cfc60ee3e843c006d3281a18bb3c744b

EDIT – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!
So 4 of the top 5 entries consisted of 4 of the top 5 contributors within the group. That gave me some pause. Is everybody here getting a fair shot? With that said, I realize that there’s a couple of things at play here. For one, people are more likely to check out the scripts of the people they know. This isn’t just true here at Scriptshadow. It’s true in Hollywood.

So we’re basically preparing screenwriters for the real world. And just like the real world, if you want to break through that nepotistic malaise that producers either directly or indirectly participate in, give us a concept that makes it impossible to not open your script, then write a first ten pages that makes it impossible for us to put your script down, then write another 100 pages that make it impossible for us to stop reading. It’s just the way it is. And that seems like it’s what’s happened this weekend with Breaking Them Up.

Another thing that factors into this is that the people who participate here tend to be the people who care more about learning the craft of screenwriting. So it makes sense that their scripts, on the whole, would be better than those who aren’t participating. These writers are always learning new tools, building networks with other writers here, using those people to get feedback on their scripts. So it makes sense that their scripts would be better. Hence, I’m excited to announce that the four winners of the Wild Card Round are…

Katherine Botts – Cratchit
David Waddell – Breaking Them Up
Steffan DelPiano – Odysseus and His Boy
Kenneth Kleemann – Hellfire Alley

I’ve already chosen who will participate in the first round of the Quarterfinals next week. Those writers will be personally contacted by me via e-mail and given until Wednesday night to make any last changes to their scripts. Congratulations to everybody here for a tight race and let the Quarterfinals begin!!!

ORIGINAL POST BELOW

YEEEE-HAWWWW! GRAB YOUR GUNS, BOYS! IT’S ABOUT TO GET WILD!

The top 8 scripts have already been chosen for the Quarterfinals of the Scriptshadow Screenplay Tournament. Today we take 8 scripts that gave those winners a run for their money and pit them against each other. You, the readers, will decide which 4 of these wild-cards advance to the quarterfinals. Just like previous weeks, your job is to read as much as you can from each entry and vote on your favorite in the comments section. The top 4 vote-getters will move through and next week we’ll begin the Quarterfinal Round.

Since everyone has a limited amount of reading time and 7 out of 8 of these scripts have been rewritten, I’ll allow the writers to chronicle the changes they made in the Comments Section if they want. It’s no substitute for reading the script, but at least you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

One last thing: PLEASE VOTE FOR THE BEST SCRIPT, NOT YOUR BEST FRIEND. If you haven’t read any of these scripts and you’re not going to read them this weekend either, I’d rather you not vote at all than cast a vote for a friend. The idea is to have the best scripts competing, not the most popular commenters competing. If the top 4 vote-getters on Sunday are the 4 most popular commenters within today’s grouping, I’m probably going to pick my own top 4 (hey sorry – wild card rules, baby). Let’s find the best scripts here, guys. On to today’s entries!

Title: Felix (new draft!)
Writer: Casey Giltner
Genre: Horror, Coming-of-age
Logline: After his great-grandmother’s death, ten-year-old Felix is troubled by a potentially haunted family heirloom and his father’s increasingly strange behavior.

Title: Breaking Them Up (formerly “Untitled Breaking Up Parents Marriage Comedy”) (new draft!)
Writer: David Waddell
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Convinced that his constantly feuding parents are headed for a divorce, a 14 year old sets out to find new lovers for his mom and dad in hopes of ending their marriage.

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

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

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

Title: A Darker Place – (same draft)
Writers: Andrew Rhodes and Robert Irvin
Genre: Contained Thriller/Sci-fi
Logline: In the home of her latest case, an obsessed social worker fights to save a girl being tortured in the basement of that very house … 24 years in the future.

Title: Cratchit (new draft!)
Writer: Katherine Botts
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Fantasy
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 and Cratchit’s son, Tiny Tim.

Title: 21 Days in the Amazon (new draft!)
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.

  • Scott Crawford

    Votes so far: 0 votes

    21 Days in th

    • -n8-

      Damn Scott, I admire your dedication to the high standard you have put on yourself in this here forum (my poor excuse for western speak… Blame Carson’s pic for today’s post).

      Seriously tho, you are always on top of the game.

      • Scott Crawford

        I’m doing this on the move again! When I get back home to my PROPER computer, I’ll put this all in neat. I’m currently typing away in a MacDonalds, sampling their excellent wifi signal after a very delicious Swiss burger:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/27522019b7a075390fedefa433741607a5b15ead6af4fb307870d895a27682c6.jpg

        • jeaux

          Damn Scott, I heard the food in Britain was bad, but has it really come to this? McDonald’s? I hope you make it home alive.

          I plan on reading through a couple of these. Already read earlier drafts of Widows Walk, 21 Days and Hellfire Alley. Would the writers care to say what changes were made to these updated drafts? If not here due to spoilers, then in an email perhaps? joe_lbp at yahoo. Thanks and good luck. Especially to you Scott. Ha.

          • Scott Crawford

            MacDonalds HERE is different to MacDonalds in the states, from my experience. Especially if it’s a good, well-managed MacDonalds like Kingston. Also, get there at 1030 and order something special and it’ll be fresh as a daisy. ‘sides, I needed a nice leather-padded sofa to sit in on while waiting for today’s post.

            Anyway, I’ve moved to Waterstones now, opposite the sci if and fantasy books:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ce14378c8c5d7f0717e2b807cafd713eb2dcec5e0ef877447f47f345670aa58.jpg

          • JakeBarnes12

            LOVE Waterstones. Their display tables are just the best.

          • klmn

            I dropped the VO letter and Bill Dalton’s ride into Coffeyville – and the flashback to the Daltons’ childhood.

            Now my intro is about a page of talking by Marshal Nix – my earlier draft had the ending “bookend” so it really needed the first one.

            The final gunfight is a little bigger – there were a few members of the “Wild Bunch” who I didn’t account for in the earlier version. I also added three more deputies to that final gunfight – two Cherokee and one African-American, all based on real lawmen.

            I think that’s it, other than addressing a few typos – I hope I didn’t add more.

            I didn’t include the simplified map I drew of Coffeyville – readers’ opinion was mixed on that. I’ll post it at the bottom of this post. I think that it would be useful mostly to a director looking to choreograph the scene and I doubt my script will make it that far.

            And the logline contains an improvement suggested by Wlubake. Thanks! Everyone who commented was very helpful. Great bunch we got here – very perceptive readers.

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

          • klmn

            And a big thanks to Carson for including me in this contest!

          • klmn

            For those who are interested, here is the “Why I Should Be Picked” I sent with my original entry.

            Why I Should Be Picked:

            1) I followed the letter and the spirit of the tournament.

            2)
            It’s not a Comedy, Thriller, or Horror. It’s a Western – the coming
            thing for the next few years, not something that’s been overexposed for
            the last few decades.

            3) It’s a true story, based on research, not standard tropes stolen from other films/screenplays.

            4) It has what Terry Rossio calls “mental real estate” – the Wild Bunch.

            5)
            If you ever time-travel back to the 1890s, it will give you some
            insight on how to rob banks and trains (or conversely, how law
            enforcement was done).

            6) It will make you feel better, expand your mind, and it’s cheaper than drugs (although you could do both).

          • scriptfeels

            Love that you posted this! I’d cross out reason #5, reason #6 is hilarious.

          • klmn

            Thanks.

        • carsonreeves1

          Get me a fried apple pie! They don’t make them here in America anymore (they’re baked – cause of some parents movement or something).

          • Scott Crawford

            It’ll be congealed by the time it gets to LA but sure!

          • carsonreeves1

            nothing better than congealed fried apple pie. mmmmm.

          • Linkthis83

            Which order will the seeds compete? Will you start with 4-5 next weekend and work towards 1-8 in the final week, or vice versa?

          • Mike.H

            Carson, my brother bought half dozen FRIED apple pies in los angeles LAST WEEK. I’ll text him the locations and forward to you soon.

          • garrett_h

            I heard the original McDonald’s still has em. Bit of a drive for most though.

          • Will_Alexander

            I heard, from a friend of a friend — I would CERTAINLY never eat the garbage, myself — but I HEARD…that Taco Bell’s Caramel Apple Empanada might be the fix you’re looking for…

            Just what I heard. From someone who doesn’t respect his body and health the way I, a writer, respects mine…

            Also heard it pairs well with rye whiskey.

          • Scott Crawford

            I had a Taco Bell taco on Santa Monica Pier once and I wasn’t impressed. I’m a big fan of Mexican food but I preferred El Pollo Loco.

            But in England eating out is a more expensive proposition than in America, shopping in a supermarket is easier and just eat in.

          • Will_Alexander

            Eating out’s expensive, huh? What do y’all do, pay your service workers or something? HA! That’s crazy! Silly furners!

            Shit like that’s why you can’t be an empire, anymore. ; )

          • Scott Serradell

            “I’m a big fan of Mexican food but I preferred El Pollo Loco.”

            THOSE…TWO…THINGS…DON’T…EVEN…GO…TOGETHER!!!

          • Scott Crawford

            We’ve just had a big break out of NOROVIRUS at Wahaca Mexican restaurants in England. I’m sticking with Old El Paso and home baking.

          • Scott Serradell

            I’ll be understanding here; when I was in London I survived only by a diet of fags and Guinness. But when in California…GET THEE TO A TACO TRUCK!

          • garrett_h

            The last thing you want from Taco Bell is a taco, oddly as that sounds lol.

          • garrett_h

            Tell your “friend” that my “friend” agrees 100%! The Taco Bell Empanadas are delicious. And they’re always piping hot. Now, if only they’d bring back their churros…

          • klmn

            Carson, I’m gonna have to teach you how to do research.

            ask.com often gives better results than Google. ask.com is more of a search engine, while google is more of a directory service. And you can enter real language questions, like “where to get fried apple pie in los angeles.”

            Which I did.

            http://www.ask.com/web?q=where+to+get+fried+apple+pie+in+los+angeles%3F&qsrc=0&o=0&l=dir&qo=homepageSearchBox

            Here are a couple of promising results. (There are more if you want to dig through them).

            https://foursquare.com/top-places/los-angeles/best-places-apple-pie

            #10 on this list looks like it serves the old McDonald’s pie.

            http://la.eater.com/maps/best-pie-los-angeles

            #9 on this list looks like a fried apple pie.

            You can thank me now and hate me 50 lbs. later.

          • klmn

            And here’s some music to get you in the mood.

          • garrett_h

            Man, I miss those apple pies. I think they used to be 2 for $1. Sooo good. Crispy/flaky crust, warm and gooey apple pie filling… Those were the days!

        • Eddie Panta

          Do they have fish n’ chips?

          • Scott Crawford

            Yes, sort of… they have the Fillet O Fish with tartare sauce and, for some reason although I quite like it, a slice of American cheese. It’s not bad and it’s a good alternative to beef all the time but it’s sometimes a bit too fatty, and I LOVE fried food, but I like food not to be SATURATED in fat.

          • garrett_h

            Love the Filet O Fish. They usually put them on sale during Lent (or whatever holiday it is) and you can get one for $2. Used to be $1.50. And now, they’ve got the 2 for $5. Sometimes I’ll grab two, toss the buns on one, and make a double-decker fish sandwich. Delish!

    • klmn

      Thanks Scott – and I propose that logline only votes not be counted in this and later rounds (assuming Carson concurs).

      • Scott Crawford

        I don’t think there’s any point in voting based on loglines. The 40 scripts were chosen based on their bloglines, some people have already voted for scripts based on their logline…

        One last thing: PLEASE VOTE FOR THE BEST SCRIPT, NOT YOUR BEST FRIEND. If you haven’t read any of these scripts and you’re not going to read them this weekend either, I’d rather you not vote at all than cast a vote for a friend. The idea is to have the best scripts competing, not the most popular commenters competing. If the top 4 vote-getters on Sunday are the 4 most popular commenters within today’s grouping, I’m probably going to pick my own top 4 (hey sorry – wild card rules, baby). Let’s find the best scripts here, guys. On to today’s entries!

        To help Carson out, I’ll be adding the now usual quotes with each vote. If a script gets a lot of votes but the quotes are pretty anemic (I’ll be careful when picking quotes and if people think I’ve chosen the wrong ones then I’ll change it), then Carson – as he wrote – might pick another script that got less votes but better quotes.

        So when people vote THIS TIME and any time from now on, they really need to give a pretty good reason. A few minutes to write a few lines.

        I’ll still count the vote, but without a quote it’s an empty vote. Don’t rock the boat, look at what others wrote. See how ScriptChick and Link and Randy take note, you don’t have to look too hard there for a quote. Maybe, in time, you’ll be able to gloat that the winner would not have won were not for your vote.

        Man, I’m hungry.

    • ocattorney

      ocattorney votes for Odysseus and His Boy
      The opening page is still difficult to read. Where are we? Can’t expect the reader to be instantly familiar with ancient Greece? the script for “Avatar” gave us a build-up so we knew why we were on Pandora…

      .
      Second place to Cratchit.
      In previous rounds, I tried to vote on how well the scripts followed the Rules set out by Carson in his columns. Setting goals, etc.

      I’m voting on my own theories about “Story Value.” Does this movie tell us a Story that we might care about? We know A Christmas Carol is part of fable and that distances us. It’s not a story about people, it’s a story about a Christmas story.
      I have the same problems with a story that imprisons women in a basement for torture. I would still vote against this, because it isn’t a Story that people want to see.

      Police detectives showing up for a paranormal anything… doubtful.
      Movies and scripts are sold on the basis of Genre. right now, Mythology is the most popular. Batman The Dark Knight becomes a mythological hero. The Jedi Knights. I don’t see anything original, that approaches the tenth-grade thinking that made George Lucas create “Jedi Knights” as an evolution of the Emperor’s bodyguards in a universe where a religious order developed “powers”.
      Imagination. Concepts that haven’t been done before. Bill Murray did his version of “Christmas Carol” and that means the bottom of the barrel has already been reached. – Bill Hays

      • Steffan

        Thanks for the vote, oc! Much appreciated!

        If I make it into the next round–I promise–setting’ll be dealt with in a real and detailed way early on the first page.

        I struggled with your comment and others’ about making the first ten move faster.

        I will crack the code. I promise.

    • Linkthis83

      People should be casting 4 votes at a time (assuming they read enough to vote for 4 scripts).

      • UPB13

        That’s a good question. 4 or 1?

        • Linkthis83

          4. This week there needs to be 4 winners, not just one winner like the other weeks.

          • UPB13

            Are you diluting the results by including your 4th favorite script, though? What if everyone disagrees about their top 3, but they all agree that one script is 4th best? It will have the most votes at the expense of others that have all 1st place votes. Just something to think about. I’m not voting, anyway.

          • Scott Crawford

            Pick your favourite Star Trek character: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scottie, Uhura, Sulu, Chekhov, or Jaylah. I know Jaylah was only in the last one but I love here. So, that’s EIGHT choices and we’re going to pick the best four. How? By asking people to vote for their favorite. We’re asking (hopefully) 50 people to vote. It’s unlikely that all 50 will vote for Kirk or that no one will vote for Scottie. In most online examples like this where people are asked to vote for their favorite, you can usually get a top four. Even though few people vote for Chekhov.

          • UPB13

            Riker.

          • Scott Crawford

            Not an option, beard or no beard.

          • UPB13

          • Scott Serradell

            Starfleet Regulation is much more relaxed in the 24th century…

          • scriptfeels

            Why did I watch this….

          • Linkthis83

            I’ve got to send 4 of those people on a mission so I poll the crew to find out which 4. If they all only have one vote, I’m not getting the best crew for the mission, I’m getting everyone’s first pick for the mission.

          • Linkthis83

            Maybe everybody voting for one would yield the same results as four – I’m not smart enough to know for certain.

          • Scott Crawford

            You’re probably right. One thing about voting for one and not four is it leaves the other seven writers wondering whether they were second choice and not feeling so bad? Like, if I said which four I liked, I’d also be telling you which four I DIDNT like. But if I vote for my favorite, then seven writers can think, ok, I lost but I might not have come last. Right or left?

          • Citizen M

            I assume we can vote for any number of scripts up to four..

          • Scott Crawford

            PLEASE VOTE FOR THE BEST SCRIPT – Carson Reeves

            Verbatim. Script. Singular.

            One vote only, please.

          • Citizen M

            Sorry. There are four winners, therefore four votes.

          • Linkthis83

            This is the problem with nobody thinking this shit through logically and then saying “have at it.” Doing percentages in the first place to get here was overly illogical.

            As far as I’m concerned, if the majority of people agree that a certain script is in their top 4, then it should move on as part of the 4.

          • scrimshaw

            If you do 4 wouldn’t you have to rank them as well so they can be weighted accordingly like Oscar voting (1st: 4 pts, 2nd: 3 pts. etc…)?

          • Linkthis83

            I honestly don’t know. My instinct is no. Because I look at it as you’re voting for 4 to move on. So I figure that the four with the most votes to move on should move on. I could be way off-base though.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Ha, we had the same thought.

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s been brought up by others. I think we should by the end of the weekend have four clear highest-voted scripts. Carson should then choose those scripts.

        The bigger problem is reasons why. Carson, as he said above, is looking for reasons why not just empty votes. Everyone should pick their favourite, give a reason why and then Carson can see what the four best scripts are.

        • Kirk Diggler

          I think that readers should vote for their 4 best scripts ranked 1-4, 1st vote worth 4 points, 2nd vote worth 3 points, third vote worth… well you get the idea.

          A weighted system will make it slightly fairer if you ask me because it will give credence to second place votes which is something you typically count anyway. What this does is take away from the people who only come here to vote for a particular script without weighing the work of other authors.

          • Scott Crawford

            OK, you fucking do the calculations then. Only three people have voted and we’ve been going for 14 hours.

          • Kirk Diggler

            And do you think the three people who voted read parts of all 8 scripts? ;-)

          • Linkthis83

            I don’t feel the rankings are necessary. Only because I look at it as picking 4 #1s. That’s why I started this whole mess. Each week people were voting for the ONE they wanted because only ONE was a winner.

            This weekend will have FOUR winners which is why I think it’s FOUR 1st place votes.

            And then we’d tally the number of VOTES and the top four vote-getters move on (this seems so simple in my head – except for having to tally all FOUR votes which is why I apologized to SC from the start)

      • garrett_h

        I was just about to mention this.

        IMO the best scoring system would be to pick 4 scripts, ranked 1 through 4, and use a point system to determine the winner.

        A 1st Place vote is worth 4 points, 2nd is 3, and 3rd and 4th are 2pts and 1pt of course. Then tally up the points, and the four scripts with the highest point totals win.

        As it stands, there very well could be several scenarios that make the winners unclear. Like one script gets a ton of votes, and the rest split the remainder in a virtual tie. Or we get even votes across the board.

        Might be too late to go that route, though. Votes are already coming in.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      So, my four faves and I wish I could vote for each:

      ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY – this gets my “vote that counts”.
      WIDOW’S WALK
      HELLFIRE ALLEY
      A DARKER PLACE

      • Scott Crawford

        All right, since you’ve put a lot of thought into it, I’ll put the three runners-up as a third of a vote each. Fair?

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Thank you :)

        • Wijnand Krabman

          WTF!!!! I started with giving 1/3 votes the first week and then you said we can’t do that because we have to work with one script which is the best! And now is everybody complaining they can’t just vote for one script because……. I don’t see the problem just vote for the best script unregarded if it is written by a friend or not it doesn’t matter.
          Well saying that, let me vote this week! I tried all these eight scripts and i liked Widow’s walk and Breaking them up the most. They where easy reads so I read them from cover to cover. I like Brett very much because he is a nice guy and a good writer, to sad I don’t like horror and that’s why I vote for Breaking them up which writer i don’t know. It is also exceptionally well written. It has a very nice touch of humor and a positive attitude. I see this as a very marketable concept and for me this is the winner of the contest.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s only 1/3 votes for runners-up. I was having trouble with computer a few weeks back and everyone wanted to half votes and I was having trouble constantly updating.

            If people WANT to spilt their vote in half, they can do that. If people want to vote in 1/4, I’ll try that but I might have trouble keeping track. Moreover, splitting your vote makes it harder to pick out a winner.

            In the meantime, I’ll log your vote for Breaking, and thank you!

    • Scott Serradell

      (to save you a trip, Scott…)

      MY PICK: “Odysseus and his Boy”
      QUOTE: “because Steffan showed a tremendous ability in letting his characters speak as they should — each with a sense of individuality and some strong dialogue.”

      • Scott Crawford

        Picking your own quote takes the fun out of it! I have, therefore, subtly modified it…

        • Scott Serradell

          You and I have VERY different definitions of fun ;)

    • brenkilco

      My vote Hellfire Alley. I like the changes that have been made and we need a solid western in this mix.

      • klmn

        Thanks brenkilco.

    • Linkthis83

      I do actually vote for CRATCHIT (and the other two I listed, but I’m not going to debate it). I’m not sure If I will vote in the upcoming weekends, but I do vote today :)

      • Scott Crawford

        Strangely enough, I don’t want to debate it either! But I think, in the end, it’s worked out well. We’ve got (so far) four front-runners, each with great comments, each with great reasons for people voting for them. My feeling is that is because voted for their favorite ONE rather splitting the vote or whatever.

        Specially to you, do you want me to put the other two listed screenplays (I forget which ones, I’ll look it up) as runners-up with 1/2 vote each? Might help if there’s a draw.

        • Linkthis83

          Yeah. That sounds like a good plan

    • Kirk Diggler

      My vote is for A Darker Place. My notes on that are posted elsewhere.

      2nd place for me is Breaking Them Up. Notes also in earlier post.

      Odysseus needed to lure me in quickly but it didn’t grab me. Historical epics are tough sells for the spec market. Was always going to be an uphill battle.

      21 Days in the Amazon doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like someone was a fan of a TV show and then played a game of ‘what if things went to hell?” The writing was decent but this just feels predictable, and i think the found footage trope doesn’t work well in this type of format. Found footage = RAW footage. This felt like ‘found edited footage’.

      I read Cratchit first time around and the writing was very good– but I didn’t care for this new take on A Christmas Carol though. Talented writer.

