The Final Four. March Madness. The Fearsome Foursome.

Down from over 500 entries, these four scripts are all that remain. Today’s scripts had to scratch and claw their way to this semi-final, each winning by less than 2 votes. I can only imagine what will happen this weekend.

A recap for those of you unfamiliar with the tournament. The first round went for 8 weeks, with you, the readers, voting for the best script each week. Those 8 winning scripts, plus 4 wild-cards, competed in the Quarterfinals. The 4 winning scripts from each quarterfinal are now competing in the semis, which is this week and next week.

Here’s how voting works. Read as much from each script as you can then vote in the comments section which script you think deserves to advance to the FINALS. Please explain why you voted for the script. It lets us know that you read the screenplay.

Today’s writers have new drafts. I’ll let them discuss the changes in the comments. Voting closes at 10pm Pacific Time Sunday evening.

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

Title: Cratchit
Writer: Katherine Botts
Genre: Mystery & Suspense/Fantasy/Horror
Logline: “A Christmas Carol” reimagined, told from the point of view of Bob Cratchit as he and Ebenezer Scrooge race to track down Jacob Marley’s killer — the same killer who now targets Scrooge as well as Cratchit’s son, Tiny Tim.

WINNER OF SEMIFINAL WEEEK 1: The Savage by Chris Ryan Yeazel! Congrats to Katherine, whose script was probably the hardest working in the tournament. Every time you thought it was out, she’d kill it with a rewrite and it’d be right back in contention. And, of course, congrats to Chris, whose #1 seeded script is like the Duke of March Madness. A powerhouse every time up. We’ll see who he’s going up against in the finals next week. Seeya then!!!

  • Scott Crawford


  • Scott Crawford


    • garrett_h

      lol wtf is this Scott?

      • Scott Crawford

        Internet connection problems, struggling to make the first comment. Want to make the vote count the first comment before hundreds of people post comments saying good luck to both writers, can’t wait to read them, etc. then I have to spend the whole weekend searching for my vote count.

        This way, I can take some time off and come back when there’s some votes and my internet doesn’t keep dropping in and out.

        Also, not in the best of moods, didn’t sleep much last night, lot of things on my mind. Just telling ya.

        • garrett_h

          Sorry to hear, bud. Hope things get better.

          I wasn’t sure if it was a placeholder or you were just drunk lol. I’ll go ahead and upvote so it’ll stay at the top.

          • Scott Crawford

            I’d rather the writers got all the up votes, that’s why I like to get the first comment in.

        • Wombat

          Internet problems could be the freakin’ Russians meddling in this vote, too.

        • Urugeth

          Sorry to hear Scott. Hope everything rights itself for you.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s fine, it’s eviction problems, I’ve had them for ages. Solicitors can’t help me, local council won’t help me. Probably got to move.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        In his defense, it is a lot easier than to search through so many comments :)

    • ShiroKabocha

      Scott, you forgot to add Dallas Cobb’s vote for The Savage.

      (Hope you find some place to move soon if they actually kick you out. Take heart and good luck !)

      • Scott Crawford

        You’re right, sorry.

        • ShiroKabocha

          Sunny SoCal ? :) Sounds great ! But Trumpmerica though… (wait, you’re a white male so you shouldn’t have to worry :P).

          There are opportunities in the UK though (and Europe and Asia etc). You can still break through in
          your local community. Depending on your situation and motivation,
          it might be better to get your career started in your own country first
          (if opportunities exist), and plan your big move to Hollywood after
          you’re semi established at least (if Hollywood is where you want to be, that is).

          Hope you can find your own place soon anyway, wherever that may be :)

          (I’ll be moving too this year so I’ve started tidying up and downsizing and it’s a hell of a chore… man, the shit I’ve been hoarding these years… still got a loooot of stuff that I won’t be able to part with though, so I’m already anticipating the nightmare of having to relocate all of it, ugh…)

          • Scott Crawford

            Definitely things to think about. I wouldn’t move to Hollywood just yet (I did that eleven years ago and it didn’t work out, though I’d do things differently next time) but I might not mind being more flexible in where I live. My dream is to live in the smallest place possible, like a shed or Yoda’s hut.

          • ShiroKabocha

            Hobbit’s house would be great :) Cosy round cottage nestled in the English countryside. Or log cabin in Canada :) As long as it’s wood structure with exposed beams :)

    • Scott Serradell

      Either it was my declaration of love for Satan — or all those schematics copied from the Anarchist Cookbook — but I’m stuck in the Disqus penalty box.

      My vote is for “The Savage”.

      • Scott Crawford

        I blame the Russians. And that’s not a joke.

    • Midnight Luck

      I put mine in for CRATCHIT (at 6:16pm Pacific Time Sunday),
      so based on the numbers at this moment, it is
      C: 7 (with mine included)

  • Malibo Jackk

    Can two scripts be any different.

  • Scott Crawford

    Disqus can eat my smegma. Sorry, bad mood again.


    At this stage it is REALLY TOUGH to choose which script to vote for. Both are really well executed.

    Carson says that he will let the writers discuss their changes in this section. I’d love if both could give us a Why You Should Vote pitch, too. I’d most likely vote for the writer that I felt showed the most passion for their script.

    A WYSV pitch should definitely be considered for the two finalists.

    • Angie

      I’ve read each of the drafts three or four times. At this point, it really is very difficult to choose. For that reason, I’d love to know what changes the writers made to these drafts before reading them

      • BMCHB

        Me, too.

        I’ll probably end up not voting again which I fear others might do as well. There were three scripts/concepts in the competition that appealed to me the most but all are gone now. There is no doubt the remaining scripts are all really well written but, to be honest, I’m not drawn to any particular one.

        Should I vote for the one most likely to get produced, be that lowest budget or the best roles for name actors? Or the one with the most potential box office appeal? Or abstain from rest of contest? I don’t know….

        It’s a tough one.

        • Scott Crawford

          My opinion: I’m not anticipating a huge number of votes this weekend, and I’ll try not badger people for one (unless I think they’re being a jerk for not voting, but that probably won’t happen).

          Firstly, I think at this stage people should be reading the WHOLE of BOTH scripts, not just the first ten pages. Now, if you read two WHOLE scripts, you’ll know which one you liked better, the one you think was better. THAT’S the one you vote for (addressing this generally, not you specifically, B).

          Secondly, I’ve seen less and I’m anticipating less of of these sorts of comments:

          I’ve read both scripts and I vote for X.


          I vote for X. Of the two, it has the best chance of getting made.

          The first comment just sounds suspect. The second comment might be genuine, but without the detail who can tell. Moreover, it sounds like a compliment, and describing a script as ready to be shot IS one of the highest compliments you can give a spec script. But it also sounds like they’re rating the logline (idea) not the execution of the idea, not the writing.

          By THIS STAGE we know these are good/great loglines, we know they have commercial potential. This is the Thunderdome. Two scripts enter, one script leaves.

          (I like it when one of the audience gets accidentally impaled by Blaster. I’ve seen that idea in lots of gladiatorial combat stuff, the audience baying for blood get killed too, and it ALWAYS works. Just one of those little things that’s worth remembering.).

      • klmn

        Good point. It’s hard to stay interested going over the same familiar ground. If the writers would highlight the changes, it would be very helpful.

  • Randy Williams

    MY VOTE goes to CRATCHIT.

    I read the first odd 30 pages when it first appeared and then the entire script,the second time. I’ve also listened to the table reading of it. Smish’s group did a great presentation complete with authentic British accents and mood music.

    At first, I was put off by the darkness of it. But, perhaps the struggles these characters face and the choices they make more likely mirror the battle of souls in that time and place. Even at Christmas, we are always fighting for the light, against evil around us, our own appetites, mourning lost loves that could have been. It’s not a good time for many.

    I still don’t like inclusion of the writer Dickens at the end. Seems too cutesy after a weighty tale. I like that the crazy ending family scene at home is toned down with the vermin and all. Perhaps it should be a Goose , however, and not a Turkey that is delivered to the Cratchit’s door?

    Congrats to both writers for making it this far.

  • Poe_Serling


    This one could be a main event at this year’s Wrestlemania. I can almost
    hear the ring announcer saying, “Let’s get ready to rumble.”

    All kidding aside…

    Congrats to both of the very talented writers for getting their scripts this
    far in the tournament.

    Over the course of the last few months I’ve read, commented on, and
    VOTED FOR each of these projects during the various rounds of the

    So, at this stage of the game, my vote goes to:


    The reason?

