Will the adult diaper in Pale Blue Dot become the next Wilson the Volleyball?

Genre: Drama (based on a true story)
Premise: When a female astronaut returns home after her first trip into space, she finds her family life unwinding due to the unique pressures of her job.
About: Pale Blue Dot is a rarity – a DRAMA spec sale. The script started gaining buzz early in the year and then when Reese Witherspoon hopped on, was summarily snatched up. The writing team of Brian C. Brown and Elliot DiGuiseppi are coming off the buzz of landing on last year’s Black List with their biopic, “Uncle Shelby,” about cartoonist Shel Silverstein.
Writers: Brian C. Brown and Elliot DiGuiseppi
Details: 121 pages (undated)

reese-witherspoon-2-600

Well shit. I didn’t know this was the crazy astronaut diaper story!

The way they presented this in the trades it was some gloomy drama about an astronaut trying to re-adjust to life on earth. But this is the story of that crazy astronaut chick who wore a diaper on a cross-country road trip to go murder the lover of her lover.

Which means we’ve got ourselves a screenplay!

Or do we?

At its heart, Pale Blue Dot is a drama – and the drama genre is a dying player in the movie business (unless we’re talking about biopics). I suppose this is kind of a biopic. It’s a true story, at least. But Pale Blue Dot exemplifies why dramas are on life-support. They just don’t generate the kind of heat that today’s busy audiences require to stop their lives and come to the theater.

Laura Pepper has achieved what very few people in history have achieved, especially women. She’s an astronaut. After coming home from her first mission, Laura should be on top of the world. And yet, minutes after touching down, all she can think about is when she’ll go back up again. This is despite having a wonderful loving husband and three amazing children.

While Laura struggles with these selfish feelings, she meets one of NASA’s hotshot astronauts, Mark Goodwin. The cocksure Goodwin is everything her husband isn’t. He’s carefree, he’s cool, he’s dangerous. And Laura needs danger right now – anything to fill the void of not being up there.

The two begin an affair almost immediately and things go from fun to serious. Or at least they do on Laura’s end. Laura can’t go a day without needing Mark. She needs to touch him, feel him, be next to him.

But the two are both married and there are unwritten protocols at NASA that astronauts can’t get involved with one another. For now, they’ll have to hide their love. But Mark assures Laura that all of this is temporary. They’ll figure out a way to be together soon.

And then Erin comes along. Erin is the hot new recruit who immediately catches Mark’s eye. Laura notices something between the two but convinces herself it’s nothing.

Unfortunately, it turns out Mark isn’t exactly the committed affair type after all. And when Laura learns the two are meeting up in another state to bang, she jumps in her car, determined to stop them. What follows has become one of the most infamous stories to ever make the news, and destroyed the lives of all three astronauts involved.

Let’s start with the obvious. We’ve got a drama spec sale here (a rarity). But before you drama writers start crafting your battle cry, keep in mind that this script is based on a true story. There’s no doubt that that played a huge role in the sale. I don’t think this gets past the first reader if it’s fiction.

And that’s because Pale Blue Dot is a lot more interesting as a discussion piece than it is a screenplay. It blasts off into territory most screenwriting teachers would tell you to avoid, the most obvious being our unlikable female protagonist. One of the first pieces of advice I heard when I started writing screenplays was: Male protagonists can cheat, female protagonists can’t.

This is not some sexist creed scratched up by male studio heads. It was formed after hundreds of test screenings over the years. When the audience – both male and female – saw the female main character cheat on her husband, they hated her, and hated the rest of the movie as a result.

Pullondaydiaper25128

Well, Pale Blue Dot takes this to a whole new level. Laura isn’t just cheating on her boyfriend or her husband. She’s got three kids! She’s choosing cheap sex over an entire family. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this attempted in a movie before (with the female as the main character). It flies in the face of everything they’ve told us audiences will accept, so it’s a really bold move by both the writers and Reese.

But I think the script has far bigger problems to worry about. Cheating lead character or not, there isn’t a whole lot that happens in the movie.

I recently watched an interview with Francis Ford Coppola and he conceded that when he was editing The Godfather (a movie he initially didn’t want to make), he was afraid audiences would think it would be some long boring drama.

