THE WINNER OF WEEK 4 HAS BEEN LISTED BELOW

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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 fourth group of entries. You can see who won Week One here, who won Week Two here and who won last week 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: Years of a Clown
Writer: Michael Mchale-Boyle
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Drama
Logline: A precocious young boy, struggling through his parents’ divorce, finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with an elderly Clown who recounts the story of his amazing life.

Title: Cartel
Writer: Ben Stoker
Genre: Action
Logline: A vengeful DEA agent plots an unsanctioned mission to kidnap Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, but soon finds himself marooned in cartel land with his hostage and an army of hitmen in pursuit.

Title: 21 Days in the Amazon
Writer: Ben Koch
Genre: Found Footage Horror
Logline: When the cast and crew of the reality show Bared and Scared film an episode in the Amazon, surviving the deadly jungle proves less frightening than surviving an unhinged contestant.

Title: Raised By Wolves
Writer: Paul Clarke
Genre: Action/Thriller
Logline: After being attacked and accused of murder, a spoiled naïve teenage girl discovers her sheltered little world is a lie and must escape it to discover the truth about her work and her father.

Title: Hellfire Alley
Writer: Kenneth Kleemann
Genre: Western/True Story
Logline: The story of the real Wild Bunch that inspired the classic film.

WINNER OF WEEK 4: “RAISED BY WOLVES” by Paul Clarke. Congrats, Paul! I knew this week was going to be close. You had two commenting favorites in Kenneth and Paul vying for votes. When you throw in a compelling concept like Years of a Clown, I had a feeling it was going to come down to the last day. Then 21 Days came out of nowhere and made things even more interesting. Can’t promise anything but those who were close, cross your fingers. You may get a wild-card slot.

  • BMCHB

    ‘Brian’ McHale Boyle.

    Thank you so much for the opportunity, Carson.

    Thank you also to Wijnand and Scott for conceiving of and maintaining the weekly board. It was a huge motivator.

    I haven’t been commentating as I had submitted but have enjoyed immensely the scripts and spirit of competition. Writers, it is an honor to share the pages of Scriptshadow with you.

    Thanks to anyone who manages to read some of my pages.

    Best of luck to everyone.

    BMCHB

    • Paul Clarke

      You know I’ve always wondered what those letters stood for. You learn something new every day.

      Best of luck Brian. Sounds like a really interesting concept.

      • BMCHB

        Thanks, Paul. You, too.

        I look forward to reading your script on Monday. I’m too nervous to read any competing scripts before then.

    • guest

      Wait, your name confuses me. Above, under your script title, your name is listed as: Michael Mchale-Boyle.

      Here, you’ve addressed yourself as Brian McHale Boyle.

      But your initials are BMCHB.

      I can’t work any of this out.

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

    Seems like an exciting bunch!

    Gonna come back with notes/thougts/vote tomorrow as I will be attending a masterclass by Bobby Roth (Prison Break and more) today, with his documentary “A Director Prepares”.

    • Scott Crawford

      Do what I do, send us a photo and your comments from where you are!

  • Scott Crawford

    Here’s where I am now:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04831f85a823d56ab9985ff61f08e54c954e2b4ba94107d4d484a504be0e6672.jpg

    Doing this on the move again.

    Votes so far 09/30/2916 12:38 GMT: no votes

    21 Days in the Amazon: 0 votes

    Cartel: 0 votes

    Hellfire Alley: 0 votes

    Raised by Wolves: 0 votes

    Years of a Clown: 0 votes

    • witwoud

      White City?

      • Randy Williams

        I noticed the votes go hidden on my computer under the picture. If you hit “more” you’ll see them. Just say’n in case some are looking for the vote tally.

    • Scott Crawford

      4… 3… 2… 1… 0…

      Good night!

      • Bifferspice

        a vote for “raised by wolves” here

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Please add my vote to HELLFIRE ALLEY :)

    • Dan J Caslaw

      One vote for ‘Years of a Clown’.

      • BMCHB

        Thank you so much for your vote, Dan. I really appreciate it. Cheers.

    • jaehkim

      one more vote for RAISED BY WOLVES, THANKS!

    • brenkilco

      All in for Raised By Wolves. Pretty tight this week

    • smishsmosh22

      when did I become ‘smash’ hahahahha

      • Scott Crawford

        Ohh, and Daivon is DRIVEN… I mentioned this before, this autocorrect keeps appearing but only on online things so I haven’t done too much to correct it.

        But I will correct this. Before saying goodnight.

        • Daivon Stuckey

          Why thank you <3

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

        About 6:45

        • smishsmosh22

          ba dum shhhhhhhhh!

    • smishsmosh22

      Greenblooded votes for 21 days in a secondary comment btw

    • andyjaxfl

      Please give my vote to Hellfire Alley.

    • Ben Stoker

      Seeing as I have no votes, can I vote for myself?

      • Scott Crawford

        I’m not the judge (that’s Carson), I just make a note of the votes. But I’m going to say… no!

        (And you have one vote and 20 hours left.).

        • klmn

          Hell, put my vote down for Ben’s script.

          I know I said I wasn’t going to vote, but what the hell…

    • gazrow

      My vote: Raised by Wolves.

      Hellfire Alley and 21 Days in the Amazon tie for second.

    • ShiroKabocha

      Scott, you’ve got nine names for 21 days but only mentioned 8 votes :)

      • Scott Crawford

        I’ll do a check, thanks shiro!

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

      My vote is for Cartel.

      I think it has the most potential, because our hero is an underdog who has real strong motivation to pursuit his goal: kill the drug lord who killed his pregnant wife. And this could be a hell of a journey for him.

      The rest of the scripts seemed a bit more unfocused and maybe even have forced stories.

    • brenkilco

      Gee, I didn’t think amazon could recover from that poor debate performance but it has.

      • Scott Crawford

        Don’s get that one… explain!

        • brenkilco

          Just mixing up my elections. Nevermind.

          • Scott Crawford

            The winner will probably put on some weight and be stripped of their title.

    • Eric Boyd

      Hey Scott, you can put me down for YEARS OF A CLOWN. The characters seem a little stock and unoriginal, but with the other three, I liked the opening scenes, but couldn’t really get into anything after that. Had trouble getting a feel for their tone or where they were going. Read about 20 pages of each. And everybody pat yourselves on the back for not voting for Cartel. That brings me a little bit of happiness as I stool in a pool of my own misery. Sorry, Ben. I’m sure you’re a cool dude.

      • Scott Crawford

        Added. I’ll do all the proper calculations next time.

      • BMCHB

        Thank you so much for your vote, Eric. Appreciate it a lot.

    • Biju B

      I am swamped this weekend so haven’t got to opening the scripts, but based on the concept alone here’s my quick vote: Raised by Wolves

      • Scott Crawford

        I’ll count the vote, of course, but I’ll indicate it’s based on concept alone. Fair?

        • Biju B

          Sure Scott, as you deem fit. Unfortunately, even if I start reading now, I won’t be able to cover fair ground on all of them so putting it on concept alone. Thanks again.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s not me, I’m not a judge. I just think it’s fairer to the runner-ups to know how many votes were based on the winner’s script and not concept.

          • Biju B

            That makes sense Scott. *Thumbs Up*

    • Levres de Sang

      At 20:04 GMT Years of a Clown should have been at 7½ votes.

      N.b. Great work on this, Scott!!

      • Scott Crawford

        This is why it’s important to put the names down. Not sure why I forgot to add the votes to the total. I’ll do a quick recalculation.

  • Lucid Walk

    You know what?

    I’m going with HELLFIRE ALLEY, because I’m a sucker for Westerns.

    I mean, I liked The Wild Bunch, I can’t wait to see Magnificent Seven, I’m replaying Red Dead Redemption, and I’m rewriting my zombie-western mashup Under The Vultures.

    Like I said, a sucker.

    • jeaux

      Hey Lucid, did you get my email with that lead for under the vultures about a week ago?

      • Lucid Walk

        Sorry, must’ve missed it. What did it say?

        • jeaux

          Shoot me an email and I’ll resend it to you. joe_bp at yahoo

    • Scott Crawford

      Did you read all the scripts? What did you think of the rest of them?

      • Lucid Walk

        Unfortunately, I’m one of those logline guys. My vote goes to whichever logline interests me the most; I can’t help but think that’s how a producer thinks as well.

        But this one time, sad as it is, my vote is purely based on genre.

        I know, I know…

        Did you read them all yet? What did you think?

        • Scott Crawford

          I don’t know if I’ll be reading or voting this weekend. I quite like just doing the tallying. I suppose not getting involved in the vote leaves e neutral (i also didn’t enter the contest) which is useful.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    These are all good loglines. Just off the loglines I think either Years Of A Clown or Cartel will take it but I’ll have to read them all Sunday and see. Good luck to all the contestants!

  • JakeBarnes12

    Years of a Clown:

    “…recounts the story of his amazing life.”

    Recounts.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Here’s my question for Cartel, which I’m going to crack open after my first espresso of the day; do your first ten pages blow Sicario’s first ten pages out of the water?

    Because I’ve seen a million Mexican drug cartel stories and the last related script I read was Sicario, which was really, really well-written.

    • BellBlaq

      Damn, I was going to make a snarky comment like, “I didn’t know Sicario was written in 13 weeks!”
      But then I googled it…
      And the script kinda was written in, like, 16 weeks.
      This site is turning into the place where excuses go to die.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Hellfire Alley writer doesn’t bother writing a logline, instead stakes all on his script being better than Pecklnpah’s “The Wild Bunch.”

    Well, that’s a novel approach.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      A “novel approach” indeed. More like “slippery slope”…

    • klmn

      I don’t use the word”better”, just the word real.

  • JakeBarnes12

    21 Days in the Amazon.

    Found footage AND reality TV show.

    Can this script find a fresh take on these two culturally exhausted forms?

    I’m looking for those first ten pages to do something stunning.

    • brenkilco

      Knock knock
      Who’s there?
      Anaconda
      Anaconda who?
      Anaconda its lousy premise Amazon better be good.

      • Randy Williams

        You have to read this with a Scottish accent to get the joke.

        • romer6

          Thanks, I knew I was missing something.

        • brenkilco

          But Brooklyn will do.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Raised By Wolves

    Big fan of your writing, Paul, but that logline has too many adjectives and is too damn vague.

    But, just like in Hollywood, because I know you can deliver on the writing, it’s the one I’m going to open first.

    • Paul Clarke

      Thanks Jake. Logline was definitely rushed.

      I’m hoping to get some feedback from the experts.

  • Mayhem Jones

    Carson: “Oh, complaining there’s not enough regulars in the tournament, eh???? HERE!!! HAVE THEM ALL/MOST BE REGULARS!!!!! TAKE THAT!!”
    Mayhem: “What? NO! HOW WILL I CHOOSE!!!!!!”
    Carson: “THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, COMPLAINING SUCKERS!!! I’LL BE IN HAWAII THIS WEEKEND EATING CAKE POPS!”
    Mayhem: ::jumps off cliff, dies::
    ::wait……… takes selfie first::
    ::flattering filter… posts to Instagram…::
    ::JUMPS OFF CLIFF, DIES FROM TOO MANY AWESOME OPTIONS::

    • JakeBarnes12

      decaf?

      • Mayhem Jones

        No, I definitely prefer caffeine in my cocaine.

    • Joe Marino

      I agree, it’s gonna be a tough one this week.

    • klmn

      It looks like every one of the entrants this week wrote his script for the contest.

      Bravo for my fellow competitors.

  • Randy Williams

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

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

    Read 35 pages. I’d read more. I really like my westerns, quiet, atmospheric, with the sense that folks inhabiting the spaces have a balance in their lives they’re worked hard to achieve and maintain and no soul should upset it without consequence.
    This entry really delivered for me.

    The description is very basic. I could have used a touch more scenery, perhaps at bottom of page 1 when Bill starts riding. But, as a challenge script in the short time we had to do these things, well done.
    Page 2, “Townsfolk” should be capped to cover casting and eliminate the need to cap the townsfolk like the boy that come afterwards?
    Often the preacher speaks at the beginning of a scene with no establishing visual.
    I was totally immersed into this world until page 22. The description of the Winchester rifle suddenly injects too much information that we wouldn’t know by just the visual and injects the writer’s need to overexplain. I’d cut that.
    Pages 30-35 are truly powerful. I loved the Cherokee’s insistence on being shot, the preacher making the onlookers uncomfortable because he is singling out each and every one of them as condemned.

    My only question is that will this be perceived as more a “Slice of life” than a protagonist driven story? After 35 pages, it seems so to me, not that I’m complaining” but others may wish for more of Bill or someone to attach themselves to. Perhaps, later on it focuses.

    This is good stuff. I can see this as a contender for my vote.

  • Paul Clarke

    Thanks for the opportunity Carson.

    For anyone willing to read and give some notes, bear in mind this was written very quickly (approx 3 weeks, but based on a previous idea). So I am most certainly open to suggestions and all feedback.

    I love Luc Besson’s films, especially the early stuff. So this is my homage to Leon and La Femme Nikita with a Fugitive style on-the-run element to give it some extra kinetic energy.

    I look forward to hearing what you all think.

    • jeaux

      Love Leon! One of my favorites.

    • klmn

      Three weeks is fast. I finished a few days ahead of Carson’s extended deadline.

      And thanks for wishing me lick.

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

      Crack set-up, love the first three pages and the time-jump, you’re a sick bastard (in the right way). Your male protag gives me a definite Russell Crowe in Nice Guys vibe.

  • Randy Williams

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

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

    Read to page 51. Why I stopped there later. There are SPOILERS in these comments…

    Like the writing here a lot. Tons of energy, highly visual, placing me squarely into the Amazon. This writer can write a movie.
    I am immediately endeared to the contestants, sympathetic to Juliet and drawn to the alpha-male prowess of Butch.

    The beginning seems somewhat to suggest that the contestants need to remain nude but by page 18, they are clothed. Within those pages, I didn’t feel their nudity was exploited enough, in fact, most of the time, I forgot they were nude. There were not enough signs that the nudity was an obstacle to anything. No jokes to remind me of their vulnerability in that respect, their sexuality.

    The 40’s pages were really impressive for me with their ability to ring out the tension, getting me inside Juliet’s head with her concerns about Butch, the production teams’ similar fears but need to produce. Butch’s appearance and actions exhibiting his state of mind. Just really good stuff for me.

    I stopped at the reveal of Juliet’s death on page 51. This is certainly a turn that I didn’t see coming. She’s established as a protagonist of sorts and someone with a yearning to achieve her goal and I wanted her to succeed. I could easily predict at that point that Butch was on the loose and the production crew would be the hunted and now the contestants. That might not be what happens but its seems to be shaping up that way. For me, however, I just wasn’t invested as much in these production people. Florence was the most drawn out character of that bunch but not that interesting to me. And then we are back to the beginning with people trying to survive the jungle again. Except for the unique location, it’s all a bit generic. But a good base for rewrites.

    Maybe those pages in the 40’s worked so well for me because they reminded me of the powerful women in jeopardy from their partners movies that I’ve seen. Those “Sleeping with the Enemy” movies. In part, I yearned that this was shaping up to be something like that. That Juliet had escaped from an abusive relationship and joined this show as a sign of independence and she’s now shackled with this contestant who has become unhinged and with so little support, she’s entered that jungle again.

  • wlubake

    Thoughts on loglines alone:

    Title: Years of a Clown
    Logline: A precocious young boy, struggling through his parents’ divorce, finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with an elderly Clown who recounts the story of his amazing life.

    My impression: Sounds like a creepier version of Big Fish. Creepy only because clowns are creepy. My primary thought here is that it feels small. Yes, divorce sucks, but are a kid’s efforts to cope with his parents’ divorce enough to carry a 2 hour movie? It would have to be really good or really unique to say yes.

    Title: Cartel
    Logline: A vengeful DEA agent plots an unsanctioned mission to kidnap Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, but soon finds himself marooned in cartel land with his hostage and an army of hitmen in pursuit.

    My impression: I like the concept, but I wonder if your rogue agent doesn’t deserve what happens to him. Perhaps he’d be more sympathetic if he was sent on an unofficial mission by the DEA, only to be screwed over and left for dead. Maybe that’s what happens, but your logline suggests he did this on his own.

    Title: 21 Days in the Amazon
    Logline: When the cast and crew of the reality show Bared and Scared film an episode in the Amazon, surviving the deadly jungle proves less frightening than surviving an unhinged contestant.

    My impression: So is this an all naked cast? It could be good for the genre, but it’s not a genre I seek out.

    Title: Raised By Wolves
    Logline: After being attacked and accused of murder, a spoiled naïve teenage girl discovers her sheltered little world is a lie and must escape it to discover the truth about her work and her father.

    My impression: A spoiled teenage girl has work? I just feel like this logline lacks adequate information to give me a picture of this story. It feels like hints of a story, rather than a clear narrative.

    Title: Hellfire Alley
    Logline: The story of the real Wild Bunch that inspired the classic film.

    My impression: I would suggest highlighting what will be different about your movie versus the classic film. Maybe something like: The gritty, UNTOLD story behind the real outlaws who inspired the classic film, THE WILD BUNCH. In other words, why show up for this rather than revisit the original?

    I’d be interested in reading, in order: Cartel, Raised by Wolves (gets the Paul Clarke bump), Years of a Clown, 21 Days in the Amazon, then Hellfire Alley.

  • Scott Serradell

    Greetings. Of the five featured I believe 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON, based mostly on its premise, is the top offering. In order of appearance:

    YEARS OF A CLOWN
    — I really like this first page. There is a palatable strangeness/sadness in the transformation. Very nicely written.
    — Not sure what exactly the bakery scene is supposed to be doing/establishing. It doesn’t (exactly) give much intro/insight into Booboo (except his pie habit.)
    — The birthday party. You could ramp up the tension here. If the marriage is on the outs then every “normal” function of the marriage would be stressed and/or faked; an everyday thing, like “where’s the ketchup?” would be pregnant with interior venom by either parent. The neighbors could also be gossiping. This would quickly establish the hell Myron’s been living through, which also helps to establish him.
    — However, Myron does not come off as “precocious”. Frankly, he’s a brat. If you want us to feel some sympathy for him, don’t have him outburst at his parents — Instead have their (selfish) actions embarrass him, as if their divorce had completely blinded them to everything else, even at their son’s birthday party. That makes Myron both in hell AND alone.
    — Pg 16. with the “YOU ran away” line made me check out. A little too “gee-whiz”, too Mayberry for me; you got the sense there was a “special” story about to unfold and, with Booboo being a clown, my interest couldn’t connect. Sorry.

    CARTEL
    — By page 4 I’m already smelling tragedy (Mya done for, isn’t she?)
    — Honestly, this is all feeling generic…Or, more accurately, like a FOX T.V. show (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.) The reason why is the dialogue: The cute stuff is cute, the techno-law stuff is techno-law like. In other words, it does exactly what it sets out to do and does not challenge the audience (which, by and large, is what T.V. tailor-makes.)
    — I will say the writing itself was well-paced and, considering how much story was in the first 10, that I think you did well hitting the beats when they had to hit. Not easy to do! Good luck.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON
    — Leave out the necessary descriptive stuff: “Eager to please…” “Juliet internalizes this empowering message.” This is stuff for the actors and/or director to figure out.
    — Would it be better to cut back and forth between Juliet and Butch’s interviews? I feel like one on top of the other is repetitive.
    — This is supposed to be a T.V. show? I’m sure a Producer would be holding a boom; a sound technician would do that. But what’s the set-up exactly? A two person camera team (including a middle-aged woman) ALSO has to traverse the Amazon at the same time as the “expert” survivalists? How does that work? Where’s the challenge to that?
    — Loose the found footage aspect. It doesn’t work for this.
    — And frankly you may want to lose the reality T.V. aspect as well, as that is thoroughly played out.
    — So why the hell did I pick this? The logline: “…surviving the deadly jungle proves less frightening than surviving an unhinged contestant.” I mean, I can see that being a movie, kind of in the vein of “Predator”, “The Running Man”, and “The Edge” variety. But as it stands it needs a major overhaul. Needs something with real spark. Keep hammering out the premise to something really fresh. Good luck.

