This is a reposting from a long-ago newsletter. So busy this week! But since I talked about the script in yesterday’s article, I felt like I should at least give you a chance to talk about it as well! Also, a new batch of amateur offerings will be up by 2 a.m. Pacific Time.

Genre: Sci-Fi’ish Comedy
Premise: In a future where the world has been overrun by monsters, a young man risks his life to get to the woman he’s fallen for.
About: Brian Duffield is one of my favorite writers. One of his scripts, Your Bridesmaid is a Bitch, is on my Top 25. And through no fault of his own, another of his projects, Jane Got A Gun, found itself in the middle of a production circus when on the first day of shooting the director of the film just decided not to show up. This resulted in actors dropping out, other actors switching roles, and a full-on game of production musical chairs. Monster Problems was picked up last year. It’s unclear where it is in development. I’ll tell you this right now, though. If I were a studio, this is one of the first scripts I’d green light.
Writer: Brian Duffield
Details: 113 pages (undated)

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Okay, so I want you to imagine Sleepless in Seattle. Mixed with a John Hughes film. Mixed with Harry Potter. Mixed with Pacific Rim.

You may be saying, “Carson, that is an unbelievable combination of films. There is nobody in the world who could make that work.”

Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce you to Brian Duffield. The only person in the world who can make that work. And honestly, I’m in awe of the guy. I really am. I don’t know anyone else on earth who has this kind of imagination, that is also good with character, who can also create a believable and touching romance, who can also add hilarious comedy and lots of heart, whose writing style is sparse yet packed with information, who can ALSO tell a great story, and who always surprises you with his choices.

You just don’t find that kind of writer often. If ever. And it kind of depresses me. Because we’re all supposed to have weaknesses. Those weaknesses are what make other writers feel like they shouldn’t commit suicide. It’s important for them to be able to say, “Okay, sure he can do comedy. But he can’t develop characters like I can.” Duffield can do it all. I guess maybe in Jane Got A Gun, things were a little slow. Maybe when he’s not able to use comedy, his scripts aren’t as entertaining? Maybe that’s a weakness? I guess. Or maybe he purposefully slowed things down in “Jane” because he didn’t want to make all us other writers feel bad.

So what’s Monster Problems about?

This guy, Joel Dawson. A really good guy, this Joel. But he’s been dealt a shitty hand. He lives in this underground bunker with 37 people and he’s the only single guy there. Everyone else is always making out and having sex while he’s just… dreaming of what it would be like to have a girlfriend. Oh, and then, of course, it’s a hundred or so years in the future where the world’s been overtaken by monsters. Bad hand once again. It’s safe to say poker’s not Joel’s thing.

The one thing Joel’s got to look forward to is a girl. Her name is Aimee. She’s got red hair. He knows that because he asked, though he’s never seen her. See, Aimee is in another bunker 30 miles from his. And they can only contact this bunker for a couple minutes a day due to battery issues. And because the hope of being with Aimee is the only reason for Joel to put on his pants every morning, he decides to do the unthinkable – go to her.

Now that might not sound difficult to you or me. 30 miles puts a lot of stress on your quads but it’s doable. Here’s the problem. Monsters. And this isn’t the monster problem you see in Pacific Rim. Or that indie movie, “Monsters.” You know when Will Smith says in the “After Earth” trailer, “Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans?” And then you went to see the movie and nothing on this planet had evolved to kill humans?

Well imagine a movie where that was actually the case. The second Joel leaves the bunker, he’s attacked by a strange dog-like critter, a raptor-thing, a giant frog, a giant spider, giant killer moths, a weird seven feet tall ghost-like centipede thing, a three headed T-Rex, a giant sea creature, as well as a few other beasts so strange they’re impossible to describe! And all Joel is armed with is a crossbow and a mangy dog he finds along the way.

Joel fights for his life, almost dies a thousand times, saves his dog, gets saved by his dog, meets a father-like figure, meets an astronaut robot, almost dies a thousand more times, etc. There aren’t many things Joel doesn’t experience on this perilous journey. But will he make it to Aimee? And what will happen if he does? Will she be everything he hoped for?

This script. Was awesome.

Period.

It was awesome. Where do I begin? Oh, I know. I’ll begin at the end. Duffield arcs the dog character. You read that right. Duffield GIVES A CHARACTER ARC TO THE DOG! Remember the scene in Cast Away where Wilson, an inanimate object, floats away forever? And you were crying, desperately hoping your date or parents didn’t look over at that exact moment and see you drowning in tears?