    If produced and released to the masses, it’s probably the one I’d sit down
    and watch first.

    And isn’t that one of the goals of any screenwriting endeavor … selling
    it, getting it made, and finding an AUDIENCE for it.

  • Carmelo Framboise

    I think it is unfair to vote without reading entire scripts now. Right? RIGHT?

    Super extra busy weekend for me, but I have to sit down and read them from start to finish.

    • Scott Crawford

      Take your time. Everyone, take your time… but get the vote in before I go to bed on Sunday (a few hours before you, CF).

    • Sal Ayala

      Right. But its tough, at least for it is, and its not a time or quality issue. While I was reading both of them, during this latest round of reading, these already familiar scripts felt like a choir. I got bored.

      But im gonna skim through both anyway, only paying closer attention to something that grabs me.

      • Poe_Serling

        Yeah, those were my thoughts too. After reading each script
        a few times, even with new revisions, the basic story is already
        in place.

        I think as a reader/audience member … the subject matter is
        either in your personal wheelhouse or not.

        • Sal Ayala

          Yep, one of them is definitely more in my wheelhouse than the other.
          But if I jumped the gun with my vote i worry id lose some or all of the incentive to read.

      • Urugeth

        I’m happy to just shoot you a bullet point ‘changes list’ if that would make things easier for you. Its a lot to keep asking everyone to read draft after draft after draft of the some-new-but-mostly-same material.

        • Sal Ayala

          Thanks for the offer but it’s okay. This latest draft of your script is my favorite of all the ones I’ve read and, to be honest, the only one I managed to from read beginning to end.
          Despite the story itself not being my cup of tea I think your a heck of a writer. Best of luck.

    • Midnight Luck

      People can read it all. If they want to.

      But I think it is just as pertinent, maybe even MORE pertinent at this point, for the writers, and the readers to see where people stopped reading, and WHY?

      Seriously, it is an invaluable service to know when someone gave up, and where, and why.

      It gives a ton of information to the writer about what is going on up to that point, and what they wrote during the section that was quit on. If a ton of people left at the same point, there’s a lot of possibility something doesn’t work there.

      However if everyone “Pushes Through” to the end, it doesn’t really tell me much as a writer about each area of my script. It doesn’t actually tell me much about much in detail. Details I want to know about separate parts of my script.

      I say, people should still read, until they can’t, or until they don’t want to anymore. And then give a reason, explanation, or breakdown of what was going through their heads at the time.

      • Urugeth

        I agree 100%. Finding where people stop is the most reliable indicator of when the script stops working.

        • Scott Crawford

          The late, great Bob Hoskins used to read scripts sitting on the loo. If he was so engrossed in a script he forgot to get up, he knew it was a great script. This was his “Cold Buttocks” test.

          Great guy, miss him.

      • Carmelo Framboise

        What you are suggesting works well in a feedback/conversational/low stake environment.

        We are going to JUDGE which one is going to be one of the best scripts of the year, so this is not just note giving and commenting. If a comittee is down to four candidates and I am one of them I need to know that they read/saw my entire work – I am not expecting just feeback at this point: my life’s work for the past 6 months is on the line here.

        Also, this way Third Acts remain -possibly- the less rewritten parts of the scripts.

        Furthermore and most importantly, I am looking for ARTISTIC INTEGRITY which can only be judged if you look at a work in its entirety.

        So, read, note where and why you WOULD stop and keep on reading, man. What if you are skipping out on the best ending EVER!?


        • Midnight Luck

          You make a good argument for reading the whole scripts in this instance. When you are in the finals, OK, maybe there is a greater need to read to the end.
          But…..I don’t think it is a final argument.
          I still think you can make a considered judgment of the BEST of the two, which doesn’t minimize anything by not having read them in their entirety.
          If neither captures your full attention, if neither feels up to top standards, are people really “required” to read to the end before being able to make a choice and decide which is better of the two?
          An argument that you can only know how good something is based on reading til the end, in case it has the greatest ending ever, doesn’t hold water. Because even if this was the greatest ending of all, but you couldn’t get through the first 3/4 of the script, doesn’t make it an amazing screenplay. It makes it an amazing ending. Which can’t be that amazing, because the first 3/4 has to be great to set up the final great ending anyway.
          So, pushing yourself through, just in case the end is amazing, isn’t a very good reason to keep reading, if it isn’t working, it isn’t working, and a supertastic ending isn’t going to save it.
          Hollywood would never do that, and I think we shouldn’t change how we do things because we are a community that has gotten to know each other over the years. That is like your Mom begrudgingly reading until the end because you are their kid, and then telling you the ending was AMAZING! But what does that mean? Did she actually like it? The whole script? Or is she being nice, and forced herself to get to the end, because she feels she “should”?
          Those kinds of things can cloud judgment over a scripts quality, and overlook problems.

          I’m still fine if people want to read until they want to stop, not until the final ending.
          I still believe there is tremendous value in knowing why someone couldn’t or doesn’t want to read on.

          • Urugeth

            I cannot agree strongly enough. The only problem is running out of ‘fresh’ readers with something like that. That’s what made this tournament such a godsend. And even with this site most of the ‘heavy users’ so to speak have read all of these tournament scripts two or three times. So that’s the biggest challenge: finding fresh, story smart people who are new to the story to bounce new drafts off of.

        • Urugeth

          Well I agree with Midnight, honestly. We’re not competing for any big grand prize or anything. This is something for us by us. So if someone reads 10 pages of my script and is like “fuck this” and then gets 30 pages into Katherine’s and then they stop there, then votes based on that, I feel that’s entirely fair. That’s all a producer will give us. That’s all a reader will.

          That said, your point about the third acts is an absolute fair one. I just feel the onus is on the writer to do their best to get you there to begin with, and with each successive week I can tell you the notes are going deeper and deeper into the scripts. So it’s working!

          • Carmelo Framboise

            I still feel your arguments about readers, producers and the whole process are not strong enough and don’t hold up – at least here.

            My opinion is that if we judge the last 4 screenplays out of 500 based on the First Act the contest is a scam and has no value.

            Fuck Hollywood and producers and readers, we are not them. That is the only power we have. We are writers. Here is a platform by writers for writers. Going down the path you all suggest adds nothing to the market, to the internet, to the world, to screenwriting.

            Yeah, it is a cruel world, you all want to make it in Hollywood, nobody will read your whole script, blah blah. Do we need to do the same?

            And the arguement about my mama? Leave my mama out of it! Just kidding, but common, I am not saying let’s pat ourselves on the back. I am saying read the whole thing at this point! Not the first half AGAIN like 3 other times.

            Anyway, love ya all I just have a different opinion. :)

          • Urugeth

            Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the dedication to wanting to see it through. Believe me. The people that do read all of the scripts have my eternal thanks. I’m just saying I understand if people only want to read part. But everything you say here makes a lot of sense.

    • Pat

      I agree and I don’t plan on voting until I have read both scripts. I find that if I go into a script with the plan of only reading till I want to quit then I focus on finding an excuse to stop reading instead of focusing on the positive merits of the script.

  • OCattorney

    I think it’s important that you find the LLL script and study it. Beautiful writing. The movie was made by two friends who met at Harvard and their vocabulary is simply more “Harvard” than any other script I’ve read. Justin is a jazz musician, and maybe a fifth of the script describes the music Justin wrote, or was writing for the movie, and (in words) how he wanted the music to make you FEEL. Damien fills the page with stage directions and if the Academy recognizes this as Best Original Screenplay, from now on, it’s OK to put stage directions for your actors in your script. Especially if you intend to direct the movie yourself. – Bill Hays

    • garrett_h

      Sounds awesome. He’s one of my favorite directors. Whiplash was my favorite movie of that year, now this lol. Where did you “find” the script?

      • Midnight Luck

        what’s your email?

        • garrett_h

          garrett dot harris at the google mails lol thanks! much obliged!

  • Poe_Serling

    Hey SC-

    Just curious – your other project, The D’s Workshop, from last year – anything
    going on with it? Rewrites? Production company interest? Etc?

    • ScriptChick

      Hey Poe, what’s your email?

      • Poe_Serling

        I try to keep that private. I understand completely if
        you want to keep that info regarding your AF script on
        the lowdown.

        Best of luck with both projects.


  • Urugeth

    Hey everyone, writer of ‘The Savage here. I know a huge swath of you guys have already read both of these scripts multiple times, so I wanted to summarize the changes in this draft to save every one whose read it some time.