    RAISED BY WOLVES
    — Sorry Paul but there’s something here rubbing me the wrong way…
    — It’s was unclear to me (at first) that KILLER and WALTER were the same person. Perhaps leave the capitalization for just Walter (or omit “killer”, instead just “man with gun”.)
    — Wait? He stole the little girl, who’s now 18? Atop that she’s clearly immature (as you have described) but I feel like I made a similar criticism concerning a female character in another script of yours.
    — And she’s a thief? (Or something…) Sorry mate, there’s little to no authenticity to this. I know you wrote it quick, but it really shows.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY
    — A movie, based on a true story…That’s based on a movie? Hmm…
    — Is this supposed to be intentionally funny? I mean, in a LETTER a person writes “Bob is planning to rob two banks in Coffeyville on the fifth.” That’s some REAL specific information to write in a letter, that would conceivably take weeks to receive. Then this description: “An itinerant PREACHER dressed in all black — black frock coat, black pants, black shirt, black string tie, black boots, and a wide-brimmed black hat.” You were fine with “dressed in all black”.
    — We’re already cutting to a flashback/montage on page 3 — which really doesn’t intro duce the characters or setting at all — then we’re already back by page 4 with older versions of the characters that are really not introduced.
    — I’ll tell you exactly where I lost it: “Bill rides out of the stable at a gallop, then slows to a
    trot. He pulls his watch from his pocket and checks the time. He settles into the saddle for a long ride.” See? Already on page 1 you killed any urgency.

    • GreenBlooded

      I haven’t read anything yet… but just wanted to point out the extreme urgency that exists in the opening to Once Upon A Time in the West. :p :)

      • Scott Serradell

        Sorry, haven’t seen “Once Upon a Time…” so unsure of the reference, but the “urgency” comment was directed at making at hasty exit out of town only to have the horse then trot along. Or perhaps I misread? Maybe deliberate? Not clear.

        • brenkilco

          Look OUATITW may not be the greatest western ever made. But a fair number of critics think IT IS. So you really oughta watch it. Like immediately

        • brenkilco

          Look OUATITW may not be the greatest western ever made. But a fair number of critics think IT IS. So you really oughta watch it. Like immediately

        • GreenBlooded

          I haven’t read yet. Intend to though.

          But you should very much watch Once Upon A Time in the West.

      • brenkilco

        Nobody but Leone could have gotten away with that opening. Esp. that damn squeaky windmill.

        • GreenBlooded

          Thank you for getting the reference!

    • smishsmosh22

      hey Scott how are you doing? Long time no talk!

      • Scott Serradell

        I know. You stopped sending me drafts of your stuff ;)
        But seriously: Just took a small sabbatical to work on some other things, as well get caught up in this whole political shitstorm. Fortunately the first debate cured me of ever reading another f#@king political website again.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for checking out YOAC, Scott.

  • romer6

    Ok, so…

    I´ve read the first 25 pages from:

    Year of a Clown: I got into it already with a little prejudice since I don’t like stories that are told in flashback (with a few exceptions that involve Tom Hanks mostly). Having said that, I like the writing style, the way the clown is depicted, the way he deals with the baloons and other paraphernalia. But it’s only about 20 pages in that we get to the real story and, to be honest, I don’t really know what part the boy plays in all this. If he is just a member of the audience as all of us I don’t even see the point since he is the “active” part in the logline I was expecting a more active character. By the time I stopped, the fantasy aspect had just shown up but I think it was too late for me. Also, I got confused by the baseball stuff, I couldn’t tell if Booboo wanted to be a clown or a baseball player and, to be honest, I just didn’t really care.

    Cartel: The script is really well written, love the writing style! The first few scenes move really fast, the action is nice and well balanced. But… as far as I got (page 25) the story is too predictable, there is nothing we have never seen before. [SPOILERS] For a moment there I thought the writer would make the bold decision and the pregnant woman would be the one to survive and the man the one to die… but I was wrong. I had never seen a movie where a pregnant woman plans a revenge against a cartel leader. The man becomes an alcoholic, another overused plot device. I don’t know. I would probably read on if I had the time but what´s the point really? Maybe later on we have some surprises in store, but I doubt a professional reader would go that far to find out based on those first 25 pages.

    I wish all the best to Michael and Ben. They are both good writers.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for making it to 25 pages, romer6.

  • brenkilco

    Read 37 pages of Hellfire. Starts out fine. The raid is well described though there are a few too many names to keep track of. A vow of revenge. Then a rather perfunctory train robbery, which ought to be either more suspenseful or more funny than it is. And then we hit big problems.

    I don’t care how much people complain about commercial structure, one inviolate rule is that round about the half hour mark (pps 25-35) you must have a first act break. It isn’t so much that audiences expect it but they instinctively get bored and restless if it doesn’t arrive. And bluntly this script doesn’t have one. Oh, it changes gears where the first act break ought to be. But it’s merely a cut to a new set of characters and an absurdly protracted hanging scene. We meet the prisoners before their hanging so I assumed they wouldn’t die but were somehow relevant to the plot. They do and they’re not. And we have a preacher who drones on interminably until the audience for the execution is as bored as the reader. Again, I figured there had to be a punchline. Perhaps the preacher was bogus and was buying time until rescuers arrived to save the condemned(a la Jimmy Stewart in Bandolero). Nope, he’s just a preacher who doesn’t know when to shut up. If the whole bit is intended as a shaggy dog joke it doesn’t work. The scene also involves a tearful confession by a drunkard killer and a lot of struggling by another frightened prisoner, and pales in comparison to the very similar and much tenser scene in Eastwood’s Hang Em High. Bottom line. On page 37 we should’t be asking where the hell the story is going. And I’m afraid that’s the case here. This hanging scene has to be shortened, and if it’s purpose is to introduce a new element that throws us into our second act, this has to be made clear.

  • Randy Williams

    YEARS OF A CLOWN

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

    Read to page 30. I’d read more if time allowed. I like the writing, full of quiet charm and intelligence. A bit generic in the beginning with someone putting on makeup and faced with past due bills but the charm covers those sins, for me. A sense that I’m in good hands with this writer and in for some emotional payoff.

    At first I didn’t understand why he was buying so many cream pies, then I hit myself in the forehead, of course, he’s a clown, he’s going to throw them. A very quick and nicely drawn sketch of the dynamics of the Baskey family. Some funny moments at the party. I LOVED Booboo’s line, ” I’m older than I thought I would be”. He’s immediately sympathetic and I want to follow him.

    I like the Charlie and the Chocolate factory feel to this, the connection between two outsiders with dreams despite the age difference. The bazaar scene could have been more fantastical, I’m not sure how fantastical this all gets.

    I question, based on what I’ve read so far, whether this is big enough, unless based on preexisting material to warrant a movie made of it. Certainly as actor bait, it seems for me to be shaping up really nicely.

    • klmn

      A good clown is certainly going against type – or at least against current hype.

      It looks like the rash of recent “creepy clown” sightings might be a viral marketing campaign for Rob Zombie’s new movie 31.

    • BMCHB

      Cheers for the comments, Randy. Appreciate them,

  • Randy Williams

    CARTEL

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

    Read to page 11. I really like the writing, the energy, the sense that this writer knows how to fulfill his promise of the genre. SPOILERS
    Yet, it’s so generic, even with the angle that the DEA agents have a thing going on, the female pregnant. That wasn’t enough for me. Then the escape, even though the action was stimulating, loved the Narco Tank, it wasn’t going for what I haven’t seen a million times on TV before. He wakes up from a nightmare (perhaps define it as a nightmare different from the pages before it so the reader doesn’t think he dreamt all that) and has been drinking away his sorrows and now he wants revenge.
    I love this kind of movie and they work on screen with their simple story and mindless violence. As a challenge script, it’s a good start for me, but needs a stronger injection of “same but different”.

  • klmn

    Writer of Hellfire Alley here. I’ll reply to individual commenters after the voting closes.

    Thanks to Carson for selecting my script.

    I’ll post a simplified map of Coffeyville for anyone who wants to see the layout of the town. I was going to include it in the script, but the three SS regulars who read a preliminary version thought it just slowed the read.

    Thanks to all who read and or comment.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/245a6f3e9025c737d50271e13534d84f3a3a4ffaac0d684d8c59cd21a4cb55df.jpg

    • andyjaxfl

      My father’s side of the family lived in Coffeyville for years and some allegedly participated in the Dalton gang ambush.

      Looking forward to reading this one.

      • klmn

        Wow. If you have any family stories, I’d love to hear ‘em.

        • andyjaxfl

          I have stories but I’m not sure how true they are. I have some storytellers on that side of the family…

          Are you from Coffeyville?

          • klmn

            No, not even close. Before this contest started, I knew some general information about the Dalton Gang and the Wild Bunch, but I had to research basically everything as I went along.

            Do you mind telling me what your family name is? I bought two books specifically about the Coffeyville raid to research the first act. I’ll see if they mention your relatives.

            You can email me if you don’t want to post publicly.

            kenklmn AT yahoo dot com

          • andyjaxfl

            Shaw and Hite.

          • klmn

            I checked my books and those names don’t show up, but that doesn’t prove anything.

          • andyjaxfl

            It’s always been a “Take it with a grain of salt” story in the family. There’s even a claim that one of my ancestors took a pistol from one of the Dalton corpses that is still in the family, but again, there’s no way to verify it. There’s no doubting that they lived in town at the time — it’s been verified by birth certificates, newspaper articles, etc… — but I’ve always wondered if their claim was a “I was too afraid to run out there and start shooting just in case, but ten years later I can tell any story I want because memories fade.”

  • Outpost

    I have to be honest, most of these loglines just plain suck. I’m surprised any of them got picked for this challenge. The only one that sounds interesting, well structured, and commercial, is the Cartel one. The others leave a lot to be desired.

    Why is constant weakness around here the loglines provided by the writers. It’s like most don’t give a shit. They” spend weeks/months/years working on a script, but they won’t spend a little time getting one sentence right?

    There’s something seriously wrong with that.

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

      What we’re looking for is “constructive” criticism. Anybody can say “this sucks,” and “this leaves a lot to be desired.” Scriptshadow is about the WHY.

      • Outpost

        I’m pretty sure saying how awful these and therefore making them aware of a very REAL problem is constructive criticism.

        At least it’s far more constructive than saying these are “great” loglines. I’m sure they’ve learned a hell of a lot from that blow of smoke.

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

          “I’m pretty sure saying how awful these and therefore making them aware of a very REAL problem is constructive criticism.”

          Nope. You’re confusing “constructive criticism” with “being an asshole.” Hope that helps.

    • Paul Clarke

      Not sure if you missed how this works, but these are scripts written in 13 weeks (sometimes much less). Not months or years like you mention. Most were probably rushed right up until the deadline and therefore little time was spent on the loglines.

      I know mine needs work. I’m open to suggestions?
      Last I checked that was what this site was designed for, rather than anonymous ranting.

      • Outpost

        I’m not sure if you missed how this works, but most people on here, guest account or not, are anonymous. And the purpose of this place is designed exactly to give feedback, even if writers like yourself clearly have taken offense to it.

        I’ve done exactly what this place is designed for. I don’t see how you could have a problem with that.

        I’m also not sure how you came to the conclusion that 13 weeks is not months (???????). But, even so, I’m talking about loglines being a consistent weakness around here all the time (not just for this particular contest).

        Logline: After being attacked and accused of murder, a spoiled naïve teenage girl discovers her sheltered little world is a lie and must escape it to discover the truth about her work and her father.

        Looking more closely at your logline, it holds nothing but very broad setup. A logline has to encapsulate a “story”, not simply the beginning of a story. It’s vague beyond all reason and has disparate elements that have no obvious connective tissue between them. Why would being (falsely) accused of murder have any relationship to her entire life being a lie?

        I’m sure you have a solid reason in the script itself, but you have to have an equally solid foundation built into your logline, or else, from the outside, it just looks like weak plot. And when I (or some movie producer) has four other scripts to choose from, I’m reading one that doesn’t look weak and vague.

        “And must escape” what exactly? Again, it’s vague and meaningless to an outsider. I have no idea what this story is about.

        “To discover the truth” is again so broad it essentially means nothing.

        “About her work”. What work? I thought she was some rich teenage girl.. Now she works? You throw this at us last minute, and yet, it still means nothing. Work can mean absolutely anything. Is she a NASA scientist? An archaeologist? A marine biologist? A treasure hunter? A criminal mastermind? A video game designer? You’ve given zero context.

        “Her father” Is thrown into this in the very last minute, and bares no relationship to anything said previously. Again, who is he? Is he scientist? The head of a mafia family? A lawyer? A military test pilot? Is he thought to be long dead? Missing? Behind bars? The leader of a religious cult?

        It’s so empty and lifeless. It tells me nothing. I cracked open the first couple of pages, and then it really went down hill. Sorry, but I can’t vote for this. Doesn’t mean you can’t rewrite the hell out of it into something much stronger.

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

          Says the dick who doesn’t even log in. Fuck off, troll.

  • brenkilco

    Not to be flip but an action movie about a rogue DEA agent written by a guy named Ben Stoker. Not the hero’s name. The writer’s name. I believe he used to write with a partner named Brock Macho.

  • Randy Williams

    RAISED BY WOLVES

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

    Read to page 24. More on that later. I’d read more simply for the fact that the writer writes with a certain sophistication that suggests a challenge to the mind, a surprise or two. Otherwise, there’s the simple fact, I’m not feeling this girl.

    We begin with a “situation”, always a plus. Find this little girl who may have witnessed this murder. This leaves the reader wanting to continue to find out, “and then what”.
    Perhaps I might be more attuned to the girl if these opening pages are told from her point of view and not the killer? I think this would give more weight and tension to the situation, lessen that almost comedic turn with the dog crap if it’s coming from a child’s vision as she hides from him but can see him, hear him. Surprise us with the visuals. We are in a tree, how’d we get there. Well, we’re seeing it from her point of view.

    I think this point of view also would assist me in becoming attuned to her once we jump in time. How much of what we see her see and hear does she remember? How much does she choose to forget? How much can we the audience think she knows more than what she’s letting on?

    I like Mike, her trainer. Presented nicely the way she challenges him to keep up. I hope he has a continuing role. The dialogue with Husk teeters towards soap opera. Page 24 was an example of that for me, and thought it would be a good place to stop.

    For a challenge script written in such short time, it’s a good start, I thought. Much more attention, I think, in rewriting needs to focus on Kat. The logline suggests she’s spoiled and naive, I just got kind of retarded.

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

    Some great loglines this week, succinct, engaging.

    • Dee

      Great loglines?

      I can’t tell if you’re joking or not?

      • garrett_h

        Same here lol.

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

        The Wild Bunch logline isn’t a logline, so let’s put that aside. The rest, however, avoid all the usual pitfalls: vague language, over-stuffed sentences; etc. I think they all clearly convey the scripts, I’m impressed.

        • Dee

          Avoid all the usual pitfalls? You’ve got to be kidding me. A boy talks to a clown about his amazing life? It couldn’t be any more vague and lifeless if it tried. It has no structure. It reveals nothing beyond a simple setup, and you’re impressed by that?

          Cast crew film in the amazon, surviving the jungle proves frightening than an unhinged contestant. Again, it is nothing but the most vaguest of setups. It has almost zero story.

          Attack and accused of murder, a girl discovers her life is a lie and must discover the truth. Again, this is the definition of “vague”. Nothing has been specified. No story has been communicated through this logline. It is empty and calorie free.

          The fact that you think these are great scares the living shit out of me.

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

            What are you, some kind of hyperbole bot? What other people think “scares the living shit out of you”? Slow it down.

          • Dee

            Great come back. I can’t believe how easy it was for you to prove me wrong.

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

            Go use the word vague more.

  • ocattorney

    What I’m not seeing… is Set-Up and Pay-Off.
    Jurassic Park was highly successful, became the top-grossing film for a while. Jurassic World was a recent hit. The first hour, hour and a half of the movie is a Set-Up. We explore the Theme Park, we learn how dangerous the attractions could be, Dr. Grant lectures us on how raptors hunt in packs and slice open their prey and wait for them to die, Dr. Malcolm lectures us on how the park has not installed sufficient safeguards against the deadly creatures that evolved over millions of years and have the ability to adapt…
    So, there are two parts to a great Script. Is the pay-off sufficiently exciting? Did the part before the pay-off entertain us and make us feel empathy for the Heroes?
    Reviewing the first twenty pages is fine. But I think the most important part of a Hollywood script is how the intensity builds toward the crisis point at the end of Act Two/. Act Three.
    Just from the Log Lines, I don’t see anything that grabs my interest. Which is not a good way to judge a script, so I won’t. – Bill Hays

    • brenkilco

      Disaster films do tend to delay and meander a bit more than other movies because once everything hits the fan it becomes a runaway train. However, if you go back I think you’ll find that the construction of JP is more conventional than you suggest. Nedry cutting the power propels us into the second act and I don’t think that happens any later than the forty minute mark.

      • ocattorney

        When Nedry cuts the power, is that part of the Set-Up? Are we being manipulated into anticipation for the attack of dinosaurs? Audiences love the meandering, Titanic comes to mind. We know the ship is going to hit the iceberg, so there’s no real reason to make it happen any sooner than necessary. Avatar is a superb script, 152 pages long, there’s a wonderful moment when Jake takes his first steps on Pandora… but I’m talking about reviewing a script. Does the pay-off deliver? I’m inclined not to judge the set-up at all until I know where it goes – bill Hays

    • GreenBlooded

      I agree that it seems hard to evaluate a script without reading all of it. All of it is important in the end, but especially how the second act comes together. Plus since someone took the time to write it, for some reason I feel like it should be read. Also I have no life.

      Also did someone say Jurassic Park? =D
      The setup was wonder.

      The wonder at the Brachiosaur.
      The wonder at the baby Raptor hatching.
      The wonder at One Sick Triceratops. “And now I’ve seen one, it’s the most beautiful thing I ever saw.”

      The wonder at One Sick Triceratop’s Big Pile of Shit.

      And then the dream becomes a nightmare. “Yeah, first there’s the ‘oohing’ and ‘awing’, then there’s the running and the screaming.”

      How the gift shop in Jurassic Park is used in comparison to how it’s used in Jurassic World tells you a lot I think.

      • GreenBlooded

        Also I need to stop with my Jurassic Park love letters. It’s over Jurassic Park, we’re splitsville.

  • Poe_Serling

    First impressions…

    1) I haven’t watched too many films about clowns. The only one that comes to mind
    is Klowns from Outer Space or some such thing.

    Not my cup of tea, but I’ll be curious to read what others think about this one.

    2) It seems like Hollywood produces a few of these type of action flicks every
    year. Obviously there’s a fan base for this subject matter.

    3) The Amazon Jungle. There’s a setting that will keep fueling stories forever.

    4) Paul C’s script. He always brings his A game to the table… so I’m expecting
    the same with this current project.

    5) The Wild Bunch. I’ve started to read this one right now…

    • Midnight Luck

      When it comes to clowns, the only thing featuring a clown I’ve liked is
      Children’s Hospital:

    • klmn

      Of course, the Harley Quinn character from Suicide Squad is a clown.

