Genre: Thriller
Premise: A young woman and her estranged father go rock-climbing to try and repair their relationship, but when they get stuck, it doesn’t look like they’ll survive the night.
About: This script sold to Blumhouse earlier this year. The writers, Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Patrick Finegan, two young men who are big fans of the middle name, have one produced credit, the recent Ethan Hawke – Selena Gomez starrer, Getaway.
Writers: Gregg Maxell Parker & Sean Patrick Finegan
Details: 94 pages

Rudderless-Selena-Gomez

Will Selena be back for the lead in this newest collaboration?

I’m a little nervous about the fact that today’s writers scripted the Selena Gomez-Ethan Hawke movie, Getaway, which, on last count, had a 2% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Now to be fair, I haven’t seen the movie so I don’t know if it’s any good, AND the writing process on every movie can be chaotic, so who knows if some producers didn’t demand ridiculous changes, screwing up the next Citizen Kane.

That may sound ridiculous but I happen to know of a movie that came out recently (I have to be vague cause I don’t want to get the writer in trouble) where the writer told me that they carefully orchestrated a screenplay over an entire seven months before the producers decided with two weeks left before production that they wanted to scrap the whole thing and start over. So they did a page 1 rewrite in two weeks. The results, as the writer informed me, were about what you’d expect. And he didn’t love that his name was attached to it (outside of the paycheck, of course).

I know why this sort of thing happens. When people get to a decision point where they actually have to do the thing that starts costing money – shooting – they start doubting everything out of fear. And all those risks they took that made the script so unique? Those go out the window in favor of a safer more traditional story.

You’re probably saying, “Surrrrre Carson. Getaway was probably genius before the ‘system’ – quote unquote – ruined it. Only then did it tumble to Adam Sandler Rotten Tomato territory.” And I’d say you had a point. But the reason I still want to review Free Fall is because it exists in one of the most bankable genres still available to spec screenwriters – the limited-location thriller and/or horror with a hook. If you can write one of these (The Gift, The Purge, Creep, the upcoming Bed Rest), you can sell it and begin your career. So I don’t know about you. But I’m going to go into this one with an open door mind. I just hope Selena Gomez doesn’t shut it in my face.

18 year-old Grace hasn’t been back to school since her mother died a few months ago. She stays at her grandparents’ place, and the only time she gets out is to do her favorite thing in the world: rock climbing. Her grandparents are concerned enough about her mental health that they engineer a meet-up with Grace’s estranged father, Matt.

Matt’s 38 and is about as successful in life as he is as a parent. He’s one of those guys that gets a lot of big ideas, starts on them, before quitting every single time. It may go unspoken, but both Matt and Grace know that Matt’s quit on their relationship too.

Which is why he’s here. He wants to give it one last shot. But Grace isn’t hearing it, and after daring her father to join her for a practice climb at a local-indoor facility, she decides to take it one step further. She’s doing a climb a local rock-face and if he’s serious about mending their relationship, he’ll join her.

The two meet up with a local instructor, Jason, and start the climb. As you might imagine, there’s a storm moving in (there’s always a storm moving in!), and they have to get to the top before it pummels them. But when Matt makes a crucial mistake, it results in Jason falling to his death, leaving Matt and Grace up on a rock-face alone, a thousand feet from the ground, and on the most difficult leg of the climb.

Things get worse when Matt breaks his leg during an accidental plunge, descending his already low climbing level into “I’m fucked” territory. Oh, and did I mention Matt is afraid of heights? While the two map out their impossible escape, they rehash old family problems, Matt’s failure as a father, and mom’s death. If they don’t figure something out, these might be the last conversations they ever have.

When you look at Free Fall as a screenplay, you’re amazed at how much it does right. It’s got the trendy hot female lead. It’s got a marketable concept. It’s got a budget-friendly contained location. Despite that contained location, it manages to feel like a bigger idea. It’s got a ticking time bomb. It’s got a classic unresolved relationship between its two leads. It’s got impossible odds, lots of obstacles, lots at stake. And the writing? You could teach a class on how to write a lean and mean spec with this script.

But here’s the reality of this climb: A script still has to have a heart. A lot of people think I’m all about the rules and the technique, and make no mistake, that stuff is important. But a script still needs a heartbeat. It needs to be alive. And more importantly, it needs to feel like it’s REALLY HAPPENING.

When you write with great technique, you can craft a solid story. And like Free Fall proves, if you combine that with a solid marketable concept, you can sell a script. But if you want to make it past 2% on Rotten Tomatoes, you need to give your script a heart.

So how do you do that? Well, the first thing you do is you don’t treat the character aspect of your script like a box that needs to be checked. Structure? First act turns? Midpoint twist? Upping stakes? Sure, you can treat those things like checkboxes. But the characters and the emotional component they bring to the story? That’s where you have to check in with your own life experiences.

I say things on here like “create a key relationship in your story that’s unresolved.” And “make sure there’s conflict in that key relationship.” Those things are true. And that’s exactly what we get here. Grace HATES her father. Matt screwed up father duties.

BUT THOSE ARE JUST CHECKBOXES. Now it’s time to bring your own life into it. You have to find something in these characters that you yourself are going through or have been through and EXPLORE THOSE ISSUES THROUGH YOUR CHARACTERS. Then, and only then, will they feel authentic, will they feel honest, will they have a heartbeat.

A maybe not-so-perfect example is the new Aziz Ansari Netflix show, Master of None. I say “not-so-perfect” because it’s a comedy and Free Fall is a thriller, but it’s the freshest thing in my mind since I just watched it so go with me.

For those who don’t know Aziz, he’s a stand-up comedian. And his most famous bit is the miscommunication between men and women that occurs on a daily basis through the muddled world of texting. He relays multiple texting adventures where potentially wonderful relationships fell apart due to misunderstandings that you could only have through a text exchange.

Naturally, then, there’s a lot of this on his show. He keeps messing up dates or potential romantic connections because he doesn’t know what to write next or doesn’t know what the girl means with a text. And for anyone who’s gone through this ritual themselves, it’s a hilarious portrayal of one of the most frustrating aspects of dating in the digital age.

tumblr_m4e0w9imMa1rndgu2o1_500

But here’s my point: Every one of these moments on Master of None feels honest because they’re clearly things that Aziz deals with in his daily life himself. You know he really spends an entire day mentally weighing what the best return text should be to a girl saying, “Hi.” So when we see it in the show, there’s a truth to it that elevates the story beyond a technical checking of the box.

And that was my issue with Free Fall. I never got the sense that Grace or Matt was a real person. And I certainly didn’t feel like the relationship was real. I felt like they were crafted for the sole purpose of fitting into the ideal screenplay algorithm. I never got any specificity out of their relationship, like a nickname or a truly unique situation they’d experienced together. When they yelled at one another, because the writers weren’t digging into their own troubled relationships with their parents, all I’d hear was, “Conflict conflict conflict!” “Conflict!?” “Conflict conflict con….flict.” It wasn’t REAL. It was “What do the screenwriting books say we have to do now?”

And I feel bad because I don’t talk about this stuff enough on the site. That’s because what these guys have accomplished technically is great and something 90% of amateurs haven’t figured out yet. And since you need to learn that stuff before you can even get to the character stuff, I focus on that a lot. But once you’ve made it to the lucky 10%, and you’re trying to get to the final 3-5% (aka, when writers get paid), you have to figure the character stuff out.

With that said, Free Fall is a reminder that you can game the system if you’re really proficient at the craft. Come up with a good hook and write something that’s technically perfect and you can sneak in the back door. But if you want to stay inside once they find you, learn to add a heartbeat to your story.

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

What I learned: Trying to explore a broken relationship in a realistic manner without basing it on your real-life experiences is nearly impossible. If you don’t feel, your characters won’t feel. This can actually help you, though. Identify the relationships in your life that contain the most conflict and use those as inspiration for the relationships in your script. Spielberg is famous for creating a disconnect between parents and children in a lot of his movies because of the scars left from his own parents divorcing when he was a child (see E.T. or A.I. to start). That’s where you’re going to find your best stuff emotionally.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    Oh man, this script feels like a knife to my heart >.<
    I'm rewriting CREVASSE as we speak but I'm still dying to read this. If a gentle soul would like to envelop my bleeding heart with soothing balm, I'd be most grateful : nielsen (dot) marija (at) gmail (dot) com
    I can't comment on this before having read it but if there really is something lacking in the character relationship department, I'm proud to say that my story has nothing but character :)

    • Greg

      Wouldnt now be a good time for you to be pitching Crevasse? I remember that script and I thougjt of it while reading the review. Naturally you were the first to comment. On the heels of this sale, shouldnt it technically be easier to get people to read your script to see if you do it better? It happens all the time right? Or am I thibking backwards?

      The takeaway from this should be: hurry up with your rewrite and start pitching immediately!