    I compiled all the notes from dozens of commenters on the site (including an incredible comprehensive breakdown from my fellow writer this week – thank you Katherine!) and tried to address what I saw as the most common sticking points for people. The same spots where people stopped reading or gave up on the story kept popping up again and again, so that was my main focus on this draft. Clean up the trouble spots.

    As for everything else, I did my best to address clarity issues, different beats and various other notes people brought up. Some notes were contradictory and I just went with my gut feeling on which direction to go, others didn’t necessarily jibe with the story I’m trying to tell. But I cannot stress enough how grateful I’ve been to this community for reading and commenting and helping hone this into a better story. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

    (Side note – I also did a table read with some actor friends, and was able to both sit back and watch to see when they would get bored/check their phones/etc. and when they would be riveted and engaged. Also, being forced to sit back and listen to your own writing being read really lets you hear where you’re being indulgent and boring and unclear. Anyone in the midst of a rewrite, I cannot recommend doing something like this enough. And the best part was that all the same places Scriptshadow readers were getting bored were the same ones they were. So it really let me tighten my focus)

    So, spoilers and all that for what follows:

    Everything is pretty much the same pre pg 25. That part either works for you or doesn’t. The opinions there varied so wildly I think it just comes down to taste. So I left it pretty much as is. The only major difference is that in this draft I have decided to cut the characters of Manida and Nahanda, the Patuxet that were taken with Squanto.

    Pgs. 25 – 60 is where the bulk of the changes were made. I cut huge swathes of speechifying and repetitive beats. Squanto is now the only one taken by Weymouth the whole section is streamlined. I want to say I cut almost 5 pages of material here to get to all the action quicker, clarify everyones relationship to each other and provide a better through line for the whole section. If you had only read up until Squanto’s abduction by Weymouth you can start here and you’ll be just fine.

    Pgs. 60 – 90 There was just more trimming. Cutting of exposition. Streamlining. Made several changes to Squanto’s time at the monastery to make it more dramatic and cinematic (great note, Katherine!).

    Basically the three big ‘dead spots’ for people that seemed to pop up again and again was the time after Squanto’s first capture, the voyage with Smith and the time in the monastery. Hopefully those issues were addressed and the new material in there works. At least the script is three pages shorter, which finally got me under the 120 mark.

    Once again, thank you to my fellow writers and every one on here who has taken the time to read and vote and comment. Not to mention a special shout out to Scott for taking the time to always go above and beyond in tallying the votes and compiling the comments. And thank you to Carson! This tournament, while having it’s rough patches, has been an unbridled success from I think most of our point-of-views. We are all able to read each other’s scripts and basically crowd source problem areas to make out scripts as strong as they can be. What other contest in history has a model like this? Where people can tinker with their draft and improve upon it at each successive step? It’s amazing. I seriously can’t thank you all enough.

    • RBradley

      First time reader. I was almost out after the first exchange because I didn’t like what I thought sounded like speechifying between the kids. But I kept reading and it pulled me in, but still…I don’t think you need any dialogue between the kids. Let us just watch the action. The rest is covered later anyway. Spelling out their motives makes an exciting scene seem dull.
      Not voting. But thought you might like to hear a response.

      • Urugeth

        Thank you for the notes. I appreciate the feedback and you taking the time to let me know. I’ll play around with the opening to see if it works better with out the speechifying between the two (this script has way too much speechifying for my taste, which still irks me quite a bit. There’s so much heavy lifting to do with a script like this).

  • Urugeth

    Good luck to you Katherine! You have an amazing script and you’re a fantastic writer. the wine is ready for you any time you want it.

  • hickeyyy

    Up until today I had not participated in the contest. However, much like a fairweather fan of a sports team once the playoffs start, here I am to give my uneducated opinions and claim to know everything!

    MY VOTE: The Savage.

    I got about 25 pages into The Savage. This is good shit. Makes sense why it got so far. Tisquantum is a great character and seeing him morph into Squanto is exciting already. It will be cool to see his relationship evolve with Dermer. I think you’ve got something pretty solid here, and in the biopic/true story area, which is the hotness. I think you’ve gotten off to a great start. I really like all the characters so far and I’m excited to see how they progress.

    Opened up Cratchit and got about 10 in before backing out. To be fair, this is going to keep someone on their toes, as it’s an unpredictable and so far, pretty fun. I just can’t put my finger on why I couldn’t keep up with it. I think I’m just so… exhausted of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the lot are just old hat to me, regardless of how you freshen it up. Don’t think this is an indictment of the writing; it’s well-written and strong character work so far. Just not my cup of tea.

    Good luck to all!

    • Urugeth

      Um, oops. I think Dermer has three lines the rest of the script. So, ah, sorry.

  • Lucid Walk

    Super OT, but I just watched Manchester by the Sea.

    Superb film, but (and not to spoil anything) was anybody else thrown off the sudden ending?

    • Scott Crawford

      I don’t the exact ending, but I’ve heard some critics complain or at least argue that it gets a bit too much towards the end. Better than most Hollywood product but not for everyone, or something like that.

  • Lucid Walk

    La La Land is the kind of film everyone on this site should see. It’s a movie made for aspiring filmmakers, and whether you like it or not, it will certainly resonate with the writer in all of us.

    That being said, Hunt for the Wilderpeople was my pick for 2016. It was funny, unpredictable, whimsical, and the kind of movie Wes Anderson would make. Can’t wait to see how the director handles Thor 3.

    • garrett_h

      I just saw Wilderpeople after Carson listed it in his top movies and loved it. Definitely makes my Top 5. Such a good movie, and you’re right about the Wes Anderson touches. Really great film. I hope that kid gets some roles. He’s got personality and charisma to spare.

      • Linkthis83

        loved this exchange when I saw it at the theater this past summer:

        Ricky Baker: I’ll never stop running!

        Paula: Yeah, and I’ll never stop chasing you – I’m relentless, I’m like the Terminator.

        Ricky Baker: I’m more like the Terminator than you!

        Paula: I said it first, you’re more like Sarah Connor, and in the first movie too, before she could do chinups.

  • garrett_h

    I agree. That part is redundant ans clunky. I’m a tech writer so I edit documents all day from other folks, and if this sentence came across my desk I’d definitely rewrite it.


    I’ve given both scripts at least four FULL reads since the contest began?

    This should have been the final.

    Both great.

    MY VOTE: The Savage

    It is the bigger challenge. That’s it.

    • Urugeth

      Four full reads? Jesus. That’s incredible. Thank you BMCHB. I appreciate the thoroughness and to vote.

      • BMCHB

        Know your enemy.

        Ha ha. I don’t give many notes but I have read every script in the contest at least once.

        For me, these are the best two. For sure. My script was a ‘bit mad’ as my girlfriend put it.

        Both are close to shooting scripts, The Savage will probably need FORTY MILLION more. Why not? It’s not your money.

        Great luck to you and Scriptchick too.

        • Urugeth

          You actually might be surprised at how cheap it could be done. That’s kind of why there’s so many reused locations and such. It’s basically a talking head script with a lot of the locations being super cheap to shoot. You could do all the Plymouth Rock stuff in a tax friendly east coast state. All the Spanish stuff in the SoCal mountains. You can have one ship set redressed to be three. A lot of rooms and huts. Forests and hills and exteriors. Very little crowd scenes or period intensive stuff. The story telling is expansive but when you dig into the nuts and bolts of it I wrote it to be as cheap as possible to actually make..

          • BMCHB

            You’re producing, too. Nice one.

            Don’t worry about the budget, man, The day I write a script that doesn’t cost a billion plus change is the day I stop writing.

            Who would be your ‘dream’ lead? It is a great part for an actor.

          • Urugeth

            I don’t actually have a dream lead. That’s been part of the problem ( My two main-ish characters are Native American. Who the hell do you cast as a draw for that?!?), which is part of why I wrote John Smith so broad and “actor-bait” ish. My dream actor for him is Michael Fassbender. For Gorges it’s Stephen Fry, and for Abbot Sebastian it’s Antonio Banderas (I know it’s weird, but with age on him and a few years away from the spotlight I think he would be perfect for the kindly priest role).

            My background is actually in contained horror, so everything I write is geared toward limiting set ups, locations, characters, etc. Finding a cheap, viable lead draw and all that. I can’t turn it off. I wish I could

  • Levres de Sang

    Agreed. Also like your version of the logline. I would simply add “An incredible true story” as a shameless bit of second-sentence Black List-bait.