There’s a moment that rivals that here with the dog. The dog, you see, was found clinging to the dress of his long-since disappeared female master. He won’t leave with Joel until Joel brings that dress with him. And he’s so stuck on that dress. He cares more about that dress than he does Joel. And then in the end (spoiler), that dress gets stuck in the ocean, where Joel is battling a monster, and he has a choice to either go after the dress or save Joel. And he picks Joel. He changes. The dog arcs. Not barcs. Arcs. And it was so fucking good you cried just like when Wilson died.

Oh, and did I tell you about the astronaut? Yeah. One of my favorite scenes all year has this robot astronaut, split in two, only wires holding her together, pulling herself across the terrain, bumping into Joel, explaining she only has 16 minutes left before her battery runs out. And the two just share her last moments together before she dies. And it’s heartbreaking. And I don’t fucking understand how anybody comes up with this stuff. We can talk about structure until the screencows come home. But you still have to have imagination. You still have to come up with unique choices. How does Duffield bring a nearly dead cut-in-half female robot astronaut into a story about monsters taking over the earth and make it work? I don’t know but it fucking makes me jealous.

And then there’s the ending. I’m not going to get into spoilers, but let’s just say what you thought was going to happen doesn’t happen. That ALSO is a trait of great writers. They take you to the place you think you’re going, then totally change things up on you. You realize the writer is in control. Not you.

There were a few other reasons I loved this script. The main character is a lovable loser. But when he befriends this dog and loses his loneliness, we officially fall in love with him. It’s really hard to have a character befriend a dog or save a dog and not like him. As ridiculous and simplistic as it sounds: we like people who love animals. Who will protect them. It’s crazy how obvious this is, yet when it’s done well, as it is here, it makes the character irresistible.

And I love stories where the obstacles are impossible, where the writer is never easy on his hero. His hero has to earn every step he takes. Remember in After Earth, where the main character is basically guided by his father the whole way? So he didn’t really earn anything? He just follows orders. Here, Joel earns every step he takes. He finds the solutions to all the problems. He outruns or outsmarts or outbeats all the monsters. And the sheer number of monsters he has to take on is ridiculous. At one point he’s trying to get over a rickety bridge when giant moths with needle teeth attack him, teeth that inject deadly venom into him, while a 3 headed T-Rex is trying to kill him, while he drops his only weapon, his crossbow, into the monster-infested waters below. There are so many moments like this where you wonder, “How the hell is he going to get out of this alive?” And because the odds are so heavily stacked against him, we hover over the page with baited breath, reading as fast as we can so we can get the answer.

And then at the heart of this script is… heart. See that’s the thing. All these big effects movies have zero heart, have zero characters we really care about. I mean does anybody in the world really care about Shia LaBeouf in Transformers? Here, we care about Joel. We care about his dog. Because Duffield knows that none of those effects will matter. This is about the character. And you will like Joel. You will love Joel. You will love this journey he goes on. You will be shocked by the ending. And when it’s over, it’ll be one of the few times you’ve finished a script and wished there were more pages to read.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive (TOP 25!!!)
[ ] genius

What I learned: The key to writing these scripts is mentally stripping out all the big creatures and monsters and robots and effects, and remembering that it’s a personal journey. Focus on making that personal journey work first. Make your audience fall in love with your main character and want them to succeed. And then build that effects world up afterwards. This is such simple advice and yet this is the first time I’ve seen it done in maybe two or three years? If you’re a big-budget writer, get this right and you’ll be golden.

What I learned 2: Choose action over dialogue to build a relationship. — Let’s say you only have one scene to make us care about a key relationship in your script. In this case, we’ll use Joel and the dog as the characters. Scene Option 1 has Joel talking to the dog over the fire. Scene Option 2 has both of them being attacked by a monster, and Joel has to make a choice between either saving himself or trying to save the dog. ALWAYS choose the second scene option. Action always accelerates a relationship faster than dialogue. Obviously, scripts are long so you’ll have the opportunity to do both, but always favor action over dialogue when you can.

  • Citizen M

    I read this last year and was underwhelmed. My notes at the time:

    The first 30 pages setting the scene in the bunker with 37 survivors and Joel longing for a woman of his own was pretty good, but once we go topside and meet the monsters…

    A bit too fanciful. laws of physics need not apply. Probably allegorical of something but I’m not sure what. Really, just a sequence of events rather than a story. Character motivations make little sense.

