The Scriptshadow Tournament pits 40 amateur screenplays against each other that you, the readers of the site, will vote on. Ultimately, YOU will decide the winner. Today we have the third group of entries. You can see who won Week One here and Week Two here. Read as much as you can from each of the entries and vote for the week’s winner in the comments section. Although it’s not required, your vote will carry more weight if you explain why you chose the script (doesn’t have to be elaborate, just has to make sense). I say “carry more weight” because a vote for a script without any explanation from an unknown voter may be seen as fake and not count towards the tally. I will announce the winner of this week here, in this post, on Sunday, 10pm Pacific time. That script will then go into the quarterfinals. Good luck to this week’s contestants!

Title: Widow’s Walk
Writer: Brett Martin
Genre: Contained Thriller
Logline: A psychic breaks into a haunted house to confront a malevolent force from her past that she believes has abducted her daughter.

Title: The Savage
Writer: Chris Ryan Yeazel
Genre: Historical Biography
Logline: The incredible true story of Squanto, the Patuxet Indian who was kidnapped from the Americas as a child and who then spent his life fighting impossible odds to return home, setting in motion a series of events that leads to one of the most significant events in American history.

Title: The Darlings
Writer: Matt Edward
Genre: Horror / Slasher
Logline: A group of teens venture to a secluded cabin for a grad night celebration, but the night of debauchery turns into a fight for survival when they fall prey to an ex-classmate turned convicted murderer who recently escaped from the authorities.

Title: Deadsight
Writer: Kosta K
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Logline: A man who can see the spirits of the dead traces a series of gruesome murders back to the suicide cult he was a part of when he was a child.

Title: Three Miles to Waffle House
Writer: Jeremiah Lewis
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Two friends attempt to get a post-concert meal at Waffle House, but become embroiled in a series of misadventures instead.

WINNER OF WEEK 3: “THE SAVAGE” by Chris Ryan Yeazel. Great job, Chris. And WOW, this week’s race was tiiiiiight. So this is probably a good time to say that if you don’t win your round, YOU’VE STILL GOT A SHOT! I’ll be including FOUR WILD CARDS into the quarterfinals. At the end of the first round, we’ll have a Wild Card Week, where ten highly-voted runner-ups compete for four wild-card spots. The top 4 vote-getters from that week will move into the quarterfinals along with the 8 winners.

I understand that this makes things tricky regarding rewrites. If you’re not sure your script will make the quarterfinals, why rewrite it? Well, if you finished second place in your week, you’ll very likely be in the Wild Card Round, and if you finished a close third, there’s a slight chance you’ll be in it. So if that’s you, I’d rewrite the script, taking into consideration all the notes you received. Good luck and I’ll see you all back here next week for Week 4!!!

  • Daivon Stuckey

    Not participating in voting since I entered, but I’m not feeling any of these loglines. Widow’s Walk, The Darlings and Deadsight just sound like the same old horror ideas, Waffle House sounds like a White Castle retread, and The Savage, while it could be a potentially interesting story, is so vague that I have no idea unless I knew the history.

    Obviously not judging the quality of the scripts themselves. They could all be amazing. But the loglines leave a lot to be desired.

    Again, I wish Carson would post the WYSR’s because I have no idea why he picked any of these, just like last week.

    • Kosta K

      JOE: Alright ramblers, let’s get ramblin’. Wait a minute, who didn’t throw in?

      MR. ORANGE: Mr. Pink.

      JOE (to Mr. Orange) Mr. Pink? (to Mr. Pink) Why not?

      MR. ORANGE: He don’t tip.

      JOE: (to Mr. Orange) He don’t tip? (to Mr. Pink) What do you mean you don’t tip?

      MR. ORANGE: He don’t believe in it.

      JOE: (to Mr. Orange) Shut up! (to Mr. Pink) What do you mean you don’t believe in it? C’mon you! Cough up a buck, ya cheap bastard, I paid for your goddamn breakfast.


      • Daivon Stuckey

        Not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I hope I didn’t offend :p.

        • Erica

        • Kosta K

          Nah, no offense taken. If there’s one thing I skim over too quickly is loglines. I always take them for granted :/

    • Reader1

      oh lord. we still got another 5 more weeks of listening to davion-the-baby whine because his script didn’t get picked (how can carson not see it’d win by a landslide because everyone would love it so much?). how can this tournament be “successful” if carson never even selects daivon’s script, by far and away the best screenplay in this shit show? daivon PLEASE, we don’t need another 5 weeks of listening to your crying and please stop slamming all the other entrants because you don’t think they live up to your gold standard. GROW UP!

      • Daivon Stuckey


      • The Colonel

        Flagged for anonymous assholery. And for shit capitalization.

  • Dan J Caslaw

    Read the first few pages of all 5.

    Vote – The Savage.

  • Lucid Walk

    “…dreck like The Emperor’s New Groove.”

    Still mad at you, Carson.

    • romer6

      Don’t worry, he never actually saw the movie.

    • Joe Marino

      The last Disney entry of the golden age I love.

  • Lucid Walk

    Congrats to everyone!

    My vote goes to DEADSIGHT, because it puts a fresh spin on the whole “can-see-ghosts” plot by adding in a mystery. I could use a good mystery nowadays.

    Plus, I want to go against the majority. I can’t help but feel like THE SAVAGE will earn the most votes because frankly, it has the best constructed logline.

    • garrett_h

      Haven’t started reading then yet but I’d say the early favorite is Widows Walk by our own Brett Martin. He’s got the homefield advantage lol. And he’s been working on it for a while.

      Good luck to everyone this week! Will try to read and vote after work.

    • Urugeth

      Writer of ‘The Savage’ here. Thanks for the comment. Writing the logline was a nightmare so thanks for saying that. I doubt I’ll get a whole ton of votes because historical biopics aren’t many people’s cup of tea (I mean, I always swore I would never write one, until I read this dude’s whole life story and was like “How the hell is this not a movie?!”) but you’ve seriously made my day better. I thought the logline was terrible, but I couldn’t figure out a better one for it. So thank you.

      • Joe Marino

        I like the logline. Biopics operate under different logline rules and I think you gave us just the right amount of information for us to decide whether we want to read or not.

      • Cal

        ‘I doubt I’ll get a whole ton of votes because historical biopics aren’t many people’s cup of tea’

        Guess again ^

  • Sean Cunningham

    Based purely on loglines, I’d have to say that Widow’s Walk is the one that immediately grabs your attention as being the story which is the most “unique”. I feel like I’ve pretty much already seen these other movies. The Savage is the only other one that sticks out, but the logline seems messy, leading me to believing that the script is going to try and cover his whole life in a 100 pages. I don’t think that will turn out too well.

    I’ll try and give all of these scripts a read though today.

    *Edit* YAY! No waiting for moderation anymore! Woot Woot!

    • Urugeth

      I try to cover his life in 125 pages. But yes, it’s messy. but the way I approached the biopic angle was not to tel the whole life, but the parts that informed to moment that shaped his life if that makes sense. Rather than just give you a Wikipedia article of the guy’s life, I approached it in a way where I tackled aspects of what made him who he was. So one act would be about one part of his life. The next about another. And all these trials and conflicts would shape him in such a way that when we reach the climactic moment, where he makes the polar opposite choice than he would have if he was the same character in the first ten pages f the script, we immediately get it and understand why. That was my approach to this particular bio pic.

  • jeaux

    Deadsight gets my vote. Read the first 10 of each one except The Darlings – sorry but the logline just sounds like a cliche horror movie to me. If there’s something in your story that makes it otherwise, you should mention it. Anyway, The Savage and Deadsight both had good openings, but I liked Deadsight better. Even the first page has a nice little setup and creepy payoff. Also, I liked the Chelsea reveal, even though I had to double back to make sure I read correctly. Will read more of these two.

    • Matt Edward

      The hardest part about the logline for “THE DARLINGS” was not spoiling the twist at its core… And it is one fucked up twist. Alongside the fact that the horror doesn’t just come with the killer but from within this group of teens… I don’t want to lay it on the table here, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed you open it up for the first five.

      Either way, thank you for the feedback!

      • jeaux

        Fair enough, I’ll give it a shot. Thanks.

      • Scott Crawford

        I think it’s a perfectly decent longline and there’s no need to blow your twist.

        Something I read the other day, the guy was talking about NOVELS but I think the advice works for scripts: write your script for your target audience (in this case horror fans) then rely on word of mouth.

        There’s a lot of horror fans here (not me but I’m odd) who would love to crack the spine on your script because it has all the elements that appeal to them. And if most of them like it, they’ll recommend it and the more skeptical non-horror fans might check it out too.

        What do you reckon; am I right?

        • Matt Edward

          This is exactly what I’m gunning for… I just have to restrain myself from blowing the script’s wad (twist) on every mention of “been there, done that” from the skeptical. Thanks, Scott!

        • UPB13

          You’re not odd. Horror movies are scary.

      • The Colonel

        Give the twist away. You’re not pitching the audience, you’re pitching a producer.

        Also: “to an ex-classmate turned convicted murderer.” I can see turning into a murderer, but why would anyone turn into a convicted murderer?

        • Matt Edward

          Thanks for the feedback on the logline.

          I’d rather not ruin the twist because it fucks up the reading, IMO… Imagine knowing the killers at the get-go in “Scream” – a lot of that movie would be devoid of suspense if you knew what was actually bubbling beneath the surface in the dynamic of the characters. There are scenes that would be ruined and you would be anticipating the reveal, checking off boxes as to how it is who it is.

          I definitely considered spoiling it, but I think it would come at the detriment to what’s on the page, at least in the setting of this site… If I was pitching this in person, hitting the plot beats, I’m definitely giving away the twist, but something about putting it in writing makes me feel like it would devalue the script.

          Thanks again!

          • The Colonel

            I hear where you’re coming from, but better to give away the twist and convince somebody to read it than keep the twist and have them pass you by. I think if you worked at it, you could divulge what’s interesting about the twist without betraying it completely.

          • Matt Edward

            As this is an Achilles heel of sorts for this script with some of the feedback, the rough construction of a spoiling logline:

            Disappointed by the direction of their children’s lives, a group of parents lure their recent high school graduates to a cabin in the woods only to murder them one by one and frame them as victims of a serial killer.

          • ShiroKabocha

            I really like that twist :)

            Now I haven’t opened your screenplay so take my comments with a grain of salt.

            Based on the logline I have to agree that this twist alone is not enough to say you’ve subverted the tropes. You’ve got to have lots more things that feel fresh. Starting with the location. By now the cabin in the woods has to be the most boring, generic location for a horror movie ever. There are only very few fresh choices left that you can come up with to save a script from cabinitis.

            Maybe set the story during prom night ? It’s still a very classic setting but at least it’d feel less “empty”. You could play with all the other students and create yourself more obstacles. How do you kill off 5 people out of hundreds ? You could slowly unravel the mystery of why these five are targeted. The victims seem random until the murders point to a connection, another student who bears some grudge towards these five people or whatever. Except of course the student is framed by one of the parents who wants to off him / her too. Maybe have one or more teachers helping the parents as well.

            Or you could turn the endeavour into a death riddle game (survival / deadly games are a huge ongoing trend in manga / anime. You might want to jump on that bandwagon while Hollywood is still clueless).

            This is their last chance to fulfill their parents’ hopes of a bright future and save their lives. So you can have them answer riddles and dodge obstacles related to their specific orientation. They could face threats that force them to reconsider their choices and oblige their parents’ wishes. Maybe the parents aren’t doing the killings themselves but hired the services of a secret, professional organization that deals with disobedient / disappointing offspring. Bam ! Franchise :)

            And if you like the forest setting, the kids could be sent to “summer camp” to “gain experience” and learn new skills that effectively turn to survival skills. Maybe that’s what you did already in your script ? (And sequels could take place in a new location each time, with new kids, new riddles and new skills required. And you could have the origin story of the shady organization helping the parents and so on…)

            Anyway. Your theme / twist is very interesting. Lots of potential there. Now you just need to explore options and make as many fresh, unexpected choices as you can.

            Good luck ! :)

          • huckabees

            That bandwagon of deadly games seems to have already arrived in Hollywood: Hunger Games, Nerve etc. I’m not a manga reader so I have to ask: Is there a big difference in how these movies and manga use survival games?

          • ShiroKabocha

            Could you expand on your ‘etc’. Because Hunger Games and Nerve are the only two I know of as well. And when I read the logline for Nerve recently I immediately thought that someone has noticed all those mangas too or read Ousama Game (haven’t seen the movie yet so I won’t say how “inspired” by that manga it is…).

            Hunger Games is a variation on the old roman games : blood sport for entertainment of the masses (see Rollerball or The Running man). But with kids fighting each other instead (see Battle Royale). And romance, cause it’s YA after all. So not a new genre, but I haven’t seen a lot of movies emulating Hunger Games since.

            Whereas Hunger Games is state-organized, large scale killing fest, most “deadly game” stories you see in manga right now follow the same trend. I.e. a small group of people, a shady organization or a single individual with a vengeful bent that operate on the fringe, who inflict a wide variety of riddles and trials on the protagonists.

          • huckabees

            Other deadly games movies that come to my mind are: Gamer, The Maze Runner, Would you rather, Saw, Cube. And the upcoming Ready Player One which kinda turns into a deadly one while playing.

            I checked out Nerve and can really recommend it. The music was unbearable for my taste but otherwise it’s a great thriller which criticizes online voyeurism and callousness without coming across as too preachy.

            OK, so in manga the organizers of those games are comparable to Bond-like villains?

          • ShiroKabocha

            Ah, right. Saw and Cube are pretty old though and they were separated by a few years. There’s been quite a few “death game” novels and mangas released in a small amount of time so it’s something that really speaks to japanese readers right now.

            Usually the villains are lunatics or fanatics of some sort. Either related to the protagonists, operating their sick game in the shadows, or small groups with advanced technology (the deadly games are often virtual reality / online games, which is another big trend. See Accel World or Sword Art Online for instance).

            Sometimes there’s a “point” to these (revenge, military), sometimes not. Kind of a supernatural deus ex machina to “save” the protag from his meaningless human condition or just some twisted mastermind’s idea of fun. A few of those mangas are still ongoing as well so the villains’ identities and / or motives remain elusive, although that’s not what really matters anyway. It’s more about creative twists and challenges to dump on the ordinary protagonists and how they’ll manage to outsmart their enemies.

  • Kosta K

    Hey! Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to give DEADSIGHT a read (and a vote)! Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Especially regarding the logline. I fucking panic with those things :(

    May the most liked script win!

    • jeaux

      Only read the first 10 so far and liked it but one thing I would suggest would be to describe the “FIGURES” a little more, paint us a picture. Are they normal looking people? Are they black and shadowy? Just a small nitpick.

      • Kosta K

        That’s a recurring comment since I’ve made it “public”. The description of the figures is at the top of my rewrite list!

    • Garrett

      Hey Kosta, I forgot… I wanted to also say something about your logline. I think you have some good elements in it. I like a man tracing a series of murders back to a suicide cult he was [unwillingly] apart of as a child. The only thing that sticks out as a problem to me, is the part about him seeing spirits of the dead. That is one element that is sort of on its own in regards to the rest of the idea. I don’t doubt that it has a place, but as far as someone who doesn’t have a clue what your story is about, and the logline being their first impression, I’d find a way to include it that ties in more to how it’s going to particularly help him in his investigation. After reading your first page, I’m assuming what the boy sees are these dead spirits. That’s great that it’s in the first page, plus it sets the tone immediately.

      • Kosta K

        I wanted to tie the logline to the title in some way. I’m prepared to do a word one rewrite of the logline, too.

        • Garrett

          Hmm, yeah. It seems like there might need to be some major reworking of it to find it in a new light. The fact that you’re willing to do that sets you bars ahead of your competition. Most folks would easily pass on doing something like that and see it as “unnecessary.” Something I can tell immediately about writers is if they want to get it right, make it even better, then I know they’re re-writers. And that, honestly… is about 80% of the difference between the beginners and the advanced. Keep up the good work!

  • Matt Edward

    Writer of “THE DARLINGS” here… Thank you to Carson for including me in this week’s round.

    For those of you who are curious, here is my **WHY I SHOULD BE PICKED**:

    I had some sort of cinematic disorder growing up… Until around fifteen, I could not understand why anyone watched anything other than horror movies. That’s pretty much all I consumed as a kid… I mean, those movies had everything: blood, guts, suspense, humor, and nudity… That’s all you needed to keep a prepubescent kid happy. Flash me some intestines and a gratuitous tit shot every now and then and I will watch your trilogy of slasher movies to the very end.

    How does this bring us to “The Darlings?” Well, that early inundation of slasher flicks can be construed as a fork in the road – I would either become the next Jeffrey Dahmer or write a slasher script. I chose the latter. But beyond the jest, I wanted to write something that I may have enjoyed growing up and, with “The Darlings,” I believe I’ve come close…

    “The Darlings” isn’t some massive attempt to subvert the genre and I’m not going to lie to you and say every bit of this story is groundbreaking. The script buys into the tropes it needs to, but hopefully, by the last disembowelment, it does something new for you within a well-tread genre.

    And just to give you a background on the timeline of the writing…

    I started this back in May alongside the initial posts for Let’s Write a Fucking Screenplay, and ended up knocking out a first draft pretty quickly (this was an idea I had been kicking around for a bit, but was having trouble with the scale of the tale until this comp). I sought some feedback, made some major changes and additions to the character motivations, and flipped the script on the relationship between Luke and Erin… Let’s just say it went a lot better in the first draft for Erin.

    I look forward to your feedback and, even if you don’t open the script, taking the time to read this post or even considering opening “THE DARLINGS.”

    Best of luck to everybody this week!

    • Cal

      That’s a hellava pitch… you were my runner up but I may have to give yours a full read as well. I liked the first 15, kept me grounded in the irony that some heads were gonna roll… and they did…

      • Matt Edward

        Thanks, Cal! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story if you ever get around to it.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on Round 1 of the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    Started with this one. Matt Edward is a known commodity for me. I don’t think there is anyone around here, for me, who captures American culture as well as he does in his writing, especially the anxieties of American youth. I read 32 pages. I’d read more. He doesn’t disappoint me here. I can even ignore probably one of the most jarring yet provocative lines of description I’ve ever read in a script,
    “His bare ass wafts in the breeze”.

    Some things, however…
    page 1- Casey is trying not to laugh as Steve takes off his shirt. The description suggests it’s because of his “hairless chest” but why is that something to laugh at unless we could get into her mind either by a previous line of dialogue or physical action, or he’s described as very skinny or there’s something completely odd about his hairless chest?
    The same thing is done on page 4. How do we know that Steve doesn’t know the difference between the songs? Not big things, I suppose, but they took me out of the read for a second.

    Page 4- I see this a lot in scripts and it bugs me, ” a masked figure” is presented, but no description at all of the mask unless I missed something. Is it a generic sports mask? Is it an everyday object or cultural image used in a unique way? Is it something totally original in design? Later on page 12, the figure tosses it on the passenger seat and I am reminded I have no idea what it is.

    So far, the genre, I believe has been fulfilled. The violence is particular brutal and satisfying for horror fans. The images striking and memorable especially the mattress. I liked the surprise that Steve was still alive after the initial assault and he goes for the phone. Felt the tension there, nicely done. The audience for this might be less appreciative of giving so much thought to the parents but I liked that Erin’s parents were drawn out. There is a generic familiarity to all this, for me, as these kids go off to party and we know that a slasher story is to follow, they’ll be picked off one by one, but the Erin and her overprotective parents lends the story for me some weight that spurs me to continue. That scene where her father almost threatens her not to be dead made me angry at him. At once I want to follow her and hope she dies to punish him for that, but also want to see her survive because of her mother putting her on that bus.

    As well, going off the logline, one with any thought of who the ex-classmate could be is giving some clues here, whether they are right or not, I don’t know. At least I’m given the opportunity to twist my mind around some options. This makes me what to read more as well.