And this is the problem with drama. It doesn’t have those devices that help you easily keep an audience’s attention. Fear, thrills, action. The only thing you have to keep your audience watching is, well, drama. And in a world where the average person’s attention span has been cut in half since the year 2000, it’s become debatable whether that’s enough.

I used to hate when scripts started with a wild opening sequence only to jump back to “1 month earlier” or “1 year earlier.” I thought it was a cheap lazy device. But I’m realizing that with drama, it’s the only device to use if you want a shot at keeping your reader’s attention.

Pale Blue Dot starts with our heroine, Laura, wearing a wig, carrying a gun, and changing her soiled adult diaper right there in the middle of a gas station. It’s an intriguing series of events that definitely caught my interest. But then we cut to “1 year earlier” and we have to endure 100 pages of a woman feeling sorry for herself because earth isn’t as cool as space.

I have to admit though that if Brown and DiGuiseppi didn’t write it that way (with that opening scene), I never would’ve made it past page 20. No matter how bored I got, I had to see what happened with that diaper! So as annoying as those opening scenes are, I have to admit this one worked.

What didn’t work was Pale Blue Dot’s second act. It’s a woman feeling sorry for herself (a terrible trait in any character), wishing she was back in space, building a relationship with another astronaut. Even the affair felt restrained.

I mean, had Laura actually killed this woman, this would be Academy Award bait all the way. But when you don’t have a dead body, and your star scene is a soiled adult diaper, you need to start questioning whether you have enough meat for a screenplay.

On top of all of this, Pale Blue Dot struggles to explain how this love triangle is different from any other love triangle. I mean couldn’t this have just as easily been salespeople at a car dealership, waiters and waitresses at a restaurant, attorneys at a law firm? Having your astronaut characters say things like, the rest of the world “doesn’t understand us,” doesn’t make this an astronaut-specific story. And if it’s not astronaut-specific, you’re not exploiting half your hook (the other half, of course, being adult diapers).

With that said, the writers achieved what everyone who visits this site is trying to achieve – they got a major attachment and sold their script. So if there’s any advice to come out of this, I’d say it’s when writing a drama, write a part that a major actor/actress would want to play.

Laura’s astronaut-turned-diaper-wearing-scorned-lover character is, without a doubt, the kind of mind an actress would want to jump into. And so if there’s a saving grace to Pale Blue Dot, that would be it.

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

What I learned: Dead bodies change everything. Seriously, if you have a drama you’re struggling with right now, figure out a way to get a dead body in there. I guarantee your script becomes 100 times more interesting. Look at one of the most famous dramas of all time, American Beauty. The movie starts with a dead body. Our main character’s. – Pale Blue Dot’s Achilles’ heal is that nobody got hurt. Nothing bad actually happened. And that hangs over the story throughout, leaving the reader with a distinct feeling of, “That’s it?”

  • brenkilco

    ” But when you don’t have a dead body, and your star scene is a soiled adult diaper, you need to start questioning whether you have enough meat for a screenplay.”

    You may not believe this but I have that bit of wisdom embroidered on a sampler hanging on my wall.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Yeah, just saw this one myself. The story, as you say, isn’t amazing, but Oscar Issac can act his way out of a kevlar bag.

  • fragglewriter

    I remember reading this story in the news and thought this was the most interesting, albeit psychotic, story that I’ve ever read. I think Reese is definitely a miscast in this script. She doesn’t know how to do drama, IMO.

    I don’t believe every drama needs to have a flashback so early on to be interesting. If you start at a specific point, or angle, the perfect family can intertwine with dramatic tensions with little to no effort. If a flashback or dream sequence is necessary, the writer still has to keep us entertained with the action points of the character’s life. It’s just unfortunate that drama today is what some considered Melodrama years ago. If you watch successful dramas from back in the day, you understand to incorporate the life beats into the drama, not the sadness or dread.

    Also, I think a dead body in a drama is definitely a key to keep the pace up, but only if it’s organic to the story. A dead body isn’t a necessity in every story.

    • filmklassik

      Yeah, I dearly hope the flashback-at-the-top thing isn’t becoming a “rule” for successful drama. Cause making it a mandate seems… nuts.

  • https://twitter.com/deanmaxbrooks deanb

    I had once considered using the “crazy astronaut diaper story” for an Apatow-esque feature comedy some time ago, but nothing seemed to land. Even had a ballsy, attention-grabbing, Blacklist-baited title all ready to go.

