Look who’s back, baby! It’s the Scriptshadow Tournament!! In the last quarterfinal battle, blood was shed. Wars were waged. Commenters were banished. Some opined that the tournament would never return. It would become a footnote on the bottom of the Scriptshadow page. “Here lies the tournament that always is and never was.”

But alas, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the internet, it’s that when there’s an argument, throw yourself further into that argument! Stoke the fires with the blood of cheetahs. Bask in the sunshine while laughing with unicorns! And when it’s all said and done, sleep in the pouch of the nearest kangaroo–

Okay, now I’m not making sense.

Right, so, we’re on WEEK 3 of the Quarterfinals. Already into the Semifinals are Katherine Botts with her detective take on A Christmas Carol, “Cratchit,” and the surprise winner of Week 1, “Odysseus and His Boy,” by Steffan DelPiano.

Here’s how this works. Read as much from each script as you can. Then vote in the comments section which script you think deserves to go into the semifinals. Please explain why you voted for the script so that we know you’re a real voter and not a friend of the writer. As always, I’ll leave it up to the writers to decide if they want to summarize their changes in the comments.

Voting closes at 10pm Pacific Time Sunday evening, when the winner will be announced.

Good luck everybody!

Title: The Bait
Writer: Billie Bates
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Logline: An untrusting woman, employed to seduce men prior to marriage for concerned wives-to-be, has her world turned upside down when she falls for her latest target.

Title: The Attacker
Writer: Jean Roux
Genre: Action
Logline: After scoring the winning goal of a match by cheating, a soccer player has to go searching for his brother in the most dangerous neighborhood of the town that has just lost.

Title: Hellfire Alley
Writer: Kenneth Kleemann
Genre: Western/True Story
Logline: The gritty, UNTOLD story behind the real outlaws who inspired the classic film, THE WILD BUNCH.

WINNER OF QUARTERFINAL WEEK 3: Nice work to all the contestants in this week’s quarterfinal. Getting this far is not to be taken lightly. But only one can move forward. And that script moving forward is… “The Bait,” by Billie Bates, our first seeded script into the semis (#3 seed). Congrats, Billie! I know this process has been difficult for some. Keep in mind, I wanted to do something that’s never been done before. And when you do something that’s never been done before, the first time is going to be rough. We’re learning what works and what doesn’t. And the next time we do this will be better for it. That’s why I’ve always treated this contest as a fun experiment (it’s FREE remember!). Don’t take it too seriously and have fun guys. It’s writing. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. Next week are the last 3 quarterfinal scripts. Shouldn’t take a mathematician to figure out what those are. So if you want to start reading them early, get to it. I’ll meet you back here next week!

  • Scott Crawford

    Votes so far

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      Why are you stopping the counting of votes 6 hours before the contest ends? I don’t follow this closely but I was under the impression you were handling the vote tallies as a favor to Carson? Is your tally not the official one?

      • Randy Williams

        He should get 8 hours of sleep but he only needs 5. Scott’s a stallion.

        • Scott Crawford

          I am SO fricking tired all the time. I have the craziest dreams and they go on for hours. Can’t rest.

          • Thaddeus Arnold

            Must be filled with subplots about vampires, murder investigations, dystopian futures and odd space stations.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s always like I’m watching movie and it’s the GREATEST movie ever made and I think, gosh, I wish I’d written that. and then I realize this is a dream and the movie doesn’t exist and i CAN write it myself!

            Then I wake up and forget everything. Or realize that it was probably my brain TRICKING me into thinking I’d seen a really good movie.

          • garrett_h

            Swear that happens to me all the time!

            Started keeping a notepad by the bed to jot it all down when I wake up. Sometimes when I re-read it, it’s garbage. But I’ve gotten a couple of good ideas from my dreams.

          • Scott Crawford

            There’s Evan Rachel Wood flying an Apache helicopter… and people are trying to shoot her down… and… and… she’s got to make it to the border… and…

            Ugh! This isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, it’s terrible!

            That happens a lot.

          • Thaddeus Arnold

            A woman trying to make her way home through a war-torn country… Sounds like a story to me!

          • Thaddeus Arnold

            I would keep my phone nearby and record a voice message of what I saw the second I woke up. Prior to waking up is when our brains become active again and they start processing everything we’ve experienced recently. I remember struggling over trying to write a song once and dreamed a nice melody. I recorded that the second I woke up. It’s no Yesterday but I’m pretty pleased with it.

      • garrett_h

        He lives overseas. He’s a few hours ahead. It’ll be like 4am his time when voting closes.

        • Scott Crawford

          0600 GMT to be exact. That building they go to the at the end of NOW YOU SEE ME 2, the Greenwich Observatory; that’s the center of the universe. GMT. Greenwich Mean Time.

          There’s also a nice Frankie and Benny’s in Greenwich, by the river near the Cutty Sark. Byron’s there too but I don’t really like burgers in brioche buns.

    • Carmelo Framboise

      I vote for The Attacker.

      • Scott Crawford

        Any reason? Any comments on the other scripts?

    • Kirk Diggler

      Voting for The Bait. I’ll post my reasons at the top of the thread.

    • GoIrish

      Count me in for The Attacker. I didn’t get into this the first go-round, so the lack of new edits didn’t bother me as much as it did others. The premise was strong enough for me to carry it to the next round – Taken meets soccer. Hopefully the writer will step it up going forward.

    • OCattorney

      I posted some notes on “Hellfire Alley” so you can take the asterisk off my vote… too much graphic violence. But the greater problem is, no one sees this as a problem. They see it as the normal state of Hollywood movies. I promise you, that is not so. You’ve been influenced… brainwashed… independent productions that no studio would touch. But, having said that, I realize it’s not accurate. We live in a time when the violence on the screen is primarily murder and sadistic behavior toward women. Most people today stay home, rent Disney DVDs, and never complain. A lot of Disney films go straight to DVD and never appear in theaters. (I have to apologize, I just drove home from Cross Campus in Santa Monica, where a screenwriting group met in what used to be The Writers Junction. Said farewell to the group because the four to five hour round trip can’t be justified without something else to do in LA. Let me talk about Concepts. This Tournament was an opportunity to try out a Concept that was fresh, original, because everyone else in the contest was supposed to have started with a fresh Concept at the same time you did. I had a problem. I was eight weeks into my script when I realized Carson just didn’t get it. And, I saw some photos of homes in Aspen, Colorado, and I started over. With a Fresh, original Concept. A Concept that might make it as a movie. What’s the problem with a Western? The major studios have hundreds of Westerns on the shelf. They have Western scripts from twenty years ago. If you don’t bring something highly Original and 21st century to the table, studios aren’t interested in renting horses…. Westworld is a GREAT example. A Western where the prostitutes in the Long Branch are robots, and the robots have a glitch where they suddenly don’t like the way they’re treated…. OK, that’s not Great, but it isn’t the same old, same old, and that’s why Westerns aren’t. But my problem with “Hellfire Alley” was putting killing and bank robbery up on a pedestal, instead of treating it like criminal activity. And, yes, in this group, no one knows what I’m talking about. It’s like “The Truman Show”. You accept the reality of the world around you. But…. writers should be fascinated by Concepts and not the toil and drudgery that I see in these notes. You’re writers, not accountants. If I can correct all the grammar or spend the same time creating a better concept, guess which one I’m excited about. – Bill Hays


    Early vote as I won’t be online this weekend.

    Stick me down for Hellfire Alley please, Scott.

    I’ve voted for it before and Ken’s done his research. I know and trust the world I am immersed in.

    Read the first ten of The Bait and The Attacker just now and amazingly they both have one thing in common: soccer. Both, though, read to me as if the writer has never watched or talked about soccer/football before.

    Call me a pedant but it matters to me.

    Best of luck to all three writers and congratulations for making it this far.

    • Scott Crawford

      Thank you, BMCHB, for your vote and for considering the other two screenplays.

      Good luck with whatever you’re doing this weekend (off-the-grid survivalist training in Wyoming? If you don’t tell us, we’re going to guess.).

      • BMCHB

        I’ll be partying with some Victoria’s Secret models in Paris and doing research for my next script which is a heist script about supermodels that steal.

        Or, visiting my mother in the middle of nowhere…

        • brenkilco

          Family comes first and the supermodels will always be there. Paris isn’t going anywhere either.

          • Scott Crawford

            If Marine Le Pen gets elected…

          • brenkilco

            She’ll make Paris great again

          • Scott Crawford

            “Paris is a paradise for c***s” as Al Jolson sang. I say this not to enrage people of color but to spit in the face of those who would ignore France’s “colorful” history . i don’t have that song, but here’s another:

          • New_E

            No, she won’t! And she’s not going to win either.

            Front républicain against her if she’s in the second tour, no matter who the opponent is in the runoff. Exactly what happened in 2002 to her father.


  • Zack Snide Err

    Best of luck to all three entries. Not voting yet but, damn, just reading the title and logline for The Attacker made my heart pulse. It’s such a good premise for a movie. If its even slightly better than the last draft its getting my vote.

  • Billie B

    Hi guys,

    First off, a HUGE belated congrats to all the peeps who made QF and beyond. I’m honored to be in the mix with such talented writers. I couldn’t keep up with contribution as intended, but hopefully my decision to hide away paid-off and is evident in my rewrite.

    My nerves are shot from the World Series cliffhanger, and after that bat-shit crazy election, I don’t think I can watch another democratic vote unfold in real time, so I might make myself scarce until Sunday. I doubt there’s WiFi in the early-open basement-bar I’m heading to with my Snuggie, anyway. ;)

    Best of luck, mad respect, and much love to Jean and Kenneth, and to everyone who took the time to read and offer notes in the first round and beyond!

    My script adjustments are below.


    — Made Brad’s fiancé upfront crazy and mean. Like she’s the extreme version of what the protag could become if she doesn’t overcome her flaw.

    — Added a Baiting scene in a Virtual Reality Arcade. She fails dismally, secretly joining his game— Wild West Z — thinks she’s going in to seduce him, but her VR avatar turns out to be a Zombie School Mistress who gets shot down, (literally). Another Fail.

    — Fleshed out the 2 underwritten scenes in Act 2b and Act 3. With the added Bait scene in 2a, this took the script from 82 pages to 100.

    — Moved scenes around for pacing and flow, but also to make the midpoint more clearly their first major chemistry scene since it’s her first ‘not trying to be someone else’ moment.

    — Because of the above changes, the first half of the script is more clearly Michele actively trying to be someone she THINKS he wants, and failing, and the second half is her being herself.

    — Brought back the throw-away target from the opening (Suit) as the son of Mr. Winter (Exotic Homes Magazine owner) for added complication in the third act climax.

    – Changed BFF’s name, but left Protag as Michele. It started as a wink wink to my friend for inspiring the idea (a goodwill credit), but it just works for me, now.

    — I held a table read for pacing and dialogue. Made tweaks accordingly.

    — Added a stakes character/likability factor by giving her a dog who misses his ‘daddy’ (carries around and old sock of his). It’s 3 small beats layered in to existing scenes.

    • Scott Crawford

      Hmmmm. Thinking about this one… should the writers, once they’ve posted their thanks and possibly spelled out their changes, should they go away for the weekend?

      I’d prefer them to stay if they want to but it might be easier, fairer if they didn’t show up so much this weekend? Thoughts please.

      • Billie B

        Good question, Scott. From past experience, I’ve found it can start to feel like over exposure with me chiming in all day to like comments and thank people, and after the ‘campaigning scandal’ of a few weeks ago, I’d rather give people space to vote without me, the writer, being ever present. It’s not that I won’t be checking in every few hours ;) I just don’t plan on being vocal about it.

      • Randy Williams

        Easier for whom? I thought as writers we are supposed to be pitching ourselves as well as our stories? This is great practice.

        • Scott Crawford

          Like Angie says, might be easier if there weren’t quite so many thank you comments. MAYBE easier for people to make comments without hurting someone’s feelings (though they may read the comments later). Maybe easier because it doesn’t seem like any writer is having an undue influence. I don’t know, Im just interested in how other people feel.

      • Angie

        Can’t imagine how the writers will stop themselves from checking in to see how the vote is going, but agree with Billie B that chiming in all day to thank and to comment feels like over exposure, and exhausting for the entrants. Writers can wait until the vote is over to thank all those who voted for them, naming them and noting their comments, in one post. JMO

      • garrett_h

        Not really sure how this would be “fairer” or “easier” in any way. Then again, I wasn’t here for the fiasco last round. Had a busy weekend. The shit must have really hit the fan if we’re talking about banning the contestants from commenting lol.

        IMO the nest part of these amateur endeavours has been when the writers show up. It’s almost like a live Q&A. There’s back and forth, sometimes notes get discussed in detail and writers find ways to improve their stories from the discussions that take place, and we get to learn about their thoughts/ideas and it helps us learn the craft too.

        And there’s nothing more frustrating than reading a script, typing up notes, then the writer doesn’t show. And you don’t know if they DGAF and gave the double bird to SS or they were just too busy.

        The work will stand on its own. The best script wins, not the script whose author has the most time to comment. And if someone is voting on a script based on how many comments the writer made, you shouldn’t be voting IMO.

        Hopefully no one is doing that, but there’s no way to tell. And this is the internet after all…

      • JakeBarnes12

        Frankly I think the writers should be chained up in their basements so they can’t influence the vote by tweeting, facebooking, hacking, etc.

        And beaten.

        The beating part would serve no real purpose but be done just for the fun of it.

        • Randy Williams

          So, you want to add to the beating they already get with our notes?
          You’re fun.

    • Jonathan K

      Such a small note, but Carson is always harping on research and the specificity of the reality you’re depicting, so I feel like it should be mentioned. As someone who has worked at men’s magazines before, they pay LESS than weddings. Most times, they do not pay at all. I’d be happy to explain in greater detail if that was of interest.

      Also, no photographer who has ever done a decent-sized shoot would let their makeup artist go before the shoot is over (touch-ups are constant on a men’s magazine shoot even with the presumably extensive retouching done after), but I think you can solve this by having Brad suggest that someone who’s doing body makeup or is a lowly assistant can fill in for Michele as he summarily dismisses her.

      • Billie B

        Thanks Jonathan! I’ll take note of this in my rewrite :)

  • Scott Serradell


    * Good morning all! Just a personal note to say I’m currently en route to Portland; my better half and I have reconciled and are working things out. A profound ‘thank you’ to those voices of support, whether on here or in private. I am grateful beyond words. And that’s that.

    So — Best of luck to all the writers! I imagine it’ll be a tough race this weekend but I am confident that the majority of us here want a clean fight and a civilized discussion. It only takes one asshole to pee in the punch-bowl (and if said asshole should appear let’s just show him the exit.)

    • Scott Crawford

      Best news all weekend!

    • Lucid Walk

      I may live in LA, but Portland will always be home

    • Scott Crawford

      Mmmmm. I’m struggling with one… Scottie, who has gone through some tough times recently, thankfully reconciled, and spending the weekend in Portland, is still able in the course of – what? – 24 hours to produce excellent notes on all three scripts. And yet a writer who has five weeks to rewrite his script just sends in the same draft as before.

      Can’t get my head around this one.

      • Scott Serradell

        Well Goodness Scott. You make it seem like I accomplished something. Fact of the matter is when you’re in a motel room there’s little to do besides leave obscene drawings in the Gideon’s bible ;)

        And to be clear: It wasn’t my intention to slam Jean; again, we don’t know what happened (and I’m not inadvertently asking either). But I think this an important part of the screenwriting process: Time management and deadlines. Had this been a studio assignment — and there was no new draft — there’d be some serious hell to pay.

        • Scott Crawford

          Just to clear, that’s my point as well – that a writer needs to be able to handle deadlines… but even simpler, he needs to show that he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed. I don’t know if I’ve achieved that, I’m not in the completion, but if I was I’d like to think I would at least try to implement a few notes and maybe post a new draft (I think it’s costing him votes).

          • Scott Serradell

            Exactly. It’s a seldom discussed topic around here — the self discipline of writers — precisely because everyone must find the way that works best for them. But it’s also of the utmost importance — because we also have to self-manage everything: When we sit and work, when we don’t, how much work must be done by such-and-such a date etc. You can absorb as many screenwriting books and blogs you want — without the ability to physically shut up and do it, frankly, you won’t.

          • Scott Crawford

            While working as an assistant, Drew Goddard had to make photocopies. When asked about it, Drew said getting a copy order right was the antithesis of being good at writing BUT… if you don’t get it right it shows you don’t care about being a writer.

            When you get an opportunity as a writer, whether it’s a job or being picked for a competition or a meeting, you have to show that you are prepared to work harder than another person who could also have taken that opportunity. And that’s what annoys me.

            I was watching one of my faves last night, OUTLAND, written and directed by Peter Hyams. I was reading up about it – after Hyams had written the first draft, it was the subject of a bidding war between studios (all of whom wanted the next STAR WARS or ALIEN). He choose The Ladd Company, the company Alan Ladd, Jr. formed after leaving Fox having made STAR WARS (Fox didn’t like how generous Ladd had been to Lucas in terms of Luca’s deal). Because OUTLAND would be The Ladd Company’s first movie, Hyams figured – rightly – that they would be 100% behind his effort to make OUTLAND as good as it could be.

            The first thing they did… was send Hyams back to the typewriter… for SEVEN more drafts. And this was before scripts were written on computer, so we’re pretty much talking a year of rewrites. For a script that everyone thought was great.

            And that long-winded story is far from unique. Many times a GOOD producer (or manager) will want lots of rewrites of the script so it’s as as good as it can be before they spend money building sets ad hiring actors.

            Being very specific, a lot of people have said they liked Jean’s script but felt it needed a rewrite.

            As fir shutting up and doing the work – I will. I have. And I will continue to do so. Hope to have another script finished by the time ROGUE ONE comes out. That’s MY deadline.

          • brenkilco

            And after all those drafts, and despite Sean connery and a first rate physical production and very solid action direction by Hyams, Outland was, well, no Star Wars. Getting into a bidding war for a script the buyer then decides is seven drafts away from being filmable. Crazy industry. IMHO Hyams would have had more success if he hadn’t I insisted on writing his own scripts. He could shoot a chase. But his dialogue……That good producer should have known enough to bring in some other writer for a polish.

    • Billie B

      Thanks for spending time with this, with all you have going on. :)
      Yes, it’s supposed be a service to rule out someone’s potential to cheat. Giving them the right girl/circumstances in a test tube, to know how they’d deal with it in real life.

      There will always be people we vibe with (it’s pheromones) but it’s not hard to recognize this and turn away or distance yourself from this. Yeah it’s a rush to vibe with someone, but so is doing a line of coke or a hit of nod (for a heroine addict). I guess you could say I consider single life to be an addiction, and marriage sobriety. ;)
      It is overly simplistic, but maybe that’s what society needs. Pastors should start putting it in the vows. “recognize the triggers and just say No!” lol

      I am thinking of ways to massage this for the script, I agree it’s not quite there, but I personally feel it’s believable within the genre.

      • Scott Serradell

        Congratulations on the win this weekend Billie.

        I can see what you are saying about Michele’s service. My point (again) was that by presenting it as a temptation (as opposed to be caught in the act) to me changes it from a ethical quandary to a moral one — and I think that gets sticky because that gets close to an almost religious dilemma (not something you expect in a rom-com). But my thick head goes right to the philosophy a lot of the times so I’m probably not your target audience (on the other hand I explained your premise to my wife and she thought it very intriguing. So there you go…)

        Good luck with re-writes. And I agree that this is all believable within the genre. Just give extra care to the characters in that they are believable along with it.

        • Billie B

          Thanks Scott. And all your points are valid, for sure. So thanks for adding complexities of human nature for me to stew over before I tackle another rewrite. It’s easy to slip into thinking: ‘light fluffy rom com, I can get away with one dimensional ideas’. But maybe that’s been their downfall of late.

  • GoIrish

    Anyone else having trouble opening The Bait? I could open the other two.

    • gazrow

      Had no problem opening it. Maybe try again? :)

      • GoIrish

        Hmmm…not sure what the problem is. Possibly my phone?? Looks like The Bait may be relying on a “default” vote to get my vote this week (kidding!).

        • Thaddeus Arnold

          Hmm… Looks like you haven’t learned how to master Bait.

    • Scott Crawford

      Opened fine for me. Reconditioned 2012 Mac Mini.

    • garrett_h

      worked fine for me on my phone.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making the #3 seed spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I thought this won the first time because even though it wasn’t finished, that sizzling spark that defines a romantic comedy that ignites the romantic in all of us was there on page one and never let up. It certainly was with me. The read, as well, for me, is an easy and pleasurable one.

    I was hoping in the rewrites that the writer would play it a little less safe. Let us be less charmed by the protagonist than we are and give in to some misgivings about her. But, that seems not to be the case in the rewrite. The rewrite could have also gone more profane but the writer seems to have kept it very tame. Torn about that, since the subject is cheaters, you could go pretty wicked, but it also works nicely, I thought as a cautionary tale which doesn’t need all that nastiness.