    So, I’m nicely snug between “The Hustlers and the pot” and I’m liking it.

    • Matt Edward

      Thank you for the feedback, Randy, and giving the first act a read! Your feedback is always great and much appreciated… And I’m trying not to let that opening endorsement over-inflate my head. Thanks again!

  • Scott Crawford

    At the Olympic Park buying very expensive light bulbs, but I’ll try to keep up:

    Votes so far, 23rd September 2016: 0 votes (0%)

    The Darlings: 0 votes

    Dead sight: 0 votes

    The Savage: 0 votes

    Three Miles to Waffle House: 0 votes

    Widow’s Walk: 0 votes

    • Scott Crawford
      • Randy Williams

        Is this Australia?

        • Scott Crawford

          I know! You try something new and it comes out wrong. Allow me to try again (not that it’s really that relevant).

          • Randy Williams

            Everything you do is relevant. Some of us want to know what you wear to bed.

          • Scott Crawford

            you really, REALLY don’t!This is what I’m wearing white i type this:


            i need to shop for some new ones.

          • Garrett

            Hey, it’s ok… you’re living on a writer’s budget! :-)

          • jeaux

            So. Many. Floral patterns.

          • Scott Crawford

            I never really think about it, I’m so used to it. I think my Dad just put down anything he could get his hands on. That’s why it’s a good idea to get out and go to different places, ones more tastefully decorated.

    • Scott Crawford

      THIS is where I’m tallying my votes from. Just to add a bit of colour.

      • Erica


        • Scott Crawford

          Air conditioned!

    • jeaux

      Hey Scott, mark me down for a vote for Deadsight as well. Thanks.

      • Scott Crawford

        Sorry, jeaux, I did but it got auto-corrected to JESUS! Nor sure why Disqus keeps auto-correcting so I’m typing this on Open Office and pasting it as text. It’s the future of screenwriting!

        • jeaux

          Ha. I didn’t know Open Office was so holy. (Auto-corrects all names to either Jesus or one of the 12 apostles.) Maybe I’ll change my screen name to Lucifer and see how Open Office likes that! Stupid Open Office.

          • Scott Crawford

            No, no, no. Open Office is fantastic. It’s Disqus that keeps auto-correcting. I can barely type this without it wanting to post different words. Anyone else having problems?

          • witwoud

            Hi Scott … are you sure it’s Disqus doing this? Sometimes it’s your browser settings.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s on both my mac and iPad, which is weird. And it’s more pronounced on Disqus, but I will check, thanks.

    • Paul Clarke

      Hey Scott – I’m still working on some detailed notes, but you can put my vote down for WIDOW’S WALK

      As always Brett has set the bar high with a fast moving script with intriguing setup.

      I’m also impressed with Kosta’s Deadsight. Good to see you still pumping out new material.

      All the best to this week’s contestants.

    • Justin

      I wrote it on my post, but I’ll post it here too. My vote: WIDOW’S WALK.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Once again I vote for the underdog
      — and once again my vote doesn’t count.

      I can see THREE MILE playing at every waffle house across the country.

    • Citizen M

      Please change my vote to The Savage (reasons in my review).

      • Levres de Sang

        Your review seems to have mysteriously disappeared…?

        • Randy Williams

          I would have loved to see the review of The Darlings if that, as snips of discussion here seem to imply was his vote, since I’m the only vote so far for it. I find it difficult to understand why the reveal of the twist might sway a change in vote.

    • Cal

      This is great you’re keeping a tally, Scott. Just goes to show how much opinion, perception, and personal preference goes into how a reader chooses or reviews a script. This goes for production companies, agencies, and other script competitions as well. Good to remember when getting feedback… one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

    • Joe Marino

      My post with my vote is still pending, for some reason, so just so I can make sure the vote is counted: I split my vote between “Widow’s Walk” and “The Savage.” Thanks!

      • ShiroKabocha

        Votes are really close between those two (although The Savage also has a few runner-up votes). Time to pick one !

        This is gonna be an exciting finish :)

      • Garrett

        Hey Joe, what happened to your script, “A Rose…”? Did you do any competitions with it, did you get signed, etc?

        • Joe Marino

          If you have a Twitter, I can fill you in. Been a long journey. Bare bones info: got signed, spent the last 3 years doing LA, got assignments, Rose got optioned.

    • Steffan

      I got to read chunks of three of the offerings this week as they are in a virtual dead heat for the win.

      I very much enjoyed The Savage’s level of detail and in my opinion the best thing about it was also the thing I struggled with most. I think it feels wonderfully Hollywood! It’s epic and feels it right from the getgo, but because of that I felt that some of the verisimilitude that grew out of its descriptions was undercut by the tone. Still, I really enjoyed it and could see and more importantly feel what you were going for on the page. Great job. Plus, I know someone (or two) complained about the dialog, but I felt it struck the right cord.

      Deadsight is fun. I, for one, enjoyed the disembowelment if only for the fact that it created an unhinged feel to the whole shabang that kept me on edge. I would have read more (this was the third I read) but my tub’s trap literally fell off when I hit the twenty page mark and I had to spring into action and shoot over to home depot. The one thing that caught my eye on the simple, but sufficiently creepy opening is that many three year olds are no longer in cribs by three. Though, I don’t know how much terror the words “toddler bed” can inspire.

      Finally, I read Widow’s Walk. What I enjoyed most about WW was that it offered me an insular world that felt real and true even though the story was audacious. I liked that this is a script that could easily be made as it has a very small cast (nice work having characters do double duty) and minimal locations.

      My vote: WIDOW’S WALK

      With THE SAVAGE a close second.

      • Urugeth

        Thank you for the read and the feedback, Steffan. i really appreciate it.

        • Steffan

          I’m going to read it all the way through later this week after a few other scripts I’ve signed on to read. I’ll send you my full throughts later, Urugeth.

      • Cal

        The Savage gets really ‘savage’ in the second half, it takes a very interesting dark turn. I agree, very epic and adventurous in beginning, but if you read further it might surprise you. It did for me.

    • Mayhem Jones

      Hiya, Scott! I split my votes but said I’d go full if the race got tight–you can put me in for WIDOW’S WALK with DEADSIGHT as my runner up. Thank you kind sir! One deep fried pizza coming your way! (WAIT… I usually save those for my Carson bribes) ;)

      • carsonreeves1

        I’ve gone pretty deep into the underground food universe. But I have not yet gone fried pizza deep.

    • Urugeth

      Man, Scott, thank you for doing this. you always share scripts, comment, etc. and now you’re taking time out of your weekend to update and tally this stuff. Thanks so much for everything you do, man.

    • smishsmosh22

      I know who budgetfrog is outside of SS, so I can attest that he is not friends with the writer of the script he voted for. He has also submitted a script to this contest.

      • Scott Crawford

        Not a problem. I’m sure most people will consider all votes valid. Just being fair.

    • Trent

      Thanks for keeping the tally! You’re awesome. However, as a long time lurker who feels weird participating in anything in life, maybe I shouldn’t vote in these things if only the frequent commentators are vetted. I just wanted to be one of the cool kids..

      • Scott Crawford

        No problem. Someone brought it to my attention and I wanted to be fair on everyone. Anyone can vote, of course, but in the event of a draw, Carson has the casting vote.

    • Jarrean

      Scott, I normally lurk or I have difficulty remembering my login info.

      And I think it’s been more recent than 5 months since my last comment? I thought I posted during the initial phase of the 3-months contest, oh well.

      Best of luck to everyone. I’ll be sure to chime in more frequently.

      I’m still trying to complete my screenplay that I started for the contest, as well as a pilot script.

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s alright, I don’t think there’s a voting conspiracy going on! I just had to be fair, if I said someone was a first-time commentator I ought to say who has only occasionally commented. Doesn’t really make a difference.

    • Stephjones

      Hey Scott, I vote for Widow’s Walk. Read the first 10 and thought it was an inventive, effective opening.

  • hickeyyy

    I’ll toss my vote to Widow’s Walk. I really enjoyed the story. I gave Brett notes on it previously and I think he can turn it into something awesome with just a little work. I also read 2 different drafts and know he’s willing to put in work to make changes.

    • Mayhem Jones

      I agree. Brett is a re-writing POWERHOUSE!!

  • ElectricDreamer

    Thanks to Carson for throwing my hat into the ring. WIDOW’S WALK was a blast to write under the tournament rules. Any feedback is always greatly appreciated. Kosta is a stellar writing pal and we exchanged notes before the deadline. DEADSIGHT has one of the most gripping openings of all the tournament scripts I read! Here’s my pitch to Carson…

    WHY I SHOULD BE PICKED: This is the script I pitched to BoulderLight at my general meeting last month. They loved the irony of a famous psychic being unable to use her powers to find her own missing child. That poses some big dramatic questions: What’s blocking her psychic abilities? Is she a fraud? Or just a mother too stressed to focus? The script uses only two locations to keep the budget low for my enthusiastic producer pals.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks Brett! I’ll try not to let those kind words sway my vote ;p

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on Round 1 of the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    Read to page 18. I’d read more. I stopped there because I was so into the arrival of the Europeans and was mulling that over and didn’t want to continue to something else at that point. Maybe stay with the Europeans first arriving a bit longer?

    Anyway. Liked this. We start off with our protagonist with a goal and in a tight situation. He’s immediately endeared to us by his bravery, his kindness to his friend, and willingness to stand up for what’s right and he’s only a kid. Can’t go wrong there.
    As well, we’re given some history that goes against the generic “white man” as threat, when Squanto’s father spoke of the other tribe, clearly underlining their servitude to it and the constant threat of being completely wiped out by them.

    The tone for me so far is broadly TV friendly and family accessible. Certainly there’s the potential to go more realistic, darker or lighter like a Disney film, I guess.

    As with any good bio film, you’ve got me wanting to know more about this person. They had the TV movie on the life of Freddie Prinz on TV yesterday and I sat down and watched and immediately after Googled Freddie Prinze. I wanted to know more. Same here. I googled Squanto after reading just 18 pages.

    Good work.

    • Urugeth

      Thanks for the read and the comments. I really appreciate it.

  • Poe_Serling

    WEEK 3 of the SS tournament…

    Congrats to all the featured writers!

    First impressions just from the loglines:

    >>Widow’s Walk, Darlings, and Deadsight could easily be a block of movies showing on
    Chiller TV right now.

    >>The Savage – I kinda see this one as a ‘prestige’ film.

    >>Three Miles to Waffle House – For those movie fans who like their comedy served
    up on this kind of dish – it might be a fun ride.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on Round 1 of the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    Read to page 10. I’d read more if time allowed. The writing holds an underlying tension perfect for the genre. I am endeared to the protagonist. There’s a “Sixth Sense” familiarity to him but also a feel there’s something so much deeper there than what we get with Cole.

    Honestly page 7 is so brutal, one of those scenes I’d walk out of the movie for. Hated it. Didn’t want to continue after that but the logline promised he’d survive, so I did.

    My problem with the first ten is trying to anchor myself to some normalcy as a spectator. The first scene is all apparition, Norma herself is presented that way in her description, the old mansion, the baby’s appearance. I’m given a sudden shock of these “figures” and I’m supposed to see a contrast? I don’t. It’s all an Adams Family. Perhaps don’t describe Norma? We just see her arms and chest?

    We get hints of the “Sixth Sense” and a missing girl. A nice mystery box with the girl and I’m thinking because she stared at the boy on the bus, he had her “disappear”. In the classroom, we’re in this kid’s head and it’s off. So, when I get the “flyer for sewing lessons” attached to the board, I actually let out a sigh of relief. Finally an anchor, some normalcy to grab hold of.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the feedback, Randy! This is all going on the rewrite list! Tone is definitely a slippery snake when dealing with supernatural subject matter :/

  • wlubake

    This group of loglines sounds familiar. Not because I’ve read these scripts, but because I have read/seen many scripts/movies like these:

    Widow’s Walk – This one has some borderline new elements. We’ve seen psychics deal with ghosts. We’ve seen mothers desperate to get their kids back form malevolent forces. And we’ve seen haunted houses. I guess I haven’t seen them all in one script before, but it still feels like a worn path.

    The Savage – This is only familiar as it’s a biopic. But, I’m interested to learn about Squanto. I wish your logline gave a more direct reveal of his major life event. Also, he was kidnapped, but by whom. Where did he grow up? There’s no reason to hold any of this info back for suspense in a true life story/biopic.

    The Darlings – A group of kids in a secluded house being hunted by a killer. Not exactly breaking new ground. If there is something about your script that really sets it apart from others in this sub-genre, your logline HAS to highlight that. Currently, it does not.

    Deadsight – There are some interesting concepts here. It’s Sixth Sense meets the Wicker Man. Probably enough here to make it stand apart.

    Three Miles to Waffle House – Not many people are making the updated version of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Not sure Hollywood is looking for the next fast food destination film.

    Overall, I’m interested to read Savage, Deadsight, Widow Walk, Waffle House then Darlings, in that order.

    • The Colonel

      Waffle House actually appeals to me the most, because it sounds wacky and irreverent.

    • Urugeth

      wlubake, writer of ‘The Savage’ here. The logline for this story is tricky specifically because his major life event is being the man who was able to negotiate the peace between the Pilgrims and the Natives and thus usher in the first Thanksgiving. Which, frankly, isn’t very exciting sounding or interesting. What IS interesting was how Squanto came to be in that place, at just the right time, in the right (or wrong, depending on how you see it) circumstances with just the right friends to be able to pull that off, and how the whole event was basically one guy playing the moment into saving his own ass. Which is what the rest of the script is about. I hate the logline as it stands, so hopefully someone on here can help me figure out a better one because it’s killing me.

  • brenkilco

    checked out the first few pages of each, except for Waffle House. There’s a reason Harod and Kumar have moved on. But if it’s brilliant please somebody tell me.

    Squanto: The description is fine and clearly some research has gone into this. But as with a lot of historical scripts, and particularly scripts featuring indigenous peoples, the dialogue is a problem. Alternately too stiff and formal in a yonder lies the wetu of my father way, and too anachronistic. Also while Squanto did have an amazing life-how did they pilgrims react when they ran into an English speaking native?- there’s already a movie bio of the guy that came and went without notice in the nineties. Curious what the author feels he is providing that the old movie left out.

    The Darlings: Opening makes this appear a competently written, generic slasher film. So questions like why bother and what’s the point leap to mind. Esp.since the writer admits he isn’t bringing anything unique or subversive to the table. Not sure even Netflix has room for another example of this really tiresome subgenre.

    Widows Walk and Deadsight How do you like your psychics? Slow burn or in your face? Opening of Widow’s Walk is arresting. But frankly the most frightening element for me was the thought that we’ve come to a point where even in horrific psychic visions we can’t escape our cell phones. The cut to the car made it appear a variation of the it’s all a dream trope so the opening seemed rather artificial.
    Deadsight starts more quietly. The image of the figures around the bed was nicely done. A lot happening in the first ten pages. But maybe a bit too much left unexplained. Does the kid seeing the dead classmate come to anything? What’s the point of the weird fear baptism with the wigged out dad? And wait a minute, suddenly they’re in a cult? And cults, like Adam Sandler, are always a movie red flag. So it’s between these two for me. And just because I’m more in the mood for a mystery than a supernatural prizefight I pick Deadsight

    • Daivon Stuckey

      Could you elaborate on the “cults are a red flag” comment? That interests me.

      • brenkilco

        Aside from the old TV movie featuring Powers Boothe as Jim Jones I can’t recall ever seeing a movie featuring a cult that I thought was any good. Sort of an excuse to load up on the crazy, the queasy and the depraved. I am aware there were a couple of well received movies about cult deprogrammers- think one featured Kate Winslett- but haven’t see em.

        • Kosta K

          Check out The Sacrament!

        • Magga

          The Master!

          • brenkilco

            Yes. Sort of in its own class. I exempt all cult films where the adherents wear suits.

          • The Colonel


          • brenkilco

            Cobra IS the eighties. Take that any way you like.

          • The Colonel

            It’s a horribly mean-spirited and grim movie, not what you’re expecting when you see Stallone on the cover.

          • brenkilco

            Like a loathsome, music video directed by the Marquis de Sade on crack. And that full length coat Stallone insists on wearing makes him look about four feet tall.

          • garrett_h

            When my brother and I were young, we our mom into buying Cobra for us. Saw the VHS in the store while grocery shopping and we were like, “Awesome! Sylvester Stallone! Can we get it?” We had already seen the Rocky’s and Rambo’s, so we just KNEW it’d be awesome. I think this was around ’93 or so.

            Needless to say, we were disappointed. Not quite what we expected.

            I think we ended up melting the VHS cartridge with a magnifying glass or something after watching it. It’s long gone now. But we still have our Star Wars VHS tapes! And Ghostbusters!

        • Mallet

          Fight Club was amazing.

          • brenkilco

            May be getting to a point where we need to define our terms. Malcolm X and The Nun’s Story are impressive films too.

          • Levres de Sang

            Ah, I used to love The Nun’s Story — and no doubt still would if I’d actually watched it in recent memory. Must be Audrey Hepburn’s finest three hours. My other fave religious pic (I had quite a thing for them at one time!) is Rivette’s super-obscure La Religeuse: Suzanne Simonin from 1965.

            ** I feel that cult stories are near impossible to do well.

          • brenkilco

            Don’t know the Rivette. Actually have hardly seen any Rivette. And though it’s now streaming on Netflix haven’t worked up the strength to watch Out 1.

            Don’t have too many overtly religious favorites. Like Beckett and I think The Mission was somewhat underrated. Black Narcissus is rather remarkable. Though all three take a somewhat critical view of religion

          • Levres de Sang

            Yes, Black Narcissus was another good one and best remembered for Kathleen Byron’s crazy turn, although it suffers somewhat from being completely studio-bound.

            Out 1 has enormous curiosity value, but hard to imagine it not being a slog. Only other Rivette I’ve seen is Celine & Julie Go Boating. Highly acclaimed, but I can’t recall a single thing about it. A shame because I’m sure Rohmer would have done something great with that title.

          • brenkilco

            Julie and Celine routinely pops up on lists of the 100 greatest films. But as far as I know it’s never had a North American DVD release and I’ve never seen it.

            Narcissus was shot on the back lot but the production design is remarkable and at times it really does convince you it’s all taking place on top of a mountain.

          • Cal

            All Time Greatness

        • Daivon Stuckey

          Never seen Rosemary’s Baby?

          • brenkilco

            Hm. As it turns out, that group wasn’t a cult. They were a bunch of smart people who bet right.

          • The Colonel


          • Daivon Stuckey

            I didn’t realize part of the definition of cult included being “wrong” :p

        • klmn

          Have you seen Holy Smoke? Not a great movie, but not bad.

          • brenkilco

            Is that the Kate Winslett one I was thinking of?

          • klmn

            Yeah, and Harvey Keitel.

            But as long as we’re discussing cult films, you’ve got to mention Conan The Barbarian with James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom!

          • brenkilco

            He should have contemplated that hairdo on the tree of woe.

          • klmn

            Think he should have had an Afro?

          • Scott Crawford

            I’ll let you in on a little secret, it seems a bit more acceptable these days. There are some scenes in Conan where I really fucking fancy James Earl Jones, he is just so handsome in it. And his eyes, I mean you don’t have to be gay – and I’m not – to be mesmerized by those eyes.

          • klmn

        • huckabees

          Have you seen FAULTS with Mary Elizabeth Winstead? That’s a movie about a cult which I thought was pretty original.

      • garrett_h

        I remember reading an article about things that you don’t want to put in a movie. Items that were surefire ways to make it bomb. One of those things was cults.

        Conversely, religious movies (like God’s Not Dead, etc.) was on that list too. Christian, faith-based stuff. But those have done well lately on a budget-to-box office ratio. So it’s not a “rule” per se, just a suggestion.

        Wish I could find that article somewhere. Gonna try to dig it up.

