Genre: Dark Comedy
Premise: A man loses his wife to a car crash and then loses himself. The only person who can save him is a marijuana addicted candy bar vending machine customer service rep who’s too anxious to meet him in person.
About: This script was on the 2007 Black List and forgotten until last year when Jean-Marc Vallee, the director of Dallas Buyer’s Club, read the script and wanted to direct it for his next project. Here are his thoughts: “Demolition is such a powerful and touching story, written with a strong and sincere desire to try to understand the human psyche, what makes us so unique, so special, what makes us love. This is a script of a rare quality, of a beautiful humanity.” Wow, how could you not want to read the script after that? Now with all that being said, Vallee is one of the most sought after directors in town after Dallas Buyer’s Club’s double-Oscar win, so I don’t know if this is still in his plans. I know his next film is with Reese Witherspoon, the adaptation of the non-fiction phenomenon, “Wild.” But I’m not sure if that was the film he replaced Demolition with or one he was doing when he decided Demolition would be next. Writer Bryan Sipe has been writing and directing small indie movies for over a decade, still looking for that first major writing credit.
Writer: Bryan Sipe
Details: 113 pages

0DRqzKeanu for Davis?  He looks like Davis here.

I was eyeing up spec sale 40,000 Man, the Six Million Dollar Man spoof about a guy who’s built by the government on a budget, knowing it was going to be a really breezy read and therefore an easy review. But I realized that when you read 40,000 Man, you’re getting exactly what you think you’re getting. There are no surprises there. That’s a boring read and a boring write-up.

So I decided on Demolition instead. After I read Vallee’s endorsement, I felt this could be one of those sleeper scripts. I always pay close attention to when a director loves a script because directors are what make the business go round. All the good actors are desperate to work with the good directors, so these are the guys you need to impress to get a script greenlit.

Demolition’s director catnip was all the little dream cutaways. For example, our main character would be looking at everybody walking around the airport and, via voice over, wonder what all their luggage would look like if it was all dumped into one big pile. And so we’d jump-cut to that pile.

Then he’d wonder what it would be like to hold one of the military guard’s guns. And then to shoot a fleeing terrorist. And we’d see that. Directors LOVE this kind of shit. Because it’s visual. It’s something they can show off with. You can’t do that with a straight-forward script. And that’s what sets Demolition apart from its competition. It’s not a straight-forward script.

38 year-old Davis Mitchell is absent-mindedly listening to his wife yap away while she drives them to work, when all of a sudden a car crashes into them. Davis walks away with a few scratches. His wife, however, dies.

Later in the hospital, Davis tries to use the vending machine, only to have the candy bar get caught in the metal thing. After the hospital refuses to help, Davis sends a letter to the vending machine’s customer service division, expressing his desire for a refund. But what starts as a “You owe me 75 cents” letter turns into a series of long confessionals about how he never loved his wife and how he has no idea what to do with his life anymore.

The customer service rep who receives these letters is Karen, a pot-addict with anxiety issues and a 17 year-old son who uses M-80 firecrackers to drive home his point during oral presentations at school. He’s pretty fucked up too.

Karen falls in love with Davis’s letters, and by association falls in love with Davis. She starts to follow him around town, eventually calling him, but avoiding a meeting. They get to know each other on the phone, finally meet, and Davis is enamored with her.  So he starts stalking her back, eventually showing up at her house, and oh yeah, she forgot to tell him, she’s engaged.

The two keep seeing each other anyway, because they’re drawn to one another’s self-destructive nature. During this time, Davis creates an unhealthy desire to demolish things. Doesn’t matter if it’s an espresso machine, a vase, or his own house. He seemingly needs to destroy whatever he comes across.

As his professional and personal life implode, Davis must figure out why to keep going, now that his life doesn’t have structure anymore. The biggest question of all is, will Karen be a part of that new life?

So yesterday I saw Leonardo Dicaprio sign onto yet another book adaptation. And I can’t help asking, why do these big actors keep choosing these book adaptations over spec screenplays? It’s not always because the books have built-in audiences. I doubt The Reverent has sold a hundred thousand copies.

The more I look into it, the more I realize it’s because in a book, you can be right there in a character’s head with him. That kind of access moves people in a way scripts have a hard time doing. In scripts, you can only develop character through choices, actions, and interactions. You don’t have that first-person advantage a book does. And when Leo signs onto a project like this, I think he’s playing that big thick character whose head he jumped into in the book. I don’t think he’s playing that thin little guy you see in the screenplay.