    In the beginning, I thought a little action might excite the audience after the girlfriend (Michele’s client) finds Michele with her boyfriend. The audience doesn’t know at first that Michele has been hired to act as bait. So, maybe as we would expect in a Cheaters episode, the girl goes after Michele, maybe grabbing a weapon of some sort. The boyfriend follows trying to calm his girlfriend down. He watches as his girlfriend chases Michele, maybe through a car park. Michele gets in her car, the girlfriend chases the car, trying to hit the car with the weapon and misses. This goes on for a while as the boyfriend watches and the audience is enjoying this mayhem, but once out of sight of the boyfriend, the girlfriend climbs into the car, rather calmy, and the two have the exchange of money and their conversation. Why the charade can also be explained there.

    Last time I felt there were some dated references. Michele is in her 20’s. For me, Sixty Minutes is dated for a 20 something, maybe not even recognizable. (References, jokes to it are repeated several times) Can Brad be into live twitching his reactions to something?
    PMS is dated to me for a 20 something. Spicegirls. Blaming Google for anything is dated to me. I think the writer is capable of more fresh.

    page 15- Tanya tells Michele, “Sleep with him and I’ll kill you.” This telegraphs what will happen in general terms. Would it be more interesting if Tanya had a different approach to it? For example, If Tanya was second guessing hiring Michele because she felt Michele was nowhere near someone Brad might like, in fact, be repulsed by in some way. She could even vocalize it. Or giving the audience a clue that Tanya might think it will happen and gives Michele hints on what Brad likes out of self punishment? Wanted more complicated there.

    Again, I loved Jen. She threatens to steal the movie. Great supporting character.

    Loved the virtual reality arcade scene! But why didn’t Brad comment on that lame school mistress to Michele when they met afterwards and he mentions the arcade? Michele’s facial reaction could be priceless.

    There is too much repetition, I thought, with Brad and I think at least one other does it too, with telling Michele that they don’t understand why someone with her talent isn’t working in Hollywood or something but doing backwater work. It got tiresome for me. I hate people questioning why someone is an underachiever based on their talents or experience, whatever. People are complicated. Certainly this could be explored in some B story perhaps in glances with her. Instead of a dog, maybe give her a reason to lay low?

    There are scenes where a LOL joke could elevate things. That ballpark bar scene on 37-39 felt pretty flat to me. I mean nothing feels flat in this but compared to other scenes.

    Again, I want Jen and Carl to have their own show. Maybe call it “Jen & Carl in Chicago”

    I’m torn about the yacht scene. It’s uncomfortable in some ways. Perhaps that could be remedied for me with taking advantage of the teens and how they bait each other and use it to mirror what’s going on with Michele? This could also be done at the kid’s party later on.

    The overlapping that begins on 67-68. I’m not sure this is formatted correctly. I’m sensing that I’m hearing the next scene’s dialogue before the visuals match up? I think it’s correct to place the overlapping dialogue before the

    In Colorado, I didn’t think the fairy tale make-up work that Michele does and the discussion there that “happy endings are a fantasy and we should stop aspiring for them” exactly matches the whole concept here. Could there be another type of make-up that she does? For example, if she did monster make up then we could imply that everyone has a monster in them, sometimes you have to lure it out. And the bait can be just as monstrous.

    • Billie B

      Fantastic notes, Randy! Thanks so much. I’m going to see if I can work some in with this turn around, maybe the outdated references, but I think I’ll have to wait until after this contest for others. Just so you don’t think I’m disregarding your thoughts ;)

      I especially like the idea of having Tanya NOT believe Michele is capable of this because she’s not his type, then tell her that’s her skill set, ‘becoming their type’. The rules of the world can definitely be massaged and better laid out.

  • JeanR

    I won’t be very present during the next two days but I wish the best of luck to Billie and Kenneth !
    And many thanks in advance to everyone who will read The Attacker.
    By the way, I couldn’t make any modication to the script so it’s the same version as the one from the first round.

    • Scott Crawford

      Just asking for others… any reason why no changes?

      • Kirk Diggler

        Because 5 weeks isn’t enough time to do re-writes? Oh wait, it’s more than enough time. Too bad he’s not taken this seriously.

        • Scott Crawford

          I’m afraid I agree. if he’s had trouble getting a new draft to Carson, then he could always post a link here. if he doesn’t know how to do that, or if he doesn’t have a new draft to post, then, yes, not taking it seriously enough.

          Sorry, Jean. It’s the truth.

          • wad_d

            I don’t know this writer, but they seemed pretty active last round, so while 5 weeks is a good amount of time, perhaps ‘life’ got in the way.

          • Scott Crawford

            That’s a possibility, sure, and I’m not here to judge. I guess.

            But FIVE WEEKS!

            Jean was given lots of notes, I remember, he doesn’t have time to put ANY of them into his script. Kirk’s right on this one, not taking this seriously enough, and there are other writers who would have liked this opportunity.

            Not judging. I think.

          • wad_d

            I dunno, but we’ve all I’m sure worked crazy jobs. When I was in public accounting, I had more than a few 70+ hr weeks, back to back to back. Sometimes working 20 days in a row. Sometimes spending the night at work. And I really wanted to write (as well as exercise, watch movies, hang out with friends), but I was physically exhausted. And I was a single guy. Maybe they just had a kid, or has kids, or maybe they’re dealing with an illness, or family issues, etc. Who knows? I’m just saying it might be a tad unfair to instantly say they are not taking this serious, that’s all. And I could be totally wrong. Maybe they had all the time in the world, and just decided eff it. I’m just saying we don’t necessarily have the whole picture. But last round, Jean was pretty active in the comments, and today is saying, “I won’t be very present during the next two days”, so perhaps there is something that is occupying their time.

  • Andrea Moss

    Vote for Hellfire Alley. Love the setting and the genre. A serious contender.

    • Scott Crawford

      Cool. What did you think of the other two scripts?

      • Andrea Moss

        Haven’t read yet. Romantic comedy is not my cup of tea, sorry. The Attacker seems to have potential. I’m a big fan of the “guy trapped in a dangerous neighborhood” genre that guys like Walter Hill mastered.

      • JakeBarnes12

        I say, Scott, I think I smell shenanigans.

        • Scott Crawford

          No opinion. I’m just happy the pound is up against the dollar.

          • Dan B

            I’d be happy to. Love to export some stuff.

        • garrett_h

          Is that a tuna sandwich I smell???

          Fishy indeed…

  • JakeBarnes12

    “An untrusting woman, employed to seduce men prior to marriage for concerned wives-to-be, has her world turned upside down when she falls for her latest target.”

    Awkwardly worded logline aside, is this a thing or just a job the writer made up?

    • Scott Crawford

      It is a thing, it’s sometimes called a honey trap (a term I believe was invented by John Le Carre). Usually a private detective and companion – the companion tries to seduce the target, the PI takes pictures. In the past it was often used to get grounds for divorce, but I think divorce laws aren’t as tough anymore so it’s more just a test of fidelity:

      “An attractive woman employed as “bait” to test the fidelity of men falls in love with her latest target.”


      • Dan B

        Good advice, I’d leave out the “untrusting woman part”

  • klmn

    Hellfire Alley writer here. Thanks to everyone who checks out my script! I’ll respond to individual comments after the voting closes.


    More description for Coffeyville. One more line of description for Fort Smith.

    I cut something, but can’t remember what.

    I included the simplified map of Coffeyville, after the title page but before the script itself so it doesn’t interfere with the reading.

    I attached a few photos of Fort Smith National Historic Site at the end of the script. I noted the map and photos on the title page.

    • Scott Crawford

      You know, i was just reading a script yesterday, an old script from the 1990s, but it had a photograph on the first page (like a photocopy) of the setting along with the main areas indicated.

      I’ve seen this in a few old spec scripts and I honestly think it was a big selling factor. The writing has to be there too, in the script, but it just helps to be able to visualize a large location and all the complicated terms that go with it.

    • Randy Williams

      Had no problems opening this on my cellphone, map, pictures and all, which I appreciated.

  • brenkilco

    Put me down for Hellfire Alley.

    Bait Read to page 16. It’s very professional and frankly the setup is no worse than some romcoms that have actually been made. But the premises is extremely unappealing. And the exchanges more misanthropic than funny. At least on paper. Reminiscent of a movie from years back with Ross from friends where his best man agrees to test the fidelity his fiance. Was pretty bad. The writer is talented but this just isn’t my thing.

    The Attacker. Read to page 22. Setup is OK, if a little contrived. Dialogue just functional. This may be a decent action piece. But I’m not getting the sense of anything special coming. Just a lot of chasing around. If the logline had given me more I might have kept going.

    Hellfire Alley Read to page 35. Nicely researched and detailed. But there are problems. We start with a robbery and shootout. Fine curtain raiser. But then we cut to the remnants of the gang. The leader swears revenge, maybe, sometime. Meanwhile we see a lot of desultory activity. Another bank is robbed. A train. A newspaper reporter who badmouths the bandits gets horsewhipped. Where is this going? Well its going to another place with a totally different set of characters and a six page hanging scene involving a bunch of condemned men who appear to have no connection to anything else in the story. Add to that a minister who talks interminably and not only bores the audience for the hanging but the reader as well. His oration goes on so long that you feel there must be a plot point to it. He’s buying time till rescuers arrive or something. Nope. He finally finishes. Then one of the prisoners yaks for a while and then the hanging proceeds. If this is all supposed to be funny it doesn’t work. The whole scene appears to be completely pointless. And to be honest elaborate sermons- of which this is not the only one- are not the writer’s strong suit. We then cut to a marshal whom I supposed was going to be assigned to track down our gang. And he does get an assignment. But it’s to track down some new criminal. The direction this is going should be much clearer by this point. Still, based on the amount of evident research and the potential of the material I vote for Hellfire.

    • Scott Crawford

      Excellent comments! See?… that’s how it’s done.

    • Billie B

      Thanks for giving it a shot, Bren. Someone else mentioned that ‘Ross’ flick, so I might have to check it out (but not for inspiration, if it was that bad ;) ).

    • klmn

      “…And to be honest elaborate sermons- of which this is not the only one- are not the writer’s strong suit…”

      Yeah, it didn’t work the way I intended it to. And the sermon – which I excerpted for the Itinerant Preacher in acts 1 and 3 – is probably the most famous ever given in America, and really started the trend of fire and brimstone preaching.

      Really the whole script didn’t work the way I thought it would. But Carson threw down the challenge and I responded. At least he didn’t challenge me to a drag race – I could get it real trouble then.

      Thanks for the vote.

      • brenkilco

        All the scripts whose authors honestly adhered to the ninety day deadline are going to have rough edges. Even the winning entry, which, who knows , may turn out to be yours.

        • klmn

          Not mine – I lost the QF round to Billie’s script.

  • Poe_Serling

    Congrats to all the featured writers for getting their scripts this far in the

    As I take my weekly stroll through the Scriptshadow Cineplex, my vote goes

    Hellfire Alley

    Again, it’s the project I would most likely watch on TV or at a movie theater.

    I thought the rewrite changes in Hellfire gave the reader a better sense of
    time and location as this horse opera begins to unfold. The ending with
    Nix is quite effective too.

    An issue or two…

    Like bren mentioned in his post, I’d like to see more of a connective story
    thread tying everything together and less speechifying by the preacher.

    Final note:

    As I said a few times before, I think there’s a real opportunity to take
    these true events and spin it creatively in way to incorporate the classic
    film The Wild Bunch into the overall storyline.

    And perhaps, in doing so, finding that common element to really tie all the
    various pieces of this particular Old West tale into a neat bow.

    • Scott Crawford

      Don’t want to not put you to the same scrutiny as anyone else… what did you think of the other two scripts? I’ll make a note of your vote but it would be nice if it include comments on the other scripts.

      • Poe_Serling

        Here’s my thinking…

        When the tournament kicked off, I gave all the scripts the
        once-over (checking out at least a few pages).

        Some of them were in my personal wheelhouse… others
        not so much. And the majority of the time for the ones that
        didn’t pique my interest – it had nothing to do with the
        writing… mostly just the subject matter or genre.


        I try not to comment too much on the projects that I invested
        so little time in reading or mulling over.

        However, I do feel the writers benefit the most from notes
        given by readers that have a true excitement for cracking
        open any particular script.

    • garrett_h

      Well said, it needs a better narrative.

      Question: What exactly is the connection between the Wild Bunch gang, and the Wild Bunch film, other than a name? You’re more of a film historian than I am, so maybe you can explain (until the writer shows up). I haven’t been able to find a connection.

      • Poe_Serling

        To be perfectly honest, I don’t know either. I just assumed there
        was one based on this tidbit ‘inspired the classic film’ from the
        project’s logline.

        If there is a real connection, it’s a solid platform to build some
        kind of story around.

  • OCattorney

    OCattorney votes for The Bait

    • Scott Crawford

      OK… any reasons? Any comments? What did you think of the other scripts?

      (I’ll note your vote but without reasons it may not count. Not my rules, the Carson.).

  • Dallas Cobb

    I feel like I’m living in a state of malaise. Thanksgiving is over, but more holidays are just around the corner. December just began, but it’s not blistering cold just yet. The fall TV season is fast approaching its winter hiatus, yet awards show season is right around the corner. And I’ve got about 18 days to put a positive cap on the rest of this semester, and there finals are going to be no joke.

    BUT THANK GOD FOR THE SCRIPTSHADOW BRACKET TOURNAMENT!!! Congrats to everyone last week, and good luck to the writers this week…what a ride this has been so far…I appreciate you ALL for this opportunity — this is the most sufficient, and fun, way to procrastinate, I say!

    Vote Quote – The research, the execution, the writing, and the spirit of this piece are all quite impressive and professional. This provides a master example of an effective rewrite.

    Title: The Bait
    Pages Read: top of page 16
    Review: You portray Michele’s flaw well, I can sense an arc — lots of long sentences and INSERTS that need to be read to push the story forward, which could be difficult — you’ve got an easy, breezy prose that fits well with the tone of the script — nice scene structure — very good effort, just as/a little more polished than the first draft.
    First 10 Close Read: Logline should say she’s employed BY the wives? — take out “a cliched cute meet” ((why would I want to read anything cliched?)) — harried is an interesting word, not sure its the right word — something still jarring about seeing MICHELE on the title page and as the protagonist, but I appreciate the sentiment — When does suit hang up the phone? that could add more conflict/action into this first scene after he soaks Michele — I love the line “she’s hot as hell because she’s not trying to be”, don’t know how I feel about what comes after it — only SOME of your sentences feel a little long-winded, even though they’re well written, so you should just be mindful of that — it should be made more clear in the scene heading that, when we get to Title, its a new day — bottom of page 2 Michele says “Drenched in coffee 2 DAY ago?”…it should be DAYS — the italics and underlines throw me off a little, only because there doesn’t seem to be a consistent reason/usage for them — top of page 3, show Suit’s reaction to Michele’s “So nineties” line better…your line is cute, but it reads too internal to work right now — I don’t think a guy would say he played “collegiate”…he would just say he played in college…– Again, Suit’s “doubt” on bottom of page 3 is internal, SHOW US why he shouldn’t, bring the call from fiance earlier to here maybe — take out “He does” on bottom of page 3, seems like a waste of space to me — middle of page 4 “subtle, kind of…” doesn’t make sense to me — Suit seems really comfortable talking to a woman he wants to bang about PMS…I feel like he’d be a little more cautious with the topic — “If he looked in reluctant lust before…” make sure not to guide the reader too much — loved the fiance — love the top of page 7 — correct me if i’m wrong, but don’t women usually refer to PMS moreso as a verb, than a noun? ((PMSing)) — undercover is a weird word to describe a parking lot — top of page 9 Michele thinks he’s treating the girls like meat, but the action described he’s in love with camera work and not the girls, so which one is actually true? — bottom of page 9 LOOOOOVE Michele’s line “Oh, I’m not…you did…? I mean…” — “posturing up” reads weird — middle of page 10 should read “…by an overzealous teacup Yorkie…”, makes your prose flow a bit better.

    Title: Hellfire Alley
    Pages Read: top of page 14
    Review: This feels very much like a western, and the small infusions of comedy are enjoyably effective — very hard to critique and offer suggestions on writing, research, and execution that is so precise and crisp — KLMN, as you may recall, I wasn’t a huge fan of your first draft for reasons that you’ve subverted and changed — I could feel senses of cinematic structure here, which made up for the slightly-too-long bank robbery action sequence — A tremendous amount could be learned from this script.
    First 10 Close Read: The explanations of the setting are spot on, and are fun to follow while looking at the map — “townsfolk who ignore him” is the second time I’ve chuckled and I’m only on page 2, so that’s a plus — each of the 5 men are introduced PERFECTLY, and each have their own signifying description/feature — for some reason, the Preacher beginning with “So” on the bottom of page 3 felt too conversational — Middle of page 4 feels like a montage of scenes, but its reduced to mere sentences that don’t provide context into how much time has passed — “holds forth on the corner” reads weird because then the Preacher just walks away after — I like how the Preacher functions as a somewhat scene transition, but he might be relied a little too heavily here? — Is McKenna’s “look of recognition” positively tinged or negatively tinged? — Your action scenes (particularly this bank robbery) is very easy to follow, its all very streamlined yet still surprising and fun!

    Title: The Attacker
    Pages Read: bottom of page 5
    Review: It’s a bit difficult for me to really get into this, the way I did the two other scripts this week, especially when nothing was changed about the first draft — the writing here isn’t bad by any means, but nothing is happening, and I’m being introduced to different characters without being given anything to grasp onto them about/make me care about them — Why do I care who wins this soccer game? Why do I care about Pete, just because some fans are rowdy? There’s potential here, but I need more more more.
    Close Read: Decent, cliche opening — “We’re right up in the action” took me out of the action, so try and make that more seamless — the capital-lettered words and names are throwing me off, maybe distinguish with bolding either the names or actions? — Whats the significance of the slow motion on page 1? — The “Distinguishing features” bit in introducing Pete make no sense, although reads cleverly — Use colors to distinguish the two different teams, because I don’t even know what team Pete is on until bottom of page 3.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m really glad to see that people are looking at all THREE scripts. At this stage in the contest, and in the semis and the grand final, we shouldn’t be voting if we haven’t considered all the scripts. Thank you, Dallas!

      • Dallas Cobb

        Of course! With finals these next couple weeks (and not being the greatest student to begin with), it’s somewhat difficult to open all the scripts and read as much as I wish I could. But AOWs/this contest are a highlight of my week! As long as this type of interaction/experience is available, count me in for the fun.

        • OCattorney

          I think you’re doing a disservice to “The Bait” by only reading 16 pages… In the first half, Michelle pretends to be what people expect. In the second half, she reverts to herself, which is vastly more important in romance. – Bill Hays

          • Scott Crawford

            What did you think of the other two scripts, Bill? Without notes, I still don’t know if you looked at all three.

          • OCattorney

            Well, last week, I was criticized for making a comment before I thought it thru…. last night, Friday, had our first meeting of our “Win the Nicholl Fellowship” group, where we talked about making a plan for a Re-write. I may have some notes on Sunday after I revise my Game Plan for Re-Writing. We talked about some interesting stuff. Like how Marcia Lucas watched the final cut of “Raiders” and told George to add the scene where Marion and indy talk on the steps, saying the first cut didn’t give any closure to Marion’s journey. And this was AFTER all the men signed off on their version. So, rewriting… giving closure to the Primary Relationship, might be the most important scene and you can’t judge it until you reach the end – Bill Hays

          • OCattorney

            OK, some of you may not know the scene without notes… that’s how I feel after last night’s meeting. They were basically finished with the movie, and George got Harrison and Karen to film another scene on the steps of a courthouse in Marin county…

          • Scott Crawford

            I’m sorry to say this, Bill, but I can’t understand anything of what you’re saying without mind altering drugs.

          • OCattorney

            And you know that you CAN understand what I’m saying if you take mind altering drugs…. How?