    Logline: An astronaut in consideration for the next NASA mission must clear a psychological background check, but a psychotic diaper-wearing ex-girlfriend shows up and threatens to spoil everything.

    Title: Don’t Stick Your Dick in Crazy

    I’m excited to see that someone finally wrangled the diaper story, but personally I don’t see how it’s anything but fodder for comedy, instead of drama. When I first read about Pale Blue Dot, I thought it would be more of a psychological growth drama (like Witherspoon’s ‘Wild’), but fate has intervened, and it looks like America’s movie going infantilism enthusiasts can rejoice.

    Also, Carson, Joe, the female lead in Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac,’ cheats on her husband, and leaves her toddler behind for cheap sex multiple times.

    • BSBurton

      Too funny DeanB, love the title. I imagine it would be a hard story to crack.

    • carsonreeves1

      You forgot the obligatory bleeped out word in the title.

      Don’t Stick Your D___ In Crazy

      or

      Don’t ____ Your ____

    • klmn

      Actually, it doesn’t sound like a feature – more like a tv movie. What it reminds me of is this one:

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107861/combined

  • IgorWasTaken

    The script started gaining buzz early in the year and then when Reese Witherspoon hopped on, was summarily snatched up

    Paging Dr. Freud.

  • IgorWasTaken

    Look at one of the most famous dramas of all time, American Beauty.

    So famous, it’s now featured in an odd ad for Renault –

  • IgorWasTaken

    I used to hate when scripts started with a wild opening sequence only to
    jump back to “1 month earlier” or “1 year earlier.” I thought it was a
    cheap lazy device. But I’m realizing that with drama, it’s the only
    device to use if you want a shot at keeping your reader’s attention.

    Interesting evolution. I mean that seriously.

    I mean, had Laura actually killed this woman, this would be Academy Award bait all the way.

    OK, so let’s say you’re the studio development exec and you see these very same problems. If great characters are what people want, what about making the second half of the film fictional?

    So after the real-life first half… Have her kill someone – maybe not the other woman, but someone who hits on her at a gas station along the way. Or she kills someone with her car. And then – We see this real-life character deal with a fictional problem.

    Kinda like what Oliver Stone did with “JFK”.

    • Randy Williams

      or have her have a fantasy world that revolves around her time in space. Some sex scene where semen is floating in zero gravity around their bodies and then she kills her lover with some sharp instrument and blood does the same.

      • IgorWasTaken

  • carsonreeves1

    I should add that I see potential in this script somewhere. I don’t know if they approached it from the wrong angle or need a few more drafts, but there’s something to the idea that isn’t being exploited yet. Maybe it’s that it isn’t crazy enough. For an event this weird, I think they need to take more chances.

    • hickeyyy

      I really do think it has potential to be awesome, but based on how you describe it, it feels cheap. Look at this entry on Wiki:

      “Nowak drove from Houston to Orlando, Florida, on February 4–5, 2007. She packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistoland ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, approximately $585 (USD) in cash, her computer, an 8-inch (20 cm) Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,400 km) to Florida. ”

      Now that is a LOT of shit to take. Any of that make the cut? Because that SEEMS a whole lot like someone is getting murdered.

      • Casper Chris

        I remember reading about that story for the first time a few months ago. Didn’t realize it was based on that.

    • MGE3

      I haven’t read the script but from the sound of it, Act Two has a serious lack of goals. Laura shouldn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself, she should be doing everything in her power to get back to space. That means overtraining to the point of obsession, trying to persuade NASA to let her on the next mission and finally “getting close” or even sabotaging the next shuttle crew. Furthermore, there’s an opportunity to ramp up the conflict by making Mark the next mission trainer and putting Erin on the shuttle crew.

      We want to see Laura get so obsessive and tightly wound in pursuit of a goal (ie: return to space) that when she can’t achieve it, it’s believable that she snaps and cuts right to murder. This script should feel read like WHIPLASH or BLACK SWAN.

    • brenkilco

      So as to whether this story could really work, I guess you’re saying it depends.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Brilliant.

    • Andrew Parker

      I think you have to go the Coen Brothers route for this to work.

      It was certainly competently written, but lacked the “rootability” of JOY or the “good guy slowly turns evil from greed” of THE FOUNDER.