  • smishsmosh22

    Congratulations to Brian McHale-Boyle, Ben Stoker, Ben Koch, Paul Clarke and Kenneth Kleemann! I have read two of these scripts already — I look forward to seeing how they’ve been revised since then, and checking out the other three! Will post my vote tomorrow.

  • Linkthis83

    THE GRATEFUL EIGHT (so far – which is now a twelve player contest)

    -THE BAIT
    -CRATCHIT
    -BURNING BRIGADE
    -THE INHERITANCE
    -COURAGEOUS MAN
    -THE SAVAGE
    -WIDOW’S WALK
    -21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    -??
    -??
    -??
    -??

    YEARS OF A CLOWN

    p2 = I like the action of him attaching the balloon dog’s leash to the the lamp post

    p3 = “Ten pies a week or more and he can’t put on a pound problems.” = this line confuses me. Should ‘problems’ be in this sentence?

    p4 = a ten year old Volvo estate parked out front = this line gave me trouble. Do you need the word ‘estate’? Or is this in reference to the concept car from Volvo? If so, it should be Volvo Estate.

    p12 = stopped

    I feel like reading this was more work than it should be. Sometimes the action/descriptions are nice, and sometimes they’re too wordy. This type of writing does show your connection to these characters and story.

    Speaking of STORY, I feel the things you’ve chosen to highlight early are set up well and then don’t deliver. I think the thing I’m talking about here is FOCUS.

    Based on your opening, I’m interested and invested in this clown…mostly. There’s some really thoughtful details that I assume are to enhance a moment later – where he’s headed.

    So if feels like we are building towards the birthday party and his performance…only, we first then check in with Myron to get a little set up for him, then we shift major focus back to Booboo. Still setting up for his performance, both figuratively and literally. Then the big moment of the performance is a let down (for me). I thought we were going to see something great or impactful from Booboo, and all I get is kangarhino for Karl…who hates it, but Myron really likes and wants and then this moment is immediately over.

    Then the focus is on Myron and the showdown with his dad, meanwhile, Booboo, who has been meticulously set up, becomes background target practice for the kids…which then morphs into a woman spilling her life story to him.

    For me, these componenets quell what I feel the intention is. Then after reading your logline, then I feel like you need a much better, much more EARNED relationship moment between Booboo and Myron.

    Structurally, I would suggest trying with keeping the focus on Booboo. Don’t use the scene in Myron’s bedroom. Character actions can be just as informative and showing a scene with them. When the mother says that that birthday boy is still in his room while the guest are enjoying a party, that’s revealing character.

    I think the presents should come first, so then we can see/experience the relationship with his dad, and then this takes Myron over to the clown. Which would then put massive pressure on Booboo to be successful. And that’s when you’ve got to have Booboo deliver in this magical moment that connects these two characters on a deeper level.

    Just some thoughts.

    CARTEL

    p2 = …Mexico’s most powerful most drug trafficking organization… = too many mosts in there

    p6 = But it’s not out there that they should be worrying about = sentence structure aside, I personally dislike when writers do that. So this is obviously a preference thing for me. A few lines from this one the script will SHOW us what is happening. No need for you to interject the suspense in an action line that won’t show up on screen anyway. If you want to inject that suspense that their worry is incorrect, then you do it by revealing more with the lawyer in the briefcase. I really think you should just cut this line though and let the bomb be the bomb.

    p7 = Buzz Cut mows the two guards (stunned and blinded) down… = at first I was thinking “where did he get a lawn mower :) – so just simply “mows down the two stunned guards”

    p7 = Valdez is wearing the uniform of a guard who has just been mowed down? Won’t somebody notice that?

    p8 = Thorn doesn’t notice that one of the dead guards is naked?

    p10 = stopped.

    Just wasn’t feeling this one. There were a couple things right out of the gate with start of your script that didn’t work for me. I read these things as if I was sitting in the theater watching them. Information you give us in the script for your set-up wouldn’t be on screen in the film:

    -Rental car (how would the audience know? why is a rental important?)
    -DEA agent Thorn (wouldn’t know that based on the visuals)
    -Another DEA agent…his girlfriend (we will learn that via dialogue, but not that they are DEA agents)
    -Mexico (nothing tells us they are DEA agents in Mexico on screen)

    These are imperative in my amateur opinion. When I was going to note that I feel like your opening was too familiar, the bomb was a nice surprise. But moments like I described with the opening up until I get the people running after the bus and arriving to fight moments later…just didn’t get me invested.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    p9 = stopped

    Ben, you did a really great job of cleaning up that first page. Truly well done. Less is more with your concept and you gave just enough over black. There might be some tweaking you could do in there, but for right now, it works for me. Smart move by you taking advantage of the community for feedback on the page one day!

    After that first page…I still continued to enjoy the script/story. I’ve watched the show and you certainly have basically taken their whole set up and made it your movie. Not a ding here, but you may need to alter the details of the show some.

    I liked the characters of Butch and Juliet. Feel they contrast nicely. I felt Juliet was to over-the-top with her apparel removal.

    The writing so far has me interested and gives me confidence. I haven’t been voting in these, but for me, yours would be the clear winner this weekend.

    Congrats and good job.

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    p10 = stopped

    Paul! Great to see you with another offering. This one feels like it needs a few more rounds to be effective (and now I see why after reading your comment :)

    I know you know story, so this is just suggestion…but I feel you need to embrace the concept more. While I liked most of the opening scene, I feel it’s unneeded…and something to come to later in the script as an important reveal.

    So by embracing the concept more, open with them riding in the Rolls and dialogue less. Make this more routine for them. Let us learn what they do through action more. Maybe have some birthday commentary, but keep it terse. We will think they are maybe going to a party for her. But then we will learn that she is there to kill someone.

    I know you used the magazing to play with her naivete/innocence, but maybe there’s a better way…especially when the couple comes in.

    I very much like the moment when she’s about to leave and then goes over to the books. I’d prefer her to be less zealous about it, but more of a curiosity. I also like that she takes one.

    Anyway, sorry I couldn’t be more helpful here. Good luck though. I’m always a fan.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

    p3 = He crosses a railroad track… = this line appears twice. The first time is where the preacher is saying things. Just need to cut it from here.

    p10ish = stopped reading started skimming

    p17 = stopped completely

    Hey, Ken. Congrats in making into the showdown. Since I don’t know the true story, I find it challenging to make suggestions. For story’s sake though, there are components I find counterintuitive. I know I addressed some of them when SS had the page one day.

    1) I like how quickly Bill leaves the saloon after reading the letter. However, I dislike how that plays out. He immediately jumps on horse. So I’m thinking we are definitely in a hurry, but then he settles in for a long ride.

    But I don’t know how long. I have no idea how far away he is from where he’s going.

    2) I like him stealing a horse during the night. Reveals character and that he needs another horse to help him maintain speed. I dislike this because it works against the opening action I liked.

    3) He doesn’t even get the opportunity to plead with them to keep them from robbing the bank(s) assuming that’s what he was trying to do based on the letter — Or was he purposely left out of the plan by his brothers? That could be intriguing. But again, he’s racing and I already know he’s not going to make it because we start seeing the gang ride into town and commencing with the crimes before we know where Bill is again.

    If anything, I’d have a scene with Bill thinking he’s arrived at a hideout in time and seeing that he’s too late…and then cut to the gang riding into town (maybe that did happen and i missed it while skimming…if so, my apologies)

    4) Then we get Bill in a hideout with new gang members to avenge his dead brothers/gang – which is confusing to me because I still don’t know what Bill’s motivation was prior to any of this. Sure I may learn it, but from that opening scene, you’ve got me convinced that Bill wants to stop them based on the content of the letter.

    I did really like the the PREACHER and how you used him and what he was preaching about. In other scripts, this type of thing is too on-the-nose but I feel your usage was effective. I also think the title is basass as well.

    Hopefully more people or on board with I’m in the minority. I like the idea and concept though.

    • ShiroKabocha

      No time to read all those entries but based on concept alone, these are the ones so far that I’d definitely enjoy watching as movies :

      PREHISTORIC
      DIONAEA
      THE SAVAGE
      WIDOW’S WALK
      THE DARLINGS
      21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

      Others felt too vague / generic or the concept / characters didn’t appeal to me or the genre was not my thing (western, drug cartels & hitmen).

      I’m always impressed by (and grateful for) the dedication of other commenters. And that goes for AOW too. It makes for a great read every week and I really enjoy the insight and helpfulness that goes into those reviews. I even like the mean (but true) ones :) But most of all, thanks to the writers for putting their works out there to be shredded, I mean, analyzed by the community :)

      Keep ‘em coming !

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for reading YOAC, Link. Really appreciate the notes and will keep in mind.

      • Linkthis83

        No problem. I like reading good, thoughtful writing :)

  • UPB13

    Thanks to Carson and to everyone for reading 21 Days in the Amazon.

    It’s a blatantly obvious homage to Naked and Afraid. Anyone who’s seen the show should recognize that I’ve kept faithful to the format and show tropes. I realize that the script is also a very slow burn because it necessarily has to play out a normal episode of the show before things really start going off the rails. Hopefully, there’s enough intrigue to keep you reading, but I totally get it if you checked out early.

    ***SPOILERS***
    The midpoint twist seems to be the most controversial aspect of this script to most readers. I love the idea that the least-prepared and least-expected characters must become the heroes. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite figured out how to flesh them out enough in Act 1 without the reader wondering why so much time is being spent on supporting characters. Time to re-watch Psycho and examine how the master pulls it off.

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

      Really enjoying the first 20 pages, and yes, you have Naked and Afraid down cold. The action flows well, writing is tight. If I have any constructive criticism is that I don’t believe a female contestant on that show would be looking for “someone hot” (or whatever she says when they first ask her), and wouldn’t say “hey good looking” when they meet. I’m of the mind that most women on that show are probably praying to god that they aren’t sexualized while running around naked, and while a dude might say cheeky stuff like that, it undermined her as a real person for me.

      Definitely intriguing enough to keep me reading, I’ll let you know if I have more thoughts.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m always promoting Pilar Alesandra, ’cause she’s great, but also her husband Pat Francis (Never Not Funny and Rock Solid podcasts) works as a writer on Naked and Afraid and talks a bit about it here:

      http://podtail.com/podcast/on-the-page-screenwriting/467-reality-rocks/

      It’s near the middle of the podcast, but it’s worth listening to the whole thing. You could even think about contacting Pat himself, he seems an approachable guy. Maybe he help you get some connections?

      • UPB13

        Awesome! I will definitely check this out.

    • HRV

      Interesting that someone else came up with a story based on the show. Mine’s more of an Action-adventure-romance. I’ll try to get to reading tomorrow. Congrats to those who got picked this week. I’ve got a horse in the race, but don’t have much luck on this site.

  • Poe_Serling

    Giddyup! My vote this week goes to…

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

    Once more, my choice has zero reflection on the talent or the projects of
    the other four writers. I was just in the mood for a Western this week.

    What I liked:

    >>The title – eye-catching and has a nice ring to it. Kinda stirs up images
    of some of the theater marquee titles of horse operas from the ’40s and
    ’50s.
    >>Style/Format – super quick read. Efficient descriptive lines and character
    intros. Pacing okay. Etc.
    >>Dialogue – solid throughout.
    >>Story – I didn’t know there was a real Wild Bunch. Reading and learning
    something new at the same time… who knew that was even possible? ;-)

    A couple quick suggestions:

    >>I think I would try to up the energy in the opening to match the action-packed
    bank robbery scene in the first part of the script.

    I’d still have…

    Bill taking off like a shot from the saloon … but perhaps not showing him ever
    slowing down until he reaches the town.

    Instead of stopping and letting his horse drink from the creek, why not have
    Bill on the horse giving him a drink from his canteen and pushing onward.

    So…

    1) Bill rushes out of the saloon and gallops off.
    2) Bill riding across the plains of Kansas.
    3) Bill giving his horse water on the move.
    4) Bill getting a fresh horse and zipping off.

    As a few others suggested, it just adds more urgency to the entire opening
    sequence.

    >>Also, to keep things moving, I might consider cutting the flashblack
    or use it later on in the story. Same thing with the preacher – perhaps
    pick only the lines of dialogue that really drive home the points that he’s
    trying to make to the townsfolk and the audience.

    Thanks for sharing your work.

    • Levres de Sang

      I’m late to things today and haven’t cracked any of these yet, but I do recall klmn’s opening page from comments a few weeks back. Love to hear your take on this one, but I really don’t think he needs that opening saloon / letter scene. It deprives us of mystery. Indeed, the classic Western opening (a la High Plains Drifter) is simply a man riding into town. We don’t know why, but we’ll get an idea why as events unfold. Westerns can afford to be enigmatic like no other genre.

      • Poe_Serling

        Great point, Lev.

        Yeah, I could see the pic starting with Bill already in full gallop and
        heading for the town.

        Without being tipped off by the letter, it does add an intriguing
        ‘what’s going on here’ element for the audience.

    • GreenBlooded

      You liked the Leone post. But then posted using the word zipping.

      +_-
      calculating
      -_+
      calculating

      Satire?

      I mean Look Around You is amazing and everything… but… man… it’s like I can’t even trust what’s written on the internet anymore. :(

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    OT: Twitch Table Reads presents – AOW controversial black sheep 3 SWEET THINGS

    Great to see so many high profile members in the running this week! Smish and a host of talented voice actors will be performing a freshly proofread/tweaked draft of last summer’s infamous AOW pot stirrer. Take a break from notes for a spell and join us at 4pm PST on twitchtablereads (dot) com for the live stream! May the best scripts advance!

    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y225/Siegewolf/3ST_thumbnail_zpswdacgnzb.jpg

  • Kosta K

    YEARS OF A CLOWN
    I saw that first page of this one and was like “oh, boy, here we go.” Then, I got to page 17 without even noticing, and once Booboo started his story I was like ”Oh, boy! Here we go!” I’m not really pro-clown and I kept picturing “IT” as I was reading, but Booboo won me over. The descriptions are clear, even though they run a bit long at times, and the dialogue really sticks out here. Great stuff so far. I’m liking this one a lot.

    CARTEL
    Started off with a bang! Literally! But… Wouldn’t there be tons of Mexican army and police present in a situation like that? Would the bomb in the briefcase make it through security? You could’ve totally built more suspense around that. Maybe follow the lawyer in knowing he has a bomb? Have him get let through by Buzz Cut? Also, why would they attempt to break him out on that specific day where security and media coverage would be the highest?

    But… apart from that, I thought the writing was solid here, too. I usually get a bit lost in long action sequences, but I think for the most part, these were pretty well done. Does the specific breed of dog matter? I had to google it. For a second I thought he had some Indonesian kid (I’m really bad with geography). A pretty good start, but it’s going to be compared to Sicario for sure.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON
    I liked this one up to when Juliet gets naked. I didn’t really want to be there after that. Something was off. The initial setup was good, I was there, I could see it, but then I couldn’t get into the crew. Juliet started off as a survivalist and quickly turned into a wimp. All that said, this would probably be the one I would watch on Netflix if I was home alone :/

    RAISED BY WOLVES
    I was the most anxious to open this one up and the most surprised that I couldn’ get into it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. The scenes seemed off. Maybe the setup of the “wolves” could’ve been fleshed out a bit more before introducing us to Kat? I thought Walter was a retiring hitman then he owns a private island? I like my hitmen desperate and dirty. Kat is also confusing. She’s 18, but acts like a kid. She made me feel desperate and dirty :/ 3 weeks, though! Good stuff! They should’ve hired you to write Suicide Squad!

    HELLFIRE ALLEY
    I loves me a good bank robbery! I say start this off with the Daltons riding into town and have the preacher as a VO. Keep the guys quiet until the robbin’ starts. A lot of good stuff here, though.

    My vote goes to YEARS OF A CLOWN with HELLFIRE ALLEY a close second.

    • BMCHB

      Thank you so much for your kind words and my first vote on SS, Kosta K.

  • Eric Boyd

    GODDAMIT!!! What the fuck have I told you people about naming the Main Character after YOURSELF! This is the third time this year! Knock it the fuck off! It’s fucking stupid! I opened up Cartel, read the first line and immediately closed it when I saw the writer and the lead were both named BEN! What the actual fuck! I then opened up klmn’s script and couldn’t focus on it
    because I couldn’t stop thinking about how fucking stupid it is to give your main character the same first name as you. When you’re done explaining to me why you think this is a good idea, please apologize to klmn.

    Fuck you, Ben! Fuck all of you! Fuck the world!

    Love,

    Eric

    • Scott Crawford

      And breathe. Breeeeeeth.

    • klmn

      Thank God I didn’t name my lead klmn.

      Dodged a bullet there.

    • Erica

      ;)

      • Midnight Luck

        I always loved Ugly Kid Joe.
        Everything About You was, and still could be, my life’s theme song.

        I’ve always needed a new brain, or at least personality.

        of course there’s always this one, which is a “nice and sweet” song, for other people (but is honestly an awesome rendition of the song):

        • Erica

          I love this version over the original!

          • Midnight Luck

            I know, right?
            It is such a great version, they make it into such an amazing song.

      • UPB13

        My God, I haven’t thought about that song in 25 years.

      • Midnight Luck

        of course this song could be my Anthem as well.
        Apologies if the vulgarness is, well, u know
        But I love this song and I love Lily Allen. It’s a different kind of rebellion than Ugly Kid Joe and the 90’s grunge.
        It’s a f-off for the 2000’s crowd.

        • Erica

          love it!

    • Wijnand Krabman

      Eric, this is totally OT but I understand your anger, I just got mad as hell when I saw 48 hour Utrecht’s winner. If you check this out, dialogue is all dutch, but doesn’t matter. It’s about a girl who wants to get rid of an other kid. she hires a killer. The kid is shot dead in image. Talking about stupid and It’s coming to Seatle to participate in the worldwide contest.

      https://vimeo.com/184981001

    • brenkilco

      Betting you’ve never read an Ellery Queen mystery.

      • Scott Crawford

        “The only mystery is why anyone would name their son Ellery.” – Abraham Simpson, Springfield

    • http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts Eldave1

      I have zero problem with it. Really don’t understand the angst.

    • Comma

      Me too I think naming the main character after himself is not a good idea.

  • Wijnand Krabman

    21 Days in the amazon. Read 20 pages and liked it. You could do more with them being naked, more sexual tension would be nice, now it’s cut out from the beginning because the two participants don’t like each other, the man is a very one dimensional character, this fact could better be hidden for some time. I would make them liking each other more in the beginning, maybe included some romance and then let the man derail. We now know to soon where this is going.

    Raised by wolfes is another fine story by Paul Clarke, the beginning is entertaining and there is a promise of much more to come. If I should vote i probably would go for this one.

    Hellfire Alley. I think a western should start with something going on; a fight, a bank robbery, a shooting or somebody get killed or raped. You start with a lot of exposition….

    The other two scripts are not for me.

  • jbird669

    Congrats to all 5 of you! Put me down for Hellfire this week.

  • brenkilco

    Read first 35 pages of Raised By Wolves. Very smoothly written. Gets the story set up and the protag running on schedule. Somewhat silly, comic book premise but highly reminiscent of, if not quite identical too, a number of actual movies so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The big time jump evades numerous questions like how? and why? and huh?

    So at the moment we have a mismatched couple on the run with lots of sophisticated, highly armed bad guys after them. An exotic frame but the picture is potentially the old one two. Only way to know is to keep reading so that’s what I’ll do. This has my provisional vote.

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

      Same here. My biggest complaint is that the central relationship is too reminiscent of Kick Ass.

      • brenkilco

        With dollops of that thing Hannah, which I only dimly recall and vague echoes of everything from The Truman Show to The Island to The Tempest.

  • Scott Crawford

    Ironically, Sheperd’s Bush is quite diverse!

