THE WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED BELOW

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If you’re new to the Scriptshadow Tournament, here’s what’s happened so far. The first round went for 8 weeks, with you, the readers of the site, voting for the best script on each of those weeks. Those 8 winning scripts are now competing in the Quarterfinals. To spruce things up, we’ve added a wild-card entry to each Quarterfinal week. Wild-Cards were scripts that garnered a lot of votes on their respective week but fell short in the end. The best of those near-misses have been voted into the Quarterfinal round.

As a reminder, here’s how this works. Read as much of the three scripts as you can then vote in the comments section which script you think deserves to go into the semifinals. The voting will be done via an electoral process. Which means that different states and countries will account more heavily than other states and countries. I’m kidding by the way. With that said, please explain why you voted for the script that you did so that we know you’re a real voter and not a friend of the writer. All of this week’s entries have been rewritten since the last time you saw them, so I’ll leave it up to the writers if they want to summarize their changes in the comments section.

Voting closes at 10pm Pacific Time Sunday evening.

Good luck to all!

#2 SEED
Title: Raised By Wolves
Writer: Paul Clarke
Genre: Action/Thriller
Logline: Raised in seclusion, a curious but naive teenage secret-agent discovers a sinister side to her work and must escape her handlers and flee into the world she fears to discover the truth.

#7 SEED
Title: Dionaea
Writer: Brian Kazmarck
Genre: Sci-fi/thriller/horror/action
Logline: As their ship is rapidly overrun by a malevolent alien intelligence determined to assimilate the entire crew, a biologist discovers a much darker secret she must expose to the world before they all die.

WILD-CARD
Title: Odysseus and His Boy
Genre: Period
Logline: With only one night to act, two rival soldiers must sneak behind enemy lines to complete a last-ditch suicide mission that will finally put an end to a decade-long conflict.
Writer: Steffan DelPiano

WINNER OF QUARTERFINAL WEEK 1: “Odysseus and His Boy” by Steffan DelPiano. It’s Week 1 of the quarterfinals and we already have our first upset, with Wild-Card entry “Odysseus and His Boy” dominating the competition. Congratulations, Steffan. You’re in the semi-finals! I’ll be alerting this Friday’s entrants later today. Also want to congratulate Brian and Paul for a strong showing. Don’t get down on yourselves. The short script competition is right around the corner!

  • Scott Crawford

    Votes so far

  • Steffan

    Changes to Odysseus and His Boy from last week.

    One of the big notes regarding this script was that the “buy in” was high, meaning that the first ten pages were heavy. I’ve gone through those first twenty pages and really pared down every paragraph, restructured sequences etc. to further streamline the opening act. It ended up being 10% or so shorter and much easier to read. I’m happy with it. I hope you will be, too.

    Why You Should Read Odysseus and His Boy:

    When I first started screenwriting seven/eight years ago, I wanted to write small indie films. After years of putting big budget ideas on the back burner because I wanted to write something “that could get made” I had to bite the bullet and admit: I want to write blockbusters. Stories with grand set-piece after set-piece slathered with heaping dollops of theme and drama and character.

    With that being said, this is a Marvel movie with (hopefully) the heart of a Pixar film.

    GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE IN THE CONTEST! Regardless of win or lose, let’s all get our scripts to their best places.

    • Scott Crawford

      A Marvel movie with heart of a Pixar film would make a billion before lunch! Best of luck!

    • ducky

      Nothing about this logline suggested Marvel or Pixar to me.

      • Steffan

        I hear what you’re saying, ducky. I really struggled with the logline. I will say that the movie does have a very epic, superhero-esque, mythological quality to it (while not being “magical”)… which is how (in my opinion) it feels Marvel-like.

        And I really tried to seamlessly blend plot and deep character and theme together the way Pixar does it. So, in that respect, the crafting of the story is an attempt to get at what Pixar movies do so very well.

        But, I agree, the logline needs sprucing up.

        I do hope though you take a look at the script and, even if you don’t vote for it, offer your feedback.

  • -n8-

    hmm… So I think I’ma just commit to reading each script in its entirety. Making the highest seed the first read. Cauz I might hate life by committing to read 3 features in 3 days… Or should the higher seed be read last cauz I’ll retain more for my vote?!

    Hmm…. Fuck it, ODD + Boy your up first…

    …stay tuned for notes

  • Paul Clarke

    Thanks Carson, and anyone who takes the time to read the scripts.

    After the last lot of wonderful SS notes I have updated the first and third acts of Raised by Wolves. Hopefully making the setup clearer and maybe even luring readers further into the action.

    I also took some time to work on that logline that was rightly scorned. I’m much more pleased with the new version.

    Good luck to Brian and Steffan.

    • Steffan

      You too, Paul!

  • scriptfeels

    Should I reread parts of Dionaea and Odysseus and his Boy or just read the one I haven’t read yet and go from my prior judgements from the other two? Any thoughts?

    • garrett_h

      Some of the scripts may have been rewritten, so there’s that to consider as well.

    • Scott Crawford

      Carson said last week that he didn’t expect people to read 8 scripts in one weekend so the writers could just make note of the changes they had made. From what I could gather, a few people (but only a few) based their vote on earlier reads.

      I would suggest reading as much as you can or like of Wolves, then looking at maybe the beginnings (?) of the other two to see if there any changes that might affect your view of them and… best of luck.

  • Scott Serradell

    PICK + VOTE TBD

    ***

    Before I dive into this I wanted to mention OT that Leonard Cohen has left us. 82 years is certainly nothing to scoff at, and he worked right up the end (the song below was recorded earlier this year). May he RIP.

    • Scott Crawford

      A lot of people have been playing the same song (you know the one) but here’s a song that goes around my head a surprising amount. Good film and not as salacious as it might first seem (though perhaps NSFW):

      • Scott Serradell

        Oh yes. Great song. And yes: One of Egoyan’s better efforts.

      • JakeBarnes12

        Everybody knows the war is over.
        Everybody knows the good guys lost.

        • Scott Crawford

          Yeah, I was listening back to it, it’s, erm, it’s pretty resonant…

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

        What the song everyone’s been playing?

        I prefer young Cohen. When the Pete’s Dragon reboot rolled out “So Long, Marianne,” it was one of my favorite movie moments of the year.

        • ShiroKabocha

          I’m guesssing the one famously covered by Jeff Buckley that ushered an era of endless shitty covers by mediocre pop artists.

          • Scott Serradell

            Bingo!

      • Midnight Luck

        I love EXOTICA. Have been a huge fan of the Director Atom Egoyan ever since I first saw it.
        The movie seems like it is going to be really creepy and disturbing in so many ways, but in the end is just a great little thriller and mystery.
        THE SWEETHEREAFTER was a much bigger success and became famous in a way Exotica never did, but I will take Exotica over SweetHereafter every time.
        This movie definitely burned that song into my brain in a big way.
        The first I believe I ever heard this song was in the awesome movie PUMP UP THE VOLUME (covered by CONCRETE BLONDE, who also did JOEY, one of my favorite songs during that time period) with Christian Slater.
        Incredible song.

        P.S. Pump up the Volume’s is relevant right now as well.

        Everybody Knows

        Joey:

        Pump up the Volume

    • ShiroKabocha

      Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
      Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
      Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
      Dance me to the end of love
      Dance me to the end of love

      Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
      Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
      Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
      Dance me to the end of love
      Dance me to the end of love

      Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
      Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
      We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
      Dance me to the end of love
      Dance me to the end of love

      Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
      Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
      Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
      Dance me to the end of love

      Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
      Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
      Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
      Dance me to the end of love
      Dance me to the end of love
      Dance me to the end of love

  • carsonreeves1

    Going to see Billy Lynn in 3-D 120fps this weekend. Should be fun!!! Or, if not fun, interesting!

    • Scott Crawford

      Did you ever even FINISH the book or script? Seems like you hated it…

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

        Book was fun, though slight, IMO.
        60fps really put me off in the Hobbit, though I gather it might look better for real-world scenes.

  • Pat

    I’m going to attempt to read all 3 scripts before I vote and to that end I have read RAISED BY WOLVES and wanted to post some thoughts:

    The story is quick and the writing is clear. They story feels like an action movie should and reminds me at time of LEON which is a great movie to draw comparisons from. In terms of areas I could see more potential in, I found Husk and his motives to be a little unclear at times. He is a very important character but I find that the reader doesn’t get enough insight into who he is or what his intentions are. He spends much of the script talking about how his wife was killed, which motivates him, but he needs more in order to feel fully complete.

    Here are some other thoughts I made along the way. Congrats again on the script:

    Dialog at bottom of page 2 – remove line about promotion, it’s too self-serving. The other lines reflect his thoughts to Kat, but this line is more of a monologue and I feel it doesn’t fit.

    Dialog at bottom of page 3 – again, it’s more sinister if he just says “this ain’t personal, kid” instead of talking about a promotion.

    Page 13 – typo – Mike’s dialog should say “You and your sister” not “you and you sister”

    Page 17 – Why does the encounter with Husk and Kat have to have the comedic collision? Is this the tone you will have for the rest of the story?

    Page 17 – how did Husk find and know Kat was the killer? A scene tipping the audience off to his knowledge would make for good foreshadowing.

    Page 21 – Kat is confused that someone would want to kill her because she believes she is helping people, but then how is all her training justified? Why does she have to sneak around and break in if she is saving people? I think an explanation is needed for this before this point in the script.

    Page 24 – there seems to be a lot of effort being put in to protect Kat from the real world. Why? What does she bring to this job that is so useful/important that all of these people would be hired simply to keep her isolated?

    Page 25 – The writing at implies that Mike notices that Kat ran away. Make it clear that he dismisses the movement, or just away before he looks back at the bed because the act of looking at the bed implies that he notices something is off.

    Page 33 – Does Husk not attack Kat because he beings to suspect that she really is brainwashed? This what I suspect but it’s not perfectly clear.

    Page 34 – If the above is clear, why is Husk still trying to strike Kat?

    Page 36 – I’m still confused as to why Husk changes from helping her to trying to kill her? If he really wanted her dead why didn’t he just turn her away from the cruise ship? Why go through the act of helping her just to try to kill her again?

    Page 37 – Up until this point I wondered how Kat could only read kids spy books but not understand the parallel to her own life. I think you should explain that Mary May cures people and doesn’t kill people much earlier so this is clear to the audience.

    Page 41 – On page 12 it says Husk’s wife’s legs were sticking out from behind the kitchen counter, but the video he shows Kat says she died on the couch.

    Page 44 – Kat doesn’t show much remorse for Gerard’s death.

    Page 60 – What is Walter doing this whole time?

    Page 64 – the police are working for Walter? I don’t remember that happening.

    Page 67 – the realization of who Kat was supposed to kill appears to be coming from the conversation with Zillman, but Husk should have known this from the start.

    Page 82 – Walter’s dialog should read “If he looks like he’s killer her, shoot him in the head” The “he’s” is currently missing.

    Page 103 – What happened to the Boss? Does she get captured, does she get away?

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m not expecting any quick votes this weekend, I think people have to take their time. Get back to us with any more feedbacks and/or a vote, Pat!

      • Pat

        I’ve felt bad over the last few weekends as I have been too busy to read all the scripts. Most weeks I have read the first 10 pages of a few scripts but never read enough of them to properly vote.

        Now that it’s coming down to the end I want to make sure my vote is fully informed. Expect my vote to come in late on Sunday.

        • Scott Crawford

          Not TOO late, I hope.

          • Pat

            10pm Pacific Time is 2am for me, so I can go pretty late!

  • Wijnand Krabman

    Raised by wolves: Started this one the first time it was on, bailed out at page 3, now managed until page 20. For me this story feels very generic, it is well written an a easy read. But we’ve seen more, kid is saved by or from a killer and becomes a bad ass killer herself movies, I probably would watch this on netflix. The fact that she does not understand what she is doing doesn’t work for me.

  • GoIrish

    I’m gonna try reading the first 20 of each and then decide if I need/want to read more of any of them. (Potential spoilers ahead.)

    Raised by Wolves- this one may have a slight advantage going in as the subject matter reminds me of other films I like. It’s got a Hanna/The Professional vibe with the twist being she doesn’t know she’s killing people…which brings me to two of my suspend disbelief moments. The first was Walter & Co. not knowing there was a child in the house. It seems like the most basic of background checks/surveillance work would reveal that. The second was Kat believing she is breaking into houses to deliver vials that cure people. It’s questioned whether it was naive for Walter to think Kat believes this and perhaps it’s answered later on, but Kat’s initial reaction to Husk informing her he was coming for revenge suggests she doesn’t believe she is killing people. Overall I am enjoying this one and will probably read more.

  • Scott Crawford

    punee, I’m going to have to call you up on this one. You make the same comment every time when you vote. Is there any SPECIFIC feedback you’d like to give?

  • garrett_h

    Got to work this morning to find that Scriptshadow is now a restricted site. Oh, the humanity!

    Good luck to this weeks quarterfinal scripts!

    • Scott Crawford

      I blame Trump! Welcome to Trumpton! Four Snore Years! And so on…

    • Nick Morris

      I keep waiting for this to happen as well…

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

      They saw that out of the 10,000 URLs visited by the office yesterday, you refreshed here 475 times, hahah

      • garrett_h

        LOL I definitely have had those days, especially with the late posts, where I’m frantically smashing the reload button. That’s how they caught me for sure!

    • Miss Ma’am

      Eek! I hope that doesn’t happen at where I work. I’m lucky that YouTube is allowed because it allows me to listen to tv shows with the earphones while I work.

  • Jane Doe

    OT: There’s gotta be a horror story/screenplay in this.

    A Coffee Mug Made With the Ashes of Your Loved One
    http://now.howstuffworks.com/2016/11/11/coffee-mug-made-ashes-loved-one

    A sweater out of hair, a chair out of bones, pants out of skin…

    • Citizen M

      Can you make toilet seats out of people you hate?

      • Scott Crawford

        Trump’s still alive.

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

          Make him into the toliet bowl, not the seat.

          • Scott Crawford

            Then he’d be touching my ass. I don’t know if he’d like that or not.

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

            Do you sit directly on the bowl? I would think he’d be touching your ass if you made him into the seat.

            Either way, it’s better than being American right now, because he’s firmly UP our asses . . .

          • Scott Crawford

            Sorry, I thought you said bowl not seat, I got ‘em mixed up. Of COURSE I sit on the seat. Had to make that clear.

    • Scott Crawford

      They did that movie GODSEND where Bobby De Niro clones a couple’s dead kid but **SPOILER** throws in some of his son’s DNA (there wasn’t enough to make a clone of his son but he was hoping some of his son’s character would be in the new child). Turns out De Niro’s kid was a bit of a wrong ‘un.

      Not a great film but an interesting idea.

      Of course, you could always do a comedy where a kid’s dead father/grandfather comes back to life as… well, you can decide.

      Title: Ashes to Ashes?

    • Citizen M

      HOSTESS
      Have a cup of joe.

      GUEST
      But this is tea, not coffee.

      HOSTESS
      It’s the cup, silly. Made out
      of my late husband, Joe.

    • klmn

      That’s creepy. Ed Gein – the inspiration for the film PSYCHO made a lampshade out of human skin. Supposedly he was influenced by stories about Ilse Koch – the lampshades she had were proven at her trial to be goatskin.

  • Linkthis83

    With only 3 scripts, that aren’t new, and 3 days to read…

    We are well beyond loglines, concept, or this isn’t for me. Let’s do some craft/story voting this weekend. You know, informed voting.

    • Scott Crawford

      For those reasons, I’m not expecting many votes this weekend, probably less than 30. It will come to the “hardcore” of Scriptshadow readers.

      One other thing I would put out there, although it’s really up to people to choose, but I think with three scripts you should be able to pick a WINNER. Not runner-up or half-votes, split votes, surely we could just have whole votes?

      • wlubake

        I didn’t vote in the early rounds, but with (1) fewer scripts, and (2) higher stakes, I’m more inclined to participate this weekend. Hopefully other people will, too.

        • Scott Crawford

          That’s true. Maybe people wanted to… I’ll put it nicely, wanted to wait until the field had been narrowed.

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

            Scott, I don’t know what’s in your avatar, but shrunk down on my screen I’m seeing Yoshi from super mario.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s what my script is about. And it isn’t Yoshi.

          • garrett_h

            Looks like Yoshii on my phone too lol.

        • klmn

          While you’re here, I want to thank you for the improvements you suggested for my logline – which I used.

          • wlubake

            I’m glad to help.

      • Linkthis83

        Completely agree.

    • garrett_h

      One script a day folks. It’s doable.

      A lot of times on AOW I get overwhelmed trying to read 5 scripts in one sitting, give up, and never come back to finish. With this format, I have a clear, concise goal. Read one script a day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

      Really gonna do my best to stick to it for the rest of the tourney. This weekend might be rough (birthday weekend, so one day might be spent in a drunken stupor and another recovering) but I’m definitely gonna try.

  • Dustin T. Benson

    I choose to vote for “Odysseus and His Boy”. I thought the action flowed quite well, especially the fight sequences. I’m not a fan of the contracted dialogue, because it doesn’t capture that firm, “ancient Greek” feel, but then again, you’re appealing to modern readers so it has to move quicker than normal. Another thing is the “we need to do this” dialogue that becomes a little repetitive, but I think that also falls on the adventure genre when there are two people together. Greek mythology and epics are so vast, but I think you did a great job capturing this specific storyline.

    The Greek epic, sword and sandals sub-genre rarely gets any love as a spec screenplay. It’s great to read one. Thanks for submitting your script, Steffan and good luck in this little tournament.

    • wlubake

      Flag. Second comment ever (first was on yesterday’s post).

      If you are new, welcome. Hope to see more of you. Hope you don’t hold the flag against me. Just trying to keep things fair.

      • Scott Crawford

        OK. I’ll put “first comment” next to his name and then people can judge for themselves?

        • wlubake

          I’m just neighborhood watch. I don’t make the laws, I just creepily observe people too closely then report things that feel off.