          • OCattorney

            OK, Scott, I have a bit of clarity. We were talking about re-writes on Friday night in Santa Monica. first, pick the climactic scene, and then, work backwards. But before that, the elephant in the room. Were these scripts started and written for this contest? I have read scripts that were posed here on SS three years ago (Bitten?) and the same complaints were lodged.
            But, Story Value. If a script has nothing but men being killed, and the act of killing treated as something you value seeing in a movie, I’m not interested. That was my problem with Hellfire Alley. And I’m saying this as a representative of half the potential audience. Other people here represent the other half, or their own interests, but I am speaking for the largest group. A script like “hellfire alley” is looking for an audience that sees value in people being shot, or dying from a brain aneurysm from buckshot, or deciding to rob another bank after getting out of prison and finding a job as an accountant. I’m reading this and I’m starting to scream! I do NOT want to see another movie about low-lifes killing each other and thinking it is cool. I walk thru the multiplex and through the doors, I hear gunshots and automatic weapons fire from five or six different movies at the same time. Enough! go see “La La Land” and listen to jazz. Embrace culture and civilization. I posted this several times before under the term “Story Value”.. Everyone has a Story they prefer to see. Many women are romance novel junkies. A movie needs to reach out to the potential audience, and because we can see so many people being killed every night on network TV, there is very little value in watching more of it for $12 in a theater. What is the Best script? The one with the Best Concept, and for me, that means finding a compelling story that doesn’t pander to the lowest rung of people who only like seeing other people hurt, kidnapped, assaulted with a piece of wood or tied up in a basement and terrified. This Tournament was an opportunity to start from a clean page and try to find that elusive Concept in three months. I don’t see many who even tried. don’t imitate other movies you’ve seen on the screen. And, movie audiences are moving forward. they enjoyed Jurassic park, they enjoyed Harry Potter, they enjoyed super-heroes. What comes NEXT? it won’t be Westerns. It will be something else. – Bill Hays

          • Dallas Cobb


            While you may think I’m doing a disservice to ONE of the scripts this week ((even though I provided lengthy feedback on all THREE scripts DESPITE being in the THICK of FINALS of my SENIOR YEAR in college…and I’m 24, so clearly college IS NOT for me…)), you’re doing a disservice to ALL THREE SCRIPTS, by voting for “The Bait” without providing ANY context into your decision, and by not even speaking on the other two scripts. I “appreciate” your concern, but I stand by my vote.

          • Billie B

            I’m flattered by your enthusiasm for my script, OC! Nice to meet a fellow rom com lover :)

        • Billie B

          Good luck with finals, Dallas!

          • Dallas Cobb

            You’re truly awesome. Thanks!

    • Billie B

      Thanks for taking the time for a look, D. All very helpful points. Thanks!

  • Mayhem Jones

    PS I will laugh so hard if the semi-finals are all the wild cards!!!!!!

    BAIT: As I’ve reiterated before, I hate rom-coms… christmas… puppies… (damn, who I am?? SATAN HIMSELF????) yet BAIT pulled me in from the get-go. I liked when Michele would narrate stuff about girls/guys… doing a VO or an OS while an illustrative scene was happening (around pg 24/25)… it had a twisted “National Geographic” vibe! (OT: anyone watch Snoop Dogg narrate nature? LMFAO every time). Torn about the 90’s jokes. They’re definitely funny, but feel slightly outdated considering the modernity of the premise. Why not throw in some Tinder, OKCupid, facebook and twitter “research” stalking early on? Excellent work!!!

    THE ATTACKER: The author said he didn’t change anything (which is fine!) so I’m just going to go off my old notes which were–fantastic premise, plenty of conflict in the logline, energetic opening, great writing style! Sparse, lively, and visual! I went back to re-read parts of the script and my notes stand as such. Terrific job!

    HELLFIRE ALLEY: (SIDE NOTE: love your handwriting, Ken) This script is *it* for me just because of the sheer research, blood, sweat, and tears that went into it! It’s really not something to be taken lightly. It just reads so professional, well-researched, thorough, and AUTHENTIC. Each line is so carefully thought out. What I like with these kinds of scripts is I can turn my brain off and just trust the writer has done their part to effectively represent real people and events. I don’t even like Westerns that much (EXCEPT TARANTINO) so Ken pulled off a goddamn miracle holding my interest. BRAVO!

    • Scott Crawford

      You guys are making it easy for me this week with so many good notes.

    • Billie B

      Thanks Mayhem! 3rd Person to mention the outdated vibe. Will definitely look at a refresh :)
      Good luck next week!

  • Lucid Walk

    Sorry, but was the newsletter ever sent?

    • Scott Crawford

      I never go it. If I were Carson, I’d send it out now, keep idle hands occupied this weekend while everyone else focuses on the tourney.

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: Amy Schumer to play lead in live-action Barbie movie. Erm…

    So, apparently she’s not playing Barbie-Barbie, but an imperfect woman thrown out of Barbieland. But… given she’s only had ONE movie so far, and that movie made less than $100 million (just under, but still… less) why blow millions (potentially billions if you include merchandise) on (my opinion) such a modest talent. Opinions, I want to hear opinions!

    • Randy Williams

      The news has reported that she’s become the poster child for everything conservative America hates about Hollywood and Barbie is such an institution.
      I’m sure the script is charming and funny but screwing with an established national treasure with a different take? Ghostbusters anyone? Would love to read the Sony emails as this progresses.

      • Scott Crawford

        Why not Anna Kendrick, a hero to many young girls (and a good role model for them)? She doesn’t necessarily fit in with the Barbie image, so that’s still the same premise, but kids might want to buy the dolls.

        I don’t know about the GB comparison because I thought that worked but I do think this… it’s really the equivalent of Rosie O’Donnell being stuck in everything during the early 90s. Remember that? Another Stakeout – loved the original, hated the sequel. Exit to Eden – the late Gary Marshall wanted Sharon Stone, he got Rosie. And The Flintstones – Rosie O’Donnell as… Betty Rubble! Who thought THAT was a good idea? (In the prequel it was Jane Krakowski – not perfect casting but much better.).

        • Randy Williams

          Well, it can be compared to GB from the Twittersphere outburst, for sure. I had forgotten that Rosie had done so much.

        • Dan B

          If the Barbie movie is established to abolish body image, then it is great casting. Also is it live action, or CGI? that makes a big difference.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s live action. I mean, as a movie on its own… fair enough. But why do damage to such a lucrative toy brand? Barbie is the third biggest toy brand in the world (behind Lego and Fisher Price).

            One thinks of Seth Rogen as Green Hornet. ‘cept Green Hornet not nearly as big a brand.

          • Stephjones

            Scott, they’ve responded to diminished sales by creating 3 new doll varieties this year: petite, tall and curvy. Barbie had been losing ground, especially with millennial moms. I can see why. I had Barbie as a child and even wayyyy back then she seemed like a super-freak. My other doll was boy doll which had a hole where his penis should have been. I could take his head off, pour water in and he would pee for me. Much more gratifying than puzzling over Barbie’s tits.

          • Billie B

            I think the premise is that she’s evicted from Barbieland for not being perfect enough. So body image will be the running theme.

        • cjob3

          Apparently Amy Pascal is producer on Barbie and she was pretty much the driving force behind the Ghostbusters she-boot. Personally, I’m surprised she still has a job.

          Rosie is a fair comparison. Although it seems Amy is playing it a bit smarter- I don’t think Rosie ever had her own ‘Trainwreck’ success.

          • Scott Crawford

            Ghostbusters was dormant franchise, but Barbienis HUGE. Why risk billion of dollars (and potentially jeopardise Sonys earnings which affect other films)?

      • Dan B

        Not sure how Barbie has ever been an establishment or conservative national treasure. But, making a barbie movie, about a misfit barbie is at least a fresh way to tackle the subject and also say something about kid’s body issues. I like the move.

    • Billie B

      I’m surprised by the choice, too. Not because of her looks (I think she’s pretty and sexy as hell), but because of her reputation. If little girls fall in love with her they’re going to discover outside of the cutesy Barbie role, she’s a whisky swilling, promiscuity promoting, potty mouthed sailor. All things I love, btw, just not as a role model for my 8 year old daughter (if I had one).

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making the #6 seed spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I thought the writer got some good feedback last time for rewrites. I know time can be limited but it’s sad to see none of that feedback utilized for this round. I think it’s a great concept and overall, it’s a great read. I got engrossed. Like before I thought it needed a bit more fun to it than the darkness that often permeates it, but still, it’s an enjoyable read.

    I got more pages done this time, page 53, then I did last time but something was gnawing at me and I stopped before I finished it.

    I just didn’t feel invested in Pete or his brother. The way he is presented as a soccer player but with some fighting skills to deal with the thugs just didn’t play with me. If he was a cop or armed forces, then yeah. I guess I wanted him more handicapped and to think more strategically like a soccer player and less with his fists. There are some moments I appreciated when he had a plan to accomplish.
    I didn’t care if his brother survived or not so I think the weight of this should be on Pete.
    First of all, his brother went into that area so he needs to pay for it. I would suggest the brother to be the opposite of Pete. A real party hound, drugs, booze. He’s partying it up in the VIP section of the stadium when all hell breaks loose.
    A movie company will pay a fortune to create the stadium scenes yet it could be more fully utilized. The riot having more shape and drama. Like the thugs penetrate the VIP section and kidnap Pete’s brother and cleverly hid him in something and get him out of the stadium as police crack down.
    Maybe Pete goes to the police but his brother has such a record of partying that they think he’s just passed out some where with a bunch of whores. Pete has to make the effort to find him.
    Things like this elevate Pete in my eyes because he cares about family even though his brother is a slouch.

    Again, I thought the audience missed out on some nail-biting suspense as he goes unrecognized at first. As soon as he makes landfall in no man’s land, they recognize him. I thought that was too rushed.

    I loved the character of Lina but there is too much talk for me of historical atrocities and background on the thugs, too similarities to Serbia. It’s a soccer movie, have some fun with it and steer away from anything being taken as political?

    Good stuff for a challenge script with such potential, I thought.

  • garrett_h

    My Vote: THE BAIT

    To be honest, none of these really did it for me. Read to about page 30 of each (at work, will try to read more later). Went with The Bait due more to concept than writing. I think all the writers are on a similar level skill wise, just couldn’t get on board with the disparate elements in The Attacker, and the logline for Hellfire Alley is VERY misleading while lacking a coherent narrative.

    Here are some individual notes…


    Love the premise. I can see the poster, as they say. But I feel like the execution is lacking. The disguises didn’t work for me. She comes off as looking like this hot, blonde super model, then she pulls off her disguise and she’s Ellen Page. I don’t know how you pull that off onscreen. Why not just make her hot in general? Nothing wrong with that, and it makes her job that much easier.

    The concept reminds me a bit of HITCH, the Will Smith romcom. It’s no Harry Met Sally, but it was effective and entertaining. In it, Will “tricks” women into faling for average joes. Women are more mental, so it’s a little more believable. Men are visual/physical. We like beautiful women. The average joe thing worked in Hitch, but not really here. I just don’t see how you glam up a woman.

    Also, if she’s hot, it makes the relationship with the mark more unteresting. Initially he’s uninterested in her. Which is good. But TBH, I wouldnt be interested in her either after how she looked and acted. I think it’d be more interesting if she was on her game, looked nice, and he STILL didn’t go for her. So now she’s like, “Theres more to him than I thought. Maybe all men aren’t terrible.” Still, well done. You’ve got something solid here.


    So, the soccer action kinda threw me off. I’m sure it’ll look good on screen, but some of the description and some of the actions taken by players felt off. The scene description needs to be cleaned up. And then a guy argues a red card after performing a WWE-style wrestling move. It needs some work.

    The brothers relationship felt off as well. First they are BFFs, then there is some manufactured conflict, then he’ll risk his life for him. Either make them friends or give it the conflict. The tone was kind of shifting.

    Speaking of tone, we start with this rousing soccer match. Then it turns into a horror movie, with guys playing soccer with a severed head. Then it turns into an action flick, with soldiers and the biggest fucking gun since the one in PREDATOR. It’s all over the place genre-wise, and when you throw in the soccer angle, I just couldn’t get on board with all the disparate elements. And I’m not sure who this movie is for. How would you market it?

    Still, I liked the writing. Very good action writing. Solid effort.


    The logline here is severely misleading. The real life gang shared a name with THE WILD BUNCH film. But they didn’t inspire the movie. They just have the same name. Other than the film being a western, one has nothing to do with the other.

    We start with a bank robbery with no context, rhyme or reason why it’s happening. It’s just a robbery. The ganh we just met has been killed. Then we meet ANOTHER gang. OK, so these guys are in the same gang as the men that were killed. So we are getting somewhere now.

    Do they want revenge? HELL YEAH! But… not right now. Let’s go rob a train first, do god knows what, and then we’ll get around to avenging our brothers whenever we find the time…

    I just didn’t feel any urgency. Didn’t feel like there was a story here. Take Magnificent 7 (either one). You have a town that’s been done wrong, with further danger to come, and immediately the townsfolk set out to do something about it. They want to defend thenselves. We have a story!

    Or take the film Wild Bunch. Our gang is looking for that last big score, but get hunted down instead. We immediately know the stakes and goals. We have a story right away!

    There’s no story here. Which is probably why it’s the Wild Card. The other two have clear stories and goals. I suppose it’ll get some votes for the research done, which is admirable, but we need a clearer story here. Good writing though. Probably the most professional of the three. Oh, and lose that preacher in the beginning lol.

    Good luck to everyone this week!

    • Billie B

      Hey Garett, thanks so much for your thoughts. I’m definitely taking it all in to consideration!

      Just for clarification, are you saying you feel it’s less believable a guy could be baited with common interests/mental/emotional connection? That for guys, if they’re capable of it, it would almost always be the hottness factor (within their personal idea of ‘hot’)?

      I definitely see how it’s more interesting if he rejects her while she’s ‘hotted up’, and that was what I was going for. Outside of her ripping the wig off because he already knows she’s not a redheaded beauty, I think she’s still trying in the clothes and make- up department, etc… I might need to make this more clear (and clarify what his ‘type’ is, according to his fiance, at least).

      I tried to make the midpoint, when he runs into her not ‘trying’ to look good for him, where their natural chemistry begins to unfold.

  • Pat

    For all the talk about a need for original ideas, has anyone realized that the 2 finalists thus far have been based on existing properties and that this week’s current leader is as well?

    • Scott Crawford

      Who said we need “original ideas?” The studios? Not really. Audiences? Moana aside, no, not really. Many amateur screenwriters have hampered themselves over the years feeling that have to write “original content,” that is something quite unlike anything else – including, of course, things that are successful.

      Then someone else comes along, writes a Robin Hood script, makes a lot of money and marries a former prom queen. Probably.

      i was talking to a writer the other day about the sheer number of successful or semi-successful scripts I’ve seen that use existing properties, famous characters or famous people, like Wednesday’s Houdini script. Shit, even Atlantic Wall from Tuesday was inspired by real events.

      I could go on and on but I’ve got votes to count and think you get the idea. I see where you’re coming from but I think this drive for original content won’t necessarily help writers who want to break in.

      • garrett_h

        It’s been said many times around these parts that Hollywood isn’t original enough, both in the comments and by Carson. I think that’s what Pat is referring to.

        At the same time, there have been champions of finding existing IP.

        Both are viable IMO. End of the day, write a kickass script, original or adapted. But I do see Pat’s point, and it’s an interesting one.

        • Scott Crawford

          That was pretty much my point, that it’s said around these parts (on this website) but that doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening at the box office. Or the Black List when it comes out in a couple of weeks.

          • Pat

            You’re right in so far as there is no hard and fast rule that says there needs to be original content. But I do find it interesting that there is so much talk of creating something original in film and yet, the business and the public don’t actually care for original content.

            Perhaps screenwriters just need to admit that people are more interested in a story when it is something they already have a connection to. I really don’t know. Personally I am a proponent of original content, but as I said, I also realize that this is not how the public currently works. I just thought it was an interesting point to discuss and therefore brought it up.

            I can also bring up the fact that the Wild Cards appear to be winning every time which says something about the voting in the first round. Do we all have buyers remorse or are the Wild Cards really better once we take a second look at them?

          • Angie

            Missed this earlier. I think looking at three screenplays rather than many more at a time allows for better judgement.

    • garrett_h

      “… the 2 finalists thus far have been based on existing properties and that this week’s current leader is as well”

      Is it, though?

      I’ve read much of the script and fail to see a connection. Also don’t see anything on the internet about it (albeit it was a brief Google search – I’m at work). The only thing they have in common is the names.

      Maybe they did inspire the movie, and if so I’ll stand corrected. But Google and Wikipedia turned up nothing.

      Clever marketing on his part, though. Well played.

  • RO

    No vote as of yet. Just finished The Bait.
    I made some notes again. This feels like a movie but it’s still got some ways to go.

    Pg. 16 : good opportunity for a comedy beat here. Right now it just feels wedged in, to tie the story up in the third act. The security guard and Michele should say the guys name in sync and gush over him like school girls at a One Direction concert or something. We should feel that this character who we’ll see at the end is someone Michele respects, admires and follows.

    Pg 37 – 43: This sequence feels way too long. What’s also weird is that Brad and his friends back and forth feels like a conversation between four characters instead of three. There’s something off with the content in Brads dialogue that makes him seem unfamiliar with what we’ve read so far. Also, we need Gary to stand out a bit more from Carl. I think you need to isolate this sequence and really focus on the point of the scene. What does Carl and Gary want in this scene. What does Brad want? Currently I am not sure.

    Pg 59: Something is missing here. It is quite an alarming jump from a romantic moment in the water to a different birthday party. At first it felt like the same sequence but an hour later. Needs a respite here for Michele. She just had a “close encounter” and should be struggling with her emotions – she’s happy that she’s going to keep the money, and at the same time happy that Brads falling for her. This should be the point of realization that Michele probably can’t do this anymore.

    Pg 83: Great potential to play off a cliche when we see the Suit again. Given that Michele is out of costume here, you could play with the idea that Suit doesn’t recognize her, but Michele thinks he does. You could really have fun with a conversation where Suits words could appear as though he recognizes her and her responses don’t make any sense to Suit at the end of the scene.

    Pg 88: Missing Brads name for his line.

    The obstacle course is an unnecessary set piece. It’s a false build up to a scene that doesn’t really resolve or add anything to the characters.

    Finally the passengers taking out their phones to film Brad and Michele having their first kiss feels unwarranted. There isn’t enough meat at the beginning of the scene to justify the other people in the scene wanting to record it on their phone put it online. I get the goal of having Tanya see the video and getting closure, but it sort of adds to one issue I still have with this script. We need more of Tanya as an antagonist. We should see more actions of her, see her involved with Michele. Given her obsessive nature and control freak ways pairing her up in a few more scenes will show us more of her actions instead of finding them out through dialogue. Watching Tanya destroy her relationship while Michele creates one would be a really fun juxtaposition.

    Those are my notes for now. I plan to be back with my thoughts on The Attacker

    • Billie B

      This is awesome, RO. Thank you so much. I’m taking everything down so I can consider it for my rewrite. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  • Scott Crawford

    You can vote having only read part of each script. We need your vote to help decide which script makes it through the semis – if you don’t vote then the “wrong” script might get through.

    I wouldn’t expect you (or anyone) to read three whole scripts this weekend, unless you can, so just do the best you can and come back with a vote.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making the Wild Card spot in the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I truly enjoy this every time I read this and it’s been two times now during the tournament weekends and I started reading it again on my own. In the beginning, I get a kick out of my own reaction of how my loyalty shifts. I’m having fun with the townspeople taking these bank robbers out, but then when Bill Dalton shows up, I want him to show the townspeople who is boss.
    I like movies with trains and I love all the train scenes in this. Flo is a great character. Feisty and flawed. The only thing about this first part is I thought the preachers speech goes on way too long during the hanging.

    Then the business with the Marshall, Christie and the Cherokee nation. This doesn’t hold as much interest for me. It starts to feel more tableau and slice of life than a forward moving story with so much going on and so many characters but the writer nicely includes little atmospheric details & bits of history that always keep it from getting too dry. I’m relieved,however as Flo is still alive and kicking.

    On page 48. Carrie Nation makes an appearance. Somehow I know she’s an historical figure but I don’t remember why. I get a hint she’s for propriety because of a line of hers, a religious figure? I think more is needed here to jog people’s memory of who she is?

    Loved this from Judge Parker, “Gentlemen. I have come to the conclusion that the only good outlaw is a dead one. Stop trying to bring them in alive.”

    Overall, you can see the research that’s been done to put this on the table. See the love for the subject matter, the care done to place the reader in another time and place without a hitch. Well done, I thought.

  • garrett_h

    Finally got some time to do proper Google search, and found this about The Wild Bunch:

    “Roy Sickner, Hollywood stuntman (he had worked briefly on Major Dundee), had dreamed up a story of a violent gang of outlaws looking for one more big score. He wanted his close friend Lee Marvin to star. He pitched the story to Peckinpah early on in the process and talked up the idea around Hollywood circles. Then, Lee Marvin won the Oscar® for Best Actor for Cat Ballou (1965) and told Sickner if he still wanted him to do the movie, there had to be a screenplay ready. Sickner immediately got in touch with Walon Green, whom he had met when doing stunt work on Morituri (aka Saboteur: Code Name Morituri, 1965) where Green was Dialogue Director. In Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, edited by Stephen Prince, Green recalled that “The main genesis of the screenplay comes from several things…I lived in Mexico and worked there for about a year and a half. The Wild Bunch was partly written as my love letter to Mexico.” He also mentioned some other influences: “I had just read Barbara Tuchman’s book The Zimmerman Telegram, which is about the Germans’ efforts to get the Americans into a war with Mexico to keep them out of Europe…I had also seen this amazing documentary, Memorias de Un Mexicano, that was shot while the revolution was actually happening.” Another obvious inspiration was the true historical account of Butch Cassidy and his Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, who had been branded “the Wild Bunch” by the press of their day.”