    • brenkilco

      Gonna have to see this one for myself. Isn’t this the guy who wrote that godawful, demonic babysitter script that was featured here some time back? Now he’s a genius who can do it all. Anyway if you happen to have a copy I’d be much obliged. brenkilco@gmail.com

      • Scott Crawford

        Sent!!

        • brenkilco

          Thanks. Have you read it? What’s your verdict?

          • Scott Crawford

            No, not read it. I’ll give it a look some time, along with the 2,700 other scripts I’ve got and not got around to reading.

          • writecraft1985

            can I get one too, Scott? Thanks !

            writecraft1985@yahoo.com

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!

          • jmmp

            Can you send me one too . pulp4444@yahoo.com.

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!!!1

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

          Can I get a copy, too? (As if I didn’t have enough stuff to do this weekend)

        • Lucid Walk

          Can I have a copy of Monster Problems too? Thanks, Scott
          seames120@gmail.com

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!!

          • Lucid Walk

            Thank you

        • JakeBarnes12

          Hey, Scott, can I hit you up?

          cardinallemoine74 at yahoo dot com

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!!!

          • JakeBarnes12

            Thanks, man!

        • hickeyyy

          You’re very busy with this one, but when you get a chance, benjamin.m.hickey@gmail.com

          • Scott Crawford

            Sent!!!!

        • BenO

          Please, please, please can you send me a copy of this banger! Muchas Gracias. bendriscoll81@gmail.com

        • Dimitri

          Hey Scott, any chance you could send me this too?

          dim_janssen[at]hotmail.com

        • Waltraut

          Hey Scott, would also love to read the script. If you get a chance to send it my way, I’d be sincerely grateful! Thank you!
          waltraut.wiese@gmail.com

        • Alberto Paciano

          HI! Scott, how are you? could you send my a copy? Please! Thank you very much! a.paciano@gmail.com

      • Poe_Serling

        The Babysitter (written by Duffield) just started filming about two weeks ago. Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, This Means War, etc.)

        • Scott Crawford

          I quite liked This Means War, and I really liked 3 Days to Kill. I think, given the right material, McG can really surprise people. He’s good with actors (even Christian Bale!).

          Edit: The cast doesn’t look that impressive.

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4225622/

          • andyjaxfl

            I enjoy We Are Marshall quite a bit. McG unfortunately gets a bad rap because of his stage name.

        • brenkilco

          Probably the right director for the material. How’s that for diplomatic?

    • 3waystopsign
      • Citizen M

        Brilliant. I’ll hook it up to my cold fusion device and fly to the moon. Uhh… first I need to figure out how to take a shit in a space suit.

    • ArabyChic

      I’m a Brian Duffield fan and I’d have to say this is my least favorite of his scripts. If I were an exec I would definitely not green light this. I would say the audience isn’t big enough for what amounts to a small character rom com piece wrapped up in a big budget movie monster movie.

      • davejc

        I would green light this. Absolutely. The first act is wonderful, almost perfect.

        Throw away the second and third act. Hire another writer.

        Buy the filming rights to Fallout(which many consider the greatest computer game ever). Adapt the world building and random encounters from the game for the second and third acts.

        Now you have a a better title, a kickass first act, an IP with a proven track record and a pre existing fan base that almost guarantees sequels, reboots and merchandise.

  • Craig Mack

    Eh, boy… I guess I should read this… anyone shoot me a copy? thecraigmackATgmail

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!

      • august4

        Would love a copy too if anyone has it… jonnryder@yahoo.com

        Thanks!!

        • Scott Crawford

          Sent!!!!!!

  • Random Logline Generator

    Everytime I see Duffield in this review I’m thinking of Duff Man from the Simpsons. I wonder if he uses that as a nick name. Oh Yeah! But at any rate this sounds like an interesting concept that’s for sure.

    Best of luck to those in the Offerings this week.

  • ripleyy

    The ending of this was so anti-climatic that it gave a whole new meaning to the word “lackluster”. Brian scaled too high and couldn’t find his way down again. Though, ending aside, I do remember liking it. He still remains a favourite though he another Tarantino: you can’t replicate him.

    • Magga

      I’ll have a guess, without having read the script: the girl isn’t a girl?

      • ripleyy

        She’s worse. She’s a WOMAN.
        (joking aside, it’s actually much worse. Story wise)

  • andyjaxfl

    There’s a lot to like about this script. Duffield’s Asimov and Clarke influences are there in broad strokes (loner wants to escape the contained/mysterious world that he lives in), and I think the middle act flows nicely. I remember the third act started off cool with SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER everything being a trick to lure men to their death END SPOILER END SPOILER but then disintegrated into something a little tacky. But whatever…

    One thing I’ve noticed with Duffield’s scripts is that the main character appears to the same exact person just at different stages in his life and in different universes. The kid in The Babysitter grows up to be Joel from this script, who ages to be the guy in Your Bridesmaid is a Bitch, who grows up to be the groom in the honeymoon/my new wife is an assassin movie. I don’t mean that as a complaint, just an exhausted observation of a tenuous connection in a writer’s work.

