Genre: Drama – Real Life
Premise: When a deep-sea drilling station encounters an unexpected series of explosions, the men onboard must scramble for their lives before the whole thing goes down.
About: This is the true story of how the deep-sea drilling rig “Deepwater Horizon” had a blowout that resulted in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The script was written by relatively unknown writer Matthew Sand, whose sole produced credit is 2009’s “Ninja Assassin.” When the rewrite assignment went out, the producers didn’t tell anyone that a key stipulation was that only writers with the name “Matthew” were allowed on the project. As such, the current rewrite is penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z). J.C. Chandor, who directed tiny films Margin Call and All is Lost, is stepping up to the big time with this huge production.
Writer: Matthew Sand, Matthew Michael Carnahan
Details: 115 pages – December 2013 draft

rUNFYnD

Rarely do I get all world issues’n stuff on Scriptshadow, but today’s script got me thinking. Deepwater Horizon is about dangerous missions that require drilling into the most remote areas on earth, as they’re the last places we’re able to find oil.

Why are we spending so much money on getting oil when we don’t need it anymore? I mean, we need it, of course. But if we put all our focus into 15 hard years of solar, electric, or hydrogen based energy infrastructure, we’d be able to do it.

But we don’t. Why? The only reason I can think of is that oil and fuel are so embedded in our economy, that if we removed them, huge companies would collapse, companies so big that they would take the rest of the economy down with them, basically destroying America.

Is that why we keep oil around? Because our economy isn’t prepared to exist without it? It must be, with alternative energy having so many benefits. We’d have cleaner air, fewer wars, more harmony. I just can’t figure out how a country this technologically advanced couldn’t eliminate oil.

Whoa, that got deep. Speaking of deep, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig has just dug the furthest into the earth of any drilling rig in history. 35,000 feet. That’s the equivalent of where you’re sitting to an airplane at cruising altitude.

But DH is also 60 days behind schedule. And the suits are flying in to see what the holdup is. They’re accompanied by Comms Officer Mike Williams, who’s about to be promoted to head honcho status on Deepwater.

Mike’s trying to calm the suits down, explaining that when you drill through five miles of ocean water and two miles of rock sediment, not everything goes as planned. The oil’s squeezing upwards, trying to get out of this pocket that it’s been stuck in for the past 2 million years. Eager oil is not good oil.

Once on the Deepwater, we meet all the folks who work with Mike, as well as the intricacies of the rig itself. And we really go all in here. The first 25 pages are dedicated to explaining every little pipe, every little gauge, every little nuance of this thing. It’s a lot to take in.

But the most important piece of equipment is the pressure gauge and specifically, the number 700. That’s the amount of pressure that the Deepwater Horizon can handle. If the pressure of the oil goes above that point, it’s going to blow. And blowing is bad. At least in this instance. So it’s something that has to be constantly monitored.

As you can imagine, the oil eventually hits the fan. The pressure blows past 700 to 900, which is the highest reading on the gauge.

The rest of the script turns into a sort of “Titanic but with raining fire and oil” as everyone tries to escape without their skin melting off their body. Throughout this, we’re intercutting with the bridge of the Deepwater where the safe suits, as you can guess, are more concerned with their billion dollar investment than the safety of the men dying on it. It’s because of this problem that our hero, Mike, may end as a footnote in one of the worst disasters in oil-drilling history.

Deepwater Horizon is like a good book. It’s got a heavy burden of investment.  You’re introduced to a ton of characters as well as an exceptionally complicated structure.  But if you stick with it, you’re rewarded with a hell of a survival thriller.

As for the opening, it’s not just the description that’s frustrating. It’s that you’re not really sure what’s being described. I don’t know what a “Moon Pool” is. Or what a “Standpipe” looks like inside of a Moon Pool. It’s all just a vague blob in my head, and as those vague blobs began to build up, I found myself increasingly unsure of what I was looking at.

But here’s a good screenplay tip for you. Sand and Carnahan knew that when it came to the most important thing on the ship, which was the drill pressure, they had to make it as simple as possible. An audience that doesn’t understand how the key piece of equipment works is going to miss the point when everything goes to shit.