      It has the bones for a “quirky characters, unique journey” story that Coens sometimes veer into, such as BURN AFTER READING. But the writers went straight down the middle with the story, making it harder to find an audience.

      This is something a lot of writers, including myself, struggle with — fudging the facts of a true story to make it interesting.

  • Poe_Serling

    A few years back I remember watching a fascinating short documentary film called the The Overview Effect. The concept was coined and explored in more detail by Frank White in his book of the same name.

    The overview effect deals with the ‘cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.’

    Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, described it as ‘a profound sense of connectedness, with a feeling of bliss and timelessness. He was overwhelmed by the experience. He became profoundly aware that each and every atom in the Universe was connected
    in some way, and on seeing Earth from space he had an understanding that all the humans, animals and systems were a part of the same thing, a synergistic whole.’

    Just based on Carson’s review, the female astronaut seems to be suffering from the flip side of this noticeable attitude change from her experience in space.

    .

    • S.C.

      The Command Module Pilots of the Apollo program were the most isolated human beings in history; while their colleagues were walking on the moon, the Command Module Pilots (like Michael Collins) were orbiting alone thousands of miles away.

      It’s not explicitly stated in the film, but Dave Bowman at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey is piloting the spacecraft all on his own for months.

      It takes a special type of human to survive alone for extended periods of time. No wonder Matt Damon went psycho.

      • Poe_Serling

        “It takes a special type of human to survive alone for extended periods of time…”

        Also, the central idea behind the pilot episode of the TV series The Twilight Zone.

        “Where is Everybody?” – Mike Ferris finds himself walking into a town utterly
        devoid of people, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, the
        only clue to his identity being the Air Force jumpsuit he’s wearing.

  • Citizen M

    I thought the title was misleading. There’s almost nothing astronaut-related. Some alternatives…

    I PEED IN MY PANTIES FOR LOVE

    DRIVE WET

    SOILED AND FURIOUS

    NO PITSTOP (My fave, but Carson says the first scene is a pitstop. Oh well.)

    DIE, BITCH

    DEADLY ORBIT

    • S.C.

      THE WRONG STUFF

      • Paul Schellens

        Lol. I can totally picture this as a Will Ferrell comedy. All those crazy astronaut tests – it basically writes itself!

        • Paul Schellens

          A hapless XYZ (profession TBD), stuck in an unhappy rut, who just happens to have the same name as an Air Force pilot, is mistakenly invited into NASA’s astronaut training program. He remarkably makes it through training, but when things go wrong on his first mission, his skills as an XYZ save the day.

    • Charles Walters

      Good ones. Another ..

      ASTRONUTS

      • Casper Chris

        ASTRONAUT’S ASS GO NUTS

    • IgorWasTaken

      DEPENDS

      • Randy Williams

        I’m fond of
        Debbie Doesn’t Do Rest Stops.

    • Kirk Diggler

      A Dutiful Woman.

      Urine Love.

      Diaper Mandy (have to change the character name)

      Theme song could be a remake of Barry Manilow’s “Looks Like We(she) Made it”

      • Kirk Diggler

        Fuck, I just referenced Barry Manilow.

        Not. Good.

    • filmklassik

      Perhaps…

      SKID MARKS?

    • Midnight Luck

      Faster Shitstain, Kill, Kill

    • Paul Clarke

      I thoroughly agree. Pale Blue Dot is a brilliant astronaut movie title (and a brilliant speech). It would be a travesty to waste it on Reese and her giant chin, and this stuck on Earth story.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      DOODIE CALLS

      THE SHAWSTANK REDEMPTION

      1 ANGRY BITCH

      FLIGHT CLUB

      ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (2015)

      THE MATRIX IN MY PANTS

      LIFE IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL, ASSHOLE

      THE YELLOW MILES

      THE DEFECATED

      DAS BOOTY

      A CLOCKWORK BROWN…AND SOME YELLOW

      FULL COTTON DIAPER

      SNATCH (2015)

      ALL ABOUT SUMMER’S EVE (Enjoy Being A Woman)

      SOME LIKE IT WARM..AND MUSHY

      UNFORGIVEN (2015)

      RAGING BITCH

      Funny how 3 of these fit perfectly.