    That’s from this site:

    Looks like they were based on the writers own ideas, with a dash of Butch & Sundance’s Wild Bunch thrown in.

    Then there’s this from Wikipedia:

    “Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch was one of the loosely organized outlaw gangs operating out of the Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming during the Old West era in the United States. It was popularized by the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and took its name from the original Wild Bunch.”

    So I guess in a way, the Wild Bunch in Hellfire Alley did influence the movie, but indirectly. They inspired Butch Cassidy to take the name, then his Wild Bunch influenced the film. But it seems the writer may have picked the wrong Wild Bunch to write about?

    It may not matter. Producers may not fact check it. Audiences sure wouldn’t. They’d just see the poster or trailer, see “true story behind The Wild Bunch” and decide to go see it. But it really pays to do your research, guys.

    It’s a shame, cause this is a solid script. Just needs some tweaking. But the good thing is, all he has to change is the logline.

    Best of luck with the script going forward! Hope my curiosity and subsequent google search helped in some way.

    • Poe_Serling

      Yeah, I just read the same TCM article before you posted it last night… always
      interesting to read about how some story ideas come about and eventually
      turn into the flick that shows up in the theater.

      Perhaps the Hellfire writer found additional details on the whole Wild Bunch angle when he was doing his own research on the project.

  • Zack Snide Err

    I read at least 30 of each. For the sake of getting on the board early Ive composed this while half asleep so forgive me if it’s a bit scattershot.

    THE BAIT gets my vote. It was really engaging and gave me the feeling that it was the most likely of the three to hold my interest to, and then deliver at, the end. Another deciding factor is the leap in quality (not just page count) between this latest draft and the previous one.

    I still don’t like the title. When read alongside the logline… There’s no, for lack of a better term, hook there. Taking some inspiration from “Pretty Woman”, a song title could be a good option. As an example here’s one that came to mind:

    “Your cheatin’ Heart”
    A title that both brings to mind a famous song and relates to your story and protagonist.

    Lastly, I have no real criticism of the actual script yet because I’ve found none through 33 pages. It’s very enjoyable. So I’ll definitely read further along over the weekend and edit this comment with any notes.

    The Attacker. The best premise of the three. The one I most wanted to vote for and still the one I most want to see as a movie. I read the first 30 pages and I really did enjoy it but…
    it feels like the writer was complacent. Maybe counted on the strong concept to do most of the heavy lifting. The antagonists are paper thin and the script has many careless judgments that show a lack of investment of time into doing simple research. This was especially evident in the early post match locker room scene. The enclosed is, I believe, how these would be described in English by British or European footballers:

    You guys (you lads)
    Coach (manager)
    Shoes (boots)
    Fitness Trainer (Physio)
    And Hip hip hooray? I have no idea.

    If Chesterton is a British team, even if Branson is American, they should sound British. Even most of the American players who have gone to the EPL have adopted the language associated with talking about the game over there (see Brad Friedl for starters).

    I also feel like the script glossed over the immediate on the pitch ramifications that the referee and the linesman would have faced in that situation. Especially in the world that this script paints. The officials should have been torn to shreds by Bilal and the other “fans”.
    That would have made for some interesting scenes. It also would have, built up more tension and established Bilal and friends as the the threat to Pete Branson..

    Another thing that gave me pause was that the Balkan club, financially, didn’t have any business playing for a spot in a European club final. The only way I could believe it is if the script established that they had some super rich owner like Roman Abramovich. Maybe local billionaire.

    I think the Balkan fans, and the bad guys, should have a more obvious political grudge against what Chesterton. Maybe the home country of Chesterton turned a blind eye during the host nations civil war. And for them, beating Chesterton would’ve brought some measure of revenge.

    Basically while I think this script is well written and a great, it needs more research. In terms of soccer culture. The Behind the scenes locker room and press stuff. And especially the specific off the pitch passions that fuel much of its fervent violence.

    Bilal and his kind need a motive, just like any other villain. Why go after Chesterton? Or Why go after Pete and his brother?

    HELLFIRE ALLEY. This script has really come far along for the first draft I read. Really impressive rewriting job. The extra scene description and more engrossing action writing really impressed me. For example, the description of the town itself was so good on the page that I really think the map is unnecessary. And I loved the shootout between Broadwell and Williams on pages 8/9. In total, the first three pages are still a bit of work but boy… Does it pick up after that.

    My main issue with the script is that it seemed every time the script got a head of steam, about every 10-15 pages or so, a half-dozen new characters would just be dumped into the story. And the momentum would be lost. I’ll read a bit more this weekend, just to see if those Death Row guys actually factor into the story. If not then I’ll edit this comment with a note suggesting they be axed.
    All and all it’s a really well written and we’ll told story. It might just be too much story for the page count or, too condensed for its 87 pages.

    Lastly I want to single out Billie and Ken for their impressive rewrites. If these latest drafts are any indication, the future is bright for both of you. And Jean, I love your material. Keep working on it. Good luck to all.

    • Dan B

      Pretty Women was sold when it was called “3000” … changed to Pretty Woman, then with the Roy Orbison song attached.

      • Zack Snide Err

        Right. But I never claimed that the title alone made the sale. Ideally the title and logline compliment each other like Legally Blonde or this weekends entry, The Attacker.
        3000 is a shit title. But the concept was really original at the time. And I bet that it’s premise as communicated by the logline was what really got it sold.
        The Bait doesn’t have as original and compelling a premise as 3000/Pretty Woman.
        I think that finding a title that better compliments its logline can only help.

        • Billie B

          I love the word ‘lure’. I’ll definitely consider it as I rework it.

          • Zack Snide Err

            No problemo! In all honestly I was being a bit narrow minded with regards to the title. I made the effort to see it, the title and poster, and it did eventually click into my thick noggin :)

            Again. Great work and congrats on the W.

          • Billie B

            LOL. You weren’t the first person to take issue with the title. There were some great suggestions being thrown around by peeps— The Honey Trap, Venus Guy Trap, The Booby Trap, to name just a few. I haven’t ruled out a title change at some point ;)

  • Lucid Walk

    OT: Just rewatched Zootopia. Nine months since its release, and it’s still 2016’s best film.

    • Zack Snide Err

      Good movie, maybe best animated film, but I disagree. I didn’t think it was nearly as effective and subversive as it was made out to be. My general impression is that the movie was expertly made to, ultimately, flatter to deceive.

      The first two acts built it up as a satire for the treatment of women and minorities in society. Then when the third act rolled around, and the time came to deliver the message by delivering the bad guy, the filmmakers pulled a bait and switch.

      The lamb being the villain was a complete and total cop out.

      What promised to be a wicked social satire ended up being the standard “don’t judge a book by its cover” moral with SJW flavored pretenses. There’s nothing wrong with that for what the movie is, but i was led to expect more. And do expect more from the best film.

      • Lucid Walk

        Fair points. However, I musk ask, what would you consider the year’s best film? So far, that is.

        • wad_d

          Eye in the Sky.

        • Zack Snide Err

          Arrival and Hacksaw Ridge are the two standouts for me. But I haven’t seen the other awards season favorites so far.

          • Lucid Walk

            Arrival was great. Guess I should see Hacksaw

    • cjob3

      Really smart screenwriting.

  • pmlove


    A few stream of consciousness thoughts.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY – I’m worried that this seems thin. 87 pages, one of which is a picture. 10 pages in and we haven’t met either one of the two Bills this is about – doesn’t leave me much for character development.

    The opening feels like something I’ve seen many times before. If done well, it could be OK but it could also easily translate to a cheap TV western, or a Hell on Wheels knock off. It needs to give me something I haven’t seen before.

    Be careful with the introduction of information. There are a lot of characters, and it is hard to keep track. Try and keep the character intro just before they do something meaningful. Eg – when POWERS first spoke, I had to go back and check who he was. Then, he was a BILL, so I had to go back to the start to see if he was one of the two BILLS.

    This is a true story – focus us on some of the details of the era. Right now it feels a little artificial.

    THE BAIT – I have to confess, this is the one I want to vote for. I haven’t seen a good rom com in a while and think it’s time for a resurgence.

    I know the cliche meet cute is intentional, but – I think you have to be clearer in the delivery to the audience. This is the first thing they are seeing and, on screen, there isn’t enough to show me this is ‘ironic’. Perhaps just have the characters acknowledge the fact.

    Nobody, not one person, goes to see a ‘FIFA’ game.

    I think this has a lot of potential. Reminds me of HITCH, with a twist. I’d recommend doing a dialogue pass. It’s not ‘bad’, it’s just not at the level that this sort of rom-com needs to be to truly deliver. You have the concept. Now you need to make us forget the concept and focus on the characters.

    (side note: did you name the main character after the ‘story by’ credit?)

    THE ATTACKER – Not for me. The first page was confusing and clearly shows little footballing knowledge.

    There’s a THUD (implying a hard kick), but MASTERFUL CONTROL (implying the player keeps it close). Never heard of tunneling. Or a steal. What country are we in? Why not make this about real teams – it’s not like there isn’t a rich history of rough crowds and shitty neighborhoods around stadiums.

    • pmlove

      To add: I only read the beginnings of each, so happy to defer to the knowledge of those who have read more.

      • Scott Crawford

        As far as I’m concerned, it would asking a bit too much of most people to read all three scripts, especially if you’ve read them before. Just read enough so you can distinguish which one is best. I think you’ve done that, so thanks!

    • Billie B

      Thanks pmlove. I’ll take all this into consideration.

      Re Michele: It’s not a true ‘story by’ credit. She didn’t have anything to do with the story outlining, or writing. It wouldn’t stand up in arbitration. But she helped inspire the premise, which stemmed from a different idea she had for a baiting agency (based on her own experience with a cheating guy, and what she wish had existed before she married him). It would have been a totally different story and genre. I just wanted to offer a ‘goodwill credit’, so to speak, for letting me run with the hook in an entirely different direction.
      I can see people’s issue with it. But I also thought this might be the movie I make myself, next year, so I wasn’t worried about it looking ‘amateur’ to potential prodcos.

      But now the numbers have come back (around 3 mil, with all the MLB licensing and the sheer number of extras to feed in all the public-place scenes) turns out this isn’t the one I’ll be running with! lol So I might change the name if I end up pitching this around at any stage. ;)

  • Pat


    Despite my earlier objections to scripts based on properties and to the Wild Cards always winning, I am voting for HELLFIRE ALLEY because it is the best written, most foreshadowed, most tense and most engaging script this weekend. Their are a lot of characters but they are introduced with just enough information and given just enough personality to distinguish them and I am generally intrigued as to how it all resolves.

    Overall, I think all of these scripts are well written and the authors clearly have a talent and passion for the craft, but I also feel like each script is missing something in the set up that prevents the script from being great. I will discuss these below.

    I think the set up is a great idea for a romantic comedy and I believe there is a lot of potential in this script, but I have never been fully committed to the concept of the script and I have figured out why, there seems to be no way for a Bait Request to fail.

    The script doesn’t offer a failure condition so it just seems like Michele will continue to temp the man until he takes the bait. For me, this prevents the story from having stakes. If Michele offered a “1 week or your money back” guarantee then she would be working against a deadline and there would be a way for her to fail and thus there would be real stakes to the story.

    I missed this one in the first round and when I picked it up today I was really looking forward to a script that was THE WARRIORS but with soccer. The set up still might go that way, but when the script cuts from the stadium to the safety of a hotel I lost interest. Escaping from the riot in the stadium would be a thrilling scene, while talking in a hotel is not.

    I also felt that the stakes of the game and the riot were not established until after the goal and that prevented the script from becoming fully engaging. I’m not sure why the game is the semi-finals instead of the finals, as the finals would be more exciting and I am not sure why the handball goes mostly unnoticed by the characters in the script. I expected the announcers to call out the fact the ref missed the call and this would trigger the riot, I expected the game to be taped and the handball replayed to the audience, I expected an argument with the players and the ref about the call and the ref to hold his ground. But none of this happened. I also expected the coach to call out the team for a dirty win, but again that didn’t happen.

    I feel that the events that lead up to the riot need to be better established before the riot instead of explaining them in a news story afterwards and I feel that the scene of escaping the stadium through the riot needs to be in the script.

    My thoughts on this script are that it misses out on the dramatic irony that Carson is always talking about and thus the set up to the big shootout isn’t as tense as it should be. I was struck by the fact that gang has never taken a life in a robbery and wondered why? Is this because they never need to or because they are against killing? I think if they are against killing and go up against a town willing to kill, then the script has some great dramatic irony.

    As well, why does the town go gun crazy on them this time when it seems like this has never happened to the gang before? If there was a bounty on them that the town wanted to collect then I could see this happening, but as is, I was left confused as to why the townspeople would take up arms so readily and why other towns apparently had not done so.

    • Scott Crawford

      Excellent notes! And thanks for the vote.

    • Billie B

      Great points, Pat. It was supposed to be ‘3 weeks or your money back’, but I must need to make that clearer. I like one week, better, tho. For urgency, but also for believability. Give anyone long enough and I’m sure they could be worn down.

      Thanks for spending time with this!

  • GoIrish

    Bait – read up to p.26. Pretty enjoyable read so far. I actually don’t have many criticisms/ suggestions. Some minor points – there’s no need for the fiancé to take a photo. She saw it with her own eyes. She doesn’t need evidence – she can (and does) break up with him from what she saw. Chic vs. Chick. You switched back and forth on spellings. I believe chic always means stylish.

    • Billie B

      Thanks Golrish! I didn’t realize I switch between ‘chic’ and ‘chick’. I personally use ‘chic’ (sometimes chica), but I see how this could be misread as the actual word meaning ‘stylish’. I will change it all to ‘chick’.
      I’ve taken note of your other points, too. Thanks for bringing these to my attention. :)

  • Angie


    I’d lose the cliché in the opening.
    P. 4. Business man’s shirt a good fit for Michele? How small is he and how big is she?
    P. 9 First laugh. I remembered this from the original draft.
    P. 21 – 23 Fun touch with the goose, especially the “shitty” handshake. Brad’s dialogue. “You’re decoying me…” Never heard the expression before. I had to look it up to make sure I understood correctly. Wondering if it would stop other readers also. Thought the Rom Com story beats as Michele’s tick box clever.
    P. 47 Another laugh at Jen’s scaring Gary.
    P. 50 Brad smitten. I paused, not sure I believed it. She’s a mess right now.
    P. 51 Michele’s dialog. “That’s a very broad statement and I think you should go and lay down.” I thought that funny.
    P. 55 Michele is funny again with the sex offender list.
    P. 56 Here is where I believed they could fall into heavy like.
    P. 63 Jen’s dialogue. Didn’t know what M A U was.
    Read through to the end. Kudos to the writer on this new draft, adding scenes (and page count), changing others. Lots of hard work went into this draft including table reads.

    Like most other Rom Coms, the humor did not strike me as laugh out loud. Guess I’m
    used to stand-up routines but did find some humor. Michele’s dialogue was the strong point of the humor here. Overall, a better, stronger draft than the original, but the script needs another pass through. Check for several typos and grammar problems. One example P. 74. “A Few lamas or horses.” Uncap few and spelling should be llamas. There were other typos earlier in the script that I didn’t dwell on. This one was two in one sentence. Some of the dialogue can be shortened. “That’s a very broad statement. You should go lay down
    now.” Why the vague music cue on P.88?

    More important, I would like to see stronger GSU. The goal changed from tricking Brad and proving all men cheat to some vague what do I do now to maybe I’m in love, yes, I’m in love. What are the stakes? A life without love, losing Brad to someone more aggressive than her but less than wacko Tanya. Where’s the urgency? Bio clock ticking is cliché.
    Can Brad and Michele flee to L.A. to escape murderous Tanya? Something, anything rather than that leisurely attitude of “well, I’ll try and see what happens.”


    Read the entire script. Don’t remember my original comments. As soon as I post, I delete and look at each subsequent draft through new eyes. The writer chose not to rewrite. No offense taken at that. Maybe he didn’t think the notes relevant. Maybe he could not implement some notes without changing his story altogether. His script, his choice, but producers do give notes.

    This script is clear and well written. Of the three, it has the strongest GSU. I like a genre hybrid like Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter. What was that? Historical/horror/thriller/action? If the Attacker had been only about soccer that would have been a snooze for me. Don’t know enough about soccer to say whether all is correct though I didn’t believe Pete could get away with a foul, using his hand. This mix, though, is a bit much. Belial as villain is over the top monstrous. Kind of Jason Voorhees. Special Forces come to the rescue. Cool shot but, really?

    My problem is Pete. I didn’t like him. He’s a cheat who revels in his cheating, treats his brother like crap in front of others, detailing his so-called charity. Then he endangers the life of a woman and her daughter. All signs of selfishness. Maybe the negative went on too long in the beginning of the script. His rescue of his brother turns half successful. Jamie gets as much credit by rescuing Pete with the tank. For these reasons, his redemption didn’t move me.


    Same opening with Nix talking to himself. Moving papers around for no reason because
    he’s not showing them to anyone. I would have liked bookends where the narrator
    speaks to a reporter. In this case maybe movie people.
    P. 1 “Flat and Dry.” Still too stingy. What color is the earth. Is it dry enough for a breeze to kick up dust? No ominous clouds in the sky? Sounds like an opportunity to describe a Mars-like landscape. “Remnants of the tall grass prairie separate the farms,” might be
    ” … tall prairie grass separate the farms.
    P.3 -27 Action, shown, not told, picks up the pace until,
    P.27 The hanging scene. Still interesting. Still the same problem that I didn’t know or care about the condemned. Would have liked the three deputies’ names when first introduced armed with shotguns.
    Ken must be sick of readers asking for description but it does help to visualize.
    P.46 & P. 64. How do viewers know when we’re in Texas and Oklahoma?
    Read through to the end.

    When parts of this script worked, they really, really worked. The first gun fight in Death Alley for instance. Later, got to know some of the habits of Bill Dalton’s gang but not enough to supply motivation of and identification with the characters. Why were they the way they were? Why should I like them? After that it was shoot out after shoot out. Made me wonder if that is why we like and watch westerns. For the shootouts.

    Noted comments by others about how well researched the screenplay is. I wondered if it really matters if execution is wanting. This is not historical nonfiction. It is a screenplay. There is tremendous potential here and I understand the writer did not have nearly enough time to do a full rewrite, but still needs tons of work.

    Love Westerns, never watch Rom Coms except by accident so, I base my decision not on what I like but on which script may be closest to done.

    I vote for The Bait.

    • Scott Crawford

      Excellent, thorough notes! You’re a wonderful asset to this website, Angie (you’re not still in moderation, are ya?).

      • Angie

        Nope. Not in moderation. Hooray! Thanks for the kind words.You are the best at helping us tech challenged people find scripts and keeping the tally. Huge job. Thank you.

    • Billie B

      Hi Angie. Fantastic notes, thank you!

      I agree with the goal change being vague. I wanted it to somehow be tied to her Chicago career and Mr Winter, like he’s the be all and end all to her getting regular work she loves. But it’s still muddled in my mind on how to organically execute this. I was thinking she needs to have chased down the gig, herself, but why would Brad be there? Or that she ONLY goes for the career advancement, after swearing off Brad, but now she can’t deny their mutual perfectness for each other. IDK. I think it would be too much to have her take it separately, and have him be there… ‘yet another ridiculously unbelievable coincidence’, although it has crossed my mind to do this as a ‘self aware of the genre cliches’ choice… but nah. ;) I will keep mulling over this!

      As for the CLICHED CUTE MEET title for readers. I think my fear was that they wouldn’t realize it was a set-up, and would therefore roll their eyes and put it down before they make it to the reveal. Audiences aren’t going to walk out in the first 10 minutes, but readers could definitely bail. Thoughts?

      • Angie


        Congrats on the win. Talk about coming from behind! The Bait was trailing until late. I was shocked in the morning to see the screenplay had won many new votes.

        The clichéd cute meet title did not indicate to me that I was going to see a set up. It struck me as you sabotaging any originality the script might have with something clichéd coming at me. Still, I see your point now.

        There are other ways to indicate to the reader that this is a setup, if that is your aim. Off the top of my head, begin the script with a visual of Michele’s list of tick boxes. Or on P. 2, after suit’s sniffing, but before the gym, insert a short visual of Michele saying “check” while ticking off cute meet on her list of boxes. Anyway, if I am the only person who mentioned this, just ignore me.

        The GSU for Michele seeking a career is trickier. Don’t know how much time you have to revise or if some notes suggested a different series
        of scene sequences. I like her breaking with Brad, seeking success with Mr. Winter, failing, but trying again with a different tactic. Brad wants her and actively pursues her though he’s running from ax wielding Tanya. Michele and Brad get together to escape Tanya and begin both their budding romance and their new respective careers before any influence Tanya might have in the industry can thwart them.

