displayed frontal lobotomy symptoms and human services should be contacted about Carla. Gwendolyn was one dimensional and then flipped at the end without any set-up whatsoever.
    Yuck.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      Honestly, your version of it sounds exactly like most of the comedies that have come out in the last decade. Very exact structure, mean-spirited and/or lewd humor (but not really lewd lewd, just lewd enough to freak out the squares), everything is wrapped up in a neat bow by the end. Like a fart wafting across your napping face.

      I didn’t give a shit for Bridesmaids, Trainwreck, the Hangover, Horrible Bosses or the new Vacation, sound’s like this is more of the same.

      • Stephjones

        Well, I thought Bridesmaids got some things right. But the Hangover had to grow on me as a watered down version of FALILV. Horrible Bosses is part of my Jason Bateman crush series although HB 2 didn’t make the cut and haven’t seen Trainwreck or Vacation.
        Truth is, I’m off everything this week and feel like being a fart that wafts across everyone’s face.

      • Andrew Parker

        Bridesmaids: Excellent!
        Trainwreck: A few funny moments wrapped around a gender swapped, by-the-book romcom
        Hangover: Very watchable, succeeds mainly as an introduction for most people to the genius of Zach Galafianakis
        Horrible Bosses: Better than expected, but not great. Above average?
        Vacation: Forgettable

        TV is where all the good comedy is. Hard to make an honest, funny, close-ended two hour movie these days. Our brains are just re-wired by entertainment options. Podcasts are often funnier than TV + Movies. Raw, funny honesty in podcasts you can’t replicate in tv/movies.

        Or maybe I’ve changed and everyone else is the same?

    • wlubake

      But otherwise…pretty good?

      • Stephjones

        Pffffffttt. ;)

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: Not heard of this before, sorry if other people have. Short film becomes feature film starring Dolph Lundgren.

    http://deadline.com/2016/02/welcome-to-willits-cast-feature-adaptation-1201694901/

    I know a lot of people have talked about this approach to making your own movie, start with a short film. Here it seems to have worked.

  • Andrew Parker

    Is it better to write a good comedy script or a comedy script that sucks but with some good trailer moments?

    Asking for a friend.

    (P.S. I love love love movie trailers. Like, way more than movies. Is that normal?)

    • brenkilco

      Since trailers today generally give you the whole movie in two minutes, and since three out of four times the trailer winds up being better than the movie, I think liking trailers more is perfectly reasonable.

    • klmn

      I think it’s best to write something other than comedy. Comedy is execution dependent. So even if you write a good one, the performers or director can fuck it up, and probably will.

      And the number of bankable stars who can do comedy well is pretty damn small.

      • Midnight Luck

        exactly. I think it is so difficult to set out to write “Comedy”, because in the end it is so dependent on the quality of the actors, the Directors perspective on how they approach the material, etc.

        Or, as you said, execution.

        I think that is the trouble with most writers (especially amateurs), they approach their story saying, I am going to write an awesome Comedy!
        When what they need to do is write something, anything, else, and see if it can become a comedy when it is made.

        The best comedies are great Dramas turned into something comedic, or great character pieces turned into something else, etc.

    • Eric

      My feeling would be that if you’ve written a good comedy script you should probably have some good trailer moments already. Even if that’s not the case, I’d worry about story first and trailer moments second. Trailer moments can be retrofitted to the story after the fact. The good thing about comedy is it can be absurd and out of nowhere and still work.

      For instance, your friend could probably go into his script right now and give one of the supporting characters the unique characteristic of being constantly attacked by birds. Every scene he’s in, no matter where he goes, is punctuated by a random bird attack. Not only can that be hilarious despite having nothing to do with the overall story, but it could make a good trailer moment as well. Full grown men being attacked by small animals is a pretty easy thing to find funny regardless of context, and when you’re looking for trailer moments that’s what you’re searching for, moments that are funny even when separated from much of the movie’s context.

    • Paul Schellens

      ‘Asking for a friend’ sounds like a good movie title.

  • Paul Schellens

    And in this global marketplace, PTA politics wouldn’t be that relevant outside the U.S.

  • Dan B

    Just finished the read on this one, it’s formulaic, hits all the story beats, but it is still pretty funny. It’s by far funnier than some of the other “All Girls” comedies that made the hit list last year. I don’t think this will go down as an unforgettable comedy, but there’s still some decent lines and funny sequences in here.

    My one complaint… Every script/movie in comedy includes a scene where we go into slow motion and we jack up the Gangsta Music for a big entrance. Neighbors did it, Daddy’s Home did it, this script did it, I think the script for The House did it… It’s becoming a staple. I mean, its funny when its done well, but I can’t help but point out how unoriginal it is.

    Other thing — the entire fun and games part just reminded me of the SNL Nasty Girl digital shorts… so again, this didn’t come off as very original. Still funny though, and that goes a long ways.

  • Citizen M

    Read it. Loved it. I thought Amy’s husband Mike was the funniest character. I hope we see more of him in the final movie. Love to see a confrontation between him and the Hot Teacher.

    I’ve got an idea for a movie. Selfish Entitled Sluts With Kids. Oh wait, I just read one like it ;o)

    Actually, it does deal with an issue that is relevant — over-parenting. I think that lifts it above the “good genre movie, forget after viewing” category into something that has legs.

    Speaking of something with legs, Mila Kunis – YES! Don’t know about the others, though.

  • Dan B

    I think it will do well. It’s the best female comedy that was on any list this year. Maybe the best comedy overall, don’t know. The only thing holding it back from $100M might be the casting. Not saying I don’t like these girls, I do. But the Amy Poehler/Tina Fey combo is basically a brand now and people will go see something purely to see them.