      Widow’s Walk felt very similar to the draft I read some of last time around. It still feels like the interrogation is just a way to drop all the pertinent details in our lap without doing a proper first act. It’s also off from a motivational standpoint, no one volunteers to be interrogated by the police (especially if they say they are innocent), and almost no one would agree to have their house searched and then not be present for it (or have an attorney present). So while there may be some interesting horror visuals present, the storytelling feels like we’ve been thrown into the 2nd act before we’ve gotten to know anyone.

      Felix is nicely written but I gave notes on that one previously and didn’t vote for it.

      Good luck to all the writers.

    • wad_d

      Hi Scott, as always, you’re doing an excellent job. Whenever you had a chance, I just wanted to make sure you added Scriptfeels vote to my tally, who was kind enough to vote for me. It’s above somewhere. Cheers.

      • Scott Crawford

        scriptfeels’ comments seemed to have disappeared (at least on my computer) but I found a record of them when I clicked his name. I hope they do reappear because, man, those are some good notes. I made his quote extra long because frankly it’s so moving.

        In fact this whole weekend has been very emotional for me and maybe for others. To see so many of my friends (I do think you of you as my friends, I’ve known many of you for a long time) doing so well, putting in the work, and cheering each other on. No bitching, no backstabbing.

        And just the EMOTIONAL reactions to people’s scripts reminds us that sometimes we almost forget that our main aim is to elicit emotion and to do that you really need to connect with your reader DEEP DOWN.

        This is what you’ve done this weekend, David, all the writers. Well done!

    • Paul Clarke

      Hi Scott, keep up the good work.

      Put me down for a vote for – WIDOW’S WALK

      I haven’t got time to write out detailed notes on them all, but I found it to be the most professionally presented script that would be ready to go into development soon.

      Runner up – CRATCHIT

      • Scott Crawford

        Phew! Better now than later! I’ll be asleep in about an hour or so. Appreciate it and I’m sure Brett does too.

    • andyjaxfl

      As a lover of westerns, please give my vote to HELLFIRE ALLEY.

      • klmn

        Thanks Andy.

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

      Hi ya’ll, hope this isn’t too late.

      My vote this week goes to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY. It is my clear winner, and one of my favorite scripts in the tournament so far (it got my vote in the bracket it was in, my original notes can be found there).

      pg. 1 the crowd ‘is’ — lowercase

  • Steffan

    Good luck, all!

    The changes I made to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY were all recommended by the community so as to streamline the first act. I shaved a few pages off the opening twenty to make it a faster paced opening.

    I hope I’ll have some stick it through to the end. More than any of my other work I really feel that this script builds and builds to a third act that feels right, and true, and satisfying. If you read it and agree I’d be honored by your vote. If you disagree, I’d love to hear how I could strengthen this piece.

    In the end, thanks to anyone and everyone who cracks it open and gives it a whirl. Odysseus is in good company this weekend. Good luck everyone!

    • Scott Crawford

      The key to making people stick it out to the end is to make sure there are boring parts, no scenes that don’t need to be there. So shaving pages off might be a good idea. But you want to make sure you’re not just hoping that people make it through to the end because the end is the only exciting bit. I’m sure that’s not the case.

      • Steffan

        Totally, Scott!

        I follow the rule that every ten/fifteen pages brings a new twist/wrinkle to the story. I know Carson has talked about that in his Mini-Movie model. I’ve also seen it visually in Will Martell’s “Secrets of Action Screenwriting.”

        Every fifteen pages in Od. moves the story in a different direction which, hopefully, will keep people reading to the end.

        • Scott Crawford

          In Old Hollywood they called such events “whammies;” according to Ted Raimi, they would stick all the pages up on the wall, one after the other, and make sure that – every ten pages – something exciting happened.

        • UPB13

          I love his books, even though they’re repetitive from book to book.

    • scriptfeels

      I’ll try to read your script next, just need a rest before I dig in.

  • andyjaxfl

    The article’s picture is so pulpy and glorious that I want it on my wall.

  • Scott Crawford

    Have you read the new draft or is this based on the old draft? I only ask because I’m sure Carson will.

  • Laura D.

    Oh yeah!!! Let the games begin – so excited to read all the.changes!!!

  • UPB13

    Alright! Thanks for the second chance! 21 Days in the Amazon. I really hope you stick around for a full read, and if you haven’t already, check out the controversial midpoint twist (half my readers hate it!).

    First off, since you’re probably going to read page 1, there’s one change that didn’t get into this draft, but it’s not worth a full repost. I bolded all of the title cards, primarily because the last one bleeds into the first action line, and I don’t want you to get confused.

    That leads me to the first change. I’ve gone through many versions of the title cards, and I think I’ve got it where I create intrigue but don’t give away the tension of knowing who/if/how many die right there on page 1.

    I’ve added some mini-scenes with Butch to increase tension, and I’ve tweaked his motivation to make it a little bit clearer. I think he’s even more scary now.

    I’ve also fixed up a good chunk of description to darken the mood. And I’ve either streamlined or rewritten a lot of dialogue.

    I’ve tried to bulk up the characters of Simon and Florence, without slowing down the narrative. This is the most important, and most difficult, change. Hopefully I’m getting close.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that readers who have seen Naked and Afraid like this much more than those who haven’t. I think it’s because they have more tolerance for the first act setup and they understand the nature of the show (e.g., you’re not trying to escape — you have to stay there the full 21 days).

    • scrimshaw

      Hey, I really enjoyed this one. First one I’ve felt compelled to (and) read all the way through so far. I definitely see the movie here.

      Page one WORKS. I was definitely hooked, there was a moment early on where it just clicked and I understood what the movie was going to be and you really did well with the initial intro.

      My big piece of feedback would be to try to make Butch less of a complete dick from the first moment we meet him. I think it’d be more interesting if he’s portrayed as this same tough, ex-G.I., live off the land guy, but at least he’s decent teammate to start.

      Maybe he’s a bit more stoic and business-like than Juliet expects and so they aren’t connecting, but not initially openly hostile to literally everyone. It would also be an opportunity to keep Florence and Simon more active early on by giving them the challenge of trying to get some good footage out of this reserved, tough guy but he’s just plugging along not giving them the good T.V. moments (especially helpful because they become such a huge role later on). Then a quick descent into madness as things don’t initially go well would be an interesting transition for Butch’s character as all of a sudden they have too much from this crazy guy.

      Oh and one other thing, I think Phil’s monologue didn’t feel believable. My recommendation is to cut it.

      Overall, great work!

      • UPB13

        Hey, thanks! I’ve received so much mixed feedback about Butch. He’s definitely more aggressive this draft than previously. I’m still searching for that right balance.

        Yeah, brain rot Phil suddenly starts talking… a lot. I’ll have to work on that. I want to keep the main point, but cut it to a couple sentences.

      • UPB13

        How’s this for 5 minutes work? I wish I’d done it last week! Thanks for the advice.

        PHIL
        Florence can take care of herself.
        SIMON
        Phil, you need to lie down —
        Phil swats Simon away like a gnat.
        SIMON
        Phil, I’m serious —
        PHIL
        Sit down and shut up or you’re fired.
        Simon plunges into a chair.
        PHIL
        She’s like Juliet. Pure strength of will. That’s what it takes to survive.
        Phil collapses, spent.
        PHIL
        You should worry more about yourself.

        • scrimshaw

          Yeah, I like this a lot better. Feels more real.

    • scriptfeels

      Congrats for making it to the wild card round! I gave it a full read and posted my notes in my comments section. I hope my feedback is constructive. I hadn’t read any of the previous drafts and have never seen Naked and Afraid. Good luck!

      That ending though! Why!!!

  • scriptfeels

    Wow! Carson, your newsletter was a great read. I also really enjoyed the cubs article yesterday as well. I gotta work tomorrow, but I should have the rest of the weekend free to delve into the scripts. I read parts of A darker place and felix from past weeks, so I’m looking forward to dive into the scripts this weekend. A lot of scripts, 8, haven’t seen that before on scriptshadow for voting before, really curious how this debacle will unfold.

    will come back to edit my comments for votes and comments and such, ;3

    I miss the old kanye.

    -tootles

    • scriptfeels

      21 days in the amazon NEW DRAFT review

      SPOILERS

      opened
      up 21 days in the amazon, enjoying the read so far, liking the ptsd
      setup and curious when the plot goes off the rail in a good way :3 I’ve
      read to pg.30 so far. I’m going to focus on reading as many pages as I
      can averse to providing thorough feedback to the writers this week,
      unless I feel the need/urge to go out of my way. I was a little confused
      in the setup, until I read further into it. From what I was reading, I
      thought there were more than 2 contestants, but the plot focus’ on two,
      so it wasn’t made clear, but became clear since there weren’t other
      characters involved aside from the fat sound woman and another character
      whose job I didn’t understand. Overall, I like that I can picture what
      I’m reading in my head, as if I’m watching the movie and the script
      pulls me into the story. It’s working thus far, going to have to read
      more to get a better judgement though.

      I’ll get to the other scripts as well :3

      —continued reading the next morning starbucks with a cup of joe :3
      so i’m at pg.60

      We see Juliet impaled on a stick, and the camera goes off, meaning that Florence and Simon’s reactions are done off screen! You have this great scene of our main character dead, a big twist I didn’t see coming and we get a calm what should we do scene after instead of seeing Simon and Florence react to Juliet dead. Although shit happened at the production camp, all of that was done off screen so this was the first death in the movie and it happens more than halfway in our script. Maybe the writer doesn’t want this story to have violence in it, but when the best bits are left off screen it pesters me as a reader. Show me the good bits! haha.

      pg. 62/63 I like the story simon is telling Florence. This is good scene prepping because theres a frog on Florence so theres tension in the scene, what’s going to happen with the poisonous frog, so we are interested to hear this story because of the tension, also shows Simon’s character, that he’s doing things his way and his type of friendship/relationship with Florence.

      pg.64
      Butch has a camera too?

      pg.65
      I just realized from racing the numbers mean bupkis line that I don’t know where these characters are from or how old they are. I know from the introduction of Florence and Simon that Simon is a nerdy film guy and Florence is a fat women who is doing the sound, but aside from that I don’t know anything about their backstory, the bupkis word stood out to me because it seems I don’t know where Florence’s dialogue comes from, or what her background is. For example, is she from Maine, Canada, Brazil, California. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I’d like to get to know the characters better or understand them more if we’re going to spend the second half of the script with them.

      pg.66-67
      Thoughts on the snake scene, ups the stakes since it takes out Simon’s leg, but are snakes the type of conflict you want in act 2? Shouldn’t we be focusing on Butch as the main conflict at this point in the story?

      pg.68
      Would these characters really save the anaconda? Doesn’t seem believable to me, these weren’t contestants for the show, just production crew. Meaning I was led to believe they don’t have wildlife survival skills and wouldn’t keep a dead snake for later.

      pg.71
      Why are these characters kissing? Feels very forced to me. This still doesn’t feel like a life or death situation to me either. They are camping eating anaconda, this scene feels like filler compared to the real story here, them trying to survive butch and make it back to civilization.

      -Whose Phil?

      pg.73
      I’m sure other commenters have discussed to the writer about addressing Butch’s sword as annabelle, I thought it was a quirky decision that gave the writer voice when it was first introduced, but in some instances in the script such as this, it makes it unclear what is going on onscreen. For example “Annabelle hunts.” What is the sword attacking? What is Butch hunting here? Is he crouching in the shadows behind a bush? Is the sword stalking an animal? Be clear in your writing if you’re already asking the reader to pretend Butch’s machete is a character.

      Also, I thought Simon and Florence were trying to leave, now they’re back at the earth mother statue going back the way they came? I like that its setup earlier in the story, but the payoff is confusing since it shows that they aren’t leaving camp.
      Feels like a story convenience…

      pg.75
      I like this production crew graveyard scene, haven’t seen this scene in a film before. Finnally something juicy late in the script! I love that Phil is alive as well. If everyone had been dead it would have been less dramatic.

      pg.77/78
      I like the addition of saving phil, and the short term conflict scene of syphoning gas into the atv.

      One thing I was thinking around the anaconda scene earlier is that you should place your protagonist int he worst situation possible and see how they make it out of it. This story is perfect for this type of setup, yet I feel that Simon and Florence could’ve been put in far worse situations. I feel more interaction with Butch directly would greatly increase the tension in this story since although its clear Butch is crazy, I don’t sympathize with Floresence and Simon and if they died it wouldn’t really bother me so far. If there was more tension and I was made to care more about them, then I would be rooting for them, at this point in the script I just want to see how they get out of this situation. My initial point was that I think the urgency and stakes could be raised, Butch is hunting them and they want to save Phil so now the urgency is increased, but I’d advise to up it up even further!

      pg.79
      enjoying butch’s blog entries on mother earth’s children, great to see his reaction of phil gone.

      pg.79/80
      I don’t know what they are discussing or what options they are referring to. The opening of the scene worked with the napkins on the ground and wondering who is outside the tent, but the dialogue after between Simon and Florence confused me.

      pg.81
      Theres a ping pong table in the social tent? I am very confused on what a social tent is now haha.

      pg.82
      Phil is cracking jokes now? Is this true to his character at this point in the story after what he’s been through with Butch?

      I like Phil talking as a director reflecting on casting the characters we’ve been following, but it doesn’t make too much sense since Florence and Simon are now our protagonist and Juliet is dead.

      Phils death here feels very unwarranted. I felt that he was recovering.

      pg.83
      I love the “I’d have brung flowers, but you took mine” line. I would change brung to brought though, still unsure where these characters come from in the real world.

      pg.84
      I like that simon doesn’t want to live anymore. It’s an interesting change for his character, shows that he’s given up after what we’ve seen him gone though. Hoping he arcs again when flo saves him haha.

      -would butch really refer to Simon as ‘silly goose’ at this point…

      pg.85
      I like butch force feeding Simon, I wish this scene was pushed forward in the script though. Instead of the anaconda scene this scene would have been perfect. I understand the buildup of the past scenes, just wish this story moved quicker at some parts and cut out some of the filler.

      pg.86
      This is the type of violent imagery needed to make the audience fear Butch. It’s so late in the script though. If only this type of fear was illicited earlier so that we would have tension through the script instead of waiting for the next crazy Butch scene to take place.

      I also love the choice of dry ramen noodles here. It is easy to picture how much that would hurt, that that food would be there because of the crew, its a great fit for the forced feeding scene.

      pg.87
      We probably don’t need the raw chicken forced feeding, the point already got across in the last scene, I got a gross out/repulsive reaction from imagining the raw chicken being force fed, It seems like a repeat scene with less tension thats just used to shock after the previous scene. I would advise ending it with butch making a decision to get Flo, or some new goal for Butch instead of a cheap reaction scene.

      pg.89
      Having Butch carve the x, and the date to keep line are great stuff! Shows through action what Butch’s new goal is. I also like that Simon is coerced into getting Flo to meet him at camp, and the twist that she’s coming back for him.

      pg.89
      Thanks for having Flo explain why she’s back.

      “The verkakte go-kart got me ten miles. If I’d kept going, you’d be dead. And I’d starve. Who’d kill Butch?”

      Does she really want to kill Butch though? I never saw resolve between Simon and Florence that they wanted to kill Butch, but that they wanted to make it out alive. I feel that if they needed to kill Butch to survive they would, but that they wouldn’t go out of their way to kill him for revenge or personal feelings.

      pg.90/91
      Although we the audience knows that Simon gave up, how does Florence know that he’s given up? If the writer set this up for Florence through having Simon tell her to leave him again or that he wants to die/have her kill him I would understand, but this scene needs more prep to make it work. I like the concept here though, it just needs a little scene preparation to make it believable for Florence’s character to have this knowledge of Simon at this point.

      pg.92
      Butch is purring into a snarl now? I like this small character trait that shows he’s still off his rocker.

      pg.93
      The social tent bait scene wasn’t prepped enough either, I didn’t realize flo and Simon were using Simon as bait to catch Butch until the end of the scene.

      pg.94
      I’m really confused, when did Flo become Butch’s hostage? Now Simon is going to fight a jaguar that’s Butch’s new pet? Very random decisions in my opinion.
      I’d recommend having the jaguar fight Simon immediately with a twist that it’s Butch’s new pet. Actually, I’m not sure just putting ideas out there,

      I understood what was happening in this scene as I read the next page/as I started writing about it, but as a reader I think the situation needs a little more preparation, maybe just half a page or a small paragraph setting it up.

      I enjoy Butch explaining the beheading films, gives us insight why he had the victims up to their heads in his garden. I like this character development.

      speaking of Butch’s character… I think I can reflect on some things.

      Reflecting on Butch’s character, his motivations hinge on believing in mother earth. It would be great to have more backstory about his belief in this if its executed believably. For example, he wants to repent for his sins or believes he’s mother earths executioner, or some explanation of why he believes all of the mother earth jumbo. As it stands, I think the mother earth motivation works for Butch’s character, just because he’s a crazy mo fo, but giving him some death would be very entertaining I think, put us in the mind of the killer. Using the found footage is perfect for this as well/enhances it.

      pg.96
      Is Butch or Simon scratching the Jaguars ears? The first time I read it I thought Simon was, but after re-reading it it appears after Butch’s dialogue. I would clarify this.

      Also, having Simon ask Butch to kill Flo first is fitting for Simon’s character arc to live and unexpected. Nice job. This death triangle is a great premise for conflict as well.

      pg.97/98
      How does Simon flash light into Butch’s eyes to start the counter attack? Clarify please.

      I was sort of hoping that Flo and Simon wouldn’t be able to defeat Butch and that the jaguar would do the final blow as a twist, revealing themes of nature has no owner/nature plays by its own rules/ or nature gives ant takes or things like that. Wasn’t sure what the inclusion of the jaguar meant for that final scene. Just used as a gimmick? As an unexpected choice? Either way glad the writer is trying to do something different even if the execution leaves me guessing why the writer chose to include it.

      I do like that Simon and Flo use Butch’s machete ‘Annabelle’ to kill Butch. Its ironic.

      some small thoughts on pg.94-96
      I like Butch’s dialogue here, that he is making a choice to decide who to kill. That he lets the jaguar decide, then annabelle decide, then the twist that Simon offers a decision. I liked the eenie money moe annabelle dialogue line.

      —Interesting choices for the final climax scene. I think this is the milk of your script. You can really milk this scene out. Was half expecting a twist to lead to Butch going on a hunt to kill Simon, or that Butch would survive and everyone else would die, leaving the audience in a creepy unsettling ending. I think that’s how I would have written the third act myself, but its all subjective and personal preference at this point I believe. I was surprised by the writer’s ending here, was I satisfied? Yes, but I was also expecting more I think. I think because it was setup in the beginning of the script that the show never aired, if everyone had died but Butch, it would have made more sense than the Flo and Simon surviving. Just a reader’s opinion, take it with a grain of salt.

      pg. 99/100
      Back to casual talk between florence and Simon… I’d love to see the character’s show how this experience was traumatizing for them, whether its through distilled silence between them, a heartfelt hug, or them just wanting to get the fuck out of the jungle already. Or coming to their own philosophical conclusions, such as that they beat nature or something to reflect on the themes of this story instead of “not now, honey, I have a headache.”

      pg.102
      If you’re going to chronicle the days/nights, make it consistent through the script. I only saw one instance around pages 70 or 80 of it chronicling the day or night. Start it in the beginning and make it an ongoing vlog habit, or make it particular to one character like Flor or simon when they vlog to give it contract to Butch or other characters vlogs. Make each vlogger unique.

      pg.100/101
      This romance we made it out alive scene makes me want to puke because of the dialogue. “we had quite an adventure, didn’t we?”
      “we did.”
      Very tonally different than what these characters just experienced. Make it consistent, how would these characters act with each other after the butch climax? Would they be this casual? If they are in love show it through action, if they are happy they survived, show it through action. Screaming in the jungle that they made it with laughter is one example, a passionate kiss for a payoff of their survival and new relationship would be another option. I’m throwing ideas out there, I just think action would be a better choice than cheesy dialogue at this point.

      pg. 102
      Simon uses night twenty here, this is what I commented on earlier, make this consistent with SImon’s past vlogs. Also at this point, would Simon still be counting. Wouldn’t he say something like “we made it! We’re alive! I don’t know what night it is anymore and I couldn’t care less! What matters is we’re alive and we’re finally going home.”

      pg.103/104
      Isn’t butch dead! This is bullshit! What a cheap twist to me. Wow this ending really upset me. If you choose to end with Flo and Simon defeating Butch and living happily, don’t throw Butch in a quick final twist scene and expect the reader to be happy about it. Stick with your decisions. If you want Butch to win, then have him win the last fight, or extend the last scene to give Simon and Flo a chance to defeat him then have him defeat them through his survival skills, I wouldn’t have Butch lose then have him magically show up on the captain boat alive to try to kill Simon before fading out. This ending really frustrates me. Commit to your decisions.

      Overall. for me this borders between –
      [x] wasn’t for me
      and
      [x] worth the read

      Some scenes were great and I got interested to see how the story would evolve, how it would end, and how the characters would act. The relationship between flo and simon was well crafted I thought in the second act, and some decisions I was initially put off by, after going along with it turned out to be fun such as killing Juliet in the middle act and switching our protagonists. It made the story different and more fresh than I was expecting. Overall, I think I would have made a number of different decisions writing this type of story and gave my thoughts in various parts above, but I did enjoy this story. What I enjoyed the most was Butch’s character. This character really grabbed my interest, my main point above that I want to readdress is pushing forward scenes that make us fear Butch farther ahead in the story. Having us fear butch at page.70 or 80 isn’t nearly as effective as having us fear him before Juliet’s death and creating tension in the first half of the script. The third act is entertaining because we fear Butch, but the first half doesn’t have this tension and it was only really created for me after Butch force fed Simon dry noodles, buried him alive, and kicked out his teeth after screaming about his devotion to mother nature. This is a crazy character and the main entertainment in this story in my opinion.

      Hopefully my thoughts and notes are constructive for the writer, I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would. Parts of it reminded me of blair witch because of the dialogue between flo and simon being corny and annoying whether it was their bickering or their thoughts. Another pet peeve for me was that a lot of juicy scenes were shown off camera. Such as Butch messing up the production site and killing the production crew/people and burying them. If Butch is vlogging, wouldn’t it be great to see some of this onscreen from his vlog, whether its just small bits of him dragging a body, to him slitting a throat, to him sneakily killing someone at the base camp. Either way, it left me frustrated and disappointed that some of these violent actions of Butch’s were left off screen and I think it would help create fear of his character earlier in the script as well.