So the writers created this gauge and they simply said, “THIS CANNOT REACH 700.” We had that number bludgeoned into our head. “700 bad!” And that way, they could play with it, which they did.  Every other scene, we’re monitoring that gauge, and we’re seeing “550” or “600.” We’re nervously adjusting in our seats. “Oh man. That’s so close to 700! What if it doesn’t go back down?!”

Where Deepwater really excels, though, is once the oil blows. In screenwriting, the ultimate goal is to give the reader something they’ve never seen before THAT’S ALSO exciting. What I mean by that is, it’s easy to come up with something that nobody’s seen before. You could write a movie about a turtle wedding for all I care – no one’s seen that before. But to give us something new that’s also exciting? That’s really hard. And Deepwater does it.

We’ve never been on an oil rig with exploding engines and mud and fire raining down while running around through a pipe palace of metal and glass projectiles shooting at us from every direction. It just feels different. And that difference makes it exciting.

The only problem with the script is the one I mentioned above. Because we’re not actually seeing this thing, it’s hard to visually comprehend it. Even simple stuff like where one thing was located in geographic comparison to another was hard to understand. Due to that confusion, there are parts of the script that don’t make sense.

For example, we have the “boat” part of the rig. This is where the bridge is, which is where the captain is located (along with all the suits). We keep cutting back to this bridge while all this craziness is going on. But for the majority of the script, these men are totally oblivious to the skyscraper-tall fire spout raining shards of burning oil down on them.

I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how you wouldn’t be able to see fire raining down.  I mean it’s not like you’re surrounded by a city full of skyscrapers.  We’re in the middle of an ocean!  You’re the only visual for a thousand miles.  Maybe this room was placed in a position where that stuff couldn’t be seen (were they underwater maybe?). But because this information was buried so deep inside all the OTHER information given to us, it was hard to catch.

But outside of that, this was really good. The script does a great job of creating a sense of dread before the blow occurs, and a wonderful job of showing the unique kind of destruction that results after the blow occurred. If done right, this could be one of those surprise Gravity-breakout type hits. Rooting for Chandor to pull it off.

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

What I learned: Exposition Allowance. Every writer should give themselves an Exposition Allowance before a script. How much you’ll need will depend on what type of script it is. In scripts like Titanic and Deepwater Horizon, where the intricacies of the environments are a crucial factor in enjoying the movie later on (we’re going to be visiting a lot of these rooms and need to know how they work), it’s okay to have a big allowance. But if you’re writing a boat movie like, say, Life of Pi or Captain Phillips, extensive explanations of the boats aren’t necessary. We don’t need to know what every room looks like.  In those cases, keep your exposition allowance low.

  • Scott Crawford

    I wonder: do they refer to BP by its correct name – BP – or by its old, incorrect name British Petroleum? That’s what Obama did when he wanted to shift the blame away from America.

    See? Controversial subject. I believe the court cases are still going on.

    • klmn

      BP coughed up a huge chunk of money to pay claims and the gov’t appointed a special master to handle it (the same guy who handled the 911 claims). Last I heard, BP was back in court saying the payments were excessive.

      • Scott Crawford

        I live down the road from BP headquarters, so obviously those jobs are vital to my local economy.

        My main concern (at the bottom of the page) is whether they will get it right. BP hasn’t been British Petroleum since 1998, I think, following its merger with Amoco. It was Obama – and others who called it British Petroleum.

        It’s like someone in 1942 referring to “World War Two”.

  • andyjaxfl

    Was there any explanation why only writers named Matthew could work on the script?

    • Sebastian Cornet

      Maybe they were hoping to get Matthew Weiner on the writing team. Spice up the script with a nuanced (cough* slow cough*) story of sexism, lying, and self-discovery.

      • Scott Crawford

        Do you think Weiner might just retire with the money, maybe do some charitable causes?

        Nothing against the guy; I remember listening to an an interview he gave Jeff Goldsmith in the early days of Mad Men and he seemed really smart.

        But when you’ve made that much money, surely you could just step back and write poetry instead.

        • Sebastian Cornet

          Oh, he’s smart all right. Maybe too smart for the business. Whether he continues will depend on how much he has left to say. I see him going the David Chase route and invest time in smaller efforts now that he’s spent so much time in one TV show.

          Either that or the David Milch route. Working on fantastic shows at the start of his career and slowly fizzling out.

          Or hell, he might surprise us and come back with the greatest TV show since The Wire. Hope springs eternal…

      • filmklassik

        You forgot about casual racism and homophobia.