  • 3waystopsign

    ok

  • Lucid Walk

    Speaking of sci-fi movies…

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m boycotting Star Wars over Disney’s refusal to issue any more Princess Leia in a gold bikini dolls.

      http://news.moviefone.com/2015/11/04/princess-leias-gold-bikini-retired/

      Boo!!!

    • Erica

      Anymore trailers and the only thing left to see at the theater on release day will be credits.

      • Scott Crawford

        Here’s the credits here:

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2488496/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

        Top tip: Don’t look at the cast list on imdb before seeing a film. It usually gives away too much.

        And everyone who has a tiny part in a film lists themselves in the “uncredited” section.

      • Lucid Walk

        I disagree. We still don’t know the following things:

        -what became of Luke

        -Rey and Finn’s last names; maybe related to someone important

        -Who is Kylo Ren? He can use the force and yet he’s not a Sith, or else his name would be Darth Kylo or Darth Ren

        -Are these movies gonna be better than the prequels? Most likely

        -What I really want to know: Is this going to make more money than Avatar? I want it to, but remember, Avatar sits at $2.8 billion. No film has come close to that number. And if Star Wars can’t do it, no film can.

        • Greg

          Isn’t it obvious? Kylo Ren is Jar Jar Binks, the only remaining dark Jedi. Im hoping they introduce Jedi Holocrons into the new movies, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Scott Crawford

      Interesting how some foreign markets are putting Kylo Ren ahead of all the other characters.

      http://www.impawards.com/2015/posters/star_wars_episode_vii__the_force_awakens_ver11.jpg

  • CCM30atWork

    Hey Scott, not on my regular account, but if you could, send a copy my way! Would very much appreciate it. tri1337 @ hotmail . com

    Thanks!
    -CCM30

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent!

  • Levres de Sang

    Just wanted to point to some Confucian-like wisdom from Carson’s Bridesmaid review (linked above):

    “You haven’t mastered writing until you make the reader feel what your main character is feeling. That takes time. That takes a lot of practice.”

  • fragglewriter

    This movie sounds so boring. Who in their right mind would travel 30 miles in a monster infested world for some pu$$y. But as Brian sold a script and not me, he’s doing something absolutely right, I guess.

    • klmn

      Who in their right mind wouldn’t?

      If I had to spend my life in a bunker, I think I’d take my chances with the monsters.

      • fragglewriter

        OMG, are you serious?!?!?!!? There is and will never be a pu$$y so good that you are willing to risk your life to sex. Never!!!!!

        Just spit on it and handle the deed in the shower or under the covers.

        • klmn

          Monsters don’t scare me. I’d bring a good rifle.

          If I had to live in a bunker eating freeze-dried food, I’d go hunting for a change of diet and to get some sunlight.

          • fragglewriter

            SMMFH. Get it together.

    • Citizen M

      When everyone else is paired off and they view you with pity as a loser, you have to brave the monsters for your own self-respect.

      • fragglewriter

        I’d rather be known as the live loser.

        • klmn

          You can’t live your entire life in fear. Your blood pressure would shoot through the roof and you’d have a stroke or heart attack.

          • fragglewriter

            That’s why I would ma$turb8. It’s much easier and sometimes safer.

    • BellBlaq

      At the risk of sounding like a naive female… can we at least pretend the thought of companionship and love also occurred to Joel? Perhaps the vagina attached to the person was just a perk? No?

      • fragglewriter

        Maybe if the conditions in his bunker were unbearable that I he decides its best to leave the number and experience companionship. I haven’t read the script so I don’t if that has been addressed. But if he’s just sitting there all comfy and just got a hard on, then it seems lackluster and forced goal.

      • Wijnand Krabman

        That’s how we are (some of us) if we know there is a juicy vagina waiting we swim through rivers of puke and shit! Primal yes! Not have reading the script, I guess that the meeting with the girl didn’t work out as planned or there where a lot more available women and no man.

  • RO

    Is it me, or was this script reviewed by Carson a while ago? Everything in this post seems really familiar, and I know I read this script last year. Was it posted on the site or part of his newsletter? I can’t remember but this is definitely not a new article.