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        You’re absolutely right, I think, and the advantage I have is that several people have read my script before this one happened (several people who expressed interest – if nothing has happened, it’s because my producer stopped believing in it and hasn’t moved a finger since). Also, it was destined for the French market so FREE FALL may not even be a news item over here yet. Anyway, not giving up, obviously, and just from reading the review, I can safely say that the way my story develops is quite different from this. The only thing the two have in common seem to be the premise.

        • Randy Williams

          Doesn’t television mimic the feature world? If they are doing a father, daughter mountain climbing story, shouldn’t we do one? Or is it, off the success of a feature, television follows?
          Wouldn’t your “character” rich script be better suited for television anyway? Off that, I think I agree with Greg that it might be a good time to be pitching this.
          Good luck!

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Thanks, Randy :)
            I didn’t have a TV movie in mind but I’d never let this script near a French TV movie prod co :/

          • Buddy

            what’s the logline ?
            why do you think it’s for France ?

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Because I lived in France for 25 years before moving to Belgium a year ago :) All my contacts are French and it’s written in French. If need be, I’ll translate it into English myself but there’s no point in that just yet.

            Premise: A father and his daughter go on their annual climbing trip. When crossing a glacier, the father falls into a crevasse and his daughter must do everything in her power to pull him out while also battling an ever hostile Nature feeding off their deepest fears.

    • CCM30atWork

      Why be worried or concerned? For every Olympus Has Fallen, there’s a White House Down. For every Jobs, there’s a Steve Jobs.

      You could end up being that other script that works off a similar idea or the one that other films with a similar idea are compared to. That’s up to you.

    • Daivon Stuckey

      In my experience, people will be more willing to read a similar script.

      I pitched my 250 Mermaid script to Carson right after he read that awful script The Pier about mermaids, and it got in.

  • Thomas Anderson

    This is off topic but I have a question I’d like to pose to the Scriptshadow community and any and all feedback on it would be appreciated.

    What’s the trick to writing an unsympathetic villain?

    It seems like today every movie villain or antagonist has to be “relatable” and has to have some sort of “reasonable motivation”. Writers are always talking about how “even though the antagonist in their story is a ‘bad guy’, you can kinda see where they’re coming from”. “You can still root for them and you would probably do the same if you were in their shoes.”

    I know this is typically the reliable way to go when writing a villain, but to me it’s getting old, and personally I find the opposite to be much more interesting. So that’s my question. How do you pull off the opposite? How do you write an interesting and compelling villain that is in no way sympathetic or empathetic. Someone that is just a monster, but is so compelling that you’re just engrossed every time they’re on the screen and want to see more of them.

    The two examples that immediately come to mind are the Joker from The Dark Knight and Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men.

    • ChadStuart

      Give him or her a goal that is unique but horrible. JOKER wanted the world to burn. Although he signed up for the promise of money, he didn’y really want it. That’s interesting, and also horrible since it means he’s impossible to stop.

      • Thomas Anderson

        Yeah, I’ve found that to be the really tricky part. It’s hard to find a realistic and reasonable goal or motivation for a character once you strip them of all their humanity.

    • Darren

      Hi Thomas. A great question however the solutions or potential solutions are just “off-centre”, close to where you might be aiming. Stuart Copeland of the Police once said he got famous because he found those beats that lived just off-time. Beats that existed in places that shouldn’t have them.

      Carson speaks about GSU and Sorkin calls them INTENTION and OBSTACLE. Think of “bad” Antagonists in the same way. They have Goals and intentions like other characters, but they are off-centre. They are not normal, and mostly mysterious. The Joker just wants the world to burn. Why? it’s a mystery. He lies about the reason, offering different ones, which only add to his mystery. But his INTENTION (goal) is clear. Anton Chigurh’s intention is also crystal clear. But what makes him great is that his own reasons/intentions supercede the ones in the story. He’ s a paid assassin. But it’s not money that drives him, or loyalty to the people he works for. Hell no. He follows his own Intentions. He is side-tracked by it (the coin toss), he acts on it to a fault — killing the innocent for fear of contradicting it. His intention controlling all of his action.

      For that you need to build the character. Find those elements in the background that CREATE that intention. The why, the who, the flaw. Good deep and dark. In your mind, have bad things happen you and those you love. Now use that to create the “you” that would result from that. Keep it hidden, just show us the INTENTION that results. The off-centre the better. What makes a man create a device that lobotomises the target. I, for one, can’t imagine, but the writers did just that.

    • andyjaxfl

      One of the reasons why I think the examples you provided is that they are never given a back story, so we have nothing to really latch on to and say “I can relate to that, and I feel bad for him/her because XYZ happened to them!” They just are, and are defined by their actions.

      Plus, I think charisma helps a lot. I think Hans Gruber fits what you are looking for as well. He isn’t sympathetic, but he’s got charisma to spare. He’s funny (how often does he roll his eyes in the movie? 5 or 6?) and he’s also cruel (executing Takagi, detonating the roof to knowingly kill over 30 people).

    • shewrites

      One way to accomplish that is to make the people that your villain goes up against even worse than he is. The most recent example that comes to mind is the Benicio del Toro character in Sicario.
      Good luck, Thomas!

      • Thomas Anderson

        Thanks! And I really like that idea! Perceiving a character as being a monster but then finding out that there are even worse monsters out there. I like that switch in perception the audience might have towards a character as more are introduced. Also incorporating that into a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type mentality that Sicario did really well.

    • Randy Williams

      You have a “doomsday device” hidden away in your closet.
      Each one of us does. It’s called our own mortality.
      We take it out from time to time to threaten ourselves and others with it.
      That’s acceptable.

      The unsympathetic villain keeps it strapped to his chest and takes it
      on the cross-town bus.

    • Scott Crawford

      Have the villain kill someone nice.

      Despite what Alan Rickman might say, Hans Gruber IS a villain.

      Where Hans ISN’T a villain is that he is not a sadist (“just wound them”) nor is he “evil for the sake of evil”. He wants money. Heck, I want money! One difference is, I’m not prepared to kill lots of people to get what he wants.

      Gruber is.

      He’s not killing people for the fun of it, it’s ESSENTIAL to his plan. If he doesn’t kill them, he can’t escape with the money. And he wants to escape with the money. But he didn’t count on one man:

      http://dealingwithmyfeelings.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/3562756684_a2ee6e7a54.jpeg

      ARGYLE!!!

    • Emotionoid

      The key to creating a unsympathetic villain is creating a mystery around his origin or not revealing his clear intentions. Keeping his evil intentions shrouded because even a slight explanation or a backstory would create a sympathetic emotion in minds of audience and draw them away from their insanity. They have believable motivations and think they are the protagonist.

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

        This. As we’ve discussed before on this site, the backstory is what ruins the bad guys in Fury Road, at least as compared to the fully terrifying bad guys from Road Warrior.

    • fragglewriter

      As long as the audience understands where the animosity stems from, they will follow that character.

      I’ll give you two characters and films:

      1) Lleywn from Inside Lleywn Davis. As the story unfolds, we understand why Lleywn frustrated, incompetent, selfish. We don’t like it, but we can understand it. Root causes of a character’s behavior need to be demonstrated, and not just happen just to happen.

      2) Olive from Olive Kitteridge. As the miniseries progress, I could not understand why Olive was so angry. I was hoping that the second episode would shed more light onto her cynical behavior. Unfortunately that did not happen, and for me, the movie was a big let down.

      To pull off the opposite, have at least either a strong goal or a root cause of their behavior.

    • brenkilco

      It’s really not hard to create an unsympathetic villain. Just eliminate any trace of human behavior. Presto Friday the 13th. Or at a more elevated level, Scorpio from Dirty Harry or The Terminator. The trick I think is to create a villain who is both unsympathetic and fascinating. To make him real and still leave him frightening. The Joker and Chigurh certainly work in context. But how real are they?

      A list of villains I think fit the bill

      Orson Welles’ Harry Lime in The Third Man
      Burt Lancaster’s J. J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success
      Robert walker’s Bruno in Strangers on a Train
      Angela Lansbury’s mom in The Manchurian Candidate
      George C. Scott’s Burt in The Hustler
      Joseph Cotten’s Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt
      Henry Fonda’s Frank in Once Upon a Time In The West
      Gene Hackman’s sheriff in Unforgiven

      • Kirk Diggler

        What’s interesting about Hackman’s sheriff is that I’m guessing that Hackman didn’t play him like a villain at all. Hackman thought THE SHERIFF was the good guy, and, to quote him, “I was building a house.”

        • Bifferspice

          yeah, i enjoyed his character for that reason. he was tough, but had his reasons. while a baddie, i thought he wasn’t too many steps removed from a tough guy hero.

        • brenkilco

          And ultimately he is little different than Eastwood’s character. Both seemingly benign on the surface but requiring only a slight trigger to bring out the closet sadist or the wild eyed killer. Although it sounds strange have always thought that Eastwood might have been a bit miscast in Unforgiven. An actor with a genuine touch of madness might have made the meanings of the film more plain.