    • Matt Edward

      Thanks for the feedback! Just to clarify – I never said there’s nothing unique in the story or that I’m not trying to subvert the genre… There’s a lot in this script that pushes itself away from the slice and dice slashers… I just don’t want to have you thinking this is “Cabin in the Woods: Part Deux.”

      This thing has a heart… It’s a black heart, but a definite heart that I’ve never seen before in a slasher movie.

      • brenkilco

        OK, based on your assurance I will read on. I can always change my mind

      • garrett_h

        First of all, thanks for showing up! SS is always better when the writers show up.

        I think what bren is referring to is your WYSR. To quote:

        “The Darlings” isn’t some massive attempt to subvert the genre and I’m
        not going to lie to you and say every bit of this story is
        groundbreaking. The script buys into the tropes it needs to, but
        hopefully, by the last disembowelment, it does something new for you
        within a well-tread genre.”

        When I read that earlier, I thought to myself, “OK, this is a paint-by-numbers slasher flick.”

        Which brings me back to a point I made a few weeks ago. A lot of people like to include the WYSR, but IMO most of the time they do more harm than good.

        I know this wasn’t your intention, but right off the bat you’ve basically told the reader that your script is generic. You may want to reword that paragraph – or remove it completely – if you query prodcos with this WYSR in the future. You don’t want a biased read. Already people are going to open it up and say, “OK, this is going to be run-of-the-mill… sigh…” And they’ve already checked out.

        Hope that bit of advice helps! Good luck going forward!

        • Matt Edward

          I think you guys pulled a bit more out of it than what I was going for… That is definitely my mistake. That line was troublesome when I sent the email to Carson, namely because I didn’t want to seem like I was getting off on my own script, and if he cracked it, I didn’t want the story to generate some sort of preconceived hatred/assumptions as to what follows based on the genre. That line was supposed to be kind of a “it hits the tropes” but it pushes back in new ways, cause if it didn’t, why would I write it.

          This is a good lesson to take away for future WYSRs. Thanks guys!

    • The Colonel

      Brenkilco, you have been killing the comment game lately. I don’t know if you took that Bradley Cooper brain pill or whatever, but nice work.

    • Urugeth

      Hey Brenkilco. Writer of ‘The Savage’ here. Thanks for your feedback about the dialog. I appreciate it and I’ll definitely tackle it on the next rewrite. I just wanted to chime in real quick about the question you posed about the previous film bio that came out.

      That movie was a Disney family film that was essentially a cheap live-action version of a cartoon that was poorly made and so heavily fictionalized it’s almost unrecognizable. It pretty much skips over most of his life like his interactions with John Smith and his subsequent slavery) in order to focus on wacky antics and a “Can’t we all just get along” feel good message. The real story was an incredibly brutal one that deserves to be told in a more honest and adult manner.

      Basically the original film sugarcoated most of what happened in order to present a “Here is the story of Thanksgiving and this is why we should be brothers all the time!” theme, whereas this version is more of a “Thanksgiving only exists because one guy, who through a series of brutal and and unbelievable events, was uniquely placed to play two opposing sides against each other for his own benefit, achieving peace by accident and saving his own ass.” It’s a cynical, ironic story of a boy of war who becomes a man of peace. They’re about as different from each other as ‘Pocahontas’ is from ‘The New World.’

      • brenkilco

        Ha. That was my problem with The New World. Three frickin hours and they couldn’t squeeze in even one song?

        Re the dialogue. Although most scripts that pop up here aren’t historical after following the site for a while I guess I’ve perused scripts that take place in every period from the first century to the eighteenth. And the dialogue is always a struggle. And it isn’t just a problem for amateurs. In the fifties fabled director Howard Hawks had a big budget bomb about the building of a pyramid called Land of The Pharaohs. In later years he would always blame the failure on the fact that the writer just didn’t know how a pharaoh talked. Who was the poor screenwriter he was throwing under the bus? William Faulkner.

        Personal opinion. Keep it colloquial because whatever the characters are saying it was colloquial speech at the time. But prune all blatantly contemporary idiom. How would your helpful critic Justin put it? Keep it modern but, you know, not too modern. Good luck.

  • Nick Morris

    My vote: WIDOW’S WALK
    Close 2nd: DEADSIGHT

    Congrats to all of this week’s selected writers!

    The coolest thing about WIDOW’S WALK for me is the idea of electronic devices (phones. tablets, etc.) as means for the dead to communicate with the living. I’ve never seen that effectively done before, unless you count the TV in POLTERGEIST. This could be the movie that makes you afraid of your own phone. Too cool. And the opening scene is creepy as all hell. I can easily see it. Ticket sold.

    DEADSIGHT has a nice opener too and and is very cleanly written. The logline promises a fresh take on the “I see dead people” concept. I would have liked a better sense early on of what they look like, though. Do they look like corpses? Are they dark and shadowy? Some solid character work here. Nice reveal of the missing little girl. I read to page 10 and am intrigued enough to read on.

    The writer of THE DARLINGS and I have a mutual love for old-school slashers so I dove enthusiastically into this one. But here’s the thing about slashers – we’ve seen it all before. In 2016, that sub-genre is a particularly tough nut to crack. This one has some nice gore up front but I was disappointed that, similarly to DEADSHOT, we don’t get a clear description of what the killer looks like. Just “masked”. Plus, I’ve never personally cared much for slashers with a “whodunit” element a la SCREAM and that’s sort of the vibe I’m getting here. I’d Netflix this, maybe, but only on the recommendation of someone who’s opinion I trusted.

    The idea behind THREE MILES TO WAFFLE HOUSE sounds an awful lot like HAROLD AND KUMAR. I love that movie, but found absolutely no laughs in the first few pages of this one. Just some bullying and animal cruelty. Pass.

    The opening pages of THE SAVAGE are well written and vividly descriptive but, regrettably, historical biographies just don’t excite me that much. Sorry.

    Good luck to all and may the best script take it!

    • jelewis8

      Sorry Waffle House didn’t grab ya. The first few pages absolutely set up the villains and the two main characters, but it’s my job to get you to where those things actually matter, which I guess I didn’t do. Onward!

      • Nick Morris

        I think the first 5 pages are the hardest to nail in any genre, but so crucial. Best of luck with it!

  • Kosta K

    I’m getting fired today for sure :)

    • Erica
      • Randy Williams

        I like to put a pencil between my teeth. Gives the impression my hands are full. You guys don’t realize how much of your scripts I read with a pencil in my mouth.

    • Urugeth

      I feel ya. I left for a trip today and BAM! discover this went up when I land. Now I’m going to be up aaaaaallllll night reading the other scripts.

      • Kosta K

        Hey, Urugeth! I really liked THE SAVAGE! Only read up to page 13, but I could already see you got something good there.

        This experience is making me think that maybe if there was another tournament, we can all include a short treatment along with the screenplays in order to package them better. We’re all getting judged on the first few pages, but maybe making the full story available can play into it more. Like, if we have great set pieces and key moments listed in our treatments, maybe people would be more likely to read more of it :/

        In any case, good stuff and good luck!

        • Urugeth

          See i think if anything it’s a real powerful lesson, you know? It’s not like any exec is going to give a spec script any more than a few pages to see if it’s worth a damn. We have the whole “your first ten pages are the most important” adage drilled into our head from the start, and if anything this just proves how true that is.

          I’m extremely wary of treatments because they can just be lifeless plot descriptors that strip all emotion and resonance out of the story, like reading a summary on IMDB or Wikipedia. Even if we were able to promise cool set pieces or key moments, most readers would be able to pick up on whether or not we’d be able to pull them off in the context of the story by those first 10 pages anyway.

          That said, I’ve always been prone to what I like to call ‘half-pagers’, like the little blurb you would see on the back of a DVD cover back in the day. I’m an artist as well so I like to do like some poster art mock ups with the blurb to the side. But even then I’m a pretty firm believer that outside of setting up the main conflict I don’t really lite to describe much of my story beyond the first half of the second act unless I’m absolutely forced to. Otherwise, why bother with the script?

          Also, i wanted to say that I really enjoyed the writing on your script. I’m a sucker for a good atmospheric horror story (usually the type of script I write, actually) so I really appreciate the crisp, effective but lush descriptive nature of the writing. Good luck this weekend!

          • Kosta K

            Good point!

            It’s a first draft anyway. I was looking forward to getting more eyes on it. I’ve put together a nice little list of notes so far in preparation for a rewrite.

            It’s actually a good thing some people haven’t read more than the first few pages, maybe they’ll be more likely to download it if it shows up around here again.

            Thanks for the read!

  • Matt Edward

    Thanks, Jack, and I’m looking forward to your feedback!

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on Round 1 of the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    Who doesn’t like waffles?
    What’s with the address on the title page? The city is missing. Are we supposed to know that 708 S. Dickinson #2 is obviously in…???, something like 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?
    I google street view these addresses. If the writer lives in a better place than I do, they don’t get my vote. Don’t try to dodge my system!

    Read 15 pages. I think comedies in this tournament may be at a disadvantage. Are not comedies rewritten and rewritten, jokes and gags refined and refined? You need lots of time for that and time wasn’t a luxury we had in this challenge.

    My suggestion would be to start the script off on page 7 at the bank. This was the first thing for me that wasn’t a generic scene I’ve seen many times before. This was the first scene that actually made me LOL. So, yeah, skip the time when they were kids, I don’t think it adds any urgency or needed background. I liked the gag with the seventh grader asking the older girl to the prom but that was over before it started. The vet scene felt sitcom. Second suggestion would be to focus on Havana, (odd name for a man, I read it as a female until description told me otherwise). He is a bundle of energy, a non-generic character I liked following. Good character work there.

  • brenkilco

    Just a general thought for what it’s worth. All the submissions this week seem to rely rather heavily on atmosphere. And unless carefully cut to the essential, atmospheric prose quickly turns purple and creates impatience.

    The dilapidated Victorian ruin lies in an overgrown clearing shrouded by dense, forbidding woods where stray streaks of moonlight pierce the scudding clouds and penetrate the dormer windows and bounce off the scarred hardwood floor and illuminate the peeling wall paper with its faded fleur de lis and …….your reader just turned HULU on.

    • ShiroKabocha

      The best way to create atmosphere is not through visuals but through sounds and movements (or lack thereof). An empty swing swayed by the wind. A door slamming. Just the wind, just the wind… Silence broken by a single laughter in the distance. The sound of someone else breathing where you know there shouldn’t be…

      The key is that sudden disconnect, and realization that you’ve left your familiar world to enter a strange, unexplored place, that you’ve crossed a boundary, that you’ve entered the twilight zone. Something that feels out of place, unusual stillness and emptiness of your surroundings, that create a feeling of loneliness and powerlessness, of the danger cowering in the dark. That’s how you conjure up a sense of unease and dread :)

      • brenkilco

        Ever notice how infrequently wind is used as a dramatic element in movies? Never so much as a breeze in most films. Kurosawa is about the only director who likes to film scenes in windy condtions. There’s something oddly unnerving about wind on film.

        • ShiroKabocha

          Don’t remember if he filmed in windy conditions but the sound of the wind is the one thing I always associate Fellini’s films with (the post-prod as well as the studio location often gave his movies an eerie feel).

          Obviously you can find quite a few old suspense / ghost movies where the heroine is startled by the wind slamming a window at some point though :)

        • Levres de Sang

          Agreed as to that unnerving quality. How about…

          — The park sequence in Antonioni’s Blow-Up.
          — That wonderful moment in Herzog’s Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.

          Rohmer and Tarkovsky also used it quite a bit, too.

          • brenkilco

            The park scene is a particularly good example.

  • Randy Williams


    Congrats for making it on Round 1 of the Scriptshadow Tournament!

    I read 20 pages. I’d read more. The opening is quite stunning. The creative choice and use of the cellphones, the perfect conveying of this woman’s terrified state of mind.
    I loved the setting up of a psychic. “Wouldn’t she know”? I really loved the protective husband. You kill two birds with one stone that way. By presenting a protective character with another character, you get sympathy for both. However, did not like or feel it organic, the husband’s obscene outburst on page 13.

    The only drawback I felt was the momentum and lack of opportunity to breath. The pace felt off for a movie. On page 20, I really think I need some time to breath after all that came before. The dialogue is a perfect close to a chapter…”What, we can explain everything” as the police are about to burst into the secret room. I yearned for a break here. To go somewhere else, a wider visual, some sunlight. A chance to digest what I’ve just seen but be anxious to see what they need to explain.

    Good stuff. I can see this getting more than a few votes.

  • gazrow

    My vote goes to Widow’s Walk with The Savage a close second.

    Three Miles to Waffle House read more like a sex comedy (and not a very good one) with lots of penis jokes in the first ten pages. Wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

    Deadsight started off quite promising but quickly lost my interest when John dragged Gabriel into the basement for a bit of torture. I’m sure there was more going on than that but it felt heavy handed and the dialogue seemed a little on-the-nose.

    The Darlings – the graphic disembowelling of Casey killed this for me (no pun intended). I think 80s style horrors are thankfully a dying breed. Modern horror is generally more sophisticated and a lot less graphic.

    • Matt Edward

      Thanks for the read and apologies for losing you on the disemboweling… Never thought I’d type that. **I’d have a gripe with the last sentence though, not even in regard to the script but to the state of horror.

      • gazrow

        I enjoyed your “WHY I SHOULD BE PICKED” – it’s clear you’re a fan of slasher films. I just feel horror has moved on. Good luck though. :)

        • Matt Edward

          Yup… To found footage.

          Thanks again!

          • gazrow

            I hate found footage. It always feel fake to me. One question: Didn’t you break the cardinal rule of horror/slasher by having a virgin (Casey) meet a gruesome end? I thought it was only the naughty girls who come to a sticky end in this genre? (again no pun intended lol).

          • Matt Edward

            See, folks… Subverting the genre off the bat by killing the virgin.

            But for real, I kind of stay away from the whole sex=death trope… I definitely hit it with a couple characters later on but in a satirical way. The motivations of the actual killer(s) is more in line with where the victims are going than what they’re doing (putting the screws to each other).

            Wholeheartedly agree with the found footage assessment… I was just being a dick. I think you were going for titles like “The Babadook,” “The VVitch,” etc. when you said modern horror… Couldn’t be more happy the genre has titles like that alongside the box office plunder crap that gets thrown out in the FF subgenre.

        • Nick Morris

          Mainstream, wide-release horror has moved away from gore in recent years, but only because the studios are still chasing the success of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and THE CONJURING.

          Smaller, more contained stuff with loud jump scares, low budgets and big profit margins is where it’s at now. But the horror genre is cyclical and will shift gears again as soon as something else hits it big. The more gruesome and exploitative fare is still very much alive and well on the independent circuit.

  • Linkthis83




    p1 = Based on the name Havana, I thought this character was female until the line “the boys look up.”

    p3 = league = leagues

    p5 = hardon = hard-on

    p7 = stopped

    I like when stories open with characters in situations, however, nothing about these opening pages grabbed me. I feel like you need a better transisition from younger AJ to older AJ. Perhaps something as simple as him going from him holding his nose outside the Waffle House to holding it in the Vet office. That still doesn’t solve the overall execition issues for me and lack of interesting content. The execution of the iguana scene is also in need of much work for intended outcome.

    I found the random, unprovoked jump by the senior Vet to be the most damming effect to your set-up.


    p1 = a decrepit wooden mansion = decrepit, wooden

    p1 = under the weight of = under the weight of…

    p1 = I liked the action of putting the childs arms down

    p2 = need better transition to older Gabriel

    p2 = leads him past the cashes = is that supposed to be cashiers?

    p4 = Gabriel looks up, busted = nope. this hinders your tone, atmosphere, and intention. Just say “Gabriel looks up.”

    p8 = stopped

    I dislike a second transition in age. I like the tone and feel of this, but not it’s delivery. Before the second passing of time occurred, I would’ve suggested opening with the scene of the dad showing up at the house. I think the visual in the opening scene is “cool”, but giving something away too quick without any story investment gained.

    I thought it might be more effective to use the visual of the figures while Gabriel is on the table while his dad has the knife out. It felt like the figures should’ve been revealed there.

    Just didn’t get me invested Kosta, nice effort though. It feels like something is in these pages and in this idea. Congrats on that.


    p6 = stopped

    I’m going to be a bit brutal here — my reaction to these opening pages was frustration. No atmosphere, no lore, no interesting convo, too much clever dialogue, nothing to invest in. No interesting kill, no interesting killer, etc.

    First off, based on Casey’s character in the scene, I’d never believe she’d go to this house. Ever.

    I also may be in the minority, but conversations about handys and blowjobs NEVER make these stories more interesting. You could argue that’s how these characters talk in this setting and I wouldn’t argue that. But have it be implied and done with mystery. It’s part of your world set up and it matters. Talking about handjob doesn’t elevate this opening scene. I mean the girl can say something too clever like “ground zero of lost virginity” but isn’t capable of making a subtle promise of sexual reward for her safety.

    There needs to be much more work done in this opening scene. There’s not even a promise of something interesting if we hang around. And I tried to hang around but the two characters talking at the graduation made me wish it was them who had died more than the other two…and then we get exposition that the guy who died won’t notice that he’s absent from his own graduation because mom’s in Canada and dad buys him kegs…huh?

    Play around with that opening. Make Steve a virgin or something. Have it be Casey who brought him there. Whatever helps towards your overall intention, bake that into the opening in a layered, specific, and interesting way.

    I know you are capable of this because of the other things you’ve written. Sorry for being uber blunt here…it’s an honest reaction though.


    p11 = stopped

    I really liked these opening pages. I have no idea if they enhance the overall story you are telling based on logline, but I liked them. I have a lot of doubts about the dialogue. I’m not really sure how to handle that though. But I don’t imagine the Indians using phrases like “half to death” and “I’m here on my own volition.” But, it’s good writing and I’m a little intrigued.


    p10 = stopped

    Hey, Brett! Welcome and congrats on making it into the fight. Since I’m not voting in these things I certainly don’t have to worry about any bias accusations :)

    Firstly, an actual Widow’s Walk is cool and a neat thing to incorporate into a story (assuming you did since I didn’t read the whole thing). I like the specificity we get in your writing. Makes it more credible and it certainly helps amplify the effectiveness of storytelling.

    I dig this idea/concept, but I gotta be honest, the opening dialogue between the detectives in the interrogation room, and then subsequently with the Wards, needs a lot more work to be effective for me.

    It could just be me, but it really feels like the set-up, the motivations, the actions and such, are in a bit of discord. Everyone is mention their intentions when I feel like those are the things that should emerge from the interrogation room more organically.

    The detectives talk about setting up Grace…why? Why reveal they are setting her up. Plus, Peele mentions about the possibility of getting a signed confession that night. But the Wards are showing up voluntarily in order to help with the investigation. Sure it shows that they all want something that is in conflict with one another, but that would show up their interactions. No need to state it before hand. I really feel like if you could land a much more effective opening between these characters, you’d earn a lot more credibility to carry readers further. Needs more mystery. And I mean in a arm-chair gripping sor of way ;)

    • Matt Edward

      Thank you for the feedback and being brutal… Always needed.

      • Linkthis83

        After reading some of your other comments, I get what you are going for here. But I feel it’s absolutely imperative to give us something more intriguing in the opening. Even if it still ends with the death of both characters, we gotta be invested in that opening. I believe that LIES are a great tool in these scenarios. Have somebody make up a story about something that happened in that house. Or in that town. Something that helps lay groundwork for that overall intention with which you’ve connected.

        • Matt Edward

          I got you… I have that story behind the house moment a bit later but I will have to consider moving it up. Also considering laying on the subtext or something a bit thicker especially if that opening is losing people… Give it some more conflict beyond will she/won’t she to set the tone.

          Thanks again!