    I found the script fairly entertaining when I ready it a year ago, but was hoping to read something new this week.

    • Magga

      “This is a reposting from a long-ago newsletter. So busy this week! ”
      First line of review :)

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!

    • ursus

      Bother you for a copy? jrushbear at aol dot com. Thanks.

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Hi Scott, could you shoot me a copy too please?

  • BellBlaq

    I agree with you. The mythology is very sketchy. But then, Duffield’s mythologies are always sketchy. Kinda just gotta go with it cuz you like the ride.

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!

  • Scott Crawford

    Saw them both. Liked War, loved 3 Days.

    Love this bit.

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!

  • BellBlaq

    Please tell me I’m not really the only person who saw the twist ending coming before Joel even left the bunker? That’s not to say it wasn’t an entertaining read to me–I’m a Duffield fan–but as someone else said, it was anti-climactic ending that didn’t really make sense.

    Duffield’s good with character (if you like that kind of quirky underdog character), but I think all of his scripts up until JANE GOT A GUN lacked a solid story and plot. Stuff just happens. Entertaining stuff, mind you… but it’s ultimately just a series of events.

    “And then, and then, and then,”
    –instead of–
    “but, therefore” or “action-reaction.”

    The climax should be an inevitability; a build up to a (then) obvious and undeniable conclusion. Here, it’s (SPOILER SPOILER): “Well, that sucked and didn’t turn out how I wanted, so I guess I’ll go fight monsters for the rest of my life.”

    It reminds me of an anime I watched once purely for the title:
    I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job.

    Just plain silly. But I guess you can do that when your work’s mainly a Comedy?

  • Scott Crawford

    Setn!!!

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Crawford

    Sent!!!!

    • TajRoy

      Thank you.

  • Midnight Luck

    This 2am, or next 2am? Today 2am, tomorrow 2am? My 2 a.m or your 2 a.m.? Some other worlds’ 2a.m., Parisian 2am or China 2am?

    There are a lot of 2am’s out there.

    Just sayin’.

    • klmn

      2:00 a.m. Saturday, PST.

      • Midnight Luck

        I know, I know.
        I was just having fun with the fact that when he posted the deadline for entering the SS250, there was this huge, ongoing discussion of what he “meant” by his Midnight deadline.
        That discussion went on forever.
        And in the end, no one really knew what the answer was.

  • Howie428

    In summary, as a sci-fi fan reading this script makes me angry. As a screenwriter reading this script and seeing it getting lauded makes me despair. If this is what “good” is then my radar is screwed. Having said that, there is some fun in here and the ending does bring it home well.

    The opening of this story does the incongruous story-telling thing where it hinges on their world being like our world, but it clearly is not. This community has lived all their lives in tight confinement, presumably eating, shitting and bonking in a restricted space. Yet in spite of that being their normal state of affairs, the opening is about a socially awkward situation that would be awkward for us, but just day to day reality for them.

    Then we’re expected to think that Joel is shocked and troubled by a sex book, even though earlier on we’re told he is constantly forced to witness sex. Again he is responding like a naïve teenager from our world instead of like a twenty year old from this place.

    And he writes letters to his girlfriend even though there can have been no letter deliveries of any kind his whole life and if he needed to communicate with anyone in his own community he’d never have a reason to write to them. Yet another example of him doing something that fits in our world, but not in his. Of course, it’s great for the screenwriter since it justifies the voiceover fest that feeds us all the info about everything.

    And another one… the kids are told they will never see a flower, then we learn that the community eats corn, which has to grow somewhere and even weeds often have flowers, so they’d see flowers. Yet again the story gives us a beat that doesn’t fit with its world.

    And a character who has never had alcohol craves it. Why?

    Then a guy dies, freeing up one of the inaccessible women, which apparently happens a lot, and would actually happen even more in a world where a crisis happens and four men and no women go out to deal with it, but even though the balance now favors Joel, he still doesn’t get any action?

    Then we’re told that his assigned woman now has three other available guys to choose from and why in the world wouldn’t she do so?

    For me this might be the weakest opening to a sci-fi story I’ve seen in a long time. We have thirty pages worth of relationship issues and we have no idea how this community is surviving, what kind of work they do, or even the extent of the threat they face. It’s a post-apocalyptic community that exists only to function as a game of dating musical chairs.

    Also, I don’t really buy the idea that their community pairs off in such a quaint way. Gender imbalances exist in many animal communities, but nature finds ways to allow for it. Infidelity, prostitution, and polygamy being high up the list.