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

      Don’t bother with the backstory. The minute you start telling us about the past, it ruins it. Just make it horrible, unstoppable (like, you can’t game the damn thing) and relentless.

      Joker: no real backstory. Alien, Blair Witch: same thing. Michael Myers–they almost ruined him by making him a victim (like in Rob Zombie’s version), but then Loomis says he’s “pure evil,” so he’s back to being a blank malevolent force.

    • wlubake

      I like a villain that has a strict moral code, and then he breaks it. They expect certain behavior out of others, but don’t abide by it themselves. An example of this might be the warden from Shawshank.

    • Buddy

      I like the villain that seems normal and “good guys” in a way. For example, Kimble’s friend in THE FUGITIVE.

    • Daivon Stuckey

      A lot of people tell me the villain in my latest script was someone that was really easy to hate. I think it was all in the way she spoke and presented herself.

      • Thomas Anderson

        Did you give her a motivation for doing what she did? And did she change throughout the script? Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds came to mind recently as a character who speaks and presents himself well (thus making him likeable and interesting to the audiences) but still continually does really horrible shit.

        • Daivon Stuckey

          She does not have a motivation, and she does not change. But she is given some context. I would actually describe her as a female Hans Landa, now that I think about it.

    • Howie428

      I decided something similar when I wrote my script “Midas,” which a few people here have seen. I concluded that most of the best bad guys are unreconstructed and unapologetically bad. They have to have motivations that make sense, but they can be incomprehensibly evil. Indeed, it’s the audacious evilness that sets them apart.

      It’s an open question as to whether our society has moved on in such a way that we require our bad guys to be sympathetic. My own thought is that we haven’t, but I have had a few comments on the bad guy is “Midas” that say he’s too much of an evil villain. If necessary you can always throw in a flashback to his druggy mother booting him out, or to the hero accidentally dropping him into a vat of chemicals!

      • Thomas Anderson

        Would you mind sharing some details about Midas? Specifically in regards to the motivation you chose for your bad guy as well as dialogue choices and personality etc. Also, did you give him an arc?

        • Howie428

          The bad guy in “Midas” is a Captain Ahab style figure who is seeking to possess an asteroid made of solid gold. At the beginning of the story his asteroid hunting spaceship is attached to the “Nugget,” but systems are failing. Obsessed with clinging on to his whale, sorry asteroid, he’s prepared to kill anyone who objects and he jettisons his mistress and their son in an escape pod, where they’ll likely die in space. So quite evil then!

          The story follows the now grown up son, who hears the tale of how the Captain’s ship broke off the asteroid and was found adrift with most of the crew dead and the Captain missing.

          Our hero goes to the asteroid belt and finds it lorded over by an intelligent and snide Admiral whose first act in the story is to eject someone into a non-functioning part of the space station. The Admiral ruthlessly pursues any free ships that still operate in the belt, including the one that our hero joins up with.

          When it later emerges that (Spoiler Alert!) the Admiral is the Captain from the opening and is the hero’s father, the Admiral orders his son to be killed without hesitation, and is prepared to lay waste to his own ships and ultimately the Earth and the Nugget itself, just to ensure that he and he alone possesses it.

          I gave him a semi-formal voice with a nasty flair. He doesn’t arc. All the way to the end he is unrepentant and driven. Indeed, the hero’s arc in this story is to learn to turn away from an obsessive pursuit, and he learns that in part from seeing how maniacally obsessed the villain is.

    • witwoud

      “What’s the trick to writing an unsympathetic villain?”

      Perhaps the answer is to study the various tricks by which writers make their villains sympathetic, and avoid them.

    • Citizen M

      Make him carry out his plan without humanity or remorse.

      Example: Car chase. Ahead of them, a row of ducklings cross the road.

      VILLAIN rides right over them. SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT!

      WEAK HERO stops and lets them cross.

      JAMES BOND fires his machine guns and scatters them without harming them, and roars on in pursuit.

    • Paul Schellens

      Easy.
      The right mix of:
      – Ego (the justification)
      – Confidence (to make them ‘attractive’ in that bad-boy way)
      – Lack of empathy (the enabler)
      – A great skill (plausibility)
      – A touch of COOL (deep down we’d love to get away with what they do and have such style doing it)

      So, actually, not so easy…

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      The Joker wanted chaos and “chaos is fair”. Anton Chigurh is closer but still had motivation and intention and made decisions which makes him sympathetic.

      The only unsympathetic villains are the Forces of Nature – an asteroid, storm, tsunami – these things don’t make decisions, they just are.

      Like others have said, it’s not a matter of eliminating humanity. Just find a way to hide it to make it seem like they are a Force of Nature.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      There’s plenty of real-life villainy to study. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call Hitler, ISIS, Pol Pot, or the majority of Chinese Emperors “relatable.” Utter lack of mercy is a good start, followed by cruel, unusual and persistent efforts to rob every other human of their humanity (both collaborators and opponents).

    • Midnight Luck

      Study John Doe from SEVEN, and the WARDEN in Shawshank.
      Or even DREXEL and Vincent Cocehtta from True Romance.

      The really great, and bad, bad guys are so intriguing, and their relentless and unforgiving nature makes us fascinated and want to know about them, makes us ask questions and wonder.

      I think if you are writing bad, go all in. Especially if it intrigues you.
      Some people need to write a relatable baddie, others must write the truly wicked and despicable.

    • Elizabeth Barilleaux

      Had another thought about this – Consider your victims and heroes. What do they need to make their lives a living Hell? Gotham needed someone to pit them against each other, to bring out their low-life, concrete jungle inner animal instincts. Bruce Wayne needed the shadow of himself, all the things he feared becoming. Then there’s whatever the guy in Saw does to folks – I never watched it, but I’ve heard he’s effective. Make it a predator/prey relationship and you’re on the path.

  • Scott Strybos

    OT: STEVE JOBS film (SPOILERS)

    I want to ask the people who saw Steve Jobs a question about two moments that bookend the film, more specifically the moment at the end. I saw the film a few weeks ago and have yet to read anything about this moment, and the person I saw it with didn’t pick up on it, so I am beginning to think I misread this moment, which is my favorite part of the film.

    Lisa’s sketch, the one she made at the beginning of the film, and Steve Jobs gives back to her at the end just before he goes on stage to launch the new Apple computer:

    it is the general shape and design of the revolutionary new computer he has created—her childhood sketch is the iMac, right? Which is funny because moments before, in a fit of anger, she said how stupid it looks, like Judy Jetson’s easy bake oven. Or have I put way too much into this final moment?

    • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

      I thought the same thing, too, so you’re not alone. If you put a gun to my head, though, I wouldn’t be so sure. And to be honest my memory’s too fuzzy. Maybe I just believed that because it would have been an amazing pay-off and closing-the-circle moment.

      • Scott Strybos

        This morning I scanned through the Sorkin’s script and this moment wasn’t there. He gives her the sketch and she is emotional, but there is no comparison of any kind. So we may be wrong.

        Which is weird, because when I saw it there was no internal debate, no ‘I think they look similar’, my interpretation was immediate and without waver.

        • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

          It could also be something they added in the shooting. Another caveat, my interpretation wasn’t as immediate as yours. Maybe I was just trying to find more meaning than the apparent one (that he saved a drawing of hers).

          • Scott Strybos

            Here is a screen cap from the film and a photo of the iMac. The resemblance isn’t as similar as I remembered. I’m not giving up on this idea. but concede it may be in my head, which is heartbreaking because it is an amazing moment if Jobs did use his daughter’s childhood sketch as a blueprint for his computer.

          • Scott Strybos

            Here is a screen cap from the film and a photo of the iMac. The resemblance isn’t as similar as I remembered. Still I’m not giving up on this idea but concede–even though Lisa sets this reveal up moments before when she brings up the design!–it may only be in my head. Which is heartbreaking because it is a wonderful moment if Jobs did use his daughter’s childhood sketch as a blueprint for his computer.

          • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

            Refresh my mind, how did Lisa set up the reveal?

          • Scott Strybos

            In the hallway before she storms off to the roof, she points to a picture of the iMac and says that it looks ridiculous, that it looks like Judy’s Jetson’s Easybake Oven. This outburst calls to attention—sets-up—the computer’s appearance; her criticising it’s design is her asking what idiot designed this absurd-looking machine. Then comes the reveal, at least this is how I saw it: she did. When she was 5 (or however old she was).

          • Wijnand Krabman

            That’s the real power of Sorkin to put an image in your head that nowhere was mentioned in the script!

    • Kirk Diggler

      Didn’t notice the sketch resembled the iMac. Was too caught up in what I thought was a great moment. So either way, it worked well for me.