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the feedback, Link! The first twenty pages pretty much set up the rest of the story. I laid them out in chronological order, but still working on re-tooling the structure. I use flashbacks later on to reference these scenes, but even that seems to be throwing some people off :/ It’s a learning process, right? ;)

      • Linkthis83

        Most definitely

    • jelewis8

      Thanks for the notes, very much appreciated!

  • klmn

    It’s good to see two regulars show up – Kosta K. and Electric Dreamer. (If I missed anyone, I apologize).

    Good luck to all.

  • jonridge

    Three Miles to Waffle House is a great title. Widow’s Walk has the most intriguing logline. If we could somehow combine these two..

    • jelewis8

      Thank you. Hopefully you’ll read it :)

    • klmn

      Three Widows Walking to Waffle House.

      • ScriptChick

        When suddenly they saw a DARLING SAVAGE, DEAD in their SIGHT.

      • ShiroKabocha

        Sounds like the beginning of a nursery rhyme. A creepy, dark nursery rhyme :)

  • ocattorney

    Pardon me for going off the main topic… but, how many pages are you reading? Not the one script you liked, but on the one you didn’t think was as good…. when I was preparing my entry, I thought, if they have to read FIVE scripts in one sitting, wouldn’t it be nice to hold the page count to around 50? That would be 250 pages over five scripts…. more than i would want to read, but how can you vote without reading part of each one?
    Last week, I voted on how well the contestants followed Carson’s instructions. This time, I may have to go solely on Story Value. When you are putting a movie into theaters, you have to have a sense of what will attract an audience. What I see this week are… no awareness that the stories lack value for the largest part of the potential audience. – Bill Hays

    • Scott Crawford

      I think of the subject of pages, it’s difficult because you can’t really read more than five, ten, twenty pages of each script (some can read more because they can read faster but they’re freaks). So it’s a case of reading the first however many pages and deciding is this well written, is the story moving forwards or is this just a very early draft that needs a lot more work. You can often tell the QUALITY of a screenplay (and the person who wrote it) from a few pages even if they don’t get to the “exciting bit”.

      • Erica

        Agreed, fast readers are freaks!

        I’ve been reading each as long as I’m engaged in the read. I am trying to do a minimum of between 5-10 pages, but it usually goes to 20. I also go to the end of the story and read the last 10 or 15 pages of a couple stories just to see how they ended.

        A couple I’ve checked out early on this week though. I couldn’t get past page 2 of Three Miles to Waffle House. I’m not reading a comedy in which kills animals for now real reason. This is not how a comedy starts.

        • jelewis8

          Thanks for the animal killing insight. Obviously that’s a deal breaker for some people. It does set up the villain (yes, this comedy has a real villain), which is why it’s there. Sorry you weren’t able to get past that.

          • Erica

            I believe someone else posted this also, but you have to know your audience for the script your writing. If this was listed as a dark comedy are a thriller, it would have made more sense, but when I sit down to watch a comedy, I’m looking for entertainment. Think of the impact that scene would have on the audience not to mention the films rating. I don’t know if there is a different way you could set up the villain and stick more to the comedy genre. Just my thoughts.

          • jelewis8

            Sure. That makes sense. At the same time, I could name half a dozen comedies that feature some kind of sad or dark moment as a galvanizing event.

            But that being said, I’m definitely taking notes on the into scene(s) to heart, since no one seems to actually be getting to the guts of the comedy. BIG TAKEAWAYS: Start the comedy earlier, and don’t kill animals, even if it’s the antagonist doing it.

          • Erica

            I will ignore you’re opening scene and start at scene 2, reading from there to see how the story goes to get a better insight.

            My only other though is that this sounds to much like White Castle with nothing new, but that’s just a logline thing at this point and can be tweaked I’m sure.

          • jelewis8

            I’m actually regretting using this log. I thought the H&K similarity would provide the right tone, but it’s seemed to have turned a lot of people off!

            My alternate log is simpler: Two friends are forced to commit a bank robbery by an old childhood nemesis.

          • Jaco

            What happens if they refuse? What’s at stake? This log sounds like a setup for a scene study in an acting class.

          • jelewis8

            The stakes are implicit. A) they are FORCED, not asked. and B) it’s a bank robbery, so at the very least, the stakes are getting caught and arrested or worse by the police.

          • Jaco

            I guess what I was getting at is that this logline is too vague. Too vanilla. Sometimes you can get away with this – but usually only when the concept itself is so ironic that it sells itself.

            Two friends forced to rob a bank isn’t one of those ideas that stands on its own. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

            Basically, I think it’d be good to put something in there telling us how the childhood nemesis is forcing them to rob the bank – thus letting the reader know what’s on the line for the two friends.

            Is there some point in the script where the bully says, “You are going to rob a bank and here’s why”? Put that “why” in the logline and see if it doesn’t make things more interesting.

            Of course, if you don’t have a “why” or even “how” – then your concept might be DOA and your logline as written makes sense.

            I haven’t read your script – but here’s an example of what I mean:

            After getting roofied by their childhood nemesis, two lifelong friends wake up with dildo bombs strapped to their foreheads, and with orders to rob a bank and deliver $1,000,000 within eight hours, or they will blow up.

            I’m sure there are 100s of “friends being forced to rob a bank” scripts floating around – what makes your different?

            Good luck.

          • jelewis8

            That’s helpful, actually. I see what you mean now.

            There are two schools of thought on loglines–they should be CONCEPT-driven or STORY-driven.

            Yours is a classic Concept based logline, and it’s the unusual nature of the concept that drives the interest.

            Story-based loglines tend to have more of a vanilla nature to them, but they still should be able to stand on their own, in some unique fashion.

            So, the concept isn’t so much the hook in Waffle House as is the characters and the way they get roped into their misadventures. I suppose I would probably amend mine thusly to something along these lines:

            After a series of misadventures while trying to reach a Waffle House, two lifelong friends are kidnapped and forced to commit a bank robbery by a vengeful childhood nemesis, and must rely on their wits and an aging rockstar’s aid to escape with their lives.

          • Jaco

            Keep amending. I think there are too many moving parts – misadventures . . . Waffle House . . . lifelong friends . . .kidnapping . . . vengeful nemisis . . . bank robbery against will . . . aging rockstar . . . .

            I think the answer lies somewhere in between your really simple logline from before and this overly complicated one.


          • Stephjones

            When a simple craving for waffles leads to their abduction by a childhood bully, two wimpy bro-dudes must man up to survive his plan to make them both his bitch.

      • Cal

        After the first 10-15 of each it comes down to which script I WANT to read most based on story, concept, execution, and just basically whether I’m interested in or not. Do I want to spend the next 1-2 hours of my life immersed in this story/world?

        Scripts tend to stick with me for better or worse, just like films, so I’m just interested in reading good stories that enrich my life, thrill me, shake me, inspire me, or just flat out entertain me… it’s like choosing a girlfriend… choose wisely and flourish, choose falsely and you end up like that Nazi who drinks the wrong grail in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’… muahahah

    • ScriptChick

      Usually for normal AOW I read 10-15 pages of them all. Because this is a little special, I want to read at least 20 pages, but I have a little bit more time this weekend so I want to get to at least page 30. Kudos to people who read the whole script. I will do that when it gets to the semi-finals/finals. Right now, I usually have an opinion up to that page count to give a vote. Just how I do it, Bill!

  • Garrett

    I was not particularly inclined by any of this week’s loglines. From the logline, “Widow’s Walk” comes across as another benign ‘haunting’ story. I did read the first two pages and I was thoroughly confused. After a few pages, I did come to realize that it was a dream sequence of some sort, however, it was too strange and not chilling, creepy or scary.
    I like true stories, especially involving the natives from our past. However, the first couple of pages were a bit slow and lost my interest.
    With “The Darlings,” I knew pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be a read for me. While the serial killer subgenre isn’t really my thing, I’m open to it if something unusual or different grabs my attention. I hate to keep using this word, but *however,* the setup for the first murder is straightly played and uninteresting. We get gore in the form of what should be frightening or scary and to me, that’s not providing enough on the front of doing anything different, especially in the overused location and setup.
    The first couple pages of “The Waffle House” didn’t strike me as funny, so I stopped reading. Also, and of course this is just one’s opinion, but I’m not sure why it’s necessary to have kids talking about sticking their penis’ into things or being “punched in the dick” to try and generate laughs. I understand kids talk that way these days, but to have a main cast of characters that are younger (which you would then assume is marketed towards kids but talk about things that would probably be considered for a stronger rating that most kids in that age group wouldn’t be able to see anyway) talk that way to generate laughs, doesn’t calculate for me. It’s possible my opinion is completely different than the mass majority of readers.
    Finally, the only script which had anything remotely dramatic or engaging happen within the first page was, “Deadsight.” Now since I only read the first page, my only gripe is your title page dude. Is Kosta K your name, your street name, what people call you…? If Kosta K is how you like to go by, then simply write that under “written by.” Don’t then add your full name down below, it just makes no sense and comes off sloppy.

    So with that, my vote for this week goes to, “DEADSIGHT.”

    • Kosta K

      It’s just so you knew it was THE Kosta K from this site and not some other Kosta ;p

      • Garrett

        Ah. I didn’t know there was another one. If your script ends up doing well, I’d definitely just go for a more streamlined look and just have your full name.

  • smishsmosh22

    I keep getting comments in moderation… I think I have been a regular for about a year… Am I on the naughty list? Carson would you consider adding me to the elite list?

    • Scott Crawford

      Its your filthy, dirty mouth, smish. But I’ve had commrnts moderated too, one didn’t show today.

      • smishsmosh22

        it only started happening to me in the last week so I was wondering if I did something bad haha.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Read the first twelve of “The Darlings.”

    Totally generic slasher fare, as promised by the totally generic logline.

    My takeaway; we all need to bring something fresh to our genre and that fresh element should be in the logline and should clearly manifest itself in the first dozen pages.

    Definitely not voting for this one.

    • Matt Edward

      Thanks for the feedback and sorry it doesn’t break the genre in the first twelve pages… I’ll have a lot to gestate over based on the feedback thus far.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Read the first page of Deadsight. Just want to say something…

    What you have there, my friend, is a static scene.

    A statice scene is a scene in which NOTHING HAPPENS.

    I get it. The kid sees dead people. Not remotely original, but okay.

    I know you figure you’re SHOWING as opposed to telling.

    But that’s not enough. Something needs to HAPPEN. Someone needs to do something that moves your story forward.

    Yes, from page one.

    So if these apparitions kidnapped the kid’s mother, okay. That’s something happening.

    Just standing there like mannequins? Creepy, if unoriginal, image.

    But like an image, it’s static.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the read.

      I don’t think it’s static at all. I think a lot is happening in the scene. It sets the mood. It sets up the character’s childhood… I originally had the figures doing the macarena, but deleted it just before I submitted it to the tournament ;p

      • JakeBarnes12

        Then you don’t understand what “something happens” means in terms of screenwriting.

        You are giving us information.

        No EVENT happens that pushes your story forward.

        • Kosta K

          Noted. You’re not my friend by the way :(

          • jeaux

            Haha. You should do a page one rewrite with Deadsight as a comedy.

          • Kosta K

            Maybe I will, jeaux. Maaaaaybe I will.

      • jeaux

        Ya know, when I read it, I thought to myself, “if these figures were doing the Macarena, that shit would be wicked!”

      • garrett_h

        LMAO @ them doing the Macarena! Got me laughing at work. I’m gonna get in trouble now lol.

    • brenkilco

      Think some of the purplish description could be cut but otherwise I tend to disagree. I think the scene works because it accomplishes something. It answers a question. Why is the kid crying? And the answer is a creepy reveal. OK it’s not Citizen Kane saying Rosebud but it’s a defensible opening scene. Plus it solves a problem with minimal fuss. It establishes the character is psychic. Otherwise you’d have to insert another scene before he sees the dead classmate. And what would it be? A kitchen table heart to heart with mom? A visit to a shrink? So I would argue the opening scene saves script real estate and actually allows things to move along more quickly. I do think it would work better if it were made more clear that the kid can see these things and the mom can’t and that they scare the shit out of him.

  • smishsmosh22
  • smishsmosh22

    cripes I’m really frustrated now… we’re doing a table read of Eric Boyd’s script today and I’m just trying to post about it to invite you guys and I keep getting deleted.

    • Erica

      Not sure why it’s happening, but here’s the link for you.

      • smishsmosh22

        thanks Erica! Table read is at 4pm pst.

    • ShiroKabocha

      I have no trouble seeing your posts from my side (the one from an hour ago that ElectricDreamer reposted sits there just like anybody else’s comments). Have you updated your browser or something ?

      • smishsmosh22

        whenever I refresh they disappear.

        • ShiroKabocha

          I’ve seen disqus do that a couple of times. It usually sorts itself after a while.

    • klmn

      I see your post.

      • smishsmosh22

        I guess when I hit ‘sort by newest’ it’s wiping out all my previous posts for some reason….

  • Malibo Jackk

    Just based on the title alone — THREE MILE.
    Mmmmmm. Waffles.

  • Jovan Jevtic

    My vote Widow’s WalK; It had a clear goal. Cut some of the dialogue. There were some expository dialogue. I read first 20 of Deadsight and I had found the concept good but had no idea where was the story going.

  • jelewis8

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve seen After Hours (at the New Beverly, no less!). Are you suggesting it’s a model or an example of what not to do?

  • smishsmosh22

    Okay, now I see this. I’m so sorry to everyone who has had to put up with seeing my message posted several times today. Thank you Brett for reposting!

  • jelewis8

    Would a different log convince you? Obviously people aren’t feeling the H&K vibe, so I’d love to know if anything else would work, or if the concept is doa.

    • Stephjones

      I read the first ten and thought some of your choices felt kinda generic but could see the potential. maybe soften the bird kill by having it already suffering from an accident and neither boy has the balls to put it out of it’s misery but the bully comes along and finishes it. That allows you to highlight the main character’s flaws (wimps) and will make your bully less of a stereotype. Did he do it out of compassion or cruelty? right now he just seems like a complete cliche.
      also the ‘forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to them reminds me too much of “30 minutes or less.” so, that along with the H&K association should be avoided at all costs. Have the bully force them to face their darkest fears (with a bomb strapped to their chest) surprise us with something unexpected.
      best of luck with it.

      • jelewis8

        Gotcha. Very helpful. Actually, based on the universal dislike the script has received, I’m likely going to shelve the whole thing, or re-think everything about it (which would amount to the same thing).

        Thanks for the comments though!

  • jelewis8

    I hear you. I really tried to get the trek going earlier, but the setup’s important for the stakes, since the Waffle House is ultimately just the Maguffin.

  • witwoud


    • Scott Crawford

      Problem with soccer is there are no pauses like in NFL or other sports where you can have characters discuss tactics, emotions, swap jokes, etc. Compare Vinnie Jones in THE MEAN MACHINE with either version of THE LONGEST YARD. MEAN MACHINE tries but the ending just does’t work.

      However… it did work, my opinion, in (Escape to) Victory. I think because the soccer is part of a bigger story about escaping.

      • witwoud

        Yeah … and soccer’s too subtle and flowing a game to make for good drama. Apart from penalty shoot-outs, it lacks those grand-standing moments that a sports movie really needs.

        Which is a shame, given how much passion there is for the game. If I were writing a soccer movie I’d focus on that rather than on the game itself. One ‘soccer’ movie I liked was The Cup (1999) which was about a group of Tibetan boy monks trying to rent a television in order to watch the World Cup. It had lots of flaws, but it was a sweet little film.

        • Kirk Diggler

          What’s with you two Brits, using the word ‘soccer’! Everyone knows it’s called Calcio.

          • gazrow

            “it’s called Calcio.”

            Or footie. :)

  • jelewis8

    Incidentally, Harold and Kumar don’t start their trek to White Castle until about page 18 or 19.

  • BellBlaq

    “Should be” and “will be” are two different things.
    Only deluded idealists expect their amateur scripts to be read in full (purely on principle) by volunteers.

  • witwoud

    Congratulations to this week’s runners. Like last week, there’s no obvious stand-out script among these. On the other hand, none of them are dreadful, and all are superior to the utter drivel I wasted my afternoon writing, so there’s that.

    But my vote goes to WIDOW’S WALK, mostly because it began with something new and unusual: creepy girls appearing on cell phones. Also, by page ten I had a pretty clear idea of what the story was, and there was a good, ironic conflict between the cops and the parents.

    The other scripts all seemed to be operating more in default mode. Please please please don’t assume that the amazing twist on page 67 is going to sell your otherwise-generic script. You’ve got to give readers something different from the start.

    Okay, back to writing my drivel now.

    • Matt Edward

      Thanks for the feedback! Did you read to page 67 or was that just a number you threw out?

      • witwoud

        Kinda making a general point … but yeah. I really think being coy is the last thing you want to do. Your revised logline above is much stronger.

  • Matt Edward

    A rough, revised logline for THE DARLINGS… Spoilers and all… Cause I’m a gluten for punishment but maybe this will attract some late stragglers to the script:

    Disappointed by the direction of their children’s lives, a group of parents lure their off-spring to a cabin in the woods only to murder them one by one and pin it on an escaped mental patient.

    • Erica

      I like this better but a little unsure about the parents killing their own if I’m reading this right. Maybe have a few parents who are crazy fanatical s who are tired of all the partying and debauchery going on try to cleanse the town while blaming it on an old serial killer story.

      • Matt Edward

        Glad to hear you do! Everything you have said is in there to a certain degree or incarnation, so I’m glad it’s got people going in that direction.

    • jeaux

      What if you set up the story, and logline, as a parent/child retreat where they try to reestablish strained relationships, but the real reason is the parents have lured them to their deaths. Now parents killing their own is still a stretch in my opinion, but if this is the route you choose, i think this may be a better scenario to work a logline from without giving away the twist. Hope this helps.

      • Matt Edward

        I appreciate the idea… but that’s not the story I’m going for. Thank you still

    • Citizen M

      Is that really the story? It’s terrible. I voted for it because I thought it’s a sexy slasher thing. Don’t make me change my vote.

      • Matt Edward

        What is a sexy slasher, for the record? I have never heard of a “sexy slasher” so I’m a bit curious…

  • JakeBarnes12

    Widow’s Walk — Read the first fifteen. Characters saying what they’re thinking for page after page, which is boring.

    We’ve all seen millions of movies like this.

    Take our expectations and use them to SURPRISE us.

    That leaves the historical script and the comedy.

    • Erica

      “Characters saying what they’re thinking for page after page, which is boring.”

      I’ve heard this before, I’m not sure I follow what you mean by this? I didn’t notice it in the dialogue. You’re not talking about exposition so I’m a little lost on this comment but I think I understand it.

      • JakeBarnes12

        Bad writers have characters say what they mean. It’s so dull. There’s no subtext for the actors to play against.

        Basic screenwriting exercise is to create a dramatic situation but don’t allow your characters to talk about it directly because it’s too painful or there’s a big power dynamic disparity, or one character is trying to trap another, etc.

        • Erica

          Okay, so more of a subtext thing.

          For example in a scene a teenage comes home really late and the mother knows they were at a party but wants the kid to know they can talk to them about anything so instead of the scene of a a back and forth dialogue asking, it would be more of a,

          You could have called

          Teenage Girl
          I didn’t realize how late it was.

          You know you can tell me anything.

          Teenage Girl
          Can I please go, I’m tired.

          The mom stares at her daughter as she walks to her room.

          • JasonTremblay

            “You know you can tell me anything” is on-the-nose. Subtext would have her say something like:

            “Want to sit up and have a hot chocolate with me? It’s been a while.”

          • JakeBarnes12

            That’s a scene from “Stranger Things,” Erika.

          • Erica

            Yes it is. When I was watching it yesterday, I was really paying attention to the dialogue.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Okay, all my hopes are hanging on the historical script.

