Christoph Waltz to play Jakob in “Jakob’s Wife” maybe??

Many of you have been asking me, “Yo, Crackpot Carson, when the fly-handle are you going to be dunzoes with your freakin’ contest, homie! If I woulda known I’d be on welfare before I got my contest results, I wouldn’t have paid the ridiculous entry fee!” Well, maybe not in those words. More like normal-world words. I’m not sure anyone’s used the word “dunzoes” since 2003, and I’m pretty sure the last one to use it was me. But you get the point.

The good news is, I’m almost dunzoes picking the top 25. And I’m reading every free second I get. If I’m in the line at In and Out, I’m reading. If I’m driving on a relatively empty highway, I’m reading. If I’m on the treadmill because I ate too much In and Out, I’m reading. If I’m in the hospital because I got in a car accident, I’m having the nurse read to me (note to all: Do not ask nurses if a script has enough GSU. Apparently that means something very different in hospital-speak – p.s. I’m talking about ass-stuff). So while I can’t offer you a delicious helping of my special 25 sauce, I can give you 10 scripts that almost made the cut.

The reasons for why these scripts didn’t make the cut are varied. But the general assessment is that there have been no perfect scripts in the contest. So the scripts that have gotten through are ones that have had a lot more good than bad. These “almost” scripts are ones that maybe had 60-70% good, as opposed to the 80-90% required to make the finals.

What’s great about the below scripts, though, is that either they or the writer have potential. With guidance, who knows? Maybe we’ll even review some for Amateur Friday to get the writers some feedback.

As for the scripts that didn’t make today’s cut, the number 1 reason was lack of originality. It’s been one script after another with me going, “Already seen it.” I don’t get the sense that the writers are trying or that they understand the value of being unique in a medium that’s deluged with sameness. So, here are 10 Scriptshadow 250 “Almosts.” I’ll leave it up to the writers in the comments section on whether they want to post links to their scripts. Enjoy!

Title: Legendaria
Writer: Ben Baker
Genre: Fantasy, Family, Adventure
Logline: After being magically transported into the world of a fantasy role-playing game, a nerdy middle schooler and his friends must finish the game’s quest and defeat an evil sorcerer to get back home.
Notes: This was pretty good. Sweet, innocent, marketable, a Zathura-type premise. Kinda funny in a mainstream way. The only question is: Is it too simple? Does this writer have Harry Potter type imagination? Either way, it’s a super easy reading style and the kind of story that makes you feel good.

Title: The Value of Perception
Writer: Skye Lynch
Genre: Mystery/Heist
Logline: The sudden and mysterious death of her grandfather leads a young art historian to uncover the largest art heist in history. But in order to bring the thieves to justice, she must trust a man she barely knows and steal a painting from one of the most prestigious museums in the world.
Notes: The writing here is strong and this one started out with a head of steam, building a lot of mystery. However, once she actually gets into the investigation, things start getting a little repetitive and/or predictable. Stopped feeling fresh. That tends to happen a lot when you move into these investigative-type stories. You need to stray from the formula at some point since the blueprint is so familiar to the audience.

Title: Jakob’s Wife
Writer: Mark Steensland
Genre: Horror/Drama
Logline: In order to make his wife human again, an aging Episcopalian minister must hunt down and kill the vampire who bit her.
Notes: There is certainly something here, a sort of more-serious “Hobo with a Shotgun” vibe, mixed with a taste of Let the Right One In. My worry is that, “Is it too minimalist?” That could be. But the writer definitely writes with assuredness and seems to know what he’s doing. I just wish there was more going on.

Title: My Two Cents
Writer: Magnus Ronningen
Logline: When a grumpy, computer-illiterate, 85 year old widower accidentally becomes America’s most famous blogger, he must quickly learn to navigate the terrifying jungle of modern communication, or risk realizing his worst nightmare: being remembered as a joke.
Notes: This script has the second funniest scene I read in the contest. Without going into too much detail, an old man gets into an online fight with someone named “Cock,” then calls the guy out and says he wants to deal with this in person, like people used to. “Cock” agrees to meet at a San Francisco Park, where the Old Man charges around demanding “Cock” as loud as possible (“Sir, are you okay?” “I’m here for cock!”). It’s so juvenile and yet I couldn’t stop laughing. There are more of those laughs here. The problem with My Two Cents is it has ZERO STORY to speak of. As in I couldn’t locate a single plot thread. It was just this old man being confused with computers. Still, it was funny stuff.

Title: Ladybug
Writer: Alex Cope
Genre: High School / Monster Movie
Logline: An insecure teenager bitten by a strange bug finds that she is transforming into a giant insect and struggles to hide it from her friends and family.
Notes: This script’s heart is in the right place. And it achieves the necessary “weirdness” factor required to pull a Black List placement. I’m just not sure it’s firing on all cylinders. This is an ambitious premise and those require spot-on (no pun intended) execution. The whole time I was thinking, “This just isn’t reaching the execution level that the premise promises.” Still, it was good enough for me to remember in a sea of scripts. That shouldn’t be discounted.

Title: Intelligent Design
Writer: Brian Kazmarck
Genre: Gothic Horror/Sci-fi
Logline: A grisly vampire-like murder sends an NYC Detective in way over his head when he suspects that the culprit he’s after might actually be a real vampire.
Notes: This one has… something. Like most scripts here, though, it feels a little messy. Some writers seem to get lost in the details of their world. You’ve created a cool world. That’s great. But you need to tell the story. You need to move things along. This is a movie, not a novel. Writers always forget that. You don’t want readers giving up on your script cause they’re having to move through a molasses-level heap of description. With that said, this is a cool premise and I could totally see it being a movie with a leaner more “get-to-the-point” approach.

Title: A Wretch Like Me
Writer: Justin DiSandro
Logline: A horribly despicable selfish drug runner finds himself in a situation where he must help someone else. Will he?
Notes: The writer attempts to do something unique. Create the most unlikable character possible, place him in a situation where he must help someone, then attempt to change our perception of the man so that we’re rooting for him. This kind of thing has been done a few times before, but it’s really hard to get right. I admire that Justin committed to making this guy a total bastard. And I loved the simplicity of the story. But in the end it’s hard for me to change my mind about someone. And I disliked this character so much, I simply couldn’t come around in the end. With that said, Justin’s a writer to watch out for.

Title: The Operator
Writer: Huey Q. Pham
Genre: Action
Logline: After joining an elite counter terrorism unit in the CIA, a female Army combat veteran struggles to step out of the shadow of her deceased Navy Seal father while hunting a terrorist mastermind bent on avenging the death of his family.
Notes: One of the strongest female roles in the entire contest, and with female parts so big these days, that’s a smart choice by the writer. The problem is the same problem that plagues practically EVERY script I read with the acronym “CIA,” “DEA,” “FBI,” “NSA” or any other military acronym. They always devolve into generic story tropes. It’s so disappointing because the female character here was so good. My advice to writers going forward. If you’re going to write one of these movies, TRY TO BE ORIGINAL. We’ve seen every type of “man/woman with a gun” premise there is. What fresh element are you bringing to the table??

Title: Itchy Feet
Writer: Ian Bradley
Genre: Comedy
Logline: After a South African holiday goes hilariously wrong, two friends decide to make their way home to England – by driving up through the African continent.
Notes: This writer is really green. Script is 134 pages. Scenes go on for 3-4 beats longer than they should. But he’s got comedy dialogue down. It sucks that you can’t reward this because in addition to his knack for comedy, he’s given us a movie we’ve never seen before. How often does that happen? But this writer needs to learn how to focus his story (outline, only write the scenes you need, get into every scene late and out of every scene early) as well as get a few scripts under his belt. Potential is great but you need to learn the nuances of the craft before they’ll let you in the door.

Title: Hobgoblin
Writer: Bernard Kenney
Genre: Fantasy Action-Adventure
Logline: A dark retelling of the pagan, gnostic warlock Robin Goodfellow and his band of heathen Merry Men who fight against the onslaught of Christendom, in the form of the strong-arm of the Vatican’s Grand Inquisitor who aligns himself with the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Notes: This script lives on the edge between “same but different” and “too weird,” and honestly, I keep going back and forth between where it belongs. It’s got a really cool religious-nut villain. It’s got some fun set-piece scenes. And let’s not forget how much Hollywood loves these reimaginings. But the script feels too dense at times, too riddled with exposition. I kept feeling like the script needed to breathe and the writer was constricting it. Sometimes you have to move those eyes down the page faster. This is inventive and has potential, but wasn’t all the way there for me.