    • Kirk Diggler

      By the way, the ‘easy bake oven’ line, though funny, was a little too much of the writer’s voice leaking over. Sorkin would have grown up watching The Jetsons, Steve Jobs daughter, not so much.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Carson’s right about the character stuff being hard. And that’s not always because we don’t have anything interesting in our lives to tap into, but because there’s always that inhibition mechanism going off like a red alert: “do you really want the world to know you have these feelings?”

    Perhaps in a screenplay it is not as obvious as in a novel, because the director and actors bring their own emotions to bear in the final product, but they can only work with what the writers gives them, and in a truly emotional script, most of it can be traced back to the writer.

    I’m thinking that after coming up with a high concept, the second biggest concern for a writer should be, “how much of myself am I willing to show/expose on the page?” If the willingness is not there, then it’s about time you reconsider your commitment to writing.

    • brenkilco

      I’m thinking that after coming up with a high concept, the second biggest concern for a writer should be, “how much of myself am I willing to show/expose on the page?

      Isn’t there something a wee bit paradoxical about that statement? Got my giant asteroid, my dinosaurs and my zombies all lined up. Now all I have to do is inject some personal, yet universal, human truth into this script and we’re gold.

      • CCM30atWork

        Not really.

        Classic example of the jar of marbles. You fill it with as many marbles, all shapes and sizes, that you can fit. It becomes “full,” yet there are clearly evident gaps between the marbles despite being unable to add any more marbles. But you can add sand, dirt, etc.

        Kinda the same thing here. You can have all your high concept stuff — your marbles — and surely you’ll be able to come up with enough to “fill” your jar. But you still need the sand, dirt, whatever — the human emotion, universal truths, comments on the human existence, that which gives all of these things meaning and weight — to really fill the jar to its fullest capacity, to fill those gaps the marbles will always leave.

        You can have a jar full of marbles or a jar full of marbles and cool sand and whatever, and people will likely want that second jar.

        Decent analogy I guess.

        Anyone can come up with high concept ideas. It’s not that hard to line up your asteroid, your dinosaurs, your zombies, whatever. It takes true talent to inject what really matters into the script, what goes beyond the high concept.

        But talent is really just prolonged interested and experience, so anyone can do it, not to worry.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Was listening to a pro screenwriter a week ago who was basically saying the same thing. But here’s what stood out:

          1.) He said that Hollywood was producing a lot of big budget movies that were empty, successful, and forgettable.

          2.) But good movies were about character, emotion, and the human condition — the kind of movie he liked to make.

          (He made one of those movies. Then went through ten years of rejection.)

      • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

        On the contrary, the universal human truths are what make a story memorable. Coming up with giant asteroids, zombies, and what have you is something any writer can do. Coming up with the original spin is the trickier part. But thinking up characters dealing with universal human concerns is even rarer, and that’s ultimately what’ll make any story stand out.

        • brenkilco

          Jeez. I didn’t think my comment even made it to the level of irony, just junior grade sarcasm. My intended point was that of course emotional truth is tougher than high concept; and that if one begins with a catchy, shallow, simplistic, melodramatic premise the idea that emotional depth can be added in later like the special sauce on a Big Mac is a bit of wishful thinking.

          • Citizen M

            What about… The boy dinosaur rescues the girl dinosaur from the zombies, and she says, “You’re so sweet”, and goes off with the big bad alpha dinosaur and shacks up with him in his cave. So the boy dinosaur leaves little bits of freshly-killed zombie outside the cave as a love token, until one night he hears them joking about him as they munch on the zombie parts. Burning with anger and shame, he retreats to a lofty crag on the asteroid and broods. Finally, he comes up with a plan… [$500k to hear the rest]

  • Eddie Panta

    From Today’s Article.

    And I’d say you had a point. But the reason I still want to review Free Fall is because it exists in one of the most bankable genres still available to spec screenwriters – the limited-location thriller and/or horror with a hook. If you can write one of these (The Gift, The Purge,Creep, the upcoming Bed Rest), you can sell it and begin your career.

    Re: FREE FALL – Choosing FATE ( a storm) over CHARACTER INTENTION leads to a script with characters who don’t have a heartbeat, they just become sympathetic victims.

    There’s no storm in JAWS, its Quint, the boat capt., who chooses to smash the radio. Now, there’s no turning back.

    Re: BED REST – If taking chances gets you noticed… this is the opposite of that.

    By far one of the worst contained haunted house horror scripts I’ve read in awhile. the characters are completely flat, our hero, a pregnant woman, has no flaw what so ever, she leads with a basic sympathy ploy. The rest of the characters are intentionally 2D so that you imagine they are the culprit. The moments that set-up the containment are so first-choice and obvious, it makes you cringe. There’s a MYSTERY BOX with backstory inside.

    Then there are the tropes including: a storm, a car that won’t start, a lake house, a baby monitor. A leaky faucet ominously dripping. flash-backs to a mental hospital, and on and on.

    But most importantly BED REST has no antagonist, no villain.

    The script is incredibly readable at a sparse 91pgs., take away all the cut to’s and smash cut’s, Back to, Flash To, and your down to about 86pgs. I can see a reader pushing this project out of sheer exhaustion, you can’t really hate it, and it’s so safe and empty that you can impose upon it. But all the necessary horror elements, the exposition, that Bed Rest sacrifices in the first act for brevity, comes back to haunt the script in the third act.

    Bed Rest takes no chances, so throw that tip out the window, this isn’t really a even story, it’s a transparent formula for a story — a by the numbers, check-box script — every little beat chimes in perfectly. Nothing happens unless it’s part of the plot, even the cat doesn’t show up until it’s necessary.

    A clap of thunder. Something lurking in the closet, a trembling hand reaches out for a door knob — A woman dares a peek under the bed — A woman in a house all alone — Flashes of lightning illuminate the windows… Then, by the time you get through all that stuff, still hoping that someone behind all the slamming doors, there’s some new innovative HORROR CONCEPT lurking about, you’ll be disappointed.

    • brittany

      I felt the same way about Bed Rest. It is fast read, for sure. The writing I thought was pretty good, though there were a lot of italicized asides throughout the script that I didn’t feel were necessary. Not a fan of spelling something out that’s already obvious in description. The story itself is derivative of every other haunted house movie. After reading, I thought that if they had removed the profanity, it could easily be a Lifetime Movie. It was just very predictable and the dialogue at times made me cringe. Especially the backstory about the woman (can’t even remember her name) being institutionalized after losing her first child. There’s a point when she’s being threatened with going back and she very weakly and pathetically says “No more hospitals.” Yikes, that one made me groan.

    • Randy Williams

      Would like to read BedRest if anyone has it, thanks
      Touchthermo at g mail

      • Eddie Panta

        It’s on the BLOOD LIST — I believe this gets you there…
        https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B98ZdIxoETG5eWo0VlVEWDJGbGs&usp=drive_web
        It’s the first one, which is why I read it.
        Please do read and report back. it’s thrown me for a loop, hence my rant here today.
        Not sure why we’re all banging our heads against the wall if this what incites a bidding war between major studies.
        The script was built to for the sole purpose of winnings competition, make lists, and sell as a spec, not to tell a story.

        • Randy Williams

          Oh, thanks. Had that link all along!

        • Randy Williams

          Read to page 33. Agree , so far not a lot of original thought. Hell, as someone who tries to be very original, I’d say none so far. Writing is what we all aspire too, but the trees are described as “bored” and I was bored with the characters. At such an atmospheric and slow pace I think the characters have to be more verbal. Biting, humorous. Smart even. A college professor perhaps trying to argue against a student’s thesis to her husband. A cop with a theory she wont let go of how someone was killed. This mother watches Steve Harvey.
          I stopped on page 33 because I read the typical, “they dont believe me” scene and I’m supposed to feel bad for her. Well, I love “cry wolves” stories but so far there is nothing that seems to be presenting any danger to her. What do I care if they dont believe her?
          I’ll finish the rest because I want to know if the spooky cat survives.

    • Bifferspice

      that bit, quint smashing the radio, is the one bit of the script i’ve never really got. i think it’s just to remove that ‘out’, but it doesn’t sit right the same way the rest of the script does for me.

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

    One of the screenwriting books (“Story,” maybe) says that if you don’t really know the subject matter of what you’re writing, you’ll end up filling in the blanks with cliche. Which is another way of saying if you don’t know it, it won’t be real.

    After having seen that assed-out Everest movie, I’ve decided that any time I want to see a climbing movie I’ll just stay home and watch Stallone in Cliffhanger.

    • ripleyy

      Turn it into a Sci-Fi. It’s a big cheat but you can “retool” whatever job you’re writing about and turn it into something else with its own set of rules. And seeing as it’s Sci-Fi, people can buy into it easily.

  • CCM30atWork

    Idk about anyone else but I’ve never had any interest in watching people mountain climb in a movie. I’d rather watch actual footage or just do it myself. And the conflict doesn’t seem very interesting because it’s all based on backstory — their relationship before the movie starts — so I don’t have much reason to care about their dilemma or find interest in it.