But! There’s hope! There is one tool left for us screenwriters, one that brings the audience just as close as a first person novel does. It’s called “voice over.” Now voice over gets a bad rap, but if you look back at a lot of the movies you love, you’ll see a lot of voice over, whether it be The Shawshank Redemption or Taxi Driver (or really any of Scorcese’s films). By getting in that character’s head, we feel like we know them in a way that no “choice” or “action” or “interaction” can give us.

BUT, I still think straight up voice over is lazy. The good writers find a way to do it cleverly, or at the very least, motivate it. That’s what I loved about Demolition. Sipe uses this whole “write a letter to the vending machine company” as a way to get into Davis’s head. It starts off as him wanting his money back, but soon he’s able to dish on his whole life. And we don’t question it. The setup for the letters was so fun and believable (he’s gone a little nuts after his wife died) that we go with it.

But what really sets Demolition apart is it’s a different kind of love story, which is exactly why Silver Linings Playbook did so well. This is what writers don’t do enough of. They don’t give us new takes. They simply re-hash old takes. Demolition is not an old take.

Another thing you’re stuck with when you’re writing these “love story” scripts, whether they be drama, comedy, or whatever, is that things can get boring between the characters quickly. With only two people, there are only so many conversations you can give them to keep us interested. So it takes a good writer to figure out other ways to keep us engaged. Sipe did a really good job of this.

First, he kept our romantic leads away from each other for awhile. You have to tease the audience. The first few times these guys talk, it’s on the phone only. Karen is too scared to meet him.

Then, Sipe created a couple of mysteries. There’s a mysterious car that keeps following Davis around everywhere. Also, Karen keeps promising to tell Davis something she’s never told anyone before. These are carrots you’re dangling in front of your audience to keep them reading. If done well, we will want to eat those carrots.

Finally, he added an extra relationship. Again, if it were only Davis and Karen, we’d be bored, so Sipe gave us Karen’s teenage son, Chris, as well. He and Davis begin a rocky friendship that plays into their development as the script goes on.

Demolition was an unexpected treat, a sort of cross between Silver Linings Playbook and American Beauty. If you like non-traditional love stories with fucked up characters taking center stage, this one is for you.

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

What I learned: Feelings that are the OPPOSITE of what the character is supposed to be feeling are usually more interesting than feelings that are exactly what a character is supposed to be feeling. Think about it. If a woman loses her husband in a car crash and can’t stop crying, it’s both expected and, if done poorly, melodramatic. But if she has no reaction. Or if she seems happy about it? That throws us off and tends to make us curious. We want to figure out what’s going on with this character and why she would act this way.

  • leitskev

    “I can’t help asking, why do these big actors keep choosing these book adaptations over spec screenplays? It’s not always because the books have built-in audiences. I doubt The Reverent has sold a hundred thousand copies.

    The more I look into it, the more I realize it’s because in a book, you can be right there in a character’s head with him. That kind of access moves people in a way scripts have a hard time doing. In scripts, you can only develop character through choices, actions, and interactions. You don’t have that first-person advantage a book does. And when Leo signs onto a project like this, I think he’s playing that big thick character whose head he jumped into in the book.”

    Ironically, I just posted something similar to this yesterday in another forum. I had been thinking about the difficulty of conveying story and character in screenplay format. No matter how well they are written, they rarely have the ability to get the reader excited about the story. In fact, they almost invariably leave the reader,even good readers, confused about key aspects of the story.

    And it left me wondering if the best way to get stories out there that to the film market might almost be through prose instead of spec scripts. I know, crazy idea. But Carson seems to be having a similar thought above.

    • Darkline

      I had a longer page script which underlined the themes and described thoughts on what my main character was thinking. To get it to 108 pages however, I cut it all out.

      So now instead of “He deliberates the consqeuences of his next action, it could change his life forever”, instead I have – “beat” (as a parenthetical).

      I probably should have gone somwhere in between but, you know, page count.

      • Gregory Mandarano

        I prefer the first one. Beat could just be a … but that’s a good introspective line.

  • grendl

    Great review.

  • Somersby

    Love to read this. If anyone would be so kind as to share a link or a copy…?
    Thx.
    anvil (at) total (dot) net

  • ripleyy

    A surprisingly fascinating story.

    Another way you could spin “Demolition” – in my mind – is having Davis’ wife in surgery for 8 hours and David trying to get a candy bar, but can’t, and then having it in such a way that Davis contacts the customer services, only to find Karen, thus starting their relationship – not only does Davis have 8 hours to talk to Karen, but there is that urgency as he starts to connect with her. In the end, you could have his wife out of surgery – and alive – and Davis is now forced to pick: Does he stay with his wife…or does he maybe seek out Karen, a woman who brings out a much better part of him?