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

    I’ve been too busy to vote previously, but I’m in for RAISED BY WOLVES. Great set-up, tight action, I like the central relationship (it isn’t creepy, even though it is) and it starts going places quick. Probably a smidge too derivative for my tastes, but shit if that isn’t what Hollywood wants.

    I liked Cartel, but as others have said, I’ve seen it before. Also think 21 Days is really well written (honestly, all five of these feature some great, clean writing, fuck you :)), but I wish you’d done more with it. I crapped out when you killed the female protag, who was about the only person I liked, though I think you’re onto something with the idea. And consider the marketing, and the UNRATED DIRECTORS’ CUT!! It sells itself!

    Not to knock Hellfire Alley or Clown, either, they both sing as the work of professionals, it’s just that (i) I’m not into Westerns, and (ii) I’m hecka not into clowns.

    • brenkilco

      Gee, clowns and mimes are my two favorite kinds of movie characters

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

        Although I have real soft spot in my heart for “To Catch a Killer,” the TV movie about John Wayne Gacey starring Brian Dennehy. Only Dennehy could make a TV movie seem unseemly– it moves by the numbers, but his performance turns it into high art.

    • UPB13

      I’ll hire Janet Leigh for Juliet. Surefire hit. Especially the UNRATED DIRECTORS’ CUT!!

  • Zack Snide Err

    I read the first 20 pages of each. First of all they were all good so best wishes to all the scribes. Great work.

    My vote is for YEARS OF A CLOWN. The title is drab and the page count may prove to be too long but I really like the concept and enjoyed what I read (first 20 pages). Everything leading up to the scene between Boo Boo and the runaway Myron was well executed and worked to make me want to read Boo Boo’s story. Most impressively the script created two completely different worlds, both of which were really well visualized.
    My preference for this specific story and its genre is what placed it ahead of…

    RAISED BY WOLVES. This was a really enjoyable read. I like both Walter and Kat and the story really took off once it got to the island.
    My only critiques
    — Title not great.
    — Action writing flat.
    — Husk was too chatty given that he was after someone who had murdered his wife.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY. Terrifically written and seemingly well researched. I trust that the story will follow through.
    The issue I had with it was that it really is underwritten. Just like ive seen the movie the Wild Bunch, I wanted to see and feel Hellfire Alley, on the page.
    — More descriptions of the look and feel of the locations.
    — More emphasis given to the action scenes (most of the first twenty pages was action but i wasn’t moved).
    An example on page 15: The use of “WHUMP” to describe the sound behind an action. Unfortunately there was hardly any of that during the shootout scenes.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON. Neat title (simple and poster ready) and i also dig the idea.
    Juliet and Butch are well written and provoked the feelings I’m guessing the writer would’ve wanted me to feel. The most intriguing thing about the script was the role of Florence. She seems a bit too hands on.
    — I didn’t rate it higher because the script didn’t feel like a found footage movie.

    CARTEL. There was some very good world building, attention to detail, and character work in this script though; it was a very disappointing first 20 pages. Very little agency and way too much backstory.

    The bit at the top of page 13 was muddled — Either tell us who they are or don’t.
    I really liked the scene between Thorn and Leon (pages 15-16). That leads me too —

    I think that breaking up the opening nightmare, after streamlining it, and then dispersing it inside of the first 20 pages could be a good alternative.
    It could just the nightmare cut short by his alarm clock (or something less cliche).
    Then the next bit of the dream could come back to Thorn (as a recollection of the nightmare) when Leon mentions Mya on page 16.
    And the rest of the dream on page 18 as Thorn gazes on a photo of her.

    • BMCHB

      Thank you for your vote, Zack. A great vote of confidence.

      • Zack Snide Err

        Your welcome. I did manage to finish the rest of your script and I very much liked it. It’s so rich and detailed: the little dialogue differences between NY and ‘Frisco, the T2 reference…I’d could go on.

        My overall read is that it’s, loosely, a story about two people (Booboo and Myron) who find happiness through facilitating the happiness of the other..
        I say loosely because though It’s clear how Booboo affects Myron, it isn’t so clear the other way around.

        A small suggestion is: Have Myron get the telescope he’d always wanted from Ted near the end and gift it to Booboo as a way of saying thanks. Then Booboo, in trying it out, spots the yellow ballon far off in the distance…

        A couple other things: : The jumps between the different locations should be clearer.
        — The content is great, but needs to be expressed more economically.
        — I don’t think the story spent enough time with Marianne, much less Booboo and she, too make that particular relationship work.

        Thanks for the fun fantasy read and best of luck.

  • Dallas Cobb

    *vote pending* ! coming tomorrow!

    MY VOTE:
    Second Place:

    Years of a Clown:
    # of pages read:
    genre/logline 1st impression: I like the contrast between a sad young boy and an older, presumably happy Clown. Curious how this will be “fantasy.” Curious where the conflict is; curious how the Clown’s life is “amazing.”
    review:

    Cartel:
    # of pages read:
    genre/logline 1st impression: Straightforward, concise logline. I can “see” the conflict. I like that I’m getting a sense of “successes” and “failures” within this one story/journey. Curious how the DEA agent/drug lord hostage’s relationship will play out, since it seems like the core relationship of the movie.
    review:

    21 Days in the Amazon:
    # of pages read:
    genre/logline 1st impression: Is Bared and Scared a real show? Underwhelming logline, just because I feel like a whole cast and crew could take on ONE unhinged contestant. With that said, curious how unhinged this contestant will be.
    review:

    Raised By Wolves:
    # of pages read:
    genre/logline 1st impression: I love action thrillers. This exudes “conflict” but also exudes the most confusion. Who attacked her? Why is she accused of murder? Did she murder her attacker? NAIVE is a great buzzy indicator of the primary character flaw. How is her world sheltered? What is “her work?” What does her father have to do with anything? – It’s great to generate questions, but clarity in loglines can also go a long way.
    review:

    Hellfire Alley:
    # of pages read:
    genre/logline 1st impression: Not a huge fan of westerns. I’ve never seen the classic film, so this logline means nothing to me. Provide even a minor indication of why “the story of the real Wild Bunch” is important enough to have me open the script.
    review:

  • Magga

    I vote for Raised by Wolves. Great opening, good pitch, I’ll let the fact that Walter talks to himself slide :)
    I’ll finish this one soon

  • Daivon Stuckey

    Voting for Hellfire Alley

    That’s the one that felt the most interesting to me, in addition to being the most competently written and entertaining. I’m personally not really into the interpretations of these genres from most of the scripts. They felt a little too same-y, besides the last script.

    Really glad we got a bunch of regulars, and I’m excited to see everyone else who gets in!

  • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

    Doing a live edit of the scripts at twitch.tv/final_boss_editing

  • smishsmosh22

    That’s because I am Sarah Connor, Tony.

  • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

    VOTE: 21 Days in the Amazon

    Edit complete and here:

    VOTE: 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    Raised by Wolves:

    P1 – Walter’s description is a bit tricky to visualize also
    P1 – random guy getting shot doesn’t hook me b/c I don’t know
    the significance
    P2 – Walter’s dialogue is a bit odd for someone going to kill a kid
    “Who is running show?”
    P3 – tramp or Trampoline??
    P3 – Would she go with the guy who killed her father?? Can we maybe
    see the father being a scumbag to her? so the assassin is a better
    option – besides his old age we don’t see his reasoning
    P4 – doing a dialogue revision may help add pop — question / answer
    can be a bit repetitive
    P6 – Doesn’t seem like she’s 18 – seems like 12
    P6 – a little light on conflict – no one is saying “NO” or blocking goal
    P6 – This isn’t so bad – these internal moments are tough to show
    P9 – what is kat doing – doesnt seem to have much
    P13 – Cool concept with super Kat, but not much surprise – we kind of
    suspect Mike is GG

    OVERALL
    GOOD:
    –Like the concept of super KAT
    –good action and description

    IMPROVE:
    –Conflict is a bit light – especially for an assassin movie – I
    imagine she’d have more to disagree on with Walter if she ignores
    the people she sents to train him.
    –Dialogue could use some polish and some of the scene logic could
    be better – ie why did the little girl go with Walter?
    –seems not to have a big plot started yet, just kind of bopping
    around and doing assassiny things

    21 Days in the Amazon

    P1 – I don’t even know how an eagle could show remose – avoid stating
    the inevitable / obvious
    P2 – Interviews are always a bit unabashed with exposition, but
    maybe there’s a better way??
    P2 – more details on florence to characterize her since we see her
    a lot?
    P5 – I want to see butch DO something that makes him crazy not just
    say stuff — these need to have conflict
    P6 – those “will it stab…” in action questions are removable
    P7 – Good dialogue and tone development for characters
    P7 – And she thought… how can we visualize dis?
    P10 – not sure what this banter is adding? I’m guessing it’s
    setting up the solar charger 4 later, but seems a bit clunky and slow
    P14 – we’re on pg 14 and they’re just camping and stuff – I don’t
    get enough conflict from Butch to be really worried at this point.
    nothing beyond ordinary had happend

    OVERALL:
    GOOD:
    –dialogue and characterization is super strong
    –cool setup and concept – i like this camping adventure / naked and alone

    IMPROVE:
    –butch is weird, but I don’t he’s weird or scary enough to carry the
    drama for the first 1/3 of the story. no situation has changed beyond
    our expectations yet
    –Get going a bit faster
    –Give us a real problem to solve, and add conflict even in the
    interviews – i know its a thing from the show, but you gotta spice it.

    • UPB13

      Thanks for the read! That was fun to watch. I really stuck to the Naked and Afraid format to the detriment of a quick opening. Also, the idea that this is the footage recorded by the show, and the meta-narrative of how much editing there can be and who is editing the footage (which you can’t know unless you’ve read the whole thing), made it very difficult for me to legitimize cuts that would speed up the first act. For my next draft, I’ll get it out of my head that “found footage” means pristine footage; I’ll allow for “editing,” particularly to speed up the opening act.

      The thing about Butch is, he isn’t crazy — not until he starves, which takes several days (and 30-some pages). He’s just very different from Juliet.

      • http://www.finalbossediting.com Final_boss

        UPB = thanks for the reply and I’m glad the reading helped :) Your next steps totally make sense, and I’m excited to read future drafts. Your characterization was so strong, that I’d say that minimal conflict still worked, but I’m excited to see that intro really warm up in future drafts! Great work and pumped to see more!

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to HELLFIRE ALLEY. It’s the shortest and probably the worst written of the scripts, but it was the only one that set up a story and characters so that I wanted to find out how it ended.

    YEARS OF A CLOWN

    Read to page 25. It’s a bit slow and ponderous, possibly because the writing, while good, is detailed and novelistic. So far it’s all backstory. It’s not clear who the main character is — the boy or the clown. Nor what problem is required to be solved — must the boy learn to love baseball, or reconcile his parents, or the clown learn something? In short, I know very little about either character and have no reason to continue reading.

    CARTEL

    Read to page 25. From the logline I assumed we’d be in the middle of cartel territory but the planning is all about a hit on a boat. Not sure where this is heading. The initial prison break was hard to visualize, geographically. Also, I feel it was a little far-fetched, as is the plot. I don’t see how an agent who has lost his job could fund such an expensive caper, not do I believe in the plan itself. Technical details look iffy, and there are too many moving parts. You could maybe get away with it if the story was moving faster, but the pace is too plodding ATM.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    Read to page 25. I like the premise and it started well, but I’m losing interest. There are only two contestants. I expected more, although there is a nice contrast between the two. And I thought they had to trek through the jungle to the extraction point, but they are staying in one camp. And surely these reality shows have a bigger crew? Maybe if this was a slacker comedy about a couple of idiots trying to make a reality show on a minimal budget it might work, but ATM I’m not buying it.

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    Read to page 25. Feels a little rushed and unstructured. She should be planning to escape her guards and leave the island by now. Not sure about the girl’s abilities. She can move like a cat, but she can’t fight anyone big, is that it? Nor do I understand how she doesn’t know what she does. At 18, people tend to be cynical and worldly-wise, yet she seems to be still in a little girl phase in some respects. She doesn’t seem to have a cell phone. Unlikely in present day. This would be more believable as a kung-fu period piece.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

    Read to page 25. I never saw The Wild Bunch, so I don’t know how this compares. The initial raid on the Coffeyville banks was hard to picture. The diagram helped. I would include it with the script, only make it better, more professional. Show the tracks, where the horses are, etc. The individual vignettes of who shoots who could be better done, with more drama from each scenelet. And the writing is sketchy in the extreme. Nonetheless, this is an excellent illustration of Bill Martell’s dictum that in an action movie, the bad guy’s plan drives the script. Now that I know Bill Dalton has sworn revenge on the town, I want to find out what happened. And though these might be bad guys, they have some sort of code of conduct, like they don’t shoot children. This makes them more interesting than the merely evil generic bad guy we so often see.

    • BMCHB

      Really appreciate you taking the time to read YOAC, Thanks, Citizen M.

  • Comma

    MY VOTE IS FOR: 21 Days In the Amazon

    Read 12 pages.
    This is the script I liked the most this week. I like the 2 main characters, I’m curious to see where this goes.

    A few notes :

    >We’ll see her later.
    I would prefere if the writer conveys this information through pure screenwriting.

    >And she thought the jungle would be her toughest obstacle.
    Not a fan for the description of ‘thoughts’ in a screenplay.

    Runner up: Cartel

    A pleasant read (read until page 18). I didn’t vote for this script because I felt in a ‘too safe’ place, almost a ‘school’ script. Besides, there is a clear goal, action, things move. Still, it felt too thin, superficial.

    Some notes:

    >THORN
    No one’s ever really ready. How can
    you be? There’s gonna be times when
    we don’t have a clue what we’re
    doing… when we’re exhausted,
    stressed. But we’ll make it work.
    (takes her hand)
    The two of us together has been
    incredible. But the idea of three
    of us… I can’t wait.

    Too cliché. This could be cut.

    THORN
    Mya, I love you. You’re the best
    thing in my life. And now we’re
    gonna have a family together. Of
    course I want to marry you.
    MYA
    But whenever I bring it up you
    change the subject, make a joke

    Again, cliché dialogue. All their love relation could be conveyed in one line, or one kiss. We’ve already understood that they’re in love.

    >But it’s not out there that they should be worrying about…
    Not a fan of this kind of author’s commentary.

    Next he accesses the DEA server using LEON HOYT’S name and
    password, navigates to: SINALOA CARTEL / BAUTISTA VALDEZ
    Checks for any new reports / findings / entries… but
    there’s nothing. He clicks on: etc etc etc
    This beat where we see what he does on his computer is soooo boring. We got it, he’s obsessed and he’s tracking the bad guy, the writer’s goal here should be to do this beat as quick as possible.

    >(we will learn later that these voices belong to the lawyer
    Cortes and Valdez’s son BAUTISTA JR)
    I would prefere if the writer conveys this information through pure screenwriting.

    >LEON
    You don’t work
    here anymore, remember?
    Isn’t this is soooooo on the nose! Moreover, we know that already!

    Hellfire Alley
    5 pages. I couldn’t understand the take on the story. Is it a kind of remake of ‘the wild bunch’? I was expecting some kind of decontruction of the original story. I don’t know. I was disappointed. But 5 pages is not enough to judge the whole.

    Raised By Wolves
    I didn’t like the main character talking all alone, or to the little girl he was supposed to kill. I disconnected after the cut to present time where the girl seems to be the killer’s adoptive child. It was too much Besson’s”Leon” to me.

    Years of a Clown
    Read 5 pages.
    The logline doesn’t catch me. The massive all-description first page frightened me. At page 5 I can’t understand where the movie goes… maybe this is genius, but I felt disconnected. It’s hard to judge a script from a few pages.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for giving YOAC a go, Comma. Cheers.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Looks like “Hellfire Alley” is in the lead so I’ll crack it open first.

    Okay, so here’s my problem.

    We have a very abrupt opening. We discover our hero, Bill Dalton, in a “western 1890s saloon” sitting alone at a table sipping whiskey. We’re told he’s 39…

    And…

    That’s it.

    He reads a letter about his brothers planning a bank robbery and goes rushing off, presumably to stop them.

    I know nothing about what Bill looks like, nothing about this specific saloon, nothing about what town we’re in, what state we’re in, what this guy is like.

    I’ve complained about this in Kimn’s last script and the same problem manifests here as well; lack of visual specificity.

    You’ve got to put us in the scene, man! Give us something visual!

    It’s funny. People think that details are boring, while in fact lack of specificity is boring. Just some generic saloon with some blank guy.

    Even what he’s doing is generic; drinking whiskey. That tells me nothing about this protagonist who I can’t visualize.

    Give us a few words to make this saloon SPECIFIC. Have a SPECIFIC situation occur in this saloon (not a standard gunfight, please!) that dramatizes something SPECIFIC about Bill. When you’ve properly introduced this guy, THEN have him getting the news about his brothers.

    With this abrupt opening I don’t know and I don’t care about the information. But if we saw, for example, Bill allowing himself to be humiliated in the saloon to avoid getting into trouble with the law, and THEN he receives news that his brothers are about to rob a bank, see how that now has RESONANCE?

    Speaking of descriptions, couple of pages later a preacher gets this redundant description:

    “An itinerant PREACHER, dressed all in black – black frock coat, black pants, black shirt, black string tie, black boots, and a wide-brimmed black hat”

    You’ve already said he’s dressed all in black — why waste space enumerating each article of clothing? I now know more visually about the nameless preacher than I do about Bill.

    p. 4 we get description of the other brothers (still no word on Bill). Information is conveyed in the most literal, unimaginative way possible. “GRAT DALTON – heavy, he shows the effects of too much alcohol. (40)”

    Come on, man. Find a creative way to convey these bald statements. Something short, pithy, memorable. Make me SEE this guy.

    Around p. 10 we have a shootout. I can’t think of a more generic way to describe the action:

    “CONDON BANK

    Broadwell fires at Parker Williams (on the awning, behind the wooden sign). Misses.

    ON THE AWNING

    Williams fires. He hits Broadwell. CONDON BANK

    Broadwell drops his Winchester.

    BROADWELL

    I’m hit! I can’t use my arm!

    FIRST NATIONAL

    Bob Dalton fires.”

    The dialogue suffers from the same literalness:

    “EMMETT
    We can still go back. We ain’t done nothin’ yet.

    BOB
    Stay calm. Everything will be fine.”

    Here’s a little screenwriting exercise, just for shits and giggles. You have a character heading towards a dangerous situation and he wants to stop, but he also doesn’t want his brothers to think he’s chickenshit. (That’s called INTERNAL CONFLICT.) Okay, what would that character say when he can’t state baldly “we can still go back?”

    See how that moves you away from this boring on-the-nose exchange towards something SPECIFIC based in characterization?

    I love sparse, economical writing, but this is pasta without a hint of salt.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Read the first 20 of “Raised by Wolves.”

    Paul, man, you got this weird thing about writing women talking and acting way too young. Same thing in the last script with the woman in the wheelchair.

    Sorry, wasn’t on board with this. Another script I don’t know where we are.

    Walter talking to himself was lazy.

    The exchange between Walter and 18-year-old Kat just read unnatural, being driven to a hit in a Rolls Royce just says comedy.

    Another female assassin.

    Twenty in and there’s nothing interesting character-wise for me.

    I’m bailing.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4290140/ Cal

    This week my vote goes to…

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    After reading roughly the first 10-15 of each Raised By Wolves is the one I’m most interested in continuing to read strictly off concept. I was getting a little Mike vibe from Breaking Bad in the opening pages with the way he was moving around and what he was saying, maybe that’s just me. Anyway, congrats to getting my vote Paul I’ll get back to you with some further notes once I’ve had to read the whole thing thing this week.