          Your solution sounds fine to me.

          With only 3 scripts and nothing on the agenda this weekend, I may actually even participate in voting this week. Feel free to discount my vote, too, simply because it’s mine.

          • Scott Crawford

            I don’t make the laws either, Carson does. Dustin’s comments are quite thoughtful, I hope he’s given consideration to the other scripts. If Carson wishes to discount a vote, say in the instance of a close finish, hopefully he’ll have the information to make the right choice.

          • Steffan

            I don’t know Dustin though I thank him for his vote.

            It’s so not in my nature to attempt to stack the vote especially when what I want most of all is the strength of my writing to either earn me a victory/defeat.

            I do thank blake for keeping this as clean and fair a “fight” as possible.

    • garrett_h

      FYI regarding flagging Dustin, I’ve seen him on the TB boards and we’ve talked a bit (not much) on those forums, and maybe once or twice on Twitter. I vouch for him. He’s a good guy and I doubt he’s voting for a friend here. I could be wrong of course, but I trust him (about as much as you can trust a stranger on the internet lol).

      Welcome Dustin, glad to see you here. Don’t be shy! Also, I saw VIRAL/PANDEMIC on Netflix. Congrats! Loved the script, can’t wait to check out the finished product.

      • Jaco

        Ditto. He’s a straight shooter.

        Look toward to checking out Viral – any other projects on the horizon, DTB?

      • Scott Crawford

        I think I remember the name from before. As someone who’s come and gone from Disqus, I can vouch that you can’t always know who’s new or not.

      • wlubake

        Happy to be wrong. Thanks, and welcome to Dustin.

    • J

      Hey, aren’t you that fat piece of shit who likes to harass people online and post their private info and pictures of them on the internet?

      Yeah, I remember you now. You were good at bullying people when you thought you were anonymous, hiding behind your keyboard like the tough guy you are, following them endlessly from site to site and sticking your nose in their business.

      After you were caught out, you harassed them further by going as far to contact their reps, their family, etc.

      What was it you said to some of your victims? “You’ve got me for life”.

  • Wijnand Krabman

    Dionaea; hefty opening! It would be nice if we get some time to get into the story. This one starts full throttle a bit too much for me. Just as raised by wolves, this feels very generic.

  • smishsmosh22

    I voted every week of the competition but now that we’re in the Quarter Finals and my script is part of that, I’m not sure if I should be voting… thoughts?

    • Scott Crawford

      Other people have voted when their scripts have been in play. One vote from you is hardly going to sway things should you decide to… vote strategically!

      On the other hand, you and the rest might want to concentrate on honing your own projects for the weeks to come…

    • klmn

      I think I won’t vote going forward. But I have no problem with participants voting.

      Is there a Table Read lined up for today?

      • smishsmosh22

        Yeah I’m just not hosting today, it’s on Vince’s channel. twitch.tv/vincenzo_merola

  • OCattorney

    OCattorney votes for “Odysseus and His Boy”

    for making the changes that raise the level of the script… I was watching “Alexander” last night and this script puts Oliver Stone in his place

    didn’t like the ending to Dionaea, sending a warning back in time in a tachyon field seems too iffy and not at all up to current standards

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

    Raised by Wolves gets my vote, hands down. I still don’t like the idea of the young girl being stalked, but damn if I didn’t look up for the first 20 pages. The writing is clean as a whistle (though the intercut scenes when he’s talking to the boss can get a little confused), the action is rock-solid, and way to get your story going quick. Husk and Mike are instantly and invisibly integrated, and the characters are all completely distinctive. Quality work.

    I agree with others that the subject matter is a little overdone, but you do it so well I think it works. (Paul, have you ever read the “Stainless Steel Rat”? You should option it, it would suit your style perfectly, it’s almost the lighthearted version of what you have here.)

    Sorry, Dionea, but the beginning time jumps are confusing, and the dialogue for the first 5 pages is mostly on-the-nose exposition. Also, from the cryo tubes to the flame throwers to the “they escaped!”, it’s just too derivative of Alien for me to get into it.

    Odysseus, there’s so much going on in the first five pages I honestly couldn’t follow it. Character after character is introduced in the middle of a barrage of 2-line action lines, I was lost. I’ll try again when I have more attention to give to it.

    • Steffan

      Odysseus is front loaded. I can’t deny that. But, I’ll tell you this much, all the characters introduced are integral to the plot(s) and are around from the opening of Act One to the Close of Act Three.

      It’s a hefty buy-in that, I believe, pays dividends in the end as all the characters are doing “double duty” by acting as A-Plots and B-Plots to each other’s arcs.

      I hope you give it another chance. Each week I’ve been up I’ve been presented with people that say, “I cracked this open and it was too overwhelming” who then went back and gave it a second try and ultimately voted for it.

      I’m not saying necessarily that’s going to be you, but I’m proud of the script and know that your initial reaction to it is not unprecedented.

      • Kirk Diggler

        The one thing to know for sure about Scriptshadow is this;

        You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  • Scott Crawford

    R.I.P. Robert Vaughan, actor and anti-Vietnam War activist, 1932 to 2016… could this year get any shittier?

    • BoSoxBoy

      “… could this year get any shittier?”

      Yes. My parents could confess that they were Nazi spies in WWII, my wife could reveal that she was born Ralph and it shouldn’t matter that she never told me, and my accountant could inform me that he forgot to file my tax returns for the last five years. It can always get shittier.

  • Poe_Serling

    Now Playing at the Scriptshadow Cineplex…

    Screen 1: Raised by Wolves – an action/thriller.
    Screen 2: Dionaea – a sci-fi/thriller/horror/action.
    Screen 3: Odysseus and His Boy – a period piece.

    Since I’m familiar with the basic plots of all the projects and read a bit of each, I’m
    going with a different approach in selecting a script this week.

    Which one would I sit down to watch first?

    My pick: DIONAEA

    The story is just a little more in my personal wheelhouse.

    Thanks to all the writers for sharing their work!

    • Scott Crawford

      I couldn’t choose without some background information – like reviews and word-of-mouth, but I’d lean towards Odysseus… I’ve always liked that story, and if the filmmakers can pull it off, it would be a must-see.

  • klmn

    OT?

    • Scott Crawford

      It’s always striking when you hear the original versions because Hamlisch speeded them up for the movie and everyone copied that.

      • witwoud

        This seems to have been the trend from the start. The sheet music for the rags often comes with a stern note from the composer: ‘Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play Ragtime fast.’

  • Scott Crawford

    Murder on the ISS, if you’re looking for an opinion.

    “In space, there’s no up or down. But there is right and wrong.”

  • AstralAmerican

    VOTE: DIONAEA
    Reminds me of ALIENS, DOOM, PANDORUM, etc.
    Reading this while on the clock…shhh…and while DIONAEA doesn’t bring anything new to the table from the 22 pages I’ve read, I found the writing is professional, crisp, clear, concise and definitely a movie I’d check out if the trailers and casting were on point. Love me some good horror and sci-fi.
    My only suggestion — again from the 22 pages — is for the writer to find that something unique and new to keep us engaged. I’ve seen a ton of “aliens on a spaceship” flicks. And I get that this might be an unfair criticism from only 22 pages but I’m sitting in the theater watching your movie (aka reading your script), eyes glazed over — pull the rug out from under me! I want to sit up and take notice. Sweat and shift in my seat from feverish excitement of the action, characters, monsters, set pieces. Shake my wife uncontrollably out of pure glee and awe as if this somehow gets her to experience the film the same way that I do.
    Best of luck!

  • Midnight Luck

    I am surprised no one posted about this before, (except now Scott Serradell did, deep within his comments):

    R.I.P. Leonard Cohen – 82

    It has been a rough, rough year.

    Can’t believe another giant is gone.

    http://www.refinery29.com/2016/11/129511/leonard-cohen-dead-hallelujah-covers

    • Scott Serradell

      Yeah. I had been listening lately to cuts on YouTube (like the one I linked) of his new album and there was something unusually clear and powerful about what was going on. Then I had read he hadn’t been doing too well lately and I thought “shit…I bet he’s on his way out”. A week later, here we are. Sad, but man, 82 years is a good life, especially if you still have your scruples (and sense of humor). This was a few weeks ago, if you haven’t already checked it out:

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/17/leonard-cohen-makes-it-darker

      And I agree. 2016 can quietly go and fuck itself.

  • Malibo Jackk

    My best to all Vets.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Something I’ve noted is that some amateur scripts get better the more you read.
    Because I don’t have time to read all the scripts — I won’t be voting.
    (I’ll read a little of each.)

    But here is why those first few pages are important.
    Some industry people will tell you —
    “I CAN TELL IF SOMEONE IS A SCREENWRITER JUST BY READING THE FIRST PAGE.”

    • Levres de Sang

      I think that’s absolutely correct. Problem being that in many ways the first page is the hardest page of all to get right. I also think all three contenders need to have a long, hard look at their first pages because for me, they’re not working:

      Raised by Wolves: the dreaded tonal issues I was talking about Thursday.

      Dionaea: a complete absence of setup combined with tonal / exposition issues.

      Odysseus: the third scene is a flashback to a battlefield indistinguishable from the one we saw in the opening scene.

      Hope to go a bit further, but Malibo is dead right about the importance of those first pages.

      • Steffan

        The flashbacks are all from the same battle in the opening of Od and His Boy.

        Is that unclear? If so, how do you think I could make it clearer? Maybe something in the slug line?

        • Scott Crawford

          I’m going to use a slightly crude analogy, so I apologize (a little), but historical scripts should be a bit like sex, the naughty way, in that you need to ease people in. Having a QUICK look at your first page, and as I have commented in my own post, you go to the voice over a bit TOO soon.

          You’re thinking that, if this was a movie, the VO might start wishing seconds of the film starting, which is probably true. But that’s not how screenplays work. A screenplay could take half-a-page describing what is happening even though that might be conveyed on screen in just a few short shots.

          EXT. BATTLEFIELD – DAY

          ACHILLES smites a TROJAN with his sword. Lets out a fierce battle cry.

          CALCHAS (V.O.)
          If beauty could be glimpsed in battle, then Achilles inspired it.

          Nice first line, should be a comma after “battle” I THINK. But the questions start.

          Battlefield? Battlefield where? From Catherine the Great:

          EXT. A BATTLEFIELD – DAY

          A fierce and bloody battle goes on between the green uniformed RUSSIANS and the blue uniformed PRUSSIANS.

          The Russians slaughter the Prussians in hand to hand combat– A sword slices open the guts of a blue uniformed soldier. A bayonet is plunged into the back on a soldier’s neck. A pistol is fired point blank at a soldiers’s face.

          The ground is slippery with Prussian blood.

          –but then a MAN ON HORSEBACK emerges from the chaos. It is Peter in a crisp, unstained blue uniform. He holds his sword high in the air.

          PETER
          Charge!!!

          The Prussians charge the Russians, reversing the tide of the battle, and take the field.

          CUT TO:

          I think that’s bloody awful. I’ll tell you why: we have NO idea where we are or what’s happening. It’s all very generic. Most wrongly to me, this is spending a million dollars (at least) on a big battle scene and then just not giving a shit about writing it. Oh, someone else will make it look good. Simon Crane’s a good second-unit director, he’ll figure something out. Arsing lazy. It’s the writer’s job to write what happens and make it good.

          I digress (a little). Tell us where this battle is taking place, between whom (I’ll give Kristina credit for THAT, at least she tells use who is fighting). Tell us what each side is doing, what tactics… don’t worry TOO much about the timing of things.

          Who is Achilles? I know he’s a bit of a “heel” (sorry, British humor) but how old is he, what does he look like, how does he move?

          This is a very rushed off-the-top-of-my-head bit of writing, with bugger-all research apart from what I can remember from books and blockbusters, but:

          EXT. TROY BEACH – DAY

          A vision of Hell on Earth. The cries of the wounded and dying drowned out by the battlecries of their slayers.

          The Greeks, fierce warriors, slaughter their way through wave after wave of Trojans. As the Trojans retreat, the soft sand gives way beneath their feet. Many are cut down as they scramble to get to their feet.

          Leading the Greeks is the fiercest warrior of them all, ACHILLES (20s), long blonde hair, handsome and deadly, eyes like two whirlpools. From the Charybdis of his eyes to the Scylla that is his outstretched sword.

          Only plucky TROJAN WARRIOR tries his luck against the Greek demigod. It’s the last thing he will try as Achilles dodges the Trojan’s attack, slices at the running figure as it passes him, cutting the man litterally into two. Achilles doesn’t even pass to wipe the spray of blood from his eyes.

          CALCHAS (V.O.)
          If beauty could be glimpsed in battle, then Achilles inspired it.

          I’m in no way trying to suggest that something I wrote in two minutes is going to be better than something you’ve spent weeks hammering away at, and for all I know your earlier versions may have been more like that and you’ve done a bit too much chiseling. But in addition making it clearer WHERE we are and WHO is in the scene, you shouldn’t be afraid to paint some pictures for the reader, like a novel, so we feel this is more real. That’s especially important when writing history.

          Best of luck, Steffan!

        • Levres de Sang

          Actually, I think it’s a fairly straightforward fix. I’d merge the battle scenes and open with the funeral oration. It’s a classic FADE IN that allows for a more natural flashback. It also achieves a note of solemnity that feels tonally right for this subject matter.

          Here’s how I’d approach it…

          EXT. SHORELINE – DAY – PRESENT

          CALCHAS, priest of Apollo, stands in front of an unlit
          funeral pyre. On top, the BODY of a warrior. Silent, stiff.

          Five thousand GREEKS stand solemnly together armored in blue
          and green. Faces full of disbelief. Some men cry openly.

          A TORCH passed from Greek to Greek snakes toward the pyre.

          CALCHA
          If courage could take root amongst
          slaughter then Achilles engendered
          it. If beauty could be glimpsed in
          battle then Achilles inspired it.

          Among them is a small boy with red hair–the color of
          flame. His name is PYRRHUS (10).

          His young face wears all the pains of the men. Tears,
          stoicism and fear combine into rage as we…

          DISSOLVE TO:

          EXT. BATTLEFIELD – DAY

          ACHILLES smites a TROJAN with his sword. Lets out a fierce
          battle cry.

          The massive WALLS OF TROY cast a blanketing shadow across the
          sand-strewn battlefield. Graffiti, scribbled by the Greeks,
          is scrawled across the walls.

          Achilles’ tan, sinewy body dives, rolls, and leaps through
          the fray dealing out death to all that oppose.

          He is kinetic energy personified.

          Pyrrhus twirls his sling and lets a stone loose at a CHARGING
          TROJAN, dressed in their traditional Red and Gold.

          FWAM! The stone breaks the Trojan’s nose knocking him flat
          on his back. The boy doesn’t give an inch to his enemies.

          ACHILLES spins into view gutting two TROJANS as he does.

          ACHILLES
          Pyrrhus!

          • Steffan

            Awesome note. I’ll work with this in the next rewrite. Thanks, L.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Instead of Ext. Shoreline – Day
            give us some context

            Ext. Shore of the Aegean – Day

      • Scott Crawford

        I’ve not read any of these scripts before but I was tempted to download and read the first page of each to see what I could tell:

        Raised by Wolves: An OKish opening but nothing specially original. The hitman (or whoever) doesn’t do something we’ve never seen before like, I don’t know, disabling the security system with a scrunchy or killing the guard
        (or whoever he was) with cyanide-squirting water pistol. I remember on the first page of a script called Fully Automatic, where a sniper kills a man looking through some binoculars:

        The sniper’s bullet DRILLS HIM BETWEEN THE EYES.
        CUTS The BINOCULARS IN TWO.
        Sentry #2 crumples soundlessly.
        A lens in each hand.

        Like a Haiku. But when you read something like that, you know the writer has put a lot of thought into his choices, he’s stopped and thought (as I had to stop and think for my scrunchy and water pistol ideas) is there another way of doing this?

        Odysseus and His Boy: A classic complaint from my days critiquing the first ten pages of a script is the first few lines of scene direction on the first page should be longer than the first few lines of dialogue that come after it. e.g. not this:

        EXT. HAMBURG DOCKS – DAY

        Everybody’s really busy. Some fisherman are sitting around talking.

        FISHERMAN #1
        I remember when there used to be fish all around the North Sea. Now the only fish you get in the shops is from the Baltic. My mother could turn a single herring into a meal for five with leftovers for a week.

        That was the first page of my unfinished and unfinishable script THE FISHERMAN OF HAMBURG. Yes, I am feeling alright. But the point is, scripts are a visual medium and it alarms me how quick people want to go into dialogue, either on-screen or in voice over. You’ve GOT to set the scene before you have people talking. This is an exaggerated example, and Odysseus is not the that bad, but it would be better to spend more time painting a picture and (as others have pointed out) slowly introducing us to this world rather than dumping us straight in.

        Dionaea: Sorry, haven’t a clue what’s going on here. Could be I’m prejudiced, all that jargon throws me off. Probably the best written, the most screenwriterly of the three but I would very put off if the script continued like that.

        That’s all. We can return to things as usual, other people commenting on scripts and me just counting the votes.

        • Scott Serradell

          Not that purport to know anything (ha!) but the more I read the works of other writers I have noticed that the real dividing line between amateurs and professionals is their propensity to tell a story. Period! And what should be the simplest component of screenwriting is often, among amateurs, the most elusive and deceptive thing to grasp.

          This echoes that oft posted clip from Andrew Stanton’s TED talk: “Storytelling is joke-telling.” It’s so true! And yet it took me a long time of spinning my creative energy in the mud to step back and ask: “Well, how do you tell a joke?” You’ve got to establish — you’ve got to set the scene — you bring characters into this situation and you build and build to your punchline. And why is the punchline funny? Because it is both unexpected AS WELL AS BEING the natural conclusion to everything you just told your audience; they have anticipated the ending and will only be satisfied if it both logical AND surprising.