    It’s just a thought, but I think that’s another – and perhaps less successful way – of spinning it. Still, it’s a really interesting story and I can see myself liking it. I personally love scripts like this one, where the character is absent-minded and dreams of a world much better than the one he’s in. Pretty good.

    • jw

      I think your thinking really makes sense here. I guess the other problem with this is the “likeability” factor. This guy’s wife is in a traumatic state and he’s concerned with a vending machine? I wouldn’t make judgments one way or the other, other than to say my thinking as to how that would play to an audience is “not very well.” How do you get behind caring about a character who didn’t care about the person closest to them? It’s definitely an interesting approach for sure.

    • crazdwritr

      can you send script to moviegurl at me dot com? Thanks

  • Linkthis83

    “BUT, I still think straight up voice over is lazy.The good writers find a way to do it cleverly, or at the very least, motivate it.”

    I like when stories use voice over effectively (or even semi-effectively). Especially if it’s a story I’m into. I feel like it’s a great tool/device to provide more story without having to add more scenes. I also assume that using this device would lessen the use of other devices, such as flashbacks.

    I guess what has sparked this comment is the descriptive term “lazy”. I feel that there are only a finite number of ways to tell stories. It also feels like there are very few that can tell them both well and extremely unique/interesting. Or as Carson put it, “good writers find a way to do it cleverly, or at the very least, motivate it.” So I would believe that to do voice over effectively, that it takes a great deal of work and thoughtfulness. Which to me, isn’t a lazy endeavor.

    I’m aware that it gets used a lot and not effectively, but I still don’t feel that it’s lazy. Unless a lot of writers are using it as some sort of “easy way out” device. I think what it ultimately comes down to for me is asking the following question regarding voice over in a screenplay: Was it a lazy choice or was it just ineffective?

    Is this a shared opinion that voice over is lazy?

    • garrett_h

      I think you’re mixing things up a bit. It’s not the device of Voice Over that’s lazy. I think Carson meant it’s reflected in it’s usage and effectiveness. That’s how I take it.

      You can have Lazy Action. You can have a Lazy Love Scene. You can have Lazy Exposition. The list goes on. It’s not Voice Over in itself.

      “Lazy writing” to me comes down to the writer choosing the path of least resistance. The least common denominator. The first thing that comes to mind. Carson explains it well in the What I Learned.

      For Lazy Action, it might be a car chase for car chase sake. No connection to the story whatsoever, no stakes, no nothing. A Love Scene, you might just say “sex at 60″ and figure out how to get two characters in the sack, regardless of story or how to make it interesting. For Exposition, it might just be a pointless info dump.

      The thing about Voice Over is that it tends to get abused quite a bit by amateurs. At least that’s my experience. And it sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m a little more willing to forgive Lazy Action sometimes, I can skim and get back to the story, but bad Voice Over just stops a story cold.

      If you’re just repeating what we’re seeing on screen through Voice Over, don’t have any motivation for it (like Forrest Gump’s brilliant framing device, or the letters here in Demolition), and it doesn’t enhance the story but it’s just used to dump info, that’s when it’s lazy IMO.

      • ElectricDreamer

        Lazy = Low hanging fruit.

        It’s one of the first thoughts you pick off the proverbial idea tree.
        That’s the choice most amateurs don’t discard, but SHOULD.

        If you want your script to pop, you must CAPITALIZE on that overripe fruit.
        Stand on the shoulders of convention, then reach up and grab your story.

        • garrett_h

          No lie, I had “low-hanging fruit” in my third paragraph lol!

          You hit the nail on the head.

          And that’s what makes screenwriting hard. Turning those conventions and cliches over in your head and coming up with fresh ways to do or say things. Coming up with subversions, ways to surprise the audience and catch them off guard.

          If it’s easy for you, and the writing breezes by, chances are you picked nothing but low-hanging fruit.

      • Linkthis83

        I guess I am mixing it up. I seriously thought he was talking about the device of voice over. I guess I’ve been mixing up people’s attitudes towards flashbacks as well. Lol.

        Thanks for taking the time and the help with clarification.

        • garrett_h

          You’ll definitely run into folks that don’t like VO period. Just like there’s folks that don’t like flashbacks, or opening a movie/script with a flash forward, etc. But that just comes down to taste IMO.

          As long as the device serves the story, and enhances it somehow, I see nothing wrong with it.

    • Casper Chris

      What garret said.