    My runner up was HELLFIRE ALLEY. Enjoyed the opening pages but honestly just not feeling like reading a western at the moment… sometimes it just comes down to that.

    What I’m learning even more from this competition is story/concept is literally EVERYTHING. I mean, once that is in place writing style and execution of the idea is very important but when I sit down to read a script I just really want to read an awesome story about something I’m interested in reading about. That’s literally it. Even in hindsight, after reading all the scripts I would have still been able to cast my top two votes on the log lines alone, because those are the two that interest me the most. It’s really that simple.

    Congrats again to all that were chosen this week.

    • Scott Crawford

      “when I sit down to read a script I just really want to read an awesome story about something I’m interested in reading about.”

      That’s the best explanation of the importance of concept and story I’ve read. Everyone should remember that.

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4290140/ Cal

        Thanks Scott. It’s a simple truth.

        • Scott Crawford

          But well put. Neither me, nor Carson, nor any screenwriter or teacher I have read has put it so succinctly and accuratley.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4290140/ Cal

            I appreciate it for sure… I think the majority of my learning so far has come down to the fact that that’s it.

  • ocattorney

    First, congratulations to all the writers who submitted scripts. Much of the writing is better than mine. You followed Carson’s instructions by setting goals and blocking the path with obstacles. Congratulations! But please don’t be fooled into thinking everyone loves your script. There are so many movies on the market now, most people restrict themselves to a very narrow type of movie. I would estimate that, if you choose a script at random, you have a 1 in 7 change of giving it to someone who likes that particular kind of story. I happen to be in a group that stops reading when a child is murdered. I have read two scripts that had children in danger on the first page and quite frankly, it makes me stop reading. Let’s look at the most popular genres:

     Drama – The exploration of a serious, deeply moving situations or issues

     Comedy – Stories centering on characters and situations designed to make people laugh

     Action – Stories with constant, fast-paced, physical movement and fighting

     Science Fiction –

     Fantasy – This contains characters and plot devises that are impossible in the world as we know it, commonly associated with fairy tales

     Supernatural – Like fantasy, a film where the circumstances and situations cannot be explained by modern or theoretical science, and it contains some type of paranormal or unnatural phenomena

     Horror – Primarily about extreme physical violence, exploring a terrifying, human fear to scare audiences

     Mystery – When the entire outer journey and plot focuses on trying to out “Who done it and why?”

     Thriller – Edge-of-your-seat suspense based stories

     Crime/Heist – Told from the point of view of investigators or criminals where a protagonist’s outer journey in the story centers on criminal activities.

     Western – Set in the Western United States prior to 1912 (most commonly the Wild West era between the American Civil War and the turn of the century), traditionally featuring frontiersman, cowboys, and/or Native Americans.

     War – Set during wartime in a war-torn land

     Family – Stories and execution that is appropriate for all audiences of all ages, including small children

     Musical – When characters sing numerous songs as part of the story, and it traditionally (but not necessarily) has at least one big dance number

     Historical – Based on true events in world history

     Biopic – Based on and inspired by one real person and that person’s accomplishment(s)

     Romance – When the main plot and protagonist’s outer journey focuses on the pursuit of romantic love

     Sports – Set in a specific sport integral to the characters, story or plot
    With a lot of men, it’s sports stories or turn off the TV. I’m working on a concept called Story Value, but for this contest, we were given the chance to start fresh with a new concept, premise and write a script in a limited time. I don’t think enough work went into finding original ideas. Right now, I stopped reading because I ran into some scenes that made me ask, “Am I really supposed to read through this before my script gets read?” And what a writer needs to know is, MOST of your potential audience is like this. Here on this site, you are very lucky to have other writers who share your interests and get real feedback. – Bill Hays

    • Erica

      You missed this on ;(

      Science Fiction – is a genre of speculative fiction typically dealing with imaginative
      concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, time
      travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and
      extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential
      consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a
      “literature of ideas.” It usually eschews the supernatural, and unlike
      the related genre of fantasy,
      (taken from Wikipedia) as I believe it sums up the genre nicely.

      • ocattorney

        I thought Science Fiction was familiar to everyone, I was showing the number of genres, ones I wouldn’t have thought of like Biopic and Historical. I listed Eighteen. Every genre has a huge number of fans, and the fans of Family and Musical often don’t like… well, Horror. Horror and Science Fiction. A movie with great Story Value is Harry Potter. It’s a movie about a school, rather than children on a vacation from school. The Theme is, School can be wonderful, and for children stuck in school, that has a lot of personal value. The Godfather has “value” for immigrants, and the children of immigrants who grew up with conflict adjusting to America. Titanic has enormous story value. I wrote a script for this contest that shows what I mean by “Story Value” and it would be easier to postpone this discussion until you’ve read that script. Also, I’m still getting an error message when I try to post a JPEG. If you want to see the images I would have posted, my email is on the cover page of my script. I’m seeing more Story Value in this week’s scripts. A personal story about a Clown. “Mozart in the Jungle” shows how to give “value” to a script about the Amazon, but not many people realize that “Avatar” is also a movie about clear-cutting the rain forest. James Cameron filmed his trip to protest a dam that would displace 25,000 natives and the faces in his video are right there in the b.g. of Pandora. My guess is that you are lucky if only 6 out of 7 random people reject your script as being outside their Comfort Zone. That’s why advertising increased box office. – Bill Hays

        • Comma

          If by “values” you mean ideology, or society issues, or positive message, or education purposes, I don’t think that has anything to do with the value of a story or a movie. That could be a metagenre ‘people who like movies with a positive message’. Like ‘people who love vampires’.
          Then, one thing is to watch a movie to be pleased or entertained in a naive way, one thing is to watch it (or read the script) with a critical or technical mind. Some kind of subjectivity is involved in both watching styles but what a difference.

          Good luck with your script!

          • ocattorney

            Thanks, comma. That’s pretty much the standard line being taught in most screenwriting courses. What I’m trying for is something different. I think studios are losing potential profits (they always make money, even on bad movies) because they don’t have a “theory” on what gives a script “value” to the Target Demographic. OK, that’s the genre theory, that a genre is a type of story that has attracted a large audience over many decades, and a studio plays it safe by making an action movie, or a SF movie, because the scripts in those genres have rules to follow, and the writers know the rules to follow. And my (so-far untested) theory is that audiences look for some kind of “value” before they buy a ticket to see a movie in a theater. It may be an A-list actor or director. I think it is Originality. Maybe they don’t want to pay to see a movie that is a close copy of a previous movie. Was the new “Ghostbusters” with an all-female cast successful? Why or why not?
            I was watching “Sharky’s Machine” … Burt Reynolds in bed with a girl, an Asian hired killer enters the room with a silenced gun…. that doesn’t have ANY “story value” for me. Once it did, but not now. One possibility is, audience now look for Great Characters and are bored with plots they’ve seen too many times in similar movies because they only watch movies in their preferred genre. – Bill Hays

    • Comma

      “Am I really supposed to read through this before my script gets read?”

      Why not?

      • ocattorney

        sorry for that line… I had just opened an email from script pipeline that had an early deadline for a table read at Sundance of Oct. 5.

        …what a perfect place for the script I wrote for this contest…. I wish I was a week into a re-write instead of the shorter 50 page version i submitted…. a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, I hadn’t thought of that but… yeah – a table read means every word of dialogue will be evaluated, so at least a week to get it into shape….
        Again, my OTHER point was, people do not like reading scripts or watching movies outside of their preferred genre…. How many movies outside of my favorite genre do I have to sit thru… that’s rhetorical, to make a point… but my original sentence wasn’t an elegant way to express it, so sorry… – Bill Hays

  • Craig Mack

    I’m going with Raised by Wolves.

    Read the first 5 of each, this one seems like the most competently written. I didn’t like the hitman talking to himself while searching for the kid. That seemed forced. But overall, good job.

    Second place for 21 Days in the Amazon. Very difficult to write found footage well. I think you did a good job here.

    P.S. I’m amazed by everyone that powered through their drafts for this comp. Congrats. It’s quite the accomplishment.

  • Poe_Serling

    Wow! What a close race so far. Hellfire Alley leading by a nose as the round the
    corner of Day 2.

    ;-)

    Just discovered that there was an old ’40s Western called Hellfire.

    Something about a reformed gambler trying to build a church for a preacher that
    saved his life.

    Check out these character names from the film: Zeb Smith, Doll Brown, Bucky,
    Red, Dusty, etc.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    Loving the tight race at the midpoint! Just prior to the tournament, I gave Ken and Paul notes on their awesome entries…

    I read THE OKLAHOMBRES (original title for HELLFIRE ALLEY) this morning. Thanks for sharing the script with me.Your prose and scene description are solid, and I liked the period detail a lot. I understand this is a first draft, but I had a hard time following the story. Like the early draft of Vaquero I read, I felt this script didn’t have emotional context. Before you had a clear protag with Ed, but this story feels like an ensemble with no real leader. Combine that with a very high character count and your reader will get lost, it’s only a matter of time.

    Who’s the protag here?
    At first, I was sure that Bill was going to be our clear guide through such a complex event. The way it’s set up, I thought Bill was going to try and stop his brother from robbing the bank. You see, that’s a PERSONAL GOAL I can understand and get behind: protect family.
    But Bill is just a gang member and he doesn’t stop anything. I was lost after 20 pages.

    Shifting goal is confusing. The goal you seem to set up was: stop the robbery.
    But then the robbery happens a few pages later.
    So, the quest you promised in your opener is taken away from the reader.

    You should find a way to re-focus the opener and present Bill in a more accurate light.

    I suggest moving Nix’s very cool VO at the end to the beginning.

    Use that, then VO some of the preacher over Bill’s solo travel.
    His words were far more compelling than most of the plot-related dialogue.

    Establish Bill’s an outlaw hoping to save his brother.

    Does Bill FLASHBACK to a childhood memory?

    I don’t even know how Bill felt about his family in the early going. Does he love anyone?

    We need some kind of emotional context to care what happens.

    As written, I’ve got no one to root for (cops are corrupt, robbers murder).

    But with some emotional context, I could get invested in the story.

    Help me understand what all this means to the character you want to guide the reader.

    Here are some notes that I jotted down while I read:

    p. 1 Don’t like the title or the map.

    p. 1 A description of Bill would be nice.

    p. 3 VO the preacher, spend more time with our protag.

    p. 3 Maybe Bill should VO about the letter. Instead of hearing each word.

    p. 4 Why doesn’t Bill telegram ahead? Warn someone?

    p. 10 Until I know what this all means to Bill, I’m lost.

    p. 17 Is Bill a bad guy too? Wow, I thought he was a lawman.

    p. 18 Bill’s dialogue feels overwritten/padded.

    p. 22 I don’t care about a murdering gang being chased by crooked cops.

    p. 24 All the drug references are cool, but you can use more character beats too.

    P. 25 Who’s “A” (dialogue slug)?

    p. 48 Character count is so high, I can’t keep track.

    p. 62 Lack of a clear goal or emotional pov of a protag made this a tough read.

    p. 69 Someone should challenge the Preacher more here.

    p. 79 Love Dix’s VO, use it to help frame the start of the story.

    * * *
    I absolutely loved the opener to RAISED BY WOLVES.You solidly put me in Walter’s head. And his DILEMMA rocked! The kid witness. So we learn that Walter does have a heart.
    Plus you gave us a great unresolved plot device — W attempting to retire. You quickly set up a plot that can carry us through the script. And then pretty much abandoned that set up. Honestly, I was bummed. I was invested in that little girl and guy looking to get out. But you chose a different part of their story to focus on. The Major was my fave character. He’s the gasoline this story needs more of. I feel there’s a few ways you can strengthen what follows that strong start…

    1) I can’t get a bead on Walter. Is he a villain? Or tragic character?

    He starts out charming, then turns into a total creep. And I never knew why.

    If you want to paint him as the villain, do so from the start.

    Show us he can be a creep, he’s too fatherly too fast kind of creep.

    As written, Walter is too much of a teddy bear at the start.

    Without experiencing the change in him, I’m alienated from the character.
    Maybe you can tell little Kat’s tale through FLASHBACK. Get me to care.

    Try a series of FBs throughout the second act to fill in the reader?

    2) Husk is too one note to be an effective supporting character.

    Most of the time, he’s complaining about revenge.

    But his life is such a blank slate to me, I don’t care about him at all.

    In fact, you were so vague about his backstory, I thought he was a plot twist.

    As in, he’s not as he seems. Maybe he was using K to get to W, etc.

    I need to know what was so awesome about his life that he can’t move on.

    Was his wife funny? Did she have a humanitarian career? What about kids?

    Anything like that will help me RELATE to Husk. Right now, I can’t.

    Without that, I can’t believe that Kat would ever help this guy.

    3) The story doesn’t advance much during pages 30 – 60.

    Zillman came off like an exposition dump, no emotion there.

    Once K & H escape the island the story treads water until the Major arrives.

    Because I don’t care about H, I didn’t invest in the emotional breakdown.

    And the subsequent friendship didn’t ring true to me either.

    My SUGGESTION: Have Major RESCUE them after he denies contact from H.

    Major sends them away. Gerald nabs them, then the Major rescues them,

    That’s a much more dramatic trajectory to start your second act.

    Here are some notes I jotted down while I read:

    p. 3 LOVE the opener. Great set up. Just one thing…

    I’d change W’s lines to VO. “I never shot a kid before.”

    What a great firstline for a character. So intimate!

    p. 5 Need another scene where W dumps young K on side of road.

    She stands there alone in the dark. Crying. Someone’s in an alley.

    The dark figure approaches the little girl. He’s almost there.

    Walter’s car comes back into view! He steps out, chases off the perv.

    Little K runs away, W has to chase her down, then convince her to trust him.

    I think that scene would go a long way to helping me like W.

    p. 7 cat/Kat

    p. 10 Feels a little too much like LEON. Differentiate somehow.

    p. 10 Husk is a name? Was confused at first. Sounds pretentious.
    We get he’s sad. But he’s hard to humanize without a real name.

    p. 14 Mike feels like a protag here. Confusing.

    p. 15 Bummed out the retirement plot device was thrown away.

    p. 15 flies OFF cliff

    p. 16 Tone feels more like BARELY LETHAL than LEON with all the quips.

    p. 18 No sense of danger from fight. Big tonal shift from start.

    p. 20 Walter is like a pod person now. Where did the nice rescuer go?

    He acts more like a noob, than a seasoned assassin here.

    p. 20 Kat mentions dead wife x2

    p. 24 Rough dialogue. Especially all the thugs.

    p. 26 Husk has unresolved plot/revenge. But no personal issues.

    Maybe if I knew more about his life, I could care about him.

    p. 30 K’s unresolved issue with W is not shown. What happened between them?

    p. 36 Couldn’t Husk have the booze analyzed by an expert himself?

    p. 39 I don’t buy the emotional breakdown here.

    p. 42 Husk is too one note of a character for me to relate to.

    p. 45 Assassin and target are getting along too quickly for my liking.

    There needs to be a lot more sparks between them.

    p. 51 he’s A real piece of work

    p. 53 Zillman comes of as just a motor mouth of exposition.

    p. 54 Zillman changes sides way too fast. Didn’t feel earned at all.

    p. 55 I don’t get W’s obsession with keeping Kat to himself.

    p. 55 aim his gun AT the

    p. 57 What plan? More quips. Shouldn’t H have a plan before they arrive?

    If these two are such pros, they should have a planned exit strategy, etc.

    p. 60 The relationship promised by the prologue has not been delivered.

    p. 62 The story is moving forward. Love the Major. He challenges everyone.

    p. 65 YOU’RE very special

    p. 68 K, H and the Major should be forced on the run TOGETHER. More conflict!

    I can see them going on a ROAD TRIP to get more intel. A side goal here.

    p. 69 grabs his arm (.) Needs a period at end of that sentence.

    p. 70 Waiting x2

    p. 72 Action set pieces did not stand out. Find way to distinguish them.

    p. 75 Frustrating to have insight into Walter at the start, then taken away.

    p. 77 Walter has somehow turned into a super creep.

    p. 79 W comes off like a pedo, he’s so asexual. No wife or fuck pals?

    p. 82 bigger THAN you or him

    p. 87 Cuz this is capture only mission, the tension’s deflated.

    p. 88 W is treating K like a pet. Ewww. Where does this come from?

    p. 93 Walter has gone full perv. This feel very left field.

    p. 94 what do YOU think

    p. 97 I need flashbacks to help me understand W & K’s dynamic.

    p. 99 I hate that Walter is drunk here. We never see the cold calculating pro.
    p. 101 Weak finish when you hamstring your villain with booze.

    • klmn

      Evidently you’re commenting on an earlier draft of my screenplay.

      • smishsmosh22

        Hey Ken, is this version different from the one I read?

        • klmn

          Yeah, I did take some of your suggestions and also some of Brett’s – and some of joe’s before I uploaded this version.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for taking the time to read and offer suggestions for YOAC, ElectricDreamer. Cheers.

  • ScriptChick

    My Vote: 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    YEARS OF A CLOWN (stopped at pg. 31. Somewhat inclined to read more)
    Pg. 1 – I think the beginning is a tad overwritten. Lots of description in the beginning about an ageing face. Personally I like the 3rd paragraph best “coated in mystery”.
    Pg. 1 – You’ve essentially given your clown the same color scheme as IT. Is this intentional? I think I would dig a little deeper for your character so I’m not scared right off the bat and so your clown really stands out. Besides It, Ronald McDonald is in red wig and yellow pants. Those are big clown shoes to fill.
    Pg. 3 – Does the melody have to do with sports? Otherwise I think Crispin would recognize Booboo based on his outfit versus a tune.
    Pg. 3 – “Ten pies a week or more and he can’t put on a pound OF problems.”
    Pg. 4 – I don’t get the relevance or joke of voting Democrat or Republican. Not sure what overweight woman and chubby kid added to the scene. We already got before and after that people regard him strangely or with mild disgust. All I got was Crispin likes Booboo and lets him get pies (for free) that I’m sure he’ll use later in his act.
    Pg. 10 – Little easy that Booboo was able to get a crowd of kids so quickly. I kind of wanted him to try harder to grab and maintain attention. The setting at least seems set up that way, with the loud music, judgmental parents and small space in the back. And I think Booboo doing something surprising would be fun.
    Pg. 10- Kangarhino – haha!
    Pg. 11 – For all the setup given to Ted’s present, I missed out on Myron’s excitement for it. I didn’t get he had an expectation for seeing a long, cylindrical present. Instead I’m only told in dialogue.
    Pg. 12 – Maybe to further exemplify how much Ted loves his car, have him check himself out in his car’s reflection or wipe a spec of dirt off of it?
    Pg. 12 – Unless the cream pies were used already by Booboo for his act/to gain attention, then it feels convenient that a kid would use them against him. How would the kid know he had cream pies? And why (without using them in his act already) would Booboo willingly buy ammunition for kids to use against him (unless he uses it against himself first).
    Besides the end, Booboo didn’t do much during the birthday cake/present scene. Wish he had a little more presence in these pages.
    Pg. 17 – I like the boys’ way of playing makeshift baseball.
    Pg. 18 – “No baseball at all this Saturday.” – does she mean on the TV? Because it seems like she doesn’t allow baseball to be played – or is she particularly banning Booboo from playing?
    Booboo the Clown struck me as his stage name. Would Sister Mercedes keep up with this charade? I was king of waiting to know the man behind Booboo, his real name. And if that’s his real name….or a name he’s permanently given himself…then I think there’s some conflict/pushback there.
    Pg. 21 – Was a little odd to me that Booboo said he couldn’t play baseball, which transitions to his past, where he wasn’t allowed by the sisters – but then he was allowed to play after all as long as it was on the field. Think it would be better if you picked a hard yes/no to allowed to play and stuck with it instead of waffling on the details.
    Like the use of color to show Booboo an exciting new world contrasted with the one he currently lives in.
    Pg. 22 – There seems to be a focus on food and spices having color too. I would contrast the gray food Booboo eats back in the orphanage as well.
    Pg. 24 – Wait, there’s actual magic in this story? I’m a little thrown…
    Pg. 27 – yet astonished that he did not take his opportunity to leave the orphanage – You say as much with Myron’s line questioning why Booboo not run off. So seemed redundant.
    Might be a little dark for your story, but what if the bullies actually broke Booboo’s nose when they beat him up? So then once he’s a clown, putting on the clown nose hides his slight deformity and gives him a deeper sense of comfort?
    Pg. 28 – “Yeah, LET’S play catch.”
    I think it’s just stalling the inevitable to not have the bazaar people visit him that night (vs. a few nights later?). We already know from the line “we’ll come to you” that it’s going to happen. If I’m already expecting it, I’d get it out of the way as soon as possible.
    Pg. 31 –“ You must be Oregano.” Why Captain focus on the balloon dog vs. lead Booboo? Felt weird that Booboo not given a special address by the Captain.
    This script developed a more whimsy/Tim Burton-esque vibe later on. I would try to incorporate a sliver of this tone, this magic early on in the real world. Even the real world of Big Fish starts with a fanciful tale of legend. It sets the tone. I would also say there’s more at stake in the relationship of father and son than this casual acquaintance of birthday boy and clown his parents hired.