        MAD MEN is a literate, beautifully crafted show with wonderful production design, wardrobe, etc… but at heart it is designed to flatter its audience… to flatter this entire generation, in fact… to pat us on the back for being smarter and more enlightened than the people on the screen.

        And on that level it succeeds.

        There’s a pretty good (if long-winded) essay about the show called YOU’LL LOVE THE WAY IT MAKES YOU FEEL that touches on this very subject, and is worth seeking out.

        • Sebastian Cornet

          Thanks for mentioning the essay. I’ll be sure to check it out since that was always a pet peeve with this show.

    • klmn

      It’s a conspiracy.

      • Casper Chris

        I heard Matthew Garry (from here) will be writing the sequel.

      • andyjaxfl

        haha my thoughts as well.

  • leitskev

    “But if we put all our focus into 15 hard years of solar, electric, or hydrogen based energy infrastructure, we’d be able to do it.”

    Unfortunately, it’s just not even true, or close to true. Even if our energy needs remained the same, alternative energies are limited in their capacity, despite many years an billions spent. And it’s not an oil conspiracy, it’s just the physical limits of those sources. Anyone can look it up if they have a slow morning.

    • Sebastian Cornet

      And let’s not forget the lifestyle that half the world is used to (and another large percentage aspires to) is unsustainable on alternative energies.

      • Scott Crawford

        Until they create an electric car that is as fast, reliable, and sexy as the cars that so many aspire to…

        I showed my nephew the car showrooms on Park Lane, London, and he was only interested in the gas guzzlers. My mum liked the electric cars!

        • klmn

          The big problem in the US is range, and the lack of charging stations. It’s not something you could drive across the country.

          I got a ride in one of the new electric BMWs a few weeks ago. It was very fast, but small. About 2600 lbs. The steering wheel is right in your face – if the air bag went off you’d break your nose, as a minimum. The pedal box is also small, you’d have to brake with your right foot.

          • Scott Crawford

            What if they made a Knight Rider movie and K.I.T.T. the car was an electric car? Makes sense for that movie; wouldn’t really work with Smokey and the Bandit!

            How about a car chase involving electric cars?

            I’m serious, if you want change you better put in your screenplay (unless it’s a lecture, then don’t bother). I mean, how else are you gonna generate great, successful roles for women unless you make all the Ghostbusters into women?

        • Sebastian Cornet

          My point exactly. Like klmn says, I’m sure availability of vehicles and lack of range is a HUGE issue…but it’s the same problem the early cars had as well, that’s just growing pains.

          The cool factor, though…that nut won’t crack so easy.

  • SinclareRose

    How is this not a made-for-TV-movie? I mean, some way more important movies were – all three Long Island Lolita’s!!! This kinda thing leads me to believe that the big-wigs over at BP are funding it to try to make it seem like a cool action flick.
    I wonder if they pitched it, “It’s like Die Hard on an oil rig, but the protagonist is literally unstoppable and most of it really happened!”
    At the end, do we get the words about how the oil company paid so much and did so much in order to help with the clean up, Super’d over the CEO of BP doing ‘clean-up’ work?
    Yes, lives were lost, which is sad and horrible in almost any situation. And we understand that this was an accident; nobody wants something like this to happen. But this was an unfortunate blight on American history that no one should pay to see because too many people and animals paid for it in the first place.
    If you want to see what’s really goin’ on, watch the documentary “The Big Fix,” for free, on YouTube.
    Finally, something the Westboro Baptist Church can protest and no one will care.

    • Scott Crawford

      I still see a few of these The SOMETHING SOMETHING Story-type films being made and shown on TV, though I think the heyday may have been some time ago. Certainly some “true stories” are better told on TV than as a $70 million movie.

      But there were some really good TV movies, and mini-series, on TV when I was a kid. I remember one called Small Sacrifices with Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal, based on a true story. Man, that was great. Really, really creepy performance by Fawcett as the woman who tried to murders her children. Any other reminiscences?

  • Stephjones

    I’ve been using only wind and solar power for 30 years. One solar panel cost us $200. It charges a bank of 6 golf cart batteries and runs everything on our boat. So, I call bullshit on alternative energies being limited in their capacities.
    What I think is really limited is a willingness to make the choices which will ALLOW the use of these technologies. Why change if you don’t have to? Let’s just all hold hands and jump, like lemmings, off the cliff…so much easier.