      Nothing wrong with a bit of voice-over, as long as it’s done well and serves a purpose.

      The Imitation Game started with a huge voice-over dump that went on for many pages and everyone loved that script.

      • garrett_h

        Hot Summer Nights from the 2013 Black List was another recent, heavy voice over script. Got a ton of votes.

        I guess if you wanna finish high on the BL, put in some VO!

    • gazrow

      “Is this a shared opinion that voice over is lazy?”

      Well, seeing how my latest script opens with voice over – I’d have to say “no!” Lol. :)

    • ripleyy

      It’s the age-old showdown: flashbacks or voice-over. Both are at fault, but both have their positives. Flashbacks are lazy and voice-overs are lazy, but I would rather use voice-overs.

      Flashbacks, as a default, are void of any entertainment. You won’t even *need* to use a Flashback if you have properly structured your story in the first place (here’s an idea, why don’t you START in the past and jump forward – thus giving it flow – than stopping in the middle and then jumping BACK to tell us something – *that* is lazy).

      Voice-overs aren’t lazy, like you mentioned quite well in your post. It’s a powerful weapon, the only one a writer has other than dramatic irony and use of proper conflict/tension. A good voice-over can give us chills, can make us laugh and even though I haven’t seen it, could probably make us cry. All a voice-over is, is a character taking time to connect with the audience one-on-one.

      “Wolf on Wall Street” uses this successfully, even going as far as breaking fourth wall, because the story demanded it in some parts and it also gave it that edge. There are other films that have used it and it has worked, but there countless others that have used it and – even if it never spoiled my viewing/reading – it wasn’t as effective as it should have been.

      So I think flashbacks are, at a default, not very useful because there is always a way to overcome a flashback (as I said, structuring your script to its advantage so you don’t need to use one) but there are always way of using a voice-over and making it work – I think the odds of not making a voice-over work is pretty small.

      • grendl

        “Casablanca” had a flashback to Paris which worked quite well. If anyone here has a script on their resume as good as Casablanca;’s they’re going to be doing quite well.

        ” Annie Hall” an Oscar winning screenplay has both voice over and flashbacks, to Alvie Singer talking about the end of the universe to his Rabbi. “What is that your business” his mother asks him.

        “Radio Days” has a lot of nice flashbacks. “Fried Green Tomatoes” is told half in the past half in the present, and that worked out pretty well.

        “Sunset Boulevard” is all flashback after the corpse in the pool starts talking and recounting how a screenwriter ended up dead.

        And discounting either one is how screenwriters brains end up dying, by making pronouncements or decreeing something like Flashbacks are void of any entertainment. Default or not.

        These things are tools for writers. Tools aren’t lazy. Like paints on a painters palette can’t be lazy, they’re simply there to be used when necessary and correctly if possible/

        It’s people who are lazy, not flashbacks or VO.

        And people who say people who use VO are lazy are retarded. Because you haven’t provided any context for that scenario. Is it warranted?

        If its warranted then its okay and probably a good idea to use it. “Stand By Me” might have suffered without it. “Bull Durham” too.

        People searching for hard and fast rules in screenwriting are writers. They’re people looking for some kind of formula, which doesn’t exist. They’re looking to make it into something mathematical which is impossible no matter how hard the writer of “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot” tried to prove it is.

        Its not formulaic. There’s something about writing that still is left to the gods, lingering in the ether. Serendipity, blind inspiration. Its the intangibles we never talk about here, but which every great script ever written required. Some spark of creativity we can’t buy in a box.

        Who gives a shit about the chances of it working. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Writers don’t learn by leaving tools unused. They learn from trying and failing and failing again.

        I’m not talking about your post necessarily. Just anyone who tries to remove any tool from the writers toolbox. Stop it.

        Go write something and stfu about what writers can and can’t try. Time and consensus will be the arbiter of their efforts, not you.

        • MaliboJackk

          Started adding unfilmables to my scripts
          just to piss people off.

        • ripleyy

          I didn’t even realize I started such a heated discussion. That being said, you are absolutely right that there are scripts/movies that use flashbacks to great effect and even though I can’t argue against what you’ve said (you have made valid points) I still believe using flashbacks is a double-edged sword that sometimes works, and sometimes don’t.

          Though, that being said, you actually put it pretty well: People are lazy, not the tools themselves. That’s a really good way of putting it.