    Please don’t be a dramaless data dump…
    Please don’t be a dramaless data dump…

    • Urugeth

      From your comment later I take it you took it as a dramaless data dump. I ask you (with no sarcasm or butthurt intended) what I could do to improve the script for you and make it more engaging. i’m not here for my ego. I just want to tell the best story possible. How do you think I could do that? Please help me be better.

  • JakeBarnes12

    The Savage. Sorry. Found these pages a slog because the writer is thinking in terms of narrative, not drama. Rarely read an amateur historical script that didn’t suffer from this problem.

    Can’t vote for any of these.

    • Urugeth

      I understand, and thank you for the feedback. This whole first chunk of the script was a challenge for me because I have to assume the reader isn’t well versed in the Native culture of the early, pre-contact 16th century. I can’t fall back on anything the reader most likely knows. It’s a culture thats as alien as anything on Pandora or in Hobbiton to the average white American reading the story, you know? The story might as well be a fantasy or Sci Fi at that point. These are people that don’t even know what a wheel is. So it’s tricky to balance what I know through research and immersion in this subject matter vs. what Joe Schmo reader knows about this time and place and pairing that with the balance between giving just enough info to make things clear, vs overexplaining and dragging down the story vs not explaining enough so your reader gets lost in the minutia of assumptions because I know this world so well that I failed to set it up for them coming into the story blind, you know? So if you have any suggestions or ideas that I could use to make the first chunk of the script more engaging or more readable I am all ears. Believe me, I know how much info I have to ask the reader to take in in those first 20 or so pages, so any ideas on how I can make that more interesting, more engaging, captivating, etc., I am all fucking ears. Because I could use the help, man. it’s tricky as hell.

  • Mayhem Jones


    OT: Wow. Just learned McDonald’s is adding the MCGRIDDLE to their all-day-breakfast menu. That… changes… EVERYTHING!!!!!

    OK SO:

    WIDOW’S WALK: Mmmm, Brett’s writing style remains DELICIOUS!! (The hashbrown to my MCGRIDDLE). Easy breezy to read, yet still packs a punch. Uh, I’m obsessed with the FACE TIMING from “beyond”–[X] GENIUS!! The angle on this script is fantastic: the psychic who cannot use her power to find her own child. Brett’s incredibly modern on the page: hashtag stuff, smartphones, face-timing, etc. and Hollywood LOVES that. Found the dialogue realistic and believable—reminiscent of 3 SWEET THINGS, always conversational and authentic.

    THE SAVAGE: WOAH!! One of the most different script ideas I’ve read on here in a while. I personally thought the narration was beautiful. (Wasn’t THE REVENANT mostly description? I forget) Honestly wouldn’t be surprised if you have some kind of novelist or “aspiring” novelist background! This is definitely good. My only pause was straight subtitles for around 18 pages. Anyway, I would recommend submitting it to the Black List review website (if you haven’t already) and DEFINITELY Nicholl next year!!!

    THE DARLINGS: Matt, P.S. LOVED the second logline you posted in the comments. (Also, were there any killer LOGS in the secluded cabin? Asking for a friend.) OHHHH my God—page 5!! EWWWWWW! Points for a scary(/disgusting LOL) opening. Holy crap. I’m not a horror or slasher fan so PLEASE FORGIVE ME… couldn’t get into this… but I can imagine more than a few gasps from an audience. These kinds of remote/contained thrillers/slashers seem to be what’s really “IN” now—GOOD LUCK!!! (My brother would 100% watch this!)

    DEADSIGHT: Suicide cults!? I’m hooked! SLICK, quickly-paced writing, Kosta!! Really impressed. Concise and tight. BRUTAL PAGE 7… coincidentally, this is the second script this week I’ve read that had a BRUTAL PAGE 7… what’s with freaking people out on page 7, y’all?!??! Immediate and lasting empathy for Gabriel. Very well done.

    THREE MILES TO WAFFLE HOUSE: I know a f*cking JACKASS who is the “manager” of a WAFFLE HOUSE in the midwest so I was reluctant to open this based on that ALONE—but then realized how asinine that was—so I decided to grow up and open it. (Also: F*CK THAT “MANAGER”!!!) Anyway… nailed the opening by tugging at our heart strings with the bird bit. Really liked HAVANA’s dialogue—advanced for a 13 year old, yet still believable. Also: great title!

    • brenkilco

      Every once in a while I’ll sneak a mcgriddle even though I swear I can feel my arteries clogging while I eat em.

      • Linkthis83

        I swear nobody eats McDonalds and then afterwards thinks “I’m really glad I did that.”

        • witwoud

          Right. It’s like having sex with a hippie. Fun while it lasts, disgusting in retrospect.

          • Scott Crawford

            i don’t think it’s quite as fatty in England as it is in the States. I like the chicken selects, it’s one of the best chicken dishes I’ve had in a fast food place.

            (Also worth pointing out that a) eating out is more expensive in the UK and especially in London and b) there are so many Macdonalds and so few other choices. Apart from Subway. And they’re way worse.).

    • Urugeth

      Writer of ‘The Savage’ here. I just wanted to say thank you for the read and your kind words. I really appreciate it. And I feel you on the subtitles. It killed me too. I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out ways around it but I need to set up everything between Squanto and Massasoit and their tribes there early or the whole 3rd act conflict loses all resonance and meaning. if you have any suggestions or ideas on what else I can do there I am all ears. Because it kills me.

      Thanks again!

      • JasonTremblay

        It’s a weird movie convention, but they could speak English among themselves. When Europeans are around, they speak in their own language with subtitles. The convention is we the viewer understand them in their world.

    • Cal

      I didn’t know we could do half-votes! Two thumbs up for good form! I’m keeping that in mind for next week.

    • zedd

      Dude, half-votes is the most pointless thing in the world. You might as well not make any vote.

      The purpose of a vote is to help decide who the winner is. Splitting a vote in half is stupid. If you can split in in two, who says you can’t split in in five and vote for every script equally. Of course, it would still be as pointless.

      Decide on which script you like best and vote for it.

      • Mayhem Jones

        Hi Zedd! I blame Scott for posting he allowed half votes this week! ;D

        My bad–I’ll go back to a single vote next week. If the voting gets TOO close though, I’ll definitely make a decision between WIDOW’S WALK and DEADSIGHT!

      • Joe Marino

        Zedd, I did the same thing with splitting my vote between 2 scripts. I just couldn’t decide — and thankfully, because of Scott, I didn’t have to. As Mayhem said, if the vote gets too close, I’ll make an official choice with only one vote.

  • Kosta K

    My vote goes to WIDOW’S WALK followed by THE SAVAGE in a close second.

    I liked this one a lot. The writing is clear and visual and moved very easily from page to page. The only problem I had, and it’s only because I’m a little messed up, is that the story feels a little too sweet and clean for me. I can almost see it as an animated feature. But not 3D. Old-school cell to really capture the history and details here. Good stuff.

    Character overload! :/ I liked the opening, but quickly got lost in the small-talk in the following scene. Is there a main character? Maybe you can single one of them out earlier? Slashers are tough because you have to still stay entertaining between kills. That said, I would totally watch this based on the logline.

    Needs more funny! Props to you for writing a comedy, though. I’m sure the opening gets recalled later, but I would just start off with the character intros in present day right off the bat. I’m fighting really hard not to do an image search for iguana boners ;)

    This one felt more like a movie to me. The tone is established right away and it’s clear who the main character is immediately. I also had the opportunity to read the entire thing earlier, so that gives it at an immediate advantage.

    NOTE: If I lose by one vote, I would like to recall it ;p

    • smishsmosh22

      I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone vote against themselves haha.

      • Kosta K

        I have a drinking problem :(

        • Joe Marino

          I legit snorted my drink out through my nose at this. HAHAHA!!!!!!

  • Jaco

    Oh, hell. Cut away the fat, and all ole Jakey was saying was that the first scene was boring.

    Who the f cares if it can fit into the definition of a “plot point” or “turning point” or “determining factor” or “fill in film school term here”.

    It it’s boring for a particular reader – it doesn’t work for that reader. No need to pull anyone’s pants down (unless of course that’s “your thing”).

    Hell, I’m sure you can argue the other side like none other.

    But, so what? End of the day, except in your subjective eyes, neither you or Jake is right. Of course, neither of you is wrong either.

    It’s feedback, Francis. The fact that it doesn’t sit with you well and compels you to reach out and pull down ole Jakey’s pants?

    Yikes. I’d say there are bigger issues in play.


    • Breezy

      Say what you want, Jaco, but that shit was funny as HELL.
      Jake gave a solid answer so if Jack doesn’t respond the irony of it all would be humorous too…

  • Kirk Diggler

    Widow’s Walk – Read 25 pages, scanned to 30. This feels like a script with no set up. The opening tease (almost 3 pages) is just a dream/vision. The visuals in the opening scene are good and grabbing but they don’t offer any understanding.

    From there we are thrown head long into a very long interrogation scene, running from page 5 all the way until page 21. So our entire comprehension of what this story is about is taken from a husband and wife sitting across from a pair of detectives. So yeah, there’s exposition, some of done the way it should be, like this line from Det. Atkins

    ATKINS: Hey, let me ask you something. If Grace Ward’s really a world famous
    psychic, wouldn’t she know we’re setting her up?

    I like the way this line accomplishes two things, it fills us in on who Grace is but also lets us know that these two Detectives have it in from the married couple.

    But… there is a ton of unnecessary biographical information that is quite clumsy. Like….

    MATT: Grace has worked with the FBI. Her unique experience–
    PEELE: Hasn’t helped a single case in over eight years.


    MATT: This has been a nightmare for us.
    PEELE: A very profitable one, in fact. #ChelseaLives has been trending for months. You’ve raised over ten million dollars.

    This is all backstory being slipped into the conversation ( I haven’t even mentioned all the Widow’s Walk serial killer stuff), and I can’t tell why it’s important or why this scene goes on as long as it does. It’s not a very efficient way to tell a story. You’re filling in gaps of knowledge for a set up that’s absent in what should have been a simple scene. The Wards want permission to conduct a seance at the “Murder House”. That’s it.

    What I find strange is that they go there anyway, and seem to do it without anyone’s permission, which just lends a little confusion as to the meaning of their request in the first place. If I have to think about why a 16-17 page scene needs to exist if the end result is, almost nothing has changed, then you might have to reconsider its placement.

    Another thing I noticed, to the point of distraction, is that the detectives say the phrase “Mrs. Ward” 14 times….. As in, “Is this your dress, Misses Ward?”. You might do this once or twice, but 14 times? It was way too formal, especially considering how unprofessional the Detectives act, accusing them of killing their daughter and calling them pathetic.

    I’d really re-work the dialogue in general. This exchange is particular just felt weird and more than little forced and also out of character for Matt.

    MATT: Fuck you, Peele. By the time our lawyer’s done with you, you’ll be begging to suck his dick to keep your shit job.
    PEELE: Say that again, you misogynistic motherfucker.
    ATKINS: Hey!

    One other note:
    pg 19 – House breech – wouldn’t they just have forensics? Why the SWAT team? What were they expecting to find? Since the cops are practically accusing Grace of murder it’s odd they’d have this tactical command thing happening to break into the Wards House, when Grace herself is not there, nor her husband, they’re both sitting across from police detectives…. in one of their interrogation rooms. The most the Tactical force would find would be a ….. dead body.

    • Justin

      I have to disagree with you on the opening scene. I interpreted it as a setup for the entire script — after all, the entire story is about a missing daughter and (going into the script) missing children. Of course, whether this turns out to be true remains to be seen, since I only read up to page 16.

      But I did agree with the exchange between Matt and Peele — it was a bit forced and weird.

      • Kirk Diggler

        I think it works as a solid teaser (I’d prefer to see a version that is half as short), but setting the tone is not the same as setting your story. Which is what the interrogation scene attempts to do, fill in the blanks.

  • gazrow

    Well, there were a lot of dick references/jokes in the first ten pages that made it feel like a sex comedy, at lest to me.

    Page 1 Winston throws a dick insult/joke AJ’s way.
    Page 2 Havana threatens to punch Winston in the dick.
    Page 4 Havana “you’re gonna hit that one day.”
    Page 5 Dr. Hoffsteder “raging hardon” and “full on iguana erection is like a VW bus.”
    Page 7 The iguana sports an immense erection.
    Page 8 Havana has a lengthy dialogue with the female bank teller suggesting she would get a lot more customers if she opened the top button on her blouse.
    Page 9 Susie: “You’re being a huge raging penis and I don’t mean the good kind either”

    That’s a heck of a lot of penis and sexual references for a non-sex comedy. Not trying to be a dick here (no pun intended) but I think I can be forgiven for suggesting it reads like a sex comedy. There’s a dick/sex reference on almost every page and non-sex comedies simply don’t have them.

    • jelewis8

      That’s still not a sex comedy. Sex comedy is a genre in which comedy is motivated by sexual situations and love affairs. This is just puerile insults, which makes sense because the characters are puerile themselves.

  • Scott Crawford

    Yes, its the Olympic one. Nice place to think.

  • Zack Snide Er

    A vote for ‘Widows Walk’ – I read the first ten and the last five pages (as I did for each script) and this is the only one that clicked for me. The horror elements in the opening ten pages didn’t come off great on the page but they could work… and on the page mixing in some italic and bold to animate the cellular voices of the girls would be welcome.
    I really liked the ending. Know of made me sorry for skipping ahead. Kudos.

    The Savage – This is the one that struck me as most interesting from the log lines and it didn’t disappoint. The first ten pages are really well written and stand alone as the payoff with Ahanu giving Squanto the necklace is fantastic.
    My vote didn’t go to this script because after reading the last five pages, I just don’t know if that finale is good enough of a conclusion to Squanto’s arc. It felt anticlimactic. It may just be the way the script handled the ending or it may be an issue with the authors take on the subject. Or maybe I just need to read the whole script :)
    Either way, great job by the writer and good luck.

    The Darlings – The first page I disliked…maybe even strongly disliked. After that the next nine pages were really pleasant. The two deaths were really fantastically done… That whole sequence was awesome. The darlings didn’t place higher because the last five pages didn’t give me a clear idea of how it all comes together… It didn’t register as ironic or poetic (didn’t click) when compared to the first ten pages or logline. That being said, the writer definitely has talent and I wish them well.

    Three miles to Waffle House – I don’t know what to make of this script as a whole. It’s likely that I’m not the intended not audience. What I did really like about it was the payoff on page 9 between Briony, Havana and ‘Mr. Loverman’… It was very skillfully built up and landed. Would definitely read something else by the writer as they do have skill.

    Deadsight – First, i really do want to stress that I like the voice and creativity behind the script. But the script along with the logline and title need to be ‘on the same page’. The project, as It were, needs more focus and clarity. I read the first ten pages and I wasn’t moved… But the scene on page 98 was great… That alone made me go back and skim the first ten pages.
    Might I suggest finding a way to get into the story later and filtering in the backstory exposition later in the script.
    Best of luck to the writer going forward with it.

  • JakeBarnes12

    You admitted it yourself, Jack — it’s new information.

    And of course it’s setting up something that will be a plot point later. What fool couldn’t see that?

    Your and Kosta’s mistake is that you think that this is enough for a scene, and worse, for the opening scene of your script.

    It isn’t.

    Something should happen in that scene which has a direct impact on the protagonist and forces the protagonist to act. That’s what screenwriters mean when they say “nothing happened” even though a scene may be full of gunfire and car chases; does it have a direct impact on the protagonist?

    In this case, nothing happens. We learn that the child can see dead people (very original) but the child does nothing and nothing is done to the child — his mother isn’t kidnapped, for example.

    That’s just something you learn early in screenwriting class.

    So easy to spot those like yourself who have no training.

    What you might call “virgins.”

  • Urugeth

    Writer of ‘The Savage’ here. Thank you for the read and the vote. I know the dialog needs a lot of work and the story itself needs to be tightened up and the descriptions reigned in a little. Again, thank you taking the time to comment and for your notes on the script. I appreciate it.

  • Urugeth

    Thanks Cal. I appreciate the read and the vote. Hope the rest of the script lives up to the promise of the beginning for you.

    • Cal

      It definitely did ^

  • Zack Snide Er

    Part of the brilliance of The Matrix is that its functionally a movie about computer hacking but the stakes and the players are rooted in humanity. Sitting in front of a computer monitor is as soul crushing to watch as it is to do as Mr. Anderson new all to well.

  • Urugeth

    Thanks for the read and the vote! Oh, and for the feedback on the logline. I hate it. I just haven’t been able to think of a better way to bring it all together. It’s been a bitch to put together.

  • Comma

    I think I understand what JakeBarnes12 means by ‘static scene’. Besides, I DON’T think “nothing happens” is a good way to explain the ‘static’ status. This is how I see things: some scenes contain a ‘vector’, an arrow who drags the story foreward, some scenes don’t. The scene who doesn’t contain a vector can still serve many useful purposes like delivering information, emotion, give the viewer some rest, visual pleasure… My personal opinion is that a first page with a vector scene is better than one with a static scene but I won’t say this is an unbreakable rule. Anyway, I think that some vector scenes should appear in the first 5 pages: vector scene are what can grab the reader’s attention more than anything. I think that the first page of DEADSIGHT is a static scene. I don’t think that it’s a very brilliant scene, but I don’t think the whole script deserves to be thrown to the garbage because of that (unfortunately many people would do that, I’m afraid).

  • Citizen M

    Tough week again. Nothing stood out. I’m voting for THE DARLINGS because although there were plenty of faults, it seemed to promise the most gut-wrenching story.

    The Savage was a pro-level script, but not written in the spirit of the tournament IMO.


    Read to page 25. Some very effective and creepy scenes, but they needed context to appreciate the full drama of what we’re seeing. I found it hard to work out from the dialogue just what had happened recently, and who was suspected of doing what, and Grace’s background. The interrogation scene lasts from p. 5 to p. 21, far too long for the story development. It’s mainly exposition and repetitive visions of a little girl who is supposed to be Young Grace but I don’t know how an audience would know that. Suggestion: have a reporter trying to expose Grace who could fill us in on the context.


    Read to page 25. Pretty good. Sets things up nicely, with lots of detail about an unfamiliar society so we can understand the context. Suitable for a wide-screen epic. Because of the amount of research and the polished writing I can’t believe this is a challenge script, so while I would award it high marks I won’t vote for it.


    Read to page 25. Unfortunately, it was poorly structured so I had a hard time figuring out what was going on and who was with who. Not to mention the similar names — Macy Erin Sonya Tony Dana Sophie David — all with a ‘da-da’ cadence. When we cut from the house to the graduation I wasn’t sure if this was a flashback, flashforward, or concurrent. Also, I don’t know who the main character is. I’m guessing Erin. So start with Erin at the graduation, she mentions Steve and Casey, we cut to them at the house, then intercut with graduation, so we know it’s all concurrent. And try to group couples in separate little scenes. They all run into each other at the graduation. Also, when Macy and Erin talk about stuff we the audience don’t know (p. 17), it’s very irritating. If we must have exposition, don’t drag it out, give it to us quickly. Having said that, the sexual tension sets up the celebration nicely, so I’m intrigued enough to want to know what happens next.


    Read to page 25. This is all over the place. Still doing backstory. Not a single murder yet. We are introduced to a child whose one interesting feature is he sees dead people. But from p. 5 on that ability leaves him and he’s an ordinary child/teenager/young man, not what the title promised. His father cuts him for no reason we know, and abducts him from a commune for no reason we know. Why are we the audience kept in the dark as to what the main character sees or the father wants? There’s no GSU for the m.c. He’s just passively doing stuff. There’s no plan or development to any scene, except for the father, and he dies with his secrets unknown. I don’t know why I’m reading this.


    Read to page 25. Okay, but not enough jokes for a comedy. It’s mildly amusing, no more. While there are no real problems with the script, I feel there’s no over-arching storyline, so we can only look forward to a series of incidents, not a story arc. I think the main problem is a passive protagonist. He doesn’t make things happen, he just reacts to events. And in a comedy we could have more pace, more stuff happening in a shorter time.