  • Pat

    Just finished reading CRATCHIT (this is first time I have read the script from beginning to end) and I can see why it has received so much love. The script creates a complete world and plays off well with the original novella, rearranging scenes and giving new meaning to others. The character’s are complex and the ending comes as a satisfying surprise.

    But as strong as the first and third acts are, there are a few things about the second act that I bumped up against and struggled to fully understand. The first thing I was confused by was the theme/revelation of the script. “A Christmas Carol” is about redemption and atoning for one’s sins and this is played out as Marley reaches out to Scrooge from beyond the grave to show Scrooge the chains that await him in the afterlife if he doesn’t change his ways in life. Then the story plays out as Scrooge is shown the error of his ways and yet doesn’t see this error.

    But in CRATCHIT, these events play out differently, yet attempt to provide the same theme/revelation and I don’t think it quite works. In CRATCHIT, Marley doesn’t try to get Scrooge to change his ways, instead he tells Scrooge and Cratchit to find his murderer. This set up should lead to both men exploring their past in search of those that they have wronged who may wish vengeance upon them. And the script does present this in a form, but the characters are not actively seeking suspects, instead they seem to be interested in revisiting their past and watching it play out as it does in “A Christmas Story”. However as I said, they don’t need to revisit their past to see the error of their ways, they need to find a murderer. I felt that Cratchit and Scrooge should have done all they could to get to the night Marley died, and I know the timepiece doesn’t work right, but they still don’t try to get to that night and given their quest, their only goal is to find the murderer so their only goal should be to see who entered that room that night, their goal should not be to revisit all their previous acquaintances.

    What really brought my attention to this misplaced theme was when Scrooge starts to proclaim his love of Christmas because I couldn’t place what event had brought him to this sudden change. There isn’t a scene where he comes to terms with the evils of his ways, or realizes the true spirit of Christmas, those scenes occur in “A Christmas Carol” not in CRATCHIT and the reason for this is that Scrooge’s transformation is not set up in CRATCHIT and so it comes across as hollow and confusing.

    Finally, I found that for the first part of the second act (when traveling in the past) there is a lack of conflict in the story. Again, in “A Christmas Carol” the conflict comes from Scrooge being shown the evils of his actions and him trying to brush them off. The conflict is internal but it’s there. But in CRATCHIT this internal conflict isn’t set up and thus the character’s are just observers. I would suggesting creating more conflict between Scrooge and Cratchit during this part of the script and to reinvigorate their investigation and the dangers of the Ghost of Christmas Past catching them and thus putting an end to their investigation.

    Again, I quite enjoyed a lot of this script and it is truly memorable in it’s execution and in it’s world building, but I think there are weaknesses in the second act that are holding the script back from being as great as it has the potential to be.

    I haven’t read THE SAVAGE yet, so I will hold on to my vote until after I have had a chance to read it.

    • BMCHB

      The reason I frequent Scriptshadow is to read considered comments such as this.

      Thanks, Pat.

    • JakeBarnes12

      A commenter who’s actually tracking theme as it relates to character and plot!

      Very astute notes, Pat.

      • Scott Crawford

        I’VE been tracking theme as it relates to character and plot! I’ve done whole comments about them back when we talking about arc and theme (on different Thursdays).

        In essence, theme is what a character does not just what they say. Bit more complicated than that, but that’s the essence.

    • ScriptChick

      Pat, LOVE these notes! Lots I can work on and thank you for pointing them out to me. Second Act is definitely not the strongest of the three. Your note on theme — I feel that the twist is that Scrooge does not ultimately get redemption/atone — but Cratchit and Marley ARE better men by the end of it all, thanks to revisiting the past. While trying to solve the murder, Cratchit has new insight on his father which ultimately leads to forgiveness of him and atonement for Cratchit when he’s finally ready to address his past violence — an act that has kept him in fear of breaking away from Scrooge and confessing to the love of his life. All the other notes I’m pretty much right there with you on and hope I can think of a solution so I’m not haunted by the Ghost of Screenplays Past.

      • Pat

        I really liked that at the end Scrooge doesn’t change (not sure how Dicken’s would like that, but he can’t really complain, can he?) and I really liked the humor brought on by Scrooge’s change because it meant that he was no longer focused on solving the murder which put him in direct odds with what Cratchit needed him to do. What I wasn’t sure of was why Scrooge changed to begin with. To me it felt that he changed because that’s what “A Christmas Carol” does, but your script is missing the moment where Scrooge realizes he needs to change. Sure, in the end we find out he’s lying, but the audience doesn’t know he’s lying so they need to believe he’s a changed man. As well, if the audience sees a moment that should make Scrooge see the error of his ways and then he reveals that he wasn’t changed, it will show the audience just how twisted and cruel Scrooge really is.

        I also wanted to mention that, I was confused by the “father” aspect of the story because I couldn’t find the moment in the script where Cratchit wanted to find his father. The reveal to me seemed like an answer to a question no one was asking. I didn’t know he really wanted to find his father, I didn’t know his life was ruined by his father so I didn’t find that knowing who his father was, was all that significant.

  • MaliboJackk

    Thinking about splitting my vote.

    • Poe_Serling

      Oh boy… I don’t know if the SS universe can handle it. ;-)

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: From Carson’s Twitter feed:

    If anyone has a script like Hidden Figures (African-American/true story) e-mail me. I might be able to help you. E-mail is on my site.

    Given that Hidden Figures might actually BEAT Rogue One this weekend, I’m not surprised if people are on the look out for similar material.

    • MaliboJackk

      Now trending…
      Kickass male protag >>>>> Kickass woman >>>>> Kickass black woman.

      • Scott Crawford

        The Pam Grier story? Far as I know there’s never been a movie behind the scenes of “blaxploitation” (Fred Williamson didn’t think it was exploitation, since they were paid, but I suppose it exploitation of the potential audience).

  • Scott Crawford

    Blunt. But honesty is appreciated, I’m sure.

  • RO

    After reading through both scripts, I cast my vote for Savage. Both scripts were very well written, but I came away from Savage feeling for Squanto. Like with my previous reads of Cratchitl, something wasn’t sitting right and i think it has to do with it’s second act. There seems to be a lack of motivation for Scrooge and while Cratchit wanting to save Tim is great, it feels empty through most of the script.

    For now there’s not much I can think of advice wise for Cratchit to help it in future drafts but if I do, I’ll be sure to post it.

    Until then, congrats to our writers. So far I have been thoroughly entertained!

    • BMCHB

      Do you think ‘Squanto’ might be a better title?

      I don’t think the title ‘sells’ it at the moment…

      • Scott Crawford

        I think it’s along the lines of The General, the Black List script about George Washington. Squanto (no offense) sounds like a Disney animation or a Christian Channel special.

        • BMCHB

          yeah, correct. What i do the morning after too many burritoes is squanto…

          The Savage is a pretty good title.

          You might get this this reference, Scott…

          ”Soar like an eagle, sit like a pelican’…

          • Scott Crawford

            Was that a Tony Christie song?

          • BMCHB

            Nah, Ricky Gervais, Native American.

            David Brent

      • Urugeth

        I was trying for something a little ironic in the title, too. To the white world Squanto is perceived as ‘the savage,’ but their the ones kidnapping him, enslaving him, exploiting people, etc. He’s a bilingual, intellectual who saved Plymouth Rock from ruin, and even there, when he died, he was called ‘the saulage (sic) Squanto”. It just felt appropriate to me the way this incredible man could never escape this slur by people who never did half of what he did.

        • RO

          I found the title very ironic and I think it’s appropriate. One thing the script does effectively is play against stereotypes, and I also really enjoyed how there’s no default villain. The bad people Squanto encounters are from different cultures or different social classes, just as some of the good people.

    • Urugeth

      Thank you, RO! Appreciate the read and the vote.

  • Poe_Serling

    One quick note after reading through all the comments…

    I like how both writers really embraced the rewrite process to
    give themselves the best chance to advance to the finals.

    I think it shows a real dedication to the craft on their part.

    • Scott Crawford

      I got a book by Jack Epps, Jr. (co-writer Top Gun, Legal Eagles, many others) about rewriting and only rewriting…. that’s why I got it, because there are few books focused on rewriting. I’ve got to get around to reading it then I can tell you whether it’s any good or not!