          This should all be rote to us — second nature — but time after time I open scripts here and it’s just WORDS; it’s sensations and descriptions ejaculated onto the page like haphazard poetry. And I think a lot of these writers are in that interim period of learning the mechanics — nestled in-between knowing nothing (so you’re free to write anything) and having a certain mastery of the craft (where you understand the rules and can now forget you know them). It’s a tough place to be, filled with theory and confusion. But I think the way out, the way forward, is by looking back — by looking at our ideas and just asking “How can tell a joke?”

          • Scott Crawford

            *Snigger* You said EJACULATED! Haaaaa!

            That’s my level of humor.

          • Scott Serradell

            It’s probably my salty and warped sense of perspective but I find little difference in the act of writing and sex (and those who disagree are probably doing one of them wrong).

          • Scott Crawford

            Oh no, I mentioned to Steffan how writing historical scripts is like some forms of sex: you have to ease people in. I feel the people on this site are adult enough to take a few sex metaphors.

        • Levres de Sang

          Interesting observation on scene description to dialogue ratio in the opening.

          Also curious, knowing you’re a dedicated outliner, what torpedoed that fisherman project in the writing process? (Hope you don’t mind me asking!)

          • Scott Crawford

            That was a joke, that was a joke! I just made up Hamburg and some fisherman and some dialogue, just an illustration.

            It’s an odd observation, but unfortunately true, that if a writer goes into a dialogue after virtually no scene setting it’s a danger sign for me. It suggests the writer just wants to plunge into a dialogue and skip the visuals.

            Also, no pro script I have EVER read starts like that. Like, NEVER EVER.

          • Levres de Sang

            Ah…! I feel a bit stupid now!

            I’ll try to redeem myself with a Hamburg-related film recommendation / screenwriting observation: The American Friend is an absorbing film for 90 minutes, but continues on for another 30 minutes with nowhere left to go. In other words, what Wenders likely perceived to be Act 3 simply wasn’t needed.

          • Scott Crawford

            Not stupid at all, I’m silly and it’s difficult when people are silly to know when they’re being serious or not.

            And it’s not just outlining that I’m dedicated to. I’m dedicated to research, to thinking up new ideas, not settling for the first thing that pops in to my head. I’ve just about completed research on my latest and if I can just nail down the MacGuffin, I could start writing it soon.

            I’ve seen Ripley’s Game and I’d like to get around to seeing the first version.

      • The Old Man

        Hi Levres,
        I really, really, respect your expertise. It’s on a par with the best of the posters here, and that says a lot.
        I agree, the 1st page has to grab the reader. I have no business asking this, but.. what the hell. Would you give me your opinion of the 1st page of the Horror scrip I am working on? (Any one else if free to chime in too. There are so many helpful people here.) Anyway, here it is, minus the formatting, of course.

        FADE IN:

        EXT. WOODS – DAY

        Dense brush and trees. A bright sun above. Quiet.

        A metal canister materializes in the brush. Twelve inches long, three inches high. A window on one side of it.

        A doe wanders past the canister. It stops to graze.

        The window in the canister opens. A barely visible mist streams out. It enters the doe’s nose, disappears inside.

        The doe perks up. Instantly alert. Checks her surroundings. Listens. Thinks. It walks away.

        EXT. CHICAGO SUBURB – DAY

        A string of well-kept houses on both sides of a wide two lane road. Large yards, front and back.

        BACKYARDS

        The doe walks along the grass at the tree line of a wooded area. It studies each house it passes.

        INT. KITCHEN – DAY

        A MOTHER, 37, and her DAUGHTER, 15, sit at the table. A softball bat and glove are on the table. The girl yells into the house.

        DAUGHTER
        Dad!

        MOTHER
        Relax.

        DAUGHTER
        He’s going to make me late again.

        She looks at the screened back door. The doe stands there, looking at her.

        She gets up, goes to the door. The mother looks.

        MOTHER
        Be careful.

        The girl stands at the door, studies the doe through the screen. The mist exits the doe’s nose, streams into the girl’s nose.

        • Levres de Sang

          Thank you for such kind words! SS is an amazing place and I’ve also learned a hell of a lot here.

          Anyway, I’ll have a look at your first page and EDIT this comment with my thoughts…

        • Malibo Jackk

          A few general comments:
          I like the idea of keeping it simple for the reader
          — but you want to avoid having the writing coming off as just matter of fact.
          1.) You might want to throw in an interesting detail (emphasis on
          interesting)..
          2.) Or something more to give character to the scene.
          3.) Or something to make us feel an emotion.

          Give the canister a bluish glow — something more to make it special or stand out.
          Have the deer startled by the appearance. Then approach it out of
          curiosity.
          Maybe give the deer more personality afterwards. (It appears to have had little sinister effect.)

          Only suggestions. Use you own judgement.

          • The Old Man

            Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it.
            Good suggestions. I originally had a light turn on inside the canister and the mist (Alien) swirling around inside. I probably should put that back, but I’ll have to eliminate something else because I want to transfer the mist from the doe to the girl on the all important 1st page. I’ll work on it. God, I love this shit. :)

            Thanks again.

          • Levres de Sang

            ** Replying here instead. Anyway, I hope these notes are helpful going forward…

            SCENE DESCRIPTION: Agree with Malibo that some of the scene description feels matter of fact. There’s a fine line between simple and staccato. One problem is your use of the word “it” — SIX times, in fact. I know this sounds overly micro, but all of them can be eliminated. It would make for a more fluid read. You must also ENTICE us into this world. I’d therefore have the doe actively unearthing the cannister rather than the bland “It stops to graze.” This would also allow you to provide texture — whether it’s the damp, fall leaves or summer flowers. I’d also capitalise both the DOE and the CANNISTER on their first mentions. You don’t want a reader glossing over their existence. In addition, an action like “The doe perks up” could vex even the most experienced animal handler!

            DIALOGUE: I know the exchange between mother and daughter is meant to be perfunctory (just another ordinary kitchen in the suburbs and all that), but even so I’d get rid of it altogether. Make the doe’s appearance more mystical. Have the daughter be on her own so she can share a moment with the doe BEFORE the mist reappears. She can even call softly to her mother: “Hey Mom, you should see this…” As it stands, lines such as the Mother’s “Be careful” come across as overly flat.

            Overall, I think you can afford to make more of this sequence and let it run for two pages. It could be really good! Lastly, I got more of a TV pilot feel (as opposed to horror feature). Might be something to think about?

          • The Old Man

            I had to compress everything because of the space constraints of one page. I wanted the girl to get the mist on page 1. I’ll try expanding it and moving that action to page 2, then figure out another way to force the reader to turn the page. How hard can that be? :)

            Thank you, so much. You didn’t let me down. I’m going to send you and Malibo free passes when the movie opens.

          • Linkthis83

            Just chiming in here: While I understand having a “strategy” for turning the page, the real truth is that even if an “event” doesn’t take place on page one, good writing leading you to the event will.

            If the event makes page one but the storytelling is ineffective, then it doesn’t matter. Don’t sacrifice your intention.

          • Levres de Sang

            No problem. I’ll look forward to that free ticket! :)

          • Linkthis83

            complex organisms :)

        • Citizen M

          A couple of nitpicky points:

          “A metal canister materializes in the brush.”
          ‘Materializes’ is a vague word. It implies that it pops into existence as we watch. Does it suddenly appear, or does it fade in slowly? Or was it lying there the whole time in which case it ‘lies’ in the bush. (Or ‘lays’ for some people.)

          “Twelve inches long, three inches high.”
          I’m presuming it is a cylindrical object lying on its side. It would be better to say three inches wide, or three inches in diameter.

          “A window on one side of it.”
          I imagine a little window with teeny glass windowpanes and maybe little chintz curtains. Perhaps vent or hatch might be more suitable.

          • The Old Man

            Hi M,
            Sorry for the delayed response (Football Sunday).

            Hey, you can nitpick me all you want. I’ll take all the help I can get.

            More clarity in my writing. Got it!

            Okay, you and Linkthis get free tickets too. Geez, I hope somebody buys tickets. :)

            Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

  • Guest

    Hello to all,

    I thought this might be the right place to ask my screenwriting/movie question….

    I am Trying to find a screenplay or movie coming out soon, 2017-2018 I think. The plot is about two Assassins or Hitman with the same contract, in Europe, who fall in love. I don’t know if I read about it on the BLACKLIST Site or Comingsoon but I wanted to know if someone knew what the film was or could be…..

    Thanks in advance.

    • Guest

      I hope someone knows what this is called…..

      • Guest

        No one know or not wanting help out a fellow writer?

        • Malibo Jackk

          Reminds me of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

          • Guest

            Nope. Not these….Either.

            Like I said, might have read about it on BLACKLIST site or BLOG.

            the plot I remember being something about two assassins or Hitmen/Women, in Europe I think it was, that fall in love (with each-other).

          • Guest

            I heard about a movie like this coming out, 2017-19, big name actors just not sure whom.

          • Kirk Diggler

            You are probably referring to “UNTITLED STEVEN KNIGHT WORLD WAR 2 SCRIPT”, which is now known as “Allied”.

          • Guest

            Nope. That’s not it. Might be an unproduced script.

          • Guest

            Anyone else willing to give it a shot….?

        • Citizen M

          Nearest I could find is this:

          The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) (comedy)
          The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

          • Guest

            No. Sadly, it is nether of those films.

  • Mayhem Jones

    Gonna hit these up on SUNDAY, can’t wait!!!!
    OT: Anyone have NEW COKE by Max Schwartz?
    If so plz: mayhem jones 5 at gmail dot com… THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Scott Crawford

      I can never get hold of any of those Black List featured scripts, that’s why they soon disappear into obscurity. ‘cept Felix.

  • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

    Doing a quick edit of the offerings at: twitch.tv/final_boss_editing

  • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

    VOTE: RAISED BY WOLVES

    Video of edits: https://youtu.be/nmnco5fUffg

    Line by line notes:

    Dionaea

    P1 – What do her surroundings look like that tell us she’s
    in the future – descibe them.
    P2 – This general language makes me feel like it’s a standard
    sci fi horror – show me the specifics that make this world
    unique!
    P3 – Describe what will show on screen ONLY – show their
    tensing then relaxation not “okay, we’re good…”
    P4 – give us an action line of the hallway’s looks . will help
    anchor us in the scene
    P4 – Flashbacks like this are risky – consider breaking out
    into a full flashback, but also ask if this is adding to
    the current scene?
    P4 – use VO for these memory dialogues if someone is in scene
    P5 – trust the reader – avoid explaining before showing.

    OVERALL:
    –Good writing and powerful dialoge – solid here
    –A ton of action hooks early – be sure to root us in
    a character we care about first – this can be short, but it
    is necessary
    –Be sure to show the internal moments you have in action lines
    this can be a useful way to make the scene more concrete

    RAISED BY WOLVES:
    P1 – Good action description – all visual
    P2 – good decision – to have him show that he’s not happy
    that there’s a kid and it wasn’t the plan
    P3 – Dialogue is a little clunky – with him explaining his wants.
    P4 – restating his “wants” feels contrived – consider
    deepening his comm with communications since that feels more
    realistic
    P4 – ask how is this DIFFERENT than the professional…
    P5 – a little light on conflict – no one is saying “NO”
    or getting emotional in this scene.
    P6 – This earlier day cut seems sudden / unprompted
    P7 – The jumping flashbacks are a bit confusing, and I don’t
    know if I need the “what happened” download on why kat stayed
    the extra flashback of the “pinball croud” seems overly explanatory

    OVERALL
    –great writing – action is super clear, and dialogue is solid
    –flashback section may need a bit of work, trust your reader
    what can we assume from their current relationship

    • wad_d

      I think you should ask permission from the writers before you perform a reading of their script and post it online. Regardless, please don’t review my script like that whenever I’m up.

      • witwoud

        You’d better withdraw your script altogether, then. Reviewing screenplays is pretty much the whole idea of Scriptshadow, and that’s what this guy is doing. He’s not performing a reading of the scripts, he’s trying out some of the dialogue aloud.

      • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

        Will do. I always take it down if someone is opposed, but usually if you’re posting on scriptshadow where people comment and give feedback I figure it’s ok. Most people have found it helpful to get a free table read and hear explanation around our feedback, but yeah, always happy to take something down if someone’s uncomfortable :)

        • wad_d

          No problem. I just had a bad experience one time where someone got hold of something of mine and performed some of it without my knowledge and I wasn’t thrilled with the results. But feel free to go to town on it in the comments section. My entry is titled “Breaking Them Up”. Thanks.

  • Citizen M

    DIONAEA: The “new” version Dionaea [11.10.16].pdf appears to be an earlier draft of the Round 1 submission Dionaea [2016.09.05].pdf, not an improved version.

    Look at page 11. The “new” version is full of rookie mistakes — no slug lines, new characters not capped, no character ages or descriptions. These mistakes don’t appear in the Round 1 version.

    As it stands, I cannot vote for it. The story may be good, but the writing is too amateurish.

    Brian Kazmarck, please confirm we are voting on the correct version.

    • OpenFireFilms

      Hi Citizen. Admittedly this was a rushed polish in order to meet the deadline for the contest. I’ve been working on a new rewrite that is (I think) a significant improvement on the new one, but, it has taken much longer than anticipated due to work/life/health events. I’ll happily send you the draft when it’s done if you’re interested in reading it, but, I wanted to submit something. Not an excuse, just the way it is. Totally understand your position and appreciate the feedback.

      • Citizen M

        I was sure there must be some mistake because it seemed to be going backwards, but if this is your QF version I’ll press on with it.

  • -n8-

    Alright, finished the first read- Oddyseus and His boy. Here’s my impressions…

    The good – Really cool take on a very old story. The inventiveness to find/create an untold story is similar to like fan fiction of Star Wars. But elevated cauz it’s the classics and way better cauz Steffan def put his heart and soul into it. That was felt on every page. And that level of passion raised the structure of story and its plotting. I was totally involved with this story. Good shit.

    Also this is the rare script in which the second act was the strongest of all three. Once Odd and Pyrr get into the horse the story starts to er, um, gallop along. At one point I found myself voraciously consuming the pages. And I’m a very methodical reader so that’s def a strength this script had. Again, good work!

    The bad – man, this script was definitely better than amateur status. But not quite at pro level. Or I should say not at the point where pro’s look at your work and say, “damn, I respect that.” Dammit if I didn’t hear all the comments CR has given me in our consults over my scripts about being a hair or two shy of developing pro level characters, all throughout reading Odd and his boy. Like I appreciate the rewrite Steffan did to add weight to Achilles death by making Pyrr and odd feel somewhat responsible in their own way. And I really appreciated the clashing ideologies of both leads. But I gotta say, I felt a bit let down while reading the second half of the script cauz there weren’t enough moments to make odd or Pyrr more interesting. There wasn’t enough texture. And all that action in the second act was fun but would be greater if it really hit home with character.

    Like they started out unique and cool and almost like reluctant heroes who slowly turned into just about every other typical hero by the end. I dunno. Just was so much more intrigued with both characters, until the point that polydora joins the plan. Then it becomes kinda Hollywood cliche ville. And I wanted more. And felt kinda let down at the end of the script. I dunno, maybe I’m the only one who felt that.

    The ugly – Ok, so I had to read this script in chunks cauz of my busy day. And the first part I read early yesterday morn before I went to sleep and breezed through first act. This afternoon, I gobbled the second act like a drama version Cookie Monster. And just now finished the third act after a long night working the bar. And man were they all very diff experiences. As I said before the second act was quite awesome to me. It was like mini goal metropolis– heroes need to get out horse, heroes need to get keys, heroes need to warn about south gate, heroes need to escape temple etc. I was in! I was about to say this the winner of the whole contest…

    But then the story crumbles in the third act.

    Not only was there the very difficult to believe Deus ex machina of Menelaus’ dog retrieving the rock (tho Steffan you could set that up so its more believable by having same dog retrieve the stones that odd skips over the water in Act one) but then the whole freak out of Pyrr to save poly seemed so much of a stretch. Could someone have that much of a change?! Sure, but it strains credibility. Not to mention that kiss. Man, i sucked my teeth and went “huh?!” Not needed. Not the story I was reading. Felt like some studio head said to Steffan, “add a romance angle for all the chicks in the audience who are watching the movie with their boyfriends…” Not honest to the story presented imo.

    And I guess that sums up the ugly part of this script– that the tone, especially in the second half was not consistent. I had felt this sweeping, epic, odd couple buddy quest movie that went for easy hooks (formula romance) at the end.

    Still, good effort. I enjoyed the read for the most part.

    Good luck with this script!

    Line notes:

    Pg 14 “faces meet” – wording man. I thought these dudes were kissing.
    Pg 29 “Hold up” – I dunno, didn’t seem like Ancient Greek talk. Too colloquial.
    All throughout – BACK TO SCENE as mini scene headings are a waste. Don’t even include them. Just highlight the part of the scene you want us to get back to visually.

    • Wijnand Krabman

      “Not only was there the very difficult to believe Deus ex machina of Menelaus’ dog retrieving the rock” You can’t be serious? The IIiyad ia all about deus ex machina!

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

        Yeah, but this isn’t the Iliad :)

    • Steffan

      N8,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to a) read it and b) type out these notes.

      On future rewrites I’ll really look at highlighting the clash between Od. and P more than the action.

      I’m very glad you generally liked it.

      That the third act didn’t jive with you is a huge problem though and (if I get more feedback that corroborates what your’re saying) I’ll have to go back and work on highlighting the incremental changes in P’s character so the end is a smoother transition; because, THAT’S the movie to me. That P goes back into the fight to see war for what it really is… for what O has been saying it is the entire time.

      And, the deux ex machina of Menelaus’ dog…

      I really don’t think it’s that in the context of this script for the reason that smells and odors are set up twice in the story before that happens: once with Ajax talking to Od. about his wife’s handkerchief and Dolon using the bracelet to track Od down with his dogs. So, I set it up twice so it doesn’t operate strictly as deus ex machina… but (I must admit) I’ve received this note before.