  • Casper Chris

    Remember a few days ago when I suggested to daddio Ninja that he write a story about diapers and feces? That Carson would probably like it? Turns out I was closer to the truth than I could’ve ever imagined:

    No matter how bored I got, I had to see what happened with that diaper! – Carson Reeves

  • S.C.

    It made the news a few years ago and it was referenced in an episode of 30 ROCK, but by now people have largely forgotten it. If she wasn’t an astronaut it would barely have made the local news – it was the diaper (nappy) that made it a global story. Then.

  • Scott Strybos

    When I read the title of today’s post, of the screenplay Carson was reviewing, I was excited; I thought it was an adaptation of Carl Sagan’s book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space—not a story about a psychotic astronaut who pisses and shits herself.

    • Linkthis83

      me too.

    • Midnight Luck

      Contact was so awesome.

      • Scott Strybos

        Contact is one of my all-time favorite films. I even liked the much-abhorred alien-Dad ending.

        • Midnight Luck

          Me too. I’ve seen it like a hundred times.
          Loved everything about it.
          Interstellar wished it was even a tenth of what Contact was.
          It tried, but wasn’t even close.

          • ff

            I couldn’t agree more.

  • S.C.

    Sent!

    • crazdwriter

      could I get a copy too — moviegurl at me dot com?

      While there was no dead body — there was a pepper spray confrontation. In a case like this that is a true story — how much leniency should a writer use? While not a dead body, would a violent confrontation be a nice alternative?

      • S.C.

        Sent! Have a flick through, tell us what you think of it.

  • S.C.

    Latest trailers:

    END OF THE TOUR

    PAWN SACRIFICE

    POINT BREAK

    • Scott Strybos

      From what I have seen in the trailer, this is an anti-scriptshadow film—no clear goal, no stakes, no urgency, no mystery, minimal conflict. Only talking and pontificating.

      • Brainiac138

        Stakes are low, but the goal is to finish the story for Rolling Stone. It is a great film.

  • Citizen M

    I think it would work better if she met the guy before she went into space, and while she was in orbit she learns that he is seeing another young recruit.

    So she has all this time while she’s in space to plot her revenge. Then when she gets back to earth she realizes she just wants to fly into space again, but she also wants her lover and revenge on the other woman. There’s your conflict — if she acts out her revenge fantasies she will never be allowed back into space again.

    This is slightly different from the real-life situation, but close enough that I think it can be called true given artistic licence.

    • S.C.

      “Inspired by a true story” may not sound as good as “based on a true story” but it gives you greater freedom.

      Here’s the true story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSX_8888_incident

      And here’s the fictionalization:

      • Scott Strybos

        I thoroughly enjoy this film every time I watch it.

        • S.C.

          Tony Scott loved trains. Did you know he originally developed MONEY TRAIN as a serious crime drama?

          R.I.P.

      • Scott Strybos

        One of my favorite based on a true story text at the beginning of a film is 500 days of Summer:

        Author’s Note: The following is a work of fiction.

        Any resemblance to persons living or dead Is purely coincidental.

        Especially you Jenny Beckman.

        Bitch

        (True story—before the film went into production, for legal reasons, the writer, Scott Neustadter, had to give a copy of the script for 500 Days of Summer to the girl who Summer was heavily based on—for those who haven’t seen the film the basic premise is a guy, Tom, is in love with a girl, Summer, who breaks his heart repeatedly, absolutely destroys him, and is kind of a villain, and if not a villain, definitely the antagonist—Anyway, this girl reads the script, calls Scott up and says how much she loved the script… And how much she identified with the Tom character.)

    • Citizen M

      After giving it a bit of a think, I’m wrong. Space needs to be her happy place that she wants to return to. Hearing about a love rival while she’s in space will link it with unpleasant feelings and she won’t want to return.

      So have her meet the guy before she goes into space. She’s attracted, but nothing happens between them before liftoff. During her space flight he’s the capsule communicator or whatever they call it, and continues a mild flirtation which she builds in her mind into a raging romance.

      Then she returns to earth and finds he’s been boffing the intern, all her dreams are destroyed, and she must take revenge.