      Overall, I enjoyed the script a lot in some parts, then was left frustrated in others. I feel that with a couple more drafts this script could be a [x] worth the read. If this script was produced the way it is now, I would probably still enjoy it as a film on the big screen, and be frustrated with certain scenes. It reminds me of some horror films I’ve watched where I enjoyed the overall experience, but certain scenes frustrated me so much that I won’t bother rewatching the film or recommending it to others. That’s how I feel here. I like the overall script, but certain scenes or decisions put me off from recommending it. With a draft or two of rewrites and story tweaks I think this script could do great! It has a lot of potential and the writer is passionate about the material. In terms of writing, it is lean and the scenes are kept short. Kudos to the writer for getting me so interested in his/her script I hope the best for the script’s future! I hope my feedback is useful and the writer can take away some constructive feedback from my long notes. Best of luck!

      Things I learned-
      Commit to your ending, don’t decide on one ending then surprise the reader with a cheap last minute ending twist that doesn’t make sense with what you’ve already gone with. If you’re going to have the protagonists win, have them win.

      If your script hinges on a psychotic killer, have them do outrageous unspeakable things then explain why its realistic for the character to do so. This is done through Butch here in the script, from him hunting down the production crew, and buying them alive because he believes they were accomplices in destroying and raping nature. It’s believable to the character so it makes his character frightening and creates tension because he believes he is doing the right thing when it’s clearly insane. Great job creating an interesting character!

      I still have to read more of the 8 scripts to decide where this falls in this weekend’s entries :3 So far not so bad!

      • scriptfeels

        Widow’s walk Review IN PROGRESS

        spoilers probably…

        widows walk notes

        pg.2
        “The TINNITUS ATTACK intensifies to a merciless shrill drone
        that brings tears to Grace’s eyes.”

        I’m not familiar with tinnitus so I’m not sure what a tinnitus attack looks like on screen.

        Angry cell phones? haha. Are they flying mid-air? A little confused.

        pg.3
        How does Grace know where she is? This isn’t connecting with me so far.

        I thought Grace was a kid, surprised that she is now married to Matt. I guess she isn’t a kid haha.

        pg.4
        So far, a lot of stuff is happening but I don’t understand what’s going on. This happens in various movies so it’s not necessarily a negative thing.

        pg.5
        Grace is a psychic? No signs of this so far. Although having other characters describe or talk about characters is a great way for us to gain interest in them. If its important that Grace is a psychic it might be better to show us instead of tell us though.

        pg.6
        Do cellphones cause tinnitus attacks? I don’t know anything about tinnitus so just trying to understand.

        pg.7/8
        So chelsea is Grace’s daughter, and she is looking for her through her visions. Now I’m getting information about her goal and where this story is going.

        pg.8
        Nice creepy imagery of the children’s mouths opening and no sound coming out.

        reading this listening to lil wayne, good times.

        pg.13
        i’m getting more intrigued by the story, i like the creepy imagery and the concept is finally show some life on the page from grace’s younger self appearing in the police investigation room to saying i know something you don’t know. I like it!

        pg.14
        Digging the dead grace box’ moving and Grace only being able to see the horror. Good stuff!

        questiosn I’m asking myself – is young grace a demon or spirit or something evil taking the form of a younger grace in her visions? What the hell is going on haha, in a good way!

        pg.18
        a character is named child killer mother, did this mother kill her children?

        pg.19
        I don’t know what a seance is, so i don’t know what they’re talking about :/

        what house is the murder house? the house where the murders took place that she was afraid of going into? If so, why is she there if she refused to go there a scene ago?

        I do like that the writer continues to put Matt and Grace in places they don’t want to be. The cops investigation, the flash paparazzi mob, and now the murder house. Good choices!

        pg.20
        Thanks for explaining widow’s walk, didn’t make the connection of what it was until now, but I remembered that I had learned about widow’s walks before and how it applied to sailor’s wives and such that waited for their dead husbands or husbands thought to be dead out at sea to come home.

        pg. 21
        I like using young grace as the ghost/spooky thing. Another choice I like! Creates mystery and an interesting spirit since its unexplained, but we’re spending time with the same character as older Grace.

        pg.23
        I love creepy wet cellar’s in horror movies, reminds me of the conjuring 2.

        instead of focusing on the conflict in the scene, i’m thinking more about if the scene is spooky or has scary tension. I think a lot of the scenes are accomplishing this so far and am enjoying the read.

        pg.24
        I wish I understood what a seance is. I guess I’ll find out.

        pg.25/26
        I like that one of the bodies is missing. This is different and interesting because I haven’t seen a body outline go missing before in a film. I don’t watch csi though so maybe this is a common cliche that i’m not aware of, but to me its great!

        I still don’t understand what smartphones and tablets have to do with Grace’s psychic powers or her visions, waiting for that explanation or payoff. Either way, it’s interesting to see a horror script use modern technology for story purposes. I hope it works.

        pg.27
        So this is a haunted house? the cap disintegrates in ghost water, cool visuals, but not really scary since our protagonists aren’t in any danger. Just creepy visuals.

        pg.29
        nice to see the ghost stuff in the basement is playing a role in the scene, if it didn’t I would have complained that the visuals before were unwarrented, but since it’s being used, its a nice setup as well as a payoff to the missing cap. Nice.

        pg.30
        This is a great way to use the modern technology, play old family videos in the middle of a creepy/scary scene. Great work!

        pg.30/31
        i don’t really know anything about Simon’s character aside from the brief mention that he knows Grace’s psychic stuff better than Matt. I like that his introduction is a twist, but should have entered the script earlier or was his brief mention enough of a setup?

        pg.38
        Enjoying the young grace playing piano. I like the setup used with Simon singing the song, then having him assist Grace in seeing her vision, then the reveal that it’s grace under the sheet. Good stuff!

        • scriptfeels

          Breaking them up notes

          pg.20
          change “a hands flies in…” to “a hand flies in”
          First thing that stopped me from reading, and on page 20 no less!

          pg.26 laughing out loud from this.
          “DAMIEN
          Past the koi pond, right next to the
          blackjack tables. Of course there’s
          not an ATM. It’s a school.

          pg.34
          What does fka mean in GREG’s introduction?

          pg.40
          What does “Greg clocks it” mean here? He is timing their game of patty cake?

          pb.77
          laughed out loud at
          Damien
          “Cause it’s Lou. By your own admission
          the guy’s a cheeseball. Instead of
          saying something’s funny he says
          ‘that’s lol’.

          pg.85
          laughed out loud at Doyle knocking over the lamp.

          pg.88
          Mr. Paulson acting serious about the apple stock split got me laughing.

          pg.91
          Although this isn’t finished, or is this okay, having an unknown song about growing apart in the script, I’m okay with this since it’s true to his character and the scene is entertaining.

          pg.98-100
          cried from the divorce scene, then cried again when Erin and Damien kissed.

          Finished reading and I was very emotionally involved in this script. The characters are all grounded and believable. I haven’t seen divorce shown in this way before in a movie, and although you see the end coming miles away, it still hits you like a pile of bricks because of the emotional weight the scene has for the main character Damien. This script feels ready to be made into an indie movie and I loved reading it. As someone who grew up with divorced parents I am very biased as I could relate personally to the themes and issues this script brought the reader to question and ponder about. Overall, this was the most heart wrenching of the scripts from this tournament that I’ve read so far.

          I really don’t have any critical feedback for this script, I really loved reading it and want to thank the writer for having the drive to write about such a serious topic. I recommend the read.

          [x] genius

          Giving it a genius because it made me cry, can’t think of the last script that has done that, it must have been 4 or 5 years ago probably.

          I read this script from pg 1 straight to the end, no breaks and was only interrupted by a grammar issue on pg.20. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think, and reflect.

          This is an emotionally touching story that I think is the cream of the crop of this tournament.

          • scriptfeels

            read to page 55 of Cratchit.

            Entertaining read. Giving Cratchit the character trait of a fighter was a unique way to relive the same story.

            I didn’t write notes while reading this one as I’m getting tired and felt that I could keep reading until the end on this one as well, but would like to spend some time on more scripts if I can.

            This is easy to read though.

            What I’ve learned this weekend is that for each of the scripts the first ten pages was difficult because you weren’t hooked into the story and stopped to question minor details, or if something didn’t make sense I was very critical. After you get hooked and spend more time with the characters though, I feel like my guard went down and I read to enjoy the story.

            Cratchit gets an in between
            [x] wasn’t for me
            and
            [x] worth the read

            based on what I read.

          • scriptfeels

            read to pg. 44 of Hellfire Alley.

            I felt like I was skimming the material, but its so sparsely written that its also the fastest script to read.

            My favorite scene was the train robbery scene where they don’t rob the first car, then rob the second and shoot the guy holding the shotgun in the passenger car to get to the safe.

            The death hanging scene’s priest speech went on for way to long.

            I also liked that the girl who hangs out with the group stole a horse and gave them the message about when to rob the train. That was fun!

            Overall, I felt that this story was too simple for me in a way that I wasn’t interested in the material. The writing is good, but I wasn’t compelled by this story. Good effort by the writer and hopefully its a fun read for western fans.

            Why are these men robbing trains? What are their motivations? What do they want, just money? The script shows and doesn’t tell which is usually good, but from reading I couldn’t really get an understanding of the group of 5 or 6 characters robbing trains.

            [x] wasn’t for me

            I’m also a bit tired, so that may have affected my reading experience a bit.

          • klmn

            Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the effort.

          • wad_d

            Wow. I dunno what else to say other than I’m pretty floored by this. I’m really glad you responded to it. This is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me about my writing so it makes all the hard work worth it. Thanks for finding the typo. I’ll continue to clean those up as I keep working on it. The fka is an acronym for “formerly known as”. And by “clocks” I mean like “Greg notices this”. I think Scott Z. Burns uses that expression a lot in his scripts. A few other screenwriters I like use it, too, so I stole it from them. Thanks again, Scriptfeels. And your detailed notes on all these scripts (8!) is pretty amazing, btw.

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

    Thanks Carson for giving WIDOW’S WALK another chance in the WildCard! Despite all the crazy things happening lately, I did manage to carve out time to revisit the script…

    WYSR this New Draft: I incorporated tons of the comprehensive notes from the community to tighten up act one of my entry. I reworked the opener to make it a more genuine experience for readers. The dialogue has been put on a strict diet and I sharpened the interrogation sequence. Despite a low character count and being built for production, this story is near and dear to my heart. I grew up on the coast of New England. One night, I swore I saw a ghost high up in a widow’s walk on the shores of Buzzards Bay when I was boy. My mother was a self-proclaimed psychic and would tell me ghost stories all the time. Even though I wrote this story in thirteen weeks, WW is a very personal tale and a passion project for me. Thanks for reading! May the best four scripts advance!

    • klmn

      Good luck with this and all your other projects. Your work ethic is inspiring.

      Also good luck to all the writers. Let’s hope some producers check out all the scripts. Everyone here has put some real work into this tournament.

    • OCattorney

      this is a comment for several scripts… I was reading “Avatar” and it starts with a voice-over from Jake, the Marine in a wheelchair, and Cameron spends a little time letting us meet Jake and understand his specific problem and need in life before moving on… many of these scripts would benefit from some clarity about what’s going on… too many descriptions of the location, dialogue that doesn’t really identify or make us sympathetic to the characters. As a writer, you KNOW who these characters are. The first-time reader has no idea. We could use a road map. – Bill Hays

    • OCattorney

      Discus likes me again. I’ve been working on a Theory of Screenwriting called “Story Value” and I expected people to have read “The Glow” to explain what it means. It means, the audience wants and expects some kind of “value” from a movie. In Jaws, it was being scared. Same for “The Exorcist.” But there are other values than just being scared. The primary one is Elation. Is there a moment when we feel incredibly happy? Was it set up by a previous feeling of being sad? The ending of “Dirty Dancing” is Elation. We feel happier if the roller coaster goes up a long way. It’s not the highest point, it’s how far we traveled. Difficult to grasp until you’ve read a script that uses it. “A Christmas Carol” has value for many, and we’re happy to see that Bob Crachit grew out of his previous shell. For about half your audience you need to acknowledge that women who don’t have jobs, who stay at home raising their kids and maybe writing or reading Romance novels, are worthy. Your potential audience WANTS that validation and no writer thinks about giving it to them. Why did “Girl on the train” hit the NY Times best-seller? It Validated the choices of many women who read the book. It wasn’t the story. The Story was a disaster, and I am amazed that DreamWorks allowed the movie to be made without major changes to the book. Paula Hawkins wouldn’t have minded. And this brings me to another point, Make your script easy for the reader to understand. In the first few pages, you can give the reader details that explain what’s going on and what the hero Wants and Desires. These comments don’t have to appear in the movie, the director won’t use them, but for a reader who is reading five scripts before Sunday, they will be appreciated. Just because you know who these characters are, doesn’t mean the reader will. OK, Carson posted ” ….n 2007, the company sold the team to Tom Ricketts. From that moment on, everything changed. Ricketts brought in the smartest president in baseball, Theo EpsteinIn screenwriting, your script is your team. your story and your characters and your plot and what that script is going to look like on the big screen. Then the chances of your script electrifying a reader go up infinitely…” I wanted to find a team, but I expected to have people reading “The Glow” rather than have to post all the Theory in a comment… – Bill Hays

    • scriptfeels

      I made comments on your script. Really enjoyed the read. Good luck in the wildcard round! Really impressive stuff.

  • Poe_Serling

    WILD CARD Weekend…

    This might be the most competitive round yet… with so many of the
    top runner-up scripts battling it out for the four open spots.

    Glad to see that most of the writers took the time to rewrite their
    projects. It shows their dedication to the craft.

    I’ll probably take a stroll down Hellfire Alley first, then climb the
    stairs to the Widow’s Walk… and so on.

  • Jack madden

    Read 30 pages of ‘breaking them up’. A few thoughts while still fresh: easy read, well written, clear but inoffensive, nice and enjoyable but unfortunately lacks any identifiable comedy. TIP: Kids that grow up in households where the parents consistently argue are generally emotionally stunted or unstable in some way. Usually have communication problems, usually exaggerators or flat out bullshitters—if it was me, this is what I would bring to the character Damien, it’s also where most of the comedy could derive from (not laughing at him but what chaos his flaw causes— a la Billy liar). Possible other titles: ‘the love child’ or something
    with ‘Legitimate’ (him being illegitimate) maybe emphasis on ‘mate’.

  • A. Rhodes

    Hi y’all. Just wanted to check in to say that we decided to do a COMPLETE OVERHAUL of A Darker Place. Basically going back to the basics of the concept and executing something very different. We’ve been working on it for a few weeks now, but since this is basically us writing a completely new script, we knew we couldn’t finish in time. That is why our original script is posted in this Wild Card round.

    We’re dedicated to getting this one right -we believe in the concept. Can’t wait to finish this new version and get your feedback.

    • Erica

      Same logline or do you have a revision of that? Maybe post a few possible directions you’re taking the new concept in.

      • A. Rhodes

        Same general concept, but entirely different logline. In fact it may be so different that we’re not even sure it would have still qualified for the contest as the same script.

        The main goal this time is simplification. Carson always preaches it.
        It’s amazing how making things difficult and complicated can be so easy to do!

        But we’ve learned our lesson. We finally know what this script is.

        I could post more details about the new direction if y’all think that would be helpful, but as far as I can tell, seeing as we’re the only wild card contender that didn’t submit a revised version, we don’t and shouldn’t have a prayer at winning. And that’s OK. That was our choice and we’re excited to do it right this time.

        • Erica

          I would post, if anything, it will help you in moving forward with the script regardless of the tournament or not. As Carson said, “So many simple screenwriting mistakes can be eliminated if you get
          someone who knows what they’re doing to read your script and give you
          feedback.”

          Knowing if the concept is heading in the right direction from the beginning is the best thing.

          Good luck in your writing!

  • SamRoberts80

    I know I’ve been too busy to comment lately and so when I do give my vote for Wild Card week it probably won’t count. But anyone else notice that Week 04 got two scripts in vs. Week 05 which had more votes (especially for a specific script that’s NOT here in the Wild Card Week)?

    Maybe I’m wrong in wondering why The High Hard One from Week 05 was passed up for Wild Card Week when it had SO many people talking about it and voting for it that week? By my rather “rudimentary” calculations, from following this entire competition rather closely, Week 05 was the highest vote-getting as well as commented on week of the entire tournament. Bummer… and no offense to the two Week 04 scripts that DID get chosen. Rock on!

    Anyway, good luck to all 8 and as long as I life doesn’t pull me away for too long this weekend I will give my vote after I’ve given each script the proper re-read they ALL deserve.

    • Scott Crawford

      On “The High Hard One”…. from what I read in the comments, a lot of people liked the writing but weren’t “bowled over” by the subject matter. That makes it hard for to be a Wild Card; even with a good rewrite it might not win over people who just are not interested in voting for it.

      If that sounds unduly harsh, bear in mind that – to my best knowledge – the writer did not discuss the logline or the script in general on the forum, as other writers had. If he’d done so, he MIGHT have been told… maybe write something else? Yes, yes, I know, we must write the stories we’re passionate about and blah-d-blah, but if people wanted to win this contest they needed to get feedback from an earlier stage, at east that’s my opinion. They needed to find out if there was a groundswell of opinion about their ideas before launching into the long scriptwriting process (or dusting off an old script as some other people probably did).

      Again, nothing personal, wish everyone luck, just a little observation.

      • RO

        I still remember a lot of details form The High Hard One, and that’s after just one read.

        While it was about bowling, it was a nice nudge to poking fun at it while also being a love letter to the sport.

        To top it off, it also did something that every writer needs to do with their subject matter, and that is make it entertaining.

        It was also one of the few amateur scripts I read where it didn’t have a third act problem, but a mild second act issue. But that’s just my opinion.

      • Levres de Sang

        Actually, everything I’ve read/heard of late points to the industry not overly caring as to the subject matter of your script. Rather, they want to see if you’re a capable writer — and here I will defer to John Truby’s definition: someone who’s “mastered the hundreds of techniques required to work at the professional level.” Of course, we’re unlikely to find that in a 13-week contest; but I DO think The High Hard One came closest in terms of its writing.

        A roundabout way of saying that sometimes I think it’s worth considering a vote for the writer even if their subject matter is not for you.

        • Scott Crawford

          Maybe The High Hard One should get a future AF slot when that comes back. Seems a lot of love for it.

          A lot of people are saying that because High got 12 votes it should be a Wild Card, but as a PERCENTAGE (and I always add up the percentages), High just missed on the final 8. That week had a the most voters, partly, perhaps, because it was in the middle of the contest. Last week we hardly had any.

          On subject matter, I’ve got to disagree. It’s the old can’t polish a turd argument. Maybe not quite that harsh, but you can’t make someone who hates anchovies love anchovies just because you’re a good cook, or even a great chef. It’s still anchovies.

          • Levres de Sang

            I suppose this is one of those topics where there are two schools of thought and people will vote accordingly. I’ll admit your anchovies analogy is a persuasive one, but either way I imagine this debate will come up again from time to time.

          • Kirk Diggler

            No one is being forced to eat a script they don’t like. They just have to read it with an open mind.

          • Levres de Sang

            Absolutely!

      • Kirk Diggler

        I would never change a script’s subject matter because the masses say so. Conformity will get a writer a one way ticket to Nowheresville.

        The whole “I don’t like bowing” therefore I’m not voting for this script was just re-god-damn-donkulous.

        • Scott Crawford

          Nevertheless, it’s probably the most frequent comment about a script, aside from grammatical errors and so on is I’m just to interested in what this script is about, or in order to make this subject interesting you’re going to have to add comedy or action or a plot that really sucks me in.

          Look, this debate rages on that it doesn’t matter what you write about. Of course it does. Unless your plan is to produce your own movies from a trust fund or a sudden inheritance, you’re going to have to think about whether there’s a huge potential audience for your script.

          If there isn’t but you’re still determined to write it or rewrite it or whatever, then fine, of course do that, that’s how some great films have come about.

          But you stand a better chance if you have some other script, some other idea you can write, maybe one that WILL appeal to the masses, as Log and Breaking Them Up did.

    • Davyd SC

      Thank you Sam, Kirk D, RO, Link, and my SS hetero-lifemate Levres de Sang, for mentioning The High Hard One and for your strong support of it here in the comments. Didn’t make the wild card but the fact that you guys are still talking about it makes me feel like a winner anyway. So thank you!!!

      Right now I’m like Anthony Michael Hall in Breakfast Club at the end when he writes the letter – gonna give myself a chuck on the shoulder now…. BAM!

  • ScriptChick

    Thank you, Carson for throwing CRATCHIT back into the ring! Revision mode had me black and blue for days — hopefully Bob will fare better. (and thanks for giving me someone to root for in the world series! Angels….Astros….someday)

    Have at it, feedbackers! I appreciate all feedback that will help Cratchit continue to grow strong and hearty. Kind of fun that this whole tournament will end around Christmas. :)

    • UPB13

      Let’s go ‘Stros!

      • The Old Man

        They’d have to get past the Cubs the next 5 or 6 years. Good Luck with that. :)

        • UPB13

          There are other teams in the NL capable of beating the Cubs. Besides, the Astros are doing the exact same overhaul as the Cubs, just a year or two behind. Their farm system is stocked.

          • garrett_h

            The Astros are definitely on their way up. I think they take the AL West next year. Some exciting young talent. And Correa is just plain SICK.

            Man, we’re in an amazing era for young SS’s right now. Lindor, Correa, my boy Seager… Gonna be fun to watch them in the coming years.

    • klmn

      Cratchit got my vote in the first round. I won’t be voting this round, but I really think you’re on to something.

      Good luck going further.

    • garrett_h

      Angels AND Astros?! How’d that happen? They’re in the same division!

      If you’re gonna pick two teams, at least pick teams in different divisions, preferably conferences! You must be a wreck during all those Angels-Astros series lol!

      • Linkthis83

        She was probably a Houston fan before they ended up in the American League. I can’t imagine that happening to my Reds.

        • Kirk Diggler

          Reds fan? Any chance you’ll take back Jay Bruce?

          • Linkthis83

            The Mets plan to exercise their option. Jay Bruce would definitely be welcomed back, but I’m not sure if we lost all that much when he left.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Well as a Mets diehard, we didn’t gain much.