    • Scott Crawford

      I live in England. A lot of newly-built houses have these solar panels on the roof, and some have had them installed for, I think about the equivalent USD$20,000. With our lack of sun I think it will take AT LEAST ten years for a householder to pay that off, if not twenty.

      • klmn

        I live where there is a winter. One of my neighbors has solar panels. She said it will take 17 years before it pays for itself.

        OTOH, solar cells are following the same path as computer chips – they get more efficient every year. Moore’s Law.

        • Scott Crawford

          There’s a lot of debate about alternative energy on this screenwriting site, but – hey! – who am I tell people what they can and can’t comment on. I’ll leave that to others.

          Problem with saying “let’s dump the fossil fuels and go green,baby”, is that the technology is not there. Yet. Little bit at a time, that’s what I was told in the 80s/90s; just do the best you can do for the environment.

    • JakeMLB

      It might work on your boat but scaling it up to every household and vehicle on the planet isn’t exactly as simple as holding hands and jumping. It’s a very real and expensive problem. Germany is the furthest ahead but many of the greener solutions they’ve implemented still aren’t outperforming traditional energy sources and may not for a few decades. In the same way that cheaper sequencing of the genome won’t suddenly provide miracle cures for diseases like cancer, alternative energies aren’t some miracle solution that’s being held back by big bad oil (though I’m sure the latter is true to some degree). It will happen eventually but it’s going to take a lot of time and effort.

      • Stephjones

        Hey Jake,

        You could get in training. Start by embracing the idea. Buy a solar panel. $200. Buy 4 golf cart batteries. $500. Buy a power invertor $110. Pick a room in your house. Open the windows. Or in winter, close them and get some blankets. Put in some 12 volt lights and fans. $200. Hell, throw in a 12 volt refrigerator.$600 Buy a portable DVD player$100 or some books for entertainment. Make it an adventure for your kids. Have them think differently about power consumption. Gather your family in that room at least once a week. You’ll still be able to use your phones, iPads and laptops, just watch your voltage when you charge them back up. If you dont have the power to recharge them turn them off. Practice makes perfect.
        Oh. And car pool. Keep it to one car in the family. Organize and coordinate. Use public transport. Vote for public transport. Teach your kids not to take the shit for granted.
        That is, if you have kids. :)

        • JakeMLB

          Hey Steph,

          These are great suggestions; however, I was talking about the global economic impact of shifting to alternative energies which is what Carson was asking about not small-scale residential changes. That’s not to say what you’re doing isn’t important but picking up a few batteries and solar panels won’t reduce global dependency on oil. There is also an environmental and energy cost to producing solar panels not to mention harmful materials in both panels and batteries themselves. The technology is getting cheaper and safer but it’s hardly a slam dunk at present (I’m not an expert but that’s my general sense of the situation). Don’t get me wrong, what you’re doing is great and we should all strive to do better but I don’t think it’s a viable global solution. Not yet at least!

          • Stephjones

            Oh, I know, Jake. And to keep from sounding too insufferable I must admit I didn’t get into this technology originally because of environmental concerns. They were made in order to make a certain sort of lifestyle possible.
            I’m originally from the gulf coast. The bp blowout hurt my soul and I know I must accept some of the responsibility. Big oil is supplying a need that we insist on. I’m still a consumer. But I do know that I can get by with a lot less, and I think most people never give that serious consideration.

  • mulesandmud

    OT: There was some debate on this board about outlines last week. To each his own, I say, but with one important caveat:

    Regardless of whether or not you prefer to outline, and/or how you define outline, if your goal is to work as a professional screenwriter, then outlining is a skill that you absolutely must have.

    Selling pitches, developing properties, winning assignments; these are the daily bread of a working pro, and more often than not the prewriting – outlines, treatments, synopses – is where these projects get bought and sold.

    You need to be able to articulate every beat of your story, to defend and explain each of those beats, long before you ever start to write the actual script. In some cases, it’s a contractual obligation (though rarely a paid step).

    Collaboration means that you don’t get to write in a vacuum, and the better you can communicate your thoughts in pre-script form, the better your chances of getting a project off the ground. An outline is often a critical part of that communication process.