And there you have it. Congrats to all these writers. And I hope the notes I included help the writers in the next draft! ☺

  • ThomasBrownen

    Congrats to the writers! I can’t wait to see who made the cut into the top 25….

  • klmn

    Here’s a suggestion: With the writer’s permission, maybe these should be the subject of the next 10 posts.

    You’ve already read them C, and maybe they will attract some heat from other filmmakers.

    • carsonreeves1

      I’m not sure I’d want to review all of them. But maybe something where the readers of the site read them and vote and let me know which ones they like best. I could see reviewing 2 or 3.

      • klmn

        And send me your address so I can send the Reese’s Cups. Or put them on your Amazon wish list and send me the name you use to order stuff.

        • carsonreeves1

          Oh my god. I forgot about those!

          • Randy Williams

            Please don’t post your home address here until I purchase some stock in paper companies.

          • ximan


    • garrett_h

      This seems like more of a prize than the actual Top 25 get IMO.

      Maybe he could do this with the non-finalist winners?

      Could just be me, but I’d rather get a review/post of my own on the site than be listed with 25 other scripts. You’re more likely to be read that way by a wider range of people. With 25 scripts posted, sure folks will read the winner (and possibly runners-up), but after that you’re most likely SOL.

  • AstralAmerican

    ITCHY FEET sounds like a film I’d appreciate if the writer and filmmakers nailed it. I’m reminded of Steve Coogan’s THE TRIP because of it; a film my wife and I absolutely loved and found hilarious. Even enjoyed the sequel.

    All this coming from a sci-fi, fantasy, action, horror fan.

    Best of luck to the writer! Nail it, and you got my vote. And congratulations to ALL the writers thus far.

    • urban.spaceman

      Thanks! (Itchy Feet writer here)

      As I’ve said elsewhere it’s a rather old draft but seeing as there’s been so much enthusiasm from Carson and people like yourself my feel for the script has come back and I can almost hear the characters chirping away again; I’m gonna have to work on a couple of new drafts on my forthcoming trip to Cape Town (where part of the script is set!)

      I’ve literally only just started watching The Trip on Netflix and I can’t quite remember why I put off watching it in the first place – it’s brilliant!

      Thanks for your enthusiasm!

  • klmn

    From Carson’s review of The Operator: “…One of the strongest female roles in the entire contest, and with female parts so big these days, that’s a smart choice by the writer…”

    Female parts so big these days.

    What a set-up line. What a set-up line. What a set-up line.

    But I won’t do it.

    Steph, take over.

    • Paul Schellens

      I can understand the popularity of female parts, and they don’t need to be big to be good.

    • Stephjones

      Well. In my avatar on Talentville you can see that I have a ginormous pussy.

    • Scott Crawford

      There’s a few problems with The Operator’s just by looking at its logline:

      “After joining an elite counter terrorism unit in the CIA, a female Army combat veteran struggles to step out of the shadow of her deceased Navy Seal father”

      That’s pretty good CHARACTER story, there’s potential there at least.

      “while hunting a terrorist mastermind bent on avenging the death of his family.”

      The PLOT story is too generic.

      I like a good action script, they’re really quite fun to read, but I’m looking for a few specifics:

      Specific location – Where does this story take place, where is this terrorist going to strike.

      Specific conflict – Why is it so difficult to get this particular terrorist.

      Other specific things – Specific weapons, like thermobaric bombs, quirkiness, like the terrorist being a big fan of Twitter.

      Obviously, not all of that can be squeezed into one logline, but in many ways I’d read have those specific plot points spelled out and then discover the whole father-daughter thing while reading the script. I’m guessing a lot of these things weren’t in the script because of Carson’s reaction to it.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Needs rewording.
        Logline suggests that she’s more concerned with her image
        (while tracking down) and that tracking down the terrorist is secondary.

        • Wijnand Krabman


      • Wijnand Krabman

        “After joining an elite counter terrorism unit in the CIA, a female Army combat veteran struggles to step out of the shadow of her deceased Navy Seal father”

        Is like: the character is climbing mount everest, meeting problems, trouble and hell, finding out what everybody already knew: the view might be nice but it wasn’t worth the effort.

      • Randy Williams

        In Carson’s review of this, he says,” What fresh element are you bringing to the table?”
        I don’t know, but if my last name was Pham, to get in the door, that would be my fresh element. Even if I had no connection to Vietnam, whatsoever, that slant would be all over this thing.
        Sometimes it’s not who you know but what only you can know.

    • witwoud

      It’s not all good news. Actresses over the age of forty find their parts shrinking drastically.

      • brenkilco

        Tell it to Kirstie Alley.

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

        I heard they find their parts drying up.

  • Jason

    Congratulations to all the writers making this Top 10 list.

  • Frankie Hollywood

    Interesting that 6 out of 10 have an IMDb writing credit (at least they’re people with the same name).

    Brian Kazmarck http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3320081/
    Justin DiSandro http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4465568/
    Mark Steensland http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0824847/
    Brian Kazmarck http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3320081/
    Justin DiSandro http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4465568/
    Ian Bradley http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0103254/

    No one said it was going to be easy ;)

    • carsonreeves1

      I’m pretty sure that’s not the same Ian Bradley. Although it would be cool if he came out of 15 years of hiding to enter the contest. :)

      • urban.spaceman

        Not so I’m afraid – check my reply to Frankie above…

    • Paul Clarke


      That’s not 6 names, it’s 2 names repeated?

      • Frankie Hollywood

        :) woops. Did you know marijuana is legal in Oregon now?

        • Randy Williams

          That empty parking spot is reserved for the fire department because the smoke detectors keep going off.

    • urban.spaceman

      I’m the Ian Bradley whose script is featured above – the guy you linked to is an Australian TV producer who is best known for making Aussie TV soap Neighbours, which is/was very popular here in the UK; I used to go around telling kids at school that I was one of the writers on the show because my name was quite prominent on the credits!

  • Poe_Serling

    Hey Carson-

    It’s quite a nice gesture on your part to shine the SS spotlight on these writers and their projects.

    Personally, I don’t recall any of these particular scripts being featured on any of the recent AOWs.

    And the screenwriters…

    I do remember Justin DiSandro scoring a [x] worth the read on AF for his contained thriller script A Lot of Blood.

    • hickeyyy

      I agree with the ones you mentioned, Poe, as the ones I was most interested in as well. Ladybug seems like a modernized version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Great idea there.

      I remember A Lot Of Blood being something I really liked, as well. Justin DiSandro sounds like he’s got his shit together and could be working in no time.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey hickeyyy-

        Another horror flick about a teen turning into a giant insect that you might want to check is:

        THE BEAST WITHIN (1982)

        Directed by Philippe Mora and co-written by Tom ‘Child’s Play’ Holland

        It’s basically a Lovecraft tale (even down to some of the characters’ names) with a southern fried slant.

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

          That’s a seriously freaked out, gross out movie. What was the tag line? WE DARE YOU TO SIT THROUGH THE LAST 20 MINUTES OF THIS FILM??

          I saw it late night on Cinemax or something, accidentally. It’s burned into my brain like that jacked up TV show from Videodrome.

        • hickeyyy

          Thanks for the recommendation! Adding it to my watchlist!

      • Justin DiSandro

        lol. Thanks. “Got his shit together” is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me!

  • urban.spaceman

    Writer of Itchy Feet here. I am in shock. I was happy to just have one of my scripts accepted! Even then, I would have settled for 249 – I can’t believed Carson like it enough to put it in the “Almost Top 25″!! I wrote this script about 5 years ago (finished it at quarter to 2011 in fact) so I’m aware it needs some work (planning on redrafting soon), but this is the best confidence booster I could have asked for.

    Thank you for this website Carson, and for the opportunity you have given me and every other writer to hone their craft and to have it read. You’re awesome.