          But what I was really just saying was, was there is no right-or-wrong answer. Some think flashbacks are cliche, some don’t. Same with voice-overs. I don’t neccessarily like USING flashbacks in my work, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think – under very certain and specific circumstances – it can work, but 9 times out of 10 pulling off a good flashback is hard. You’ve added great examples, and those examples portray flashbacks really well (especially “Sunset Boulevard” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”) but there are films out there that just add flashbacks just to get a point across and doesn’t elevate the viewing experience in any way or could have been done without a flashback. I can’t really think of an example, though, at the top of my head at this very moment, but there are films out there that use it badly (again, there is no “right” or “wrong” way of using flashbacks – or tools of any kind – you can certainly use it badly, but you can’t use it “wrongly”, if you get what I mean).

          Anyway, that’s just my personal opinion. I think flahsbacks and voice-overs are double-edged swords, each with their own pros and cons. That’s all I’m saying.

        • garrett_h

          “It’s people who are lazy, not flashbacks or VO.”

          Exactly.

          I’ve read tons of scripts with terrible main characters. One-dimensional, uninteresting, etc. Maybe even the majority of scripts I’ve read. Obviously the writers did a lazy job of creating their characters. But I don’t see anyone saying, “Main characters are lazy.”

          Blame the writer, not the device.

      • Bifferspice

        “You won’t even *need* to use a Flashback if you have properly structured your story in the first place”. totally disagree with this. telling a story is nuanced, and many surprises, not to mention intrigue, can be generated by the order the story reveals facts. it’s a tool for the writer, and I find it ridiculous to suggest that flashbacks are purely a result of not structuring your story properly. it comes across as complete parrot fashion repetition of phrases found in god-awful screenwriting books. there are many amazing uses of flashbacks, yet you are calling whoever uses one lazy. to tell a story in any way other than completely sequential is “lazy” and a result of not having “properly structured your story in the first place”, apparently. blimey.

        • ripleyy

          Regarding the quote you pulled there, all I’m saying is, is that there are ways around flashbacks. Some stories, like Grendl mentioned in his post, actually are built around flashbacks, but there are films that just throw flashbacks in willy-nilly just to get a point across that they could have established earlier in the script (this is what I consider “lazy”. That is the writer’s own fault, and not the fault of the tool itself).

          I mean, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Writers think flashbacks are “cliche” (or “lazy”) and some don’t, some praise it. Same thing with voice-overs. Like I said above in my other post, you can use them “badly”, not “wrongly”.

          I honestly can’t say what is the right thing to do, because in the end of the day, it is *completely* subjective. If using flashbacks or voiceovers because your story actually demands it, fine. Plenty of films use both exceptionally well. If you’re using a flashback for the sheer hell of it, and it has no value of being in your script? Then that is where I draw the line. That is where the story can be structured in such a way I think you don’t even need to do that.

    • drifting in space

      Like any tool, it’s how you use it.

  • harveywilkinson

    “…a marijuana addicted candy bar vending machine customer service rep.”

    OK, after reading several times I think I’ve figured out which adjectives belong together and which nouns they modify. C’mon Carson, open your dusty grammar book to the chapter on compound adjectives. Hyphens are your friend!

    • Casper Chris

      Yea, I also thought it was a marijuana-addicted candy bar doing a bit of vending on the side.

      • harveywilkinson

        See, I thought it was the vending machine that was addicted to marijuana.

        And what is a “machine customer?” A robot that buys things, or a customer that buys machines? And are there really such things as candy bar-only vending machines? I’m mostly familiar with just vending machines. And these machines have service reps for their customers? Funny, I’ve used a lot of vending machines, have never encountered a customer service rep.

        Sigh. Once I think I’ve deciphered the adjective jumble, the logline still doesn’t make any sense. I’m too dumb for this business!

    • Brainiac138

      Honestly, one hyphen, and taking out “candy bar,” makes it a lot more understandable. When people saying vending machine, in a general sense, most people think they talk about the snack machines, right?

      • Breezy

        Except if you live in Japan

  • jw

    Oh Leo… is he about to play another wealthy eccentric white man? Such a stretch… yo Leo, you’re not gonna get the Oscar brother until you go outside your zone…

  • gazrow

    Jeez, when I see a script this good simply gathering dust, my hear sinks. Hopefully, we’ll see it up on the silver screen someday soon.

  • bidi cent

    ok i wanna take a quick poll on VO. i’m thinking of employing it in the beginning of my latest script (a non-conventional, heady “superhero” story), but i’m not sure if it’s pointless or not. part of me thinks it’s necessary because it shows the character more than actions and conversation can, and it adds some dark humor and MUCH NEEDED exposition and world-building. but i’m worried that VO only at the beginning as a means to relay exposition is a cop out. does anyone else have thoughts on this?