    Of course, you can try to bluff your way through the outline just to get to the writing phase, and plan to figure out what the ‘real’ story is later, but do so at your peril. Meanwhile, if the process demands that you build out these documents and design the shape of your story in advance, why squander that opportunity?

    Point being: love it, hate it, whatever. Get good at it. It matters.

    • Scott Crawford

      You wouldn’t go on America’s Top Chef and cook something for the judges that you hadn’t practiced first.

      The main advantage of writing an outline BEFORE writing the first draft is it saves you from the likelihood of a page-one rewrite..

      • bluedenham

        Ah, but many do (go on Top Chef without practicing). Makes for fun TV, but not much else.

        • Scott Crawford

          Exactly. Think about what you want to cook (logline), experiment with flavors (brainstorm), write down the recipe (outline), cook the food (first draft), season (rewrite), and garnish (polish).

          • bluedenham

            Sounds delicious.

          • Scott Crawford

            And easier to type than it is to do!

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

      Someone recently approached me and wants a script ready in two weeks to film.
      There’s no way I can hit that deadline w/o outlining my ass off with the director.

      • Scott Crawford

        Good luck, bud!

      • Casper Chris

        The French short film guy? (Max, I think?)

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

          That would be the one. We’re still in negotiations.
          I did just sent him a potential LOGLINE, hope it creeps him out. :-)

          • Casper Chris

            Cool. Hope it works out. Two weeks is rough though.

      • klmn

        Congrats.

    • Kosta K

      I just handed in my “final” draft entry to the Industry Insider competition and I can tell you that without an outline (albeit a very rough one) there is no way I would have made the deadline. If you don’t have a skeleton to hold up the meat of your story, you might just find yourself stitching together body parts and hoping for the best.

      I never outlined before, but after this summer, it’s gonna be the first thing I do from now on.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more throwing up to do.

      • Paul Clarke

        Good luck Kosta (but not too much).

        I have a proposal for you. If neither of us win we can send them in together for a dual review (maybe that should be duel) or AOW showdown. Just a suggestion. Of course you might have other plans for it. Not to mention there’s a 20% chance of one us winning.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Are they still posting the first 15 of the finalists?

          • Kosta K

            I think they post them when they announce the winner. I’ll definitely send out a link if I lose and only get back crickets :(

        • Kosta K

          You’re on! :) Good luck to you, too.

          Do you think we’ll get a chance to read the other contenders? I’m so curious to see what everyone did with that fucking log line :

          • Paul Clarke

            Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of the logline either. I think they post the original 15 pages. Mine changed a bit, hope they’re not too embarrassing.

            Matty made the top ten but didn’t win and went on to win AOW and get a worth the read from Carson, so I’m sure we can sort something out.

    • Casper Chris

      Speaking of outlining, I recommend Outline 4D. Makes outlining fun (yea, I’m a sucker for pretty colors…).

      http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/software/detail-page/B00316OYGQ-4.gif

      • SinclareRose

        This is great! I didn’t know this was available. I was using Plot Control until I decided to get all ninja old school on it….

        • Casper Chris

          You’re welcome :)

        • bluedenham

          Is that spelling something?

          • SinclareRose

            Ha! Maybe it could! It’s all the 3×5 cards giving the outline of my story.

          • bluedenham

            It’s the da vinci code.

      • JakeMLB

        Hmmm, that looks pretty awesome. I’ve been using Stormboard (www.stormboard.com) for a while. It’s basically a virtual stickyboard that can be accessed via your Google account and allows for multiple collaborators and different colored stickies. There’s a 3-column structure that works well for 3 act scripts. It’s nowhere near as powerful as 4D but it makes for easy visualization.

      • Logic Ninja

        Looks awesome! Thanks!

    • JakeMLB

      It always amazes me how resistant new writers are to outlines. I mean, I get it, that’s the hardest part of writing. But the first thing Mr. Producer is going to request for your very first assignment is — a treatment. So you better learn how to outline. Sadly nowadays you may even have to pitch a treatment before you get the gig.

      • Scott Crawford

        “You may even have to pitch a treatment before you get the gig”

        That’s true, but Craig Mazin – for one – advises against it. You’re writing for free. You should just pitch your TAKE on the material, not your ideas. Unfortunately, we won’t all be in the position of being able to either, really.