    • Bifferspice

      I like the sound of that one. Happy to have a read if you want an extra pair of eyes on it: bifferspice@yahoo.co.uk

    • cbatower

      That was a great concept. Stick with it– I want to see this movie!

      • urban.spaceman


    • fragglewriter

      Since you’ve written that script, have you written other scripts? If so, in what genres?

      • urban.spaceman

        Just one other, Here Lies Bob, which I’ve submitted to Amateur Friday’s once or twice and was submitted to the SS250 along with Itchy Feet. It’s a sci-fi comedy set in Britain:

        Bob, a drifter in his 30s, is struggling to get over a traumatic even in his past. He meets an experimental nuerophysicist who sends him back in time to fix the event – but he’s paralysed in his younger self and unable to change his past, forcing him to re-witness the worst thing that’s ever happened to him.

        I keep struggling to nail down a Logline for that one!

        • fragglewriter

          Loglines are the most difficult for me too. I was able to write a clearer one last night LOL. Have you ever submitted the scripts to other contests? If so, did they place?

          What really helped me was making sure that the main character(s) had something to lose. If not, then I had to either shift the characters around or maybe remove one of my favorite scenes, and save it for another script.

          • urban.spaceman

            This was the first time I’ve ever submitted my work to anything! I made the mistake of telling my sister about it and she bullied me into sending them out! The one thing that worries me is re-drafting – I just can’t get my head around the process.

            have you entered many competitions?

          • fragglewriter

            I hear you about redrafting as I’m trying to trick my brain to not overobssess every dialgoue exchange in the first draft and to leave it for later. I keep reivising the first 25 pages for over a month. SMH

            I’ve entered very few, but planning on entering the Nicholl this year, as well as try for Page, Script Pipeline and Austin. I’ll also submit my script to the Black List.

          • urban.spaceman

            I’m thinking of entering Script Pipeline too! I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself so I’m planning on re-drafting Here Lies Bob and maybe working on Itchy Feet (it’s about time – it’s been 5 years) in order to send them off in May (as well as developing another feature, a short and some Doctor Who episodes that I hope to send to the BBC)

            Best of luck with yours!

          • fragglewriter

            If Evan Daugherty can win the Script Pipeline with The Killing Season, then there’s no need to feel like you’re getting ahead of yourself.
            I was thinking of writing a Short. I tried to watch Doctor Who, but couldn’t get into it. I can’t really get into British films/tv shows, except for like Simon Pegg, Death at a Funeral, The Ladykillers, a few of the Monty Pythons, Ricky Gervais and Benny Hill LOL

          • Magga

            Try Black Mirror. Seriously, just try episode 1 if you haven’t.

          • fragglewriter

            Just read the synopsis. That’s interesting. It reminds me of that short-lived TV series TRIBECA that Robert Deniro put out in the 90’s. I guess Bobby was ahead of his time.

            What do you think of the show Utopia? I heard that David Fincher was going to do an american verison of it written by Gillian Flynn, but it has been put on definite hold.

          • Magga

            I like it a lot. A little gloomy in a way, like how some shows are as predictable for their refusal to let any light in as others are for never putting anyone at real risk, but great score, good style, interesting plot, big ideas

          • fragglewriter

            I’ll have to check it out after I’ve completed my writing.

          • Elizabeth Barilleaux

            Not even Luther? Not even Sherlock????

          • fragglewriter

            I haven’t really gotten chance to watch Luther, but I did tape the first two episodes of Season 1. I’m impressed about the ratings of Sherlock. I never would of imagined that type of show to be viewed by that many households.

          • Magga

            I sent ideas to the “Great Movie Ideas” and “Great TV Ideas” contests, then realized after hearing other people taking part in paid contests that they were often a scam. Good to know it’s legit :)
            Planning to send to the script contest as well. Good luck!

        • Wijnand Krabman

          A traumatized drifter is send back in the past to fix his life finding out he has to face his biggest nightmare?

    • ThomasBrownen


    • BSBurton

      I’m curious to hear your story and check out the script. Congrats!

      email me at
      b r o n b u r t o n @ y a h o o . c o m

  • Guest

    Legendaria… Does this writer have Harry Potter type imagination?

    I mean either that or he watches anime. like Sword Art Online.

    • Lucid Walk

      Good anime

  • scriptfeels

    Yesss!!! An article revealing something about the 250. The holy grail of top w/e articles to be fleshed out over this comedy 2016. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I really enjoyed a couple of the premises and Carson’s responses/brief summaries along with their loglines. I’m excited to see Carson reveal the top 25 at some point if he ever does. Its an epic contest. Hope to see the final winner on screen eventually. 2020 props yo!

  • Avatar

    ” But the general assessment is that there have been no perfect scripts in the contest”

    So…..has there been any script that you thought “this is something producers are going to want to produce or an agent/manager wants to sign”? What level are these top 25 scripts landing at? What’s considered a perfect script by which those scripts are being judged against? What does Lawrence Grey think of them so far?

    • Wijnand Krabman

      I guess there isn’t something like a perfect script, because perfection equals boredom! What I learned from yesterday’s script is that also a script with flaws can be great as long there is some passion, a feeling; ‘my god what have a done now’ in it.

  • Scott Crawford

    writer needs to learn how to focus his story (outline, only write the scenes you need, get into every scene late and out of every scene early)

    Outline – Carson has said many, many times how important it is to take a step back and look at your story in outline form. And if he hasn’t said it enough, I’m saying it now. No offence to urban.spaceman, a valued contributor to this site, and I feel someone who has a great future ahead of him – probably better than mine!

    But bottom line is, if you don’t outline, Carson’ll spot it and you won’t make the top 25. Is it really worth arguing about anymore?

    • Daivon Stuckey

      I really think outlining was the key to my story’s success. Hopefully it paid off!

      • Scott Crawford

        What was the name of your script, if you want to share?

        • Daivon Stuckey

          Title: Rusalka
          Genre: Thriller/Horror
          Logline: A mermaid has to escape from the luxurious penthouse of a ruthless collector that has taken her prisoner.

          Might be better to wait for the results before I give it out though.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            I like that premise a lot. If it’s not among the chosen ones (and I obviously hope that it is) and you would like an outside opinion, feel free to forward:
            nielsen dot marija at gmail dot com

          • Daivon Stuckey

            That’s awesome! Thank you, so much. I’d love to get your thoughts on it.

          • salad_fingers

            Rusalka? Where are you from, if you don’t mind my asking, Daivon?

          • Daivon Stuckey

            Columbia, MD.

            I know Rusalka is Russian though.

          • Randy Williams

            Hasn’t this been on AOW? I remember commenting on this charming concept. Good luck with it!

          • Daivon Stuckey

            Never been on AOW, nope!

          • Malibo Jackk

            Wasn’t Tom Hanks in that movie?

          • Daivon Stuckey

            Haha, that and the Pirates of the Caribbean are the only live action mermaid movies I can think of.

            Oh, and Aquamarine staring Emma Roberts

          • AstralAmerican

            Really dope concept. Hope we get a chance to check it out.

    • urban.spaceman

      I agree with you about outline – it’s one of the many things I’ve learnt since reading SS and that I have more strongly implemented in my work since. Itchy Feet was written before I discovered SS and even now I cringe at some basic mistakes that I made because I was just writing on a whim. You’ve gotta learn from your mistakes though!

      Thanks for the glowing optimism of my future! Wish I’d had that for the last few years!

  • Avatar

    It shows you just how hard screenwriting is. Even with numerous outlines and (I’m guessing) countless hours toiling away the script, there are just so many things you have to nail. Anyone who made the article above should take it as encouragement and motivation to wake up tomorrow rearing to go and get back on the horse.

    • Scott Crawford

      Oh, yeah! I mean these guys are in the TOP 35, and I didn’t even submit a script, so I can’t complain TOO much about what these writers have achieved.

      What does concern me, a little bit, is how we’ve never heard of most of these scripts or these writers before. Wouldn’t it have been better for them to get some 250 practice by submitting to AOW?

      • Daivon Stuckey

        I’ve been on the site for a while, years in fact, but the contest was the motivation I needed to really get cracking on my script.