    • Eddie Panta

      V.O. is very common, especially in Sci-F.
      V.O. is used in everything from TED to No Country For Old Men and in movies like HOT FUZZ where we meet the lead in a quick montage where the character evolves over time to present day.
      It’s essentially pre credit scroll exposition.
      There’s a wild Sci-Fi script on AOW right now called MAYFLY, their concept would be near impossible to execute without V.O.

      Keep the V.O. in short, terse sentences, and back it up with strong visuals.
      The visuals don’t necessarily need to match the visuals.

      • bidi cent

        thanks Eddie. it’s nice to get other takes on certain aspects of the craft

        • Eddie Panta

          The SCRIPT to L.A. Confidential uses V.O. perfectly within a brilliant montage sequence. But all of this was thrown away in the film version.
          They ended up using heavy handed narration V.O. in the form of a radio program

    • MaliboJackk

      Done well, V.O. can be amazing.
      Done poorly, it’s just somebody talking.

      • Randy Williams

        My personal reactions reading scripts and voice over…

        From…

        A character outside the norm: their voice over is a call for help. I’m sympathetic to the character. Criminals, mentally impaired, brainiacs.

        A character inside the norm: their voice over is self centered whining. I’m not sympathetic. Teachers, students, plain Janes and Bills.

        Best voice over ever. The wife in the coma in “Reversal Of Fortune” This was one character definitely outside the norm.

        • drifting in space

          I can’t find that script, ugh!

          • Randy Williams

            Here’s a bit of the voice over from the film.

  • fragglewriter

    I haven’t read the script, but based on the synopis, this is the same old love story.
    Man relationship ends, tries to find out who he is. Inadverdently, meets a woman (meet-cute) who has someone already, Something stands in there way (fiance, bad child), will they get together. Nobody cares.
    I found voice overs irritating and boring UNLESS you have an actor who understands how to deliver those lines in a unique manner (eg: A Christmas Story. The Grinch who stole Christmas, Goodfellas).
    The What I Learned Tip is good. But sometimes a good tip catches on like wildfire, and loses its pizzazz.

    • Bifferspice

      maybe you should read the script.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Love the story you describe in this script review, Carson. Sounds very interesting. I’d pay to see this movie in the theatres.

    Sorry to read you’re so down on the use of voice-overs. In one of my spec. scripts, “Cowboy Alien Diaries”, I used voice-overs to set-up the characters world and exose the audience to the pioneering world of Indepedence, Missouri circa 1850s, through the eyes of a key, supporting character in the story which followed. I noticed “Waterworld” used the same technique albeit by a narrator.

    So what are your thoughts of using voice-over narration to set the the stage of the story world from either a character in it or a narraror? I noticed “Wolf of Wall Street” used the same device.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    Why does this script sound like a verbatim version of CYRUS (2010).

    Today’s article reminds me of two separate articles I read. One article covered why are screenplays the only craft were its acceptable to have multiple inputs from multiple individuals. The second article I read deals with acceptance of exposition.

    I’ll start with the qualifier IMO some individuals either have reader fatigue or are jaded. If you have read thousands of scripts its extremely difficult to be impressed by anything a writer tries to present. When the rare script comes along its not so much its a fantastic read, its just a script that broke the traditional template and has your undivided attention.

    The “WALL-E” script comes to mind. Using haiku prose in the action beats. I read it and honestly the script to screen translation was vague.

    The “World Trade Center” script with its single sentence, double space action beats looked to much like an essay on paper.

    The “All is Lost” thirty page script has to be one of the most intense reads ever. Its a third of the accepted norm of a ninety page minimum. Yet it tells a complete story.

    Or the recently sold “Yellowstone Falls” fifty-two pages.

    The bottom line is these scripts are the exception and the minority. There’s still gold to be mined in the 110+ page (sci-fi, thriller, ect) script with (V.O), FLASHBACK, ANGLE ON. As long as the reader doesn’t bring the baggage from the last twelve bad scripts they read into the current read. Any tool the writer chooses to tell a story isn’t LAZY or WRONG it’s their vision in the way they chose to present it.

    • Eddie Panta

      “why are screenplays the only craft where it’s acceptable to have multiple inputs from multiple individuals.”

      I would beg to differ, this is also very acceptable in the porn business.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        O.o you just rendered my entire comment moot.

        • Eddie Panta

          Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            I walked into that one. Kudos.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            I walked into that. Kudos.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    Off Topic

    Better late than never.
    Finally saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    High action throughout. A few missteps some more glaring than others. Enjoyable overall.
    The few issues I had.