        Just spit balling. You have some funny scenes in the script as it is. Don’t lose them on the advice of one commentator.
        Good luck going forward.

        • Billie B

          Thanks Angie! Lots to think over, for sure. I’m guessing I only have 8 or 9 days, and my commitment load is already through the roof for December. I’ll probably have to stick to the easiest fixes and tweaks for now, and save the structural changes for after the contest.
          Thanks again for your input. :) Means a lot!

  • ScriptChick

    THE BAIT — page notes

    Pg. 1 – I wish the opening line was a bit more grabbing. “Who does he think he is, Jerry Maguire? That’s so nineties.” Play with it more! He could imitate Jerry Maguire but with a twist Show me the ______.” Or a fresher reference. Just something that shows more personality in the guy. Even if he’s a character we’ll never see again, he’s not set up that way.
    Pg. 1 – Describe her bra? Girl means business. I’d expect no less than something lacy or a Victoria’s Secret bombshell which adds two cup sizes.
    Pg. 1 – Hand towel – Hand doesn’t need to be capitalized?
    Pg. 1 – She’s hot as hell because she’s not trying to be. Just your average down-to-earth chic in great shape with a killer rack and wet shirt, toweling her boobs. – description is cliché, which maybe you intend since you open with clichéd meet cute. But wonder why not closer to intro of character and is a little repetitive.
    Pg. 2 – He offers a nervous LAUGH.
    Pg. 3 – “But hey..” Extra space before this.
    Pg. 3 – Knows he shouldn’t… — he wouldn’t have a ring on yet, but I think as an audience member, I would be distracted by his hesitation. He probably wouldn’t tell Michelle he has a fiancé, but I think you need to show us the reason for his hesitation. Be it seeing a girl’s name calling him, pushing aside his girl’s drycleaning as he gets a shirt for Michelle…something that clues us in, or else we don’t know the stakes of his dilemma – which I think we should, because it’s explaining your premise from the getgo.
    Pg. 4 – To amp up the sex, could she get a glob of cheese on the side of her mouth and wipe it away (tongue or finger) while looking at him? …oh, I see you do it kinda with salt, but that might be harder to see. But I do like incorporating the food stuffs as part of her seduction.
    Pg. 5 – I wouldn’t call the fiancé Mel when you have a Michele.
    Pg. 5 – “NEITHER is this.” That’s a final line, but then she takes the ring back. I understand the romance is gone, but if she’s still taking the ring then I assume it’s to sell it/profit from it, so why not add a joke in there about what she’s going to get for it/what she plans to do with it (only because you don’t have her dropping it in the beer and leaving it and him behind). The last laugh line then matches the action.
    Pg. 6 – Does she have to have a wig and silicone bra inserts? Unless suit had a particular thing for blondes it seems like more potential for Michele to be caught in the act/or to raise questions? Unless she wants to be a special makeup effects artist (as seen later with boob hat) then use this opportunity to establish she’s able to make seamless prosthetics. But again, this seems like more work than needed, unless now she has a recognizable face because of her growing Bait job.
    Pg. 6 – KISS(not) – needs space
    Pg. 7 – It was super engaging for me to read a faceless friend phone conversation in the 1st 10. Haven’t met Jen yet so can’t get a bead on her. Will sort of have to be reintroduced to her and how she feels about Michele’s job when we do actually meet her.
    Pg. 8 – Michele’s reactions to Brad need to be more cutting. Joke opportunity. Wasn’t laughing with “so gross” and “what an ass”, but maybe with a dialogue punch/commentary on his advice?
    Pg. 10 – She softens – CAN’T argue that.
    There are two scenes showing Michele is struggling before she falls back on The Bait job. While I wish it was condensed, I also wish it was a little more specific. She wants to excel at beauty makeup and special effects makeup? Not to say some can’t do it all, but for the short time we have for a feature, I’d rather see her pursue one specified interest vs. the entire broad spectrum of makeup. It seems like she’s hurting more to be in the film world of special effects vs. weddings, traditional model glam, etc.
    Pg. 12 – I wanted to know why Tanya was suspicious of Brad enough for her to try and bait him. Since people are human and they can be tempted, it really seems like a lose-lose situation. Especially since Michele says she has a zero percent failure rate. So why would Tanya subject Brad to this knowing the odds, as Michele has told her about men in general about buns – unless she already saw something suspicious in his behavior? Or does she have a lot at stake by marrying? Splitting wealth? Etc. The premise is a little shaky for me without knowing people’s motivations behind hiring a bait and Michele being able to tempt them and do anything except I guess sleep with them until she wins, which she apparently always has (again a lose-lose). Maybe to keep Michele’s cynicism, the people who she wasn’t able to tempt were anomalies. Guy who had an overbearing mother following him around cockblocking him, guy who wouldn’t cheat because he was a gold-digger with a hot fiancé, wouldn’t ever cheat because greencard, germaphobe who’s only been with one girl and thinks if he kissed/had sex with anyone now he’d get an STD in this swamp of a dating pool…. So a hopeful client thinks it’s possible for her man to pass but still Michele wouldn’t believe it could happen to any guy without an existing condition.
    Pg. 15/16 – Why no ages for Tanya/Mr. Winter?
    Pg. 16 – Mr. Winter scene falls flat for me. As a standalone if offers no conflict, it’s only I suspect setup for something later to happen. Instead of shining a glaring light on a small moment, why not incorporate this into the scene with Tanya? Then we have lots to focus on instead of being confused why our attention is forced to focus on this celeb guy we haven’t met before who Michele is just a fan of? No conflict there.
    Pg. 18 – “I can totally…” – extra space in front.
    Pg. 18 – If Michele says she’s 26, then be specific in her character introduction.
    Pg. 20 – Like the goose pecking at the port-a-potty!
    Pg. 20 – Two legs and a heartbeat – so Tanya does suspect Brad of flirting? Again, need to know this. Great insight onto why she’s hiring Michele and what Tanya is like. I think I would prefer to hear some of these from the source vs. having to read them all.
    Pg. 22 – She would know a 60 minutes quote off the top of her head? Didn’t find believable for most people, much less a 26 year old.
    Pg. 23 – It’s a long time between faceless convo with Jen and then finally seeing her.
    Pg. 25 – Kind of wish I saw the Boyfriend oogling before he was called out on it. Wanted to know with a little detail what the guy he was looking at had that was worthy of staring.
    Pg. 26 – Scene between Jen and Michele just ends. Wish there was action line to denote Michele’s reaction – did she feel Jen’s line was pointed at her? Would she argue with Jen? Somehting…
    Pg. 27 – Didn’t Michele toss the paper? She threw it away because it had bogus info yeah? But it’s back again here, so her crumpling it up and tossing it confused me. She thought if she just left it there she’d go back and get it later? Why not stash on her person? This just seems like a contrived setup to get it back from the goose now.
    Pg. 31 – Michele’s old car with ITS…
    Pg. 34- not into SPORTS (or if specific about baseball, not into THE SPORT)
    Pg. 35 – Mr (needs period) Winter
    Pg 36 – Wouldn’t Michele be too poor to go to a Cubs game? Unless they have nosebleeds? And PAJAMAS (sp).
    Pg. 40 – I think Brad would recognize Michele at the outset, especially given the bandage. And since his buddies are drawing attention to the girls on TV.
    Pg. 40 – It’s a jump from Brad saying he knows that girl to Gary thinking he’d have her number and could text Michele like he just did. Needed more dialogue to buy it.
    Pg. 40 – I don’t get Jen. She doesn’t support Michele’s Bait business (at least from what I can gather), but she ends up throwing Michele together with Brad? Why?
    Pg. 41 – I’ve only seen parentheticals used in the dialogue line in half-hour TV comedy scripts. If you have examples of features formatting this way, I’d love to know about them. Otherwise I prefer the standard format of separating parenthetical action from dialogue. Also, some of these are a little over-directing.
    Pg. 42 – Wish Brad had more to say/more presence here. He’s reactive, just going along with what the guy’s want? He has no input on them wanting to set him up with Michele?
    Pg. 43 – “And, shit, they can sing. It’s cringe-worthy.” – It’s cringe-worthy they can sing?
    Pg. 45 – “I’d say ten hours a week for our entire junior year is plenty.” – haha
    Pg. 46 – “You seem way more relaxed with a buzz.” – very similar to what Jen said. Kind of weird.
    Pg. 47 – I was thrown by Jen’s anal question but then remembered her dilemma with boyfriend and her Mom. I’d streamline it more by having her observe something at the baseball game.
    Pg. 48 – “Brexit.” – haha
    Pg. 48 – “Intuit me.” – like this as well. Best banter between Brad and Michele thus far but couple things – how would he guess about Kardashian/Discovery Channel (we haven’t seen anything to suggest either) and how can he get Michele the makeup gig at a kid bday party? Wouldn’t he be hired so he’d have to go through the client. He’s not in charge of it from what I can gather.
    Pg. 52 – “But I wasn’t lonely.” – I laughed at this line because I can see how Jen’s coming at it from the “just-had-sex” angle. I guess you could play it straight but my brain went to the more post-coital version.
    Pg. 52 – “Someone engaged to be married.” – extra line after this dialogue?
    Pg. 55 – “Guy swore it was a supervised party.” – dunno if for added comedy you want the parents/supervision there, just somewhere else on the boat, doing their own 1% debauchery.
    Pg. 55 – LIES back absorbing rays.
    Pg. 56 – Michele has two dialogues together.
    Pg. 56 – “…bills to BE paid (or PAY).”
    Pg. 59 – Like the moment in the water.
    Pg. 60 – SHETLAND pony
    Pg. 63 – Michele refunds Tanya and Jen is proud of her thinking she’s moved past her ex in doing so. Wish there was more dialogue to set this up because it’s not clear to me that Jen knows she’s going to stop her Bait business for good. And maybe rather than Jen bringing up Michele’s ex, Michele should bring it up first? I think it would show more growth in her character vs. being prompted by her friend.
    Pg. 63 – MAU? Also, I think it’s be nice to have another callback to Jen and her love/lust for new guy Gary.
    Pg. 64 – Like twist reveal with Instructor!
    Pg. 65 – I’m not sure what change Brad went through in the space of the text to now being the instigator for the kiss. Wish I did know. It must be because Brad just broke up with Tanya but this is a case of show vs. tell for me. I wanted to see more of Brad sussing out his thoughts, another scene of him and Tanya. It doesn’t have to be spelled out to me, but the interaction is what I would like to see on the screen. Missed opportunity for conflict (and maybe comedy? Tanya seemed like a wild card).
    Pg. 69 – Just wondering…because I didn’t’ see any interaction with Tanya and Brad leading to the break, how could Tanya not first suspect Michele had something to do with it? She knows what Michele is doing and has trust issues. This seems out of character of Tanya to not first assume this? Threw me a little.
    Pg. 69 – I like the look to the box cutter but to really sell it I think it should be established that Tanya has anger issues (besides just a threatening line of dialogue).
    Pg. 69 – Haha – Tanya’s camera and air quotes. But again, I think this scene would be funny to see versus being told about it.
    Pg. 70 – Character ages you use both examples of format – 50s and 20’s – keep one and stick with it.
    Pg. 71 – Great conflict and debate here with Jen and Michele about telling the truth.
    Pg. 72 – Jen LIES back smug
    Pg. 73 – Two smittens on one page – would keep it varied
    Pg. 74 – A Few (need caps?) LLAMAS or horses.
    Pg. 77 – I like the point Brad makes about the pedestal, but for not knowing the guy who cheated on Michele it sounds like he’s defending him.
    Pg. 77 – They watch Silently (decap “S”).
    Pg. 79 – How would we know it’s edible marijuana? And why would Tanya knowing what she knows not just call/text Brad?
    Pg. 87 – He left me after the kiss – this seems more relevant for Michele than it does for Tanya. Unless Michele was arguing a point and then Tanya disproves said point ……. and I see it kind of working with Tanya bringing up good guys bit Michele previously said, but I think you need to lead with that here so then we get the reveal from Tanya that the breakup came after. It seems like a more linear argument vs. reveal then mentioning previous statement.
    Also “overlap” — did Michele ever say this concept to Tanya? Thought she did to Jen, about crossover. If she didn’t, it sounds more similar to Michele’s thinking, not Tanya’s.
    Pg. 88 – Brad’s lines need character heading. And shady is also similar wordage to what Michele previously said about relationships (but here Brad commenting on business itself).
    Pg. 90 – Bones and sock moment here?
    Pg. 91 – Lightening  lightning
    Pg. 92 – Hehe, I like Gary being caught.
    Pg. 96 – Like Brad and Michele’s pieces of advice.
    Pg. 99 – I could have done without the Tanya scene. It disrupted the more important Brad/Michele finale.
    Pg. 99/100 – Think you can play up Brad’s fear of flying for more laughs.
    Pg. 100 – Did the sock symbolize anything? Letting go? I have no idea, lol. Was it her ex-husband’s?

    • wad_d

      Damn. These are pretty thorough. As I’ve mentioned before, your notes were very helpful to me. Regarding the parentheticals, I’m a pretty big fan of them myself. I dunno if you’ve read “Underage” by Neustadter & Weber, but that’s a really good one that uses them quite a bit. “Aaron and Sara” aka “B.F.F.” by the Creaseys uses them a lot also.

    • Billie B

      Scriptchick, honestly, you are AMAZING. Thank you a million times over. Implementing now…

  • Malibo Jackk


    (Just a few comments.)
    Do you really want this to be the first thing we see?
    A guy steps out of a coffee shop. Boom. He spills it on her.
    Where is the setup?
    Then a BMW and a TITLE BOXING towel are briefly mentioned.
    Both seem to come out of the blue.
    (Maybe the man should be described as some sort of preppie? A trim or athletic build?)

    • Malibo Jackk

      One of my favorite coffee shop scenes.
      (Not sure why Carson doesn’t do an article on coffee shop scenes.)
      (Not sure why Carson has never seen ROLE MODELS.)

      • Billie B

        Love it!

    • Billie B

      Solid points, Mailbo, I’ll take a closer look at these choices. Thanks :)

  • Poe_Serling

    A bit OT but still somewhat ties into this week’s Houdini post…

    Over on the MeTV site there was article about a short-lived show from
    the early ’70s called The Magician.

    They even described it as “Harry Houdini meets James Bond.”

    Personally, I wasn’t familiar with the series.

    The basic premise of the show: a wealthy illusionist uses his special skill
    set to solve crimes and help those in need.

    The series starred Bill Bixby (of My Favorite Martian, Hulk, Courtship of
    Eddie’s Father fame). The pilot was penned by Joseph Stefano.

    I always find it interesting when there’s chitchat about this or that story
    idea and a few days later something quite similar pops up out of

    • Scott Crawford

      I’ve never seen it but I know that David Nixon was the magic consultant on the show. He was the David Copperfield (or Penn & Teller, Ricky Jay, etc.) of the 1970s.

      There was also a show called “To Catch a Thief” with Robert Wagner and Fred Astaire. I always thought it was from the 70s but turns out it was the late 60s:

      Will Smith wanted to star in a movie version. The trigger for many of these 70s shows was the success at the box office of movies like The French Connection which directly inspired Starsky and Hutch and also Kojak and the rest. These TV series, like the movies, weren’t expensive to make. Also, a bunch of actors who were big stars or medium stars in the 1960s, like Rock Hudson and Telly Savalas, suddenly saw the appeal of a steady career on TV. And, I think, the TV salaries caught up with what the movies were paying.

      And these TV series, think of Columbo and MASH and Roots, they were getting AMAZING reviews.

      Of course, what TV couldn’t do was found language and violence. The movie BUSTIN’ with Elliot Gould and Robert Blake was sold as the stuff the cops do that you WON’T see on TV.

      I don’t know EXACTLY what happened in the 1980s, but the rise of soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty (which ALSO featured movie stars) and the rise of action series like The A-Team and Airwolf, very popular but not as critically acclaimed. The QUALITY went back to movies.

      But for a while, in the 1970s, TV has an age almost as golden or every bit as golden as the movies had. And some would say we’re having it again. Not me, I don’t like the modern TV as much, too slow and long-winded.

      There you go, that’s my essay for the weekend.

      • Poe_Serling

        One huge success can often lead to a slew of other shows wanting
        to ride the same high-ratings wave…

        Take the ’60s TV landscape.

        The popularity of The Andy Griffith probably no doubt help usher
        in the slew of other rural-tinged shows of that particular decade.

        The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction… and so on.

        • Scott Crawford

          Sticks Nix Hick Pix.

          That’s a joke for 2% of the readership.