        But you’re right, learn to love outlining. I’d say it’s at least 50%, if not more, of the effort in most scripts.

  • ChadStuart

    ” Deepwater Horizon is about dangerous missions that require drilling
    into the most remote areas on earth, as they’re the last places we’re
    able to find oil.

    Why are we spending so much money on getting oil when we don’t need
    it anymore? I mean, we need it, of course. But if we put all our focus
    into 15 hard years of solar, electric, or hydrogen based energy
    infrastructure, we’d be able to do it.”

    Well, that’s not really true at all. In fact, you really owe it to yourself to really dig into this subject and learn more about it. Not just as a member of this planet, but also as a writer. Good writers need to be versed in lots more than just the insular world of Hollywood. Besides the technical limitations of alternative energies, there’s geo politics involved (for instance, our involvement in the middle east) that are just as complicated as the politics back home in addition to the vast economical repercussions.

    In “All the President’s Men” Woodstein was told to follow the money. In today’s world, you follow the oil first, and then the money.

    • Scott Crawford

      Did you like Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves? Or The Saint? Stories about alternative energy production are… tricky.

      • ChadStuart

        Huh? That really has nothing to do with what I just said.

        • Scott Crawford

          Just trying to get some debate going; thanks for killing it!

          No, seriously, there are going to be movies about oil and fossil fuels for some time to come. Hollywood, as you mentioned, knows about alternatives to fossil fuels but attempts to put this information in mainstream movies has so far failed. People don’t like to lectured, I guess….

          • ChadStuart

            Then debate on the topic I brought up, i.e. writers being more informed of the world around them, not some nonsensical post about other alternative energy movies that didn’t work. In fact, by only being able to mention other movies you kind of proved my point. If you can only discuss things in terms of movies, then your writing will suffer. Learn about the world around you, dude.

          • Scott Crawford

            Erm, let me think of a witty reply. Fuck you.

          • ChadStuart

            Proving my point even further…

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

        I’ve never seen anyone comment on almost every single person’s post before lol you must have a lot of time on your hands ;)

        • Scott Crawford

          Erm, let me think of a witty reply. Fuck you.

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

            lol thanks

          • Scott Crawford

            I am a full-time carer for my father who has Alzheimer’s. I come on this website as a distraction. How dare you accuse me of having a lot of time on my hand, or anything that you don’t know about me. You have a problem with people wanting to comment on screenwriting, of trying to generate debate, or helping people out? You’re gonna go far.

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

            Sorry about your dad… But it was an observation, not an attack or an accusation, so not sure why you’re getting so upset. I wouldn’t have gotten upset if someone said that about me. And there’s actually nothing wrong with having time on your hands. I work from home and always have a lot of time on my hands. At least until I get back to LA next month and I do more production work. Again, sorry about you dad.

          • Scott Crawford

            Yeah, let’s shake (virtual) hands and make up.

            Some things are gonna set me off, and maybe I should and maybe I shouldn’t. But I’ve been getting a lot of “stick” as we say here lately for just posting comments. Disagree if you like, please do, it gets a debate going. I mean look at yesterday. By bringing up MY objection to the 9/11 inside job quote, we learned that no one else cared. In my view that useful stuff to know.

            But anyway, sorry for attacking you. I see know you didn’t mean it. I DO spend a bit too much time on this website and I DO have a screenplay to finish.

            Peace.

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

            Sounds good. If you have that pilot for today’s thing, feel free to send it my way, screenwriter@cheerful.com

            Thanks, dude.

  • jw

    C, I didn’t read anything in this review about CHARACTER and I’m a bit surprised. If they don’t go the VOD route and they’re going to push for theatrical, they’re going to need some kick-ass characters that can fill the seats, but based upon what you wrote here it’s more technical than it is personal. Do we get a sense of good character or is it just a wash?

  • G.S.

    On oil vs. alternatives – it’s not nearly as simple as people generally think. It’s not just swapping out this energy for that energy. Petroleum is used in EVERYTHING. Two thirds of our oil usage is for fuel – cars (gas), trucks (diesel) and jets (JP-5). I have yet to come across a propulsion method outside of the jet engine that’s suitable for air travel, so forget that.