    When Joel gets outside, where he has never been before, he suddenly gets smart enough to recognize that a forest of big trees is to be avoided. Because as we all know people who have lived all their lives in tight confined spaces will seek out wide open plains and feel very safe exposed in the open… Oops, that doesn’t make sense either.

    The journey across the world has some fun encounters, even if the monster battles are overdone, there are some weak devices such as having Joel provide exposition by talking to his dog, and at times it’s like a parody version of After Earth.

    For me the encounter with Mavis would get dull on screen really quickly, and I don’t buy the idea that a guy who grew up in a bunker and never went outside would have any reason to bury a robot he just met.

    However, the ending is big, exciting, and does have a fun kind of twist, even if there’s also a bit of miraculous good fortune involved, and it’s not clear why these women do this, or how they continue their community.

    Another comment I’ll make about this is that not many monster movies with such an obvious sexual dimension get made. The costs of the effects typically demand that things be accessible to a wide audience and prudishness makes it tough to walk that line. This reason more than any other tells you why there is no greenlight on this yet.

    This script has all the qualities that Carson described yesterday, but does it reach the standard of “everything is fine”? No, for me it doesn’t.

    • Daivon Stuckey

      Totally agree with all that, especially the pairing off thing.

      Realistically, they wouldn’t be pairing off like that in such small numbers. They would all be having sex with each other on a regular basis, and even the most ugly awkward guy in a small isolated group would get some, because it’s for the benefit of the group that everyone is content.

      • Citizen M

        Alternatively, the alpha male would get a harem, his deputies would get one or two women each, and the low down on the totem pole men would have to turn gay, or grab a quickie as opportunity presents itself.

  • Midnight Luck

    McG is the absolute worst.
    Yes he may have been a good Music Video Director, but he sucks at making coherent, strong, intelligent storylines.
    Anyone see Terminator Salvation? Lordy was that the worst movie I have ever seen.
    Charlies Angels (the first one) was passable, the rest, terrible.
    3 Days to Kill and This Means War were pathetic.

    Why can he not make a story that follows scene to scene in an intelligent way? His movies are all over the place.

    Splatter-film, that aren’t even horror movies.

    I do not think this bodes well at all for THE BABYSITTER.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Anyone who calls themselves McG is already an asshat in my book.

      • Midnight Luck

        I concur
        McAsshatG

  • klmn

    The situation kinda reminds me of Pitcairn Island. It’s been a decade or more since I read the Nordhoff and Hall trilogy and a couple nonfiction books, but IIRC – the mutineers and a number of Polynesian women (and a few Polynesian men) landed on an obscure island and then burnt the Bounty. There weren’t enough women to go around and I think one or a number of murders took place.

  • brenkilco

    OK read it. I can see why the guy sells scripts. He is so pristinely sophomoric that it may well be that he has his finger on the pulse of a large chunk of the movie going demographic. The thing moves, well, after an endless and mostly uneventful first act. But then it’s just one damned monster after another, and often two at once since you need a second to save the hapless protag from the first. And then about eighty pages in you get a reversal of sorts, albeit one cribbed from countless other stories. If people find the treacly YA level romance touching, well, whatever. The brief, half assed fairytale explanation for the state of things, poached from Stephen King, is just irritating and the relationship with the stray dog more than a little shameless. If this does represent the best of the best, God help us.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I don’t think it’s supposed to represent the best of anything. The guy just has an in. He gets his stuff read. Studios buy because of a perceived track record that really doesn’t exist (unless selling spec scripts IS the track record, in which case he’s got it in spades over all of us). Duffield writing a spec script is a self fulfilling prophecy. To paraphrase Field of Dreams, if he writes it, they will come (calling).

      • brenkilco

        But Carson isn’t describing this as just a piece of product that will hit the market sweet spot. He’s touting it as superior script in all ways: voice, structure, characterization. And I for one am severely undewhelmed.

    • charliesb

      I can see why the guy sells scripts. He is so pristinely sophomoric that it may well be that he has his finger on the pulse of a large chunk of the movie going demographic.

      Wow. I think someone needs a snickers.

      • brenkilco

        You’re just not yourself after wading through some of this stuff.

    • Daniel A

      I’d also like to take a look at this so-called great script.. Mind passing me a copy? kon310@gmail.com thank you in advance!

  • Malibo Jackk

    Was kinda hoping for a [xxx] impressive.
    Would like to take a look if anyone has the script.

    malibujackk@gmail.com

    • Midnight Luck

      on its way…

      • Anthony Dioniso

        Also would love to read this please,

        Foxtrotfenris@gmail.com

        Ty

        • Midnight Luck

          it is almost there….