      I really appreciate your time though n8. You put a lot of effort into this post and I thank you for that.

      • -n8-

        Word! My pleasure. Hope you get some good outta it.

        The thing with the dog isn’t like world class horrible ex Mach. I mean, audiences will cut you slack. Especially since you work really hard at painting your characters in a corner and for the most part have then use their superpowers (their special skills unique to them… Not actual superpowers) to get them out of it.

        And I hears u about setting up sniffing and tracking throughout the script. My thing is that you didn’t set up that sorta deal with that particular dog and that particular char (oddyseus). Like give us a foreshadowing moment in which that particular dog reponds to a similar but not on the nose (or maybe on the nose for the stupid peeps… We gotta lot of em in ‘merica) so that when it happens at the end we’ ve already been conditioned for it.

        If I had read a scene where Menelaus dog went and retrieved something that odd tossed aside or maybe a stone poly threw from the gate or something like that, I wouldnt have thought too hard about it. But as is, it pulled me outta the drama.

        But the good news, your writing pulled me right back in!

  • Citizen M

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages. Sorry, but this doesn’t do it for me. The concept that there’s a secret organization earning millions for doing assassinations doesn’t fly when you have real-life case of a woman wanting her ex’s baby dead and walking down to the local taxi rank to find a hitman. And the idea that a woman can be raised as an innocent in this age of cellphones and the internet doesn’t seem realistic.

    The only way I see this James Bond villain meets The Truman Show script working is as a sort of spoof, not to be taken too seriously, but there’s not enough fun in it as written.

    The title promises actual wolves. I would change it. It raises the wrong expectations.

    p. 1 – “As he..” I thought this was the dead man at first. Start the sentence with Walker.
    p. 3 – Use trampoline for tramp so we know there are no hoboes present.
    p. 5 – How do we know this scene is earlier? The whole intercut sequence would have been clearer as two separate scenes.
    p. 6 – Walter would be metal-detected before he even sat down in the waiting room. Start the scene with him being metal-detected so we know he’s the subordinate here.
    p. 7 – “We found ways to make her stay.” Show how. We need to know what Kat must overcome.
    p. 7 – Kat in a crowd flashback. What is the purpose of this?
    p. 7 – A cooker hood would vent to the outside. But the last we saw of Kat she was inside in the lobby. How did she get into the vent?
    p. 9 – So Kat believes the vials are curing people? Make this clear when Walter hands her the vial in the Rolls, p. 5. Just what is the cover story she believes in?
    p. 9 – When Boss and Walter argue about training methods for Kat, this is one of the central themes of the script — Kat brought up with love, her “brother” Gerard brought up with hate. Should be a bigger, more dramatic scene.
    p. 10 – “They take out as many of us…” Are new recruits killing their own team? The Boss would know this even if she doesn’t work in the field. Or is someone pocketing the dead agents’ salaries?
    p. 10 – Show how Kat shorts out the light with the paperclip. We need to see her being resourceful.
    p. 11 – “Nothing I can’t handle.” Maybe Kat can hand him the blackened paper clip. “Do you think they’ll miss this?”
    p. 13 – “You and you sister–” s/be your sister
    p. 18 – repels down the cliff s/be rappels
    p. 19 – “We need to find him, I have so many questions–” Husk has just tried to kill Kat. This is not a natural reaction unless she has already started to doubt her backstory and sees Husk as an unbiased informant.
    p. 22 – Why does Mike, a newcomer, get the job of looking after Kat when he has already failed and there are plenty of other regular guards? Mike should be shot with extreme prejudice.
    p. 23 – How do they catch Husk? We have missed a dramatic scene. Kat’s brother Gerard should be the one that organizes the chase and catches Husk. Build him up as a formidably competent opponent, not just a cruel one.
    p. 23 – How does Husk get a photo of Kat? The lobby was supposed to have been secured. It would be better if it was through Kat’s imposed ignorance of modern life. maybe she looked at his laptop in the apartment and activated the anti-theft photo-taking app.
    p. 23 – A millionaire’s island has an old boat shed with a broken-down boat? Does not compute.
    p. 27 – How does Walter know that Husk was captured? Gerard never told him.
    Last 10 – An old castle and Major Grimmel have come out of nowhere. I could not visualize Kat’s final stranglehold on her opponent. There’s nothing in the beginning to suggest Kat and Husk might end working together.

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

      I wish you’d throw in an occasional “you did X well,” but otherwise these are fantastic notes.

  • Pat

    Finished the second script, moving onto the third shortly. Here are my thoughts on Dionaea.

    When I read the first 10ish pages during the first rounds I quite liked the writing and tone of Dionaea and so I voted for it. It was of course reminiscent of Alien, but I felt it had enough in it that it could break away from that comparison and become it’s own thing.

    Having read all of the script I, the story is really a mash up of Alien and Edge of Tomorrow and though the story works for awhile, I felt that there were too many things for an audience to accept.

    Traditionally it has been said that the audience can only accept one “special aspect” or leap in logic in a story. So Alien has an alien but otherwise the characters and world is easy to related to (they are essentially blue collar workers in space). But as more and more movies have been made, audience have accepted more “special aspect” of stories. For example, Groundhog Day features a time loop but now audiences accept Edge of Tomorrow which features both aliens and time loops. Though I would argue that Edge of Tomorrow works because aliens are so ingrained in our consciousness that they don’t need to be explained as much anymore, we accept them more easily. It is the time loop that needs to be explained and is special.

    This brings me to Dionaea. In this script, in my opinion, there are too many “special aspects” that need to be explained. First of all there are aliens, but then they are shape-shifting aliens (like in The Thing), but they aren’t just shape-shifters, they also have their regular form. I must say for a little bit I thought there were 2 types of aliens in this script, a shape-shifting type and a Alien like type. Then there is a time loop to complicate things. Now these “special aspects” worked in Edge of Tomorrow but they were also set up quite different in that movie. In Edge of Tomorrow the aliens and the war are set up at the start so the audience only really needs to accept that time loop when it comes. But in Dionaea the story starts in the middle of action and there is memory loss and flashbacks making the narrative harder to follow. Then the audience is sent pieces of information about the aliens, their abilities and the time loop and it becomes too much to accept.

    I think if the story takes the approach of Edge of Tomorrow and normalizes the aliens first then the rest of the plot and the time loop will be easier to accept and understand.

    I have also provided a few thoughts I had as I read through the script:

    Page 8 – Is a Macrovore the same as the monster on page 6?

    Page 12 – Dartmouth’s speech to Laila seems like an information dump.

    Page 13 – shouldn’t Laila’s poor memory make the crew suspicious that she is not human?

    Page 14 – I recall and earlier draft had more of the meta inserts but they seemed to have been removed, but there is one on this page that takes about “character fodder” and it seems out of place with the writing style that has come before this moment.

    Page 16 – was no one standing guard anywhere? Was everyone at this dinning room?

    Page 18 – The reader is told Laila knows the most about the Macrovores but she hasn’t shown the audience that she has this knowledge.

    Page 23 – it’s been ten days since the Macrovores got loose and it took till right now for someone to explain them to Calph?

    Page 37 – the reveal of Dartmouth being a Macrovore is hindered by the fact they already suspected it. It would be more shocking if they were searching for something else and stumbled across Dartmouth. Or if you wanted to have them discuss Dartmouth being a Macrovore, it needs to be more difficult to discover the truth.

    Page 39 – INT. MEMORY? Probably better to just state the location the memory takes place in?

    Page 52 – Why aren’t Roussel and Laila immediately suspicious of Knowles? They have been suspicious of everyone else but for a while they give Knowles a pass.

    Page 62 – Something is off on the font sizes in the first dialog block.

    Page 62 – Elly should be more shaken by her encounter with Knowles, she seems composed in this scene.

    Page 69 – Dialog says “movie it” instead of “move it”

    Page 77 – Dialog says “I had saw it happen…” instead of “I saw it happen…”

    Page 78 – Action lines says “Laila runs an portable scanner…” instead of Laila runs a portable scanner…”

    Page 86 – Dialog says “…al this resets…” instead of “…all this resets…”

    Page 91 – It says Laila is paralyzed but then later she moves to attack Dartmouth.

    End – Why is the story called Dionaea, it’s a Latin term for a species of fly or venus fly trap but while the aliens have a venus fly trap like mouth they don’t appear to be plant like in nature? Just curious.

    • Scott Crawford

      Like this approach, Pat. Hope you can keep it up for the final script!

      Dionaea is a headache of a title, I must say, i have to keep thinking about it when I spell it. A title should roll off the tongue not get stuck in one’s teeth.

      • Pat

        I finished all three and long before time ran out. I doubt I will be able to keep this up in all subsequent weeks as I am out for all of the day next Saturday, but I hope to read as many scripts as I can.

  • Linkthis83

    Steffan, here’s my take on your script:

    Of these three, it’s got the most substance and the most viable storytelling. I think the biggest obstacle to people getting to experience this is the PATH INTO THE STORY. It’s noisy. It’s chaotic. It’s disorienting.

    I know I previously had made suggestions regarding character actions to help amplify what I feel the story intention is, but I also realize those changes are too big to implement within the parameters of the contest. However, if you win this weekend, I’d really suggest finding a more conducive path into your story. Oh…and don’t you worry, my ego has a suggestion. You need a quieter opening and I believe Pyrrhus needs to be highlighted more clearly in the opening.

    I pitch thou this:

    -You open on a shot of the Greeks gathered on the shoreline for the funeral. Silence with the exception of waves crashing and banners whipping in the wind.

    -Next we are focused on a flame. The flame belongs to a torch that is being passed from Greek to Greek until it finally reaches

    -SINON: a page, who is lucky to be alive. He attempts to pass the torch to the man he owes his life to…

    -ODYSSEUS (36): only 5′ 8″ and puny by Greek hero standards, but who appears to still be in the fight. An arm reaches across Odysseus to take the torch. This is…

    -AJAX (33): A hulking behemoth. Muscles so dense he could smother a man with a hug. Ajax focuses his attention to a boy who kneels before the slain warrior lying upon the funeral pyre.

    -PYRRHUS (10): The warrior’s page. Hair the color of fire. His young face the combination of tears, stoicism, fear and rage. He looks towards the man standing before the crowd.

    -CALCHAS, priest of Apollo, addresses the men:

    “Achilles was — and will forever be — the greatest hero the world has ever known”

    **and here, you would flashback to the battle and keep basically how you have it. Sprinkle in VO from Calchas as needed. And try not to do any cutting back and forth. And hopefully, this will be more effective**

    Somewhere in the first 20 pages, I think we should learn what the goal is of this battle/siege. I did research and learned that one of the reasons they were battling was to get Helen back from Paris, but Helen plays very little role in this script. The first mention of her Odysseus isn’t concerned with her. So then, what is the goal of winning? Why have these men fought for 10 years?

    If you wish to discuss this further, I’d be willing to do that.

    If you wish to discard this suggestion because it’s not in line with your intention, that’s okay too.

    • Linkthis83

      even after thinking about this more, when Calchas begins to speak, I think we should focus back on the kneeling Pyrrhus. And then use him to transition to the flashback and have him kneeling as he slings the rock at the Trojan whose nose he breaks.

    • Scott Serradell

      You make an interesting point about the relative absence of Helen, the “face that launched a thousand ships”. But, on perhaps a historical level, I think Steffan is okay with how he tweaked the story — because if the absurdity of the burning of Troy wasn’t evident in the beginning (of the “Iliad”, and it is) it’s ending exposes the meaninglessness of the war with victorious Agamemnon murdered and Helen, once rescued, becoming absolutely irrelevant.

      I agree with your sharpening of the beginning, as others (and myself) have also pointed out. I think by re-reading the script so soon its errors were much more emboldened, and I can only imagine Steffan — now that he’s walked to the top of a hill — realizes he’s now confronted with a mountain. My hope is that he takes the advice he needs from all this and is allotted enough time to get the changes in (a mere week, as I said in my post, to assimilate notes and re-write a new draft is impossible, even for a professional).

      • Steffan

        Totally! The list of great effing notes is growing by the hour… And becoming clearer. The notes this week echo notes from previous weeks though their intentions are much clearer to me now.

        It’s funny that sometimes you need to hear something more than once to actually hear it.

        If Od and His Boy is lucky enough to make it to the SF round you will all truly have a new draft–truly–and not something that was merely tweaked.

      • Linkthis83

        I too am okay with his approach to the story. What I wasn’t okay with though is not knowing why they were fighting. I didn’t know what happens if they win. Or if they lose. I don’t know what’s at stake in general. I feel like somebody has to state why they’ve been fighting for 10 years.

        I wholly believe that notes shouldn’t be implemented right away. That’s not really going to work with this competition when you fall into only having one week to get things right. But when you get a week or two to process and marinate, then I think you should only proceed if you have an actual plan.

    • Steffan

      Excellent work and thanks for this. The opening WILL be worked more win or lose and you make some great suggestions, just as Lev did elsewhere. These will be toyed with and implemented. Thank you.

  • Linkthis83

    DIONAEA

    p2 = Where’s going on? = What’s going on?

    p18 = stopped. And I stopped specifically because of this action line “record scratching silence.”

    Why does that bother me so much? TONE. It is my belief, and I’m fairly certain that @levresdesang agrees, that TONE should be a consideration in every aspect of your writing. Which includes action lines. These lines should be written tonally consistent with the intention of the script.

    Sure, there are sometimes where this could simply be considered “voice” but I feel it does scripts like this a great disservice. It takes away from the sincerity of your intention. And I’m speaking to all writers when I say this.

    I wasn’t a fan of this script the first weekend it competed and I feel there were other scripts that deserved to be in this position more than this one. Even with that being said, I still had the goal of giving you the benefit of the doubt and giving this a real shot with a real read.

    However, the storytelling didn’t earn it. Even if I disregard the TONE issue, I still have this issue that I noted while reading:

    There’s a crisis going on aboard what you call “most likely a spaceship” and everyone sits down for chow in the mess hall and chats?!?!?!

    Your story starts in a state of emergency and didn’t earn a moment of calm. The only moment of calm should be everyone getting together to update Laila and make a plan. But they don’t. They start acting like it’s casual Friday and Laila can’t be this okay with getting zero information. It’s not believable.

    And speaking of not believable, then we learn that there’s a section of the ship that still has cryotubes with PEOPLE in them. But hey, can you pass the salt. Nope, simply doesn’t create or maximize the entity which you are trying to create.

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    p31 = stopped

    This story isn’t getting me invested. I don’t buy it. I don’t believe it. I’m not interested in it. And Mike! You killed Mike?!?! Do we have some unresolved issues that need worked out? Do I owe you an apology?

    Seriously though, I’m not feeling it. Are there changes you could make that might get me invested? I’d say there is, but I still don’t think it would keep me invested over the long haul.

    This moment I speak of I brought up last time. When Kat is in the tree (clever – kat in a tree) and we cut to her in the car, it’s unearned. You skipped the most important moment.

    I brainstormed a bit to figure out how to earn this moment. One thing I thought of was if there was a moment, after he’s put his gun away, and he’s kind of chasing her around the house, if she kind of crashed into him to get by him. I mean, she’s four. Perhaps she’s only somewhat of a ninja. So she crashes into him. Gets through the kitty door and up the tree. When he locates her there, he decides he has to kill her. Only, when he pulls out his gun, his silencer is missing. He looks up to her, and she shows it to him.

    That still doesn’t solve how he gets her in the damn car, but it makes me like that moment more.

    You’re obviously a talented writer so you do what you gotta do. That goes without saying but I still felt like I should say it. Good luck on this one.

    • Levres de Sang

      I most certainly agree!

      • Linkthis83

        I highlighted this because I feel this is a note you and I have been giving out quite a bit over the last month or so.

        • Levres de Sang

          It struck me on Thursday that it’s probably the note I give out most. You also nailed it perfectly in your notes on Dionaea above: “It takes away from the sincerity of your intention…”

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

          I wish you’d say a bit more about why you think the tone is off there. Tone is a pretty abstract concept– not sure I follow what you’re saying.

          • Linkthis83

            TONE for me is how the movie/story feels. What the writer wants the audience to feel as they experience the read/watch. This is in regard to each scene, as well as keeping in line with the overall intention.

            Instead of going on some long winded thing of trying to explain this, I will see if I can “show” you.

            I’ve never read the ALIENS script, but I had a bet with myself that if I looked at just the first page, I would find descriptions that serve the scene and the overall intention of the script. HOW IT SHOULD FEEL.

            I compared it with snippets from DIONAEA that took me out of the script as I was reading it. The effect they had on me as I read is this: These descriptions take me to different places, thus, I don’t feel anything towards this script. In fact, I don’t know what the writer wants me to feel.

            Some lines feel too bold – Some lines feel inconsistent with the scene – some feel inconsistent with the overall intention – some make me wonder what the overall intention is = is it mystery? suspense? fear? confusion? what am I supposed to be feeling right now – some take me completely out of the story (like the description about smelling an outhouse. And the deal breaker: “record-scratching silence” – which to me, feels comedic.

            Here are the ones from DIONAEA that I feel work against each other, so they work against the script:

            A HELLACIOUS WHINNYING ROAR COUPLED WITH THE INCESSANT
            DRUMMING OF A STRONG FORCE AGAINST METAL…

            She looks like she’s survived an earthquake during a
            hurricane. PTSD on steroids.

            She gets misty quick, but, not out of sentiment. This is
            tragedy of the deepest kind.

            A terrible BATTERING on a DOOR offscreen. Laila looks to it.
            Sucks down the grief. Looks back at us with grim
            determination.

            –next scene–

            a man who looks thoroughly
            unprepared for the extreme circumstances he’s currently in.

            CRYO-TUBE, which ungracefully creaks open.

            they only wear their skivvies in Cryo-sleep.

            Either way, the sight and smell would make you want to sniff
            an outhouse and sleep in a raw meat locker.