    I guess I’d have to read the script too because I’m not sure how the logic of the script plays out.

    The main character may have rock climbing experience, but her father seems to have none. He does like, what, one practice climb and now he’s ready? Why are they both going on what seems like an expert climb so early? Why didn’t they just raincheck the climb when they saw a storm coming, especially when an inexperienced climber and another that’s just a teenager. Just seems like the storm is there artificially to move the plot along when in real life I doubt this would have even gotten far enough for the climb to happen at all.

    Why weren’t there multiple instructors? Or fall-back plans in case this exact situation happens? Why was an inexperienced climber in a position that, if a mistake was made, the instructor would lose their life entirely?

    And this is beyond the most important question — if the grandparents are concerned with the girl’s mental health, why would they think involving her estranged father would be a good idea? How is he estranged? Did Matt divorce the wife before she passed? Did he just…decide to stop being a father when she died? So why on Earth would they ever want this person in the girl’s life at all?

    If all of that is answered reasonably somehow…I still probably wouldn’t see this anyway. Oh well.

  • Randy Williams

    I think mostly writer-directors purposely write things that might be defined that way or writers already in the pipeline for these companies is what Ive taken from reading here.
    I just finished a semi-contained thriller pilot for a web series or potential film, that could be done very cheaply by students in a school. (Primary location, high school). I’m getting some reaction on it now.

  • Poe_Serling

    “…the reason I still want to review Free Fall is because it exists in one of the most bankable genres still available to spec screenwriters – the limited-location thriller and/or horror with a hook.”

    Just saw that this thriller was picked up by Magnolia Pictures to distribute here in the US…

    The Ones Below

    “…the story of a suburban couple’s standoff with new tenants in the apartment below.”

    which on first glance probably shares more than a few comparable elements to other older flicks dealing with shady/crazy/deadly/etc. neighbors such as:

    Classics (The Window, Rear Window)… Other thrillers (Pacific Heights, Lakeview Terrace) … even some Black Comedies (Neighbors, The Burbs, Duplex).

    ***Just shows that very similar premises get recycled over and over again.

    As a writer, I think the key is to create and develop you own unique wrinkle(s) in any given story and run with it.

    • Levres de Sang

      Some terrific points, here. And I’m reminded of an observation Carson made a while back about exploring relationships within a marketable genre. I’m wondering then if Marija’s “ever hostile nature” might involve hallucinations or mysterious snow creatures?

      I realise that’s probably not the tone she’s going for, but it sounds like a film of today’s script would focus more on straight family drama and injury detail. In short, some added “horror with a hook” feels like the way to distinguish these kind of projects.

      ** Either way, I feel for Marija on this one…

      • klmn

        If there is a mysterious snow creature, I’m sure Poe will buy a ticket.

        • Poe_Serling

          True. Even an ‘unseen force’ might pique my interest… depending on the storyline. ;-)

          • GoIrish

            An unseen force with a dark secret?

          • Poe_Serling

            Kissin’ cousin of the town with a dark secret. ;-)

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        Haha, I like the guess work :D

        You’re not too far off with hallucinations and mysterious snow creatures, though ;) The very first version of my idea was “wind demons” – invisible creatures that roared and growled like a snowstorm and commanded the wind, so to speak. One character got ripped to shreds by the icy wind spinning her around and around. I kept that death in subsequent versions even after getting rid of the snow demons.

        I switched to something less explicit because I wanted to keep the mystery and not explain everything at some point. This is obviously very risky – some readers like ambiguity while others need at least a little bit of explanation. The Spanish director Jaume Balaguero read the script and he thought that the story would be stronger if I leaned a bit more towards the fantastic aspect – not necessarily by explaining but by making the situations more obviously unexplainable.

        Anyway, anything that happens in my story are things that do happen in the mountains so they can be rationally explained except they are related to my characters’ deepest fears. That’s the fantastical aspect but it may be too weak. Thing is, I really want to stay within the realm of intimacy, not venture into explicit horror. I believe that the idea of Nature feeding off their fears is what sets my story apart – and that’s what the potential directors who read it felt as well. Some wanted to go the realistic route while others wanted to play up the horror.

        My story is down to two characters, now, instead of four (well, three since there’s also the boyfriend but he’s not physically present all the time). And SPOILER………..
        the protag ends up alone for half the movie END SPOILER.

        I haven’t read FREE FALL yet but I’m already cringing. A father. A daughter. A dead mother. UGH >.< My background stories may be different but still.

        • Levres de Sang

          “I really want to stay within the realm of intimacy, not venture into explicit horror.”

          I suspect you’ve just paraphrased the whole problem with contemporary cinema! There no longer seems to be any room for something in-between — that shadowy, Val Lewton register. Because that’s where I suspect you’d like to be. A snowbound Picnic at Hanging Rock, even. [The original theatrical version. Don’t get me started on the shortened director’s cut! :/]

          I realise it’s a lot of work, but I would love for you to translate CREVASSE into English and throw it to the AOW crowd! I was certainly anxious about doing so, because I wondered if people would care for an essentially European arthouse flick; but I have to say that the the notes I received were both superb and invaluable.

          Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to outline your own project (and interesting to read the feedback from that Spanish director). Keep us posted on your progress!

          ** Yes, FREE FALL does sound like it’s wheeling out more than a few old cliches!

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            PICNIC AT THE HANGING SNOW ROCK would be awesome indeed :) As it is, though, it’s very much GRAVITY in the snow (it was the same kind of story before I’d even heard about GRAVITY, actually).

            And an English version of the script might be a good idea, yes. I have thought about it before but then I worked on other things and I thought my producer was working on my behalf but apparently not :(

        • Ana

          Wow..Jaume Balaguero! :)
          I live in Exaimple Dreta in a building that looks exactly like the one from REC. After seeing the movie I had a hard time entering home alone, haha.I’m currently working on an idea of a horror script at Everest that I would love to comment with you if you feel like it.
          I wish you the best of luck with your script Marija!!

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            “I live in Exaimple Dreta in a building that looks exactly like the one from REC.”

            Nice!! I’d have a hard time returning home after dark as well ^^ I love the first three REC movies – the fourth one was unfortunately pretty horrible but not in a good way :( And yeah, Balaguero reading and commenting on a script you wrote feels pretty good, I have to admit. No extensive notes, just a brief paragraph. Plus he liked it but he was already working on a couple of projects so no time for mine. He did say to not hesitate getting in touch with him again, though. May just be politeness. Or my producer laying it on too thick.

            If you want to send me anything, feel free: nielsen (dot) marija (at) gmail (dot) com

  • wlubake

    The above comment was a rough read…

  • SandbaggerOne

    Pretty sure all of the mountain scenes would be filmed in a studio. All they need to do is build a few fake cliff walls and film the actors against them. Insurance, safety, budget, weather, lighting, actor demands, housing, craft services, crew transport, etc… all would make actual filming in the mountains pretty much impossible for any lower budget production.

    The rest of the outside stuff would just be filmed in the woods for a couple of days and then just some establishing and panoramic footage filmed by second unit crew.

    They would probably film in Vancouver as they would have all of the mountains, forests, panoramic views and studios to build and house the sets, all close at hand (not to mention the huge tax break and beneficial exchange rate). That is where they did films like The Edge, Cliffhanger, etc…

  • Andrew Parker

    In fairness to the 30 Readers, the coverage done at WME/UTA/CAA/Paradigm all pretty much look the same. Since one of your main goals as an unrepresented writer is to get the attention of an agent, it makes sense that the Readers would mimic what you would see from an agency.

    Your goal is to succeed in the framework created by the agencies so they can ultimately get people to pay you for your script.

  • SandbaggerOne

    I’m not Carson, but I’ve worked in Dev at the studio level for the last 5 years and have some input/thoughts on this matter.

    I feel that “standardized” script coverage has long been the norm in the industry, it is quick, simple, generic and involves the least amount of effort on the readers part but still get across what matters to the higher up dev executives and managers. This isn’t necessarily from any lack of skill or insight on the readers part, but rather extends from the high volume of material needing to be read, the low “per hour” pay to do the coverage, and the fact that often the higher ups do not want/need or value creative input from the readers. They are just looking for good, bad, consider, pass, etc… The dev executives get paid to actually come up with alternate ideas, changes, etc… and there is often a lot more external factors at play influencing those types of creative decisions that any reader would not be privy too, so detailed creative input from them might not actually be relevant. For example the dev people might know that the plans is to change the script from a drama to a comedy and change the setting from New York to London, England. So a reader’s creative not about how to make it more dramatic wouldn’t be relevant.

    Studio executives just need to know the basics. The log line, synopsis, the main story points and beats, and wether it is good or bad or has potential. This allows them to discuss the project in general terms with agents, managers, directors, etc… and get down to business discussions. After the “business” is handled then they can get to creative changes and talks.