    • Urugeth

      Hey Citizen, I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for saying ‘The Savage’ is such a polished and pro level script. I pretty much shit it out at a furious rate to see if I could pull off the story within the deadline. The caveat is that I had been mulling over the script for about a year and that’s where most of the research was done. I had all the articles and such posted up in a Scrivener file waiting for the day to get to it.

      The challenge with a script like this is that it’s so niche and the appeal so narrow that it was hard to justify taking a whole bunch of time away from working on actual, marketable concepts, you know? I have no intellectual justification for writing something like this as an amateur other than the fact that the story was just so goddamned compelling to me I felt I just HAD to write it. The Script Challenge was the perfect opportunity to suck it up and be like “Yeaz, if you don’t have 3 months to tackle this thing then you’ll never write it.” So I did.

      So TLDR version, I outlined and wrote the script within the Challenge but most of the research was done as procrastination over the course of a year while I was supposed to be writing other scripts. Hope that doesn’t disqualify me.

      • Cal

        That was the only thing in the back of my mind as well. I was thinking ‘It just seems like too much has gone into this to pop it out in thirteen weeks,’ although I’ve seen it done before when a writer is living off of inspiration and passion and just eating up books and development material.

        I believe you wrote the script within the 13 weeks because once the research and development is done and the story has had time to brew and the first draft usually flows pretty easy, but thus poses the question…

        Will the scriptshadow community see development as something that needs to fall within the given period of the competition? Or are previous ideas allowed?

        I personally think that development material should be allowed, because if the tournament is a catalyst to write that script you have been developing and wanting to write for so long, then I think the tournament achieved its purpose.

    • Matt Edward

      Thanks for the notes and the temporary vote…

      • Citizen M

        ‘Gut-wrenching’ wasn’t quite the word I was looking for. I felt that you did manage to create an atmosphere of steamy teenage sex and angst that would be horrific but compelling to see a serial killer cutting through, motivated by frustrated desire like the brother mentioned in your logline.

        But when I learned it was parents killing kids I thought it was a twist for the sake of a twist; it wasn’t sufficiently motivated by the setup, although it did explain why we saw more of the parents and younger siblings than usual in this type of script.

        Not that a parents killing kids scenario couldn’t work. I’m thinking of something anarchic like Lindsay Anderson’s IF. But it would need better motivation, like for instance if our teens had all failed to graduate and their parents were under financial stress or were part of a cult that glorified success and condemned failure.

        • witwoud

          tbh the only plausible “parents killing their children” scenario I can think of is honour killings, which are a depressingly real feature of certain communities, but not the one depicted in Darlings. Parents killing their kids because they got disappointing grades is an unswallowable idea.

  • ocattorney

    ocattorney votes for The Savage – Bill Hays

    • Scott Crawford

      Are you really an Orange County lawyer?

  • Joe Marino

    Writing up my 25-pages-per-script thoughts for the 5 scripts now, but just wanted to say kudos for what I’ve read of your so far. I’ve really enjoyed “The Savage” so far — and even though I’m only doing 25 pages now, I will most definitely be reading the rest of yours as soon as I can. Cheers!

  • Cal

    I agree on the Savage dialogue surrounded by . I’d say cut that it’s an easy fix. It’s distracting because it’s not typical in scripts.

  • Kosta K

    Write it better. Got it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry in the shower :(

    • brenkilco

      Justin also gets a lot of credit for the amazing advice he gave the U.S. track team in Rio. Run faster.

  • Poe_Serling

    My Vote this week goes to …


    After cracking open all the scripts, I picking this one because I think it’s the
    most ambitious of the lot and a real passion project for the writer.

    So, keep writing and know that you nailed the first step in Carson’s
    recent advice to take with you on your own screenwriting journey:

    “Write something you’re passionate about.”

    As for the others..

    Though I’m a horror guy, the subject matter of WW, D, and TD were just a
    bit too dark for me. Once again, it has nothing to do with the skill of the
    writers. Like I mentioned before, all three scripts have the potential of
    playing on Chiller, Syfy, etc. in the near future.

    And Widow’s Walk is a dynamite title for a film project, especially a scary


    Three Miles to Waffle House

    Since I’m not much of a comedy guy, I’ll take a back seat and let other
    readers chime in with their insightful suggestions/etc.

    As always, thanks to all the screenwriters for sharing their work.

  • ocattorney

    Some thoughts on “Story Value”: I found this on Richard Walter’s website, and it made me think about some new possibilities for defining “story value” in terms of survival and evolution and creating a safe place to learn how to deal with fear. :

    Richard writes: The movie screen is a mirror in which we see reflections not of others but ourselves. Tony Soprano strugges with issues that befuddle not only him but also me. I feel not separate from Tony but connected to him. Why…. act morally, decently, and conscionably?

    The earliest movie theaters, it seems to me, are the caves at Lascaux and Altamira, where ancient peoples painted on the walls images of antelopes and other prey featuring multiple sets of legs, as if to suggest the creatures are running.

    These people’s very survival depended upon slaying such creatures. Success in the hunt was essential to providing themselves and their families with food, clothing, and shelter.

    Replicating in a secure environment a facsimile of the hunt, the huntsmen could experience their fear in a safe place. They could rehearse their terror. They could train themselves to stand their ground.

    What subjects do movies treat? Crime, disease, war.The movie theater is a safe place to experience without risk those perilous – indeed lethal – aspects of our nature, so that eventually we’ll become inured to the emotions and be able to carry on in life when they occur not for reel but for real. When video games, movies, and TV render us numb us, desensitize us to violence in the real world .Isn’t that its purpose?

    We watch the best movies over and over again, to experience and re-experience the emotions they provoke. We need to rehearse, to prepare ourselves for the inevitable tragedies that are a central and unavoidable aspect of the human condition.Our lives depend upon it.(Thanks to Richard Walter, chairman of screenwriting at UCLA)

    So, we are TRAINING… for those inevitable tragedies that are unavoidable. We sit in a safe place and rehearse the terror of horrible experiences. We learn ways to fight back against the Opponents… OK, that’s good. Does a script teach me a practical method of being brave in the face of terror, something I can use when that terror becomes real?

    Richard adds: we all know for certain how our lives are going to end: a banquet for maggots, worms, and bacteria, with us as the main course
    So, just for the moment, let’s use this approach to “Story Value” as opposed to the others I’ve previously talked about. Does the script have expose us to enough violence that we can learn how to deal with it? So we won’t be unprepared or break down into tears. Is this the ultimate “Comfort Zone” approach… where the violence pushes us out of our Comfort Zone, but while we’re sitting at home watching a DVD, perfectly safe, and with time to stop the DVD and start it again after we’ve had time to calm down and think clearly? – Bill Hays

  • Mayhem Jones

    PS…….holding my breath for Carson to pick you in the upcoming weeks. SO excited to read your script!!!!!

    • Joe Marino

      Appreciate it! Although from what I’ve seen of the scripts so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it. I applaud all who came up with amazing, full-bodied scripts in the 13+ weeks that we had. “Hatchery” sure as hell ain’t another “Rose,” I’ll tell you that. Regardless, it was fun to try and write something this “fast” (by my traditional standards).

  • HRV

    Read both Widow’s Walk and Deadsight in their entirety. Of the two I preferred Deadsight although neither got me excited — I should’ve taken notes in order to convey what was missing, but didn’t have the time. Noticed a number of typos (missing letters) after around page 70 of Deadsight. For me to vote fairly, I’d have to read all in their entirety, which I won’t be able to do.

  • smishsmosh22

    My Vote: Widow’s Walk
    Runner Up: The Savage

    Comments to come. Wanted to make sure my vote got counted soon as possible.

  • jelewis8

    LOL. Right, but as an example of what TO do or what NOT to do? Not trying to be obtuse, really can’t tell if you’re lauding it as an example of superior comedy or if you’re using it as an example of what doesn’t work on screen.

  • jelewis8

    I very much appreciate your read and notes. I’m dead certain my script wins this week’s Least Enjoyed, so bully for me on that. I think, based on everyone’s notes (which all say about the same things), this concept’s DOA. Sometimes, you gotta not just kill your darlings, you gotta wipe ‘em out with a nuke, salt the earth, and never look back. Seems like this is one of those times.

    • Joe Marino

      I think having a “Least Enjoyed” option goes against the very fabric of what we’re all doing here haha. You definitely win nothing of the kind. You’re awesome. No matter what, no writer who entered here loses. For 13 weeks, you sat down and created something from scratch. This may be just me, but I believe that there are no bad scripts here – there are only ready scripts and scripts that need some more work. And in 13 weeks, that’s saying something. I wish you the best of luck, no matter what happens. ^_^

  • Cal

    I’m halfway through your script Urugeth and I’m really loving it. I’m going to finish the second half tonight. The writing is clean and sharp. I don’t know much about the Squanto story in detail so I’m really trusting your writing here, but I find all the relationships and the capture to England only to come back again fascinating.

    -A few things for now. I’d say ditch the . I realize it denotes translation but because readers aren’t used to seeing it I find it distracting. Maybe make a note somewhere in the beginning of the script and let that be sufficient.

    -Pg. 38 — Great dialogue but Captain Smith has just been introduced. I think we need at least 1 or 2 lines of action to break this up. Even something as simple as he flips his hand, or smiles, or anything to give it some movement.

    -Pg. 64 — the conversation with Squanto and Captain Smith is great. ‘Never let truth get in the way of a good story.’… great stuff, and ain’t that the world we live in.

    More to come. Good work. So far, I see this being a good film.

  • Trent

    My Vote: “The Savage”
    Runner Up: “Widow’s Walk”
    I’ll post some notes later tonight, also.

  • Jarrean

    Hey Guys,

    My vote goes to: The Savage

    Widow’s Walk- Read to page 19.
    Easy to read but hard to keep track of the orientation of the story. I was mainly confused by what was what (read: Grace’s visions versus visions versus present). She’s seeing Young Grace in the interrogation room, cool. But then, she has a vision in Charcoal Grey? What makes this different? Hence, the confusion started and I checked out. Other points, Matt needs to be more developed–one point he’s arguing with the cops and the next line of dialogue he’s calm. No real transition for him. I needed more from the couple to be behind them being against the Officers searching their home. I do this too, but if you cover the names of the characters will you know who is who. Dialogue needs work.

    The Savage- Read to page 8.
    Really enjoyed the imagery of this one. The story just flows out. I believe someone stated that they could see this as an animation. I can too, but I’d much rather it be live action. After seeing The Revenant I’d be all in to see this. Only stopped reading to give the others a chance. Will finish later. I will say be careful not to meet all of our expectations with their actions. I believe you can take some liberties, but again I’m only 8 pages in, so I shall read on.

    The Darlings- Read to page 8.
    Definitely falls into the genre, hitting all the notes. Felt overwhelmed with all the characters being piled on at the beginning. Typo on page 7 from Principle to Principal. Story moves quickly but it feels like retread.

    Deadsight- Read to page 4.
    I feel like I’m missing something. Strangely, the way this script is written is distracting, which leads me to believe that the 105 count is a little bloated. I’d say establish Gabriel and Norma more before jumping into what I’m guessing is him seeing a “dead” Chelsea. Also, give some more description to the Figures.

    Three Miles To Waffle House- Not in my wheelhouse, so I didn’t download.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the read and the notes, Jarrean!

    • Urugeth

      Thanks for the read and the vote Jarrean! the Revenant was the movie that finally pushed me over the edge into writing this, because the visuals were so lush and rich it made the movie alive in my head. So my writing was a little purple with that imagery in my imagination. but that was most assuredly what I was going for. Also, I feel this story is more compelling, personally. Because everything actually happened.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Deadsight – read 21 pages –

    1st page – “Floorboards buckle and creak under the weight of NORMA KING, 30’s, skeletal,”

    Floorboards buckle under someone who’s skeletal?

    Lots of descriptions of eyes… “They shine like jade crystals”…. Is the shape and size of their eyes important? If not, don’t draw so much attention to them.

    I like the reveal at the end of page 1 and disagree with others who claim it is static. It’s a tease , but it accomplishes what it needs to.

    However, the problem with this script is the disconnect between your tease about Gabriel’s character and everything that happens after that. Gabriel seeing dead people has very little to do with the family drama that transpires after that opening page. We get several more pages of Gabriel at various stages of his life, up until he’s 16. Then he and his mother move to an out of the way commune somewhere off in the deep woods. Characters are set up. Potential conflicts introduced…..

    I wrongly assumed that this is where the story settles in. But not to be. Instead we jump another 14 years into the future and Gabriel is now 30. This is not how it’s done. Your entire first act is just a warm up for the story that you apparently prefer to tell. But what was the point of everything that happened leading up to this?

    The stuff with the crazy father — the mother making weird faces at him– a potential love interest that goes no where — the stuff with Gabriel following some dead girl around instead of getting on the bus and going to school.

    I know I know, you are going to tell me it’s all connected. The best stories follow a main character around for as little as a day or as much as a week. This script goes for 30 years in 20 pages and still hasn’t decided where it’s going.This needs a re-think. Streamline it.

    Begin your story as close to the end as possible. That’s not my advice, it’s Kurt Vonnegut’s. Background info doesn’t always need to be dramatized and whenever you do decide to include it, it should never destroy the structure. Thanks for submitting.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks, Kirk!

      Yeah, the prologue is sticking out like a deformed thumb. I’m already re-working the entire concept in a new outline. Something that’s more my style. It’s looking like a page one rewrite! I used to think that was a bad thing!

      Thanks again for your thoughts and feedback.

  • Zero

    Hi everybody! In between working to spread the word about my cartoon Kickstarter, and working on my other writing projects, I’ve managed to find some time to review this weekend’s scripts.

    If you’re curious, here’s the link to my sci-fi Kickstarter. If you like sci-fi or cartoons, or just want to support more original content, please check it out:

    Anyways, onto the reviews!

    Three Miles to Waffle House
    This kind of subject matter almost never appeals to me. I’m not a party guy, stoner, or drinker. And the writing wasn’t good enough to counteract that. Foremost, I felt that the first twelve pages [where I stopped reading] was building things up too slowly.
    Building things up isn’t bad itself, but it wasn’t really building up anything interesting. Just a pair of weird kids who became loser adults, and a dickweed teen who became a loser adult. There’s no goal for them yet.
    Havana also speaks in an odd way, especially when he’s still a kid.

    Intriguing opening, with the mother being a ghost of some kind.
    The writing wasn’t bad. It just took too long to get to the baseline implied by the logline. The opening sequence was also kind of confusing in parts – how does the mother walk through things? What did his father do to him?
    I read to page twenty. If less time had been spent on the prologue, I might’ve kept reading.

    The Darlings
    I was tempted to stop reading after the graphic disembowling scene. That kind of thing is hard enough to watch, much less at the beginning of a movie.
    I stopped at page twenty. I couldn’t take much more of the graduates and their family members talking…and talking…and talking even more.

    The Savage
    I really liked this, and only stopped reading to give myself time to look at the last script. I’ll definitely come back to this.
    It was written clearly, and the pace was fast. Things happened. I also enjoyed Tisquantum’s father’s speech.

    Widow’s Walk
    The writing wasn’t bad. It moved at a good pace, and while it came close to being confusing at times, it managed to explain just enough to keep me focused on the story.
    However, that still resulted in an opening [I read up until the end of the first police interrogation] that was rather exposition-heavy. Ultimately, Widow’s Walk is good, but not as good to me as The Savage.

    So, I will put down The Savage as my VOTE.

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the read, zero! The prologue is almost history at this point as I’m re-outlining the entire concept.

      Great idea for the animation. I have two kids who would eat that shit up! If I ever find myself with a few extra bucks, I’ll try to remember you before the liquor store ;p

      • Zero

        Thanks! It’s good to know it’s resonating with people. It’s not easy to spread the word without a fanbase or deep work history, but I won’t give up.

  • Cal

    I finished the script. Definitely a very dark second half, and quite the amazing story. Great job man. I mean, I was taken the whole time by the story and characters. I enjoyed the read and pages flew by as I went on this well-written adventure. I really wish Squanto had the chance to extract revenge on Hunt because that guy was such a sinister douche and basically the catalyst to so much further suffering, but with the way he was acting he wasn’t going to last long anyways… either way, there was clearly a higher power at work in this story. Everything had to line up perfectly so Squanto could be a man of both worlds… his life was such a sacrifice to humanity… it’s really powerful stuff.

    I know a lot of people on here have noted dialogue problems. I personally had no problem with it and think it was solid, but if enough people note something maybe it’s worth taking a look at. Also, I’m judging this personally on the story you wrote and the way it delivers, whether it is historically accurate or not I don’t know so I’m trusting you did your homework.

    I’m not sure how many times the Squanto story or to what capacity it has been told, but I think you really have something here. Out of all the scripts in the competition so far this has been my favorite. I’d definitely push this and I think there’s lots of people and artists out there that would like to see this story told and would get behind it. Congrats, and thanks for writing this, seriously. It’s a true-story turned adventure tale and something I think deserves to be made into a film.

    • Urugeth

      Cal, thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much i appreciate what you said. First and foremost thank you for reading the whole script. It’s really a niche project that I now doesn’t have mass market appeal, but when I read about this guy’s life I just felt it HAD to be made into a movie.

      I know I wasn’t writing for a mass audience with this, but for the handful or so people who would ‘get it’. And it sounds like you’re part of that number. Also, thank you for taking the writing on faith, but I assure you, everything DID happen (more or less). Some of it, especially concerning the Pilgrims and all that, are based directly on their on writings, in some cases word for word. Some fudging did occur, naturally. Squanto actually crossed the Atlantic SIX times instead of the four in the script (I compressed his first and third crossings into one for the story) and otherwise what little I fictionalized had to do with the first 20 or so pages (the Natives left no record of their life before first contact, being an illiterate society, but that whole bit with the magnetized sword and all that actually happened), and unfortunately what really happened to Thomas Hunt is lost to the mists of time. He disappeared from the historical record after he sold his Indian slaves. No one knows what happened to him, so I imagined a grisly end based on the very real politics of the time (and also to give Squanto a rare victory of sorts in the story’s second half), but everything else, from the kidnaping, to Jon Smith, to the slavery, to the monastery, to the conflict with Massasoit did actually occur. I almost included an epilogue to say what happened to everyone after Thanksgiving, but it just got too depressing. (Long story short, Massasoit had Squanto killed less than a year later because he finally got sick of his shit.)

      Again, thank you so much. Some of the commentators mentioned how the story felt light and family friendly and I was like “…Didja get past the halfway point? ‘Cause it takes a fucking TURN.” It’s such a brutal, sad story, but one so vital to our history it breaks my heart that it’s so unknown, y’know? It sounds like you got what I was going for, and for a writer there is no other greater compliment. It means a lot. Glad you enjoyed the story and I appreciate you taking the time to both read, comment and provide feedback.

      • Cal

        It’s a really fascinating story. I felt like I learned more about Squanto reading this script then I ever did in school — probably because they leave out so much of the truth to fit Americana — ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story.’… Jon Smith’s words still ringing through my mind… the fact that he crossed the Atlantic 6 times during that time period is epic. The adventure he had, the hardships he went through, it’s just all pretty amazing.

        Production wise I think all you’d have to do is find one star or director or production company that ‘gets it’ as well and I think the rest will fall into place… it’s just that kind of story that I think people would want to be a part of. I also seeing it being more marketable then you think. We’re in an age now where people want to know the truth about things, they are tired of being lied to, and a good story well-told, even if it’s brutal, is often something audiences will be willing to go through. ‘Passion of the Christ,’ ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Braveheart,’ ‘The Patriot,’ ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ all of these are epic historical drama’s that did well, and only the last two and maybe the first listed being about America, and even then we’re trusting writers for accuracy. Basically, these films can get made and do well.

        From what Scott tallied you’re tied for the lead now. I’m rooting for ya.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    I’m voting for The Savage. Widow’s Walk and Deadsight were interesting because even though I’m not voting for them, I read them from beginning to end.