            Elly, Logan, and Roussel sit gobbling down on a disgusting
            looking meal like they discovered food.

            Several other CREW MEMBERS populate the area, but, they’re
            really just character fodder. C’mon, every movie has them.

            Record-scratching silence. And for the first time, even
            Dartmouth’s stout composure is rocked.

            ALIEN

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f9cb07d008ca63654aae24f14b94cc8462601ead1defe7e7f0b93781ceea616.jpg

          • AstralAmerican

            Damn, you are making me regret my pick. Reason being tone as you suggest and I did not pick up on during the read — but guarantee you I would’ve noticed something off while watching.

            And your best example which flew right over my head while reading is them sitting down dinner while crisis is all around them. Seeing that as opposed to reading would’ve pissed me off.

            View askew now. Thanks a lot…

    • Kirk Diggler

      “Only, when he pulls out his gun, his silencer is missing. He looks up to her, and she shows it to him.”

      Nice.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Just a note —
      If I like something, I think I have to speak up for the writer.
      Yeah, I prefer the tree to car transition. It’s clever and forces the audience to
      work it out for themselves. (If a director were to film that scene, he might have
      the guy look up, see the girl in the tree, and sigh — but it might be better as is.)

      On the other hand, if the girl snatched the silencer — it doesn’t work for me.
      It’s a gimmick. And if she’s really that smart for a four year old, she wouldn’t need any training. The audience might roll their eyes.
      (Just an opinion.)

      • Linkthis83

        All that is conpletely fair. And if people disagree with me, they should speak up. It benefits the writer.

        I don’t like it because the setup here is that she’s out maneuvering him. And if their relationship is important to the story, then I want to see how the guy who killed her father ho-humly, and couldn’t snatch her, gets her down from this tree and behaving in his car. How does he get the advantage. For me, I need to see it.

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

          I agree with Link. Their relationship starts there, so knowing why he didn’t kill her is extremely important. It is the core of this story actually.

          A cute look, or the fact that “he she not all bad” is not enough. These are just shortcuts.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Didn’t read enough to be sure, but my guess:
            He found the girl to be resourceful, exasperating,
            — and somewhat special.
            (Hey, the audience will like this kid so why should he?)

  • Painkiller Jane Doe

    Read a cool quote by Eric Heisserer ‏(Arrival) today: The head is important, the heart is vital. Guess that’s another way of saying, Character first, Action second.

    How I Wrote ‘Arrival’ (and What I Learned Doing It)
    https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/how-i-wrote-arrival-and-what-i-learned-doing-it-59ffd98b275e#.3hhiwdjhi

    • Scott Crawford

      For what it’s worth, the Rothenbergers said the same. In story meeting after story meeting, the emphasis is on what the character (mostly the hero, but others too) wants in a particular scene, what is driving them.

      Having said, of course, I don’t think you can necessarily always start WITH character but WITHOUT story, nor do you need to. Rather, start any way you like. But I would start, I start with events (very often a mix of character and action). Think about a true story and you’re doing a movie of that story, you’re going to look at the events, you’re going to put together a story from that event, you’re going to research the characters.

      Fiction is the same except you’re making up a story that didn’t happen or hasn’t happened yet. And you’re thinking about what happens (action) and why it happens (mostly character), and at a certain point when the characters start to feel more real, MAYBE they will start telling YOU where the story is going to go.

      But I don’t believe my characters are real. I control them they don’t control me!

      Thank for the link, Painkiller.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

    Congratulations to everyone for making it this far.
    Choosing between these three is really hard.

    My vote goes to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    Guys, when we say rewriting, we want to make it from zero to hero. I recently had the honour to work with Sdrjan Dragojevic on a short script and we took it from “a girl setting fire to a house and having to redeem herself” to “a girl setting fire to her best friend’s house while her father rapes a woman in a plundering and she now has to really find a way and redeem herself”. That’s kicking it up a notch. In today’s scripts that I had read previously, I found (at least at the first 15 pages) no actual changes in the dramatourgy. We have to be strict and bad and brave and butchers with our scripts. That’s my opinion.

    RAISED BY WOLVES
    Read to page 15

    Not many differences I spotted (I said that in a Yoda way, yes) from the previous draft. Of course I only read 15 pages, but there are many problems here so…

    I have the same issues as the first time I read it. On page three she stares at him with cute eyes and although he is supposed to kill her he takes her with him. Why? You definetely need to explain this otherwise it just another straight to TV movie in my opinion. There is the core of the relationship right there. Can’t believe it is just solved with a cute look. Not strong enough.

    Again, if she was 4, she knows that this man killed her father, no? She rememberes her father being dead, covered in blood. How does she cope with that? In Act 1 at least this doesn’t seem to be an issue. It should be adressed at some point.

    I believe a strong point could be KAT’s character but she isn’t very interesting. A 17 year old kick-ass girl has potential though. But you need more than naivity in this one.

    At page 9 I am feeling that this whole VO exposition is not really helping. It isn’t Kat who is naive, but the script, I fear.

    This private island thing, with guards in suits and sunglasses is so cliche that it sounds like a comedy, no? Is it just me? Am I a bad person? The whole story does not seem interesting, but that is personal taste. I know it is easily marketable but I don’t care for the market :).

    DIONAEA
    Read to page 8.

    The title didn’t change and that’s a bad sign.

    This first sequence with Logan being a craeture is so old that I find no itnerest in it. I think it is a very bad opening for a movie written in 2016. The description of the alien creature “as a dog” is the same, so I guess this wasn’t really rewritten. Why is it, the sizei of a dog? Why doesn’t “Logan” kill Laila? Why are we seeing stuff from Alien and The Thing? I mean, why not? Be creative please. You have a setting with tremendous possibilities: space in the future. I mean, I can watch Futurama instead.

    Look, here is something interesting: How does Elli know that the Logan that is with Laila is the fake one? That’s the interesting part. That’s where the drama is. Not in the effects and set pieces. It is where you see two identical persons and have to decide which one is real. And what would be interesting would be if they KILLED THE REAL one. Now, I WOULD WATCH that. But the way this is unfolding I have no plan of spending another second on it. Sorry.

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY
    Read to page 24.

    This has potential as it is based on a hell of a story. Hard to measure yourself to it, though.

    The logline was very confusing. I would never think it is about the Trojan war when you are talking about soldiers and enemy lines. Also, I don’t really get the premise in this logline. (Actually I am really confused as to what constitutes a good logline).

    So, Odysseus is the title character but he didn’t get half the introduction Achelles got. He is just an “older” Greek dude? And anyway it is your script, but 36 is a bit young for the king of Ithaca. I guess he is over 40, and would place him at least around 50. Your choice though.

    Again, it is up to you, but Odysseus’ character is pretty different from the flushing man you describe. He is arrogant and cunning, a born leader and a patriarch in Homer’s work. And I think a very interesting and complex character in that way. He is not just a good guy, a hero.

    “Sometimes, I imagine I’ll skip a stone back to Ithaca”… really nice :)

    Page 23 IS FUNNY but as usual a joke like this upsets the reader. What’s the tone here?
    Ok, interesting. Crazy and interesting.

    This is a well known story, but you’ve managed to keep my interest. Not the most professionl writing but definetely more life in it than the other two.

  • Randy Williams

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    Congrats for a #2 seed spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I intended on reading the whole thing but, honestly, despite the clarity and energy to most of the writing, the plot was relentlessly a bit tiresome for me. I read to page 57 and let it go at there.

    I didn’t remember much from reading some of it the first time, but I quickly remembered after opening page 1 and felt that there had been some rewriting to the opening which made it much more engrossing. I was into all that. After that, I had some problems.

    First thing, the book she steals. It didn’t seem to have any bearing on the plot. It gets destroyed later on which could have had some repercussions but didn’t. Would it not give the story more suspense if she stole something that might reveal to her her true origins and when that was destroyed it dashes the hope the audience might have?

    When Mike is killed, the tone for me shifted in that scene from popcorn adventure (“Not exactly James Fu*king Bond, are you?”) to dark action. Just too brutal.

    I didn’t understand why Kat felt the guards had gone rogue so quickly. I thought she and Mike had some sort of connection between the lines. Perhaps when they are at the cruise ship terminal, Kat can want to feel out Mike for help, thinking he came with the other guards but then realizes they got rid of him. That would cement with a shock her cutting ties with the guards for any help for good.

    I never got a feel for who Husk was in these pages. At 45, he should be more fatherly and protective towards a 17 year old but he’s not. There’s no indication that he’s a criminal so a relationship built on crime nullifies the age difference and everything goes. His rage seems to be there but without really any explanation why he keeps putting off killing Kat. It almost builds comedically each time he holds back from doing it. What is holding him back? Who or what is waiting for him at home? What are the consequences if he does not exact justice? I would appreciated some clue that I might tie in to the beginning or something about his background so I could entertain why he was holding back?

    Some odd things: A 17 year old saying “why don’t we just…” sounds odd. Mike asking Kat if he can run her a nice relaxing bath sounds odd. Pointing out that an extra playing a chef is “hairy” sounds odd. No biggies just pointing out things I thought of.

    On page 54, I’m sitting up a bit. This thing about inplanting agoraphobia in children sounds interesting but there has been nothing up till this to give me a clue that this is a facet of this story except Kat’s own agoraphobia. Maybe tie all this together? Instead of meeting Kat being kidnapped, we meet her in an extreme agoraphobic state? Maybe tie in Husk’s wife. Maybe this organization kidnaps little girls and gives them agoraphobia, and Husk’s wife was one of those little girls too but she escaped and grew up and to keep her from talking, they killed her? Give us connections to think about and solve, so it’s not just a couple on the run story as it plays out now for me at least? Maybe later things do become more of that but I didn’t get that far. I just didn’t have to think enough. That “thriller” aspect to the genre.

    The action is dull, in choreography and the description of it for me was the weakest of what is generally really strong cinematic writing, however there’s plenty of that action to satisfy the genre, I thought.

    The funny lines mostly flat for me. I think because most of them occurred between Kat and Husk and their relationship just felt off and uncomfortable for me from the beginning that I couldn’t feel the comedy? But I can see the room for comedy and the potential as I can see the potential for this on many levels.

  • BMCHB

    Stick this old clown down for: ODYSSEUS

    Main reason: the writing is very good. Next to that, it has ambition. Hell, Steffan, must have ambition to tackle that time and try and make it connect with readers in this era.

    I’ve never watched GOT, hate swords and sandals, but every writer here deserves a read and IMO this was the bravest. There are parts I connected with.

    RBW and DwordIcan’tpronunce? I’ve seen those films so many times… sorry writers… well written and probably more likely to be made into a movie BUT Odysseus is brave. I like that. I respond to that.

    Best of luck to all writers. It’s all personal taste at this stage…

  • BMCHB

    Just to be clear, if I was a gambling man, which I am, my two favorites to win this competition are:

    Breaking Them Up
    Log

    In that order. Neither would be my genre but both are good reads with a waiting audience.

    • smishsmosh22

      oh wow thank you! I agree Breaking Them Up is a very strong contender, I would also add The Attacker.

      I am hard at work using my bulletin board, white board, lap top and notebook as we speak, rewriting Log as best I can. I hope I can please the SS community with the changes, I know I’m having a really fun time coming up with new scenes!

      • BMCHB

        Only oPining with my ‘producer’ hat on.

        Although, looking at the dates the next rounds fall on…

        Would you consider, were you in a December round, changing the title?

        To YULETIDE LOG

        Ha Ha

        You would definitely get my vote in that round then…

        • smishsmosh22

          This is on my list of potential sequel ideas:

          Yule Log: The Xmas Splintering
          Yule Regret: Log Steals Christmas

          • BMCHB

            Happy Christmas,

            You’ll die.

            The Log….

            His bark is much worse than his bite…

          • Randy Williams

            And the final movie in the series,
            “Up In Smoke”: Wood resin is found to have narcotic properties similar to marijuana.

  • Zack Snide Err

    I read half and skimmed to the end of each of the three. Voted for:

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY. What impresses me most about the actual writing is how witty it is, and never in a way that broke the illusion of its period setting. The only fault I have with the script is that the ending didn’t totally click for me.

    I don’t think it was clear, or maybe poetic enough, in getting across that Odysseus was going back to his family in Ithaca.

    Maybe it would be clearer if the last words between he and Sinon occurred on the ship (as opposed to the shore) and then the camera pushes out to sea from off the ship… Towards Ithaca.
    The last shot could be of Telemachus on the shore reading the missive, and then looking out to see in time with the last line of the v.o.

    RAISED BY WOLVES was a close second, and I definitely noticed the improvements compared to the last draft. Problem is I think the story begs to come full circle. And it doesn’t.

    The third act should be Kat having to contend with Walter (who killed her real dad).
    Maybe Walter kills his son/her brother at the end of act two, raising the tension, and setting the stage.
    I would also consider switching roles between Husk and Kat at the end with Husk almost dying. That would allow Kat to:
    Express fear of losing yet another father figure.
    Pray for his recovery and, in fearing that he’s passed on, apologize for killing his wife.

    But asides from that and a few age inappropriate things (her in a leotard and the stick shift scene at the end) I really liked it.

    DIONAEA. This was actually my first read of this script, so that may have placed it at a disadvantage. On the whole, I do like the script, but I didn’t enjoy the read very much.

    It felt very derivative, and asides from some good action writing the first half was mostly set up. Also, Asides from Elly, I didn’t find any of the characters very interesting. Until…

    That second half which I skimmed a few times. It was more enjoyable solely because the payoffs were well executed.
    I love how Dartmouth is framed as the other man and tragic “villain”. He’s a very relatable bad guy which is really refreshing for this type of movie.
    I was also really impressed with how well the script was written and structured. How it comes round full circle before the climax. I definitely think it’s a movie and has potential.

    It just needs a more engaging characters, or maybe engaging character moments, especially with Leila since she’s the lead.

  • witwoud

    Sorry, not much time this weekend, but read fifteen pp of each and will vote for ODYSSEUS. More than the other two scripts, it puts the characters and their relationships at the heart of the script. It also feels pretty original.

    DIONAEA — My feeling’s pretty much the same as the last time I read it — it’s not at all bad, but it feels like a bunch of stuff I’ve seen in other movies (Serenity, Aliens, The Thing) stitched together into a story.

    RAISED BY WOLVES — Lots of good changes since the last draft. I don’t know why this still isn’t working for me. Perhaps because I’ve seen it all before — older man training up a teenage fighting waif — and Wolves doesn’t bring much novelty to the idea. Perhaps because for this sort of thing to work successfully it needs to be grounded in a reality that the viewer can easily relate to. Wolves takes place in a la-la world of ninja assassins and sinister organisations on secret islands that has no connection to anything resembling reality. By way of comparison, look at how grounded Leon was: Matilda’s crappy family life; the seedy hotels; the New York streets. I’m not even sure where Wolves is set.

  • Randy Williams

    DIONAEA

    Congrats for making the #7 seed spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    Again, I intended to read the whole thing but what I was enjoying kind of completely collapsed for me under the weight of time loop discussion on pages 64 and 65. More on that later. I stopped there to get my thoughts out.

    I don’t remember what I said the first time except I praised the energy in the writing and may have thought the script felt a bit Alien generic. This time I loved the energy of the writing here again. It had a tendency to sweep me along and find myself engrossed in everything. So much so, that the first “aside” having to do with “character fodder” was an unwelcome alien. I think that aside and others contribute to dispersing the uneasiness I should be locked into.

    I did crave more visuals at the opening of scenes. What are we seeing as they walk on page 19? What does that weapons galley look like on page 20? The writer is depending too much on our own “deja vue” from other alien movies to fill these visuals in. I don’t want to work that hard and the writer is supposed to give me something new or a new take on old decor.

    Love the creative choices of character names, helped me keep the crew members straight. They all seemed distinct. Leila seemed like the protagonist but more could be done with her, I thought, to clearly set her apart as one. More on that later.
    The alien “mind”, I thought, when it spoke through human form could have used language in a bit more abstract way to really set it apart from ordinary human speak. I didn’t feel their intelligence or “world view” at all.

    There’s a nice mystery box, the deja vue feel that they are experiencing. Dartmouth is set up nicely as a villain and by page 36, I get the idea that revenge will be sweet against him at some point in the process of fighting the aliens. All good stuff.

    Love the scene on page 60 and the sudden reveal there. Maybe even draw that out to let the audience know before the girl does?

    Pages 64 and 65 begin to examine in technical terms the concept behind the deja vue and the possibility of a time loop. It comes in globs and it really stopped the show cold for me. Before that Leila and others discussed over and over that they were feeling deja vue but without any real discussion or testing about what it could be. Perhaps one way of really setting Leila apart and easing into the idea of time loops would have her actively pursue understanding this deja vue in concrete ways as things progress. She tests their own reactions. For example, she might tell a joke and see if anyone knows the punchline. In small ways, let her sniff the time loop theory out and let the audience put things together before the rest of them do? So we don’t need all that explanation all at once?
    Another thing is that there are so many variables going on here for me. There’s the deja vue and there’s aliens who can shape shift to humans and there’s the betrayal of one of their own, but the time loop comes out of an exterior source. Why not have the deja vue and time loop be directly connected to the aliens ability to shape shift, for example or the betrayal of another human?

  • Citizen M

    DIONAEA

    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages, ignoring the obvious format problems caused by a hasty rewrite. Let me say up-front I don’t like time loop stories. I don’t find them entertaining, I find them irritating, because there are always logical problems with them. They only succeed IMO when there is a strong and entertaining story to carry us along, like Deja Vu, or we explicitly realize what problems the loop causes the hero like in Edge of Tomorrow.

    This is a story type loop where we follow developments in a single timeline and the heroine Laila has to figure out why she keeps getting flashes of deja vu while dealing with a shape-shifting alien invasion and sexual jealousy among the crew.

    I don’t think it succeeds. Firstly, I never got a handle on our MC Laila. She’s supposed to be an expert on the aliens, she’s a tough chick who can handle a gun, she’s sexually attractive, she’s everything and nothing. I couldn’t tell you what sort of personality she was.