    So what does this mean for an amateur writer trying to break into the business? Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say script coverage is useless, you can actually learn some good stuff from simple coverage. By reading the readers version of the synopsis, log line, beats, etc… you do get a possibly interesting view on what an outside sees as the main factors of your script. For example, if the log line and synopsis really focus on certain plot points that you actually feel were minor, then you know that the script might need some reworking to focus on what you want to get across. Also, having an unbiased outsiders view of the scripts as a whole (recommend, Pass, Consider) and why can be very helpful.

    Now if you are fortunate enough to have a writers group or objective and knowledgable friends who can read your scripts and give you similar feedback as a professional reader, then I would def not bother with paying for that kind of service. On the other hand, if you don’t have that kind of support network then it could be helpful. I don’t know how much a reader on these websites you looked at charges, but I definitely don’t think any amateur writer should ever spend more then $75 on such a service, and definitely never, ever, more then $100. Not for simple script coverage.

    Now if you are looking for Script Editing and creative consultation that is a different matter. I believe that is the type of service Scriptshadow offers, and some other online sources. That should definitely not be “cookie cutter” coverage. It should be full, thoughtful, specific notes and ideas. This is the equivalent of Development notes from creative executives and studio high-ups. The risk in this is that unfortunately notes at this level are subjective.

    Two sets of notes from two different Script Editors or Development Executives could be very different. And that is why it can be hard to recommend this type of service unless you really trust the person. Even in a studio setting notes from creative people will often be different and possibly contradicting, that’s just the nature of art and the creative process. So if you are going to pay a fair amount of money to get an outsiders feedback you should definitely go into it with your eyes open and realize you are getting just one person’s creative thoughts (and hopefully creative experience), but someone else could give you completely different notes on the same script.

  • Elizabeth Barilleaux

    About a month ago I turned in a first draft of exactly this type of script, contracted by a friend in the industry who does small budget horror productions. He gave very specific guidelines, provided great feedback and, in the end, allowed me fairly free rein on storyline. It was my first time collaborating on a writing project and I think it went well. I just heard back from him today and he has a director who’s hounding him (his word, not mine) to get underway and another production company showing interest in joining forces. At this point, not a definite “go” but I’m learning the industry keeps an odd pace (education is never a waste.) I still like writing my spec stuff, but this is the first piece that ever earned anything and it was great to get real-time response to the script.

    • ThomasBrownen

      Congrats!! I can’t wait to hear more!

      • Elizabeth Barilleaux

        Thanks! I’ll let you know if anything ever comes of it.

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    Off topic: I heard a podcast recently with a semi famous writer/director. While this is from a few years ago, he’s come along way in a short time. He is known more by the film community then everyday folks, not a name like speilburg or del toro that people know, but in a matter of mere months….okay a year but not that long….he’s going to jump way up into people’s knowledge bracket. That’s why when I heard this person on that podcast talking about an idea he liked but felt kind of dissatisfied with due (to it feeling like another more popular film that came out years after this story was written). I saw it differently, as an original exciting old yet new tale. I wanted to work with him on it, as soon as I heard about it. This was before the news of the movie to change his film projection appeared. My question in short is: how to write for a writer/director or sell them on making an old idea and working with them before they get too big (thus having no time). He has always been indie lingering on blockbuster just not there yet but soon. So, before he is able to do everything and anything I’d like to get this story set forth so I don’t (lose out as well as have to wait till he has an opening in this schedule). What should I do? You can find contact numbers on ImdbPro or savvy googling. But in my honest opinion, your idea sounds a little desperate. If he is a writer/director and wants to direct this idea, why wouldn’t he just write it himself? What does he gain from having you write it, if he’s likely to do a rewrite no matter how good it is.

    (I’d want to write and produce it with him, due to the fact, he has little faith in the idea. He feels it is too similar to a movie that has come and past in recent years. While I see a small similarity it seem very original and worth making. I want him to see why he should do it (via my proof-of-concept Trailer of which I’ve been heartily working on in the last few weeks to month or so. As for Contacting him via ImdbPro or savvy googling – I’ve found him but the problem is it’s on twitter, which doesn’t allow me to do much and talk to this person face to face – like on SAY SKYPE or on the phone. I just don’t want to go posting my phone number and information saying “call me”. I’m sure he’d think I’m a loony. Which is something I definitely don’t want. I want to be taken seriously and cared about for my love and passion of his idea — and making it happen.)

    It feels like you’re trying to take advantage of his success, and not creatively motivated. I could be a million times wrong, but your post comes off that way.

    (It is all creatively motivated, if I could make all my creative concepts for TV/FILM without needing a dime, I’d be doing that. But, we all know it’s a gigantic improvability. I look and listen for ideas that haven’t been made be it in the past few years to as far back as even the 1920s or more. I look for ideas that would work regardless of time or place, that inspired me to want to write my own take on them. That are films I’d want to see now and had they been made–& I able to do so! As well as when I look for concepts, I make sure there is no script or at least one that people know about only a concept from which I use to expand and create a film from. Thus creating, the basis of all story as we know since the dawn of time. Creating a world, characters and actions they take that we follow to a satisfying end…

    …I only want to work on a creatively different movie, to see it to fruition. To not let bits and pieces end up in other films of his. Unused as a comprehensive whole to tell the worth while story he spoke of more than 2-3 year ago about.)

    If you just want to see his idea get made, then just send him some internet support and your reasons for why he should do it. Why do you want some of his credit? He really has nothing to gain from this. It’s his idea, so if he wants to do it, now he has to share credit. And you could put him in an awkward position if you make it hard for him to say no.

    My advice would be to write your own idea, but in the vein of something he would direct. That way you can offer your services to him, but not tie your hands in the process.

    (I don’t want credit, I just want to work with this master of Filmic arts. To learn, study and be there as he grows from moderate success into full blown house whole name in about a year or two. I want to work on the idea that stays clear in the back of mind, and has ever since I heard him describe it on that podcast not too long ago. I’d rather see that happen and work on that with him to inspire him to make this happen then not. To be there to work, inspired and help in any way I can to do this. I have some ideas I’d think he might like…but, those just don’t compare at this moment to his original concept. I would work on those with him at another time but not now!)

    Malibo Jackk

    Have you written the script?
    A finished script speaks louder than any effort you might promise.

    Andrew Kevin Walker sent his SEVEN script to David Koepp to read.
    He admitted that it was a naive and stupid thing to do.
    Turns out DK was a nice guy and recommended it to an agent.

    My advice: Write a great script.
    Then do something stupid.

    Read the above writing and you’d understand where I am coming from…Obviously, you didn’t carefully read and comprehend what I was saying. I want to write the script with this director (who will remain nameless until the time this film is actually underway), not write it without his consent. Ultimately it is his idea, and while I can do anything I like it with (the idea only not what whatever he would write into his version) since there is no way to copyright an idea or concept. I don’t want to, I just want to let him know I am interested and want to find a way to speak with him (via Phone, SKYPE, or otherwise) about the idea, learn more then what he said on the podcast. I’ve been editing a proof-of-concept trailer to show him as well. Again, this is not something I take lightly, nor is it a stupid act I am doing.

    A similar thing I am trying to do is to work with a writer/director (this person being known for their writing more than their directing), who has many great concepts and scripts I’d like to work on him with as well…..

    What is the best way to reach these people and talk to them before they get too busy to talk or deal with me, if I can get their projects I really want to see reach the screen, it would be most rewarding and exhilarating to behold! Both are from podcasts, I’ve heard, the plots they spoke off….the First director (Only talked about one concept that interested me). While the second WRITER (talked about one plot over two podcasts for a trilogy, based upon a public domain character. As well spoke about a feature that I wanted to make with him as well (A sort of coen brothers meets scorsese project), he has many ideas I’d like to make from his large catalogue of unproduced scripts that fascinate and interest me.

    I hope you can better understand me now and actually give real advice that can help me move forward.

    Your first questions were clear enough but I think that everyone here or elsewhere would give you the same advice: FIRST write a great script THEN get in touch with people or at least, strike up some sort of human relationship before mentioning work. Why should any director – amateur, pro, indie, A list – trust an unknown on their word only?

    There have been a couple of amateur directors that I wanted to work with as well. First, I got in touch via social media, just talking. And when I had a finished script, I sent it to them so they could get a better idea of my capabilities and sensibilities. These guys already knew who I was from social media, other people or from having read some published short stories of mine. By coincidence, one of them also wanted to work with me.