  • ScriptChick

    HELLFIRE ALLEY — page notes

    I appreciate the picture, but it came out so light, at least on my computer I gave up on it. On to the script.
    Pg. 1 – This is minor quibble, but would a poster — a piece of paper of undeterminable weight — sit or lay on the desk?
    Who is Marshall talking to? We the audience? If you are going to use the device, I think you need to be clear from the get go – or say he’s talking to someone but we’ll find out who later.
    Pg. 2 – Top of this page is very heavy with store locations – which maybe you don’t need as much if you are including a map? I think that would be the point so you could breeze along to the story/characters.
    Pg. 2 – Age not matter for Preacher?
    Pg. 3 – “Shut up.” Sounds a little juvenile, but more importantly for me, can Bob’s sentiments be expressed through action vs. a line?
    The Preacher waxes on about good and evil, bad men going to Hell, etc. I remember noting this in previous critique but now I will see if any interaction occurs between him and these “evil men”. The contact could be a bullet or a counterpoint to the Preacher’s dogma. But as is, the most I see this akin to is the Chorus in a greek play who have no interaction with the main plot. It’s a device that I feel isn’t the best cinematically unless you want a discussion about what the Preacher’s saying and if that’s true, I wish he was easier to follow. His dialogue is meandering to where I lose focus and dismiss him (kind of like the townsfolk).
    ….and it finally happens on pg. 70 with Bill buying the Preacher a drink. Pg. 71, how did the spider burst into flames? Other than that, I don’t really understand the point of the scene. Bill just tells him to take his message east – what was Bill trying to do? Convince the Preacher of something? Have the Preacher turn his self-righteousness in on himself? If Bill didn’t have an agenda, then why bother inviting him in for a drink?
    Pg. 5 – Residents see the gang trot along the street – missing a reaction here. Is this commonplace? Or are they recognized and thus fear sets in? — but like that I get a reaction from McKenna.
    Pg. 6 – These men who plan to overthrow the Dalton gang – are they in it for the reward money or sense of duty/justice? Everyone is quick to a gunfight with high stakes so I wanted to know the reason(s) why.
    Pg. 7 – I’d write out THREE bank employees and THREE customers…
    Pg. 8 – Tossing Ayres a grain sack – “Put the money in there.” – line unnecessary, unless Ayres showed hesitation. Otherwise he’d know what to do with it.
    Pg. 8 – Who initiated the volley of gunfire? It might have more meaning if the first person we see hit is set up in the opening, vs. the painter who is introduced and shot in the same breath. … and I feel similarly on Pg. 10 where the first death is someone we had to be reminded of.
    Pg. 10 – Like Grat ditching the sack (but not the $) in favor of having both hands free.
    Pg. 11 – Same young boy who was kicked out of the bank?
    Pg. 13 – I believe before there was a letter of some sort that prompted Bill to ride into town. With that gone, I’m wondering what Bill is doing there if he doesn’t live there. Did he come because he was still told about what his brothers would be doing? When I wanted to see his urgency. Do the townsfolk know he’s a Dalton?
    Pg. 14 – “These four (extra space) are going to…” “…one more at Doc WELLS’/WELL’S office.”
    Pg. 14 – The cave hideout is cool. I think you can build on its setup – Bill riding up to it – maybe about to get shot — it would be guarded, wouldn’t it? Then we’re introduced to the hideout as Bill’s walking in. As is, it’s a little abrupt; we only have a short amount of time to appreciate it before we have to focus on a big batch of new characters and Bill’s angst.
    Pg. 15 – Okay, if a newspaper says Bill Dalton is associated with his nefarious brothers’ acts of robbery, then why not have him be recognized/give more conflict to the previous scene?
    Pg. 15 – “lazy sumbitch” makes me laugh because I’ve heard my Dad use it from time to time.
    Pg. 16 – Is Bill swearing vengeance on all of Coffeyville or does he have knowledge of who participated in the shootout/dealt the killing blows? Having specific targets gives him specific goals/a checklist – but if it’s all the menfolk of Coffeyville, well, it’s hard for me to get behind that as a protag’s goal despite his earlier comments.
    Pg. 16 – Clever Flo taking down notes.
    Pg. 16 – Bill not raiding Coffeyville just yet, he’s got something else in mind … which is a train robbery, but what’s the point of that? Is he building to something? Like minigoals before the big heist, I want to get the sense he’s working towards something before he delivers the big sweep on Coffeyville. And maybe he is with this train robbery, but I want to know of it from the getgo. Establishing leadership and a plan with a big picture to present to his new formed gang doesn’t hurt either. Gives them motivation I would think. Because these guys just agreed for chaos-sake? In it for themselves or did they have relations with the Daltons/ppl killed. Is this revenge for the other members of the gang who lead this lifestyle or just an opportunity for more $$$?
    Pg. 19 – blowing / ringing – verb tense switching to –ing here made the smooth read little bumpy.
    Pg. 24 – “The maniac Bill Doolin (extra space?) raced…”
    Pg. 24 – …and the kid (cap Kid)…
    Pg. 25 – It feels mechanical to have a scene where Flo says she’ll teach the newspaper man a lesson and in the very next scene to do just that. To dedicate a whole scene to the matter, minimal conflict, more for laughs – it feels like its own sideshow and not integrated enough into the current story. Because the next scene after is back on Bill and the serious plot. This just feels like a sidetrack when it could seamlessly happen while Bill and gang are accomplishing ______.
    Pg. 29 – “Reprieve…but it’s not for you.” — Ouch! So cold!
    P.S. I’m realizing at this point we haven’t seen Emmett post shooting. I think we need a scene here – he is part of Bill’s plan, yeah? Bill wants to save him? Plus, if he was described as shot up like Swiss Cheese, would at least want to see that days later he’s still alive. Would he ever learn of the Doolin Gang’s recent activity? Something to give him hope/something to fight for?
    Pg. 30 – …and positions it (extra space) behind the jawbone.
    Pg. 32 – Town Preacher bit is really long. I’d be twitching in my seat if I had to sit through this. (whereas Whittington’s speech, except for the last paragraph, held my interest – maybe because it’s related to his character and affected a woman in the crowd?)
    Pg. 33 – “Do any of you have something to say?” — lol, in response to that “(re: Preacher) He said plenty.”
    Pg. 35 – …over the condemned MENS’ (yes?) heads.
    Pg. 35 – The men just died – how does this relate to Bill and his story?
    Pg. 36 – Indicate Dan Maples bit as a flashback since it happened in the past?
    Pg. 36 – Marshall Nix sets out to get four men that to my knowledge aren’t associated with Bill or what he’s doing? This is starting to become a big structure narrative problem for me.
    Pg. 37 – Like Fort Smith / To Hell sign.
    Pg. 39 – Clever with the burning grass.
    Pg. 39/40 – With all the names, either call him Ned or Christie in description. Interchanging confused me.
    Pg. 41 – “It was the Cherokee death-call. None of my men would fire a shot after that.” – So the posse on Rusk’s side, also referred to as the Cherokee policemen did the first death cry – wouldn’t that be a reaction for the cabin Cherokees to stop fighting first? They recognize and feel remorse for killing their own? Otherwise it seems like the policemen upon hearing their own cries, stopped shooting first as an act of surrender, not a moral code, which I think the latter is what you’re going for?
    Pg. 42 – So many more people…. Beyond making it a Wild West history thing, did we need to know their names? I feel the same way about the hanging scene. What is it but a way to establish the Fort and Nix’s world? Could have been condensed. I am so lost as to what you want your story to be. Wasn’t this a revenge plot?
    Pg. 47 – Almost twenty pages later we are finally back with the original cast where the only link I can gather is that they plan to steal Cherokee money – and we’ve just sit in on a vignette that involved the Cherokees fighting to protect one of their own.
    Pg. 47 – My favorite character is Flo – for her firecracker spirit, for being the most active (besides Bill) and standing out amongst the sea of men.
    Pg. 47 – “One last raid then we light out for Argentina.” – this has nothing to do with getting back at Coffeyville?
    Pg. 50 – With a shot the Adair Messenger has the same reaction as the previous guy during the 1st train robbery. Repetitive to me.
    Pg. 53 – …his boots off — LIES in bed.
    Pg. 53 – “now I ain’t (extra space) so sure.”
    Pg. 53 – Sheep dig and axle grease – nice detail
    Pg. 55 – What is the conflict in the bar scene other than to establish the grim setting?
    Pg. 58 – The pace has drastically slowed in favor of different bar scenes and exposition.
    Pg. 63 – Would Bill like being called out like that by Rose? Any secrecy? Doesn’t seem like it since he tells her what they plan to do. Would that really happen? This is so odd to me without really knowing the intentions of the waitress, a stranger they just met. For this to work for me, Rose needs to go above and beyond laying it on thick with flattery, being subtle about knowing who Bill is and maybe giving him pointers for the bank before he solicits her any info. It’s such a quick scene — I think this build and a character working hard to please him and get what she wants would help.
    Pg. 66 – “Shithouse is out back.” – haha
    Pg. 67 – If Rose and Kid develop a relationship I think you can add to it more in the previous restaurant scene. More pushback from Bill, where Kid/Rose really trying hard to convince him.
    Pg. 80 – Rose/horse bank comment – smart.
    Pg. 81 – Like that we found out about Emmett but the fact we never went back to him, I was honestly surprised he was mentioned at all in the end.

    • klmn

      Very detailed notes. Thanks! I won’t respond to everything, but here are a few.

      Pg. 6 – These men who plan to overthrow the Dalton gang – are they in it
      for the reward money or sense of duty/justice? Everyone is quick to a
      gunfight with high stakes so I wanted to know the reason(s) why.

      That was their money in the bank. The FDIC wasn’t created until 1933 (part of Roosevelt’s New Deal). A few states started insuring banks in the early 1900s, but this was earlier. Americans should know this (the foreign readers should know the history of their own countries).

      Pg. 15 – Okay, if a newspaper says Bill Dalton is associated with his
      nefarious brothers’ acts of robbery, then why not have him be
      recognized/give more conflict to the previous scene?

      Bill Dalton wasn’t well known at the time. He really wasn’t part of The Dalton Gang. The gang he formed – The Doolin/Dalton Gang, aka The Wild Bunch – was a separate entity.

      Pg. 42 – So many more people…. Beyond making it a Wild West history
      thing, did we need to know their names? I feel the same way about the
      hanging scene. What is it but a way to establish the Fort and Nix’s

      My intention was to do a reverse Save The Cat intro for the Marshals Service – instead of saving a cat, they hang some folks and kill an Indian. Didn’t work as well as I wanted to.

  • Linkthis83


    Three more scripts have been eliminated. This list will eventually be pared down to four scripts to coincide with the timing of the SS contest. When there are four scripts remaining, I will read those in their entirety.

    I’m attempting to tailor my assessments of these scripts towards the most effectively written. I can’t eliminate personal taste completely, but I want scripts that get me invested. Whether by premise/concept, dramatic question, impactful writing, jokes so good they won’t be denied…etc.

    I will not use arbitrary things that have nothing to do with craft: budget, will an audience turn out to see it, isn’t my thing, this would never happen, public domain…

    Scripts that move on in TG8 will do so by which ones keep me wanting to read further.


    (in no particular order)




    David, I think you have a valuable concept/story here (especially with a unique fact of history). In the early part of the script, I enjoyed the writing and the situations/characters. As the script moved along, however, the writing credible began to decline.

    The first thing I would highlight is TONE in the action line. Specifically on page 26:

    “Isaac scans the tiled floor. Multiple blood stains. Uh-oh.”

    For me, this was very much a deal breaker. You’re writing a story about the Holocaust. You can’t write “uh oh” (in my opinion). Especially not when you’ve kept a solid, sincere approach up to this point. Uh oh should simply be a muted, physical reaction from Isaac.

    Projectile vomiting occurs twice by Isaac in 5 pages.

    By being up against previous WWII movies with this subject matter, you also encounter scenarios that we are familiar with, and I don’t feel you create better, or interesting, versions of these moments (arriving by train, getting settled, etc). I do need to give you credit for the log lifting selection process. That was new for me.

    I like the intention behind Krause, but I did not feel Krause. I feel that he, along with Isaac and Abel, aren’t as effective characters as they could be. Their dialogue loses a POV that I feel each should have. I think it’s because their speech sounds more generic than authentic given the situation they are in.

    I also want to give you another shout-out for being a semifinalist at the BIFF (

    I really hope this script/project opens some more doors for you.


    Billie — You’re a storyteller, but I’m just not feeling this story. It might be that I’m not the target demographic for this, but I mostly feel like it’s the situations you are putting your characters in that aren’t really getting the most out of this premise. I can see potential as I read, but I’m not getting invested. Could also simply be a combination of subject matter and me. I think most of the time I’m the problem. No matter the situation or conversation or what have you :)

    p5 = It doesn’t make sense to me why the fiance is taking pictures of the almost kiss for evidence. She’s the fiance. She’s witnessing it firsthand. If she said something like she’s going to put that shit on FB, then it makes sense. I’m also aware that this isn’t a super important story point to highlight – yet I highlight it anyway.

    I did feel like the VR School Mistress scene could be really funny on screen.

    I can’t tell if I like the fact that she can’t get into character because she has already met him or if that might actually be hurting your premise. I assume you and your story developer discussed the path where she’s in character and failing at checking boxes and opted for this path. However, the whole premise is based on guys willing to cheat for a type/fantasy. If this guy does cheat, it won’t be based on the criteria that she treats as a science. I think that might be why this concept isn’t delivering for me as it’s set up. In fact, I might like the idea better if she is in her get up, is falling for him, and wants him to cheat so she has a shot at him. I haven’t fully process that so I’m certainly not pushing for it. But suggesting it as a possible approach if you guys hadn’t considered it.

    You’re awesome. Good luck!


    Brett, I can hear you right now “WTF, Mike!” And I want to say “I know!” — It’s just not effective enough for me. I love the premise…but it’s just not sinking its teeth into me. That’s the simplest way I can say it.

    But after reading quite a bit of your work, your successes of late aren’t surprising. I’ve been looking at the scripts in this contest from the POV of what has the best storytelling — for me. What’s keeping me invested.

    Invested is a good word to highlight. Because when I refelct upon the projects of yours that are doing well in contests (3ST, TE, GOLDIE, and even WW) and the good news regarding REAP WHAT YOU SOW, I immediately see why. Not only can you write well, but you also bring valuable concepts to the table. I can see why someone would invest in you and your talent.

    I also think this is more indicative of the business than people wanting the “best script ever.” Sure…people would love that. However, what you need are scripts/stories that show potential. Not simply that someone has the potential to write well, but potential in being a worthy investment. And it needs to be a combination of value regarding not only money, but time and energy and relationships and professionalism.

    I sure hope I continue hearing nothing but good opportunities coming your way because I certainly know you’re not short on value. I’ve always said that an amateur’s script is their representation, and you’ve certainly landed a decent agency.

    • Billie B

      Thanks for giving it a shot, Mike! Good luck with the Grateful 8 :) I think it’s an admirable undertaking.

  • Linkthis83

    In regards to this weekend’s scripts:

    THE ATTACKER: I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed there isn’t an updated draft here. I’m not taking a shot at the writer either. I’m sincerely disappointed. I like this concept and found the opening lacking in its effectiveness. I was truly hoping to read what the writer was able to do with the notes he received.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY: Hey Ken! As I’ve already mentioned previously, this thing just isn’t working for me. Which is a bummer. Because I can “feel” this script. I can see the town. I can see the events. But…I truly think this thing is lacking some much needed storytelling.

    The first line of dialogue is by Nix saying he’s going to tell us a story about two guys and then says, lets put those two guys to the side. And the events that take place after don’t get me invested.

    Here’s the biggest offender keeping me from being invested right from the start:

    This is a story about the Dalton gang. Nix highlights Bill Dalton. When the gang is riding into town…there is no Bill Dalton in the gang. WHY?!?!?! This isn’t even addressed. Why aren’t the other members discussing it on their ride into town.

    In the previous draft, we saw Bill in a saloon receiving a letter. But even in that draft I don’t know WHY they are doing this bank robbery without him. This is really important info…I feel like it is. If it isn’t, I sure hope some others jump in here and explain it to me.

    I am certainly glad though that you’re creating a Hellfire of your own with this script.

    THE BAIT: my notes/feedback are located in my TG8 post. Good luck, Billie!

    • Poe_Serling

      When it comes to comments from this week’s featured writers, it’s been
      a real ghost town around here.

      I don’t blame them for keeping a low profile after all the back and forth
      of the previous round.

      For one, I think it just makes for a more rewarding discussion when
      the writers chime in and give us some additional details in their story

      • Linkthis83

        Agreed. I too can understand why they might shy away, but active participation isn’t causal. Lol.

        My favorite component is when writers chime in to discuss their stories.

      • Dallas Cobb

        While I do love the BTS-factoids we receive from writers when they chime in, many workshops are usually conducted under the rule that the workshopped writer doesn’t talk until the end, as its an opportunity for them to address the issues brought up and seek any additional commentary they deem necessary.

        So I remain torn as to where I stand on this. LOL

      • Billie B

        I hear you Poe, and in both my AOW round, a year ago, and the first round of this contest, I chimed in constantly and in real time. For some reason for QFs I just felt It best to let all the notes sink in and address/thank people personally for their time and effort once it’s over. I’m going with my gut.
        I know a few people might be disappointed with the lack of interaction, but I feel many more are appreciative for the space to analyze and vote in peace.
        The notes so far have been amazing. I honestly didn’t expect so many people to take another indepth pass. I’m truly grateful and in awe, and plan on thanking everyone personally once I’ve had a chance to let it all sink in. :)

        • Poe_Serling

          Yeah, I’m 100% supportive of what ever the featured writer(s)
          decides to do – hang back or come to the forefront of the
          discussions. It is their day in the SS spotlight!

          Again, as someone looking from the outside in, I’m just more
          of a fan of the real-time interaction between reader and the

          The race is getting close – good luck as your project rounds
          the final curve. ;-)

          • Bacon Statham

            I prefer it when the writer chimes in simply because I think it’s the polite thing to do. They don’t have to respond to every comment, they just have to let us know they’re listening. If we took time out of our day to read their script, the least they could do is listen to what we have to say.

            I very rarely comment or give notes because I don’t ever feel that the writer will actually respond or listen. I know that’s not really fair, but at the same time, I’m not gonna sit here for an hour or more giving notes if the writer isn’t even gonna bother acknowledging them or even being appreciative of it. Just feels like my time could be better spent working on my own stuff.

          • Scott Crawford

            On an average weekend, about a third to a half of all comments are the three/five writers saying “Thank You” to commentators. Right or wrong, as a result – along with the contributions of people like me who have nothing better to do – the large number of comments puts people off.

            Proof of this theorem is the usually low voter count – usually no more than 10% of comments are votes, and I anticipate it getting lower in the coming weeks.

            Fortunately, we all know Kenneth and Billie. But I think it would’ve helped Jean if he could have stuck around – I think his low number of votes is partly due to not rewriting his script and partly from not sticking around.

            On a final note, how are you Bacon? Still writing action scripts? You know they’re the kind I love!

          • Billie B

            I hear you, BS. I wanted to wait until Monday so people I respond to get a more thought out response, while others aren’t being bombarded with a slew of new comments by me in the feed. By Monday most commenters are tuning in to the new article, but they’ll get flagged if someone personally responds to them (I hope. I know I do).

            I’ve done it both ways, now. Maybe I’ll go for something in between, next time. :)

  • ScriptChick

    THE ATTACKER – Page notes
    Pg. 1 – Like the buzzing leading into the excited soccer crowd.
    Pg. 2 – fan’sFURY (missing space?)
    Pg. 2 – Like his description here but would say distinguishing features – and then follow that up with avid sports car collector. Physical didn’t connect with hobby for me.
    Pg. 2 – Like addition of Belial
    Pg. 3 – Is it common to miss this type of hand foul? And not be recanted?
    Pg. 4 – Caps Television Crew since Journalist speaks?
    Pg. 8 – They say they traded in their four star hotel for something way less, but outside the city – wish I could have seen the Ozkana fans around the hotel, so I could see there too the sense of them stalking the players, waiting to strike at any chance.
    Pg. 9 – “…buy you a washing machine…dishwasher” – I like Nassir here, trying to get in with the maid of honor. But I’d suggest to Jamie more baby related stuff so I can see a direct connection to Jamie situation of his woman about to give birth, and Nassir would help if just this one favor is done for him.
    Pg. 13 – “That’s 100 Euros.” – haha
    Pg. 14 – Pete shut off the replay before the hand foul. I wish he had it on to see that so I would know if he felt guilty (which I think he does?). Shutting it off before that moment is leaving me to come up with filling in his emotional state. Or did the camera never get a good angle of it (which kinda seems hard to believe)
    Pg. 16 – Wondering if the concierge recognizes Pete and knows that district has all the fans from the other team? If that becomes another thing that the concierge warns Pete?
    Pg. 18 – passenger seat RIDDLED with cigarette holes?
    Pg. 19 – Playing soccer with Dobrov’s head – uh, what? This seemed to be like a straight up action but now suddenly fans are kicking around a man’s head like a soccer ball? Um…definitely creepy but this seems more fitting for horror. Dobrov didn’t seem to do anything so bad to warrant this. Just makes these people so evil like more demon than human. Maybe you want that but it takes away some of the realism to me in what so far I could imagine happening in real life.
    Pg. 20 – Pete lets them take off his hood without doing anything? Feel this could be reworked to create more tension.
    Pg. 20 – The fans whistle to get other fans to follow – but why not shout Branson’s name so they know what they’re chasing and get even more incensed?
    Pg. 23 – Love Pete himself into even more trouble – his pit of snakes is a drunken pit of sleeping fans.
    Pg. 26 – “Photoshop” – haha
    Pitch: Would it up the stakes if as Belial is inciting the crowd, he puts out an order to block the entrance to their district? I’d imagine he’d want no chance of Pete escaping. This ends with him dead, Pete’s blood on their hands.
    Pg. 29 – “Looks like soccer was the right choice for you!” – haha
    Pg. 29 – “You can run (comma) Branson.”
    Pg. 33 – I know the Kid wears Jamie’s hat, but dude, it was pretty violent/harsh of Pete to break a kid’s nose.
    Pg. 39 – I was disappointed to see Jamie alive. That seemed like a great mystery for Pete/us to find out – only for it to be revealed a few pages later after the Kid announces Jamie is dead, and through no effort of the protagonist. Like in Taken, there sometimes is doubt that his daughter is alive but mostly in that case, it’s holding the reveal of seeing her alive (and in her sorry state) after so long of not seeing her. But here, both the question of if Jamie’s still alive and the audience seeing him before Pete does – both these things feel like their divulged prematurely. More tension could have been built up to the reveal.
    Pg. 40 – All that weapons and ammo – Lina = MVP
    Pg. 41 – Need character heading saying KATIA.
    Pg. 41 – Confused if the silhouette from Katia or Mohawk dealer. Wish we were back on Pete when dealer got the jump on him.
    Pg. 42 – “Yeah my friend. The mother AND the daughter.” – Whoa, is he implying rape here?
    Pg. 43 – Since Pete and Lina still in next building over when fans ransack her apartment – did they at least knock down the homemade walkway so no fans could follow them over that way?
    Pg. 47 – Relief on Pete’s face after seeing the decapitated corpse isn’t Jamie’s– I get the idea behind that line but just seems wrong. Also, I’m ahead of the protagonist here and since most of the story had been through his POV, I didn’t really like the shift to following Jamie.
    Pg. 48 – As twisted as it is, like that Katia uses her dead Dad to convince her Mom to help Pete.
    Pg. 51 – Jamie has Pete’s swagger here but I don’t think he’d say such a brash line here if he’s trying to shirk the Fan.
    Pg. 52 – Love Jamie having to cross the mine. Maybe not realistic, but would you hear the Dog yelp as it’s being blown up to help convey to the audience what happened? And while it’s nice that the mine field scene occurs, I kind of wish it was happening to Pete your main character than to Jamie, your secondary.
    Pg. 53 – Katia’s dialogue here makes her sound older than I imagined her. Was an age ever given to her?
    Pg. 54 – “You are a good girl (comma) Katia.”
    Pg. 59 – Nice twist of Katia and Lina not being able to escape.
    Pg. 60 – Like the balls of fire.
    Pg. 62 – If you have Jamie saving the day like that I wanted to see how he was able to fight off the people watching him.
    Pg. 66 – We SEE cars receding…
    Pg. 69 – I’ve forgotten – was a rematch considered a viable option? Just wondering why Pete would be so quick to assume this.
    The play to the death game was a little over the top but I can see it working. But while it’s nice and all to see Pete has learned the value of teamwork, I wish it was exemplified more during his struggles in the district. And more than that (learning teamwork), I wanted Pete to experience more character drama, particularly between him and his brother. Especially if they’re working together at some point, even though they’re both trying to survive, they could still argue about the best way to go about it. I think that’s one of the reasons why this script is so short. Once Jamie and Pete are reunited, they are in sync. Same with Pete and Lina – they have brief arguments before quickly resolving things (either through them or because of Katia).
    Pg. 76-78 – Fight between Lina, Pete and Belial was cool and good adrenaline for an action movie.
    Pg. 79 – I like that Nassir coming to the wedding was paid off here.