    Hybrid systems have some value for replacing conventional car and truck engines, but batteries aren’t exactly the most benign thing to introduce to a motor vehicle as they have their own maintenance and logistical costs. They’re also made from some not-so-easy-to-get elements that still must be mined and refined. Adding demand to those industries simply transfers the current oil extraction issues to the exotic metals industry. Also, the more you use electricity rather than gas for fuel energy, the more you transfer transportation energy requirements to the grid, which is primarily run by coal.

    Here’s the problem in an anecdotal nutshell: I have a spreadsheet that compares the cost of ownership of a Hyundai Sonata and a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Given my typical driving pattern, gas would have to be $60/gallon for me to break even on getting a hybrid. So I don’t. If and when the technology becomes viable to me, I’ll adopt it. Our society needs to do the same. You can’t FORCE a technological revolution. It will naturally be adopted WHEN IT’S READY.

    • leitskev

      Exactly. Nothing wrong with exploring alternative energy, but the simple physics of it limits what it can do. We’ve put billions into over many years, and the results hardly put a dent into fossil fuel use.

    • ff

      Of course this isn’t something that happens overnight, just as refining oil wasn’t something that happened overnight. More like decades and decades to get better and more efficient and decades and decades of using public money to build roads, bridges, etc. But something needs to be done and we sure can make progress towards alternative fuels. And by progress I mean a transfer of money. Why we give Billions in subsidies to oil companies every year that already profit billions each quarter is freaking absurd. Not to mention that oil in the earth is just as much yours and mine as it is theirs anyway.

      • G.S.

        You can’t compare the money invested to improve the technology for oil extraction and refining to the money used for roads and bridges. They’re apples and oranges. The former was private money invested under the speculative notion that the rising industries of the time would use crude oil rather than, say, whale oil. The latter came as a public response to the success of the industry rather than specifically as a means to make it viable.

        As for the “subsidies,” that’s a very misleading term as it is used to describe tax avoidance which is not unique to the oil industry. That’s like saying my life is “subsidized” because I claim my daughter on my tax return. It’s a phony argument. If we want to talk about industry specific public funding, however, we could talk about the various green energy companies that received government money under TARP…

        We’re WAAAAAY off topic now.

  • Scott Strybos

    Aaron Sorkin would have been a good choice to write this screenplay (or to provide a polish). He touched upon the disaster in the pilot for The Newsroom. Only superficially and more in the background, but it gave me a taste. I think he could have turned this type of jargon heavy environmentinto poetry.

  • G.S.

    With the world of oil refineries being so foreign, it sounds very much like a sci-fi script from the writing point of view – a lot of weird terms, visuals that need extra explaining, a very specific “geographic” layout that needs to be understood for the story… It doesn’t sound like it was all that successful with that part. But it’s interesting to note that the urgency of the pressure build and the (apparently) compelling human drama of the story itself was enough to forgive some or most of those lacking visuals.

    Obviously, the preference would be to fulfill both requirements perfectly, but during the vicious cutting process to draw down page count, is it safe to assume all the techno-geeky things should go first (assuming the fat/unnecessary scenes are already gone)?

    • Scott Crawford

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some future scripts come with a map. They’ve been doing it in novels for years, so…

  • brenkilco

    “We’ve never been on an oil rig with exploding engines and mud and fire raining down while running around through a pipe palace of metal and glass projectiles shooting at us from every direction. It just feels different. And that difference makes it exciting.”

    Weren’t we treated to exactly this scene a year ago in Man of Steel?

    • Scott Crawford

      And in Thunderbirds in 2004.

      I believe the industry term is “Disaster Porn”!

  • Casper Chris

    Finished The Brothers Ternion and wrote up my thoughts.

  • Somersby

    Anyone happen to have a copy they wouldn’t mind sharing? For educational purposes only, of course.
    anvil [at] total [dot] net

    • Javier Eliezer Otero

      Me too, please… javierotero26 at hotmail.

  • Cfrancis1

    I never usually ask this but I really want to read this script. If anyone has a copy, please email it to: cameronfrancis5@gmail.com

  • ThomasBrownen

    Sounds like a great location for a story. The talk about the gauge reminds me of the pressure gauge in DAS BOOT. Watching that little needle move around in the pressure gauge was so intense!

    • Casper Chris

      Or the speedometer in Speed.

  • Sullivan

    OT: Anyone know if there’s a Muslim equivalent of Catholics doing the sign of the cross when they see dead bodies, for example?