    Point being: First, get yourself out there in some way or another. Write. A lot. At least one script and two or three treatments. Then get in direct touch with the directors you want to work with. It can be done and good things may even come of it so good luck :)

    Your first questions were clear enough but I think that everyone here or elsewhere would give you the same advice: FIRST write a great script THEN get in touch with people or at least, strike up some sort of human relationship before mentioning work. (I want to write this script with this person and be able to creatively grow the concept with him then write something else him talk to me in a year or two to say, “I cut that script up, I’m using this part of the story here and another in this next script. Or, I’m busy for the next three-five years with stuff I have more scripts that won’t be happening maybe then or never”. I don’t want that to be, I’d like to hear that he was so taken with my passion and contacting him (as well as liking my trailer I made) that he wants to work with me. thus he revives that dead story for real. Not just talking about past stories on a podcast. No long being the past but future work that can begin! :)

    Why should any director – amateur, pro, indie, A list – trust an unknown on their word only?

    (It won’t be just my word, I’m working day-in/day-out on this Proof of concept trailer to tell him what I see it as and would want to add to it.)

    There have been a couple of amateur directors that I wanted to work with as well. First, I got in touch via social media, just talking. And when I had a finished script, I sent it to them so they could get a better idea of my capabilities and sensibilities. These guys already knew who I was from social media, other people or from having read some published short stories of mine. By coincidence, one of them also wanted to work with me. (I have work I can show them but first I’d like to have a conversation that leads them asking to see my work, before I go that far. Then having them read it and want to work with me.)

    Point being: First, get yourself out there in some way or another. Write. A lot. At least one script and two or three treatments. Then get in direct touch with the directors you want to work with. It can be done and good things may even come of it so good luck :)

    (Thank you good luck to you as well)

    Except from above response: “While the second WRITER (talked about one plot over two podcasts for a trilogy, based upon a public domain character. As well spoke about a feature that I wanted to make with him as well (A sort of coen brothers meets scorsese project), he has many ideas I’d like to make from his large catalogue of unproduced scripts that fascinate and interest me. ”

    How would I go about trying to work with another writer, on an idea he has said many a time, even though it’s public domain says, “I can’t do anything with it.” He can, feel he doesn’t want to and now it’s a bad time for this character to be worked on…but his vision and idea is different and doesn’t follow the film we’d expect to get anyway. I want to work on this as well as a few other older projects he wrote back when he was making his way towards being in the industry. He has more family connections and possibilities for this work then i do. But, my love, passion, charisma, and different ways to see his stories, is what I have — in the end it comes down to good story worth telling and it’s what make me want to work on this projects with him.

    Can someone please continue to answer me as I really do not feel satisfied with the conclusion of the conversation. I feel there is more to be answered and dealt with then has been gone over yet.

    • Citizen M

      You need to pitch him, get him excited about his old idea again, and convince him you can add enough value to be worth working with.

      Email him. Say you heard his podcast and you saw some exciting possibilities in his idea.

      Then give a brief outline of what you would do with it.

      Then say you would love to work with him on developing the project, and ask if he’d be agreeable to collaborating.

      Then add a bit about your own abilities and experience, and attach any supporting documents, such as a detailed outline of the project as you see it, character notes, etc.

      If you get no reply after two weeks, send him a gentle reminder.

      If still no reply, forget it.

      Judging by what you have written above, you have a tendency to be verbose.Be concise. Your whole letter should be less than a page that he can quickly read and quickly decide.

      • dreaming in celluloid

        It seems great what you propose, write a simple one letter pitch, give a nudge some time later see if they read my work or are interested then if not move on. To be frank, what you said all good and well, but not in anyway something 100% helpful.

        I have been working on so-called, “Proof of concept/Fake/Fan Trailers Based on these ideas (not just this persons ideas)” to show the writers/directors the viability of their projects. As for pitching I really don’t know what I want to do with the story beyond making it, that is for the main idea (Let me call it: DS1). I only want to read the original attempt at the story, and see what he wanted to do, then talk it over as to what could be done with the story.

        The other writer, the writer and director but more writer focused, has many scripts from childhood he wrote with to learn and study but never with the option to make them. He has many great plots that need to be worked on. He has one or two ideas I like and can see how they can be moved along (let me call them: TTP2/IA3).

        The issue is it would be better to talk to these people face to face (SKYPE even instead), but you think a letter or email would be a good ice breaker to open the door….I want to collaborate, and work on these projects in any way possible. (Also the stuff posted before this was many other replies and response from a few days ago. Not all me.)

        • dreaming in celluloid

          I feel for these projects they mean just as much as my own. They are worthwhile stories, some of which we’ve seen but done over in these ways would differentiate them from their counterparts. All I can say these are deals are hell lot of more viable then something like, “Jem & The Holograms”. These are films we see a lot of but not like these directors, writers and others have come up with.

          On a similar note, how would a person deal with getting to pitch to studios, if they don’t have an in on a project they’ve no connection to. None other then working on it and writing their own draft on SPEC. Also how to get a script written and made based on a fake or teaching tool in a book, like say a book called: HOW TO WRITE A SCRIPT. Inside the book there is page and notes (Treatment work) on a project that is in no way planned to become a real work. Yet, I enjoy it and wanted to see it jump to the BIG SCREEN. How could I do it without being sued and make it my own but keep it connected or similar to the work I read in that book. Also what if the person stopped working as far back as 03′ and not writing any more…..even though had they finished the script from the book it would have been made and I wouldn’t be talking about this.

          HOPE THIS ALL MAKES SENSE.

          • Erica

            If I understand this correctly you want to write and or direct or help direct a piece of work that is already done? But you would be looking to do it better? Or are we talking a sequel to the original?

            Personally I think the only way to pull this off is if you are or become friends with this Director. Anything else will just become white noise. Speaking from experience if someone came to me and said hey, I wanna remake your movie but better I would tell them where to go and go get your own idea.

            I may be not understanding what your asking so if I’m off, I do apologizes.

          • Dreaming in celluloid

            That’s quite alright to ask for clarification. I’m here and willing to give it.
            I understand I may have made it a bit hard to follow but, what I am getting at is this…
            I am working on co-writing/directing a project with a generally well known person (more by film afficandos then regular everyday folks, but whom is working on two films in a series which will skyrocket his brand and films ten fold. One film he is directing and scripting as well as the other film he is just writing it. I will not be saying who so I don’t get metaphorically laughed at or told I’m too crazy for attempting to reach out to this filmmakers/writers.)

            What I am saying, is the project the first one I wanted to work on (which the whole writing I put here was predicated) is done only as far as I understand from the podcast I heard this person on, that it was written as either a treatment or short story (written some 15 years eariler….maybe more maybe less). It is in no way a done as a script or previous film I want to remake or redo.

            Same with the other person I was speaking about whom is more a writer then director (having as of this point only directed one film, which was was a big blown film put out in the world) he known mainly as a writer having sold many upon many script and ideas. He has 3 or more ideas that I know off and of which I want to make with him. They need rewriting as he wrote them when younger before was famous and known. When’s he was learning and studying.

            The last person I spoke off was/is a very well known writer who’s been around writing novels and screenplays since the 60s till 03 when this person stopped. He wrote a screenplay/treatment/teaching tool in a book he wrote on film and writing – I read it once (thought nothing much of it but it got lodged in to my mind waiting to come back). Upon a second and third reading (it opened with my eyes to a new film that I really never saw the first time around. I saw a great fun interesting plot that I wanted to get the world to see).

            I hope it is more clear and makes sense now if you can understand and help now easier. Let me know. Also how is best to start a friendship with these filmmakers/writers?

          • Dreaming in celluloid

            A friendship beyond say friendship online which isn’t really face to face or say … On Twitter or Facebook or Skype which sometime they may not answer or respond too…

          • CCM30atWork

            I mean the only way this would actually work is if you met the individual in-person and befriended them. But I don’t suggest starting a friendship for the purpose of self-interest.

            You should just be plainly honest and try to reach out to the person saying what you’re telling us right now (but much more concise and summarized and not all over the place). Most likely they won’t be interested but that’s on them — it’s their work, not yours.

            Just hit them up online and go from there. Better than wasting your time wondering what to do and/or not working on your own project(s).

          • dreaming in celluloid

            I mean the only way this would actually work is if you met the individual in-person and befriended them. (I would very much like to this but I don’t know where they live or how to meet them or call them VIA PHONE) But I don’t suggest starting a friendship for the purpose of self-interest (I want to meet them because we share a similarity and also could have fun making interesting projects together).

            You should just be plainly honest and try to reach out to the person saying what you’re telling us right now (but much more concise and summarized and not all over the place) — exactly what I would try to attempt to convey. Most likely they won’t be interested but that’s on them — it’s their work, not yours. (Yes that true but they’ve done next to nothing with since they created the basis of the idea(s).)

            Just hit them up online and go from there. Better than wasting your time wondering what to do and/or not working on your own project(s).

            (I understand, I have but they don’t have ways other then twitter to be contacted and 140 characters don’t lead to large conversations)

          • CCM30atWork

            My man. You gotta learn how to format your responses. Don’t inject your comments into the previous posters comments with parenthesis. It’s super confusing at first glance.