    Then the rules of the world. Obviously there’s a bit of leakage between loops otherwise Laila wouldn’t get deja vu, but how can others seem to know a lot more about what’s happening and how can a message she recorded be seen in the next loop? Surely everything gets wiped out and started fresh, including human and computer memories?

    Also, there is no development. It’s just battle aliens, regroup, battle aliens, etc. No sense that the big picture is changing, and we’ve seen these scenes before, many times.

    Notes while reading:
    p. 1 – Good transition with banging.
    p. 3 – “You don’t remember?” How is it others remember stuff Laila doesn’t?
    p. 5 – Wall of body parts. Good gruesome image.
    p. 8 – Laila was given a flame thrower. Where did she get the Gauss Gun?
    p. 12 – Medical tests. Too calm for a battlefield medical station.
    p. 13 – “Put you in cryo” Seems a funny thing to do to a wounded person. Why would they do that? (Explained later, somewhat unconvincingly.)
    p. 13 – I’m confused. We need a better idea of the overall situation on the space ship.
    p. 14 – Why is Laila eating alone? Surely the crew would be supportive of a fellow crew member who’d been through trauma?
    p. 17 – Okay, here’s the info I’ve been waiting for. But what does the ship look like? Is it a cylinder, a torus, a disc, a sphere?
    p. 19 – If Laila’s so essential because of her macrovore knowledge, why is she allowed to go on the dangerous mission? And why haven’t we seen her display her expertise? Show, don’t tell.
    p. 20 – Set up earlier that Roussel has a thing for Laila.
    p. 22 – “I wasn’t in a cryo-tube when you found me.” She was.
    p. 24 – What does the broken comms link to, Earth? It seems the internal comms work okay. In this advanced ship, how come the raiding party can’t get the picture on a tablet type device instead of relying on descriptions via voice comms?
    p. 24 – Why is Dartmouth doing this? (Explained later.)
    p. 25 – “We froze it.” You froze a whole planet?!
    p. 25 – What is this deja vu thing? I’m really confused. (Explained later.)
    p. 28 – If the macrovore must eat the victim to shape-shift into him, how was it possible to get Real Logan facing Macrovore Logan earlier? Real Logan should have been eaten.
    Last pages: The final fight was a bit meh. I wasn’t sufficiently invested in the characters to be overjoyed at the possibility they might be saved.

  • Angie

    Week 1 of 4 Quarterfinals

    Hooray, three screenplays this weekend. Can read three and still have a life with
    family and friends.

    Below follow my opinion/reason for my vote.

    #2 Seed – Raised by wolves
    This can be a good story. I liked the cloak and dagger feel.I especially liked the ending and that it turned into a buddy film of sorts.

    Since this is supposed to be realistic rather than myth, it is important for readers to suspend disbelief. In the end, too many aspects strained my credibility.

    Pg.4 Liked the transition from Cadillac to Rolls to change in time. The writer had set up Kat’s talents early on by showing child Kat up a tree with a long trunk, but it was not enough because after the time change began a series of actions that strained my credibility. Kat is in a foyer but her black stocking legs disappear up the walls? Next, she appears out of a range hood. Hmm. Isn’t there a fan system inside it and where does it lead to that gave her access?

    Pg. 15 Kat is so skinny she fits inside a range hood buttakes down an NCAA wrestler.
    Pg. 25 Kat comes out of a floorboard. Would have to be much wider than any I’ve seen to accommodate the size of her skull.
    Pgs. 18 to 48. Husk is shot in the thigh and bleeds. Then he endures torture, lots of physical movements including climbing a fence. The supervisor at the cruise terminal doesn’t notice he is injured. Husk gets drunk, fights with the deadly Gerard, swims to shore. etc. The wound is finally mentioned again on page 48, but never treated. Just me, maybe but found it difficult to believe.
    Pg. 38 Kat and Husk take swigs of a flask that contained poison but there is no poison left, so it’s okay? Did the poison not mix with the whiskey but just float on top of it so that the wife was the only one affected?
    Pg. 44 Gerard is knifed in the gut, thrown overboard from a cruise ship, swims to shore knife still in his stomach, pulls it out, kills two people. Wow. Everybody in the story is a bit superhuman.

    Many grammatical mistakes throughout. Just a few examples. Pg9. Shakes is should be shakes it. Pg. 11. Man follows her round, should be around. Pg. 46 Seams should be seems. Pg. 89 an should be can. Pg97. Flu should still be flue.

    Seed #7 – Dionaea

    Pg. 1 Laughed at the line, “…looks like she survived an earthquake during a hurricane.”
    Good for a comedy.
    Pg. 6 Prefer this revised description of the macrovore over the original, which, if I remember correctly was more like human genitalia.Still, I wondered what made this alien humanoid.
    Pg. 7 Cool surprise Logan/Logan. Why did fake Logan take Laila to safety? Is Laila also a macrovore?
    Pg. 11 Tech-savvy matriarch. Is Wendy older?
    Pg. 12 “Wendy and I will attend perform that.” Delete?
    Pg. 13 Love the suspense of who is and who is not a macrovore.
    Pg. 14 This aside, “C’mon every movie has them,”
    gives a different tone – one of lightheartedness to the mystery/suspense going
    on in the script. Is that the tone you wish?
    Pg. 16 Dialogue Roussel/Crites seemed a bit bizarre. What was Crites doling or saying to make him say that at this time?
    Pg. 17 Another aside. “You can figure out what that means,” is not necessary because the next action line tells the reader/viewer by the actions of the crew.
    Pg. 24 Dartmouth kills Crites as in Laila’s memory flash. Good we’re in a loop.
    Pg. 45 Roussel repeats that Laila is a whore as Vaynerchuk accused. Laila is a doctor and we have seen nothing in her behavior yet to warrant such vitriol.
    Pg. 55 Exchange between Roussel and Knowles made me question their ages.
    Pg. 57 – 84 Roussel kisses his bicep. Even drunk, on top of obnoxious, he is too juvenile. How old is he and what is his specialty on a space ship. Elly and Knowles go off together. I thought the deceased Samson was a female (pg. 35, Logan’s dialogue. “Maybe SHE made it) and Elly her partner, thus a lesbian. Action picked up here.
    Pg. 85 Various versions of Laila being killed by the macrovores? Didn’t know quite what to make of this.
    Pgs. 86 to the end.

    Some gender confusion struck me. Thought I wasn’t reading carefully so I went back to Pg.11 Focus starts on Dartmouth taking Laila’s temperature. SHE looks at Elly and Roussel. This registered subconsciously that Dartmouth might be female. For more clarity, consider giving each character “shot,” or action, their own separate line.

    Dialogue needs work. Pg. 11. Dialogue “Fuck ye,” instead of you seemed odd, like old English or Pilgrim speak. Pg. 16. Dartmouth says Laila knows more about macrovores although Laila is suffering a bit of amnesia right now. Pg. 25. Laila and Calph, in a lift. Calph asks Laila a question. Laila looks down and then answers him, yet Calph (who is not OS because he is in the lift) asks her who she was talking to solely because everyone else left the lift. Didn’t get this exchange.

    Many grammatical errors. Some examples: Pg. 6. Elly’s dialogue. You should be your. Pg. 47.Elly’s dialogue. Wait should be weight. Pg.51 Roussel dialogue you’re should be your. There are others. The writer needs to proofread.

    Lots of asides not necessary. Some change the tone. Others like Pg.28 are better omitted. More scary to describe the dead macrovore half way morphed into Calph.

    Wild Card – Odysseus and His Boy

    Reviewed this last week. Didn’t keep last week’s draft so took writer at his word that he reworked the first twenty-five pages to make them tighter. Since I voted for this last week, read the first 15.

    Didn’t check back to certain parts of the script that seemed unclear last time, i.e. when Odysseus and Pyrrhus were inside Troy. The writer prefers not to describe where the action starts besides EXT. BATTLEFIELD. Why not tell us we are in Asia Minor, modern Turkey, or just call it Ancient Greece (which it really was not or else the Trojans would not keep calling their adversaries The Greeks.) Different “nations” though the culture was almost identical in worship of the Gods of Olympus, but just like today, division fueled by nationalism and ethnic differences existed. (Sorry, historical fiction fan)

    Despite minor problems mentioned above, this is the best of the three in terms of better written, clarity of presentation, characterization and dialogue. Therefore, I make Scott Crawford happy this week. No split vote.

    I vote for Odysseus and His Boy.

    • Scott Crawford

      If I sad you always make me happy, please don’t take that the wrong way! You’re a great contributor is all. As it happens, i read the first page of all three scripts this week and agree with you you about the lack of description in Odysseus’ opening. Needs more detail.

      • Angie

        LOL. Will not take it the wrong way. Thank you for the compliment. Usually feel like my notes are always too little too late but will continue to post.

  • Dan J Caslaw

    My vote (based on the first few pages of each) – ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY. Less confusing than Dionaea, more believable than Raised By Wolves, but it was close.

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    A couple of general points: It’s always difficult for us in the English-speaking world to deal with legendary subjects that may or may not be true. The only equivalent I can think of is the story of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Part legend, part fact, how far can you twist the story to your own ends? Also, when you have a great hero like Achilles; we don’t really have individuals like that any more. The nearest I can think of is Rommel. I’ve heard veterans of WWII who fought in the desert speak of him like a mythical figure who could come out of the desert at any moment and snatch you to POW camp.

    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages. I never really got the feeling we were in the closing days of a long war, nor did I experience the emotional ups and downs one goes to the movies for.

    For instance, the death of a great hero like Achilles should have been a huge shock. It came too soon in the script. He should have been built up much more. “As long as we’ve got Achilles, we’ve got a chance.” Make us feel the despondency in the camp when he dies.

    There could have been more of the gods and prophecies people of those days believed in. You’ve got Calchas the priest, but his beliefs didn’t seem to be integral to the action. A couple of grousing common soldiers for comic relief would not have gone amiss, and would help with backstory and atmosphere.

    I didn’t buy Pyrrhus as a 10-year-old boy. His behavior was much older; maybe make him a stroppy 18- or 19-year-old. Anyway, he was never Odysseus’s boy. The title should be Odysseus And The Boy.

    That said, apart from the odd anachronistic phrase, I think a period feel was achieved.

    Some notes while reading:
    p. 1 – We need a description of the location. How far apart are the armies, how high are the walls, where are the ships? (Later we learn the city walls are 40′ high and the beach only 100 yards wide. So the Greeks were continually within arrow range? Or did they camp far away?)
    p. 2 – If the gate was closed, where did the Trojans come from?
    p. 2 – If the sun is an advantage to attackers from the East, it means they will be attacking in the early morning.
    p. 3 – Priam was coming from the West. Where was the diversionary attack from the East? (Sorry, I got rather picky at the battle details. I don’t think they were thought through. The story of Troy is at one level the battle between two army commanders and I think we should get to see how the plans of each commander work out on the ground. The overall picture of the fighting was too sketchy for my liking.)
    p. 5 – I expect Priam and Paris to react more strongly to the death of Achilles. they must know it’s a huge blow to the Greeks.
    p. 7 – What did Odysseus feel about the death of Achilles? Did he feel guilty at all?
    p. 7 – “end this tonight” It’s four days after the death of Achilles. Why did they wait so long? Surely they should strike as quickly as possible, or is there a tradition that you respect the death of a hero, even if he is the enemy? (I think fighting was more stylized in those days. It would be interesting to have more details of weapons, armor, tactics, and conventions.)
    p. 7 – The attack where Priam killed Achilles was actually a failure, seeing as the Greeks are still there. They should reference this in proposing night attacks.
    p. 8 – Smoldering pyre. Still smoldering after four days?
    p. 8 – How can a 10-year-old boy speak to a great warrior like that? He must show respect!
    p. 8 – Pyrrhus should ask about Sinon. He must know Sinon is currently Ajax’s page.
    p. 9 – “Achilles morn.” S/be mourn
    p. 12 – Smells kerchief. This type of scene is more usually part of the third act montage just before they go into the final battle.
    p. 12 – Is Odysseus making up Polydora’s story. If not, how does he know it?
    p. 13 – “You talk to the boy.” On p. 9 Pyrrhus accepted bread from Ajax. Doesn’t this mean he has agreed to be Ajax’s page.
    p. 15 – Why is Odysseus allowed to sleep while the other commanders are meeting? Set up.
    p. 18 – Establish Epeios earlier as a resourceful craftsman.
    p. 20 – Keys to the Trojan gate — surely it’s locked with just a big wooden beam, maybe with iron bolts, but no complicated locks? Or are keys needed for plot purposes?
    p. 23 – As a former engineer, trust me; if you are told to build a 40-man horse but it can only fit two men, you have some explaining to do. They are not going to laugh it off.
    p. 29 – Pyrrhus’s doubts about Odysseus should have been set up earlier.
    p. 30 – So what’s the new plan, now that the 40-man plan is obviously a non-starter?
    Final pages: Obviously stuff has happened during the raid that one needs to understand why they are around a giant pit and why Pyrrhus is misbehaving, also how the relationship between him, Ajax, and Odysseus has changed. But the final scene is satisfying enough.

  • Wijnand Krabman
    • Angie

      OMG, this is so funny. Thanks for forwarding it. John Cleese for U.S. president! Yeah, I know he’s not eligible. The one we now have was also not eligible in my estimation. At least President Cleese will make you laugh into reasonableness.

      • Scott Crawford

        Cleese was offered a peerage (he would have been “Lord Cleese”) by the Liberal Democrats and a position in the House of Lords where laws laws are passed in the UK. He turned it down because he didn’t to stay in the UK and put up with the British weather all year round.

  • Pat

    My review of Odysseus and His Boy. My vote is pending as I sort out which script I liked the best.

    There is a lot to like in this script, it is grand in scale and handles scene direction and action well which keeps the reader’s eye moving down the page. The script is easy to envision, which is key to a successful script.

    My issues with the script stem from the goal and to the use of surprise in the action. At no point in the script is it ever made clear why this war is being fought, and this became a huge hurdle for me. There are hints that the Trojans are not exactly nice people and that perhaps Helen was stolen from the Greeks, but these are never confirmed to be the end goal of the fighting and they occur quite late into the script. If the perceptive had been flipped and the reader followed the Trojans, then the goal would be clear, “repel the invading army so life can go back to normal” but with the Greek’s as the protagonists there has to be a reason why the army would spend 10 years trying to take Troy.

    To my second point, throughout the script Odysseus hatches a plan and doesn’t tell anyone about it. This leave the audience feeling surprised when they discover what his plan was all along and I feel this works in movies, but this script uses this tactic constantly and it actually becomes frustrating. You can see my list of surprises used on my page 79 note. I believe that if the audience is better informed in some of these moments then you writer can build suspense instead of surprise which will make the script better.

    I have included the notes I took along the way as well, many of which go further into the points I have already made.

    Page 4 – Achilles is said to be the greatest warrior but he isn’t shown to do anything more than any of the other soldiers. To really feel his loss the audience needs to see his greatest, he needs to win a decisive victory or do the impossible before he is killed. I am left thinking of the movie Troy when Achilles takes down the opposing solider in one blow, proving his abilities.

    Page 5 – 6 – If Pyrrhus has been at the funeral pyre for four days, then there’s been a time jump of 4 days. This is not clear in the action lines. Also has the battle been put on hold for 4 days, because last I saw Priam and Paris are still behind the walls and watching the funeral?

    Page 7 – Who is the protagonist? This set up implies that Pyrrhus is lost and in need of direction and thus finding a new purpose will provide the arc of the story, but the point of view is from Odysseus.

    Page 14 – dialog says “We’ve lost any tents…” should be “We’ve lost many tents…”

    Page 14 – I don’t think this scene is being used to its full potential. The Greek camp is attacked but the audience doesn’t see it or the aftermath. All that is provided is a meticulous list of the casualties. This scene should depict the horrors of war, show the dead, show the burned tents, show something.

    Page 15 – I know that most people have some idea of the battle of Troy, but the script has yet to show why this war is being fought and it takes to page 15 before the premise of the movie is stated. The goal is to take Troy and that now looks impossible since Achilles died. The audience now realizes that someone will have to step up and lead this army in Achilles place. However, the audience still doesn’t know why this war is being fought.

    Page 16 – I’m starting to struggle with the setup of this story. Odysseus can’t just have a Eureka moment in a dream and come up with a solution. It must be earned. Where are the scenes where he contemplates the issue, where he strategizes and pains over a solution to how to get past the walls of Troy? Instead without trying he solves a problem that the audience isn’t even aware of.

    Page 19 – Building a wooden horse in 1 day that is “befit for the goddess of love herself” and can fit 40 men inside seems impossible. I know the army wants to capitalize on the raid as a breaking point for the army, but this timeline is too short. Instead I am left thinking about The Intimidation Game where Turning needs to hide that he broke the cypher and thus people will die. What if Odysseus has this Trojan Horse plan but it will take time to build and train and he has to wait for the Trojans to attack again and demoralize the army before he puts the plan into action? It would be a tough moral decision for Odysseus as he would have to let people die, but it would be for the greater good.

    Page 19 – without starting the scene with Odysseus speaking of his plans, this scene appears like it plays out for real, and thus is not just a play through of Odysseus’ plan.

    Page 23 – given the impossible task Epeios was given, I feel no remorse for the Greek army’s failure, they reap what they sow.

    Page 28 – I’m still confused as to why Sinon has been sent on this mission. All signs point to him being the worst choice. Odysseus believes in him, but it’s unclear why.

    Page 29 – Ajax’s “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up. Hold up.” Lines don’t really fit with the feel or era of the film. I know that really known of the dialog actually fits the era, but these lines seem to have too much slang to fit the time period.

    Page 29 – Pyrrhus talks of Odysseus cowardice, I went back and re-read these pages and I know see that Pyrrhus is correct, however when I first read them I thought Odysseus was simply pinned down in a hopeless situation. If Odysseus is supposed to be directly responsible for Achilles death, then this needs to be clearer. Odysseus needs a clear task that he fails at, that in failing, Achilles had to drop his guard and thus was killed.