  • Buddy

    OT : interesting theory about STAR WARS and Rey’s character… potential’s spoilers ahead…

    • fragglewriter

      I never saw the movie, nor have any intentions on seeing it, but after reading that article, it seems like a rehashment of the previous films with better special effects with a female lead.

      • brenkilco

        A J. J. Abrams script that’s getting more exegesis than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Gimme a break.

        • G.S.

          brenkilco: There are so many reasons I love this post…

      • CCM30atWork

        It’s more of a modern reboot (and technically a sequel) using some story elements of the original trilogy to tell a new story.

        • fragglewriter

          Yes!!! That’s why I don’t get the hype about the movie and Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s just a rehash of Road Warrior with better special effects.

          • CCM30atWork

            I never watched any of the original Mad Max movies so I never got that vibe. Really enjoyed Fury Road though.

            As for Star Wars, I’ve seen all the movies, grew up watching them. And I definitely don’t think TFA is a rehash nor do I not understand the hype. Saw it in IMAX 3D three times, was worth every cent. TFA and Fury Road are both super good.

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

            You’ve never seen the Road Warrior? So lucky, I’d pay $50 to see it again for the first time.

          • CCM30atWork

            Fury Road is the only Mad Max film I’ve seen, yeah. I just haven’t gotten around to watching the first three but I will eventually.

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

            No, it’s not. It’s set in the same universe, and has related action, but the similarities stop there.

          • fragglewriter

            It’s rehashed to make it seem original but it’s not. But that’s my opinion.

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

        There’s nothing I value more than the subjective opinions of people who haven’t actually experienced the thing they’re opining about. ;)

        Anyway, no.

        • fragglewriter

          Once you put it out in the PUBLIC space, any matter is an open target for differing opinions and criticisms.

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

            Sure, but those opinions and criticisms have no merit when they’re admittedly not premised upon the thing being critiqued.

            Take the French Laundry in Napa, for example. I’ve never eaten there, but the food SUCKS.

          • fragglewriter

            I understand that this movie might be dear to your heart, but not everyone in the world feels the same. Unless every single person purchased a ticket to the movie, that means someone was not impressed with the trailers nor the storyline.

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

            I could care less about whether you see the movie, or have any desire to see the movie. Do as you please. But don’t purport to offer your critical evaluation of a movie you haven’t seen, good or bad.

          • fragglewriter

            YES. YOU. DO. CARE. Cause if YOU didn’t, YOU would not have responded to ME. I will offer my opinion: good, bad or indifferent; as I please, and if YOU don’t like it, locate the tallest building in your state and JUMP.

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

            Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, unless they can’t support it. TTFN!

          • CCM30atWork

            Yeah but you didn’t watch it.

          • fragglewriter

            I didn’t watch the Room to know it’s $hit, or do you want o debate on that too?

          • CCM30atWork

            The point is that you’re not forming your own opinion. If you formed your own opinion and said its shit, that’s fine. But you’re taking what other people are saying and forming an opinion. Because something created rarely, if ever, is “objectively” good or bad, you kinda need to experience it yourself to have an opinion worth sharing.

            I don’t need to taste a piece of actual dog shit to know a piece of dog shit tastes bad. Because that’s objective. But when you say “this is X” when you’ve only come to that conclusion from what other people have said, you’re not really sharing an opinion or criticism. You’re just parroting other people and not giving yourself a chance to use some critical thinking and analysis and form your own thoughts on the subject matter.

            Whether or not you actually do that, idgaf. And idgaf if you don’t watch something and then give an opinion anyway, especially if saying its shit. Just letting you know what you’re doing and why others, like The Colonel, respond in such a way.

          • fragglewriter

            I’ve formed my OWN opinion based when the TFA trailer was released, to my friends after trying to decipher why I wasn’t into the trailer and to this blog when Carson posted his opinion of the movie (see below).

            fragglewriter • 17 days ago

            Great review Carson. I never saw any of the prequesls. as I believe they are a waste. I’m definitely a big fan of EMPIRE and saw JEDI in the movies; hated STAR WARS as I hate Luke. I love HAN.

            I think when you have such a big cash cow, that studios want to cash in on the revenue in which story is secondary. Their goal is the products and revenue that is acheivable through a franchise. I’ll wait to see the movie via Redbox or cable.

            Sidenote: I watched the trailer for Second Chance and it actually looks good. I’m not a Sci-Fi fan, but I might give it a few episodes. The Pilot premieres January 13, 2016 on FOX.
            MY OWN OPINION was based on the feelings, goosebumps, that I did not feel as opposed to watching the trailers for EMPIRE and JEDI.
            Do I need to experience Donald Trump as a President to objectively feel that he would be a bad fit for the leadership of this Country?

            You are using the word objective incorrectly, or maybe that I’m using it from a Pscyhoanlaytic perspective. Being objective is putting myself into another person’s place and issuing/giving an opinion. That seems like what I’m doing.

            Thank your for the heads up about not eating dog $hit.

            Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one. And since that’s where the brown stuff comes from out of on me, I got ONE :-)

            Do you know the definition of critical thinking and/or analysis? What about objective, opinion, criticism, individuality? It seems you want me to utilize them, but not against TFA.

            Why you, The Colonel, and others as you mentioned, MIGHT respond in such a manner, would sidetrack this blog post, but good to know that everyone else is entitled to do so and not me.

          • CCM30atWork

            Well if you’re basing it solely on the trailers then whatevz, you did say “seems like” so I’ll give you that.

            I’m using objectively as in something based on fact, not opinion, which would be subjective.

            Well idk some ppl like to eat shit so just wanted to let you know.

            When did I say not to use them on TFA or any movie? Pretty sure I said “you should watch the movie so you should utilize those things” but alright lol.

            You can’t really sidetrack a blog post in one individual thread in the comments. Dunno why people always say that around here.

            I guess my ultimate point, by the way, is that it seemed like you were giving an opinion on something without actually giving it a chance yourself or just using other people’s thoughts to form your own opinion (you read an article, you came to a conclusion). Could be wrong. Such is life.

          • fragglewriter

            I’ll give you a pass on overlooking my “seems like.” Hey, it worked for Steve Harvey LOL

            Objective – fair enough

            I guess that’s where the saying $hit talker came from LOL
            But that’s the thing, if we are writes stop reading a script before its last page and not view a movie, an opinion of WHY, is all that is suffice.

            By blogpost, meaning it will take away from the goal of Carson’s blog: screenwriting. Going against it will take away from its intended nature. But if you like, I’ll say individual thread.

            Carson, as well as several industry people might stop reading a script before its end. Will you attack them for doing so and not giving them a chance or will you just call it as a lost and keep on trekking? Thin-skinned is not made for this, or in fact, Life.

            I’ve given movies a chance when the trailer has stared me wrong: Birdman, Salt, In Bruges, The King’s Speech, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; and I have also been disappointed in movies not living up to the hype: Forrest Gump, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Avatar, Finding Nemo, and Frozen.

            But hey, C’est la vie.

          • CCM30atWork

            I guess that’s true that only the why suffices. Because yeah it is really a feeling. That’s why we watch movies, right? To feel something. At least one reason why we watch movies (also looking at cool stuff).

            There is a difference between reading a script as an industry person and watching a movie just part of the audience, though. I can’t fault someone for not reading a whole script and giving an opinion, because at least they will provide reasoning why they stopped and at least they gave some of it a chance. In the same way, if you started watching a movie and gave up halfway thru cuz reasons, that’s fine too.

            Frozen can def lick a sack because now anyone that brings up “Let It Go” overshadows the actual, better version of a song titled in the same manner — Let It Go by ASAP Ferg. One of my favorite opening songs on an album in recent memory (its no Tuscan Leather tho that’s for sure).

          • fragglewriter

            But now audiences are smarter and there are many channels to view entertainment, so they will think twice about spending their income to go to a movie that they sort-of like. Audiences expect the industry to vent those scripts, and provide them with entertainment. Look at the recent financial state of the industry. Tentpoles and comics, and if the next comic movie doesn’t live up to the audiences expectations, they will continue to flock to the internet, cable, Redbox and Television. Hollyood then is different from Hollywood now.

            I’ve walked out of movies before, The Intern, for one example. I’ve walked out of six movies last year. You know that means? Now, I’M thinking twice about purchasing another movie ticket because if I add in the cost of transportation, concession stand and time wasted not only on the movie, but the commute time, this better be the best movie of MY life AKA I should have an orga$m in my seat from watching the trailer.