            Just use quotes to denote the text you’re responding to. Or at the very least break up your response from what you’re replying to. Basic forum etiquette.

            Anyway…

            Coming to someone and saying, “Hey we have similar interests and we should work together,” as a random person just doesn’t work. Real friendships develop naturally. Can’t just throw yourself at someone and hope they’ll respond how you want just because you share interests or want to get somewhere working with them.

            Plus, it’s the originator’s choice whether or not they want to do something with their work. Not really up to you just because they’ve done nothing.

            I mean, If they’ve done nothing with it, that should probably tell you that they don’t have much interest in the first place, probably not enough to collaborate with you. Just being realistic.

            If you don’t have any other way to contact this person, maybe this isn’t the avenue you should be trying.

          • Citizen M

            Perhaps you should pose your problem on a filmmaker’s website, not a scriptwriter’s website.

          • Dreaming in celluloid

            Like? Name a site how would that helps. I am a scriptwriter and that’s where I am coming from. Why I posted here.

    • CCM30atWork

      You really need to format this better, I have no idea what’s going on or who’s talking.

      Summarize this lmfao for everyone’s sake.

      You should just work on your own stuff, gain credibility on that, then try to get your foot in the door. Anybody can edit together a proof-of-concept trailer on Premiere Pro in a couple weeks.

    • klmn

      If you want to pitch to him, your best bet is to seek him out and do it in person. Don’t continue it to the point of harassment.

      • dreaming in celluloid

        Don’t continue it to the point of harassment. (I never would…)

  • Citizen M

    There was a long article on GITS by a reader/story analyst on what she does and how she approaches a script. It’s well worth a look. Some quotes:

    We do have to read everything that is submitted and
    determine which of the few merit a closer look by those in the position
    to make decisions about moving it on up the pipeline for potential
    acquisition and development.

    Also, the type of coverage and function it serves will vary. Depending
    on whether a story analyst is evaluating a submission for a talent
    agency (seller) or production company (buyer) or actor/director (talent)
    or writing services geared towards writer, the type of analysis will be
    very different.

    When I was reading full-time for several companies
    at a time, I would read 2-3 three scripts per DAY with 9 am, noon and
    4:30 pm deadlines or one book per day with either a 9 am overnight
    deadline or 4:30 pm next day deadline or day after next “regular”
    deadline.

    Diana ‘DC’ Mar is currently a Story Analyst at The
    Weinstein Company, David Matalon Productions and Scriptshark, and a
    Writer at Freelance Writing.

    http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2008/12/dispatches-from-front-line-script.html

  • Eddie Panta

    Shooting for VOD & FESTIVAL is still a million dollar production.
    It appears your a “Brit”, but here the first question should be if it’s a WGA deal whether or not the end game is VOD.

    Micro-budget is really a writer/director’s field or a team of filmmakers working with kickstarter or begging for money elsewhere, in short it’s a group project, where they’re unlikely to option a story created outside of their tight-knit circle.

    Anyway, why handicap yourself? I found that it is no less difficult, and at times more difficult, to write a spec for a specific budget, contained or not, because if the location is out of reach, the prod. will pass on the script.

  • Wijnand Krabman

    I didn’t read the script, but it might have something like this:

    ext. edge mountain ravine – day

    MATT crawls carefully to the edge of the ravine. Lying on his belly, he looks down into the depths.

    MATT
    Boy this is fucking something!

    He looks besides him, JASON is standing there, his shoe points sticking out above the abyss, he seems to have no fear at all.

    JASON
    This is where you meet yourself.

    MATT
    Sure I’ve seen it all, let’s go back.

    GRACE
    Come on dad. We’re almost half way. Don’t be a pussy!

    JASON
    I’ll climb that rock here above attach a musketon with a rope and than we swing over like tarzan.

    GRACE
    Besides, there is that nasty storm coming up and a don’t like going right in to it, ruining my hair.

    MATT
    It scares me shitless!

    JASON
    It’s only a little jump.

    Matt is looking down again, shivering.

    MATT
    I can’t see the bottom, it must be more than 300 meters?

    GRACE
    (annoyed)
    He means to the other side of the ravine dad. I now understand why mom left you!

    JASON
    (to matt)
    See it as a challenge, that helps.

    MATT
    Do you think so?

    he looks questionable

    JASON
    You’re more a kinda; half empty is my glass type, aren’t you?

    GRACE
    Yeah, he depresses me deeply.

    EXT. ROCKPOINT ABOVE ABYSS A LITTLE LATER

    Jason is hanging upside down above the abyss hammering a clamp into the rock. Matt, standing below as far as possible form the edge is puking out his lunch. Grace, ignoring her dad, is holding the rope which issecuring Jason.

    Jason does some lithe and smoothly abseiling, landing very close to Grace looking her deeply in her eyes. She sighs delighted.

    He moves closer to her, she closes her eyes expecting some kissing. He only attaches the rope to her belt.

    JASON
    (to grace)
    You show you daddy some action, you take a run and jump I’ll gard you.

    GRACE
    You attached the rope before the middle oft the ravine, I won’t make that?

    JASON
    Off course you do, when you swing passing the lowest point of your swing I let go and because of your speed you’ll make it.

    MATT
    In theory.

    JASON
    No that’s a fact.

    GRACE
    Ok, I’ll do it, but thirst you have to kiss me and promise me that you’re gonna make love to me to night.

    Jason kisses her on the lips and slaps her on the ass. She takes the run and jumps crying out loud in the abyss.

    Grace swings over and lands gracefully on the other side. She is ecstatic jumping up and down like a madman.

    GRACE (cont’d)
    COME ON DAD THIS IS ÜBERGEIL!

    She trows back the rope to jason. Matt pukes again.

    GRACE (CONT’D)
    COME ON YOU’VE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE, YOU LOST YOUR WIFE YOU HAVE NO JOB AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO TO LOSE ME IF YOU DON’T FUCKING TAKE THAT JUMP.

    Matt heads to Jason who attaches the rope.

    JASON
    Just take a good run and everything will be fine.

    MATT
    (defeated)
    She’s right I’ve got nothing to lose. Is it alright if I keep my eyes closed?

    JASON
    (laughs)
    As long as you run in the right direction….

    Matt yells takes the run and jumps into the abyss….

    He drops like a log in front of his daughter. He climbs up looking confused. Than he kisses Graces. Happy he is.

    MATT
    Wow! That was cool! Can I do it again?

    jason smiles, he attaches the rope to his belt.

    JASON
    Yeah here is where you meet yourselve. Define you!

    MATT
    Can I hold your line?

    JASON
    Yeah of course, but don’t let go before I say.

    MATT
    No problemo.

    Jason takes the run and jumps graciously into the ravine. He swings down..

    Than a giant eagle shits Matt on the head, he is horrified and let’s go the rope.

    we hear a scream

    JASON
    SHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!

    Grace and Matt races to the edge, glancing down seeing jason drop. He hits the ground, doesn’t move.

    GRACE
    (to matt)
    Fucking hell what did you do?

    MATT
    That fucking eagle,…..I let him go. He might survive?

    They hear a RUMBLE, a big piece of rock, volkswagen golf diesel size, drops down on top of Jason.

  • dreaming in celluloid

    What if it were? Does it matter, would it best to deal with a a screenplay/treatment/teaching tool – transferring it into a full fledged screenplay that can be actually made.

    • dreaming in celluloid

      Not being sued for using another person’s idea…..

  • Eddie Panta

    Yeah, that fact about the lake house is true, plus it’s too strange of a coincidence. The writer chose fate to intervene over character intention, so that no one is to blame.

    When the pregnant wife, goes online, and has to pay to find out about the sorted history of the house… The service returns “headline” news… Ugh!
    However, I did like the way her orig. online search was interrupted, the exposition was broken up, that was a smart choice, but when the history of the house was revealed, it was too obvious.

    In Rosemary’s Bay, it’s the wife’s idea to take the apt. but it’s her actor husband who becomes involved with the evil neighbors. Here, with Bed Rest, husband and wife never have any meaningful convo, there’s no friction, no real exchanges, only dull moments of innuendo.

    The main issue was how the story kept plodding along for two acts with mostly fake-out scares, scene after scene of catch and release. So, yeah, by the end, the script does take off, but it’s been a long boring journey without much payoff;

    The last act did its best with what little potential energy the first 60pgs provided, keeping us guessing on whether she was paranoid or not.

    I suspect that the success of BABADOOK had a lot to do with the sale of BED REST, but Babadook had what Bed Rest lacks, a flawed female lead that had real problems outside of the plot, she was paranoid and haunted by the book. The story didn’t bend over backwards to make the single mother or her troubled son likeable.

  • dreaming in celluloid

    It was from a book written by Goldman, in one he wrote a script to show me to write a good one and what not to do…it was a screenplay/treatment/teaching tool in the final portion of the book that was never meant to become a film but which I liked very much to see become one….