            Slow bat, can’t field, can’t throw, can’t run, not much in the clubhouse and may not be cut out for New York. Other than that, he’s gobshite.

            ;-) Okay, JK…. kinda. I’m hoping he turns it around and remembers how to play baseball.

          • Linkthis83

            That all sounds accurate. He came thru our farm system same time as Votto and was always a fan favorite. Easy guy to root for.

        • garrett_h

          True, that’s entirely possible. Most likely scenario.

          As a Dodger fan, I can’t imagine ever rooting for the Giants lol.

    • OCattorney
    • OCattorney

      I apologize for bad notes on “Crachit” – had to drop out of my workshop because it was trying to reprogram me to increase the level of conflict… very confusing. And speaking of Confusion, let me think about the Ghost of Christmas Future. How would Scrooge react to seeing a woman elected President of the United States? I was trying to think of ways to add women to the story… a way of adding conflict… but is it even possible to understand what women were thinking in… but that could be one way to make “A Christmas Carol” relevant again. The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge what will happen to women in the future and he can’t deal with it. – BH

  • Lucid Walk

    OT: I wonder, how many scripts about the Cubs’ victory have already been written?

    • Erica

      Funny, that’s the fist thing I was thinking too.

      Prediction:
      Title: 108

  • Erica

    So this is going to be a tough pick this week for sure and I know the upcoming weeks are going to be even harder to pick.

    • Mayhem Jones

      I KNOOOOOW! I’d rather take on the arduous task of pinpointing the origin of lindsay lohan’s “new accent” than vote for only ONE of these awesome scripts.

  • Mallet

    I’ve been pretty busy the last while, only checking in every now and then, so I haven’t really been following along with the Tournament.

    What is the actually prize for coming in first? Anything or just bragging rights and visibility?

    • Scott Crawford

      That’s what a lot of screenwriter’s are looking for. What do you want, a bloody teapot?!

      • UPB13

        I’ll take the kitchen knives.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Family reunion coming up?

      • Erica

        A cup of tea would be nice.

    • Wijnand Krabman

      first prize a cadillac eldorado second prize a kitchen knife set

      • Scott Serradell

        Nice.

      • Wes Mantooth

        What’s third place?

        • Wijnand Krabman

          you’re fired!

        • Scott Crawford

          Pete Conrad.

          Who?

          Pete Conrad. Third man to walk on the Moon.

          Good guy, but we don’t remember him like we remember Buzz and Neil. THAT’S third place.

  • klmn

    Thank you.

  • Poe_Serling

    HELLFIRE AND THE WIDOW

    Okay, two down…

    Since Carson had Westerns on his mind when he picked today’s photo, I’ll
    begin with:

    >>Hellfire Alley..

    I definitely prefer the new opening. It jumps into the story a lot quicker. The
    action is still fast and furious.

    A compelling element to me: how quite a few of the people involved with these
    particular events ended up in filmmaking down the line.

    Might be sorta cool to see Nix reminiscing about the two Bills from a movie
    set… them jump into the tale.

    Plus, it would add another level of connectivity to the classic film The Wild
    Bunch.

    One quick suggestion:

    Gotta to admit I’m still not of fan of the lengthy preacher’s speech – I find
    you don’t need too much of that kind of rhetoric to get your point across to
    the audience.

    >>Widow’s Walk

    I only read the first few pages. Again, the subject matter is just a bit too dark
    for me. With that being said…

    I think ED is a helluva writer, and this script is another feather in his cap.
    Like I mentioned before, it’s a really great title for a horror project.

    As of right now, I’d like to see both of the projects advance to the next round
    of competition.

    Two more slots to fill…

    • klmn

      The Preacher serves several functions in my script, besides introducing hellfire and brimstone religion. One is contrast – his long talk contrasts with the coming action and his character contrasts with the rough-hewn people around him.

      But he also serves the same function as the rain delay in game seven – there’s going to be a gunfight and by God you’re going to wait for it.

      As for the subsequent movie careers of some of the people involved, here are a few snippets.

      This first one is from a movie produced by Bill Tilghman and Marshal Nix – it doesn’t follow the usual narrative form – Deputy Tilghman traveled around with the film and lectured. There is a longer version on YouTube, but it’s pretty much just more of the same and the restoration contains some parts of an unrelated film.

      The man with the braids is Quanah Parker, the last war chief of the Commanches (and the man who led his people onto the reservation). If you’ve ever watched The Searchers, that movie is very loosely based on his mom.

      This second movie stars Emmett Dalton. Ironically it shows him as a good guy in conflict with a crooked lawman. (This was before the Hays Code). It’s not a very good movie, so you probably don’t want to watch more than a minute or two. It does give a good look at 1916 Arizona.

      • Poe_Serling

        “One is contrast – his long talk contrasts with the coming action and his character contrasts with the rough-hewn people around him.”

        If that is the case…

        Then you might want to break up all the speechifying and use it as
        an opportunity for some quick cuts to highlight the layout of the town
        and its residents.

        I think it would benefit the story by making everything a bit more visual and…
        as Scott S. pointed out in his comment… it could give the reader/audience member a better sense of the surrounding landscape and geography, etc. before the big gunfight.

        Just a thought.. ;-)

        • klmn

          That’s a good idea. I could use more description.

          In case you’re interested, here’s a modern look at Death Alley. The First National Bank is gone, but Condon’s is still there, and now there’s a Coffeyville museum with an entrance on the alley.

          The guy’s description is all messed up. He gets names wrong and scrambles facts.

  • Scott Serradell

    THIS WEEKS PICK: TBD…

    Howdy y’all! I’m dividing my reads into two parts, and will edit this tomorrow once I’ve finished with all the scripts. In an effort to get a better impression on the works themselves (and thus better feedback to the writers) I’m committing to the first 25 pages of each…no matter what.

    In order of appearance:

    FELIX
    — There’s some impressive stuff here. I’m not going back to any pervious notes or drafts, but this feels sharper than I remember. Every action and nuance just hits on the page and nothing lingers longer than it should. And it’s those kind of quick and accurate descriptions that make for some good screenwriting (and good screen-reading!)
    — What I really paid attention to is that all the action is strictly from our young protagonist. And not only was this consistent but well done. Everyday actions, like going into the basement to fetch something for Mom or playing with his brothers, FEELS very close like seeing the world from a 10 year old boy. So the tension for this story that builds in the first 25 is always from his perspective — And though a more traditional “horror” film might elicit more jumps and scares it wouldn’t work for this; the “horror” is a 10 year old’s horror. And I think the writer does a commendable job of keeping that POV on point.
    — My only really note was in describing the ventriloquist doll as “demonic”. I mean, “creepy” or “unsettling” sure…But “demonic”? A minor thing, but noticeably too much.

    BREAKING THEM UP
    — I really like how the story unfolds in the beginning, with Damien narrating and telling his story. It’s fresh and quirky (perhaps a touch by the numbers.) But it gives a nice tone and introduces us to the story by with logic that feel unique by it’s main character…
    — That said: Once you got into the third-person (I think by page 4) everything flatlines drastically. And after you’ve introduced Damien and his messed up parents (BTW I like the dynamic and characteristics you’ve set up for them so far) we get into this storyline about Yuri and it feels like we’re venturing into different territory. I understand that this is an introduction to the “services” Damien offers to his peers, and can only expect this will be brought into the plot of the story, but it kills the initial momentum. Maybe it would be better to continue Damien’s narration into what he does at school and have him explain the process. To me it would keep up the energy you started off with.
    — Also: Who exactly is this story for? I wonder if having a precocious child protagonist in a comedy wouldn’t really be aimed for children. In “Felix” (see above) it’s a coming of age and a horror movie and it works because, regardless of age, the same genre territory can be explored. But a child’s perspective for a comedy? I don’t see many adults wanting to check that out.

    ODYESSEUS AND HIS BOY
    — I won’t lie: I am fucking loving this so far! I think my initial (and deciding) criticism of this last time was the dialogue, and, atop that, I felt the beginning was a tad over-written, making for an unclear and muddy read. Well — Balls to all that! The writer does an excellent job juggling the impressions of Achilles (as hero) with his funeral. It is a really clear and visual start. An additional “kudos” for juggling so many Greek characters right out the gate without letting a single one drop or fall to the wayside.
    — The dialogue is much more toned and in tune to this kind of story. Very well done here. I particularly like the dialogue(s) between Odysseus and Ajax: They feel mature and familiar while being poignant and playful. It’s obvious Steffan took the last round of criticisms (mine wasn’t the only in this area) and striped the fat from the pervious draft. Some of this is funny also (GUNEUS: D’you come out of the horse’s ass? CALCHAS: Divine inspiration.)
    — I will finish this when I am able. The first 25 presents an excellent set-up and the writer promises a grand third act. I can’t wait. Damn well done!

    HELLFIRE ALLEY
    — Is Marshal Nix just speaking to the camera? Like just telling us a story? If so, I really like this approach. It draws us in immediately. Maybe consider more of this…
    — You could establish Coffeyville a bit more…
    — In fact, the “setting up the scene” is a big problem for me here. On page 4: We have four separate lines of description: “The group turns onto a road that leads to Eighth Street.” “They turn to town, riding slowly.” “A mile West of town, a man and his wife pass them in a buggy.” “Closer to town, two male riders pass them.” — Now, without any landscape or real sense of geography, I can’t make heads or tails of WHERE the action is taking place, in relation to the scene or location. Simultaneously I feel there’s scope here but I can’t gauge how big or small, e.g. how large is the town? What’s surrounding it (like what’s the environment)? Mountains? Flatlands? It’s very hard to tell.
    — My opinion (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) is that in an effort to provide us (the readers) with a “fast read” there was a lot of description sacrificed in order to keep the weight down. If that’s the case, you’ve done yourself a disservice — and I think, with this kind of story, you should really be unafraid to throw us into the fray. I’m saying to go balls-out and fill the page with prose (though, when done well, is good too) — But there’s a story here somewhere and a beginning that contains action and a decent set-up, but without the details — the MEAT — I can’t follow, and am therefore not engaged to go any further.

    • Scott Crawford

      It’s important that people take their time. I’m not bothered that haven’t been many votes so far, I’m not expecting too many on the first day.

      • Scott Serradell

        I agree. Someone made a comment here recently that going through the scripts and forming an opinion on, say, the first five pages isn’t really helping the writers — And, as someone guilty of this in the past, I’m now making the effort to really give each one some attention. But eight in one day is just too much. I have no life but I like the ILLUSION of having a life :)

        • ocattorney

          That was my comment, ocattorney, since you haven’t seen my script, I’m invisible. In the newsletter just found in my mailbox:

          Carson: So many simple screenwriting mistakes can be eliminated if you get someone who knows what they’re doing to read your script and give you feedback. Just a few weeks ago, a writer sent me their script with one note: “My second act sucks. Don’t know why. Please help.” I gave the writer a few suggestions, and bam, the script improved before our eyes. If you’re one of these writers who keeps your script to yourself, you’re not maximizing the potential of your screenplay. Even Aaron Sorkin needs smart producers to give him feedback. (end)
          So, after reading the scripts, and making comments, I have a question. Anybody willing to read “The Glow” and tell me why it isn’t in the contest? Is there a reason it didn’t make the cut?
          I’m taking a workshop that says most writers don’t use professional-level conflict.” Very confusing, I see all kinds of conflict in these scripts. But what I don’t see… let’s talk about Character Web. The job is not to create a Hero, but to create all the relationships between the characters. If you copy the names and descriptions from “A Christmas Carol” or “The Odyssey,” you’re not doing the most important job. Your idea isn’t original… IF you focus only on Character Web. But I read the scripts, and I like the writing. I like being pulled into the story. I can’t fault these eight scripts unless I pull out some rule… and what I want to know is, which one of these “rules” was used to eliminate “The Glow” before a single person reviewed it? – Bill Hays

    • C.J. Giltner

      Thanks for reading! Appreciate your kind words.

    • Steffan

      I’m excited to see you’re into Odysseus and His Boy, Scott!

      I’m very eager to hear how you feel about it’s second act and the finale.

      And thanks for the compliment about the dialog being both mature and playful. Some readers missed that due to the seriousness of the subject matter; but, I really tried to walk a fine line and write something that–after all is said and done–ends up being bittersweet.

      In my original WSYR I mentioned to Carson how I tried to infuse this story with a soldier’s humor (which is often dark and fatalistic, but nevertheless funny).

    • Linkthis83

      Now this is a proper way to vote ;) Awesome work, Scott. Seriously though, this is invaluable to writers.

      • Scott Serradell

        Gracias Compadre.

        • Linkthis83

          Great notes. Great effort.

    • ScriptChick

      I love the idea of approaching a setting with an overarching adjective. Thanks!

  • C.J. Giltner

    Writer of Felix here. Let me say say that if you started this script last week you don’t need to worry about going back and re-reading anything. All the changes are quite minor. I would not have had the time to incorporate all the great notes I got last week.
    Cheers, C.J.

    • C.J. Giltner

      Also, this is 30% based on my own childhood (including the creepy doll in my basement). I’m aware a ventriloquist dummy is not necessarily original, and you may be turned off by the very idea, but I hope the execution of the idea can win you over.

  • smishsmosh22

    Congrats guys! I already voted for like 4 of these scripts so it’s going to be a really tough decision, narrowing it down to one favorite. Especially with all the rewrites!

  • Linkthis83

    Congrats to all those who still have a chance in Wild Card Weekend! Also, major props to the writers for digging in to get another draft ready for consumption. (I will be diving into these new drafts later today)

    And I see the first major casualty of this style of competition is THE HIGH HARD ONE. That’s a shame. That’s good screenwriting and storytelling right there. Deserves to still be in the fight.

    Here are twelve selections for my version of the contest. I did select two that did not make an appearance in the first round. I will be emailing feedback to all those who sent me scripts.

    THE GRATEFUL EIGHT (a twelve player contest as of right now – these are in no particular order)

    -THE BAIT
    -CRATCHIT
    -BURNING BRIGADE
    -THE LAST SAFE PLACE
    -THE SAVAGE
    -WIDOW’S WALK
    -21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON
    -THE HIGH HARD ONE
    -LOG
    -STACY WENTWORTH: THE LAST BONER SMASHER
    -ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY
    -THRILLS, KILLS, AND SCOTCH

    (eliminated: CORPSE FLOWER – THE INHERITANCE – COURAGEOUS MAN – SEEING RED [replaced by ODYSSEUS after re-reading the openings])

    • jeaux

      Hey Link, glad to see I made the Grateful Eight. Any recognition is appreciated. I actually read right past the title then did a “hey wait a minute, that’s mine!”. Than you for taking the time.

      • Linkthis83

        Thanks for sending it to me. You’ll be getting feedback in the next few days.

    • Scott Serradell

      Thank you for the shout out to “Irregular Army”. I think Carmelo did a great job and, as I’ve said before, I lament that it’s not here. That said: I hope he perseveres; it was an incredible (and true) story and has some real potential there.

      • Linkthis83

        From reading the first 10-15 of it, the content felt right and the core of the intention was there, but the execution is mainly what hurt it for me. I simultaneously enjoyed the tone and disliked the tone given their situation. It felt like the characters were saying what needed to be said versus how the core of the character would speak.

        I felt like the chain of commanded wasn’t clear enough. Or maybe didn’t like how easily it was disregarded. Clarity issues in other areas as well. I also wondered if maybe ESL was playing somewhat of a role here.

        However, again, at it’s core…he’s got something here. It feels like it anyway and that carries a lot of weight with me. I just wished it had executed better, from my perspective.

        • Scott Serradell

          I read it in its entirety. Twice. And largely agree with your assessments; it lacked a fire — it really needed that unpredictable spark of fury that only could have been driven by a writer consumed by his subject. That must come from Carmelo himself. Maybe he should take a page from Herzog and see it as a volcano he just dives into…

          What’s interesting is, after my reading, I did some research on the actual mission, and was surprised that Carmelo followed it quite accurately; much of what is there is true, for good or for ill (and the chain of command thing is really interesting, considering there was one but three factions that were forced to cooperate.) The blind fact is: The mission was haphazardly planned and should not, in the odds against it, have succeeded. But it did! To me, it’s a notch below the battle of Thermopylae (as far as say cultural significance) but no less interesting, and certainly no less arduous; those men should have failed, but they won.

          • Linkthis83

            For me, I didn’t make the connection that when the guys are introduced they are each part of a separate army. I thought they were just oddly diverse.

            Even if Monty just summed up their circumstances in a pre-mission toast at the bar. The guys all have a drink, and then Monty urges them to move on and the rest of the scene with the scotch can play out.

            because by them having a “plane to catch” didn’t inform me that they had a really important, really crazy mission to wake up for the next day.

            Just the tiniest blurb of exposition is all that’s needed. Let’s the reader/audience know where this thing is heading and it’s interesting because of the characters themselves. Makes me wonder how this group of individuals even stands a chance of being successful.

  • Garrett

    Today, I had my day all mapped out. A list of “to-do’s” in bullet points from top to bottom. Everything was going according to plan until I decided to check out the Wild Card scripts and open one and begin reading. What was I thinking? Well, based on previous reads, I was just looking to read the first few pages and move on. But what if you open a script, begin reading to find yourself engrossed in the story? Oh damn…
    Hence why my “to-do’s” have been rescheduled for later today. But it’s okay, I got an experience out of the script I decided to read. Namely, what stories do exceptionally well and here in David’s case especially: to offer perspective on the best way to go about solving problems.
    The script (and *MY VOTE*) is for “BREAKING THEM UP.” Now, out of respect for the other writers, I apologize that I didn’t give every one of your scripts a fair shot. I’m sure there are some other quality scripts in here, but this script by David is READY TO BECOME A FILM. I don’t say that lightly. Out of the hundreds of scripts read here on this site, only about 3 or 4 have I ever read that could make great movies. This is one.
    With that said, congrats David on writing a great story. Growing up in a broken family, your story dug deep into me and really resonated with me emotionally.
    The script reads very polished (didn’t read the first draft you posted though), however there are a few things with your formatting that I think you absolutely want to get right before sending it out to contests, etc. You want to make sure you give yourself every possible chance and getting caught up on a few small incorrect formatting issues would be bullshit with the story you have.
    Apart from that, you have a very strong argument here in your story. However with that being said, there’s just a few tweaks that I think need to be made to make your argument come off more clear and strong; and the better that is, the bigger the emotional wallop your story will deliver.
    I won’t go into those details here, but I’d like to talk to you more about them personally if you’d receive the feedback. Feel free and email me at gamerson82atgmail when you can.

    Great job David, I hope we can get this beautiful story of yours out to the folks who make the decisions, sign the checks, greenlight the lights, etc.! :-D

    • Scott Crawford

      I didn’t actually say this before because, I don’t know, i guess I don’t want to influence the vote too much, but those are some of the best comments I’ve ever read. SERIOUSLY… a little tear in my eye when you said the script resonated with you (my parents divorced when I was young too) AND when you said the script felt the ready to become a film; surely the greatest compliment you can give to a screenwriter. Well done!

      • Garrett

        It’s good to hear your thoughts, Scott. And I agree, anytime a script can do something emotionally with you, you know it’s doing something that few do. Since we’re all writers here, I think it helps a lot to hear positive words now and again, don’t you agree? We are our own worst critics and we propel ourselves through these hellish schedules of writing and re-writing sometime without even a glimpse of hope. It’s nice to be able to offer those comments and for them to be legitimate, not just lip service.

        • wad_d

          You’re a real prince, Garrett.

          • Garrett

            Like the Fresh Prince? Never been called a prince before, but I’m liking the feeling already ;-p

          • wad_d

            I think it’s from Catcher in the Rye. I don’t remember the context of it but it’s hopefully a compliment

          • Garrett

            Ah! I think you’re right! I just read that book late last year for the first time (what? I know.).

      • Garrett

        Looks like another great response to David’s script. You must’ve thought it was great to post their whole response! :-D

  • klmn

    So, Carson – when do the votes have to be in by? In the first round it was by 10:00 PM PST Sunday.

    But this week there are eight scripts to go through.

    • Linkthis83

      Really enjoyed the table read of your short. Lots of fun and you got a lot of love from everyone! Congrats.

      • klmn

        Thanks, Link. I think I’ll be turning more toward comedy – but not in features. Sitcoms.

        Alison and her crew always do a great job. If you have a script you want feedback on, check it out. You can get some very helpful comments there.

        • smishsmosh22

          it was super funny! :)

  • Kirk Diggler

    “Breaking Them Up” – I read about 10 pages or so a few weeks ago when i voted for “The High Hard One”. I still prefer that script.

    However, I decided to give this one more chance. Read to page 22 where the act break occurs, Damien and Erin agree to break up Damien’s parents.

    The vibe feels very indy-filmish, particularly the low key humor. It did make me laugh a few times but not out loud (which is rare anyway).

    Giving this the GSU test, the GOAL is very clear right from the title. The STAKES are not very high, the main character tries to break up his parents who don’t seem to like each other very much. If he fails he just maintains the status quo, and I don’t think he is as miserable (or at least unhappy) as he claims. The URGENCY isn’t there at the moment, but that is something that can always be cranked up in the 2nd act. So it’s hitting 1 out of 3.

    Overall the writing is very solid. It’s a readable script and it is actually easy to visualize this as a movie, although the somewhat middling concept has it creeping into TV movie land.

    I’ll be ranking my Top 4 favorites out of 8. This has a chance to make the Top 4.

    Some page notes.

    Pg 1 – Opening VO reminds me of something Holden Caufield might say.

    Pg 1 & pg 3 – How exactly am I supposed to envision a scene against a black back drop? What does that even mean? A LITERAL black back drop? I don’t get it.

    pg 3 – Damien’s description of his first meeting with Erin is funny. I also like his ‘take a seat right there’ comment to Yuri.

    Pg 6 – Damien’s ‘We create opportunities’ line brings the story into focus.

    pg 7 – Damien, a few computers over, grimaces as she jots a note.

    who is ‘she’? Is this a typo? Because Leanne isn’t jotting a note.

    pg 15 – been a few pages since I snickered at this script – the Mom character regarding seeing the latest Terence Malick film — “You know I don’t like to take naps in the middle of the day.”

    Funny Vin Diesel movie poster

    Character wise, a guy who listens to Noam Chomsky working at a pizza joint feels a little off.

    Read 22 pages. Will possibly read more if time allows.