            I like the ASAP Mob :-)

          • CCM30atWork

            Fair enough. Definitely understand what you’re getting at. Think we’ve both made valid points here.

            YES LETS GO ASAP MOB. Good stuff good stuff.

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

            What’s to debate? You’re offering your opinion about things you’ve never experienced. You’re acting like Donald Trump, or somebody’s kooky grandpa.

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

      One of the many triumphs of TFA is its successful ambiguity. These days we’re usually forced to choose between ambiguity that’s easy to decipher (especially with the internet churning 24/7) or ambiguity that ultimately proves undecipherable (a la Lindelof).

      Some damn hot writing to create what seems to be viable ambiguity that isn’t instantly decipherable.

  • Scott Crawford

    ZERO STORY suggests to me TV show or web series rather than feature. Maybe that’s the problem.

    • TruckDweller

      Zero story generally suggests a lack of character exploration. Figure out why he’s blogging, and you may figure out a goal that goes beyond stomping Cock. TV is character based, sure, but it doesn’t survive well without GSU either.

  • Daivon Stuckey

    Anyone think they might have a shot now?

    • Justin DiSandro

      lol no. I thought my script “A Wretch Like Me” was stronger than my other script that made it into the 250.

  • leitskev

    For my two cents, a lot of these logs are really pretty decent and intriguing.

    I did not enter a script in the contest, just following along. These seem pretty good though. The last one, Hobgoblin, that one needs to be drastically simplified. I mean you can read that four times and have trouble digesting it. One doesn’t usually associate gnosticism with early Medieval England or with warlocks. I trust the writer has done the research, just saying it’s not something most of us would be aware of. And the Inquisition came long after Nottingham’s time. In any case, it’s a complicated log. Try to simplify it and save the details for the story.

    • Daivon Stuckey

      Because of how Carson did the contest, most of the loglines must be pretty damn good.

      • leitskev

        Yeah, probably true, good point. These are better than the Amateur Saturday offerings. I work on prose these days instead of scripts, but I still like to come for everyone’s story insights. I’m a learning whore, I’ll take my learning wherever I can!

  • fragglewriter

    Congrats to all of those who submitted to the contest. Even though I was unable to submit my script to the contest, I appreciate the feedback provided on the scripts who were so-close to being on Carson’s Top 25.

    My favorite genres are Cartoons, Comedies (action, slapstick & black/dark) and Action. From the list of the above, My Two Cents and Itcy Feet, would be a movies that I would want to see, and that’s without any movie stars attached. The others would require the right actors and directors for me to see the vision, as its requiring me to step aside of my above listed favorite genres.

  • brenkilco

    Intelligent Design sounds like Nightstalker Redux. And the only beef Carson seems to have with it is that the writing is too detailed for his taste. Would love to take a look at it.

    • Poe_Serling

      Man, I had the same exact thought when I read the logline. Instead of Kolchak (a newspaper reporter) investigating the supernatural, you now have a detective.

    • garrett_h

      What threw me off was the title. I was expecting something about God or creation or maybe even aliens. Instead it’s about vampires?

      Most people, if they see “Intelligent Design” on the marquee at the theater or on the Netflix list, they’ll be thinking it’s a documentary with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

      • brenkilco

        Presumably a play on words, the title referring to the murderer’s design, but probably better changed to something less likely to confuse.

    • OpenFireFilms

      Hi Brent. I wrote Intelligent Design. If you’re interested in giving it a read, let me know, I’ll email it to you. I’ve never actually heard of Night Stalker until you mentioned it here, but, if the wikipedia synopsis is correct, the most they share in common is the premise. As for Carson’s comments, he’s hitting the nail on the head. I think another good pass at the script can streamline and really make it better.

      • brenkilco

        Would love to take a look. brenkilco@gmail.com BTW Night Stalker is one of the best made for network TV movies ever. Well worth checking out.

  • Magga

    Writer of My Two Cents here. We were actually two writers on the script, but since we didn’t make it and my co-writer is out traveling, I don’t need to credit him right now (always liked my anonymity here too, but I like the opportunity to get feedback as well).

    I have to say the criticism of the script was the inverse of what I expected. Being juvenile, which the entire script is, was something I expected criticism for, but regarding the story I thought we might be following the three act structure too closely (inciting incident, refusing the call, accepting the mission, mid-point shift where the lead has to re-examine his own values, realizing the problems he’s caused, then having to accept who he is and embrace his role in the world to fix things) and that the total change in the attitudes of the character might be too much to be believable.
    Having said that, I realize that the stakes are only regarding the lead’s dignity and self image, not life and death. And yes, it’s written as a total farce.
    Anyway, I have my eye on another contest (getting a script ready for it, but there’s no reason to only submit one), so I’m definitely considering putting the script up and seeing what needs to be changed. I found a couple of things myself after submitting, but in light of NO STORY I think that might me nitpicking at this point.
    The contest was a great opportunity, and a kick in the rear to finish something, so thanks.

    • brenkilco

      Yes. Put up. Really curious because you feel you adhered very closely to a three act structure that Carson didn’t see.

      • Magga

        I think I’ll do that. have to run now, and have no idea how to post it (ironic, considering the premise), and I have to check with the co-writer. To be clear, there isn’t wall to wall plot here, but there are clear benchmarks, to me, for how the protagonist changes his views on life. With the exception of one scene, we always went for jokes first, so maybe some darling-killing is in order

    • Daivon Stuckey

      Well, it’s possible that by adhering to closely to the Hero’s Journey three act structure we all know, it was difficult for the true uniqueness of your story to shine through.

    • Tyler Givens

      I haven’t read the script, but the logline sounds really funny. Good job, guys!

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to the writers for making this “almost list”!

    Don’t be discouraged. Ariadna Gutierrez is getting more press
    than Pia Wurtzbach.

    You’re lucky to get these quick reviews of your script and this also shows
    us Carson is not in some hypnotic, lethargic state after so much script reading
    and binge eating but is actually paying attention!

    “My Two Cents” (I laughed out loud just at the review) “Itchy Feet” and “Ladybug” caught
    my eye the most. Hope all the writers agree to share the scripts with us.

    In my mind, in many instances “lack of originality” was the choice of
    protagonist. A nerdy middle schooler for a video game script, a young art historian for an art heist script, a minister for an old vampire script, a widower who is grumpy for a
    sucks at communications script, an insecure teenager for a high school script, a NYC detective for a murder script, a drug runner for a ? (I didn’t get what this script was
    about, but the writer has proven himself with “A Lot Of Blood” that he can tell a compelling
    story), a female combat veteran for an action script, two friends for a road trip, a warlock for a fantasy action script.

    Switch up some of these protagonists would have made the log lines at least for me a bit more original and move the stories in perhaps more surprising ways. For instance, playing with the art heist script….

    The sudden and mysterious death of her grandfather leads a mixed-up young inner-city bike thief to uncover the largest art heist in history. But in order to
    bring the thieves to justice in exchange for some leniency for her own crimes from an art-loving judge, she must trust a man she barely knows and
    steal a painting from one of the most prestigious museums in the world.

    But, I know, as that song that always makes me cry, Turning Pages says,

    “We’re tethered to the story we must tell”

  • lonestarr357

    Call me crazy, but I’d love to read “Ladybug”.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Second that.

    • cjob3

      Yes. Kinda sounds like The Metamorphosis but with a female lead. The hot new thing!

  • Magga

    Jesus Christ, Bruce Dern! That would be Clint Eastwood-level perfect. Here’s the guy we got the idea from (it’s pretty much directly quoted in one scene)

  • Tyler Givens

    ‘When a grumpy, computer-illiterate, 85 year old widower accidentally becomes America’s most famous blogger, he must quickly learn to navigate the terrifying jungle of modern communication, or risk realizing his worst nightmare: being remembered as a joke.’

    Damn! This premise is hilarious! I can see Clint Eastwood or Robert De Niro as the lead. That cock joke made me laugh out loud.

    Is there a chance I can read these scripts? Or do I have to wait until the contest is over? I’m particularly interested in My Two Cents, Jakob’s Wife and The Operator. The Operator sounds like a badass action movie! I love stories with strong female leads!