    • G.S.

      I can’t say I’m aware of any, but your question reminded me of a book I once read set in the far future with a hybridized Christian/Muslim religion. Adherents would make the sign of the “cross and crescent.” That’s about all I remember from the book though…

  • Scott Crawford

    So you have no problem with someone telling me how I should debate, how I should think, what I should learn? Over the weekend I have advised people on screenwriting issues – this is a screenwriting website. I was talking about alternative energy as a subject in film and he said my post was NONSENSICAL. I stand by my comment.

    • ChadStuart

      Did you like the movie, “The Great Debaters”? It had a character named Pearl Farmer in it.

      • Scott Crawford

        Sorry, I’m smart but I don’t get the reference. Played by Kimberley Elise?

        • ChadStuart

          There was a movie called “References” in 2009. It wasn’t released in theaters, though.

        • ChadStuart

          Before you stretch your Google skills again, I’m just illustrating how taking one word out of a post, and then basing a new post off of that one word, while ignoring the context of the post, and expecting a “debate” to form out of it is not the ideal conversation starter. Hence, “nonsensical”.

          • Casper Chris

            Dammit, you were cracking me up.

          • Scott Crawford

            Did you think 500 Days of Summer was funny?

          • Scott Crawford

            Do I have to ask your permission on what I can and can’t comment on?

          • ChadStuart

            No, not at all. But, if you tell me to “fuck you” again I may feel compelled to school you one more time.

  • andyjaxfl

    I got the joke…12 hours later.

  • Scott Crawford

    Person – real. Actions – fictional.

    That’s how it with most films like this (maybe not Captain Phillips so much, but like Argo. Mendez is real; what he did in the film was not).

  • klmn

    Is there a character arc in this screenplay? Carson’s review is focused on description of the technical stuff.

  • Scott Crawford

    Is there any difference? Yes, I was talking about screenwriting. If you don’t care about story (outlining), then you are condemned to write predictable or incoherent, thin scripts full of people talking.

    If you start a screenplay with a long dialogue scene about 9/11 being an inside job, that’s a problem for ME, maybe not everyone, but are you saying they I shouldn’t voice my concern?

    So, if I’m talking about screenwriting on a SCREENWRITING website, it’s not “NONSENSICAL”. What I learned: don’t reply to Chad Stuart. He’s picky about his comments.

    Oh, and since you object to outlining, I know you can’t be bothered to do it. That tells me a lot.

  • Scott Crawford

    Good to hear about the beaches, and the people being compensated.

    Very important, in THIS screenplay, to separate how people felt about, say, BP AFTER the disaster than before. If a character says “Man, British Petroleum is going to have to pay for this!” apart from being rotten dialogue, I don’t think people will talk like that BEFORE the disaster.

  • bruckey
  • Wife of a real hero

    This is a joke. I am the wife of one of the survivors who was deemed a hero by a federal judge and the coast guard. The main character he has written about here wasn’t in charge of anything as important as telling the “suits” what to do. As a matter of fact this person’s interview on TV pissed off most of the crew members on the Horizon simply because he didn’t know what he was talking about and his theory as to the blowout was discredited. And who deemed him a hero? Possibly the screenwriter because he was compliant? If this movie is made with him being held as the hero and main character the movie will upset the entire surviving crew. These men deserve to get this story straight and they deserve to be portrayed correctly. This says he was second in command and about to be promoted as “head honcho”. That part is the funniest of all. He had no real part of working in operations. He worked with computers and such. He would not be in any position to even talk to the “suits”. The Oim, Senior Toolpusher, and the Captain would have been in charge of that rig and not a “Communications Officer”. This whole thing is going to be the laughing stock of the dedicated people who work on oil rigs and risk their lives every day so you and I can drive around in our cars, heat our homes, cook our meals, use plastics, paint our houses and many, many other uses that they drill oil and gas for. Read the public transcripts and write a screen play and produce a movie about the real hero’s in this tragedy!!!! Honor the suvivors don’t make them angry with this script! If the screenwriter and producer doesn’t have the ability to comprehend what goes on out on a rig, get somebody who does. The people who work on rigs are many and they don’t mind expressing their opinions. This script may make Hollywood happy but it will be embarrassing to the surviving crew members and the families of the 11 lost and all oil field workers throughout the world!!!