    • The Old Man

      One way to add STAKES and URGENCY: While Damien is planing the breakup, his father tells him that he got a promotion and they will be moving 1000 miles away.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      GREAT articulate points, Kirk. You rock!!

  • urban.spaceman

    Came to just say that I’ve reached page 50 on my 3rd screenplay and I couldn’t be more chuffed (British for ‘over the bloody moon mate’) about it. Next tournament I’m definitely entering; will you be doing AOW after the competition? I haven’t had a chance to read any yet but good luck to all the entrants! Cheers

    • Scott Crawford

      Excellent news, my old China (china plate = mate)! Do you have a plan for the next fifty or so pages or are just going with the flow? Both methods can work, I’d just think it’s interesting for others to know, if you don’t mind saying.

      • urban.spaceman

        Thanks me duck (I’m from Leicester, couldn’t keep up the facade). I’ve got a fairly detailed outline and I’m always having a butchers (butchers hook – look) at my notes so it’s all going swimmingly; I’m hoping to keep it under 120 pages. But I’m also kind of going with the flow as out of nowhere the characters have just literally been struck by lightning. Which is weird because I didn’t plan it at all but that’s what actually happens and it really adds to the story! Really enjoying the process though!

        • Scott Crawford

          I remember Barbara Taylor-Bradford (probably not your bedroom reading – she’s from Yorkshire – nor mine) saying that, whatever your outline is, it will change when you start writing and characters come to life. I just think it’s easier to complete a rough draft if you have a guide.

          And I wouldn’t worry about getting under 120 pages, you can always (you SHOULD always) cut bits out in the rewrite.

          • urban.spaceman

            The weirdest thing for me was during my second screenplay, I’d outlined the whole thing with probably 90% of the project coming from my notes overall, about half way through I realised a crucial line (well, a really funny gag) couldn’t come from either of the two characters in that scene, so I created a new character just for that line. And then all of a sudden it was like this character was saying to me “PSSST. I’m over here. I’m going this way. You should follow me cos it’s pretty interesting” – and before I knew it she was a whole new character integral to the plot.

            With length, I do have a tendancy to write a lot of detail but Carson did a brief review of my first script (ITCHY FEET; it reached his “Almost Top 25″) and he said at 136 it was far too long for the type of film. So ever since I’ve been obsessing over action lines or dialogue that are just a word or two too long that they go over and create a new line. I don’t know what effect it has on the final length but it really annoys me now

      • urban.spaceman

        PS I realise that looks like total crap but it totally makes sense….

  • Poe_Serling

    WHEN CRATCHIT MET FELIX

    With the holiday season right around the corner, let’s go with…

    >>Cratchit

    As the logline states “A Christmas Carol” reimagined… ”

    Indeed!

    Cratchit kicking butt in the boxing ring. This one had the flair and energy of
    those Sherlock Holmes films directed by Guy Ritchie.

    Though the story isn’t really my cup of tea, I thought the writer has a very crisp
    and clean writing style. I appreciated her attention to all the little period details.

    Points for taking a classic tale and giving it new spin.

    >>Felix

    I voted this script last week or so. My comments regarding it are back in that
    thread.

    So…

    These two projects fill up my Wild Card dance card.

    Now the overall winner this week…

    Hellfire, Widow, Cratchit, or Felix?

    Hmm, I gotta think that over a bit. Unless I give each 1/4 of a vote.

    • Scott Crawford

      You do and I’ll bury you alive, Poe.

  • punee94

    Based on the logline, marketability and first 10 pages, my vote is for:

    “BREAKING THEM UP”

  • ScriptChick

    Thank you for your lovely notes, Jack madden! And giving me good examples relating to your problems with the script. With Bob, I wanted to explore a character who is capable but cowed. How someone so strong could be controlled. It is Cratchit’s journey of rebirth by revisiting the past to come to terms with the man he has become (pre-midpoint reveal) and in doing so, change his present day shortcomings. The OG CC story is most certainly about redemption and while I love that theme, I also realistically wanted my adaptation to show that some choose not to be saved, even when given such a golden opportunity. What is really helpful from your notes and countless others is I’m beginning to notice a trend in the stories I write — parent/child relationships, protagonist’s controlling their own lives/obtaining independence, love triumphs all — it’s really inspiring and makes me want to write even more! Thank you again for taking the time to read Cratchit and giving insightful feedback (as well as the pitch towards the end)!

    • klmn

      You were great as Teresa today.

      If this writing thing doesn’t work out, well, there’s always the convent.

      • ScriptChick

        Thanks, klmn! I’ll start polishing my rosary — but might work out even better if I bring in a shiny role of that sweet sweet D.

      • ScriptChick

        And what ever sitcom you write, please have a leper/any of your shorts inside joke in there!

    • Nodestar

      Thinking back on Cratchit I think it struggles to define itself and be understood. When looking at it as a feature the Genre might point toward the deeper issues.

      Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Fantasy

      In a strict sense Mystery and Suspense are not film genres. They’re not structural genres and have weak relevance. They don’t even make the Detective Genre anymore and they barely make the Action Genre with a detective. Suspense is just saying it’s suspenseful and it’s not a Fantasy in a structural or thematic sense so it just means there are ghost and time travel elements.

      The mystery drives the plot and I think this is a weakness. Because we’re not lead through it by a detective. A Sherlock Holmes or better personality level of detective. The mystery plays out and is dominated by this past emotional line focusing on characters love and status and past choices.(my favorite parts)

      I think all that means you have a Drama that is suspenseful and has a mystery plot. So you’re firmly out of both the Detective and Thrill Genres and lack their defining beats. Making these lines purely surface level and weak.

      Because Drama is less defined and structural you lose the focus Genre brings on the script’s end and familiarity on the reader’s end. Drama is just a tough sell.

      I can imagine the Drama part of this on the small screen. I remember allot of great elements that brought smiles and tears and the kind of heartfeltness you’re looking to live through with the characters. But it’s also amped up with these surface Thriller elements which bring that feature feel but work against the quieter homier moments when the suspense leans toward intrigue.

      If Drama is what you want then you might be spicing it up with Suspense to arrive at a feature feel or just presenting your material through that view of film. Either way I think by not going all the way with a Thriller structure it can detract from the Drama and also give it a structure of urgency that rushes the Drama along at an unnatural pace.

      I feel this way about Cinderella: After the Fairytale as well.

      This Thriller-Drama space you’re writing in may just be a natural expression of your favorite films or a certain presentation but it lack agreed upon and identifiable beats to relate to.
      Ultimately all this genre talk is about perspective. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish and focusing that into a structure that amplifies the message and more importantly makes it identifiable to readers.

      I think Jack’s thoughts echo my previous notes on the dangers of adaption. You’ve pulled away from the old theme but not clearly established a new one that has a relationship with the old theme in some way.

      “With Bob, I wanted to explore a character who is capable but cowed. How someone so strong could be controlled. It is Cratchit’s journey of rebirth by revisiting the past to come to terms with the man he has become (pre-midpoint reveal) and in doing so, change his present day shortcomings.”

      That’s good stuff. I didn’t pick up on that my first read through. If that’s to be the focus then Cratchit would need to start much lower morally and much higher financially. He would need to be about to make partner with Scrooge. Take Marley’s place etc. Then the time travel reveals what both men were and both of their point of no return moments. Cratchit changes his ways Scrooge does not. It needs to be much more clear cut and explicit which comes from defining the structural elements.

      Right now your message is mucked up by the Christmas Carol’s subtle influences. The mere existence of Cratchit’s family for instance.

      Scrooge controls Cratchit through money/family and therefore shame. But if it’s the midpoint murder then it should be guilt not the shame of barely providing for his family.

      Under that structure Cratchit would start the story doing great. His family is well provided for while the guilt of where it all came from consumes Cratchit subconsciously. When the murder is brought to the surface Scrooge controls Cratchit through the guilt of the past and the guilt of the family going back to being poor if he doesn’t go along with Scrooge.

      You’ll have to deal with every story element from a Christmas Carol in that way to see if it works for or against your intent. How far from the original do you venture? And at what point does it have nothing to do with the Christmas Carol. When do you stop to rein in the story this wants to be to keep it in enough familiarity. If you can’t compare themes or create irony between the old and new stories then the point of doing it at all comes under question. It’s an eat old bamboo if you do eat old bamboo if you don’t kind of thing. Very hard to navigate.

      Looking forward to your future works.

      • ScriptChick

        Thank you for the in-depth notes, Nodestar! Lots to think about. I do want this to be a feature so does that mean for you it then needs more balance of Thriller elements for you to see it working on the big screen? I love your last part analysis of Bob’s character relating to guilt vs shame

  • peisley

    Cratchit has my vote. It’s still for me the most likely to appeal to the marketplace. Not that the others don’t have a chance. It’s just what they’re looking for a lot now.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    I’m no good at math but I do well at solving logic problems and voting for just one script out of these eight seems totally illogical to me. We should each give four votes so I will do that in a separate comment to Scott’s tally post.

    Taking Serradell’s cue, I read to p25 of each and I’m gonna divide up my posts. I rarely give detailed notes because I react from my emotions more than from the analytical part of my brain so I’m not very good at it. I’d rather leave that spotlight to some of the amazing notegivers we have here. So, for what it’s worth :)

    FELIX
    (I already read this all the way through and also voted for it despite intensely disliking the puppy scene. Hurting/killing animals feels easy and cheap – I’m sure there are other ways to convey a character’s cruelty or insanity. Also, in a horror script, the presence of an animal is a dead give-away for its future demise thus making it immediately predictable and any tension or suspense is already gone. But that’s just me and I leave a little night light on for my cats in the basement so they won’t fall down the stairs on their way outside at 3am)

    I don’t feel that the three opening scenes showing young Felix “always on the move” are needed. I think a single scene would convey more and feel less confusing. I still like the way you, Casey, capture the overall feel of childhood – reminds me of certain books by Bentley Little.

    The first ten are a structural delight in that you introduce all the characters without confusion, the overall atmosphere and also the inciting point. You make us want to turn the pages.

    Father Wolfe is a strange character, though. I get why he’s in there but during my first read-through, his behaviour made me feel so uncomfortable that I thought there’d be something else behind it. Especially this on p12:
    “He watches as Father Wolfe playfully throws his robes up over a small girl like a parachute, enveloping her inside for her to escape playfully.”
    It gives off a weird pedo vibe but there’s nothing confirming that later on so you may want to consider changing it.

    I love the ventriloquist doll – they are so creepy! One of my most vivid childhood TV moments was THAT Twilight episode so that always works for me.

    (One last thing I want to add: I like the idea of them making a short film – it’s very SUPER 8 – I just think it goes on for too long. Describing this movie within a movie stops the main plot cold so that was distracting.)

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      BREAKING THEM UP
      I also read this all the way through and also voted for it. I remember it as a light, easy read with enjoyable characters and dialogue.

      I like the opening pages and the way you, David, introduce the main characters. It may not be a huge LOL moment but it does elicit smiles and that’s good enough for me.

      Reading on, the pace feels great. Things are moving along without speeding, making this feel like a movie. I also like the idea of Erin and Damien getting paid for setting up their friends – obviously a lucrative business for them.

      This script is flowing pretty smoothly and I enjoyed those first 25 very much the second time around. There’s definitely something here – a blend of comedy, sadness and hope. It isn’t just one-note and nothing feels forced. The premise is great and we, the reader, can immediately picture everything that could possible go wrong so we want to read on to find out.

      Sorry that I can’t be more helpful than this…

      • wad_d

        “Sorry that I can’t be more helpful than this…” – Thanks for nothing. Kidding. C’mon, don’t apologize for reading 25 pages – especially after you already read the entire script once before. Thanks for taking a look.

    • Levres de Sang

      I thought cats were meant to have amazing night vision! ;)

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        They do. Just wanted to highlight my unending love for all animals and why I can’t stand to see/read/hear about them getting hurt (except for spiders. They’re not animals. They’re… aliens, I’m sure. Or demons sent from the deepest most digusting bowels of Hell. Out to get me. Yes. Only me.)
        ;)

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY
      I didn’t get very far with this the first time around because it didn’t grab me. Nothing to with the writing which I thought was quite impressive – it still is. Very imagematic.

      P1: “Let’s out a fierce battle cry.” – It’s “lets”, no apostrophe.
      P1: “The crowd Is full” – “Is” with a lower case i.

      I love the way you’ve reworked the opening pages – it’s short and to the point. Well done, Steffan. This time, you’ve got my interest :)

      Ok, this is typically the kind of story that I prefer watching on a screen than reading – well, obviously. Production design, visuals and directing make up for half of the enjoyment (this is just my opinion) so it’s usually difficult for me to stay engaged in the story. Weird, I know :) Still, I’ve always enjoyed mythological stories and this one is no exception. I mentioned TROY the first time that I read this. It’s a favourite movie of mine and I find the script absolutely briliant. I’m not comparing – I don’t like doing that – but you’ve definitely got great writing chops and you’re good with your visuals. Your characters are well-written and the dialogue easy to follow (not always the case with war/strategic stories).

      P.5: “SWUMP! An ARROW plunges into Achilles’ foot, pinning his heel to the ground. Achilles REACTS.
      PRIAM turns his horse, charges.
      ACHILLES tries to dodge, but can’t.”
      Achilles “reacts”? “Tries to dodge, but can’t”? Of course but he isn’t immune to pain or emotions :) Again, just my opinion but I think this brief passage merits more description. Make us FEEL that arrow pinning his heel to the ground, make us FEEL his paralysis before the charging horse. Take it from someone who (accidentally) received a horse’s hoof in her face – the sheer size and power of such an animal bearing down on you is terrifying.

      P10: “AJAX
      But, if I may be so bold to continue…” – “AS to continue”
      P13: “The two soak in the wall’s dominion.” – Take in? Are impressed by? I’m guessing that’s what you mean, your choice of words just seems a little off.
      P13: “AJAX
      I brought a kerchief of my wife’s.
      She had it on her when we were
      married. I took it without asking
      when I left. She never would have
      let me have it. When I miss her I…
      (he brings it up to his
      nose and smells it, sighs sadly)
      For nine years it carried her
      scent. Now, it smells only of me.”
      … Wonderful :)

      P14: “Her name is Polydora. She is eldest of five children.” – THE eldest.

      OK, this script is seriously impressive. I can understand why everyone voted for you. And I almost feel like apologizing for not giving you enough of a chance :) I guess it just goes to show how easy it can be for a reader to give up on a script too soon for silly reasons. And yet, that is what it is.

      • Steffan

        Thanks for the kind words, Marija.

        I give up on scripts all the time for reasons that have nothing to do with the script (I’m in a bad mood, I’m tired, it’s not what I “feel” like reading at that exact moment) that when people have a knee-jerk reaction to a script I’ve written I don’t take it personally.

        What shows the true sign of a mature reader though is someone who can return to something that they once wrote off and give it an honest second chance. I thank you for being someone like that.

        I really like your note about Achilles FEELING the arrow pin him rather than hear it. I’m going to def. make that change! You’re one of the best around here, thanks.

    • Wijnand Krabman

      He asked vote for the best script! Not vote for the best four scripts. I might be ESL, no, that’s sure, but as I understand this line you should vote for one best script. But if you like to vote for four best scripts you definitely should do so. At the end he is going to choose those best four scripts as he likes.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        I know, Wijnand :) It just doesn’t make sense. Still, I guess it isn’t a tournament as such but it still seems illogical to me.

        • Wijnand Krabman

          just as life and this contest is its metaphor!

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Haha, yes indeed :D
            And for my own sanity’s sake, I will cast four votes!

          • Poe_Serling

            Careful now, MZG…

            If you cast four votes and I split my one vote four ways and
            others assign 1-4 for their top four scripts … this site might
            just implode.

            And I doubt that even Carson’s time traveling capabilities
            will be able to fix the damage.

            ;-)

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      CRATCHIT
      I haven’t read any of this script before. I’m guessing I didn’t open it because of the subject matter which is not for me. Also, a confession: I have not read the novella nor seen the original movie so in truth, I know nothing about the story nor the characters which is why writing these kind of stories is risky. But as we all know, being prejudiced is a bad thing so here goes :)

      First off, congrats, Katherine, on a very well-written script. The descriptions are short and vivid and you’ve done a great job painting the overall Victorian atmosphere. I also like the story and the structure but I can only make a very uneducated guess about how you have reworked an existing story or at least, the characters. I’d say it’s well done – I’m sure others would have some more meaningful notes for you on that.

      My sincere apologies :/

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

      I know that found footage is a hot item – they’re easy and cheap to produce which is a good reason for writing one but the format also severely limits our options. And actually, I think they’re even harder to write than an ordinary script because we have to come up with interesting and original ways to, for instance, introduce characters. Having them speak about themselves to the camera is not engaging. I get why they’re
      doing it here but… ugh. It doesn’t lend for any nice visuals either. Yes, I know, a FF movie is not supposed to be directed in the same way as a traditional script but still, something is needed so we don’t feel like we’re just watching one home movie after another.

      I’m sorry for starting off in such a negative way but visuals are everything in a movie and a FF script just doesn’t offer anything interesting in that respect. On a very personal note, this format is just a monstrous cinematic error but that’s me.

      Back to the story.

      I found all the characters very superficial, very unlikeable. Don’t you like any of them, Ben?

      WHY are these people out there in the first place? What’s the point of the Bared ‘n Scared reality show? Every reality TV show is scripted – they should be given something to do otherwise, we really don’t care.

      Wow, I’m really negative here – I’m very sorry, Ben…

      • UPB13

        You need to watch Naked and Afraid!

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Naked and Afraid? Is that a real US reality show? Sorry for coming off as ignorant but I’m in Europe, we don’t get all US shows in existence and well, I think you can intuit my opinion about them in general ^^

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      WIDOW’S WALK

      Wow, that’s a very engaging opening, Brett. And I love the visuals you describe. We’ve seen the “psychic that nobody believes” before but this feels like a fresh spin on it. I like this subject especially if it highlights the personal suffering that inevitably comes with being so sensitive (Raimi’s THE GIFT is a great movie to study for this). Of course, having Grace look for her own missing daughter is the emotional touch that drags us in. The subject matter is very dark – children dead or dying – and you do marvellous things with your descriptions (“Overgrown willow trees hide the house, their branches move like wispy dark tentacles.” – Nice!). I don’t have a whole lot to say about this as the first 25 pages just flew by so congrats on that :)

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      A DARKER PLACE
      Well, this is another script whose first 25 just flew by so I didn’t stop to take notes. I didn’t find any real flaws in there but I do find Donny and Samantha a little stereotyped. They seem too obvious so I’m guessing that they’re sort of red herrings as to who the killer(s) might be… I guess I’ll just have to read on to find out :)

    • Scott Crawford

      Marija, on the voting, I’ve addressed this issue in my post. I mean, I’m not in charge and I take it the other people have a different point of view, but I’m thinking logically.

      These eight scripts are, for want of a better word, losers. Each script was not the winner of their particular weekend. Now, it could be that if the script was in a different weekend, with less competition, then it may have won, i.e. we had two really good scripts one weekend, both could have been the best script of the contest but one was chosen and one was not.

      That makes SOME sense and yet… we trying, overall, to pick a WINNER. Not a second-placer. Second-place would be nice, but it’s like coming runner-up in the World Cup. Who cares? It’s the winner that counts.

      What I’m getting at, and what I addressed in my post, is that if we pick our four favorite scripts, what we’re picking is the four best scripts OUTSIDE the eight winners. What we should be picking instead is the script, especially those that have been improved since they were last in the contest, that have the best chance of beating those other eight.

      I understand that some people may find this unfair, that a script that may not be enough peoples “first choice” may not get picked even though it might be one of the four “best” scripts of the week. Well, life isn’t fair and neither is Hollywood. These writers are getting something that most people in showbusiness don’t get: a second chance.

      So pick the BEST script, not just the best script of the bunch, but one you think might actually WIN the whole tournament. And thank you for your thorough efforts in going through the scripts, I’m looking forward to some good quotes.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      HELLFIRE ALLEY
      I liked this a lot the first time around. I no longer have the previous draft but from memory, it seems to me that the opening pages have been heavily rewritten, no? If not, my apologies – I’m reading scripts, doing two script classes and also working on my own script at the moment. The brain struggles to keep up with everything.

      I still like this except I think the writing is a little flat, the descriptions need to pop more so the sentences don’t feel like they’re all similar. It lacks a little emotion. Also, too many characters to keep stock of. For instance, take the five protags. Their collective introduction on p2 needs to be more memorable. Why not give each something very distinctive that sets him out from the others? Or give them a longer introduction, something that’ll help us latch on to them more.

      Still, I like the old school western vibe this script gives off. It picks up on p12 and I went to p30 without noticing.

      • klmn

        Thanks Marija. Your comments on my (lack of) description look to be part of a consesnsus.

    • C.J. Giltner

      Thanks once again, Marija. Sorry about the puppy scene! My parents got us a puppy (also named Jasmine) when I was Felix’s age. But they had to take her back after she kept biting my younger brothers. In my ten year old mind it felt like she died, rather than just going to live with another family. It was one of the early emotionally devastating moments in my life that I’ve always remembered. I wanted to convey that sort of feeling here, the pain of growing up and coming to terms with harsh realities.

      Your pedo vibes with Father Wolfe are accurate. I’ve intentionally left a few interpretations open for his character. As this is ultimately a story about abuse, the easiest interpretation is that he is “grooming” Felix, while I would accept the alternate interpretation that he’s already abused Felix before the script starts (Could explain Felix’s intense belief that Charlie is alive as a coping mechanism). Or, he’s just a regular priest who hasn’t done anything, never will do anything, and is just a bit weird (as many Catholic Priests tend to be in my experience).

      Glad you liked the rest of it, though!

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        h wow, sorry about real-life Jasmine :/ Yes, that must have been devastating… And sorry if I came off a little harsh, I have a tendency for honesty).

        And I’m glad I got Father Wolfe right :)

        • C.J. Giltner

          Not harsh at all :)

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        I was in a hurry last night when I wrote my reply but I’ve been giving the Father Wolfe thing a bit more thought. I don’t mind a writer being subtle about something but a pedo priest is something you can’t be subtle about :) What I mean is that either he is or isn’t, either he has groomed Felix or not, but it needs to be clear somehow. It’s anything but a lightweight subject and could even have a major influence on Felix so it bothers me a little bit that the question is left hanging. Still, just one person’s opinion ;) If it doesn’t bother anyone else, do as you wish. Just a suggestion.