  • 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?

    • 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.
      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.

      • Dreaming in Celluloid

        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.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          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 see for themselves. 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 :)

          • Dreaming in Celluloid

            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)

          • Dreaming in Celluloid

            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.

          • Dreaming in celluloid

            Can someone please continue to answer me as I really do not feel satisfied with the conclusion of the conversation.

      • Dreaming in Celluloid

        Read the above writing and you’d understand where I am coming from….

  • Poe_Serling

    Here’s this year’s Young and Hungry List (the Top 100 writers on the verge) from The Tracking Board:

    http://www.tracking-board.com/the-young-and-hungry-list-2015-the-top-100-writers-on-the-verge/

    I see a couple of familiar names:

    Carver Gray – writer of Unlawful.

    and

    Alex Carl – writer of Fascination 127 (No. 3 on Carson’s Top Ten amateur list) and Cold Brook.

    A big congrats to both writers.

    • Acarl

      Thanks, Poe! I really do appreciate your eyes and insight over these few years. Has made a huge difference for me.

  • vin c

    i have a copy of this script but it’s such a bad scan it’s basically unreadable. is that the only one going around? if not, I’d really appreciate it if someone shoots it over. djconz@gmail.com thank you

    • Citizen M

      Sent.

  • Danny

    Can I get a copy from anyone? Sounds interesting to read. thanks.
    dbeggs13@gmail.com

    • Citizen M

      SEnt

      • Steve

        If you could shoot it on to stevedmann1984@gmail.com it’d be much appreciated!

        • Citizen M

          Shotted on.

      • sad jane

        Hi there,
        Any chance you still have Monster Problems?
        Can you send to nasawolf@gmail.com if you can?
        Many thanks!!!!

        • Citizen M

          sent.

  • klmn

    I finished it. The middle of the script was pretty repetitive, with one monster after another. Kinda boring.

    Maybe it will work better on film.

    Or maybe someone should just remake A Boy And His Dog.

    • klmn

      Addendum: the last sentence of Monster Problems references that movie.

  • klmn

    doesn’t look like Carson has reviewed A Boy And His Dog.

  • Citizen M

    sent

  • Citizen M

    Sent

  • Citizen M

    An example of celerity without sagacity.

  • charliesb

    I really liked this script, and while I liked the narrative, it’s definitely Duffield’s voice that sold it to me. This and Jane’s Got a Gun are probably my two favourites of his, though even the ones that didn’t quite connect for me Vivianne Hasn’t Been Herself and The Babysitter, both have that quality that makes you want to keep reading. If Duffield had been born a little earlier and had been able to make films with “old Spielberg”, Dante and Verhoven I’m sure we (or at least some of us) would be lauding them as classics today.

  • bruckey
  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    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!)

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week is a tie between DAN DEMONIC and SMARTHOME.

    OTHERSIDE INC

    Read to page 20. I had two main problems. A) Nothing much seemed to be happening; and B) The characters knew stuff I didn’t. Then there was the always-irritating female with a male name (Alex), plus assorted extraordinary creatures with ordinary names. It may be hipster-ironic, but it doesn’t make the read any easier. Names have to take the place of actually seeing the character. Make them as distinctive and informative as appearance. Also, scene numbers are not needed.

    I was put off by the very first scene. Destroying and stealing cultural artifacts I associate with ISIS. Indiana Jones has conditioned us to think of archeologists as good guys. These are too bad to be good, and not bad enough to be bad. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about them.

    Wallis joins the company because she has a certain skill. What is it? She knows, Rekha knows, they talk about it, but I don’t know. That makes me feel left out. That’s not what you want a reviewer to feel. You want us to feel engaged.

    Spend some time describing the creatures. I confused minotaur with centaur (a minotaur is a man with the head of a bull). I had no idea what an ifrit was (a giant winged smoke creature). Scripts are no fun to read when you have to stop and google stuff.

    A boring office scene remains a boring office scene if you replace the boring people with strange creatures. It’s not funny either. You need things to be happening. Situations set up that we know the dreadful outcomes of if something isn’t done. Here a gem is missing. What will happen if it’s not recovered? I have no idea, so I don’t feel the need to read on and find out what happened. Nor do I care anything for the Wu brothers, because i know nothing about them. If their precious gem is missing, so what?

    Is the scene with Rekha’s parents necessary. It seems like padding to give a bit of color. If they’re not part of the plot, drop it. It’s slowing things down.