  • Scott Crawford

    There’s a few “flags” here, Anthony. You talk about a lack of GSU in Hellfire’s logline but not the script itself. You don’t like Attacker for it’s title but think it’s better than previous version even though it’s the SAME. Not sure you’ve really looked at all three scripts. I’ll make a note of the vote but you should only be voting if you’ve read some or all of all THREE scripts.

  • Scott Crawford

    Thanks for voting, Justin. Not sure I like the tactical element of choosing a non-Wild Card script(!) but I appreciate you reading all three scripts before deciding.

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: Not many comments; maybe people are put off by the prior controversy. Maybe we could discuss some less controversial.

    Is simulated rape “rape?” And does it matter if the woman involved did another film with the same director three years later?

    • My 2 cents

      My 2 cents why there’s a down tick in voting, YOU PESTERING PEOPLE. I think it’s great you tally votes, but I don’t believe it’s your job to ask for notes, thoughts, opinions on other scripts, etc. Unless Carson assigned you his “rules enforcer” please just stick to adding up the votes. If a person has no interest in Rom Coms they have no reason to read The Bait, yet you’re gonna let them know their vote “may not count.” So why should they bother? I’m not interested in getting a lecture from you. I think your pestering may be pushing some voters away. PLEASE JUST ADD UP THE VOTES AND STOP TRYING TO BE A RULE ENFORCER. Especially since you have read how much of each script? And where are your notes?

      • Scott Crawford

        Well, Mr. Anonymous… if I just count people’s votes without asking if they have read all three scripts or part of all three scripts, then we get a bunch of people voting, not for the best script but… well, for any number of reasons.

        OCattorney wants Bait to win… fine. But why? And why should it win ahead of the other two scripts. Without comments we can’t tell.

        Anthony Dionosio said he felt Attacker had improved since he last read it… even though it was the same script. His comment has been deleted.

        Andrea Moss, a good, thoughtful comment, but she only commented only ONE script and I wanted to know what she thought of the other two.

        And I remain neutral, or I try to. I don’t vote because if I did vote, people might think I might use my position as unofficial scorekeeper to help one script to win. Not so.

        Also… I’d take your comment more seriously if I knew who you were.

      • klmn

        I’m going to stand up for Scott here. As a writer, the voters’ comments on what worked and didn’t are very helpful.

        And Carson has stated that he likes the comments.

        I invite the other contestants in this (and other) rounds to chime in.

        • My 2 cents

          Well OF COURSE you like it, you’re one of the writers who can get free notes. I’d want someone asking people for notes on my script too. But PESTERING people for those notes, IMHO, is going to prevent some people from voting. Scott should just stick to the adding.

          • Pat

            Carson himself said (on many occasions) that if a vote doesn’t come with an explanation then it may not count. Scott isn’t pestering anyone, he is simply doing his best to make sure everyone does what they need to do in order to have their vote count.

        • Poe_Serling

          See you popped in… Do you have any more details on the
          connection between the film The Wild Bunch and your

          Just curious. ;-)

        • Billie B

          Sorry Klmn. I’m staying firmly in the drama free zone! I love the platform Carson provides. I love Scott’s dedication to the site and his tireless efforts. I love civilized debate when differences of opinion arise.

          I’ve been an avid reader of SS from the start, but it took years before I ever got the guts to leave a comment. And it was as a guest for a long time. I found it intimidating to offer an opinion amongst a tight knit group of people who seemed to know soooo much more than me about screenwriting, or at least knew how to express themselves more eloquently. Did my vote count less because I couldn’t put into words why I liked a certain script more or less than another? Maybe. But it was also more accepted back then that people had varying amounts of time to offer, and varying amounts of script reading experience. People weren’t shy to admit they were voting on loglines or premise or the flow of the writing on just the first page.

          I’m referring to the old AOW days, of course, and I get that this has been like AOW on steroids LOL. But should it be? Will the outcome be any different for the winner than if it was just an AOW? A bit of exposure (bonus) and some insightful notes from a community of script lovers (the biggest bonus).

          I don’t know if I even have a point to all this, lol, and I don’t have any strong opinions either way on how votes should be given or tallied. I’m just listening to 21 Pilots and it made me think of the good old days ;)

          • klmn

            Don’t say sorry. You have nothing to apologize for.

    • Carmelo Framboise

      I can maybe understand how and why Schneider could have felt, but I don’t know if that is rape. On the other hand if she felt she was raped, she was…maybe not physcally but mentally. I mostly don’t understand why actors today get so worked up and revolutionary – that means posting tweets.

      I understand up one point.

      But, if a director doesn’t tell an actor that a fellow actor will shoot at him with a fake gun so that he will get a genuine reaction, could they accuse him of fake killing him?

      And anyway, I am for women’s rights, I love Schneider, and we should always be on the victim’s side but (another but) there are always accidents, maltreatments and the 70s where pretty different: Sheen really got drunk to play the drunk in Apocalypse Now and cut his hand, Malcolm MacDowell suffered a scratched corrnea in A Clockwork Orange from forcing his eyes open, Jackie Chan lost teeth and almost lost an eye in more than one film, second unit director of Catch-22 was sucked out of a plane and died and so on.

      Art is art and needs sacrifice.

      Andrei Tarkovsky and many of his talented crew died of cancer probably because they were shooting Stalker in heavily polluted waters.

      If you haven’t seen Stalker by the way you haven’t seen anything and I can not consider you a serious screenwriter. Same goes for the Last Tango In Paris. Even though much of it was improvised. What a great piece of cinema.

      • Scott Crawford

        Yeah, I need to see me some Tarkovsky. I’ll see if he’s on Netflix.

        In can be very difficult when doing a movie, if’s an early movie in your career, you may be asked to do things you are not comfortable with. You may agree to appear in a film not realizing that is anti-Western propaganda or worse, something that goes against your political beliefs. You may be asked to wear a silly costume or do an accent and that could be held up against you later on. You may be miscast.

        For a young woman, protection should be (and usually is) in place to prevent them being exploited in terms of nudity and so on.

        (On the end credits you’ll see a credit for teacher to the young actor or actors. Yes, they are on set to teach but their REAL role is to keep the young actors safe. Yes, their parents or guardians are on set too most of the time but, unfortunately, they don’t always have the kids best interests at heart. Eek! The teachers are there in case the director wants the kids to do something they shouldn’t – like a nude shower scene).

        The problem HERE is that Maria Schneider DID go back and work with Bertolucci again. That doesn’t mean all was forgiven… and she has vocalized her objection to what happened before.

        it’s a mess. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

        On the subject of the unexpected, Tom Hanks was asked this, whether the explosions and what-not on SAVING PRIVATE RYAN were planned or a surprise. Hanks says he was told EXACTLY what was happening and he wouldn’t respect a director who didn’t give him the credit as an actor to PRETEND to be shocked by an explosion.

        On a lighter end note, there’s story that Alan Rickman at the end of Die Hard, when he’s falling to his death, the stuntman let go of Alan Rickman without telling him and that’s how they got the shocked look on his face. Sort of true. They did a number of rehearsals where Rickman fell onto the airbag on the count of THEE. After several gos, the stunt guy let go of Rickman on TWO and that was the take they used.

        If the stunt man had done that to Rickman on the first attempt, Rickman would’ve been in his right to storm off set.

      • New_E

        Agreed about the movie, about Bertolucci and Brando.

        People reacting on Twitter having no idea who Bertolucci and Schneider even are, or that the movie even existed — and believing, of course, that she had actually been raped on screen… and calling it (a French-Italian production), a “Hollywood movie.”

        So much ignorance.


        Wrote an entire thing on this ridiculous “controversy” — controversy 40 damn years after the fact (!), but scrapped it.

        *Oh, and filmmakers should see as much Bertolucci as they can, from LA COMMARE SECCA (THE GRIM REAPER) onwards, but esp. THE CONFORMIST, LAST TANGO, and 1900.


  • Angie

    Only 16 votes so far? Can’t believe many just picked up their toys and went home.

    • Scott Crawford

      People are terrified of being banned… but they shouldn’t be.

      • My 2 cents

        People are tired of your pestering…and they should be.

    • ShiroKabocha

      Might just be Christmas looming, or maybe some of the long-time commenters who gave thorough reads and reviews felt cheated that Log wasn’t picked ? People may now be cautious about investing so much time only to result in drama as well.

      Or, may just be fatigue. I don’t know how you guys can keep up reading so many pages and posting those long reviews week after week.

      • Angie

        I see a few more votes since I posted. I did think the recent drama might have everything to do with low voter turnout. I admit as the holidays get closer, might just have too much to do. It was just that this was the first tournament of this type and I was excited to join in.

  • Poe_Serling

    I see where the whole ‘how the votes are counted debate’ is about to flare
    up again…

    The solution is simple: At the end of the weekend, Carson needs to go through
    all of the comments himself and come up with his own vote tally.

    It’s his tournament, so he should do the heavy lifting to determine the winning
    project each week.

    • My 2 cents


    • klmn

      I think Carson is terribly overworked. Scott is gracious enough to compile votes and comments for him. Scott doesn’t decide which votes should count.

      • Poe_Serling

        I don’t know if Carson is overworked or not… But if he truly is, perhaps
        running a tournament isn’t the best use of his time.

        To be perfectly honest, I think it should be Carson’s responsibility
        alone to ask readers to explain their voting decisions if he feels the
        need to do so in the course of making a final decision on the winning

        • Scott Crawford

          I don’t disagree and maybe the “honor’s system” is broken (too many anonymous accounts, too many accounts hijacked – like crazedwriter).

          I’m full of ideas for change. Maybe only established commentators (like yourself, Poe) should get a vote. And the number should be set at, say, 30 voters.

          Or… voters have to fill out a scorecard in which they have to give comments on plot, character, theme… a bit like studio coverage. Those who can’t fill out at least a sentence on each shouldn’t count.

          I’ll come up with some more ideas later I’m sure but anyone else?

          • Poe_Serling

            I like the idea that all readers of the site are allowed to cast
            a vote… sometimes these things get over complicated for
            one reason or another. Go figure.

            In the long run for the featured writers, it should just be way
            to get some free notes on your project and perhaps some
            industry exposure.

          • Scott Crawford

            Notes are REALLY great (and thanks on Kenneth’s behalf for your thorough notes – i understand entirely why you wanted to concentrate on one script). I think the vote is important for three reasons:

            1. Carson will ultimately read the final script (I think) so we’re trying to figure out which script he would like to read (bit like any other AOW).

            2. The winner (or semi-finalist) of this tournament will have a certain cache. Scriptshadow is a relative newcomer and doesn’t have the prestige of Blue Cat or the Academy backing of Nichol. Nevertheless, it is a well-read website (I still wonder if the producers of Atlantic Wall read it on Tuesday before casting Cooper?) and the winner/semi-finalist will have beaten hundreds of others to get here. And that looks great in query letters/meetings.

            3. If a script advances to the semis or the grand final, it encourages rewriting – and another round of notes! One of the reasons I think this tourney has worked so well (and I bitterly regret not getting my shit together and entering) is how we can see each script advancing from round to round. Already some scripts have been rewritten twice, for the Wild Card round and then the Quarters. And that reflects the reality of Hollywood where a writer is expected to take notes and improve his script over multiple drafts.

        • klmn

          Now you’re begrudging C a good meal once in awhile?

          Go back to your cell and do penance!

          • Poe_Serling

            Not at all – I’m just saying its his contest … if he really doesn’t have
            time to tally up a handful of votes (this weekend less than 25) then
            perhaps he shouldn’t run such a lengthy tournament.

          • Scott Crawford

            The problem he had (and it was the reason I stepped in, some people had been doing it intermittently but I have a bit more free time being unemployed, unmarried and kid-free) was that he would often by confronted with hundreds of comments, including a lot of OT comments and he WOULD go through them… but in a close contest, he might spot ALL the votes.

            However… I’m up for any suggestions and if people don’t want me to count, and in particular, if Carson doesn’t want me to count, then I won’t and I’ll do something else with my time.

            It’s just that it starts to bleed if I do it too often.

          • Poe_Serling

            It’s not the actual counting of votes part that bothers me…

            I just feel Carson might be doing a disservice to the integrity of the contest and the featured writers if he doesn’t personally read over all the comments.

            My concern…

            Just cherry-picking a line or two from someone’s comment doesn’t
            always express the reader’s full intention of his/her post.

            That’s the slight issue I have… nothing more or less.

      • Scott Crawford

        I don’t decide which votes will count. If someone wants to vote for a script, I’ll count that vote. But i want to leave a note for Carson that maybe (in the event of a draw or a narrow victory) some votes “carry more weight than others” (Reeves’ words). I’ve tried to do this through the quotes, which Carson has said he likes reading, but this week I’ve had to add extra notes to clarify that some commentators are only commenting on one script and not all three.

    • Scott Crawford

      Poe, I’m taking the asterisk off your name. i apologize. i didn’t quite get it, you have actually read the other two scripts, albeit in previous rounds, but that still counts. I thought you’d only been reading one script. Mea culpa.

  • Carmelo Framboise

    First of all, I love all the writers and admire what they do. All my notes are just MY notes and anyone can take whatever she or he wants from them. I belive that being honest and even mean can only help a script become better.

    I read as much as I could from each script as I think that at this stage we shouldn’t judge from 10-15 pages.

    Congrats to the writers for their work!


    I think we are pas the “well written”, “interesting” and so on characterizations of scripts at this point. The Bait is all those things, and more I guess.

    My review hasn’t changed from the previous time. The first line of dialogue is “Who does he think he is?… He’s so damn nineties”. Ironic since a capsule review of the script could be the same line.

    Apart from an entertaining movie, what is this really about? What do you want to say? That’s my main beef. I feel the characters are conservative. And that is fine. But do you want them to be? And why? We are in 2016: gay marriage, polyamoury. And the problem is that this feels off, I am not sure about your intentions.

    I do like that see tries to get a guy to like her and she is the one who likes her more and she fails. That is good. But it doesn’t really stand out.

    The premise is fine, but you need to pivot and make it 21st century, I agree with Scott’s comments: she could also put a bag full of money and prove that they are thieves. Or test any person in a number of ways. I get that Suit is a bit of a jerk, smelling Michelle’s top as soon as she takes it off, showing us that he doesn’t think that he future-wife is the one and only. But, is there a one and only? Is it what this story is about? I mean she is practically forcing herself on the guys – and yeah if you are going to get married to a prude woman, then you are making a sin: by marrying this woman who is willing to pay another woman to seduce you! Does anyone here truly believe that people can be attracted to only one person for their entire life? And don’t give me that “once a cheater always a cheater” stuff. I am not
    a polyamoury advocate, nor a sleep-around guy: I have a very healthy ten year old relationship. What I do know is that relationships are complicated things. It is not about wanting a pair of boobs that came along or not. So, these people must be shallow. The question is: is the script a critique on shallow people? I guess it wants to be. Is it obvious? Not exactly.

    Another problem is our protagonist. I don’t really like her or what she is doing so it is really hard to stick around and see what’s going to happen with her. Since this is a romantic comedy, and I am not really laughing, I expect to see some interesting solutions regarding flirting. That’s a thing that can always drive a scene and even a movie: wanting to see how a
    relationship, a flirt will evolve – will they end up together? So, that is your only bet, in my eyes. Of course I know there must a be a lot of rom-com lovers who would watch to see if Michele will finally change and find true love. But this thing alone is not enough for me.

    So, I find that you could at least play a bit more with the idea of Michele’s line of work. Apart from exploring the theme of love, relationships and flirting, here is a funny sequence: A gay man approaches her and asks to see if his boyfriend is gonna fall for her. So, she has to seduce a gay man, she manages, and the boyfriend is furious: “How could you? You
    are bi? You are sick!” Thus making fun of a conservative gay man. I find that funny, and not offensive at all. Soooo 2017. A much broader audience would appreciate this and you will also be modern and have some more things to say than talk about true love and commitment like if it was a 1991 flick. Yes, soap jokes are so 90s. And conservative. And bad.

    p1. I don’t have a problem with our protagonist’s description but I am not crazy about it either. (Later on we found out that people in this world are handsome, beautiful, hot, leggy, attractive e.t.c)

    p1. Does she leave her shirt? And he just throws it away? Huh? I guess she did it on purpose and he doesn’t want evidence. But, I would just leave it hanging somewhere over there – maybe the gal wants it back after all.

    p2. two DAYS ago

    p2. Catch the FIFA game? Is that what you guys call it? I don’t think anyone would understand what the heck a “FIFA game” is on this side of the ocean.

    p. 5 I agree with other commenters: Why would she take pictures. With flash. And click, click, clicks. Does she have a vintage ZENIT 1975 model or something?

    p5. His “new soulmate”. Ok, I get it that he likes her. But a grown man wouldn’t consider his soulmate a woman who he knows for a couple of days. He would consider her a fuck-buddy at best. Sorry. Even if you are the biggest moron in the galaxy you wouldn’t. This could be way more interesting if the whole first act started as a typical – but funny and interesting – flirting between the two, just like a romcom and at page 20 – BAM! It was all a lie. But he is in love. Now there are some moral conflicts right there: his future ex-wife who hired Michele is actually an insecure sad person, Michele is a manipulative psycho who hurts people for money and the Suit is just another guy who wants to score meat. Where is the romcom in that? Well, it could reinvent a genre that is bubblier than a bubble bath.

    p11. She just made 1000 dollars and see has unpaid bills. Someone said it sounds weird but I can relate to being paid 1000s and still be broke. I am in a similar situation with freelancing :)

    p.18 Wait. She hasn’t seen a picture of the guy she is going to seduce? Unrealistic. I would guess that is the FIRST thing that she asks for: a photo.

    p. 20 Her plan is going south so why not just abort? Keep on with the shoot and she still has 2 weeks to flirt with him. She is stupid if she tries to continue without seeing and with so many fouls already committed. I feel that this is all happening just to have a comic situation.

    p. 22 She is sooo experienced yet handles it so badly. I don’t know what to think. If a guy doesn’t go for a drink with you right away doesn’t mean he won’t cheat on his partner.

    p.25 I don’t really get what is going on here: She is making fun of her boyfriend who is checking out man butts? And is this funny? Or what exactly is going on? And anyway that joke with the soap. Oh my.

    p. 26 Jen is clearly a homophobe. Ok.

    p.31 Why does Michelle melt when she sees Brad help a lady? Is it the first time she sees someone help another person? Her character is ill defined. We don’t feel why would she fall for Brad – who actually was treating his models as meat. She could fall for anyone actually.

    p. 45 This Karaoke took too long. We should pick up speed at this point. I understand the fun intentions of a girls night out at a karaoke bar but we get it. And the ending with Michelle falling. I don’t know man, seems like all the comedy so far is her being clumsy. If she really is clumsy you should establish that with her first date too.

    p 49 If this isn’t some game from Brad’s side, I can’t see why he now goes for Michelle.

    p.51 Ok, at page 51 we have some thoughts by Jen, which ring true but Michelle doesn;t aknowledge that. That’s nice. Deep down she is such a prude.

    p 61 Carl’s line where he exposes Michele’s feelings for Brad is so on the nose.

    p 67 Interesting as this whole setup is, it is a bit off. Brad ditched Tanya, that’s their problem. I can’t really accept that a 25 year old who is doing this for four years hadn’t thought about a situation like this. How can she be saying “what have I done” to herself?

    p. 68 Wow, that bus came metaphorically out of nowhere!

    p. 74 Stopped. Tanya watching them kiss on a video camera seemed week and forced. All these relationship dynamics could have been presented much simpler and better. There is potential in this but my two bucks is that you have to move away from your typicall romcom plot. Show us more of these people’s Fears and Desires.


    No changes to this, and yeah that is bad. But on the otherhand the opening is so fierce and packed with raw energy. I would very easilywatch this in a movie theater. Kept my interest along the way.

    So, do we judge by comparing scripts with themselves/previous versions? Between them? Do we try and be objective? Is it a matter of personaltaste and even of friendships? I dunno. I guess all of that together.

    I feel that whoever wins this tournament will be just lucky. It is a matter of chance. That doesn’t mean they didn’t work. But common, USA voted for Trump, I mean no sane person would vote for him, right? Right? Still they did for many, many reasons, that one by one might make sense but all together are so messed up that it was a matter of chance whether Donald or Hilary would win.

    So, back to the Attacker, I feel there need to be many rewrites, but it has more power, more gut, more passion, more interesting characters and settings and a premise than the other two scripts today. A very easy read, with lots of energy. How can you not give kudos to that?