      For now I’ll just say, looking at lots of movies recently, writing my own, I’m coming to the decision that success lies in writing an above-average first draft (not necessarily excellent, but better than average) then making it bettter, bit by bit in the rewrites.

      Take perennial favorite Die Hard, which I watched again a few weeks back. Some problems I found, to be honest, confusion over geography, too many of the locations look the same and it slows down a lot towards the end as the machinations of the villain’s plot takes hold (compare with ransom plots like The Rock and Air Force One, which DON’T slow down towards the end).

      Anyway, it’s the little details that make Die Hard… Gruber looking out the window before locking the doors and announcing Takagi’s death while munching food (both improvs by Rickman), Uli eating the candy bar and Willis’ bathroom message for his wife (both improved to by Al Leong and Bruce Willis respective). But there are also neat SCRIPTED touches, like Karl cutting the pipes before his brother is finished silencing the alarms (do these brothers not get along? Is Karl’s revenge more on principal?) or Karl paying Theo when Takagi dies without talking.

      The Rolex Ellis gives Holly, a symbol of the wealth that has come betweenMcClane and his wife. At the end, Gruber tries to pull Holly out the window with him by holding onto her watch. When McClane unstraps the watch, not only does he kill Gruber but he gets rid of that symbol.

      There are so many more bits like that, and so many more movies, but it’s an example of how rewriting can improve a script in subtle ways – it’s not always about changing the plot.

      • Urugeth

        That whole movie is magic.

        From the little, subtle character building bits (like McClane sitting in the front seat of the limo to show us what a working class guy he is), to the way that the entire environment is tailor made to antagonize Willis’ character and force him into growth (I mean his wife goes by her maiden name and makes more money than him at a Japanese company that gets robbed by Europeans looking for bearer bonds; the whole scenario is like a check box of 80’s white men fears of how the world was changing and leaving them behind) to the way every single character in that movie has a bit or a line or moment that is memorable and/or defines them. I think the FBI guys get like 5 lines between them and each one’s a home run (“Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson, no relation.”)

        I will die happy if I ever write something half that good.

        • Scott Crawford

          And he’s MCLANE… he’s Irish-American, so he’s very proud of his name.

          It helps that they had a good book that gave them a good story to build on, but it’s the little touches they added that made it. You can see this also in Jaws, Aliens, loads of movies where the little bits make all the difference.

    • Urugeth

      I feel like that’s what makes this whole tournament so special. It’s the feedback. I can’t speak for any of the other writers but that’s the Grand Prize to me. No matter the outcome I feel that we’re all winners because of the intellectual philanthropy of the people of this site. It’s incredible.

  • Pat

    Read THE SAVAGE, this is actually the first time I have read a word of this script, for various reasons on the weekends that The Savage competed, I was too busy to read all the scripts and give a proper vote.

    My first impression of The Savage is that it is an impressive feat. It is well researched and grand in scale with a clear writing style. For me, this is the most complete script I have read here on Scriptshadow.

    With that said, there are two areas that irked me in the script.

    First is a pitfall of the biopic story that I have noticed. In many biopics, an effort is made to tell the whole story and thus each moment in the story is cut short including what should be important scenes. This is how I felt when watching “A Long Walk to Freedom”, the movie is still great but the story of Mandela’s life is so long that it is hard to fit it into a standard movie. My main example of this in THE SAVAGE is when Squanto is sold into slavery in Spain, this sequence plays out in only a couple of pages and yet it feels like it should be a pivotal and important moment in Squanto’s life. For starters he lead his friends and people to death, and secondly he was betrayed yet again by the English, but neither of these aspects of the story are well explored at this moment.

    The second part of the script that I, frankly am still struggling with even after finishing it, is Squanto’s feelings toward the English. I know that the script for the most part does depict actual events, but I am left feeling that the English in Squanto’s eyes are better than they actually are, both in the script and in the real historical events. Squanto is kidnapped and sold into slavery twice and yet when the English arrive at Plymouth, he is still willing to help them? He knows the English brought a plague that killed his people and yet he is still willing to help the English? I couldn’t buy it, it felt like the script was trying to romanticize the encounters with white men and the natives. Again, I know that Squanto actually did help the English at Plymouth, but for me, the script didn’t tell me why.

    In the first act of the script, Squanto tells his father to fight and to not bow to those who oppress him, but in the journey his life takes, Squanto appears to just give up and bow to his oppressors. He doesn’t stand up and fight when his friends are enslaved, he doesn’t stand up and fight the Spaniard’s who enslaved him, he doesn’t stand up and fight when his people are killed, he just accepts it and moves on. For me this was an odd character arc. Not that it’s one that couldn’t work. If THE SAVAGE meditated on the horrors of the world, on the hopelessness of the native people’s plight and if Squanto came to realize that some fights are over before they are fought, then maybe this could work as a bleak tale of what it is like to be on the losing side of history, but as it is it felt to me like Squanto has an odd Stockholm Syndrome that goes unexplained throughout the script.

    I’m not sure what my vote will be yet, both script are very strong so this is not an easy pick and it is clear why both of these scripts have made it this far. For both I have had issues with certain aspects, but none of these aspects are major portions of the script, they are small aspects of a few scenes in what are overall well written scripts that I enjoyed reading.

    • Urugeth

      Thank you Pat for reading and providing such dedicated notes and feedback.

      I wanted to address some of your thoughts and touch on what I was trying to do in the hopes that you could maybe give me some tips on how to better nail what I’m after so that it comes across in future drafts.

      The idea was that Sqanto is all full of fire in the beginning, but his choices keep leading him and those around him into ruin. When he gets taken by Weymouth across the sea, a part of him breaks a little. He basically stuffs all that fire down deep inside and throws everything he’s got into assimilating as best as he can, if only to survive. As far as he is aware he has absolutely no chance at ever making it back home

      . His time with Smith wakes him up to the idea that he has a real opportunity, even in a world that is disdainful of him, to make himself valuable. Be valuable to the English. be valuable to Smith. He recognizes on that voyage that he is in a unique position to bridge those two words. Then he overreaches and gets taken down by Hunt. Then it’s everything that happened to him as a child, but magnified tenfold. His defiance gets his friend killed. His people are dragged off and sold. He’s stripped of the last remnants of his home when his father’s belt and mother’s necklace are ripped away from him. To add to the indignation, he’s forced to work in an iron mine, where he is forced to face the true cost of the steel he so coveted as a child back in Patuxet.

      The friars save him from this, his deepest pit of despair. The free him. Help him. Give him hope in the goodness of men. They forgive him, and try to teach him to forgive his enemies in order to cleanse the anger from his heart, but he’s not there yet.

      When he does finally make it home he finds his people dead and the lands of his ancestors now claimed by his childhood oppressor. When he is basically put on house arrest with the Pokanoket he has basically ended up in what could only be described as 12 year old Squanto’s worst case scenario: the very thing he got himself kidnapped over to avoid to begin with. NO FUCKING WAY did he go through all that to end up as Massasoit’s pet. NO FUCKING WAY.

      So I guess I’m failing to get across what’s going on there in the third act with the Pilgrims. He’s not there to help out of the kindness of his heart. He’s playing them. Making himself valuable, irreplaceable even, so that when Massoit came for him these people would have his back. Everything he does is a combination of everything he’s learned across two continents culminating in his decision to put the Pilgrims between him and his enemy. When he gets taken and everything goes to shit, he realizes what he’s set in motion and remembers the lessons of the friars and uses his unique ‘skillset’ such as it were to forge a peace before blood is spilled. The blunt, antagonistic boy of war becomes the manipulative man of peace.

      Or at least that’s what I was trying to do, hehehehehe. So I’m open to any thoughts you may have to help nail that home.

      • Pat

        Thanks for the reply, Urugeth. I think that everything you mentioned is in the script and that the reader can see your intent, my suggestion was that at a few places, you just haven’t done quite enough to justify Squanto’s actions.

        It’s clear that Squanto’s actions keep leading to ruin and that he struggles to find a place for himself in the world and I think the changes he goes through for the first half of the script are well developed and clear, it is the pivotal moments around the midpoint that I think need an extra kick to get the audience to see Squanto the way you do.