    CARTEL (stopped at pg. 32. I would read more due to the plot. Some plot beats I wonder about logically but most of it seems there/believable. The reason to not kill feels a tad forced but I’ll buy it. Wish the dialogue was as interesting as the plot. Some of it is pretty generic)
    Pg. 1 – Bottom of page Thorn’s dialogue felt on the nose, flat. But liked Mya’s following line on pg. 4. This also feels like a death knell scene for Mya.
    Pg. 4 – Some more heavy dialogue from Thorn and then Mya says he always makes jokes about the matter (of marrying) – but right now Mya seems to be the most cavalier of the two.
    How’d the briefcase get through? Wanting some explanation.
    Pg. 6 – Like how smart the chief sounds. And him misconstruing Mya’s morning sickness with nerves.
    Pg. 7 – Hmm. Little easy that Valdez slips by just by wearing uniform. If he is a guard, why isn’t he going towards the action like the other guards? I think more might need to be done here, maybe from Buzz Cut? Is it a step that really needs to be done if they have a weapon and tank coming in?
    Pg. 9 – The chief slams on the BRAKES.
    Pg. 10 – Leon and THEN Mya chipping in one apiece.
    Pg. 10 – Yep. RIP. And kinda a little over the top that one bullet, fired blindly by the bad guy strikes such a critical area when all the other barrage has left them unscathed.
    Pg. 12 – Like the Max callback, but seems for reader than viewer since Thorn doesn’t call the dog “Max”. Also, he got it right after the incident? Audience might think he already had dog when Mya thought the name was more fitting for a dog. So I might make it younger, so we definitely know that this is dog gotten after the fact to ease Thorn’s painful loss.
    Pg. 13 – Like the fishing photo lead.
    Pg. 17 – Didn’t need the Google search. The very next scene is Thorn at a bounty hunter’s office. Script doesn’t need to explain if it’s so fast-paced.
    Pg. 17 – The bounty hunter business is called Hunters, Inc? Is this standard for these type of businesses to be so blatant? It feels like a shift in tone. Same with montage. I think Thorn would either know right off the bat that no one would be crazy enough to attempt this or the first guy would tell him as such. Later, even Leon has already assumed Thorn would try doing it himself.
    Pg. 21 – “They’ll know it’s you.” – Would they? Thorn never had any interaction with Valdez? From the opening I didn’t get the vibe they’d recognize him. Being suspicious is another matter that fisher happens to come by just as they boat sinks…
    Pg. 32 – Pages starting picking up as Thorn put his plan into motion.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON — (pg. 30 stopped. I would read more just to see how it turns out. Watching Butch’s deterioration is fun but wish there was a bigger instigator for it than what seems to be the river incident. My biggest problem is with Juliet and how I’m not as attached to her as a main protagonist yet as I’d like. She’s made some pretty dumb moves or not enough presence as I would prefer. Butch is stealing the show)
    Pg. 1 – Dunno if the title Bared and Scared works for me because you going for bared (a verb) as in naked (a noun), but then it would just be “bare”.
    Pg. 6 – I like the mutual disapproval between Butch and Juliet.
    Pg. 8 – Fade to black – if this is found footage, a fade doesn’t make a lot of sense to me vs. a cut.
    Pg. 10 – It was a little unclear if Butch was locating the source of the buzzing to stop it to hear the river or for food. At first I thought food, but since we don’t see the bug again… I think it would be resourceful to already have food ready once he’s got camp set up.
    Pg. 11 – Weird that Butch used Juliet’s steel to start a fire. I thought he hated it? So why use it at all? Use the nature’s tools that it sounds like he prefers in the action description.
    Pg. 14 – Meshuganah?
    I like Juliet’s drive in the beginning for doing the challenge. Just wondering if there’s something more to it. For the both of them. Butch just doing it for fun? It doesn’t have to be know, because I’m still getting use to the setting and characters, but further down the line, I really hope there’s more character development any of these four characters. (for example pg. 19 felt like a little missed opportunity – what are the stakes for Juliet and to a lesser degree of importance for me – Butch?)
    Pg. 14 – Why would Juliet dab water on her lips if she knows she has to boil it first? Putting it on her lips is potentially very dangerous and stupid.
    Pg. 14 – And the piranha – wow, that’s dumb. I really feel she should know better if she’s in the Amazon?
    Pg. 15 – So going off of Butch’s logic, he will never eat anything that Juliet catches?
    Pg. 16 – Exciting action. Later Butch said something about recon – but it still didn’t really explain how he fell to me. Did he hit a deep spot? Trip on something? It could be a lie, just wanted some sort of excuse…
    Pg. 19 – If Butch touts himself a diehard survivalist, it’s really dumb for him to intentionally cut himself.
    Pg. 19 – Bottom of page – blood – ew! Unless he’s being manipulated, it felt a little off that Butch would want to get close to Juliet. He previously didn’t want anything to do with her.
    Pg. 23 – If something is actually coming for these people, I’d like a bigger hint of it.
    I get this is a show and these two are technically on their own while being watched by two others, but wouldn’t in Juliet’s state she try to bargain with Florence, get anything like food or comforting items from her? It just feels like what someone desperate would do (and I feel Juliet is at that point. Florence at least to me seems like she thinks Juliet’s at that point).
    Pg. 24 – Intriguing turn for Butch and the caiman bit.
    Pg. 25 – Writing what we can’t see. PTSD Flashback. There’d be no way I’d get this just watching but the later dialogue does shed some insight and that’s what I like about the scene.
    Pg. 28 – Based on her social work “out of his goddamn mind” – I know he’s done some crazy stuff but Juliet hasn’t seen all of it (the blood) so it still seems a little early for Juliet to make such a damning statement, especially based on her social work background.
    Pg. 30 – “We’re going on an adventure.” – What? Isn’t she starving? Unless this adventure involves food, Juliet is coming off as extremely nonchalant and not goal-oriented here.

    RAISED BY WOLVES — (stopped at pg. 30. Could read more, but the whole “why” bothers me – why Walter raise this girl to be a hitman when before he seemed like so much a lone wolf on the verge of retirement. Not really sure of his motivation but that’s the whole premise of this story)
    Pg. 2 – Whoever was there HAS slipped past him.
    Pg. 3 – The dog shit on the sleeve was like a gun in a scene – waiting for something to come of it. Where’s the dog?
    I think the transition from toddler Kat to teen Kat needs to breathe more. I would have loved a scene with Walter interacting with the child. It all happens very fast and doesn’t feel as developed as it could be.
    Pg. 5 – If Kat become an assassin, why was so scared by the Hooligans? Seems like wouldn’t be able to handle it as an assassin, way more stress than a mob walking by.
    Pg. 7 – young cat  young Kat?
    Pg. 10 – Kind of missing a moment here when Kat returns to Walter. He proud of her? Job well done? Not understanding their relationship as much as I would like to.
    Pg. 10 – SHE grabs the pink dust jacket…
    Pg. 10 – Slicked down hair and WHITE silk shirt…
    Pg. 12 – I’m getting a sense that there’s an organized collective of hitmen, an island as HQ and Kat gets special training, a grappling coach – this seems way more sophisticated than originally presented. Walter just seemed like your run of the mill hitman. Get $, off a guy type. With this more complex world was established for him, not just for Kat sooner.
    Pg. 13 – Cool fight here and her childlike attitude.
    Pg. 14 – “Boss won’t be happy.” — is that Walter? Haven’t seen him in a while. And he seemed like he was retired, not really a boss?
    Pg. 18 – “He even accused my of killing his wife, isn’t that crazy?” – I’m not sure how much the main protagonist knows. Is she is unaware that she poisoned the flask?
    Pg. 22 – Gerard REVELS in the pain he’s inflicted.
    Pg. 29 – Like how Gerard disposes of Mike.
    I don’t think keeping the audience in the dark along with Kat is the best choice here. Besides knowing from the getgo the brainwashing Kat’s been through, we miss out on some really good irony/manipulation – an assassin who doesn’t even know she’s an assassin. Story feels rushed.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY – (read to pg. 30. From the description, I feel great care was put into the research and making sure the setting was authentic. I just didn’t get attached to any of the characters to really be invested in their grand plan for revenge and I think it was because character development was not given as much importance as the history of Coffeyville)
    Pg. 1 – Like the new title. Bill slowing the horse down even though realistic kind of killed the urgency. Don’t think you need this, because right after for the later scene heading, he’s keeping the horse at a fast trot as much as it can stand.
    Pg. 3 – The Preacher bit was a little distracting to me. Will this preacher ever have a part to play or is it just to reference Bill, Emmett, etc. and the sins they are about to do? I think it can be incorporated a little more for a smoother transition.
    Pg. 4 – I think it’s a mistake to have flashback with the guys jumping to different ages when we haven’t gotten to know them in detail, much less hear from them. I would have preferred one flashback scene to succinctly and deeply feel the connection Bill had.
    Pg. 4 – Enough Kansas dirt to grow a crop of wheat – very cool description!
    Pg. 4 – Wait, two Bills? ….
    Pg. 10 – Thought it was interesting, the citizens firing back.
    Lots of names I’ not really familiar with in this shootout. The only person I really care about is Emmett and I feel he is getting lost in this.
    Pg. 13 – Even as a teen, I think it’s short-sighted of Bob to treat him like a kid in such a brush-off way especially since you’ve just shown us an even younger boy eagerly firing a weapon beforehand.
    Pg. 14 – Who did Bob fire his last shot at?
    Pg. 15 – Bill’s just been told that one is still alive which he must know is Emmett – yet he doesn’t go and scope out the place the photographer told him about right after? Seems like a misstep.
    Pg. 15 – Other dump of characters. Bill recruits them, feeling they had no right to gun them down…but in a way they kind of did if they were robbing a bank? I wish I could get inside Bill’s head more but I’m not sure it’s someone I want to get behind for a whole feature if he’s so quick to fire back guns a blazing without more thought on the matter. I mean, this whole time he was racing to stop them right? But this thinking sounds more like he wished he joined them.
    Pg. 18 – Like Flo taking notes at the station.
    Bill quickly falls into line with these people. Did he know them before? Maybe I missed them saying their past history but I think the scene was rushed.
    Pg. 21 – Like that they identify the train as full of riflemen based on the blacked out windows, but wanted to see if they were actually correct. Right now just assuming they are. Wanted to see some sort of proof to clue the audience in.
    Pg. 25 – In this revenge, was it ever established if Bill wanted Emmett back? Or has he already written him off? If he hasn’t, I’m not sure what them succeeding in this holdup will do to help them get closer to a goal of saving Emmett.
    Pg. 26 – Flo bit reads more like a comedy. Wish it wasn’t so immediate. Flo intends to see the newpaperman and then the very next moment she’s there whoopin’ his ass. Wish these little flourishes would happen as they are trying to achieve whatever big goal they are planning instead of it being its own scene. Impedes the momentum for me.
    Pg. 27 – Bill wants to show the Kid how it’s done but I didn’t get enough from Kid to really know what Bill was teaching him or to see what the conflict in the scene was. They just got the money in and out. Did not see Bill teaching a lesson. No problem to begin with.
    Pg. 28 – Wait, who are these men and why do we need to know all their names?
    Pg. 30 – These men and their problems seem further away from Bill and his new gang and Emmett.

    • UPB13

      Thanks for the detailed reply! You (along with other commenters) made me realize that I need to make it much clearer that the reason for Butch’s craziness is starvation (in combination with his PTSD), not what happened at the river. Lots of good fixes in here.

    • BMCHB

      Cheers, Scriptchick for reading YOAC and your notes. Thank you.

  • smishsmosh22

    My Vote: 21 Days in the Amazon
    Runners Up: Hellfire Alley and Raised by Wolves

    Read all the scripts, some of them for the second time, and my vote goes to 21 Days in the Amazon. Altho there are a few aspects to this script that I think could be a turn off, I still think it’s the best concept and most likely to get made into a movie. Good luck Ben!!!!

    Cartel was actually quite well written and I’m surprised it has no votes. For me, I’m just not really excited by these types of films — I feel like there’s lots of similar movies like this and I’m not super into this stuff anyways… But I wanted to give it a shout out.

    Years of A Clown really lost me after that first page. I didn’t stop reading — but I did start skimming. This one just wasn’t for me.

    I really liked Hellfire Alley and Raised by Wolves, and I like the writers, so this week was super tough! It’s hard when you like people, especially if you’ve given notes on more than one script that’s in the running. In the end, I go with my gut on the script I think is most capable of winning the competition. Anyways that’s my two cents!

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

      I agree that Cartel is very well written, and has fantastic action, but when the dude yelled “Medic!” I was out. Just too by the numbers– I mean, when they were talking about her baby, I 100% knew she was going to be dead in five pages or less.

      Take the same script, turn left overtime it turns right (I love the suggestion of having her, the pregnant woman, surviving and becoming the assassin), and it’d be hot as shit.

      • smishsmosh22

        ya, totes ma goats.

  • GreenBlooded

    So I’m continuing to read to the end for all. I think it
    must be because I enjoy pretending to be in the biz or something. Oh Darwin, I’m
    so human. :/

    I’m not sure who to vote for this week though. The writing
    was all pretty good, and I think better than mine. So I guess I’ll just offer
    my notes…maybe you might find them useful. If not, feel free to disregard.

    I’m sorry in advance if I got anything wrong.

    Hellfire Alley

    I don’t know much, but what I think I might know about
    westerns is this. Gruff cowboys don’t talk a lot. Sometimes they even just
    communicate with harmonicas.

    If someone dies. Not much dialogue. The hero just kind of
    watches, with an indiscernible but contemplative look on his face. Ennio then does something amazing. I kid… a
    bit… but it’s this general style of western that I’m trying to push your script
    toward. But feel free to disregard this if you don’t want that type of movie. Also I don’t know how much of your script is
    bound by the historical events this is based on, so my notes might not work.

    I’d have Bill not read what’s in the letter, or not have the
    V.O. Just have him read it silently. His
    face gets progressively darker or something. Reveal the contents of the letter mostly by
    where he goes, and what he does.

    Drop the “Im hit, cant use my arm.” He should just be grabbing his wounded arm.

    Pg 15 Drop the “hell no.”

    Pg16- maybe shorter dialogue.

    Maybe you don’t need the bank
    robbery in the beginning at all. Have the letter be news of his brothers failed
    robbery.

    I liked the waiting for the correct train to rob. It could
    be played really slow, and cinematic. Maybe they let the second train pass too.
    And then it cuts several hours later to finally the third and correct train.

    The flo whipping the newspaperman is a bit cartoonish. But
    it works for the comedy of 1960s westerns.

    Super long preacher talking. But
    if the camera stays on the condemned faces as he talks, it could be
    interesting. For the record, I stopped reading a lot of the preacher talking,
    and just assumed the gist of most of it.

    Not actually having dynamite.-
    good joke!

    Is the repeat of shooting in the
    leg intended? Is this his robbery schtick?

    I liked your Preacher acting as
    connective tissue actually. He’s kind of like a bizarre narrator of sorts to
    the bandits.

    So my final thoughts are… I didn’t
    really connect to the gang as the main characters I should care about. They
    kind of seemed like dicks. And then the events depicted in the script doesn’t seem
    to be important to their individual stories, at least that’s what I got from my
    read. They escape the final confrontation and kind of do their own thing right?

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    I liked it. It was entertaining
    and felt like a complete story. You’re writing seemed good to me!

    How does Husk find them on the
    island?

    Kat helps Husk a bit easily, like
    it didn’t take much to send her off course. She should trust him less at first.
    But its a fun turn.

    Gerard killing Mike. Good
    character sacrifice to show who Gerard is and show who the main characters really
    are.

    My major notes are that Kat
    should grow a bit though. She’s this kind of cheery assassin. She should turn
    dark once she realizes who she actually is. But since she knew she was sent to kill Husk
    the whole time.. she’s not really innocent from the start then is she? I might
    have missed something. Maybe she shouldn’t
    have memories of her killings? Or she has split personalities from her training
    or something?

    Regardless, you need to put her
    through the paces more. Make your hero earn their happy ending. She’s this Little Mermaid off the island
    right? That’s where half the movie might be. Bring her to the real world rather
    than ship/island/castle hopping. This sheltered assassin is free in the real
    world maybe?

    21 Days In the Amazon

    I ended up liking your script
    more than I thought I would. Your story was focused and clear.

    I think found footage might
    really limit what you can show and tell though. Sometimes I wasn’t sure how
    what you were describing would work like the sword whistling through the air at
    the end, or why characters would be so intent on filming everything. You solve
    that by it being a crew… but maybe your script could still mostly work as is
    without the found footage angle?

    Butch losing it. Cool.

    Butch being connected to “earth mother”. Also cool.

    Woah. Dead buried crew imagery. That’s crazy good.

    The headdress is a bit like the
    panda headdress in Tropic Thunder. I think it would be hard to make it not look
    comical.

    The force feeding has made me
    lose my appetite for breakfast. L

    Having them first “kill” butch
    before day 21 was a good choice.

    Okay, so I don’t have much other
    thoughts. I think you hit what you were aiming at. I’d perhaps shore up the
    concept and first act a bit or something? Maybe have them instead film wildlife
    or indigenous peoples instead of bared and scared. This would allow you to
    focus on either the beauty of nature, or interesting anthropology angles in the
    first act… before things get dark and Butch goes nuts.

    CARTEL

    I liked your story, and it was
    really well written and I thought the first act builds in crescendo nicely.

    But it’s a bit too James Bond for
    a gritty revenge tale right? But maybe that’s what you wanted? I think the real story is Thorns relationship
    with his vengeance target Valdez. But
    you lose sight of it with the boat sinking, parachuting from an airplane, and everything
    else that happens. Ricker in the end occupies the role of villain more than
    Valdez who becomes more of a McGuffin to get across the border.

    When Valdez is wounded.. Thorn’s
    obsession with saving this evil guy from dying so he can face “justice” seemed very
    unrealistic to me. Maybe Thorn is not in law enforcement at all, and his life
    is randomly caught in the crossfire. He then goes for vengeance?

    Also Gabriela enters the story
    too late I think.