    • BoSoxBoy

      After the 2012 Eastwood “performance” at the GOP Convention (the “chair” bit), not sure he’d have to act to pull it off.

      The log on this didn’t do it for me (low stakes), but if the script seriously captures the end-of-life messages that we saw in NEBRASKA, then I’d be in.

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

      That bit about him asking for cock is hilarious.

      • Randy Williams

        I wonder if the writers should go “Broad City” and do some video skits
        from this script and grow a following. I think “Cock in the Park” would
        get some hits on YouTube.

        • Magga

          That’s pretty much what happens in the movie. A terrified kid’s answering machine picks up one of the exchanges, it’s put on youtube, autotuned, viewed millions of time, sending a huge amounts of readers to his blog, which finally gives him a platform to spout his opinions, after spending his life writing letters to newspapers to no avail.

          • Tyler Givens

            Lots of cool ideas! Nice touch with the letters!

          • Stephjones

            love the sound of this! Good luck with it and congrats for getting in the top 35!

  • Altius

    Carson, thanks for posting these! Allows us a window into your thought process in all this while giving props to the writers and tips for improvement. Best of luck with finishing the rest of the 250 :)

  • Sean Reardon

    Big congrats to the “almost” 10. You all should be proud.

  • Citizen M

    I found this Gordy Hoffman Reddit Ask Me Anything the other day. Hoffman is a writer/producer/director and founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition (and the brother of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, something I didn’t know).

    Excerpted from https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1p2e28/i_am_gordy_hoffman_writerproducerdirector_and/

    Does a great screenplay break the conventions of screenwriting or does it display an overwhelming knowledge and adherence to the ‘rules’?

    A great screenplay elicits a giant emotional response. The rules are not the common element amongst the classics, folks. It’s that we cared.

    Can you give any advice on how to secure talented actors for my upcoming short?

    Sounds like a weak answer, but write something incredible. Once you have that, be fearless about approaching managers. Hammer away. Send to many. Hopefully you will have some budget to say, hey, I have 5K or 15K to make it. That’s nice for them to hear. Just make sure your script is a face melter and don’t let anyone make you shoot before your screenplay is locked. Be patient.

    what is the most rewarding thing about being in the film/screenwriting industry, and what is the most difficult?

    Giving people an emotional experience through a story. Better than getting paid. Most difficult is giving creative control to others—-very hard on me!

    How much is screenwriting a natural skill and how much of it can be taught?

    Everyone has the ability to tell a story. We do as children. The skill comes from how comfortable we are relating the truth about our experience living our lives. Yes, you can learn if you’re willing to accept it’s very difficult.

    Just wondering, when you are done writing a script, do you often back away from it for a few months and then return to it again with a fresh set of eyes, or do you jump right on in to the next rewrite?

    Don’t put it away. Just keep going. You will be a different person and it will be tougher picking it up. Keep it fresh. If you can. I have plenty I have not taken over the goal line, but I try to finish everything now. All the way.

    some say the feedback is very helpful and others say it’s not

    People are different, different backgrounds, different responses. At any point in the development of your screenplay, you can get feedback. Problems arise in how you react to notes. It’s always in how you take notes. Strive to become a ninja in taking what seems like completely shit notes and find the sliver of gold en route to your audience.

    what is the most common mistake writers make when submitting a screenplay?

    Turning a blind eye to their implausible and unoriginal choices.

    why do you suppose [period movies are] still anathema on the spec market?

    It’s simply more difficult for people to write compelling period material because most writers will hide in their subject as opposed to investing themselves in the work in a vulnerable way.

    What is one of the red flags in a script that will make you want to stop reading? Also, do you have any tips for writing great character introductions?

    Describing someone’s thoughts or past history or feelings in the description. Too many words to paint the picture. Keep the character intro short. Think about how you feel about them. Always give an age.

    Has your involvement in the Blue Cat Competition done anything for you to doubt the future of original screenwriting?

    No way. There are very special talented writers out there, you wouldn’t believe. They are not going away. And the demand will remain high as long as people lose money on bad scripts. And they continue to do so, like they have all year.

    How important is character description to a script? Should I be describing how my character looks when I introduce him or should I just give his or her age?

    You can describe your character, but don’t micromanage the job of the costume designer, the actor, the director, etc. Just enough, please.

    do you find that if you write dialogue in a naturalistic way it flows alot easier or harder?

    Flows easier but can be more emotionally uncomfortable to generate as it’s the truth.

    Any advice for a new screenwriter, I have been writing a load of shorts and one feature at the moment, but any advice that could help me?

    Pick one of your best and rewrite it beyond where you’ve rewritten before. Learn and experience what it is to develop a script several drafts down the line. Once you know what happens and how strong things can become, you will commit to rewriting in the future.

    Thanks for any info you can give about the internal review process.

    I look at all scripts that have made it to the Quarters, […] once I see something in the writing that tells me they won’t win, I stop reading. This can happen very quickly when I start into a script.

    I’m currently outlining a script about a kid that feels alienated and decides to go to school with a gun. It’s a serious film but uses satire. Do you think an artist has a responsibility to how a film like that could be misinterpreted by some viewers? (EX: A kid thinks the violence is cool after seeing the film, when the film is try to say the opposite.)

    Don’t over think it too much, but listen to your gut. Are you thinking about how your audience will feel about your story? How will they take the story? If they are turned off, your movie will not be seen by many people, so your audience will be small. I say write the toughest movie you can write, then getting plenty of feedback on it and walk forward with a team of collaborators.

    Inception is arguably the greatest film made since the turn of the millennium.

    The problem with Inception is you should cry at the end, but you don’t. Low emotional investment. Also very confusing. So interesting ideas, not great screenplay or storytelling, as we didn’t cry and we didn’t understand.

    Which do you think would allow you to get your film made easier in Hollywood, a good idea in a screenplay or a screenplay with great writing?

    Great writing always wins, well, sometimes. But great writing, which is clear, original, emotional and bold, is what we have to aspire to as we move forward.

    Is the winner determined not only by the quality of the screenplay, but the marketability of it as well? I assume major movie studios won’t want to touch screenplays they know won’t sell.

    Commercial factors do not play into my decision, meaning if it’s marketable that’s fine, if not, that’s fine. It simply has to be the best. Yes, producers aren’t interested in scripts they believe won’t make a profit.

    • brittany

      “Just wondering, when you are done writing a script, do you often back away from it for a few months and then return to it again with a fresh set of eyes, or do you jump right on in to the next rewrite?”

      Ha. I was the one who asked that question. That was a good AMA.

    • charliesb

      Re : Inception “Low emotional investment.

      Very true, and unfortunately true of all Nolan’s films. I still can’t understand how he thought the scene in the hospital room (at the end of Interstellar) was a good idea. The whole backbone of this movie was the relationship between Cooper and Murph, and when they finally meet again after all that time, she’s like “good to see you, but have a nice life”.


  • Poe_Serling

    Speaking of lists…

    Here’s the 2016 People’s Choice Awards Winners (I didn’t even know this show was still on the air):

    >>Favorite Movie: Furious 7

    >>Favorite Action Movie: Furious 7

    >>Favorite Comedic Movie: Pitch Perfect 2

    >>Favorite Dramatic Movie: The Martian

    >>Favorite Family Movie: Minions

    >>Favorite Thriller Movie: Taken 3

    **I think it’s a somewhat fascinating peek into what the general movie-going audience considers the top movies of the year.

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

      Proving that people who vote for the people’s choice awards are generally idiots.

      • brenkilco

        I’m a glass half full type. On the negative side they’ve given an award to a witless rehash like Taken 3. On the positive side the vote indicates that they sort of know what a thriller is.

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

          I’m sure they were given options, right?

          • Poe_Serling

            Here were the other choices: The Boy Next Girl, Unfriended, Poltergeist, Insidious 3.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey, there’s a bit of the classic Colonel writing swagger in action.

        Here’s my take: people can spend their $ on whatever they want.

        Personally, I’ve watched my share of B-movies, so-so movies, and downright bad movies – but I usually have the patience to wait for them to show up on TV. Zero out-of-pocket cost to me. ;-)

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

          Hey, I didn’t say they can’t do what they want. They can shove hot pokers up their dicks, what do I care?