    Captain America has the strength of Spider-Man essentially.
    Captain America’s shield crushes and cuts metal. When Cap gets hit with his own shield it only knocks the wind out of him.
    Captain America has a telepathic link to his shield much like the magical link Thor has to Mjolnir.
    The Winter Soldier threw down a loaded M-16 and used a Skorpion Machine Pistol when he had Captain America dead to rights.
    Captain survived a thirty story fall with only his shield to brace his fall.
    The futuristic jet was more maneuverable than Falcon’s jet pack wings.
    Fury was essentially shot by a 50 caliber bullet and survived. I know they said the barrel didn’t have any rifling BUT STILL….c’mon.
    The Strike Team (Hydra soldier) Leader might as well been a SUPER POWERED VILLAIN. WTF was going on with his adamantium invulnerability.
    Hail Hydra was a little corny.

    Outside of that I recommend it based on action sequences alone. Major credit to the screenwriters by not having Cap and Black Widow fall in love.

    • Linkthis83
      • drifting in space

        LOL!

        • Linkthis83

          I wish I knew how to post it as an image.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        Hit the little box icon on the left and upload.

        • Linkthis83

          I was about to say that I didn’t know how you did that until I hit “reply”. After you provided your instructions, I tried to edit my post and found no such “little box icon”. Of course, just hitting reply revealed it.

          Many thanks.

      • MaliboJackk

        Not so sure.
        Think he’s just wearing red and white striped boxers.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    parachute dad

    I may have to steal that phrase and mass market it on a tee shirt.

    • ff

      What does it mean anyway?

      • Franchise Blueprints

        Xmas and Birthday, high school graduation, maybe wedding if you’re invited.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    That movie was pig bile mixed with camel phlegm topped with horse fly maggots.

    • Casper Chris

      Mmm, my favorite.

  • Midnight Luck

    Strangely, after all the talk on this site when UNDER THE SKIN and DRAFT DAY were reviewed, not a single peep about them.

    I saw Under the Skin on Friday when it came out here, and saw Draft Day last night.

    UTS was incredibly slow, and by incredibly, I mean dead slow. That isn’t always a bad thing, but in this instance it kept all of the mysteries under wraps for most of the movie, and plodded along at a microscopic pace. It didn’t actually reveal any answers in the end either. It was interesting and enjoyable on certain levels, but also felt empty with a lot of indie pretension for the sake of indie pretension. Would I recommend it to others? Only if I knew them well and knew their preference in movies. Not one that 99% of the world is going to enjoy.

    DD is not a movie I care to see in any shape or form. Have absolutely Zero interest in football or anything related to football, or team sports in general. However, since this was the top of the Blacklist, I was very intrigued to see what the hoopla was about. So I pushed myself to see it. I am amazed that in a country where the SuperBowl is a National Holiday, and Football and Team Sports are the most watched TV by a landslide, this movie only did 9 million this weekend, and there were only a couple other people in the audience. Definitely seemed to have dropped like a Dud on the American Audience.

    I do have to say, I was impressed with it. The beginning 20 minutes gave me an “oh shit” feeling as it was about the mechanics of an owner, coach, whatever, of a Pro Football team, and the inner workings of Draft Day and the players up for pick. It quickly recovered though, as the story became obviously more about the characters, and less about the Draft Day and how it worked.

    As time went on the complications of people’s lives, the inner workings between them all, built up a nice story, with Football and DD falling to the periphery. That was good. Now I won’t say it was awesome or anything, it felt a little devoid of real feeling, but I was impressed compared to what I thought it might be. Will I remember it in a month? No. But it entertained me and had some redeeming qualities.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      I’m a football fan and I have no intentions of ever seeing DD starring Ben Affleck. Or were you talking about Draft Day? Another movie I never have any intentions on seeing. Watching a movie about draft day sounds as interesting as watching the manufacturing of baseballs documentary. Golf balls on the other hand. You can’t go wrong.

    • drifting in space

      I bet more people will watch the ACTUAL draft day coming up here soon.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Little doubt about that.

    • Kirk Diggler

      How many people were watching Under the Skin? Was it empty? Did you feel the audience (if there was one) getting restless?

      • mulesandmud

        I saw UTS in a packed house with Glazer in the room, and the audience really didn’t know what to do with it. Lots of shifting and squirming in the seats. Scattered bursts of confused laughter. Tepid applause when he took the stage for Q and A.

        There are tons of ideas floating around in that project, so the film was interesting in spite of itself, I thought. Among other problems, it felt like they fell so in love with their van-full-of-hidden-cameras production model that they ended up unbalancing the entire film to explore it, then compensating for that choice by making the final product totally inscrutable.