    YEARS OF A CLOWN

    Okay, so I’m pretty sure you’re a
    better writer than me. And this story was rather touching. I felt for Booboo in
    the end. I can’t believe I wrote that sentence. And I think that’s my major
    notes. I have trouble taking seriously heartfelt conversations when one person is
    dressed as a clown, and called Booboo. If the family isn’t constantly weirded
    out by BooBoo.. then the story doesn’t make sense to me very much, because that
    would be my reaction. And I really like the story of his life, and then having
    to work as an account, and a crazy clown school island world to escape his
    orphanage. It’s like a different angle on a Big Fish type story. The imagery of
    black and white to color was awesome. I mean it was really good. I think you
    wrote something cool and original.

    Did I miss something though? I’m pretty good
    with the surreal too though, so I don’t know. Is this supposed to be animated?

    Do you know what should be standard
    for the spec script industry? Something like a short paragraph that contains
    the plot point beats that show any information reveal that drastically alters
    the perception of how the script is read in case it was missed. Like something at the end of the script,
    where if the reader didn’t get that part they might care to go back to the page
    noted to see what they missed. Plus like targeted age range, and like animated
    or not would help too. That info might help me understand this script more.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Great that you read so much of these scripts. Still, you should offer up a vote, don’t you think? Notes are great but these writers all want your vote!

      • GreenBlooded

        I feel like I missed stuff this week. But since Ive entered the contest… if I just offered notes, then I would piss no one off. So I guess I need to piss 4 people off and vote for “21 Days in the Amazon.” It felt like the most complete of a vision without many holes.. but also I’m imagining it taking more advantage of the setting with an amazon biology/untouched amazon tribe/curse for disturbing it.

        If I knew more about Years as A Clown it would help, but I don’t. But all the scripts were close this week for me and congrats to all for getting your scripts out there.

    • BMCHB

      Thank you for the lovely compliment, Greenblooded, and for taking the time to read YOAC.

  • Angie

    Longer comment stuck in moderation for more than 6 hours. So just to reiterate, I split my vote. 1/2 for Years as a Clown, 1/2 for Hellfire Alley. Good Luck to all.

    • Scott Crawford

      Thanks, Angie! Hope your longer comment shows up.

  • Scott Crawford

    Oh, here’s your comment!

  • ocattorney

    ocattorney votes for “21 Days in the Amazon”
    Best example of overcoming obstacles in pursuit of a goal.
    Wasn’t in love with the title “Hellfire Alley” but I’m more concerned with the reaction to Disney’s “The Lone Ranger”. Nobody cares about today’s Westerns, and if you use a title with “hell” or “hellfire,” you’re likely to lose the audience you do have.
    Also, in the Extras for “Avatar,” James Cameron makes a passionate case for the rain forest being essential for human life on earth. Any script that shows the rain forest in a different way helps. – Bill Hays

  • Dallas Cobb

    MY VOTE: Raised By Wolves
    WILDCARD WORTHY: Years of a Clown
    WILDCARD WORTHY: 21 Days in the Amazon

    Happy weekend all! What a tough week this was. Congratulations to all the writer’s involved this week; you all put up really strong competition. That being said, I’m working yet another 10 hour shift, so I couldn’t read nearly as much of these as I wanted to!

    Years of a Clown:
    # OF PAGES READ: to the top of pg 9
    GENRE/LOG 1ST IMPRESSION: I like the contrast between a sad young boy and an older, presumably happy Clown. Curious how this will be “fantasy.” Curious where the conflict is; curious how the Clown’s life is “amazing.”
    REVIEW: Seamless, natural prose. I loved the first page. I couldn’t gauge at times whether this was a fantasy/adventure/family movie, or an offbeat adult comedy. Rachel’s presence had me feeling like it was the latter. The run on sentence format used is an interesting choice but it didn’t fully distract, especially since it only seemed to be used for continuous action scenes. I like the build up towards the inevitable meeting between Booboo and Marcus, but this didn’t fully hook me to want to read the full script. Very good effort!

    Cartel:
    # OF PAGES READ: to bottom of pg 5
    GENRE/LOG 1ST IMPRESSION: Straightforward, concise logline. I can “see” the conflict. I like that I’m getting a sense of “successes” and “failures” within this one story/journey. Curious how the DEA agent/drug lord hostage’s relationship will play out, since it seems like the core relationship of the movie. I’d say the best written logline, but also seems the most familiar.
    REVIEW: Decent writing, but all of it just feels very familiar. The chemistry between Mya and Thorn feels forced through unnatural dialogue. I needed a huge hook in these first couple pages to not only grab me, but to stand out from similiar scripts like this. Good writing, I like your formatting choice when briefly describing characters, but unfortunately missed the mark for me.

    21 Days in the Amazon:
    # OF PAGES READ: to the bottom of pg 9
    GENRE/LOG 1ST IMPRESSION: Is Bared and Scared a real show? Underwhelming logline, just because I feel like a whole cast and crew could take on ONE unhinged contestant. With that said, curious how unhinged this contestant will be.
    REVIEW: I’m torn about this one. The writing had a nice easy rhythm to it. I enjoyed Juliet’s introduction pages. The concept intrigued me, but I’m not a big fan of found footage (or horror for that matter). Although this took chances and was good, something fell flat for me. I wanted more, quicker. I wanted to feel an energy. But this was really well written, and I was intrigued to meet more characters and see how it all played out and became a horror film.

    Raised By Wolves:
    # OF PAGES READ: to the middle of pg 10
    GENRE/LOG 1ST IMPRESSION: I love action thrillers. This exudes “conflict” but also exudes the most confusion. Who attacked her? Why is she accused of murder? Did she murder her attacker? NAIVE is a great buzzy indicator of the primary character flaw. How is her world sheltered? What is “her work?” What does her father have to do with anything? – It’s great to generate questions, but clarity in loglines can also go a long way.
    REVIEW: I wonder if Walter talking to himself would work better cinematically as voice overs? I know it’s a tired trick, but if the voice is distinct enough, it could still be effective. Kat reads with incredible multidimensionality. Suspense is built here with precision. This script reads/feels very much like a script of the genre its marketing itself as. Maybe I like this script because its right up the alley of stuff I try to write, but this was the one I wanted to read more of (the most).

    Hellfire Alley:
    # OF PAGES READ: to the middle of pg 5
    GENRE/LOG 1ST IMPRESSION: Not a huge fan of westerns. I’ve never seen the classic film, so this logline means nothing to me. Provide even a minor indication of why “the story of the real Wild Bunch” is important enough to have me open the script.
    REVIEW: I only made it to page 5 because of the natural prose and easy storytelling embodied by this writer. I’m not a fan of westerns, and I know nothing about the Wild Bunch. With that being said, had I known more about them (or even seen the movie), this FEELS like it would’ve been an impactful experience. Its evident how well researched this is. This reads very much like a true western script.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for reading YOAC, Dallas, and for the Wildcard Vote. Cheers.

  • HRV

    Okay, read some of all and all of one.
    21 Days:
    Was interested to see how this one compared to mine. Much smaller audience as this is a darker story. Nice job on the descriptions. Characters not particularly likeable as there’s too much conflict between them, although some change by story’s end. People need to get along once in a while and you can balance it out by using external conflict, which the circumstances/setting definitely provide here. Inciting incident — Butch’s change — came late. I would think contestants would be more thoroughly vetted prior to being chosen. Use of words like meshuganah can slow the reader down as not everyone will know what they mean.
    Cartel:
    Two typos by page four — Extra “most” pg 3, “what he’s” pg 4. More likeable characters with minor character conflict, but more external. Inciting incident on page 10. Although it’s a familiar scenario, you care about Thorn. Good pacing and structure. Interesting enough to want to keep reading. Read the first 25.
    Hellfire:
    Read the first 20 pages since it’s shorter. Pg 4 “civilization” line used twice — omit the first. Incorrect use of I/E. and lack of many Int. and Ext. Why was the painter still up on a ladder? And he would not be running at top speed if shot in the leg. Robbing of two banks simultaneously makes action harder to follow. Many characters to keep track of although this would be easier to do visually.
    Raised:
    Read first 20. Use of a Fade to Black would be good to denote the time cut on page 4. A couple of typos past page 10 The = she, while = white, stop = top (pg 16). Inciting incident at page 14.
    Kat said she would never hurt anyone. Wouldn’t she have questioned the filling of the flask? Slower paced but interesting enough to want to read on.
    Years:
    Read to page 25. More of a children’s story. Made me think of a movie from the 50s or 60s. Odd that he went by his clown name as a boy. Inciting incident pg 22.
    Since I couldn’t read all of them in their entirety I made notes on structure and execution. And will vote on my overall impression of each. It’s hard to choose since they’re all so different and have different strong and weak points.
    Other than using a familiar theme, I’m going to go with Cartel, with 21 days a very close second.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for reading 25 pages of YOAC, HRV. I appreciate it.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Email Carson.

  • Mayhem Jones

    MY VOTE: HELLFIRE ALLEY
    WILD CARD: RAISED BY WOLVES

    **WILL HAVE TIME TO READ MORE OF THESE SUNDAY, BUT WANTED TO GET MY VOTE IN BEFORE THE DEADLINE!!!**

    HELLFIRE ALLEY: SOOOO excited my SEX ROBOT COMPETITOR made it!!!!!! Ken actually commented a few weeks ago on something that really stuck with me: he detailed his research process for writing Westerns…it was PHENOMENAL! He reads TONS of books, takes lots of notes, keeps lists of authentic Western dialogue phrases he likes—that’s just the JIST of the comment—but it really made me admire and respect Ken’s work ethic with regards to (in my opinion) a very difficult genre to tackle. OK OK, so THE SCRIPT! MMMMMmm this writing is buttery smooth. Holy crap. You’ve nailed this. I’ll be the first to admit: I’m not a fan of Westerns. Like, at all. Nothing personal, just no interest in the genre. But this writing is so deep, so well thought out. I actually can feel you crafted each line, each description, each line of dialogue. (Liked the black outfit “joke” on pg 3) Nothing feels wasted. I’ve attempted a Western before—I found it impossible. For this ACHIEVED FEAT (also, TOTAL TRUSTING of the writer with source material/research) Ken gets my vote.

    RAISED BY WOLVES: First off, CONGRATS yet AGAIN to Mr. Clarke for “Never Leave Your Vehicle” advancing in Final Draft’s BIG BREAK contest! (Along with David’s “Dead, Drunk & Naked”–actually it looked like David had THREE scripts that advanced!? You guys have DOMINATED the contests this year!!!!!) OK so, loved the idea of this script. JESUS!!! Quick, succinct, crisp writing, excitement–someone killed on page 1. This just oozes professionalism and that certain “pizzazz” that comes with the scripts we all request from Scott on a daily/weekly basis. I think you got some comments advising against Walter talking to himself, but I LOVED IT!!! I mean, don’t we all talk to ourselves? It’s a fantastic way to get into someones mind, especially Walter’s with all the (entertaining) side comments!

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON: I remember this being discussed during the competition and I’m excited I got to check it out! I’M UNFAMILIAR WITH THE “REAL” SHOW (rather, I don’t watch it) but I think the premise of the script is really cool. Damn, some fantastic descriptions in this one, too. Is anyone else as intimated as I am by the quality of work everyone is putting out at 13 weeks???? AMAZING!!! Dialogue is snappy and interesting. I found it authentic in the way that “REALITY SHOWS” are authentic… I.E. … OK, I once auditioned for an MTV show and they TELL YOU to be super campy and exacerbate your traits (’cause it’s “GOOD TELEVISION!”) and yada yada. Also (again!) I love when people speak to the camera/directly address the audience so I really dug this concept as well. Great job, Ben!

    YEARS OF A CLOWN: OK, I’m sorry but I want to just about drink bleach right now AND/OR gouge out my eyes. HOW IS EVERYONE SO FREAKING GOOD!??! I absolutely LOVE this opening where we’re introduced to BOOBOO! It’s just—what’s the word I’m looking for? “Careful”?? Like Ken’s, it has that feel of laboring over every phrase. Making sure each description uses the exact right word. I didn’t feel there was too much prose, I felt like I was learning about the character. There’s simply not enough votes to distribute this week… seriously, each script could win its own AOW.

    CARTEL: Great title and great CONCEPT. Can feel the mainstream potential of this one as it’s got all the “fun” ingredients– CARTELS! VENGEFUL DEA AGENTS! MOST-WANTED DRUG LORD! MAROONED IN CARTEL LAND! HOSAGE! Totally saw Jessica Chastain as MYA (was getting a brief Zero Dark Thirty vibe, haha). Enjoyed what I read of this.

    • BMCHB

      Thank you so much for your kind words about YOAC, Mayhem. Cheers.

  • witwoud

    I’m going to split my vote five ways, as follows:

    Hellfire Alley ¼ vote
    Raised by Wolves ¼ vote
    21 Days in the Amazon ¼ vote
    Cartel 1/8 vote
    Years of a Clown 1/8 vote

    Hope that’s okay, Scott?

    Naah, just kidding. I’m actually going to abstain, because I’m finding it too hard to pick a winner. All of these scripts are pretty good. My three favourites were Hellfire, Wolves and 21 Days, but I can’t whittle them down any further than that without resorting to silly stuff like ‘I don’t like westerns.’

    Here’s a few rather random notes instead:

    RAISED BY WOLVES
    My first impression was that this must have been written by a very young person, because although the hero is a mere 42 years old — practically a spring chicken — he’s made to sound like he’s 68. (“Walter gets down on his knees. Old knees. He takes his time…”) Whaaat? A man in his forties is in the prime of life, I’ll have you know!

    Anyway.

    The first scene feels a bit thin. The hit itself could be more interesting. I know the young girl and her surprising athleticism is the ‘point’ of the scene, but something more imaginative at the start would be good, instead of the killer just appearing out of the darkness and shooting a guy who’s watching TV. Heck, even I could do that. My theory is that nothing in a script should be the default option. Even if there’s something more interesting just around the corner, what we’re watching right now needs to be interesting too.

    As others have pointed out, his expo-monologuing is far too obvious. (‘I’m never going to get this promotion if…etc.) It reeks of ‘stuff the audience needs to know’.

    But I like how it cuts straight away to another hit, in which the same girl is now eighteen. In the first scene she was the prey; now she’s the assassin. That’s nice and ironic.

    I bailed when we got to ‘Secret Assassin Island Facility,’ though. It was all getting a bit too ‘Dollhouse’ for my tastes. Which leads to the wider point that this ‘teenage hit-girl’ thing is getting pretty stale. ‘A teenager who kills? Awesome!’ is what I might have said twenty years ago. These days, I just assume that every teenage girl in the movies will turn out to be a ninja-assassin. I’m right most times. If the novelty here is that she starts to question her own Truman-style childhood, I’m not sure that’s interesting enough.

    But, definitely a film I’d keep watching.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON
    Oh … My … God — is there really a survivalist show in which the participants go butt naked? I mean, why haven’t I been told about this before? Excuse me while I do a spot of googling…

    Two hours later. Phew. Okay. Amazing what people will do to get on TV, isn’t it? Wow.

    Anyway, on to the script. Firstly, the ‘titles’ at the beginning (‘The cast and crew never returned … six months later, footage appeared …’) is such a massive ‘found footage’ cliche that I groaned. Is it really necessary? Everyone knows the score these days. Why not skip the ‘explanation’ altogether, as modern ‘mockumentaries’ like Modern Family and Parks and Recreations do.

    Moving on, the set-up is simple and clear. Characters are nicely defined from the start. The dialogue, both on-camera and off-camera seems genuine. There’s a good contrast between the girl and the guy.

    After twenty pages, though, I was thinking that nothing had really happened yet, except for more evidence that Butch is a jerk. I might just well have been watching a real episode of ‘Butt Naked and Narcissistic,’ or whatever it’s called. Flipping forward, I must admit I was bit disappointed to find out who the antagonist was. I was really hoping it’d be some undiscovered tribe of Amazonian cannibals who are delighted that their next meal comes unwrapped and oven-ready.

    But maybe that’s down to my long-held view there aren’t enough cannibal movies these days. This is definitely a good, oven-ready script.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY
    First, it might be a good idea to reveal the basic plot in the logline, rather than just saying ‘the true story of…’ I think most readers like to go into a script knowing what it’s about. Even after 35 pages I wasn’t entirely sure. We see bunch of bank robbers getting killed. Then their surviving associates rob a train. Then they rob another bank. Then there’s a hanging. I guess it’s going to be a revenge tale, but I’m not really invested enough in any of the characters to find out.

    That’s the bad. The good is that this is a solidly-researched take on the Old West. Even though it opens with a scene we’ve seen a hundred times — a shoot-out in a town — there are lots of little details that keep it fresh — like the medical adverts for heroin, and the two-bushel sacks to hold the swag, and the townspeople taking ‘selfies’ with the dead bodies. There’s more than enough gunplay, not to mention horseplay, to satisfy the most demanding Western fans. (That is why people watch westerns, right?) And I love lines like this: “He drops his rifle, smiles at Emmett and dies.”

    YEARS OF A CLOWN and CARTEL both seemed like decent, compently-written scripts, but I’m afraid they just fell into the ‘not for me’ category.

    Congratulations to all five for coming up with quality scripts in such a short space of time.

  • UPB13

    You, and every other reader! My biggest challenges: speed up act 1, and figure out how to invest you in the supporting characters without making you wonder why we’re spending so much time with them.

  • Comma

    [slightly OT] Last week I finished a first draft (hurray) – I need to sleep on it a little and then do some rewrite, but in the meantime I was wondering if anyone here could read a script in french.

    Here’s the logline:
    DIRTY LAUNDRY: Under the influence of her new washing machine, a shy single woman seeks pleasure in her dirtiest fantasies while dreaming of having a family.

    • Kosta K

      Hey, Comma. I read French. I can give it a look if you want. kostak at kostak dot com.

  • HRV

    As a side note: I guess more people now know about Naked and Afraid. Been on for a few years and is interesting to watch — although guys having to prove how macho they are can get old. Odd that what they blur out is more than had they simply worn bikinis — not that it really matters as, to me, the female contestants generally aren’t much in the way of eye candy.

    • Joe Marino

      Such a strange show. I prefer “Dating Naked” when it comes to the gimmick. :P

  • Pat

    Vote: 21 Days in the Amazon.

    I only had time to read the first 10 pages of each which is less than I wanted but it’s unfortunately all I have time for.

    Years of a Clown: This is well written but by the end of page 10 I really didn’t get a sense of who Myron was or what the central conflict was. If the focus is on Myron then he needs more screen time to establish his family situation, and if the focus is on Booboo then I need to know what his trouble in life is because at the moment he just appears to be a little lonely (which is understandable when so many people don’t like clowns).

    Cartel: The “we’re going to get married” lines indicated that one of the two lovebirds were going to die. Cut these lines out, or make them more subtle. The rest of the action is solid.

    21 Days in the Amazon: Found Footage movies always start a little slow as they have to establish the world, the characters and the reason for filming so this film starts exactly as it should. I like the set up with the characters and I like that the documentary crew are characters as they give a wholly different perspective on the events than the contestants do. The only suggestion I would have is to foreshadow that something is wrong as at the moment it feels a little too close to an actual Naked and Afraid episode. It is possible from my reading that the extraction point may have some issues, but I am unsure, I just feel there should be something that indicates something is wrong and thus this episode is going to go different from a regular one.

    Raised by Wolves: I think the writing is well done here, it feels a lot like Leon which is good but the entire time I was reading it was I irked by the fact that I knew Kat’s world was a lie and thus there was no mystery even though your logline indicates a big mystery. If there is a different mystery that the audience is not aware of, I feel you need to make it clear in your opening pages.