  • Randy Williams

    For me the fascination in this script is that this is a human being whom I would have considered “enlightened”, having gone to space, seen the Earth from that distance. Gotten closer to God, so to speak.
    And yet, she’s bound to earth with her own love sickness to the point of wanting to kill and her bodily wastes.
    So, perhaps in reworking, I’d make a character a younger student of her mentorship who feels the same way I do. A character in awe of this person. Tell the story from this character’s point of view, and have the astronaut take this student “down” with her.

    • S.C.

      Yes, adding another fictional character to a true story to contrast the main character is often a good idea, and I think a young idolater might work well.

      Hope the writers are reading this and taking notes!

  • crazdwriter

    In this day and age, with the sensibility of audiences changing, is the unlikeable female protag who cheats really a dealbreaker any more? Look at Young Adult, it’s not quite the same, but wasn’t she pursuing a married man who had a child? I don’t recall people being all up in arms over that.

    • S.C.

      I don’t recall that many people saw Young Adult!

      Which is the point – you CAN do anything you want, but you’re warned off it because the audience for movies about older women (women over the age of 25) are less likely to see a homewrecking woman as a hero.

      There are successful examples – can’t think of any off the top of my head – where two married people cheat on their partners (with each other) at the same time. Or where the heroine is estranged or almost completely seperated from her husband. But there have been few (successful) FATAL ATTRACTION-type movies with women in the Michael Douglas role as a married woman with kids.

    • filmklassik

      I’m not sure it’s even acceptable for male protagonists anymore, either. Or at least, AS acceptable.

      Larry Cohen’s original screenplay for PHONE BOOTH had the protagonist, played by Colin Farrell in the movie, being a cocksure philanderer, which made perfect sense for the character.

      But in the movie they actually made, Farrell’s a guy who is just PLANNING to cheat on his wife, which I thought was kind of… well, a cheat. It felt like weak tea, and I thought I smelled the paws of meddling and skittish studio executives all over the answer print.

      I’m convinced this change was suggested (mandated?) by indignant (perhaps female?) studio execs who were basically saying, “Why should I care about a hero who cheats??”

      One more example: The way James L. Brooks chose (either on his own or through studio pressure) to have Adam Sandler’s married character NOT fall into bed with his beautiful housekeeper at the end of SPANGLISH (which would’ve made sense for the story) also felt like a cop out. Instead Sandler and the housekeeper end up having what the screenplay refers (rather gaggingly, I might add) as “The talk of their lives” or some such shit.

      Had the movie remained true to itself and ended properly, it would have been… COULD have been… an okay (though far from great) adult comedy. As it was, it was terrible.

      • HRV

        Funny, when this type of behavior is nothing new to Hollywood.

    • Midnight Luck

      Is everyone really that UPTIGHT?

      LIke women don’t cheat on men, and men don’t cheat on women. Come on.

      Is it really forbidden to mention or have something in a movie which is part of real life?

      People are so uncomfortable and scared of everything. It seems like everyone thinks if something isn’t shown or talked about then it isn’t real.

      For the billions of male roles that have been philanderers, you’d think it would be the same for women. It would just be part of the story being told. But no, women are supposed to be wholesome and nurturing and never do anything wrong. If they do then people stone them to death in other cultures. Or They are called Witches and burned at the stake.

      Seriously, civilization is so ass-backwards.

      I think a really well done movie where the woman is the sexual minx and has no second thoughts about it would be fantastic, specifically because there is such a taboo against it.

      • susanrichards

        Maybe. But you’re more open minded. And you have a very good point in..”a really well done movie”.
        What about “Bridges of Madison County”? She’s not really a sexual minx, but she has an affair. It’s all how the story is told, no? People don’t like “cheaters” cos it’s such a negative word. But, if you show your protagonist (male or female) battle with it, show a human flaw and how they deal with it…tell a good story in a very good way, well..there you go. Affairs, for men or women, are usually reactions to something bigger. Show that world, show them battle internally and suffer because of it, you have a decent story.
        The film “Unfaithful” was very different. While it may have been very true to what happens every day, it was not the story people want to see. Besides, the husband was Richard Gere. I mean….really?
        Both female protagonists had affairs. But each was explored differently.
        I think maybe Anne Bancroft in “The Graduate” is more what you’re talking about? Her role was fantastic! I wonder how THAT film would be, told from her perspective….

  • Randy Williams

    and the diaper can be an idiot savant like Dustin Hoffman in RainMan.