    DAN DEMONIC

    Read to page 33. Easily readable and lots of fun, the world is quickly set up and efficiently described, but I’m getting a bit tired of demons Dan and Harry. Their constant bickering seems to be getting us nowhere. The writer seems more interested in world-building than in story-telling. I want to see progress on getting the wormhole machine fixed. And what was the Courier carrying that was so important? Don’t keep us in suspense for so long; we lose interest.

    Warning: Do not google “African Great Tit”

    THE ILIAD

    Read to page 10. Heavy going. Lots of exposition, not much action resulting from characters’ choices. I’m not sure how the viewer will know who is a king and of what land. Maybe it’s not important. I don’t know the Iliad. I need more background that I’m getting from the script. Where exactly are we, in modern terms? And who is fighting who? We have kings of Argos, Pylos, Salamis, Mycenae, Sparta, Ithaca, Troy, and Lyrnessus. Who is allied with who? What are the issues? Perhaps just focus on one or two key characters and their motivations, rather than the whole picture.

    AMERICAN FUNERAL

    Read to page 15. The writing is far too novelistic. Too many unfilmables. You need a more graphic way to demonstrate agoraphobia. It wasn’t until I reread the logline that i realized that was why Dougie was scared to go outside. Maybe it would be better to start with Nancy and co going off to the funeral, and her reciting the rules to him before she goes. Then when he’s alone he breaks the rules. That builds tension, because we know punishment will follow discovery, and also we want to find out why such a weird set of rules. As it is, I’m not feeling any threat to Dougie.

    S M A R T H O M E

    Read to page 26. I’d like to read on but i have to go. The first scene at the airports was confusing because i couldn’t figure out if the ticket agent was in the airport, or Jim was talking to her on the phone. Interesting use of modern apps, although the millenial comparisons were overdone. Windows 8 has become Windows 10, otherwise it seems bang up to date. I know the Japanese are crazy about gadgetry, so the smart home didn’t seem too way out. I’m guessing this is set a little bit into the future. I’m not aware that the stuff described is available now, but it’s close. It’s Kafka brought up to date, with an uncaring call center and a vengeful house with no escape. I just wonder if there’s enough material for a full-length movie.

    • Kirk Diggler

      You might want to also post this in this Amateur thread just so went the votes get counted your notes aren’t overlooked.

  • Citizen M

    Sent..

  • ursus

    Love to read this if anyone can shoot it over. Thank you. jrushbear at aol dot com

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    Sweet! I’ve been waiting forever to find out about this project! (Actively started reading Scriptshadow after this was originally reviewed in the newsletter)

  • august4

    Initial thoughts… the “monsters” were so goofy and uninspiring I thought this was a joke!! A three-headed T-rex called a C-REX? A giant frog living in a pool that sucks up a raptor? A giant spider called a SHELOBITCH???? Did he write this script in one afternoon, stoned out of his mind?? lol

  • august4

    I found it to be amateurish at best and the “monsters” to be ridiculous!

  • august4

    “Imagine Sleepless in Seattle. Mixed with a John Hughes film. Mixed with Harry Potter. Mixed with Pacific Rim??” HUH???? I swear, Duffield has nude pics of Carson with a monkey! lol This is such a one dimensional story with a boring journey it felt like an amateur’s FIRST attempt at a screenplay!! Also… with men from their small colony dying all the time, wouldn’t there be females available there???? This is just a bad script!

  • Lucid Walk

    I liked it. Despite all the flak from everyone else, I liked it.

    I’m surprised Duffield could get away with such sparse descriptive lines. I myself have a habit of fleshing everything out. And as for voice, Duffield infuses comedy into his description, with lines like, “Joel turns around, sees the monster, and knows he’s fucked.” And Carson’s right; he certainly doesn’t lack imagination, the most crucial element in all of screenwriting.

    Don’t even get me started on the balancing. Like any blockbuster (if that’s what this is), we get a grand, spectacular action sequence. After that, we get a slow, touching moment between the characters; our way of recharging, because then we get another action sequence, followed by another slow scene and it goes on. Joel fights a monster. Meets Clyde. Fights a monster. Meets the astronaut. Fights a monster and so forth.

    What I liked most of all was how left-field the script was. Every post-apocalyptic story is either grim or super melodramatic, with the characters whining about the state of the world. Instead, Duffield counterbalances it with sarcastic humor, thanks to Joel.

    I liked Monster Problems. Script-wise, it was good. Story-wise, it was great.

  • hickeyyy

    Sent!