    Page 48 – it should be set up that they need something small and sharp to insert into the lock. That way there can be tension as Odysseus reaches for the splinter. Otherwise
    instead of tension there is just curiosity as the reader tries to figure out what the splinter will be fore.

    Page 54 – the cruelty of what they are proposing for Sinon appears lost on both Odysseus and Pyrrhus.

    Page 59 – Recusing Helen of Troy will bring an end to the war? This is the first time such an idea has been mentioned. Has recusing her been their goal this whole time?

    Page 61 – Does Odysseus have something against Sinon? He really doesn’t want to recuse him.

    Page 76 – The story needs a ticking clock. The Greeks are deciding to leave because they feel it has been too long. Make it actually be too long. If Odysseus is racing to send them a signal then he has a goal he must meet and a goal he can fail at causing the Greeks to abandon the plan. This is more exciting then the Greeks squabbling over if they should leave or not.

    Page 79 – Odysseus didn’t explain his plan for the splinter in the pyre, or how he was going to communicate to the Greeks, or why he wanted to go to the library, or what the ink was for, or why they should go to the roof, or who his friend is that will receive the message, or where he is going when the fighting breaks out. You can build surprise into action, but you can’t do it every time or it gets frustrating that the audience is being left in the dark.

    Page 84 – The jubilation that the Greeks received the message is lost as the audience is aware that Paris will send his army to the South Gate and thus its a trap.

    Ending – I will say that I really liked the ending, the faith in the message to Ithica and then it reaching Odysseus family was the perfect ending for this story.

  • Pat

    After reading all 3 scripts in their entirety I am voting for: RAISED BY WOLVES

    I was torn between this and Odysseus and His Boy, but ultimately I got hung up on too many details in Odysseus to pick it. Raised by Wolves is not perfect, it has many aspects I took issue with, but ultimately I feel it is the closest to completion. The heart and skeleton of the story is there, it really just needs to expand it’s mythology which I find is what I end up doing in the 2nd and 3rd drafts.

    As well, when it came to my vote I tried to weight what worked and what didn’t work for each script.

    What worked
    Raised by Wolves – The script has a quick flow and the story stays interesting as the audiences witnesses Kat’s innocence break down as she witnesses what the real world is. For me, the moral dilemma in his script was the strongest and most memorable.

    Dionaea – There is always something happening in this script, there is no down time, it goes as fast as it can. The twists are interesting and unexpected which keeps the audience invested.

    Odysseus and His Boy – The script is grand and full of action, the set pieces, especially the escape from the Trojan Horse are memorable and well executed.

    What didn’t work
    Raised by Wolves – The script never fully justifies the amount of effort taken to protect Kat, which means the audience cannot always commit to the script’s premise. Character’s are underdeveloped such as Husk as he spends most of the script saying “she killed my wife” and struggles to evolve past this character trait, Walter disappears for about a week in the script but it is not known where, Mike is hired as a bodyguard even though he seems unqualified and Kat seems too eager to investigate Husk’s claims which implies that she already suspects something is off in her world.

    Dionaea – Too many twists occur in this story and it keeps it from being grounded. The audience is left to put the pieces together before the script moves onto the next reveal. Laila’s character provides confusion as she appears to be quite important but it is never clear why. In the end it looks like she is the villain as she is directly responsible for everyone’s death, and yet she is the one that everyone wants to save? Dartmouth’s plan to save everyone seemed to be the more heroic plan and yet the script wants to follow Laila’s plan. I never fully understood this.

    Odysseus and His Boy – The goal of the war is never made clear and thus it is hard to invest in the heroics. It seems that after Achilles dies, that they should just pack it in and go home. As well, the audience is left in the dark about most of the attack plans that Odysseus makes and this becomes frustrating.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

      Others said the same thing about the goal of the war in Odysseus and his Boy, and although I think you are all right, it is also unfair.

      The goal of the Trojan War is well known. It is a 3000 year old story. It’s like asking in Saving Private Ryan, why do Americans deport in Normandy and why do they fight the Nazis.

      I understand there could be a bit of info on the War but they are fighting for 9 years now. It is kinda irrelevant. And that’s an interesting aspect. After 9 years of war you probably forget what you are fighting for.

      The bottomline is that the story of this script is not about the war, per se. The Trojan War is just the platform for Odysseus and his Boy’s actions.

      • Pat

        I don’t agree with your comparison to Saving Private Ryan. That movie opens with an old man looking over crosses at a cemetery and then cuts to the invasion where a clear goal is given, “clear the murder holes”. Though the point of the war is not made clear, it is clear to the audience that this film is about loss and the sacrifices made in war (the theme) and a goal is given from within the scene.

        In Odysseus and His Boy the goal of the war isn’t given, but neither is a theme or a specific goal within the scene. Sure Odysseus and Achilles are trying to break the door to Troy, but that is not depicted as the goal of the scene. What I mean is, at no point is it made clear that opening that door is the most important priority and that winning the war or surviving hinges on completing this goal.

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

          I think my comparison is spot on. As you say a THEME is given in SPR but the goal of the US troops landing in Europe is never stated. Why would it, after all? We all know why, and if we don’t it doesn’t matter. We are in the middle of a battle, in the middle of a war!

          Talking about the goal of the war, it is not given in either of these two stories – and it is not given in most stories. Actually, the goal of a war is not even given in real life. :P

          A soldier’s goal is to win, preferably without dying. That’s all. He doesn’t even know why.

          • Pat

            What I am mentioning is something Carson has mentioned before and it is the idea of mini-goals or scene-goals which are simply what is trying to be achieved in a scene. Neither SPR or Odysseus overall goals in the opening scenes but SPR has mini-goals. The goal in SPR is to take out the “murder holes”, then the goal is to get off the beach, then the goal is to save Private Ryan. In Odysseus the goal is simply to get into Troy, but the reason is not made clear.

            Now at first this would seem like the stories are similar as the reason to take out the “murder holes” and to get off the beach in SPR is to survive and win the war and the goal in Odysseus to breach the wall of Troy is to survive and win the war, however the critical aspect about SPR is that there is know turning back, the soldiers MUST meet these goals. They are pinned in by the beach, there is nowhere to hide, there is nowhere to run to so they MUST succeed. In Odysseus, there is nothing stopping the army from turning around and admitting defeat. In fact, turning around appears to be their best chance at survival.

      • Linkthis83

        (this reply makes me want to rant, so I’m trying to reply with respect, which you most definitely deserve.)

        It’s not unfair. It’s necessary in order to set expectations. By setting expectations, it influences how the audience connects. It doesn’t matter how familiar you are with a story.

        I know that Germany lost the war before I ever saw SPR, but that opening is still the most intense opening I’ve ever experienced in cinema. And I felt it because I already knew which side I was on and why. I knew what was at stake, and by witnessing the hell those men had to go through, the immediate and substantial amount of life, I’m emotionally invested.

        Even if the TROJAN WAR is familiar, I wasn’t familiar enough with it. I shouldn’t have to be in order for an effective story to be told.

        Upon my research of the story, it’s still unclear for which side I should be rooting. That is not the case in SPR – if you know nothing of that war, it doesn’t take long to realize Hitler was bad. The motivations themselves for the Greeks were ambiguous because the circumstances surrounding Helen.

        And those circumstances aren’t the driving force in Odysseus. Why do they have to get in there? What do they need to accomplish?

        If we aren’t going to get the why from the Greeks, then we should get a why from Odysseus = I just want to go home. If I have to kill every Trojan to do that, then I will. I’m tired and I miss my family.

        Not that on-the-nose, but what’s at stake for the characters, sets expectations for the audience.

        • Pat

          I’m wrestling with the fact that I was wondering why the Greek’s didn’t just pack up and leave. With Achilles dying in the opening, it seemed like the war was lost, and yet for some reason they kept fighting.

          Now the same can be said of SPR, why didn’t they just go home? They are the invading force and the movie doesn’t set up (immediately) why they need to win this battle. But I don’t get the same feeling that they should have just gone home.

          Now this script is competing with a movie by a masterclass director, so the comparisons are difficult, but I believe the difference is that in SPR we follow the soldiers and the audience understands that a solider must follow orders and therefore must fight. There is no running away from the battle. As well, they are already on their way to the battle, the boats are not going to turn back.

          Whereas in Odysseus, it is not just the soldiers shown, the commanders are shown and thus the audience expects some kind of leadership. The audience knows that the commanders are the ones with a plan, and thus they want to know what the plan is.

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

          I understand what you are saying. Of course the fact that Odysseus wants the war to be over to get home can help the audience connect with him. But we are talking about the context of the story and I argued that not mentioning why a war is fought (especially in the first few pages) is exactly what happens in SPR and many-many more movies. This script is not about the begining of a war but about the end of it. I totally get that you want to know why this massacre is raging on for ten years

          But…

          1) A war is a war. It is a bad thing. If it was about a war I knew nothing about, I still wouldn’t be upset. I don’t need to know who and why the good guys are. It is a f*^$@ng war. Nobody wants to be in it. Everybody wants out.

          2) It is the Trojan War. It is one of the most well known stories in human history. It has been made by Hollywood as a blockbuster movie. It is hard not to know anything about it. So, when I say Odyesseus you think cunning. When I say Achilles you think warrior. When I say Helen you think beautiful. It is fundamental.

          3) Yes, at some point there must be a personal connection. As you say correctly “what’s at stake for the characters, sets expectations for the audience.” But even if you are a German soldier in WWII, there are still stakes and things to lose.

          Everybody loses in a war, that’s my opinion. So, just mentioning that we are in the middle of a war sets the stakes. You can of course raise them with personal stories.

          Oh, and I am glad you didn’t go to a rant. :)

          • klmn

            I think you overestimate the average American’s knowledge of History.

  • Scott Crawford

    It continues… R.I.P. Julie Gregg, Sandra Corleone in The Godfather, 1937 – 2016

    She may not have had the biggest part, but she was in one of the biggest movies:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3930940/Actress-Julie-Gregg-played-Sandra-Corleone-Godfather-dies-79-cancer-battle.html

    A weird detail about her character that wasn’t in the movie:

    Wikipedia – “In the novel, further details of Sandra’s life are given; she is depicted as a large-breasted woman who immigrated from Italy when she was a child. She is unable to tolerate having sex with her husband, due to his extremely large penis; she is aware, and apparently thankful, that he is unfaithful.”

    Also:

    “Sandra appears in a deleted scene in The Godfather Part II, trying to gain her brother-in-law Michael’s blessing for her daughter Francesca’s engagement. Michael approves but suggests that her fiance change his college studies. In a deleted subplot, Sandra becomes Tom Hagen’s mistress, a fact that Michael uses to blackmail Hagen into remaining loyal to the family, despite Sandra urging Hagen to abandon the Corleone family. In the final film, Hagen is depicted as having died years earlier.”

  • smishsmosh22

    My Vote: Raised by Wolves

    I guess I’m a big fan of these adult / kid match ups… even though we cut to Kat being 17 pretty quickly. Paul is a great writer and I especially envy his character descriptions. I understand he wrote this one quite quickly so I think it’s even more impressive knowing that. I wasn’t pulled into it when I read the last version but this time was different so kudos for the improvements. :)

    Odysseus and His Boy is also extremely well written and I’m not surprised it’s winning this week (so far, anyways!). It’s just not my thing so no matter how hard I tried to get into it, I couldn’t. But I recognize the quality and there’s a large audience waiting to eat that shit up. :)

    Dionaea, I like opening on a big action scene and piecing the story together as it happens. I just can’t stop comparing this to Aliens and so I feel it is not original enough.

  • Randy Williams

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    Congrats for the wild-card spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I read 35 pages which is a whole lot more than the first time and would like to read more. Stopped there to collect some thoughts.

    I’d rather see this on screen than read these period pieces but as I said, I got more pages read this time. I think it’s for one reason. Once I got past the beginning which seemed formal and a grand scale pageantry of historical battles and personalities to me, it does become a small scale story with some whimsy.
    I mean I laughed out loud at the arrow piercing the ass of the trojan horse and felt these guys have a sense of humor just to be contemplating this to begin with.

    The writing as I said the first time is very clear and cinematic. Sometimes I questioned whether all these different characters on the sidelines had to be named and identified by rank, however. Which to keep for further reference always makes a read more difficult for me.

    Odysseus for me as a protagonist isn’t quite there. He’s not a complicated person as presented, I thought. “You’ll be fine” is his refrain. He doesn’t seem to have any self-doubt which is okay, I think, but maybe should be overplayed to the point where we might think he has blinders on to the absurdity of his plan? When Ajaxxx, I think, asks him if the skipping stones on the water, (loved this scene) was meant to lure the girl on the cliffs into his tent, perhaps he doesn’t answer? Does he always have to show his hand?

    I thought the scene with the reveal of the Trojan Horse could have been presented with more impact and audience preknowledge. Visually it seems we are seeing the minor details of the hair, eyes, etc, first and then presented with the ludicrous size of it. Perhaps present it with the men coming upon the dunes, and we see the shadow of it cast upon the men and it encompasses that Trojan Horse of our imagination. They discuss the hair, the eyes, and then they approach it and the shadow is a lot larger than reality? Then they investigate those details discussed?

    Finally the discussion of the teenage harem was very adult and seemed to inflict the script with an adult sensitivity when I got that this was family friendly up till that point.

  • Mayhem Jones

    MY VOTE: RAISED BY WOLVES

    I’m legitimately stumped during this round. First off, the writing is top notch. DIONAEA is obviously strong, but RAISED BY WOLVES and ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY have elevated this tournament to a point of no return. Paul’s breezy, FUN, supahhh-commercial style (although admittedly dark piece of work) is a nice contrast to Steffan’s extremely detailed and thoroughly researched story/descriptions. ODYSSEUS is leading as of this post, and I can’t say I wouldn’t be pleased with that outcome either!

    Although Steffan has really made ODYSSEUS “his own” (as Aaron Sorkin is wont to do with all his adaptations & “based on” works)–if it’s as close as these are (in execution, skill, dialogue, story telling, and descriptions) I will always give a slight upper hand to an “original” story–although many have said there are familiar elements in RAISED BY WOLVES–because it was crafted from scratch. Still have more reading to do but wanted to get my vote in before the deadline!!!!!!

    All 3 are solid–it’s really nitpicking at this point. Paul is going to have a professional career, that much is obvious. Steffan has an INCREDIBLE spec here that could easily make the blacklist. I previously voted for DIONAEA when it was originally featured and hope it gets the right eyes on it!

  • -n8-

    So I finally finished Dionaea. Here are my impressions…

    The good – pretty clean writing for the most part. The action kept moving. The pace fit the genre. And this script had some pretty cool set pieces, notably the aliens turning into the humans they kill. All that encased in a high concept story with a cool twist. All great shit Brian! Good job!

    The bad – as much as I tried I couldn’t rally for any of the characters. I’m not saying Laila isn’t likeable, cauz she is (except for one glaring off moment that I’ll get to). And she was interesting to follow for most of the story, the big draw for me was her trying to piece together the big mystery from all the flashbacks. But, she was, for the most part, unexceptional. Meaning there is a prototype of this kind of hero and she hit it. Everything I was expecting her to do, she did. And that’s pretty boring imo. Well, except when she gets save from sexual assualt from the French dude who gets killed right in front of her and then her savior delivers a line “didn’t like him anyway” and she LAUGHS?? Man, that threw me outta the story. Even if it’s about a recurring time loop, and she’s unconsciously been experiencing this same death over and over, Her laughing after that seemed so unrealistic. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

    Also, about characters. Im pretty sure CR would knock Brian for introducing too many characters. Not just at the beginning. But all throughout. I can’t remember a movie in which many important characters: Laila’s bf, and the commander dude that killed the French guy were introduced after the halfway point. Maybe Brian set them up earlier but by the time I got to really know them it was really really late in the story.

    The ugly – I’m just going to say it, Brian didn’t really deliver on his premise to me. Sure as a sci-fi writer and fan I do appreciate the heady, smart concept and the twist (even if I didn’t really really understand the mechanics of it). But this is a script that starts in media res with crazy macrovores threatening our lead from page 1. I’m sorry, but if you set that tone and pace up as soon as the lights come down in the theater than I’m going to be expecting a krazy fuckin climax that looks like that intro but on steroids. Instead what I got was an action-less character realization moment. That would work if this was a quiet, suspense slow boiling thriller like say THE STORY OF US. But doesn’t work here. I’d be upset if that happened to me in the theater.

    And I guess the lesson here is to realize that that first sequence, scene, or action line should set up the proper expectation for the climax. I think that is something that pro’s know.- setting up the right expectations and then over-delivering on them. Dionaea did not for me. Not this draft.

    But, it still was a fast read and definitely has its compelling moments. Congrats on getting his draft done Brian!

    Good luck with the script!

  • -n8-

    Damn, so I only got to page 55 on Raise By Wolves before I need to head to the day gig. I’m sorry Paul. All my reactions come with the asterisk of not having finished the whole script (I will after my shift, but it will be too late for voting). But here are my 1st half impressions.

    The good – talk about a strong ass screenwriter! I remember reading Paul’s page award winning script never leave your vehicle and being impressed by the pro level of craft in those pages. Same here. Paul’s future success in Screenwriting is evident.

    Also want to highlight the great care Paul took to develop very interesting and for the most part unpredictable characters. Kat is a great protagonist. She was the real reason I kept turning the page. Some sort of endearing but highly skilled fish outta the water who’s trying to figure out the truth. Kinda like a teen chickie version of Jason Bourne. Great job!

    The bad – although the characters were fun and I was down to follow the story I kept reading the script at arms length. Never really got drawn into the drama. I felt that the structure was kinda thin. Every situation that presented itself seemed to be predictable. From the very first reveal of father keeping Kat alive to Kat jumping in husk boat to Kat stabbing Gerard etc, I felt like I was ahead of the writer (another one of CR’s many notes to me). And we’ll that pretty much bored me.