        Such are the dangers of the experimental road, I guess. Glad somebody’s still walking it though.

        • Midnight Luck

          I definitely got that. Seemed all their energy was put into Scarlett being in the truck, looking for people, pulling over, chatting with various haphazard guys. Asking directions, seeing their reaction to her and the hidden cameras. Most of it seemed rather pointless. Especially after the 8th or 9th time.
          They also really liked their extreme wide shots of rainy landscapes of a single road out in the middle of nowhere, then minutes later a motorcycle finally appearing and moving from one end of the frame to the other. Took what seemed minutes for the entire thing to happen. That is a long time in movie time just to be sitting there looking at one frame. They really enjoyed this for some reason, but the audience really didn’t.

      • Midnight Luck

        there were maybe 10-12 people.
        It was just dead silent. People got up and left all throughout it, presumably to go to the bathroom, and came back like it didn’t matter what they missed. Which, ultimately it didn’t. Nearer to the end it seemed people had just given up on looking for anything from the movie.
        The best way to judge people’s reaction to a movie is what happens right when it goes dark and the credits begin to roll. Is there a sigh of relief, a quiet pregnant pause, enthusiastic clapping, nothing, people jumping up to leave, everyone immediately standing and moving to the exit, or a quiet thoughtful watching of the credits? There are hundreds of other reactions I have seen to the credit roll. I like to sit and not only watch the credits, but watch the people and their reaction to the end of the movie / beginning of the credits. It tells you so much about the movie, the people’s reaction to it, the lasting impression it will have, even the quality of the film overall.. The quicker they stand when it goes black, the less impact it will have, and / or the more uncomfortable they were.
        Take pretty much any Spandex move over the last few years. The minute it is over and it looks like credits are about to roll, people are already up and moving toward the exit. Lasting impression: Zero.
        Then take the second time I saw PULP FICTION. I saw it at a second run theater, the place was a zoo, packed to the gills, people standing in the aisle even. It was so full of energy and excitement. When the lights went down in the beginning there was just crazy loud whistling, cheering and clapping. When the theater went dark at the end, people were Screaming, and whistling and Cheering again, happy and excited! Just absolute thunderous clapping. People stayed and watched all the credits, people hung out (in their seats!) chatting with friends long after all the lights were on, totally happy, completely ok with just hanging in the theater for as long as possible. Verdict? The movie will be remembered fondly, and forever.
        Under the Skin? A couple people stood up while the final image was playing, and all but me were out of the theater before pretty much the beginning of the credits began to roll. I sat for a bit, but not long. Didn’t watch many of the credits.

    • garrett_h

      I really think the marketing is what failed Draft Day. I’m a sports fanatic, most of my friends love sports, and NONE of us are talking about football right now. It’s been all about March Madness, the NBA Playoffs and the start of the MLB season. And the casual football fans that don’t watch any other sports probably saw only one or two trailers, if any.

      Also, it felt like a cheap Moneyball knockoff. It looked like a Lifetime movie. And there wasn’t anything to draw in female moviegoers. Blind Side had Sandra Bullock and the family and religious angles. Moneyball put Billy Beane’s daughter’s character front and center. Draft Day’s marketing should have showed more of the relationship with the girlfriend and the mother, not just a bunch of football clips.

      I still think it should have been released during the NFL season. Blitz us with Draft Day ads and posters during Thursday Night, Sunday Night, and Monday Night Football. Throw some in during the college games. Everyone remotely interested in football would have known about it.

      Dumping it in the middle of April? Draft or no draft, I don’t think many people noticed or even cared.

      • drifting in space

        Exxxxxxxxactly!

      • wlubake

        I wonder if the date was set before the NFL pushed the draft back 2 weeks. If the draft started a week from tomorrow (the original schedule), more people might be up for this.

        • Franchise Blueprints

          There’s no real drama watching fictional players get drafted. With the real draft its all about anticipation and anxiety to see who your home team picked. The draft means more if you followed a particular college player collegiate career. Fantasy Football players get to enjoy the prospects of a thoroughbred starting rookie. Honestly the draft represents the final meal until Fall Football season. And if you’re from Texas it has to be a near religious experience.

  • Magga

    I think DiCaprio is the least risk-averse superstar in cinema today. Wolf of Wall Street was genius, he was the villain in the Tarantino you cited, his major blockbuster was Inception, and he hasn’t made a single superhero or orcs-and-sandal movie in his life. If every big actor was like him I’d be proud of our era of cinema