    I guess you primarily need to like football (emmm, soccer) in order to like this. So…

    My only (main) concern is that it could be offensive to Slavs/Eastern Europeans. From what I understand that’s a reason why you are using fake names and places. Making fun of stereotypical behaviors is funny (hell, Goscinny did it all the time) but you must know your shit. I don’t remember if you are a Serb or something, I guess you are not, but in this part
    of the world we have lived through some heavy shit: wars, civil wars, bombing. I guess you dwelled into these stuff – that’s my impression from the script. Just as an advice, there needs to be a bit of caution on what and how and most of all WHY you say it. If you do, this can be easily a big hit in Europe.

    p. 3 Great opening. Would love to see this again later.

    p. 13 I feel we spend too much time in kitchens and hotels at this point.

    p. 14 Great, his brother is in trouble. This is good, so we have a GSU early on.

    p. 18 Easy to get drawn into this. Not because of writing, not because of technique, but because it is simple, relatable, different and suspenseful. So simple.

    p. 20 Dang! Come on, this is sooo intriguing. It needs work but I am totally invested in this. A cocky star player, among bad-ass fans of a rival team!

    p. 23 Wouldn’t it be more logical that the fan is watching replays from the match?

    p. 33 I am not a big fan of action and I am afraid it can get a bit tiring but this still has a
    lot of momentum. I can see it like something between Children of Men, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Pulp Fiction and a Kusturica or a Dragojevic film. Bloody noses, cocky tattoos and lots of sweat and dirt.

    p. 36 His brother is dead. At least that is what he is told. Ok, interesting

    p. 38 Some might say Lina going with him is over the tiop but i think it is great. She has a
    motive. I imagine a player like CR in this situation, and it seems so fun. And I guess a woman wouldn’t be affraid to go with him… A romance seems to be evolving too and that’s gonna be interesting.

    p. 49. Stopped, partly because I have to read the third script too, partly because it became a tiny bit repetitive. Again what I would like would be to see another football game at some point. It felt like an action movie. In general, bring us back to the game, remind us that Pete scored a goeal with the help of his hand. That is part of his character. In the last 20 pages we haven’t seen any glimpse of that. He is just punching and running.


    I don’t hate the first page but I don’t find it intriguing either. It tells me nothing about what I am going to see. Question: Does it sound interesting to an American because it is part of his history and can connect to it in a level? I liked the opening with the letter way more.

    It is well written, I like it but I think we have too much information and description in these first five pages. I understand that that rhythm and atmosphere play a part in a script but there is not much of the latter here.

    Another thing is that a bank job is a very interesting vehicle for a story: when you plan the job you are still in your comfort zone, when you walk to the bank you are still not breaking the law, but when you enter a bank armed there is no turning back. That’s your start of Act 2.

    So, I would start this in a totally different way: An intro to the Dalton Gang and a Reason for their plans, the Planning of the bank job, the Way to the bank job and the Bank Job. Ok, you say, that is not 20 pages. Well it is, if they are interesting 20 pages! You got 5 members of a gang with dynamics, you have a small road trip, a plan, and tension building up until that bank is broke. That can be a massive first act, a short film within a feature film – just like the first sequence of Drive.

    And also now we don’t really get what went wrong. Why and how did the citizens ambush the gang? Why was this different than other robberies?

    Finally, I don’t have a real problem with it, but what is up with the font? Seems like a trendy Roboto Slab or something.

    p. 11 Too much SHOOTS THIS and SHOOTS HIM. Too much.

    p. 13 Very dangerous approach you have. We don’t feel anything for anyone yet so all this action is pointless unless it is unique and smart. So many pages with people firing and dying. People who are nothing to us.

    p. 15 Why does Bill say that they had no right? Wasn’t it a big gunfight? Ok, so let us say the people started the fight. So, Bill is just talking shit in front of everyone. They don’t arrest him? He openly says he will take vengeance… Ok, I know different times and all… but there must be a hint of how things work there and then.

    p. 21 Stopped. Too many characters with no real character. It needs to be more focused in my opinion. It is still all over the place and I don’t have a clue of where this is going.

    • Scott Crawford

      Great notes! Erm… which script would you like to see advance to the semis?

      • Carmelo Framboise

        Don’t worry Scott. I am putting my vote down at your post. It is not gonna affect teh voting anyway :)

    • Billie B

      Thanks for taking the time to read and offer notes, Carmelo. There’s a lot for me to think about here, thanks!

      I just wanted to say that it wasn’t my intention to make Jen homophobic, it’s her all encompassing belief that all men are gay (after her dad left her mom for a man), and it’s ridiculous, obviously. But that’s what the movie is about (since you asked). People forming all encompassing beliefs because of past wounds, and learning to move on and see the craziness and damage in having any kind of blanket thinking. I actually thought I’d been too on-the-nose with the movie’s message, but sounds like I need to take a closer look and dig deeper.

      As for the outdated feel, I can definitely see room for freshening it up, and it’s something I’ll take a hard look at. I guess I assumed the target audience would be an older demographic than the protagonist. I write chick-lit novels about women in their early twenties, but the majority of women buying my books are in their 40s and 50s, it’s an odd thing. And obviously movies should try to appeal to the broadest audience, so maybe the answer is somewhere between the two.

      Thanks again! You’re an asset to the community.

      • Carmelo Framboise

        I truly feel you got the right amount of passion and creativity to make this totally work.

        It can evolve to a great rom-com. It just needs a kicking up to make it stand out. :)

  • Dan J Caslaw

    Read the first few pages of all 3. Voting for HELLFIRE ALLEY.

  • witwoud

    My vote: THE BAIT.

    For me this is the stand-out script not just of the week, but of the tournament. The basic concept, the style of humour, and even the genre may not be to everyone’s taste. But the way it establishes the main characters and the situation and then plunges straight into the story within a space of a few pages is really quite masterful. And it continues in the same vein, sticking like glue to the plot and moving things forward with each scene. I never once got that feeling I get in most amateur scripts of wondering what the hell is going on, and why those last ten pages were necessary. Sure, it could to with more work, but this is already a film I’d love to see. Great stuff.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY. I like this new opening, which provides a bit of a ‘frame’ to the story. At least, that seems to be the idea. Unfortunately, after reading 30 pages of this new draft my thoughts were exactly the same as when I read the first 30 of the old one: what’s the story here? Supposedly it’s about Bill avenging his brothers. But instead of getting on with it, what we see is the gang robbing trains, robbing more banks, horsewhipping newspaper editors … and by this stage it had just lost me. Billy Wilder wrote, ‘Develop a clean line of action for your leading character,’ and even though this script is taking a ‘gritty, true story’ approach I feel this is what it needs: a clearer storyline. Kudos for the authentic details and dialogue.

    THE ATTACKER. As before, I think this is a terrific idea for a film, but the execution isn’t there yet.

    Good luck to all!

    • Billie B

      Thanks witwoud. That’s sweet of you to say. :) I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: 21st century Oscar contenders ranked by historical accuracy:

    What’s worrying is the smaller, more intimate (and British) films that lack accuracy. Is it that the Americans spend more money on researchers?

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to THE BAIT.


    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages. Pretty good. Classic rom-com. Didn’t have many notes. Wanted Michelle’s code of conduct firmed up, establish she’s not a relationship wrecker, just a doubt confirmer. No married people, no sleeping with the target etc. Also, maybe a longer first pickup with Coffee Guy. Establish her moves so we see them fail with Brad. Tanya’s borderline craziness seems to be important. Make it more obvious when we meet her.

    Notes while reading.

    p. 1 – “meet cute” heading. Will we have “boy meets girl” etc headings? (apparently not)
    p. 1 – Coffee on shirt scene s/be bigger. Let’s see how she operates.
    p. 3 – “FIFA game” Who talks like that? Manchester derby, El Classico, Chelsea smashing Everton. Sorry, soccer fan here. Note: Make sure time is right for live game in England.
    p. 5 – Busted! Good.
    p. 7 – “Santa’s a lie” Maybe establish her cynicism based on experience a bit stronger.
    p. 9 – Michelle should stand her ground with models (they’re all insecure anyway). End up on even worse terms with Brad.
    p. 12 – Establish the concept of “bait” in the first pickup scene. e.g. Disappointed fiancee says to her, You’re just the bait; I had to throw the fish away.
    p. 12 – “suspicious enough” Establish her code. She shouldn’t be seen as a marriage wrecker. That would lose audience sympathy. She’s a doubt confirmer.
    p. 18 – Does Brad not recognize her at the farm? Surely he would refer to their previous meeting and put her down a bit.
    p. 20 – Slapstick sequence seems a bit tonally wrong.
    p. 23 – JEN should be capped. We’ve not met her before. Remind us she was the voice on the speakerphone earlier. I thought she was a business associate but she seems to be just a friend. Describe her and her (gay) boyfriend.
    p. 30 – Zombie VR game. Interesting development. I have no idea how these games work so can’t comment.
    p. 91 – Lightening s/be lightning.
    Last pages: Obviously I missed some developments with the kiddie party etc. Classic all-is-lost scenes and rush to airport. I like, other might diss as cliche. Satisfactory ending.


    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages. Plenty of action but a bit lightweight at only 81 pages. On the plus side, we get into the story quickly and the action doesn’t stop once it starts. But the drawback is we don’t get to know the characters well. We need a reason to care about their fate. As it is, MC Pete is a belligerent sporting and sexual cheat and his brother a dope-smoking sponger and layabout, based on the early pages. Not the sort of people to root for.

    The love interest (?) Lina at 35 or so is too old for Pete. Besides which, any woman who can punch a fit young man lights out with one blow to the face is probably built like Mike Tyson. Not my dream girl. Maybe her daughter qualifies? No age given, but probably around 15. Too young, and she appears to be a drug addict from the little I read about her.

    Belial and his fellow football fans, on the other hand, make excellent villains. Mean motherfuckers, the lot of them, and quite believable.

    I see we get another soccer match near the end. Is this wise? It slows things down when we should be rushing to wrap things up. Maybe story logic dictates it if one reads the whole thing.

    Notes while reading:

    p. 2 – If near the goal mouth surely it’s a penalty kick not a free kick?
    p. 3 – “smacks it down with his hand” should be CAPS. It’s important! Also, those in the crowd who see it always shout, “Hand ball!”
    p. 6 – Let us learn more about Pete and Jamie in the locker room scene.
    p. 8 – “Jamie shows Nassir a photo” while they are unloading luggage. Forced scene at an inappropriate time. Rather let this scene take place in the hotel and intro it more naturally.
    p. 14 – Replaying the goal on the TV. Surely they’d slow-mo it and highlight the hand ball? Later I think the enraged fans should continually refer to the hand ball when they chase him.
    p. 24 – Lina knocks Pete unconscious with one punch. Unlikely.
    p. 29 – Boxing with the vendor: I’d expect more trash talking before they exchange blows.
    p. 30 – Biker attack. New scene heading needed.
    p. 30 – What’s happened to the brother? No mention of him for many pages.
    Last pages: Another soccer game. Absolutely predictable Pete will score the winning goal. (Okay, it’s only an assist, but almost the same.) Do we need this cliche? I’m not sure of the relationship between Pete and Lina. Will they get together? She seems wrong for him. But then why introduce her in the first place?


    Read the first 30 and last 10 pages. It’s a fascinating story. I was too busy reading to make notes.

    My problem is this is more like a documentary than a feature movie or biopic. It’s all about who shot who than about why people behaved the way they did, or how they felt about things. So, although I think it’s extremely well done, I can’t vote for it.

    Niggle: I hate having to turn the page sideways to look at the maps and photos. Also, the map could be done better. Base it on Google Maps view of Coffeyville. You can still make out how it was laid out.

    • Billie B

      Hey Citizen M, thanks so much for taking a look and picking up on these issues. Agreed I need to firm up the ‘doubt confirmer’ angle (and much more). I’ll try my best!
      Thanks again, and have a great week :)

  • Kirk Diggler

    The Bait – …..

    • Scott Crawford

      OK. But what about the other two scripts? With only vote in it, it would be fairer on Billie and Kenneth if they knew why their script wasn’t chosen.

      • Kirk Diggler

        I posted my thoughts before I was done. I’m editing the post right now.

    • Billie B

      All valid points, KD, thanks for sharing this and taking the time.
      I think I need to make the world and rules clearer. I really want her service to be that of a ‘doubt buster’, not a ‘home wrecker’. I’ll think about ways of massaging the execution for clarity. I’m adding your other points to my notes list now :)

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT (on topic):

    Polls close in 8 and 1/2 hours Eastern Time.
    9 AM in Paris.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m going to bed in 17 minutes. Polls close 6 hours after that but your vote may not be counted.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Sorry. Was only off by 2 hours.
        (Within the margin of error for an amateur.)

  • Scott Crawford

    Good night! Here’s a bedtime story read by Isla Fisher:

  • Levres de Sang

    Afraid I can’t separate Hellfire Alley and The Bait. I’ve given my thoughts on The Attacker below, but “Well Done!” to both Ken and Billie for their continuing efforts. Both scripts need work, but whichever one wins will make for a worthy semifinalist. Anyway, a few notes that may be helpful going forward…

    HELLFIRE ALLEY: I’d open with the Kansas Plains and Condon Bank with Marshall Nix in V.O. We can then zoom in on the Wanted posters situated on various storefront exteriors. It would feel more cinematic. I also think all Westerns should start with an EXT. Give us a sense of that wide-open space over the opening credits.

    I did flick ahead a bit and really felt the assured nature of this rewrite. Good work! However, I do think the opening pages remain tricky to navigate. Perhaps reduce the number of named characters (I like the fact that in Pale Rider the seven deputies are simply referred to as “deputies”). Maybe also try and smooth out some of those transitions. Finally, I’d lose the modern-day endpapers. They take me away from the era you’re trying to depict. I’m not against photos per se, but if you’re going to use images then go for contemporary sepia tones. For instance, I like the way Peckinpah uses them over the credits of Pat Garrett.

    THE BAIT: Afraid I couldn’t detect much change in the first 15 or so. The pages also felt rather busy with all the INSERTS and underlines. Flicking ahead, I can say that while this is really not my thing I do think you demonstrate a natural feel for all the incidentals of this genre — and for that it would be unfair for me to vote against you. Good luck and sorry I can’t be more helpful!

    THE ATTACKER: I read the opening pages when this first appeared, but they didn’t work for me. Not only did I find the characters unlikeable, but I just couldn’t get past the premise. If I’m honest, it all felt somewhat cartoonish. Also bear in mind that when you get into the realm of soccer cheating then you’re up against Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” — a goal scored in a World Cup QF between two nations who were at war only four years earlier and with a history of on-the-pitch “needle” dating back to 1966.

    • Scott Crawford

      Well, if you’re not going to vote, other people will decide who goes through. Thanks for the notes, I’m definitely going to bed now.

    • Billie B

      Hey Levres, thanks for taking a look. You’re right, not much changed in the first 15 at all. A few lines of dialogue, I think, and some polishing. Most of the changes (3 new scenes and changed scene intentions) happened from Act 2 onwards.

      Thanks for your kind words! :)

  • Jarrean

    Hellfire Alley Notes:

    I think the inclusion of the map helps once one starts reading the layout in the script.

    I’d probably change the name Tommy to Thomas. Sounds more fitting for the period.

    Make better use of the Preacher or cut him out completely.

    There should be more direction given to who McKenna spreads this word to. Yes, we know he’s outside his shop, but the whirlwind of people who seem to hear this doesn’t gel. Or there’s no reference me thinks.

    Too many characters at this point. Page 8.

    Bailed at page 14. I see a new crop of characters being born.

    This feels like one of those instances where there’s not enough story to make it to be a feature. Looking at 82 pages. And from skimming the style of writing I’d say it’s actually shorter than that. There are a lot of character set-ups with no pay offs. The story is about the Bills but the first one didn’t make an appearance till page 12?

    This might be better served in another medium.

  • New_E


    Based off the loglines, it would have to be HELLFIRE ALLEY, followed by THE ATTACKER. I happen to like what I’ve read of HELLFIRE ALLEY. So, that gets my vote. Going to copy and paste previous notes.


  • Cal

    I’m getting this in last minute, but my vote this week goes to…


    I love it as much as I did the first time I read it. The first page is gripping and pulls me in immediately. It’s flirty and the wet T-shirt contest makes me want to keep reading, whether the writer did that for a general audience, or just men, she hit the nail on the head.

    Again, Billie, I think this is a really entertaining rom-com, and your writing style fits the tone of the genre perfectly. it’s fun, and really the only solid rom-com we’ve seen in the competition, so congratulations.

    • Billie B

      Thanks Cal! Super sweet of you to say :)

  • Dallas Cobb

    Congrats, Billie! Can’t wait to read your script in full for the semis!

    Also, regarding Carson’s message above, haven’t the writers for next week’s quarterfinals been editing their scripts (hopefully) this whole time…? How are we supposed to read them early? Have the writers already sent out their newest drafts?

    • Scott Crawford

      And wou;d sending them out early be like campaigning? Better make sure that all three get a chance to post or send out their new scripts on the SS comments.

      • Scott Crawford

        I just had to look up who the next scripts were, so in case you don’t know:

        The Savage
        Thrills, Kills and Scotch
        Wild Card: Breaking Them Up

    • klmn

      They’ve got a few more days to work on them. I know Dave has been writing another script too, so he needs all the time he can get.

  • klmn

    Congrats to Billie on the win! I think Jean entered a strong script too (I voted for it in the first round) – and the worldwide popularity of soccer is a point in its favor.

    In the Wild Card round I squeaked by BMCHB’s script by a half point. He has some real magic in his writing and any producers lurking here might want to check it out. I think his title and logline may have cost him some votes.

    And while I’m pimping scripts, I’ll mention my previous Western. I think it’s better – more rewrites, and it’s focused on two men (mostly on one). Industry pros can download it here:

    • Scott Crawford

      It was a (mostly) fair fight and I knew it would be close – at this stage, you’re talking about the best of one bunch vs. the best of another bunch.

      I can’t help (I can’t) thinking that if Jean had submitted a new draft, even with just a few changes, he might have got more votes.

      Given the notes you’ve got this weekend, what’s your strategy going forward? Are you going to polish the script you’ve got or go for a completely new draft? Or are you moving on? Given how much people praised your research, I can’t see you dumping the script, but some people maybe didn’t connect to it in the way that you might have liked (not all, but some) – would you consider a major rewrite to perhaps broaden the appeal?

      Just interested.

      • klmn

        I’ll put it away for awhile before I decide what to do. I want to write a sitcom pilot next. And Carson has been teasing us with a short script contest. If my pilot will be eligible I’ll enter that, otherwise I’ll write a separate entry.

        • Scott Crawford

          As a matter of fact, that would’ve been my suggestion – put the script to one side for the moment, work on something else and come back with a clear head.

          Best of luck!

    • Billie B

      Thanks klmn! Agreed it felt like it could have gone in any of the 3 directions. Well done on making it through another close call.
      I hope you get some traction on your Blacklist script because of this! It would be well deserved.
      All the best going forward :)

  • Citizen M
    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Amber and her friends are very openminded too. I already received two follows.

  • JeanR

    Congratulations to Billie !

    Just a few words for the commenters who were surprised I didn’t submit a new draft.

    As you must have guessed, English is not my first language and I was helped by a native speaker to get a proper first draft.

    a new version in good shape (i.e. not in broken English) was just not feasible at this point. So sorry to everyone who was expecting a new
    version (but your notes will be very helpful for the next one !).

    Thanks again to Carson, to the voters, and to anyone who took time to read The Attacker.

    • Zack Snide Err

      Great job by you and your help in producing the draft that you did. It definitely didn’t look, to my eye, like something written by a non native speaker.

      But I really don’t think it was that far away. And I don’t believe you needed a totally new version. At least not this past weekend.

      A simple polish to better exhibit fluency in soccer and english language soccer lingo would have won you at least this writers vote.

      Best of luck

  • Billie B

    Thanks guys!

    Kenneth, you’re classy and talented, and this easily could have gone either way. I can’t wait to see what you do with this going forward. Best of luck! x

    Jean, this makes so much more sense, now. If The Attacker is a sample of your writing chops while working against a language barrier, I can only imagine the skill on display in your mother tongue. Impressive. Good luck continuing to break down walls. :)

    To everyone else who showed up and took time out of their day to vote and offer suggestions, I’m going through now to personally thank you and ask for clarification on notes (if needed). I always consider all advice given, even if it doesn’t initially resonate. And some changes might be relevant, but too disruptive at the core story level for the given time frames of this contest. I’ll keep those notes on the back-burner, for now.

    Have a great week!

  • Billie B

    Thanks Laura! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Billie B

    Thanks for taking a look, Justin! Hopefully it reads a little smoother after my next pass. :)

  • Billie B

    Thanks so much, Jake!

  • Billie B

    Thanks Haque. Glad you liked the fixes :)

  • Billie B

    Thanks Haque! I got the call yesterday from Roadmap Writers (TB affiliate?) about being top 20 for the Route One contest, which is super exciting. Route One will interview us all via phone over the next few weeks. :) Fingers crossed!