  • BMCHB

    MY VOTE: HELLFIRE ALLEY
    CLOSE 2nd: Breaking Them Up

    I think that Kenneth has made a great effort to take on board notes that were given in the first round. His opening now reads and engages a lot better. The script is not yet ‘there’ but, for me it resonated the most as an example of a script progressing between drafts.

    Notes:

    … It’s obvious Kenneth is very close to the subject matter. Perhaps too close? The majority will NOT be familiar with The Wild Bunch… sad but true. I would rework the logline without reference to it. Let this piece stand alone. An inserted epigraph can deal with The Wild Bunch connection.

    … I’d change the title. Hellfire Alley doesn’t work for me. I wouldn’t use it on the assumption that readers will infer a TWB connection. I’d suggest REAL OUTLAWS as contained in current logline.

    … Description is sparse at best. I’m sure K can see these locations in his mind but he needs to include more visual cues for unfamiliar readers. I’d wager a bet that the script will be close to 90 pages if he does.

    Definitely progressing overall and, in what I take to be the spirit of the competition, it gets my vote.

    Best of luck to the other contenders. Congratulations to all for making it to this stage. If I have time, I will get back with a few notes for others and more in depth notes for Kenneth.

    • Scott Crawford

      Any comments on Breaking Up?

      • BMCHB

        I will have notes for all before the weekend’s end.

        Got to paint a bathroom and watch an important rugby game today first…

        • Scott Crawford

          Excellent. As I’ve said in other places, Carson is looking for comments and not just votes. Given the way this weekend is going, Carson may have to look at the comments for runners-up to decide which four to pick.

    • klmn

      Thank you.

      One thing I’m struggling with is writing for a reader as opposed to writing for a potential production. I tend toward minimal description.

      And it’s easy to forget that not everyone has driven through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas – the Dust Bowl states.

  • BMCHB

    Yeah, this one vote thing in this round is kind of strange.

    I mean Breaking Them Up probably has the best chance of going further in the competition but it’s just not for me. The ‘comedy’ isn’t clicking for me. I’m not laughing. It’s almost too self aware and I can feel a writer’s hand guiding the dialogue.

    I dig the Adrian Mole [google] vibe off the piece but outside of the concept it reads like so much I have read before. But I have to acknowledge that as a blueprint for a film it is very well written, hence the close second vote.

    I could see it being made as a film I wouldn’t like. Make sense?

    NB These are not my notes for BTU. They will follow later.

    • Scott Crawford

      People have already voted for the best scripts, these are just scripts big given a second chance. I mean you’re right, a lot of people didn’t vote for these for these scripts first time around because they didn’t like what they were about (a concept some people seem to struggle with).

      But there might be ONE script that you think has been improved (that’s what you said about Ken’s script) or would have won in a different week. Hence no point in voting for FOUR scripts, you’d just be voting for scripts you didn’t really believe would win.

      I’ll wait for your notes before adding your quotes.

      • BMCHB

        Just feeling torn about this one as I feel it could win the entire competition and would not be surprised to see it sell very soon.

        • Scott Crawford

          That’s one of the things that sometimes happens. I’ve read a lot of scripts, or the beginning of a lot of scripts, that just don’t read the same as professional scripts, the kind that sell, the kind that get made into movies.

          You’re reading the first page and the description is bare, the dialogue stilted, the story moving forward at a snail’s pace, and a fairly arthritic snail at that, and you just think this doesn’t bear any resemblance to a professional script.

          Where’s the sense of urgency, where’s the imagery, where’s the sense – I’ll be direct – that this isn’t just the first draft and the writer hasn’t maybe rewritten his script now he knows his ending.

          And then you read scripts that DO read like the pros, and you start to suspect maybe this is a pro and often its not just a talented upcoming writer. And, like you said, maybe though not that enthusiastic about the subject, the story, the concept, etc.

          In the context of a contest, such a script shouldn’t get your vote since we’re voting for scripts not writers. But we can at least acknowledge that this writer is one to look out for.

          • Mike.H

            One script I’m currently reading after 20 pages, I’m sour on… without naming names.

  • OCattorney

    i’m taking a workshop, in the middle of exercises on adding “professional level conflict” and my brain is stuck in that one place… but I grew up with “A Christmas Carol” and I have an idea about the characters and their relationships. For this contest, this was an opportunity to start with a fresh concept and spend twelve weeks learning how to turn it into a script. The Character Web carries over. In her script, the reader is supposed to use their deeply-ingrained emotions about Scrooge, rebirth, instead of starting new. Which isn’t a reason not to vote for it, just the first thought that came into my mind. The Character Web is how we create a meaningful Hero. He isn’t fighting evil, or ghosts, the Hero is fighting the opponents who place obstacles between him and his Greatest Desire. In “Titanic” Jack wanted to be with Rose, Rose wanted to be with Jack, and the Opponents were everyone who tried to keep them apart, including the sinking of the Titanic itself. When an Opponent is introduced as Evil, less effective. The Opponent challenges the Hero’s Weakness, but so does the Mentor and the Ally. At the end, the Hero overcomes his Weakness SPECIFICALLY. I didn’t see Bob Crachit as a hero needing to over come his weakness because he was a character in “A Christmas Story” and I would have preferred a different name and a… well, a person in the story with human Needs and Desires. OK, I’m thinking there are eight people whose revised scripts are going to be posted soon. Any of them want to give me some feedback on “The Glow”? I’m looking for a volunteer, should be some at this point in time, maybe not this weekend with eight scripts out there. I have time to read a revised script and make comments before the voting round – Bill Hays

  • Poe_Serling

    A BIT OT…

    Remember the AF script Marlowe… reviewed here about two years ago or so…
    it’s now being developed into a drama series for the CW.

    This according to several entertainment scripts.

    • Linkthis83

      Not surprised. That was a well written script. One of those scripts when Carson reviewed it he didn’t have any amateur issues with it and it got a [x] wasnt for me based on content. Tough business :) Good for the writer.

    • BMCHB

      And the original writer, now executive producing, is 63… It is never too late to break in.

      • klmn

        Fantastic news. I think that script was a few years ahead of its time. Inclusiveness is a big deal right now. Maybe an article from C on that subject?

        Paul’s script features a girl in a wheelchair, so it seems to fit the current market. Of course it’s a very well-written script, but to find a buyer there has to be a market for it.

  • Poe_Serling

    Just to cover all the voting bases…

    My overall pick: Hellfire Alley

    Just fun to see a Western in the mix. Plus, I know klmn has a real passion for
    this project and it comes through in his writing. Love to see the movie-making
    angle explored a bit more as bookends for this tale of the original Wild Bunch.

    If I picked a Top 4 this week:

    1. Hellfire Alley
    2. Cratchit
    3. Felix
    4. Widow’s Walk

    If I split my vote:

    1/4 – Widow’s Walk
    1/4 – Felix
    1/4 – Cratchit
    1/4 – Hellfire Alley

    Thanks to all eight writers for sharing their work. High fives all around for putting in
    the time and effort with the rewrites. Again, it shows a true dedication to the craft.

    • Scott Crawford

      What would you rather do, Poe: split your vote in four or just vote for one? I’ve joked about it, but the way things are going I’ll split the vote if you really want.

      • Poe_Serling

        Let’s go with the one vote.

        If later on Carson wants to roll out the old chalkboard and do
        some Einstein-like math to figure it all out… that’s up to him.

        ;-)

        • Scott Crawford

          On the one hand it means Cratchit stays on 1 vote and Felix and Widow still have no votes, but it looks better to have a more decisive vote and a quote to go with it, duly noted. Having 1/4 vote… it just doesn’t seem right.

        • ScriptChick

          Is the order by preference? Technically Cratchit a runner up, or split like Marija’s?

          • Poe_Serling

            Cratchit would be a first runner-up under the one vote
            system.

          • ScriptChick

            Cool, thanks, Poe!

          • Scott Crawford

            You’re in third place now (because you have two votes and I alphabetize)!

    • klmn

      Thanks Poe.

  • klmn

    OT. Looking at the box office http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/ it looks like the current trends continue. A comic book project leads the way.

    I’m a little surprised to see Trolls doing so well. Troll dolls were popular over 50 years ago. Maybe it’s the Dreamworks name folks are flocking to.

    And I’m shocked to see how weak Hacksaw Ridge is doing with just over $5 million so far. Fantasy beats reality.

    • UPB13

      Doctor Strange is a very different type of comic book character, and casting Cumberbatch is pitch perfect. I’m looking forward to seeing it later this week.

      Troll dolls made a big comeback in the 90s, so it hasn’t been that long. Still, it is interesting it’s doing so well.

      And no one wants to see a preachy war movie that doesn’t get to the war until the midpoint, and is directed by Mel Gibson.

    • Scott Crawford

      They marketed the crap out of Trolls, in particular selling it to kids. Smart move on their part to have Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, two stars who are popular but not SO popular that they don’t have the time to do all the promoting.

      Hackshaw will do better over the coming weeks and possibly near awards time.

      I saw Doctor Strange last week and it is a different twist on the superhero genre and visually spectacular so I’m not surprised it’s number one.

    • Zack Snide Err

      I just saw it earlier today and while I think it’s Marvels best since The Avengers I didn’t think it was great.
      Doctor Strange’s backstory. The villains motives. The ancient ones and her crews story. Basically all the world building and backstory was rushed through. And dumped into the movie at various inappropriate intervals (including bringing an action sequence to a screeching halt so the bad guy could take a big fat exposition dump). Also the humor (Beyoncé aside) was lame.

      The splendid visual effects and fantastic third act made it worth the price of admission though. Must see IMAX.

      • klmn

        I’ll probably check it out too, but not in the first weeks. I’ve got a bunch of comics featuring Dr. Strange from my younger days.

  • Zero

    A brief OT post – my reviews and vote will come tonight & tomorrow.

    I’m going to submit a script to Screencraft’s Family-Friendly Screenplay contest. Anyone here enter it before? Any noteworthy feedback, negative or positive experiences?

  • Scott Crawford

    You ben stuck in traffic again, Laura? Where ya been? Thanks for the vote!

  • OCattorney

    I wrote “The Glow” for this contest… only 50 pages long because I wanted people to read my BEST 50 pages… submitted it…. and then, showed up eight Fridays in a row to plug it. Last Friday, I found out that it wasn’t one of the 40 scripts that Carson chose for the contest… and, in those two months, Carson never told me that my script wasn’t in the contest, despite discussing a half-price rate for his comments… Yes, I would love feedback, but I think it has to be voluntary on your part. I’m not going to ask people who have eight other scripts to read this week to add a ninth, but when you have some time… I wrote the script to demonstrate my rules about “Story Value” making a better movie… (Hmmm Disqus is making me post as a guest again). One rule of “Story Value” is people love movies that also serve as a vacation. A trip on Titanic, to a theme park called “Jurassic World” or a ski trail in Aspen… thanks for the comment. Much appreciated. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/802f0c5799107e1ce3309f27d22decda0ee7257c5004d0c3cc8c460e83ef5fda.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3112b17c77b0e89d60407c9ebc87b076610a5b40225bdfa27754b6ae07a99400.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89c8de21c1ccd538874242f329e01b1522e96f8706fa0dec67c08d2bd7b12afd.jpg

  • Ben James

    My Vote is for: A DARKER PLACE

    I had a script in the 1st round and voted for A Darker Place in it’s week. By far the only script that kept my interest up to the end and even though I had some notes on it, the potential is there, far more than the other wild cards.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Gotcha. Dramedy makes sense. The humor is nuanced, I do like it when it decides to rear its funny head.

    • wad_d

      I’ll try and punch it up as I continue to work on it. Balancing the tone is a tough balancing act for me. I want it to be funny, but also not too ridiculous. But I could work on adding a few more of those moments.

  • OCattorney

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/612ccf43de6bbe4b74af36e7d20a7ed8789043e5601c17c28b2c17caef9cb3ad.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5d0649c9d520a525ba47076a0cba0492f85f3e5d81a2147ea0d201387e1461a7.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/53a59ec89f5b9c7272d7151a49d876245cbd1dbc5513693c5905935de09e72a4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a96a6279a94caa26c82c74b11fe3bd7aa448c6081e89c8ff9e90989365463e02.jpg
    For a long time, Harrison Ford was everyone’s “Best Friend” and we went to his movies… then Harry Potter copied “A Christmas Carol” for Diagon Alley… and everyone got the “Best Friend” connection…
    in the scripts, is Friendship shown to be important? I tried to make that a point in “The Glow” but ran out of time to get it right, wanted some feedback – bill Hays

  • Zack Snide Err

    I read the first 20 pages and last 10 pages of each and skimmed all in-between. Very tough week. Quantity and quality. Good work by all.

    Listed in order of preference:

    Voting for ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY. It’s not the one I’m most excited about, or the one I think is most likely to be produced, but I think it’s the best executed script and story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Specifically, it delivered on everything the title and logline hinted at as-well as adding a sweet romantic subplot between Pyrrus and Polydora. The action writing was visceral and visual. It was funny in spots. And plenty of subtext and food for thought.

    My only critique is that the dialogue was too modern at times. But, I honestly can’t find much fault in the content.

    2. CRATCHIT: Another script that I really like and can’t find much fault with. It didn’t really work for me as a mystery or suspense, which is why it didn’t place first, but Scrooge is a fantastic villain and it was satisfying reading him get his comeuppance. I also love the juxtaposition of the dark plot and the really wonderful and faithful to the spirit of the source last 10 pages. The finale was really sweet. This is a really good fantasy reimagining.

    3. BREAKING THEM UP: I really like this script and think it has lots of potential. It’s funny and well written but I don’t think it’s been executed exactly how David intended.

    The problem, and the reason it didn’t place first, is that the heart and irony of the movie didn’t land at the end. Damien finds love but it wasn’t poetic because the script didn’t lay the groundwork.

    To do that I think his best friend Erin should have a crush on him and try and turn him onto her feelings… Only he doesn’t notice cause he’s so preoccupied with his parents and everybody else’s love life.

    That would make their coupling at the end really touching. I Would’ve been happy for her and been endeared to him… Them.

    The logline could read something like this:

    “A 14 year old boy recruits his best friend Erin to help him find new partners for his parents, who he’s convinced will soon divorce anyway, and in the process learns the true meaning of love, and finds a love of his own.”

    4. WIDOW’S WALK: Sorry no blurb just yet. Read this one last (alphabetical order) and didn’t get to form my thoughts on it quite just yet… Other than its very good and markedly better from the start than the last draft. Will report back tomorrow.

    5. 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON: I liked this draft of the script a lot more than the first. It’s definitely a movie, and one that Id watch.
    The only thing that I found troubling was that it felt sorta obvious that Butch was gonna be the one to snap. A large part of act one and two is spent waiting for him to claim his first victim while he and Juliet and Co. mess about. I think the script would be more interesting through that section if the Simon and Florence subplot was fleshed out a bit more.

    And since Simon and Florence are intimate by the end of the script, maybe it would add a layer of intrigue and conflict if Simon showed interest in Juliet. Thereby drawing the ire of Florence. Anything to shift some of the focus off of Butch.

    6. A DARKER PLACE: The opening 5-10 pages are still a chore but I settled into it pretty well past that. I really like the ending. It’s very haunting. If Zachary is the killer which I believe he is, then the script doesn’t really work as it is because the script tells the secret well before the end.

    On both pages 56 and 62 (scar on nose) there are huge tells that Zachary is the Red Cloak. Not to mention that the cloak is consistently assigned male gender in description… Which in my mind sort of took Samantha out of play.

    The longer the killers identity is a mystery, the longer the suspense and intrigue lasts.

    As an aside, Tank was a cool spin on the old magical negro trope :)

    7. FELIX: If it’s a family curse then there needs to be a hinting at their past sins. Maybe as it relates to the Civil War. The toy could be possessed by a slave of one of their fore bearers that owned and ultimately murdered him. The dummy could just be a likeness of the slave (just spitballing’).

    Basically I think that Charlie and the toy need to share a common history as it related to the family bloodline. Doesn’t need to be super specific, just alluded to.
    The idea is to make the boys fate that much more tragic, paying for the sins of past generations, by making it clear what those sins were. While keeping him in the cold.

    8. HELLFIRE ALLEY: Much better opening than the previous draft. But the faults I have with it are mostly the same as before:
    A lack of descriptive work in action and scene setting. One other potential issue is the lack of a character with a clear relatable arc… I guess Marshall Nux is the likeliest candidate but at the end I only felt the slightest sense that he was nostalgic for a world that has passed him by. The two eras 1892 and 1930 couldn’t be more different, especially as it pertains to the american west. The distinction might’ve been clearer had the two worlds been described clearly. That goes back to the above first sentence.

    • ScriptChick

      Thanks for all the kind words, Zack!

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to all for making it on the Wild Card Round!

    FELIX
    Some of the issues I had with it were not addressed in this draft, namely taking away from the magic of a child’s perception with adult psychology in the description and Jimmy filling in for what I felt should be a slow reveal of Felix’s thought processes on page 27. I think the charm of this script, apart from the superb writing itself that makes it a pleasure to read is that child’s point of view and how we the readers are lifted away into our own childhood fears and apprehension. It’s all that it really has going for it because for me the central premise of an sinister animated doll is been used so often and even a scene where they are watching the movie “Chucky” only emphasizes this. So, the writer’s ability, for me to evoke this magic is hampered by the adult inclusions for one. But, mostly by having Jimmy try to explain things, “…thinks they can handle a stupid little doll on their own” This should be in Felix’s head? He should be trying to make sense of things and take perhaps little bits of what his friends and parents say and try to create a narrative of what may be going on? It’s how I thought as a child. What friends and adults tried to explain to me just went over my head or I ignored them. I think this strict attention to being inside Felix’s head would elevate this now fine script to something classic.

    BREAKING THEM UP
    I don’t remember anything of what I said about his one the first time. I read the first 30 and enjoyed it. I do think I recall there hasn’t been too much that has been changed in those 30 pages. The writing, the pace and characterization for me was very smart. What holds me back from really championing it is the lack of comedy. I didn’t laugh. I do see lots of opportunities for more funny lines. For instance on page 18. Damian asks Erin about his parents hiding things from each other, and Erin responds that his mom hid her bank account and her dad hid that he was seeing a psychiatrist. Neither of these things are funny. Well, not for me. What is there purpose? Surely you can think of things that couples hid from each other that could draw a laugh. Again, saw many lines that just seemed like placeholders for something richer.
    Potential is here for something marketable, as well, I thought.

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY
    Just going to repeat what I said the first time. Not really into reading these period sandal scripts. But there is no doubt, for me, the writer handles cinematic writing with skill. And if I had more time, I’m sure he will make it easy for me to get into the story somewhat and be satisfied. It would just take some dragging. Maybe a sex scene earlier?

    WIDOW’S WALK
    Remembered much of this. Seems streamlined in this draft, keeping that interrogation scene down to a reasonable length. Still love the use of the cellphones. The tone expertly supplies a tension, an uneasiness appropriate for the genre. I just feel I’m working too hard. Atkins and Peele’s conversation for example just includes so many things I need to digest while I’m still kind of in the protagonist’s hallucinatory state of mind. I need breathing spaces. I think I mentioned that the first time.

    A DARKER PLACE
    I don’t remember anything of this script. I read the first page and still don’t remember anything about what it was about. In defense, not a whole bunch of scripts in the competition have stayed with me. But this is a negative.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON
    Hard to beat the twists and turns in this current TV show Survivor I’ve been watching. So this second read came off a bit dull than the first time I read it. Many didn’t like that the writer killed off Juliet and I think perhaps in this new draft the writer should have kept her alive just to show some good will,? but no.

    HELLFIRE ALLY
    I can immediately see the rewriting in this and it really improves the pace for one. I still want a few more visuals as we enter a scene but overall, the spare writing evokes a time and place as spare and I’m really there. I love when a script makes me want to be part of the action and I want to be shooting at the bank robbers along with the townsfolks. There’s a sense of justice in their action but the writer also adds a bit of fun to it, I thought. Flo is probably one of the more interesting characters I’ve read in this competition. Also, this script inspired me to write my own western of sorts and inspiration to follow in one’s footsteps is one of the highest compliments.

    MY VOTE goes to HELLFIRE ALLY

    • UPB13

      If only I could include Figtails and Michaela.

      • smishsmosh22

        I’m rooting for Ken!

        • UPB13

          I love Ken and David. Can’t wait to see Zeke meet Ken.

        • klmn

          Thanks Smish.

    • klmn

      Thanks Randy.

    • ScriptChick

      Hey Randy, thanks for your note! I see this closer to PG-13 so depending on how old your kids are, maybe you won’t have to explain! I understand the comment though. If I was the director, I’d definitely opt to be subtle about the shot, maybe just showing the singed crutch (or the back of a body). Since this is a script though, I wanted it to be absolutely clear what the premonition is. One of my weaknesses in other scripts has been confusion vs. mystery. Thanks again for your dedication to reviewing script on this site!

    • C.J. Giltner

      Thanks again, Randy. This draft was done after the initial submission, but before last week’s notes. I definitely still like your note and plan to incorporate it re: adult descriptions/psychology. Just didn’t have the time to fully devote earlier this week.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Hellfire Alley – read 22 pages – this script is incredibly thin at 82 pages…. and when you look at the action lines you might have an hour of material at best. A lot of it is written as such;

    The passengers retreat to the rail cars.

    Some outlaws hold the horses.

    The others board the train.

    Each individual action gets its own line. This script might be 65 pages at best. But that isn’t the main problem. It seems to lack structure. The first 12 pages are devoted to introducing 5 characters and then killing them off in a bank heist shoot out. Then it introduces us to a whole new set of characters and we’re back to square one.

    I assume Bill Dalton is our main character but that’s only a guess, both Doolie and Flo are getting equal time. Why is this important? For the same reason theme is important, for having a proper through line, because it anchors your story pursuant of an objective that the reader/audience can relate to or comprehend. We don’t have to like your characters but we need to understand them, and at the moment, the Doolin Daltons are just names on a page. They are also bad guys, robbing banks and killing people. So far, that has happened (robbing and killing) and now this is happening (getting ready to rob and kill again). This script needs a spine and a stronger point of view and it needs to BREATHE.