          • Poe_Serling

            Oh, I wasn’t implying you did. I was just my own personal take on movie-going choices – sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason why certain pics are so popular among the masses.

    • Midnight Luck

      I love you Poe, but this is hard news for us, being that the People’s Choice voters are generally the main demo, the 6-24 year old male, let’s take a peek at their “taste”
      Here is the breakdown:

      A Part 7 (and it won twice!)
      A Part 3
      A Part 2
      A Part 4 (or whatever MINIONS would be considered since it is an offshoot of another movie)

      So the only “original” movie is based on a book that was a blowout storm of success beforehand.

      The kids + millenials (what are kids after Millenials called?) just don’t seem to be able to take a chance on something they aren’t told is OK for consumption. ( and the MTV People’s Choice Awards is basically for any kid of baby to 18 age, who else watches it or cares? about who Madonna or Hanna Montana kisses?)

      So basically how this can relate to us is,

      Write a self published book about a spacey subject, have it sell millions before a publisher picks it up and advertises the shit out of it, sells it off to a prodco and then the movie is advertised the shit out of, and then it is OK to go see.

      Doubtful any of us are going to be involved in a piece of a 2, 3, 4 as Amateurs.

      • Daivon Stuckey

        The kids after Millenials are still millennials, for right now.

        • Midnight Luck

          I know, was trying to come up with something funny, then gave up

          “The post-millenial-apocalypse” was the best I could do, but it was too long and probably too negative for the People’s taste

      • witwoud

        “… the People’s Choice voters are generally the main demo, the 6-24 year old male…”

        No, the voters are a nationally-representative sample of men and women aged between 18 and 54.

        • Midnight Luck

          Really? Based on what?
          As far as I can tell the average viewer is of a very young age.

          How many 35-54 year olds are watching and voting something like that?
          Can’t imagine, it isn’t the Oscar’s, not even the Globe’s, it is MTV.

          • CCM30atWork

            Maybe you’re confusing this with the Kid’s Choice Awards.

            Because I did at first when I saw the list of winners lol

          • Midnight Luck

            Wow, I think you are right. How did I get that wrong? I swear they advertise the PCA on MTV all the time. Now I look it up and find no connection. Not sure who puts on these awards.

            Too many fucking awards shows. Can’t keep them straight.
            How do actors and filmmakers have any time to just live? Always having to head off in their fancy dresses for another shindig.

            Lots of peakocking and such.

            Oh well, so oddly this news could be even worse. Even the up to 54 year old group only goes to mostly crap movies.


            Guess I better finish my 18 wheeler albino trucker heist movie. It is about a mish mash “family” of mostly ex-con albino truckers who have to steal a prized amulet from Trump in order to payoff one members debt and to get another member out of the clink.
            There’s a lot of chase scenes and one major one where they jump an 18 wheeler with triples off the Space Needle onto a ferry as their final escape plan.
            It will be amazing.

          • CCM30atWork

            I’d pay money to see that.

          • witwoud

            Me too. Go Midnight!

          • brenkilco

            Personally I think the extended albino family, eighteen wheeler, caper sub-genre is pretty well played out. But maybe you can find a fresh angle.

          • Midnight Luck

            I know. How to make it unique?
            Same but Different?

            Maybe I’ll have it based in Canada, and the bad guys hired to take them out are Eskimo’s.

            And it’ll be a Musical.

            The Albino Bobs: A Musical

          • klmn

            It would be hard to cast the family. Better make it standard, run of the mill black and white characters.

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

            I know you’re joking, but I’m into that idea.

          • Midnight Luck

            Well maybe if I get 25 people who say they would read / watch it I will finish (begin) writing it. (That would be a good cross section showing enough interest)
            You are #3, so we are well on our way.

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

            Smokey and the Bandit was born out of Hal Needham devising a bunch of great car stunts and working backward to the majestic awesomeness that is that movie.

            Truck drivers = Red states = American Sniper = Burt Reynolds out of retirement and achieving a career high by directing your script. Ryan Gosling with a mustache.

          • witwoud

            Um, sorry. Might have got that wrong. It used to be done by Gallup as an opinion poll, but now it’s online voting. OTOH, the winner doesn’t necessarily receive the greatest number of votes, apparently.

          • Midnight Luck

            So how do they choose if the winner isn’t necessarily the one with the most votes?
            Whats the point of voting then?

    • Malibo Jackk

      As ML has said — more signs of the Apocalypse.

    • BoSoxBoy

      Taken 3? Oy.

      This should have been named, THE UNLUCKIEST FAMILY ON EARTH.

      If there’s ever a Taken IV, the only thing that could keep my interest would be if their dog were kidnapped. The humans in that family no longer deserve my empathy.

  • CCM30atWork

    Yeah I feel sometimes there’s some unnecessary racist or sexist or otherwise less than tasteful comments allowed here (which makes me wonder why grendl was bothered so much when all he did was give unflinching, sometimes harsh criticism). Not the biggest fan of it, to be honest.

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

    Where do you see that?

  • Shawn Davis

    Excellent peek into what’s right on the edge.

    Best of luck to all the top 250.


  • Randy Williams

    I feel you. Obviously the log lines worked as is because they got into the competition in the first place whereas log lines like my own entry which I thought was pretty original didn’t and I’m sure there are others here who also didn’t make it who may think their concepts were more “original”.
    After that everything depends on the execution and these obviously did
    something right to beat the competition and get this far. But, for me
    the protagonist choices are not to be ignored in building my expectations
    for a script.

  • Poe_Serling

    I gotta say Peekers is quite creepy and unnerving, especially the ending. I definitely see the potential of developing this short into a full-length feature.

  • Justin DiSandro

    Writer of “A Wretch Like Me” here…

    As always, a damn pleasure to be included with Carson’s insights. The included logline isn’t very telling of the story, which is my own fault, as I submitted this screenplay without one (ooops).

    For those curious, it is a thriller about a drug smuggler who is running cargo across the border from Mexico to the US. As he is waiting for the drop, he notices a girl getting raped. So he has to make a decision to help the girl or wait around to finish the drop.

    The protagonist is a really awful guy. I like that Carson called him a “total bastard” because he is. I tried to create a script around a quote I read by Stan Lee about the creation of Iron Man. Lee said, “I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him.”

    That was my inspiration. I guess upon seeing Carson’s thoughts, I wonder if I need to make him less of a total bastard…or finish his story arc on a higher note. As always, I would feedback is welcome. Let me know if anyone wants a read.

    Congrats to everyone for all their hard work.


    • Wijnand Krabman

      I’m facing the same problem with one of my scripts, if you like you can sent it at wijnand@densbornerwassermuehle.de

    • Wijnand Krabman

      Justin, I just finished your sript, was an easy read I liked it. It has a dark atmosphere and that’s why it is Ok that the protag is a total basterd. Of course you can make your protag more likeable, but why should you? i wouldn’t change a thing, life is shit and that’s the message of your story.

      • Justin DiSandro

        Thanks man, I appreciate that. I was satisfied with how it came out…just need to figure out how to take it to the next level.

  • Shawn Davis


    I don’t outline.

    I lay out my first draft knowing it’s going to be super rough.

    I suppose you could call that my outline…

    Then on rewrites 2-3, I intentionally paint my characters into difficult situations and work on getting them out of them.

    On rewrite 4-5-6, I began really laying flesh down on my characters and story.

    On rewrite 7-8, I start cleaning…cutting fat and tightening the script up.

    After that, it re-read, polish, re-read, polish, re-read…

    At least 15 times until I think it’s ready for the light of day.


    • Jai Brandon

      That’s too much work :P

      • Shawn Davis

        I know, right?

        It seems to be the only way I can get a script done that hits a level I’m proud of.

        Trust me, I’ve written plenty of rushed scripts the show it on every page.

        I’m in no hurry and there’s a certain satisfaction to knowing you truly tried to cover most of your bases.

        Not that other writers don’t. It’s just that this works best for me.


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

    Think of it this way: if your story isn’t settled, it doesn’t take too much work to revise your outline. But if you said screw it and drafted the script, and THEN had the idea that “turns the story on its head,” you’re talking about countless hours of revision.