        When Squanto is kidnapped and betrayed for the second time, you do well to show the horrors of it, the blame Squanto feels and the ruin he has faced, but at this point it still felt to me that Squanto had a lot of fire still in him. He may have suppressed that fire while in England but it was not smothered out. So when his friend is killed I really expected Squanto to do something about it, but instead he accepts the situation. Given all that was at stake, given that Squanto was to blame for it and given that Squanto is quite brash, I was looking for a moment where he lashed out and the punishment then given to him would be what truly broke his spirit. I think this scene is missing the moment where Squanto actually realizes that his fight is hopeless, that he has lead his friends to ruin and there is nothing he can do about it. At the moment, he is too accepting of his fate and the fate of those he cares for.

        Then, once his spirit is broken, he needs to find redemption, which you have him do with the friar, but for me, this scene isn’t long enough and doesn’t contain a clear enough moment to justify this transformation. The friar gives him a pep talk and he learns about Christianity in a montage, but I feel that a true transformation of a character doesn’t work if it’s only from a discussion, the character must face a situation that causes him to transform. The difficulty here is that Squanto has to learn to forgive his enemies and their actions, and in this case, his enemies are slavers, so essentially Squanto has to forgive slavery, which is not something an audience is going to easily empathize with. At this moment I am reminded of the earlier conversation between Squanto and his father:

        I would rather fight and die than live like a slave.

        Then you’re a fool. You thirst for war because you’ve never tasted it. You want to fight because you feel weak. True strength is not in showing power, but sacrificing your vanity to help the man next to you.

        This is the moment in the script where Squanto actually has to face this theoretical situation. As the script stands, you have him accept slavery as simply “something that can’t be changed”, but what the audience wants is him to fight back, like he said he would. I feel you need some event that convinces the audience that fighting back does not fix the problem. That war is not the solution as Asheheteau said. I don’t know what this event is, but I feel it needs to be something that shows Squanto that he does need to learn that violence is not the solution and that strength does come from “turning the other cheek”.

        If you can pull off the above scene then his actions in the New World will be easier to understand. He will believe in helping all and feel that he cannot blame the sins of other Englishmen on these new settlers. His goal will be to accept that these new travelers will settle here and that his goal must be to get everyone to live in peace.

        Now, this suggestion in the third act is different from what you’ve described for Squanto because you see him as being selfish in his actions toward the English and I have suggested making them selfless. I did not read Squanto as selfish in the third act because I read Squanto as being selfish and brash earlier in the script and I figured his time with the friars tried to take this part out of him. This is likely where I got confused in the third act and had trouble understanding Squanto’s actions.

        I feel that the moment in the third act that is acting against your intentions is where Squanto give the steel to the pilgrims. You have set up the story to show that wanting steel means wanting war and that war only brings more pain. So when he gives the steel to the pilgrims it is as if he he accepting war and siding with the English. Instead, if there is a scene where Squanto tosses all the steel into the ocean, the audience will understand that he no longer seeks violence but instead seeks peace.

        What do you think? All I’m suggesting is a few short moments where Squanto bears witness to some event that challenges his perspective on life just to help cement the difficult questions you are asking. I will also add that the difficult questions you are asking are exactly what draw me to this script so I would love to see this script become as great as it clearly has the potential to be.

        • Urugeth

          These notes are friggin’ gangbusters. I’m so grateful to you for this. I love these suggestions. Particularly the throwing of the steel into the ocean. Fantastic help. Thank you so much!

  • klmn

    OT. Does anyone have the script for Live By Night?

    kenklmn AT yahoo dot com

    • Scott Crawford

      Sent! I’m sure they’ll be a link for the script online soon.

      • klmn

        Muchos gracias!

        • Scott Crawford

          Rien. No, wait… τίποτα. No… NADA!

          Where would writers be without Google Translate?

    • Midnight Luck

      could you possibly send it my way?
      Scott’s probably in bed right now.
      m {{at ]] blackluck dott com

      • klmn


        • Midnight Luck

          thank you!

  • klmn

    Log my vote for Cratchit. Both scripts are well-written, and both deserve to be in the Semis.

    I would really like to see something from this tournament find production and I think Cratchit best fits the bill. With The Savage you have a much bigger production covering two continents and sailing ships. Cratchit is confined to a smaller area and a tighter time period (even allowing for the ghost scenes). It could easily be done as a cable movie.

    Well done to both writers.

  • Urugeth

    Thanks for the comments and the vote, RS. the whole biopic thing is tricky (I swore I would never write one) and so the way I approached it was to try and find a unifying theme for all the little historical bits.

    The first 25 pages are basically all made up. We don’t know anything about what was going on there prior to the Pilgrims landing. All of it was lost. What I did know was that Squanto and Massasoit DID NOT like each other at all, that Squanto’s people were nominally vassals under Massoit and that Squanto was basically on house arrest when the Pilgrims landed. So I worked backwards from there. Squanto told the Pilgrims his life story, which is why we know all about the European stuff, but his history is blank prior to that. So I just wanted to set up this prior antagonism to bookend the story to show who he was so we could appreciate what he’d become.

    I didn’t know quite else how to tell the story, because leaving out the real stuff (being put on stage in London, sailing with John Smith, his enslavement, the time with the friars) is pretty much the draw for me (I still can’t believe this guy did all that), but losing all the pre-Euro stuff robs the end of any and all resonance. So it’s a bit of a pickle, one I’m still struggling with.

    • RS

      What you have going for you is that Squanto’s history is very vague, so no one would hold you to a high standard (not that they would in the movies if the subject was Napoleon Bonaparte). Anyway, you have a lot of room to play with the history, and I think you are most effective pre-European contact. I’m not saying to do an Apocalypto type of thing where the Europeans arrive only in the last minute, but I do believe you’ve gone too far the other way and trying to work in all the extraordinary beats of his life might be too much for a two hour movie. I do believe the angle is somewhere in there, and if you keep working it you will find it.

  • Dallas Cobb

    Around Thanksgiving, I asked this community to say a prayer for my sick mother as she was being admitted into the hospital and was facing many surgeries. While it saddens me to say she is still in the hospital, I’m beyond grateful to declare that Mom is still alive and kickin’.

    During her 12 hour surgery yesterday, I was an anxious, utter mess. To keep distracted, calm and focused on something else, I read through both of these insanely well-written semifinalist scripts. Two scripts that DID NOT receive my vote during their first respective outings, yet two scripts I’m so happy to be included in the semifinals, and so happy to have been given the opportunity to indulge in. And yet, there could only be one winner…

    My Vote: The Savage
    While I loved this different and almost revolutionary take on A Christmas Carol, I felt more impacted after reaching the final page of The Savage. Both scripts come with their own set of complications and difficulties, but in the end I ultimately connected more with the overall theme of identity and home in The Savage.

    • Urugeth

      Hey Dallas, glad to hear your mom’s pulled through! I hope she makes it out of the hospital soon. This is a nice update to hear.

      • Dallas Cobb

        Thank you! Good luck this weekend!

    • Billie B

      Thoughts are with you, honey! Between recent finals and a sick mama, you’re ready for a smooth 2017. Happy New Year. Here’s to a brighter one x

      • Dallas Cobb

        Thanks Billie! Good luck next weekend.

  • Urugeth

    Yeah you mentioned that before (and THANK YOU !I can’t believe I hadn’t caught the repetitive word choice, ugh) and fixing the logline is on my to do list. It needs work. I was just focusing on implementing all the notes from the last go round while juggling the holidays and such that I haven’t gotten a chance to address it much. But it’s my first order of business after I’m either knocked out or move on.

    • Levres de Sang

      Hope you don’t feel I’m pestering you on the logline! ;) Actually, I’d completely forgotten that I’d already mentioned it; but I’m impressed you’re so on top of your notes. As you rightly say, it’s difficult with all of life’s other pressures.

      • Urugeth

        Nononononono, I don’t feel you’re pestering me. Are you kidding? You’re trying to HELP. I’ll take well-intentioned “pestering” all freaking day. Helpful feedback i more valuable than gold to me.

  • Urugeth

    Thanks, Scott. That’s a great logline. I’m still struggling to figure out a way to squeeze the end in there somehow without being cheesy. It’s a challenge. (I know you haven’t read the script yet, but Squanto is famous here as a footnote in American History as the indian that helped the pilgrims survive their first winter and forged the peace treaty that led to our holiday Thanksgiving. This is just the ugly, brutal story about how all of that came about. The reality behind the myth).

    • Scott Crawford

      I know Squanto from an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond! But that’s all and most of my fellow countrymen know. If you’re confident that the people you’re sending the script too (fellow Americans) will know the Squanto myth reasonably well then fine, in the same way I wouldn’t have to explain who William Shakespeare is.