    On the plus side, it seems well researched, and the bank shoot-out would probably look cool in a theater, but I need character character character. Think about all the work that went into Unforgiven, getting us to like (or understand) William Munny, ‘murderer of women and children and just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another’.

  • GreatGuyAsFarAsYouKnow

    My vote is for Breaking Them Up.

    • Scott Crawford

      Cool. Any reason? Otherwise i’ll have to leave it blank..

  • Joe Marino

    I vote for “Widow’s Walk.”

    • Scott Crawford

      Cool. Any reason? Otherwise i’ll have to leave it blank.

      • Joe Marino

        I’m heavily biased on the concept. Of these concepts/specs, “Widow’s Walk” feels most like a movie I’d sit and watch in one sitting. Then tell people about afterwards. Well-written, inventive and entertaining.

        • Scott Crawford

          Thanks, Joe. I’m sure Brett will appreciate your appraisal of his work – when he comes back from some glamorous showbiz party!

  • Zack Snide Err

    Cool. I’ll give it another look tomorrow and make sure to look for it. Either way that’s an aspect of your script you should put out there in your logline to make it more * proof.

    * Idiocracy avatar. Just sayin’.

    Either way great job wad_d.

    • wad_d

      Oh man, you already read 30 (or more) pages of it. Don’t worry about it. Instead of looking at mine, use that time on your own writing. Or you can go see “The Handmaiden”, which as I mentioned earlier, is fantastic, and has a lot of great screenwriting lessons. The way it hides it’s set-ups is pretty awesome

  • Kirk Diggler

    A Darker Place – read 23 pages… I hope this gets some votes. It’s doing a lot of things right, establishing character and building a story using anticipation and subtext. Donny’s dialogue is sharp and rippled with wickedness, and while at first the switching back and forth between 1992 and 2016 was a little troublesome, it successfully laid the groundwork for future intrigue. This one is a contender.

    A few notes.

    pg 2 – “Fully restrained and muffled, our girls plead for Red Cloak to release little Bella.”

    This is a little problematic, because we don’t where Bella is in relation to the scene you’ve set up. You simply throw it in at the end and expect the reader to imagine something. Is Bella tied up too? Does she have a scalpel to her throat? The reader is unsure.

    pg 19 – Donny is instantly hateable.

    “He gives Libby a hug that overstays its welcome.”

    DONNY: Sorry to hear about Michael. Burned. Fuckin’ brutal. Speaking of brutal, Sam, Jesus you need to finish that makeup job. Scaring our guest and shit.

    pg 21 – “Libby stumbles on a LOOSE FLOORBOARD, nearly falls.”

    Basements don’t usually have floor boards… they have concrete floors because they’re part of the foundation.

    • Linkthis83

      I could not get into this one at all.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Understandable. The first five or so wobble quite a bit because of the time switches. But I thought it settled in nicely. From a low budget horror perspective, it could, with a little work, turn into something.

  • smishsmosh22

    My Vote: A Darker Place

    Incredibly difficult vote this week. I have previously voted for 21 Days in the Amazon, Cratchit, Widow’s Walk, and A Darker Place. And looking at all eight scripts, those are still my top four.

    I think a lot of this comes down to personal taste now. All 8 of these scripts are GOOD. But ‘A Darker Place’ was the one that got me the most excited to the turn the page to see what happened next, and it does that from page 1. It’s a skill I hope to have some day, it inspires me, and the mystery of what the fuck is gonna happen next is what pulls me to this story the most.

    That said, I’m dreading competing against ANY of these scripts because all of these writers are better than me and my silly little Log that kills and rapes people.

    • Linkthis83

      Sticks and stones, baby! Don’t forget :)

    • klmn

      Killing and raping is always fun.

      Wait, that didn’t sound right…

    • Stephjones

      Congrats on Shore’s semifinals win with Log! You’re killing it, girl! fingers crossed for you!

      • smishsmosh22

        oh thanks!!!!! I can’t believe it made it to the semis… I always just imagine some stoner is on the jury….

  • Linkthis83

    I checked out six of these eight scripts (been reading so many scripts this week – brain is on story mapping overload – and extremely tired when I typed up these notes – many apologies if they are incoherent or just plain dumb)

    These are the THREE scripts I think should definitely move on:

    1) CRATCHIT
    1) WIDOW’S WALK
    1) BREAKING THEM UP

    ———————————————————–

    CRATCHIT

    p33 = stopped

    SCROOGE: Why one would commemorate his own financial ruin is beyond comprehension.

    I loved this line the first time I read it…and the second. It’s one of those lines that I would never come up with and envious of the one who did.

    When I first checked out your script I noted that I loved your writing, but not your storytelling. Upon reading further this time, the story emerges for certain, and I like it. I still very much dislike Cratchit as an underground boxer, but I also realize that if you wanted to change it there’s no way you could’ve done it effectively in this amount of time (and I’m not insisting you should because of my dislike – that would be overly egotistical and I try to maintain a moderate disposition with mine.)

    Also, if you’re ever in need of a new title, I suggest: BOB AND EB’S XMAS ADVENTURE (or BAHHUMBUG JOURNEY – dealer’s choice)

    Good luck, Scriptchick.

    WIDOW’S WALK

    p23 = stopped

    From what I hear, I’m supposed to start with the good and work my way to the negative. I don’t feel that way when addressing this script. Sooooo….Brett, you’ve gotten some heat in town and now I’M going to give YOU feedback – all of a sudden, I feel quite amateurish. Oh well, pushing onward:

    I don’t buy Atkins for one second. And Peele, I buy her a little bit, but not much either. Upon reading further this time around I feel I understand why the interrogation scene is the way it is and why you’ve kept it basically the same. But I still have the same gripes with it that I had previous. Which is cool, cuz you know, you got the heat an’ all. But I want both sides of the table to be more credible. Until a certain scene happened later in the script, I was convinced your opening scene should be Grace being marched in through the press bulbs and lead to the interrogation room.

    I feel like you need an ACTUAL piece of evidence that points towards Grace. Things that worked against what you were trying to do is the fact that the press is outside. And protesters. And they have signs and questions all pointed at her. But what’s her history? What’s her credibility as a finder of children previously? I feel that would’ve come up somewhere in the interactions. To establish her credibility and believability. When Atkins or Peele thinks her a fraud, why is she not slamming her finger down on the table and referencing the kids she’s helped find. People’s whose pain she’s helped ease, etc. There are just things that feel in conflict based on what the story is trying to do.

    But you’ve got some killer visuals and visceral moments. Can’t deny you those. Won’t deny you those. The young version of Grace being picked up in the interrogation room. Loved that. Along with some of the others as well. You also planted something that’s good about keeping people going “I know something you don’t know.” And you literally wrote that in there ;)

    Good luck, Brett.

    BREAKING THEM UP

    p34 = stopped

    When I read the opening pages this when it first appeared, I didn’t find the opening pages to be effective enough for me. Upon a second read, I still find those opening pages impact me mostly the same, but once the story gets going, it gets going. Scripts rarely start out with that impression and then improve. I know others have liked your opening pages so this is most likely a preference/style thing. Don’t get me wrong, I liked your opening, just not compelled by it.

    After digesting more pages it’s clearer why. When reading the title and the logline, this sounds like one of those high concepts that’s going for a redline tach throughout. Especially with the label of comedy (and I’m speaking more from your original untitled title – before you highlighted the dramedy aspect) But not yours. Yours is handle with a certain directness, but delivered with more of a subtlety and sincerity. I hope that’s a fair and accurate observation.

    The hiccup for me is the audacity of Damien to think he gets to make this decision. I mentioned it the first time I gave feedback. I just feel like if makes this decision for them, but also especially him, then it humanizes it more. I can sit here and say “sure, I totally get that he could make this assessment and then create this plan.” — but I want to get attached to him and his plan. That’s why I originally suggested showing how the arguing affects him directly. He’s got to feel something. If he’s numb to it, then I’m numb to it — that’s my main point. And it may not fit in the story you’re trying to tell, I’m just illustrating why I don’t connect with it like I want to. You’ve gotten great support and feedback thus far and that’s an accomplishment in itself.

    Good luck, David.

    21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    p35 = stopped

    Ben, I’ve been a fan of this project since the day we did page one reviews. I think you do an excellent job of processing notes and implementing them effectively. That’s tricky task right there.

    It’s true I’ve yet to get to the midpoint twist and I’m not sure I even know what it is yet (I’m thinking it’s the Juliet thing), but I think this thing just isn’t enough yet. This will most likely be frustrating feedback because I know how conscious you were of keeping things interesting, but once they get settled it’s kind of boring. Even with Butch being being over-the-top (and kind of cartoonish). You didn’t leave him much room to amp up. Seriously.

    I think I read somewhere that you had him dialed back more originally. I do think you need to strike that balance. Maybe make him a bit more sincere to his approach, but not over-the-top.

    I think the thing that hurts you most early is the lack of a goal anyone cares about. Now we know based on set up that there’s a fan sitting there and we are just waiting for poo to be flung at it. But still, goals are important. It also helps people relate on a personal level. When we know things that make these characters vulnerable emotionally, it heightens the effects of what happens to them.

    Right now the stated goal is: show up and live 21 days in the jungle, naked.

    I think you need to play up mini-goals and consequences to enhance what you already have: we need food. we don’t get food. why didn’t we get food? what happens because we don’t get food? and whichever goals apply. Goals create focus.

    I also found Juliet’s little dance while getting naked to be counterintuitive to her character when she’s making clothes to cover up. Plus, I think it humanizes her a bit if she is actually a little hesitant about getting naked in the first place.

    If you don’t make it to the next round, I hope you continue to refine this project.

    HELLFIRE ALLEY

    p25 = stopped

    Man I really wanted to love the changes you made, and it appears that I’m in the minority in regards to the new opening. I always liked the previous opening, I just didn’t like that he was in such a hurry and then he slowed down. I also feel that by removing that opening, you literally illustrated what I meant about not being able to lift out scenes. I feel it gave us other information that was important and I felt this new version to be more confusing.

    At first I thought I was going to enjoy Nix and the posters, but when he said this is a story about two Bills and the next scene is the Dalton gang heading into town with either Bill, I was confused.

    Based on the page count, you’ve got a lot of room to work with to add context and clarity. There’s not enough set-up and build in my opinion. You’ve got a lot of great content to work with, it’s just not delivered in a compelling way.

    For example, the very first thing I don’t know is: Is Bill Dalton supposed to be part of the Dalton gang? If so, why are they doing a robbery without him? Nobody mentions him on their way into town. Nobody says they shouldn’t be doing this without him. So I assume he’s not.

    But he immediately assembles a gang right after their downfall to avenge his brothers. But we didn’t get anything before that to build those relationships. For me, this comes off as more timeline of events as opposed to ‘let me tell you this wild west tale of train robberies and bank heists and shootouts’

    I simply wanted to get lost in this tale and enjoy it and that didn’t happen.

    I sure hope you make it to the next round and when the whole damn thing. Cuz then I can retire from this whole thing (hell, that might even spur people to vote for you if it’ll get rid of me)

    ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY

    p31 = stopped

    Steffan, always a fan of your writing. This one, however, man this was a lot of work for me. I think it comes down to content. I thought the relationships were mostly credible. I think the tone felt a bit off — a bit more humorous than high stakes. I feel like these types of stories succeed based more on getting the audience invested, and the investment scene didn’t happen for me. I certainly feel there were opportunities, but kind of got glossed over by the tone and subject matter.

    For instance, the page staying with Achilles is a wonderful moment, but just tossed out there in banter. And it’s Odysseus and Pyrrhus(sp) who are to enter the horse together. Since that’s where this is headed, I feel like it should’ve been Odysseus who went to the boy and not Ajax. I also don’t feel like Odysseus did anything in these opening pages that make him a warrior even remotely worthy of the SUGGESTION by Ajax for him to take the page. It sounds like Ajax should be the one.

    This way, if Odysseus approaches the boy, we can get a sincere connection between these two, especially if OD convinces him to go with Ajax. That foundation is now built when it’s time for them to work together.

    One other thing, when it was decided that Sinon would be the one to pitch the horse as a gift to the king because he can’t lie, I thought it was brilliant at first. I thought it was a great observation to send an innocent person who can’t lie. Only I was assuming the innocent person who can’t lie wouldn’t know it was a trick. I assumed they wouldn’t tell Sinon, thus he’d be believable. And then he was told and then it became a thing about him not being able to lie. Which was a nice story moment with him and the girl, but took away from what I thought was a great choice.

    And I can see why you did it, because now there will be tension when he’s at the gate, but again, for me, I wouldn’t be able to get past the “Well they shouldn’t have told him in the first place.” – the other thing the didn’t work for me was: I didn’t know what the heck I was supposed to care about or root for or what outcome I was supposed to be excited by.

    I wish you well though and look forward to your next AOW offering (or hollywood film – whichever comes first)

    • ScriptChick

      Hey, thanks, Link! I really appreciate you cracking it open again and your nod of confidence! It’s been very entertaining for me to tune in every week to see your Grateful Eight (and the subsequent whittling down). :popcorn:

      • Linkthis83

        Awesome. That brings the total up to…one ;)

    • Kirk Diggler

      “If he’s numb to it, then I’m numb to it — that’s my main point.”

      Interesting. I said that Damien “isn’t as unhappy as he claims to be” and I think you’ve nailed the issue here. He’s not as invested as he needs to be.

      I did like the script on a 2nd read, but from an emotional standpoint, Damien hasn’t been pushed to the brink in order to forge ahead with his plan.

      • Linkthis83

        Agreed. I think that we just need one simple moment that shows his vulnerability to the issue. Like instead of going to Uncle Rick, who doesn’t play a role anywhere else in the script, that he has a moment where he convinces himself that they are only together because of him and he struggles with it.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hellfire…

      “… a lot of great content to work with… not delivered in a compelling way.”

      Yeah, that’s often a tricky knot to untie. With scripts based on actual
      events, it’s quite the juggling act to be somewhat true to the real timeline
      and yet find those story threads that make for an engrossing film.

    • klmn

      Thanks for your comment, Link. I appreciate the effort you put into this.

    • wad_d

      Hi, thanks a lot for taking the time to read Breaking Them Up and the points. Thats something I’ve wrestled with. About how much its affecting him. Thanks again.

      • Wijnand Krabman

        It is obvious that Damien is affected by his parents fights. for a child this is the worst thing what could happen. The fighting of his parents is the motivation for this story. In the real world no kid would try to brake up his parent’s marriage, they just want things to continue and hope it will get better. A lot of children are victim of a situation wherein the parents are fighting each other, they get depressed and all that shit. This is not the real world as we know. The power of this screenplay is the fact that david turned things around, what would happen if the kid would brake them up? To accomplish this damien needs his skills as fixer. This wouldn’t work if he was suffering a depression.

      • Linkthis83

        After reading Wijnand’s comment, I want to be clear about what I mean regarding how it’s affecting him. This is what I replied to Kirk with:

        “Agreed. I think that we just need one simple moment that shows his vulnerability to the issue. Like instead of going to Uncle Rick, who doesn’t play a role anywhere else in the script, that he has a moment where he convinces himself that they are only together because of him and he struggles with it.”

        Convinces isn’t necessarily the right word. I mean it more in regard to the fact there should be moment where this discovery hits him…and hurts him. Nothing overly dramatic. Subtle. Nuanced.

    • Steffan

      You’re awesome, Link. Totally get what you’re saying about each of those instances and I really appreciate you putting them down for me to contemplate.

      My next rewrite will be dedicated to raising the stakes (I think I have a natural way to do so that will add rather than add on to the script).

      I’ll think about them not telling Sinon. It might work. In fact, if it does work it’ll save some pages as well because I’d shave off the conversation that he has with Od. before hand.

      Thanks for sticking me in the Grateful Eight. Even more so, thanks for spending some time with my story and offering this insightful feedback.

      • Linkthis83

        I’m not so sure that making the change to Sinon not knowing is truly the best suggestion for what you have, I just know that I thought it was wonderfully clever when I thought that’s what was happening.

        But you’ll still need the gate scene and you’ll have to figure out a way to still create tension. I kind of equate the gate scene (which I haven’t read) to when people who can’t get pulled over by cops get pulled over by cops. We’ve seen that so many times and there’s almost always some BS way that they get let off the hook. If your current gate scene creates good, authentic tension with a truly earned way into castle, then I’d leave it in for now. Unless you think of something better, of course.

        I was so tired last night, especially when I got to your notes. When I was talking about stakes, up to the point I read, I truly didn’t know why the Greeks were fighting or what the key characters wanted.

        -Why have the Greeks been fighting for 10 years? What happens if they win? Are the Trojans the bad guys? Have there been atrocities? Are the Greeks supposedly the good guys here?

        -If it’s not really about the Greeks and Trojans, but rather, a few Greeks that had to fight in this war, what are they fighting for. Pyrrhus not wanting to page for anyone that’s not Achilles is an awesome thing, but when he does choose to, let us know it’s because he wants to and why (I feel writers really overlook having a character declare a want – it makes them naturally vulnerable and that’s not lost on people – it usually hits them subconsciously). So if Od suggested that he page for him, I could see Pyrrhus refusing because of “a reason” that is honest and true. Od would agree because that’s who he is. And then would suggest Ajax. If that offer seems convincing enough, then Pyrrhus would state that he does this for whatever story relevant reason: with the spirit of Achilles, to kill the man that killed Achilles, something befitting his character and your story.

        I even see Od suggesting himself first on purpose to be rejected. As part of his plan to get Pyrrhus back in the war. And when it’s the two of them that get teamed up in the horse, you’ll have set some stakes because of whatever reason Pyrrhus gave as to NOT be Od’s page. Keeping with the tone of your script, it could provide a moment of humor as well.

        (sidenote: I realized that I’ve been picturing Odysseus as the character of Ser Davos from GAME OF THRONES. — so my suggestions might be way off due to that – not looking like him, but from where the core of his character speaks)

        After reading @felipserradell:disqus notes, he’s right about the place from which your characters speak. I think your characters are authentic. They each have their own worldview and it’s good. Wanted to make sure I gave you credit for that too :)

    • UPB13

      Thanks for the great notes! I made a very conscious decision to stick to the Naked and Afraid model, for better or worse. I thought I’d made the goals and consequences of seeking food clear, but I guess I need to go back and make it clearer. Thanks for your support!

  • ScriptChick

    Thanks for the vote, budgetfrog!

  • Midnight Luck

    OT/OT : Interesting article on GoIntoStory about the new 4 quadrant movie:

    Old 4Q: Male. Female. Adult. Children.
    New 4Q: Spectacle. International. Franchise. Nostalgia.

    I think he could be onto something. Very important distinction when considering what to write about for the new world of filmmaking and screenwriting.

    Sadly, one of the central arguments highlights the purchase of BRIGHT by Netflix and talks about Max Landis’ script as an example of the change in one of the quadrants. The fact that a Max Landis script can be a harbinger of the future is actually quite scary to me, as I have found everything he has written to be both childish, and unimaginative. And no, I really didn’t like Chronicle one bit, it was the worst of the bunch, though American Ultra could arguably be the worst as well):

    “Though it will be R-rated, Bright is much closer to Men in Black‘s commercial qualities and VFX than anything Netflix has done before, and it is meant to launch a franchise.”

    Hollywood’s New Four-Quadrant Movie Model
    https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/hollywoods-new-four-quadrant-movie-model-39b40d4a9f60#.sjcg3jsoa

    • Scott Crawford

      I can’t put into a neat phrase like New Four-Quadrant, but movies are having to reflect the realities of the contemporary world. Going to the movies is an expensive proposition, cheaper than some other nights out but still more an effort than switching on the TV. Getting a babysitter isn’t easy anymore so it’s easier if you can take the kids – hence most films are PG and PG-13. The fact that TV is a bit better, a lot better some would say, in acting and writing and in production values means that movies have to (as they did in the 1950s when TV first came along) go for spectacle.

      Movies have to have international appeal. The reasons behind this are long and complicated but quite simply the days when people will just go and see whatever American film has just come out have gone. There’s more choice.

      Marketing in films in China is dirt cheap and there’s loads of screens. There are many more Spanish speakers in America.

      I’m rambling because it’s early. Fact is Netflix is the perfect place for Bright just as your local IMAX theater is perfect for Doctor Strange. And don’t forget there’s a whole bunch of Marvel characters now on Netflix, there just don’t have the swirly buildings that Doc Strange does.

      • Midnight Luck

        I still see about 3 movies a month, 6+ on a good month with interesting choices. Usually I wait and buy tickets on cheap tuesday, but for a really good one I will pay regular prices.
        I still think movie going is a cheap price overall. I went to a concert a couple weeks ago and had a top row nose bleed seat and it cost me $50 after “convenience fees” which are not convenient.

        So, I still want good movies, well written movies, and well thought out movies. But, looks like we are going even deeper into the world of less character development, less complex story, and bigger guns, bigger CGI to quench the international and american pallet.

        too bad. guess I will have to watch and discover more television, where more thought and depth lives. Recently, Masters of Sex, Shameless, Fargo, Atlanta, Halt and Catch Fire, Billions and Westworld have been keeping me relatively pleased.

    • scriptfeels

      I just want to watch deeper…

      • Midnight Luck

        really? you do? why? (honest question)
        based on his other scripts, i’m doubting the execution will be very good.
        I haven’t read his scripts, but i’m not impressed so far by any of the one’s turned into movies.

    • Zack Snide Err

      The new four quadrant should include “established”, but I think the author didn’t want to make it obvious the new 4q is just an extrapolation of “Intellectual Property”.
      And I agree with you on Landis. He seems to write cool ideas that are not fully formed. Most amateur writers can’t count on their work being bought despite being half baked.

      • Midnight Luck

        Yeah, like I was saying to klmn, while I find this article interesting, most of what he is talking about only applies to inhouse writers working for a prod co anyhow.
        Doubtful an unknown will get a script picked up bought and made when they write Fast Eleven: Tibet Drift.

    • klmn

      Thanks for posting this.

      I’ve been thinking that all of the how-to screenwriting books were written years ago – or based on old thinking.

      How many of the films they use as examples would even draw a crowd in today’s market? I’m thinking mostly of Syd Field’s love for Chinatown. If that’s what we should be striving for, why isn’t Hollywood remaking it?