    Everyone should do what works best for them. but I’m of the mind that you should get your story settled, done, and then start writing it out. That said, I don’t think your outline has to be extremely detailed, but you should know where you’re going before you set out.

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

    This. What I’m currently trying to do is outline the absolute simplest telling of the tale, my elevator pitch. Too often I bog down in details, which distracts me from my central story.

    1 page story outline. When I get that exactly right, the rest is just gravy.

  • Wijnand Krabman

    Normally I don’t outline, I think about it some weeks and than start writing and go with the flow. I know how it ends and I now the major beats. In order to do something different I made a board to do it ‘comme il faut’ like the french say, but as we speak I’m looking at it, finished as it is knowing that I’m gonna change everything the moment I start writing.

  • Jack F.

    Congrats, you guys!

  • Midnight Luck

    Ask a question like that you’ll get 99 answers and none that necessarily fit your bill.

    I don’t exactly “outline” per se, I put down moments, bullet points if you will.
    Things that Have To be in it. Moments throughout the script that make up the story I want to tell. Without those moments I won’t be sure the story I want to tell has been told correctly.

    Some may say those moments I mark down are turning points, others might say they are the High points, the scenes with the most “juice” if you will. Both could be correct depending on the scene.
    I call them, the tasty-est moments I have created in the liquid of my mind.

    (This breakdown might sound weird, I’m listening to NWA while I am writing it, and I tend to pick up the flavor of language I’m listening to at the time, certain phonics and word choice.)

  • Randy Williams

    Damn, that gave me the creeps. I’m not looking at door jambs for the next 24 hours.

  • Lucid Walk


    If there’s a copy of it floating around, could someone please let me know?

    • Erica

      love to see a copy of this script too, kittiekatsflying (at) Hot mail (dot) com

  • Paul Schellens

    I was skeptical at first, but you won me over by the end. That was awesome!

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    As we have been making movies for nearly 116–20 years or so, didn’t do the math on this one. But nonetheless, movies can be different, I’ll let you know, but in the end it is not hard to take any movie and say… Oh, it was like such and such a movie. My question I’m asking is this. How do you stay would you know and yet do something similar to another story that may not be yours at all, say reading a Wikipedia page about a block you do not own, don’t own the rights to either but would want to adapt as an original screenplay inspired by that work.

    What I am trying to write is something that could either be a miniseries or 3 to 4 hour feature, similar to both le weekend and The before the night trilogy. If those two stories were both combined as one long story. I was inspired by a trilogy of books, well two blocks and unproduced third novel of what would’ve been a trilogy. Books by William Goldman from the 70s and 80s, that the plot seem like something I would like to write as my own original inspired by story. How is best to go about writing that and any story I’ll let you know late and not feeling too much that you are ripping something off from something else.

    I’ve been told it’s never good to put inspired by, based on, if you don’t own the rights or want people to think too much about the writer or novel you’re inspired by. As well people may not have even read that novel and not understand why you are inspired by it. I look forward to any answer that anyone can get me.

    Also, one last part of the question is on the title page I was going to like what do you do about a screenplay based on a screenplay? I don’t know how that even works with rights and what not… Say I was inspired by a screenplay for a movie in say The Star Trek series, but that’s good was on produced and I don’t own anything in the screenplay. How can I write my own version of that dash which possibly can get made?

    Even if it’s not Star trek… but and let you know on put your screenplay which I was inspired by how do I do that? Write my own version or draft of a script to get made when the other person script did not. And what if a writer doesn’t work anymore, not saying his work doesn’t work in our time, But that he doesn’t write anymore movies.

    Also been watching ROCKY 1-5 on TV and wondering: how each film takes off from the last one. I don’t mean it starts a day or two later or a year, it starts with the last moments and move from there. I’ve been racking my brain for a while trying to come up with another film series that does such a thing, and I come up blank in the end.

  • Welcome Cinema

    I would be delighted to have a read too! welcomecinema@gmail.com

  • Midnight Luck

    Honestly I have done them in ten minutes.
    Yes once it took me a few hours, but not usually.
    I spend so much time thinking, and analyzing and basically writing in my head, that the actual process of putting them down on paper is only for me to quickly reference back to if I feel the need during the writing process.
    I absolutely believe there is a thing called spending too much time. Perfectionism is the death of Creativity.
    You need to get that story down on paper. However it comes out. Luckily you aren’t chiseling in stone. So if you think it is trash, well, start again. Go back to your outline and make sure you know your road and that it is understood by your brain.
    Again, I rarely go back to my bullets, I use them as a mental guide before I start writing. Almost as a reminder to my own brain of what I am doing and to refresh my mind on what kind of tone, voice and pacing is right for this particular tale.
    It is difficult to explain what I mean and how I scibble down my “moments” and what makes them helpful to me.
    But in the end they are.
    I just trust my instincts and move forward.
    Once those moments, or bullet points have been put down on paper, then I know my subconscious has them stored how I want them, and I am FREE to write however I feel.

    I know there are many on here who live and die by the need to outline and that the effectiveness of your story all comes down to how well you orchestrated your outline.
    I don’t agree.
    I have to allow myself tons of freedom as I write. Most of my best stuff came out of nowhere. But the bullet points give you a guide as to what you want to accomplish, and possibly where along the story timeline you need to.

    Seriously, you will never be ready.
    Just start writing.
    If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have learned what didn’t work.
    Then start again.
    Don’t lose your eagerness.

    That can bring it all to a crashing, depressing Halt.

    • smishsmosh22

      I wrote a 17 page outline and then decided to change who my protagonist was, the love interest’s profession, and the inciting incident that gets them to where I want them to end up… I’ve re-written the outline a few times now actually. Each time I go back to my board and re-do all the index cards. But my newest idea is always better and stronger than the old one. So tempted to ‘just start writing’ as you say but I don’t want to have to throw it all away…

      • Midnight Luck

        Trust me, there are worse things than trashing something and starting again. Seriously, trying to get something perfect before you start will kill any and all freedom and creativity in it. Plus it doesn’t mean you will get it right either.
        Writing is not math. 2+2 does not always make up 4.
        You can’t get to the end of your script in a straight line. If you do, it will be ungodly boring and by the numbers, just plain predictable. That is death for a script.

        So, my advice: Start Writing.

        I can tell you have already put enough energy into prep, and more than enough into outlining.
        Get going before you burn yourself out with all the detailed organization.
        Start the fun stuff, and let yourself wander if you need to as you write. You can always go back and change it or rewrite something.
        It isn’t the end if you get off track.
        And you might surprise yourself when you do get off track by coming up with something you never imagined you could.

        • smishsmosh22

          Thank you Midnight! I took your advice and started writing last night! I really hope I don’t decide to change things – I feel this is a flaw I have, to have crazy ideas and then change my mind a few days later – but we’ll see where it goes. Thanks again for the advice. I think you’re right.

          • Midnight Luck

            Well congratulations for starting!
            I believe you said it is your first script correct?
            The only reason I am harping on just getting started is because the majority of people in the world have a problem with perfectionism. And it can make life and creativity hell to deal with.
            Plus everyone’s first script is a monumental learning experience, no matter what. The actual act of doing it is as important as finishing it.
            And I am not trying to be a downer, but no matter if you put another 6 months or 6 years into the prep to “get it right” and not have to redo it, well it is going to have problems. First scripts always, always do. Not having done it before you won’t know anything about doing it so you will have some trial and error. (In fact this is true of any script, 2nd, 3rd, etc, just getting that first draft out is so important)
            Later on though you will look back and be so glad you just did it. Got that first script over with.
            Seriously, good job jumping in with both feet, let me know how it is going for you

          • smishsmosh22

            Yes, very first script ever! I took a writing class in the fall and have been overloading my brain with screenwriting books, podcasts, websites etc since then. I really like this site and plan on sticking around so I will keep you posted! :) TY

          • Midnight Luck

            Well welcome to the SS.
            Glad you are writing your first script and I hope it is a ton of fun.
            Many great people on here with enormous amounts of info, and so many willing to help. Definitely utilize it if you need something.
            This is the greatest site.
            If you need something don’t hesitate to ask.