  • Urugeth

    Honestly I’m really happy with these notes. Weirdly, as much as this didn’t work for you of all the people that have read the script and given me notes you’ve really seemed to latch on to what I was actually going for. I actually don’t see Squanto as a hero (truth be told, if I were to name the ‘good guy’ of the script it would be Massaoit. he was a genuinely great man in ‘real life’). It was all about the way we as American’s have been fed this myth about friendship and brotherhood surrounding that first Thanksgiving. I wanted to dispel that whole fairy tale bullshit myth.

    Like you really, REALLY seemed to get what I was after. In a way no other reader has so far. The scenes you like are all my favorites. The observations you have align with what I was trying to accomplish. Honestly, the fact it didn’t resonate with you is fine, because it’s not working for you for all the right reasons, if that makes a lick of sense. Because it means you din’t like it because of the story I was trying to tell, not because you didn’t get it. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but honestly this was one of the most encouraging pieces of feedback I’ve gotten on this script. Thank you for the thorough read and the notes. I really truly appreciate it.

    And yes, Squanto (in this script) is selfish as fuck.

    • Citizen M

      For those of us unfamiliar with the story, perhaps you could put a few title cards after Fade Out about Squanto’s poisoning, King Phillip’s War, and Metacomet’s beheading.

      It’s a bit of a downer, but I think it would add to the story, which is much more than a series of adventures, amazing though they be, it’s also an emotionally powerful story of redemption and coping with reality when your dreams have all been shattered.

      • Urugeth

        I really wrestled with this. I went back and forth on whether to do title cards or not and ultimately decided against it because everything that happens to everyone was so relentlessly bleak. It was already kind of a bummer ending, and I didn’t want to go too dark.

    • Sal Ayala

      >> “Because it means you didn’t like it because of the story I was trying to tell, not because I didn’t like it.”

      I’ll get back to the above in a moment. First, I want to thank you for setting me straight. I’m glad I was wrong and that this was all just a misunderstanding.

      But in regards to the above and the misunderstanding. It’s all your fault ;))

      Your script is very dry and didn’t clearly get across your specific take on the subject matter on the page. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but, your log line should have at least hinted at your angle.

      You see I didn’t dislike your story because of the story you were trying to tell. I disliked it because of the story I THOUGHT you were trying to tell. I read the script at face value and it didn’t communicate that it was anything other than a straight forward story. The story promised by the logline.

      Something like the below might be in the ballpark. It’s based on what you said you intended to mean:

      “The true story of Squanto, the brave Paxut Indian boy, who got himself kidnapped by the English and then fought his way back home where, by saving the pilgrims and betraying his people he paved the way for the first thanksgiving in what would come to be known as America.”

      That logline might be totally off or, it might be more fitting. But it also might get you less reads than the one you already have. Either way, great work and good luck going forward.

  • Levres de Sang

    These are very perceptive notes.

  • Citizen M

    It’s a lovely Sunday morning here in my part of Cape Town and I could be out and about, but I read the two scripts instead.

    My vote: THE SAVAGE, by a mile.

    CRATCHIT 114p by Katherine Botts

    Read to page 50. Intended to read the whole script but I found it increasingly less interesting. Basically, it’s fifty pages of confusing backstory. There are so many time jumps it is very hard to keep track. I have no idea how the viewer will be able to tell who is who and why they need to see all this past stuff. There is no indication of how this knowledge will enable Scrooge and Cratchit to escape their fate of being stabbed and the house burning down, respectively.

    Who is showing them all this, why, and how? The time jumps seem random. I could not work out the rules of the spirit world. And there’s one glaring gap: Cratchit’s past. How did he get from a prostitute’s baby to a boxer? We see Scrooge’s progression, but not Cratchit’s. And so many different characters! Do we need Mr and Mrs Fezziwig, Belle, Mr and Mrs Bantry, Crumb, Meriweather, Fred, the Cratchit family, the Little Match Girl, etc etc? It’s too exhausting trying too keep all the different characters and story threads in one’s head.

    The characters of course know their own backstory which we the audience don’t. It is always a problem in a script when the characters know more than the audience. We don’t know what’s significant and what isn’t. Contrast with The Savage where we experience everything with Squanto’s eyes and it’s all new and unfamiliar, so we are learning along with him.

    Niggle: The use of ‘bloody’ seems anachronistic. The lower classes might have said it, but I doubt Scrooge would have.

    THE SAVAGE 117p by Christopher Ryan Yeazel

    Read the whole script. An amazing story that deserves to be told. I assume it is reasonably true to life; I didn’t check the historical truth. As a non-American I don’t know much about the early colonists.

    It was well written and an easy read. As a linear story it was easy to follow despite the many twists and turns that always kept things interesting. It came as an emotional shock every time Squanto had his freedom taken from him. The writer managed to extract plenty of drama from Squanto’s travails.

    I read from start to finish and made hardly any notes. The only character I had a problem with was Governor Gorges who didn’t seem to have the manners befitting his station. And I would have liked to know more about how Squanto felt when offered the chance to return to his homeland. What were his hopes and dreams regarding himself, his family, and his tribe?

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: What will win at the Golden Globes tonight? Since the Globes are a pointer towards what will win the Oscars (rather than serious film criticism) I say LA LA LAND will win Best Picture. Three reasons:

    1. La La Land is about Hollywood. The Artist, Argo, Birdman, Hollywood loves movies about itself.

    2. It’s about white people. I’ll go further, it’s about good-looking, white, non-churchgoing (I’m guessing) people. Has to be said.

    3. It doesn’t have a Cinemascore. Of the past ten Best Picture Oscar winners, only two (Departed and Argo) have Cinemascores, meaning that most people have not seen the rest and/or the people who made them don’t want people to know what ordinary people think of them.

    Hidden Figures has an A+ Cinemascore and a 93% RT score. And it might just beat Rogue One this weekend. And it’s not even nominated.

    (On Box Office, La La Land doubled its theater count this weekend but only made $500 a theater more than Underworld 5.).

    • Billie B

      Speaking of good looking non church going people… I ran into Bill Murray last night and had a super fangirl moment. Thank god my husband was there to photograph the moment Bill leans in to hear my name, but I kiss his cheek. Ha ha ha. And now I’m officially the reason screenwriters should never leave the house.

    • Dan B

      Was Hidden Figures released anywhere in 2016?

      • Scott Crawford

        Yes. And it got GG noms for acting but not for picture and not for music. Expect that to be corrected for Oscar noms or Hell Toupee.

        • Dan B

          Didn’t realize that.

          One thing about La La Land though, is that it may be screening on the smaller theaters within a movieplex (as most indie/Oscar bait can be) and continue to have a flatter box office trend than say Underworld. I feel like the people who want to see Underworld showed up in droves, and it will see a drop off, while La La could probably keep going racking up $7M to $10M over the next few weekends.

    • Midnight Luck

      “Hollywood loves (movies about) itself.”
      You had me rolling in the aisles with laughter.

  • Pat

    After reading both scripts, I am going to give my vote to THE SAVAGE. Both script deserve the vote and I hope both authors find success so for my vote I had to decide which of the two I would see if it was a movie. And though I would like to see both, if I had to choose, the complex nature of the protagonist in THE SAVAGE and the look at an often missed time in history sways my vote in its favor.

  • MichaelWhatling

    OT: A screenplay I wrote starts filming next week—my first produced movie. I invite all my ScriptShadow friends to follow its progress on our FaceBook page. Here’s the logline:

    “An estranged brother and sister travel to Poland to retrieve an object from their dying grandmother’s past.”

    • Midnight Luck

      Awesome. So happy for you! Way to go Michael. Keep us informed how it is going. I would love to see as it progresses, as would others I’m sure.

      • MichaelWhatling

        Thanks for your kind words. Follow us on FB and we’ll keep you updated from filming to distribution.

  • Randall Alexander

    My vote:


    There are plenty of other posters on here who will go in depth with great script analysis, so I’ll keep mine simple. Both writers have skills, but The Savage is a movie that I’d much rather see. As a huge fan of the The Last Of The Mohicans, this feels the same in tone to me, and IMO is clearly the best writing in the entire contest. I hope this gets made

  • Angie

    Cratchit by Katherine Botts – 1/8/17

    P. 10 Why doesn’t the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come not say who he is rather than say “the future?” Especially since he (it) appears shortly to Scrooge.
    P. 12 Abrupt transition to Cratchit’s house.
    P. 39 Nice touch showing Westminster Bridge and old palace, a real place set of the past. Provides an anchor for an “England” feel of reality of the past both for readers familiar with the architecture and those not.
    P. 44 Now I’m getting tired with the different sets of the past.
    P. 68 “Tiny Tim adds a log to the fire.” Peter is out. Unless I missed something, where are the other kids?