    The ugly – there really is no ugly to mention here. It is a pro level work. So no glaring defiance. But that said, I also didn’t have no strong emotional attachment either positive or negative for the 50 plus pages o read. And that’s, Def not good.

    But regardless awesome job cauz it still reads at a pro level. And sorry again I didn’t finish.

    Good luck with the script.

  • -n8-

    My vote: Odysseus and his boy

    Congrats to all! Just getting quality feedback (that’s a blanket assumption) you don’t pay for is the win!

    Good luck to all you three talented writers.

  • Linkthis83

    You guys are freaking killing me. Lol.

    I don’t think the silencer suggestion is the answer, I said I need to see something more in that moment. It was just an example.

    And to be clear, I don’t need to see him get her down from the tree and physically put her in the car. I need to see his solution to this problem to establish their relationship. Since it’s the core of the story that will be played out.

    Plus, when a writer crafts a good dilemma and shows a credible resolution, that’s how they illustrate their talent.

    • Mayhem Jones

      I too found the cut a bit jarring… I was about ready to damn near throw my device across the room when for a split second I thought he shot her!!!!!!!!! I thought–“PAUL!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!???” and I actually paused to yell/type at an SS friend about it and he’s like “…READ THE NEXT LINE GENIUS…” and I was like–OHHHH MY GOODNESS!!! I found your silencer idea cool–unsure how the hell she’d get it, though.

      • Linkthis83

        That’s why I made the suggestion about her crashing into him to get by him. Since he dismantles the silencer and puts the gun away, if she crashed into him, I figured she could pick his pocket.

        I found it frustrating because I felt like that was the dramatic question the scene was leading us to: How’s he going to solve this?

        and the next scene is: Oh, he just does. Cookie? :)

        (your SS friend has a directness and wit I can relate to)

        • Mayhem Jones

          HAHAHA! I know, right? And that silencer idea is GREAT! (especially the earlier part about her flashing it in the tree) Although the more I think about it, anything that makes a person want to throw a script across the room in irritated passion by page 3 is kinda awesome…..

          • Linkthis83

            That’s a great point. It’s frustrating to the reader because of good setup.

            Which is a nice change from other script reading frustrations.

  • Linkthis83

    Paul addressed this at some point in time. Saying that he used components from a previous idea/script. Should be all good in the hood.

  • ScriptChick

    Unfortunately I only had today to read so made sure to read at least 30 of each. My VOTE goes to: ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    DIONAEA (fdx file is still called Anima)

    Needs a proofread.

    Pg. 1 – Does the clattering mean the door burst open? Maybe is the sound is defined, that would make it tense for us the audience and the scene?

    Pg. 2 – “They got out…destroyed the entire Hell Deck.” – Laila’s been in cyro sleep. She (and us) need to know what “they” are.

    Pg 3 – “You don’t remember?” – Wasn’t’ she in cyrosleep? How could she remember? Why would he ask that? Not enough context given on situation before cyrosleep.

    Pg. 4 – “They not as intelligent as us (comma) Lo—“

    Pg. 5 – “Just look down (comma) Laila.”

    Pg. 6 – With a good look at ITS body and head…  Even need that line? The next part of the sentence goes on to discuss just that. Little redundant.

    Pg. 6 — …and before it leaps (comma)…

    Pg. 7 – Thought it would have been cool if Logan needed Laila for the codes to get inside, but he didn’t, so what did he need her for? What could he possibly want that leads them (as far as I know) to allies and ups chances of fake Logan being discovered? I think I bump on that because fake Logan is ultimately trying to get into a place where real Logan is (vs. real Logan coming from a different place, or us even seeing fake Logan try to get something before getting found out)

    Pg. 7 – “Get out of the way (comma) Laila!”

    Pg. 8 – Even though Logan is dead, I still think it’s his body LIES vs. lays.

    Pg. 8 – …smothering her with ITS body.

    Pg. 8 – …whips ITS teeth…

    Pg. 9 – “Put the gun down (comma) Laila.”

    Pg. 10 – Firing three rounds seems excessive when bullets seems finite and very much needed in an alien battle.

    Pg. 10 – “How do you know (comma) Logan?”

    Pg. 10 – “Dartmouth’s alive?!” – this isn’t hitting for me because I had no idea Dartmouth is supposed to be dead. So I can share in any shock with the hero. Wish I knew more about the situation before Laila went into cyrosleep. Was it chaos that led to the cyrosleep. I really have no idea and wish I did.

    Pg. 11 – Already established with description line earlier that this is the real Logan.

    Pg. 11 – Is this the first time we’re seeing Dartmouth? Caps name and needs character description.

    Pg. 12 – Wendy and I will attend perform (extra word) that. – should be dialogue?

    These scenes are slowing down the pace for me a little too much given the adrenaline pumping openings. These tests and body scans seem like they’d be done in a couple of lines vs. more dialogue shedding doubt on Laila.

    Pg. 13 – Dartmouth reveals head trauma is what put her in cyro. Did we see any evidence of a wound healing when she’s awoken from cyro? I think there are things that might be better off being addressed from the get go vs. waiting til now. Unless you don’t believe Macrovore Logan would know any details about Laila’s injury?

    Pg. 14 – Ancient Aliens?

    The crew eating scene – Macrovores are running all over the place – what is the crew doing? Are they just waiting to be attacked/aliens make the first move? I don’t want a scene of banter and food if I don’t have a sense first of some plan being set into motion.

    Pg. 16 – If Vaynerchuk whispered something to main character, then feel like we the audience should hear it since we’re seeing everything so far from her Point of View. Another instance of manipulating, intentionally keeping audience in the dark.

    Pg. 17 – “We have to maintain the Hub if WE want to survive.”

    Pg. 18 – “Lost six good men and women to fetch your girlfriend.” – I didn’t get in the previous pages that they were on a rescue mission for Laila? If anything, they seemed to react to fake Logan, but I had no indication they were setting out to do something. Logan and Laila came to them.

    Pg. 18 – “Laila Castell possesses far more knowledge of the Macrovores than all of us…” – I’m being told this but I haven’t SEEN it.

    Pg. 18 – Record-scratching silence – don’t use something so analog to describe the scene when your whole setting is forward-thinking space, years advanced of music that needs a record…

    I’m not getting a sense of a big goal for Laila and crew here, just a mini goal of saving people, which is reactive. Do they have nothing in place to stop the Macrovore invasion?

    Pg. 21 – Roussel and Elly dialogue took away urgency for me and away from Laila.

    Pg. 24 – Wish Laila had more importance to the story. She’s just along for the ride for the heck of it, because she wants to help, not because she could add anything in particular to the story that I know of yet. Unless those memories come back into play somehow. Not sure how déjà vu powers would help…And the crew wouldn’t know that, so then that falls back on her apparently superior knowledge about Macrovores – which I still have yet to see come into play. And if that was the case, wouldn’t she know that fire wouldn’t work against Macrovores from the very beginning with Logan?

    It’s these questions and the reactive nature of the team that make me not want to read more. If Laila is some big help to the team, I haven’t seen it, only things that argue against it, which makes me question if the whole time loop plot is clearly thought out or if more questions will crop up like the ones I’ve already encountered.

    Pg. 26 – …and them going back to the cyro chamber where Laila was just saved from twenty minutes ago feels like a time loop in itself. Feels like backtracking vs. advancing the story.

    Pg. 29 – “…he told ME a breach alarm…” – okay, if Vaynerchuk said that, why the hell didn’t Laila call him out on it in front of the crew? It’s highly suspicious and connotes he knows about foul play. No calling him out or cornering him for questions privately? Laila going along without addressing Vaynerchuk isn’t believable to me/doesn’t score any points in me liking your main character.

    Pg. 29 – I like that Laila brings up the déjà vu that other people have been experiencing, but wish I had seen them experience it – I don’t mean them having the image hits like Laila does, but more subtly, in their interactions with each other. Someone being able to finish the others sentence or cat call. Little hints like that that the audience could think are just because the characters know each other so well but actually scratch at something deeper – that they are in a loop and subconsciously are living the effects of it, unlike Laila who’s increasingly becoming more aware.

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    Pg. 1 – No ages for characters except Pyrrhus? Or in Odysseus’ case, why wait after we’ve already seen him in battle?

    Pg. 3 – Why introduce one of your lead characters first in parentheses?

    Pg. 4 – Achilles lets his guard down while directing Odysseus and Odysseus, based on his reactions during the funeral – feels guilty about it. Think you can push it further though, Odysseus more part to play which lead to Achilles downfall, whether is be a bad tactical move, stubborn disobeying of a command, trying to be the hero. Especially since we’ll be following Odysseus for a large chunk of the movie, why not dig deeper here to really establish whatever flaw or personality trait Odysseus might have that ultimately contributes to Achilles’ end?

    Pg. 6 – “They say anything worth listening to?” – like line

    Pg. 6 – Lot of focus on the pumice stone when it just seemed like an offhand comment.

    Pg. 9 – “How often did you see Achilles MOURN?”

    Pg. 15 – Men are afraid to say it, what I imagine is “time to go home”. I don’t think you should be so subtle with this notion of defeat. This is what Priam and Paris want, it’s harder for Odysseus to sway the men if they have already made a decision and it shows us that the Trojans are that much closer to beating the Greeks (despite already knowing based on what we’ve read in school).

    Pg. 23 –My note still stands. – This is a HUGE misstep for Odysseus. How could a man who has all the details of the plan so firmly in his head not be detailed (negligent even) in telling Epious how to build it. He can’t be vague here, knowing the stakes. If the blame is on anyone, it’s to be on Epious for either failing to build it that big in time and thinking it doesn’t matter (if he’s not told of the real plot), or if he is told, which um, why not it’s such a crucial part of winning against Troy – he runs out of materials or some other problem arises. I still stand by the idea that Odysseus leaving out such notable directions to Epious belongs in a comedy vs. a straight, to be taken seriously sword and sandals epic. More confusion too since Epious apparently knew to make the horse hollow and give it a latch but not make it big. This still feels too writer’s hand at work. I do not buy your initial conceit as it’s developed thus far for sticking Odysseus and Pyrrhus together.

    Pg. 24 – Vs. just a line of dialogue I wanted some reaction, action line devoted to Calchas as he watches Pyrrhus.

    Pg. 27 – Repetition of parenthetical and action line – knows where this is going.

    Pg. 28 – So Sinon will be lying? It was a little confusing before. “Priam and Paris wouldn’t believe our best liar even if he was telling the truth. You’ve got to pick an innocent. So pure. So good hearted and natured. Someone who wouldn’t lie even if they could.” – By this I thought they were picking someone who didn’t know of the plan, someone innocent to the plot (like Epious, apparently). Doesn’t matter if they’re a bad liar because they won’t have to lie. Someone giving the gift who isn’t dishonorable is a plus. This is what I thought from the dialogue, but Sinon is in fact in on the plan. This also seems needlessly risky.

    Pg. 30 – cockamamie relatively modern American slang. Pulled me out.

    Pg 31 – Stopping here. Despite the above, I still am excited for the Trojan horse plot, the infiltration of Troy. I still feel there could be more conflict between Odysseus and Pyrrhus before they are paired together (although I like Pyrrhus appealing to Ajax). Evidence of a mismatch will clue me in on all the potential conflict to come.

    And through all this, where’s Helen? You have the great battle, but where is the face that launched a thousand ships. Bummed to not see or hear a mention of her.

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    Pg. 1 – From what I last read, I credit Walter as being an effective, calculated killer. So when I read in the action description that there are toys strewn about the suburban home, how can Walter not pick up on that first, the sight of toys first giving him pause?

    Pg. 2 – Whoever was there has slipped PAST (it’s an adverb) him.

    Pg. 2 – It’s a little hard to believe Kat could by so easily the second time when Walter is standing in front of her – and for her to get so far as to move outside.

    Pg. 3 – Too much of a repeat of information here why Walter is about to kill the kid.

    Pg. 3 – I do feel there needs to be a little more behind why Walter doesn’t kill Kat. Again, I take him to be a man loyal to his job – so what about her breaks his strict code? Does he have a rule about not killing kids? Something that reminds her of someone he knows/loves? Kat has sort of displayed she’s crafty in terms of escape – was Walter looking for that? I think if there was a deeper reason behind it, it would elevate the story, even if it technically works for me as a plot beat so far.

    Pg. 4 – Would need to recap KAT – at 17, it’s a different actor playing her.

    Pg. 5 – I am very interested in following Kat, especially knowing Walter’s past and what he has made of her. And then I’m jerked back to earlier that day, to a scene between Walter and ambiguously named Boss. Not much action, no stealth. I feel cheated from the natural and exciting progression you were setting up with Kat’s infiltration.

    And then it’s very disorienting to have a flashback within a flashback – explaining to the boss by showing what he did to Kat at five years old.

    Also I think it needs to be addressed early how Walter got Kat on his side. She did see her father dead and I think even at 4, you’d remember it (or later wonder where the rest of your family is, etc.) But if Walter had somehow twisted the truth in his favor, he was protecting/saving Kat – that could give her motivation for carrying out whatever task she’s about to do for Walter. Waiting to see if this issue of child seeing father murdered (presumably by Walter) is addressed.

    Pg. 9 – “There’s no sign of her defying me in ANY WAY.”

    Pg. 12 – Like the detail of sand in Husk’s hair.

    Pg. 12 – …looks like the KIDS’ area of a doctor’s…

    Pg. 13 – …slicked down hair and WHITE silk shirt…

    Pg. 13 – Maternity magazine or maternity book? If the point of him was bringing it to help prepare him, I feel it’d be a book with a lot more info. Plus, isn’t he going to be on the island for a while? A magazine would last the week.

    Okay, so Gerard is the violent one, part of a torture/brainwash program. Interesting contrast to Kat, but I haven’t seen it yet. And for Walter to be discussing the different programs/schools of hitmen teaching with the boss, I think the opportunity is there to show it. I’ve been told Gerard is sort of a loose cannon/makes messes, but I haven’t seen it yet.
    It is not quite clear to me that Mike knows he’s on an island of hitmen. Definitely knows he’s on a island to teach a girl how to fight/defend herself and he signed a contract, knows the island has rules… But what are these rules? What is this contract and does Mike know he’s helping a girl fight specifically for her to use those skills out in the field? Just a bit more clarity would really help a lot.

    Pg. 15 I like that Mike is polite here, but calling Kat Ma’am? She’s seventeen and certainly doesn’t even act like that age. So little odd to me he’d use such a proper address vs. Miss or her name (to quickly build a bond between them).

    Pg. 16 – Boss means Walter here, but because you’ve called another person in script BOSS, it took me out a little.

    Pg. 17 – How did Husk get there so quickly? And get there with so much security? And did he pop up because she was so quiet? If he is a military man, he doesn’t seem like a very smart one. I would have rather have him ambush Kat but due to her skills, she’s able to disarm the gun (vs. the accidental collision).

    Pg. 22 – Guard says they have Husk. If this is true, would have liked to have seen Husk be cornered in the boathouse. Might be a good, tense moment.

    Pg. 23 – “You gonna stay and watch?” – Toying with him. To me, this connotes that Kat is aware of her sexuality and using it as a weapon or something to have affect on a man. There may be something I’ve missed but the story so far has painted her childlike and innocent. This line though hints at something darker and more mature that I don’t think the story’s set up efficiently enough yet.

    Pg 23 – mould  mold

    Pg. 31 – Like Mike’s death.

    Pg. 31 – “So call him.” – can’t really tell if Husk sarcastic here but why would he want assassin girl to call for help?

    Pg. 32 – Confused his gun’s not there – he saw her throw it away?

    Pg. 33 – How does Husk know Kat has a chauffer? Or why is it even relevant here? The more important line to me is the next one about him still assuming she’s an assassin.

    Pg. 33 – Timewise, have to stop, but I would read more. This last page had an asshole joke insinuated more in description than in dialogue but still makes me wonder – tone of the story. Kick Ass has a young killer so desensitized to violence that she treats it like play, the characters are somewhat larger than life which suits a story around people trying to be real life superheroes. This has a young character who is sheltered from violence and trauma while unknowingly committing deadly acts. I just wonder when the girl learns more, what direction you will take. Somewhat lighthearted given the naivete and prose, or dark given the idea of innocence lost. I guess what I’m saying is I’m interested in reading more, but I don’t know what you’re trying to say in relation to theme and characters. I go in expecting a straight-forward action/thriller but the playful, fast and loose tone and setup doesn’t seem to prep me for a story with real emotional depth.

  • https://pro-labs.imdb.com/name/nm4290140/ Cal

    My vote this week goes to…

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    I re-read the first ten to twenty pages of each just to make sure I was giving each script its due diligence, but the decision for me was clear. It’s just the story I like the most and would most like to see as a film.

    My runner up is

    DIONAEA

    I enjoyed the small changes and it read much cleaner this time. Congrats again to all who made it this far.

  • New_E

    … and THE GODYSSEY?

    E

  • New_E

    Vote goes to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    E

  • Malibo Jackk

    Just an opinion, not a vote.
    (Based on a limited and quick read.)

    Liked the opening of RAISED BY WOLVES.
    Intriguing and interesting.
    Would like ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY if you delete the very first scene
    (and make any resulting changes).
    Would rewrite the opening of DIONAEA and break a few rules in the process
    — in part because we have seen this opening many times before.

    (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m often wrong.)

  • Painkiller Jane Doe

    I know I’m a newbie, though I’ve been hiding in the shadows since the whole The House That Death Built / Trajent Future fiasco. And I only had time to read the first 5-7 of each (I got riots protests to attend), my vote goes to Odysseus and His Boy. [though I can’t help but say “boy” like Flavor Flav, BOYIEEEEE].

    Like the taste of it. Smooth and creamy with a hint of mint. Nice job, Steffan (if that is indeed your real name).