    Hellfire Alley: The Wild Bunch is one of the greatest movies ever made, so I immediately went into this reading with a negative feeling, which I will say was justified for the first 4 pages and then was completely unjustified. The bank robbery scene is tense and exciting but I had almost given up before that because of the VO exposition, the aimless horse riding scene and the childhood flashback. These scenes at a little context to the characters but in my opinion not enough to justify being apart of the story, especially the first 4 pages. There’s a reason The Wild Bunch starts with the bank robbery.

    • BMCHB

      Really appreciate you giving YOAC a go, Pat. Thank you.

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

    My vote goes to Cartel.
    Boy, it was a tough call today.

    A NOTE on set pieces / action scenes:

    Even the Russian epic War & Peace has characters that go
    to battle and we know SOMETHING about them. They fight among 100.000 soldiers but
    we feel them. That’s the trick. among today’s scripts I found problems with
    action scenes because I didn’t know anything about anyone. It was just people
    dying. Ok, it is the start of a script, but please establish something between
    me and your characters. Otherwise it is just noise. Actually the less voted of
    today’s scripts, Cartel, did the best job in this matter.

    CARTEL

    Read to page 14, would care to read more.

    Apart for a few clichés at the start, an set piece that is
    not that original I think this script was underappreciated by this week’s
    readers. I am certain that with a bit of spicing up with the characters, especially
    our protagonist Thorn, this can make for a nice story. The exchange of the
    couple on page 3 is great. I was instantly hooked and believed in their loving relationship.

    Some caps in the set piece would help. And a bit more focus
    on our protagonists, one of whom die in this scene. And that flash-forward is a very good start.
    Our protagonist has now beef against Valdez – so he must go beyond the line of
    duty. Nice.

    The parenthesis on page 13 is problematic. You can’t just
    explain that we will learn something later. This makes it feel very amateurish.

    RAISED BY WOLVES

    Read to page 21 and I want to know more, not because I am
    intrigued but because I want to UNDERSTAND what is going on. I got that Walter
    killed Kat’s father and then took her under his wing, and now that she is 18
    she does little burglaries with him (?) At one of those missions a woman died
    and her husband hunts her down. She lives in a secluded island for some reason
    with a lot of goons looking after her. Sounds a bit romantic and naive as a
    story.

    On the other hand I do like the potential of Walter’s and Kat’s
    relationship a lot, but the 10 year jump and the mystery with the murdered wife
    does not really scream “drama”. I would want a different path. It
    doesn’t have real weight as we don’t feel for anyone and it feels forced just
    for the sake of dramaturgy. That Flashback with the cat and the crowd was
    really off, I think. Also, this Husk guy seems trained and determined, and revengeful
    although it is not at all certain that Kat is the murderer. Kat on the other
    hand seems very chill for the fact that she is taken care by the man who killed
    her father and hitmen.

    Generally I find that seeking drama in revenge stories where
    there is a lot of killing and violence involved is superficial. I understand
    that Kat’s past will be explored through her deeds in the story but I don’t
    feel the whole theme is something serious. In other words it feels too light.
    It gross money though.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    Read to page 14.

    Found footage. Tough call to write a script, mostly because
    the best found footage film, Blair Witch, didn’t even have a script. This genre
    is mostly relied on the directing. The dialogue is supposed to be natural, so
    scripting it is hard work.

    I think you have done a pretty good job, an although I am not interested in the story,
    or the characters I would want to read more. I truly believe that most scripts
    suffer from character underdevelopment. You can’t just have a cute girl and a
    strong man as protagonists. Give them personalities through actions. Interesting
    personalities. Personalities that could be inspired from real life friends and acquaintances.
    Then put the m in your story. In Amazon. And see how the do. That’s what your
    film is about.

    The problem is that I expect Juliet to get the upper hand at
    one point and Butch losing it. I bet a gazillion dollars that this is the case.

    Another problem and difficulty in writing this script is
    location. It is jungle, jungle, jungle, all the time. Boring, indescribable and
    chaotic.

    Have you watched Herzog’s Fitzgaraldo or Aguirre and their
    making of documentaries. WATCH THOSE NOW!

    So, good job, needs more work with the characters in my
    opinion, but you kept my interest.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

    Read to page 14

    Contrary to other commenters who say that they don’t like
    this or that, I don’t have a problem. If something is good what is the problem
    if it is a western? I am not a fan of horror films myself but some are
    exceptionally good films. It is a rare sight but it can happen.

    So, I see that there is potential in this story. Interestingly
    you start with a 14 page intro of the guys who die. After that we will get into
    our story I suppose. I liked that, although we don’t really get to know Bill
    Dalton.

    The flashback to the Dalton Farm at page 3 really threw me
    off. It had no real value. Also, how do we know who is who, in this scene?

    The action scene with the bank robberies was not very clear
    but that is ok. The point is they all died! It could be a bit shorter and we
    should also root for someone. There is no one to carry the action. Just people
    shooting and dying.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for giving YOAC a go, Carmelo. I appreciate it. Cheers.

  • Erica

    So this is a tough week to pick a script. A job well done to all that wrote this week.

    I’ll start with Cartel, when I read the logline I felt that this was just a generic action flick, then after reading the fist 10 pages, everything I figured would happen, happened. The writing is good but I just felt too, been there done this. The drug lords escape was too easy. Put on a guards uniform? Wouldn’t it have been ripped by bullet holes and covered in blood? And when Mya was shot, I was like oh come on, saw that a mile away. Also, the police chief driving the bus? They knew this was going to happen, there would have been more protection. The shootout should have happened somewhere else, not the prison in my opinion.

    21 days, so I do watch Naked and Afraid all the time so I know the show well. I felt that the dynamic between Butch and Juliet didn’t seem real. Butch was too over the top for me then what would normally be in the show. Now for the purpose of the script this could work well but I stay away from naked and afraid (I know you called it something else). I would try doing it as it’s own show without the references to Naked and Afraid. When I get the references, I immediately start comparing the two. Now with Reality TV shows, there really isn’t much reality in them, most are fake and scripted, and re shot. Half the time, the survivors are handed “script notes” to add a or spice things up by adding drama. Just an FYI, both survivors wear wireless mic’s and the producer would not be doing audio at all. There is also more of a team around them, including a medic and guides with guns to protect the crew and cast in case of real danger. For your story, them missing is fine as most people don’t know how shows are put together and the script comes of a very believable. On a side note, page 9, most chargers show red when charging and green when done or the light goes out when done, rarely will green indicate charging. Overall, well Done.

    Hellfire Alley, I’m not really a western fan so I didn’t get to far into this one as much. The writing is good of course and it seemed cool but sadly I have to pic one script this week. If there was ever a wild card week, this would be it so far as I see 4 scripts that should move on, but alas, we must pic one as we all can’t be winners.

    Raised by Wolves, another solid entry this week. I don’t really have much to add that others haven’t said. When I started reading the script, it did feel like “Lucky number Slevin” style script. I don’t know if we find out why the hit at the beginning took place but I’m sure it’s in there. The only thing is with starting with a hit, we don’t know anything about the target, it’s hard to feel anything. It’s still a well done script!

    My Pick:
    Year of the Clown.
    As I said, this was a hard week to pick as all the stories are well done, but this one is the story I kept thinking about all weekend. It’s the one that made an impression on me so this is the script I have to go with. I read about 25pages to start and the last 15pages and loved the ending. Well done.

    Honorable Mention:
    Raised by Wolves, 21 days, Hellfire,

    • BMCHB

      I am so, so grateful for your vote, Erica. Thank you so much from Brian… and Booboo.

  • Poe_Serling

    A bit OT: The Young & Hungry List is going to be released tomorrow, which
    features the top 100 screenwriters on the rise in Hollywood.

    I know there were some familiar names from the SS universe that made the
    2015 list.

    Hope to see a few more of the regulars get some recognition this year.

    • klmn

      I’m hoping to see more of the regulars show up in the tournament next week.

      Maybe the log will roll in?

      • Poe_Serling

        We’re only at the halfway point in the tournament – so, I wouldn’t
        be surprised to see a lot more of the SS faithful in the next four
        weeks or so.

        Perhaps even a Bigfoot sighting too!

  • Levres de Sang

    My Vote: YEARS OF A CLOWN

    I didn’t have time to get too far into any of these, but all the same there’s a clear winner for me this week!

    YEARS OF A CLOWN [Read: 2 pages]: Yes, I only read two pages, but that was easily enough for me to see that this is beautifully written. It’s a great first page that promises both character and mystery. I imagine the script may be a touch long at 121 pages, but I’d definitely read an updated draft. Clowns are a fabulously filmic subject, too! There’s an incredible inbuilt pathos to them (a not dissimilar register to Chaplin’s vagabond) and Brian has captured something of that essence from the outset. I’d really encourage others to take another look at this one!

    HELLFIRE ALLEY [Read: 4 pages]: You can never accuse Ken of overwriting! ;) However, as per his other scripts I also think this minimalism can sometimes work against the read and I do share some of the concerns Jake Barnes outlined in his own comment on this script. Having said that, I do think the Western is a natural match for Ken’s style; just that I’d like more texture in the opening — whether it’s the flora and fauna of the wide open prairie or a layer of dust on the saddlebags. The Preacher’s V.O. was great, though. Also, as per my comment elsewhere, I’d excise the saloon / letter opening and start with Bill ALREADY in the saddle. I’d also consider intercutting Bill’s ride with the Preacher’s oratory. In fact, this would make a perfect title sequence because as an audience we love MYSTERY — especially in a Western. We just don’t need to know WHY Bill is heading where he’s heading. I also found the flashback very jarring in terms of the atmosphere I would expect a Western to establish. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh because I’ve got every faith in Ken taking this to the next level. It just needs more time — as per the stately pace of great Westerns.

    RAISED BY WOLVES [Read: 11 pages]: There’s definitely SOMETHING here, just that I’m not quite sure what to make of it all? The tone is a little scattershot, but for three weeks work it’s very well done. (Paul should also be complimented on his writing style as it does read easily.) Be interested to know whether he came late to the 13-week challenge or just decided to blast ahead of the field?

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON [Read: 6 pages]: This is a really difficult one to evaluate because it’s undoubtedly well-written; just that I’m not overly interested in the situation or subject matter. I guess it all comes down to concept because found footage brings an EXPECTATION of horror — and that these people will be offed by some unseen predator. Without that promise it’s hard to get invested. Sorry I can’t be a bit more helpful.

    CARTEL [Read: 7 pages]: This seems fairly well written, but I found it hard to see beyond its generic, straight-to-video surface. The author makes a valiant attempt to do so via the everyday nature of the character interaction (talking about pregnancy and impending marriage), but I’m not sure it comes off. Maybe this kind of “just another day at the office” vibe would be more suited to TV. In short, the chit-chat is way too extended for a movie.

    • BMCHB

      Thank you so much for the compliment, Levres. I’m blushing here. I promise YOAC gets even better the further you go. Cheers,

  • Jarrean

    My Vote–> Cartel

    Years of a Clown: Read to: Page 8.

    Starts really slow. Rachel dumping on the clown didn’t really make sense, but you can tell you just wanted to get that out. I’d suggest having the Father and the Clown meet at the door simultaneously. They have a spat in front of the clown and then we move on. Better way to show rather than tell. Not really sure where this is going, if anything, I’d say speed it up.

    Cartel: Read to: Page 26.

    Besides feeling like been there done that, I thought the story flowed well. I would re-think the shoot out scene. Idk, I’m just not a fan of people chasing down a speeding car and magically catching up. Maybe, if Mya, Leon and company had joined Thorn as the shoot out had already started, her death would be more feasible. Thinking back, I like how you have the contrast from him then to two years later– hitting his targets but later missing them. Also, I’d come up with a more plausible way of funding the operation, besides calling in favors from friends–too easy.

    21 Days in the Amazon: Read to: N/a

    I watch Naked and Afraid from time to time.

    Raised by Wolves: Read to: Page 2.

    There’s an overemphasis on Walter’s age. I don’t believe anyone in 2016 really believes 42 to be old. Also, Walter speaking out loud kind of throws the story off.

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for trying out YOAC, Jarrean, and I will bear in mind your note. Cheers.

  • matt

    My vote HELLFIRE ALLEY

    Runner up: 21 DAYS

    The quality was great from all five writers – even without taking into consideration the time frame these were all written in.

    I don’t have a lot of time now so will have to keep this brief…

    HELLFIRE – had me from the start – if I had one criticism, I’d say the dialogue (especially the VO at the start) seemed a touch simplistic or basic – this may have been intentional of course. Stopped reading just to make sure I had time for the others!

    21 DAYS – loved the logline, good execution – although the titles at the start are very Blair Witch

    TEARS – two page wall of text… hmm, I know it’s me saying it (I love a wall of text), but I think two pages is excessive. This could definitely be reduced – it’s pretty readable as a whole though.

    RBW – good writing, good pace, just not quite grabbing me – not sure why…

    CARTEL – Definitely deserves more votes than it has – I was engaged, only read to p10 though as I spent more time on the others. I guess this was a tough week.

    Well done to all the writers and a big thanks to Scott for keeping score again! Good lad. Nice1

    • BMCHB

      Thanks for reading the writing on the walls, matt. I really appreciate you trying out YOAC. Cheers.

  • BMCHB

    Thank you for vote, Nodestar, and will definitely refer to your considered notes. Cheers.

  • BMCHB

    Humbled by your words. Thank you so much. Makes writing YOAC and being part of this great weekend all worthwhile.

  • BMCHB

    Cheers for the vote for YOAC, and even moreso for the notes which I will refer to later, Angie.

  • BMCHB

    Thanks for trying out YOAC, Justin. I appreciate it.

  • BMCHB

    Thanks for checking out YOAC, Haque. Cheers.

  • MKD 44

    My vote — Years of a Clown
    Runner up — Hellfire Alley

    Just to start – WOW – everybody did such a great job – if the writing is this good in the first round I think I’m probably going to have an aneurysm trying to choose when we get to the semis and the finals.

    Years of a Clown – I know there was a ton of description to open but I I forgot I was reading because I could see his face, feel his hope and memories in his preparation. Coupled with what I knew from the log line it had a Big Fish feel to it.

    Hellfire Alley – Love love love a good western. The shoot em up bank robberies opening was great! I did kind of get annoyed and skim through a majority of the preacher’s sermon…it seemed so long…I’m sure filled with meaning but I just couldn’t.

    Cartel – gets an honorable mention – moved fast – set up well – definitely is a movie!

    21 Days in the Amazon – nailed the feel and sound of a reality show – the opening titles, I guess they are necessary but… I said before I opened the script ‘bet it opens with a jungle establishing shot and they were never seen again title’ other than that it made me smile and shake my head… was second place until I read the log line, it’s almost Halloween and I was so hoping for a monster and not a crazed contestant. I’m sure the rest was gonna be awesome but…

    Raised by Wolves – interesting concept – set it in Ireland and it’d be awesome – thought he talked a lot for a hit man ( I don’t know any hit men that’s just how I feel)

    I really enjoyed them all

  • New_E

    Good selection this week. Read the first pages of HELLFIRE ALLEY, 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON, CARTEL, and RAISED BY WOLVES.

    I vote for both HELLFIRE ALLEY and RAISED BY WOLVES.

    I actually liked all of the pages I’ve read, with very little negative to say about the writing. RAISED BY WOLVES features perhaps the best writing of all with its punchy prose and dialogue, even if it feels does seem like somewhat of a retread of either LEON – THE PROFESSIONAL / HANNA.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY, as the logline (or lack thereof?) indicates, does tell the story of the Dalton gang — mentions one of my Top 10 fave movies of all time. THE WILD BUNCH.

    Now, when I think THE WILD BUNCH, I think changing times, extreme violence, lawlessness, gun battles… and Peckinpah, who never shied away from examining various aspects of masculinities and violence.

    I’m partial to Westerns in general and often see them as a battle of men vs nature, men vs time, and men vs history — “civilization” moving westward

    Question is, should the modern Western stay as it was or should writers inject something new into what is now a well-worn formula?

    So far, what I read is pretty straightforward. We meet the Daltons and they rob a bank.

    The writing is sparse. Lots of white space. Vertical. Moving down the page fairly quickly.

    As others have pointed out though, the writing may be TOO sparse at times, which means it does lack a bit of visual specificity. We could use more in the way of visual cues, painting a greater visual canvas.
    That too, may come down to the words used. A bit too… generic?

    As a result, even the action sequences seem somewhat flat and could use some punching up IMO:

    Grat sees Connely approach the horses, and shoots him in the back.

    Kloehr and Seaman appear in the alley. Grat turns toward them.

    Kloehr shoots him in the throat. Grat falls dead near Connely.

    He sees him. He turns. He shoots. He falls dead.

    A greater variety of words used, more specificity, more period detail, would enhance the read IMO, gives the script more of a punch, and lend more atmosphere…

    E

  • Joe Marino

    My vote goes to RAISED BY WOLVES.

    I apologize, this weekend got away from me and I wanted to put a vote in before going to bed, so I’ve only opened 2 of the 5. I chose to read based on which logline most appealed to me: Years of a Clown and Raised by Wolves.

    RAISED BY WOLVES: I read to page 25.
    – First moment (guy getting shot by stranger while on a couch) feels overly familiar in a genre sense, but the writing style in immediately engaging. I’d almost suggest starting the story with the victim already dead (allows for a more stylized opening). The kid bedroom element is an instant game-changer, as (especially this early in) we don’t know how far you’ll go with it. Not a fan of the talking-to-himself gimmick but I see why it was done (otherwise we’d be looking at nearly 3 pages with no dialogue).
    – The fact that Walter is so willing to kill a 4-year-old gives me chills. Awesome.
    – Not loving the time jump or the reason why he kept the girl.
    – I’m loving the “Kick-Ass” feel between Walter and Kat. You circumvent the ickiness the situation could potentially have with ease. Plus, bonus points for how awesome “fidgets with uncorked energy” reads on the page.
    – Their first mission is solid but it’s very controlled in a visual sense, not a lot of pizzazz yet. Not saying it needs to be suddenly and shockingly violent, but it doesn’t come at the reader like a freight train, either. It shows how effective they are, but not much else, and I think this sequence could do a whole lot more to grip us by the collar and not let go.
    – I like the idea of a juggernaut antagonist who has an unknown beef with Kat. It’s a solid fight sequence, as well. Pops off the page.
    – The action moves quickly as things start to fall apart around Kat. Building very well.
    – Overall, excellent writing and very natural dialogue. The way movement occurs is so active and present, it’s amazing to read. Definitely would read the rest of this.

    YEARS OF A CLOWN: I read to page 25.
    – I don’t love the title very much, as it doesn’t feel like it conveys the tone of the script.
    – The first page, while bulky with no dialogue, is a beautifully-written portrait of a damaged character hiding behind his other persona. A scene with a”Taxi Driver” sensibility.
    – The whole melancholic tone works quite well with this. “One Hour Photo” comes to mind.
    – Not 100% sure why EVERYONE is recoiling from this man dressed as a clown.
    – By page 10, it’s not exactly wowing as a day-in-the-life setup but, again, I do like the sadness etched in almost every frame.
    – I like the Kangarhino. Conveys a unique imagination to BooBoo.
    – This whole setup is different than I was imagining. I love how it seems to be going into more of a “how to safe a life” type of tale, with BooBoo using his own story to help the kid. When I think of stories like this, I always fondly think of “Secondhand Lions.” Don’t know if that’s where you’re going, but that’s the feel I’m getting. And I love it so far.
    – I must applaud the use of an orphanage. Wasn’t what I was expecting, either.
    – BooBoo’s backstory is definitely intriguing. It’s keeping me turning the pages.
    – Overall, I would DEFINITELY read more. Somber storytelling that keeps you reading to learn more about this old man amid his tale to the kid. Dialogue is solid, writing is excellent.