    • fragglewriter

      That $hit was funny lol

  • Jai Brandon

    Alright, ladies and gents! I’ve taken all of your constructive criticism into account and have now re-written the first act (30 pgs) for the script formerly known as THREE OR OUT. Lots more meat added to this bone and somehow, I’ve managed to save an entire page. Check out the result of your feedback!

    TITLE: A Guide For Ending The Blues
    GENRE: Drama/Comedy
    LOGLINE: A sheltered mama’s boy, nearing the end of his rope, hires a would-be criminal to improve his pitiful circumstances. But complications arise when the life coach’s past catches up with them.

    https://www.sendspace.com/file/xu294i

    • Levres de Sang

      I’m so NOT the audience for dramedy, but I must say you’ve done a great job here!

      I fairly breezed through these pages and was totally invested in the characters and their relationships. I’d only taken a quick glance at your original version, but I’m impressed by the speed at which you’ve incorporated the vast array of AOW and AF notes. Needless to say, it’s also a testament to the SS crowd!!

      Best of luck with this project. And, as a couple of others have already said, I can really see it making the Black List.

      • Jai Brandon

        Much thanks, Levres! I work pretty quickly, as my mind tends to obsess over getting things done. I was on the phone talking to the crisis center in Memphis on Sunday, just two days after the review. I still have some cleaning up to do with the new pages, but I wanted everyone to see their feedback at work. These pages wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the Scriptshadow community and I owe a ton of thanks to those who chimed in with notes!

    • IgorWasTaken

      As I read page one, I liked the reveal. Except, when I then read the rest of that scene… I suggest the reveal would be much better if you started with Xavier and stayed with him for the entire phone call. Including him hearing Patricia in the background. (Obviously, that means the stuff you now have that’s “muted” would have to be moved elsewhere.)

      Maybe have a text message come in during the call that says, “Nope, that’s it.” IOW, no text message yet suggesting forbearance.

      Then just after the call ends – cut to Arlen. (We know it is Arlen when Patricia (again) calls for him.) And then, Arlen looks off and reveal: The noose. Already tied. Maybe hanging.

      That way, we “meet” Arlen as a sane voice trying to talk the crazy guy with the gun, who we’re seeing, from committing suicide. Yet with Patricia heard in the background screaming for her cereal, we do know something is odd at Arlen’s end.

      Apart from making that a better reveal of the noose IMO, there’s something about starting with Arlen, then cutting to Xavier – both of them are characters we’re just now meeting – and then cutting back to Arlen, all continuous,that seems awkward.

      Some small stuff: Please take the title off of page 1. I’m not a format stickler, yet it strikes me as really awkward. Also, IMO, something about BRRINNNGGG! seems off. I know it’s the phone ringing, and I have seen it elsewhere with the B, but here (for me) there is such a strong sense “bring”. Wrong connotation.

      • Jai Brandon

        Hey Igor, thanks for the notes! Still tinkering with this thing, but I’ve already gone back and INTERCUT between Arlen and Xavier, so it doesn’t read so strangely. I’ve also moved the title of the script to after Xavier tells his sister he’s stepping out. That’s when I’d like for it to appear on screen. I’ll have a fully revised story before the week is over!

        • IgorWasTaken

          I don’t know if anyone got that from your draft; either draft. AFAIK, if you want it read as a title, especially if it’s the first line on page 1, you might want:

          TITLE UP: “A GUIDE FOR ENDING THE BLUES”

          Though if you do it later on, it might work to just put it on its own line.

          My sense is everyone saw it as merely a repeat of what’s on the title page, not actual text on the screen.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Like these suggestions.
        Starting off with the mirror suggests amateur lack of imagination.
        Also the irony is off. Better that we see Arien trying to save a life, then learn that he wants to kill himself — rather than the other way around.

        One last suggestion for the writer: It sounds like you are looking for a place to insert your title (instead of inserting the title to serve a particular purpose).
        I don’t think most pros do that. Unless it’s to separate action, make a point, or demonstrate to the director that it is needed there for some reason.

        (Being helpful isn’t always pretty.)

  • S.C.

    Slightly OT: The spec market appears to have dried up at the moment.

    Not just that the studios aren’t buying and are spending more time on buying the rights to books or rebooting old franchises (third time lucky, LXG!). There just aren’t any “hot new specs” out there, at least not for a couple of weeks.