    Exquisite details in a complex plot. SUPER WELL DONE!

    The Savage by Christopher Ryan Yeazel – 1/8/17

    P1. OT Lucky for the writer that a workable effort has been made to revive the Wampanoag language.
    P. 2 Feel immediately immersed in character and plot by the passion of Squanto, his anger at natives who stole from his people.
    P. 26 Thought I’d see some sea sickness or evidence of time passing before the Archangel sails into England.
    P.69 Didn’t check the historical accuracy of slaves in mainland Spain at that time but if the rescue by the Monk is correct, then is must be.

    Based on a true story versus based on a well-known novella by Charles Dickens. I expected a tough choice and got one. Both have long complex plots, masterfully presented.

    Ultimately, I chose the one that more quickly provided character involvement for me.

    I vote for The Savage

  • Carmelo Framboise

    I didn’t make it.

    Yeah, yeah I blabbeb about reading the whole scripts, and I didn’t even read one page. I am still working and it is Sunday night. So, I am not gonna just read a couple of pages from each script to decide.

    I am out. No vote from me this time. Sorry, guys, both scripts were rather good from what I remember. :)

  • Sal Ayala

    Its a really close call between two terrific scripts but i ended up going with CRATCHIT.
    (I read all of it earlier today and will post notes in a while.)

    I do think The Savage is the better read, and the better written script, though Cratchit is really good in both areas.

    What set Cratchit above The Savage for me is that it feels like it knows what it is. The whole package (title, logline, script) is on the same page. And on top of that I think it’s more commercial and marketable.

  • Scott Crawford

    Maybe your comment disappeared because it was too thoughtful and smart for Disqus? Love that “vision” quote… gonna use it.

    • Scott Serradell

      “Hail Hail Beelzebub! Love me some napalm in the morning…”

      Hmm. That one got through. Maybe you’re onto something…

  • Dan B

    VOTE – The Savage

    I really enjoyed this script, though it wound up being a lot different than I originally thought it was going to be more of an action adventure (though – I didn’t know much about Squanto other than being that guy from the Mayflower story). This script reminded me much more of 12 Years a Slave, in the way it hit it’s story beats, and how it would show hope and promise to its protagonist, only to take it away. In many ways, Squanto is sort of a passive character throughout this journey, because he is forced to be. It seems that he is always in someone’s literal ownership, or he serves someone on his own accord. There’s his escape from his Spanish captor, where he gets away, but then soon joins with another group. His life is molded by several mentors throughout the script, his Father, John Smith, The Priest.

    This script is chock full of different themes as well, and the entire script for how dreadful Squanto’s situation is at times is always holding onto this hope – and it some how is brimming with positivity. There’s this theme revolving around finding away outside of violence to survive and live with your enemies, then Smith himself is basically a symbol or freedom and opportunity and he teaches Squanto about what The New World can become. His speech about how the New World is a bigger picture game and it’s a land for opportunity, where blood doesn’t matter, only the person does is more inspirational take on America than either of the recent Presidential Candidates were able to provide.

    There’s some fun characters here as well. I like this take on John Smith, I feel like we’ve seen him in pop culture before and its always the same. In this case, it’s after Jamestown, he’s just got this sense of humor about him. Governor Gorges was the only character that sort of had me saying huh? it was entertaining, but strange to think of some guy in the 1600’s saying “Good God Man!” in fact he says “Man” a lot.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this. It’s the first SS script that had me genuinely wanting slide each page over to read the next.

  • Midnight Luck

    runner up: Savages (can I do that, when there are only two?)

    While I appreciate the work and the skill on show with THE SAVAGE, my choice goes to CRATCHIT.

    I have read much of both and have reread much and checked in wth each of them as new iterations appear.

    I really like the changes and the new opening version of CRATCHIT this time. It really draws me in more than before.

    I think when it comes to story, many things about Cratchit captures my interest more than Savage does.
    Maybe it is just a personal thing (I’m sure it is). But something about the 1492, olden times, New World story, and Western type themed movies, never do much for me. I wish I could say my mind was different about it, but it never is.
    The only movie featuring long ago story, somewhat in the same vein, that really was impressive for me was BRAVEHEART. That grabbed me and never let go.
    But, had I been reading it, I doubt it would’ve kept me reading.

    So, while I cannot point to any specific reasons SAVAGE didn’t keep me in it, all I can say is I have a personal thing about the kind of story presented.
    Again, I apologize to the writer for such a possibly lame reason not to choose that script. But, everything is based on our opinion, and so…

    All that being said, no I haven’t finished either of the scripts.
    I wish I could say I have, but I haven’t. Not any of the times they have been presented.

    But, based on what I have read, both are well written, both contain interesting conflict.

    But from a story perspective, CRATCHIT captures my vote.

    I can see it in the theater much easier than I can with Savage. People love the story. People love the original. Remakes and redoes are huge in Hollywood. People loved (as did I) SCROOGED (another retelling) as well.
    I think a new and different take on A Christmas Carol could be lighting in a bottle to get this picked up.

    Ok, it was a struggle to have to throw in a vote, as I feel bad for the other contestant, but we need to make a choice. And there’s mine.

    Congrats to everyone for getting this far, and I wish good things for you all, and to all a good night!

  • Adam W. Parker

    NO VOTE (haven’t completed both)

    I’ve finished Cratchit and am on page 70 of The Savage. I won’t be voting because of that, but I’ll give impressions on Cratchit while it’s still fresh and thoughts on The Savage tomorrow for the authors’ benefit.

    Cratchit (spoilers)

    This was good! You managed time travel amazingly well and that’s not easy.

    My main stumbling block was the motivations. It’s a great twist that Scrooge was Marley’s murderer but it undercuts his partnership with Cratchit to solve the murder. Or it may be that I didn’t feel Scrooge’s urgency in getting back to the present (he followed to spy on his past self). If he is indeed the murderer I’d feel he be using every opportunity to try to obstruct or end the investigation before framing someone.

    I didn’t necessarily believe in Bella as the red herring. I think it’s because it is extremely hard to give someone the motivation for killing a child (outside of a war / survival / law of nature scenario). Then that leaves you with an “accidental murder” which solving a mystery wouldn’t help – accidents happen.

    But this is a tough twist to pull off, you did a good job, I just wish it was more believable that someone other than Scrooge could have done it.

    The graveyard fight didn’t really resonate for me. And Cratchit taking over the business made me feel icky (lol). 2 birds 1 stone suggestion for climax: “Marley and Scrooge” building is burning, all the records inside, Scrooge is so greedy he goes in to try to save them, burns up while Ghost Marley taunts him and Cratchit watches. (for added bonus maybe Cratchit was working to back up the records before the adventure began. Maybe he has the notebook when they go to the past. Maybe Scrooge insists they follow the breadcrumbs of the most desperate debtors to get Cratchit off his trail. And maybe Cratchit burns the ledger while the building is burning which forces Scrooge to go inside to salvage the records and be destroyed by his own greed instead of Cratchit bloodying his hands.)

    Thanks and keep it up!

  • Cal

    Since I’ve read the first act of each of these scripts multiple times, and since mentioned that page 1-25 of his script has gone mostly unchanged, I’ve chosen this week to focus on pages 30-60 of each since it made the most overall sense with the small hour window I had to read tonight… with all considered my vote this week goes to…


    I love Squanto’s first meeting with John Smith, and Georges’s commission of Squanto is fascinating as they voyage to the New World. I like the new dialogue, and the power plays at work in these thirty pages, as I know where it leads from multiple reads. I really enjoy the writing style as well. It matches the tone and gets out of the way for the story to shine. It’s an incredible story about something I’m not just interested in reading about, but a story that I think has further importance… maybe even as far as me sitting here writing at all, because without the crucial role Squanto played on this great world stage of ours, America might not even exist.

    That said, Katherine, great job. I think you did an incredible job tackling some classic and delectable IP and as I’ve said before I think you really have something here. The competition is tough. The scripts were both written expertly. It just came down to the story that was most up my alley. Congrats again to both of you and I wish great things for both these projects.