      • Scott Crawford

        After Chinatown, there was a fair interest in private eye stories, but mostly the success came on TV, like Rockford. This is my point from earlier, increasingly you’re going to see quite serious, very high-quality adult entertainment (not that kind) made on Netflix or Hulu or whatever, and that means features. The Odeon and Vues or whatever you call cinemas in your country, the multiplexes will become more like a cross between a theme park and going to the theater, especially if we get interactive or virtual reality.

        Those of us who don’t want that will get ours at home (again, not in that way).

      • Midnight Luck

        I agree. Most of the God’s of screenwriting are either out of touch or never had a screenplay bought or produced, and even if they did it was 1980 or earlier.

        While most of them talk about genuine good films and good screenplays, we are absolutely in a whole new Hollywood 2.0 kinda time.

        I still fear though, that most of what he is talking about in the article, still pertains more to inhouse script creation, rather than outhouse (??? out-of-house?) creation.

        Rare that someone would write JURRASIC WORLD and have it bought and turned into something by a production company. They can do that themselves.

        • klmn

          I’ve never written in an outhouse. Thank God for indoor plumbing.

          • Midnight Luck

            We had an outhouse when I was a kid. Not sure I ever wrote in it, but definitely did some thinking. There was no door. It just looked out over amazing rolling hills and trees and was in the high desert so at night you could see the cosmos and moon with amazing beauty. and every now and then you could watch a coyote amble by without a care about what you were doing in your strange little wooden box.
            A different form of Outside the Box thinking.

    • klmn

      That article featured a YouTube clip of one of DeMille’s biblical epics. After it played, YouTube offered a restored version of the hand-colored version of Melie’s A Trip To The Moon.

      It has an interesting score, too. Watch if you like.

  • Scott Crawford

    The notes are important because they explain why a script is getting votes and in the event of a tie or very close vote, Carson will have to look at the comments to decide which script to choose.

    Fortunately, so far you’ve got some really positive quotes as well as votes, so you’re doing alright.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    I disagree that making something clear is akin to “dumbing down”. It worked in DOUBT because it was the central question – hell, even the title refers to it as well as doubt of faith – but that isn’t the case in FELIX. But again, it’s just one person’s opinion and I stand by what I said: the ambiguity bothers me.

  • Jack madden

    I VOTE: FELIX: it possesses what 99% of Horrors fail at: drama, in the literal sense (emotional healing)
    2ND PLACE: 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON: CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST meets MY LITTLE EYE… kind of.

  • Nick Morris

    VOTE: WIDOW’S WALK
    RUNNERS UP: HELLFIRE ALLEY, FELIX, 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    All 8 of the “wild card” scripts are well written and have strong opening pages (with some big improvements in the new drafts, too). But WIDOW’S WALK, HELLFIRE ALLEY, FELIX and 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON are my top 4 of the bunch and the most likely to get me to click on Netflix. WIDOW and HELLFIRE could even get me out to the theater!

    Great work, all, and good luck!

    • klmn

      Thanks Nick.

  • jbird669

    I’m still digging Crazchit, so put me down for that. Congrats to all who made it this far.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Correct about the preacher monologue. I forget to mention it. A little goes a long way. The more the preacher prattles on, the more heavy-handed it becomes.

  • Mayhem Jones

    MY VOTE: CRATCHIT

    Of this list, I’ve previously voted for WIDOW’S WALK and HELLFIRE ALLEY. I gave a wildcard vote to UNTITLED BREAK UP COMEDY because that was the extremely tough week it was against LOG! Obviously, I really love all of these scripts.

    (Special shout out to THE CHEATER and BLOOD RED, SILVER SCREEN two entries that didn’t make WC that I enjoyed as well!)

    Also, EXCITED to see ODYSSEUS getting votes this weekend!!! Not only is Steffan’s writing top notch, but he’s tackling a wide breadth of subject matter with determined finesse in ODYSSEUS. (Wait, what the fu*k did that sentence just mean!? Meh, it’s early. You know what I mean, though–GREAT JOB, STEFFAN!!)

    I’ve always had good things to say about 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON, A DARKER PLACE, and still blown away by FELIX‘s success on the blacklist. Once again, I implore everyone: send your stuff to 1,000,000 contests! Throw it on blcklst.com! Pitch Carson for AOW! There is no “bad script” of the bunch. They are all good, they all work. There’s potential in ALL OF THEM.

    So, to my vote.

    I never gave CRATCHIT a completely fair shot because, little known fact: I f*cking HATE CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY ANYTHING. The minute the carols come on in the shops, my fur stands on end and my tail curls under (other little known fact: I’m actually a St. Bernard! Wait–did someone spike my Starbucks vanilla creme this morning??)

    As a scrooge, I sit hunched at my desk November through December… ripping each day off my calendar as it exists… giving deadpanned looks to people who shove reindeer-dressed kids and/or “spiced pumpkin-WHATEVER” in my face.

    But, that’s no way to judge a script. So, I removed my GRINCH costume to “get into the spirit” of CRATCHIT and…. you know what? I LOVED IT! (SO FAR… still have more to read but needed to get my vote in before Scott passes at out a McDonalds… or whatever the hell dude’s been up to this weekend… something about fried, congealed apple pies?? haha) Katherine, your writing style (like ELECTRIC DREAMER’S) remains seriously a DELIGHT to read, like ingesting candy with vitamin-infused substance.

    I still stand by my original notes which say this is “the kind of bizarre, whimsical thing I can totally see on the 2016 Black List”. As someone not TOO familiar with the original story (SEE EARLIER: GRINCH COMMENTS) I’m seeing the fun on the page, I’m seeing the love behind the writing, and for me personally–that’s what matters.

    CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHICH 4 OF THESE ADVANCE, WHICH 3 GET PRODUCED, WHICH 2 GET THE WRITERS AN AGENT, WHICH 5 WE HEAR ABOUT PLACING IN CONTESTS NEXT YEAR, and WHICH 1 GETS MADE STARRING RYAN REYNOLDS!!!

    • klmn

      Don’t forget – PILOT DEATHMATCH!

      • Scott Crawford

        Sounds like a game air traffic controllers play when they’re bored.

        • klmn

          You know, that could be a really good short.

    • Scott Crawford

      A couple of days ago, when we only had THREE votes, I was worried people weren’t taking this tournament seriously, weren’t giving it enough respect, or maybe that the scripts just weren’t good enough. I was wrong. There have been some AMAZING comments for this weekend. Real celebration of a writer’s passion for their project, for the quality of their writing but also for their effort in REWRITING.

      Perhaps I’ll riff on this more when the voting is done.

      In the meantime, it’s CARSON who likes congealed apple pies.

      In like congealed CHEESE (like when you peel it off a pizza box and it’s formed into a little shape. Why does cheese taste so much better when it’s melted into a liquid then cooled back into a solid? I’ll have to ask a scientist but it DOES).

    • ScriptChick

      Thanks for the vote, Mayhem! Someone at work wanted to play Xmas music the day after Halloween. They quickly got shot down, if that warms yer Grinchy heart. I advocated for the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack but lost out to Reggaeton.

      • Scott Crawford

        I heard my Christmas song of the season a couple of days ago and only playing in a section of the store where they were selling Christmas gifts, so that’s not too bad.

        However, I know a lot of places have already lit their Christmas lights – it’s a commercial decision.

        If you want to know, this was the song they played:

        • ScriptChick

          That opening shot reminded me of The Mist!

        • klmn

          Here’s my favorite Christmas song.

    • Wijnand Krabman

      Well done! A very wordy way to not offend anybody. The world will be a better place after reading your comment.

  • New_E

    Voting for ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY & HELLFIRE ALLEY
    Honorable mentions- WIDOW’s WALK & 21 DAYS IN THE AMAZON

    E

    • klmn

      Thanks, but use the pointy brackets – the “less than” and “greater than” signs.

    • Scott Crawford

      Any comments on the script so that Carson can see why you voted? May help scripts in the event of a tie.

  • Poe_Serling

    Wild Card Weekend

    I see the race is starting to heat up and the competitors are
    beginning to bunch up.

    Something I’ve noticed over the course of the tournament…

    The scripts that come out of the gate strong (getting votes) at
    first seem to fade a bit by Sunday evening. Then a project from
    the middle of the pack will suddenly get a surge of votes to vault
    it into the top spot.

    Just an interesting trend…

    • Scott Crawford

      I always worry that, if a script gets a lot of votes, people may SEE that and decide either to join in and vote for that script or not vote for the script they like cause they don’t think it will win. I don’t think I’m right. People DO seem to be able ignore the “polling” and make their own decisions. That’s why you see, sometimes, a script coming from the back to the front.

  • Jarrean

    I initially was going to read all of the scripts in totality but life happened. Sorry.

    I managed 50 pages of Felix and re-read Breaking Them Up.

    I feel like the writing is in line with most spec scripts that sell. The characters felt developed, but the story just seemed to be simmering. I initially put the script down around page 23, but said give it another shot, as I wanted to give all scripts a full read.

    The movie inside of a movie is distracting. I’d maybe rethink that aspect of it. You show the boys being active so I’d keep up with that angle–the hockey, horseplay, etc. I mean, the adventure aspect can work but if it doesn’t pay off in the end, I’d drop it.

    Minor notes, be consistent with your spellings/capitalizations. For instance, boombox is spelled two different ways in following sentences.

    Otherwise, this is a really visual script, if not a bit unoriginal. My advice would be to amp things up a lot sooner. Give us more of Charlie and take some of the questioning out. Maybe even show more of how the Father is connected to the GG earlier on– that could even be your opening scene(s). Curious to know is Father Wolfe suppose to be a pedophile?

    Vote: Breaking Them Up

    • Scott Crawford

      Got your vote, but a bit confused as to which script you’re describing: Felix or Breaking?

    • wad_d

      Thanks for your vote, Jarrean.

  • scrimshaw

    My vote: CRATCHIT
    Runner up: 21 Days in the Amazon

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m having my tea now. You’ll have to wait for me to finish before I add your vote. Oh, and thanks for voting!

  • Angie

    This was tough. Low voter turnout? Reading eight screenplays was really reading sixteen to fairly compare drafts. No could do. Eight is enough.

    Difficult to choose. All are well written. All seem equal in their own way. I have a personal quirk against VO Opening, though they seem to be everywhere lately.

    1. Felix

    The writer honestly admitted minor changes. Fair enough. It was already an extremely well written screenplay as witnessed by placing on the Black List. I do like creepy doll movies, always have,
    Reservations about portraying violence against children on
    screen.
    In the final analysis, though, what mattered for me in spite of the twist at the end was that the story still felt more familiar than original. Like some Twilight Zone episode (mentioned before) and the movie Boy. Different enough but just does not get my vote this time around.

    • C.J. Giltner

      Thanks for reading, Angie.

  • Angie

    2. Breaking Them Up

    VO openings. 14 Years of misery? Not likely. One partner would have bailed by year five.
    Pg 3 – Cute misunderstanding serial/cereal
    Nice intro into the business of Erin and Damien. Getting people together versus trying to break them up.
    Pg 65 Leanne went to Yale. How many years ago? After Damien?
    Pg 68 Leanne went to Columbia and dropped out just before she married.

    Subject matter wise, I can’t see this on the big screen. I believe this is a funny and sweet TV movie similar to My Horrible Year, but better.

    • wad_d

      Thanks for taking a look. The title of the book is “God and Man at Yale”. It’s italicized, but it’s kind of difficult to read.

      • Angie

        My bad. Sorry. Good luck. Still five hours of voting left

  • Angie

    3. Odysseus and his Boy

    First EXT. Can say Ancient Anatolia, Asia Minor (modern
    Turkey).
    Fine dialogue. Many good lines: “I’ve met flowers more cunning. (Page 7)
    Became caught up and read until I became confused about where inside Troy the horse goes.
    Page 22 it says through the streets, yet not past the gates to Troy. So where are they?
    Page 33. Want to go alone, not want go alone.
    Page 56 How are, not do.
    Page 88. Did not understand Dilon’s dialogue. How is the audience, who is not reading, you cues to know
    Non stop excitement and fighting. Well orchestrated battles, clear and visual.
    Page 112. What was the point of Polydora and Pyrhuss both being inside the urn?

    This is a big screen movie.

  • Angie

    4. Hellfire Alley

    This draft of the screenplay, while improved, still had toomany characters that came and went that I was not invested in. Not crazy about Marshall Nix’s opening as is. Who is he speaking with? Is this going to be his story?
    Then, comes the Dalton Gang and the many townspeople of Coffeyville. Most die and I’m not affected. If I knew, up front, why the Dalton’s became outlaws; I might have been shocked and outraged when they were killed and felt Bill’s drive to seek revenge more keenly. Bill’s reaction to the death of his brothers needs ramping up. Do not be afraid of passion and emotion. Without those in your characters, your audience won’t care.

    Then I’m moved to a new gang with a new cast of characters which left me with more questions than satisfaction. So many people I do not get to know and that I don’t care about. Next, the hangings with more characters and only Marshal Nix to connect the dots.

    Preacher’s speech is still too long. Why is he necessary at all? Wittington’s speech is also too long. He is not a main character. Dunno if his “experience” melds with Bill’s experience. Not that those scenes were not interesting (who does not like pointing fingers at past legally- or maybe not so legally- sanctioned murder like a hanging?) but was the hanging of people we had not met until then only there to introduce the maniac Judge and connect Nix? Then there might be a lot to develop about that judge. If meant to demonstrate tension between Nix and the Judge, it did not feel strong enough.

    Page 29 John should be Sam

    I understand the “bookend” of beginning and ending with Nix speaking, but there should be more expansion. More development of individual characters and their backstory. What made Flo become an outlaw? On page 46, I almost missed that she got dressed after the banker passed out. Never shown she had disrobed for him. When, how and why was she separated from Doolie? What was her end? That was not dramatized.

    Would have enjoyed visuals as to the different towns, desert and mountains. None long, just some key detail to help me picture the hardscrabble land or the wide, open spaces that made outlaws believe they could get away with anything. Even what Flo wore when she easily hopped on a horse? Small details to put me in place.

    Instead of meekly succumbing to handcuffing, could Carrie Nation have attacked the kid with the hatchet she always carried? Wasn’t she taller and heavier than he was? What
    is her function in this story? Yes, she was a colorful character in American History. But. Sometimes we have to put our research aside.

    Good conversation on pages 53-55. Until then I felt like the script was a story about a series of shootouts.
    Good characterization of Bob through his opening dialogue.

    The material is so rich it seems like it should have two parts. The first beginning with the Dalton’s bitterness over Frank Dalton’s death and the unfair nonpayment of wages to his law men brothers who have themselves and family to feed. Their descent into desperation and fury at bankers and railroad barons leading to decisions to rob them, then their death.
    Finally Bill’s reaction and resolve to seek revenge. Second part from that starting point when he joins a new gang to the end.

    Or, plump this up. At 82 pages, this draft can use growth. It is very terse, as we imagine old cowboys to have been. The writer can add individual character motivations, happenings in the world of the story that affected the players, and visual description. to put the reader in place Nix can still be the bookend, just done differently. Or this can be told by Nix AND Emmet.

    Hellfire Alley feels like a family saga or at least a miniseries like Lonesome Dove, except with lawmen gone bad. Love this a lot. Still needs work.

    5

    • klmn

      Thanks for your comments. Very insightful.

  • Angie

    5. Widow’s Walk

    Page 2. Dead kids from every direction. mouths wide open. Yikes, not on board.

    Then little girl face down in dirt and small bodies piled, etc.
    Page 11. Young girl abused. Not sure how this can play on the big screen.
    Pg 53 True horror scene
    This is unlike anything I’ve seen. Mysteries to solve, it is scary and original. While well written, the material is too dark for my taste.

  • Angie

    6. A Darker Place

    Based on concept, I probably would have voted for this one again. If the writers are taking the story into a different direction, I wish them the best. This draft is no longer viable and I cannot judge on the one to come in future.

  • Angie

    7. Cratchit

    Pgs. 47/48. Since I met Helena first as Cratchit’s wife, became a bit confused by her intro as Mrs. Bantry who already had a daughter.
    Pg 49. Interest waned with so many Past People.
    Skipped around to pg 60, then 90.
    Lots of activity and mystery boxes. All well tied up at the end. The script felt a bit too busy.

    On the fence about this one, though I can see it as a movie..

  • Angie

    8. 21 Days in the Amazon.

    Fast action and well written. Especially liked many descriptions such as the guzzling rumble of an old pick up, the dense tree canopy permitting only slivers of light onto the dusty trail, and twigs crunch underfoot. Details like these that involve the senses put me at the scene.
    Page 2. Speaking to characterization, do 24-year old females from Austin, Texas use the expression, “cats pajamas?’ Maybe they do. Just sounds like an old expression.

    Butch can show more of an arc if he is not so insulting early on.
    Another personal quirk is a reservation against prolonged nakedness on the big screen. I understand it for porn or sexploitation films. Other than that is just seems gratuitous especially when there are clothed characters nearby. Could be wrong. I never watched
    Naked and Afraid.

    A naked woman roasted on a spit is objectionable on so many grounds.
    Without that, yes, this moved fast and seemed true to the various characters.

  • Angie

    After a tough choice, I’m splitting my vote. Half to Odysseus. Half to Hellfire Alley.

    • Scott Crawford

      Fuck, that’s a lot of writing! Well done, Angie.

      Are you still in moderation? If you aren’t, it’d be good to hear more from you, you’ve got a lot of good things to say.

      • Angie

        Thank you, Scott. I have a very old computer full of novels, short stories poems, even short plays, etc. It is very slow. Takes me forever to type notes and post. Most times others have said everything I had to say better than I could so I refrain. Am expecting a new computer next month. Then we will see.

  • Mike.H

    Scott Crawford: Nice work thank you! Curious, how do you keep accurate tabulation of comments and votes thru out 3 days? Do you get Email notifications? It’s tedious and subject to miscounts?

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m on my computer a lot, writing, watching movies. I check in quite frequently to see if they’re are new votes. I catch most of them, but some get lost in the midst of comments and are held back for moderation. Fortunately, a lot writers are going through the comments themselves checking and, yes, sometimes I do get emails to remind me!

      I actually ENJOY this working out stuff, especially on a weekend like this. I do make mistakes but most people are tolerant.

  • Zero

    With less time than I expected to have, I’m going to read and provide notes on just the first ten of each.

    OVERALL, it’s a toss-up between Odysseus and 21 Days. While 21 Days felt more polished, Odysseus had more intrigue and action in the first ten pages. So I’ll have to give my VOTE to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY.

    Felix: Still confused with the opening over black and somehow also showing a boy and a fence. It’s just not engaging enough to vote for. The most interesting thing that’s happened is some flickering lights.

    Breaking them Up: It’s a bit more interesting than Felix, but so much of the intro is delivered through verbal exposition. I’d rather see things happening, with less dialogue [but some narration is okay]. I’ve realized another thing that bothers me – why do Erin and Damien start right off talking about his parents? It’d feel a lot more natural if they started off talking about something else that makes more sense – like classmates/schoolwork/movies/pop bands/youtube videos – then drift towards his parents. It’s reversed from that now, and it’s awkward.
    I like that it’s a lot more active than Felix’s opening, but it just feels like a sitcom, not enough like a movie.

    Odysseus and his Boy: Normally, the ‘let’s’ typo wouldn’t be worth mentioning. But it’s pretty distracting because it’s so high up on the very first page. I love scripts that start off with some fighting. Overall, the first ten pages seem a little bit raw, a little unbalanced
    as the action gives way to plenty of talking [albeit interesting talking]. But the writer isn’t bad with an action sequence, so it has promise.

    Hellfire Alley:I’m not big on Westerns – they’re just a lot less interesting to me than F&SF. The Preacher isn’t interesting enough to overcome that for the first five pages at least, it’s just some narration and them riding horses. Did they use the term ‘SOB’ in the
    nineteenth century? I like the action of the shootout – but it was surprisingly long. It hadn’t ended by page ten.

    Widow’s Walk: Eh…I felt that it switched from reality to her visions too often. It dulled the novelty and impact of her visions, and slowed down the plot.

    A Darker Place: It’s really confusing. Also, the constant time jumping doesn’t help.

    Cratchit: An interesting, intriguing opening scene. The dream sequence is interesting as well. But, while the script is pretty good, just the fact that it’s an adaptation is a tick against it. Nothing personal.

    21 Days: I quite like it. It’s a somewhat fresh concept [not the movie itself much, but the show it depicts]. Not much has happened yet, but the dialogue is good enough to partially make up for that.

    • Scott Crawford

      Nice work, Zero! And with only 6 and a half hours to go…

  • Lucid Walk

    411 comments? I love it when folks are active.

  • jeaux

    Well my well laid plans of having plenty of time to read and vote completely went out the window about 2 hours into the weekend, so I won’t be able to read thus no vote from me. Sorry, folks. Hopefully next weekend will be better. Good luck writers.

  • BMCHB

    When this competition is over, I think everyone that has been involved owes Scott C. a pint. It’s most of the fun. Above and beyond the call of duty.

    I can’t be the only one that has changed from ‘newest’ to ‘best’ just to get to the voting process sooner…

  • klmn

    And for Carson…

    • Malibo Jackk

  • wad_d

    Damn. I don’t really know what else to say. Thanks a lot, Scott. I’m glad you liked the script.

  • Kosta K

    Not much time this weekend, so I read the first five of each and in order to make the most unbiased choice, I’m basing my decision strictly on which entry is written the best… in my opinion :/

    With that said, my vote goes to ODYSSEUS AND HIS BOY.

    A lot of great talent in these wild card entries, but I felt that “Odysseus” had a certain way with detail that managed to handle larger scenes with surprising clarity and also keep the dialogue relevant and believable.

    The other entries were no slouches, but, just like in Highlander: “There can only be one.”

  • wad_d

    Thanks Gojuice. It really means a lot.

  • MKD 44

    Great job to everyone, things were much improved this week . It was a tough choice and my votes go to- Breaking them up- Felt it was the most improved , story really flowed, it carried me along , I was hooked and I’m going to finish it tomorrow.
    Odysseus and his boy- originally liked it but felt it was a little too dense, Now it is a much easier read and I felt myself transported back in time .
    Felix- I felt it was a little slower getting to the point of the story but , it really captured the family dynamic and the kids voice, if a script and a literary novel had a baby this would be it.
    A darker place- it’s well written , it handled the mixed timeline very well and I am intrigued .
    It was a really difficult week to choose and good luck to all .