    Might just be a lull. Summertime. Maybe waiting to see how the summer blockbusters do.

    Maybe.

    Or maybe new writers just don’t know who to write spec scripts. That sell.

    Even the last “hot spec” – Mayday 109 – was just a reworking of the old PT-109 story.

    Where are the big action scripts, the high-concept romantic comedies, the nail-biting supernatural suspensers?

    Can new writers still come up with an original logline that grabs attention and a story that keeps the reader turning the page? Or are we doomed to a diet of young adult adaptations and biopics?

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Diaper flashforwards. OF COURSE. So *that’s* how you crack a drama.

  • ripleyy

    So infamous that I’ve never even heard of this (if anyone has the name of the real astronaut, I would be very happy to read more about it). Still, this is a role an actor wants to play. You can’t argue Reese wanting to be apart of this.

    • S.C.

      • ripleyy

        Thanks :)

  • NajlaAnn

    What I already know of the story as detailed in news reports – not for me either.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT:
    Ran across the first page of INDIANA JONES AND THE SAUCER MEN FROM MARS.
    Reminded me of what was missing from that first page of the amateur IJ script a few months back.

    (Love the title, exotic setting, cool descriptions, good setup, action begins on first page and — you want to turn the page to see what happens next .)

    • Poe_Serling

      The writer… Jeb Stuart? Or someone else?

      • Malibo Jackk

        JS.
        Gonna look and see if I can find it online.

  • klmn

    I think the title should be DEEP SHIT. Maybe DEEP SHIT ON PLANET EARTH.

  • lesbiancannibal

    Just thought you should all know there’s a podcast from New Zealand called The Worst Idea Of All Time.

    That idea: watch Grown Ups 2 at least once a week for a year – 52 times.

    They do that, sometimes stoned or pissed, then podcast their thoughts.

    Their next project is to watch Sex in the City 2, 52 times.

    Ouch.

  • S.C.

    Sent!!!

  • S.C.

    Sent!!!!

  • S.C.

    Sent!!!!!!!

  • brenkilco

    Much as I don’t like to support lowest common denominator stuff, I can see why drama in general, and certainly this out there example, terrifies. If I were a producer I would be most comfortable saying even if this thing isn’t any good we can still make money because it contains exploitable elements, built in audience, solid geek appeal, whatever. With drama there is nowhere to hide. Either everything works or you’ve got nothing. And even if it does all work you’re probably sacrificing the teen audience out of the gate. We can make fun of the Oscars but it’s probably all that’s keeping adult drama alive in the twenty first century.

  • brenkilco

    it is awfully low key, and even more than that sort of hermetic and abstract. I’m sure the director was trying to stretch a small budget but most of the time the city seems nearly empty. And though I liked the story I’m not really convinced that Chandor knows all that much about the heating oil business, the workings of the NY DA’s office, commercial real estate(who the hell puts a non refundable deposit down without a mortgage commitment?) or Hasidism(Don’t these guys take bank checks?) You could argue it’s more an idea for a good movie than a genuinely good movie. But it held my interest and these days you take what you can get.

  • carsonreeves1

    I used to hate the ending of Contact but now I love it.

  • Eric Plumrose

    Arses. Still haven’t got the hang of this whole Disqus set-up and lost the final sentence.

    Doesn’t have to be a warning shot. The pistol might discharge accidentally. Maintains Xavier’s ‘likeability’ and it’s funnier.

  • shewrites

    I agree, there needs to be much more to the story than what seems to be there right now. The diaper element should be the cherry on the cake, not the cake.
    I can’t see how they can make this compelling enough for audiences without some serious creative license. The most fascinating element for me is how an astronaut, one of the most admired “professionals” everywhere, can turn into such a wacko. The revenge of the wrong woman aspect is nothing new in and of itself.
    Regarding the un-likability of the character, one way to mitigate it could be to focus on the post space travel stress syndrome that other commenters have referred to, like she’s not completely responsible for her actions. At times, she is aware that her plan is nut but she can’t help it. Add to the mix a loved one, perhaps her husband who knows she’s acting out of character and has a clue as to what she plans, he gets a cop involved who believes him and tries to stop her before it’s too late a la Harvey Keitel’s character in Thelma and Louise.
    Now the astronaut is a tragic character rather than a pathetic one.