    In W2 the writing was good enough so I could see everything clearly. Towards the end it felt like the villain had a great deal of power that wasn’t really explained. In Poltergeist 2 they talk about how the villain was a preacher who told his flock that the world was ending and had them hide in a cave. Even after the world didn’t end he made them stay there by the power of his will until they all died and his hold on them lasted even after death.

    W2 doesn’t have a myth like that. The villain in W2 is a federal agent who has the powers he has without any interesting mythology or explanation. Also having Simon being the real father who also erases the main characters memories felt kind of convoluted. You need to pick one villain with either a more limited power set or that has a power set that’s adequately explained by the mythology.

    Maybe have the villain be the main character’s father, who was also psychic, who used her to hunt for all those girls who he used as batteries for his own power after his power started to wane. That kind of abuse and trauma would explain why she suppressed her memory of it all. Maybe the main character thought she killed him when she was a kid but he actually survived and kidnapped her daughter for revenge or to use her in the same way he used the main character.

    Deadsight might have been better if it had started with the fake exorcism scene as opposed to all the stuff from when he was a little kid. Watching the main character in his job as an exorcist and having him see dead people in the course of that might be interesting.

    Ultimately I’m voting for The Savage. The writing was VERY clear. The portrayal of Squanto as an arrogant, impulsive young man whose mistakes cost other people he loved so much, was good. I loved the part where I realized that the word wentu was some kind of teepee or living space. I read up until Squanto was in England, then I skipped to the end. It was, in light of what we know happens to Native Americans to depressing for me to want to read but I appreciated the craft of what I read.

  • Erica

    So before I head back into work I thought I would get my vote in,
    My vote goes to Widow’s Walk.

    I’ve read this script complete and like the story. I gave some notes earlier to Brett and don’t really have any more notes on it. I do like the changes that were made.

    The other scripts didn’t really do much for me. I think The Savage is well written but I’m just not a fan of the genre, especially when I don’t know who the subject matter is written about.
    I felt that the darlings was too generic sounding in the logline, but I’ve seen some work on that in the comments sections.

    Three Miles to Waffle House, I couldn’t get into. I did read further past the bird scene but nothing really sparked for me, I also read the last 15 pages.

    Sorry I don’t have time for more notes, but it’s a busy weekend at work.

  • Jarrean


    Does anyone have the script for Don’t Breathe (Man in The Dark) by Fede Alverez?

    • Joe Marino

      I do. Twitter me: Joe_N_Marino

      • Jarrean


      • smishsmosh22

        ooo I’d like that one too!

  • Eric Boyd


    I read an earlier draft of this and liked it, and this new and improved draft is just that, it’s moving faster. Things that were a little unclear to me now make perfect sense. It seems just about every issue I had with the first draft has been addressed. Great work Brett!

    DEADSIGHT – This one is a close second. I read a little over thirty pages. There’s a lot to like here. Each scene is well written, but as a whole it just seems a little unfocused. The first act is almost all backstory, by the time we get to the inciting incident we’re on the third or fourth actor that’s playing the lead. I don’t really see the connection with him growing up in a cult and being a paranormal investigator. I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks, but when done right I think there effective. Given the supernatural nature of the story, I sure there are tons of interesting ways to dole out this backstory without having to spend such a large chunk of the opening on it. I think it would be better to start with the dead body and Gabriel already an adult. Make Gabriel the character a mystery, one that we want to solve, while we’re watch him solve his own mysteries.

    THE SAVAGE – Read about 20 pages. Feels too much like a history lesson. A lot of talking about politics, avoiding war, hostage negotiations. If you look at how the character are introduced in Apocalypto (one of my favorite movies), they’re not shown talking about the Mayan calendar or anything specific to they’re culture. Instead, they’re complaining about their mother-in-laws and making fun of each others sexual problems. They feel like real people that we can relate to even though they come from an extinct culture that we don’t know much about. I could really find anything about Squanto to relate to, other than he has a crush on a girl, but even him giving her the necklace, still felt like a school lesson.

    As for THE DARLINGS and THREE MILES TO WAFFLE HOUSE, I read about 15 pages of each and I wasn’t really entertained. I wasn’t really feeling any originality. I felt like every scene, I’ve seen a version of in several other movies.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

  • BoSoxBoy

    My brain is in election mode, so I’ll admit that I focused mainly on the two front runners – Widow’s Walk and The Savage.

    After about 20 pages of each, this was a tough call, but my vote goes to THE SAVAGE.

    For me, the story of The Savage is something that I would continue to read, as history interests me. The story behind Widow’s Walk isn’t really my thing, but having said that, I recognize that it’s unique and that fans of that genre would like it.

    The tiebreaker for me was the dialogue. I thought Widow’s Walk bordered on-the-nose and cliche at times. The Savage dialogue didn’t wow me, but the pace made up for it.

  • A. Rhodes

    My vote goes to The Savage. Being that this is a 13 week challenge I based my vote entirely on which one i was immersed in the most from the start. The Savage hooked me into its world instantly. It was well researched but not weighted down by it. It was clear and fun and different, but classic. Dialog didn’t bother me -it was the right balance of being loose and authentic. Second place would go to Deadsight.

  • Pat

    I’ve got to sit this one out this week, I was away for work and picked up the flu and have only managed to crack they first 10 pages of The Darlings and Deadsight, both of which I though showed a lot of promise. Good luck to all the entrants and I will see you all next week.

    • Scott Crawford

      Get better soon, Pat!

  • Malibo Jackk

    The Savage

    Probably missed something.
    Setting the stage: Didn’t know where we were or what year it was
    from reading the first few pages.

    • Poe_Serling

      Yeah, a quick year insert would solve that problem.

      Just for the heck of it… I looked at the scripts for the Last of the
      Mohicans by Michael Mann and Christoper Crowe and New
      World by Terrence Malick.

      For the Last of…

      The writers didn’t add a date either. Since it was based on the
      classic novel by James Fenimore Cooper, perhaps they didn’t
      feel it was necessary.

      New World…

      The writer added both a date and year at the beginning of
      his story.

      • brenkilco

        Isn’t there a descriptive crawl or title at start of LOTM? Been a while since I saw it.

        • Poe_Serling

          Could be. Same here – I haven’t watched it in years. I do
          recall it opens up on a bridge that instantly tells the audience
          that we’re in the past… at least for me it did. ;-)

        • andyjaxfl

          Yes, there is a briefTitle Card: 1757 / The American colonies. / It is the 3rd year of the war between England and France for the possession of the continent. / Three men, the last of a vanishing people, are on the frontier west of the Hudson River.

          Short and sweet! Kingdom of Heaven has a very economical opening title card as well.

  • Poe_Serling

    Wow! What a close race this week.

    If you haven’t had a chance to check out this week’s featured scripts and vote,
    there’s still a ton of time to do so.

    Week 1 winner – Romantic Comedy
    Week 2 winner – Sci-fi/horror
    Week 3 winner – ????

    I think it would be kinda cool to see a different genre/subgenre for each of the
    eight projects advancing into the quarterfinals.

  • ScriptChick

    My Vote: THE SAVAGE
    Runner up: Widow’s Walk

    Hard vote for me. I love the history and careful selection in The Savage that went into Squanto’s scenes before he’s captured and forever changed. I feel like my problem will actually be the story I have yet to read, telling all of Squanto’s story without it feeling like a history lesson (keeping the focus on Squanto, his arc, whatever he needs to learn and grow from – which I feel is his pride, controlling his temper and learning to adapt to change based on the 1st act). But that’s a judgment based on what I haven’t read yet. So far the first Act was fairly solid. Widow’s Walk prompted more questions from me but I love the atmosphere. Reading it at night in an unfamiliar house also helped! I was effectively creeped out. The character has a stronger goal in this story and I feel this story is ten times more marketable and more likely to actually be made into a movie. But in the end, my vote went to what I read on the first thirty pages and for such a sprawling story, The Savage had more control and focus in its craft. I don’t deny the plight of mother finding daughter but in the end I was more into seeing a headstrong child ripped from all he knows and survive in a new world. Great job, guys!

    THE DARLINGS – (Read to pg. 31 – not enough going to keep me invested)
    The logline was very generic. So I’m the least excited about it out of the whole bunch. Still though, I’ll give it a fair read.
    Pg. 1 – Casey covers her mouth to avoid laughing (at sight of hairless chest). Why laugh? Don’t get me wrong, I like my hairy guys, but Cosmo tells me I like my dudes sans chest hair. Almost seems the opposite (a hairy guy) that Casey would laugh at (like if Steve has shaved his hair to not show above a shirt line, making it look really odd when his shirt’s off). Missing context from Casey.
    Pg. 2 – “Leaving in a couple months.” Dialogue got a little exposition-y here.
    Pg. 4 – Steve wants to get laid. Casey – not so much in the dump they’re in. Does Steve really think wearing an unflattering, unsexy graduation gown is suddenly going to do it for her? This action doesn’t seem to come from the character.
    Pg. 4 – We know the things under the sheet isn’t Stacy so we’ve seen it all before. What we missed was Stacy getting surprised by the masked figure. I think focus was put on the less interesting thing in this scene.
    Pg. 4 – Taken out of context, what is so scary about the sound of a splat? Steve’s line doesn’t work for me because I don’t think a splat sounds scary. Just that something gross has fallen or dripped in a gross old house.
    Pg. 5 – laid out just for him – already established that house is trashed so I would just believe the area around is the same, not intentionally put there for a victim like that line suggests.
    Pg. 6-8 – I’m not getting too much conflict in this scene. Felt there was a lot of general teen dialogue. Like the moment when we get to pg. 9. Graduation has been established and now ready to move on.
    Pg. 10 – David lusts after Sophie? Upset that Macy isn’t going to Harvard.
    Pg. 11 – His bare ass wafts in the breeze – this line would be great for a comedy! Here, it messed me up tonally for a so far straight forward horror/slasher.
    Pg. 12 – Little overkill that killer think to use plastic bag to suffocate, things going well then gets a knife anyway. Why go to the trouble with the plastic bag?
    Pg. 13 – I think with this grad party scene that Erin is the main character? But I didn’t feel that way in the opening at the graduation. I got there was underlying emotion, something deeper to Erin but I would focus on her more from the beginning. Lots of page space given to Macy and her name.
    Pg. 15 – A lot of the dialogue here seemed unnecessary. They don’t want the mom there, and she needs to be gone to move the story along, so get her out sooner.
    Pg. 16 – second time I’ve read cowers her gaze. Just think it’s a little odd a phrase to use again so soon. (again on pg. 19 as well)
    Pg. 17 – “…Chuck E. Cheese cause school won’t spring for Dave and Buster’s.” — haha
    Pg. 17 – Some of the argument here feels rehashed. Macy wants her to live it up but Erin feels guilty and on watch by parents. Wanted them already gone by now. The scene after with Michael felt too similar to the Mom scene, but more poignant since he brings up the room they were in. If I had to keep one, I’d keep this one and move on.
    Pg. 20 – Luke is creepy, but didn’t I already get that from him drooling during graduation at Erin. And by this point it’s been hammered home that Erin tragically lost her brother Eric. More of the same here.
    Pg. 22 – “Are you going to shit or get off the pot tonight, buddy?” – My Dad says this. Would a highschooler? Not so sure…
    Pg. 25 – More brother’s dead stuff. I get it.
    Pg. 27 – Very antsy at this point. Erin is still in the car with her Mom? And another cowers her gaze.
    Pg. 34 – Took them a long while to finally get to the house where I know now the real fun will start.
    I skimmed to some pages in the 80s to get a grip on the end based off the other logline posted in the comments – is this a horror/slasher or a horror comedy? Not sure I can take it seriously after reading some of the dialogue and evaluating the concept. Seems to fit comedy more – and lets you play around with it. Would get the twist out early though, then there’s more opportunity for camp and fun.

    THREE MILES TO WAFFLE HOUSE – (Stopped at pg. 30. I’m sure there are more fun little scenes of mischief and trouble AJ and Havana get into, but the goal and story are a bit muddled)
    Pg. 2 – “Your Mom…potty training you?” – like the line
    Pg. 3 – It switches gears really fast after the bird death. Jarring to me, in the line too “let’s go get some—“ that seems like a comedy setup but doesn’t feel right after this big moment. AJ was really trying to save that bird and the scene is not given a moment to really settle afterwards. Even in Hangover 3, there was a scene of aftermath after the giraffe death. This just moves straight on to flirting with a highschooler. One pitch for you is if it’s a Robin Hood Men in Tights/worst day from hell – all the horrible stuff keeps coming (dog run over by a carriage, goldfish eaten by the cat who choked on the goldfish) that only waffles can fix.
    Pg. 5 – For a story that has waffle in the title, they seem way more focused on Penelope than getting waffles. Not sure if what we’ve seen in the past is that poignant for whatever goal is coming up in the present. If they have a raging passion for waffles and waffles come the goal, then I didn’t feel that passion in their youth. If those first scenes were just to establish an antagonist, well, I’m left wondering if the antagonist part of it could be established when AJ’s older. A present, current threat that just happens to date back to their youth. The big note from this is that scenes aren’t flowing as smoothly as what a seemingly basic premise dictates.
    Pg. 9 – “I already have one.” – I’m confused. She just sent Winston her number. I think the line is misleading vs. her saying “I just want one/him.” Not liking Havana’s character. Is he the buddy sidekick to AJ? Not excited about this guy from the judgment I’ve seen which he thinks are his best intentions?
    Pg. 11 – AJ says Penny – is he referring to Penelope since Havana says he hasn’t stopped liking her since AJ first saw her?”
    Pg. 10-12 – I like AJ’s predicament for wanting the internship to go on his resume. Feels real. The concert part – wish that it was incorporated a little sooner into the story because it feels a little random here. Like it’s not something they’ve been planning for a while. And Havana forcing AJ to go, it just sort of happened. No fight from AJ, no special something Havana had to do to get him to go.
    Pg. 12 – “You want some herb?” “You got any?” ‘Na.” – haha
    Pg. 13 – If you’re comparing this to Harold and Kumar then it was lost on me when they passed the Waffle House and had zilch reaction to it.
    Pitch: What if their goal to begin with is waffles? Havana promps AJ out of his depression with the promise of waffles, but they lose the car, obstacles keep piling up etc. Not sure what the rock band has to do with anything other than then having them want waffles after.
    Pg. 16 – Whose movie is this? AJ has become so passive in these pages. Way more focus is on Havana then I feel it should be.
    Pg. 17 – Car covered in human shit – oh, that’s so gross! But I like it as conflict against them.
    Pg. 17 – Not super clear that Whitney was Winston’s girl. So make it more obvious in the way he/she handles each other after the incident?
    Pg. 18 – For being such big fans of Burt Machismo and Iroquois, I kind of wanted to see the guys fanboy out on them, even though these musicians are super pissed from what they’ve done.
    Pg. 21 – I think my biggest note is I’m bother by the fact that the title and goal – of getting to the Waffle House — is just a means to an end. Waffle House isn’t really the goal itself (like it was in H&K and White Castle). It’s just a place where they can call for help. It’s not put on an outlandish pedestal like I feel it needs to be in a silly comedy. Without a silly, stoner-comedy goal, the movie just becomes a walking talking road movie?
    Pg. 22 – I think rather than an over-explained in action look from AJ, there should be more conflict here. AJ does not want to go because ____. Havana argues _____. Maybe even the trucker gets involved if he overhears. Opportunity for more conflict and comedy. AJ gets in too easily. But I like the Valentine’s candy jokes once they’re inside.
    Pg. 26 – Havana fell asleep super quickly from the time he pulled the horn to the bottom of the page where he’s asleep. Where the candies drugged? Not really clear because I don’t remember him or only him eating a lot of them.
    Pg. 30 – Havana also kind of dilutes the goal by saying they could go to any Waffle House. Does Penelope still work at a Waffle House? If she does, it needs to be that one. I think ground your story a lot more if Havana, in trying to cheer up his buddy from getting fired wants to give him some comfort food but he has the ulterior goal of getting AJ and Penelope together. Or if he’s selfish, that’s his goal.

    THE SAVAGE – (stopped at pg. 31 – would read more. I like the period drama and despite some lengthy descriptions the story is engaging and I care about Squanto)
    Pg. 5 – I am curious about the necklace. Hope it gets clarified the importance of it later. Maybe Squanto should also stress not to give necklace to his father? Because I thought he was getting it for the benefit of pride back to his family?
    The whole sequence runs really smoothly. I love Squanto’s bravery and way he sends Ahanu on knowing he wasn’t seen.
    Pg. 6 – Councillors  counsilors
    Pg. 8 – Prose got a little dense here. Two mentions of a royal seat and throne for a character (Massasoit) I’m not expecting to see for long since this is Squanto’s story.
    Pg. 9 – judgement  judgment
    Pg. 11 – I guess I was wondering how Askeheteau’s tribe was before Massasoit? Does he see this as a benefit being under Massasoit’s rule vs. a feeling of him being taken over and relegated to the side with not enough manpower to do anything about it? If the latter’s the case, then I would like to see more frustration with him. Context of Askeheteau’s tribe. But I like the wise words that come from Askeheteau’s mouth as he’s arguing with his son (esp. top of pg. 12).
    Pg. 12/13 – Weird transition to scene with Hurit. Wanted some clarity on how Squanto felt after father’s last words.
    Pg. 14 – A full-rigged ship (The Archangel) (space) is anchored offshore.
    Pg. 15 – “But what could we offer men who build such things?” – This was a little odd for me coming from Squanto. He wasn’t even keen on offering Massasoit’s people anything and for him here to even consider giving anything to these strangers?
    Pg. 15 – Was not aware Askeheteau was visible to the Europeans or had made himself known and ready to converse.
    Pg. 16 – Was wizard a term used by Native Americans?
    Pg. 17 – Like Squanto’s observation about men and shells.
    Pg. 18 – Wondering if it’s a bit more tension to have Hurit eat the cracker from Dermer with Squanto watching.
    Pg. 24 – Hanging scene heading bottom of page.
    Pg. 30 – Not sure if we’ll ever see Dermer again, but I think he should have something to say about Squanto to Georges. To show that in this new world, Squanto is special/caught his eye?
    Pg.30 – Transition feels rushed. And then by pg. 31 we are back at Plymouth within a page. If this script is all of Squanto’s life it’s a lot of ground to cover, but this was a crucial transition that I feel glazed over some of the most important struggles for Squanto before he assimilated. Also, this is a boy who was shown as very independent and full of machismo, even up to his capture. To glaze over this resilience also seems to cheapen the strength you’ve given him.
    Like that established Squanto wears the belt/still has it.

    WIDOW’S WALK (Read to pg. 30 – the atmosphere and visuals are cool. I am excited to get to the séance if that will uncover anything to a psychic whose powers seem to be defunct when it involves finding her daughter)
    Pg. 1 – Not clear that Grace actually pushed to accept.
    Pg. 2 – All these phones inexplicably appear – are they ghost/supernatural phones? Pg. 3 – Ah, a dream.
    Pg. 4 – Intrigued by the pink tablet and gray mesh.
    Pg. 6 – “Hey, let me ask you something. If Grace Ward’s really a world famous psychic, wouldn’t she know we’re setting her up?” “Fuck psychics.” – I like that first line, but was disappointed by the response. You haven’t given me an answer to that very big problem of why they even doing this in the first place. How do they know they won’t be caught? If they have a way around her being psychic, I want to know. If they think she’s a fraud and are saying it sarcastically, I want to know (which I think you’re going for but want it to be super clear). “Fuck psychics” tells me nothing unless it was said by the same person saying posing the line as a joke.
    Now that I know the extent of no mobile devices due to tinnitus, would it add to it to have Grace cringe/freak out as they pass the protestors? Surely they can’t be kept from having mobile devices on them.
    Going back to the opening – I think it’s better without it. To me, it’s not so much a grabber opening as a big question mark. I like the build Grace and Matt have driving up and in the interrogation room. I think the opening explains the mesh and sealed tabled but I kind of wanted that to be the mystery. It’s more grounded and as we find out, it feels like a layer being pulled back on your story vs. a macabre dream abruptly showing us.
    Pg. 10 – I like this cutaway to the murder house because of the atmosphere that seems to instigate it (vs. the opening). I would though focus on Grace before the vision starts to make this transition smoother and so we know she’s experiencing it right then and there. Right now read a little jarring.
    Pg. 11 – “Are you accusing us of murdering our own daughter?” – What Peele said before that didn’t really merit Matt saying such a line that would paint him and Grace so negatively. Why would he even suggest this? Felt a little off to me because I don’t feel enough evidence was presented to even suggest them yet.
    10 million is a lot to be using on themselves without mentioning all the rest will go towards other lost children (after they find Chelsea).
    Pg. 12 – I think to better make that connection that the girl Grace sees is her child self, have Grace looking at the marks on her adult wrists and the one on the child in the same scene. It’s a direct visual link.
    Pg. 16 – Like the transition to the spirit world.
    Pg. 18 – I guess if they’re FBI they would keep the media from finding out? Other than that, I feel like eventually Grace would be notified by the media where the murder location is, the problem more being if she physically needs to get into the house.
    Pg. 20 – To me, a girl’s room well-furnished in the basement isn’t so odd unless there’s another girls’ room in the house. If they have one girl and then there’s a second girl’s room, then I ask questions. But it wasn’t established.
    Pg. 22 – Like the dialogue bottom of the page. Grace something up her sleeve keeps me reading.
    Pg. 23 – So twelve more murders have happened in that house since the widow’s walk? Why isn’t it more protected? The murders recent there’d be crime scene tape? And if not recent, there’d be no trespassing signs? It comes on pg. 24 but I feel it would be on the fence here as well.
    Pg. 24 – I love the visual of a Widow’s Walk and how it’s somehow tied into the story to merit the name Widow Walk serial killer. But IMO it is not that weird looking on a structure to merit Matt saying “What is that.” That’s a forced line to get an explanation from Grace for story purposes. I’d find another way to more organically introduce this explanation to the story.
    Pg. 25 – I thought Matt and Grace had written out Simon and Laurie to not get them in trouble. But here they seem to be counting on them. Needs to be little clearer they still plan to have them help.
    Pg. 26 – Unless the whisper is coming from Chelsea, I don’t see how Grace would be comforted by it. Everything else whispered or supernatural has appeared to be antagonistic.
    Pg. 29 – Did I miss Grace putting the cap in the briefcase? She was wearing it I thought. When (and why) would she ever put it in the briefcase if it offers her some sort of protection (unlike say the smartphones/tablets)?

    DEADSIGHT – (Read to pg. 30. Unfocused story with too many stops and starts does not make me want to read more)
    Norma is a ghost but she’s able to interact with John?
    I don’t quite get what John’s doing. It’s not out and out killing him so what then? I guess I’m confused because I missed that transition from the basement to the police taking John away to really understand what’s going on.
    Pg. 8 – I didn’t like the double time jumps so early in the story. Feels like the story doesn’t know where to start and I’m still waiting for it to get going.
    Pg. 8 – Maybe she’s not dead? I’m confused. The whole line passes through crib bars made me think a ghost because with Chelsea and these figures, it seems to be about ghosts.
    Also, the logline says suicide cult when he was a child. Wish I actually saw that cult when he was a child since we’ve already seen scenes of him as a kid. What John was doing didn’t convey suicide cult to me.
    Pg. 10 – Gabriel can’t get his eyes off heather (capitalize name).
    Pg. 11 – Harrold  Harold
    I’m not really sure why / or if Gabriel has a good reason for him and Norma to be going to this unconventional new home (as opposed to just another house).
    Pg. 12 – Then another time jump of two months. Also, what happened to Chelsea. It feel disjointed and incomplete to not tie her story up or address it more especially since it’s now been years since Gabriel followed her.
    Pg. 12 – Gabriel likens Harold to Hitler but we haven’t seen an example to merit this name.
    Pg. 16 – Why did Gabriel suddenly decide to go wandering off into the woods at night?
    Pg. 19 – And now we’re leaving the commune as quickly as we entered it.
    Pg. 21 – Another time jump?
    Pg. 23 – I like the twist that Denise wasn’t really possessed, but what did Denise and Jerry have to gain from it exactly? And besides that, I thought we would be dealing with ghosts from the logline, not a guy who supposedly exorcises people?
    Pg. 30 – This is the meat of your story. But I’m already through the first act.

  • matt

    My vote goes to The Savage

    Runner up – The Darlings

    Well done everyone for getting your scripts finished and picked!

    Widow’s Walk

    I can see there’s been a lot of love for this already. I went in with high expectations and I was impressed by the clear writing style. However, I felt some of the dialogue was a bit over the top/out of character and that was a problem for me.

    I also think the phone thing would need to be handled very carefully to not seem like a gimmick – I’m almost ready to believe ghosts might be tech savvy these days… But it’s a leap…

    The Savage

    I’m not a huge fan of historic biopic type things, but your logline sounds like a movie I’d like to see. Script-wise, I found it a bit dense to get through, but the story moves quickly, and I was immediately invested. I’d think about all that description – is it all necessary?

    I’d also lose the for the dialogue – that really stood out as a formatting problem for me.

    The Darlings

    I read these in reverse order so this one follows Deadsight – I’ve got to say, I’ve never been a fan of bold sluglines, but I can see the attraction, it makes it a lot easier to read.

    Immediately I like the writing style, but already I’m shouting at the screen in my head – classic horror movie – how did they gat all the way to that disgusting bedroom without Casey objecting?

    I’d like to see Steve working his charms from outside the house – loads of conflict there – all the way to that bedroom – he gets her in the house OK – then she wants to go, he’d have had to work some magic to get her upstairs – and all that effort and build up is cruelly destroyed when they hear that sound.

    P.5 I’d have him see and step over the broken glass with his bare feet only to trip and fall face first into the broken beer bottles (bare feet and broken glass and everyone thinks Die Hard)


    p.2 How would we know it’s Gabriel 8 or 9 years later? As far as I could see he isn’t referred to as Gabriel until p.4

    I was kind of intrigued, but I lost it at the list of stage instructions:

    Chelsea strolls through the neighborhood.

    Gabriel follows, but keeps his distance.

    A fence runs along side them.

    A thick forest behind it.

    A car rolls by…

    The list goes on

    Read to p.15 but really confused as was skimming a bit due to formatting. Sorry.

    Three Miles…

    The logline reminded me of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

    99.9% of the time cut to isn’t necessary and 100% of the time a ‘slam’ or ‘smash’ cut is created by transitioning from one extreme to another

    The slam cut is redundant here:


    Another day, I gue



    EXT. MINKUS ANIMAL CLINIC – DAY Establishing of a small brick building that looks like it was built in the 80’s and hasn’t had a decent renovation since.

    Stopped reading after that.

  • Billie B

    Great job to all the writers and congrats!

    My Vote: THE SAVAGE
    (I’ll let the powers that be decide if my vote counts ;))


    I found this to be the most professional read of all the scripts. The writer certainly used the time wisely and made it through the allocated rewrites and then some. Nice job!

    Immensely readable with a kind of Braveheart vibe.

    From what I read (first 20) I trust the author can follow through with an entertaining story, and a true story at that. Might be calling-card gold. Well done!


    Drawn in immediately by the active and visual writing style.

    Pg. 1: ‘stretched’ across the floor not ‘stretch’?

    I was a bit disappointed this opened with a dream sequence. I don’t know why. I don’t usually have a problem with DSs, but I did feel my enthusiasm drop a few rungs when I realized.

    Is she really crying blood from the vision? Is that possible?

    Page 8, and I’m still not sensing the ‘is she for real or not’ angle you mention. We open on the DS. She cries blood from the effort. She saw 12 children missing; there are 12 children missing.

    I think this is fine. You can absolutely have a child murder investigation without the personal integrity question hanging over it, but since you mention it as your fresh angle, I wonder if you want to find a way to truly make the mystery of ‘is she legit?’ a core element. For the audience, that is, not just the investigators.

    Page 9/10: I’d get a little more creative with the exposition on their ‘jet setting the world for clues’ convo. Feels a bit info-dump-esque (Yes, I think I made up this word).

    If you want us to truly wonder ‘is she the real deal or a dirty fraud?’ I think you need to lose the dream sequence and the bloody tear. Or if you keep the dream sequence, remove Grace from it. Like it’s just her POV and she doesn’t speak, just an unknown POV being trapped by cell phone babies and tape outlines. Waking from it will show us it was her, but I feel her being so active within it immediately makes us think she truly communicates with spirits.

    I LOVE the creepy vibe coming off the page, though. You definitely know how to set the tone!
    I think with some finessing in regard to the protags plausibility, you could really have something here.

    Awesome job :)


    —Immediate sense of mood. Pacing’s perfect for the genre. Love it.

    —Bit intense in the basement, but I’m assuming there’s a pay off for this later?

    —When his dad says “…fear will show you the way” and slices him with a knife… feels like it should be ‘pain will show you way.” I get that it probably needs to be ‘fear’ for the story, but I don’t think the actions corresponds well with the message.

    —Hmmm and now we’re having a whole new opening with ‘arriving and settling in at a commune’ (didn’t read the logline, so wasn’t expecting this). I think 8 pages is too long of an intro to then spin the story into what feels like a totally different direction.

    I just read over this again to try an offer ideas on how to make the transition smoother, but I’m not coming up with much.

    One thought is to open with the dad scene (start with mom and son sitting at the dinner table), but make Gabriel older and mom kookier/less normal. ‘After dad’s torture’ feels like a relevant reason to leave town. Then maybe the ‘ghost following him home’ and the ‘Chelsea flyer’ beats can happen when he’s at the commune on a day trip the to the grocery store or something (assuming Chelsea is relevant to the story going forward).

    Or maybe start the movie at their arrival at the commune, and feed us the other information later in flashbacks. I know a lot of people have a problem with flashbacks. But when used correctly and done well, they definitely trump an opening backstory dump.

    Orrrr…. maybe instead of driving intentionally to the commune, they’re just moving to an old creepy house close to the commune and he stumbles across it by accident and curiosity. The girl he likes lures him there more and more. Kind of like The Beach, maybe. Where he’s into it initially then starts to see the cracks. I’m not sure. I’m just vomitting random thoughts, here, so sorry if the above doesn’t make sense!

    I do love your storytelling flow. I was totally into this up until the commune arrival kind of ripped me out of the story. It might have been different had I read the logline, first, but there are many readers opening your script, blind, so I wouldn’t rely on the logline to set the tone or world. I’m confident you’ll find a smoother entry, though.

    Best of luck!


    This really is a skim because I’m not taken with (or familiar with) the genre. Seems well executed as far as I can tell. Opens with some slash, takes a breather. Sassy, quick-witted teens in peril. I only got to page 12 but based on what I’ve read so far, I’m confident you’ll continue to hit all the beats throughout.

    I guess it’s a case of finding someone specifically looking for this kind of material. Maybe get it polished and consider a stint on Ink Tip? Prodcos are picking up low budget genre scripts all the time, over there.

    Good luck!


    Didn’t grab me in the opening few pages (5) but I also ran out of time. Couldn’t quite nail down the tone. My biggest tip would be to massage the dialogue. Maybe hold a table read for rhythm and flow.

    Just read the logline and see it’s a comedy. Hard to pull off comedy in early drafts… I know!

    Definitely consider a table read, and also look to find humor stemming from character, flaws, and situation, not just quippy dialogue.

    Good luck!

    Another week of great efforts from all 5 entrants. Well done and good luck to everyone!

    OT… I’m now checking out for a few weeks while I smash out my first rewrite of The Bait.

    I’ve been compiling a ton of feedback (thanks to all!) but am scared at how many notes, all seemingly relevant, ended up canceling each other out in complete opposition LOL. I guess as multiple teachers have said in the past: “Often it’s not the note itself, but the reason for the note that should be considered.” #rogerthat :)

    • Scott Crawford

      I hereby declare your vote counts! Course it does…

      • Billie B

        :) Thanks Scott!

    • smishsmosh22

      Your vote counts more than anyone else. You are the first bracket winner of the SS Tournament!

      • Billie B

        Ohhhh thanks Smish! X

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the notes, Billie! The opening feels like a completely separate movie when I read it now :/ I’m pulling the guts out of this one and putting them into a new rewrite. I hope I get a pulse!

      • Billie B

        Awesome Kosta! I have faith in you :) you’ll get a much stronger pulse!

    • jelewis8

      Thanks so much for the notes! Very helpful!

  • brenkilco

    An important point needs to be made. An ass can’t waft. Not physically possible. Don’t care how aerodynamic it is.

    • klmn

      What if it’s wearing parachute pants?

      • Poe_Serling

        I just saw where Magnificent Seven topped this week’s box office with 50 million worldwide (35 million domestic). Cost about 100 million.

        Don’t Breathe pushed its worldwide box office to 120 million (80+ million
        domestic). Budget: 10 million.

        As Lights Out fades from the theaters, it’s brought in close to 150 million worldwide. I think it’s getting released on DVD right before Halloween
        – just more $ in the bank.

      • Midnight Luck

        Nope, too tight.
        But wearing MC Hammer pants, absolutely. Waft away…

    • Citizen M

      An ass could waft in a sufficiently strong draft.

      • brenkilco

        Hmm. Did Dorothy’s ass waft?

  • Levres de Sang

    My Vote: DEADSIGHT

    This week seems like horse racing at its best: Widows Walk and Deadsight made all the early running, but now The Savage is coming up on the rails… Once again my notes have tried to take the form of Early Draft Reports:

    DEADSIGHT [Read: 18/19 pages]: There’s some interesting material here (the hallucinations of the missing girl reminded me of Fulci’s House by the Cemetery) and on the whole it’s a nice read for a first draft. The double time-jump is a narrative issue you might want to think about resolving. Also, the next draft should identify the main plotline. As it stands, we’re being pulled in several directions: the hallucinations, the weird father, and also the cult. This one exceeded my expectations, though. Well done!

    WIDOWS WALK: More dead children and another interesting story! I also sensed Brett working overtime to overcome the limitations of his contained setting and thought the opening scene was very striking in visual terms (reminded me of RINGU a little); but felt the “it’s all a vision” reveal sucked air out of the balloon early on. Having said that, this technique worked every week on MEDIUM. For the next draft I’d also think about thinning out some of that exposition prior to the interrogation and really nailing down clarity on the page. I did manage to keep up, but the interrogation sequence itself requires a lot of concentration. I’d also want this key line much earlier: “… how old were you when you were abducted by the Widow’s Walk Killer?” Maybe even on Page 1. Ultimately, though, the contained setting and procedural storyline made me think this one might be better off as a TV Pilot.

    THE SAVAGE: This could definitely be Black List bait, but I found the going a little heavy and the prose overly dense in places. And like a lot of biopics I’m unsure as to a clear storyline? Also watch out for dialogue that feels it must-imbue-indigenous-peoples-with-dignity. They’re more likely to come off as overly portentious. You must also do something about those … [Note: On Page 1 of DEEPER Max Landis writes: “… and we’re not leaving the pod unless something really bad happens, so let’s leave the “O.S” to your imagination and give my fingers a break.” Not saying that kind of tone fits here, but it’s a nice workaround.]

    THE DARLINGS [Read 7/8 pages]: Afraid this one just felt a bit flat on the page. It may be a first draft kind of issue, although more likely it’s the feeling we’re treading a very well-worn pathway. I also think there’s too many named characters in these opening pages. I’d love to see this genre move away from tedious teenagers, although I’m probably in the minority.

    THREE MILES TO WAFFLE HOUSE: My apologies to the author (who from his comments seems like a decent guy), but I didn’t open this one based on the consensus so far: Namely, the promise of animal cruelty and lowest common denominator humour.

    What I Learned: We really must consider what we’re bringing to the table when operating in familiar territory (i.e. slashers, R-rated comedies, contained settings). Yes, the audience expects certain beats to be hit, but they also want to be surprised.

    ** Maybe Carson might consider reducing the overall number of scripts to 35; thereby allowing him to select a “fastest loser” alongside the seven winners?

    • Kosta K

      Thanks for the read and the vote, Levres!

  • jelewis8

    Thanks for clarifying!

  • Dallas Cobb

    1. I cannot stress this enough, but I am so sick of college. I cannot wait to graduate so I can just focus all my time and attention on screenwriting. Because of that, I’ll be forced to doing what I did last week and vote between these top two scripts!

    2. By seeing how close the voting has been getting between two scripts these past weeks, maybe a Sweet Sixteen could be considered for a future contest? 16 scripts, 4 weeks of 4 scripts going against each other until an Elite 8, then a final 4? Just a thought!

    Would consider: DEADSIGHT (the logline intrigues me, and I’m a fan of the genre, but I skimmed the script and it looked a little too sparse to me so I didn’t divulge, but if I had more time in my life, I definitely would!)

    Widow’s Walk – Clear, concise writing; every word and detail seems focused, which I appreciate. – why no (CONT’D) at some of the dialogue? – FACE TIME is one word (coming from an unashamed Millennial here); just for fun, it would be more accurate to read “On Screen: Swipe Right To Accept” – Great work making the cops’ goal in the interrogation room clear (enough) and obviously filled with stakes – I can really picture an actress having A LOT of fun with Grace; she’s whacky and captivating and I love it – love the tension between the cops and Grace & Matt – your exposition doesn’t feel like exposition at all, and these pages are flying by! – Read to the middle of page 10, and I would definitely read more. Great work here, Sir! Top contender!

    The Savage – Also clear and concise writing, and the extra historical work needed for a script like this to succeed seems overly efficient; the reason this doesn’t receive my vote is because I felt bogged down by some of the prose; while this is a truly impressive screenwriting feat, it’d just be a more seamless experience for me visually than on the page – you build suspense and conflict masterfully, from Squanto’s “they won’t catch us” to him telling Ahanu to run; heartbreaking and effective, even having been similiarly done before in other films – your dialogue is very cohesive with the genre/type of script this is – Read to the middle of page 7, and while this wasn’t my cup of tea, this further proves the rule change suggestion I mentioned above! – Very good work here. Very good work!

  • pitchblack70

    For me, the choice is definitely Widow’s Walk. You GOT to love horrors with creepy ghost kids – in a fresh way – and a mother’s love to save her daughter. Plus, that one is soooooo filmable. When’s the last time you saw a neat horror? A horror buff, I’d love to see this on screen! :)

  • carsonreeves1

    Sorry Green. You should be on the ‘approved’ list now so your comments aren’t moderated.

    • GreenBlooded

      Thank you!

  • Kosta K

    Thanks for reading, Comma!

  • Kosta K

    Thanks, Haque!

  • New_E

    Busy week. Didn’t get to weigh in.

    Looking at the loglines, my vote goes to THE SAVAGE. This is the only story of the bunch that makes me want to read (okay, DEADSIGHT sounds interesting too.) In fact, it’s close to a script that I started writing a long time ago. Never finished.

    More if I get to read…


  • Poe_Serling

    As the clock ticks down to the announcement of the Week 3 winner…

    I just had a quick thought. On top of the 8 quarterfinalists, Carson could possibly
    toss in the top two projects from runners-up based on the highest number of total
    votes received during the first round.

    8 quarterfinalists + 2 runners-up = 10 scripts advancing.

    • brenkilco

      Keeping track of the wild card slots. One more thankless job for Scott.

      • Poe_Serling

        It has to be a lot easier than keeping track of runners-up, split,
        and no votes every week. ;-)

  • Deaf Ears

    My vote goes to THE SAVAGE. I read the first twenty pages of each screenplay, and it was the best written and most compelling of the group.